Is this all there is to religion?
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30-07-2011, 07:03 AM
Is this all there is to religion?
Does anyone else get tired of

Prove it!
No, you prove it!
Can't prove it, nya, nya!

I think religion is a lot more interesting than this. Mythology, legend, folklore, the historical development of a theology, the divergence of various sects and heresies - all the stories that show some characteristic of the people who tell them. Even in just the relatively young Judeo-Christo-Islamic group, there is an enormous variation of narrative and ritual; a wealth of local heathen remnants that have been stitched in. If you also consider the far eastern and ancient civilizations, the African, Australian and American native lore.... well, just think how much of it there is, beyond Jehova, Jeebus and Mohammed.

For a start: Do you believe cavemen were afraid of thunder? If so, why? If not, why not?
What's the Cain and Abel story really about? Where did it originate?

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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30-07-2011, 09:13 AM
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(30-07-2011 07:03 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Does anyone else get tired of

Prove it!
No, you prove it!
Can't prove it, nya, nya!

I think religion is a lot more interesting than this. Mythology, legend, folklore, the historical development of a theology, the divergence of various sects and heresies - all the stories that show some characteristic of the people who tell them. Even in just the relatively young Judeo-Christo-Islamic group, there is an enormous variation of narrative and ritual; a wealth of local heathen remnants that have been stitched in. If you also consider the far eastern and ancient civilizations, the African, Australian and American native lore.... well, just think how much of it there is, beyond Jehova, Jeebus and Mohammed.

For a start: Do you believe cavemen were afraid of thunder? If so, why? If not, why not?
What's the Cain and Abel story really about? Where did it originate?

the history and origins of religion is certainly interesting. Im afraid of thunder , so I'd suspect caveman were too,lol

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
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30-07-2011, 10:08 AM
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
Yeah, we mostly are. But compare the life of a modern human with a very early one. We live mostly in cities, in weather-controlled houses and vehicles - a long, long way from raw Nature. Primitive humans lived in the middle of raw Nature and were directly descended from hominids, apes, lemurs, etc, all the way back to protozoa, who all lived in Nature. These guys were used to weather, had no more reason to question any of its manifestations than a gazelle or frog has. But they watched and predicted and described weather, personified and made stories about how the elements behave. I don't think that's about fear; i think it's the beginning of an intellectual understanding of one's environment.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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30-07-2011, 02:14 PM
 
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(30-07-2011 07:03 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  I think religion is a lot more interesting than this.

Yes, it can be more interesting than that.

For historians, for sociologists, for psychiatrists – they can be fascinated by the phenomenon.

I have known religious people who were quite nice, completely harmless and I had no immediate problems with their beliefs.

I used to be tolerant and understanding.

Not any more.

What is happening in the world today, in our mad rush back to the middle ages, is frightening.

The gloves are off.

Religion now is both a cause and a symptom.

The implied irrationality is quite real and is part of the reason evil prevails in our daily lives. More and more people give up logical thinking, stop basing their beliefs and actions on facts, so we are at the mercy of the hypocritical liars and cheaters who are destroying our world.

If I were a clinical psychiatrist, studying criminal insanity, I might be fascinated with the subject.

If I were stalked by one of their subjects – I might not.



PS.

I never say: "proveit!"

I just say: "define it!" -- the conversation usually ends there.
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30-07-2011, 03:11 PM
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(30-07-2011 02:14 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Yes, it can be more interesting than that.

For historians, for sociologists, for psychiatrists – they can be fascinated by the phenomenon.

And for teachers? Might not a teacher like to be able to answer "Why"" or "How did that happen?"

And maybe for young citizens who have to live in this world and eventually run it. Wouldn't it sometimes be useful, when thinking about the organization of one's society, or deciding to vote for or against a political agenda, to understand how their opposition thinks?

Quote:Religion now is both a cause and a symptom.
....If I were a clinical psychiatrist, studying criminal insanity, I might be fascinated with the subject.
....If I were stalked by one of their subjects – I might not.

I should think, in the latter case, it's all the more important to know what's going on, what to expect.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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30-07-2011, 03:38 PM
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
I wouldn't be surprised if cavemen were afraid of thunder. Nowadays we have an idea of how lightning works, we have safeguards against it (lightning rods on every building) and we can even predict thunderstorms through weather forecasts, so we know how to avoid getting killed by lightning. Cavemen however had to hunt or forage in open fields or mountains and if a thunderstorm arose, they had no way of seeking shelter on time unless there was a cave or ravine nearby. There were no lightning rods back then. Lightning and thunder must have been quite ominous for them The only things they knew about lightning were its destructive power and that it came from the sky. It's not hard for me to imagine that they thought something or someone could be above those clouds creating or harnessing that power and sending it to the ground. Like, you know, a god.

The God excuse: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument. "God did it." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. - George Carlin

Whenever I'm asked "What if you're wrong?", I always show the asker this video: http://youtu.be/iClejS8vWjo Screw Pascal's wager.
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30-07-2011, 03:51 PM
 
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(30-07-2011 03:11 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Wouldn't it sometimes be useful, when thinking about the organization of one's society, or deciding to vote for or against a political agenda, to understand how their opposition thinks?

Useful -- yes.

Interesting? -- yes, if you were a history buff or a budding psychiatrist.

Doctors find some diseases fascinating.

Laymen, in danger of being harmed by it -- seldom.

But, you are right: it is useful to know our enemies.
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31-07-2011, 07:23 AM (This post was last modified: 31-07-2011 07:52 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(30-07-2011 03:51 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Doctors find some diseases fascinating.

Laymen, in danger of being harmed by it -- seldom.

But, you are right: it is useful to know our enemies.

Okay, so you are sure the impulse toward religion is a disease. It seems to be a disease afflicting the vast majority of the human race, uncured and with only rare, small, local remissions, from before the beginning of recorded history to an as yet unforeseeable future.
You said of god: "Define it."
By that same standard, can you define mental health?
So far, all we have is a declaration: We are sane; they are crazy. Unfortunately, it is used by both sides, and the other side is far more numerous an powerful (which might, in fact, give them a teeny edge on setting the standard for normal.) If they are all our enemies, then mutual intolerance does not look to me like having a happy resolution.


(30-07-2011 03:38 PM)Efrx86 Wrote:  I wouldn't be surprised if cavemen were afraid of thunder. Nowadays we have an idea of how lightning works, we have safeguards against it (lightning rods on every building) and we can even predict thunderstorms through weather forecasts, so we know how to avoid getting killed by lightning. Cavemen however had to hunt or forage in open fields or mountains and if a thunderstorm arose, they had no way of seeking shelter on time unless there was a cave or ravine nearby. There were no lightning rods back then. Lightning and thunder must have been quite ominous for them The only things they knew about lightning were its destructive power and that it came from the sky. It's not hard for me to imagine that they thought something or someone could be above those clouds creating or harnessing that power and sending it to the ground. Like, you know, a god.

Yes, i quite see that. I imagine all animals are leery of thunderstorms, aware of the early warning signs, and seek shelter whenever possible. We, who firmly trust the truth of evolution (See, i didn't say believe in!) nevertheless tend to forget the straight, unbroken line of animal experience present in humans. And we have an odd relationship with our distant human ancestors, at once condescending (giving them too little credit for intelligence and knowledge) and over-familiar (putting them into our shoes; forgetting that they didn't need shoes).

But if you read - even better, hear - the stories of native peoples, they are not about fear at all. The weather spirits are not that powerful and hardly at all intrusive - as gods go, not very scary. Fanciful description, often humorous. I don't believe the power of weather was much of a factor in human spirituality before agriculture.
But then, then, it became huge. Then, it became urgently necessary to affect the weather. I believe religion, like science, is an attempt to control Nature.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-07-2011, 08:41 AM
 
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(31-07-2011 07:23 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Okay, so you are sure the impulse toward religion is a disease. It seems to be a disease afflicting the vast majority of the human race

The mass suicide of the lemmings is a myth.

Humanity's impulse toward irrational, self-defeating, destructive behavior is, unfortunately, a fact.

Mental health by one definition is: "A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life."

This is a relative term, meaning different things in different communities.

My definition is more absolute: "A state of mind that maximizes a person's chances of coping with his environment in a sustainable, balanced way".

You may also talk about the mental health of an entire community or even humanity itself. By my definition it seems not very healthy indeed.
PS.

We live in a physical world. Our survival depends on physical things like growing food, building shelter, curing sickness. Religion can not do any of it.

We also live in a society and that requires cooperation, mutual assistance, sharing. Religion is preaching some of it but the typical influence of religions is wars, hatred, intolerance, control by guilt, brainwashing and neurosis. There are exceptions, of course, that is why I said ”typical” – reading past and present history confirms it.
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31-07-2011, 11:39 AM
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
We can't afford to simply appreciate the figures and traditions of religions anymore. It's like if you read all the Lord of the Rings books, finished, put the book down, sat back and went, "Wow, what an amazing story and character development." Then you got online to share your appreciate for a fine piece of art and you notice that the top news story is, "20 dead in suicide bomb by supporters of Sauron and the One Ring." When people embrace the fairy tale, you have to act before you can reflect. When Christianity gets appropriately labeled Mythology, then we can appreciate it for its values and entertainment. But for now, we're too busy trying to convince the followers of Sauron not to nuke the hobbits in the Shire over their beliefs on the Ring.

But I feel what you're saying. Maybe one day humans will be mature enough to appreciate beauty without dedicating their lives to convincing everyone else under threat of violence of the aforementioned beauty.

+1 for thinking outside of the box.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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