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Religion in Modern America

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 04:15:48 AM
Yes, kin selection provides an evolutionary basis for altruism.  It also explains differences in behavior between people from, say, Scandinavia and Tanzania.


Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 06:49:46 AM
this "fear of god" has certainly not had a uniformly positive influence on either ancient societies or modern ones.  "fear of god" has been responsible for torture, exorcisms, genital mutilation, snake handling, sexual abstinence, and all sorts of other things that are shocking and abhorrent to all but the rigidly faithful.  history is full of peoples and societies that lived unsustainably until they tore each other apart, "fearing god" all the way.  american history in particular seems to have no period other than the Enlightenment in which the Church did not play a pivotal role in politics and events, but it has not made our history bloodless by any means.

modern times are very instructive.  religion is omnipresent in current american politics.  while in the 70's or earlier some would have considered it in poor taste to boast one's faith in public speaking, it is practically required now for candidates on either side to mention God right alongside with policy-making.  of course, none of these people are as innocent and pure as they pretend to be.  George W. Bush, for example, paused for prayer practically on the hour as president, but his "fear of god" did not require of him to make sound decisions, govern sustainably, or even govern without plain self-interest.  another good example is the New Jersey money laundering ring that was busted a couple of weeks ago, in which not only three mayors and two state delegates were arrested, but five Rabbi's as well.

everybody draws their own conclusions, but what I gather from this is that religion is hypocrisy, so organized religion is organized and institutionalized hypocrisy, and by extension more religion equals more hypocrisy. 

what we need is LESS religion if we're to see the world clearly.  maybe then, without the self-satisfaction of faith, we'll be able to see the victims of our actions as a society, and make informed decisions without the corrupting and often arbitrary influence of ancient superstition.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 06:58:42 AM
What if this fear was conceptualized in another way, for example, as respect?

In my research on ancient culture and religion, I tend to find that the fear and control aspects were overstated by 20th century thinkers within their various leftist, liberal or humanist schools of dogma. Much of ancient tradition was held together by awe and reverence, with all of its positive connotations.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 10:29:53 AM
Science should become the new religion, but not pseudo-science such as scientology. Science has always been the enemy of religion and vice versa (see Galileo Galilei) Religion uses imaginary threats and rewards while science can offer realistic threats and rewards. Religion is in fact a pseudo-science (creationism lol) It's high time that it is replaced with real science. Think of the benefits to society if all the money that was donated to churches right now was donated to science instead for instance. As soon as smart people found out that god was dead they should have outlawed religion, but unfortunately smart people generally don't make the rules.

People shouldn't fear an imaginary god, that just breeds stupid sheep. Sure they'll stand nicely together in a pack and you can control them to some extent but they'll still be nothing but brainless wool producers shitting all over the place.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 11:12:21 AM
conceptualizing "fear of god" as a form of respect for self/others/nature is still only conceptualizing.  call it what you will, it still does not manifest as actual respect in many cases.  there is a well-studied disconnect between thought and action with "god-fearing" people.  do not confuse your individual mentality with theirs.

religion, as a mass phenomenon, is in a conflict of interest when policing the morals of its own constituency.  it can not be trusted to give honest truth to the people paying the rent.  every society that has committed a grave and horrible act has had a religious institution behind it, condoning. 

if you had a toaster that only worked properly a fraction of the time, would you keep it?  if you had a book that was right only half the time, would you read it?  so why should religion be adhered to as dogma, given man's fallibility?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 11:14:10 AM
What if this fear was conceptualized in another way, for example, as respect?

In my research on ancient culture and religion, I tend to find that the fear and control aspects were overstated by 20th century thinkers within their various leftist, liberal or humanist schools of dogma. Much of ancient tradition was held together by awe and reverence, with all of its positive connotations.

This could possibly be true. Even the word fear has changed in its meaning over time. A god fearing man is not a man who fears god in the modern sense of the word. He is a man who is aware of god's capability and destructive power and thusly shows a genuine respect. I suppose you could say that fear in its older form is the awareness of the power of something (this is what causes modern fear) but rather than being afraid one gives their admiration.

Science should become the new religion, but not pseudo-science such as scientology.

Do not be fooled by the name. Scientology is just as much a religion as there has ever been. I do not think it deserves even the gift title of pseudo-science but rather that of full blown religion like (but much worse than) Christianity.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 12:23:31 PM
Quote from: nous
By the way, how exactly do you know what's the truth of the natural world? Your pessimistic evaluation of reality sounds like plain materialism.

Vague "god of the gaps" thinking.  Wishful flailing in the absence of any actual evidence or argument.

I merely asked what made Ergriefer so sure of the materialism he argued for.  It was formulated as a question in order to point out to him that materialism is nothing more than an artificial system which must be believed in.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 12:28:01 PM
A general observation: most people here suffer from lacking distinction/discrimination of ideas. Before lashing out at religion, one should have known what it actually is/was. I once made the same mistake, that's why I'm calling attention to this.

In answer to the OP: you might find what you're looking for in another religion than Christianity, where there is laid less stress on outside control and more on personal duty.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 01:12:58 PM
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I merely asked what made Ergriefer so sure of the materialism he argued for.

This is not how evidence works.  The burden of evidence is on the party making assertions.  In this case, religion is the assertion and materialism is a non-assertion in the absence of any evidence whatsoever in favor of religion.  The more bizarre the claims, the more substantial the evidence needs to be before it's believed (by a person with any common sense, that is).  In this case, the claims are so bizarre that they rival the ravings of streetcorner schizophrenics.  Yet no evidence has ever been provided.

Not a single, solitary shred.

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It was formulated as a question in order to point out to him that materialism is nothing more than an artificial system which must be believed in.

No.  Materialism is very simple and straightforward observation of the evidence, then proceeding forward based on more observation of the evidence.  You're engaging in Freudian transference here: religion is the antithesis of scientific materialism.  Where's the proof?

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A general observation: most people here suffer from lacking distinction/discrimination of ideas. Before lashing out at religion, one should have known what it actually is/was. I once made the same mistake, that's why I'm calling attention to this.

Question: Do you have any actual evidence for bizarre religious claims or are you just blathering?  Because you needed an imaginary crutch you assume others do?

The fact is, your deeply-felt religious fervor has as much legitimacy as claims of the Easter Bunny.  And next is the part where you concede that Poseidon isn't actually real:

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In answer to the OP: you might find what you're looking for in another religion than Christianity, where there is laid less stress on outside control and more on personal duty.

Personal duty?  Like not eating asparagus on alternate Thursdays?  Utilitarian fallacy.  We believe things based on evidence.  We don't believe things because they're "what we're looking for."

We don't try them on like different-colored hats until we find an imaginary friend that suits us.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 03:11:58 PM
This is not how evidence works.  The burden of evidence is on the party making assertions.  In this case, religion is the assertion and materialism is a non-assertion in the absence of any evidence whatsoever in favor of religion.  The more bizarre the claims, the more substantial the evidence needs to be before it's believed (by a person with any common sense, that is).  In this case, the claims are so bizarre that they rival the ravings of streetcorner schizophrenics.  Yet no evidence has ever been provided.

Observation, logic, gnosis: these are different ways of understanding reality. This model of verification is chronologically, logically, and intuitively prior to materialism.

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Materialism is very simple and straightforward observation of the evidence, then proceeding forward based on more observation of the evidence.  You're engaging in Freudian transference here: religion is the antithesis of scientific materialism.  Where's the proof?

Materialism is erroneous in that it assumes that observation of things were the only possible way of verification. This claim is a narrow-minded, unnecessary limitation of verification. Insofar, materialism is indeed in conflict with truth and with orthodox religion. The proof is in a wider, less limited perspective on reality.

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Question: Do you have any actual evidence for bizarre religious claims or are you just blathering?  Because you needed an imaginary crutch you assume others do?

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm

You believe that mankind has been blathering all this time until the advent of the modern man. Although all the intelligent men of the past have always defended God and religion and were religious themselves, and have attacked individualism and materialism whenever it showed itself in various ways, you believe that with his narrow understanding of reality the new man, who nonetheless deems himself better and wonderfully advanced, could triumph over all those great heroes. Now who makes a fool of himself?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 03:16:49 PM
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Materialism is erroneous in that it assumes that observation of things were the only possible way of verification. This claim is a narrow-minded, unneccessary limitation of verification. Insofar, materialism is indeed in conflict with truth and with orthodox religion. The proof is in a wider, less limited perspective on reality.

No.  Materialism is just a lack of belief in the absence of evidence. A wider, less limited perspective on reality?  I call bullshit.  Where's your proof?  If you don't have any, get the fuck out of town.

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You believe that mankind has been blathering all this time until the advent of the modern man. Although all the intelligent men of the past have always defended God and religion and were religious themselves, and have attacked individualism and materialism whenever it showed itself in various ways, you believe that with his narrow understanding of reality the new man, who nonetheless deems himself better and wonderfully advanced, could triumph over all those great heroes.

In other words, more blather with zero evidence.  All the intelligent men of the past also believed the earth was flat.

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Now who makes a fool of himself?

You do, with more vague yet high-handed blather.

Cut the bullshit.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 03:24:46 PM
For the record: I like to debate such things with others, if it helps the cause of truth for myself and for others, but in a friendly dialogue, not with barking dogs. There is nothing left to say in this matter.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 03:30:13 PM
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For the record: I like to debate such things with others, if it helps the cause of truth for myself and for others, but in a friendly dialogue, not with barking dogs.

Ok, now you've called me a fool and a barking dog.  Brilliant.

Such angst and self-righteous recrimination in response to requests for evidence.  Where is it?  Got any?  If not, get back to your musty cloister and genuflect to your imaginary friend.

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There is nothing left to say in this matter.

Right, in the absence of evidence you have nothing meaningful to say.

Where's the proof?

Helps the cause of truth?  Don't make me laugh!  Truth is based on evidence.   Fairy tales are silly childish fantasies based on zero evidence.  Do you see the difference?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 04:14:38 PM
Quote from: RedReign
Truth is based on evidence.

Who needs evidence when we can just make wild assertions and then use "philosophy" to excuse ourselves from ever having to provide justification?  Haven't you heard, empirical evidence is just a white male supremacist authoritarian version of truth?