another discussion about religion - Page 5
Old 12-10-2010, 09:30 AM   #81 (permalink)
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The thing which strikes me the most is the fact there's no evidence whatsoever that any sort of being exists - God or higher power or whatever. Take away the 'religious' types and you're still left with people, like my girlfriend, who are 'spiritual'. But again, based on nothing. Really what it comes down to is a deep fear of death, which is quite common amongst us humans. "There has to be something...has to be..." And that there be your 'faith'.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:33 AM   #82 (permalink)
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How about one more?

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Old 12-10-2010, 09:33 AM   #83 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aar_Canada View Post
The thing which strikes me the most is the fact there's no evidence whatsoever that any sort of being exists - God or higher power or whatever. Take away the 'religious' types and you're still left with people, like my girlfriend, who are 'spiritual'. But again, based on nothing. Really what it comes down to is a deep fear of death, which is quite common amongst us humans. "There has to be something...has to be..." And that there be your 'faith'.

This
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:42 AM   #84 (permalink)
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YouTube - John Lennon and Sean Lennon talking about birthdays

At 2:14, he talks to Sean about what happens when 'your body dies'. Interesting. I wonder if he believed it. I don't know what I'd tell my son if he asked.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:45 AM   #85 (permalink)
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Here you go:

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"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong. " - John Lennon
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:59 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Death plays a part in how many people approach religion, but there is certainly more as to why religions exist. As an atheist that does not fall back on an idea of an afterlife, I still get inclined to feel some sense of the divine (for a lack of a better word) when I recognize the inexpressible complexity in all of life, both the bigness and the intricate small details. Feeling some connection to uncertain mysteries seems pretty healthy to me, and not just some product of a neurosis.

As for the translations going wrong - well that's just a function of language. All language takes on meanings that are the more than the one thing that Lennon refers to with God. It's when translations are presented as absolutes for political purposes that things always go wrong, except for those who gain power by such means.

Last edited by LX; 12-10-2010 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 10:20 AM   #87 (permalink)
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imho it is pointless to try to understand what or who "GOD" is...i always compare it to ants trying to conceptualize what humans are...they can't because we are on a whole different level of existence ...they are simply not capable of recognizing us...they don't know we're here...yet we are

imho, about 98% of the Bible, Koran etc etc is nothing more than self indulgent bullshit (just my opinion obviously)
do i believe in GOD ?...yes, although i don't believe he's an old guy with a beard sitting on a cloud somewhere...i'll find out what he or "it" is when my time comes

do i believe in Christ ?...yes, but i don't think he walked on water etc etc etc...imho he was an EXTRAORDINARY man, maybe the only perfect human to ever exist...and for me his deeds don't matter, it's his words that count

do i believe in any form of "religion" or "church"....absolutely not....i choose to carry Christ's words with me instead

everything i needed to know about GOD and church i learned thru this song...

When I was young and they packed me off to school
and taught me how not to play the game,
I didn't mind if they groomed me for success,
or if they said that I was a fool.
So I left there in the morning
with their God tucked underneath my arm --
their half-assed smiles and the book of rules.
So I asked this God a question
and by way of firm reply,
He said -- I'm not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
So to my old headmaster (and to anyone who cares):
before I'm through I'd like to say my prayers --
I don't believe you:
you had the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.
Well you can excomunicate me on my way to Sunday school
and have all the bishops harmonize these lines --
how do you dare tell me that I'm my Father's son
when that was just an accident of Birth.
I'd rather look around me -- compose a better song
`cos that's the honest measure of my worth.
In your pomp and all your glory you're a poorer man than me,
as you lick the boots of death born out of fear.
I don't believe you:
you had the whole damn thing all wrong --
He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays.

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Old 12-10-2010, 11:55 AM   #88 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
theism is a plague upon human development.
there are exceptions
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:00 PM   #89 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LX View Post

I would really like to see discussions among theists and atheists alike, on how religion gets subverted and distorted and misused, rather than one side just professing such things as givens with the very existence of any kind of creation myth.
it's tough to start a discussion on distortions and subversions without first having a discussion about what is believed and who interpretes it.

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we need only look at the recent histories of nations that dismantled all organized religion, or those that made their political leaders into god-like figures outside of any existing religious institutions.
if this is what we need to do, there are two accompanying things that are also necessary. the first is to look at the governing structure of those states that dismantled religion. were they autocratic, democratic, etc and what did they replace religion with? the second is to look at the states that are re-introducing religion to their governance. what effects has this had? what does it do, for instance, to the discussion of abortion to introduce an unprovable thesis that a soul is created at the moment of conception. this is a debate-crushing premise, and an example of how the connection between faith and governing displaces reason. it is a critical debate.

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This idea of fairy tales bugs me quite a bit. Is it really a problem that people find some means of strength in fairy tales?
absolutely it is a problem if that strength and those fairy tales are used to frame political discourse. it is a massive problem, and perhaps the single most important problem in our world. it's less an issue when the faith is benign, and and extremely dangerous proposition when that faith is militarized. relativism leads us to extremely dangerous territory.

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Originally Posted by LX View Post
What makes the original, brilliant spark that lies behind these creation myths die out in such an ugly fashion? That is where my concern lies - not in ridiculing anyone for clinging to fairy tales.
the spark is irrelevant to me. what is very relevant is pushing the values of the 1st century or 7th century, or whatever religion you choose to believe, into our current communities on the basis that it is irrefutable law. the clinging to fairy tales in the context of a militarized world that is deeply connected to those fairy tales is precisely what is creating this war of civilizations that we are currently witnessing.

beauty is wonderful, but i'm a lot more worried about the fragile state of open debate and the imminent threat of violence because of it. and i'm pretty surprised that all you think i'm trying to do is to ridicule.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:03 PM   #90 (permalink)
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there are exceptions
i disagree.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:29 PM   #91 (permalink)
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I hate when I get into these threads part way through because there is always so much I want to say but I hate to try and engage someone when they're already losing interest in the conversation. So, I'll make a few points of disagreement on things that have been said so far, and anyone wanting to engage me is free to do so:


- I must admit that, out of all the posts that could've bothered me in this thread, the post that bothered me the most was: "If you don't believe, why do you still want to celebrate our holidays?" In many ways, this comment perfectly captures what is so wrong with much of the religious perspective: it relies upon ignorance. Christmas and Easter are not at all Christian holidays. Christianity highjacked pagan celebrations to make it more palatable to the public. Jesus was not born in December. Eggs are a sign of fertility, not sacrifice. Personally, I have no interest in celebrating Christmas or Easter (they are in no way relevant to me) but they are not exclusively Christian holidays; as has been argued extensively in the US, Christmas is a celebration of the solstice season, not a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Most Christians I know do not even know their own religion, and their ignorance of other religions is astounding. To no one's surprise, polling has showed that atheists know more about religion, on average, than theists do, and that's probably because they've done more investigating.

- Continuing from that rant, most religion makes faith and ignorance a virtue (though this is not exclusive to religion). Every argument for the existence of god can usually be shown to contain logical fallacies, in particular the argument from ignorance ("You cannot show how this could've happened otherwise; therefore, god"). I agree with the philosopher Anthony Flew, who said (roughly paraphrasing here) that is not up to me to tell you why I don't believe in god, but rather up to you to tell me why I should. If we assume that there must or should be a god, it will be incredibly easy to demonstrate its existence. If we begin with a non-committal position, I think there is not a single empirical line of evidence or deductive chain of reasoning that produce a positive case for gods existence. Even if such a thing could be done, I think you'll be able to establish Spinoza's god (deus et natura) and not much else.

- I sympathize with LX regarding the quality of debate. For the most part, atheists are unwilling to cede any good to religion, and religionists are unwilling to cede any evil to religion. From both perspectives, the appearance of behaviour that disagrees with their proposition is written off as an instance of coincidence. There are many apologists who will readily acknowledge that people have done harm in the name of religion, but they generally insist that reading plain words is a misinterpretation (which is troublesome, because I am not yet aware of a consistent method of interpretation that also produces the theists desired dogma). A purely historical interpretation leaves very little divinity in Jesus (did you know he never actually claimed divinity?) and a purely metaphorical interpretation leaves everything on the table.

- I disagree with 'trane that religion is quite as terrible as he says. It is absolutely true that you can get good work without theism, but I'm particularly interested in the magnitude of good work done by believers. On average, religious people give more money and volunteer more hours to charity. Certainly that could be a statistical artefact produced by some as-yet-unidentified cause (for example, the sense of community produced by religious circles), but I also know many people in my life who do more good things precisely because they believe it is their god-defined purpose. I think that's a bad reason to do something that is inherently good, and it is completely possible that they are misunderstanding their motivations, but I think it is a matter of fact that some people are better because they believe. This is not to say that some people aren't worse because they believe (indeed, a lot of "evil" can be traced back to some level of theological motivation, however minor or major a factor it may have been), but I disagree with religion being characterized as universally terrible. With or without religion, people are, mostly, plagued by the same problems that I think are the root cause of most unhappiness: existential crises', lack of control, lack of success, etc. That's why religion has not disappeared, and why non-religious experiments in the 20th century failed. It is no surprise that, as these sources of unhappiness are mitigated, one's religious beliefs tend to decrease.


Therein lies the source of most religious belief. Empirical evidence and logical reasoning are afterthoughts brought in to try and buttress an emotionally valuable belief. Therein lies my primary disagreement with religious thought.



As an aside, I really wonder how many people who say to "Forget the church, just follow Christ" have realized that the two are essentially inseparable unless you have taken some time to study historical and textual criticism of the Bible. Reading the Bible without understanding why it is written the way it is will leave you severely handicapped in trying to interpret it.



edit: If I may present a summation of my disagreement with 'trane:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 'trane
theism is a plague upon human development.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ligeia
Human psychology is a plague upon human development.

Last edited by Ligeia; 12-10-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Nice post. I'll be back.
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:58 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Nice post. I'll be back.
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:04 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Nice post. Get down!
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:15 PM   #95 (permalink)
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Nice post. Get down!
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:18 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:27 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Nice post Ligeia. Some good points. I also pretty much agree with Trane's response. If we are looking specifiacally at the way politics and religion play out, then I am very much in agreement that it is something of a curse. To me though, when religion gets used for political purposes, it often becomes something quite different, riddled with dogma more than faith. And then there are examples when religion enters into the political arena in order to bring about good change, a ease repression. But for the most part, the power structure of organized religions fits so snugly with the political elite, that the repression happens in the name of the divine. But all of that is something I find to be a failure to progress beyond the 1st Century or 7th Century beyond material gains. The old pillars that control the world seem to be using much of the same playbook. I'm just not sure that rejecting religion outright solves that problem, or that if it could, whether it would require severe re-education processes. I have to admit that moving too far outside of internal, personal struggles with the idea of religion scares me a little bit.
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:46 PM   #98 (permalink)
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Never really understood this debate. Religion is practiced by man (and woman). Man (and woman) are not infallible creatures and thus are subject to "questionable actions and motives". Why should religion be cast down because SOME people make poor examples of themselves? Religion can be a beautiful thing that gives people direction, faith & hope. Is it for everyone? Perhaps not, but I think that it's pretty darn close-minded to say the world would be better off without it.

The world would be better off without the people who pervert religion and use it as a weapon IMO.
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:58 PM   #99 (permalink)
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Never really understood this debate. Religion is practiced by man (and woman). Man (and woman) are not infallible creatures and thus are subject to "questionable actions and motives". Why should religion be cast down because SOME people make poor examples of themselves? Religion can be a beautiful thing that gives people direction, faith & hope. Is it for everyone? Perhaps not, but I think that it's pretty darn close-minded to say the world would be better off without it.

The world would be better off without the people who pervert religion and use it as a weapon IMO.
-There's a difference between casting down "religion" and "religous scripture"
-There's also a difference between casting down "religion" and casting down those ask questions like " Well if you're not a Christian, why do you celebrate the holidays?"
-Religion can be a beautiful thing

Last edited by Yuksek; 12-10-2010 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:06 PM   #100 (permalink)
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OMG I just found this thread. It must be a miracle because I agree with everything Trane says for once. lol

Blind faith, aka religion, is okay if you have your private views of the world and so forth. Unfortunately religion is a tool to manipulate people to doing really irrational things and its shoved down our throats. Wars are frequently justified in name of God. The reality is that our ancestors became, probably Christian, because at one point in their lives someone came up to them with a sword and said convert or we will kill you.

I find it sick that people teach their children to accept "God" or a particular faith at a young age. A child is too immature to make such complex decisions until he is at least in his teenage years. It's essentially brainwashing. Has anyone seen Jesus Camp? Some evangelicals in the US are really disturbing.

Won't bring up science, but religion really struggles from the lack of evidence. This really frustrates me because some "smart" people are still religious knowing that evidence is against their side. Believing in Jesus or Allah or whoever is like believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. If you're an adult and society "believes" in Santa then its okay for you to do so too.

Religion gives people false hope, believing in something that doesn't exist. I'll have faith that Santa will bring me a Ferrari. I'll pray and maybe it will happen. The world would be a better place without religion. People kill each other because of religion and its historically the #1 reason behind war and violence.
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