Major threat to religion
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12-02-2013, 02:36 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
Let people believe in chakras and karma, if they want to. The only harm I can see done is people who take it too far and impose alternative medicines upon their children when they need real medical help. Even so, this problem is negligible compared to the impositions laid by major religions.

The wiccans and new-agers that I have known are basically harmless. They desire to lead healthy/peaceful lives. They are conscious of our impact on nature and generally try to be eco-friendly.

If the "new age" or pagan lifestyle really were the major threat to religions and not atheism, I still consider it a battle won. Not the war, certainly. But a mark of progress.

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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12-02-2013, 03:00 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
Even if New Age is a threat to religion (though I have my doubts that it is), it is no better than religion. Just like Free Thought said, it's like swapping crazy for crazy. New Age is maybe less dangerous than religion but still dangerous, as it functions entirely on pseudoscience and superstition.
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12-02-2013, 03:15 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
(12-02-2013 03:00 AM)PurpleChimp Wrote:  Even if New Age is a threat to religion (though I have my doubts that it is), it is no better than religion. Just like Free Thought said, it's like swapping crazy for crazy. New Age is maybe less dangerous than religion but still dangerous, as it functions entirely on pseudoscience and superstition.


Agreed, an objectively less dangerous delusion is still a delusion. I want rationalism and skepticism to win out as important values to hold, not swapping out faith in one set of metaphysics (Jesus) for another (Gaia).

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12-02-2013, 03:19 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
(12-02-2013 02:17 AM)fstratzero Wrote:  
(11-02-2013 10:33 AM)KVron Wrote:  I think atheism is not a major threat to religions. People want/like/need to believe in spirits, UFO's,
supernatural things, mysticism, auras, morphic fields, the after life, etc. etc.

No, atheism is not the threat. The threat is The New Age Movement. You can see it everywhere: from
music to "yoga relaxation techniques". It's slowly invading our world and those beliefs contradict what
formal religions say or preach. Instead, is more like a mix: some things from christianism, many from
buddhism, other from pseudo-scientific "discoveries", etc.

Instead of stop believing in god(s), people who have lost their faith prefer to believe in something rather than
nothing. Most people cannot accept the idea of being death forever and while people "deconvert" they just change
their beliefs system. They don't become "thinking atheists".

That's why I can see how the number of new age followers will increase in the next years. It's just a change
from a non-sense doctrine to non-sense ideology.

That's the point we don't need to blindly follow anything.

I think higher order thinking skills/critical thinking skills are important. People need to understand their cultures, emotions, biases(or brain shortcuts), fallacies, all work together to drive you further from the truth.

When engaging a truth claim, you have to learn how to spot fallacies, biases, appeals to cultural norms, and appeals to emotions. To be able to see clearly what is truth and what is a falsehood predicated on intuition, or psychological tricks, made to help you accept nonsense.

Also it's very important to investigate, get down to the bottom of a news/science/documentary story, check sources, and read counter sources, to evaluate it.

With out learning those things, it's easy to be the victim of our own brains, and accept falsehoods with out knowing it.

"Humans are emotional animals, occasionally rational; and through their feelings they can be deceived to their hearts content" - Will Durant, Mansions of Philosophy

"Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true." - Demosthenes
Re.."That's the point we don't need to blindly follow anything."

You've been watching Brian...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqq3e03EBQ
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12-02-2013, 03:38 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
I fully agree, but swapping Islam/Christianity for New Agers and Wiccans? Is it even a question? I'll take pagans any day.

Yes, I'd rather see everyone lay down their superstitions. But not all religions are equally harmful. I don't think all religions should be viewed the same. Yes, they're all bullshit. But some bullshit is more harmful than others.

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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12-02-2013, 03:45 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
And as a side point, paganism as we know it could never fully replace the major religions in terms of impact. They are far too inclusive. Too open to free thought and personal interpretation.

Allow free thought and personal interpretation into Christianity (as it gradually has been, on the whole) and what happens? It weakens.

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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12-02-2013, 05:04 AM
RE: Major threat to religion
[momentary derail]

A big thank you to fstrat for reminding me about James Burke's Connections.

I was 14 when that aired on the BBC.
I realise in hindsight that the Beeb with it's casual dismissal of religion (Burke, Jonathan Miller, David Attenborough etc.) was a kind of indoctination.

For which I am grateful.

I'm on episode 6 of 10 (something useful to do while my locale is closed for the festive period) and I'm noticing that, even though religion (particularly Catholicism) is being jibed at, there is also recognition of how progressives within the church embraced and enhanced discoveries for the betterment of all.

Thanks again.

[/ derail]

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