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Author Topic: Religion. Ethics. Life.  (Read 2438 times)

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Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Religion. Ethics. Life.
« on: June 17, 2013, 03:29:45 PM »
Hello :)

I'd like to know a few things about everyone on here.

1 - what you think about religion?
2 - what is your Ethics?
3 - what do you think of Life?
4 - what do you want to do with life?






RELIGION - for me.

I am a Christan at heart, a real god follower.
I don't believe with all of the Christan's beliefs.
Like how they think being gay is a sin and how they believe that you have to be christened to be god child.
we are all god's children and its up to us what we do with life, if we chose to follow a path that wobbles at times then god will help get your path back on track and also if you bend all the way to the devils will then god can not help you no matter how hard he try's.
Who agrees with me?


ETHICS - for me.

animal testing is wrong.
human testing i dunno about but my heart says its wrong.
whale killing and poaching is wrong its killing animals that have done nothing to us just for the gain of money.
drinking is wrong, i used to drink but one day i woke from a horrible dream and i never drank again.
racism is wrong, everyone is born equal and everyone dies equal.
abortions are wrong as only god can take life and abortions mess with gods plan.
marriage of all genders is right we are equal under gods eyes.


LIFE - for me.

Though it may get rough it will get better.
Though God may not be seen he's beside you.
Angels may fly high above you but God is in your very core.
The Lord would not give you a seed and expect you to let it wither, he expects you to love it and nurture it until it grows tall and blooms more beautiful than a dove of the lords good nature.
If defence was not allowed then why does god defend us?
If life was a rainbow and we didn't like the colours then could we change them?
Life is a rollacoster that you just have to jump on and ride until its your turn to get off.

Offline Blythe

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2013, 09:43:03 PM »
I'll post my answers to the questions here, but wow, tackling a lot of ground with one thread, aren't you?  :-)


1) What do I think about religion?

I have very little opinion about it, because I'm an atheist. I respect other individual's rights to religion, so long as they respect my right not to participate.


2) What are my ethics?

This is...a large question. I'll say that I likely don't hold very popular views in regards to ethics, at least not in my area. Here are just a few things about my "ethics"...(not comprehensive about me by a long shot)

* I'm pro-choice, so I'm for abortion. I don't believe that anyone has a right to tell a woman what to do with her body. I do not ascribe to the concept that a fetus is a person who is more important than the woman who would bear it.
* I'm for full LGBT equality, although I wish more people would recognize that the LGB part of that deals with sexuality and the T part deals with gender...two totally different concepts.
* I have no opinion about clinical animal or human testing, or poaching/hunting of any kind.. This is simply an issue I'm neither knowledgeable nor passionate about.
* I believe that neither drugs (whether alcohol, marijuana, etc.) nor weapons are evil or wrong. I believe that the behaviors of people that use them incorrectly are wrong.
* Discrimination on the basis of sexual/gender orientation, age, religion (or lack thereof), and race is wrong. There's a few other types I could throw in, but it all really falls under the heading of "discrimination."

3) What do I think about life?

I'm cool with it. I like it, and I fully intend to keep enjoying and liking it, since I believe I've only got one trip on this big blue rock called Earth. Feel like I ought to make the most out of it. I think that the most important thing to remember about life is to not give up on it--in a world as varied as this one, as unhappy as many people are...there's still a chance, however small of a percentage, to find joy.

4) What do I want to do with life?

Short term goals would be to receive gender reassignment surgery, go back to school for a Master's degree here in the U.S.A., and buy my own home.

Long term goal is to find the love of my life. I'm sure whoever that person is...they're out there somewhere.


EDIT: Gah. I've had to edit a few times.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 10:17:38 PM by Blythe »

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2013, 12:19:40 AM »
Hello there; welcome, and best of luck with your approval process.

To your questions:

1 - what you think about religion?
- I think modern society has reached a point that few or none of the traditional great religions were created to address, and is confronting ethical questions they are (in and of themselves) mostly ill-equipped to answer. I myself am basically atheist; I don't think of myself as religious and to whatever extent I'm prepared to conceive of a God, or for that matter a Tao, it's a metaphor for processes and realities that are best-fitted by now to be investigated by science.

- Having said that, I've come to really despise "lumpen-atheism" -- the variant of atheism that conceives of the conversation about religion as a flamewar with the most ignorant grade of fundamentalist -- and think any perspective on history that denies religion's contributions to ethics, philosophy and science is variously incomplete or outright dishonorable. I respect the intellectual traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, Native American spirituality and Africian traditional religions and many other faiths besides (including old European and Mediterranean "paganism" and to a perhaps more limited extent "neo-paganism") without subscribing to any of them or denying their (very real) flaws. In various degrees, all of these have contributed to the best parts of modern ethics and should be recognized and appreciated for doing so.

- I also have a regard (warts and all) for the Catholic Church, the Islamic Ulema, and for the Rabbinical tradition in a greater degree than seems to me to be currently popular; the former two in particular are current targets of a popular amount of vilification that strikes me as distasteful at best and bigoted at worst. I regard modern Islamophobes -- in the extent of their wilful ignorance, convenient double-standards, sometime outright deceptiveness and commonplace viciousness and ill-disguised crypto-racism -- as the moral equivalent of anti-Semites and believe they should be treated as such.

- I view religions as being social adaptations to -- and political and social gambits to take advantage of -- certain specific places and times in human history... but also as poetical traditions with the capacity to adapt to far larger problems and concerns than those which begat them. In this I include Mormonism, the only sector of the Christian faith to invent a means of adapting itself to future learning (by way of "continuous revelation), which considerably mitigates its outright racist origins and the questionable practices of its currently prominent Church.

- I do not necessarily view all religions as equal. Older traditions have a way of radiating out and diversifying that can mitigate distasteful attitudes among their founders, and complicate attempts to assail the tradition as a whole. The closer a tradition or ideology is to our time, though, the better its chance of being entirely the province of positive or negative influences. Thus, for example, I regard Scientology as a largely fraudulent and amoral (or outright immoral) movement whose institutions are diseased and whose attempts to hide under the skirts of "tolerance" are contemptible. (I feel the same way about certain supposedly "secular" ideologies like Objectivism, or movement conservatism in the current North American sense.) But this is absolutely not an attitude to be held lightly; I am realistic about holding it in some cases but would overall prefer to think the best of people, and I try to presuppose toward goodwill wherever it's practicable.

2 - what is your Ethics?
The cornerstones of my ethics could fairly be described as:

- Liberal. Both in the strictly philosophical sense of "whatever does not harm another person should not be proscribed," and in the related sense that lack of charity, pridefulness and "what's mine is mine and what's thine is mine" paradigms of belief -- like those that currently predominate in the financial and business sectors -- ought rightly to be condemned. These ideas have a strong roots in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic heritage of modern Western culture, and there is no sense pretending that these are not themselves background influences. There are many currently popular liberal ideas that I support enthusiastically and find to be well-founded from every possible perspective, including religious ones: homophobia is repellent (the mythic sins of Sodom were pride and lack of empathy, not buttsecks); racism is loathsome (crypto-racism the moreso for the added layers of lying and cowardice that come with it); misogyny is inexcusable (let any person who wants to espouse hateful and dismissive opinions of women apply those same sentiments to his own mother, sister, or daughter: if he will, he has serious issues that need work; if he won't, he's a liar).

- Taoist. Not in the religious sense, but philosophically, I think there's a lot to be commended for the modern world in Taoist ideals of harmony-with-nature and concepts like wuwei.

- Utilitarian. Being largely a materialist, I find a lot to recommend in the belief that ethics ought to maximize human happiness (where definitions of "happiness" are not vapid, short-sighted or purely hedonistic).

3 - what do you think of Life?
The dead know only one thing: it is better to be alive. Best deal we got going.

4 - what do you want to do with life?
Enjoy it as much as I can: to feel good about what I've done for my friends, family and fellow-beings (first priority), and to feel good about fulfilling my own potential and forming connections with other people and fellow-beings (close second). Feeling good about sensual matters is the distant third that brings me to Elliquiy.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2013, 11:46:35 PM by Cyrano Johnson »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 01:47:06 AM »

1 - what you think about religion?

Its an inferior practice, though for some it may be enjoyable and thus have value to them. A religion that is honest about being fictional and which does not manipulate its members may be of some use - perhaps as an outlet for psychodrama or as some means of expressing one's self.  Personally, I prefer straight truth over fiction. I keep my reality and fiction separated.

2 - what is your Ethics?

I have'th one commandment: "Don't be a dick."

3 - what do you think of Life?

Our life is the most precious asset we have and once we are dead, we are dead. There is no afterlife, no regrets, no awareness of being dead. For this reason, life should be cherished and lived well. Misery is optional.

4 - what do you want to do with life?

 * I want to enjoy it while it lasts.

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 08:45:38 AM »
I believe all religions are complete human fabrications.  There is no one, ultimate, unquestionable authority.  Just as with philosophy, every part of every religion should be judged on its own merit.  I am not convinced that religions have been beneficial.  Religions individuals have advanced progress, but not necessarily because they were religious.

My ethics are to treat others as I would wish to be treated.  Others includes all life forms and, since I am not a vegitarian, I fail miserably at my own standards.  I am not convinced my life is of any more value than an ant simply because I am larger/smarter/whatever.

What do I think of Life?  It is beautiful and terrible at the same time.  There have been times I wanted to end my own.  And times I am greatful for whatever small amount of time I have been given.

What do I want to do with life?  Enjoy as much of it as I can for as long as I can without infringing upon anyone else's enjoyment of their own.

Offline Caela

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 08:59:06 AM »
1: What do you think about religion?

I think organized religion has been the cause of a lot of the worlds woes over the centuries. A belief that MY was is the one true, right, and ONLY way has been the cause of more suffering and death than most of us would really care to admit. That being said I don't think any one person's specific religious beliefs are necessarily bad in and of themselves...it's the "group-think" that starts to pop up in large religions that seem to be the problem.

I have my own beliefs, but they are an eclectic collection of ideas gleaned and formed over time. I don't personally think that any religion has gotten "God" right because I don't think that the human mind is truly capable of encompassing all that Diety is.

2: What are your ethics?

My general rules for life are 1: Do those things that make you happy.
                                            2: Don't hurt others.
Everything else is just variations on those two themes. This is such a broad/wide-ranging question though that for a more specific answer you'd have to ask me about my ethics regarding specific subjects.

3: What do you think of Life?

I think we should enjoy it. I personally believe in reincarnation (though fully admit that I could be wrong) but since we only have the memories of the life we're currently living, we should live it as if it is our only ride on this rock we call home and should do our best to live it for our fullest happiness.

4: What do you want to do with life?

I want to savor it, to enjoy it, to fill it with people that make me happy.

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 01:07:39 PM »
"I'll post my answers to the questions here, but wow, tackling a lot of ground with one thread, aren't you?"  

Yes yes i am :)



"Hello there; welcome, and best of luck with your approval process."

Hello and thank you :)




I thank you all for your responces. :)
I enjoyed reading all of your responces.
I'll look forward to reading more responces.

Thank you again :)

Offline Sabby

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2013, 06:09:38 PM »
Religion

I see it as a societal cancer that's only redeeming factor is it can sometimes be benign rather then malignant. Ritualistic stifling of knowledge and progress at it's worst, baffling but harmless at it's best, and almost always taking up an undeserved place of privilege and respect in it's respective society. It will wither and fade as society advances, or it will spread and mutate as we devolve.

Ethics

My ethics are that suffering and purposeful harm are quantifiable, and it is the duty of every intelligent being to learn, discuss, and understand the dynamics of helping and harming, so that each new generation can be better then the last, happier then the last, more equipped then the last. I dream of a world where the average child has the mental faculties to evaluate complex social phenomena, no matter the extreme it swings to, instead of relying solely on gut feelings and emotional reactions.

I personally consider impairing your childrens critical thinking skills to be both abusive in the short term and destructive in the long term.

Life

Many life forms have it, but as far as we know, we are the only creatures who have it in this capacity, and so it is our responsibility to properly use the time we've dubbed 'life' for future 'lives', and if we can do it while also persuing personal comfort and gratification, then all the better.

My Life

Much the same as above, though I admit the 'self gratification' part takes up a lot more time then anything else xD

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2013, 06:33:04 PM »
Religion

I see it as a societal cancer that's only redeeming factor is it can sometimes be benign rather then malignant. Ritualistic stifling of knowledge and progress at it's worst, baffling but harmless at it's best, and almost always taking up an undeserved place of privilege and respect in it's respective society. It will wither and fade as society advances, or it will spread and mutate as we devolve.

Ethics

My ethics are that suffering and purposeful harm are quantifiable, and it is the duty of every intelligent being to learn, discuss, and understand the dynamics of helping and harming, so that each new generation can be better then the last, happier then the last, more equipped then the last. I dream of a world where the average child has the mental faculties to evaluate complex social phenomena, no matter the extreme it swings to, instead of relying solely on gut feelings and emotional reactions.

I personally consider impairing your childrens critical thinking skills to be both abusive in the short term and destructive in the long term.

Life

Many life forms have it, but as far as we know, we are the only creatures who have it in this capacity, and so it is our responsibility to properly use the time we've dubbed 'life' for future 'lives', and if we can do it while also persuing personal comfort and gratification, then all the better.

My Life

Much the same as above, though I admit the 'self gratification' part takes up a lot more time then anything else xD


wow that was really good to read.
So intresting.

i now feel like i'm begining to know a lot of very good and nice people :)
we have to have some "US time" my friend and even if that is most of life its better than being down on yourself :)

thank you all again :)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2013, 06:42:16 PM »
1: What do you think about religion?

Religion is a societal institution that I view as useful and largely beneficial to the world.  There is obviously dispute over this, but by and large I do believe that religious pursuits and thought are honorable and possess great merit.  I am not a religious person though and do not view religion as a true intermediary between myself and God.  While I do believe in God, my belief is that through science and an understanding of God’s creations can we know God.  I also believe that our actions are worth more than our prayers and intentions.  At my core I am a Deist, believing more or less that God’s participation in this world is one of a distant observer rather than a direct force.

2: What are your ethics?

I am more than likely a martyr at my core.  My belief has always been along the lines of “do no harm” and “speak for those without a voice.”  To me every person had value and every life has a purpose in some scheme or another.  People are generally good and well intentioned even if their actions are monstrous.  So I am a large proponent of equality.  I do my best not to judge the actions of others quickly or harshly, trying to draw back and understand the larger picture.  I do believe there is an objective morale code with which humans should behave and adhere to though we obviously don’t always.  I am not someone who would be considered a subjectivist or an anarchist.

3: What do you think of Life?

Life is there to enjoy and to help others enjoy.  I do believe in an After Life and in some ways do believe that we visit this world again.  I would like to think that we are put here for a purpose, with some goal to accomplish or some growth to experience.

4: What do you want to do with life?

Be the best at what I can be while helping others.  Also would like to dance and laugh more, my own selfish caveat.

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 07:00:31 PM »
1: What do you think about religion?

Religion is a societal institution that I view as useful and largely beneficial to the world.  There is obviously dispute over this, but by and large I do believe that religious pursuits and thought are honorable and possess great merit.  I am not a religious person though and do not view religion as a true intermediary between myself and God.  While I do believe in God, my belief is that through science and an understanding of God’s creations can we know God.  I also believe that our actions are worth more than our prayers and intentions.  At my core I am a Deist, believing more or less that God’s participation in this world is one of a distant observer rather than a direct force.

2: What are your ethics?

I am more than likely a martyr at my core.  My belief has always been along the lines of “do no harm” and “speak for those without a voice.”  To me every person had value and every life has a purpose in some scheme or another.  People are generally good and well intentioned even if their actions are monstrous.  So I am a large proponent of equality.  I do my best not to judge the actions of others quickly or harshly, trying to draw back and understand the larger picture.  I do believe there is an objective morale code with which humans should behave and adhere to though we obviously don’t always.  I am not someone who would be considered a subjectivist or an anarchist.

3: What do you think of Life?

Life is there to enjoy and to help others enjoy.  I do believe in an After Life and in some ways do believe that we visit this world again.  I would like to think that we are put here for a purpose, with some goal to accomplish or some growth to experience.

4: What do you want to do with life?

Be the best at what I can be while helping others.  Also would like to dance and laugh more, my own selfish caveat.


I agree with the ethics "every person had value and every life has a purpose in some scheme or another." this is what i always say and yet when the question of abortion comes up its always from me "abortion is wrong and i wouldn't alow it, though as i am not female and will never be i can not stop a female from doing so but i would try as it is still a life and there's always a reason for it to happen".

I remember a adult on TV going into a abortion clinic (dunno what country it is) she and her husband we're both wanting an abortion.
Though when they walked in a women and a man were argueing about the abortion they were going to have.
Women - "NO ITS LIFE"
Man - "ITS NOT MINE!"
Women - "AND?!"
Man - "WE'RE OVER IF YOU DON'T GET RID OF THIS THING!"
Women - "FINE GET YOUR STUFF OUT MY HOUSE!" *women leaves crying*
Man - *follows after unhappy and upset*

The two looked at each other and both at the same time said "lets go home and raise the baby together, whatever it takes".
They left and it shows you them a year from when they went in and they have 3 children and a massive house and the sign above their door reads
"God made us one now We are one with God"

That made me happy to see what it was like for some people and made me think.
Before i was much like the male who was not alowing the women to keep it but slowly as i watched i grew more accepable its the womens choice but i'll still help to try and persade people to keep the child/children.


I also agree with " I do believe in an After Life and in some ways do believe that we visit this world again.  I would like to think that we are put here for a purpose, with some goal to accomplish or some growth to experience."
I recently have adapted the egyptian beliefs of the after life and being re-born again on earth.
After all why do we remember a time before when we lived long ago but do not accept it. If we did not live before then why do we life now?
They are the questions i always ask people.

Thank you all for your posts. :)

Offline Missy

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 12:31:33 AM »
Religion

A Fantasy. I'm an Atheist so I'm pretty convinced there is no god. Most of my experience with religion is of the "Accept, Believe, Obey" variety as well so I don't really take too seriously  concepts presented by religious folk who can't show me they've thought about it rationally.

I do believe in freedom of religion however and really I don't think it's anyone else's business what anyone else believes so I don't really like to go out of my way to correct people. The way I see there's been enough conflict throughout history over religion so I'm not going to perpetuate that further. The one problem I have with modern religion is, well probably the problem which has been the cause of all the aforementioned religious conflict throughout history, the fact that religious folk seem to embrace religious freedom for everyone who agrees with their religion. It's one thing to perform missionary work and try to share your religion with people who are interested and receptive, another to try to press your religious views onto other people by trying to codify it into law or some other sort of cultural practice.

Honestly I don't care what other people believe, if you don't want to gay marry or get genital operations then don't, but keep it in the chapel and out of congress. Separation of Church and State.


Ethics

I try my best to be a good person. A long time ago I was a fairly religious and conservative person, I've since rejected a good deal of those moral codes and adopted a more objective and ethical approach instead. I probably believe most strongly in unconditional love, I try my best to be a selfless considerate loving person, while also balancing that with appropriating for my own needs.

I believe in right and wrong, but certainly not in the god and the devil sense, that just leads to problems. It's my ideal to be constructive to society, still it's not wrong to do things which are good only for yourself, so long as those things do not serve also as a detriment to the whole.

I'm an egalitarian, which means I'm also a feminist, but I believe not in exclusively "promoting women's rights", but in "promoting equal rights" which in turn promotes women's rights. In fact I also promote ethnic minority rights, gay rights, trans rights and pretty much do my best to be as indiscriminate as possible, or at least to improve myself to that goal. I understand how some people might criticize and say "you can't do everything at once" which is why I'm comfortable with people taking specific focus so long as that focus is based in egalitarianism. I don't approve of an exclusive approach to human rights, nor do I believe that concept improves the overall quality of life of the average person.

I'm fine with alcohol and honestly I would love to have a romantic candlelit dinner with a bit of wine, but I don't like beer. The primary issue I have with beer is more the attitude people have in consuming it than the stuff itself, if people went out and had one beer, or two beers, I might not be so worried. The problem is that people go out and get so wasted they have no inhibitions about their behaviors, worse still some are so far gone they must rely on the sincerity of sometimes insincere friends or the kindness of strangers to ensure their safety, which is why when the subject arises I am without reservations in saying the cultural attitude towards beer in America is foolish. I've heard stories where bad things happened and it was hard to really decide who to blame because well everyone involved was drunk. Still I once saw a girl who was clearly intoxicated far being able to reason on her own power and can I guess at the purity or corruption of the intentions of the guy taking her home? Moreso I've heard stories of women who were insincere with their girl-friends during activities which involved the consumption of beer.

I believe in being an advocate to the LGBT cause because, well it's a matter of human rights and dignity. I hope I can be seen and accepted as an ally. I don't really belong to the community, being a one on the kinsey scale and not really sure if I could have sex with a man. I don't also understand gender and transgenderism, even in the form of simple explanation I feel I'm left with more questions than answers. In any case whether the earth revolves around the sun or the sun around the earth it's clear that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east so something doesn't need to be understood to be real. While I'm not trans I'm definitely not perfectly heteronormative either I don't think, so I'll figure out how to make sense of it somewhere along the way. People deserve to be allowed to be true to themselves, whether that means they are ordinary and commonplace or not.

I also think that everyone is beautiful and don't believe in an over-arching standard of beauty. I feel that everyone has different qualities of beauty and that everyone is also configured to appreciate beauty differently. Everyone, even the oddest and most unusual of people, is special. Everyone deserves to be appreciated and to have the confidence only they can find from being true to themselves.


Life

Life is valuable and ought to be respected. A person ought to be allowed to live his or her life to the fullest happiness available to him or her or hir.


What do I want to do with my life.

I want to find happiness and companionship with someone I find beautiful. I know I'm pretty far from that, for not really being ready myself (though I'm working on it) and for not knowing anyone well enough to be able to form the mutual attachment which will last through the hard times to be able to enjoy the good times.

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2013, 11:08:43 PM »
Religion

I'm a Christian within the Anglican tradition - High Anglican, really.  As with any member of any organisation there are specific points of doctrine I disagree with or feel are under/over stressed but overall my disagreements are certainly not major enough to leave me feeling out of place within the church.

I have no major disagreement with atheism qua atheism, however I feel vast swathes of atheists are functionally indistinguishable from the fundamentalist Christians (particularly) they claim to despise.  This annoys me greatly as fundamentalist Christianity never claims to be based on logical arguments but atheism does; in essence I feel that a lot of atheistic debate fails to hold itself to its own standards while Christian debate holds itself to its own.  Obviously that's an incredibly broad sweep of the brush and numerous counter examples abound.  While its perhaps wrong to criticise individual atheists for being stupid and ignorant, if they chose to loudly espouse a movement that has tried to have its members call themselves "smarts" and routinely categorises the "opposition" as lacking intelligence then I feel they deserve every ounce of derision they receive.

Whilst I can certainly recognise the effects that other - non Christian - religions have had on the world (both as individual members of that faith and as the faith as whole) it is, obviously, a baseline position of mine that their religious views are wrong.  I'm interested in those religions academically and have no issue with knowing adherents- the man I call my father is nominally Muslim and some of his family are quite devout, I speak Urdu and basic MS Arabic - there is a fine line between discussing religions in the abstract and in the concrete that I try not to cross as I feel it just provokes avoidable arguments.

I believe that most questions/issues facing humanity are most suitable to a "scientific" approach, but (a) most =/= all and (b) I personally have always felt something of a disconnect to the sciences - though I stress that's a personal opinion and I don't want to draw wider points from that - which combine to mean I focus on the minority of issues that I feel are best resolved by a religious/Christian approach.  I also think there's been some bad leadership/tactics used by prominent Christians that have led those issues to be usually either navel-gazing "angels dancing on the head of a pin" arguments or weak "god of the gaps" style excuses.

As a final point, I'm also very interested in the academic side of Christianity, I have decent ancient Greek and Latin and put a lot of work into personal study of the development of various ideas within the faith.

Ethics
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this point is intrinsically tied to the above.  My core belief is that I should be happy, and I spend a lot of time and energy making sure I am.  Growing from that, though, I believe that the best way to be happy is a "good" lifestyle and that "bad" actions have ramifications on your own happiness - a belief I built over many years of being a fucking bitch because I thought it was funny.  The cornerstone of my personal faith is that God loves me and wants me to be happy, and any guidance from Him, in whatever form that takes, is aimed towards that goal.

As to specifics:
I believe life beings at conception but ensoulment at birth, and as such have no issues with abortion - as its not a human that is being killed.  The logical outgrowth of that, which I accept, is that I agree with 39 week and six day abortions.

I self identify, vocally, as a feminist and do what I can towards that particular struggle.  While its not to say that other ones are less important, that is the one I identify most with and feel my time is best spent there and allowing intersectionality to radiate benefits than in trying to understand the specifics of many different ones and diluting my time towards them all.  Not, of course, that I bear any specific ill will to e.g. the LGBT movement or racial minorities, simply that if we are to define how much you care about an issue by what you do to address it we're forced to the conclusion that I care quite little.  Vaguely unpalatable and makes me feel bad to type it, but there it is.

I don't give a single solitary shit about animals.  I place absolutely no value on the life or wellbeing of an animal.  If testing on them provides benefits to humanity then test away.  If my meat could be made cheaper and/or tastier by torturing them then torture away.  If I had to choose between pandas going extinct and me being sat on an uncomfortable chair for fifteen minutes then the WWF needs a new mascot.  I do think though that wanton cruelty towards them is a sign of deeper underlying problems and should be policed/discouraged for those reasons.

I think marriage is somewhat outdated as a concept and needs replacing wholesale.  With that being out of the question for the foreseeable future though, I support vast expansions to the marriage rules to include not only same sex marriages but also other non-standard relationships such as "bigamy".

What do you think of life
This is the question I've struggled most on.  Quite honestly, even after reading the excellent answers above, I'm unsure what to say here.

What do I want to do with life
As I mention above, I want to be happy.  I personally get a great deal of satisfaction and that glorious serotonin from completing projects and understanding new things, so at any given time I have a number of threads open for things I wish to understand further, achieve, complete, etc.  Any list I give now will be obsolete in a week as old projects are finished or move to the next stage and new ones enter.

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 12:08:13 AM »

Religion

I am currently 33 years old and live in Kentucky, far enough south to be in the Bible Belt full-force.  My home town has a population of 2000, and inside the city limits alone I can think of about two dozen churches of various denominations scattered around the blocks.  So religion has been an ever-present force for me.  These days though I'm an atheist, and have identified myself as such since I was 20.  And I will say at the onset that I am painting a broad brushstroke with what follows.  It is not meant to be a critique of every single believer.

While I believe that all gods are constructs of human imagination and desire for understanding, I tend to focus more on Christianity if for no other reason than that is the faith I am most familiar with and see most often in my daily life.  I consider religion to essentially a net-negative institution.  While it may have served a purpose in the early development of humanity, providing explanations for natural phenomenon beyond early culture's understanding, it quickly became a convenient tool for exploitation, division and tyranny.  One needs only look at the Bible to see the glorification of violence towards those outside the tribes of Israel, the fondness for applying capital punishment for a long host of offenses, and the subjugation of women to see how scripture becomes a tool for a portion of the population to keep control over others. 

Discrimination of blacks and support for slavery historically had a biblical basis.  Likewise, much of the current anti-homosexual sentiment comes from the Old Testament verse that declares it an abomination for a man to lie with a man as with a woman.  Of course, no one mentions that the same god also calls wearing garments of two different materials an abomination as well, nor commands that we should not eat anything from the rivers and seas which do not have scales.  I have yet to see a group of fundamentalists protesting outside of Red Lobster.  Every advancement in society has often been over the objection of organized religion, and we still have to fight with that even today.  The Catholic Church opposes giving out condoms in Africa, despite the HIV/AIDS epidemic raging in that continent.  Not only do they oppose it, but they actively spread false information about condoms to discourage stepping outside their official position.  Behavior like that is also why I lean more towards an anti-theist rather than just an atheist.

As science advanced and we understood what caused thunderstorms, volcanoes, diseases and pregnancies, religion began a steady, inexorable decline.  I personally think that we are witnessing the death throes for organized religion, though I doubt that I will see its end as a political force in my life time within the United States.

That said, I also am a fervent believer in the freedom to worship whatever god(s) you personally desire.  So long as you do not use your faith to try to dictate to me and others that don't believe the same thing what the laws of the land should be, I say "have at it Hoss."

Ethics

The two guiding principles I try to always adhere to is "Cause the least amount of harm through life" and "Try to make the world a better place than it was when I was born".

So long as your actions don't have the potential to affect me, I generally have a very laise-faire approach.  Same-sex marriage? Our Constitution requires that every citizen be treated equally under the law.  Since sexual attraction is a trait we are born with just like skin color, meaning no one wakes up one morning and suddenly decides they want to be gay, discrimination against them is as wrong as discriminating against someone because they're black, or because they are a woman.

Abortion?  While I personally do not like the idea of using the procedure as a means of birth control, I realize that as a man I am never going to be in the position where I have to consider whether to have one or not.  So the only restriction on abortions I favor is banning them once the fetus is viable and could survive outside the womb, and even that is flexible should complications arise and the mother's life is in danger.

So it's pretty safe to say that I am very much in the liberal camp when it comes to political spectrum.

In terms of animal rights, I go back to the original statement of doing the least amount of harm.  I have no problem with knowing animals are being killed in order for me to have my Big Mac or whatever.  But I believe that there is a humane, efficient method that the butchering process can be done and should be done.  The same with animal research. 

What do you think of life?

I believe that this one life is all that we have.  There is no after life waiting on us when we draw our last breath and our hearts stop, much as the idea of such a place is appealing I suspect to most if not all of us.  And so, life is too precious to me to waste it fitting in someone else's boundaries of what you should do.  Live each moment of your life as if it were going to be your last, push yourself further tomorrow than you did today, and though there will be regrets in the twilight years of your life, you will know those regrets are because you made a wrong choice rather than coming from making no choice at all.

What do you want to do with life?

Find someone I can grow old with, raise a family and watch our children grow up.  I want to know that in some small sense, I made the world a little better in my community than it was when I came into the world.  I want to solve riddles of creation and look through the doors those answers produce. I want to have as few regrets as possible when I'm old.

Offline alextaylor

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 12:42:06 PM »
Religion
I'm a rather devout Muslim. It's a big enough religion that you can mix and match whatever ethics you want to believe.

Ethics
People have the right to believe whatever they want. They should have the right to say it, and encouraged to do so, as long as they don't abuse that right to hurt people's feelings.
Nobody should be discriminated based on how they were born.
I'm not a fan of equality on everything, but I believe everyone should be given equal opportunity to reach their potential.

In light of all this, I'm actually an anarchist. I don't quite believe in authority, though I believe in 'strong advice' and enforcement as group consensus. I do believe in taxes/enforced charity, though. Just not all the other things related to government.

Life
Just trying to define life can take entire lifetimes. Few people know the meaning of life, much less the meaning of life (note the two different terms used here). So, not going to bother.

How to live it? You can live a comfortable life, or you can live an exciting life. I don't believe in retirement, I think it's a con. You either pick a safe job, like accounting, and live it comfortably, with a few tense moments. Or you pick a hard job, like entrepreneurship or freelancing, and live a tough yet exciting life.

Offline Neysha

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2013, 05:40:30 PM »
1 - what you think about religion?

Vanilla Christian.

2 - what is your Ethics?

I tend to think of Sympathy as my primary moral motivating source. I loved Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and his attempt to rationalize human behavior. I like that he made a convincing and compelling attempt at stating humans have an innate desire to identify with the emotions of others and it is out of this mirroring logic that morality derives and thus it's very natural and rational to be sympathetic and yet reconciles with ones own pursuit of self interest, as would be necessitated for his theories of a political economy. I'm not sure if I buy his theory, but I found it compelling enough to be something to gauge my own personal ethics by. So I do even if I'm not convinced by it.

If I had to be compelled to a POV on specifics, I support policies that advocate life, liberty and happiness as being serious concerns.

3 - what do you think of Life?

It's fine. Sometimes I feel life is some great comedy though. Other times I'm relieved I live comfortably enough to have that POV.

4 - what do you want to do with life?

Live comfortably and in relative happiness.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 05:46:14 PM by Neysha »

Offline Skynet

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2013, 12:56:04 AM »
1 - what you think about religion?

I think that religion is an attempt to define and answer questions regarding the mysteries of life and our place in the world.  This usually comes in the form of creating meaning through a code of ethics, a set of answers and "grand plan" behind existence, and attempts to emulate the qualities of certain supernatural/important historical figures (deities, prophets, noble families, etc).

It is neither inherently positive or negative, but all too often religions cling to the answers offered hundreds of years ago and claim infallibility on the part of their founders.  This acts as a barrier against social progress.

2 - what is your Ethics?

Ethics, well I tend to think that people function best working together and pooling resources than working on their own.  Personally I try to put my best foot forward: be kind and considerate in interactions with others, don't take what is not yours, help out your friends and family and those closest to you.  Additionally, be considerate of the feelings of others, even if you might never meet them or interact with them later.  Just because you had a bad day doesn't mean you should take it out on the person ahead of you in line, or someone on the Internet.  Don't direct your anger on people who don't deserve it.

3 - what do you think of Life?

Life itself?  Well, it's truly wondrous.  There's so much empty space uninhabited in the universe, and on this tiny planet of Earth, here we are!

4 - what do you want to do with life?

I want to write great stories and share them with others.  I want to enjoy life and learn about the world.  I want to be a good person and make those who interact with me better off than before they met me.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2013, 12:23:38 AM by Skynet »

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2013, 07:01:18 PM »
Thank you all for your answers.

I enjoyed reading your replys to the questions asked.

Thank you and it was very intresting to read all of your answers.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2013, 11:57:37 PM »
Happy to see you got approved! Thanks for posting this interesting thread!

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2013, 06:58:17 PM »
Happy to see you got approved! Thanks for posting this interesting thread!

Thanks :)

it was a pleasure :)

Offline Tairis

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2013, 07:47:27 PM »

1 - Religion

Something that has absorbed far too much of human attention, resources, and drive. While I believe people have the right to believe whatever they want, in all honesty the moment I hear someone is devoutly religious my general opinion of them automatically starts in the negative. While I envy the ability to have faith in something I cannot ignore the blind ignorance required to follow the teachings of the vast majority of organized religions or support the staggering amounts of people's lives wasted in the pursuit of the goals of those religions. In the name of those religions we as a species have slaughtered thousands, destroyed cultures, and restricted knowledge.

2 - Ethics

I generally fall under the libertarian camp. I believe that all people have the simple right to live their lives as they see fit and the rights of an individual to do that end where the next individuals begin. In the grand scheme of things I also feel the needs of ones immediate family and confidants are always more important than the 'greater good' short of the survival of the species as a whole.

3 - Life?

We only get one and we never know exactly how long it will be. Take every experience from it you can. Anything less is a waste.

4 - What do you want to do with life?

To live it. To experience it. I want to see as much of this world as I can, to visit people and places I've never seen. To learn what I can and leave behind the best legacy I can be that in the form of writings, family, or something else.

Offline Florence

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2013, 11:43:48 PM »
1) I am an atheist/buddhist myself. I don't believe the evidence for a god has ever been sufficiently presented, though I would find it fascinating if I were proven wrong. I also believe in many of the teachings of Buddhism, which don't inherently require a belief in the supernatural. I do think its possible we may yet discover evidence of, if not a god, some guiding force to the universe. However, I also think its entirely possible that we won't. As such, I feel it would be premature to commit my life to either extreme.

I respect anyone's choice to believe anything they want, whether its nothing at all, something mainstream like Christianity, or something... not so mainstream, like Wiccan. Yes, even Scientology.

I am not so respectful towards religious beliefs that harm or endanger others, whether physically, mentally or emotionally; or those who chose to force their religious beliefs down the throats of others.

2) I think animal testing is a necessary evil, at least until we manage to find a viable alternative, such as perfecting, or at least improving computer simulation technology.

Human testing, if unsafe, sort of defeats the purpose to a degree. Granted killing a few to save the many, if there is absolutely no alternative is a moral grey area.

I support gay rights rather militantly if I do say so myself :U I'm pansexual, so.... yeah. If I want to be with a guy, I don't think anyone has the right to tell me otherwise.

I have a sort of Native American view on hunting. So long as you only kill what you need, and are respectful to the animals you kill, it's fine by me. With the advent of synthetic materials for clothing, I believe hunting for fur is wrong, and whaling is wrong as it threatens to drive them into extinction.

Drinking is only wrong, in my opinion, if it makes you a bad person. I drink regularly, but I know my limits, and I don't get 'drunk' except for rare occasions.

I agree that racism is wrong, as well as any other type of hate based on surface elements of a person, rather than on the quality of their character.

I think a cluster of cells isn't a person, and while I don't think abortions should be done lightly, I believe they should always be an option.

3) Basically, I view life in a fairly Buddhist manner. At its core, life is suffering, and that suffering comes from our attachment to fleeting things and our expectations of what life SHOULD be, as opposed to realistically accepting what it is. We attempt to impose our own views of how life should be on the reality around us, and they inevitably come crashing down and lead to suffering.

I'm also a Nihilist in many ways, and I believe there are very few intrinsic values in life. Morality and the purpose of life are what we make them.

On a related note, I'm also a consequentialist and a utilitarian. I believe what's important is what happens as a result of our actions, and that the ideal course of action is the one that minimizes suffering while maximizing happiness. I believe that its frankly quite foolish to assert that anything is immoral without showing evidence of the harm it causes.

I realize I probably blurred the three topics a bit, but... well, Religion, Ethics and Life are pretty inter-related topics

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2013, 10:00:29 PM »
1 - Religion

Something that has absorbed far too much of human attention, resources, and drive. While I believe people have the right to believe whatever they want, in all honesty the moment I hear someone is devoutly religious my general opinion of them automatically starts in the negative. While I envy the ability to have faith in something I cannot ignore the blind ignorance required to follow the teachings of the vast majority of organized religions or support the staggering amounts of people's lives wasted in the pursuit of the goals of those religions. In the name of those religions we as a species have slaughtered thousands, destroyed cultures, and restricted knowledge.

2 - Ethics

I generally fall under the libertarian camp. I believe that all people have the simple right to live their lives as they see fit and the rights of an individual to do that end where the next individuals begin. In the grand scheme of things I also feel the needs of ones immediate family and confidants are always more important than the 'greater good' short of the survival of the species as a whole.

3 - Life?

We only get one and we never know exactly how long it will be. Take every experience from it you can. Anything less is a waste.

4 - What do you want to do with life?

To live it. To experience it. I want to see as much of this world as I can, to visit people and places I've never seen. To learn what I can and leave behind the best legacy I can be that in the form of writings, family, or something else.

1) I am an atheist/buddhist myself. I don't believe the evidence for a god has ever been sufficiently presented, though I would find it fascinating if I were proven wrong. I also believe in many of the teachings of Buddhism, which don't inherently require a belief in the supernatural. I do think its possible we may yet discover evidence of, if not a god, some guiding force to the universe. However, I also think its entirely possible that we won't. As such, I feel it would be premature to commit my life to either extreme.

I respect anyone's choice to believe anything they want, whether its nothing at all, something mainstream like Christianity, or something... not so mainstream, like Wiccan. Yes, even Scientology.

I am not so respectful towards religious beliefs that harm or endanger others, whether physically, mentally or emotionally; or those who chose to force their religious beliefs down the throats of others.

2) I think animal testing is a necessary evil, at least until we manage to find a viable alternative, such as perfecting, or at least improving computer simulation technology.

Human testing, if unsafe, sort of defeats the purpose to a degree. Granted killing a few to save the many, if there is absolutely no alternative is a moral grey area.

I support gay rights rather militantly if I do say so myself :U I'm pansexual, so.... yeah. If I want to be with a guy, I don't think anyone has the right to tell me otherwise.

I have a sort of Native American view on hunting. So long as you only kill what you need, and are respectful to the animals you kill, it's fine by me. With the advent of synthetic materials for clothing, I believe hunting for fur is wrong, and whaling is wrong as it threatens to drive them into extinction.

Drinking is only wrong, in my opinion, if it makes you a bad person. I drink regularly, but I know my limits, and I don't get 'drunk' except for rare occasions.

I agree that racism is wrong, as well as any other type of hate based on surface elements of a person, rather than on the quality of their character.

I think a cluster of cells isn't a person, and while I don't think abortions should be done lightly, I believe they should always be an option.

3) Basically, I view life in a fairly Buddhist manner. At its core, life is suffering, and that suffering comes from our attachment to fleeting things and our expectations of what life SHOULD be, as opposed to realistically accepting what it is. We attempt to impose our own views of how life should be on the reality around us, and they inevitably come crashing down and lead to suffering.

I'm also a Nihilist in many ways, and I believe there are very few intrinsic values in life. Morality and the purpose of life are what we make them.

On a related note, I'm also a consequentialist and a utilitarian. I believe what's important is what happens as a result of our actions, and that the ideal course of action is the one that minimizes suffering while maximizing happiness. I believe that its frankly quite foolish to assert that anything is immoral without showing evidence of the harm it causes.

I realize I probably blurred the three topics a bit, but... well, Religion, Ethics and Life are pretty inter-related topics

Thnaks for answering it was intresting to read it.
And i agree life is too short to waste, might as well live it while we can.

Offline Chrysippus

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 12:40:45 AM »
1. Religion

I was raised Episcopal in Virginia and that plays an important part in my thinking, but I do not feel comfortable identifying myself as such despite the fact that most Episcopal churches are quite open to disagreement in general. As for what I do identify with, the first thing I should say is that I do not believe that faith and religion are the same thing at all. In my opinion, faith is a feeling of certainty absent of analytical content, which is to say it's the impression of knowledge without any appreciable facts attached to it. So the ideal of analytical thought would be the ability to be as sure about some perceivable and communicable facts about the world as you can be about "if p then q, and if q then r, then if p then r." The ideal of aesthetic (emotional) thought is faith. So that being said, I consider organized religion to be the fallacy of attaching analytical content to an aesthetic judgment: "(1) I feel that x is true and (2) I think that y is true so (3) x must be y." Not only can (1) and (2) be true while (3) is false, but (1) and (2) can be mutually contradictory (I believe there is a god, I believe in disinterested materialism). The tension between the two is part of what makes life interesting but equating them or denying one is a cheap and ineffective way out.

My actual religious beliefs verge on the insane. I believe thought itself is the product of a law of nature best understood as self-conscious self-organization and that we as thinking beings are expressions of that law, which is as real as the law of gravity or weak force. The impression of god, which is to say the aesthetic apprehension of an organizing power, is our perception as thinking beings of the law itself, ingrained as it is universally. The ideal of my faith in terms of practice is attention and awareness.

2. Ethics

In terms of personal morality I'm somewhere between Plato and Kant. Moral quality extends from within, essentially, and has primarily to do with internal organization, which is to say a system of dealing with the world that does not conflict with itself, basically. As much as I wrote about religion I could write a book about this, but I won't.

In terms of politics I'm an anarcho-syndicalist. I do not believe in the necessity of government and I especially do not believe in a government which enforces itself through violence or the threat of violence. That's the anarchist bit. Syndicalism is a theory of organic social organization which is heavily labor-centric.

In terms of decision making, I fully believe that emotions sometimes get the better of you and you end up doing things you never consciously decided to do. This makes a lot of philosophers swear off emotions and claim that you should repress them. The problem is, if emotions sometimes take a hold of you and beat out your conscious thought process or logic or whatever, it's pretty pointless to say you should ignore them; the problem is that they refuse to be ignored sometimes. So I try to train myself in terms of character based on the mantra "When I look back and realize I lost myself, I still won't regret it."

3. Life

I believe that life is self-organization that is aware both of itself and its limitations and that's basically it. Death is either when an organism is no longer aware of its limitations (enlightenment) or when the chemicals that support its expression can no longer maintain cohesion (physical expiration). The question of what happens to a conscious being after physical expiration is an interesting one that I won't attempt to answer here.

4. What do you want to do with your life?

Wherever I am, whatever I do, I don't want to be at conflict with myself. If that means living in a cabin alone or starting a war then that's what I'll do. I don't mean doing whatever I want, I mean wanting whatever I do, as cliche as that may be.

« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 12:45:50 AM by Chrysippus »

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2013, 12:38:28 AM »
Hallo all, new member, still awaiting approval but I figured I've nothing else to do so I might as well put my oar in. Keep in mind, these are opinions and not intended to be offensive.

1 - Religion.
I was raised Anglican by two parents who are better people than I will ever be. Even so, I managed to educate myself right out of whatever faith I had left by my early twenties. These days... Religion is an anachronism left over from a time before we had reason and science to answer the deeper questions. To my mind, humanity has outgrown any need for religion, and the monolithic institutions that work so hard to control us.

To be clear, I make a distinction between religion and spirituality. I am an agnostic leaning to atheist and the things I consider sacred are nature, knowledge, reason and freedom. Organized religion is, at best, unnecessary and is all too often no more than a vehicle for oppression, however subtle. Oh, and I do lean towards a belief in reincarnation because Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely moved around.

2 - As far as ethics, I tend towards Utilitarian and Pragmatic views but basically my thoughts boil down to this: all evil actions draw their roots either from selfishness or ignorance or both. So the only two sins are Selfishness and Ignorance. They become mortal sins (in my eyes) when they are Willful. If you won't learn, if you won't think of others... the species doesn't need you and we should put two in your head, dump you in a ditch and get on with making the world back into a paradise.

3 - Life is... the universe trying to solve itself. Every step up the evolutionary ladder, we get better. Every new discovery, every new idea, every step forward we move closer to really understanding EVERYTHING. That's the meaning of life: understanding.
Transcendence through Reason.

4 - Leave the world a little smarter than it was when I was born. Put us one more small step towards getting off this world and out into the galaxy.


Offline vtboy

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2013, 08:18:27 AM »

2 - As far as ethics, I tend towards Utilitarian and Pragmatic views but basically my thoughts boil down to this: all evil actions draw their roots either from selfishness or ignorance or both. So the only two sins are Selfishness and Ignorance. They become mortal sins (in my eyes) when they are Willful. If you won't learn, if you won't think of others... the species doesn't need you and we should put two in your head, dump you in a ditch and get on with making the world back into a paradise.


Okay. Let's say I am a true believer in some religion which rejects all science as the beguiling work of the devil, and refuses to adjust one iota its medieval teachings that the world is the center of all creation, that all heavenly objects revolve around it, and that all species simultaneously emerged on its surface in their present forms. My religion is thus a cult of ignorance to which I happily subscribe.

Let's also assume that I've been instructed by this religion that the doors of heaven are open only to those who do all they can to relieve temporal human suffering. In the expectation of reaping the promised posthumous reward of a joyous life eternal, I spend my earthly existence working tirelessly, and at great sacrifice to my own safety and comfort, to improving the lots of the ill, the hungry and the impoverished. I achieve some significant success in these efforts. Without the promise of divine reward, however, I would have been content to allow the world's unfortunates to go on wallowing in their miseries. My good deeds are thus motivated solely by self-interest. 

Do I get two in the head and dumped in a ditch for being willfully ignorant and selfish? It seems to me this would be counter-productive from the perspective of utilitarian pragmatism.     


3 - Life is... the universe trying to solve itself. Every step up the evolutionary ladder, we get better. Every new discovery, every new idea, every step forward we move closer to really understanding EVERYTHING. That's the meaning of life: understanding.
Transcendence through Reason.


Implicit here is the notion that the development of life capable of abstract reasoning is the "purpose" of evolution and its apparent corollary that human beings, the only organisms known to be capable of this activity, represent the pinnacle of evolution. The engine of biological evolution, however, is the promulgation of capacities which permit organisms to survive in their environments long enough to pass on their genetic material through some form of reproduction. Since cockroaches appear at least as qualified in this respect as theoretical physicists, the underlying premises smack more of quasi-religious faith than of reason. Indeed, they seem to run counter to the last 500 years of scientific thought which has placed our planet and our species further and further from the epicenter of creation.   

Even without considering whether such products of abstract reasoning as excess greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear weapons, and the global spread of pestilence will ultimately eradicate intelligent life from the planet, the jury is still out on how enduring a capacity it will prove to be. Life existed on this planet for something in the neighborhood of 4 billion years before the emergence of human intelligence. It is thus not difficult to conceive of an evolutionary tree in which the capacity for abstract thought never emerges or, having emerged, falls from the tree like a diseased limb. While inquiry into meaning appears to be a concomitant of human intelligence, this does not suggest there is one. 

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2013, 10:59:01 AM »
Quote
Okay. Let's say I am a true believer in some religion which rejects all science as the beguiling work of the devil, and refuses to adjust one iota its medieval teachings that the world is the center of all creation, that all heavenly objects revolve around it, and that all species simultaneously emerged on its surface in their present forms. My religion is thus a cult of ignorance to which I happily subscribe.

Let's also assume that I've been instructed by this religion that the doors of heaven are open only to those who do all they can to relieve temporal human suffering. In the expectation of reaping the promised posthumous reward of a joyous life eternal, I spend my earthly existence working tirelessly, and at great sacrifice to my own safety and comfort, to improving the lots of the ill, the hungry and the impoverished. I achieve some significant success in these efforts. Without the promise of divine reward, however, I would have been content to allow the world's unfortunates to go on wallowing in their miseries. My good deeds are thus motivated solely by self-interest. 

Do I get two in the head and dumped in a ditch for being willfully ignorant and selfish? It seems to me this would be counter-productive from the perspective of utilitarian pragmatism.

I think it would be up to the meritocratic council, but given that a) humans are mortal and b) your actions are in fact self-sacrificing however they are motivated, I think we'd be willing to let you get on with your work. So long, of course, as you were willing to let everyone else do the same. "Do as thou wilt though it harm none."

There is a difference between self-interest and willful selfishness, and the fruits of your work have value. Besides, the wonderful thing about time is that it heals all wounds... bad or foolish people will die off, and their children are likely to be a little less bad/foolish. In the long run, I have confidence that reason will win over faith because all reason and science ask are that you open your eyes and see for yourself.

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Implicit here is the notion that the development of life capable of abstract reasoning is the "purpose" of evolution and its apparent corollary that human beings, the only organisms known to be capable of this activity, represent the pinnacle of evolution. The engine of biological evolution, however, is the promulgation of capacities which permit organisms to survive in their environments long enough to pass on their genetic material through some form of reproduction. Since cockroaches appear at least as qualified in this respect as theoretical physicists, the underlying premises smack more of quasi-religious faith than of reason. Indeed, they seem to run counter to the last 500 years of scientific thought which has placed our planet and our species further and further from the epicenter of creation.   

Even without considering whether such products of abstract reasoning as excess greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear weapons, and the global spread of pestilence will ultimately eradicate intelligent life from the planet, the jury is still out on how enduring a capacity it will prove to be. Life existed on this planet for something in the neighborhood of 4 billion years before the emergence of human intelligence. It is thus not difficult to conceive of an evolutionary tree in which the capacity for abstract thought never emerges or, having emerged, falls from the tree like a diseased limb. While inquiry into meaning appears to be a concomitant of human intelligence, this does not suggest there is one. 

We don't actually know that human beings are the only organisms known to be capable of abstract reasoning. For one thing, it's a really big universe and if this is the only planet with life on it then SOMETHING has its fingers on the scales somewhere. Vanishingly unlikely, to my mind.

Second, we're learning more and more that lots of different creatures on our planet are quite capable of tool use and problem solving. So what if we got there first, they're still on that same path. I've seen squirrels do some pretty impressive problem solving, I've seen blue jays and crows figure out just how to get at the new birdfeeder designed to keep them away and I've seen dogs work out that going away from what they want will get them closer to it once they untangle themselves from their leash.

I will admit that my hope that evolution and reason have a purpose is close to faith. It's a weakness of mine, this hope for a greater purpose to creation. But the search for knowledge and the drive to understand the universe is pretty damn near hard-wired into humanity, that's the root from which religion grows. Still, even if there is no purpose to existence, life is purely accidental and on death our consciousness scatters out across the universe as waste heat there is still value in searching for knowledge and wisdom.

Consider the sheer amount of energy required to put a satellite in orbit, to put a man on the moon or to hit Mars with a remote controlled car. Curiosity landed within 2.4 km of its planned target after a journey of 563 million some miles... Unless we go and get it, it will be there forever. None of that was necessary from a purely survival point of view, but we have done all these things and more. Because we want to know, because we want to go and see. Why?

I have hope that humanity will survive and take the great step up and away from our planet. Granted I'm also a cynic and I have no faith that we'll manage the supreme acts of will that it will take to keep ourselves alive long enough to get our base urges under control, but still I hope that we will. Intelligence isn't necessary to survival (may, as you suggest, be counter-survival in the long run) but it's what we've got and look how far it has taken us. We use our intelligence to create wonders and they are OUR wonders. If we can just get a lock on our selfish, ignorant, small-minded urges we could do so much more.

If humanity survives the next century (I don't have much faith in that, we really are a stupid species in some ways) then who knows what we can accomplish. We can build matchbox cars small enough to roll around on a human hair, and we can build sky-scraping buildings. We create wonders simply because we can, almost instinctively, and every time our tools improve the wonders grow more wondrous.

If intelligence, if UNDERSTANDING is not the cause for existence, then we can damned well MAKE it the reason for existence. Because there is an entire universe of mysteries to solve and wonders to imagine and then make real.

-Barenmarder

~Contemplating the Art and Craft of Bonsai Solforming~

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2013, 11:19:37 AM »
I think it would be up to the meritocratic council, but given that a) humans are mortal and b) your actions are in fact self-sacrificing however they are motivated, I think we'd be willing to let you get on with your work. So long, of course, as you were willing to let everyone else do the same. "Do as thou wilt though it harm none."
I'm not sure what this is, but... it ain't utilitarianism. You may wish to revisit your definitions.

We don't actually know that human beings are the only organisms known to be capable of abstract reasoning. For one thing, it's a really big universe and if this is the only planet with life on it then SOMETHING has its fingers on the scales somewhere. Vanishingly unlikely, to my mind.
Yes, yes we do. Because that's what "known to" means.

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2013, 11:54:36 AM »
Ephiral,

On a strict and traditional definition of utilitarianism (maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering) letting one person sacrifice for the greater good of the rest isn't contraindicated. You'll note however I said 'tend towards utilitarian and pragmatic views'. I'm not a hedonist in the sense of Mill, for instance. I don't hew perfectly to any model, but my general ideal is the greatest good for the greatest number. Anything working against that is 'bad' pretty much by definition.


And regarding "known to be capable of abstract reasoning", my second paragraph addresses that. We know for a fact that numerous species utilize tools and in many cases rather complex ones. They've also recently observed causal reasoning in at least two varieties of corvids. So I still maintain that we're not the only species on the planet capable of reason.

I hope that clarifies my points somewhat.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2013, 12:24:19 PM »
Ephiral,

On a strict and traditional definition of utilitarianism (maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering) letting one person sacrifice for the greater good of the rest isn't contraindicated. You'll note however I said 'tend towards utilitarian and pragmatic views'. I'm not a hedonist in the sense of Mill, for instance. I don't hew perfectly to any model, but my general ideal is the greatest good for the greatest number. Anything working against that is 'bad' pretty much by definition.
But... when faced with an example of someone who devotes their life to minimizing suffering and asked if this is worthy of not being executed, your response was "Hmm... maybe." Your claimed general ideal does not reconcile well wnith this response, hence my objection.

And regarding "known to be capable of abstract reasoning", my second paragraph addresses that. We know for a fact that numerous species utilize tools and in many cases rather complex ones. They've also recently observed causal reasoning in at least two varieties of corvids. So I still maintain that we're not the only species on the planet capable of reason.
We're likely not. But as far as I'm aware, research has not yet confirmed this to a reasonable degree. So we're the only species known to be capable of it - and thus, if we generalize your asserted values, there's a large natural trap of "Humans are the bestest ever." (And as a consequence of this, we're less likely to go seeking out abstract reasoning in other species, leading to a vicious spiral of bad reasoning.)

EDIT: I'm getting more than a little critical and debatey in what's meant to be a "share your thing" thread. I've said my piece; I'll shut up now. If you want, this can be continued elsewhere.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 12:39:57 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2013, 01:01:33 PM »
Quote
But... when faced with an example of someone who devotes their life to minimizing suffering and asked if this is worthy of not being executed, your response was "Hmm... maybe." Your claimed general ideal does not reconcile well wnith this response, hence my objection.

My reason for uncertainty was insufficient data to decide one way or the other. If the example is doing good works and also proselytizing his beliefs... that's something that needs to be considered - is the good being done outweighed by the ignorance being spread? Where is the greater benefit to the greatest number? Work it out as dispassionately and logically as possible and then decide.

Quote
We're likely not. But as far as I'm aware, research has not yet confirmed this to a reasonable degree. So we're the only species known to be capable of it - and thus, if we generalize your asserted values, there's a large natural trap of "Humans are the bestest ever." (And as a consequence of this, we're less likely to go seeking out abstract reasoning in other species, leading to a vicious spiral of bad reasoning.)

Research has in fact shown a very high likelihood of abstract reasoning in chimpanzees. Surprising amounts of tool using and causal reasoning (and play) in Caledonian Crows (and one other species of crow or raven that eludes me at the moment) and some evidence in a number of other species that we're still investigating.

One of the joys of research, I've found (and one of the joys of philosophy and theology) is that there are no conclusions you can come to that someone won't disagree with and try to disprove. We're a terribly fractious species that way. TESTING assertions and then reevaluating the results is how we get better. That's the beauty of science - it will change its views based on what's observed. Nothing need be set in stone because we can prove ourselves wrong and still keep right on going to look for the right answer.

And the fact that we ARE investigating just how smart other species are tends to suggest that at least some of us haven't fallen into the trap of humanocentrism. Though it is a danger. Then again, I've met HUMANS who show fairly low levels of abstract reasoning, so if something came along that could outwit us I'd be both frightened and delighted.

Frightened, because any intelligent species is pretty likely to be high on its food chain and they're likely to value their own survival more highly than ours.
Delighted, because there is at least the possibility of communication with something on or above our level. How fantastic would that be? To share what we've learned and learn what they will share? How beautiful would that be?

Riiiight up until they launched the missiles. :P

Offline Oniya

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2013, 01:08:23 PM »
Riiiight up until they launched the missiles. :P

Assuming, of course, that they didn't see us a a species worthy of little more consideration than as an amusement at xenological parks, slapstick holographic acting, or possible medical experimentation.  In short, 'mostly harmless.'

Keep your towels ready.

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Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2013, 01:29:25 PM »
All right, Barenmarder, I see your point. You were starting from different priors than I, and I'd forgotten the research you mention; I consider the disagreement satisfactorily resolved.

Given that I've posted in this thread now, I should probably put in my own two cents on the questions it asks:

Religion: As far as I can tell, I am not capable of faith per se. This means religion is effectively impossible for me. As to what I think of it in general... well, that's the reason I've avoided this until now. I am... not a fan, to put it as diplomatically as I can. I'll be glad to elaborate on my reasoning elsewhere, but that conversation tends to skew in a hostile direction and I'm trying to avoid that. My own approach to the world is a (poor) attempt at Bayesian rationality; I place an extremely high value on believing that which is true and rejecting that which is false, and define 'true' and 'false' by Tarski's standards.

Ethics: I am an act utilitarian; actions should be judged by the joy and harm they will bring to all people. Those which will bring more harm than good are some degree of bad; those which bring more joy than harm are some degree of good. (This is, of course, simplified.) As a general policy, one of the most useful guidelines I've found actually comes from fiction: Sin is treating people (including yourself) as objects.

What do I think of life? Um... I'm a fan? This question feels vague enough that I have difficulty answering it. I'm rather fond of existing, of course, but... beyond that, I'd need some sort of definition of 'life' to go on.

What do I want to do with life? Explore. Discover. I'm very fond of learning, both for its own sake and for practical value.

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2013, 01:48:39 PM »
Thank you for posting.

Hallo all, new member, still awaiting approval but I figured I've nothing else to do so I might as well put my oar in. Keep in mind, these are opinions and not intended to be offensive.

1 - Religion.
I was raised Anglican by two parents who are better people than I will ever be. Even so, I managed to educate myself right out of whatever faith I had left by my early twenties. These days... Religion is an anachronism left over from a time before we had reason and science to answer the deeper questions. To my mind, humanity has outgrown any need for religion, and the monolithic institutions that work so hard to control us.

To be clear, I make a distinction between religion and spirituality. I am an agnostic leaning to atheist and the things I consider sacred are nature, knowledge, reason and freedom. Organized religion is, at best, unnecessary and is all too often no more than a vehicle for oppression, however subtle. Oh, and I do lean towards a belief in reincarnation because Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely moved around.

2 - As far as ethics, I tend towards Utilitarian and Pragmatic views but basically my thoughts boil down to this: all evil actions draw their roots either from selfishness or ignorance or both. So the only two sins are Selfishness and Ignorance. They become mortal sins (in my eyes) when they are Willful. If you won't learn, if you won't think of others... the species doesn't need you and we should put two in your head, dump you in a ditch and get on with making the world back into a paradise.

3 - Life is... the universe trying to solve itself. Every step up the evolutionary ladder, we get better. Every new discovery, every new idea, every step forward we move closer to really understanding EVERYTHING. That's the meaning of life: understanding.
Transcendence through Reason.

4 - Leave the world a little smarter than it was when I was born. Put us one more small step towards getting off this world and out into the galaxy.





1. Religion

I was raised Episcopal in Virginia and that plays an important part in my thinking, but I do not feel comfortable identifying myself as such despite the fact that most Episcopal churches are quite open to disagreement in general. As for what I do identify with, the first thing I should say is that I do not believe that faith and religion are the same thing at all. In my opinion, faith is a feeling of certainty absent of analytical content, which is to say it's the impression of knowledge without any appreciable facts attached to it. So the ideal of analytical thought would be the ability to be as sure about some perceivable and communicable facts about the world as you can be about "if p then q, and if q then r, then if p then r." The ideal of aesthetic (emotional) thought is faith. So that being said, I consider organized religion to be the fallacy of attaching analytical content to an aesthetic judgment: "(1) I feel that x is true and (2) I think that y is true so (3) x must be y." Not only can (1) and (2) be true while (3) is false, but (1) and (2) can be mutually contradictory (I believe there is a god, I believe in disinterested materialism). The tension between the two is part of what makes life interesting but equating them or denying one is a cheap and ineffective way out.

My actual religious beliefs verge on the insane. I believe thought itself is the product of a law of nature best understood as self-conscious self-organization and that we as thinking beings are expressions of that law, which is as real as the law of gravity or weak force. The impression of god, which is to say the aesthetic apprehension of an organizing power, is our perception as thinking beings of the law itself, ingrained as it is universally. The ideal of my faith in terms of practice is attention and awareness.

2. Ethics

In terms of personal morality I'm somewhere between Plato and Kant. Moral quality extends from within, essentially, and has primarily to do with internal organization, which is to say a system of dealing with the world that does not conflict with itself, basically. As much as I wrote about religion I could write a book about this, but I won't.

In terms of politics I'm an anarcho-syndicalist. I do not believe in the necessity of government and I especially do not believe in a government which enforces itself through violence or the threat of violence. That's the anarchist bit. Syndicalism is a theory of organic social organization which is heavily labor-centric.

In terms of decision making, I fully believe that emotions sometimes get the better of you and you end up doing things you never consciously decided to do. This makes a lot of philosophers swear off emotions and claim that you should repress them. The problem is, if emotions sometimes take a hold of you and beat out your conscious thought process or logic or whatever, it's pretty pointless to say you should ignore them; the problem is that they refuse to be ignored sometimes. So I try to train myself in terms of character based on the mantra "When I look back and realize I lost myself, I still won't regret it."

3. Life

I believe that life is self-organization that is aware both of itself and its limitations and that's basically it. Death is either when an organism is no longer aware of its limitations (enlightenment) or when the chemicals that support its expression can no longer maintain cohesion (physical expiration). The question of what happens to a conscious being after physical expiration is an interesting one that I won't attempt to answer here.

4. What do you want to do with your life?

Wherever I am, whatever I do, I don't want to be at conflict with myself. If that means living in a cabin alone or starting a war then that's what I'll do. I don't mean doing whatever I want, I mean wanting whatever I do, as cliche as that may be.



Thank you for posting as always it is a pleasure and good for me to read others opinions and their beliefs.



Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2013, 01:50:55 PM »
Well that was certianlly intresting to read, good points from all sides.
Thank you for posting.
Maybe next i should make a thread just for disagreements.

May life serve you well. In life and death.


All right, Barenmarder, I see your point. You were starting from different priors than I, and I'd forgotten the research you mention; I consider the disagreement satisfactorily resolved.

Given that I've posted in this thread now, I should probably put in my own two cents on the questions it asks:

Religion: As far as I can tell, I am not capable of faith per se. This means religion is effectively impossible for me. As to what I think of it in general... well, that's the reason I've avoided this until now. I am... not a fan, to put it as diplomatically as I can. I'll be glad to elaborate on my reasoning elsewhere, but that conversation tends to skew in a hostile direction and I'm trying to avoid that. My own approach to the world is a (poor) attempt at Bayesian rationality; I place an extremely high value on believing that which is true and rejecting that which is false, and define 'true' and 'false' by Tarski's standards.

Ethics: I am an act utilitarian; actions should be judged by the joy and harm they will bring to all people. Those which will bring more harm than good are some degree of bad; those which bring more joy than harm are some degree of good. (This is, of course, simplified.) As a general policy, one of the most useful guidelines I've found actually comes from fiction: Sin is treating people (including yourself) as objects.

What do I think of life? Um... I'm a fan? This question feels vague enough that I have difficulty answering it. I'm rather fond of existing, of course, but... beyond that, I'd need some sort of definition of 'life' to go on.

What do I want to do with life? Explore. Discover. I'm very fond of learning, both for its own sake and for practical value.
Assuming, of course, that they didn't see us a a species worthy of little more consideration than as an amusement at xenological parks, slapstick holographic acting, or possible medical experimentation.  In short, 'mostly harmless.'

Keep your towels ready.
My reason for uncertainty was insufficient data to decide one way or the other. If the example is doing good works and also proselytizing his beliefs... that's something that needs to be considered - is the good being done outweighed by the ignorance being spread? Where is the greater benefit to the greatest number? Work it out as dispassionately and logically as possible and then decide.

Research has in fact shown a very high likelihood of abstract reasoning in chimpanzees. Surprising amounts of tool using and causal reasoning (and play) in Caledonian Crows (and one other species of crow or raven that eludes me at the moment) and some evidence in a number of other species that we're still investigating.

One of the joys of research, I've found (and one of the joys of philosophy and theology) is that there are no conclusions you can come to that someone won't disagree with and try to disprove. We're a terribly fractious species that way. TESTING assertions and then reevaluating the results is how we get better. That's the beauty of science - it will change its views based on what's observed. Nothing need be set in stone because we can prove ourselves wrong and still keep right on going to look for the right answer.

And the fact that we ARE investigating just how smart other species are tends to suggest that at least some of us haven't fallen into the trap of humanocentrism. Though it is a danger. Then again, I've met HUMANS who show fairly low levels of abstract reasoning, so if something came along that could outwit us I'd be both frightened and delighted.

Frightened, because any intelligent species is pretty likely to be high on its food chain and they're likely to value their own survival more highly than ours.
Delighted, because there is at least the possibility of communication with something on or above our level. How fantastic would that be? To share what we've learned and learn what they will share? How beautiful would that be?

Riiiight up until they launched the missiles. :P
But... when faced with an example of someone who devotes their life to minimizing suffering and asked if this is worthy of not being executed, your response was "Hmm... maybe." Your claimed general ideal does not reconcile well wnith this response, hence my objection.
We're likely not. But as far as I'm aware, research has not yet confirmed this to a reasonable degree. So we're the only species known to be capable of it - and thus, if we generalize your asserted values, there's a large natural trap of "Humans are the bestest ever." (And as a consequence of this, we're less likely to go seeking out abstract reasoning in other species, leading to a vicious spiral of bad reasoning.)

EDIT: I'm getting more than a little critical and debatey in what's meant to be a "share your thing" thread. I've said my piece; I'll shut up now. If you want, this can be continued elsewhere.
Ephiral,

On a strict and traditional definition of utilitarianism (maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering) letting one person sacrifice for the greater good of the rest isn't contraindicated. You'll note however I said 'tend towards utilitarian and pragmatic views'. I'm not a hedonist in the sense of Mill, for instance. I don't hew perfectly to any model, but my general ideal is the greatest good for the greatest number. Anything working against that is 'bad' pretty much by definition.


And regarding "known to be capable of abstract reasoning", my second paragraph addresses that. We know for a fact that numerous species utilize tools and in many cases rather complex ones. They've also recently observed causal reasoning in at least two varieties of corvids. So I still maintain that we're not the only species on the planet capable of reason.

I hope that clarifies my points somewhat.
I'm not sure what this is, but... it ain't utilitarianism. You may wish to revisit your definitions.
Yes, yes we do. Because that's what "known to" means.
I think it would be up to the meritocratic council, but given that a) humans are mortal and b) your actions are in fact self-sacrificing however they are motivated, I think we'd be willing to let you get on with your work. So long, of course, as you were willing to let everyone else do the same. "Do as thou wilt though it harm none."

There is a difference between self-interest and willful selfishness, and the fruits of your work have value. Besides, the wonderful thing about time is that it heals all wounds... bad or foolish people will die off, and their children are likely to be a little less bad/foolish. In the long run, I have confidence that reason will win over faith because all reason and science ask are that you open your eyes and see for yourself.

We don't actually know that human beings are the only organisms known to be capable of abstract reasoning. For one thing, it's a really big universe and if this is the only planet with life on it then SOMETHING has its fingers on the scales somewhere. Vanishingly unlikely, to my mind.

Second, we're learning more and more that lots of different creatures on our planet are quite capable of tool use and problem solving. So what if we got there first, they're still on that same path. I've seen squirrels do some pretty impressive problem solving, I've seen blue jays and crows figure out just how to get at the new birdfeeder designed to keep them away and I've seen dogs work out that going away from what they want will get them closer to it once they untangle themselves from their leash.

I will admit that my hope that evolution and reason have a purpose is close to faith. It's a weakness of mine, this hope for a greater purpose to creation. But the search for knowledge and the drive to understand the universe is pretty damn near hard-wired into humanity, that's the root from which religion grows. Still, even if there is no purpose to existence, life is purely accidental and on death our consciousness scatters out across the universe as waste heat there is still value in searching for knowledge and wisdom.

Consider the sheer amount of energy required to put a satellite in orbit, to put a man on the moon or to hit Mars with a remote controlled car. Curiosity landed within 2.4 km of its planned target after a journey of 563 million some miles... Unless we go and get it, it will be there forever. None of that was necessary from a purely survival point of view, but we have done all these things and more. Because we want to know, because we want to go and see. Why?

I have hope that humanity will survive and take the great step up and away from our planet. Granted I'm also a cynic and I have no faith that we'll manage the supreme acts of will that it will take to keep ourselves alive long enough to get our base urges under control, but still I hope that we will. Intelligence isn't necessary to survival (may, as you suggest, be counter-survival in the long run) but it's what we've got and look how far it has taken us. We use our intelligence to create wonders and they are OUR wonders. If we can just get a lock on our selfish, ignorant, small-minded urges we could do so much more.

If humanity survives the next century (I don't have much faith in that, we really are a stupid species in some ways) then who knows what we can accomplish. We can build matchbox cars small enough to roll around on a human hair, and we can build sky-scraping buildings. We create wonders simply because we can, almost instinctively, and every time our tools improve the wonders grow more wondrous.

If intelligence, if UNDERSTANDING is not the cause for existence, then we can damned well MAKE it the reason for existence. Because there is an entire universe of mysteries to solve and wonders to imagine and then make real.

-Barenmarder

~Contemplating the Art and Craft of Bonsai Solforming~
Okay. Let's say I am a true believer in some religion which rejects all science as the beguiling work of the devil, and refuses to adjust one iota its medieval teachings that the world is the center of all creation, that all heavenly objects revolve around it, and that all species simultaneously emerged on its surface in their present forms. My religion is thus a cult of ignorance to which I happily subscribe.

Let's also assume that I've been instructed by this religion that the doors of heaven are open only to those who do all they can to relieve temporal human suffering. In the expectation of reaping the promised posthumous reward of a joyous life eternal, I spend my earthly existence working tirelessly, and at great sacrifice to my own safety and comfort, to improving the lots of the ill, the hungry and the impoverished. I achieve some significant success in these efforts. Without the promise of divine reward, however, I would have been content to allow the world's unfortunates to go on wallowing in their miseries. My good deeds are thus motivated solely by self-interest. 

Do I get two in the head and dumped in a ditch for being willfully ignorant and selfish? It seems to me this would be counter-productive from the perspective of utilitarian pragmatism.     

Implicit here is the notion that the development of life capable of abstract reasoning is the "purpose" of evolution and its apparent corollary that human beings, the only organisms known to be capable of this activity, represent the pinnacle of evolution. The engine of biological evolution, however, is the promulgation of capacities which permit organisms to survive in their environments long enough to pass on their genetic material through some form of reproduction. Since cockroaches appear at least as qualified in this respect as theoretical physicists, the underlying premises smack more of quasi-religious faith than of reason. Indeed, they seem to run counter to the last 500 years of scientific thought which has placed our planet and our species further and further from the epicenter of creation.   

Even without considering whether such products of abstract reasoning as excess greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear weapons, and the global spread of pestilence will ultimately eradicate intelligent life from the planet, the jury is still out on how enduring a capacity it will prove to be. Life existed on this planet for something in the neighborhood of 4 billion years before the emergence of human intelligence. It is thus not difficult to conceive of an evolutionary tree in which the capacity for abstract thought never emerges or, having emerged, falls from the tree like a diseased limb. While inquiry into meaning appears to be a concomitant of human intelligence, this does not suggest there is one. 


Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2013, 01:54:26 PM »
Well i'm the creator of this thread so i would like to add a few things.

1 - thank you to all those who have posted on here so far.

2 - disagreements are good its an expression of ones Religon.Ethics.Life thats why this thread is here, just remember people have feelings and try not to take it too far.

3 - all life is equal treat each other that way on here thank you.


and lastly, i should update my own post one day, i'm now exploreing the afterlife religion of the eqyptians, i have full faith in that now and when i have more time will edit my own post on page 1.

Also all religons, ethics and turns on life are welcome to speak here, we're only human after all.

Offline Kurzyk

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2013, 01:57:52 PM »
1 - what you think about religion?

A warm and groovy way to bring people together and share in cultural stories.

2 - what is your Ethics?

Guided by the highest understanding of freedom.

3 - what do you think of Life?

Pretty damn spectacular.

4 - what do you want to do with life?

Live it to the fullest.

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2013, 01:59:36 PM »
1 - what you think about religion?

A warm and groovy way to bring people together and share in cultural stories.

2 - what is your Ethics?

Guided by the highest understanding of freedom.

3 - what do you think of Life?

Pretty damn spectacular.

4 - what do you want to do with life?

Live it to the fullest.

Thank you for your view.
Live life always to the fullest, you never know when death will knock on your door.

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2013, 02:02:13 PM »
Ephiral, I find you to be both reasonable and rational. You seem willing to compromise and to accept the views of others without resort to personal attack or shouting.

Are you sure you belong on the internet? *grin*

Seriously though, it has been a PLEASURE. An absolute joy to have a rational discussion without resorting to throwing crockery and vile imprecations. Thank you. You are a prince among men, sir.

And thanks to Vtboy for making me reconsider and defend my views. An unexamined thought is one not worth having, or something. Forcing me to think about my beliefs is something very important even if not always comfortable.

Oh, and as an aside to Oniya... if we meet something that high above us, we're in serious trouble. Though I for one welcome our new Cthulhoid overlords, and would like to remind them that humans are not, in fact, mostly harmless.
But I do keep a towel handy, just in case.

Back to Ephiral... no wonder I like you. I don't believe our viewpoints are really all that far apart in the end, though I'll admit I tend to extremism in all things. It's a failing of mine. I'm a recovering arch-conservative.

And I find our definitions of Sin/Evil to be extremely close. Treating something/someone as valueless is a very selfish act, to my mind. I think perhaps we simply view things from subtly different perspectives.

Regardless, it is a delight to know you. Keep seeking truth.

When you find it, let me know? I have a hell of a time getting back off the little island of "Cogito Ergo Sum."

{while you were writing there were three new replies} Really? *sigh* Back to the millstone. :P

To Lord Harketh - Thank you for creating a fascinating thread. I hope my disagreements haven't offended anyone. Not my intent. Rarely my intent, in spite of the offense I occasionally cause.

On the one hand, I really do try to mean what I say, but on the other I rarely take anything that comes out of my mouth (fingertips? brain?) too seriously because I know deep down that I'm a fool.

I just can't resist a good argument, is all. There's rarely any malice or rancor... just a delight in bickering.

Offline LordHarketh193Topic starter

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2013, 02:27:20 PM »
Ephiral, I find you to be both reasonable and rational. You seem willing to compromise and to accept the views of others without resort to personal attack or shouting.

Are you sure you belong on the internet? *grin*

Seriously though, it has been a PLEASURE. An absolute joy to have a rational discussion without resorting to throwing crockery and vile imprecations. Thank you. You are a prince among men, sir.

And thanks to Vtboy for making me reconsider and defend my views. An unexamined thought is one not worth having, or something. Forcing me to think about my beliefs is something very important even if not always comfortable.

Oh, and as an aside to Oniya... if we meet something that high above us, we're in serious trouble. Though I for one welcome our new Cthulhoid overlords, and would like to remind them that humans are not, in fact, mostly harmless.
But I do keep a towel handy, just in case.

Back to Ephiral... no wonder I like you. I don't believe our viewpoints are really all that far apart in the end, though I'll admit I tend to extremism in all things. It's a failing of mine. I'm a recovering arch-conservative.

And I find our definitions of Sin/Evil to be extremely close. Treating something/someone as valueless is a very selfish act, to my mind. I think perhaps we simply view things from subtly different perspectives.

Regardless, it is a delight to know you. Keep seeking truth.

When you find it, let me know? I have a hell of a time getting back off the little island of "Cogito Ergo Sum."

{while you were writing there were three new replies} Really? *sigh* Back to the millstone. :P

To Lord Harketh - Thank you for creating a fascinating thread. I hope my disagreements haven't offended anyone. Not my intent. Rarely my intent, in spite of the offense I occasionally cause.

On the one hand, I really do try to mean what I say, but on the other I rarely take anything that comes out of my mouth (fingertips? brain?) too seriously because I know deep down that I'm a fool.

I just can't resist a good argument, is all. There's rarely any malice or rancor... just a delight in bickering.


I'm glad you have enjoyed yourself.
Its what i made it for.

I'm not offended. though if anyone is I'm sure they'll tell you after all

"Life without disagreement would be quiet and dull, life without agreements would be chaotic and loud. But life with a perfect balance keeps its serenity and its chaos together well"

Everyone is a clown/fool at some point, though to think it of yourself when talking of your religon,ethics and turn on life is not to be thought, when you talk about these things say it like you would face to face, be brave wit your words and chose it wisely enough to explain later and be ready to stand your ground in an disagreement.

Banter is always good. Never be afraid to throw banter back and two on a thread.

Offline Barenmarder

Re: Religion. Ethics. Life.
« Reply #40 on: August 11, 2013, 07:41:00 PM »
Quote
I'm glad you have enjoyed yourself.
Its what i made it for.

I'm not offended. though if anyone is I'm sure they'll tell you after all

"Life without disagreement would be quiet and dull, life without agreements would be chaotic and loud. But life with a perfect balance keeps its serenity and its chaos together well"

Everyone is a clown/fool at some point, though to think it of yourself when talking of your religon,ethics and turn on life is not to be thought, when you talk about these things say it like you would face to face, be brave wit your words and chose it wisely enough to explain later and be ready to stand your ground in an disagreement.

Banter is always good. Never be afraid to throw banter back and two on a thread.

*chuckling* I normally enjoy myself. Often enough I enjoy other people too. And if I didn't have someone else to debate and rant with/at I'd just have to talk to myself.
That tends to make my dogs antsy, and their criticisms are both piercing and trenchant when they choose to make themselves known. :P

Why would anyone want to surround themselves with people who all agree with them? How would they ever learn anything new? No, I LOVE the cut and thrust and parry and riposte of debate. Argument is one of life's great pleasures, especially with someone who is passionate about something. Disagreement is such a wonderful way to come to understand someone. Such a great way to learn new things.

Assuming it's a real debate and not just an argument with a fanatic. Those can quickly become so very frustrating, can't they?

Oh, and I don't think myself a fool, I know it. But in all, a good natured one I hope.

-Barenmarder

~Trying to breed a Molotov Cockatiel~