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Author Topic: In support of religions and spirituality  (Read 1278 times)

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Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2014, 03:05:22 PM »
Excuse me - this is veering in precisely the direction that the OP didn't want it to go. 

If you can't say something positive, please refrain from posting in this particular thread.

Agreed.

Offline Sabby

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2014, 03:31:46 PM »
Excuse me - this is veering in precisely the direction that the OP didn't want it to go. 

If you can't say something positive, please refrain from posting in this particular thread.

What negativity are you referring to?

Offline Oniya

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2014, 03:34:29 PM »
That isn't what I said.  I said 'If you can't say anything positive...'

Have you said anything positive about religion in this thread?

Offline Sabby

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2014, 03:37:15 PM »
That isn't what I said.  I said 'If you can't say anything positive...'

Have you said anything positive about religion in this thread?

No, I've asked a slightly different version of the same question the OP has asked because I'd genuinely like to hear peoples take on it. Is this not allowed?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 03:39:07 PM by Sabby »

Offline Oniya

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2014, 03:40:15 PM »
You're welcome to start your own thread on the matter.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2014, 04:20:30 PM »
Is 'unconditional hope' a good way to describe it?

Faith, for all its lack of ability to be analyzed and measured in a laboratory, is motivation to do good and be good because it says It Gets Better. The lower down on the social/economic food chain you get, the more your life sucks and the fewer opportunities you're given to escape that suck. For people like that, religion can be an amazingly powerful motivator to just keep going in their day-to-day life, because they believe someone out there/up there cares about them, and if they die after being 'good' by the standards of that particular religion, they either go to a perfect paradise or get to try again from a higher starting point. When you have so little tangible wealth, that sort of intangible hope can be the most valuable thing they have.

Offline vtboy

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2014, 04:40:25 PM »
Excuse me - this is veering in precisely the direction that the OP didn't want it to go. 

If you can't say something positive, please refrain from posting in this particular thread.

That isn't what I said.  I said 'If you can't say anything positive...'

Have you said anything positive about religion in this thread?


I think yours is an unjustifiably crabbed reading of the topic framed by the OP.

I wanted to try taking the opposite side of this argument for a change. Rather than arguing against religion and views that a god exists, I wanted to explore a slightly different avenue. The point of this is not to judge whether or not gods are real and whether or not religions are believable, but whether or not religions have a positive effect on us or serve some purpose (emphasis added). This might mean experimenting with how we view religions and looking for reasons for how and why a religion might benefit society.

I can imagine no reading of "whether or not religions have a positive effect on us or serve some purpose" which would proscribe expressions of views that religions do neither or, even, that they are pernicious on balance. Mathim's criticism of religious scripture as defying objectively verifiable interpretation, and thereby providing license for all manner of bad acts, strikes me as having been right on point, and Sabby's attempt to offer a definition of "truth" (in response to a question which directly called for it) also seems relevant to the question of whether value can be claimed for religious scripture as a source of truth.

It has been my understanding that the purpose of the Politics, Religion and Other Controversies board is to allow for debate, rather than cheerleading.

Offline Lux12

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2014, 04:46:34 PM »
Regarding throwing the baby out with the bathwater: My analogy reply is, when cell phones become widely available, we throw out corded home phones.

The placebo effect religion provides is, again, not exclusively available through religion and adds no truth value to the thing whatsoever. If people choose to cherry-pick nice bits out of holy books and live their lives like that, you're inevitably going to have others cherry-picking the bits that say they should torture, enslave and murder unbelievers and whatnot simply because they choose to look at it that way. If all religion was as intrinsically good as we hope, we wouldn't have these contradictory holy books and mythologies (and we wouldn't have any reason not to believe). But you can't make any clear distinction between those who believe in the good bits and those who believe in the bad bits because they're using the same type of irrational non-logic to make the personal decision about how to interpret them.

It is this problem that prevents this wishful thinking from happening, sad but true, no matter how hopeful it may look. That's why I said, it's superficially positive because on the surface, it's a great idea, hooray, up with people, fantastic, world peace and harmony...except that once you get past that and really look at it objectively, it isn't feasible. I can speak until I'm blue in the face to a Muslim looking to be a martyr about there being no need for this hate and violence and that us getting along and making the world a better place for everyone's children, but once I lose my voice, that won't stop them from pulling the cord and taking us both out because what I say means nothing to them because they simply are not going about life, philosophy, or anything in a rational, logical way. Religion is the force keeping the world from looking at things in this way hence no productive solution can be reached, so there just can't be a solution reached with that as the platform, as unhappy as that is. People never like hearing the truth so there's just no way to say that without pissing people off, unfortunately.

Tell that to the number of deeply religious scientists who have lived over the years and Sikhism which if I remember correctly, has one of the earliest endorsements of feminism explicitly linked to a religion in it's holy text. I can also name people who were motivated by religion to promote peace and peaceful protest of injustice. Martin Luther King anyone? I can also think of a number of ways in which occult principles seem oddly similar to mundane scientific ones. If anything, science has reaffirmed what I follow. There are Buddhist monasteries which actively work to preserve endangered species in the east. So my point is, it only blocks productivity if you don't really understand or think deeply upon the philosophy of the path you follow. Also if you want some quick reading, there are a few articles out there on the web that discuss supposed contradictions in various holy scriptures that actually aren't. All religions are true in their own ways. Two games can be played on the same field but have different rules. A stick can be used for kindling, but it can also be used to build a home or make a spear. Also, why would a Deity, a being of immense power and complex nature be restricted to one form or way of worship?  Even humans present themselves in aspects all of which require a different approach from the people around them."Cosmic reality is one, but the wise perceive it in many ways." To strike stone hard enough to fracture it is to destroy the stone, but it can also be part of the creation of a sculpture. The nature of things in this world is surprisingly fluid.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2014, 05:48:23 PM »

I think yours is an unjustifiably crabbed reading of the topic framed by the OP.

I can imagine no reading of "whether or not religions have a positive effect on us or serve some purpose" which would proscribe expressions of views that religions do neither or, even, that they are pernicious on balance. Mathim's criticism of religious scripture as defying objectively verifiable interpretation, and thereby providing license for all manner of bad acts, strikes me as having been right on point, and Sabby's attempt to offer a definition of "truth" (in response to a question which directly called for it) also seems relevant to the question of whether value can be claimed for religious scripture as a source of truth.

It has been my understanding that the purpose of the Politics, Religion and Other Controversies board is to allow for debate, rather than cheerleading.

Nah I just think she doesn't want a re-tred of the whole atheism thread that was recently locked.
For example when I asked "What is Truth?" before that it was going in a very flame war direction.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2014, 05:49:55 PM by Ironwolf85 »

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2014, 06:05:03 PM »
One important facet I just thought of, if anything I'd say spirituality and religion it helps frame a culture if you study it's traditions. I was looking over some old Sci-fi novels and I realized the factions or cultures in books that had no spirituality were far more grey, efficient, and boring to read about.

Let's say compare the famous Halo games. I've played one game, and read the lore.
Even though you are playing as a heroic spartian often the covenant enemies you fight appear much more culturally vibrant than the UNSC you are protecting, sure they are the bad guys. But they are far more interesting than the bland militaristic guys you are fighting alongside. It makes them a much more fun enemy to fight.

Offline Sabby

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2014, 06:10:01 PM »
Yes, but interesting isn't inherently positive. I find many old cultures to be very interesting, yet am glad they no longer exist.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2014, 06:30:22 PM »
Yes, but interesting isn't inherently positive. I find many old cultures to be very interesting, yet am glad they no longer exist.
True, but I'd rather the world be interesting with many varied cultures and beliefs than grey, uniform, and listless.

Offline Shjade

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2014, 06:30:46 PM »
Hmmm, what positive things are there to Religion... well, unity of the people, I guess, but I wouldn't call that a perk only Religion offers.

Is there anything positive that we can only get from Religion and no where else? I've thought on this a while and I'm not really getting anything.

I think you would be hard-pressed to find anything that can only be derived from one specific source. The fact that something can be found from multiple sources does not then mean that any of those sources are for any reason less valid or valuable simply because what they provide can be found elsewhere; they still provide that thing, whatever it is. Suggesting a concept must provide some unique benefit to be considered in a positive light is unhelpful.

I've worked at a church for something around 11 years or so now, during which time I have found that I, personally, have become less convinced of the veracity of the specific religion with which I work over time. However, despite that, the community gathered around that church does some pretty awesome things every year. And I don't mean once a year, I mean year-round. Mission trips that build and support entire schools for disabled children, repair neighborhoods wrecked in natural disasters, construct new houses for the homeless, raise awareness about this catastrophe or that crisis, on and on and on. It's pretty stunning when I step back to think about it on a large scale.

Do other, non-religious organizations do things like this as well? Yes, of course such groups exist. Does that in any way devalue what a religion has managed to bring about in focusing this community's efforts to help the people around them and around the world? No, it does not.

Religions are an excellent means of unifying a community toward similar goals and then acting toward achieving those goals, the latter being an issue in many large group efforts: sure everyone might want to help X with Y, but it takes a push to get them to actually move on it. Religion and religious organizations can provide that push, and that's no small feat. Is this kind of unifying force abused sometimes? Sure, but so is everything else; that's a problem with people, not inherent to religion as a concept.

Offline Sabby

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2014, 10:39:34 PM »
Oh, I don't ask because I need something to provide something unique in order to value it. I value Yoga for it's calming effect even though I can get that from many other things. Why I ask is something is a LOT more valuable if it has a monopoly on something.


Offline ladia2287

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2014, 11:24:23 PM »
Religion and spirituality are very personal matters and everyone who follows them or not has their own motives for doing so, so I think it's hard to say on the whole exactly what benefit spirituality offers, because the benefits for me are going to be different to the benefits to my next door neighbour, and his benefits are going to be different again to someone else. Yes, most of the benefits generally attributed to one's faith or lackthereof can frequently be found from other sources. But if those sources don't suit the person's reason for seeking that benefit, then it's a meaningless point to be making.

Personally, I am someone who spent many years agonising over my faith, including a significant amount of time proclaiming to be atheist, before I settled down into liberal catholicism. It offers me a sense of spiritual comfort as well as moral guidance. I am spiritually content. And that is all I am willing to divulge.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #40 on: August 13, 2014, 01:30:27 AM »
Existential Validity

According to a standard psychology text, the feeling that you have answers to such questions as ‘why am I here?’ and ‘how am I to live’ lowers anxiety and promotes resiliency, hope and peace.

Noncontingency

A Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Pagan believer gains the comfort of an assured place in the scheme of things as a ‘child of God(dess)’, created by God(dess) intentionally for some purpose. The purpose may not be clear, but it can be sought.

As a Hindu, you know that you’re the current embodiment of a spark, an atmari, that has existed for immeasurable time. As a Buddhist you can take comfort in knowing that your nature and your birth situation were determined by kamma accumulated in past lives, and that with effort in this life, you can improve the circumstances of your future lives, eventually escaping the wheel of suffering entirely.

In philosophical terms, a believer is assured that he or she is no contingent; in other words, not an accident. If you aren’t an accident, it follows that your personality, your features, your talents and shortcomings, your birthplace and parents - your whole inheritance - are not accidental either. In other words, your ‘nature is determined’ by a supernatural plan.

Community Building

The act of meeting regularly for worship services holds each congregation together. At the assembly on Friday, Saturday or Sunday the members see each other, become familiar with each other’s faces, and keep up to date on each other’s life passages - new babies, children moved away or came home again, people ill or recovered. And they note each other’s needs.

Every church, mosque and synagogue comes equipped with a full time, trained counselor, arbiter, and personal advisor: it’s pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, roshi, or whoever. Free access to a sympathetic, confidential advisor is a benefit that the congregation gives to itself.

The Latter Day Saints have a particularly strong mutual aid organization. A Mormon in trouble anywhere in the USA can find willing help at any local Stake. But in all churches, membership is a link to a circle of people that can be called upon for help in a time of trouble, for job contacts, or just for sympathy. In many churches on Sunday morning there is a public announcement of communicants in need.

It has been well documented that people who are active church members gain health benefits. For example, active church members have a significantly lower post operative mortality rate than those who are not. The percentage of non members who die in the days following a major operation is nearly double the percentage of church goers who die.

Like Minds

There is comfort in being part of a group of people that you can trust to think the way you do on key issues. It’s relaxing to be with people whom you will not have to defend or justify your opinions. Conversely, it is stressful to be among people who, however nice they might be otherwise, are likely to challenge your convictions if you voice them. This trust is a great stress-reducer for a parent. Believers with children expect, rightly or wrongly, that other children in the church community are better playmates and potential mates for their own kids.  True or false, this expectation itself reduces stress.

Contemplation and Tranquility

Most religions encourage some form of contemplation. This meditation offers physiological benefits and have been well documented. The believer comes to prayer with a list of worries - family problems, financial problems, concerns for the world at large - and, in the quiet of the prayer, organizes these worries, considering each one and putting it into a context of the eternal. The believer who prays properly can’t avoid getting up with a clearer, more settled mind and a more positive attitude.

Rituals and Pageantry

Rituals are immensely comforting. They bring stability to life. They help us process shock, trauma, and uncertainty. We can use rituals to motivate and program our minds in positive or negative ways. A religion provides its followers with a variety of satisfying rites and celebrations for major life transitions. In addition, church rituals provide esthetic experience. From the grandeur of  a Papal mass to the gripping psychodrama of a revival meeting, churches “make show” to the satisfaction of the congregation. Isaiah Berlin has said,

“I am not religious, but I place high value on the religious experience of believers. I am moved by religious services -- those of the synagogue, but also of churches and mosques. I think that those who do not understand what it is to be religious, do not understand what human beings live by. That is why dry atheists seem to me blind and deaf to some forms of profound human experiences, perhaps the inner life: it is like being aesthetically blind.”

Mystical ecstasy

A few people have the fortune to be visited by a mystical experience of life changing force. A central feature of such experiences is a blissful sense of losing the self in a greater All.

Self - Transcendence

Every religion constantly urges its members to be better people - to transcend their mundane lives, to achieve more, give more, challenge themselves to be more. A cynic might snap that most people manage to ignore the challenge, but nevertheless, some do take it up and transcend themselves in the religious context. Whether it’s the young woman later known as Mother Theresa, first seeing Christ in the faces of the poor, or the alcoholic who stays sober through AA’s semi-religious program, or the Buddhist who diligently practices compassion for all sentient beings, some challenges to self-transcendence do work, do inspire people to become heroically better.

Ethical structure

Every religion has an asset that is the labor of many lifetimes: the careful work of its theologians in crafting an ethical system. Not just the Torah, but the labor of uncounted rabbinical scholars; not just the Bible but the work of untold theologians’ not merely the Quran, or Science and Helath, or the Pali canon, or the Bhagavad Gita, but all the countless volumes of interpretation based on them.

These generations of commentators were not stupid. From an unbeliever’s standpoint, some began their work from bizarre basic assumptions, and as a result the ethical systems they derive may seem bizarre. But within the context of each doctrine, these thinkers have created a self-consistent code that is available to every member without further effort.

In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky has Ivan Karamazov say “If God does not exist, everything is permitted”. Ivan expresses an attitude that is still common today. Four percent of believers choose ‘Without God there is no morality; as their top reason for believing. Pop philosopher Dennis Prager has said ‘if there is no God, there is no good and evil -- there are only opinions about good and evil.’

Statements like these are initially gripping because they set up a frightening choice: you either accept a religious moral code or face the awful prospect of having the whole burden of designing and justifying a moral code dumped on you. And how are you going to select between differing ‘opinions about good and evil’?

Comfort facing death and loss

When someone you know dies, it tears a hole in the fabric of your life. There’s a deep need to think that the missing person is somewhere still; the concept of ‘just gone’ is really difficult to form, as well as unpalatable. If it is hard to accept that a loved one is gone, it is just about impossible to imagine that of your own sweet self! Religions offer help to justify death, to integrate it into life. The congregation offers emotional and practical support. There is the promise of an afterlife that may or may  not make death easier to face.


(( Interestingly, studies have shown that religious attendance once or more per week leads to an extra seven years of life expectancy. Other studies have shown other health benefits such as a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure. Further, religious involvement has been linked to less depression and less drug use.))
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 02:42:25 AM by Iniquitous Opheliac »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #41 on: August 13, 2014, 02:19:44 AM »
Is that a prepackaged essay/quote you had on file somewhere, or did you compose it on the spot? Good points to think about, either way - the 'Noncontingency' is a much better worded and explained version of what I brought up earlier.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2014, 02:41:33 AM »
Left over essay from a philosophy paper I wrote for a friend on whether religion helped or harmed.

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2014, 04:45:03 AM »
Regarding throwing the baby out with the bathwater: My analogy reply is, when cell phones become widely available, we throw out corded home phones.

Perhaps, but I don't think ALL of us at there, Mathim. I think for some, there is still some use and benefit to religion and spirituality.  Likewise, I think this analogy misses the creative and artistic value that religion has. Yes, scientific thought is better for discerning facts, but there's more than facts and theories at stake here as Iniquitous Opheliac pointed out.


Quote
The placebo effect religion provides is, again, not exclusively available through religion and adds no truth value to the thing whatsoever. If people choose to cherry-pick nice bits out of holy books and live their lives like that, you're inevitably going to have others cherry-picking the bits that say they should torture, enslave and murder unbelievers and whatnot simply because they choose to look at it that way. If all religion was as intrinsically good as we hope, we wouldn't have these contradictory holy books and mythologies (and we wouldn't have any reason not to believe). But you can't make any clear distinction between those who believe in the good bits and those who believe in the bad bits because they're using the same type of irrational non-logic to make the personal decision about how to interpret them.

As I originally posted, I agree, many religions have had their share of atrocities, and many are still corrupt today. The thing is, such corruption is not unique to religion. We eventually corrupt everything we touch.

The true or actual state of a matter. That which confirms with fact or reality.

Naturally, all this does is open up the question 'how do we determine what is likely true'. That is a whole other discussion and we could probably spend all day talking about things such as rationality, the scientific method, solipsism, standards of information... but as far as what truth is, there's your answer.

Sabby, I'm thinking that maybe there is more to religion than being correct about whether or not god x or demon y exists. Personally, I think religions get this part all wrong. I think this kind of logical thinking is their Achilles tendon.

***

I recently revisited an interesting wikipedia article on cognitive dissonance. The link and the summary from the article are below.

In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.[1][2]

Leon Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

    "The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance"
    "When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance"[1]

I was thinking that perhaps the use of myth or fiction in both religion and in published fictional works might help to reduce such stress or to address our troubles and concerns in a very abstract way. For example, watching scary, suspenseful movies might be a way for me to address some of my fears. Likewise, entertaining the thought of a devil or personal demon might serve a similar purpose. We write fictional erotic material here on E, perhaps for some, this is a convenient way to work out sexual thoughts or troubles in ways that real life count not *easily* afford us.

Perhaps entertaining religious myth can have this affect on us whether we believe it is true or not?

Lastly, a religion does not have to be theistic and does not need to sexually discriminate against people. With this in mind, could it be possible to design a religion that does not claim to know or care whether or not a god exists, that does not confuse fact with fiction, that is rich in artistic myth and ideas, that does not discriminate or shun people,  that unifies and psychologically and emotionally empowers people? Call it religion 2.0.

Offline Sabby

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #44 on: August 13, 2014, 04:55:08 AM »
Ironwolf asked what truth is, I merely answered. *shrugs*

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #45 on: August 13, 2014, 05:06:59 AM »
I looked this up once and found the results very interesting:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/


Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #46 on: August 13, 2014, 05:19:21 AM »
It seems that it's very hard to make a thread that tries to deal with religious or dubious matter without it being twisted into people trying to turn it into their own personal body of proof that there is no god and there is not point to anything. I am an existentialist through and through - I don't personally think it very likely that there is a greater purpose in the world, or that anyone is, was or ever will be meant to truly achieve something. But that doesn't mean the thought isn't appealing, and it definitely doesn't mean that I, and everyone who shares my belief, might be wrong. In fact, saying that we don't believe in anything is wrong by simply looking at the way that we believe the truth lies in there being no truth! Atheism and existentialism are almost religions in and of themselves, even though most people who support these theories might vehemently deny it as such.

It's a shame that we've evolved to the point to the point that we can put people on other planets, but not to the point where it comes natural to us to respectfully disagree with someone without immediately plotting how to convince them that your way is the right way.

I sort of imagine it like the OP is asking for directions from two people at once: One says left and one says right. Rather than trying to help or even include the one who originally asked the question, those two are now going to be at each others throats.

But that doesn't really matter - It's not the point. Now, to try and get back on topic!

I think religion ha sadly left a lot of rather grim marks on the world, but I also think it's improved a lot of things from what they were before it came along. We have to keep in mind that religions brought some of the earliest widely accepted codes of morale and the first ethical guidelines. There was a time when no one was telling you that killing and stealing was wrong - And I think it's a good thing that pretty much all religions set about changing this. Religions helped organize an shape the world, and it led to startling modernization. In the western world in particular we've achieved far more in the last 2000 years than we did in the 2000 years before them - For worse, yes, but certainly also for better. As a matter of fact, was it not for Christianity most of us would have no use of this site at all, as we would likely never have been taught to read or write by ourselves!

A lot of people turn to religion in the hardest times of their life - And some people mock them for it. I think that's rather cruel. Ten months ago I started treatment for severe depression and anxiety disorders following a nervous breakdown. I was frightened and belittled and without anything to hold on to. I didn't turn to religion myself, but I can see why people would!
When you stand on the edge and stare into the cavernous void, wondering if there's anything at the bottom, you start to realize that you have only two options. You either plummet into the dark depths yourself, and find out or you stand on the edge and you hope there's something there. And that's what religion can do for you! That's the medical value of religion: You can at least hope it will work. In a world where everything is cured by swallowing pills and being shot at with beam-cannons that leave the Death-Star blushing - What's wrong with just a nice bit of hope? For all of those who go about calling this all nothing more than a placebo - Well, is there anything wrong with that? The placebo effect has been shown to work, just like faith has. Faith, hope, love, rage - All emotions and spiritual concepts you can think of have proven, scientific values. If you were stripped of them all you'd not even pass for a shadow of what we'd call a human being. All of those people who will happily use science to disprove faith seem to forget that there's science behind faith itself. Faith and science aren't two different ideals - It's not the Reds and the Blues staring each other down. The two are undeniably connected. Most modern science would not exist was it not because people had questioned religious beliefs, so if those religions weren't there to start with.. Why would we ever have bothered putting a man on the moon? Instead of trying to prove something to the world, and to ourselves, we'd have looked up at the moon and gone 'There's the moon..' and the guy next to you would say 'Yeah, I can see it.. What about it?'. Faith and science is required to produce a result, just like a man and a woman is required to produce a child.

So yeah - Religion is possibly the most important thing to ever have happened. If we didn't have religions and laws we'd never have had any reason to question anything.. We'd be sitting in a cave by the beach, eating shrimps, defecating and killing each other with rocks because your hey; Your rock was bigger than my rock, so I wanted yours instead!

And that's exactly what this conversation isn't supposed to devolve into. People, please - Don't be the one sitting with a rock, wanting to hit someone else over the head with it just because they don't agree your rock is the best rock.

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #47 on: August 13, 2014, 05:30:28 AM »
On the topic of hope, I was looking at a rather large bridge today on the way to work and ended up thinking about how before that bride was constructed, it had to have been an idea or abstraction. Someone had to imagine what it would be like to have that thing there, and share that idea with others before it could be constructed.  At such an early state, the idea did not need to be perfect and would be subject to change anyway. Engineers would likely tweak the idea into something more reasonable before the construction of it was attempted.

Maybe religion also servers as some sort of abstract intermediate step? Is what you were saying towards the end of your post, Nachtmahr?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 05:31:29 AM by TaintedAndDelish »

Offline Nachtmahr

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Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #48 on: August 13, 2014, 05:37:20 AM »
I'm not entirely sure what you mean by that to be quite honest. ^^'

Offline TaintedAndDelishTopic starter

Re: In support of religions and spirituality
« Reply #49 on: August 13, 2014, 05:51:47 AM »
I wasn't too sure what you meant either :p

Maybe one of the things religions are good for is providing an "invisible step" for getting from here to there.

If I conceive of the idea of making a bridge so that I can cross a deep river, discuss and enhance the idea, and sell people on it, it may lead to the physical construction of that bridge. Without first entertaining the thought, as crazy as it may have seemed at the time, the bridge would never have come to exist.  The thought or idea was necessary.

Maybe religion is kind of like an idea that precedes something greater.

One thing that seems to be common among religions is that they provide a code by which to live. We all expect certain things out of each other whether we say it or not. I expect that you will not steal from me or attack me. You might expect people to smile out of politeness, or you might expect people not to smile at you without good reason because smiling without reason means you are nuts....  Maybe one of the functions of a religion is to codify these expectations and make them known. This way, when people adhere to the religion, they also respect one another's expectations and as a result, people get along.... for the most part.

I'm not sure that made sense. I'll stop for now.. it's getting late.  >.>