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Religion in Modern America

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 08:18:22 PM
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we need a why that provides us with a goal greater than ourslelves - why should we get up everyday?  why should we work hard?  why should we strive for stong MORAL character?

Ask Ted Haggard about strong moral character.  It's a fallacy that religion somehow provides this.  What kind of morally strong person needs to believe in a lie in order to not murder and rape?

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We need a why because we need a DIRECTION, we need something to aim FOR.  Otherwise we are spinning our wheels.

You don't think that behavior based on utter falsehood is wheelspinning?

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Religion may or may not provide a why depending on the individual, I know that science certainly can't.  If you value greatness and genius, then life needs to be more than just survival.  Yep, we need a "lie" of sorts.  That's what I'm saying.  I'm not even going to try to bullshit you.  WE NEED A LIE.

Utilitarian fallacy.  We don't believe in things because it provides some supposed motivational benefit to do so.  At least rational people don't.  Rational people believe things based on evidence.

Why are you defending a lie?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 08:59:10 PM
you are cherry-picking and straw-maning me left and right.  you only needed Ted Haggard to make your point.  spinning one's wheels has nothing to do with true/false.  health is the goal, remember?  not truth.  I don't care HOW you get to health, just get there.  being "irrational" has its place and is actually important to health.  if a person was devoid of emotion, they wouldn't be PERFECTLY RATIONAL, they would be PATHOLOGICALLY INDECISIVE - wheelspinning.  I'm not defending relgion, rather, I'm attacking science, truth, evidence, and being rational.  Here is what I value:  the immune system, resisting gravity, forgetting.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 09:03:47 PM
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you are cherry-picking and straw-maning me left and right.

How so?  You just said that religion is a lie and then you went on to say that we need lies.  I'm sorry, but to claim that lies are better than the truth is preposterous.

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I'm not defending relgion, rather, I'm attacking science, truth, evidence, and being rational.

And yet you supposedly expect to discuss something based on rationality.  Good luck with all that.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 09:33:43 PM
Quote from: RedReign
Belief based on evidence is not in the same category as belief based on zero evidence.

I'm not quite sure how to respond to this.  If you're saying that we have to take into account reality when discussing meaning, then I think that is self evident.  I never meant to imply that meaning was as or more important than truth, simply that it's most likely a necessary evil (so to speak).

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Some things are less illusory than others.

I agree.  That's why I said:
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However, not all illusions are equal, so the question becomes what are the most constructive illusions.
which you actually quoted.  I think we're actually on the same page here.

Quote from: JimNecroslaughter
health is the goal, remember?  not truth.

Why does it have to be one or the other?  I think both are noble values.  However, I must admit that I would prefer truth at the cost of my own mental health, should the two values come into conflict.  Although, most people seem to prefer it the other way around, which is probably why comfortable delusions are so prevalent in our society.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 09:40:27 PM
Quote from: Jim
to their detriment, certainly.

It's to their detriment that they don't believe in a lie?  Explain.

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let's see where those young people are 5 to 10 years from now.  plenty of them will be born again types, guaranteed, they will overcompensate as usual.  the rest will contiue to twist in the wind.

Guaranteed based on what evidence?  Statistically this doesn't hold true.  There aren't many atheists who "backslide" into christianity. 

The fact is that we're entering the civilized world along with most of Europe.

Stop and think for a second about what you're saying.  It's seriously ludicrous.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 11:00:34 PM
Quote from: JewBob
All meaning is illusory, so I don't think this is a legitimate critic.  However, not all illusions are equal, so the question becomes what are the most constructive illusions.  I favor none (I'm in the non need for WHY camp), but I don't think that's a realistic goal at this point.

Belief based on evidence is not in the same category as belief based on zero evidence.  Some things are less illusory than others.

Quote from: Hrafn
Atheism (just another word for materialism) belongs in the same category as Democracy, Globalism, Egalitarianism, Equality

Is non-belief in the Easter Bunny also in the same category as those things?

Also interesting that you seem to use modernity as a pejorative.

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Read Evola, Guenon, Schuon, Meister Eckhart and the Bhagavad Gita for some authentic spirituality

By "authentic" do you mean that it has some evidence supporting it?

I think the logical result of what you are purporting is exactly what we have today. I don't want what we have today, so I have determined to encourage a different level of thinking. Do I worship a fairy tale? No, I worship life. However, if someone worshiping a fairy tale achieves results I have determined as positive than I am not one to attempt to destroy his fairy tale. In fact, Vedic peoples knew full and well that their religion was a collection of symbols, and simply chose those symbols because they felt that they did the most proper job of envisioning reality in the manner that supplied the most meaning. Now, perception is subjective, so if you're to tell me that it doesn't matter if they find meaning, and even more foolishly state that somehow their results don't matter if they were made with belief in a "falsehood", than doesn't that make you rather Christian? ;D

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 11:16:45 PM
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I think the logical result of what you are purporting is exactly what we have today.

Except that what we have today is the product of 2000 years of christian brainwashing.  Explain how that has anything to do with rationality.

Be precise in your explanation.

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if you're to tell me that it doesn't matter if they find meaning, and even more foolishly state that somehow their results don't matter if they were made with belief in a "falsehood", than doesn't that make you rather Christian?

By your logic, meaning found in Santa Claus is every bit as legitimate as meaning found in mathematics.

Fallacy of relativism.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 03, 2009, 11:21:28 PM
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I think the logical result of what you are purporting is exactly what we have today.

Except that what we have today is the product of 2000 years of christian brainwashing.  Explain how that has anything to do with rationality.

Be precise in your explanation.

History of an Error

This selection from the Twilight of the Idols contains 6 stages outlining the "History of an Error." The first four are a de-valuation of an Ideal; the last two are Nietzsche's re-valuation of an Ideal. It is Nietzsche's historical deconstruction of the God-Idea. The original text is followed by a brief analysis.

    1. The true world -- unattainable but for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.

    (The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")

    2. The true world -- unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").

    (Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible -- it becomes female, it becomes Christian.)

    3. The true world -- unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it -- a consolidation, an obligation, an imperative.

    (At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Konigsbergian)

    4. The true world -- unattainable? At any rate, unattained, and being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?

    (Gray morning, The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism)

    5. The "true" world -- an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating -- an idea which has become useless and superfluous -- consequently a refuted idea: let us abolish it!

    (Bright day; breakfast: return of bon sens and cheer-fulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)

    6. The true world -- we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we also have abolished the apparent one.

    (Noon: moment of the briefest shadow; end of the longest error; high point of humanity; INCIPIT ZARATHUSTRA.')

Outline of an Analysis

1. Platonism

      Dualism of Being ("true world") and Becoming ("this world"). The "highest level" is attainable through wisdom.

2. Christianity

      Dualism of Heaven (true world/the other-after-better-life) and Earth (this world/life). The "highest level" is attainable at death.

3. Kant

      The Critiques establish the nature of the "true world" as beyond human knowledge (reason), though it might serve as an ideal, a goal (it would be 'useful' in the moral sense).

4. Positivism

      Knowledge of this world suffices. The "real" is the empirical -- Comte's emphasis on the 'positive' (natural) sciences.

5. Nietzsche's negative critique

      The "true world" is a USELESS idea -- this is N.'s 'nein-sagen,' his critique of God (cf. The Madman).

6. Nietzsche's positive assertion

      Nietzsche's 'ja-sagan,' a RE-VALUATION OF ALL VALUES: a new determination, a new comportmant toward existence -- embodied in the image of Zarathustra (cf. The Greatest Stress).

- From the "Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy"
LINK: http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/Cavalier/80130/part1/sect4/Nietzsche/Error.html

P.S. Keep in mind that when you ask others to be precise that the definition of precise becomes what you mean it to be, which is an underhanded tactic in discussion because in all instances, regardless of the clarity of the others explanation, you can simply state that it is not precise and avoid analysis of what they are saying. A more proper method of discussion is a non-dialectic one, in which you state the implied or observed results of a counter-idea and leave an open space for analysis of the participants in the discussion.

P.S.S. A little more food for thought; the why argument wasn't meant to ask the question of what stops people from murdering, from working hard, etc. Anyone who doesn't want to suffer, and is mentally balanced, knows why they don't want to be lazy or kill people for fun. However, it is meant to provide a why as to why strive for greater things. Greater things, materialistically, mean nothing. The only thing that matters in a world of realistic thinking is living or not living, regardless of its conditions. And so, we can have a society that is like ours, in which we are living and comfortable, but create no great things, and the realist is perfectly fine with that. The why argument is asking "What will inspire us, what will motivate us to create beyond ourselves?" I believe that Nietzsche's Zarathustra provides answers. Realism, however, does not. Realism is disenchanted, which isn't to say it's bad, but it comes to a world in which people strive for nothing beyond what allows them to live longer and more comfortably, because it assumes that the only positive aspect to life is that which provides positive feelings physically. This is not a failure of a way. In fact, it is very scientific and very rigid. However, I strive for more.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 01:53:16 AM
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Realism, however, does not. Realism is disenchanted, which isn't to say it's bad, but it comes to a world in which people strive for nothing beyond what allows them to live longer and more comfortably, because it assumes that the only positive aspect to life is that which provides positive feelings physically. This is not a failure of a way. In fact, it is very scientific and very rigid. However, I strive for more.

It's sufficient to wonder at the beauty of a garden without having to imagine that there are fairies at the bottom of it.  One of my favorite Dawkins quotes and I'm sure I've said it here before.

Once again, your argument is utilitarianism.  The usefulness of religion as a motivator. 

You strive for more what?  More lie?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 02:04:59 AM
It's sufficient to wonder at the beauty of a garden without having to imagine that there are fairies at the bottom of it.  One of my favorite Dawkins quotes and I'm sure I've said it here before.

It is "sufficient" to not wonder at all. We are not computers(asspies excluded?). Funny you'd resort to Dawkins - someone who recognized the power of symbols to such a degree that he felt a need to construct a model for their inclusion in evolutionary processes.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 02:21:44 AM
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It is "sufficient" to not wonder at all.

Maybe for religionists.  After all, they're the ones who take fiat pronouncement based on zero evidence as fact instead of actually searching for truth.

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Funny you'd resort to Dawkins - someone who recognized the power of symbols to such a degree that he felt a need to construct a model for their inclusion in evolutionary processes.

Funny indeed: if you're talking about memetics, that wasn't what he was referring to.  He was talking about evolutionary processes among symbols, not the reverse.


Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 03:17:23 AM
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Realism, however, does not. Realism is disenchanted, which isn't to say it's bad, but it comes to a world in which people strive for nothing beyond what allows them to live longer and more comfortably, because it assumes that the only positive aspect to life is that which provides positive feelings physically. This is not a failure of a way. In fact, it is very scientific and very rigid. However, I strive for more.

It's sufficient to wonder at the beauty of a garden without having to imagine that there are fairies at the bottom of it.  One of my favorite Dawkins quotes and I'm sure I've said it here before.

Once again, your argument is utilitarianism.  The usefulness of religion as a motivator. 

You strive for more what?  More lie?

No, more positive results, whether they be regarded as a lie or not. You failed to take into consideration my previous post in which I stated that I worship life, symbol-less, and without a surrogate name. However, in response to your garden comment, I'm pointing out that religion is in fact just a surrogate name. Remember the Vedic people I spoke of? You're arguing symbols, which is secondary to the physical result achieved. In this case, a spiritual person does not believe in fairies in order to wonder over the beauty of a garden, but considers the garden a sacred place because of the wonder they feel for it. Your perception of religion, the popular modern form of it which at its heart is utilitarianism is the backwards process of this, as in this example:

Spiritual person: wonder -> sacralization

Utilitarianism: sacralization -> wonder

Also, you should take a look at and attempt to understand the "History of an Error" I presented by Nietzsche.

In summary, you are using ambiguously  defined symbols to declare an idea invalid, regardless of its physical reaction. This website promotes nihilism, or the stripping away of emotional conditioning inspired by symbolism in order to re-associate our symbols with what physical reactions we wish to achieve in accordance with the goals we decide are worthy of pursuing. Why are we deciding these goals? Because there is no inherent meaning to existence, except that which we put forth into it. You wish to live a life based on evidence alone, and thus find an absolute meaning? You won't find it beyond "I shouldn't do negative things because they cause people pain, and everyone wants to live and not be hurt." After a while this leaves people feeling empty, because we're accomplishing nothing other than maintaining the status-quo. Keep in mind, this is not an argument against you, merely a noting of the result of what you propose. There is nothing bad about this, but it isn't my path, and thus I'm not beholden to it. I feel beholden to what manifests what I wish physically, and that is all. Whether this meets your standards of evidence or not doesn't concern me, unless you are adequately able to describe how I am actually counter-acting my goals. If you would like a list of these, we should take the discussion to another thread.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 04:11:18 AM
I see what you're saying.

But why call it sacred at all?  Why not call it "flimp" or "goxie?"  Or "complex math" for that matter?  The meaning of your sacralization is so different from the specific usage made by religious people-- ie, nonworship of a vague nature force rather than some madman they nailed to a tree-- is so different as to render the term almost meaningless.

You're saying that you have deeply-felt sensations but you're vague as to what they are, and you're also very vague as to whether there's any value to them at all that is external to yourself.  These things you're experiencing are internal events.

You say "spirituality."  I call it "vague pompous pronouncement."

Where's the beef?  You apparently claim that it has some intrinsic benefit.  Is there more or less benefit in collecting stamps?  Is it just a hobbyist practice like birdwatching?

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After a while this leaves people feeling empty, because we're accomplishing nothing other than maintaining the status-quo.

Emptier than lies?

I know numerous atheist scientists and mathematicians,  They're all very happy and fulfilled.  Your protestations that we need to believe in lies in order to feel that our lives have meaning may be true for you.  If so, that's sad.  What you're saying is effectively this: "These are lies, and I know they're lies, but I persist in believing them because they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside."

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we can have a society that is like ours, in which we are living and comfortable, but create no great things, and the realist is perfectly fine with that.

Fallacy.  Religion has stood in the way of every single major medical and scientific advance in the last 500 years.  Until 500 years ago they successfully prevented any major advances.  Every single scientific advance owes not to bullshit woo-woo "spirituality" (really just new age religionism) but to realism.  For you to claim otherwise is ridiculous.

What have YOU accomplished?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 05:11:36 AM
Reality (truth) is meaningless. Thus, all sensations of life having meaning are based on lies.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 05:49:58 AM
Reality (truth) is meaningless. Thus, all sensations of life having meaning are based on lies.

Reality is what governs the world you and I live in. Reality is what matters! and it does not conform to anyone's beliefs, no matter how positive their outcomes may be.

You don't have a bullet in your head (hopefully) - what does that mean? You are alive. Thank you reality! I know of course you are talking about meaning in the spiritual sense and finding that is also important. My point is that rejecting either the spiritual or the physical and claiming to live purely by one or the other is ludicrous, because our state of existence depends on both.

What we believe, what matters in our lives, does not always intersect with what is actually true. To achieve "positive results" you have to manipulate both the spiritual and physical optimally: use the spiritual to motivate you, to find metaphysical meaning in life, but strive for the real, because that's what has the ultimate say whether you live or die.