Some Atheists claim that all religions or religious philosophies are the same since they are equally false. I assert that them being equally false is irrelevant. Ideologies and belief systems embed particular values and ideas who have different consequences on human behavior. Consequences on the human behavior is what really matters as this is how it truly affects society. Not all religions are equal because they represent different religious philosophies and set of rules in the same way that godless ideologies such as marxism or capitalism are.
Do you believe that all religions are equal? What do you mean by it? This issue underlines the Christianity vs. Islam debate. Please defend your case here.
Clearly not all religions are equal as many are based on wildly differing tenants. Janism is basically humanism where you cannot be violent to others, so this must be better than all the Abrahamic religions. Buddhism hasn't been talked about much in the comments and as that doesn't have a central text and uses the ideas of one's own experiences to validate your own beliefs and truths, again clearly better / different to Abrahamic religions. I've heard that most psychologists, if religious, are Buddhists. Scientology is a crock of crap so we can forget about that.
All religions have the same innate ability to cause harm to society - and some are better at it than others. But just because one is not CURRENTLY as destructive as another does not make it any less false - and it is the falseness of all religions that make them equal.
I have spent a fair amount of time studying religions.
Some do have different claims and different social approaches.
One example I have noted:
One thing we immediately denounce about Western religions is the inequality between the sexes.
The bible authors clearly intended men to rule over women.
It is found on the first few pages of Genesis and it's very prominent in the letters of St. Paul in the New Testament, and seen consistently throughout the two testaments.
However, Sikhism promotes the idea that women and men are equal and should be treated as such.
The degree to how this is practiced varies, I'm sure -- but at least the idea has been presented and decreed as part of the religion.
Early Buddhism is not what we would normally call a religion.
It does not concern itself with gods or an afterlife.
It is not a long list of admonishments or demands.
It is about reducing suffering by using reason and learning about oneself.
It is the first honest exploration of the human psyche I know of.
I think if you follow the golden rule of treating others like you want to be treated, and you try to help a person in distress like in the story of the good Samaritan, then I you'll live an altruistic life. I was heavily indoctrinated as a Catholic school girl, so if I were to salvage anything from the bible, it would be those two teachings. However, for religion to work in the way good people think it should, we also have to completely ignore the majority of stories in the bible. For instance, the story of Issac who was ready to sacrifice his son for god is totally screwed up as is the fact that for some stupid reason Jesus had to die a horrible death to absolve us of our sins.
They are all equal in appropriating morality through regular ritual and devotion which keeps the believer from straying thoughts logic or reason. The rules may vary, but the outcome is the same, in that it is an attempt to control large groups of people. Rituals give them a sense of unity. Certain clothing separates them from others. They seek to create an 'us' and 'them' system which defines non believers as lesser beings which god allows to be killed or subjugated and lands conquered with out guilt or sin.
I thought they were all equals... until I discovered Scientology. Now, I consider the difference between religions where the leaders believe in what they say and the ones where the leaders are just there to make money or have power (like Raelians and Scientology)
There is no single answer to the specific question. One may say that they are on an equal footing in that they promote belief in place of thoughtful, critical investigation. That is a valid answer.
In agreement with your posit, one can also say that they are not because of differing dogma, belief systems, actions, etc. This too is a valid answer.
What the question appears to be asking is whether there is a difference between religions that is qualitative. The answer to this would be in the affirmative. What each does to and how each affects society as a whole is readily subject to a qualitative value. On a scale with the least harmful at the bottom and the most dangerous at the top, Jainism would be 0 on the scale and radical Islam would be a 10. Everything else would fall somewhere on the scale between those values. I hasten to point out that all the Abrahamic religions would be crowding the upper end of the scale.
All religious people are equal in their disdain for rational thought and reason. I keep seeing references on this site to "the good people" who practice religion as opposed to the zealots. There are no "good people." In some ways they are worse. They provide cover for and legitimize the zealots who take religious delusions to the extreme. It is dangerous to distinguish one religion from another based on "the particular values and ideas who (sic) have different consequences on human behavior." This has been enough to spark wars and crusades throughout all human history. And I hear the same idea referenced by many christians who worship the same god and read the same scriptures as do their slandered brethren who are muslim. Even christians are at the throats of other christians for no better reason than religious bigotry based on minute philosophical differences. The bloody wars between catholics and protestants come to mind as well as The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Falling into the trap of ranking the religious by the characteristics of their religions on a "good to bad" scale makes you vulnerable to the siren song of politicians itching to wage war. Religion could not be used as a cover for wars of aggression whose true aims are to loot other countries of their resources and wage cultural imperialism in the fight to make the world safe for McDonald' and KFC. If the vast majority of the electorate were atheists or, at least, considered all religious justifications for waging war as spurious there would be one less phony flag to fly while trying to convince a skeptical nation to go to war.
If a religion is untrue...and for all I can see no evidence..then there is no difference. One could debate to what extent has religion caused war and conflict and make a judgement on that. The crusades, Holocaust to name but two are pretty good examples of why religion is insane.
Religions are generally based on a common thread of fantasy - a sort of opiate to calm the fears of humans. So, in that respect they are equal. Religions could be beneficial if they are relegated to humans' spiritual needs ( many people simply need the opiate or else can't cope). Some religions are better at this than others. When a religion intrudes in the political arena, well, then it's no longer about religion, is it? It's about POWER to control others. Islam seems to be the most pernicious, at least because it has so many adherents. But, let's face it, Christianity has shown similar patterns when it was the main cultural/political force.
I think all Religious are equal just as all Governments are equal...I think the term "fornicators" was a description designed for the two. They crawl in bed together and manipulate the masses, seeking to control every aspect of our lives. We will generally get in bed with one if not both. People will harm you to defend these fornicators.
equally false in terms of involving a supreme being? sure. equally false in terms of what they teach, even if what they teach is ostensibly what the supreme being wants/prefers/demands? no. and the issue does not only underline the presumed christianity vs. islam debate; those are not the only two major religions. i can make a good case, i think, for judaism's being less false, god aside, than other religions, by virtue of its humanism and its focus on the present world instead of an afterlife. in judaism one is not asked to be good in order to get to heaven. one is asked to be good because being good is good. yeah, there's the whole if you love god you love his creation so be good to his creation deal, but the premise survives without god too, which is one reason i can still be a jew and also be an atheist (try doing that with christianity or islam!) judaism also does not condemn doubters, or even disbelievers. the only thing you can do to get kicked out of judaism, so to speak, is take on another god (so buddhism is not incompatible because buddha isn't a god). in addition, jews don't demand that everyone become jewish; it's not a requirement for being a good person (hence the term "righteous gentile) nor to get to heaven (which is not much like the christian or islamic perception of heaven either). there are fewer commandments for gentiles than for jews. jews have 613; for gentiles jews require only seven of those.
not to worship idols.
not to curse god.
to establish courts of justice.
not to commit murder.
not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
not to steal.
not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.
number two is open to interpretation, especially for an atheist, since, if there is no god, then saying "goddamnit" is not meant literally and thus might not count. likewise, "sexual immorality" isn't defined right there in the law, and barely defined elsewhere. the rest are not such bad commandments, god or no god, right?
(i am not talking about the super orthodox, and i am not talking about the 613, which include rules for kashruth and all that, because i am only considering what jews and other religionists expect from OTHER people. levels of interference with others in the universe counts, for me, when considering "equally false." the more you interfere, the worse you are, right?)
compare that to some sects of christianity whose members kill abortion doctors, or demonstrate loudly at military funerals because jesus hates gays (kind of convoluted, that) or try to legislate the 10 commandments (THE 10, right? not the 613 or the seven!) into law or post them in courtrooms, or who demand that everyone else follow their religion or end of up an imaginary hell (or jail, depending on how your local government operates). compare to islam, which for the most part doesn't try to change anyone but which has some purported followers (i say purported because, like so many christians, some muslims don't understand or follow their own religion and yet claim to be its most sincere and devout proponents -- while blowing up buildings and school buses. religion has its problems but that's not part of islam. it's part of the human propensity to use religion to justify any old horror.)
i am not saying all this to try to convert anyone to judaism (which isn't easy anyway, and jews don't proselytize), or to any religion at all. i repeat: i am an atheist. i am just trying to answer the question in a logical fashion. it asks us to compare and contrast, right? i've attempted, in a limited fashion, to do so. when i say that judaism is less false overall than the other two, i am not implying that religions that involve a supreme being are not all, in the end, false, at least in that regard. i am only considering as many of the other factors as i happen to know and happen to think of while typing this answer. i've probably left out something important!