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What is your POV on theism and vice versa?

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sivispacem
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#481

Posted 29 September 2015 - 10:54 PM

Islamic history is certainly political, but Islam itself? I'm not so sure. What percentage of Muslim majority countries derive their political system directly from Islamic political theology?

El Diablo
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#482

Posted 29 September 2015 - 11:46 PM Edited by El Diablo, 29 September 2015 - 11:49 PM.

What percentage of Muslim majority countries derive their political system directly from Islamic political theology?

yeah, none.

where is the 'government' section of the Quran? even Muslim nations that attempt to adopt Sharia law utterly fail at enforcing it.

and most interpretations of Sharia come from the Hadith. I'm not sure Islamic religious text contains any more specific political ideology than say the Bible. everything else is just extrapolation by bigoted or power-hungry humans.

 

OH! and speaking of bigoted and power-hungry humans, here's a relevant article for your ass:

Ben Carson telling Muslim Americans that they must "reject" the Quran if they want to run for political office.

 

http://www.ibtimes.c...esident-1521436


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#483

Posted 30 September 2015 - 01:25 AM

We all know there should be only one holy book accepted and used by the politicians, and that's the constitution the bible!

 

I wish this thing called separation of church and state was more actively enforced. A person's spiritual beliefs should be kept separate from their functions/job/activities. As long as you're good at your job, and not letting your beliefs interfere with it (cough Kim Davis cough), you can believe in the flying spaghetti monster for all I care.

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Irviding
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#484

Posted 30 September 2015 - 01:37 AM Edited by Irviding, 30 September 2015 - 01:39 AM.

 

What percentage of Muslim majority countries derive their political system directly from Islamic political theology?

yeah, none.

where is the 'government' section of the Quran? even Muslim nations that attempt to adopt Sharia law utterly fail at enforcing it.

and most interpretations of Sharia come from the Hadith. I'm not sure Islamic religious text contains any more specific political ideology than say the Bible. everything else is just extrapolation by bigoted or power-hungry humans.

 

 

The fact that they come from the Hadith doesn´t mean that Islam is not a political religion. We went over this a few pages ago, you can look at my explanations there I´m not going to repeat them... in short the Hadith is crucial for understanding Quranic verses. Which, by the way, there are numerous Quranic verses on how government should work and function, some in pretty good detail. Do we see that in the Bible? Not really. No modern religion has had the same super significant intertwining with politics in its founding than Islam. The Prophet and his pious successors were all political leaders. 

 

The Hadith is basically meant to explain how to put the Quran's values into daily life vis a vi emulating the Prophet. That includes government and its functions.

 

 

 

 

Islamic history is certainly political, but Islam itself? I'm not so sure. What percentage of Muslim majority countries derive their political system directly from Islamic political theology?

The notion of a percentage would be a bit misleading. But if we purely look at countries that use Islamic theology as the pure central legal doctrine, you have Saudi Arabia, Iran, the entire Gulf save Kuwait and Oman, parts of Nigeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan... I may have missed a few and there are arguable cases but the ones I listed adhere to pure Sharia.

 

If you mean political system as in how the government is actually set up and organized from a bureaucratic standpoint, that's a different story entirely, but we see the examples of the first Caliphs applied (albeit begrudgingly and aesthetically only) in many of the above countries that follow Islamic law

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sivispacem
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#485

Posted 30 September 2015 - 09:02 AM

The map below shows nations with Sharia derived criminal judicial systems in purple. Yellow is Sharia for personal status issues, green OIC states without Sharia of any kind, orange states where central legal authority is not Sharia derived but some regions have local implementations of Sharia for either criminal or personal law.

1280px-Use_of_Sharia_by_country.svg.png

As you can see its far from universal in its application across the Muslim world.
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Irviding
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#486

Posted 30 September 2015 - 11:59 PM

The map below shows nations with Sharia derived criminal judicial systems in purple. Yellow is Sharia for personal status issues, green OIC states without Sharia of any kind, orange states where central legal authority is not Sharia derived but some regions have local implementations of Sharia for either criminal or personal law.

1280px-Use_of_Sharia_by_country.svg.png

As you can see its far from universal in its application across the Muslim world.


Sure, that's modern Islam. However, you said that Islam is a fundamentally non political religion and I took issue with that. History and the founding of Islam itself tells us otherwise.

Also, even if we base off that chart, there's a significantly higher penetration of sharia in the legal systems than we see with Christianity or Judaism in the West. Those religions don't even have enough law principles in them to run a state and create laws as Islam does, and I think that's evident proof that Islam is pretty political.

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#487

Posted 17 October 2015 - 04:05 PM Edited by Cyper, 17 October 2015 - 04:18 PM.

There is indeed no explicit 'government' section in the Quran. The problem is that Islam in its pure form, without the pathetic apologists who sometimes masquerade for it, is totalitarian. Islam represents itself as the final revelation and the literal words, unchangable words of God. Islam demands the smashing of your individuality and integrity and repudiate yourself to God. God has the solution to everything; morality, science, banking, family issues, and so forth.
 
Recently an Islamic fatwa in Turkey was issued to decrees that toilet paper is halal. God demands this. In the same way God demands that the most immediate thought when you get a new-born baby is to get a knife or sharpened stone and cut off its genitalia even if may at certain circumstances cause infection and subsequent death. The jews in my own country demand an exception to subject their children to mental abuse such as this. Granted, the religious zealots are the only one allowed to in my 'secular and democratic' country Sweden.
 
Since Islam is totalitarian it is difficult to say that it is not a political movement or that Islam is being misused for political reasons. Or that Islam is being misrepresented - sorry to say - even by ISIS. The point is that there is no way to find conclusive evidence to support that anyone has the correct understanding of Islam. The same goes with christianity. It is all based on faith and more or less free interpretation. I do agree with those who say that those who use religion to enforce political agendas do it because they are power-hungry. This is what religion was used for Before, it is what religion is still being used for, and keep on being used for. If you claim to know the will of God (I do hope everybody understands that extraordinary assertion is, and how confidently those who claim to know the will of God God will act. If not, ponder a while..)
then you have one of the most powerfull tools at your disposal. Because you've just made it possible to make a cop-out to encounter in rational debate. Gods will is over reason and evidence. Hence, which I do not even bother with religious arguments when it comes to moral or political questions.
 
Regarding Ben Carson I am not surprised he wants muslims to reject the Quran if they want to run for political office. Suffice to say, he'd probably agree that no one except christians  should be allowed to run for office. Here we go again. It just shows how religion totally disrupt and dissolve democracy. While I do not like the idea of muslims intervening in politics in my own country, I would never demand a stop to it. What I do demand is this: that the government ignore or reject any argument that is based on the Quran or the Bible. People may use their religion in politics, but no one should listen to anyone saying that we ought to do x because Bible/Quran says so.

sivispacem
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#488

Posted 18 October 2015 - 07:45 AM

How are you defining "pure" form of Islam? The notion that such a thing even really exists is ludicrous in my view.

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#489

Posted 18 October 2015 - 09:37 AM Edited by Cyper, 18 October 2015 - 09:48 AM.

How are you defining "pure" form of Islam? The notion that such a thing even really exists is ludicrous in my view.

 

With the 'pure form of Islam' I refer to literal interpretation of the Quran. I do not refer to some kind of 'truth' in Islam. With other words, to follow the words of the Prophet straightforward, unaffected by modern political, moral and or scientific beliefs. No interpretation of verses, no cherry-picking. If I remember correctly, the Quran itself stipulate that it is the literal and final words of God and that humans are in no position to alter the word of God.

    Whenever something such as that is practically possible is another question. but there are degrees even in hell. I may add though, that I do not believe that any interpretation of the Quran is more true than another. To me any interpretation of the Quran reflect the same falsehood. The Islamic State's understanding is in my view equally false as any other understanding the scripture.


sivispacem
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#490

Posted 18 October 2015 - 03:58 PM

The Koran itself doesn't stipulate anything really. Common misconception. Most of the actual regulations regarding daily life and the rest are from the Hadiths which are separate and the applicability of which varies depending on which branch of Islam you're talking about. So no, I don't think your vapid claims about "pure Islam" have any validity.

Irviding
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#491

Posted 18 October 2015 - 07:21 PM Edited by Irviding, 18 October 2015 - 07:24 PM.

I mean the Quran does stipulate what to do in daily life it just doesn't tell you how/conditions. Quran says everyone has to fast in Ramadan but Hadith says if you are old age or diseased it is ok not to.

As for the different branches there really isn't all that difference between most of Islam in terms of law. Shiites believe in Hadith from the 12 imams and not just Mohammed... Hanafi school a bit more liberal lets people pray in their native language... overall in terms of law they are not all that distinct other than the Hanbali school which salafism derives from. There are disagreements between schools on the priority of where to derive law from, but all pretty much agree that Quran 1st Hadith 2nd consensus 3rd, then it gets hairy.

Cyper, you basically just defined the Sunni Hanbali school to a tee in your second post but I'm not sure what your argument about it is? Are you saying Islam as a whole is moving towards that purity? I don't follow.
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#492

Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:52 PM

I want to bring this discussion back to its original form. Well, not so much of the shoving beliefs down people's throats part, but about how to deal with people with beliefs different from yours. Lately I'm starting to think that Hitchens was kinda right when he said that religion poisons everything. It certainly seems to poison human interactions. I am constantly perplexed by people who seem to be completely normal in most instances, and even quite likeable and trustworthy, only to completely disappoint you in other situations.

 

99% of the people I meet are religious to a significant degree. The most reasonable people I meet on a regular basis at work are actually good people by most definitions. You can rely on them with pretty much anything. In fact I think I could in principle be very good friends with them if we decided to interact and meet outside of work. The problem is that my standards for friending people are quite high, at the very least higher the most people's. I have two examples of good people, both workmates, family men, with principles and everything. People who care about human interactions. They don't actively screw others over. They are making a genuine effort to be good people. However, both of them said terrible things that you would have to be morally blind to ignore. In one instance, a workmate and I were joking about being gay (it's a common theme for jokes around my workplace and it's not necessarily offensive to gay people) or having gay sex and one of these two people—that I would trust with pretty much anything and would otherwise consider a good person—said that joking about gay people, in and of itself, is disgusting given that he "can't even think about men doing that to each other". Of course I made no comment given that virtually all the people at that table were on his side. I was at a disadvantage to argue that he was a bigot and an idiot for saying that.

 

The other similar happening occurred today when two of my workmates (the same two involved in the last event) were joking about being married. In my native language, there's a different word for being married for each sex. They were using the female version to refer to a man that is basically in subordination to his wife. This is another recurring joke that I've always found to be annoying. I finally said something like "well, what is wrong with discussing decisions with your wife? Shouldn't both parties have an equal say in the matter? Are you saying that men are superior (intellectually)?" to which the second of the two "good" people I know (at work) replied "both should have a say, but the man has the final word". I didn't want to continue the discussion given that the other two people involved in the conversation agreed with him. It's basically like saying "sure women can decide things, but only as long as men agree" which sounds like an oxymoron. They probably sense where I'm coming from, that men should try to be reasonable, but they are feeling the pull of another—most likely religious in nature—belief: that men are supposed to be the leaders in a family. In fact that was the continuation to the guy's original answer to my question.

 

I think you really need only ask the right questions to get the worst out of people, religious people specifically, because they adhere to beliefs for reasons that are not rational. They have some internal consistency but they are far from rational when viewed from above. Where are these mythical creatures, these religious people who are tolerant of gay people and who fully respect women and consider them equal to men? I come from a place packed mostly with Christians and I honestly have run out of ideas on how to deal with religious people that I often interact with and could otherwise be friends with. Some of them want to be friends with me but I feel like I should keep them at a distance. In what sense are they good people if they have divisive and even hateful beliefs?

 

It gets worse. My current and basically only romantic interest is a woman who I consider one of the best people I know. She's extremely polite and a kind person in general. She seems to be the kind of woman I would want to marry. I haven't discussed these controversial topics with her yet because our friendship hasn't gotten to that point yet, but I am terrified of what she might say. Even still, if she actually believe the sort of things my workmates believe I would probably be a lot more understanding with her. I mean how much can you blame someone for believing these things when these beliefs were drummed into them from very early on? After all, the simple fact that I can recognize the potential horrific consequences of these beliefs is a mere accident of causality. I did not create myself. I am simply the result of various inputs from the external world and a product of my environment. Acknowledging that still doesn't solve my problem though. Even my best friend, who is someone I've discussed plenty of controversial things with over the years, is not perfect or that similar to me. I managed to convince him or lead him on the right way on several topics but that took years. I don't have that much time to waste with other people. It's all a complicated mess.

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#493

Posted 13 February 2016 - 08:06 PM

I'm quite interested in Spinoza's Pantheism.

Spinozism (also spelled Spinoza-ism or Spinozaism) is the monist philosophical system of Baruch Spinoza which defines "God" as a singular self-subsistent substance, with both matter and thought being attributes of such.

In a letter to Henry Oldenburg Spinoza wrote: "as to the view of certain people that I identify god with nature (taken as a kind of mass or corporeal matter), they are quite mistaken". For Spinoza, our universe (cosmos) is a mode under two attributes of Thought and Extension. God has infinitely many other attributes which are not present in our world. According to German philosopher Karl Jaspers, when Spinoza wrote "Deus sive Natura" (God or Nature) Spinoza meant God was Natura naturans not Natura naturata, that is, "a dynamic nature in action, growing and changing, not a passive or static thing." Jaspers believed that Spinoza, in his philosophical system, did not mean to say that God and Nature are interchangeable terms, but rather that God's transcendence was attested by his infinitely many attributes, and that two attributes known by humans, namely Thought and Extension, signified God's immanence. Even God under the attributes of thought and extension cannot be identified strictly with our world. That world is of course "divisible"; it has parts. But Spinoza insists that "no attribute of a substance can be truly conceived from which it follows that the substance can be divided" (Which means that one cannot conceive an attribute in a way that leads to division of substance), and that "a substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible" (Ethics, Part I, Propositions 12 and 13).[3] Following this logic, our world should be considered as a mode under two attributes of thought and extension. Therefore, the pantheist formula "One and All" would apply to Spinoza only if the "One" preserves its transcendence and the "All" were not interpreted as the totality of finite things.

French philosopher Martial Guéroult suggested the term "Panentheism", rather than "Pantheism" to describe Spinozas view of the relation between God and the world. The world is not God, but it is, in a strong sense, "in" God. Not only do finite things have God as their cause; they cannot be conceived without God.In other words, the world is a subset of God. American philosopher Charles Hartshorne, on the other hand, suggested the term "Classical Pantheism" to describe Spinoza's philosophy.

And a quote from Albert Einstein:

"Your question is the most difficult in the world. It is not a question I can answer simply with yes or no. I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. May I not reply with a parable? The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's Pantheism. I admire even more his contributions to modern thought. Spinoza is the greatest of modern philosophers, because he is the first philosopher who deals with the soul and the body as one, not as two separate things."

Thought's on it?
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#494

Posted 14 February 2016 - 11:41 PM

what's your point, exactly?

actually it's irrelevant.

 

the funny thing about 'theism' - in any form - is that I don't think anyone would have a need for it, if someone hadn't already taught them about it.

primitive humans needed to explain thunderstorms. they were scary, people were dumb, I get it.

 

let's move past the historical reflections and deal with the now.

if you could somehow raise a child in the modern world right now, but in the complete absence of any mention of 'god' or religion, I'm inclined to believe that the issue would never come up. people so rarely get the opportunity to confront religion after logic. religion is always hammered into you (whether you'll admit it or not) at a very young age by powerful authority figures such as your parents, family, church community, whatever. religion is typically fed to people before basic foundations of logic/reasoning can even be developed. the human mind is remarkable and even very 'intelligent' people can believe stupendously ignorant things; there are plenty of published scientists and doctors, etc who go to church on Sundays and drink the blood and eat the body of an ancient undead Jewish zombie.

 

you know. Christians.

 

so it's no surprise that people are so resistant to the simple analysis that unravels their dogma.

theism is just such a leftover shackle from the chains of ignorance, from way back in the day. I get so bored with discussing the old themes of simply comparing and contrasting one religion to another, or pointing out the gaping holes in their logical inconsistencies. what it actually comes down to is the obvious fact that Man created God; not the other way around.

 

you've got all these brands of religion.

all these nice varieties to suit these different people in different parts of the world. and all of their so-called 'followers' merely pick and choose the rules of their faith that they actually want to follow... ignoring the rules that are inconvenient. constantly amending their beliefs or walking back their position in the face of new realizations; about gays, or about medicine, or about contraception, or about basic astronomy. religion is constantly ceding ground to the advancement of common sense. how could any of this be the 'ultimate' words of the creator of the universe? god seems to get a lot of sh/t wrong. you shouldn't be allowed to pick and choose which rules you're going to follow. this is supposed to be too important for that.... isn't it??

 

everyone has a brand.

everyone just picks their team. but you didn't even really pick. why are you Christian? why are you Muslim? why are you Hindu?

 

you were just born there. that vagina you fell out of? it was complete happenstance.

you're not Christian because it's the one true religion. you don't believe in Mohamed because he's the one true prophet. the people who raised you decided that for you. so why is your conviction so strong? because you never got the chance to defend yourself with common sense. you were never exposed to anything else until you already had this foundation, provided to you by people you trust. it's such a strong connection.

 

but if you were raised without any of it?

you'd never need it. it would never occur to you to believe in god. it would never occur to you to pray. it's perfectly natural to be curious about life and death and ask those spiritual questions. but you wouldn't have the need for all of these other ridiculous rules and superstitions. you wouldn't have the need to write huge books full of ignorance, full of lies, full of bigotry, full of sexism, servitude and fear. it's all just ancient baggage. fear mongering and male-dominance written during a time when people still thought that the Earth was the center of the universe.

 

who are you praying to?

nobody is listening except the voices in your head. but most people are too afraid to admit it.

 

and it doesn't mean we're alone. you should embrace the void.

the unknown is a magical thing, but religious people want to control everything so badly, they're so afraid of the unknown. so their scripture provides them with a happy little security blanket to rest their heads on at night, but at what cost? for their individual comfort their religion continues to see the violent, horrific punishment and murder of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, minorities, anyone who doesn't believe what I believe all around the world. every day. religious warfare going on for thousands and thousands of years uninterrupted because there can be no compromise. by definition, most of the major religions are not supposed to coexist... although it makes for a nice bumper sticker. meanwhile, women are brutally oppressed. to this day you have medical knowledge and scientific knowledge suppressed. religious 'textbooks' rewriting basic history, making a mockery of basic biology, and misleading children about the nature of our own planet. you have 'faith healing' charlatans who are allowed to make millions of dollars claiming to heal people of their cancer, because churches are non-profit. and for the moment, all across the middle East you have the destruction of irreplaceable artifacts and manuscripts during countless book-burnings and museum raids. mass beheadings, mass graves full of nonbelievers. in Africa where HIV/AIDS is rampant you have Catholic priests telling everyone about 'evil' condoms and birth control are so another generation of children are born starving and dying before they even get a chance at life.

 

all for what

 

horse sh/t. your stupid beliefs. so you can imagine your dead puppy dog is on a farm in the clouds.

f/ck your comfort blanket. grow up.

 

we cannot get past religion soon enough.

and it's not like people wouldn't have other reasons to fight each other sometimes. certain wars would still happen. but dogmatic bullsh/t accounts for such a massive source of unnecessary fuel on the fire. countless lives would have been/would be improved if not for the socially domineering tool of mind control that is state-sponsored religion.

 

this concludes today's rant.

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#495

Posted 17 February 2016 - 02:34 AM Edited by Milfrah, 17 February 2016 - 02:37 AM.

I know I already hit "like" but I just gotta say that I love this:

what's your point, exactly?

actually it's irrelevant.

 

the funny thing about 'theism' - in any form - is that I don't think anyone would have a need for it, if someone hadn't already taught them about it.

primitive humans needed to explain thunderstorms. they were scary, people were dumb, I get it.

 

let's move past the historical reflections and deal with the now.

if you could somehow raise a child in the modern world right now, but in the complete absence of any mention of 'god' or religion, I'm inclined to believe that the issue would never come up. people so rarely get the opportunity to confront religion after logic. religion is always hammered into you (whether you'll admit it or not) at a very young age by powerful authority figures such as your parents, family, church community, whatever. religion is typically fed to people before basic foundations of logic/reasoning can even be developed. the human mind is remarkable and even very 'intelligent' people can believe stupendously ignorant things; there are plenty of published scientists and doctors, etc who go to church on Sundays and drink the blood and eat the body of an ancient undead Jewish zombie.

 

you know. Christians.

 

so it's no surprise that people are so resistant to the simple analysis that unravels their dogma.

theism is just such a leftover shackle from the chains of ignorance, from way back in the day. I get so bored with discussing the old themes of simply comparing and contrasting one religion to another, or pointing out the gaping holes in their logical inconsistencies. what it actually comes down to is the obvious fact that Man created God; not the other way around.

 

you've got all these brands of religion.

all these nice varieties to suit these different people in different parts of the world. and all of their so-called 'followers' merely pick and choose the rules of their faith that they actually want to follow... ignoring the rules that are inconvenient. constantly amending their beliefs or walking back their position in the face of new realizations; about gays, or about medicine, or about contraception, or about basic astronomy. religion is constantly ceding ground to the advancement of common sense. how could any of this be the 'ultimate' words of the creator of the universe? god seems to get a lot of sh/t wrong. you shouldn't be allowed to pick and choose which rules you're going to follow. this is supposed to be too important for that.... isn't it??

 

everyone has a brand.

everyone just picks their team. but you didn't even really pick. why are you Christian? why are you Muslim? why are you Hindu?

 

you were just born there. that vagina you fell out of? it was complete happenstance.

you're not Christian because it's the one true religion. you don't believe in Mohamed because he's the one true prophet. the people who raised you decided that for you. so why is your conviction so strong? because you never got the chance to defend yourself with common sense. you were never exposed to anything else until you already had this foundation, provided to you by people you trust. it's such a strong connection.

 

but if you were raised without any of it?

you'd never need it. it would never occur to you to believe in god. it would never occur to you to pray. it's perfectly natural to be curious about life and death and ask those spiritual questions. but you wouldn't have the need for all of these other ridiculous rules and superstitions. you wouldn't have the need to write huge books full of ignorance, full of lies, full of bigotry, full of sexism, servitude and fear. it's all just ancient baggage. fear mongering and male-dominance written during a time when people still thought that the Earth was the center of the universe.

 

who are you praying to?

nobody is listening except the voices in your head. but most people are too afraid to admit it.

 

and it doesn't mean we're alone. you should embrace the void.

the unknown is a magical thing, but religious people want to control everything so badly, they're so afraid of the unknown. so their scripture provides them with a happy little security blanket to rest their heads on at night, but at what cost? for their individual comfort their religion continues to see the violent, horrific punishment and murder of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, minorities, anyone who doesn't believe what I believe all around the world. every day. religious warfare going on for thousands and thousands of years uninterrupted because there can be no compromise. by definition, most of the major religions are not supposed to coexist... although it makes for a nice bumper sticker. meanwhile, women are brutally oppressed. to this day you have medical knowledge and scientific knowledge suppressed. religious 'textbooks' rewriting basic history, making a mockery of basic biology, and misleading children about the nature of our own planet. you have 'faith healing' charlatans who are allowed to make millions of dollars claiming to heal people of their cancer, because churches are non-profit. and for the moment, all across the middle East you have the destruction of irreplaceable artifacts and manuscripts during countless book-burnings and museum raids. mass beheadings, mass graves full of nonbelievers. in Africa where HIV/AIDS is rampant you have Catholic priests telling everyone about 'evil' condoms and birth control are so another generation of children are born starving and dying before they even get a chance at life.

 

all for what

 

horse sh/t. your stupid beliefs. so you can imagine your dead puppy dog is on a farm in the clouds.

f/ck your comfort blanket. grow up.

 

we cannot get past religion soon enough.

and it's not like people wouldn't have other reasons to fight each other sometimes. certain wars would still happen. but dogmatic bullsh/t accounts for such a massive source of unnecessary fuel on the fire. countless lives would have been/would be improved if not for the socially domineering tool of mind control that is state-sponsored religion.

 

this concludes today's rant.

I am in total agreement.

 

I just have to say that it saddens me that I will probably never see the whole "getting past religion" thing in my lifetime. I can only hope that how I'm bringing up my 10-year-old daughter will aid in helping to set the path for future generations in the quest to learn logic before religion. Even that plan is being somewhat undermined by her soon-to-be stepmother, who is Catholic. Why my atheist ex-husband is allowing such bullsh*t is beyond me..

 

Well, I do kind of understand--he did mention at some point that he was just looking for someone "halfway decent at life and halfway decent-looking" that was willing to "settle for him". Thus, he decided the presence of religious belief in a partner was not a big deal as long as she wasn't  "too crazy about it". The thing is, I think pretty much any amount of it is crazy and it's too bad my daughter has to be on the worst side of his passivity over it. At this point I feel there is not much I can do about it. I have sent a few cuss word-laden texts to him about not wanting "our daughter to be brainwashed" after finding out that she was going to church with his wife-to-be. His stance on the whole thing is that she should be allowed to "decide for herself", and essentially he is right. He has told her from the get-go that some people believe in God but she doesn't have to if she doesn't want to.

 

What gets to me is that I simply would not be bringing her up that way if it were all up to me. I would just not bring religion up at all and the focus would be on science, logic, and rational thought. At some point, religion would probably come up because she'd learn about it from other kids or their parents and ask about it and I could explain that it's all just make-believe nonsense that some otherwise logical people like to use as a security blanket. Then all I could do is hope she wouldn't decide to choose the religious path of her own free will... I would still love her and accept her, obviously, but there would be great disappointment that everything I taught her "fell through". If it were all up to me, I'd really just like to say, "Listen, some people are going to try to get you to believe in a big silly make-believe omnipotent being called God because they're delusional."

 

What's ironic is I can still remember my Christian mother telling me that "someday some teacher at one of your schools might try to tell you that we evolved from apes, but don't you believe it!" Heh.

 

I was born, raised and baptized under one of the most unfortunate forms of Christianity: Mormonism. I remember sitting in church as a very young child and just feeling this visceral sense of unease. I hated going there but, ya know, we "had to". I just went along with it for years in a "this is insane and I don't have the means to explain why yet, but I know it's not right" kind of way. It wasn't until I was in my late teens to early 20s that I started dropping hints that I didn't didn't follow the Mormon belief structure. We weren't active in the church all the time, but still considered ourselves Mormon.

 

About seven years ago, my mom suddenly got a bug up her ass to become a hardcore devout Mormon again. She started pressuring me to get active in the church again too and that's when I had to tell her I didn't believe in god and even if I did, I certainly wouldn't practice my belief under Mormonism because Joseph Smith was a lying philandering thieving moron who made up a bunch of stupid crap so he could have his own religion. I did some research and even presented her with pictures of the illiterate Joseph Smith reading scripture from the golden tablets using his stupid hat. She was outraged, called my information "useless internet information that anyone could publish", and demanded that I read The Book of Mormon and then..then..I would certainly believe! I then learned that the only reason why we were Mormon was because some idiot missionaries knocked on my great-grandparents' front door and "sold" it to them (those sneaky bastards). Still, my mom insisted I would believe if I read the book.

 

So, I did. I finally read The Book of Mormon in its entirety for the very first time (which even she had never done until she became "born again" Mormon). There were many times I found myself laughing out loud over the absurdity at some of the stuff I read. I knew right then that any person with a shred of logic would be insane not to question religion. I've not read the whole Bible, but I've read enough to feel the same way about that as I do about the Book of Mormon.

 

My mom and I had a few more heated discussions after that, then she didn't talk about Mormonism for several months and I found out from my brother that she wasn't going to church anymore. When I asked her about it, she was sheepish. She informed me that she had wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith and was going through some sort of official archives of his personal writings. She came across something where he basically told his first wife that if she did not allow him to take additional wives that God would look upon her unfavorable and possibly strike her dead or some such thing. That's what made her decide Mormonism wasn't for her. My mom might love religion, but I think her contempt for asshole men runs deeper haha. If only I could get her to realize that it's ALL manmade and that switching over to non-denominational is really not much better....I gave her Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion" to read and told her it was payback for making me read the Book of Mormon several years ago! Hopefully, she hasn't burned it yet. :lol:

 

I guess my point is that if people would get over their whole "I believe it because I was taught it from birth" mindset, like others in this thread have insinuated, and do a little research and analytical thinking, they would realize how absurd religion truly is. My mom was heading in the right direction when she started "digging" for more info.

 

When we lay down and accept religion as the one and only answer exactly as its presented to us and never question it or go against some of its ridiculous teachings, we are truly a hindrance to the world and to ourselves. We will never advance to our full potential as a society until religion is either gone or until mankind can figure out a way to completely remove it from areas of life where it just doesn't have a place. We can still have ethics and morality without religion.

 

So I guess that's my story combined with my two cents on religion, for those of you who didn't find this TLDR, haha.

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#496

Posted 17 February 2016 - 03:16 AM

We will never advance to our full potential as a society until religion is either gone or until mankind can figure out a way to completely remove it from areas of life where it just doesn't have a place. 

 

 

How do you conceive of our full potential as a society? Also, by what metric do you measure that to be the case?

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#497

Posted 17 February 2016 - 07:03 PM

 

We will never advance to our full potential as a society until religion is either gone or until mankind can figure out a way to completely remove it from areas of life where it just doesn't have a place. 

 

 

How do you conceive of our full potential as a society? Also, by what metric do you measure that to be the case?

 

That's kind of a loaded question, isn't it? 

 

Full potential isn't exactly a known. It's a state of being that you strive for, constantly over-reaching until you hit the ceiling (if there is one). There is no metric. There is no "you must obtain this many achievement points before you receive enlightenment". 

 

To me what she is saying is something that I have often said. Society is better off without magical thinking. In other words without religion. We can achieve more and do greater deeds when we stop filling in the blanks with bad information and challenge ourselves to do better based on idea and theory that is demonstrable, and reproducible here in the physical realm in which we live. That striving for knowledge and discovery fuels our progress forward and allows us to achieve still greater things. There isn't a point we get to where we have ever reached it, or where it's "enough". It's a never ending ideal.

 

Not that I'm speaking for her, she knows her own mind.

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#498

Posted 17 February 2016 - 10:15 PM

That's kind of a loaded question, isn't it? 

 

Not when she was the one who used the term originally. I'm curious as to how she would define what she said further, hence my question. The big-picture topics like this are quite abstract, and when someone uses a term like 'full potential' while stating their position, that is where certain fallacies tend to originate. Hopefully this response doesn't read as hostile. I'm only trying to understand her position more clearly.

 

 

let's move past the historical reflections and deal with the now.

if you could somehow raise a child in the modern world right now, but in the complete absence of any mention of 'god' or religion, I'm inclined to believe that the issue would never come up. people so rarely get the opportunity to confront religion after logic. religion is always hammered into you (whether you'll admit it or not) at a very young age by powerful authority figures such as your parents, family, church community, whatever. religion is typically fed to people before basic foundations of logic/reasoning can even be developed. the human mind is remarkable and even very 'intelligent' people can believe stupendously ignorant things; there are plenty of published scientists and doctors, etc who go to church on Sundays and drink the blood and eat the body of an ancient undead Jewish zombie.

 

I think you're misrepresenting the role of logic in forming belief systems, here. You can construct a completely valid perspective on human life that allows you to operate and contribute to wider society while believing in God. The issue with religion isn't that it lacks logic. Seriously, Thomas Aquinas was an incredibly intelligent thinker who reconciled scholastic tradition with Aristotle's forms of logic and rhetoric. Similarly, there is Avicenna, who had a monumental impact on the use of logic in Islam during the Islamic Golden Age. The use of logic in both of these cases was sound. Reason and principles of reference can (and have, historically) been created with God involved. While I would agree that these arguments are not compelling, I would say it is very reductive to argue that logic is absent from any theology, especially since the Catholic Church and Islamic thinkers alike had an important role in the archival and interpretation of philosophies surviving Antiquity which continues to benefit thinkers even today.

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#499

Posted 18 February 2016 - 05:02 AM Edited by WHAT!?, 18 February 2016 - 05:02 AM.

I'm a little tipsy at the moment so excuse me if the following isn't formed quite as well as it should be...

 

Why is the fact that these people you cite employed logic successfully in their religious arguments significant? Why is logic on it's own not compelling enough? Why must there be logic + god, when logic so neatly removes the need for god?

That's what I've personally always failed to understand. I was raised as a Presbyterian, and found atheism. My parents are not exactly thrilled, but to me there is no other world view that even begins to make any kind of logical sense. As soon as a supernatural being becomes present, you've thrown logic right out the window.  

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#500

Posted 18 February 2016 - 07:09 AM

You can construct a completely valid perspective on human life that allows you to operate and contribute to wider society while believing in God.

sure... of course.

who cares.
 

The issue with religion isn't that it lacks logic. Seriously, Thomas Aquinas was an incredibly intelligent thinker who reconciled scholastic tradition with Aristotle's forms of logic and rhetoric. Similarly, there is Avicenna, who had a monumental impact on the use of logic in Islam during the Islamic Golden Age. The use of logic in both of these cases was sound. Reason and principles of reference can (and have, historically) been created with God involved.

I'm sorry T, but you're polishing turds.
 
what I had to say didn't really discount any of the points you're raising.
that individual people within religion can be very intelligent is irrelevant. that these individuals could use aspects of their religion to provide powerful inspirations for discovery is beside the point. we've acknowledged this. you're making no revelations; the compartmentalization of the human mind is astounding. Ben Carson is a world renowned neurosurgeon who has accomplished some amazing stuff in the OR. Ben Carson is a f/cking idiot who should be nowhere near the Oval Office. we have Islam to thank for algebra and Martin Luther was a pretty cool dude.
 
alright. I get it.
doesn't change the conclusion though. it doesn't change the fact that religion amounts to divisive bull sh/t. doesn't change the fact that it's a man-made construct responsible - at large - for incalculable amounts of historical and ongoing human suffering.
 
"you can construct a completely valid perspective on human life that allows you to operate and contribute to wider society while believing in God."
...sure, and you know what else? you can construct a completely valid perspective on human life that allows you to operate and contribute to wider society without believing in dogmatic nonsense at all.

 

it is very reductive to argue that logic is absent from any theology, especially since the Catholic Church and Islamic thinkers alike had an important role in the archival and interpretation of philosophies surviving Antiquity which continues to benefit thinkers even today.

great. hooray.

meanwhile, somewhere, girls are having their clitorises cut off while an AIDS-ridden community is being told that condoms are an evil sin.

 

the Catholic Church giveth, and the Catholic Church taketh away!

hallelujah!

 

reductive, my ass. you're being short-sighted, now.

why are you apologizing for them? it doesn't excuse any of the travesty that is religion at-large. big deal. a few religious dudes came along who were great thinkers. some religious dudes were also great painters and poets. and writers and sculptors. and actors and playwrights. and some of our greatest scientists and doctors and political leaders. they were religious! who cares. you're not making a point. everyone was religious. it's so utterly pervasive and difficult to dissuade even for the greatest minds. for so many generations religion had a complete monopoly on culture. it's no surprise that most early contributions from ALL aspects of our humanity came from people who were religious

 

so f/ck em'. don't you see?

you think we wouldn't have great philosophy without religion? bull sh/t.

we would still have their contributions (and arguably much, much more) without the domineering presence of these ignorant institutions and their oppressive hindrance of intellectual and cultural evolution. individuals will always accomplish great things. arguably more individuals would've been able to contribute much more without religion being in the way.

 

I shudder to think about the countless minds lost to religion's poison.

the war and physical suffering are one thing. the emotional and intellectual toll is an entirely different story. countless men and women made to serve the church, denying their basic human needs. and the contributions of almost all women! for so many generations, half the human population, ignored and suppressed and made to think that their only purpose was to serve man. and then anyone who was different! any nonbelievers. anyone who dared to think differently but who was not popular enough to get away with it. they were all silenced. who knows what we've lost...

 

but oh, some of them were good philosophers you say?

f/ck em'. this is not a fair trade-off.

 

...

 

we can't go back in time but I started my statements with a thought-experiment.

if you could raise people in the modern world, in the absence of a religious influence, they wouldn't need it. they wouldn't feel it. they'd be curious about the nature of reality, life and death. but they wouldn't develop these ludicrous systems of control and oppression and rules and punishments and cruel superstitions. people would find reasons to fight about stuff and certain natural divisions would exist. but we wouldn't have this extra-massive-layer, this huge wall between US and THEM. as if there isn't enough of that crap already.

 

it's poison.

no apologies.

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#501

Posted 19 February 2016 - 01:52 AM

 

We will never advance to our full potential as a society until religion is either gone or until mankind can figure out a way to completely remove it from areas of life where it just doesn't have a place. 

 

 

How do you conceive of our full potential as a society? Also, by what metric do you measure that to be the case?

 

Admittedly, I guess there is no way to get an exact measurement of what our "full potential" could be if religion was not so ingrained in our society. Yes, I realize there's probably counterarguments and "fallacies" to this viewpoint, but I will say what I personally have found to be true.

 

Nothing can ever be perfect, but I truly believe we would see a vast improvement in society if we weren't battling the hand of religion that is constantly swatting away at scientific and medical advancement. For example....when a woman gets in vitro fertilization due to infertility, not all of the embryos are used. They often end up being discarded as "medical waste" here in the U.S. (not sure about other countries--I think some are allowed to use their embryos?). They are thrown out when we could potentially be using them for research or life-saving procedures such as stem cell transplants. But we don't use them for that because some see it as "unethical" because religion. Let's say there's a young father very loved by his family whose life could potentially be saved by a stem cell transplant procedure using embryos. As far as I'm concerned, his life is more important than the "life" contained within embryos that are essentially going to end up as garbage. I can tell you that if I ever decided to get IVH and had embryos left over and I knew those embryos could potentially save another person's life, I'd be all for them being used for that purpose. But nooooo, even I couldn't say, "Use my embryos for research or to save someone" because: religion.

 

There are a lot of things that cause money to be spent in vain or stupidly, religion is one of those things--and a very costly one at that. I'm a neonatal intensive care nurse. I can tell you that I love my job and I work hard to save all babies, but should they all be saved? I can't tell you how many times I've taken care of babies born asphyxiated due to birth complications whose brains were completely gorked beyond repair (we're talking severe hemorrhaging to the point that the brain is complete mush and the kid will only ever be a complete non-functioning/non-aware vegetable being kept alive by a ventilator hooked up to his or her tracheotomy). Once it is determined that the baby is beyond the point of having a chance at any semblance of a normal life, we often end up keeping some of them on our unit for months and months, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars keeping their hearts beating and lungs inflated and why? More often than not it's because the parents are religious and they say things like, "If God wanted our little angel, He'd take her!" Because I'm not allowed to express my personal opinion to them, I can only smile and nod but what I really want to do is look into their eyes and say, "No. You're baby is not alive. Her heart is beating because of the meds we're giving her and the oxygen and breaths we're delivering to her via the ventilator. We are the 'God' keeping your angel alive! Your baby is never going to have a 'life'." I always hold a special place in my heart for the parents who, after learning that nothing more can be done and the brain can never recover, decide to withdraw support. So we disconnect and they hold their baby and cry and grieve and it is very hard, but they know it is the right thing to do. Oftentimes, these people are religious as well but they are also rational and know that they wouldn't want to go through the rest of their life as a vegetable, why should they make their child do it?

 

Religion is just a "security blanket" to help people who would otherwise be rational people feel safe and confident. Religion hinders exploration and teaches us not to ask questions, and asking questions is what gets us real answers. When we accept "because God made it that way", we are literally giving up and wasting valuable time accepting answers that are not truly answers. We were born with these higher brains and we are wasting them on religion. It is a truly devastating phenomenon. That is how I feel. There can still be a sense of wonderment and mystery about the world, losing religion is not going to remove that. Life will probably always be a mystery. That's why religion was invented in the first place.

 

So, I guess there's really no "metric" that I use. I base my opinion off of what I personally experience for the the most part, then back it up with the opinions and research conducted by individuals whose scholarly works I admire, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. 

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#502

Posted 19 February 2016 - 11:46 AM Edited by Failure, 19 February 2016 - 12:01 PM.

The point you make about embryos is a fair one, but I'm not sure if it's specifically religion that should be blamed or how Christianity is interpreted by the American religious right. I mean IVF is something which receives a lot of support in the Jewish world because infertility is a big problem for many Jewish married couples, and I don't think there'd be much opposition to using excess embryos for research. I think the embryo issue is shut down by the religious right in the US because they're scared it will lead to wider acceptance of abortion. It's certainly not a rational argument I grant you, but I don't condemn people for being pro-life.

 

 

 

There are a lot of things that cause money to be spent in vain or stupidly, religion is one of those things--and a very costly one at that. I'm a neonatal intensive care nurse. I can tell you that I love my job and I work hard to save all babies, but should they all be saved? I can't tell you how many times I've taken care of babies born asphyxiated due to birth complications whose brains were completely gorked beyond repair (we're talking severe hemorrhaging to the point that the brain is complete mush and the kid will only ever be a complete non-functioning/non-aware vegetable being kept alive by a ventilator hooked up to his or her tracheotomy). Once it is determined that the baby is beyond the point of having a chance at any semblance of a normal life, we often end up keeping some of them on our unit for months and months, spending thousands upon thousands of dollars keeping their hearts beating and lungs inflated and why? More often than not it's because the parents are religious and they say things like, "If God wanted our little angel, He'd take her!" Because I'm not allowed to express my personal opinion to them, I can only smile and nod but what I really want to do is look into their eyes and say, "No. You're baby is not alive. Her heart is beating because of the meds we're giving her and the oxygen and breaths we're delivering to her via the ventilator. We are the 'God' keeping your angel alive! Your baby is never going to have a 'life'." I always hold a special place in my heart for the parents who, after learning that nothing more can be done and the brain can never recover, decide to withdraw support. So we disconnect and they hold their baby and cry and grieve and it is very hard, but they know it is the right thing to do. Oftentimes, these people are religious as well but they are also rational and know that they wouldn't want to go through the rest of their life as a vegetable, why should they make their child do it?

 

This is a difficult situation. I'm actually with you on withdrawing the support in the most hopeless of situations as, like you say, the person is only being kept alive by a machine and has no consciousness. The resources could go to a child who actually has a chance instead. At the end of the day though I'd rather live in a society which gives parents the right to keep their child on life support than have it forcibly taken away. It's a consequence of living in a free society. I mean Ariel Sharon was kept on life support for years when he was in a coma because an entire country desperately wanted him to wake up and make things right, however vain that hope may have been. The heart and the mind are always in conflict with eachother, and this transcends religion.

 

 

There's no greater way to comprehend the awe and majesty of reality than being utterly stupefied by the principles that govern it. You also gain a great deal of respect for the humans who uncovered these principles and exploited them to further our understanding. Ultimately though, they can't give you meaning. There are some questions they can't answer and you need to have actually studied the material to appreciate this depressing fact. This is why I'm wary of atheists who hold up science as the ultimate answer despite not understanding it themselves. They say that reality refutes God, but all they've really done is turn science into a religion, which is perverse (almost as bad as the idiocy of intelligent design). Science needs to be pure, empirical and utterly free of emotion for it to serve its purpose. Science is strictly the domain of how, what, when and where. "Why" isn't something science deals with well. Dawkins has great credentials as an evolutionary biologist, but he's also a militant atheist. Like it or not (and I definitely understand not liking it), religious beliefs are deeply held by billions of people. Someone like Dawkins is only going to antagonise people and make them clutch more firmly to their faith instead of encouraging dialogue. A much healthier alternative is Richard Feynman. Not only did he elucidate science in a far more engaging way than the likes of Dawkins and Tyson ever could, he had a better attitude towards faith. He was an avowed atheist but appreciated that religion wasn't all bad. Einstein was not religious but did believe in some form of God, and his connection to the Jewish people was the emotional anchor he needed to continue his work during tumultuous times. Einstein was an intensely rational thinker. His thought experiments had an almost arrogant clarity, and this was in no way impeded by the safety he found in his personal God.

 

 

We're not animals, but we're not Gods, either. In the end science can explain a vast amount, but it doesn't preclude faith. With a bit of basic calculus, insight and co-moving coordinates you can develop three possibilities for the shape of the universe. With a few basic measurements you can determine that the universe has finite age and started from a central point. There's an ultimate unknown before that, one that we can't escape. That doesn't mean we should ascribe that unknown to the grand design of Abraham's God, but I don't blame people who do. Like the elements of the periodic table, we all of us seek stability.

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#503

Posted 19 February 2016 - 02:42 PM Edited by WHAT!?, 19 February 2016 - 03:08 PM.

There's no greater way to comprehend the awe and majesty of reality than being utterly stupefied by the principles that govern it. You also gain a great deal of respect for the humans who uncovered these principles and exploited them to further our understanding. Ultimately though, they can't give you meaning. There are some questions they can't answer and you need to have actually studied the material to appreciate this depressing fact. This is why I'm wary of atheists who hold up science as the ultimate answer despite not understanding it themselves. They say that reality refutes God, but all they've really done is turn science into a religion, which is perverse (almost as bad as the idiocy of intelligent design). Science needs to be pure, empirical and utterly free of emotion for it to serve its purpose.


I like a lot of what you had to say, but I have to take issue with this paragraph. There are some who hold science up as the ultimate solution to everything that ills you. I'm personally not one of those people. I don't presume to be owed any answer about the questions we have yet to solve. But I am confident that we will solve them. Science is just a tool that allows us to explore existence rationally. It must always be tested. The truth it presents is always contestable and may always be dis-proven should new information come to light at a later time. I am extremely dispassionate about science. Science is simply the closest we have come to establishing a common core of truth in testing. It has no value beyond that. Science is no god, but science is greater than any god in the sense that it can provide actual, provable, testable answers.

 

What I am passionate about is the removal of religion as an answer to anything. I think my lack of faith and my general distaste for it is misperceived as a passionate view of science and rational thought as a replacement for religion. That's just not the case. I don't advocate for replacement. I advocate for it's absence. In the absence of religion I recommend people think in rational terms about the world around them. Science presents the best set of thinking tools to view a world rationally. That's it.

 

I also disagree that there can be no meaning or beauty in the unknown without there being a spiritual or religious aspect to a person's life. I don't need a great mystery. I don't need mysticism. I just plain don't need it. Milf and I both come from religious families. I don't push my Atheism on them. They try and push their Christianity on us, but I let it be out of respect for the elders who raised me. If they want to get into a discussion about it, then fine. I'll discuss it. Otherwise my thoughts are my own. Again I would say that I don't feel as if I'm owed any explanation. If I run into a question that has no answer I consume what I can on the subject if I'm really that curious about it, and I hold my own ideas based on leading theories, but I realize that I've been given no definitive answer, and that's fine. Again, I'm not owed one. If a person seeks to supplement these areas where science has yet to tread with religion, then all they are doing is painting themselves into a corner. They are grasping at the unknown in a vain attempt to lend validity to a method of thought that is no longer valid.

 

I don't hate religious people. I don't even think they are stupid. I idolize my father as a lot of sons do. He is a very intelligent man who happens to be religious. So I'll say again, I don't think religion = stupidity. I just don't understand why people choose to cling to it when it's so obviously past its point of usefulness. To me clinging to the Holy Bible, or whatever text you choose is the same as clinging to Harry Potter as if it were fact. I just don't understand why someone would do that to themselves.  

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#504

Posted 19 February 2016 - 04:06 PM

Yeah I didn't write that well. It looks like I suggested that all atheists deify science but only a minority do this (mostly Reddit). I'm not religious myself really, but it does hold a bit more sway for me than for avowed atheists.

I'll post more later.

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#505

Posted 19 February 2016 - 04:14 PM Edited by Milfrah, 19 February 2016 - 04:18 PM.

This is a difficult situation. I'm actually with you on withdrawing the support in the most hopeless of situations as, like you say, the person is only being kept alive by a machine and has no consciousness. The resources could go to a child who actually has a chance instead. At the end of the day though I'd rather live in a society which gives parents the right to keep their child on life support than have it forcibly taken away. It's a consequence of living in a free society. I mean Ariel Sharon was kept on life support for years when he was in a coma because an entire country desperately wanted him to wake up and make things right, however vain that hope may have been. The heart and the mind are always in conflict with eachother, and this transcends religion.

 

 

There's no greater way to comprehend the awe and majesty of reality than being utterly stupefied by the principles that govern it. You also gain a great deal of respect for the humans who uncovered these principles and exploited them to further our understanding. Ultimately though, they can't give you meaning. There are some questions they can't answer and you need to have actually studied the material to appreciate this depressing fact. This is why I'm wary of atheists who hold up science as the ultimate answer despite not understanding it themselves. They say that reality refutes God, but all they've really done is turn science into a religion, which is perverse (almost as bad as the idiocy of intelligent design). Science needs to be pure, empirical and utterly free of emotion for it to serve its purpose. Science is strictly the domain of how, what, when and where. "Why" isn't something science deals with well. Dawkins has great credentials as an evolutionary biologist, but he's also a militant atheist. Like it or not (and I definitely understand not liking it), religious beliefs are deeply held by billions of people. Someone like Dawkins is only going to antagonise people and make them clutch more firmly to their faith instead of encouraging dialogue. A much healthier alternative is Richard Feynman. Not only did he elucidate science in a far more engaging way than the likes of Dawkins and Tyson ever could, he had a better attitude towards faith. He was an avowed atheist but appreciated that religion wasn't all bad. Einstein was not religious but did believe in some form of God, and his connection to the Jewish people was the emotional anchor he needed to continue his work during tumultuous times. Einstein was an intensely rational thinker. His thought experiments had an almost arrogant clarity, and this was in no way impeded by the safety he found in his personal God.

 

 

We're not animals, but we're not Gods, either. In the end science can explain a vast amount, but it doesn't preclude faith. With a bit of basic calculus, insight and co-moving coordinates you can develop three possibilities for the shape of the universe. With a few basic measurements you can determine that the universe has finite age and started from a central point. There's an ultimate unknown before that, one that we can't escape. That doesn't mean we should ascribe that unknown to the grand design of Abraham's God, but I don't blame people who do. Like the elements of the periodic table, we all of us seek stability.

I just want to point out that I would never suggest forcibly taking parental rights away when it comes to deciding whether or not to withdraw life support. What I mean to imply is that moving away from religion as a society in general would make people less likely to keep others alive unnecessarily because they feel like removing support would be "against God's will". 

 

Respectfully, I must disagree with you for the most part in your second paragraph. Perhaps there are some scientists out there who treat science like a religion, I don't deny that. Obviously, there are going to be fanatics. At least, that's how I'd view them. Especially if they were walking around saying things like "Science dammit!" like in that one South Park episode where Cartman is frozen and wakes up hundreds of years later to a warring atheistic society. In the books I've read by Dawkins and Hitchens, I never really had the feeling that they treated science as though it was a religion. They speak passionately and get cocky at times but I think that is out of frustration over people out there who so desperately cling to religious "fact" even when the actual stone cold scientific fact has been proven and is right there for everyone to see. Also, some scientists have admitted that they don't even like some of the things they find. Obviously, there would be something stark and dreary about a world where we have "everything figured out" in a scientific manner laid out before our eyes. Humans want to have a sense of wonder, but we don't need religion for that. I'm pretty sure we'll never figure it all out scientifically, so I think that element of mystery will always be there, religion or no religion. 

 

For myself, when I came to the realization that there's no religious meaning behind life, it was actually a very freeing feeling. Essentially, it empowered me and I realized that absolutely nothing is "in God's hands". If I want something, I have to work for it all on my own, prayer does nothing, and with a little bit of luck, maybe I'll reach my goal. When bad things happen to me, I don't have to battle with the whole "Why me, God?" debacle. I say, "Well, life isn't fair. Nature isn't fair. There's nothing I can do about it." Then, I try to change the things I have control over, and leave be the things I can not. For me, things like disease and unfavorable health conditions are the result of genetic/evolutionary flaws. Science has never claimed to be perfect. Just look at some of the evolutionary flaws of our bodies. The female genitourinary tract, for one thing. Women's urethrae are very short and in such close proximity to the anus that if we do not wipe ever so carefully and use the bathroom immediately after sex, many of us our prone to terrible bladder and even kidney infections..If we were created by a divine, all-knowing being, wouldn't he or she have designed us a little better? We are "designed" this way because it's not design at all, it's the way we evolved and like I said..it's not a perfect process.

 

You are right when you say "why" isn't something science deals with well. Well, sort of. Science has still come much farther in the "why" department than religion has. Religion attempts to fill in the gaps that science can not, which is a huge mistake and takes me back to my whole point about the danger in us ceasing to explore and ask questions about the world. Using religion to fill in the gaps for what we haven't discovered yet is not the answer. I believe the answer is to keep asking questions and exploring.

 

I also want to point out, for what it's worth, that Albert Einstein has been largely misquoted and misrepresented throughout time. Hitchens (who studied the genius extensively, though I guess I can't prove that his source is any more reliable than anyone else's) sites a quote from Einstein at the end of God is Not Great:

 

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

 

I guess to tie this up I just want to say that, like you, I don't blame or even really look down on people who use religion to ascribe meaning to the unknown. Most of my family and social circles are comprised of people who are very devote. If they find comfort in it and it is what helps them get through life, I certainly don't want to take that away from them because that would be vindictive and going against the whole free will principle. I just can't help but see the religious stance as an unfortunate byproduct of ignorance and in the people who inquire or try to push their religiosity on me (such as my mother often does with me), I have no problem presenting my viewpoints. I see it as "planting a seed".

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#506

Posted 24 February 2016 - 11:53 PM

I think you're misrepresenting the role of logic in forming belief systems, here. You can construct a completely valid perspective on human life that allows you to operate and contribute to wider society while believing in God. The issue with religion isn't that it lacks logic. Seriously, Thomas Aquinas was an incredibly intelligent thinker who reconciled scholastic tradition with Aristotle's forms of logic and rhetoric. Similarly, there is Avicenna, who had a monumental impact on the use of logic in Islam during the Islamic Golden Age. The use of logic in both of these cases was sound. Reason and principles of reference can (and have, historically) been created with God involved. While I would agree that these arguments are not compelling, I would say it is very reductive to argue that logic is absent from any theology, especially since the Catholic Church and Islamic thinkers alike had an important role in the archival and interpretation of philosophies surviving Antiquity which continues to benefit thinkers even today.

What you're saying is at best described by a term like internal consistency. If a belief is in apparent agreement with other beliefs that does nothing to suggest that it is logical on the whole.

 

Religion doesn't lack logic? What kind of mental gymnastics are you performing there? What is, in the end, logical about believing in a god, especially one invented by religion? Absolutely nothing. At best you have no answer for why things exist or how they came to be. That does nothing to add to the credibility of any given god. The most sound position is that of an agnostic. Theism is illogical when put under enough scrutiny.

 

By your "logic", Islamic extremism is also perfectly logical given a belief in paradise. It's true that people reliably provide rationalizations for their beliefs, even patently horrendous ones, but that doesn't make them logical in the strictest form of the word.


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#507

Posted 25 February 2016 - 10:45 AM Edited by Failure, 25 February 2016 - 10:48 AM.

Islamic extremism is inherently illogical because it purposefully contravenes the Abrahamic tenets on which it purports to be founded. Salafism has wandered so far from Mount Sinai that its adherents cannot be called true monotheists. Islam also faces rather particular issues and in some sense constitutes an ideology as much as, if not more than, a faith. There's nothing illogical about accepting Gd as an axiom. For some people it's just as self-evident as the axiom of choice (which cannot be proven but underpins vast swathes of mathematics). Of course not all mathematicians accept the axiom of choice, and often it doesn't need to be mentioned at all, just as not having a religious belief is completely valid too. Islamic extremism is not logical because it's massively destructive and serves only to harm the reputation of Muslims everywhere. It is a massive threat to the already tenuous harmony that exists between Muslims and non-Muslims.

 

 

What Tyler is saying is that this idea of religion and logic being incompatible is a rather recent one. Maimonides was a widely respected rabbi whose religious works remain widely influential, but he was also a great physician and proponent of rationality. He had no belief in magic and trusted in empiricism and method when it came to treating patients (which occupied a great deal of his later life). Leibniz's Christian beliefs in no way impeded his seminal work in philosophy and mathematics. Ramanujan helped to create some of the most profound mathematics of the last century and was motivated by, not stifled by, his religious beliefs. The three figures I've given here were not dominated in a corrosive way by faith, but were motivated by it and used it to form a sense of balance in their lives. None of them used religion as a vessel of hatred, indeed, Maimonides was happy to treat Jew and gentile alike, was well versed in matters outside of Jewish thought and knew many languages; Leibniz sought to heal the rift between Catholics and Protestants; Ramanujan saw the merit of all religions.

 

 

 

Milfrah: Einstein was pretty enigmatic about his personal beliefs. I don't blame him really--beliefs should be just that, personal:

 

 

 

Einstein disdained divine revelation, yet he believed in God.
He recoiled from Orthodox Judaism, but he felt a deep kinship with the Jewish people.
He opposed the idea of a Jewish state, yet raised money for the Zionist cause and was invited to become president of Israel.
“Einstein is such a multidimensional personality, such a multidimensional phenomenon, that everybody can adopt something and cling on to it,” said Hanoch Gutfreund, head of the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University. Einstein’s views on what it is to be a Jew were shaped as much by the way others perceived him as they were by his perception of himself.
He may have rejected Judaic practices and felt alienated from what he described as Germany’s “Jewish bourgeois circles,” but as a revolutionary and outspoken Jewish scientist, a pacifist and an internationalist, he was pilloried by many of his German peers in the 1920s and ’30s for his “Jewish science.”
 
 
 

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#508

Posted 25 February 2016 - 11:22 AM

You're misusing the word or you are saying something completely trivial. Yes, religious people can be rational thinkers in other areas of their lives and even be scientists. That doesn't make their religious beliefs ultimately logical (that is when you place them under sufficient scrutiny). They are internally coherent to some degree though most religions and their denominations cherry pick and interpret parts of their holy texts so yes, Islamic extremism is logical and the fact that it contradicts parts of the texts is irrelevant. All religious beliefs do this to some degree given that their texts are self-contradictory.


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#509

Posted 09 September 2016 - 02:48 PM

When there's some kind of atrocity unfolding on the news, many people think: lunatic or religion? To me there's no real difference; it's all the same spectrum.

 

I could never marry a religious person. I couldn't really respect the rituals, their belief that somehow their existence matters to some all-powerful being, their arrogant view that their life must have some universal 'meaning' or significance.

 

If I were a soldier I wouldn't like to be in a life-or-death situation with a religious person. Who knows how they'd react or what risks they would take if they thought some powerful force was 'protecting' them for some reason?

 

I deplore seeing athletes cross themselves before a race (God wants them to win, no one else), accident survivors praising the somewhat selective deity that spared them (ninety people died, one survived), or thanking the Lord for the miracle of their recovery (not mentioning the doctors, nurses, medical equipment or drugs).

 

The religious mindset is just too alien to me. The only way I could have a believer friend is if we never mentioned the subject. Admittedly, it's the same with certain strong political views too.


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#510

Posted 10 September 2016 - 08:44 AM

 

 

The religious mindset is just too alien to me. The only way I could have a believer friend is if we never mentioned the subject. Admittedly, it's the same with certain strong political views too.

 

All but 3 of my closest friends are devout Christians and we tend to avoid the subject but it does pop up every now and then. I feel really weird when they talk about their personal relationship with God/Jesus, sounding like they've met either, but then again maybe they feel weird as f*ck when I say that I think life is a happy accident. We've never berated eachother or even implied that the other is wrong. Sure, we've discussed it, but it's always been like "have you considered the possibility" etc. 

I think it's better to see friends as friends first, religious later.





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