• stoicHoneyBadger
    65
    Hello friends,
    Have listened to Dawkins debate some Muslim guy and came to a few conclusions...

    1. Dawkins focuses on the fact of Islam, or Christianity or any other religion being factually incorrect.
    But what if the goal of a religion is not to be factually correct, but to give people moral guidance, thumos and social cohesion?

    2. Giving moral guidance in a form of only 10 commandments or 4 noble truth, etc. just printed on a page would not have much interest, so it need to be wrapped in an intriguing story of a hero living out those believes.

    3. The fact of the wrapper-story being factually correct or not has very little to do with whether the content is useful. After all, the 'secular humanism' Dawkins is promoting, is pretty much the same Christianity, just without the supernatural wrapper.

    4. Looking at Afghanistan, it looks like the Muslims are winning. We might laugh about their religion being archaic, but they aren't the ones hanging from the helicopters. ;) So their religion, while being incorrect to say the least, gave them thumos and cohesion to take over the country in a week, yet Christians and atheists, while being much more powerful, don't have the balls to do anything about it.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9k
    Moral guidance is to direct people in relation to the future. Future events have not yet occurred and are understood as possible. So there is no truth or falsity with respect to the future, and we have the is/ought divide. Therefore if you portray the purpose of religion as giving moral guidance, and someone wants to argue that facts are relevant to religion, they need to first provide you with a bridge across that divide. Then their argument will only be as acceptable as the bridge they've provided.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    Sacred myths, historicity, etc. Religion is not tied to the “truth” of some fact or set of facts or some event or series of events in history. It is an imposition of critics and a reflex of the ill informed.
  • stoicHoneyBadger
    65
    Religion is not tied to the “truth” of some fact or set of facts or some event or series of events in history. It is an imposition of critics and a reflex of the ill informed.Ennui Elucidator

    Pretty much Dawkins' argument was exactly that religion is factually incorrect. ;)
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158


    Dawkins has no idea what he is talking about. Some religions that make particular incorrect factual claims are incorrect. Religion writ large doesn’t make any factual claims and so can’t be factually incorrect.

    Picking on Christians makes for good sport, but bad philosophy of religion.
  • Tom Storm
    2k

    Dawkin's fight seems to be with fundamentalism not religion. I think he is right on most points even though I find him stentorian and tedious.

    We might laugh about their religion being archaic, but they aren't the ones hanging from the helicopters. ;)stoicHoneyBadger

    I'm not sure anyone is laughing because the whole point is that fundamentalism is dangerous and leads to very unfunny violence and bigotry - especially when funded by Pakistan or the Saudis.

    Dawkins focuses on the fact of Islam, or Christianity or any other religion being factually incorrect. But what if the goal of a religion is not to be factually correct, but to give people moral guidance, thumos and social cohesion?stoicHoneyBadger

    This is an old notion and led to the idea of the Non-Overlapping Magisteria wherein Stephen Jay Gould argued that religion and science do not contradict each other because each have separate magisterial, or domains of teaching authority.

    But who would think that moral guidance and social cohesion comes from throwing acid in the face of a girl for daring to learn to read and beheadings for apostasy? I'm fairly certain that if religions were tolerant and open minded people like Dawkins would vanish.
  • stoicHoneyBadger
    65
    But who would think that moral guidance and social cohesion comes from throwing acid in the face of a girl for daring to learn to read and beheadings for apostasy? I'm fairly certain that if religions were tolerant and open minded people like Dawkins would vanish.Tom Storm

    The problem is in the imbalance of powers. If Christianity/secular humanism is tolerant towards Islam, Muslims would feel empowered to throw acid on girls.
    So the best solution would be to be intolerant of the intolerant and keep those animals behind a wall.
  • baker
    2.5k
    I'm fairly certain that if religions were tolerant and open minded people like Dawkins would vanish.Tom Storm
    And so would religions.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    :up:

    Is it possible for any religion to offer nothing but calm and non-judgement?
  • baker
    2.5k
    And then, instead of dying at the stakes and from persecution, people would be dying from boredom. The horror!
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    “He had been bored, that's all, bored like most people. Hence he had made himself out of whole cloth a life full of complications and drama. Something must happen - and that explains most human commitments. Something must happen, even loveless slavery, even war or death. Hurray then for funerals!”
    ― Albert Camus, The Fall
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    "The goal" of religion (i.e. to bind (them) together) is to (A) mytho-psychologically groom the naive to sadomasochistically obey and (B) theo-politically corral the superstitious sheep. To wit:
    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
    Amen. :halo: :pray:

    The objection that "religion is not factually correct" is, however, warranted whenever religious dogma's totalitarian infantilization (via odious fairytale bullshit) of a significant plurality of citizens and/or elites is endangering our descendents with the foreseeable, even imminent, threat of extinction or worse (e.g. global heating, pandemics, ... genocidal "holy wars", canonical misogyny, clerical pedophilia, etc). A critical abolition of slavery – the mind-forg'd manacles (i.e. philosophical suicide) of "faith" – by exposing the falsehoods of "holy writ" is, individual and collectively, the sisyphusean task.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    And so would religions.baker

    So syncretic religions don’t exist? Or pluralistic ones?

    Is that you are unwilling to consider anything besides regressive Christianity/Islam or that you really think that modern religions don’t exist and/or that no historic religion was accepting of other religions?
  • baker
    2.5k
    Do you know of any religion that has ever been genuinely friendly toward another religion? I don't. By "genuinely friendly" I mean that in its doctrine, a religion doesn't condemn another religion, and instead considers it an equal path.

    Take one of the countries with an enormous population and a history of religious versatility: India. There, all the various religions generally appear to coexist peacefully, mutually respecting eachother (with the occasional unrests). Take a closer look, and you'll see that the one belief many of them have in common is "Everyone should know their place and mind their own business". They don't care about eachother, they're just minding their own business and knowing their place. And the result is, arguably, better than what any ecumenical effort could bring about.

    Then take a seemingly inclusive religion like Bahaism. Look closer, and you'll see that Bahaism has its own idiosyncratic view of each of the religions it is comprised of or sourced upon. So that, for example, what the Bahais believe to be Buddhism, no Buddhist would recognize as Buddhism. Further, while Bahais give some credit to other religions, they still believe that theirs is the supreme one. This view "All are good, but ours is the best" can sometimes be found in religions, and if one isn't careful, one could readily mistake it for religious tolerance, when it actually isn't.

    Religions can seem friendly toward another out of socio-economic necessity as well. Take Germany, for example. With their numbers whittled down, scrambling for funds, German Catholics and German Protestants get along tolerably well, even though each doctrinally believe about the other that they will burn in hell for all eternity.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Is it possible for any religion to offer nothing but calm and non-judgement?Tom Storm
    With enough mental acrobatics, certainly.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    Do you know of any religion that has ever been friendly toward another religion? I don't.baker

    As long as we agree not to engage in a game of what is a true Scotsman?

    Unitarian Universalists
    A variety of liberal Jewish movements:
    Reconstructionism
    Humanistic Judaism

    Humanism Generally.
    Ethical Humanism

    I'm sure I could find others with relatively little effort, but I'm not sure what a more comprehensive list would do for the conversation.

    The problem of particularism (that a group has the "right" ethic/god/culture/etc.) is not unique to religious settings. Multicultralism hasn't necessarily gone so well in your secular liberal states. Interestingly, the argument that religion is an abstraction from culture by people trying to navigate multicultural settings is probably a good one.
  • Seppo
    93


    You say this as if "religion" is a homogeneous category that we can speak of generally (at least wrt their emphasis on factual correctness). It is... not that, not at all. And clearly, religions differ on this point, with certain forms of Christianity and Islam in particular emphasizing faith/belief that certain propositions are true (i.e. are factually correct), while other religions or denominations emphasize a code of conduct, set of values, way of life, rituals that must be participated in, and so on.

    So, better to speak of specific religions than religion in general, since there are very few things that can accurately be said of religion in general or all religions together. And its not especially controversial to point out that not all religions are concerned with propositional belief or factual correctness- this was mostly a novel development introduced by Christianity, a departure from how e.g. ancient pagan religions, Judaism, etc. had been operating for centuries. It mostly only became the norm, rather than the exception, as Christianity spread.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    This view "All are good, but ours is the best" can sometimes be found in religions, and if one isn't careful, one could readily mistake it for religious tolerance, when it actually isn't.baker

    As an aside, this is a problem for religions interested in applying to everyone everywhere. Religions that are happy to constrain themselves to insular thinking (you do you, we do us, and we are the best) probably exist more than you might think. Not every religion intends to have everyone in the world agree with them or advocates that everyone in the world should agree with them.
  • Outlander
    1.3k
    There's a reason there are no 'almost humans' in the animal kingdom. And so, requires some sort of higher power. God, an eternal being that is a non-being in most senses, or alien life which opens an equally disturbing world of possibilities (we are rejects), whatever it may be, religion seeks to confront this (potential) fact with an option that benefits the believer. Who are you to say otherwise.
  • Nummereen
    8
    It all went wrong when Xenophanes introduced his one and only god-monster to be propagated by the one and only scientific reality. All are good but science is the best and only true one. Allothers cling to myths and fables. Same attitude as Christian religion.
  • baker
    2.5k
    As long as we agree not to engage in a game of what is a true Scotsman?Ennui Elucidator
    Should terms denoting religious identity be exempt from being meaningful?

    Do you know of any religion that has ever been friendly toward another religion? I don't.
    — baker

    Unitarian Universalists
    A variety of liberal Jewish movements:
    Reconstructionism
    Humanistic Judaism

    Humanism Generally.
    Ethical Humanism

    I'm sure I could find others with relatively little effort, but I'm not sure what a more comprehensive list would do for the conversation.
    Ennui Elucidator
    They're not "friendly" toward other religions, they just don't give a shit about them. Duh.

    As an aside, this is a problem for religions interested in applying to everyone everywhere. Religions that are happy to constrain themselves to insular thinking (you do you, we do us, and we are the best) probably exist more than you might think. Not every religion intends to have everyone in the world agree with them or advocates that everyone in the world should agree with them.Ennui Elucidator
    You're not saying anything new.
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    the sisyphusean task.180 Proof

    I'm glad that's adjectival and not a noun substantive, else whence hope? But for "Sisyphusean," I shall read Herculean, that more in accord with my impression of both my powers and yours, however latent mine may be.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k


    The ancient pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans were certainly friendly, even the so-called mystery religions. It wasn't unusual for someone to be an initiate of the Mithras cult and an initiate of Isis or Magna Mater. One could worship Jupiter, Asclepius as well as other gods. There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity. The Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    the sisyphusean task.
    — 180 Proof

    I'm glad that's adjectival and not a noun substantive, else whence hope? But for "Sisyphusean," I shall read Herculean, that more in accord with my impression of both my powers and yours, however latent mine may be.
    tim wood
    Maybe Promethean is more apt ...
  • tim wood
    7.7k
    I yield. No mas. But in a Parthian way, I cannot help remembering that Prometheus stole the fire, not that he was wanting or planning to steal it. Or is there some notion of redemptive suffering lurking here?
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    They're not "friendly" toward other religions, they just don't give a shit about them. Duh.baker

    I'm not sure what is intended by your remark, but you can flesh it out if you feel like it. I am personally familiar with these religions being friendly with other religions and even encouraging education about other religions to their members. There is "ecumenical" work, interfaith groups, etc. So "not giving a shit" isn't even close to right. Non-proselytizing religions exist.

    I don't have to say new things to point out that intolerance is not a function of one group or another, just true things. :joke:

    Should terms denoting religious identity be exempt from being meaningful?baker

    Last I checked you aren't a sociologist, ethnographer, or any other thing that could provide a useful inquiry into what is properly classified as "religion." Hand waving about a lack of Jesus or Jesus analogs precluding a group from being religious is not of much interest to me.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    I'm not sure what is intended by your remark, but you can flesh it out if you feel like it. I am personally familiar with these religions being friendly with other religions and even encouraging education about other religions to their members. TEnnui Elucidator

    I'm inclined to agree. I've had significant contact with a range of religious faiths - churches, temples and synagogues and running alongside ethnocentrism and in group chauvinism is also a vast wellspring of generosity, hospitality and solidarity, galvanized by best kinds of ecumenical commitments.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158


    I agree with your sentiment about some historical religions being more or less tolerant than others, but I disagree that there is anything inherent about Abrahamic religions. The factual record demonstrates that pre-Israelites and Israelites evolved through time as they encounter other cultures (the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Muslims, etc.) and even changed names. Christianity itself went through radical shifts in the early periods and then again after the reformation. I can't speak to Islam, but two out of three radically altering forms from earliest appearance to the present is probably sufficient to make my point.

    What constitutes a religion is subject to a variety of interpretations. Identity of religious groups through time is probably more about group cohesion and less about some doctrinal point or particular behavior. Particular groups (or individuals) claiming to get to define who belongs to one religion or another is not dispositive.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Like Heraclitus and the Stoics, I equate :fire: with the Logos ... against benighted Mythos (i.e. the dark ages of theocracy). Prometheus' gift – teaching us how to keep reason's light burning despite the incessant gale force of sanctimonous irrationalities & ignorance. :mask:
  • baker
    2.5k
    I'm inclined to agree. I've had significant contact with a range of religious faiths - churches, temples and synagogues and running alongside ethnocentrism and in group chauvinism is also a vast wellspring of generosity, hospitality and solidarity, galvanized by best kinds of ecumenical commitments.Tom Storm

    That's because you're those three monkeys, all in one.
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