• universeness
    4.5k
    Religion remains one of the most convenient 'fit for purpose,' pre-packaged ways to tribalise a group, against everyone outside of that group. The term and concept of 'the chosen people,' is one of the most pernicious concepts ever established in the human psyche. It is 100% founded on the 'law of the jungle,' approach to survival. It simply substitutes the ability/right to survive by being the strongest and most able in the jungle, to obtaining the right to not only survive, but to rule, by divine right.
    It remains sooooooooooo easy, to invent a god, create the instructions that best match the political and social controls you wish to achieve, and then label all those who comply, as 'the chosen ones,' who follow the only truth about the universe, that is, it was all made by, and is completely owned by 'OUR' god(s).
    This creates a very convenient 'them' and 'us,' and allows for a very simple reason to slaughter those outside of 'the chosen people.' It was very simple in the early days of theism/religion. Join us, and comply to our rules and accept me as your king/god or your king sanctioned by god(s), or be slaughtered in the name of OUR king/god(s). It's a very simple way to set up and maintain a civilisation. :roll: :scream: :death:
    Religion remains the biggest barrier, to human progress in existence today. It is based on simple manipulation of human primal fears, and it allows, and remains one of the best supports, that is used to justify, the rule of a rich, powerful, nefarious, tiny, global minority.
    In my opinion, those who continue to downplay the toxicity of theism, simply help to hold our species down and force us backwards. That's a matter for their conscience and their legacy.
  • 180 Proof
    11.6k
    :100: :fire:

    Our species creates, or assigns, value on the basis of scarcity. "The chosen" of religion, and especially "the one god", not only polarizes "us and them" but also separates the "sacred" from the profane" within and between groups. Zerosum games & dominance hierarchies! Thus, "the divine right" of Kings, Brahmins, Pharoahs, Caesars, Popes, Fuhrers ... and Capital.

    Btw, Stanley Kubrick got it so right with that opening scene of two groups of proto-hominids fighting over a muddy pool (climaxing with a triumphal toss of that killing bone and the most famous jump-cut in cinema a million years to a satellite orbiting the Earth).

    The empire of scarcity continues, and I think only if and when our species attains a sustainable post-scarcity civilization will we have a real opportunity to outgrow this atavistic commodity-fetishization (i.e. religiosity) of human existence.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    I agree that a monk may be susceptible to recruitment into military service due to the conditions that you mention. Fundamentally though, a monk is dedicated to renunciation.praxis

    It doesn't matter whether he joins the Knights Templar or not. The point is, he takes orders - howbeit holy ones - and dedicates his life to unquestioning obedience and service. This means that a king, or any nominally patriotic and God-fearing head of state, who has the support of the top generals and bishops also has two standing armies to back up his claim to power: one that carries big sticks that go 'bang' and one that brandishes the big carrot of eternal life. The common people have very little chance against such an institutional triad.

    In the modern day, that situation is somewhat ambiguous: the armed forces pledge allegiance to the constitution, and includes women (not a universally accepted concept) and can be tried individually for war crimes (in theory), so they may not be entirely reliable. And the church has lost its monopoly, broken up into competing sects, with no appreciable monastic hierarchy - just a a gaggle of noisy preachers and a rabble of parishioners, so that they are unreliable enforcers and have to be wooed at every election like other voting blocs. Nevertheless, both religious and military institutions are still influential in politics.
  • Art48
    312
    I claimed that believing in God is no more preposterous than quantum mechanics.T Clark
    On a superficial level, I agree. If we just look at claims about God and about QM, the claims themselves may see equally preposterous. BUT when we look at the evidence, things are different. No need to even go to QM. The Earth is a globe. On the other side of the Earth, people and oceans are hanging upside down. Preposterous. And the Earth and me along with it are spinning at about 1,000 miles/hour. Absurd. But there is evidence for both claims.

    Now, let's turn to God. Which God? The "evidence" for the Christian God is in a book that begins with a talking serpent. Later in the book, "God" impregnates a woman who is not his wife, so that their baby son can grow up to be tortured to death. Why? To pay a debt that humanity owes to his father, and that the father won't forgive otherwise. Some other Gods have similar problems.
  • universeness
    4.5k
    Our species creates, or assigns, value on the basis of scarcity. "The chosen" of religion, and especially "the one god", not only polarizes "us and them" but also separates the "sacred" from the profane" within and between groups. Zerosum games & dominance hierarchies! Thus, "the divine right" of Kings, Brahmins, Pharoahs, Caesars, Popes, Fuhrers ... and Capital.180 Proof
    Why can't theist's and their enablers/facilitators, understand the strength of your accurate summary above. Why should atheists accept that they MUST show a respectful deference, to any and all 'spiritual' belief's that individuals might hold deeply and dearly? This image of the nice elderly woman or man, who just wants to believe that a supernatural superhero has their best interests in mind and WILL care for them and maintain them for eternity, as long as they comply with the instructions in a particular book, HAS TO BE RESPECTED? And, if they wish to indoctrinate their children with the same BS, then EVERONE MUST RESPECT THIS, as sacred, holy, innocent, harmless, healthy activity. EVERYONE, especially atheists, MUST say, "Well ok, I respect your beliefs and I wont criticise you as an 'innocent true believer,' in an any way. But if you want to tell me, that because I don't follow your beliefs, I am dammed, my children are dammed and anyone who is an atheist, or believes in the words in a different 'holy' book, is dammed, then that's ok, I will RESPECT your right, to hold that opinion, about MY ULTIMATE FATE, even though it is a very very nasty opinion.

    I say, no freaking way, is that a fair and balanced approach to creating the rules of debate around everyday discussions between theists and atheists.
    Theists need to stop wearing their theism like it's a 'precious.' If you can't defend your theism sufficiently against all arguments, then don't cry about it and turn into an imbalanced nutjob! Find better ways to defend your position or stop being a theist!

    Btw, Stanley Kubrick got it so right with that opening scene of two groups of proto-hominids fighting over a muddy pool (climaxing with a triumphal toss of that killing bone and the most famous jump-cut in cinema a million years to a satellite orbiting the Earth).180 Proof
    Yep, a great depiction of "hey, I can even beat up that big scary hominid with this bad boy!"
    "all I need to do after that is tell the rest of my tribe, that the sky lights told me how to use the big bone and maybe I can be the leader!!!" :party: :party: :strong:
    I accept that he probably explained all this to his tribe, through grunts and gesticulations (rather than in English) and no doubt, via some demonstrations of what he could do with the big bone to that big strong hominid his tribe were scared of. So, yeah, I agree that Stanley imagined the beginnings of weaponry very well, the concept of the sky light god would have came soon after.

    The empire of scarcity continues, and I think only if and when our species attains a sustainable post-scarcity civilization will we have a real opportunity to outgrow this atavistic commodity-fetishization (i.e. religiosity) of human existence.180 Proof
    I hope not brother! I hope we don't need to be dangled over the precipice by our tippy toes for much longer, before we ALL, or enough of us, learn the errors of maintaining our current 'laws of the jungle,' approach to living the human experience, and we unite in common cause of improving, what it means to be human.
  • universeness
    4.5k
    Nevertheless, both religious and military institutions are still influential in politics.Vera Mont
    For a short time, through frustration, I was tempted to start suggesting, that no theist should be allowed to hold political office. I soon realised that this is the kind of 'extreme' response that can enter your head.
    I soon rejected it, as it would probably have the exact opposite effect, as it would create a great deal of sympathy for those who could then be labelled as 'oppressed theists.'
    Better to allow those who allow their religious beliefs to influence their political actions, be judged by their electorate accordingly.
    There is a case in point happening now in Scotland. The leader of the governing parliment (Nicola Sturgeon) is standing down, and there are 3 candidates, vying to replace her. Two are religious.
    One called Kate Forbes, is a Christian, she lost a lot of support based on the 5 min interview snippet below:

    I wonder if she will lose the election based on what she said here.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    I don't think so. It looks as if the guy is baiting her and she's holding her own. Gives the correct answer in spite of badgering, except maybe that last one, which would be problematic for anyone, including the voters. I don't see a problem other than that she looks about 17. Who are the others and what religion?
  • T Clark
    11.4k
    When it comes to the crux, the attribute I dislike most in any field (politics or faith) is the gatekeeper who thinks they can tell ordinary people how they should live their lives and judges others for making different choices.Tom Storm

    Agreed. I admit I would be harsher on religion if I didn't see believers so often the victims of poorly argued criticism. I think I'm more offended by the weakness and thoughtlessness of the arguments than I am by their content.
  • T Clark
    11.4k
    If we just look at claims about God and about QM, the claims themselves may see equally preposterous.Art48

    And that's all I said in response to what I see as a thoughtless comment. Not thoughtless as in impolite, thoughtless as in without thought. As for the rest of your comment, I'll just say what I've said before, I believe quantum mechanics represents out best current understanding of the behavior of the universe at subatomic scale.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k
    No, it doesn't depend on the myth. It depends on one's understanding of the myth, its meaning, context and significance.
    Just as belief of* any particular scientific theory depends on one's understanding of it.
    * of, not in
    Vera Mont

    Yes, yes. Giant muddy sea turtle, big bang...it all depends.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k
    Such a touchy fellow. Your self-righteousness compels me to review what seems hardly worth reviewing but is apparently (and sadly, I think) of great concern to you.

    Here's what I said:

    I think that certain religious beliefs are less preposterous than others. But I doubt believers care whether they're more or less preposterous to others, and will be unimpressed by any argument that they're beliefs are unreasonable regardless of whether they're told there is no God or that particular beliefs about God are unsupportable.Ciceronianus

    Here's what you said:

    I've never thought any religious belief sounded any more "preposterous" than quantum mechanics. If you're in the mood for some pointless argument, there are plenty of reasonable arguments against religion, but preposterousness is not one of them.T Clark

    Then I said:

    Quantum mechanics certainly seems strange, but I think the analogy with religion doesn't work. I suspect that those studying QM approach things a bit differently than religious believers. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if it's taken up by religious apologists and claimed by them to support their religious beliefs. It seems that's been the case for a while now.Ciceronianus

    Then you said:

    Of course they do, but that wasn't the question on the table. You weren't talking about the methods, mindset, approach, or beliefs of scientists studying quantum mechanics. You were talking about QM's preposterousness. Now you're trying to change the subject.T Clark

    Then I said:

    In fact, I said nothing at all about QM being preposterous. I said it "certainly seems strange." You said QM is preposterous, and apparently feel it's as preposterous as religion, if not more preposterous than it is. If that's what you believe, so be it. I merely think QM and religion are not analogous.Ciceronianus

    Then you said:

    No, that was me. I claimed that believing in God is no more preposterous than quantum mechanics. You have yet to address that argument.T Clark

    Again (and again, and again, and again) that is not the question on the table. You made a glib statement about religion being preposterous. I made a comment in response. You have yet to respond to my comment.T Clark

    Now, pause and perpend. I never said that religion is preposterous. I never said QM is preposterous.

    I really don't care if you think they're both preposterous. Never having said either was preposterous, I don't feel inclined to debate whether or not or to what extent either may be preposterous. You may pontificate on those issues to your heart's content, though. But I was responding to the claim that atheism supports religion and the suggestion in the OP that the religious should be confronted with what seems problematic with their beliefs rather than merely the denial of God's existence. In doing so, I pointed out that I didn't think it mattered how preposterous religious beliefs may be to the believer.

    Then you began harping on the preposterousness of both religion and QM. I said I didn't think they were analogous and you became apoplectic, demanding a response to your claim that they were both preposterous.

    "Bad philosophy" forsooth. Read what you comment on, from time to time.
  • T Clark
    11.4k
    I never said that religion is preposterous.Ciceronianus

    You wrote this:

    I think that certain religious beliefs are less preposterous than others. But I doubt believers care whether they're more or less preposterous to others, and will be unimpressed by any argument that they're beliefs are unreasonable regardless of whether they're told there is no God or that particular beliefs about God are unsupportable.Ciceronianus

    So you said religious beliefs are preposterous. Is that different from saying that religion is preposterous? They seem the same to me.
  • praxis
    5.7k
    Some dogs are more playful than others.

    All dogs are playful?
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k


    There's a difference between saying certain religious beliefs are less preposterous than others and saying all religious beliefs are preposterous or saying all religion is preposterous. I personally think the belief in an immanent God, who doesn't demand or respond to prayers or worship, doesn't exist "outside the universe", is not jealous, doesn't interfere in human affairs, doesn't assist certain football teams but not others, doesn't miraculously save some people from disasters but lets many others die in them, (one could go on) is far less preposterous than other such beliefs. I would even call it a reasonable belief but for the fact I know its attraction (to me at least) is more the result of a feeling which, though based on my experience, can't be established by reason; can't be proven.

    I'm not sure what else to say.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    Some dogs are more playful than others.

    All dogs are playful?
    praxis

    Not necessarily. In casual conversation, the unstated but understood assumption would be that all dogs have a place on some scale of playfulness.
    Legalistically, however, the defendant could say : "The scale starts at 0. " or "I'm considering only dogs in the average range."
    The hearer was not told about this escape cause and came to a potentially incorrect conclusion.
    (But I don't think, in this case, he did.)
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    I personally think the belief in an immanent God, who doesn't demand or respond to prayers or worship, doesn't exist "outside the universe", is not jealous, doesn't interfere in human affairs, doesn't assist certain football teams but not others, doesn't miraculously save some people from disasters but lets many others die in them, (one could go on) is far less preposterous than other such beliefs.Ciceronianus

    It's considerably more preposterous. All the rule-making, caring, interfering gods have some utility to human believers. A nebulous Something Unknowable and Indifferent has none. What's the use of believing in a useless deity?
  • Banno
    20.4k
    So your claim is, roughly, that folk of a religious inclination, when faced with arguments or evidence against their beliefs, will instead of reconsidering, become more resolute, more tenacious.

    Well, that's not, on the face of it, always such a good thing, is it?

    I would have thought virtue was to be found in those who adapt their beliefs to how things are.

    But there's quite a bit wrapped up in such notions, and unpacking ideas is no longer so popular hereabouts.
  • Banno
    20.4k
    I've never thought any religious belief sounded any more "preposterous" than quantum mechanics.T Clark

    Isn't what counts here, what you do with that belief?

    Advocates of Quantum Mechanics don't generally have much to say about how one shoudl live from day-to-day.

    I think the analogy with religion doesn't workCiceronianus
    Yep.

    ...but that wasn't the question on the table...T Clark
    Seems it was.
    In short, given the choice of belief in God versus non-belief, believers often stick with God.Art48
    That's an observation about method. The question raised indirectly by the OP is differences in attitude towards critique.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k

    It all depends, doesn't it? No use debating about it.
  • praxis
    5.7k


    My dog constantly wants to play, though I've known a dog that didn't have a playful bone in its body. I assume it got that way from human neglect.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    No use debating about it.Ciceronianus

    Correct!
  • T Clark
    11.4k
    There's a difference between saying certain religious beliefs are less preposterous than others and saying all religious beliefs are preposterous or saying all religion is preposterous.Ciceronianus

    No, there's not. And be honest - you meant to say that religious beliefs are preposterous. Now you're trying to get off the hook on a technicality.
  • universeness
    4.5k

    Kate Forbes is 33. The other two candidates are Humza Yousaf who is 38 and a practicing Muslim:
    800px-Cabinet_Secretary_for_Health_and_Social_Care%2C_Humza_Yousaf%2C_2021.jpg
    and Ash Regan who is 48 and is not religious:
    800px-Ash_Denham_MSP.jpg
    I think all 3 candidates are unsuitable as a replacement for Nicola Sturgeon. I don't get a vote however as I am not a member of the SNP. Based on the two 'head-to-head' debates I have watched, featuring all 3 candidates. I would certainly not vote for Kate Forbes.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    I never vote for anyone overtly religious. Our labour party is currently headed by a Sikh lawyer, who dresses in sharp suits and lovely coloured turbans. The Humanist cell in town* gave me every kind of hell for being a bigot when I said the turban put me off. Probably a nice guy, smart, if he didn't believe in socialist ideals, he'd run as a Liberal. I'd have dinner with him, but....

    Symbols communicate identity. Anyone who displays an ethnic or religious or cultural icon is telling me what tribe he or she identifies with. That is the basis of their world-view.
    I have only one vote; I must reject five out of six candidates. So I'll vote for the one who at least appears to identify with my tribe. I don't care if they go to church, temple or mosque on their own time, so long as they don't advertise for it on mine.

    (* which I stopped attending, but not because of that)
  • invicta
    227
    I have as much interest in scotish politics as I have in STDs but then again that’s my general scorn of politics.

    Kate Forbes video that @universeness posted is interesting as she umms and errs when questioned on her Christian beliefs and principles and whether her personal principles should be applied to the non-religious general public.

    In no uncertain terms it made her look weak in the face of her interlocutor and the electorate.

    In order for her to get the votes of the electorate she has to serve the interests of that electorate without abandoning her Christian principles which is impossible without coming across as a hypocrite.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.6k
    No, there's not. And be honest - you meant to say that religious beliefs are preposterous. Now you're trying to get off the hook on a technicality.T Clark

    Can't let it go, eh?

    Basta. As @Vera Mont would say, what we understand to be the case depends on meaning, context and significance. So yes, you're right. Understand that as you will, and I'll understand it based on its meaning, context and significance to me.
  • GTTRPNK
    51
    This isn't atheism supporting religion, it's more of atheists not knowing how to talk to believers.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.6k

    Very interesting and good topic! :up:

    Many people have a deep need to believe in God.Art48
    I think that first of all, one must define what religion is. And although, in most dictionaries you will find the term connected to a God or gods, this is not necessary the case.

    Theoretical view:
    "Religion is a range of social-cultural systems, including designated behaviors and practices, morals, beliefs, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that generally relate humanity to supernatural, transcendental, and spiritual elements—although there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

    Practical and legal view:
    "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief and defines religion very broadly for purposes of determining what the law covers. For purposes of Title VII, religion includes not only traditional, organized religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others. An employee’s belief or practice can be “religious” under Title VII even if the employee is affiliated with a religious group that does not espouse or recognize that individual’s belief or practice, or if few – or no – other people adhere to it.

    Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs (i.e. those that include a belief in God) as well as non-theistic “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.” Although courts generally resolve doubts about particular beliefs in favor of finding that they are religious, beliefs are not protected merely because they are strongly held. Rather, religion typically concerns “ultimate ideas” about “life, purpose, and death.” Social, political, or economic philosophies, as well as mere personal preferences, are not “religious” beliefs protected by Title VII."
    https://www.cbp.gov/faqs/what-religion-under-title-vii

    It is evident from the above that a religion might not contain a belief to a God or gods.
    Furthermore, it can be seen clearly religious beliefs not only may not be connected to worship of a God or gods but even not to a specific religion.

    “I believe God exists. I also believe the Bible tells enormous lies about God.Art48
    Good point.
    Bible is a combined work of beliefs based on ignorance and of stories of religious nature, which are actually myths, based on ignorance, irrationalism and lies --as you said-- and it is full of immoral stories and stories of vengeance, punishment and cruelty. Which is quite ironic and paradoxical, because a religion is supposed to teach and promote morality.
    So, actually, not only it does not promote religious beliefs but it diminishes if not, ruins them.

    ***

    I consider myself a "religious" person and also an "atheist".
    And I support what the topic suggests, namely, that "Atheism Supports Religion".

    Being a Christian or Muslim or Hinduist or abiding to any religion does not make you a "religious" person, as I described above. Your actions and behavior might not show a devotion or even just acceptance of such a religion.
    On the contrary, an "atheist" can be a really religious person and show it with his words, behavior and acts. And, by extension such a person may support religion much more that a "theist".

    Socrates had been accused --among other things-- of not obeying gods and even not accepting national religious standards and rules. Yet, he was a most ethical person.

    Nikos Kazantzakis --a giant of the Greek literature-- had been excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Church because he was a declared atheist. Yet, he was a very ethical person and if one knows well his works, one could say that he was a very religious person.

    Religion and religious beliefs are not tied to the worship of a God.
  • ucarr
    621
    Nikos Kazantzakis --a giant of the Greek literature-- had been excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Church because he was a declared atheist. Yet, he was a very ethical person and if one knows well his works, one could say that he was a very religious person.Alkis Piskas

    Boy, do I love his novel, The Last Temptation of Christ.
  • Alkis Piskas
    1.6k

    Me too. One of my best among his works.
    Good to hear that, because I believe he is mainly known for his "Zorba the Greek" and mainly because of the homonymous film that went international. Excellent work of course, but not so "intellectual" or "philosophical" as other.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.