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Religion in Modern America

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 05:44:32 PM
Quote from: AnHero
Even as I ... remember having undergone medical procedures that had their intended effects, I cannot prove objectively that these things are worth doing.

If you value your life, then you can objectively prove they are worth doing.

Quote from: Octuple
You should believe then in cultural backwardness, determined by the absence of technology.

Not necessarily.  Cultures can change for the worse very easily, and technology is not the only factor worth considering.

Quote
How would spirituality help science, or with more precision, human life?

Let's suppose we have a flower in front of us, and we wish to understand it. Through a scientific method, in an objective mindset, we will study it chemically, botanically, mathematically, etc. That will bring us a a series of data about the flower, a series of abstractions. We understand the flower through its materially quantifiable constitution. But, if we gather all these dissected data from nothing , does it gives bring us the emotional approach to the flower (its beauty)?.

The spiritual  approach to the flower is immediate, non-logical (not illogical), doesn't bring such detail, but it allows an identification with the flower, and subsequently, with the cosmos and the "Being". That's why some religious people talk about a "wider" approach to reality.

Yes, the scientist is able to perceive such beauty (he has a soul) but spirituality is a potentation of this capacity, which in an ultimate matter, doesn't affects his scientific capability.

The flower's beauty, as you describe it, is not something that is an intrinsic part of the flower.  You are describing a phenomenon that is related to how the sight, smell, etc. of a flower causes a reaction in a human being (specifically their brain).  This can be understood scientifically by observing the various stimuli of the flower and the reactions they cause in the human brain.

I will concede that it is not necessary or useful to always look at the world scientifically, but whenever someone adamantly insists that their "truths" exist outside the domain of science, it's usually because they're full of shit.  And spirituality is one of the biggest culprits.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 07:10:22 PM
I will concede that it is not necessary or useful to always look at the world scientifically, but whenever someone adamantly insists that their "truths" exist outside the domain of science, it's usually because they're full of shit.  And spirituality is one of the biggest culprits.

Yet the problem with science, as we found on the Eugenics list, is that it's inherently reductionist and thus linear in thought, which means it's great for details and utterly useless for tying them together. It's also useless for prescriptive decisions; it can tell us why something happens, and how to get a detail to repeat, but not much about systemic architecture, architectonics or structural design.

Fuck science. It's a false god too.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 09:21:28 PM
Progress is doing things the human way. It has nothing to do with reality. It's what we want.

That's a bit vague, isn't it? Men have always wanted to do things, and they always do it the human way because they're human.
What we want has always to do with reality, because we are real, and everything we want is real.

I'm not sure, do I understand you correctly in that you contrast doing things the human way with doing things the religious way?

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 09:57:21 PM
I will concede that it is not necessary or useful to always look at the world scientifically, but whenever someone adamantly insists that their "truths" exist outside the domain of science, it's usually because they're full of shit.  And spirituality is one of the biggest culprits.

Yet the problem with science, as we found on the Eugenics list, is that it's inherently reductionist and thus linear in thought, which means it's great for details and utterly useless for tying them together. It's also useless for prescriptive decisions; it can tell us why something happens, and how to get a detail to repeat, but not much about systemic architecture, architectonics or structural design.

Fuck science. It's a false god too.

There is no need for a science-religion dualism; in fact, the two can be harmonized. Most here would probably define science in a way that effectively denies religion, and then the definition would be unfit. But why do that? Why can we not avoid this by simply postulating one Reality on which everything is dependent? It sounds crazy to atheists, I know. But just try to imagine: If traditional religion is nothing more than this postulation and its consequences, and science is understood as understanding reality and nature from a certain point of view, both views can coexist peacefully--if all views are harmonized correctly in the hierarchy of reality, and their scope is remembered.

Why do I mention hierarchy? Because humans must act, and thus their actions are important, but cleary some actions are better than others, and thus not all actions can have the same importance. The error of "modern science" has already been stated by Hrafn admirably. It limits its point of view, which is in itself not a problem, but at the same time makes this point of view absolute, which is against reality. Conservationist has also described this in his words.

I would also like to remind the atheists here that the traditional religious viewpoint has always foreseen a degeneration of religions, and that all "religions" that dissent from this view are in fact heterodoxies.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 10:59:12 PM
Quote from: Conservationist
Yet the problem with science, as we found on the Eugenics list, is that it's inherently reductionist and thus linear in thought, which means it's great for details and utterly useless for tying them together.

Is it more or less useless than lies?

Religion is primitive science.  It's a collection of lies that attempt to explain the universe. 

In other words, your "Why" is completely erroneous, a fairy tale.

Nothing like mealymouthed apologism for lies and social control mechanisms.  Frankly I'm both amazed and disgusted to see this here. 

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 04, 2009, 11:50:22 PM
There is no need for a science-religion dualism; in fact, the two can be harmonized. Most here would probably define science in a way that effectively denies religion, and then the definition would be unfit. But why do that? Why can we not avoid this by simply postulating one Reality on which everything is dependent? It sounds crazy to atheists, I know. But just try to imagine: If traditional religion is nothing more than this postulation and its consequences, and science is understood as understanding reality and nature from a certain point of view, both views can coexist peacefully--if all views are harmonized correctly in the hierarchy of reality, and their scope is remembered.

I think the religion vs. science issue began when use of the scientific method started to rebut religious symbols: the age and shape of the earth, the structure of the universe, the existence of a deity, and other information in sacred texts. As the literal presence of these symbols is disproved, people start to question the validity of the concepts they represent. You could never tell a believer this, but I'm sure the pope would admit it if you got him drunk: traditional religious values were not dictated by god, they are realized by religious leaders and then god was created to impose them. Seeing this, during the dark ages, church leaders silenced scientists in order to preserve order amongst the populace.

I think we've come full circle back to the OP - without a religious system, most people won't behave just out of the goodness of their hearts. Having strict laws won't work because man's law can be overthrown, in time. Although religions do go out of fashion, too. It seems the collapse of a societies' belief system - values, morals, and the religion that delivers those ideas to the masses, is a sign that that civilization is doomed. Burzum's Balder D°d is about this very issue:

Quote from: burzum.com
COMMENTARY: Varg appears to imply that Ragnarok, the greatest battle of all, is in fact fought out in our minds... The Gods (Asgardians) are brought down by Loki as prophesied, but Loki takes the form of the cold, calculating logic of modern society, that leaves no room in our minds for spiritual planes of thinking. He implies that Ragnarok will in fact be a battle of the unconscious and the conscious and that it will be cold logic, nurtured in the artificial plastic light of today's society, that will finally spell the twilight of the Gods.

http://www.burzum.com/eng/discography/official/1997_daudi_baldrs.shtml

I tried to make a point like ^ this ^ in an earlier post. Faith and intuition are a significant part of the human experience, even for people who are such geniuses that they realize there is no god (no one's asking you to read the bible or pray to The Bastard). After all, if you have any kind of value system, like a two-year-old, I could just keep asking "why do you believe that?" and you would run out of answers. Without irrational, unfounded, metaphysical meaning (Baldr) in my life, I would find myself in a state of permanent existential crisis, unable even to feed myself, because I cannot prove there is a good reason to. Don't waste time by saying "instinct," it's just as unfounded.

addendum: Valuing rationality and truth is irrational and has no logical or scientific basis. At some point you're going to have to accept the fact that you are a mere human being, with subjective experiences, unreasonable preferences, and will not always be completely right about everything. It is forgivable. Recognize that for a civilization to function, it's members would have to have some kind of body of values and that those values would have to be transmitted to the next generation in a way that they could understand, starting in youth. For relatively unintelligent cultures, it will be through a theistic religion, for others, it will be through more thoughtful philosophy, and for the ▄bermenschen, who knows.

If you value your life, then you can objectively prove they are worth doing.

Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

Religion is primitive science.  It's a collection of lies that attempt to explain the universe. 

Like I said above, religion is not science at all. The two do completely different things. One sees how the physical world works - using experimentation and observation. With it we can figure out HOW to do things. Spirituality/Metaphysics uses intuition, anecdotal evidence from other cultures, and it even evolves (cultures with workable values thrive, cultures with unworkable values, or none, die). It's goal is to give us a reason WHY to do things. Using both of them, we can find WHAT to do (what is physically possible and metaphysically valuable). That's why religion shouldn't be used to disseminate objective or physical information (I know it was in the past and sometimes still is) and scientists shouldn't tell us what's right or wrong (Like showing racial lines are more related than we thought, so we should all just get along).

Hasn't this distinction been made a few times in this same thread before? Why do I need to repeat it?

addendum: Maybe the admin should just delete all replies to the OP and start over, since the question was never fully answered. That or, we could take Replies #3 through the end and change the topic sentence from "What should replace religion as a force of philosophical cohesion" to "Religion is retarded."

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 01:13:41 AM
Quote from: AnHero
Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

Right.  I didn't say valuing life is objectively good.  I stated that if you value your life, as an assumption, metaphysical claim, etc, then from there you can objectively derive the value of medicine.  It's just like mathematical theorems; they are proven objectively, but in order to do so you must start with assumptions/postulates.

Quote from: Conservationist
Yet the problem with science, as we found on the Eugenics list, is that it's inherently reductionist and thus linear in thought, which means it's great for details and utterly useless for tying them together.

Actually, one of the biggest debates in science, currently, is over the use of holistic analysis in certain areas.  So to say science is inherently reductionist is not necessarily true, though that is generally the case.

Quote
It's also useless for prescriptive decisions

This is unquestionably true, but I think this has already been conceded by everyone in this thread.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 01:35:58 AM
Quote from: AnHero
Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

Right.  I didn't say valuing life is objectively good.  I stated that if you value your life, as an assumption, metaphysical claim, etc, then from there you can objectively derive the value of medicine.  It's just like mathematical theorems; they are proven objectively, but in order to do so you must start with assumptions/postulates.

That wasn't necessarily directed at you, since you seem agree that ultimately irrational metaphysical claims are necessary. It's posters who claimed that all metaphysics are bunk - unless they weren't, and where were just lumping them in with religion.

Either way, can we get this thread back on track? Without the belief in an almighty god to impress people into line, how would you get members of a society to live in accordance with a shared value system? We've talked about what we can do personally, but that's not the point, what are the leaders of the next civilization going to do? I think that's what Ameera was asking, since people aren't just going to start believing in god again, and as we see now, they are shiftless without something to motivate them.

The laws of nature, knowledge of history and the observation of the ruins of this civilization will be enough to convince them what they need to do just to survive sustainably (although they aren't convincing people now), but they will need something beyond that or cooperation will seem for not when the society grows to the large scale and survival seems so far away.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 04:44:15 AM
Finally, I opt for religion because it gives a reverential vision of the world and a internal via to fully embrace its beauty, in other words to be one with God's grace, unfortunately... many are just passerbies.

I think the original poster has been misunderstood by many in this thread, and we should lead it back on track:

1. Religion has become corrupted
2. The dominate meme is that of socialization, where each individual is promised the ability to be autonomous without consequences
3. This has extended to God, so the word God now means not what it was once

Parallel to Nietzsche's "God is dead, and we have killed him" -- we have changed what the word God means, and so we cannot believe in the corrupted image.

After all, On truth and lies in a non-moral sense was all about how language has changed thought, not vice-versa... like Wharf-Sapir but a billion times more brilliant and less linear.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 05:22:58 AM
^

Why can't we simply move beyond the God-concept completely?  "God is dead and we have killed him." Good riddance! Sure religion once served a purpose - an occasionally noble one at that, and thus, God too was a principal player in this narrative - even in his bastardized forms. But we should have moved on by now - we have outgrown such simple metaphysics. The God concept itself is an anachronism, and religion - at least as commonly defined  - is as unnecessary as its titular heads across the board. Sure Secular Humanism fails - but it fails because its chief proponents have grounded it in a hodgepodge of false premises from radical egalitarianism to compulsive consumerism/materialism, etc.(all very Christian incidentally)  But intellectually sound and enlightened people should be able to overcome that without clinging, even if non-dogmatically and symbolically, to religiosity on any level, no? Culture, Folk, Nation...but why religion? What am I missing here?


Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 05:24:15 AM
Incredibly engaging thread. There are a lot of points I want to reply to and I'll try to do my best. I'll start with the initial post:

Religion no longer matters on any other scale than the individual.
Sure, there are billions of people actively involved in church, temple, etc. And billions more that practice praying or confessing or Good Fridays or whatever.
But who do they do it for?
A society?- Does the collective believe that if they do not follow their religion that God (or whatever holds the power) will punish them as a whole? With droughts or disease or other such things? And if they do follow God's will that they will be 'blessed' with things that help the community? (rain for crops, good health, etc)?
No, no one living in the modern world practices religion for such reasons ANYMORE. These are old ways. Ways that are no longer in practice.

This is a false dichotomy. Religion is ingrained in most every culture on the planet and doesn't necessarily exist for individuals or because societies on the whole believe they will be punished by an irrational, supernatural force.

Quote
If the fear of God no longer holds us back, what will?

I'm cutting to your conclusion to save space, although I am considering your entire post. Again, all I see is a fallacious argument. You're jumping to a conclusion not founded on history or reality. For example, I could easily answer this question by saying any of the following: the judicial system, police, the military, the government, other countries, the united nations, a desire for order, the basic tendency people have to avoid conflict and to strive for contentment, etc. There are many, many more factors to consider than those presented in your argument. Religion is a tool, and it has been used and abused throughout history. The state of religion in modern America is the result of thousands of years of progress and being a tool it serves a function it has evolved to serve. That function may be personal, spiritual development for some, the glue that binds certain communities together, a convenient story to help people cope, a method of social control, a meme that helps us to relate to others, and so on. There is no simple way to sum these things up as is the premise of your argument. Religion is very multi-faceted and whether or not the examples I've mentioned are sufficient, I'm sure they at least scratch the surface of the actual complexity of the issue.

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.

I understand where you're coming from, but I still think the majority of religious traditions operated under a real fear of the supernatural, and those that claimed to arbitrate between the supernatural and the rest of the population pretty much always used this position to their own advantage resulting in corrupt ruling classes. This "corruption" may not even be what we think of corruption today since these arbiters would have believed in the supernatural forces themselves and the majority of people would have probably led relatively similar lives even if there wasn't a religious hierarchical component, but as this supernatural component of society arbitrated by the minority, the ruling class and/or priesthood, was not as genuine as people were led to believe there would have always been a major disconnect between this minority and the general population resulting in the consistent wars, uprisings and overthrown kingdoms we observe in ancient history. I can see I'm trying to sum up something of great depth in too few words, but while I agree that these ancient societies may have carried on religious traditions that were more positive or healthy than may be misrepresented by some modern thinkers, they were ultimately shaped by ruling classes that had their own interests in mind, most often using fear of the supernatural to pursue these interests.

Religion's here to stay, folks. You don't have to like it, but it's not going away. It's nice to know facts about the world, for which science is great, but facts without context are meaningless. Knowing the difference in the distances to the sun at the apogee and perigee of the earth's orbit doesn't provide the bearer of that knowledge with a purpose to use that knowledge towards. The universe is meaningless - religion is a method of imbuing it with a meaning.

That's right.  Science only shows us HOW, not WHY.  Maybe there are some tough guys out there who claim they don't need a WHY, but I guarantee that long-term, big picture, for humanity, in general, WE NEED A "WHY."  It doesn't necessarily have to be "religious" in nature or imply the existence of a God, but we need a WHY, and science can't give it to us.  As Nietzsche said, if we have our WHY, we will take almost any HOW.

To both posters, I believe you're trying to assert something without fully defining your terms. How do you define "how" and "why?" What's to say the how and why aren't the same thing? Or that our assumption there is a separate "how" and "why" isn't just some semantic, or other type of fallacy? In this case you've simply downplayed the value of either religion or what you call the "why" by aligning it with a vague and unnecessary concept of meaning beyond the tested and observed meaning we see in things all around us. Science has a very definite, meaningful context, why demand or assume that there must be some other underlying metaphysical narrative, to what we as humans perceive, beyond the natural and the real?

Quote from: Istaros
Religion's here to stay, folks. You don't have to like it, but it's not going away.

Actually, amazingly, this is not the case.  Fewer young people-- drastically fewer-- call themselves religious or spiritual than ever before.

I've noticed that you've used this as an example that religion is not going to stick around forever in this thread, but I think a far superior one is all of the religious traditions that are already gone, either literally or in the complete lack of their observance or practice. There is much evidence that as much as people want to believe their particular religion bears some ultimate, supernatural, immortal truth, many others have believed the exact same thing, for similarly irrational reasons, and they and/or their beliefs have completely died out.

Quote
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?

If by evidence you mean empirical evidence, then no, of course not. If there was empirical evidence, then we would be dealing with the physical dimension, not the metaphysical dimension. The basis for metaphysical knowledge is intellectual intuition.

Quote from: Frithjof Schuon
The metaphysical perspective is based on intellectual intuition, which by its very nature is infallible because it is a vision by the pure intellect, whereas profane philosophy operates only with reason, hence with logical assumptions and conclusions.  

http://www.frithjof-schuon.com/interview.htm

Terms like "metaphysical knowledge" and "intellectual intuition" are purposely vague because they do not refer to anything that can be known rationally and are essentially irrelevant unless connected to some knowable definition. If by metaphysical dimension you mean supernatural dimension then you might as well call it anything; the [insert word] dimension, because there's no way anyone can know what you're talking about. If this is the case, that it is something outside the physical or natural world and therefore by definition unknowable, unobservable and untestable, then it doesn't mean anything. Any attempt to rationalize the existence of these things would simply be applying a real definition to an otherwise nebulous and pointless phrase.

Quote
How would spirituality help science, or with more precision, human life?

Let's suppose we have a flower in front of us, and we wish to understand it. Through a scientific method, in an objective mindset, we will study it chemically, botanically, mathematically, etc. That will bring us a a series of data about the flower, a series of abstractions. We understand the flower through its materially quantifiable constitution. But, if we gather all these dissected data from nothing , does it gives bring us the emotional approach to the flower (its beauty)?.

The spiritual  approach to the flower is immediate, non-logical (not illogical), doesn't bring such detail, but it allows an identification with the flower, and subsequently, with the cosmos and the "Being". That's why some religious people talk about a "wider" approach to reality.

Yes, the scientist is able to perceive such beauty (he has a soul) but spirituality is a potentation of this capacity, which in an ultimate matter, doesn't affects his scientific capability.

The flower's beauty, as you describe it, is not something that is an intrinsic part of the flower.  You are describing a phenomenon that is related to how the sight, smell, etc. of a flower causes a reaction in a human being (specifically their brain).  This can be understood scientifically by observing the various stimuli of the flower and the reactions they cause in the human brain.

I will concede that it is not necessary or useful to always look at the world scientifically, but whenever someone adamantly insists that their "truths" exist outside the domain of science, it's usually because they're full of shit.  And spirituality is one of the biggest culprits.

I would agree but add that we look at the world scientifically, i.e. rationally, regardless of whether we want to or not. As another poster pointed out, religion is just an early form of science. People look at the world, observe phenomena, and explain that phenomena. We have gotten better at aligning our understanding or model of causality with the observed phenomena itself, whether you call it nature or reality or what have you, but one thing we never do is fully abandon this understanding. Spiritual "truths" are usually fallacious, but I would argue that all perceived truth comes from a concept of causality, it is simply a matter of how well this concept or model fits with what is consistently observed, or the actual causality.

I will concede that it is not necessary or useful to always look at the world scientifically, but whenever someone adamantly insists that their "truths" exist outside the domain of science, it's usually because they're full of shit.  And spirituality is one of the biggest culprits.

Yet the problem with science, as we found on the Eugenics list, is that it's inherently reductionist and thus linear in thought, which means it's great for details and utterly useless for tying them together. It's also useless for prescriptive decisions; it can tell us why something happens, and how to get a detail to repeat, but not much about systemic architecture, architectonics or structural design.

Fuck science. It's a false god too.

I apologize but I simply don't understand your point. Could you elaborate? Are you talking about the inability of science to offer a unified theory? What exactly are you suggesting should supplement science (if that's what you're suggesting)?

After all, if you have any kind of value system, like a two-year-old, I could just keep asking "why do you believe that?" and you would run out of answers.

If you examine this reasoning you'll find that one would run out of answers because the answer you're looking for could have never existed to begin with.

Quote
Without irrational, unfounded, metaphysical meaning (Baldr) in my life, I would find myself in a state of permanent existential crisis, unable even to feed myself, because I cannot prove there is a good reason to. Don't waste time by saying "instinct," it's just as unfounded.

addendum: Valuing rationality and truth is irrational and has no logical or scientific basis. At some point you're going to have to accept the fact that you are a mere human being, with subjective experiences, unreasonable preferences, and will not always be completely right about everything. It is forgivable.

You're assuming something that doesn't exist, a supernatural reason, and running your logic into the ground because you can't use logic to prove something supernatural in the first place.

Quote
If you value your life, then you can objectively prove they are worth doing.

Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

No it doesn't. You're making a completely unnecessary assumption. All of those things can be explained rationally. You don't even have an argument, you're just making fallacious statements based on the fact that you're assuming a priori the existence of something supernatural or metaphysical.

Quote
Religion is primitive science.  It's a collection of lies that attempt to explain the universe.  

Like I said above, religion is not science at all. The two do completely different things. One sees how the physical world works - using experimentation and observation. With it we can figure out HOW to do things. Spirituality/Metaphysics uses intuition, anecdotal evidence from other cultures, and it even evolves (cultures with workable values thrive, cultures with unworkable values, or none, die). It's goal is to give us a reason WHY to do things. Using both of them, we can find WHAT to do (what is physically possible and metaphysically valuable). That's why religion shouldn't be used to disseminate objective or physical information (I know it was in the past and sometimes still is) and scientists shouldn't tell us what's right or wrong (Like showing racial lines are more related than we thought, so we should all just get along).

Hasn't this distinction been made a few times in this same thread before? Why do I need to repeat it?

Because you don't even understand the point you're trying to assert. Simply try to identify what metaphysics, spirituality and intuition are and you'll realize the instance you have you will have rationalized them and placed them back in the natural, observable world. As long as you leave them purposely undefined and undefinable, they might as well not exist, which they clearly don't in the context that you are asserting them to.

(I've responded to the points above because I found them particularly interesting or in other cases, somewhat flawed. Sorry for the long post but I enjoyed reading this thread and responding to these different points, looking forward to more discussion.)

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 10:04:17 AM
Finally, I opt for religion because it gives a reverential vision of the world and a internal via to fully embrace its beauty, in other words to be one with God's grace, unfortunately... many are just passerbies.

I think the original poster has been misunderstood by many in this thread, and we should lead it back on track:

1. Religion has become corrupted
2. The dominate meme is that of socialization, where each individual is promised the ability to be autonomous without consequences
3. This has extended to God, so the word God now means not what it was once

Parallel to Nietzsche's "God is dead, and we have killed him" -- we have changed what the word God means, and so we cannot believe in the corrupted image.

After all, On truth and lies in a non-moral sense was all about how language has changed thought, not vice-versa... like Wharf-Sapir but a billion times more brilliant and less linear.

I agree, and mentioned the same idea earlier in a post. I believe we are wanting to discuss the details of this process in order to derive a pathway beyond it.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 03:32:54 PM
If the fear of God no longer holds us back, what will?

A MAJOR catastrophe?  Preferably not a natural disaster - that way we can definitively "blame ourselves."  Or a combo natural disaster and "man made disaster."  After the disaster we need some "vehicle" to transmit the lessons learned - stories, myths, art, culture, philosophy. 

Maybe that's not the best WAY, but basically, the world needs to be mysterious and terrifying, again, on some level.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 04:01:23 PM
Quote from: Heydrich
Why can't we simply move beyond the God-concept completely?

This appears to be the crux of the divide seen in this thread.  There are those who wish to move past such a concept, and those who wish to reinvent or revitalize such a concept.  I'd be (genuinely) interested in having someone explain to me why this concept is so important (in and of itself) that it can not be abandoned, because thus far most of the arguments I've seen have focused on the limitations of science and the failure of modern culture.

Re: Religion in Modern America
August 05, 2009, 04:26:09 PM

You're assuming something that doesn't exist, a supernatural reason, and running your logic into the ground because you can't use logic to prove something supernatural in the first place.

Quote
Even the sense of accomplishment one gets from physical accomplishments, even the valuing of one's own life, even the valuing of music and culture (which is likely why you're here, whoever is reading this), even the valuing of a realistic understanding of the universe are all completely irrational and unfounded by empirical evidence. The valuing of these things comes from a metaphysical mindset, which someone can hold, even as they call it a steaming pile of shit.

No it doesn't. You're making a completely unnecessary assumption. All of those things can be explained rationally. You don't even have an argument, you're just making fallacious statements based on the fact that you're assuming a priori the existence of something supernatural or metaphysical.

It's very possible I was using terminology incorrectly, but what I was trying to say is that any kind of value system is irrational. There is no logical reason to value something. Now, if you're saying there is, show me a value and then give it's logical reason. My argument is that there is no reason until one is logical proven and evidence is shown. Someone said that it wouldn't make sense to believe anything without scientific evidence, but all the actions we take are ultimately built on premises that are unprovable in their value.

^ My argument is that something does not exist, to prove me wrong, all you would have to do is prove some instance of it does. (show me something valued and then give the logical reason for valuing it). Some are more detached from nature than others, I know. But that doesn't make the ones that are less detached rational.

(The only value systems that are natural are our instincts and those don't get us to do anything besides survive. I am assuming that there is agreement that a civilization should do something beyond surviving.)



Getting back to the original point of the thread - obviously a god-fearing religion is out of the question for smarter people (I'd have to imagine there were people throughout history who didn't believe in god, even when a theistic religion was dominant), but the lower half of civilization is just as dumb as it always has been, I wonder why we couldn't just give them a new god?

Imagining for a moment that everyone of average intelligence and below was killed (somehow), I wonder if the remnant would be able to understand the need for a shared philosophy within communities and nations, and leaders wouldn't need a god to scare people in line, they would just be able to understand the way things work. There would need to be a population that we could just talk straight with, instead of scaring them with myths or stroking their egos with socialization. Is that possible with large groups of people?