Is this all there is to religion?
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31-07-2011, 03:23 PM
 
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
In the sixties and seventies we were liberal, tolerant, respecting differences and individual beliefs. We were so careful not to hurt the feelings of people with whom we disagreed fundamentally – we recognized their right to be different.

Then the eighties and nineties happened and suddenly we found ourselves on the defensive. It was not enough any more that we were respectfully tolerant of idiotic views – we were with them or against them.

Now in 2011 we are under vicious attack from every direction: the political and religious right is on a ‘fatwa’ against liberals, atheists, humanists and tolerance.

Look at what happened to Obama. He wanted to play nice and his attackers became literally rabid with hate. He could have accomplished so much more if he pulled out all the stops right at the beginning to implement his promises. He had the political capital then. Now he is a joke, trying to survive at any price.

The danger in treating irrationality (like religions) with tolerance, curiosity, apologetic disagreement is the assumption we would have to subliminally accept: the assumption that in today’s world détente is still possible, even though the knife is on our throats. If we don’t fight for our survival, nobody else will.

Time to call spades spades.
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31-07-2011, 03:50 PM (This post was last modified: 31-07-2011 04:06 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(31-07-2011 08:41 AM)Zatamon Wrote:  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".

Good. Definition is a start toward understanding and communication.
You put in "sustainable", which hasn't been a major factor in human social planning. We are facing extinction because of this oversight.

Quote: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.

And yet an overwhelmingly (both by numbers and enthusiasm) religious human race has already overpopulated the only planet to which it has access. It has done this, mostly through growing food, building shelter and curing sickness. Our survival as a species has obviously not been adversely affected by the various nonsensical belief-systems.

Quote: 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.

All true, but not all part of the same concept. Societies have always co-operated internally and warred externally... all the way back to the ants. Is that a bad thing? I don't like it, but my attitude is emotional, not rational. War seems to be a natural, normal (therefore, presumed sane) part of living in groups, vying for limited resources and territory.
Religion - yes, the coercion, guilt and brainwashing included - seems to have been one factor in internally unifying societies, promoting co-operation and sharing or one kind or another. (What is preached by whom, for what purpose is beyond my current scope. Those details are not the essence of religion, but belong in political practice.)
Only recently do we have man-made societies: nations that are expected to function with a population that isn't organic - single history and culture - but amalgamated from many sources. This presents a problem in organization that we have not learned to to do well - though there were a decades when it looked as if we might get the hang of it. This is what's causing the ructions and frictions we experience in North America today: the tribal instinct, in times of peril, scarcity and anxiety, wanting its old ways back. We probably don't have time to evolve past this difficulty.

Quote:The danger in treating irrationality (like religions) with tolerance, curiosity, apologetic disagreement is the assumption we would have to subliminally accept: the assumption that in today’s world détente is still possible, even though the knife is on our throats. If we don’t fight for our survival, nobody else will.

I admit freely to curiosity, grudgingly to tolerance, and not at all to apologetic disagreement. Nor subliminal assumption, neither.
Oh well. To the barricades, then.




(31-07-2011 11:39 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  We can't afford to simply appreciate the figures and traditions of religions anymore.
Well, i know that. On the other hand, i'm not sure this war - if war is what we're in for - is winnable, or even survivable.

Anyway, before Zatamon, i was only thinking about discussing and maybe exploring aspects of religion, the spiritual impulse, and human cultures in general. There has to be more to it than the inquisition and the spaghetti monster.
Not rushing out front waving a big white flag.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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31-07-2011, 04:59 PM
 
RE: Is this all there is to religion?
(31-07-2011 03:50 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  Societies have always co-operated internally and warred externally... all the way back to the ants. Is that a bad thing? I don't like it, but my attitude is emotional, not rational. War seems to be a natural, normal (therefore, presumed sane) part of living in groups, vying for limited resources and territory.
Religion - yes, the coercion, guilt and brainwashing included - seems to have been one factor in internally unifying societies, promoting co-operation and sharing or one kind or another.
We have to differentiate between what we call ‘natural’ and what we call ‘sane’.

Natural evolution is a very slow process.

Our DNA-controlled instincts are not much different from those of the Neanderthal.

Jared Diamond, in the “Third Chimpanzee”, describes the last truly stone-age society discovered in the thirties – they still used chipped-stone weapons at the time. Within a decade or two, their children programmed computers and flew jet planes.

We are not that different from ancient savages in our ‘natural’ instincts and abilities.

‘Sane’ is a different concept. It has to do with our ability to survive in our technological civilization as it is today. No DNA was programmed to do that.

Our technology evolved at a much faster rate than our DNA. Surviving in it requires ‘unnatural’, but 'sane' -- by definition -- strategies. If we fail, we will have destroyed ourselves and our world, as any insane society has always done in human history (see Jared Diamond’s magnificent book: “Collapse”).

If a human being’s actions logically, inevitably, result in the exact opposite of that human being’s desires, we call him, in mild cases, stupid, unintelligent. In extreme cases we call him insane.

In our world, as it is, natural instincts (maybe even including religion) will not save our collective asses. We have to be sane as well.
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