• Michael Lee
    38
    While I certainly do not believe God, as described in sacred texts, exists, I certainly do believe Spinoza's imperfect description of God is. But my question is, since God could not care less about our well being nor will change the nature of the Universe to suit our desires, then is there any value engaging in religious thought and reflection?

    I found the following short presentation about global and historical thoughts of religion incredibly insightful about that question.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115
    A difficult question to answer indeed.

    In practice though, I believe that ideologies or philosophies, or any system of axioms accepted on faith serves as a functional equivalent to religion; I see little difference between "religious fanaticism" and partisan politics, for example.
  • Michael Lee
    38
    I see little difference between "religious fanaticism" and partisan politics, for example.
    . I cannot see any difference either.
  • Wayfarer
    9.3k
    I think the description given in the opening sentence of the video, that 'religion has been declared untrue by science', is a myth. Religious ideas clothe themselves in the images and tropes of the culture in which they are discovered, and appeal to archetypal elements of human experience. In today's world, which has experienced the greatest degree of change and disruption that history has ever seen, it is not at all surprising that many of the tropes and metaphors of religious traditions seem anachronistic and incomprehensible. But for those who understood that religious lore was metaphorical, that it uses myth to convey existential insights, then the fact that such lore is not literally true, doesn't mean that it's literally false. If only the new atheists had realised this when they set out, they would have saved themselves and everyone else a lot of bother.

    Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies. — Joseph Campbell
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115
    How do people think that formal religion as a business model will hold up in the information age?

    Some people may not visit their local church, but may instead watch sermons on social media.

    This is, in some ways why "church attendance statistics are archaic and flawed", much as they don't reflect one's personal level of commitment or behavior to begin with, and seem more predicated on financial goals or group statistics.
  • Pfhorrest
    1.2k
    any system of axioms accepted on faith serves as a functional equivalent to religion; I see little difference between "religious fanaticism" and partisan politics, for example.IvoryBlackBishop

    This is largely the thesis of my essay Against Fideism that we're discussing in another thread, with an important caveat: there is a difference between accepting and asserting an opinion. To say that nobody should accept anything without sufficient reason is to assert the negation of everything, without sufficient reason. To say not to assert anything without sufficient reason is to say that everyone is free to accept whatever they want for no reason at all, until sufficient reason is given to reject it.

    Being against appeals to faith means being in favor of freedom to believe what you will.
  • Lif3r
    306
    Use it's reach to encourage fossil fuel divestment world wide.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    The two most important things that religion brings to the life of the believer are in my opinion:

    (1) confidence (faith, motivation, optimism, resilience, perseverance, ...)
    (2) self-discipline (a formal system of rules that you can try to keep)

    The advantages of confidence and self-discipline are manifold. They are core ingredients for attaining any goal in life.

    A shared concept of self-discipline is also what allows for better relationships, especially in families, which are the cornerstone of the social fabric of society. You can clearly notice that unbelievers are gradually but surely losing the ability to form families and to reproduce, which is something that the old adage already had predicted : children are a gift from God.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    You can clearly notice that unbelievers are gradually but surely losing the ability to form families and to reproduce, which is something that the old adage already had predicted : children are a gift from God.alcontali

    I am a non believer, and I have no problems reproducing!

    Children in a lot of cases, even for believers, are a miscalculation of time of month. Most believers, especially the most fanatical, cannot say that they have planned to have children. They say that they just come because god sends then.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    i am a believer in Christ, but I wouldn’t call myself a follower of any church, dogma or otherwise. I feel like I have very good personal reasons for my beliefs, but I don’t intend to convince anyone who doesn’t want to believe what should be immediately apparent. The universe is ordered in such a way that life became conscious to share in God’s creation. That’s not to say that the world is six thousand years old or some such nonsense. I know that all of scientific evidence strongly suggests that the universe is at least 13.8 billion years old. I believe evolution is part of the design of life. Why should science contradict this. It makes more sense to me that there is a conscious intention to the universe. But why suffering in the world? Sorry, but you don’t know better than God, and, furthermore, the universe wasn’t created for any one individual’s benefit, contrary to what Donald Trump might think. Bad shit happens to everyone. Don’t take it personally. You don’t know what God’s true purpose for creation is, and you don’t even know if we’re the end result. All the evidence says we are but a precursor to something else, and something else after that. Be grateful! Don’t be an ingrate! God has let you live today which is probably more than your egomaniacal self deserves.
  • Qwex
    317
    Why Christ I thought our closest friend, and teacher, was our imagination? I can accept God but not Christ unless he is perfected. That's another man's imagination. His imaginary friend performance. You literally worship the author's joke.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    Because we are a terrible species, and yet He loves us so much that he would be tortured to death for us even though he was faultless. Call it a myth if you want. I tend to think that God can do anything, and if He wanted to humble Himself to become a person for our sake, then that is truly worthy of praise.
  • Qwex
    317
    that's not good because you blemish a clear view with a word that would require more thought. The actual force - which may not be paying attention to you - would say 'stop calling me a name', 'be accurate and forethought.', etc. It's probably an asleep part of God that can possibly wake up that keeps everything together.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    Like I said, I’m not intending to convert anyone. The OP asked what religion should do for us today. I answered that. And, no, I don’t believe that Christ was some kind of sick joke played on humanity. That was the Church. The self-serving Church of men was the sick joke.
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    I am a non believer, and I have no problems reproducing!Sir2u

    Atheism does not affect your immediate capacity to reproduce. It is a longer-term process.

    Religion gives both spouses a common moral system. Absence of religion does not mean no moral system but almost surely two different ones. You cannot reasonably expect two atheists to believe the same things. That is the insidious part of it. Atheists do believe things about morality but they may not even know themselves what exactly they believe, especially, given the subtle manipulations from the public-school indoctrination system, the mass media, the commercial advertisements, and so on.

    Hence, they more often than not end up with fundamentally incompatible differences, which in turn, more often than not lead to the failure of the relationship. Given the damage to children caused by divorce, the situation in the next generation can only be worse. Someone who grew up in a divorced situation is likely to repeat that pattern. So, things just get worse and worse. At some point, the damage will be so important to children that they will no longer survive into adulthood and will no longer reach a position to try to reproduce by themselves.

    The current marriage (and fertility) rates are already at a historical low but not yet at their lowest, which is an error term that will be almost indistinguishable from zero.

    For example, the current marriage/fertility rate does not yet reflect the impact of movements such as red pill and mgtow where men simply refuse to engage in any kind of long-term relationship. It also does not reflect that many young men do not even strive to become ready for a role as breadwinner but instead prefer to play video games; and so on. The stable point for that kind of society is marriage/fertility rate that in all terms is practically zero.

    As an atheist you may still be able to reproduce but your progeny is pretty much scheduled to die out. So, you are probably just wasting your time.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    My parents stuck together when it would have been better for my brother and me if they had gotten divorced. Or not? Who’s to say how things would have turned out? Maybe my dad would have gotten joint custody and been more abusive without my mother with him. Or not. My dad was religious. My mom is not. What does that say?
  • alcontali
    1.2k
    My parents stuck together when it would have been better for my brother and me if they had gotten divorced. Or not? Who’s to say how things would have turned out? Maybe my dad would have gotten joint custody and been more abusive without my mother with him. Or not. My dad was religious. My mom is not. What does that say?Noah Te Stroete

    With confidence and self-discipline you can overcome the demons of your past. If only you believe that you can, and have faith, you can emerge victorious. All you need to do, is to ask. If you implore and beseech our beloved Master, he will give you. Our Lord is there to guide you. The believer does not need to fear, and that is why the believer does not fear:

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. — Zabur/Psalms 23:4
  • Noah Te Stroete
    2.6k
    With confidence and self-discipline anybody can overcome the demons of his past. If only you believe that you can, and have faith, you can emerge victorious. All you need to do, is to ask. If you implore and beseech our beloved Master, he will give you. Our Lord is there to guide you. The believer does not need to fear, and that is why the believer does not fear:

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
    — Zabur/Psalms 23:4
    alcontali

    Thank you for the encouragement. The demons come and go. Some days I’m able to empathize with my father who couldn’t overcome his demons. Sometimes I think I have always been a bad person and somewhat deserve this. I should pray to ask for help with the mood swings.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    You cannot reasonably expect two atheists to believe the same things.alcontali

    That is the insidious part of it. Atheists do believe things about morality but they may not even know themselves what exactly they believe, especially, given the subtle manipulations from the public-school indoctrination system, the mass media, the commercial advertisements, and so on.alcontali

    That is so much shit I do not even know where to start putting you straight. It is obvious that you read to much religious based literature and probable do not even know a non believer.

    As an atheist you may still be able to reproduce but your progeny is pretty much scheduled to die out. So, you are probably just wasting your time.alcontali

    My kids all know how to look after themselves and do not need to go groveling to some unknown being begging for help. When the shit hits the fan my kids will survive while yours are down on their knees trying to get divine intervention on their behalf. And it won't get them anywhere.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115
    AS a business model, if nothing else, how do you think that 'formal' religion will stand up to the Information Age and social media.

    "Church attendance" may decline, however more people may watch Sermons on social media; what are your thoughts on this? I've seen more and more churches broadcasting on social media as of late.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    I've seen more and more churches broadcasting on social media as of late.IvoryBlackBishop

    And most of them have Apps to do their most important work. Collect the money.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115

    Every business has to make a profit, so if this is just a discussion about greed or using religion as a money-making tool, I'd prefer not to go there.

    In that regard, I don't see anything inherent about "religion" or formal religion than any other business model of "questionable" reputation, such as a casino.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    Every business has to make a profit,IvoryBlackBishop

    Religion as a business, that is new! Not really.

    so if this is just a discussion about greed or using religion as a money-making tool, I'd prefer not to go there.IvoryBlackBishop

    As far as I know there is no discussion about it, nearly all religions take their believers money and have no responsibility to explain where it goes. And that is a truth that does not need to be discussed.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115

    I'd assume that credible business do provide some measure of financial accountability, so again I don't see what this has to do with "church" or "religion" as a whole, it just seems like an ubiquitous "anti-religion" gripe or rant.

    I'd be tempted to say a very similar thing about most if not all "mass media", which in my honest opinion is usually just a 6th-grade reading level or ADHD substitute for reading books, regardless of the subject matter, usually predicated on sensationalist headlines.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    I'd assume that credible business do provide some measure of financial accountabilityIvoryBlackBishop

    If we are talking about religion, I don't see how those 2 words are being used.
    What exactly is the business of religion?
    And just how can any of the western religions be called credible?

    Almost all of the "churches" belonging to the religions have some stigma attached to them. Maybe some of the individual buildings in general have not been smeared by unholy priests and pastors, but the churches have been corrupt for centuries.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115

    This is turning into more of an anti-religion rant and less of a discussion about the finer details, so I think I'll bow out for not.

    Based on what you're saying, I don't see how churches or religions would automatically be any different than any other business model.

    For example, a company which sells alcohol, if you believed it promoted or was a source of alcoholism, you might have a grievance against, much as you would churches if you have negative opinion of religion, or organized religion specifically.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115
    For example, if your argument against "religion" as a whole is that it's a tool of "control" or imposition of a specific "morality" on people, that may not be entirely "false".

    However, in a way, that is similar to the law of any modern nation, such as the Common Law in America or Britain, which does impose a bare minimum of morality on people by force, based on its own moral axioms (e.x. that acts such as rape or murder are inherently "immoral", and that society or the state therefore has a right to use force to prevent or punish those crimes, for example).

    So your argument boils down to a sociological rant against "control", my view is that that moral axiom would lead to nihilism or anarchy, and that, to some degree, civilization is predicated on a rule of law, which from a historical perspective, is what I believe is a positive purpose which religion has served (such as in days when there was no modern distinction between "church" and state).

    Sure, you could easily argue that punishing rape or murder is not comparable to forcing people to attend a Catholic Mass under threat of excommunication, or whatever, but from a sociological POV, my point still remains.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    This is turning into more of an anti-religion rantIvoryBlackBishop

    I am not ranting against religion, I am inquiring about the things you say. I have nothing against religion itself, my wife is religious.

    less of a discussion about the finer detailsIvoryBlackBishop

    The finer details of what? To be able to say that religions have been and are useful then there should be some proof of that, what good has religion done for humanity?

    While I certainly do not believe God, as described in sacred texts, exists, I certainly do believe Spinoza's imperfect description of God is. But my question is, since God could not care less about our well being nor will change the nature of the Universe to suit our desires, then is there any value engaging in religious thought and reflection?Michael Lee

    The answer to the question is a simple no, why bother.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115

    The finer details of what? To be able to say that religions have been and are useful then there should be some proof of that, what good has religion done for humanity?
    [/quote]
    That's a tricky subject, however I would contest that modern systems of law and government are predicated on certain "religious" or moral axioms, such as the golden rule, and that religious systems played a role in the development of modern ones. (You can read Oliver Wendall Holmes treatise on the Common Law, for example if you're interested).

    Also, usually when people attempt to define "religion", it's never done with a consistent definition - are you talking solely about "organized religion", or "churches", or about religious philosophy, theology, and things of that nature.
  • Sir2u
    2k
    However, in a way, that is similar to the law of any modern nation, such as the Common Law in America or Britain, which does impose a bare minimum of morality on people by force, based on its own moral axioms (e.x. that acts such as rape or murder are inherently "immoral", and that society or the state therefore has a right to use force to prevent or punish those crimes, for example).IvoryBlackBishop

    But you don't see people worshiping the Supreme Court, or treating the judges as priests. And you have the right to defend you actions that is given to you by those same laws.
    Whereas religions say you are wrong and that is the end of it, you have to grovel to the unseen high and mighty just because another human that says that he is the voice of the high and mighty tells you to.
  • IvoryBlackBishop
    115

    Tricky subject, but I assume you mean the Justices aren't held to be "infallible" or have a "god-appointed status", akin to a medieval pope or monarch?

    My honest belief is that people even today can still "act" in ways like that.

    If you want to use "Trump supporters" as an example, sure Trump may technically be an elected president with limited powers, however in practice his supporters or 'fanatics' can treat him like he's de facto infallible.
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