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Metal => Interzone => Topic started by: Ameera on August 01, 2009, 03:23:03 PM

Title: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ameera on August 01, 2009, 03:23:03 PM
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.

So what do people practice religion for now?
Themselves, simply.
They think if they live the "holier than thou" lifestyle, they will be blessed with their individual desires. They pray for riches, not righteousness. They pray for a few more years of life, not because they want to do something worthwhile for anyone-but because they want to cling to THEIR OWN PERSONAL desires just a bit longer.

To ask if we need a replacement God is to ask if we need a replacement excuse. Our God didn't give us the perfect paradise we prayed for... our God no longer means anything to us.
We live in a society where people are atheists, "passive followers" (yeah I believe in God, but I don't go to church or any of that shit), or the "personally devout," (I believe in God, I go to church, I don't sin/I repent because I want to save my ass from Hell).

So, to those that still cling to the idea that the world needs religion: I say:
Look around, and see how little merit religion has in the world today. It has a very small part of our backbones clenched (Jihad, etc). But when you go to a restaurant, do you see any of the overweight families with too many greedy kids say grace before they stuff their snouts? When you walk by a church do you get the feeling of being mystified by what it (used to) represent? Do you pray for the good of your society? Do you repent your sins? Do you look beyond the individual in your beliefs?

The world no longer cares about being righteous, their priority is being rich.
The world no longer cares if they go to Hell, because the idea that we can be punished so severely for not living devout does not fit the happy little thoughts of theirs.
The world no longer sees their sins as sins- "I only had sex with her ONCE."

The world is full of excuses to justify their shunning of religion.

It doesn't matter though. What's here in front of us is what is at hand. We don't live in a religious mind-set anymore. Those people are long gone. So let us take that into account as we set off to war, as we spend thousands frivolously, as we fuck our neighbors wives...

If the fear of God no longer holds us back, what will?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 02, 2009, 03:55:20 AM
I think that this argument becomes a bit over-dramatized by those who care too much. People explore positive ideas through religion, and negative, and I normally just gauge the value of the individual and decide how to approach them from there. As far as I'm concerned, what comes to the results that I want is of my standards, and I don't bother with the symbols. Religion, after all, is varying in degrees of truth and are all trying to describe the one world in which we exist. So, is God dead? Probably. But what are you going to do about it: rant, or create? Your call.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 02, 2009, 09:49:53 AM
Nothing new under the Sun: even temples burn in riots.

After reading the OP message, I went to the church to hear mass. People was praying for rain (we're getting through a serious drought here), but as soon as the mass ended, everyone got into their cars in a small city where you can walk perfectly. I understood how Ameera feels.

People can't relate the effects of their lifestyles with the long-term-real-world. It is not a matter of religion. Materialists (the smarter ones) deny religion because they say that it is a distraction from real solutions, but in practice materialism gets degraded in the same delusion of hedonism.


"For many are invited, but few are chosen." Matthew 22:14

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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 02, 2009, 11:23:47 AM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 

the truth of the natural world, that there are real life-and-death consequences to everything we do, that "good" and "evil" are myth, that we live in a vast and desolate universe where the only constants are chaos and cruelty, that we alone are the only onces capable of living our lives, that death lies beyond unknown; these ideas are all too much to come to grips with, especially for those sad individuals who have committed themselves to a society and its arbitrary ways.  so religion fills the void.

your example of the church falls into this category.  the people live in a town that's walkable, but they all drive to church.  they're committed to their SUV's and their suburban subdivisions, and they need religion to confirm that their lifestyle is justifiable. 

whether religious ideas have had positive or negative impact on society is secondary to the fact that the perpetrators of religion are ALL corrupt liars.  religion is a money-making business, and all over the world people are paying to be told what to think. 

their first lie is their belief that they know anything.  what does a priest know of the origin of man, or what happens after death?  science has advanced over the years, but religion employs the same old tactics: hide behind dogma, and if you can't reconcile it with dogma, destroy it. 

it is impossible for you to supply anything beyond subjective anecdotes about modern american religion, or whether americans are more or less religious than they were generations ago, or what effects that has on society today. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 02, 2009, 01:42:01 PM
Ergriefer, your argument is logically flawed. Just because people today use a kind of pseudo-religion to justify their decadence it does not follow that traditional religion were self-justification. 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.
What caused such pessimism in you?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ildjicide on August 02, 2009, 02:26:01 PM
The OP has a good point. A society in which individuals care about the well-being of the community is healthier than a society in which people are mostly concerned with their own desires. A society of the first type would counter global problems like pollution and overpopulation by limiting its consumption and reproduction to benefit the world as whole. A society of the later kind might acknowledge the problems, but refuse to change its ways, because walking to church is just too difficult when you have a Hummer. Sounds familiar?

If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 02, 2009, 02:43:25 PM
Quote
what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children?

Since when did religion do this?  Seriously, is there an example?

There absolutely WILL be population curbs.  This is inescapable. 

The curbs can take the form of government action or of disease, war and famine.  My guess is that religionists will fight tooth and nail against it.

Does saying this make me a nazi?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 02, 2009, 02:49:21 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ildjicide on August 02, 2009, 03:23:47 PM
Quote
what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children?

Since when did religion do this?  Seriously, is there an example?

There absolutely WILL be population curbs.  This is inescapable. 

The curbs can take the form of government action or of disease, war and famine.  My guess is that religionists will fight tooth and nail against it.

Does saying this make me a nazi?

I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ameera on August 02, 2009, 04:16:25 PM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 
  Exactly.

Quote
If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 

Perhaps not in such a drastic measure, but I DO believe religion once was a method of restraint. The "fear of God" or punishment for sins played a much larger role in the decisions people made than the role such things play now.
Quote

I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 

So the government would be the ultimate answer to my original question???- what replaces the fear of God in restraining the masses?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Heydrich on August 02, 2009, 04:16:58 PM
A little enjoyable reading:

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/religion/chapter1.html
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 02, 2009, 06:21:37 PM
religion is a crutch of self-justification. 
  Exactly.

Quote
If religion was once a method of restraint, which forced people to limit themselves in order to benefit the community, and now this method is gone, what is left to stop people from polluting and bearing 3+ children? It has to be either self-restraint, which a few people are capable of doing, or government regulation - the LAW telling you to fuck less, to drive less, to eat less, to recycle, etc. Do you see that happening in AMERICA? Maybe when we all have to share a bedroom with two Mexicans, something will change. 

Perhaps not in such a drastic measure, but I DO believe religion once was a method of restraint. The "fear of God" or punishment for sins played a much larger role in the decisions people made than the role such things play now.
Quote


I was thinking of the restraint that religion can impose on people, which can be put to use in a variety of ways, including those two specific ones. With one less source of restraint, government regulation becomes more necessary, because the natural limits of population growth are even less desirable.

You're right in pointing out that religion would probably never go in this direction. In addition to that, even if it tried, no one would go along any more. 

So the government would be the ultimate answer to my original question???- what replaces the fear of God in restraining the masses?

Once again, the argument is over-dramatized. Whatever replaces fear of God in the individual is irrelevant. What reactions that replacement symbol creates in people, and how you decide to react to the solipsistic people of today, however, is. So, I ask everyone in this thread again, negative or positive values? Rant or create? Are we still so passive as to mourn the death of God, or will we adapt to the situation today and create meaning within it? I'm sorry, I didn't know you all were so prone to tears.

P.S. In order to avoid confusion:

Negative values - a reaction to a perceived threat, usually with the intention of neutralizing, preventing, or destroying that threat.

Positive values - a code of conduct that is intended to create anything from a shared perception to a variety of accomplishments within a society.

Ex. Anti-drug campaigns are based on a negative value, and those who are not anti-drug but sober are utilizing a positive value.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ameera on August 02, 2009, 07:24:57 PM
I think you confuse me as being anti-religion, which I am not.
Why is what "replaces the fear of God" irrelevant? Irrelevant to what? To.... yourself?
To me, it's not irrelevant at all. I'm not looking to define symbols within religion to myself. I'm looking to study a people, a nation. I ask what restrains them if it is not the fear of God.
So far, the government has been the consensus. Perhaps you have another view?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 02, 2009, 07:29:10 PM
Quote
I ask what restrains them if it is not the fear of God.

Some people don't need an imaginary friend to prevent them from raping and murdering.  Personally, for me it's sufficient that injuring other people causes pain.  Christians and many other religionists don't seem to understand that.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: scourge on August 02, 2009, 08:49:55 PM
Evolutionary psychology equips us with a basic foundation for our conduct. Ideally, parents and community are both reinforcement and outgrowths of this foundation. But, a diverse or pluralist society requires lots of extra rules and expense to maintain because our evolution was never linear, always parallel and usually not compatible with every out group mixed in with us.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 02, 2009, 09:15:48 PM
Yes, kin selection provides an evolutionary basis for altruism.  It also explains differences in behavior between people from, say, Scandinavia and Tanzania.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ameera on August 02, 2009, 09:39:21 PM
A little enjoyable reading:

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/religion/chapter1.html

I did enjoy this, thank you.

Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 02, 2009, 11:49:46 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Devamitra on August 02, 2009, 11:58:42 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Umbrage on August 03, 2009, 03:29:53 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 03, 2009, 04:12:21 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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Light Emitting Diode on August 03, 2009, 04:14:10 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 03, 2009, 05:23:31 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 03, 2009, 05:28:01 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 06:12:58 AM
Quote
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.

Quote
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?

Quote
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:

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 03, 2009, 08:11:58 AM
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 08:16:49 AM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Quote
Now who makes a fool of himself?

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

Cut the bullshit.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 03, 2009, 08:24:46 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 08:30:13 AM
Quote
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.

Quote
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 03, 2009, 09:14:38 AM
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 09:18:12 AM
Quote
Who needs evidence when we can just make wild assertions and then use "philosophy" to excuse ourselves from ever having to provide justification?

That's so exactly it.

They presuppose that religious bullshit is somehow a higher plane than materialism.  Requests for evidence are narrow-minded. 

Bullshit.

The idea that religion is of any value whatsoever, any real value to anybody, is in itself a sacred cow for which no evidence has ever been offered.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 03, 2009, 09:36:38 AM
Should our goal be truth?  I propose that our goal should be health.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 09:44:30 AM
A model of the world approaching truth is perhaps the single most defining characteristic of mental health.  When you start believing religious bullshit on the basis of zero evidence, you're no different from people in insane asylums who believe that they're Napoleon.

Or who believe that god talks to them.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 03, 2009, 09:52:23 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.
 

You two are right. I just have to say that you will feel whether scared or reverently amazed depending on your intellectual perception, that's the exoteric/esoteric perception of God's fear.


No.  Materialism is just a lack of belief in the absence of evidence.

Materialism and positivism are not the same thing.

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.

Perhaps what nous is talking about it's an intuitive perception of reality, which is not brought by science, but that in some way or another, it does conform our conception of the world. This could be merely reduced to psychological reasons,  in more detail, to neurological reasons, understanding the right hemisphere as the source of religion. On the other hand, if there's a divinity, or a divine principle, it could be understandable that all mystic perceptions could be translated into physical phenomena in order to be remembered and transmitted from a brain to another. Perhaps our human design (I'm not creationist lol) is an organization of matter, aware of itself, which needed religion in order to complement (not to substitute, nor to be substituted by) science.

Obviously I have a subjective (not solipsist) approach towards spirituality, and I think that religion, in spite of its corruption as a social product, is there to help others to awake this perception. Finally, in my opinion, religion is the preservation of its literature.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 03, 2009, 10:50:58 AM
nous, you seem to love putting words into my mouth.  i should not have to "expand my perception of reality" to accept unproven dogma as truth.  i'm neither materialist nor strictly individualist, and my beliefs/lack thereof are not born from some ingrained pessimism.  you're making many more speculations about me than i am of you. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 03, 2009, 11:44:34 AM
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.

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.

What, exactly, is wrong with torture, exorcism, genital mutilation, snake handling, and sexual abstinence? Why are these so SHOCKING and ABHORRENT? I don't think I'd mind these practices being applied to a majority of the human population.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 03, 2009, 12:17:26 PM
A model of the world approaching truth is perhaps the single most defining characteristic of mental health.  When you start believing religious bullshit on the basis of zero evidence, you're no different from people in insane asylums who believe that they're Napoleon.

Or who believe that god talks to them.

I think that one of the most underrated mechanisms of the mind is the ability to forget.  Showing that you understand a model of the world approaching truth is one way to PROVE that you ARE mentally healthy - but it, alone (or perhaps at all), doesn't necessarily GET YOU TO health.  What gets you to health is catharsis - this goes for the body and the mind.  A healthy person quickly forgets who has wronged him or how we was wronged, he quickly does away with inimical feelings, THAT is how you GET to mental health.  This explains why we dream at night.  If we remembered EVERYTHING that ever happened to us as vividly as if it happened yesterday, we would be a mess.  I think mental health is more RELIANT on your emotions and you ability to deal with them than anything else. 

But I digress.  I agree with you that truth and health are not necessarily opposed to each other.  However, you acknowledge that the ability to understand or acknowledge truth is a CHARACTERISTIC of mental health.  You say it's the MOST DEFINING characteristic, I would reserve that for:  "the ability to forget."  But either way, you essentially acknowledge that HEALTH > TRUTH, correct?  Nietzsche said that the lie is a condition of life.  I don't necessarily believe in a God or "religious bullshit," but I just don't hold science, truth, and evidence in such high regard either, and yet, I realize I'm not Napoleon.  Octuple mentioned intuition, and I would that say I operate on more of an intuitive, instinctual, and aesthetic level than anything else.  I'm just trying to explain the angle some of us are coming from.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 03, 2009, 12:27:47 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 12:34:25 PM
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.

Quote from: Jim Necroslaughter
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."

You mean you need a made-up fairy tale for how the earth formed.  Religion doesn't actually provide a why.  It provides a social control agenda cloaked in childish fables.

Looks to me like there isn't a why.  If that's the case, what you need is a lie.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 03, 2009, 12:34:51 PM
Quote from: istaros
Religion's here to stay, folks. You don't have to like it, but it's not going away.

I don't think this is true.  The perpetuation of religion in contingent upon two factors.  First, that our neurology remains unchanged, which seems very unlikely the way genetics is headed.  And secondly, that our species isn't wiped off the planet by a huge fucking asteroid or something.

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The universe is meaningless - religion is a method of imbuing it with a meaning.

This is true, but religion is not the only method of giving meaning to the world.  So considering it's record, I'd say we can do better.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 12:35:47 PM
Quote
religion is a method of imbuing it with a meaning.

Religion is a method of imbuing it with a falsehood.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 03, 2009, 12:40:40 PM
Quote
religion is a method of imbuing it with a meaning.

Religion is a method of imbuing it with a falsehood.

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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Hrafn on August 03, 2009, 12:59:00 PM
Atheism (just another word for materialism) belongs in the same category as Democracy, Globalism, Egalitarianism, Equality: Typical modern ideas, based on a flawed / limited view of the world, taken as self-evident by the progressivist zealots and their herd. Read Evola, Guenon, Schuon, Meister Eckhart and the Bhagavad Gita for some authentic spirituality, not modern pseudo-"religion". The "religion" of today must not be confused with actual Tradition.

Also, I find the fact that sexual abstinence was equated with "torture, exorcism, genital mutilation and snake handling" quite remarkable. It tells quite a lot of how confused people these days really are.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 01:05:12 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.

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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 03, 2009, 01:13:09 PM
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.


to their detriment, certainly.  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.
Quote from: Jim Necroslaughter
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."

You mean you need a made-up fairy tale for how the earth formed.  Religion doesn't actually provide a why.  It provides a social control agenda cloaked in childish fables.

Looks to me like there isn't a why.  If that's the case, what you need is a lie.
We don't need a why for HOW THE EARTH WAS FORMED, we don't need a why as an EXPLANATION, 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?  We need a why because we need a DIRECTION, we need something to aim FOR.  Otherwise we are spinning our wheels.  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.  "The lie is a condition of life."  - Nietzsche.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 01:18:22 PM
Quote
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 03, 2009, 01:59:10 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 02:03:47 PM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 03, 2009, 02:33:43 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:
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 02:40:27 PM
Quote from: Jim
to their detriment, certainly.

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

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 03, 2009, 04:00:34 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.

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?

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
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 04:16:45 PM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 03, 2009, 04:21:28 PM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 06:53:16 PM
Quote
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 03, 2009, 07:04:59 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 07:21:44 PM
Quote
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.

Quote
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.

Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 03, 2009, 08:17:23 PM
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 03, 2009, 09:11:18 PM
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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 03, 2009, 10:11:36 PM
Reality (truth) is meaningless. Thus, all sensations of life having meaning are based on lies.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ildjicide on August 03, 2009, 10:49:58 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 03, 2009, 11:07:37 PM
I'll make some stupid questions specially to the atheists in this thread.

Do you, honestly, believe in progress?  If so, how do you objectively  define progress? Is progress the awareness of reality? How this positive awareness of reality reflects in our daily life as quantifiable improved conditions in contrast with the theological era?

This is not to disqualify science as a useful tool, but I seriously doubt its pure independence.

Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Hrafn on August 03, 2009, 11:56:04 PM
Is non-belief in the Easter Bunny also in the same category as those things?

Are you seriously equating folk customs with the study of metaphysics?

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

I couldn't think of anything positive to say about modern "civilization".

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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?

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

Quote from: René Guénon
The moderns, generally speaking, cannot conceive of any other science except that which deals with things that can be measured, counted, or weighed, material things that is to say, since it is to these alone that the quantitative point of view is applicable; and the claim to reduce quality to quantity is most characteristic of modern sci-ence.

from "A Material Civilization", Chapter 7 of "The Crisis of the Modern World"
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 04, 2009, 12:10:50 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?

Those scientists and mathematicians are fulfilled by a sense of accomplishment, which means nothing outside of the value they place within it. You keep picking straws out of the ideas I present and using them to fuel further argumentation, presumably with more a desire to prove you correct and religious people false than anything else. I am not saying anything, I am not trying to prove anything. I am observing that people are fueled to accomplish by meaning, which they create for themselves, and some of these people find that meaning through spiritual means. I'm thinking of the great classical composers as an example of someone who has created something great via religion. Also, once again, remember the ancient societies that created systems of communication, diplomacy, and social structures as we know it and then passed down those customs via culture and tradition, which includes religion. I myself worship life, or feel wonder at life not through equating it with a spiritual figure but for the sake of its mechanization in themselves. I drive myself towards accomplishment for the sake of doing so, because of my love for life, living, and experience. Some people explore these ideas through religion, others infect religion with bad thinking and cause it to become a major, counter-active force.

I think you're harping on the idea of progress, or the idea that any discovery, or any fact discovered is a goal met in itself. Certainly any further knowledge of the world around us brings us to a greater understanding of it, but if this is not pertinent to the goals ones wishes to achieve than it is a useless truth, and only good for moral posturing. Imagine a farmer being told that they are a less of a human being because they didn't know the mating patterns of sperm whales; something only pertinent to people who work with such species. Knowing truth for the sake of it leads to someone being able to claim they know truth, and that is about it. As for things that are subjective, or dependent upon perception like feelings about life and its purpose: you can call reality "reality" or you can call it "God", but they are both describing the same collections of stimulus. Maybe you're just concerned about the language? I agree consensual tokens allow for more effective communication in that case.

And finally, any value external to myself? There is none, it is my reasoning for accomplishing what I do. "This is my path, what is yours?" - Zarathustra
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Devamitra on August 04, 2009, 12:37:07 AM
(http://kilo.naurunappula.com/nn/0/453/301/o_495169.jpg)
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 04, 2009, 05:05:15 AM
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Are you seriously equating folk customs with the study of metaphysics?

The study of navel lint.  Yes, I am-- in the absence of any shred of evidence-- any shred EVER-- your "study of metaphysics" amounts to a hill of stinking shit. 

You're LARPing.  No amount of convoluted circumlocution will change this.  No amount of convoluted circumlocution will make all your "metaphysics" any different from the Easter Bunny.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 04, 2009, 05:25:09 AM
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Are you seriously equating folk customs with the study of metaphysics?

The study of navel lint.  Yes, I am-- in the absence of any shred of evidence-- any shred EVER-- your "study of metaphysics" amounts to a hill of stinking shit. 

You're LARPing.  No amount of convoluted circumlocution will change this.  No amount of convoluted circumlocution will make all your "metaphysics" any different from the Easter Bunny.

That pejorative statement contributed little to nothing to the conversation. If you're going to contribute information, contribute something that is discussable, non-argumentative, and concise in presentation. I have a rather ambivalent regard towards folk customs, as they both have served as a prime conduit of a value system (I'm thinking the more grand empires of human history) and as a crutch for conservative thinkers (I'm thinking baseball-game politics of today), but you are doing nothing more than making indirect insults towards an idea not based on its result, but on whether it corresponds with your arsenal of tokens you have carefully constructed to make you appear more knowledgeable or "realistic" to others regardless of your actual achievements. I don't want to come at you aggressively, but please contribute actual content for discussion, as in something positive to build on, or merely pass by. It's helpful, and it keeps conversation here sane.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 04, 2009, 05:35:51 AM
I'll make some stupid questions specially to the atheists in this thread.

Do you, honestly, believe in progress?  If so, how do you objectively  define progress? Is progress the awareness of reality? How this positive awareness of reality reflects in our daily life as quantifiable improved conditions in contrast with the theological era?

This is not to disqualify science as a useful tool, but I seriously doubt its pure independence.

That depends on what you mean by progress.  I certain believe in progress in the colloquial sense.  However, if you're talking about progress in the sense of the leftist "religion", then I don't know.  I think the world is constantly changing and that these changes can be for the better or worse.  I think we should find what works best and continue to do it, unless a better way is discovered.  One could argue that this constitutes progress.

In terms or awareness of reality, that is something I value highly (perhaps my highest value).  It's not my only value, and I certainly don't think science is "magic" (i.e. it's the one and only solution to all of our problems).  However, I have yet to find an area of human interest that could not benefit from science.  Also, if you can't see the positive contributions that science has had for society, then you must be actively blinding yourself from them; they're everywhere.  Hint: the medical community would be a good place to start.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 04, 2009, 05:43:35 AM
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the medical community would be a good place to start.

The computer would be a good place to start.

How about not using the computer again until we all acknowledge the validity of science?

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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.

Our state of existence depends on vague, nebulous pronouncements without any evidence?

Where's the proof?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 04, 2009, 05:52:04 AM
I'll make some stupid questions specially to the atheists in this thread.

Do you, honestly, believe in progress?  If so, how do you objectively  define progress? Is progress the awareness of reality? How this positive awareness of reality reflects in our daily life as quantifiable improved conditions in contrast with the theological era?

This is not to disqualify science as a useful tool, but I seriously doubt its pure independence.

That depends on what you mean by progress.  I certain believe in progress in the colloquial sense.  However, if you're talking about progress in the sense of the leftist "religion", then I don't know.  I think the world is constantly changing and that these changes can be for the better or worse.  I think we should find what works best and continue to do it, unless a better way is discovered.  One could argue that this constitutes progress.

In terms or awareness of reality, that is something I value highly (perhaps my highest value).  It's not my only value, and I certainly don't think science is "magic" (i.e. it's the one and only solution to all of our problems).  However, I have yet to find an area of human interest that could not benefit from science.  Also, if you can't see the positive contributions that science has had for society, then you must be actively blinding yourself from them; they're everywhere.  Hint: the medical community would be a good place to start.

I agree wholeheartedly, and must admit that I find your posts rather intelligent and communicative. I think people have developed an argumentative view here, and thus fail to understand each others viewpoints, opting instead to viciously defend their fiction absolute as opposed to actively discussing the core points made in this thread. For instance, I just finished reading through some previous posts on a similar subject "Somethingness from Nothingness" and have to say I found it rather fascinating. RedReign made some brilliant observations of physical and computational phenomena that I had never even heard of in my previous research of the subjects. I'll try to summarize the main points being made here, and see if we continue discussion from there:

- Religion today is external symbolism, but in the past was more similar to poetry and art. We know a melody isn't true, but do we refuse to listen to music because it isn't fact? Early religion was an attempt to transpose ideas and ways of thought that lead people towards their goals as a nation and a culture, and was infected with thinking that more so lent itself to justification when control via the crowd became the norm.

-However, clinging to such a perception is an anachronism ill-fitted to the mindset of the modern man, and thus is often time met with derision by those who feel that they have moved beyond a religious viewpoint. We need new symbols that allow us to move forward, not backward in achievement.

My recommendation: Let's realize what's positive about spiritual mindsets and transpose them into a set of symbols that is pertinent to the environment in which we find ourselves today, so that we can effect change.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 04, 2009, 05:55:38 AM
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That pejorative statement contributed little to nothing to the conversation.

Except for the fact that in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, all the castles of flowery language that you're building have as much validity as childhood fairy stories.

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If you're going to contribute information, contribute something that is discussable, non-argumentative, and concise in presentation.

I agree-- contribute something that's discussable.  IE, is founded on rational evidence.  Nothing you've said has any meaning whatsoever.  Concise in presentation?  How can I be more concise than I've been?  Look at the pages and pages of bullshit that's been spewed here.

Argumentative?  The discussion hasn't begun yet and it can't until you bring something substantial to the table.  Where's the beef?

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We need new symbols that allow us to move forward, not backward in achievement.

We need religion like we need a hole in the head.  Science and reason are moving us forward just fine.

In the absence of foundational evidence you have nothing more than vapor.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 04, 2009, 06:06:01 AM
Quote
That pejorative statement contributed little to nothing to the conversation.

Except for the fact that in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, all the castles of flowery language that you're building have as much validity as childhood fairy stories.

Quote
If you're going to contribute information, contribute something that is discussable, non-argumentative, and concise in presentation.

I agree-- contribute something that's discussable.  IE, is founded on rational evidence.  Nothing you've said has any meaning whatsoever.  Concise in presentation?  How can I be more concise than I've been?  Look at the pages and pages of bullshit that's been spewed here.

Argumentative?  The discussion hasn't begun yet and it can't until you bring something substantial to the table.  Where's the beef?

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We need new symbols that allow us to move forward, not backward in achievement.

We need religion like we need a hole in the head.  Science and reason are moving us forward just fine.

In the absence of foundational evidence you have nothing more than vapor.

Nifty, comparing a thought process to a hole in the head is definitely substantial. Listen, we can play the passive-aggressive game all day or we can build a discussion that is, as you so aptly put, substantial. The largest fallacy in your argument is that I'm not religious, nor associate myself with a religious symbol or viewpoint, in the least. Not one bit. I'm defending what comes to the results I want, I don't necessarily care about the names. The results I want are great achievements, testaments to culture and people that are long-lasting and strengthen a community, a nation, a society. I definitely feel that those who push themselves to discover the mechanics of reality contribute something to this. Creators are often the most heroic of people. However, you're doing nothing other than kicking a dead horse, and thus far doing a good job of making yourself appear like you simply wish to assert yourself as dominant to religious people for your apparent superiority via what symbols you associate yourself with. I care more for physical reactions and experiences than symbols, and no that doesn't mean I think God shaped man in his own image, because I'm not a Christian, or a Bhuddist, or anything of the sort. It means that I'm going to find something positive if it comes to the physical reaction I find worthy. If a Christian organization brings together a community to better themselves, I'm all for it, and I lived in a community where it had done such. Remember, I said you're doing a good job of making yourself appear as if you only wish to assert your superiority. If your intention is different than it is unknown, because you have yet to bring forth a feasible topic of discussion other than "Religion is a fairy tale". I figured out that there wasn't an old man in the sky, and farther still no inherent meaning to existence a long time ago. Have anything new to tell me about it?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 04, 2009, 07:55:55 AM
Quote from: Galvanized
- Religion today is external symbolism, but in the past was more similar to poetry and art. We know a melody isn't true, but do we refuse to listen to music because it isn't fact? Early religion was an attempt to transpose ideas and ways of thought that lead people towards their goals as a nation and a culture, and was infected with thinking that more so lent itself to justification when control via the crowd became the norm.

-However, clinging to such a perception is an anachronism ill-fitted to the mindset of the modern man, and thus is often time met with derision by those who feel that they have moved beyond a religious viewpoint. We need new symbols that allow us to move forward, not backward in achievement.

My recommendation: Let's realize what's positive about spiritual mindsets and transpose them into a set of symbols that is pertinent to the environment in which we find ourselves today, so that we can effect change.

I agree with all of this.  I have far too many thoughts about this than I can be bothered to post here, but I'll try to make as many of the important ones as I can.

I think it is not so important to decide what symbols we should use, as they tend to emerge naturally in any given situation, as much as it is to understand the distinction between the symbolic and the factual.  Far too often, I find the artistically minded attempting to make empirical/factual claims about reality out of their own imagination.  And scientists are very often left with the burden of presenting their data poetically.  People need to understand their place in life.  I'm overwhelmingly left-brained, so my natural inclinations lead me to the sciences, and I leave art to the people I perceive to be the experts.  However, I must add that I think this divide and dissonance between the scientist and artist is mostly the fault of the artist.  This may simply be my bias showing, but it seems that artists have mostly "sold out."  They are no longer striving to reveal the beauty in the world, instead having consigned to less noble endeavors.  Science, on the other hand, despite being somewhat politicized, has mostly stayed true to itself.  I'm not sure what can be done to heal this divide.  The more I examine the situation, the more complicated it becomes.  My temporary solution, like my scientists, has been to simply keep my artistic/spiritual thoughts private and internal.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 04, 2009, 08:16:01 AM

Where's the proof?
...
Science and reason are moving us forward just fine.


Before we go any further, I think we should see some solid evidence that the scientific method leads us to a better understanding of reality. Or should we just accept that as a fact at face value?

Or, even when you see something with your own eyes, how do you know objectively that you even saw it? You cannot prove that you're actually reading this, but you believe you are anyway? Ridiculous!

Furthermore, I think you would then need to prove that the direction that science and reason (science and reason alone) are moving us in, which have vaguely referred to as "forward", is something desirable.

I'm sorry if that sounds shitty, but you're insisting we throw out thousands of years of life-fulfilling practices for... what exactly? And then you have to show (prove) that what we're getting is better than what we had. The burden of proof is on the one that insists we change. It would take more work to change people's minds than to do nothing and let them believe what they want.

Note that I am not suggesting that we embrace theistic belief, just that we value something, even though any kind of value system is utterly irrational, including valuing science and reason or valuing the accomplishment one gets by succeeding in them. A couple of posters mentioned that medical and computer science are some things that pure reason is responsible for, but why do those matter? How could you prove they matter? Even as I type on a computer and remember having undergone medical procedures that had their intended effects, I cannot prove objectively that these things are worth doing.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 04, 2009, 10:00:43 AM
That depends on what you mean by progress.  I certain believe in progress in the colloquial sense.  However, if you're talking about progress in the sense of the leftist "religion", then I don't know.  I think the world is constantly changing and that these changes can be for the better or worse.  I think we should find what works best and continue to do it, unless a better way is discovered.  One could argue that this constitutes progress.

In terms or awareness of reality, that is something I value highly (perhaps my highest value).  It's not my only value, and I certainly don't think science is "magic" (i.e. it's the one and only solution to all of our problems).  However, I have yet to find an area of human interest that could not benefit from science.  Also, if you can't see the positive contributions that science has had for society, then you must be actively blinding yourself from them; they're everywhere.  Hint: the medical community would be a good place to start.



Science and reason are moving us forward just fine.


You should believe then in cultural backwardness, determined by the absence of technology.

How do you determine such backwardness? Life expectancy? Kilo calories in diet? Scholarship?  Per capita income?

All these are quantifiable and dependent of technology. Everything else is as abstract, non-quantifiable as philosophy and metaphysics.

I'm not disqualifying science as a tool, again, such quality of life standards are good, however relying purely on them doesn't constitutes an improvement. (examples, Japan, America)

We shouldn't confuse reasoning with rationalism, this is: Science is self-referential, it produces more science, although it affects another areas of knowledge, but gets affected by another self-referred areas.

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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Conservationist on August 04, 2009, 10:19:51 AM
IDo you, honestly, believe in progress?  If so, how do you objectively  define progress? Is progress the awareness of reality?

Progress is doing things the human way. It has nothing to do with reality. It's what we want.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 04, 2009, 10:44:32 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Conservationist on August 04, 2009, 12:10:22 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 04, 2009, 02:21:28 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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 04, 2009, 02:57:21 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 04, 2009, 03:59:12 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. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 04, 2009, 04:50:22 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 Dřd 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 Übermenschen, 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."
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 04, 2009, 06:13:41 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 04, 2009, 06:35:58 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: death metal black metal on August 04, 2009, 09:44:15 PM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Heydrich on August 04, 2009, 10:22:58 PM
^

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?

Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dunkeldood on August 04, 2009, 10:24:15 PM
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.)
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 05, 2009, 03:04:17 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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 05, 2009, 08:32:54 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 05, 2009, 09:01:23 AM
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.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 05, 2009, 09:26:09 AM

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?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 05, 2009, 02:54:32 PM
i appreciate that the focus is being moved back to the the original post.  since we're talking about religion in modern America, i think it's illuminating to study the modern American example of religion, especially for the theists who believe that we shouldn't leave god behind, but rearrange some symbols.

for those who argue the value of theistic belief, i'm sure that whatever works for you is just fine, but from what i can gather your beliefs and value system still do not coincide with the majority of the god-fearing species.  in fact, your beliefs as stated are so personal and esoteric that they can't be associated with modern american religion as a whole.  to stay true to the original post, the basis of this discussion would have to be about the everyman's religion, in the mainstream world; the "opiate of the masses."

for those who believe in science: take heed of what Conservationist said, that progress is simply "doing what we want."  it's possible that science has created as many problems for modern americans as religion.  some examples: 1) cheap industrialized food leads to obesity and diabetes, 2) cheap oil leads to inefficient vehicles, 3) prevalence of computers leads to isolation and dependence, 4) longer life spans leads to increased health care costs, which for many equates to loss of coverage.  so of course, science is a tool, it doesn't have all the answers, and sometimes it creates problems when used to solve others.

i still lean to science, if only because it evolves and is tested in theory and application against the demands of reality, as opposed to religion, which is by nature resistant to adaptation and change. 

again, if belief in supernatural stuff works for you, that's great, but let's not forget that in america, kids in public school are taught that creationism is a scientific theory of equal value to evolution, or that people will believe that a political candidate is the Antichrist, or that some support our military backing of Israel in anticipation of the Apocalypse, or that some parents will deny their children necessary medical procedures to stay in line with their religious beliefs.  you can have your symbols and your metaphysics, but this is the american religion i'm familiar with.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 06, 2009, 07:58:46 AM
to stay true to the original post, the basis of this discussion would have to be about the everyman's religion, in the mainstream world; the "opiate of the masses."

you're right.  one thing I noticed, and I'm pretty sure Nietzsche mentions something along these same lines, is that in the New Testament (which I would consider the everyman religion in today's America), God, THE FATHER, is hardly even there.  It's all about Jesus, the son.  I'm not sure where to go from here, but basically, that always struck me as odd and, personally, unsettling.  I was a huge fan of the Greek myths as a very young kid (and still am), and maybe that's the explanation, but I always associated more strongly with God IN THE SKY.  It kind of degrades God to have to become a human.

let's not forget that in america, kids in public school are taught that creationism is a scientific theory of equal value to evolution, or that people will believe that a political candidate is the Antichrist, or that some support our military backing of Israel in anticipation of the Apocalypse, or that some parents will deny their children necessary medical procedures to stay in line with their religious beliefs.  you can have your symbols and your metaphysics, but this is the american religion i'm familiar with.

Is this REALLY the norm, though?  despite what it might look like from what I said in this thread, I am an anti-christian, I don't believe, literally, in God, I don't believe in Heaven, I don't believe in sin, so I'm not trying to defend Christianity, here, but in Wisconsin/Upper Midwest this just doesn't seem like the norm, to me.  not even close, in fact - we laugh at shit like that.  I'm not denying it's out there, and whether it's the norm or not, it's STILL a problem, I agree with you there, but I don't think this is the religion of the everyman.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 06, 2009, 10:55:57 AM
Quote from: Jim Necroslaughter
Is this REALLY the norm, though?

That depends a great deal on where you live.  Also, studies do indicate that Americans are very illiterate when it comes to science.  Less than 50% of Americans accept the theory of evolution, and routinely a majority of Americans will fail simple scientific questions like, "True or False?  The Earth revolves around the Sun and takes one year to do so."
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dead_Soul on August 06, 2009, 05:18:23 PM

That depends a great deal on where you live.  Also, studies do indicate that Americans are very illiterate when it comes to science.  Less than 50% of Americans accept the theory of evolution, and routinely a majority of Americans will fail simple scientific questions like, "True or False?  The Earth revolves around the Sun and takes one year to do so."
I live smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, and I've rarely encountered ignorance on that scale.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 05:39:38 PM
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 must object: first of all, some perspective: what you call the "scientific method" is a materialistic method; the (good, true) ancients never cared for it because they knew that quality is more important than quantity. A people that focus too much on quantity will lose sight of quality. From the viewpoint of quality, man is the vicegerent of God on earth. Man's relative position in space is unimportant compared to that.

From Enlightenment to Post-Modernism, it has been en vogue to think of the ancients as lesser evolved men, basically as children, who allegedly used anthropomorphized imaginary Gods to explain natural phenomena. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and some more or less recent authors have attacked this view: not only clerics, but also independent thinkers such as Julius Evola, who has been mention here already.
While it is hugely popular to think of the middle ages as "dark ages", I always thought metalheads shared a common and healthy suspicion against all too popular concepts. Here too, anti-traditional forces designed a "dark" image of the past to further their own cause.

Next: you say that God were the invention of man, and this is what many here think and why they don't understand why some so fiercely defend the idea that God is in fact more important than man. God has many names, but one could be: Supreme Reality. Reality is more important than man, because it includes him, and many here would probably agree to that. And this is just not a question of individual preference.

Quote
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 Dřd is about this very issue:

Ragnarök/Balders Död is just yet another version of the doctrine of Cosmic Cycles. It's so obvious!

Quote
Without irrational, unfounded, metaphysical meaning (Baldr) in my life, I would find myself in a state of permanent existential crisis

You have your notions confused. Metaphysics is not irrational or unfounded. Again, anti-traditional forces have diffused this error. If it were, I (and we all, I assure you) wouldn't debate on this forum...

Quote
addendum: Valuing rationality and truth is irrational and has no logical or scientific basis.

Valuing truth is the sanest and wisest thing a man can do. All relativists refute themselves. Plato recommends us to teach our children: that they value truth above all, because it is the highest good. Vincit Omnia Veritas!
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 06, 2009, 06:05:07 PM
Quote from: Dead_Soul
I live smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, and I've rarely encountered ignorance on that scale.

My numbers were actually a bit off.  Here's an article (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html?_r=1&ex=1183780800&en=e3760aa7d1b5022a&ei=5070) related to the subject.  It's only 20% of Americans who think the sun goes around the earth.  But the numbers on evolution are right.

Quote from: nous
I must object: first of all, some perspective: what you call the "scientific method" is a materialistic method; the (good, true) ancients never cared for it because they knew that quality is more important than quantity. A people that focus too much on quantity will lose sight of quality. From the viewpoint of quality, man is the vicegerent of God on earth. Man's relative position in space is unimportant compared to that.

Could you elaborate more on what you mean by quality over quantity?  What specifically are you referring to, and how are scientific discoveries not quality?  Also, what exactly is "God" and how do you know so much about him?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 06:20:25 PM
It's curious, our approach to what our new "religion" or philosophy our civilization should adopt. Do you think that the principles and religions symbols other culture's adopted were decided around a conference table? Or did they just evolve over time? There are apparent contradictions in the bible, ironic because it was more likely to have been edited by an institution than the Nordic myths, are there similar issues with other sacred texts?

I'd have to imagine that a cohesive philosophy or values system that is agreed upon would be more effective than one that is pasted together over the centuries, but how do you tell people: "All that stuff you used to believe [both the symbols and the principles] was wrong, believe this instead." Especially if they couldn't understand the justification.

One more thing to think about: Which would be harder, convincing someone that there isn't a god in the clouds watching over them or that a value of theirs (like equality) is false? My intuition tells me the first, since the theist's entire perspective on life would be based on the existence of such a god and the fact that he said to live a certain way. But, in my observation, it's the former. Word's getting out that god (a personified, sits-on-a-throne-in-the-sky God) doesn't exist, but a principle like equality persists. This is strange, because the case against god is a lack of supporting evidence, but the case against equality seems more substantial (it's disprovable).

I must object: first of all, some perspective: what you call the "scientific method" is a materialistic method; the (good, true) ancients never cared for it because they knew that quality is more important than quantity. A people that focus too much on quantity will lose sight of quality. From the viewpoint of quality, man is the vicegerent of God on earth. Man's relative position in space is unimportant compared to that...
...

I appreciate the response, nous, and I'd have to say that I actually agree with you and most points, either you are misinterpreting me or I didn't pay much attention to the details of my writing - terminology and phrasing. The perspective you're offering me is one I already have.

- I called them the "dark ages" because that's what they commonly called, not because I think of them that way.

- The personified Christian God (or whatever religion)  is an invention of man, even if the higher purpose or principles he represents are not, and are not just arbitrary.

- I don't think the ancients were lesser evolved, but I wonder how many were still theistic followers (the less intelligent of the bunch, just like today). The thing about science vs. religion was an attempted explanation of how our society came to be post-modern and valueless. (The church was proven wrong: about existence of god, flatness of the earth -> people don't believe other things the church teaches, things that actually matter: principles and values). This kind of conclusion is like the thinking of a teenager who struggles to help grandpa use a computer, and then assumes he's completely incompetent and doesn't know anything about life.

- I understand some values make more sense than others, but I was trying to argue against a poster who claimed it was possible to live a fulfilling, meaningful life with only science and reason. A third poster mentioned that the satisfaction that people who are supposedly purely rational get from their work depends on valuing the pursuit of scientific facts, and the value of the truth cannot be proven since all value is perceived (I thought this was the cornerstone of nihilism, would I be wrong?). So I agree it's saner to value some things over others, but value cannot be proven with reason alone, even the valuing of reason. See reply #82 where someone caught on to this.

^ So I'd say any form of metaphysical or qualitative analysis would be considered unscientific because they are nonobjective because they reside in the human mind.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 06:33:10 PM
Also, what exactly is "God" and how do you know so much about him?

The term "God" has been used two different ways here and we haven't always specified which one:
- A personified entity who listens to your prayers and watches you while you masturbate.
- A figurative usage which is an embodiment of the physical laws of nature and/or the higher principles that the person using it believes in. Some examples of higher principles: (loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, self-denial, responsibility, health and strength).

^ some of those are more earthly (health and strength), and more directly related to the need to survive, so they're not all Higher Principles, but long-term necessities.

I doubt anyone here is actually a believer in the first kind and when promoting the belief of the first kind, it is only for the masses who can't understand the principles themselves, so we just tell them: "God said so."

Before you get upset that someone insists we believe a lie, consider they aren't talking about you, but the masses of people, who can't comprehend the truth (as discussed in the Schopenhauer link).
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 06:55:22 PM
Quote
A figurative usage which is an embodiment of the physical laws of nature and/or the higher principles that the person using it believes in. Some examples of higher principles: (loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, self-denial, responsibility, health and strength).

Why have the lie at all?  Why not just value the higher principles instead of the intermediary lie?

Are you people who need to be lied to?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 06:57:15 PM
Could you elaborate more on what you mean by quality over quantity?  What specifically are you referring to, and how are scientific discoveries not quality?  Also, what exactly is "God" and how do you know so much about him?

With pleasure. Beings and things are a combination of quality and quantity. Quantity is number, quality is the attributes of beings and things, their essence. Without such attributes they would be indistinguishable from another.

The basic idea behind a qualitative science is that true qualities don't change; they're exempt from becoming, and thus, exempt from discovery (if in this sense it be understood as a discovery of something that hasn't been before). On a per-human basis, as a personal evolution, wisdom can be learned (Plato calls it 'remembered', though), but the eternal quality cannot "come into being"; it is always, even when no one is looking.
It is not easy to even acquire a notion of what God is, because, if it were, you wouldn't be asking, would you? Etymologically, "God" simply means "the invoked" (thing or being). In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, God is "something than which nothing greater can be thought", and yet another notion is "Infinity" or "Universal Possibility".
I don't know much about God, but what helped me immensely was this book (http://books.google.com/books?id=BB5wS9TIo4UC&lpg=PP1&dq=multiple%20states%20of%20the%20being), because it helped me understand what Infinity is not, and this may as well be the biggest discovery of my life.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 07:12:06 PM
Sorry, JewBob, looks like I somehow lost sight of the main point of your question. I should have added that preoccupations concerned with the quantitative "side" of things tend to ignore the qualitative "side" on which a science should ideally be based upon--Aristotle emphasizes that whenever he defines science--and thus fulfill the role of the degenerating and confusory force which rises at the end of a Cosmic Cycle. Every healthy man looking for truth in the fullest sense of the word will look for a constant, even universal truth in his life, not ultimately for something which could be right today and wrong tomorrow.

An analogy I like:
If you see Socrates sitting on a chair right before you, you know that, but if you turn around and leave the room, you cannot be sure whether he is still sitting, and thus your knowledge was a changing one--this is basically modern "science".
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 07:26:16 PM
^ So I'd say any form of metaphysical or qualitative analysis would be considered unscientific because they are nonobjective because they reside in the human mind.

Just a thought; what if the ideas were objective, only that not everyone could understand them? This, for example, is something that Kant missed: reason is only the power of deduction; true knowledge, however, is essentially different from deduction in that it defines what we truly are. We have to be careful here to not call an analysis unscientific just because not everyone can understand it.

And we're talking of ideas that simply "are"; they don't care if there's a human mind which thinks them.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 07:27:58 PM
Quote
Every healthy man looking for truth in the fullest sense of the word will look for a constant, even universal truth in his life, not ultimately for something which could be right today and wrong tomorrow.

Except that this is the way learning works.  There's a constant revision process as ideas are honed and refined.

Apparently you're looking for the rural certitude of the unchanging lie.

Am I really seeing someone trying to change science into religion?

No amount of convoluted shucking and jiving will obscure the fact that you don't have any proof for your bizarre propositions.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 07:42:10 PM

Except that this is the way learning works.  There's a constant revision process as ideas are honed and refined.
No amount of convoluted shucking and jiving will obscure the fact that you don't have any proof for your bizarre propositions.

Some believe learning worked like that, but there is opinion, and then there is knowledge. Have you read Plato's Meno? It deals with remembering, anamnesis, and is fun to read.
You will find the proof in yourself, if you look for it, but I can't serve it up to you on a plate. It's your salvation, not mine.

PS. You will also find it in sacred text, but this requires, as I said, your genuine interest.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 07:45:04 PM
Quote
A figurative usage which is an embodiment of the physical laws of nature and/or the higher principles that the person using it believes in. Some examples of higher principles: (loyalty, wisdom, courage, love, discipline, honesty, intelligence, beauty, self-denial, responsibility, health and strength).
Why have the lie at all?  Why not just value the higher principles instead of the intermediary lie?

(Of course I don't want to be lied to, and on top of that, I don't think anyone starts believing in a literal god once they've been shown that the concept doesn't make any sense. The OP's question was what to do now that god is dead, implying that we will not be able to return to theistic religions)

The figurative usage is the version that is not a lie. That's something you need to understand. In this thread, when someone says "God", they are not referring to a mythical being, just a metaphor - it's usage is a shorthand for saying the things it represents, so we don't have to list them - the laws being the hand of god and the principles being the godly way. I don't think anyone in this thread is a theist or is advocating theism for anyone else in the thread. But you keep responding to posts as though they are. They are not.

As for the mythology of a religion (What I think you mean when you say "the lie"), refer to the Schopenhauer dialogue on religion posted earlier.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/schopenhauer/arthur/religion/chapter1.html

Quote from: Schopenhauer
You’ve no notion how stupid most people are.

Related thread:
http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,6690.0.html

Do you think most people have the intelligence and disciple to do things they don't want or avoid doing things they do want, just because it makes sense? I'm not sure they are. Those are the people who need the lie.

The lie doesn't even need to be a god. A few posts up, I noticed that concepts like freedom and equality are kind of like the new gods, and modern people strive to bring those into existence. Maybe a new religion would work like this, just with better (at least workable) concepts.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 07:52:16 PM
Quote
Except that this is the way learning works.  There's a constant revision process as ideas are honed and refined.

Yours is the individual fallacy. You look at the individual, and you see how the individual learns, and you see a process, as notions are honed and refined.
Only that you transfer this picture to reality as a whole, and imagine that there, too, ideas were honed and refined. This is your error.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 07:56:35 PM
Quote
Only that you transfer this picture to reality as a whole, and imagine that there, too, ideas were honed and refined. This is your error.

Except that what I described is the scientific method.  In the real world, ideas are honed and refined.  At least by rational people.

You've done nothing more here than offer vague pronouncements.  Of course, in the absence of any evidence to support your bizarre claims, you have no alternative.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 08:01:59 PM
Just a thought; what if the ideas were objective, only that not everyone could understand them?
...
And we're talking of ideas that simply "are"; they don't care if there's a human mind which thinks them.

I'm aware of the possibility that just because I don't understand something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or doesn't work. More people should keep this in mind, it is the source of much humility.

something i just noticed from your other posts: are you referring to factual information? (that the earth is round and always was round, even when people weren't aware of it)

This is more of an opinion, but I tend think that ideas and qualities exist only inside the human mind (some of them might exist in the minds of other animals, subconsciously, i don't know), since they don't have a physical presence (they are not objective, I am claiming). If you claim any ideas exist outside of someone thinking them or knowing of them, then you might have to say that all ideas that ever existed or ever could exist already do and always have. It is my opinion that it  doesn't actually matter - ideas that no one knows of are of no use.

Some ideas (personally and societal values and principles) are very sensible and strong and thus may seem eternal in a sense, as they apply to so many situations. Unless you were referring to a different kind of idea.

It might be important, as the breadth of the conversation grows, to state how each point relates back to the OP.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 08:09:51 PM
Of course, in the absence of any evidence to support your bizarre claims, you have no alternative.

Just out of curiosity - what do you think he's claiming that is unproven? You could try to get him to explain before just saying "I don't understand so you're wrong"

nous: You said that ideas might just exist without people understanding them or having discovered yet. And you've said that there are universal truths, so I assume that once one has found these universal truths, they are not subject to reason, or do they not need to tested? You said there was a way to overcome the trail-and-error method of learning, is this by interpreting these ideas from the ancients? How do you know they are correct?

Quote
Yours is the individual fallacy. You look at the individual, and you see how the individual learns, and you see a process, as notions are honed and refined.
Only that you transfer this picture to reality as a whole, and imagine that there, too, ideas were honed and refined. This is your error.

Even if ideas are eternal, our discovery of them would be trial and error. Where else do ideas come from unless we're just making them up?

(please no more snide comments from RR - let's try to understand what the man is saying)
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 08:29:36 PM
He's been quite forthcoming on his ideas-- the volume of text he's produced compensates for the turgidity of the writing, so you should be able to understand him if you read through it carefully.

By bizarre claims, I'm referring to the bizarre claims made by all religionists.  Nous appears to be of the school that believes that religion and "spirituality" are things that you try on like shoes until you find one which suits you.

Some people like lies more than others.  Personally, I think religion is an absolutely pernicious virus. 

Religion in modern america is a bunch of tin shed Pentecostals talking in tongues, hating everyone and fearing their own shadows.

In the absence of any evidence, they have no alternative.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 08:35:49 PM
By bizarre claims, I'm referring to the bizarre claims made by all religionists.  Nous appears to be of the school that believes that religion and "spirituality" are things that you try on like shoes until you find one which suits you.

Some people like lies more than others.  Personally, I think religion is an absolutely pernicious virus. 

Well, getting back to the original question - what to replace religion with? Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible? (I'm trying to avoid morally-loaded terms like "right" and "wrong" and "do the right thing")

Note that I define religion as a body of values, and principles (one kind of "beliefs") and a mythology to illustrate and present them (another kind of "belief")
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 08:44:21 PM
By bizarre claims, I'm referring to the bizarre claims made by all religionists.  Nous appears to be of the school that believes that religion and "spirituality" are things that you try on like shoes until you find one which suits you.

Some people like lies more than others.  Personally, I think religion is an absolutely pernicious virus. 

Well, getting back to the original question - what to replace religion with? Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible? (I'm trying to avoid morally-loaded terms like "right" and "wrong" and "do the right thing")

Note that I define religion as a body of values, and principles (one kind of "beliefs") and a mythology to illustrate and present them (another kind of "belief") (also includes ritual practices of some kind)
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: nous on August 06, 2009, 08:46:35 PM
nous: You said that ideas might just exist without people understanding them or having discovered yet. And you've said that there are universal truths, so I assume that once one has found these universal truths, they are not subject to reason, or do they not need to tested? You said there was a way to overcome the trail-and-error method of learning, is this by interpreting these ideas from the ancients? How do you know they are correct?

Even if ideas are eternal, our discovery of them would be trial and error. Where else do ideas come from unless we're just making them up?

We're talking about knowledge. How are you going to test knowledge? You either know, or you don't. You can't expect to see the idea anywhere in this world, because it is not physical. Of course, you have the phenomena which derive from the idea; for example, a flower is beautiful because it shares in the idea of beauty. But to acknowledge that the five senses can't perceive the idea does not imply that sensory perception were not an intermediary step from ignorance to knowledge.

Of course it is some kind of trial and error for the individual, as long as the knowledge is not realized. The steps are quite simple, actually. There are ideas, which are eternal, and there are people on earth, most of whom only have opinions, some even right opinions; but some have knowledge, and this knowledge, being eternal, once remembered (=the identity of idea and knower restored), doesn't leave the soul.

PS. I have to correct myself somewhat. "Trial and error" describes the state of having opinions, not having knowledge. Every act that is based on opinion is trial and error. And all effort to remember ideas by physical observation or experiment is trial and error. But this is the wrong method to obtain lasting knowledge, and it is not the "scientific method", if the true etymological sense of the word "science" be considered, but the "modern pseudo-scientific method". When it comes to knowledge, there are of course teachers, and teachings, without which we wouldn't even know in which direction to look for it. Again, I can recommend Plato's Meno for a better description of the learning/remembering process. I'm sorry, but for possible further replies you will have to wait a day or two. I have enjoyed trying to answer your questions--

Quote from: Plato, Letter 7
For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted; fourth, there is the knowledge itself, and, as fifth, we must count the thing itself which is known and truly exists. The first is the name, the second the definition, the third the image, and the fourth the knowledge. If you wish to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance, and so understand them in the case of all. A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered. The second thing belonging to it is its definition, made up names and verbal forms. For that which has the name “round,” “annular,” or, “circle,” might be defined as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. Third, comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe and broken up — none of which things can happen to the circle itself—to which the other things mentioned have reference; for it is something of a different order from them. Fourth, comes knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls—from which it is clear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are farther distant. (more (http://www.logoslibrary.org/plato/letters/07.html))
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 08:47:47 PM
Quote
what to replace religion with?

That's like saying "So and so believes he's Napoleon.  What to replace that belief with?"

It's also the utilitarian fallacy.  We don't accept ideas because of their usefulness.  We accept them because of their veracity.  What you're suggesting is that it's just fine to lie on a massive, institutional level as long as it serves some purpose.

You're also presupposing that it would leave some massive void.  The truth is, most other industrialized societies are getting less and less religious.  It's withering away to nothing in many countries.  These countries have lower crime rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, lower drug usage rates, higher incomes and higher education than places where religion is ranked as important.

Quote
Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible?

Wait.

Did someone really just insinuate that religion makes people behave sensibly?  I couldn't possibly be understanding you correctly.

If I seem snide it's because I'm horrified.

It's time to let go of the fairy tales and for the human race to grow up.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 09:10:21 PM
We don't accept ideas because of their usefulness.  We accept them because of their veracity.

Who's "we"? Why accept an idea that is of no use? Which leads me to...

Quote
What you're suggesting is that it's just fine to lie on a massive, institutional level as long as it serves some purpose.

Yes.
What's the problem?

Quote
Wait.
Did someone really just insinuate that religion makes people behave sensibly?  I couldn't possibly be understanding you correctly.

You talk like religions institutions never had any purpose. They may have become misinterpreted and obsolete but did people not survive, construct great civilizations, create works of art and development refined culture over the past... forever? They were doing so under the guide of religious institutions. I know you look in a church and see people kneeling and whispering and it looks weird as hell, but those wacky beliefs that also maintains order. So if it ever becomes necessary to limit human population, maybe preachers could just start saying "God said to have fewer kids" and they'll start doing it. You should know that people really are that dumb on the large scale.

Quote
The truth is, most other industrialized societies are getting less and less religious.  It's withering away to nothing in many countries.  These countries have lower crime rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, lower drug usage rates, higher incomes and higher education than places where religion is ranked as important.

It does make some sense. Smarter people are more likely to stay away from religion and avoid the behaviors listed.

Quote
It's time to let go of the fairy tales and for the human race to grow up.

It will if it survives. You can't just take a little kid, put him behind the wheel of a car and tell him to grow up. Individual people might seem pretty smart when you talk to them, but a large group of people is just like any other large group of animals. You don't keep them in a cage and they consume everything (as observed) and fornicate everywhere (as observed). People aren't any smarter than they used to be, they just have different ideas in their heads.

Take some time to think about what the real purpose of religion was. It wasn't to explain the world to people. It was to propagate a values system that evolved over time and proved itself. It's slow to change, yes. But it was far-reaching into history to see what works. How is this process going to be replaced. When someone says religion, you think they are referring to mythology, but it's the underlying concepts that are important. How do we impress these concepts into future generations. I don't think a god is going to work anymore. Do you have any suggestions?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 06, 2009, 09:12:27 PM
Quote
what to replace religion with?

That's like saying "So and so believes he's Napoleon.  What to replace that belief with?"

It's also the utilitarian fallacy.  We don't accept ideas because of their usefulness.  We accept them because of their veracity.  What you're suggesting is that it's just fine to lie on a massive, institutional level as long as it serves some purpose.

You're also presupposing that it would leave some massive void.  The truth is, most other industrialized societies are getting less and less religious.  It's withering away to nothing in many countries.  These countries have lower crime rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower abortion rates, lower drug usage rates, higher incomes and higher education than places where religion is ranked as important.

Quote
Do you think people will behave sensibly because it is sensible?

Wait.

Did someone really just insinuate that religion makes people behave sensibly?  I couldn't possibly be understanding you correctly.

If I seem snide it's because I'm horrified.

It's time to let go of the fairy tales and for the human race to grow up.

Honestly, this thread is a massive fail. The actual subject being discussed is constantly veered off for what appears to be a childish debate between two children trying to pit two hilarious icons against each other: Science and God. Reality is reality, I vote for sacralizing that. Since we've failed at being able to civilly bisect and compare ideas from differing perspectives, can we either place the discussion back on track, or perhaps just give up?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 09:18:43 PM
Quote
Who's "we"? Why accept an idea that is of no use?

"We" is rational humans.  As for the second, that's my question exactly, especially if the idea isn't true.

Quote
Yes.
What's the problem?

Some people value the truth intrinsically.  If you're advocating brainwashing on a massive scale I have to question whether you've thought about the matter thoroughly.  Religious dogma damages peoples' logical ability irreparably.

Quote
You talk like religions institutions never had any purpose. They may have become misinterpreted and obsolete but did people not survive, construct great civilizations, create works of art and development refined culture over the past... forever? They were doing so under the guide of religious institutions. I know you look in a church and see people kneeling and whispering and it looks weird as hell, but those wacky beliefs that also maintains order. So if it ever becomes necessary to limit human population, maybe preachers could just start saying "God said to have fewer kids" and they'll start doing it. You should know that people really are that dumb on the large scale.

Religious institutions may have had a purpose a thousand years ago.  They fulfilled many of the functions that government and other institutions do now.  Their purpose is now redundant and in fact damaging.

You appear to be advocating lying to large numbers of people as a social control mechanism.  I find that idea repugnant.

Quote
I don't think a god is going to work anymore. Do you have any suggestions?

I'm big on education.

Why "sacralize" anything?  Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy to do so?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 09:27:09 PM
Honestly, this thread is a massive fail. The actual subject being discussed is constantly veered off for what appears to be a childish debate between two children trying to pit two hilarious icons against each other: Science and God. Reality is reality, I vote for sacralizing that. Since we've failed at being able to civilly bisect and compare ideas from differing perspectives, can we either place the discussion back on track, or perhaps just give up?

You could delete all the replies and I don't think anything of value would be lost. But until then...

Why do people keep thinking I support theism? I was trying to point out that religions served a purpose in the past - trying to tie what we were talking about back to the original question - now that god is dead, how to organize society? I agree with the spirit of sacralizing reality, or more symbolically, nature. I think we need to define this more succinctly. Saying "I worship reality" or "reality is my god" is kind of vague.

Are you referring to objective reality - which one can never fully comprehend - didn't Nietzsche say that objective reality was useless?
And if it's some kind of subjective reality - then we would all be worshiping something different. That's why we need to share a set of values, some more down-to-earth (for survival) and some more abstract (discovery, developing art and culture) so we don't run out of things to do.

Quote from: RedReign
Why "sacralize" anything?  Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy to do so?

Yeah, it kind of does. Anything that you value you sacralize in a sense. You seem to value metal greatly and you are bothered when it is diluted by posers. Does it frustrate you that metal becomes less pure? Are you not holding the concept of metal in an unnaturally high regard. One could say that you are sacralizing it.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 09:37:59 PM
Quote
Are you not holding the concept of metal in an unnaturally high regard. One could say that you are sacralizing it.

This being a metal forum, I have spoken about metal.  I do value it highly but no more than, say, sleep.  In fact, less-- sleep is one of the things I enjoy most in life.

If you can say that you sacralize anything you enjoy, the term becomes diluted and meaningless.

Quote
That's why we need to share a set of values, some more down-to-earth (for survival) and some more abstract (discovery, developing art and culture).

Is there a way we could do this without worshiping the Easter Bunny throughout adulthood?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 06, 2009, 09:47:51 PM
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Are you not holding the concept of metal in an unnaturally high regard. One could say that you are sacralizing it.

This being a metal forum, I have spoken about metal.  I do value it highly but no more than, say, sleep.  In fact, less-- sleep is one of the things I enjoy most in life.

If you can say that you sacralize anything you enjoy, the term becomes diluted and meaningless.

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That's why we need to share a set of values, some more down-to-earth (for survival) and some more abstract (discovery, developing art and culture).

Is there a way we could do this without worshiping the Easter Bunny throughout adulthood?

Certainly. I do so by living, for starters. Beyond that I attempt to devote myself to what I feel will provide a positive impact.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 06, 2009, 09:50:44 PM
Honestly, this thread is a massive fail. The actual subject being discussed is constantly veered off for what appears to be a childish debate between two children trying to pit two hilarious icons against each other: Science and God. Reality is reality, I vote for sacralizing that. Since we've failed at being able to civilly bisect and compare ideas from differing perspectives, can we either place the discussion back on track, or perhaps just give up?

You could delete all the replies and I don't think anything of value would be lost. But until then...

Why do people keep thinking I support theism? I was trying to point out that religions served a purpose in the past - trying to tie what we were talking about back to the original question - now that god is dead, how to organize society? I agree with the spirit of sacralizing reality, or more symbolically, nature. I think we need to define this more succinctly. Saying "I worship reality" or "reality is my god" is kind of vague.

Are you referring to objective reality - which one can never fully comprehend - didn't Nietzsche say that objective reality was useless?
And if it's some kind of subjective reality - then we would all be worshiping something different. That's why we need to share a set of values, some more down-to-earth (for survival) and some more abstract (discovery, developing art and culture) so we don't run out of things to do.

Quote from: RedReign
Why "sacralize" anything?  Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy to do so?

Yeah, it kind of does. Anything that you value you sacralize in a sense. You seem to value metal greatly and you are bothered when it is diluted by posers. Does it frustrate you that metal becomes less pure? Are you not holding the concept of metal in an unnaturally high regard. One could say that you are sacralizing it.

I was not referring to objective reality, but more so the totality of occurrences within the shared physical reality that we all experience, as well as the thought process we use to understand and find value in these experiences and stimuli.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 09:54:15 PM
If you can say that you sacralize anything you enjoy, the term becomes diluted and meaningless.

You're right. The term "sacralize" should be saved for things held in especially high regard. Rhetorically: Do you not value anything more than eating and sleeping? Do you value anything more than your own life? You might call those things sacred.

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That's why we need to share a set of values, some more down-to-earth (for survival) and some more abstract (discovery, developing art and culture).
Is there a way we could do this without worshiping the Easter Bunny throughout adulthood?

I'm sure you could. The question is, could the average man. Do you have that much faith in the average man? We're talking about what to do for society at large, not a bunch of guys on a nihilist forum.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 06, 2009, 10:03:07 PM
I was not referring to objective reality, but more so the totality of occurrences within the shared physical reality that we all experience, as well as the thought process we use to understand and find value in these experiences and stimuli.

What is it then, "co-subjectivity" - Perceptions before the conscious mind processes them?

Assuming peoples senses work about the same, you would need everyone to share thought processes in order to get them to find similar values.

Further, are most people capable of undergoing these processes?

I understand there are individuals who can take the time to look at the natural world, examine it along with what they've learned in the past and from philosophy and come to conclusions, but they are in the minority. What to do for everyone else? Social control mechanisms might sound disturbing, but if a section of our civilization is unwilling or unable to put any kind of thought into their decisions or maintain any kind of discipline (just trowing garbage on the ground), they need to be controlled.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 10:17:02 PM
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Rhetorically: Do you not value anything more than eating and sleeping?

You tell me.  Ever try going a week without either one?

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The question is, could the average man. Do you have that much faith in the average man?

The average IQ is 100.  That's not that stupid. 

Ever heard of the concept of the OODA loop?  It has to do with decision processing, especially in warfare but applicable everywhere. 

Part of it has to do with feeding the enemy false information.  When he operates on the false information, his decision ability and effectiveness become more and more corrupted.

What happens when a person's entire worldview is intentionally falsified?

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We're talking about what to do for society at large, not a bunch of guys on a nihilist forum.

Am I the only one who sees irony in the fact that not only are guys on a nihilist forum apparently arguing in favor of religion, they're doing it out of apparently altruistic motives?

Fuck that.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 06, 2009, 10:42:09 PM
I was not referring to objective reality, but more so the totality of occurrences within the shared physical reality that we all experience, as well as the thought process we use to understand and find value in these experiences and stimuli.
I understand there are individuals who can take the time to look at the natural world, examine it along with what they've learned in the past and from philosophy and come to conclusions, but they are in the minority. What to do for everyone else? Social control mechanisms might sound disturbing, but if a section of our civilization is unwilling or unable to put any kind of thought into their decisions or maintain any kind of discipline (just trowing garbage on the ground), they need to be controlled.

Can't say that I disagree with that.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 10:49:18 PM
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Social control mechanisms might sound disturbing, but if a section of our civilization is unwilling or unable to put any kind of thought into their decisions or maintain any kind of discipline (just trowing garbage on the ground), they need to be controlled.

If what you're saying held water, highly religious areas would have low crime rates.  The reverse is true: murder, rape and other violent crime, drugs and obesity are all higher in the Bible Belt than in other areas of the country and this holds true worldwide.

Thus, if what you're looking for is a way to prevent people from littering, religion is obviously not the answer.

Insanity is the process of continuing the same behavior while expecting different results.

This begs the question of whether the results of keeping people in line (less littering) is what you're really concerned about or whether control itself is what's so attractive to you.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 06, 2009, 10:50:25 PM
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Social control mechanisms might sound disturbing, but if a section of our civilization is unwilling or unable to put any kind of thought into their decisions or maintain any kind of discipline (just trowing garbage on the ground), they need to be controlled.

If what you're saying held water, highly religious areas would have low crime rates.  The reverse is true: murder, rape and other violent crime, drugs and obesity are all higher in the Bible Belt than in other areas of the country and this holds true worldwide.

So if what you're looking for is a way to prevent people from littering, religion is obviously not the answer.

Insanity is the process of continuing the same behavior while expecting different results.

Most definitely, but I do believe that the user you quoted numerous times that he is not, in fact, a theist.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 06, 2009, 10:51:57 PM
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Most definitely, but I do believe that the user you quoted numerous times that he is not, in fact, a theist.

Why don't you point out to me exactly where I claimed that he was?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 07, 2009, 07:21:40 AM
To nous:  Thanks for the clarification.  Looking back, I feel kind of stupid because you were actually being perfectly clear about your position.  Now that I understand your position, I see why we never can agree on anything; you're a gnostic (whereas I am, obviously, agnostic).  You even flat out stated that before:

Quote from: nous
Observation, logic, gnosis: these are different ways of understanding reality.

I don't want to derail this thread any further, so I'll save any discussion of this for some other time.

On topic:  I think AnHero makes a very compelling point about group psychology.  Even incredibly intelligent people, when placed in large groups, will begin acting in very stupid and sheepish ways.  I don't think education can solve this problem, because we can't escape our own biology.  However, massive forms of institutionalized social control seem to have far too many severe unintended consequences.  I can't seem to find a good alternative solution, so I'll just propose eugenics and see if somebody else can come up with some good ideas.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 07, 2009, 08:55:45 AM
However, massive forms of institutionalized social control seem to have far too many severe unintended consequences.  I can't seem to find a good alternative solution, so I'll just propose eugenics and see if somebody else can come up with some good ideas.

I'm aware that the traditional religions have become corrupted and no longer serve any purpose, I'm not so delusional that I think sending people to church will solve our problems. The reason why less religious parts of the country have less crime is because they have less stupidity.

You mention eugenics - do you think smarter people, since they won't follow religion, have a higher capacity for community and world-minded behavior? That is, not only do they foresee the consequences of overpopulation, pollution, cultural dissolution, but will they care? Being smart doesn't automatically make one a better member of society (The Athenians and Romans were smart people), though it does help.

I found it troubling to argue for the value of religion when I too believe it is now valueless. You'd have to admit that it was an effective way to keep people on the same page in terms of morals and values. "Because God said so!" We still have religions of sorts if you look at first-world nations today. Humanism is a "religion" that essentially worships individual human needs and desires. Individualism is sacralized in the west. Even if individual people don't think of it as sacred, as a group, they seem to. It's a mentality that individuals don't seem to hold obsessively, but as a large group, it's almost like a religion. Human rights are the divine principles.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 07, 2009, 11:19:30 AM
Quote from: AnHero
You mention eugenics - do you think smarter people, since they won't follow religion, have a higher capacity for community and world-minded behavior? That is, not only do they foresee the consequences of overpopulation, pollution, cultural dissolution, but will they care?

No.  I should have made myself more clear.  Eugenics does not simply refer to making people smarter, it means to increase the genetic health of a population.  This can take any number of forms.  In the context of this debate, it would mean selecting for individuals who share in the values deemed to be good, or selecting out people who are naturally in opposition to said values (e.g. sociopaths, hedonists, pedophiles, etc.).
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 07, 2009, 01:00:58 PM
I found it troubling to argue for the value of religion when I too believe it is now valueless. You'd have to admit that it was an effective way to keep people on the same page in terms of morals and values. "Because God said so!" We still have religions of sorts if you look at first-world nations today. Humanism is a "religion" that essentially worships individual human needs and desires. Individualism is sacralized in the west. Even if individual people don't think of it as sacred, as a group, they seem to. It's a mentality that individuals don't seem to hold obsessively, but as a large group, it's almost like a religion. Human rights are the divine principles.

Religion comprises all knowledge (therefore, it was the method of acquiring Truth) diverting in a series of statements (logical, natural or social) that had God as  legitimation for the community.

We've been discussing Science as an undivided concept, but what we have been discussing are natural sciences, and their strict application through the scientific method.Their logic, being linear, doesn't translates socially and so it need symbols. I ask you, what exact symbols are the best to resemble the positive truth of natural sciences on a communal scale?

In my opinion, knowledge, both religious or natural, gets dumbed down when applied to the crowd. We've shown examples of both, and  effectively,  this network (ANUS, Corrupt, Amerika) specialize on the latter's degradation.

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what to replace religion with?


Social engineering. Good luck with that.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 07, 2009, 03:17:25 PM
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I found it troubling to argue for the value of religion when I too believe it is now valueless.

So that makes two people who are arguing in favor of something they think is either a lie or is valueless.  How many more are there?

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Humanism is a "religion" that essentially worships individual human needs and desires.

This is, in fact, not the case.  Once again you're playing fast and loose with definitions and diluting terms.  Humanism is a social value, not a religion.

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what to replace religion with?

Well, something that increases violent crime, obesity, rates of drug use and teenage pregnancy.

You're buying the lie that religion is positive.  It remains to be demonstrated that religion is positive in ANY WAY.

Quote from: Octuple
I ask you, what exact symbols are the best to resemble the positive truth of natural sciences on a communal scale?

With proper education, artificial symbolic intermediaries will be unnecessary.  It will be sufficient to talk about genes without having to make up stories about the Gene Fairy.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 07, 2009, 03:55:09 PM
wow, this post just goes on and on.  i suspect nous is a jesuit, trying to "save souls" on this "nihilist" forum.  especially with the "salvation" comment.  most of his posts are stuffed with the well-read claptrap of religious apologists, capable of the mental gymnastics to make themselves believe anything.  it actually takes a spine and sense of integrity to reject "knowledge" that doesn't coincide with the world you perceive, even if it might mean that you "know" a little less.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 07, 2009, 04:11:12 PM
Yes, I smell a definite taint.  Look at his other posts.

Nous, maybe you should take the pederast cult elsewhere.  I hear good things about sunday schools.

Or you could go hang out with Ted Haggard, former head of the largest evangelical group in America.  But make sure you bring Tina.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 07, 2009, 06:07:05 PM
Quote from: Ergriefer
wow, this post just goes on and on.  i suspect nous is a jesuit, trying to "save souls" on this "nihilist" forum.  especially with the "salvation" comment.  most of his posts are stuffed with the well-read claptrap of religious apologists, capable of the mental gymnastics to make themselves believe anything.  it actually takes a spine and sense of integrity to reject "knowledge" that doesn't coincide with the world you perceive, even if it might mean that you "know" a little less.

Nous is definitely some type of Christian apologist (I'm betting my money he's an Ontologist), but I think you're being unnecessarily cynical about his motivations.  He seems generally interested in having constructive dialogue.  I think his fault is he seems to fetishize intuition because of his crazy religious beliefs.  This leads me to believe he makes unnecessary assumptions about the world that cause him to view intellectual pursuits like science as illegitimately constrained, when really science is so tightly constrained for very good reasons.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 07, 2009, 10:47:38 PM
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I think you're being unnecessarily cynical about his motivations.

Unnecessarily cynical about the motivations of a christian?  Is that even possible?

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He seems generally interested in having constructive dialogue.

About the Easter Bunny.  He's unable to offer any proof of any of the bizarre lies and stories, but he blathers on anyway.  That is constructive how, precisely?

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I think his fault is he seems to fetishize intuition because of his crazy religious beliefs.

Right, that's the whole point.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ameera on August 07, 2009, 11:04:19 PM
This post has gotten so out-of-hand. It's not even about anything anymore. It's just a gathering of criticisms of each other's beliefs.
Tolerance, my friends....

I say this should be drawn to an end or taken to personal messages.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 07, 2009, 11:23:05 PM
You're saying we should be tolerant of christians?

Maybe you're in favor of letting religionists spew their lies unchallenged but I'm not going to do that.  If you have an issue with it you're free to avoid reading what I have to say on the subject.

Religion is a pernicious lie.  Its purveyors are mentally ill.  Its apologists are smarmy, mealymouthed sycophants of the worst order.

Someday you will realize that niceness isn't the be-all and end-all.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 07, 2009, 11:31:12 PM
Humanism is a social value, not a religion.

And what is a religion?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Hrafn on August 07, 2009, 11:31:56 PM
You're saying we should be tolerant of christians?

Maybe you're in favor of letting religionists spew their lies unchallenged but I'm not going to do that.  If you have an issue with it you're free to avoid reading what I have to say on the subject.

Religion is a pernicious lie.  Its purveyors are mentally ill.  Its apologists are smarmy, mealymouthed sycophants of the worst order.

Oh my, what a tough guy you are.

Let me know when you have stopped spewing ad hominems and colourful language, and honestly take nous' arguments into consideration. Be careful though, you might accidentally add to the discussion.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 07, 2009, 11:47:54 PM
His argument that the easter bunny exists?

Add to the discussion?  I've invited evidence repeatedly.  None has been provided, only mental masturbation and pseudophilosophical blather. 

This guy is a liar and snake oil salesman.  In the absence of evidence they have nothing but continually attempt to retreat from legitimate discussion into an ivory tower built on bullshit.

I especially loved the part when you typed this on your high technology computer, in your clean house with the plumbing and electricity, with your car outside and a refrigerator full of food:

Quote from: Hrafn
I couldn't think of anything positive to say about modern "civilization".

Let's all return to the days when everyone feared the lies of priesthoods about imaginary gods and devils.  Brilliant.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Hrafn on August 08, 2009, 12:08:50 AM
His argument that the easter bunny exists?

Add to the discussion?  I've invited evidence repeatedly.  None has been provided, only mental masturbation and pseudophilosophical blather. 

This guy is a liar and snake oil salesman.  In the absence of evidence they have nothing but continually attempt to retreat from legitimate discussion into an ivory tower built on bullshit.

Just answer me this please: Do you actually honestly believe that equating the divine to the easter bunny is a sufficient counter-argument to millenia of metaphysical study, philosophy and theology? Do you actually think that with this "argument" you have discovered what Plato, Aquinas, Augustine, Kierkegaard, Eliade and thousands of others in the West, and almost the whole of the East where too dumb to grasp? Or were all of these "liars and snake oil salesmen"?

I am not claiming that all of these (or even a majority) were right. Yet, I suggest that you improve your line of argumentation, if you expect to be taken seriously.

I find it amusing how so-called "anti-modernists" are quick to adopt empiricism and descartian rationalism, the most modernist of all doctrines. Of course, these are the same people who, in a different discussion, start quoting Plato and Aristotle, when it suits their agenda.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 12:15:31 AM
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Just answer me this please: Do you actually honestly believe that equating the divine to the easter bunny is a sufficient counter-argument to millenia of metaphysical study, philosophy and theology?

Ad majorem fallacy.  Not so long ago, most educated people believed the earth was flat.  Yes, I do believe that the Easter Bunny is just as valid as your imaginary character "The Divine."

After all, there's no evidence for either one.

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Do you actually think that with this "argument" you have discovered what Plato, Aquinas, Augustine, Kierkegaard, Eliade and thousands of others in the West, and almost the whole of the East where too dumb to grasp? Or were all of these "liars and snake oil salesmen"?

Where's the evidence for their claims regarding divinity?

It's really very, very simple and straightforward.  If there's no evidence for the claims, don't make the claims.

And if you do make the claims, you have no right to be offended when someone calls bullshit.  Perhaps you'd prefer it sugarcoated somehow.

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I find it amusing how so-called "anti-modernists" are quick to adopt empiricism and descartian rationalism, the most modernist of all doctrines.

You were the one who criticized modernity, not me.

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I suggest that you improve your line of argumentation, if you expect to be taken seriously.

My argument is this:  Where is the evidence?  Once some evidence is provided, we can proceed.  Got some?  Or do you have only pseudointellectual blather?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Heydrich on August 08, 2009, 12:20:43 AM
The reason why less religious parts of the country have less crime is because they have less stupidity.

Stupidity and religion notwithstanding, this statement is almost certainly false. In fact, just the opposite must be true. The least religious regions of the country tend to be large urban/metropolitan areas, which also happen to be the areas possessed of the highest rates of crime by far. The more religious areas, which tend to be the more rural or even suburban are far less crime-ridden on average.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but the unfortunate relationship between religion and stupidity isn't necessarily one of them.  
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 08, 2009, 12:29:39 AM
Yes, I do believe that the Easter Bunny is just as valid as your imaginary character "The Divine." After all, there's no evidence for either one.

You complain about religion being used as a rallying cry for atrocious, repulsive, horrifying acts... Which makes it a serious problem, that must be dealt with SRSLY  >:(
And then you claim it is just as "valid" (whatever that means) as something whose primary realms of influence are greeting cards and confectionery?

You don't seem to understand your own opinions very well - good luck convincing anyone else of them.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 12:35:07 AM
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You don't seem to understand your own opinions very well - good luck convincing anyone else of them.

No, I understand my opinions perfectly well.  I've been doing this for many years, usually from an evolution/creationism standpoint.  But the arguments raised by christians and other creationists are always the same-- there's not a grain of logic in any of them.  For what it's worth, there are about six of them that come up all the time, and roughly twenty in total.

The reason I refer to the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus is because of the childish, ridiculous nature of religion's cartoon characters (like the cartoon character Jesus) and its cartoon-like, simplified view of the world.

If you object to the characterization, perhaps you'd like to provide some evidence.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Hrafn on August 08, 2009, 12:41:30 AM
Ad majorem fallacy.

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I am not claiming that all of these (or even a majority) were right.

Where's the evidence for their claims regarding divinity?

It's really very, very simple and straightforward.  If there's no evidence for the claims, don't make the claims.

And if you do make the claims, you have no right to be offended when someone calls bullshit.  Perhaps you'd prefer it sugarcoated somehow.

Once again: How can you expect empirical evidence for non-empirical phenomena?

If empirical evidence is the sole basis for you worldview, we will not come to an agreement in any case.

You were the one who criticized modernity, not me.

You assume I was referring to you in specific?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 12:46:35 AM
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I am not claiming that all of these (or even a majority) were right.

But you mentioned it not once but twice in the context of an ad majorem argument.

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Once again: How can you expect empirical evidence for non-empirical phenomena?

That's the whole problem.

Your "non-empirical phenomena" are not phenomena at all because they have never been demonstrated, never verifiably observed.  Not a single shred of evidence has been provided for any of them.

Your "spirituality" has all the validity of cartoon characters, or of the beliefs of witchdoctors with bones through their noses.

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If empirical evidence is the sole basis for you worldview, we will not come to an agreement in any case.

Right, you just want to sit there and blather on without having to provide any evidence for the bizarre flight of ideas that you're supporting.  Not only that but you don't want anyone to call you on it.

Where's the beef?

Furthermore, what the hell makes you think I want to come to an agreement?  I DON'T agree with you.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 08, 2009, 01:03:53 AM
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Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 01:16:48 AM
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It's not that easy. Never in History, never, societies had "proper education" as rudder. I suppose that you are addressing a focus on biology and natural inequality (if not, I'd glady  hear what revolutionary and unprecedented reforms on education you propose).

Well, throwing religionists out of science classrooms might be a good start.

Here in the United States we're slipping behind many "third world" countries on education standards as well as a great many other criteria.  I fail to see how intentionally maintaining peoples' belief in lies will help.

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Ancient greeks understood such biologic differences, as well as Hindus, both deeply religious cultures. 

The fact that they understood eugenics and race is a non-sequitur.

In Hindu cosmology, they believed the world was supported by elephants and turtles.  You believe this is positive why?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 08, 2009, 01:43:31 AM
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It's not that easy. Never in History, never, societies had "proper education" as rudder. I suppose that you are addressing a focus on biology and natural inequality (if not, I'd glady  hear what revolutionary and unprecedented reforms on education you propose).

Well, throwing religionists out of science classrooms might be a good start.

Here in the United States we're slipping behind many "third world" countries on education standards as well as a great many other criteria.  I fail to see how intentionally maintaining peoples' belief in lies will help.


You didn't answer to my point about the social power of symbols, either religious or secular, my friend.

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The fact that they understood eugenics and race is a non-sequitur.

In Hindu cosmology, they believed the world was supported by elephants and turtles.  You believe this is positive why?


Not, if we understand how they did it (by religious legitimation).

Your second sentence is irrelevant because I'm not denying the importance of science on physical understanding of nature. My point is that such natural science is not by itself a reforming truth... it depends on social assimilation.


Btw... about the Easter Bunny and God, you're blending ALL symbolism into a single fictional, phony manner.

What would be of Heavy Metal, if we just simply put Easter Bunny instead of Satan (or Wotan in some cases). XD
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 01:48:38 AM
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You didn't answered to my point about the social power of symbols, either religious or secular, my friend.

The social power of symbols is a very different thing from religion.

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Btw... about the Easter Bunny and God, you're blending ALL symbolism into a single fictional, phony manner.

No.  I'm pointing out that the idea of the Easter Bunny and that of the cartoon character known as Divinity have exactly the same validity.  Do you know any headbangers who actually believe in Wotan or Satan as literal entities?  Show me people who do and I'll show you idiots.

Symbolism and religion are different things.  One difference between them is that rational people don't believe the symbols are literally real.  The map is not the territory.

I shit in the face of your lying, mad messiah.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dunkeldood on August 08, 2009, 05:19:04 AM
The reason I refer to the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus is because of the childish, ridiculous nature of religion's cartoon characters (like the cartoon character Jesus) and its cartoon-like, simplified view of the world.

I think the reason why this upsets people is because it's an anachronism. The only reason why you would juxtapose the Easter bunny with religion is because it serves as an argument by analogy. Both are examples of supernatural beliefs that are equally unfounded. However, in no other way do I see it constructive to compare these two things and I don't think anyone here is seriously going to argue against the irrationality of the unfounded belief in either.

What makes religion unique is how it is inextricably bonded with our existence. If you take the Easter bunny out of the history of civilization I don't think it would matter that much, but if you took all of religion out then who knows what our lives would look like. I doubt they'd be as good as they are now, at least from the standpoint of our level of comfortability and understanding of the observable universe, among many other factors. Whether we like it or not, religion is the foundation for the philosophy and morality of our civilization which has organized us and led us to produce all of the great ideas, technology and scientific achievements in the history of humanity. There is much knowledge to be gained from religion; knowledge about how people think, hope, desire and dream, how they want to be treated, how they deal with life, how one can train ones mind to focus and perceive more and effectively work and share things with others, let alone many other things. Comparing someone/something like Jesus to the Easter bunny beyond the example I made above (which I think has been beaten into the ground) is ridiculous.

I still think that the original post is an unnecessary dichotomy. Science has already begun to replace religion, otherwise you'd probably see a lot more employed shamans and a lot less hospitals, and I think having to side between religion and science is again another unnecessary dichotomy. What led people to found science as a worldview is the same passion and fervor that religion has, or had, for experiencing the unknown or even divine. Consider children trying to reach a cookie jar on top of a counter. They have to work together, possibly without knowing they're going to be successful but they do it because they think the goal is worth it. Maybe when the kid on top of the other kid's shoulders reaches the cookie jar he realizes something about the cookie jar that the other kid doesn't know; let's say the kid on the bottom never even finds out whether there was a cookie jar or not. Both still want, and always wanted, the cookies and that's the point. Obviously you see what I'm saying, something RedReign (I believe) actually pointed out when he/she said religion is a basic form of science, but I'd like to add to it. I don't think it matters whether one wants the cookies because they will give the person contentment or because the cookies taste good or they have some kind of nutritional value. We all want explanations for the unknown and those that need supernatural crutches will undoubtedly be left behind along with all the unemployed witch doctors.

What has brought us to our current understanding of the universe in the first place is no different for religion or science, we've already left behind our fear of a supernatural force that cleanses us of evildoers, and we're still here and relatively okay. As others have said, why exactly do we need something to replace God? I would argue that science already has (begun to) and it is worshipped just as much, although very different in practice. I believe what we need is a lifestyle, understanding, or philosophy worthy of what science has given us freely, that which we squander like the abundance of energy and technology. It is ultimately irrelevant whether the symbolism we use to achieve this is religiously based or otherwise, frankly, we should be well versed in as much knowledge as is relevant to communicate effectively with all people. I also don't think an increased appreciation of science has necessarily lead to an obsession with materialism. Humans have abused both religion and science for personal, basic desires and certainly the abuse of religion has led to unnecessary conflict and destruction. Instead of allowing science to become another scapegoat I think we should focus on aligning it with a sustainable lifestyle and worldview that will continue to allow us and future generations to push our knowledge of the known universe as far as we are able and whether this is imbued with religious philosophy and symbolism is irrelevant.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: -H418ov21.C on August 08, 2009, 05:23:55 AM
Religion in Modern America ? For the most part, either degenerate Protestantism, Baptism and Lutheran shit ; either sects like the Mormons, "paranormal" stuff and self-centered pseudo-"spirituality" ; either post-Vatican-II-Council "Catholicism" that has nearly as much to do with genuine Catholicism than 50 Cent has to do with J.-S. Bach. No wonder why Metal has declared war against all of this bullshit.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ergriefer on August 08, 2009, 07:13:47 AM
this thread has become so long and tortured, i don't think there's much more to say on this point.  nous and the other religionists will continue to masturbate their brains to acquire "knowledge" on a "higher level."  redreign will continue to shoot them down like a good dude.  it could go on forever.

my final thoughts on the subject are this: i've been atheist all my life.  not since adolescence in some attempt to scare my parents, but ALL my life.  as soon as i figured out the concept of death, i knew it was real and total.  i could not accept unfounded, wishful myths to ameliorate the fear of death.  eventually, the fear slipped away, and i saw the finite character of life as an attribute that gives meaning to all of existence.  likewise, i don't bemoan the absence of a supreme God, commanding from above; it gives me strength to know that my life and choices are mine alone, and it makes sense to perceive the outside world as total chaos than to impose the hand of a single (or multiple) creators on it.  overall, atheism gives the understanding of the world that possibly others would look for in theism. 

i tire pretty quickly of people who think i must be pessimistic or cynical because of my lack of belief in some divine principle.  i don't claim to know everything, but i'm too comfortable in what i don't know to fill in the blanks with verbose garbage.   if i let that virus infect my worldview, i would soon be doing irrational things, and everything would stop making sense to me.  a better way to state it is that everything would start making sense, but would be wrong.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dead_Soul on August 08, 2009, 08:42:13 AM


The fact that they understood eugenics and race is a non-sequitur.

In Hindu cosmology, they believed the world was supported by elephants and turtles.  You believe this is positive why?
[/quote]
Nice strawman you've made there. Have you even read the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, or Rig Veda? That claim about Hindu cosmology you made isn't supported by anything in those texts.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 08:47:06 AM
Quote
I think you're being unnecessarily cynical about his motivations.

Unnecessarily cynical about the motivations of a christian?  Is that even possible?

Quote
He seems generally interested in having constructive dialogue.

About the Easter Bunny.  He's unable to offer any proof of any of the bizarre lies and stories, but he blathers on anyway.  That is constructive how, precisely?

Quote
I think his fault is he seems to fetishize intuition because of his crazy religious beliefs.

Right, that's the whole point.

Well, I've found his bizarre philosophical ramblings more constructive and informative than your constant straw-man attacks.  And yes, you can be unnecessarily cynical of the motivations of Christians.  You've mentioned you debate creationists, so you must know who Kenneth Miller is.  He's done more for promoting scientific literacy in this country than almost anyone.  He also promotes genetic screening (i.e. eugenics) and is pro-choice (as far as I know).  Yet, he's a Catholic.  I consider him an ally and am proud to have him as a member of my species and country.  I'm not impressed by people just because they're atheists, and I don't immediately become antagonistic to people who are Christians.  I'm interested in truly understanding people's points of view, so that I can find common ground and maybe even convince them to see things more like I do.  I mean, do you really think you've changed a single person's mind with your Easter Bunny analogy?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 08, 2009, 12:47:30 PM

The social power of symbols is a very different thing from religion.
[...]
Symbolism and religion are different things.  One difference between them is that rational people don't believe the symbols are literally real.  The map is not the territory.

Religion is symbolic because we are designed to understand symbols. You can't take a brain, chop its right hemisphere, and call the rest "whole understanding". Both secular or religious symbolism is based in the same principle, and historically, and collectively, they're very hard to differentiate.

You may specify all you wish in the Flying Spaghetti Monster trying to make all religion ridiculous, however, Reverence (awe, not fuzziness) is the ideal. You may exchange Reverence for  Freedom, Reason, Equality etc. they're all susceptible to the corruption of the crowd.



Quote


No.  I'm pointing out that the idea of the Easter Bunny and that of the cartoon character known as Divinity have exactly the same validity.  Do you know any headbangers who actually believe in Wotan or Satan as literal entities?  Show me people who do and I'll show you idiots.

 

Who's doing so? I think that Vikernes doesn't believes literally in Wotan, however even if he does, that allowed him to make such beautiful music that founded in the Easter Bunny wouldn't be possible.

Quote
I shit in the face of your lying, mad messiah.

Lol... honestly, what was that? XD
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 01:05:18 PM
Strawman attacks?

My attacks are founded on the fact that religion is absolute falsehood.  That's the long and short of it; everything else is just window dressing.  Until evidence is provided for the bizarre lies, the discussion is a castle built on a foundation of shit.

All your attempted defenses of religion are pathetic.  You're apologists for a collection of vile lies claimed as truth by their adherents.

Several people here have now admitted that religion is either false or is valueless.  What more needs to be said?

Go genuflect to your god of the gaps.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 01:21:38 PM
The reason why less religious parts of the country have less crime is because they have less stupidity.

Stupidity and religion notwithstanding, this statement is almost certainly false. In fact, just the opposite must be true. The least religious regions of the country tend to be large urban/metropolitan areas, which also happen to be the areas possessed of the highest rates of crime by far. The more religious areas, which tend to be the more rural or even suburban are far less crime-ridden on average.

There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but the unfortunate relationship between religion and stupidity isn't necessarily one of them.  

I was throwing this out as an explanation for the statistics that the most religious parts of the US have more social issues than nonreligious parts. I should have just said correlation does not imply causation. That, and the stats themselves were never posted (you didn't post any actual stats either by the way)
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 01:30:14 PM
Quote
I was throwing this out as an explanation for the statistics that the most religious parts of the US have more social issues than nonreligious parts. I should have just said correlation does not imply causation. That, and the stats themselves were never posted (you didn't post any actual stats either by the way)

And the point I was making is that the utilitarian argument (whatever will stop people from murder sprees if not an imaginary friend) is not supported by evidence.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 01:33:02 PM
Quote from: RedReign
And the point I was making is that the utilitarian argument (whatever will stop people from murder sprees if not an imaginary friend) is not supported by evidence.
Quote

You're claim that the presence of religious institutions turns people into criminals wasn't supported by evidence either. But neither was ever the point, if you'll read below.

Strawman attacks?

All your attempted defenses of religion are pathetic.  You're apologists for a collection of vile lies claimed as truth by their adherents.

I think they are strawmen because you're not even understanding what we're trying to say. At some point (about 20 pages ago), I was trying to demonstrate that religion had a role in society in antiquity. You have agreed with me on this.

I've also said that traditional religions no longer have a place in modern society because their method of communication relies on mythology, which has been shown to be an inaccurate record of history, to say the least. I agree with you on that point.

Religion served a purpose in antiquity that is no longer being fulfilled, and society is suffering because of it. Now, if you don't agree with that, then we can all just return to our video games and let "progress" continue.

Without a moral or philosophical institution for people to learn from (we have none now), everyone becomes their own philosopher (most are not up to task) and we have a kind of Moral Democracy. Guess what people will vote for.

"We can do anything we want"
"Well, I don't want other people to hurt me"
"Ok, then it's, we can do anything we want so long as we're not directly hurting another person"

Great. That's what we have now. If this is what you want, then there is nothing left to argue.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 01:42:10 PM
No, I do understand what you're saying-- it's just that I don't agree.

Quote
Religion served a purpose in antiquity that is no longer being fulfilled, and society is suffering because of it.

Unsupported by the evidence. 

Quote
Without a moral or philosophical institution for people to learn from (we have none now), everyone becomes their own philosopher (most are not up to task) and we have a kind of Moral Democracy. Guess what people will vote for.

"We can do anything we want"
"Well, I don't want other people to hurt me"
"Ok, then it's, we can do anything we want so long as we're not directly hurting another person"

If what you were saying were correct, religion would have to actually act as a moral compass.  It manifestly does not.  As I've said repeatedly, the utilitarian argument (argument from morality) has been devastatingly debunked.

If you think people need an imaginary friend to keep them from murder sprees, or men in fabulous silk robes to tell them what's right and what's wrong, you need your head examined.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 01:59:15 PM
Quote from: Octuple
I think that Vikernes doesn't believes literally in Wotan

You're right.  He addresses this here (http://www.burzum.com/eng/library/a_bards_tale08.shtml).

Quote from: RedReign
Strawman attacks?

Yes, you attack caricatures of people's arguments, instead of what they are actually arguing.  Like you said:

Quote from: RedReign
Several people here have now admitted that religion is either false or is valueless.

Why do you keep attacking the position that religion is true or contains a good value system when no one is making it?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 02:05:54 PM
Quote
Why do you keep attacking the position that religion is true or contains a good value system when no one is making it?

Either people are claiming that, or they're all arguing in favor of something they think is false and valueless.

Which is it?

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what people have claimed here numerous times, as you well know.  That's what the whole utilitarian/moral fallacy is about.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 02:31:27 PM
If what you were saying were correct, religion would have to actually act as a moral compass.  It manifestly does not.  As I've said repeatedly, the utilitarian argument (argument from morality) has been devastatingly debunked.

What evidence supports this debunking? (I wouldn't call it utilitarianism, because it's not about individual's well-being, in fact, it often takes away from individual's comfort in the name of some other principle)


Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 02:35:21 PM
Quote
Why do you keep attacking the position that religion is true or contains a good value system when no one is making it?

Either people are claiming that, or they're all arguing in favor of something they think is false and valueless.

Which is it?

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what people have claimed here numerous times, as you well know.  That's what the whole utilitarian/moral fallacy is about.

The only person who was even vaguely supporting mythology and religious practice in the modern day was nous. So there is no "they".

Now, you agreed religion has some kind of purpose before. Now that it's gone and/or degenerate, what fills that purpose now? Or even more fundamental, what do you think the traditional purpose of religion was?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 02:42:00 PM
Quote
The only person who was even vaguely supporting mythology and religious practice in the modern day was nous. So there is no "they".

No, that's not what you said a moment ago.  You said "is true or contains a good value system."  Is your argument so weak that you need to change your statements from one post to another?

Quote
What evidence supports this debunking?

What evidence supports it?  Take a look at the Middle East.  Take a look at the fact that Christian Brothers has been running rape camps FOR ORPHANS where up to 150,000 orphans were raped and tortured by christian priests.  Take a look at the fact that the Catholic Church has been running an organized coverup for child molesters to such an extent that you start to think that pederasty is the entire purpose of the church.  And then there's Islam...

Quote
(I wouldn't call it utilitarianism, because it's not about individual's well-being, in fact, it often takes away from individual's comfort in the name of some other principle)

Except for the fact that the fallacy being employed here is referred to as the utilitarian fallacy.

Quote
Now, you agreed religion has some kind of purpose before. Now that it's gone and/or degenerate, what fills that purpose now? Or even more fundamental, what do you think the traditional purpose of religion was?

I already answered this question.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 02:43:08 PM
Quote
Why do you keep attacking the position that religion is true or contains a good value system when no one is making it?

Either people are claiming that, or they're all arguing in favor of something they think is false and valueless.

Which is it?

As a matter of fact, that's exactly what people have claimed here numerous times, as you well know.  That's what the whole utilitarian/moral fallacy is about.

First of all, as AnHero has pointed out, the only person here directly defending religion was Nous.  What is being discussed here is how to transmit values now that "God is dead."  Some people have argued that most people are too stupid to truly understand what should or should not be valued, so they must be lied to (e.g. taught mythology).  You claim this falls into the utilitarian fallacy, but it doesn't.  People aren't claiming the lies are true because they are useful (otherwise why would they admit they are lies?), they are simply saying the lies should be propagated amongst the common men because it is beneficial to society.  Whether or not that is true is up for debate, but you never address that, you simply accuse them of claiming that religious lies are true.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 02:48:11 PM
Quote from: RedReign
No, that's not what you said a moment ago.  You said "is true or contains a good value system."  Is your argument so weak that you need to change your statements from one post to another?

No, I said that, not him.  You seem to be having trouble keeping people's stories straight.

Quote
I already answered this question.

Yes, but you haven't properly addressed other people's thoughts or their criticisms of yours.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 02:49:11 PM
Quote
Yes, but you haven't properly addressed other people's thoughts or their criticisms of yours.

Actually yes, I've done so-- I've done so in the simplest manner that I can, dumbing it down, in fact, for you.

Quote
People aren't claiming the lies are true because they are useful (otherwise why would they admit they are lies?), they are simply saying the lies should be propagated amongst the common men because it is beneficial to society.

Right, you keep explaining that even though I'm well aware of it, as I've stated numerous times.  My position is that it's NOT beneficial to society to propagate lies.

Why is this so difficult for you to understand?  Should I simplify my statements even further?  You're supporting my argument in favor of grossly increased educational standards.

And by the way, there are several people involved in this who actually are religionists of one ilk or another.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 02:55:02 PM
Quote
Yes, but you haven't properly addressed other people's thoughts or their criticisms of yours.

Actually yes, I've done so-- I've done so in the simplest manner that I can, dumbing it down, in fact, for you.

Let me just say, I agree that religion is false and without value.  I also don't support lying to people.  In fact, I agree with you on this issue.  However, that doesn't change the fact that you fail to understand what others are saying, because your responses address straw-men versions of their arguments.  I've also addressed why your claim of the utilitarian fallacy doesn't apply.  If you wish to refuse to acknowledge this and delve into petty name calling (as you've already done in other previous posts) then go ahead.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 02:59:20 PM
Quote
Let me just say, I agree that religion is false and without value.  I also don't support lying to people.  In fact, I agree with you on this issue.

As you've made clear several times.  This would make time number three.

Quote
However, that doesn't change the fact that you fail to understand what others are saying, because your responses address straw-men versions of their arguments.

What I'm doing is factoring their arguments.  You can put gold paint on a turd but it's still a turd.

Quote
I've also addressed why your claim of the utilitarian fallacy doesn't apply.

The core argument presented here in favor of religion is the utilitarian fallacy.  You've restated it several times yourself.

Quote
If you wish to refuse to acknowledge this and delve into petty name calling (as you've already done in other previous posts) then go ahead.

When, specifically, have I called anyone names?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 08, 2009, 03:14:50 PM
Guys, I'm done with this, it's not longer about religion but about who said what, and it's getting redundant.

My conclusion is simply that there's a circumstantial element in every religion that should face its respective geographical and temporal events, and that atheism has been a very good, even necessary critique on it. Maybe I'll see you later on this, but with a renewed vigor.

It has been a pleasure for me to have this discussion with each and every one of you.
 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 08, 2009, 03:17:22 PM
Quote from: RedReign
What I'm doing is factoring their arguments.

No, you think you're factoring their arguments.  However, your simplifications do not retain the content of the arguments being made.  You seem to think I don't understand the flaws of their arguments.  I do, so you can knock off the condescension.  Anyway, it appears we have come to a stumbling point.  Whoever is making the error here (which I freely admit may be me), is unable to see it.  So, I don't see how this conversation can move anywhere.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 04:44:34 PM
What evidence supports it?  Take a look at the Middle East.  Take a look at the fact that Christian Brothers...
Take a look at the fact that the Catholic Church has been running an organized coverup for child molesters...
And then there's Islam...

Those are examples. That is called anecdotal evidence and it is unscientific. Why would you accept it, as a person who requires real evidence?

The real split is that you seem to think the world is getting better and most of the other posters think it is getting worse. So you either don't think there's a problem when the moral compass disappears or you have no solution to that problem.

(the only one you've offered is education and you can't teach value systems with essays and scientific facts, you need something symbolic to sympathize with the subject, you can't offer us something like this)

Either way, there was no reason for you to even join this discussion.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 07:30:17 PM
Unsupported by the evidence. 

The perspective you bring from the natural sciences doesn't apply here. Sociology and psychology (group psychology in particular) aren't hard sciences. There is not always hard evidence to support them.

Trying to prove a perspective on society is valid is kind of like proving a song is good. In the absence of scientific evidence, you have no choice but to accept that all positions, all value systems, are equally valid. Even if you tried measuring it's effects on people, what if they are using it incorrectly? As in not really listening to the song, or allowing a system to become corrupt or focusing on the outdated parts The myths are outdated, but that doesn't mean traditional values are. You can show how religion is now corrupt all you want, but that doesn't mean the world isn't missing something now that it is.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 08, 2009, 07:30:44 PM
If you're just joining us, here's the wrap-up. Suggestions for replacing the cultural cohesion religions provided are:
- Social engineering (i guess this is similar to social coercion)
- Public education (people only need to be taught natural sciences, they will come to their own conclusions)
- Nothing (things are good the way they are)
- Eugenics (Selecting for people who share values, in addition to intelligence and health)
- Old religions evolving into something non-theistic and non-dogmatic, but still requiring study and practices of some sort
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dead_Soul on August 08, 2009, 07:42:21 PM
Why not simply indoctrinate a God similar to Spinoza's/Wordsworth's/Wilde's/Einstein's/Tennyson's/Emerson's/...........
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 08, 2009, 10:00:37 PM
Why not simply indoctrinate a god similar to Nietzsche's?

A better question is, why indoctrinate people at all in something that isn't true?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 09, 2009, 09:53:55 AM
Why not simply indoctrinate a god similar to Nietzsche's?

A better question is, why indoctrinate people at all in something that isn't true?

Well, the kind of god he was talking about isn't a personified entity that looks and talks like a person. It's just the embodiment of various forces of the universe, luck, and some aspects of the human psyche. No one will actually believe an actual god exists under that concept. For instance, if I were to say "God willing", it would just mean, "if I'm lucky". Now, the aforementioned concepts that this kind of god would embody do exist, so it isn't really false or true. It's a symbol.

The concept of music doesn't really exist anywhere but our minds, in reality it's just a sequence of sounds with no objective meaning. That doesn't mean it isn't a valuable part of a culture. There needs to be a way for a particular society or community to encapsulate it's beliefs and values and propagate them. I know you don't like the concept of god because of it's historical use... just say "the universe" instead. It doesn't really matter what we call it, so long as it is communicated to people.

I know you said people need to grow up, but it's not the individuals this is done for. Many, or even most individuals don't need this system in place. But a group of people does. Communicating with large groups of people is tedious and requires simplicity. Psychologically, groups of people become much, much less than the some of their parts as the number of them grows.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ildjicide on August 09, 2009, 11:16:18 AM
The overall reality that affects our lives is a combination of the objective and subjective. Therefore, your existence needs both a spiritual entity and an understanding of physical reality. You cannot escape either of these two aspects while you're alive; they're inseparable parts of your existence.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 09, 2009, 07:35:31 PM
Quote
Therefore, your existence needs both a spiritual entity and an understanding of physical reality. You cannot escape either of these two aspects while you're alive; they're inseparable parts of your existence.

The fact that we exist in the sphere of ideas would require adoption of a belief in nonexistent beings how, precisely?

The mediation of reality by our sensoriums already induces far too much error.  Why not just accept reality as we see it without making up childish stories and simplistic narratives to explain things?

Most people here are arguing in favor of something they don't believe in.  It's bad enough arguing in favor of something on the basis of zero evidence but when you don't believe in it your arguments are pasteboard: you can't even convince YOURSELVES, much less a skeptic who doesn't buy your ridiculous presuppositions.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.  Piss poor performance in thinking and argumentation.  I'm done here-- off to argue with some far more effective people who believe the earth is 6000 years old.  Their reasoning, atrociously flawed as it is, is far better than any I've seen here. 

Maybe that's what happens when you try to argue a position you know to be false.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 09, 2009, 07:41:24 PM
A better question is, why indoctrinate people at all in something that isn't true?

RedReign the humanist, looking out for people.  We wouldn't want to lie to people, would we.  You critique religion like Bill Maher.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: AnHero on August 09, 2009, 08:15:36 PM
The fact that we exist in the sphere of ideas would require adoption of a belief in nonexistent beings how, precisely?

Most people here are arguing in favor of something they don't believe in.

What are you referring to? No one is supporting literal mythology or theism. The kind of god that was being discussed in the past few posts was one we would all understand to be a character in a book. Religion becomes more like a work of art that we all study without believing in literally. The story itself is an artful way of communicating subjective values. It would only resemble religion in that the people of a culture would come together to study and appreciate it.

You claim to understand our arguments, but then say something that doesn't reflect their content. I thought you were starting to understand us.

You misinterpreted the argument, picked at the wrong parts (thinking I was supporting modern religions or theism), and then failed to disprove them using your own methods (absolute proof, which there can be none for the "soft" sciences such as sociology and psychology). I'm not trying to make you feel bad about this, just trying to get you to stop thinking in such a dogmatic fashion. It can be just as problematic as creationist dogmatic thinking.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: istaros on August 09, 2009, 09:32:12 PM
You should be ashamed of yourselves.  Piss poor performance in thinking and argumentation.  I'm done here-- off to argue with some far more effective people who believe the earth is 6000 years old.  Their reasoning, atrociously flawed as it is, is far better than any I've seen here.

"We" aren't here to make you feel good for talking to yourself.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Dead_Soul on August 09, 2009, 11:05:16 PM
Why not simply indoctrinate a god similar to Nietzsche's?

A better question is, why indoctrinate people at all in something that isn't true?

Well, the kind of god he was talking about isn't a personified entity that looks and talks like a person. It's just the embodiment of various forces of the universe, luck, and some aspects of the human psyche. No one will actually believe an actual god exists under that concept. For instance, if I were to say "God willing", it would just mean, "if I'm lucky".
Looks like I'm gonna have to spell it out for you guys. The concept that I was proposing has nothing to do with "luck", "some aspects of the human psyche", or even anything embodying the forces of nature. What I have in mind deals with the forces of nature themselves, with an emphasis on their holistic interactions. By not requiring any mythological justifications or belief in any supernatural gobbledygook, this new religion would not impede any scientific pursuits or foster any wacky "Master/Slave" moralities. On the contrary, with societies' weltanschauung rooted in the here and now, implementing things such as an effective eugenics program would be much more straightforward, since people would not be valued strictly valued just for being people. Any unnecessary conveniences or distractions would be looked down upon without any irrational scorn for technology. The path to the Overman would be laid out before us with nothing to hold us back. Of course, this type of thing has only had precedence in the beliefs of humanities' best and brightest, so it probably won't surface for some time.       
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Ildjicide on August 10, 2009, 01:54:20 AM
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Therefore, your existence needs both a spiritual entity and an understanding of physical reality. You cannot escape either of these two aspects while you're alive; they're inseparable parts of your existence.

The fact that we exist in the sphere of ideas would require adoption of a belief in nonexistent beings how, precisely?

The mediation of reality by our sensoriums already induces far too much error.  Why not just accept reality as we see it without making up childish stories and simplistic narratives to explain things?

You cannot perceive reality in its purest form, plain and simple. I wasn't saying we need to come up with false stories for the hell of it; I was saying that false stories are an inescapable part of our existence. Historically, people have believed a lot of preposterous ideas to be true, and I'm talking about intelligent people of their time; are you that far evolved to see unfiltered objective reality? Of course not, and these false beliefs you have, whatever they might be, have nothing to do with reality. They're a part of your own spiritual entity and they seem perfectly real. You can't run away from them, you can't "just accept reality," because you can't fully understand reality. 
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 10, 2009, 03:51:10 AM
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"We" aren't here to make you feel good for talking to yourself.

Right, you're here for the semantic circlejerk.

Where's the beef, biblebelt?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Galvanized on August 10, 2009, 04:14:08 AM
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"We" aren't here to make you feel good for talking to yourself.

Right, you're here for the semantic circlejerk.

Where's the beef, biblebelt?

The pejorative nature of your comments reveals an argumentative perspective. An argumentative perspective is made by the necessity to prove a point. If something exists with absolute, substantial evidence than it demands no need to be proven. A necessity to prove a point reveals insecurity, because the only result gained from proving a point is approval or personal validity, and this shows insecurity because one does not require validity if they live by absolute facts that do not need to be proven. In other words, approval is not a necessity for survival. The entire process of insecure argument is meaningless, because it provides only intangible results; it's along the same lines as memetic warfare in that regard. Keep in mind that I agree with the core of your values. I just think they would be more lucid if you made them viciously stated observations, and not loud-mouthed insults or passive-aggressive comments.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Conservationist on August 10, 2009, 08:10:09 AM
A better question is, why indoctrinate people at all in something that isn't true?

I think mythic imagination can be helpful, mainly because it doesn't try to be "true" but metaphorical.

The problem with blaming religion and claiming science is the answer is that science is every bit as much a religion as religion. If you feel outrage here, you've paid too much attention to your television and other half-truth tellers.

Religion is made up of people. Science is made up of people. If they make logical errors, or make the fundamental logical error (http://penetrate.blogspot.com/2009/08/answers-may-offend-thats-problem-with.html), then they'll corrupt either one.

I like the idea of religious thinking because, unlike science which is inherently reductionist, religion is inherently syncretic and brings together reasons-why instead of deconstructions-of.

Further, I think reductionist thinking inevitably leads to liberalism, which is a secular version of Christianity: everyone is equal, because "Science" proves it!!!one
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 10, 2009, 09:00:06 AM
Quote from: Conservationist
The problem with blaming religion and claiming science is the answer is that science is every bit as much a religion as religion. If you feel outrage here, you've paid too much attention to your television and other half-truth tellers.

Religion is made up of people. Science is made up of people. If they make logical errors, or make the fundamental logical error, then they'll corrupt either one.

I completely disagree with this assessment.  Science as a body of work is made up of ideas and the scientific community of people, but at the heart is a methodology that is immune to prejudices.  So even if scientists attempt to politicize and corrupt science, its methodology allows for self correction.  This happens all the time in science (and I mean that literally, it's perpetually correcting itself, that's how it works).  What exactly is the methodology of religion?  How are religious truths revealed, and what is the mechanism of self correction?  If you can explain this to me, I'd be happy to jump on board, but until then these two areas couldn't be further apart.

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science which is inherently reductionist

I mentioned before that I didn't think that this was the case, but I'll just reiterate that there is great debate in science right now about holistic approaches (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holism_in_science) (this is science's self correction at work).

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everyone is equal, because "Science" proves it!!!one

Except that science doesn't prove it.  You know this, so I must be missing your point.  Are you claiming that science is only what we make of it (i.e. that pseudo-science should be considered as part of science)?
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Nimbostratus on August 10, 2009, 10:29:47 AM
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Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Jim Necroslaughter on August 10, 2009, 10:55:32 AM

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everyone is equal, because "Science" proves it!!!one

Except that science doesn't prove it.  You know this, so I must be missing your point.  Are you claiming that science is only what we make of it (i.e. that pseudo-science should be considered as part of science)?

Didn't Stephen Jay Gould try to imply this with "The Mismeasure of Man," though?  I don't want to say he made hard conclusions, but I definitley remember that the gist was, essentially, science proves we are more equal or similar than we thought.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: JewishPhysics on August 10, 2009, 11:02:10 AM

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everyone is equal, because "Science" proves it!!!one

Except that science doesn't prove it.  You know this, so I must be missing your point.  Are you claiming that science is only what we make of it (i.e. that pseudo-science should be considered as part of science)?

Didn't Stephen Jay Gould try to imply this with "The Mismeasure of Man," though?  I don't want to say he made hard conclusions, but I definitley remember that the gist was, essentially, science proves we are more equal or similar than we thought.

Yes.  Stephen Jay Gould proposed a lot of stupid shit.  He was a huge fan the blank slate theory of mind.  Just because somebody claims something is science, doesn't mean it is the case.  What you've just described is an example of someone attempting to impose a personal bias into science, and SJG is heavily criticized by even liberal scientists.  Besides, if science proved that we were all equal, then that would mean it was the case.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Skullduggery on August 11, 2009, 10:00:05 AM
Firstly, I think reason is good. It is already late in this discussion, but I'll reply once and dissolve.

I would like to quote one of RedReign's anti-Utilitarian declarations as a reminder and a hinter to what I'm going to say:
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As I've said repeatedly, the utilitarian argument (argument from morality) has been devastatingly debunked.

....
I'm perplexed after reading the sentence quoted above and the the following statements:

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"Well, something that increases violent crime, obesity, rates of drug use and teenage pregnancy."

Ah, such an intermingling of phenomenons...
Overall...this is a Utilitarian Fallacy. Why? because you try to justify the righteousness of Science by 'benighting' the "accomplishments" of Religion or of "ignorance", which is the mental outcome of religion and faith. Since the examples give here are being treated as "wrong" - one can conclude it is the same fallacy you bestowed upon your dialectic enemies throughout this thread. This is a crude contradiction. But this is not the only grotesque thing one can say about this sentence. It is strikingly visible that you conclude things which are not conclusive, but rather circumstantial and that you mindlessly ignore things that might be used against these Utilitarian claims. It is important to say that "rates" vary too much to be held in such high-esteem. Another problem is with the reference to the factor that "increases" the phenomenons specified. "Increase" and "Decrease" do not eliminate. Increase or Decrease are "optimal" parameters, they simply depend on the crossly occurrence of several inter-connected events. Therefore, we must conclude, and you did so yourself - that such things are here to stay. Indeed, Reality doesn't favor purity, what could be or what should be - whether humans like it or not. It is a Purist's illusion to believe that he can predict or know what the will be the results of actions, and since Science is not only "reasonable"  and Hypothetical in its nature, but also practical (and Mr. RedReign tried to support his counter-claims by exemplifying physical evidence to prove the correctness of Science) it is logical to conclude this is yet another UTILITARIAN FALLACY. Believing that any system can predict accurately the outcome of actions and practicality is yet another Utilitarian illusion - true to ethics, in particular. The thing most offensive about Modern Science is that it pretends to be able to both predict things expertly and not only that - but also rehabilitate what previously strode awrong, correct things up and omit bad theories. That's not the case - this is actually a fallacy. There's a limit for self-correction. Some things may just turn irreversible.

Another point - Life in the "high civilization" requires certain things that make God dispensable, in that context. Let's use examples from our contemporary milieu: A Christian drives a car. Does it make him religious? no it doesn't. People take their medications - there's nothing religious about it. In other words - RELIGION -- the official, institutionalized religion of the "civilized man" can go hand in hand with PROGRESS, even if religionists have to compromise or "readjust" belief-systems. Civilization is indeed governed by intellect or intellect turned on objects and particles -- yet all Civilizations have their malfunctions, countless standing-ovation the modern civilization gets for its malfunctions.
We can examine this with  the subject of "obesity"; indeed it is crucial to with deal the subject of "Obesity" Mr.RedReign was kind enough to mention, in pertaining to the concept of civilization I presented. THE PLAGUE OF OBESITY IS A MODERN PHENOMENON, CAUSED BY TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS; instant access to food and a general state of super-abundance never seen before in the History of mankind - all thanks to Science/Technology. Everything in the modern world works that way (Science/Technology effecting people's lives inevitably). It is through extensive advertising propagated by manipulative economists who use scientific tools to determine such and such things, and other "vehicles" produced by scientific disciplines - that the wheels of modernity rotate. The whole modern life style stimulates laziness and passivity -- the air-conditioner, the refrigerator, cars, supermarkets, TV and more. Obesity is the outcome of the modern life style, more than anything else - this is what determines the nature and 'graph' of this phenomenon and other phenomenons. Professors can be obese, Scientists can be obese - educated people can be obese.

It is possible to deal with each of the other examples given by Mr.RedReign - but it is a waste of time, since the "ignorance" stimulated by Religion and Faith is only a "catalyst" of such phenomenons, not the cause of them. Laconically, violent crimes, are *sometimes* positive and only to the utilitarian minds it is not - since it causes pain and suffering to a great majority of people.

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Some people value the truth intrinsically.  If you're advocating brainwashing on a massive scale I have to question whether you've thought about the matter thoroughly.  Religious dogma damages peoples' logical ability irreparably.

Utilitarian Fallacy. The most disturbing thing about this claim is that you simply ignore the fact that great minds worked with and despite the overwhelming dominance of the various religious dogmas at their time and it never "procrastinated" their innovative skills. On the other bank of the rives, we have "Plebes". Plebes thrive, and no science in the world can save them  from their sheepish mentality. The ignorant religious man of yesterday, will be the lazy, passive, terminal atheist, freelancer, liberal, humanist, sub-culture hipster or the passive nihilist of tomorrow. I see those non-godheads, they're null-headed as much as their religious counterparts. They're techophilic, gadget-obsessed - their whole reason is based upon what Science gives them, their psychology is that of the common consumerist, they validate science if it provides them with comfort and well-being -- else, Science is something you mention in lively living-room discussions and virtual debates.  As I said, they differ little from their religious siblings. "Religions dogma damages logical ability irreparably" - that is incorrect. No matter what humans do today in order to "Trans-humanize" their organic state, they're conformists by nature. Individualism proves it. Religion came to provide a solution to questions and to become a monolith of order, and it did. When it finally reached fatigue, Science came to replace it as the new shepherd.

Education doesn't prevent humans from behaving like fools. Science can't help them. And I'm not saying religion does...but seeing the whole "Science Vs. Religion" thing in black and white is not reasonable.

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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.

This is an interesting argument, since prior to which Mr.RedReign counter-claimed openly: "Once again, your argument is utilitarianism.  The usefulness of religion as a motivator. "
Therein, the usefulness of Science is hailed as a motivator or the uselessness of religion is denounced as a "demotivator". This argument turns things into a battle of analogies. Dismissing or debunking the argument that "religion" is a utilitarian motivator just to replace it with another utilitarian motivator, which is supposedly better - is contradictory. Saying "Science is more useful" is an utterly futile argument. The word "advance" which is used in this sentence is blank or ambiguous. According to Modern Science - advance is made for the well-being, comfort and the general Apollonian tendencies of the public. In other words, it has utilitarian values and motives, enhanced by practicality and materialism -- it is from the same branch of thought (or intermingled prehension) that all the aforementioned strike thrice.

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

Oh, please...the  "Civilized world". Sounds rather ecclesiastical.
Civilization is a terminal state. It is always from youthful flair, virginal reasoning and imagination that they become what they are. When civilizational intellect thwarts that 'fountainous' force and formulates various structures, methods and over-repeated paradigms, it is only the petty, the selfish and the prideful who remain to brace their smug sense of superiority with theoretic polemics and redundant dialectics (among the intellectuals) -- while the casual folk, regardless of their education - flock together where the blurry of illusion flashes. II also opine that there' little to no room for innovation in modern science. Now, what we have is "educated-casual-working-folk" - with all their whimsical prehensions, their boastful desires or every "derivatives" plucked from usual earthly intentions. It is fallacious to believe that educated humans are better humans, in such absolute manner and especially when education works according to certain disciplines and to fulfill periodic demands.
I must clarify - not the Reason do I criticize, but the ambiguous interpretations and prehensions that reason may forge. Modern Science is simply that - a reason-driven system that provides self-gratifying, Apollonian and Utilitarian solutions to men's problems. And that's even worse then that -- since our Modern Science is a reason-oriented system based on empiricism and evidence - everything Science gratifies, is, by its very nature, "true" until another grasp of things is suggested. It fails greatly to find a state of Equilibrium between human desires and realistic knowledge - and I think it can't. This is what we have today, Liberal Science. Saying this is not Science but hailing the products of modern science is idiotic - when "reason" is applied on the actual lives of people, there are motives, agendas and desires behind that. The "Ideal of Knowledge" is lost in the abyss of modernity. Science is exactly what it is today - not what should be or could be. Modern Science is Utilitarian, Liberal, Humanistic. This is not a surprise, the very scientific method was "refined and honed" by 19th-20th century liberal thinkers - Science is a vehicle of "pleasure", "happiness" and other such Utilitarian desires. It is almost too fantastical to think it isn't!
It's the Science of the educated working-men - the wonderful and primordial science of deeds is dead - or perhaps only preserved in a few "classical" fields, especially mathematics and theoretical physics. Another distinction we must make regarding Science - there's Science that works for the sake of knowledge - let's say Archeology, Theoretical Physics/Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mathematics - and there are "practical" sciences or scientifically approved practical systems - the various Technological fields, such as engineering and electronics; Health, "practical" physics, chemistry, biotechnology, etc. There are Science who stand in betwixt - Natural sciences and Social sciences. Science is too broad to be over-simplified. Throwing into discussion a term like "Science", and saying this is "Reason" and therefore - good, is WRONG. Trying to support Science with physical and "realistic" or "practical" evidence, overshadows the term Reason. One cannot say that Science is not Utilitarian or that Religion's utilitarian value doesn't count (dialectically or "physically") and on the same present evidence with a strong Utilitarian value to prove Science's worth, in such reductionist fashion. Nevertheless, we cannot deny or ignore the fact that some sciences, mainly those untamed and untouched by utilitarian thought, are flourishing. Astrophysics for instance.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: RedReign on August 11, 2009, 01:23:54 PM
1) Paragraphs are your friends

2) You're writing all this to defend what, for whom, why? 

I'm just responding to be polite.  If you want to defend the Easter Bunny that's really up to you but I have better things to do with my time.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: Conservationist on August 15, 2009, 08:38:09 AM
I think he makes a good point: civilization is its own undoing.
Title: Re: Religion in Modern America
Post by: My AIDS, Your Arse on August 15, 2009, 09:52:12 PM
If you want to defend the Easter Bunny that's really up to you

To be fair, the Easter Bunny celebrates the fertility and coming of spring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre

Fertility goddesses always have a connection to the material, and in a time of little, abundance is good, because it brings with it an environment for new life! Hence, motherhood. The roots of "mother" and "matter" are the same, and the connection is pretty clear.