Changing Religion
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13-01-2013, 10:33 AM
RE: Changing Religion
(13-01-2013 01:15 AM)Chujutsu Wrote:  Ahh. So, the religion in question must be very specific...

So, such religion should be liberal? Hmm... interesting.

I suppose I should also ask what makes religion good. Perhaps I might have to change the question to ask what makes specific religions good. However, I am not sure which ones to ask about. I realize that there are so many religions, so it's going to be difficult to point out specific religions.

Is it possible that religions have a "general" trend of good characteristics? Some religions, I admit, would be quite bad, such as a fundamentalist Christianity. What would these good characteristics be?
First of all, it's been rightly pointed out (by many, many people) that religion would not have a monopoly on any good qualities. Charity and compassion, for instance, may be hallmarks of (a particular) religion, but are also regularly practiced by atheists. The argument usually follows that these good qualities would not be sufficiently redeeming to justify religion's continued existence (again, ignoring whether we actually have any control over that existence), because they can be pursued just as readily without religion. I have some minor disagreement on this point. In my own opinion, it's more important to me that a religion avoids
the most egregious pitfalls and abuses; once it does that, it ceases to
be an evil, and ending it is not a priority. Furthermore, while religion doesn't have exclusivity on these virtues, it is an incredibly effective motivator towards them, and that should be considered. Again, it would not be the only form of motivation out there, but that doesn't make it bad.

That said, some good qualities that religion CAN have.

1) Motivation, and the organizational framework, to do good. ("Good" is wide open to interpretation. I'd say start with a basically humanist model of good versus bad, but be open to, say, compassion towards animals or a feasible search for truth as further good qualities.) In particular, a religion should also have few countervailing motivations to do harm, or at least put very little emphasis on the passages which can constitute a call to harm.

2) Respect for others (including other faiths, atheists, and minorities), especially if it goes beyond simply preaching coexistence to its members and enters into advocacy in society at large.

3) Mental flexibility, and the humility to question beliefs. I mentioned liberal religion before. Many liberal religions hold that what they are pursuing is more metaphorical truth than literal truth. For example, a given branch of liberal Christianity might hold that the gospels are themselves a parable -- valuable not because they necessarily actually happened, but rather for lessons like the Golden Rule. Many of them also acknowledge that there is much evil in the Bible. Put the two together, and you've got a situation where the adherent is constantly evaluating what in their religion is good or bad, or true or false, and is open to contrary opinion on the matter. In addition to possibly making them pretty tolerant of others, these mental gymnastics can make a person a good critical thinker, and count as good practice for the pursuit of truth in other fields. Another way that a religion can do this is Zen Buddhism, which is filled with koans that really, really get you examining your assumptions about the world.

4) A good social support mechanism for its members. (I'll throw "spiritual support" in there as well, if you can give me a good definition for the word spiritual.) Simply having people who'll show up at your bedside when you're in the hospital, or run an AA meeting if you need to get on the wagon, or just provide sympathy and lack of judgement when you lose your job (and maybe the networking to find your next job) has a HUGE impact on quality of life. Is a religion the only framework that can accomplish this? Not at all. That doesn't stop it from being a good thing when a religion does it.

There's many more. I don't think producing an exhaustive list is possible. But that's a good start.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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13-01-2013, 07:45 PM
RE: Changing Religion
Ahh.

I learned something new today.

So, abolishing religion is not necessary. However, the fundamentalist denominations must be changed to be more liberal.

From my readings on the internet, it seemed that Richard Dawkins wanted to abolish all religion. I was wondering the necessity of such an action.

From what I read in The God Delusion, he said that liberal religions provide a context for fundamentalists to continue. Is this reason a good reason to abolish religion?
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13-01-2013, 07:56 PM
RE: Changing Religion
(13-01-2013 07:45 PM)Chujutsu Wrote:  Ahh.

I learned something new today.

So, abolishing religion is not necessary. However, the fundamentalist denominations must be changed to be more liberal.

From my readings on the internet, it seemed that Richard Dawkins wanted to abolish all religion. I was wondering the necessity of such an action.

From what I read in The God Delusion, he said that liberal religions provide a context for fundamentalists to continue. Is this reason a good reason to abolish religion?


Abolishing religion would be an assault on human rights and freedom. Much as I despise religions, people must find reason and sanity themselves.
We can help - we cannot impose.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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13-01-2013, 11:14 PM
RE: Changing Religion
My interpretation of Dawkins is that he would love to live in a world with no religions. This is mainly because as a scientist he values what is 'true' and what is true can change as facts are discovered.
Religion starts with what is true (revealed truth or truth by faith alone) and finds facts that support this position.
This does not mean that he has the expectation of abolition.


When I said "church of England", I said it as example of a tamed religion where the member of that sect are usually focused on doing good in society... it's not about power and control anymore.

If you watch the debate (friendly chat) between Dawkins and the bushy eyebrowed Archbish of Canterbury, you'll see how tame the CofE has become.

Sadly, from the little I know about the Catholic Church in the Philippines, it seems they are still power hungry which manifests itself in things like their opposition to the RH Bill.

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13-01-2013, 11:35 PM
RE: Changing Religion
(13-01-2013 11:14 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Religion starts with what is true (revealed truth or truth by faith alone) and finds facts that support this position.


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14-01-2013, 05:48 AM
RE: Changing Religion
(13-01-2013 11:14 PM)DLJ Wrote:  My interpretation of Dawkins is that he would love to live in a world with no religions. This is mainly because as a scientist he values what is 'true' and what is true can change as facts are discovered.
Religion starts with what is true (revealed truth or truth by faith alone) and finds facts that support this position.
This does not mean that he has the expectation of abolition.


When I said "church of England", I said it as example of a tamed religion where the member of that sect are usually focused on doing good in society... it's not about power and control anymore.

If you watch the debate (friendly chat) between Dawkins and the bushy eyebrowed Archbish of Canterbury, you'll see how tame the CofE has become.

Sadly, from the little I know about the Catholic Church in the Philippines, it seems they are still power hungry which manifests itself in things like their opposition to the RH Bill.
Ahh. Thank you for your response. I will try to look into this stuff when I have the time.



And yes, from what I noticed, the Catholic Church here still does want to influence the government, especially with the recently passed (well, relatively recent) RH Bill. I have yet to go read the final version (though I was able to read a version years ago, I have to read it again just to be sure). I'll try to look into it again.
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14-01-2013, 06:21 AM
RE: Changing Religion
(12-01-2013 09:35 PM)Chujutsu Wrote:  So, summing up:
1.) Why is religion bad? Why must it be abolished?
2.) Is it possible to remove these bad aspects of religion? If so, how would the result look like? Would it be different from atheism (with the exception of the lack of belief of atheism)?

LOL. I know what you meant there, but "lack of belief of atheism"? That makes me laugh so hard. Wink

I somewhat agree with EvolutionKills on this one. Religion is a stumbling block. It doesn't have to be -- you can be a perfectly rational believer like John Green from VlogBrothers. To answer your question, that's what it would look like if you removed those factors from religion -- rational belief. But because holy books can never be edited, there's always the possibility that someone will come along and take their religion literally (as everyone tells them to do!) and make it barbaric yet again. Witch burnings, for example, are not something that "always happened"... we passed through the less intellectual dark ages of European Feudalism and picked it back up from an interpretation of biblical words.

So I think you *can* remove the bad aspects of religion, but not permanently... not unless you actually change the words of holy books. And even rational believers won't do that. So I think it's preferable to stamp out religious belief if possible.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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