another discussion about religion - Page 7
Old 12-12-2010, 05:47 AM   #121 (permalink)
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i don't think this is what i am saying.

i think the world would be significantly better if humans channelled their collective faith into reason, science and unrestricted inquiry. this is not to say that there is no option for spirituality and for conceptions of gods, creators, etc, but it does mean that truth is sought, dogma is resisted, and spirituality cannot be associated with power. i think that much of the dogma associated with the main organized religions stands in contrast to the qualities that best support human development. that doesn't mean the world is worse off with many kinds of spirituality and it doesn't mean that religion needs to be altogether eliminated. it just means that it can't stand in the way of truth.
I hear what you're saying. Your elaboration was probably helpful to people following the thread. Based on the earlier posts, it would be easy for people to assume you want the "plague" completely eliminated.

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theism is a plague upon human development.
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there are exceptions
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i disagree.
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Old 12-12-2010, 09:10 AM   #122 (permalink)
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i deserved to be called on that bit of hyperbole.

the plague comment was intended to be aggressive since i was just being dicky about nene and we hadn't embarked on this conversation yet. and the insistence that there are no exceptions is really a statement about organized theisms as a whole, not about individual aspects of each of those theisms.

i do think they are a hinderance to human development, by definition, since they are a limitation of inquiry. and they become a plague when their dogma is given primacy in terms of providing answers.

if you forgive the hyperbole, the sentence should probably have been "theism given primacy in a search for truth is a plague upon human development."
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:26 AM   #123 (permalink)
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I love that overall context 'trane, and could buy into it for sure. And I never had so much of a problem with your hyperbole as I do with what seems like a need to enter into hyperbole in all of these debates. I love Christopher Hitchens. He's pretty much a hero of mine. And yet his sledgehammer approach always gnaws at me at some point. And the fact that he could so easily support Bush's crusade for 8 years just makes my head hurt.

Does theism mean a limitation of inquiry by definition though? Or is it a nasty side-effect that emanates out of power structures. I always separate faith and belief. Theism in and of itself, if I'm not mistaken, does not require blind belief and adherence to dogma, but in fact within many texts I have seen, doubt, and questioning are vital to a faith in a creation myth surrounding a single creator. And inquiry and enlightenment have advanced under Islam in many cases, if I'm not mistaken. There was a great advancement in medicine, with the creation of hospitals, education with the spread of universities, and the scientific method came about under caliphate rule. And having seen some of the truly frightening sorts of animistic beliefs that held strong in Indonesia, the sweeping conversion to Islam there in the last century was probably a step forward for them, among other places.

I completely agree that we are seeing a backwards march to the dark ages. And that might be worth a thread on its own somehow. I just think that there is a theism that leads to that place in human history, as well as a theism that leads to advances.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:36 AM   #124 (permalink)
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i'm going to quote from wikipedia for simplicity. please forgive this:

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Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.[1][2] In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe.[3] Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. The use of the word theism as indicating a particular doctrine of monotheism arose in the wake of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century to contrast with the then emerging deism that contended that God, though transcendent and supreme, did not intervene in the natural world and could be known rationally but not via revelation.[4]
i'm using theism to mean the specific sense, not the broadest one. taking a page from sam harris, i'm talking about theism the way it is practiced by the overwhelming majority of people on the planet. if you want to talk about god as consciousness, or as nature or as some new age-y spirituality and being one with the cosmos, that is one thing. but most people are talking about god as an overseer that requires devotion, praise, prayer, that has given his word in scripture, that insists on dogma and that mandates obedience. this is the practical reality of god in the lives of all but a tiny minority of those that consider themselves theists. this is the god that stands in the way of human development.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:48 AM   #125 (permalink)
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I just found time to view the videos posted by ACGM - fantastic. Thanks for that.

The first one was just a little bit too rapidfire, but remarkable all the same.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #126 (permalink)
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and, i should add, if you want to talk about the caliphate and science, we should take a look at the massive restrictions that came with that 'advancement'. a good example of this is women. a perfect illustration of my point - one part done well does not excuse significant impediments to development and progress. science and inquiry should exist regardless of religion, but under the caliphate they were restricted as a domain exclusively for men. that is an impediment, not an advancement.
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:14 AM   #127 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
i'm going to quote from wikipedia for simplicity. please forgive this:



i'm using theism to mean the specific sense, not the broadest one. taking a page from sam harris, i'm talking about theism the way it is practiced by the overwhelming majority of people on the planet. if you want to talk about god as consciousness, or as nature or as some new age-y spirituality and being one with the cosmos, that is one thing. but most people are talking about god as an overseer that requires devotion, praise, prayer, that has given his word in scripture, that insists on dogma and that mandates obedience. this is the practical reality of god in the lives of all but a tiny minority of those that consider themselves theists. this is the god that stands in the way of human development.
That's helpful. You are coming at it from a point of view different than mine. And don't get me wrong - I don't try to play the spiritual traveller. I just don't shut myself off to all of it as being fountains of ignorance, and a lot of my reasoning for that approach comes from my actual travels in the physical world, as well as remembrances from a childhood that felt very connected to all things. I see a human pursuit that has been terribly corrupted over and over, and for which I have also railed against in my past. The railing never got me anywhere, so my own context is very personal, in which I see the flaws that make these pursuits human to begin with, note the attempts to encourage a connection with something larger and unflawed and then I move on. Believe me - I give none of it enormous significance, but do find the framing of the big questions helpful. There has been a good deal of good thinking that has come out of various religious disciplines, that I just can't fail to recognize. Perhaps this is veering into minorities. But that is the world I have always inhabited. For that reason, the new age shit is territory that I run away from, even though it may seem I embrace it. It is watered down pap that I find more troublesome than anything. I prefer to try to see warts and all in everything, and generally steer my own path the best I can. And I recognize that there is a level of cowardice in such an approach. I admit that, but don't apologize for it. I wave a white flag at the ignorance promoted by the overwhelming majority, out of necessity for my own well-being. It comes at the cost of not having kids, and being a little closed-off in general while feeling a little selfish about the benefits of remaining sane and living within a tiny utopia.

Thanks for this thread. It's been very cool.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:29 PM   #128 (permalink)
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i celebrate family, and i am from a culturally protestant family. my mom was in a church as a young woman, and so there is a lineage of observing family holidays. we have a tree and we exchange presents, but there is most certainly no god in christmas for my family. i definitely don't celebrate easter. it's a celebration of death.
Easter is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus not his death, he was crucified on Good Friday. Believe what you want to believe, but at least get your facts straight.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:04 PM   #129 (permalink)
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there is no such thing as resurrection, ergo a celebration of death.
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:41 PM   #130 (permalink)
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if you forgive the hyperbole, the sentence should probably have been "theism given primacy in a search for truth is a plague upon human development."
Sure. I obviously agree. The only reason I posted that context was to show how misunderstanding could occur.
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Old 12-12-2010, 03:41 PM   #131 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
i don't think this is what i am saying.

i think the world would be significantly better if humans channelled their collective faith into reason, science and unrestricted inquiry. this is not to say that there is no option for spirituality and for conceptions of gods, creators, etc, but it does mean that truth is sought, dogma is resisted, and spirituality cannot be associated with power. i think that much of the dogma associated with the main organized religions stands in contrast to the qualities that best support human development. that doesn't mean the world is worse off with many kinds of spirituality and it doesn't mean that religion needs to be altogether eliminated. it just means that it can't stand in the way of truth.
If I've misrepresented your comments, I appreciate the added clarity, though I think that the "religious vs spiritual" dichotomy is mostly a matter of framing and not a matter of real substance.

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you are confusing religion and relgious beleifs
Thanks for putting so much thought into your post. I really appreciate the contributions you make, snooch.




Since a couple of "new atheists" have been mentioned and, in some cases, praised, I'll disagree a bit. I think Hitchens is a marvelous polemicist and has incredible value as a gadfly; he is sometimes right and is always eloquent in supporting his position, but I think he is also intellectually dishonest. He likes the battle more than the truth of the matter at hand (in fact, that is a reason he often cites for why he, unlike Dawkins, would not like to see religion brought to an end). That's my take from reading all his books and watching more debates than I can count.

As for Harris, I thought he had absolutely wonderful things to say about conversational intolerance and about the need to bring a critique of religion that is proportional to the damage done by it. That said, I find he writes often on philosophical matters without demonstrating any knowledge about philosophy, either through historical analysis or by referencing contemporary philosophical debates (which is odd because he received his undergrad degree from Stanford in philosophy, though he moved in the direction of neuroscience after that).
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Old 12-12-2010, 07:05 PM   #132 (permalink)
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If I've misrepresented your comments, I appreciate the added clarity, though I think that the "religious vs spiritual" dichotomy is mostly a matter of framing and not a matter of real substance.

i'm curious why you think this is not a matter of substance. in my view, there is something significantly different between, say practicing meditation or believing oneself to be one with nature or the universe, and a belief in the islamic or christian god and the dogma that goes with it. this becomes especially substantive when it comes to praxis and when it is connected to power. perhaps the only issue for me is the part about dogma... not sure... and maybe i am misunderstanding your point, but this seems to be a substantive difference.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:22 PM   #133 (permalink)
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Generally speaking:

Religious = traditional, relatively unimaginative ways at inciting the supernatural to create communal cohesion and expansion.

Spiritual = unconventional, imaginative ways at inciting the supernatural to create greater sense of individualistic self expansion.

Spiritual types, for whatever reason, have less need for community, they have more capacity to wonder, to doubt, to ponder and to draw from many different religions, philosophies and sciences to gain a sense of cosmic purpose and individuality.

Religious types, for whatever reason, have relatively little capacity for doubt and wonder, and have a stronger need for family and community. They draw from their particular religion, and are more limited to another person's or book's authority.

Both sides have their dogmas and superstitions, and it's largely a difference in sophistication and emotional stability.

Last edited by Cory; 12-12-2010 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:39 PM   #134 (permalink)
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Thanks for putting so much thought into your post. I really appreciate the contributions you make, snooch.

you cant figure out what i meant?

I thought it was pretty self explanatory.

But I'll humour.

Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of life, those beliefs are spoon fed to the practitioners of the faith and no questioning on them is done.

Religious belief refers to a mental state in which faith is placed in a creed related to the supernatural, sacred, or divine. these are the people who believe in a higher state/being and search for their own paths to obtain those levels themselves.
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Old 12-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #135 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cory View Post
Generally speaking:

Religious = traditional, relatively unimaginative ways at inciting the supernatural to create communal cohesion and expansion.

Spiritual = unconventional, imaginative ways at inciting the supernatural to create greater sense of individualistic self expansion.

Spiritual types, for whatever reason, have less need for community, they have more capacity to wonder, to doubt, to ponder and to draw from many different religions, philosophies and sciences to gain a sense of cosmic purpose and individuality.

Religious types, for whatever reason, have relatively little capacity for doubt and wonder, and have a stronger need for family and community. They draw from their particular religion, and are more limited to another person's or book's authority.

Both sides have their dogmas and superstitions, and it's largely a difference in sophistication and emotional stability.
Gee Cory. I wonder if you consider yourself a spiritual type.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:37 PM   #136 (permalink)
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I don't actually. At least not the spiritual type I depicted above, as I have no interest in the supernatural, nor do I have superstitions or dogmas.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:15 PM   #137 (permalink)
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meh.

people need to control other people.

And people need to have a reason to do shit.

Thats about it. Religion, spirituality, whatever ya wanna call it in a nutshell.

Do yourself a favor...... find peace in one of those area's, the alternative is sad sometimes.
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Old 12-13-2010, 07:35 PM   #138 (permalink)
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All our efforts toward achievements eventually amount to the dissolution of those very achievements. We roll the boulder up the hill, and then must watch it roll down.

So why do anything? Why live?

It's all for play, for art.

You didn't choose to be born, you didn't choose your mind, your role, your race, your place. But you must play the role you were caused to have.

So play it with all your talent, simply for the sake of your own ideal of beauty and fun.

Our lives are footprints in the sand. So relax, enjoy.

Last edited by Cory; 12-13-2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:50 PM   #139 (permalink)
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yeah - you made my point better than I could Ligeia. I have no horse in this thing. I have been personally fucked over by organized religion, but I can respect people that have a vigorous faith in anything that provides meaning for them, while they remain open to doubt. It's quite hard for me to fight both sides, or support either side's need for total rejection.

your observations about texts to Toraps is true to a degree, but the nature of pretty much all religious texts is quite indirect, requiring personal interpretation in ways that relate to living from day to day. the rules and dogma are usually quite external to the actual texts. that's why I think the problem is essentially one of power that gets used and abused, and unfortunately when that happens it happens on a large scale.
One again LX understands me.

Perhaps I just haven't studied enough religious text but I don't recall ever seeing mayhem and hate being promoted in ANY kind of religion.

That comes directly from the mouths of the people.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:58 PM   #140 (permalink)
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Often very true, but I think that adds to my point that he is in no position to say what "true" religion is and what perversion is, because there is no criteria of justification for religious thought; it's all about what you feel is right.
Pardon me... but any person who promotes hatred, death and carnage while hiding behind "religion" is by nature, "perverse".

I see nothing "disingenuous" about that.
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