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Author Topic: Religion- Oh no not that again  (Read 24696 times)

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Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Religion- Oh no not that again
« on: March 31, 2012, 11:30:35 AM »
So I'd like to see where everyone stands on religion. I'm not looking for anyone to judge anyone else, I'm just curious. Nothing to fancy.

Offline Rhapsody

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 11:36:40 AM »
Religion is dangerous in the wrong hands.
If you use it to inflict mental, physical or social harm on someone, you are the wrong hands.
If you use it to promote bigotry and intolerance, you are the wrong hands.
If you use it to benefit only yourself, you are the wrong hands.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 11:46:48 AM »
So I'd like to see where everyone stands on religion. I'm not looking for anyone to judge anyone else, I'm just curious. Nothing to fancy.

I have yet to come across an organized religion that provided a very cogent explanation of the world or provided much of a deterrent to bad behavior. In my view, we would be better off without them.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 12:16:23 PM »
Ordained Gythja (Priestess) of Asatru here.

Offline Deva

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 12:24:45 PM »
I have yet to come across an organized religion that provided a very cogent explanation of the world or provided much of a deterrent to bad behavior. In my view, we would be better off without them.

Try Laveyan Satanism. .. apart from that I agree with Rhapsody.

Offline sexhaver

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2012, 01:37:32 PM »
From what I can tell, religion is what happens when someone takes an established mythology and direct it to the purpose of social control.
Mythology is what happens when people try to explain their environment without the means for conclusive experimentation, and is thus a collection of untested (and often untestable) hypotheses.
Religion aims to ascribe morality to that mythology to create dogma, an unquestionable mythology by which we're all expected to live our lives.
This has a number of useful effects on society:

1. It imprints a code of behaviour on its members to make them operate more efficiently with fewer problems. In that sense, it's a precursor to systems of secular laws.
2. It allows the weak to stand up to the strong (kings, etc) by invoking a higher power. In that sense, it's a precursor to democratic checks and balances on government.
3. It gives its members a unifying ideal that transcends political entities and ethnicity, making their world smaller and more homogeneous. In that sense, it's a precursor to international alliances like the EU.

It's my belief that religion is becoming obsolete in the face of secular structures. But it's not entirely there yet. There's one big gotcha: The secular path relies on democracy, which requires a certain commitment to education and political participation from the masses in order to work the way it's supposed to (which seems to be greatly lacking in the west). Religion does not place such responsibility on common people. It works instead by coercing them and conditioning them into observance of dogma from birth. In that sense, it's a lot like an autocratic government, but with added depth of ideology that allows it to survive as an idea even as individual leaders are replaced or rejected - a bit like Chinese communism.

So in my opinion, it would be ideal to remove religion entirely. But it can't be done from the top down, much as a nation can't be made democratic from the top down. Ideological change must come from among the masses, and that kind of change will only happen when people see a secular option that eclipses religion's benefits for them individually (or their children see those benefits if not the parents). Such an option will not exist until developed nations can come up with a better version of their current armchair-style democracy. Otherwise, what is the real gain, replacing one system of authoritarian control for another?

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2012, 01:50:27 PM »
Honestly, much like I say on a lot of other topics …

It is none of my business what anyone else believes in or doesn’t  believe in. It is  not my business if they worship or if they do not worship. Just as it is no one business what my beliefs are or whether I worship or not unless I choose to let it be known.

I do not agree with a mentality of ‘get rid of all religion’ just because there are those that disagree with it thinks it will make life better. You (indirect usage, not meaning you personally) cannot know what is best for anyone but yourself (and even that is not always true - there are many times when we do not even know what is best for ourselves).

Offline Shjade

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2012, 02:06:27 PM »
So I'd like to see where everyone stands on religion.

Between the shoulder blades. I find it's easy to keep my balance there.

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 02:07:27 PM »
Ordained Gythja (Priestess) of Asatru here.

So what does that entail?

Offline Serephino

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 02:09:14 PM »
Religion itself is not a bad thing.  Faith has given a lot of people a lot of comfort.  It can also be abused and used to control people.  Personally, I prefer a religion that encourages people to think for themselves. 

Offline Oniya

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 02:11:28 PM »
Most people aren't surprised to learn that I'm eclectic Pagan.  I see nothing wrong with invoking Hermes while sketching 'safe travel' sigils on the car before a trip.  I was taught that everyone has their own Path to follow.  As we follow it, we take in what works, and leave the 'waste' behind.  If you find yourself following someone else's Path too closely, make sure to strap on the hip-waders, because that 'waste' can get preeeeetty deep sometimes.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 02:20:57 PM »
So what does that entail?

So much more than I could put in here. I'd hijack the thread lol. However, Asatru means 'belief in the Gods' and it is the worship of the old Scandinavian Gods and Goddesses (Odin/Woden, Thor, Frigga, Frey. Freya, Heimdall, Tyr, etc). If you wish to know more then my pm is open. :) 

Offline Canuckian

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 03:31:48 PM »
While I didn't come up with this picture, I feel it perfectly expresses my disgust for how a religions base message can and will be subvereted by those who follow for their own ends:


Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 03:39:22 PM »
To each his or her own on religion. I am a Christian but do not believe that others are wrong in their beliefs. Does it make someone a more compassionate person following the ideology? That should be the question we ask.

Offline Thraben

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 03:41:36 PM »
I'll let the quotes of more learned people express my feelings in a more articulate manner than I could ever achieve:

"Religion, n. A daughter of hope and fear, explaining to ignorance the nature of the unknowable."
-Ambrose Bierce

"I contend that we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
-Stephen Henry Roberts

Offline sexhaver

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2012, 05:05:11 PM »
Quote
As we follow it, we take in what works, and leave the 'waste' behind.
Just like Bruce Lee's approach to martial arts :D
When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself. Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2012, 05:30:55 PM »
While I didn't come up with this picture, I feel it perfectly expresses my disgust for how a religions base message can and will be subvereted by those who follow for their own ends:

The trouble with scripture is that reading it is a lot like reading tea leaves.

Did all the millions of the faithful who, throughout history, fought holy wars, tortured heretics, enslaved heathens, burned witches, and persecuted fornicators and homosexuals in the service (or at least with the claimed approval) of the one true God get it wrong? And, this is to say nothing of the millions upon millions in our own day who find distinctions within our single species, and justification for the most appalling of atrocities, in the opaque mumblings of long dead prophets. To what do those of us who now find some more pacific and humanist meaning in ancient writings, so long after age of miracles, ascribe our supposedly greater insight into religion's "base message"?

I think it's time to forget the gobbledygook. Given God's evident propensity for ambiguity and self-contradiction, is it not preferable simply to junk scripture and finally conceive a morality based on simple utilitarian principles, like "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I don't mean to suggest that this approach would eliminate all moral controversy, but I suspect it would lend a good deal of now missing clarity to the matter.

 

« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 05:33:04 PM by vtboy »

Offline YaoiRolePlayTopic starter

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2012, 05:40:10 PM »
That is because morality doesn't come from religion, and certainly not from any scriptures. It comes from the zeitgeist. Morality moves in a generally more humanistic direction throughout history. Say that morality is on a continuum from animalistic to humanistic. Morality moves steadily towards the humanistic part. You have a block of what is considered morally acceptable for any given time period and that morality is moving forward slowly. Things that were considered ok in the earlier time periods are not ok anymore because that morality has moved forward.

But, scriptures are very much so a product of the society they were written in. Obviously. That's a given. But than the morality moves forward and what the scriptures say is not acceptable anymore. Thus we have to adjust what the scriptures say to a more humanistic viewpoint because that morality is not there anymore. We don't abandon the scriptures, we simply re-interpret them over and over so that we can still believe the scriptures are right, we just change the meanings of the words. This is why when we look at things like the Old Testament and we see instructions for how to hold slaves, we re-interpret it and say that the OT is not in affect anymore because of the new covenant in the NT. We re-interpret it to fit the morality of the time.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 05:41:38 PM by YaoiRolePlay »

Offline DeMalachine

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2012, 05:51:57 PM »
I'm an atheist. With strong anti-theistic tendencies.

Long story short: no religion I've ever looked at has provided a coherent or accurate view of the world, and many foster a harmful antipathy to those outside the religion in question. It's a superfluous and occasionally destructive division of humany we can do without; to me, it's no more than mere superstition with added tragi-comic theatre.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2012, 07:02:26 PM »
I am an atheist and an anti-theist, but I keep a somewhat separate set of books when it comes to religion and religious debate. I tend to stay out of the beliefs people entertain privately in their daily lives. That doesn't mean I 'respect' them, per se, but as long as they're not harming anyone, I try to mind my own business. In those situations, I tend to follow the 'positive' methods of Carl Sagan, pointing out how amazing the natural universe is, and how it's actually more beautiful than some ancient superstition.

Of course, that's quite easy when you live in a country where people who actually practice their religions with any sort of regularity are such a small minority that I've only ever met a handful of them.

On the other hand, I have a feeling that if I don't say anything, I'm contributing to the erosion of skepticism and rational thinking. So, while I don't 'attack' people for their beliefs, I have no qualms about 'attacking' ( that is, pointing out flaws in or commenting on problems with ) organized religions, public relious figures and their views, and so on.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2012, 07:06:30 PM »
*shrugs* I'm just a pandeist.

Offline Canuckian

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Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2012, 07:18:22 PM »
*shrugs* I'm just a pandeist.
And what's your opinion on the sloth-iests?  Or the fishiests?  :P

Offline Starlequin

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2012, 07:31:32 PM »
Slothiests talk a good game, but they never seem to get anything done. And there's just something I dont trust about those fishiests, although they do work well with their philosophical cousins, the hush puppiests and ketchupists... :D

Offline Missy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2012, 07:41:55 PM »
Secular Aetheist

Offline vtboy

Re: Religion- Oh no not that again
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2012, 09:20:28 AM »
That is because morality doesn't come from religion, and certainly not from any scriptures.

Agreed.

I suspect that notions of right and wrong emerged in our species as a matter of biology long before the advent of religion. Capacities for empathy and cooperation, which I believe are at the root of all morality, enabled humans to live in groups which provided advantages to their members in the struggle for survival. It is difficult to conceive of any society, even one as relatively simple as a clan or a tribe, long enduring without behavioral codes which proscribed such antisocial acts as wanton killing, theft, and tresspass on the conjugal rights of others. Through natural selection, empathic and cooperative traits were passed down in ever greater numbers to offspring. We are, in other words, wired to behave socially and thus "morally".

I do not mean to suggest that the biological inclination for "decent" behavior always prevails. Human behavior, which occurs at the intersection of competing drives and situational provocations, is obviously not always moral. And, the most moral course in any situation is not always clear.

Quote
Morality moves in a generally more humanistic direction throughout history. Say that morality is on a continuum from animalistic to humanistic. Morality moves steadily towards the humanistic part. You have a block of what is considered morally acceptable for any given time period and that morality is moving forward slowly. Things that were considered ok in the earlier time periods are not ok anymore because that morality has moved forward.

How then do we explain the 20th century? Despite its recency, the 20th was perhaps the least humane epoch in the history of the species. Witness the blood lettings of the First and Second World Wars, the mass murders under Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Milosevic, the Armenian genocide, the carnage in Rwanda, the terror states in South Africa and the Jim Crow South, to name but a few of its highlights. The 21st century does not appear to have gotten off to a much more promising start. 

Quote
But, scriptures are very much so a product of the society they were written in. Obviously. That's a given. But than the morality moves forward and what the scriptures say is not acceptable anymore. Thus we have to adjust what the scriptures say to a more humanistic viewpoint because that morality is not there anymore. We don't abandon the scriptures, we simply re-interpret them over and over so that we can still believe the scriptures are right, we just change the meanings of the words. This is why when we look at things like the Old Testament and we see instructions for how to hold slaves, we re-interpret it and say that the OT is not in affect anymore because of the new covenant in the NT. We re-interpret it to fit the morality of the time.

Clerics have occasionally been dragged kicking and screaming to a more modern understanding of scripture. However, have you had a chance to discuss these views with, say, Saint Santorum? Or, perhaps, with one of the Ayatollahs? I think they might disagree with their thrust.

The problem with organized religion, and the reason I think it has most often been a retardant to human progress, is that so many of the faithful continue to view the content of scripture as divinely revealed literal truth. To be sure, interpretation of scripture is an evolving process for many religions (the Talmud, for example, is a compendium of centuries of rabbinical commentaries on the Torah). However, I think precious few of the faithful would agree that the polestar for the process should ever be the "morality of the time." Once one subscribes to the idea that scripture is the revealed word of God, there may still be some room for interpretation, but it becomes very difficult for expedience or human desire to enter the debate on anything approaching an equal footing.

Better, I think, to just jettison religion's baggage, and apply God's gift of reason to the problem of what is right and what is not.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 10:56:36 AM by vtboy »