• AJJ
    131


    I’m not certain what you mean. I’m questioning your view that Christians should not give a public voice to their beliefs; I called your view bigoted; you claimed that to have a preference against something is, in a sense, to be intolerant of it; I believe I’ve shown that to be false.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.9k


    As I said in my first post in this thread, "religions massively impact cultural mores, laws, etc. "

    I didn't mean literally not saying anything. Lol

    You're not an Aspie, are you? Because you seem to be interpreting comments as if you are.
  • AJJ
    131


    I agree that religions are very negative. They'd be fine if folks could somehow just keep their beliefs to themselves, but religions massively impact cultural mores, laws, etc. That's not just keeping the beliefs to oneself.Terrapin Station

    The above is what I’m responding to. It’s the notion of Christians “keeping their beliefs to themselves”, as if they shouldn’t have a say, that I’m taking issue with. But look, if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.
  • S
    8.6k
    You're not an Aspie, are you? Because you seem to be interpreting comments as if you are.Terrapin Station

    Leave Asperger's Jerry Johnson alone. And stop being so intolerant of oranges. What has Donald Trump ever done to you?
  • Jake
    1.3k
    Those who value reason and philosophy should be able to recognize and respect the counter position, argue with passion but without a acrimony.Rank Amateur

    Nicely said, and true, but um, we're not actually interested in reason and philosophy. We're interested in using the illusion of such interest to inflate our delicate self images. This is an incredibly wise bit of reason, I feel much better now.
  • Athena
    293
    We do not directly experience God, therefore God is unknowable. All we can know is stories of gods, not God. God is an abstract concept, that can be dressed up however the people chose to create their god or gods.

    However, Jesus is concrete and essential to religion because we can not have an emotional relationship with an abstract concept, right? Paul went to the Greeks and argued for making an abstract God a concrete one, right? He is saying Jesus is a god and that is very concrete. He is saying a man is a god and that is concrete, not abstract.

    Acts 17:22-31 (WEB): 22 Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. 23 For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, 25 neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things. 26 He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’ 29 Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man. 30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.” — Bible
  • Athena
    293


    Trump is the result of replacing abstract thinking (liberal education) with concrete thinking (education for technology) and that is the end of the democracy we defended in two world wars. This is a religious and political problem. It returns us to tribalism and intensifies conflicts instead of uniting us.

    There was a time when Jews, Muslims, and Christians believed they worshipped the same god. The three religions believing the God of Abraham, is the one and only true God. Then each new religious group thought they needed to correct the mistakes made those who when before. Same god, just differences how we understand God's truth and what is required of us. That is a problem with being concrete instead of abstract. If we were thinking abstractly, we would not be so sure of ourselves and ready to argue against another person's understanding of God.
  • Athena
    293
    I agree that religions are very negative. They'd be fine if folks could somehow just keep their beliefs to themselves, but religions massively impact cultural mores, laws, etc. That's not just keeping the beliefs to oneself.Terrapin Station

    If we focus on the difference between concrete thinking and abstract thinking, we might change the argument enough to make some progress instead of repeating the same arguments again and again and again.
  • Athena
    293


    How about Christians preventing education in the higher order thinking skills, as was the agenda of the 2012 Texas Republicans? How about Christians insisting science books include their story of creation, which they did do Texas until a supreme court decided with the people of science that the creation story is not science. Without liberal education, Christians have become a very serious problem. Christianity without liberal education is what Germany had, and now that is what we have.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.9k


    Could you explain that with some examples maybe?
  • AngryBear
    13
    All of the negative aspects of religion exist in other things. So going by Hitchens logic here, its humans poison everything.
  • S
    8.6k
    All of the negative aspects of religion exist in other things. So going by Hitchens logic here, its humans poison everything.AngryBear

    This is the same bad logic that gun advocates use. You can kill someone with almost anything, therefore we shouldn't ban guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Should we ban people?

    Except that people kill people with guns, and guns are a good tool for that job. Similarly, terrorists blow people up, and religion is a good tool for creating terrorists.
  • AngryBear
    13
    Agreed, however I think Athiesm is relatively young, and so in time I think people will get to a point were godless philosophy could be used to kill and terrorize. I hope i'm wrong.
  • S
    8.6k
    Agreed, however I think that atheism is relatively young, and so in time I think people will get to a point where godless philosophy could be used to kill and terrorize. I hope I'm wrong.AngryBear

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it already has been. For example, in the Russian and Spanish revolutions.

    But it pales in comparison to the impact of religion in that same regard.
  • DiegoT
    318
    If you mean communist mass killings in Russia (gulags, purges...) or in Republican side of Spanish war (checas), it is true they were atheistic, but still very religious. Communism is a religion proper, another Judeo-Christian spin-off yet where the "Chosen people" was redefined in political terms, and "the Promised Land conquest", that in the Biblical (entirely mythical fortunately) account involved the systematic genocide of Canaanites; is in communism called Revolution. The idea that the definition of religion requires a personal God is a religious undestanding of this sociocultural phenomenon; but a scientific and rational study of Religion must include cults that don´t use the word "God" in their programming discourse, when they fulfill all the requirements of religions as social institutions and symbolic structures. If Socialism survives one more century, it will look very much like Islamism, that also started as a political ideology. In fact, Judaism itself was more political than religious in the beginning, and "kings who sinned against Yahweh" in the Bible are those kings that did not follow this political program, with disregard of their personal morality.

    It´s human nature. So to be really atheistic, you have to be: an individual separated from the mass, and understand that your own religious beliefs are not the ultimate truth. All spiritual leaders are atheistic at some stage: Zoroaster, Jesus, Paul, Buddha: they all had to reject energetically the gods they were told to believe and doubt of their own beliefs, to reach a point where they could communicate with phenomenal reality with new rules and images.
  • S
    8.6k
    No, that's a misuse of terms. They were ideological, not religious, and their ideology was anti-religious. Communism is not a religion, it's a political ideology.
  • Athena
    293


    Yowee! you got me in a corner. I was hoping someone else would understand this difference in education and the difference in abstract and concrete thinking and say things better than I have said them. But now that you ask, I am excited by the thoughts that come to mind.

    I looked for a definition of "god" and got "a mighty and powerful force". Okay, that applies to all gods because it is an abstract, universal thought. We can have so much applying this abstract notion of a god, to the Greek gods. Each god and goddess is a concept, I like Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.'s explanation of gods and goddesses as archetypes best. Each of us has an inner god or goddess and the one that dominates us may change as we age. I was a Demeter goddess when I was a mother. Now I am Athena because my focus is political and about teaching men how to rule themselves, or defending democracy as I understand it. There is absolutely no question in my mind that these gods and goddess exist, as Bolen understands them. Concepts are very powerful! Now apply this reasoning to the God of Abraham. Exactly what is this God?

    Every discussion I have seen uses only the Christian concept of God, and there are only two choices, either you believe in this one and only God, or you are an atheist. Bull shit! That is concrete thinking, not abstract thinking. Something happened to human consciousness and I am not exactly sure what but to hold there are can be only one god, the god of Abraham, is to concrete and not abstract thinking of god. Whatever god can be? Once we attempt to define god, we know not god.

    Paul was wrong when he defined the unknown god as the knowable Jesus. We do not directly experience God, therefore, we can not know God, but some people did directly experience Jesus. It is sort of sleight of hand to make something as concrete as a human being the God that is beyond our comprehension. Does anyone else see this? It is the difference between concrete thinking and abstract thinking. A god that is unknowable and beyond our comprehension is an abstract god. A god that is jealous, revengeful, punishing and fearsome is not an abstract god. As soon as we ascribe human traits to a god, it is no longer an abstract concept of god and now we have another sleight of hand.

    It becomes impossible to discuss an abstract god, the moment that god is made concrete, (humanized). Now we are not talking about God, an abstract concept, but what we believe about a god and the rightness of this god's mythology. This is a trap like the tar baby in the Brer Rabbit stories. The more you hit the tar baby created by concrete mythology (humanized god), the more stuck you are in the tar. Did God make man out of mud and was there a flood? Sumerian stories tell us this so, only Sumerian stories are about many gods. We have no scientific reason to believe a god made us of mud and walked in a garden with us. Abstract thinking of a mighty and powerful force just doesn't take our minds there. There is no god who had favorite people, but at that time, everyone thought they had a patron god or goddess who took care of them. This false concept of gods and goddess became the one and only god and we still go to war believing this god is on our side, even when we are fighting a Christian enemy. This is not the god of all. The god of all is an abstract mighty and powerful force with no favorites and no human characteristics, no jealousy and no desire for revenge. Concrete versus abstract.
  • Athena
    293
    AngryBear
    13
    ↪S Agreed, however I think Athiesm is relatively young, and so in time I think people will get to a point were godless philosophy could be used to kill and terrorize. I hope i'm wrong.
    AngryBear

    We need to look no further than (Christian) Nazi Germany and Communist countries to answer that question. People who believe they can know absolute truth, are absolutely dangerous. However, when God is an abstract, no one can know absolute truth. An abstract god is unknowable and beyond our comprehension. An abstract god is not a humanized god like Zeus and the God of Abraham, and for sure an abstract god does not have favorites, or help people win wars, or protect humans from their own folly.

    Only when there is no perceived power greater than humans, or when God is a concrete notion, such as Zeus or the God of Abraham, can people believe they know absolute truth and become a threat to others. Such a god can and does pull people into wars and lead to very bad judgment such was putting the economy first and destroying the planet with ignorance.
  • Athena
    293
    This is the same bad logic that gun advocates use. You can kill someone with almost anything, therefore we shouldn't ban guns. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Should we ban people?

    Except that people kill people with guns, and guns are a good tool for that job. Similarly, terrorists blow people up, and religion is a good tool for creating terrorists.
    S

    I love your explanation of logic. :cheer:

    Wars are good for religion and religion is good for war. :wink:
  • DiegoT
    318
    I agree with that line of thought, but do you realize that it does not need to be restricted to fire arms, but to all possible tools and technologies that can be used for harm? If we ban guns because they can be used to kill people, and they are indeed; for the very same reason and more scary stats to support it, we should ban motor vehicles. And kitchen knives (people in London, the capital of knife crimes, will know what I mean). And we need to ban stock markets, as they are used to commit much graver crimes each day that anything you can do with a gun or a knife. This might lead us all the way back to the trees, so there must be other way.

    My solution is: to restrict the use of tools that are dangerous to people and places that minimize the risk; for example, only clinically sane people that never were convicted of violent crimes should have them, and not on the streets but in their homes or cars. Religious and political books that advocate violence and hate (Quran, Mein kampff, Comunist Manifesto...) should only be read by people who have critical skills and sufficient cognitive abilities to understand that they are bad, and not by children or ignorant people without those personal defenses. This really means that adults have no right to force these pamphlets on vulnerable people, meaning young children, people with psychological ailments and the iliterate.

    The bottom line is that any tool or power in our hands, must go together with the power and responsibility to use it for good and not to harm others or oneself. The advocates of a religion, must prove that their texts and rituals are safe to use by the people are directed to; and they lose the "right" to express that religion (or political ideology) as soon as what they do is not in accordance with the ethical standard of a society.
    On the other hand, cults that are ready to prove that they are good for society should be permitted and welcome; for example I think that Wiccans are more good than harm, or Quakers with their eight Peace Nobel prizes (so far).
  • S
    8.6k
    Concrete versus abstract.Athena

    Or, as I like to call it, false vs. trivial.
  • S
    8.6k
    I agree with that line of thought, but do you realize that it does not need to be restricted to fire arms, but to all possible tools and technologies that can be used for harm? If we ban guns because they can be used to kill people, and they are indeed; for the very same reason and more scary stats to support it, we should ban motor vehicles. And kitchen knives (people in London, the capital of knife crimes, will know what I mean). And we need to ban stock markets, as they are used to commit much graver crimes each day that anything you can do with a gun or a knife. This might lead us all the way back to the trees, so there must be other way.DiegoT

    Or, as I rhetorically asked, should we ban people? And the answer is obviously no. It doesn't have to be a slippery slope all-or-nothing kind of thing.

    My solution is: to restrict the use of tools that are dangerous to people and places that minimize the risk; for example, only clinically sane people that never were convicted of violent crimes should have them, and not on the streets but in their homes or cars. Religious and political books that advocate violence and hate (Quran, Mein kampff, Comunist Manifesto...) should only be read by people who have critical skills and sufficient cognitive abilities to understand that they are bad, and not by children or ignorant people without those personal defenses. This really means that adults have no right to force these pamphlets on vulnerable people, meaning young children, people with psychological ailments and the iliterate.

    The bottom line is that any tool or power in our hands, must go together with the power and responsibility to use it for good and not to harm others or oneself. The advocates of a religion, must prove that their texts and rituals are safe to use by the people are directed to; and they lose the "right" to express that religion (or political ideology) as soon as what they do is not in accordance with the ethical standard of a society.
    On the other hand, cults that are ready to prove that they are good for society should be permitted and welcome; for example I think that Wiccans are more good than harm, or Quakers with their eight Peace Nobel prizes (so far).
    DiegoT

    There's only so much that can be realistically done, though. A place like the U.S. could certainly do more on gun control. But some of what you say seems too impractical, or like it could backfire, or as though it's already covered to at least some degree. On that last point, for example, I know that there are already legal restrictions on freedom of speech for these sort of reasons, and I found this online: Tackling extremism in the UK: December 2013 Report from the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism. And that's the stuff they were doing around five years ago. It's not like the powers that be have been sitting on their hands this whole time.
  • Athena
    293
    Or, as I like to call it, false vs. trivial.S

    I do not understand that logic. Can you explain how the difference between abstract and concrete can equal the difference between false vs. trivial? Possibly illusion versus reality- everything is energy but we perceive a solid reality, however, this does not make our perception false. Ice is made of water, but that does make ice a false concept. And judging our perception of a solid reality as trivial isn't very helpful. "Trivial" is a completely different judgment than one of truth and falseness. As long we are caught up in space and time, understanding this disillusion seems paramount. A reality outside of time and space would matter why?
  • S
    8.6k
    I do not understand that logic. Can you explain how the difference between abstract and concrete can equal the difference between false vs. trivial?Athena

    Sure. Claims about a concrete God are false or at least unsubstantiated, and claims about an abstract God, even if true, are trivial. Atheists believe in an abstract God. It's not really a god though, it's just a concept. There's no controversy there. But also, to make matters worse, you have claimed that this God is unknowable and beyond our comprehension. How can something that you can't know or comprehend mean so much to you? That doesn't even make sense to me. You're basically talking about nothing or a nonsense.
  • DiegoT
    318
    The definition of religion is inadequate, if communism is not in it. We must not define social realities from inside the discourse that those phenomena use to live and prosper. It is possible that our popular definitions of religion are too contaminated from religious discourse.

    For me, it makes no sense to distinguish between political and religious discourses. For example, up to the seventeenth century or later, all ideologies had some religious ground; if you read the Torah with Iron Age eyes, you will discover that is a very political pamphlet: a monarchy with its clergy that aspired to control the Levant and be independent from Persia and Egypt (which they eventually achieved for two centuries before the Romans). If you started a political movement, say, in the VII century, you would include at least one god in the discourse because it was addressed to people who could not conceive power without being sanctioned by some daemonic figure.
    Nowadays, neither new religions nor new political movements have a total need for a personal, angry or loving, deity; because there is more than a critical mass of people with abstract thinking. Even so, all social movements tend to develop "religious" traits that will increase over time. North Korea is closer and closer to call his piggy leader the Son of God.

    Communism is teleological, it has a symbolic metanarrative, all kind of symbols and rituals and texts that are more than texts, and idealized personalities. It doesn´t just organize economic life, but also culture and the very way people think and feel and behave about themselves and family and friends. What more is needed to call it a religion? It´s both a religion and a political movement, just like Christianity, Judaism and Islamism. Or like Feminism or Nationalism.
  • S
    8.6k
    It's not a religion. The best you'll get from me is that it might be like a religion in some ways. Although I think you're stretching it. Scientology, for example, is a religion, but communism is a political ideology.
  • Athena
    293
    I do not agree at all that the concept of an abstract god is trivial. This unknowable God is essential to preventing humans from believing they are the highest power and preventing them from projecting themselves into a concept of a god and believing they can know the know the will of God. All they can know is what is going on in their human minds. They can not know God nor the will of a god. That is something we need to make perfectly clear. The mighty force is not a human force, nor a superhuman force. We must stop projecting ourselves into a notion of this mighty force.

    The Greeks moved away from their gods when they got into math and science. We now know earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, and hurricane, and so on, happen because of natural cause-effect. The Greeks concluded even the gods were under the law. Unlike the God of Abraham, especially when this God is taken over by Christians, becomes a God who can do anything he wants, and violate any laws of nature He wants to violate. A supernatural god who can be manipulated with our piety, offerings, and rituals. That is a supernatural god far beyond the powers of nature gods, and these Christian yahoos destroyed the pagan temples where math and medicine were taught and set us back thousands of years cutting off from the knowledge that had been gained over many centuries.

    Cicero, one of the most important men in Roman, read by all who were curious of democracy, explained what happens is about nature, cause and effect, and our sacrifices and prayers will not change the consequences of what we say and do.

    However, trying to understand the unknowable god, that mighty force, universal law, the cause and effect that rules our lives, means opening our minds to infinity and all possibilities. Now and only now is there a hope of democracy meaning rule by reason, and not rule by authority over us. This is not trivial and atheist who deny a mighty force greater than their own, are not an improvement.
  • S
    8.6k
    I do not agree at all that the concept of an abstract god is trivial. This unknowable God is essential to preventing humans from believing they are the highest power and preventing them from projecting themselves into a concept of a god and believing they can know the know the will of God. All they can know is what is going on in their human minds. They can not know God nor the will of a god. That is something we need to make perfectly clear. The mighty force is not a human force, nor a superhuman force. We must stop projecting ourselves into a notion of this mighty force.Athena

    First of all, you need to stop saying that it's unknowable if you're going to tell me about it. That's a blatant contradiction.

    Second, I'm not saying that it's trivial in terms of how you might think or feel about it. But it's trivial in terms of where the controversy lies. It's like if you were to tell me that the Loch Ness Monster exists, and then when I react with disbelief, you explain that you only meant as an abstraction, it would deflate the issue to a triviality. I can accept that the Loch Ness Monster exists as an abstraction. I can accept that people can get satisfaction out of it, that it can mean a lot to them. But that's beside the point. The Loch Ness Monster doesn't actually exist. You won't find the Loch Ness Monster in Loch Ness, because it isn't there. And no one is denying that we can conceive of such a creature. We can conceive of lots of weird and fantastical things.

    The Greeks moved away from their gods when they got into math and science. We now know earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, and hurricane, and so on, happen because of natural cause-effect. The Greeks concluded even the gods were under the law. Unlike the God of Abraham, especially when this God is taken over by Christians, becomes a God who can do anything he wants, and violate any laws of nature He wants to violate. A supernatural god who can be manipulated with our piety, offerings, and rituals. That is a supernatural god far beyond the powers of nature gods, and these Christian yahoos destroyed the pagan temples where math and medicine were taught and set us back thousands of years cutting off from the knowledge that had been gained over many centuries.Athena

    Sure. That's the false or unsubstantiated side of the fork.

    Cicero, one of the most important men in Roman, read by all who were curious of democracy, explained what happens is about nature, cause and effect, and our sacrifices and prayers will not change the consequences of what we say and do.Athena

    Yeah, and he was right.

    However, trying to understand the unknowable god, that mighty force, universal law, the cause and effect that rules our lives, means opening our minds to infinity and all possibilities. Now and only now is there a hope of democracy meaning rule by reason, and not rule by authority over us. This is not trivial and atheist who deny a mighty force greater than their own, are not an improvement.Athena

    You're both contradicting yourself and moving the goalposts. My criticism wasn't directed against what you describe, which is different from what you claim to be talking about.

    You seem to have gotten yourself into a right muddle!
  • praxis
    979
    Communism is teleological, it has a symbolic metanarrative, all kind of symbols and rituals and texts that are more than texts, and idealized personalities. It doesn´t just organize economic life, but also culture and the very way people think and feel and behave about themselves and family and friends. What more is needed to call it a religion?DiegoT

    Most glaringly, an absolute authority figure (more than an idealized personality), and an aspect of transcendence.
  • Athena
    293
    First of all, you need to stop saying that it's unknowable if you're going to tell me about it. That's a blatant contradiction.S

    Why is it a contradiction to say there is a mighty and powerful force that is beyond our comprehension? We can know creation is the result of a mighty and powerful force. We experience the manifestation of that mighty and powerful force and we can study the manifestation of this force, so we can know of the manifestation, but the mighty and powerful is beyond our comprehension. Maybe someday as we explore the energy of all creation more fully or/and if we come to understand multiple dimensions, we might think we comprehend the mighty and powerful force, but not today. There is no contradiction. We do not know everything.

    I like the saying, the beginning of wisdom is "I don't know." When we think we know something, we stop learning of it. It is better to think we don't know, than to believe we do know. That is to say when we think we know God, we know not God, but only what we think we know.
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