How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
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06-03-2014, 06:11 PM
How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
As a spin-off of the definition of Atheism thread, what defines a Religion?

Is it a shared system of beliefs about the natural world, with explanations involving the supernatural?

Are dogma and rituals necessary to qualify as a religion?

I often hear theists describe science and religion as roughly equivalent systems of belief about the world around them, and use phrases like "You can believe science OR religion," as if they're mutually exclusive terms, when that's almost never the case.

Religious people generally have no problem making use of scientific discoveries like Medicine, Transportation, Technology: And make regular use the science they're otherwise quick to dismiss, with statements like "Science doesn't have all the answers."

I read something recently where an author claimed religious teachings provide all the tools necessary for a person to live, where scientific knowledge does not. It was not unlikely posted from a smartphone from the comfort of a factory-produced engineered ergonomic couch, while sucking down a packaged snack and a can of cola.

I wonder: Are theists even dimly aware their modern exposure to religion was made possible by scientific innovations like the printing press, or sciences like linguistics and lexicography?

Why is it so easy for the theist to trumpet the "superiority" of their religious "knowledge" from the rooftops, and then rush their kid to the ER in an SUV as soon as they have a high fever?

And yet the same parent who takes advantage of scientific knowledge when they need it sees no disconnect in fueling up the same SUV, to drive to a PTA meeting in a crusade against teaching evolution or biology in science classes, spouting gibberish about how Science is "against their religion"?

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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06-03-2014, 07:40 PM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
That's a surprisingly good question. I think everyone has a sort of "you know it when you see it" answer. I know if you throw Buddhism in as a religion, it gets rid of the need for a lot of the rituals, and even the need for gods.

Your "a shared system of beliefs about the natural world, with explanations involving the supernatural" is a pretty good definition. Although, if you consider pseudoscience or other misunderstandings about the natural world to be "supernatural", then a lot of woo and new age crap would suddenly be classified as "a religion".

Also, there seems to be a distinction between spiritualism and religion. For example: deists would have religious beliefs, but not necessarily spiritual ones. A Buddhist might have spiritual beliefs and not religious ones.

Well, shit. I've left this thread with more questions than I've answered. Wink
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06-03-2014, 07:55 PM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
A simple definition: many people say so.

You can search Fa Lun Gong. It is believed to be a religion in the US, which is actually a newly invented Chinese cult, with its creator, a former ordinary Chinese worker, now a powerful deity walking among the Earthlings.

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06-03-2014, 09:10 PM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
As RobbyPants has said, religion is a bit like porn, hard to define but you know it when you see it.

I think there are a few things common to them all...

- Offering something... Either protection, guidance, redemption, knowledge, or a combination of all of them.

- Faith or belief in something unproven... Be it God, magic, aliens or whatever.

- Rituals... Always seem to be some kind of meaningless hand waving or chanting.

- Authority... I can't think of any religion that doesn't single out certain members as having some degree of authority over others.

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07-03-2014, 12:56 AM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
Like one of mathilda's posts.
They can't bring themselves to think that, maybe they aren't convincing people.
They rely on an enemy-war on *blank* situation because religions' has always have direct wars, but now, there isn't a real enemy to establish that isn't "critical thinking" or "themselves" so they have to find something to play the enemy card on because they just can't cope with the fact that critical thinking is the problem.

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07-03-2014, 11:07 PM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
(07-03-2014 12:56 AM)Alex_Leonardo Wrote:  Like one of mathilda's posts.
They can't bring themselves to think that, maybe they aren't convincing people.
They rely on an enemy-war on *blank* situation because religions' has always have direct wars, but now, there isn't a real enemy to establish that isn't "critical thinking" or "themselves" so they have to find something to play the enemy card on because they just can't cope with the fact that critical thinking is the problem.

That's true, they always seem to want to appear to be a persecuted minority.

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08-03-2014, 01:48 AM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
(07-03-2014 11:07 PM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  
(07-03-2014 12:56 AM)Alex_Leonardo Wrote:  Like one of mathilda's posts.
They can't bring themselves to think that, maybe they aren't convincing people.
They rely on an enemy-war on *blank* situation because religions' has always have direct wars, but now, there isn't a real enemy to establish that isn't "critical thinking" or "themselves" so they have to find something to play the enemy card on because they just can't cope with the fact that critical thinking is the problem.

That's true, they always seem to want to appear to be a persecuted minority.
Nah, what I was saying was they needed to always establish a direct enemy or a direct, simple opposition. They try like I said, play the enemy card.

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08-03-2014, 09:10 AM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
I define religion as blind and dogmatic adherence to superstition.
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08-03-2014, 09:18 AM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
(08-03-2014 01:48 AM)Alex_Leonardo Wrote:  
(07-03-2014 11:07 PM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  That's true, they always seem to want to appear to be a persecuted minority.
Nah, what I was saying was they needed to always establish a direct enemy or a direct, simple opposition. They try like I said, play the enemy card.

I see what you mean... That's true too.

Religions always paint morality as black and white, good v evil.

Its an "us against the world" attitude.

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08-03-2014, 09:57 AM
RE: How do we define "Religion" and why the opposition of science is farcical.
Certainly willful ignorance is a defining characteristic.
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