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Thread: My problems with religion

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    My problems with religion

    There is a major problem with with secular humanism because prior hominids, those of which were incapable of speech, and by cause and effect, religion, were still burying their dead and living in groups with each other. Which demonstrates that we are definitely capable of morality and social bonding without religious belief.

    Name one moral thing that a Christian can do better than an Atheist.

    Morality is socially influence and dependent on a different variety of factors. What is moral in our society may be completely immoral in another and therefore; there is no universal acceptance for what ought to be. It is a natural progression that is socially influenced to benefit the existence of whatever is trying to survive. There is no reason to change it into a convoluted philosophy that is completely independent of social norms, this simply isn't the case. If it were, than morality, in all regards, should be universally accepted on every level, but it isn't.

    If there was an individual who was capable of demonstrating that miracles do happen, don't you believe that it would have occurred already? It hasn't. That is as simple as it can be stated. Therefore my assertion that nobody is capable of doing this, simply because nobody has been able to yet, isn't grandiose or misleading, it is actually very accurate and is completely dependent on observation.

    Transcendent meaning may or may not exist, and our only way to find out will be via scientific means, not religious beliefs.

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    Sam Harris well known atheist wrote 'The Moral Landscape ' in an attempt to create an objective morality. He suggested well- being as a moral yardstick. Acts that create an increase in well-being are good.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    If Christians and Atheists are both human beings and if belief and morality are part of our biology rather than our culture, then one should not expect Christians and Atheists to be very different when it comes to being able to act morally.

    They are both human beings. That is clearly true. So, is the other part of the premise true? Are belief and morality part of our biology and not culturally or socially constructed? I think that is true also. One place to look for supporting evidence is a survey by Justin Barrett, "Born Believers: the science of children's religious beliefs".

    One of my problems with atheism is that it leads to what I call dehumanization with assertions (and I am thinking of Sam Harris here) that we do not have free will or beliefs that our minds are epiphenomena of our brains. In terms of judging the values of particular religious positions (and I consider atheism to be a religious position), start with humanity and see what that religion has to say about us. Forget God. Stick with humanity and the "God within" or our subjectivity and see which religious position is worth practicing considering the short amount of time we have to practice anything.
    Last edited by YesNo; 04-12-2017 at 01:18 AM.

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    Most humans have consciences due to self- awareness and hence self- judgement.
    Along with this they also have ambitious self interest a survival driving force.
    That is why Freud declared ' we are at war with ourselves.'This is human nature and resulted in morals and religion. The battle between these two forces within has resulted in history and the present world as we know it.
    The picture is complicated by the presence of psychopaths who have no conscience.
    Robert Hare believes 1% of the American population are psychopaths.
    Apparently they have a different brain scan from normal humans. Those interested can test themselves on Mr Hares site.

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Is psychopathology correlated to a particular religion or kind of religion or to atheism? Is happiness correlated to any of these? I wonder if longevity can be correlated?

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    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0sh View Post
    Transcendent meaning may or may not exist, and our only way to find out will be via scientific means, not religious beliefs.
    You're not going to get any argument from me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnocrat View Post
    Sam Harris well known atheist wrote 'The Moral Landscape ' in an attempt to create an objective morality. He suggested well- being as a moral yardstick. Acts that create an increase in well-being are good.
    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    If Christians and Atheists are both human beings and if belief and morality are part of our biology rather than our culture, then one should not expect Christians and Atheists to be very different when it comes to being able to act morally.
    Same Harris is:

    1 A moron
    2 Pro-torture
    3 Not a spokesman for atheist or any atheist other than himself, and I remain unconvinced he's actually an atheist
    4 Did I mention he was a moron?

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post

    One of my problems with atheism is that it leads to what I call dehumanization with assertions (and I am thinking of Sam Harris here) that we do not have free will or beliefs that our minds are epiphenomena of our brains.
    Yeah, the idea that we're nothing more than an almost infinitely unlikely arrangement of atoms scares the hell out of people, which is why religion and superstition will always exist.

    I've been saying for half a century that religion is a crutch for the weak, and I've seen nothing to make me think it's wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    ... (and I consider atheism to be a religious position), ...
    Please don't, because the idea is absurd. Is someone who doesn't collect stamps a philatelist?

    Remember the lesson:

    "A-" = without.
    "Theos" = god.

    Without god. Not religious.

    If you're genuinely interested in whether morality is better served by religion or atheism, you should perhaps check out the relative prison populations of countries that keep numbers of these things:

    USA

    UK
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    Yeah, the idea that we're nothing more than an almost infinitely unlikely arrangement of atoms scares the hell out of people, which is why religion and superstition will always exist.

    I've been saying for half a century that religion is a crutch for the weak, and I've seen nothing to make me think it's wrong.

    Please don't, because the idea is absurd. Is someone who doesn't collect stamps a philatelist?

    Remember the lesson:

    "A-" = without.
    "Theos" = god.

    Without god. Not religious.
    I view what we normally hear of as atheism in English speaking countries as a kind of Protestant religion. Nothing more. I judge these various religions by how they view human beings, not by any assertions about their Gods.

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    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    I view what we normally hear of as atheism in English speaking countries as a kind of Protestant religion. Nothing more.
    Feel free to remain completely incorrect then.

    Atheists have only one common ground - a lack of belief in god/s. To assume they have anything else in common, be it morality or worldview, is both naive and ignorant.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

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    somewhere else Helga's Avatar
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    I am an atheist, or I usually say I'm agnostic, knowing it is the lazy man's atheist. I was once told that 'being an atheist, I act very Christian' I don't really know what that means but I think it has something to do with morality, and it is almost an insult, like I couldn't be a good and moral person and not have faith in some sort of deity.
    I hope death is joyful, and I hope I'll never return -Frida Khalo

    If I seem insensitive to what you are going through, understand it's the way I am- Mr. Spock

    Personally, I think that the unique and supreme delight lies in the certainty of doing 'evil'–and men and women know from birth that all pleasure lies in evil. - Baudelaire

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    It shows that they know nothing about the human conscience or more likely they believe only Christians have consciences. Don't take offence explain that we all have consciences , even St Paul admits that in his letters. You can add that we all , Christians included , often chose to ignore our consciences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
    Feel free to remain completely incorrect then.

    Atheists have only one common ground - a lack of belief in god/s. To assume they have anything else in common, be it morality or worldview, is both naive and ignorant.
    Feel free to remain incorrect also.

    --------------------------------------------------

    I am reading Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion". I suspect he would call himself an atheist but he says things I find interesting. In particular he identifies something he calls WEIRD culture: "Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (forming the acronym WEIRD)" (p. 112).

    He also talks about six moral foundations (Moral Foundations Theory) that are not rooted in reason, but which we have "organized prior to experience". Reason is only used to rationalize choices already made. So these do not originate culturally nor are they logically derived by individuals. They are "innate" in some way that he isn't clear about, but hopes a Darwinian hand-waving will suffice. Here they are (1) caring, (2) liberty, (3) fairness, (4) loyalty, (5) authority and (6) sanctity. The WEIRD group have socialized themselves to only value the first three. Everyone else use all six.

    He has been able to identify groups based upon these moral foundations. He is mainly interested in Democrats (liberals, of which he claims to be one), Libertarians, and Republicans (conservatives whom he tries to understand). One might be able to use these innately identified foundations or modules to clump people based on general religious or atheistic traits so we can ignore their respective dogmas (which are rationalizations anyway).
    Last edited by YesNo; 04-29-2017 at 05:25 PM.

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    I think the problem is that you're only viewing the term religion in relation to Christianity. Looking at eastern religions (Buddhism or Sikhism), religion = discipline or a way of life. God isn't necessarily a superhuman sitting in the clouds. Instead, religion can be there to remind us of what it means to be human (i.e. uphold human virtues).
    Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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    I agree that religion shouldn't be restricted to Christianity. But if one has "problems with religion" and that really means "problems with Christianity", knowing that helps focus the discussion to only Christianity.

    If one remains more general, one can refer to our subjectivity as the "God within". This gets us down to the human level where we at least can use our personal subjectivity as empirical evidence. It is here where I see atheism falling apart because, to be consistent as I see it, it must reject this God as well. If that is what "problems of religion" mean, then it is about rejecting the existence of agents, including ourselves, who can make choices. We would have to be reducible to machines or downloadable into computers for that position to be valid.

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    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helga View Post
    I am an atheist, or I usually say I'm agnostic, knowing it is the lazy man's atheist. I was once told that 'being an atheist, I act very Christian' I don't really know what that means but I think it has something to do with morality, and it is almost an insult, like I couldn't be a good and moral person and not have faith in some sort of deity.
    I always find that attitude hilarious - that humans need the guidance of an invisible entity to display morality.

    While 99% of jail inmates are religious...
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."

    Anon

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0sh View Post
    There is a major problem with with secular humanism because prior hominids, those of which were incapable of speech, and by cause and effect, religion, were still burying their dead and living in groups with each other. Which demonstrates that we are definitely capable of morality and social bonding without religious belief....


    Transcendent meaning may or may not exist, and our only way to find out will be via scientific means, not religious beliefs.
    And yet "transcendent meaning" (in other words, meanings or truths most of us generally acknowledge that transcend our physical experience) is accepted by most of us atheists. Mathematics, for example, is a system of thought that is purely logical, and transcends physics. Similarly, historical knowledge is transmitted through words, and we accept (often) the eye-witness accounts of others to learn about the distant past. Indeed, our experience is shaped by language, and experiments show that our memories are shaped linguistically -- we can remember events far better (and differently) if we tell stories about them. Even in experimental science, our conclusions are shaped by the nature of language, and how we can write down and codify our observations.

    By the way, the more we learn about non-human (and non-lingistic) animals, the more we discover that some of them are capable of self-reflection, self-consciousness, and altruism.

    In addition, analogical reasoning is (I think) as vital in shaping morality as logical reasoning. Literature (including, but not limited to, religious literature) may play a role in shaping our ethos.

    Finally, although (of course) myth (a key component of religion) is dependent on language, other quasi-religious behaviors are not. One "school" in the anthropology of religion was the "Myth-Ritual school", which postulated that rituals preceded myths. Indeed, we know that many non-linguistic animals practice what appear to be rituals -- mating rituals, social rituals, etc. The "myth-ritual" school hypothesized that myths developed as explanations for rituals (as opposed to the more normal, modern notion that rituals celebrate myths). The Protestant emphasis on both "belief" and "myth" is actually unusual in the history of religion.

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