• JustSomeGuy
    307
    Basically, what I'm saying is how are you reaching your conclusions that, in the face of uncertainty, the best course of action is to not act with very much conviction on any of your particular beliefs.Pseudonym

    On the contrary, I believe with great conviction that none of us knows what is best for humanity, or whether or not a religion is true. It takes great hubris to think you know what would be best for all mankind. We cannot say what the world would be like without religion, but to view it as having a net negative effect so far is ignoring so much of what religion has done for the development of our societies and cultures.
  • Pseudonym
    889
    I believe with great conviction that none of us knows what is best for humanity,JustSomeGuy

    I gather that, but humanity cannot simply stagnate, paralysed with uncertainty so we have to act. You have your own beliefs on which you will act.

    But each of our actions affects others, so each person's beliefs will affect you in some way, and your beliefs will affect others, because we act on our beliefs.

    I would also argue that inaction is no different to action in the extent to which it affects others (I'm not talking about a moral distinction here, just a pragmatic one)

    So what I'm saying is that by failing to act in such a way as to discourage religion, you are expressing your sincere belief that it is at least OK to have religion in the world. You're not withholding judgement, nor being agnostic on the subject. Whatever effect religion has on your society you are deciding with conviction that you are happy to allow that effect to continue, by your failure to act against it.

    To put it another way, we each have the same choice to make - how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society, based on its consequences? How is "none" any less valid an answer to that question than "some" or "loads"? No answer can claim to be more agnostic than any other, each person answering can do so with great hubris or with great humility, what they think the answer is has no bearing on the extent to which they consider themselves to be right.

    to view it as having a net negative effect so far is ignoring so much of what religion has done for the development of our societies and cultures.JustSomeGuy

    I'm not sure you're understood the meaning of the word 'net'. It means taking all the good things and weighing them against the bad. What is it about that process that you think ignores the good religion has done? Are you suggesting that you've already carried out that weighing excersice and anyone reaching a different conclusion to you must automatically be wrong regardless of what arguments or evidence they bring? Doesn't that sound a bit like the great hubris you've been vigorously decrying?
  • T Clark
    3k
    It is you that is being too dismissive because you don't understand my background and my experiences.Harry Hindu

    Rereading what I wrote, I wasn't dismissive of your thoughts at all, I just disagreed with them. When I said you were dismissive, I was referring to the fact that you called theist's beliefs "delusions."

    Your explanation of how you got to where you are now in terms of belief was well written and clear. It describes an intellectual quest you seem to have followed with determination and persistence. That is an admirable thing. I don't fault the conclusions you have come to, I only disagree with them.

    When I questioned the existence of God to other believers, they would respond with questions like, "Well, what happens after we die?" and "Then, how did everything get here?". By asking these questions, they are exposing their premises that they expect to live forever, and that their loved-ones still exist, and that the universe must have a creator and therefore a purpose for it and them. There is also the fear of eternal torture that is brought up. Religion scares people into believing it and it allows a small group of people to more easily control a larger group of people. Religion is a mass delusion.Harry Hindu

    This is more of the hubris I mentioned. It is infuriating to me when someone tries to explain my actions or beliefs in terms of their own preconceptions without knowing me. I'm not saying I'm angry at you, I am not a theist so your opinion here doesn't really apply to me, but if I were, I probably would be.

    Science has begun to get at these questions and even questions about consciousness. But these explanations aren't good enough for the theist because it doesn't make them feel important. Many people correlate their having a grand purpose with their importance as an individual. They want to matter in the grand scheme of things and to the greatest entity to exist, God. God's existence proves that they have a grand purpose and that they are more important than being a collection of cells that will eventually die.Harry Hindu

    Science's explanations aren't good enough for me either and, as I said, I am not a theist. I'm an engineer who loves physics.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    I gather that, but humanity cannot simply stagnate, paralysed with uncertainty so we have to act.Pseudonym

    I never said anything about stagnation. Humanity has always acted, and always will act. Nothing that you or I believe or do will affect that.

    But each of our actions affects others, so each person's beliefs will affect you in some way, and your beliefs will affect others, because we act on our beliefsPseudonym

    So you agree that this "action" you speak about is a collaborative action between all of mankind? Which means you, as one individual, have virtually zero effect on anything.

    I would also argue that inaction is no different to action in the extent to which it affects othersPseudonym

    I'm arguing that inaction is no different to action (in the case of you as an individual) in the extent to which it affects the religious beliefs of all of mankind.

    Whatever effect religion has on your society you are deciding with conviction that you are happy to allow that effect to continue, by your failure to act against it.Pseudonym

    No, I am deciding that I cannot say one way or the other that my society would be better off without religion, and that nothing I personally do will have any effect on it anyway.

    To put it another way, we each have the same choice to make - how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society, based on its consequences? How is "none" any less valid an answer to that question than "some" or "loads"?Pseudonym

    You're not understanding what I'm saying. This is exactly the kind of hubris I'm talking about. You think you have the power to allow/encourage religion in your society. You don't. Clearly you've been trying to, based on what you're saying right now. But considering that around 85% of humanity has some kind of religious faith, it seems you aren't doing a very good job. Apparently you need to try harder.

    I'm not sure you're understood the meaning of the word 'net'. It means taking all the good things and weighing them against the bad.Pseudonym

    No, I understand the meaning. You just didn't understand the point I was making.

    Are you suggesting that you've already carried out that weighing excersice and anyone reaching a different conclusion to you must automatically be wrong regardless of what arguments or evidence they bring? Doesn't that sound a bit like the great hubris you've been vigorously decrying?Pseudonym

    My point was that without religion, we would not be living in the world we are living in today. It has shaped nearly every aspect of our various societies. But at an even more foundational level, religion is the origin of our morality, and I don't think it needs to be argued how integral morality has been in developing our societies.

    My point was that a rational person, looking at all of the evidence and the history, could only conclude that religion has been a net benefit thus far. This is something that is widely agreed upon by historians and philosophers. So concluding otherwise shows either an ignoring of some of the evidence and history, or a lack of rationality. It seems to me that you are one of many people who allow your personal experience with religion to cloud your judgement.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    Science has begun to get at these questions and even questions about consciousness. But these explanations aren't good enough for the theistHarry Hindu

    You need to be very careful not to trade one God (God) for another (science). Many former theists do just that, and fail to see the irony and hypocrisy.

    Accepting science without question is just as irrational as accepting the Bible without question.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    "The Thinking Atheist." Mhmm. Do they also have any bridges to sell?
  • T Clark
    3k
    I would say in the case of believing in God it does. Personally I believe in God and I'm a Christian. If it's a bunch of hokum, as some believe - a delusion, according to Dawkins - then I'd say it's a pretty crazy belief. It's often been mocked as such - the 'flying spaghetti monster' argument. It's a risk that theists take. Whether it adds up to a clinical diagnosis, I'm not qualified to say.Cuthbert

    I've thought about religious belief, trying to be objective. Is it a crazy belief? I don't think it's any less plausible than the big bang or quantum mechanics, keeping in mind that I accept the consensus of physicists as our best current understanding of how the world came into being.
  • Pseudonym
    889
    My point was that a rational person, looking at all of the evidence and the history, could only conclude that religion has been a net benefit thus far.JustSomeGuy

    My god, you're prepared to accept that someone might rationally believe that a man walked on water, returned from the dead, parted the seas, but if someone dare suggest that some historians might have reached the wrong conclusion about something as ambiguous as the net value of religion they must be irrational! This is insane, I've nothing left to say to you.
  • T Clark
    3k
    To put it another way, we each have the same choice to make - how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society, based on its consequences? How is "none" any less valid an answer to that question than "some" or "loads"?Pseudonym

    This is a pretty extraordinary statement. Do you really believe that we should forbid people to believe certain things. If so, how are you different from ISIS? How do you enforce your edicts? Inquisition? Reeducation? Are you from the US? What about the First Amendment? Is it time to toss it out?

    The things you are saying make you seem like more of a zealot than any Christian I've met.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307


    You really seem to have issues with misunderstanding what people say.

    This is a discussion on theism. Theism does not imply any of the examples you give.

    But even beyond that, you have misrepresented what both you and I have been saying this whole time, so if you want to end the discussion I won't object. You seem to be an irrational fundamentalist, and there's no use arguing with fundamentalists.
  • SonJnana
    243
    This is a pretty extraordinary statement. Do you really believe that we should forbid people to believe certain things. If so, how are you different from ISIS? How do you enforce your edicts? Inquisition? Reeducation? Are you from the US? What about the First Amendment? Is it time to toss it out?

    The things you are saying make you seem like more of a zealot than any Christian I've met.
    T Clark

    What makes him different from ISIS? Are you kidding me? He is clearly just vocalizing that we should discourage religion and express our issues with it. It doesn't mean walk door to door telling religious people they are wrong, let alone killing every religious person.

    Why shouldn't we be able to express why we think religion is wrong? How are you different from ISIS? How do you enforce your edicts? Inquisition? Reeducation? Are you from the US? What about the First Amendment? Is it time to toss it out?
  • T Clark
    3k
    What makes him different from ISIS? Are you kidding me? He is clearly just vocalizing that we should discourage religion and express our issues with it. It doesn't mean walk door to door telling religious people they are wrong, let alone killing every religious person.SonJnana

    Here's what Pseudonym wrote:

    how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our societyPseudonym

    He is clearly proposing that we do not allow, that we forbid, religion in our society. That means significantly more than walking door to door.

    Why shouldn't we be able to express why we think religion is wrong? How are you different from ISIS? How do you enforce your edicts? Inquisition? Reeducation? Are you from the US? What about the First Amendment? Is it time to toss it out?SonJnana

    Where did I say you shouldn't be able to express your opinion about religion? I just pointed out the clear implications of what Pseudonym wrote.
  • SonJnana
    243
    If Pseudonym is saying we should be intolerant, then I don't agree with that. But I'll let Pseudonym defend that rather than possibly misrepresent Pseudonym's position.
  • T Clark
    3k
    If Pseudonym is saying we should be intolerant, then I don't agree with that. But I'll let Pseudonym defend that rather than possibly misrepresent Pseudonym's position.SonJnana

    Makes sense to me.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    If Pseudonym is saying we should be intolerant, then I don't agree with that. But I'll let Pseudonym defend that rather than possibly misrepresent Pseudonym's position.SonJnana

    Based on this...

    To put it another way, we each have the same choice to make - how much religion do we think it is our duty to allow/encourage in our society, based on its consequences?Pseudonym

    ...as well as many other things Pseudonym has said, the attitude of intolerance seems to be very blatant, to me.

    When you're talking about whether or not to allow people to hold personal beliefs that you disagree with, I don't see how else that could be interpreted.

    Of course, we're sort of getting into the "should we tolerate intolerance?" paradox now.
  • dog
    89
    So, I'm still genuinely confused about the agnostic, tolerant position you guys seem to be advocating.Pseudonym

    I'm not advocating, though. I am aware that I am conversing with a few individuals. I don't think such conversation will have much of an effect on the world at large. So I'm tolerant of difference here in this little space designed for airing out one's preferences.

    I'm sometimes envy those who have the mission of saving humanity from its ignorance via their own wisdom. In retrospect, I'd call that the general structure of religion. It's the confidence and self-importance of the generalized evangelist. I'm not preaching against it. I'm describing it from the outside to share consciousness with a few other word-mongers like myself.

    If I thought my posting here really affected the world at large, I might not post. Because I'm not sure what's good for the world at large. It's complex as hell.
  • WISDOMfromPO-MO
    753
    Seems like a really bad analogy. The specifics of religion are clearly cultural. People aren't born Christians or Muslims. People do seem to be born homo- or heterosexual.T Clark

    "Reminds me of" is not "is analogous to".

    It just means that I subjectively sense the same vibe in both cases. Both are creepy to me.
  • SonJnana
    243
    I read that quote as if Pseudonym is saying we should not allow religion when it's degrees of consequences have reached a point that is intolerable, like say ISIS for example. It is our duty to not allow that. While we should discourage in other cases. That was my interpretation, but I acknowledge that it was not my quote therefore I may be misrepresenting.
  • JustSomeGuy
    307
    like say ISIS for example. It is our duty to not allow that.SonJnana

    I agree with that, of course. But Pseudonym has so far only referenced Christianity, and he has specifically referenced it.

    As you say, though, we're all just going by our interpretations, and any one of us could be wrong.
  • SonJnana
    243
    If I thought my posting here really affected the world at large, I might not post. Because I'm not sure what's good for the world at large. It's complex as hell.dog

    You're a dog. It must be very complex.
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