• Art48
    464
    Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?

    Definition:
    I define a regressive person as someone who is uneducated, superstitious, gullible, fearful, and angry. The amygdala is the part of the brain which experiences emotions, in particular, fear and anger. It’s responsible for the “fight or flight” response. The cerebral cortex supports higher-level reasoning and intelligence. It has been speculated that the regressive has an overactive amygdala and an underdeveloped cerebral cortex, while the progressive has a better developed cerebral cortex. Relative to their overall size, humans have the largest cerebral cortex of all mammals. So, it might be argued that people with an overdeveloped amygdala and an underdeveloped cerebral cortex are people who are failing to realize their human potential. Thus, the label “regressive” is appropriate.

    Origin:
    The world’s major religions all originated when the populace was generally uneducated, superstitious, and gullible. For instance, in ancient Rome, for every philosopher emperor like Marcus Aurelius, there were hundreds of uneducated, simple people and slaves. For a religion to survive and thrive among a largely regressive people, it would of necessity incorporate much of the prevailing regressive worldview.

    Way of Knowing:
    The world’s major religions all have a primitive way of know: i.e., they use scripture and authority to decide what is and is not true. In Christianity, if the Bible says it, especially if Jesus says it, then it must be true. The way is essentially what a young child uses; something is true if mommy or daddy says it is. (In contrast, science’s way of knowing allows beliefs to be corrected and improved. Newton was one of the world’s top scientists, but science takes nothing as true merely because Newton said so. When Einstein proved Newton wrong, science accepted the result, rather than burning Einstein at the stake as a heretic.)

    Origin + Way of Knowing = Perpetuate and Promote a Regressive Worldview:
    So, we have religion in its origin accepting regressive views, views which find their way into scripture. Scripture cannot be changed and is described as the very Word of God. Thus, we have people today whose Christianity teaches them that the Earth is about 10,000 years old (Young Earth Creationists) and who deny evolution, all because they take a book as the Word of God which has a talking serpent (Genesis) and a talking donkey (Numbers).

    Evidence:
    Christianity teaches believing in authority over what your eyes and ears tell you. The Bible, supposedly God’s very own Holy Word, has the word “serpent” in Genesis. Preachers say God really means to say “Satan” and people in the pews say “Amen.” Is it any wonder when the preacher says Trump won the 2020 election, the people in the pews also say “Amen”? They’ve been taught to believe in authority, not evidence or critical reasoning. Belief in authority is so important, they are told, that a God who loves them will torture them forever if they don’t believe. And they say “Amen.”

    Thus, we have a Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who believes the Bible over science. Thus, we have QAnon people who believe that “Deep State” officials practice cannibalistic satanic rites involving pedophilia. I read recently a Christian minister preached that autism is actually demon possession. Imagine living in a small Christian town and having a child that other children are taught is possessed by a demon. And then there’s the Jan 6 insurrectionist, many of whom sincerely believed Trump’s lies.

    Fundamentalist Christianity’s threat to democracy (and reason) is not new. In 2008, the Republican Party ran with John McCain and Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin believes in witchcraft (search YouTube for “Sarah Palin witchcraft” to see a video of Sarah allowing herself to be blessed “against all forms of witchcraft). It 2008, it shocked me that the United States of America might easily have had a president who believes in witchcraft if the McCain/Palin ticket won and then if the elderly McCain became incapacitated. Palin probably got her belief in witchcraft from Christianity. Christianity took witchcraft seriously for a few centuries in Europe, when it hung or burned an untold number of women for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. Christianity’s belief in witchcraft derives from the Bible, specifically Exodus 22:18, “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live.”

    Fundamentalist Christianity does not value higher education (Too many teens go to college and lose their faith), promotes gullibility (It openly admits it depends on faith, not evidence), promotes superstition (Witchcraft and demons? Really? In 2023??). Fundamentalists Christians are often fearful and angry.

    Scripture promotes a regressive worldview, a worldview formed when the cause of disease was believed to be sin and demons. More liberal Christians don’t take the sin and demon explanation of disease seriously, but some fundamentalist Christians do. Search the Internet for “Christian parent deny medical treatment child dies.” Christianity promotes a regressive theory of disease, formed over a thousand years ago when lightning was thought to be a bolt from God, a theory of disease that kills children even today.

    In conclusion, my answer to the question “Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?” is “Yes.”
  • LuckyR
    380
    Uummm... to my view you've "proven" the answer to a slightly different question. Namely: "CAN religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?" or "can religion be USED to perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview".

    Obviously entities invented by Iron age (or earlier) inventors are going to be geared towards an Iron age customer. Of course ancient processes can and have been updated to take into account Modern ethical standards to try to stay relevant though I agree with you that dogma is especially appealing to those who find critical thinking difficult or otherwise unappealing.
  • 0 thru 9
    1.5k

    Yes, well said. :up:

    To put it somewhat humorously: “Breaking news, this just in… it seems that there are different religions than Christianity… even in the USA. And shockingly there is new evidence that some forms of Christianity actually ARE NOT fundamentalist, outdated, intolerant and determined to make their beliefs into law for everyone! News at eleven o’clock.” :razz:
    (Could be an interesting and fruitful thread though).
  • Art48
    464
    "CAN religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?" or "can religion be USED to perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview".LuckyR
    If someone is a fundamentalist Christian then their religion MUST accept a worldwide flood. Etc.
  • Hanover
    12.1k
    Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?Art48

    Do you suppose there might also be educated Christians and uneducated atheists?
  • Wayfarer
    21k
    In conclusion, my answer to the question “Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?” is “Yes.”Art48

    If indeed you hold to a stereotyped view of religion and of what the word means. Of course, you won’t have any trouble identifying many examples which confirm your prejudices pre-existing beliefs, but there are examples which will contradict it.
  • jgill
    3.6k
    Christianity promotes a regressive theory of diseaseArt48

    Tell that to These people.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k


    FWIW – To paraphrase J.S. Mill's quip about "conservatives" – The religious aren't necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are religious. :smirk:
  • Paine
    2.1k
    For a religion to survive and thrive among a largely regressive people, it would of necessity incorporate much of the prevailing regressive worldview.Art48

    This is an interesting theory of class, where the only participants of "religion" are powerless. That idea needs more development before making it part and parcel to some historical judgement.
  • Art48
    464
    Do you suppose there might also be educated Christians and uneducated atheists?Hanover
    I do.
  • Nils Loc
    1.3k
    The world’s major religions all have a primitive way of know: i.e., they use scripture and authority to decide what is and is not true. In Christianity, if the Bible says it, especially if Jesus says it, then it must be true.Art48

    Religions maybe concerned with the conservation of a kind of being in the world over knowing truth (in a scientific sense) that constitutes a unique culture/perspective/ideology. Beliefs in this case would just be means toward that end, whether or not they are really true.

    We could imagine a religious culture as a species of being, or just a way of being in the world.

    Ideally, individuals should be able to pick and choose their religion/culture/job on the basis of education/exploration rather than indoctrination but maybe I've just been trained to say and believe this.

    I've been brainwashed by the cult I was born into.
  • Joshs
    5.3k


    The amygdala is the part of the brain which experiences emotions, in particular, fear and anger. It’s responsible for the “fight or flight” response. The cerebral cortex supports higher-level reasoning and intelligence. It has been speculated that the regressive has an overactive amygdala and an underdeveloped cerebral cortex, while the progressive has a better developed cerebral cortex. Relative to their overall size, humans have the largest cerebral cortex of all mammals. So, it might be argued that people with an overdeveloped amygdala and an underdeveloped cerebral cortex are people who are failing to realize their human potential. Thus, the label “regressive” is appropriate.Art48


    We humans have long believed that rationality makes us special in the animal kingdom. This origin myth reflects one of the most cherished narratives in Western thought, that the human mind is a battlefield where cognition and emotion struggle for control of behavior. Even the adjective we use to describe our­selves as insensitive or stupid in the heat of the moment —“thoughtless” —connotes a lack of cognitive control, of failing to channel our inner Mr. Spock. This origin myth is so strongly held that scientists even created a model of the brain based on it. The model begins with ancient subcortical circuits for basic survival, which we allegedly inherited from reptiles. Sitting atop those circuits is an alleged emotion system, known as the “limbic system,” that we supposedly inherited from early mammals. And wrapped around the so­called limbic system, like icing on an already-baked cake, is our allegedly rational and uniquely human cortex. This illusory arrangement of layers, which is sometimes called the “triune brain,” remains one of the most suc­cessful misconceptions in human biology. Carl Sagan popularized it in The Dragons of Eden, his bestselling (some would say largely fictional) account of how human intelligence evolved. Daniel Goleman employed it in his best­seller Emotional Intelligence. Nevertheless, humans don’t have an animal brain gift-wrapped in cognition, as any expert in brain evolution knows.

    “Mapping emotion onto just the middle part of the brain, and reason and logic onto the cortex, is just plain silly,” says neuroscientist Barbara L. Fin­lay, editor of the journal Behavior and Brain Sciences. “All brain divisions are
    present in all vertebrates.” So how do brains evolve? They reorganize as they expand, like companies do, to keep themselves efficient and nimble.
    ( Lisa Barrett, How Emotions are Made)
  • Art48
    464
    ( Lisa Barrett, How Emotions are Made)
    Josh, you seem to have some objection. Can you put it in your own words?
  • Joshs
    5.3k
    ( Lisa Barrett, How Emotions are Made)
    Josh, you seem to have some objection. Can you put it in your own words?
    Art48

    If you’re going to reject religion, don’t do it on the basis of rationality vs emotion, because the science of emotion no longer justifies that dichotomy. Emotion isn’t at odds with treason, it is its compass. Just say you prefer an atheistic value system.
  • I like sushi
    4.3k
    In term of religion as most people use the term 100%.

    Religious institutions generally struggle to reconcile facts with beliefs unless it suits their worldview. This is clearly dangerous and regressive.

    Note: I would say pretty much the same thing in terms of Patriotism.
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    don’t do it on the basis of rationality vs emotion, because the science of emotion no longer justifies that dichotomy.Joshs

    Can you say some more on this and the role of emotion in reason?

    Just say you prefer an atheistic value system.Joshs

    'Prefer' something seems a curious or 'cold' word to choose, given the subject matter; it makes theism versus atheism sound like selecting a pair of pants.

    I've often held (perhaps wrongly) that (along with socialisation and enculturation) belief in deities is often arrived at aesthetically or emotionally, perhaps along the line of one's sexual preference. In my case, I never felt a jones for theism and no amount of argument is able to make it exciting or meaningful.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Good point. Rather: I/we need "an atheistic [antisupernaturalistic] value system."
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?Art48

    Yes. And since humanity is making speedy progress towards environmental catastrophe and self-destruction, a bit of regression might be prudent.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Psychoceramic non sequitur.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Go troll somebody else.
  • Joshs
    5.3k


    don’t do it on the basis of rationality vs emotion, because the science of emotion no longer justifies that dichotomy.
    — Joshs

    Can you say some more on this and the role of emotion in reason
    Tom Storm

    Think of emotion in terms of habits of thoughts, ways of being attuned to the world, of letting ourselves be affected, of how things matter to us, their salience and value for us.The rationality of correctness, of what is true and false, is ensconced within and oriented by the valuative salience contributed by affect. Rationality asks ‘What is the case’?, bit underneath it emotion asks a more fundamentalset of questions: ’what is the valuative significance and meaning of what is the case’? ‘Why do we care about it?’ ‘What the sense of it’? ‘What pattern of thinking makes the rationality of what is the case intelligible?

    ’Prefer' something seems a curious or 'cold' word to choose, given the subject matter; it makes theism versus atheism sound like selecting a pair of pants.

    I've often held (perhaps wrongly) that (along with socialisation and enculturation) belief in deities is often arrived at aesthetically or emotionally, perhaps along the line of one's sexual preference. In my case, I never felt a jones for theism and no amount of argument is able to make it exciting or meaningful.
    Tom Storm

    Aren’t scientific theories of ‘what is the case’ also arrived at and overthrown based on aesthetic considerations? That is, by a shift of what matters to us rather than always sticking within the same affectively grounded frame of rationality that dictates the sense of what we deem true and false? Isnt the history of scientific progress akin to (and running parallel with) historical shifts in artistic movements? Isnt the historical progression of science, art and other cultural domains bound together via enculturation and socialization?
  • 0 thru 9
    1.5k
    Nevertheless, humans don’t have an animal brain gift-wrapped in cognition, as any expert in brain evolution knows.

    “Mapping emotion onto just the middle part of the brain, and reason and logic onto the cortex, is just plain silly,” says neuroscientist Barbara L. Fin­lay, editor of the journal Behavior and Brain Sciences. “All brain divisions are
    present in all vertebrates.” So how do brains evolve? They reorganize as they expand, like companies do, to keep themselves efficient and nimble.
    ( Lisa Barrett, How Emotions are Made)
    Joshs
    :100: :clap: Thanks for posting this. Quite an important point and distinction, with many ramifications/consequences.
  • Dermot Griffin
    133
    I think, to a certain extent, you are correct. The message of Joel Osteen and John MacArthur I think is repugnant to the original meaning of the New Testament (i.e. the healing of mans soul rather than an emphasis on damnation and subjective belief). Wahabi and Salafi Islam is also a problem; The literalism of martyrdom as killing yourself for your faith (and killing other people) is just morally bankrupt.

    Are there false religions out there? Yes, there most certainly are. If your faith promotes the killing and imprisonment of people because they think differently (Wahhabism/Salafism) or structures you into the sham of "Just believe and you'll be saved" (the prosperity gospel) then these religions are clearly false.

    So what is true, authentic, "progressive" religion? Being heavily influenced by Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Russian religious philosophy, and ancient thought (Greek and Chinese) I think that genuine religion is between you and whatever sort of god you believe in; That's it. I think if the popular religions understood this there would be a lot less religious infighting in the world. You shouldn't worry about the person next to you and what they believe. The Confucian idea of jen and the Christian idea of agape, unconditional love for our fellow man, is what we should practice irrespective of what we believe. In short, true religion is a force for ethical self-cultivation and not a subjective series of propositions.
  • LuckyR
    380
    If someone is a fundamentalist Christian then their religion MUST accept a worldwide flood. Etc.

    Well, sure the more extreme members of ANY group can be shown to be... extreme. But your OP attempted to describe a whole group.

    Don't get me wrong, I get what you're saying and I completely agree that was the situation before Humanism. That is, the role of religion before the Enlightenment is very different than the role of the identical religions today.
  • baker
    5.6k
    Can you say some more on this and the role of emotion in reason?Tom Storm

    I think of it this way: emotions are the tl;dr of reason. Or, more nicely: an emotion is a summary of a thought-through stance.

    When you think about or study through a topic, you then summarize it, and this summary is then captured in a particular emotion. Later on, you don't revisit your thoughts or your study notes on the topic, you just have an emotion about it.
  • baker
    5.6k
    Does religion perpetuate and promote a regressive worldview?Art48

    Of course. But the greatest trick that religion ever pulled was making the non-religious believe that the religious actually believe all that they openly profess to believe.

    In other words, it's quite naive and wrong to take religious claims at face value. By this it is not meant that they are to be taken "metaphorically". It's that one needs to rethink whether one correctly understood the purpose with with those religious claims were made to begin with.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k
    Hegel, Cantor, Maimonides, Descartes, Dogen, Avicenna, Augustine, Eriugena, Proclus, Newton, Eckhart, Avarroese, Leibniz, Porphyry, Pascale, Maxwell, Berkeley, Ibn Sina, Bonaventure, Hildegard, Al-Ghazai, Cusa, Erasmus, Rumi, Merton, Plotinius, Anselm, Abelard, Al-Farabi, Ibn Kaldun, Plato, Schelling, Bacon, Magnus, Boyle, Kelvin, Eddington, Pierce, Godel, Faraday, Mendel, Pastier, Lister — quite the regressive bunch to be sure. Hell, there are a bunch of priests, monks, and imams in there!

    One might ask, regressive as opposed to what exactly?

    Weekly religious attendance is a curb on criminal behavior, child abuse, drug abuse, and divorce unrivaled by any welfare program or pilot program. Per Gallup, a whopping 92% of people who attend religious services at least once a week are "satisfied with their lives," a dramatic advantage over the general populace. A 9.1% increase in income in time series analysis also recommends it. Charitable contributions, even to non-religious organizations (on top of religious donations) are higher.

    A technocrat could be tempted into prescribing religious attendance as a go to policy based on the data. But of course, the question of causal direction here is tricky.

    In any event though, it seems hard to justify the idea that religion makes people particularly more regressive. We've seen attempts to remove religion, and Stalin's Soviet Union, Mao's China, or the Paris of the Terror don't exactly scream "progress," any more than the Thirty Years War or the Crusades.

    Seems to me like a case of the fundemental attribution error of social psychology. "I see people of group X doing bad things, so it must be because of the type of people that group X are. I see people I identify with doing bad things, it must be because of their circumstances."
  • Tom Storm
    8.5k
    Thanks.

    Rationality asks ‘What is the case’?, bit underneath it emotion asks a more fundamentalset of questions: ’what is the valuative significance and meaning of what is the case’? ‘Why do we care about it?’ ‘What the sense of it’? ‘What pattern of thinking makes the rationality of what is the case intelligible?Joshs

    Yep, I can see this.

    When you think about or study through a topic, you then summarize it, and this summary is then captured in a particular emotion. Later on, you don't revisit your thoughts or your study notes on the topic, you just have an emotion about it.baker

    :up:

    Isnt the history of scientific progress akin to (and running parallel with) historical shifts in artistic movements? Isnt the historical progression of science, art and other cultural domains bound together via enculturation and socialization?Joshs

    Maybe. I can't say I know if this is accurate.

    Weekly religious attendance is a curb on criminal behavior, child abuse,Count Timothy von Icarus

    To make such a claim, you'll need to, at least, leave out the Catholic church and its international legacy of systematic child abuse and continuing criminal cover ups.
  • LuckyR
    380

    That's the case currently ie in the Humanist era. But back when religion was invented it occupied the space currently filled by science.
  • Art48
    464
    it seems hard to justify the idea that religion makes people particularly more regressiveCount Timothy von Icarus
    It seems obvious to me that for many believers, believing in witchcraft and demons, and denying evolution and geology (Young Earth Creationism) derive from Christian belief. Not for liberal Christians. But for Christians who take the Bible literally, i.e., fundamentalists. For example, Sarah Palin and Mike Johnson are fundamentalist Christian lunatics.

    Hegel, Cantor, Maimonides, Descartes, Dogen, Avicenna, Augustine, Eriugena, Proclus, Newton, Eckhart, Avarroese, Leibniz, Porphyry, Pascale, Maxwell, Berkeley, Ibn Sina, Bonaventure, Hildegard, Al-Ghazai, Cusa, Erasmus, Rumi, Merton, Plotinius, Anselm, Abelard, Al-Farabi, Ibn Kaldun, Plato, Schelling, Bacon, Magnus, Boyle, Kelvin, Eddington, Pierce, Godel, Faraday, Mendel, Pastier, ListerCount Timothy von Icarus
    Quite a list but not to the point.
    Plato was not Christian
    Plotinius, Porphyry and Proclus were Neoplatontic philosophers.
    Ibn Sina, al-Ghazai, Rumi, Al-Farabi, and Ibn Kaldun were Islamic
    Some of the Christians you mention were not fundamentalists.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.1k


    The statement was about "religion" generally. Neoplatonism is religious.

    Belief in ridiculous New Age hokum is plenty strong with people who hardly ever step inside a house of worship. The odds that someone believes that "US Democrats are involved in an international pedophile ring and sacrifice children to Moloch," Q Anon, is actually associated with people dropping out of church attendence. Secular madness seems plenty potent as well, from street gangs to "the world is ruled by reptiles," to modern Neo Nazism, to the millenarian Marxism of prior generations. The whole nuRight is strongly areligious, yet they're even more noxious than Mike Pence, with their calls for global race war, etc.

    During the French Revolution, the guillotine wasn't fast enough to dispatch all the priests and nuns they wanted to do away with, so they had to resort to building boats with removable panels so they could chain people inside and drown them by the boatload. The comparison case then, doesn't seem particularly strong to me.



    I'm just talking numbers from the social sciences. "Religions organizations have done bad things," is obviously very true. We can look to plenty of sectarian wars and the horrors the wrought, etc.

    However, teachers have been implicated in plenty of child abuse cases, and school districts regularly try to cover up and settle these cases. Are public schools are force for regression? Daycares? Summer camps? What is the comparison case here?

    Because for religion to be regressive, it would seem to imply that irreligion promotes progress, and that doesn't seem particularly easy to justify.
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