another discussion about religion - Page 9
Old 12-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #161 (permalink)
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Thank you, haven't seen it before. I formed my opinion "atheism being a religion of it's own" based on numerous discussions I have had with people proclaiming to be and making their argument for being atheist. I assumed, falsely it seems as the video now shows, that an atheists believes there is no God. But, as I didn't know what atheism really is it seems that a whole bunch of people who say they are atheists but are in fact not. Perhaps naturalists? Or whatever, I will have to look it up now.
Part of the problem is that what an atheist is exactly is a matter of some dispute. It has historically meant someone who literally denies the existence of god, but it is often used differently in contemporary conversation.

Perhaps what is tripping you is that some believe atheism actually answers two questions:

1) Do you believe in god?
2) Do you have much confidence in that belief?

I personally think that, on the first question, you can either be theist or atheist (as it is a theological question) and on the second question, you can either be gnostic or agnostic (as it is an epistemological question). In that model, a strong atheist (gnostic atheist) says there is no god (making a positive knowledge claim) and a weak atheist (agnostic atheist) says they're not convinced of any gods existing. The latter category consists of those who would typically say their beliefs are contingent on evidence and reasoning.

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:29 AM   #162 (permalink)
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I've stayed out of this thread on purpose, because I've been in many heated arguments about religion over the years. I was brought up Catholic, but never believed in the ideals and stories that were thrown at me.

The problem is this... we have 9 pages of religious debate, but in reality you CAN'T debate religion. It's personal opinion, personal belief, and everyone's spirituality is their own. We don't have to agree or necessarily understand what makes another person believe or follow what they do. In the end, we all do what we can and believe what we need to, in order to get through a day.

It can be a beautiful thing, sometimes a dangerous thing. But none of us can tell another person that what they believe is wrong. Let's just embrace the fact that there are so many options and that this group is so well-rounded with intelligent points on each side.

Now let me get back to my devil-worshipping heavy metal.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:00 PM   #163 (permalink)
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Are we still discussing this?
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:02 PM   #164 (permalink)
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No.





















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Old 12-22-2010, 01:09 PM   #165 (permalink)
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It can be a beautiful thing, sometimes a dangerous thing. But none of us can tell another person that what they believe is wrong. Let's just embrace the fact that there are so many options and that this group is so well-rounded with intelligent points on each side.
I guess this is also a distinction between myself and many others: I don't think a lack of negative evidence is a sufficient condition to form a particular opinion or belief; rather, there should be some positive evidence in favour of it.

Also, I believe I can show that particular aspects of a broader belief system are factually wrong or, more likely, that the system has internal logical inconsistencies.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:18 PM   #166 (permalink)
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I guess this is also a distinction between myself and many others: I don't think a lack of negative evidence is a sufficient condition to form a particular opinion or belief; rather, there should be some positive evidence in favour of it.

Also, I believe I can show that particular aspects of a broader belief system are factually wrong or, more likely, that the system has internal logical inconsistencies.
I don't disagree with you. In fact, I used to debate with all of my religion teachers in school. Every year, I'd ask them to give me proof of all the things they shoved down our throats. Of course, they never could. I'd get in trouble.

That said, let people believe what they want to. Who are we to tell them they're wrong? If I want to believe that there is a pink unicorn with magical powers that guides us, so what? If it makes me happy, let me believe it.

We all have to believe in something. Anything.

(Random coincidence... "Jesus, etc" by Wilco just started playing my computer. Is it a sign? )
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:01 PM   #167 (permalink)
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Would you agree that beliefs manifest in actions and have consequences in the real world?
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:01 PM   #168 (permalink)
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Would you agree that beliefs manifest in actions and have consequences in the real world?
Myself - I think yes. And personally I think beliefs that manifest themselves passively would be very relevant to our times.

The problem with being overly concerned with inconsistencies in logic, ties to institutions, and the sort of dismissive approach found in your example from Russell, is that it leads to an oversimplification that takes much of the good actions that can come out of the simple self-reflection and sense of direction that can come from rituals and worship.

I too am Catholic. Not because I give a damn about what goes in the vatican or what authority is said to be possessed by the various hierarchy. from them I have seen evil that nothing else has come close to. And politically, I find their aims revolting. But I was born Catholic, and will remain that way after I'm gone through historical records that say so. I have absorbed the culture to a degree, and like Cuda, questioned a lot things, but that in it's own right, was enriching, and still makes me feel Catholic.

Meanwhile modernity has failed many people on many levels. There are a lot of dead people and destroyed lives, thanks to wars fought on strictly logical grounds with mathematical calculations taking the place of human values. Those not effected by war still often find themselves alienated and facing an ever fragmented post-modern world. I think these are consequences that are important to realize, and I don't think that the cultural artifacts of our past should be thrown away too quickly in the meantime, because I think centuries of looking at how to be true to oneself, and in so doing remain true to all others, has a place alongside strict reasoning.

I found myself without a place to live in my third year of university, and was taken in for about six weeks with my friend's family. They have a mennonite background, attend a United church, say grace, and are quite active within their church community. I was a new wave freak that had spent two years literally frightening a number of my cohabitants in campus housing. I had a pretty freaky haircut and a fashion sense that was very unique. These people did not even blink, and in fact made me feel more welcome than I could ever imagine feeling again. And in the time I spent there, through their open-mindedness and acceptance of differences, I found an excellent example of living well.

My friend's father, Ed, was the Dean of the Chemistry Dept at the university. This is as thoughtful a guy as I'll ever meet, brought easily to laughter, and far removed from the kind of anger that is so otherwise commonplace. To my eyes, he had achieved a great mindset from not dividing up the logical from that which offered complexities that may or may not be necessary but which had lasted all the same. The crazy thing is that he started out in Chemistry at a time when that branch of science was going to remake the world, and he ended up retiring to a house built to strict specifications, in a remote town, because his wife had grown sensitive to the toxic environment that Chemists had helped to create. I think that it is tragic that the science did not make better use of the fullness that he could have brought to it. The wide range of people that I've seen them both welcome and help with a youthful vigour that still remains is really quite remarkable, and it has shown me the depth of human possibility within a framework that does not necessarily exclude religion. So, even though I find myself completely unable to commit to religion, I see value in it, and am affected by it positively, in that I have been able to get a fuller picture of my true self and the world I inhabit, as imperfect as both may be.

Now, of course, at the same time, I am deeply disappointed by, and afraid of what religion has become while trying to gain relevance in an increasingly secular world. I have no time for those that want to think they are special, or that they can exercise the power of prayer to serve less than worthy interests. Their is undoubtedly a great deal of stupidity promoted, and dangerously so, through modern religious institutions, and I think it is more aggregious than the lies promoted throughout the history of various churches. The sense of selfish entitlement that far too many people take hold of, while feeling emboldened to do so as people of whatever strain of belief, is simply criminal, and I dare say it likely feeds into the strengthening of the problematic fundamental strains. And yet I also feel a sense that modernity's failings, in not addressing some real human needs, are in a large part responsible for all of that as well. To that end, I really find the only sense of clarity to be very individualistic, and as fragile as the culture is fragmented. And in my perfect world, thoughts alone would be as worthwhile as the actions which you asked about. My way forward is through thought and inaction, or an inner passivity that simply allows for good to be recognized in what is, without a need for divisions.

I don't know if anything can be made of that. For me discussions of religion are tough, because there are great limits in the language. But it has been good to get a full picture from a lot of different viewpoints and approaches. In light of languages failings, let me offer one of the places I've encountered that filled me up with much that I cannot express.

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:34 PM   #169 (permalink)
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The thing is though, everything you've touched on is man-made. Whether it be religion, our shortcomings as a society or our occassional brilliance. So to is that sculpture. Just because you can't express what you feel, doesn't mean it can't be expressed without some sort of divine slant.

I'm convinced things would be the same if the fairy tales didn't exist. I've touched on this before, but we're way better off than we've ever been and this is happening as the need for religion - answers to questions we can't answer right now - is diminishing.

To debate these types of religions is to me, like debating the merits of Ancient Egypt and their beliefs, which we know now - and have known for eons - was, for lack of a better word, infantile.

I was born Catholic too, but I'm done. What some terrified group of people thought 2000 years ago has absolutely nothing to do with me.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:43 PM   #170 (permalink)
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I have to go back to not being in this discussion, or i'll never stop.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:07 PM   #171 (permalink)
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The thing is though, everything you've touched on is man-made. Whether it be religion, our shortcomings as a society or our occassional brilliance. So to is that sculpture. Just because you can't express what you feel, doesn't mean it can't be expressed without some sort of divine slant.

I'm convinced things would be the same if the fairy tales didn't exist. I've touched on this before, but we're way better off than we've ever been and this is happening as the need for religion - answers to questions we can't answer right now - is diminishing.

To debate these types of religions is to me, like debating the merits of Ancient Egypt and their beliefs, which we know now - and have known for eons - was, for lack of a better word, infantile.

I was born Catholic too, but I'm done. What some terrified group of people thought 2000 years ago has absolutely nothing to do with me.
I just can't quite make that leap. You talk about 2000 years ago, but my grandmother went through the 30's running out into the fields to pray any time it looked like hail might drop down on crops that were damn hard to come by. We're not that far removed from the past, especially if you look at the power structure.

In any case, there is certainly a problem with relevancy, and we are headed into very different relationships with a world that has been hybridized along with us. But to me, that world is filled with potential horrors and problems. You might not think so, but remember that we were thought to be approaching perfectibility at the start of the last century. That didn't turn out so good. I don't think that turning our backs on the past altogether is a great idea, all things considered, but I agree that it will be much easier to not be identified by a particular religion at birth.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:30 PM   #172 (permalink)
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Second, I didn't warn, I simply made it clear that I will not answer to ill willed questions.
I should have said something like "requested people to refrain from" or something like that. Poor choice of words on my part.

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My comments on atheism and atheists were not ill willed one bit, not even in the slightest. Might have been misinformed or uninformed and even that obviously wasn't intentional.
Fine. I believe you. Though, in case you're not aware, quite a few people purposely call atheism a religion in order to get under atheists' skin. I'm always a little suspicious when people do it. Perhaps overly suspicious.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:33 PM   #173 (permalink)
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Still don't have time to properly reply but I must say, I'm happy we are able to have civilized discussion on the topic. This is the first time ever for me, on the internet. There were some that were OK to a point where an unknown idiot stumbles in the thread and ruins the damn thing. Hopefully that won't be the case here.

Cheers!
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:54 PM   #174 (permalink)
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So much wordy, sentimental, progressive-conservative posturing in this thread. :facepalm:

Religion gives people mental stability because it assuages the anxiety we have of our impending death or injury, and likewise religion wards off a sense of meaningless, and the feeling that blind, random causal events are an autonomous force that have no spiritual significance.

Obviously anything that makes people more mentally stable and happy is going to have it's perks.

End of story.
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Old 12-25-2010, 01:48 AM   #175 (permalink)
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Any thread that runs out of red border is a bad thing.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:33 AM   #176 (permalink)
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Any thread that runs out of red border is a bad thing.
For the record, Benzo, I did create this thread. Should give me some recognition for that.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:02 AM   #177 (permalink)
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reason's greetings folks...
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:12 AM   #178 (permalink)
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and a happy new acceptance of the irrational
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #179 (permalink)
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and a happy new acceptance of the irrational
lakatos' argument was superior to feyerabend's. any good rationalist already includes an examination of the irrational under the umbrella of a comprehensive rational analysis. so it's not a new acceptance that's needed, but a broad and inclusive analysis. and in the end, whatever helps you find truth.
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Old 12-25-2010, 11:18 AM   #180 (permalink)
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