Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

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    Musikaman

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    Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Musikaman on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:11 am

    Religion is the primary source of anguish in the world. It is used to justify atrocities, violate human rights, and control the masses. While there have been a number of times different religious sects through the years have helped to improve quality of life, this is nothing which a secular system couldn't have done, and likely more effectively.

    Further, faith is the antithesis of reason and is the greatest single problem with religion. Faith stops people from questioning and using reason to solve problems in life.

    Discuss, my pretties. pirat 
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by rainshadow on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:19 am

    I had some girl with a Jesus sign approach me on my way to a football game yesterday try to hand me a flyer. I pleasantly said "No thank you" and was in turn told "your life is empty".

    As if she really has any idea who I am and what kind of life I lead.

    Apparently being polite is for the devil.

    I don't mind if people want to worship something. They can praise the little droppings left floating at the top of their toilet bowl water, for all I care. I will be perfectly accepting of them so long as they don't try to push their faith on me. But don't tell me MY life is empty. You're wasting your time and embarrassing the human race to do it.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Gregoriouse The Great on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:47 am

    Believe it or not... I happen to the the president of the Secular Student Alliance at my college. I think I've heard it all. I've even heard an argument saying that "logic is the devils work". Thing is if its really not hurting anyone, I really don't care what they believe. But if it is, then I take issue with it. Somethings I think are harmful that others don't think about. I think a persons sense of ego is something to be balance: you need some to take care of yourself, but not so much that you become a destructive force in society. The idea that we are sinners and need to be ashamed of our selves by default I think can be a very harmful way to think. The idea that if you don't have religion you don't have a moral code can be degrading to the point of antisocial thinking. Its also terribly unrealistic and runs on the assumption that there is no such thing as integrity. Its thinking like this that says "Your on one side, I'm on the other, hence we must be opposed". My biggest issue with religion isn't so much the beliefs themselves, as much as it is when religion becomes a vehicle for hate.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by rainshadow on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:53 am

    Couldn't have said it better myself.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:11 am

    I have a real problem with peoples definition of faith. So many who tend towards atheism or agnosticism, then to latch on to faith as being belief without evidence. Of it being the antithisis of reason and if this were the definition that most religious people actually use I would agree. But it isnt
    most religious people's faith is not grounded in nothing, no evidence, it is grounded in the evidence of experience. To qoute scriptural reference "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Atheist often say they don't disagree with trust faith but immediately try and discount a religious persons faith as not being exactly that.  Now I don't want to go into a diatribe trying to defend faith. I only want to state that as a religious person I get somewhat offended when someone tries to lump all religion together as being this or that. I don't lump all secularists into the same categories or even begin to think that they all believe the same. Please don't make such blanket statements about religion if you do not participate in it.

    Evil men will use whatever means they can to do evil. Religion is easy tool not because religion is bad or teaches people not to think. Its a general human condition towards not thinking. Of letting others make the hard choices and just telling you what to do. In general it allows one to shirk responsibility for their own life. Religion gets a bad wrap for most of the ills of the world. When the reality is much easier to define. WFR. People are stupid. In addition most people are cowards. Its the coward that finds it easier to not examine the "lie" to determine the truth because  to do so means he will have to face the consequences.  There is also a small segment of the populace that craves "power" above all else. The above conditions result in a very deadly mix of people who would rather be sheep and wolves that have found that if they dress as sheep they have a near endless supply of food.

    So to make a long story short its not "religion" per'se that is the problem and it isn't the reason for the atrocities. It is an outgrowth of an underlying condition among humans in general. Religion doesnt cause you to not think. What happens is evil men give you an excuse 'couched in religion" to not think which most people are inclined to allow to happen. Secularists are not immune either and have "religions" of their own.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Arcea-Drakkarre on Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:20 am

    As much as I dislike religion, who is to say that without religion existing the tendencies of humanity and the history of bloodshed would be any different? Humans are predisposed to be territorial, whether in a physical or philosophical sense, and therefore will always find a way to justify a mindset of "me against you" combined with the need to be superior. Religion aside, the human race as groups and as individuals seek out any disparities they can identify or create and use those as reasons to salve their fears and build emotional, physical, and social security.

    Furthermore, if religion is not able to be used as a measuring criteria, opposing groups of any kind are formed, just as passionately. Religion just seems to be used as the most common reasoning for extreme violence and control because what greater "power" could be used to prove the point? It is a grander scale of the argumentative fights between children where ones says "My guy has fifty lasers!" The other responds "oh yeah, well my guy has fifty-billion lasers AND a dinosaur!" The first retorts "well... I have... INFINITY lasers AND infinity dinosaurs!" Which he thinks must be an infallible argument, when the other responds with an argument of "infinity and one" my point here being, they created bigger "weapons" against each other in order to win an impossible argument - both want to be the singular "best" and therefore neither can be and no agreements made. By escalating to "infinity" to prove their superior stance they have essentially used the "god" card which religion uses in order to gain control and superiority over the populace.

    This idea of "I'm not good enough unless someone is beneath me" is the main preventative of peace - not the methods, beliefs or philosophies used to defend, justify or define that idea.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Arcea-Drakkarre on Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:22 am

    Fantastically stated, aammondd.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by rainshadow on Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:48 am

    My brain is stuck in the here and now. I wasn't looking to the past, but instead the present and a variety of instances that occur even here in my own backyard. (I'm from Kansas, the stomping grounds of the Phelps family and Westboro Church.)  Obviously our history is dominated by religion. I don't think there's any doubt that they helped shape the world as it has become, but I also think we have evolved beyond the need of religion.

    Frankly in the end it boils down to one thing: religion is an idea and people will use those ideas in a variety of ways.

    (Edited because of a silly comment that made very little sense.)


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Arcea-Drakkarre on Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:02 am

    Clean and simple, rainshadow. Smile
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by _-Scarlett-_ on Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:20 am

    I kinda have to agree with Arcea-Drakkarre, I think even without religion, people will find things to kill others over.

    On one hand, I think religion was a great way for people to build communities on a common belief. When times were tough, it was a (and is) a way for groups of people to come together and help each other (I know this is against Objectivism, but I believe in communities (not communes)).

    On the other hand, religions have a tremendous power to corrupt and blind its followers, just look at Scientology, where a guy said, religion is where the money is, so I'm going to create a religion and make all the money. And he did...

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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Dinwar on Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:35 am

    The idea that humans would be better without religion is always based on the idea that religion causes people to do bad things. However, I do not see any evidence of that.

    Sure, religious people do horrible things. Than again, some of the worst atrocities in history were done by atheists. Yes, some interpretations of religious texts indicate that bat-crap crazy actions are required. Then again, most of those same passages are interpreted in wildly different ways by other equally devout people.

    The real reason that religious people do stupid things is actually the second word in that phrase: PEOPLE. People are often cruel, vindictive, violent, uncaring, irrational brutes seeking nothing more than their own immediate pleasure no matter the cost. You can convince every single person on Earth to become an atheist and the amount of violence, hatred, murder, war, etc. wouldn't change one bit. We'd simply shift our justification.

    Second, you can't get rid of religion. For the atheists in the room: humans are hard-wired to see patterns even if there's none there, and we're hard-wired to presume agency. Together, they mean that even if we were successful in wiping out religion in one generation, it'd crop up again in the next. From a neurobiological standpoint religion is inevitable.

    [quote=_-Scarlett-_](I know this is against Objectivism, but I believe in communities (not communes)).[/quote]Actually, it's not against Objectivism. Galt's Gulch wasn't a society, but it WAS a community. In Anthem, at the end, they were talking about risking their lives to create a community. The concept of division of labor demands a community.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:35 pm

    community is the very soul of objectivism. Community is society by common consent. Communism is society by force. Its so evil they even corrupt the very word community.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Arcea-Drakkarre on Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:13 pm

    aammondd wrote:community is the very soul of objectivism. Community is society by common consent. Communism is society by force. Its so evil they even corrupt the very word community.
    This is my favorite paragraph ever.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by rainshadow on Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:40 pm

    Dinwar wrote:The idea that humans would be better without religion is always based on the idea that religion causes people to do bad things. However, I do not see any evidence of that.
    Yep. For the most part it's the other way around. Religion becomes an excuse so people can take something they want.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Sun Sep 01, 2013 5:25 pm

    Now I know this is Christian centric but to me if those who professed to be religious would stick to the Biblical definition of religion in James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." We would be a lot better off.

    Notice that it doesn't say to keep others "unspotted" but it says "himself". The organization of a religion should be serving that end. People have to choose to worship (follow/emulate) a deity for any transformative change to take place. It cant be done by force, coercion or intimidation. The organization should be there to support the individuals pursuit. Much as Christ said God made the sabbath for man not man for the sabbath.

    I've never really felt that Christianity's message was one of that intended to express God's displeasure at us as "sinners" but more of one of a parent who knows the value and potential of his children trying to teach them that the "sins" prevent them from realizing their full potential.
    I've always understood that the message was one of hope and unimaginable love. But just as objectivists say love is an expression of our highest values so is God's love. The child rarely understands that the rules and punishments are an expression of a parents love.

    I guess to me the only "religious" notion that makes any sense to me at all is the parent child relationship between God and man. Anything else kind of leads me to look at things in a "bug in a jar" relationship and if Im the bug in the jar then God is not a God at all.

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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Dinwar on Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:57 am

    [quote=aammondd]Now I know this is Christian centric but to me if those who professed to be religious would stick to the Biblical definition of religion in James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." We would be a lot better off.[/quote]Well, that's the problem, isn't it? As long as you're learning religion from others you'll be subject to the potential to misinterpretation. There are parts of the Bible that advocate basically being a halfway decent human being--but there are others (much of Leviticus, for example) that are simply insane. And there are parts that are downright vicious. Since you can't know what the authors were thinking (remember, humans are fallible and all scripture is written by humans, even if it was inspired by a deity), you're left guessing at which parts are really God's unaltered word and which are simply stuff that some random guy decided to put there.

    As an aside, if you think that monks copied everything word-for-word, you should really check out the marginalia on some illuminated manuscripts. Let's just say that the more things change, the more they stay the same...


    I guess to me the only "religious" notion that makes any sense to me at all is the parent child relationship between God and man.
    That's always confused me. We're talking gods here. The idea that they want a personal relationship with us is simply baffling to me. At best, I would imagine that an omnipotent deity would find us....cute. Sorta like gold fish. At best, they'd be indifferent. I mean, this thing either created or helped to create a cosmos that's over 15 BILLION LIGHT-YEARS IN SIZE. And that's just the visible portion. The idea that that thing gives a rat's scaly tail about me is absurd. I think that gods are much more like thunderstorms or deserts: if they exist they're not cruel, per say, they're just so different from us that concepts like cruel and kind stop applying. If they exist, our obligation is to understand them. They have none towards us.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:06 am

    Dinwar,

    I know that you and I are never likely to agree but I just find your statement a little dismissive of the parent child relationship. Why would a parent not "move the universe" out of love for their child?

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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Dinwar on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:26 am

    aammondd wrote:Dinwar,

    I know that you and I are never likely to agree but I just find your statement a little dismissive of the parent child relationship. Why would a parent not "move the universe" out of love for their child?
    I don't see that as relevant. I mean, we're talking about a being that's incomprehensibly powerful here. Quite literally: omnipotence (any of the three versions) is literally beyond human comprehension. Even a clockmaker god is so far beyond anything we've ever encountered that we can only wrap our minds around it in a vague way. The difference between us and a grain of sand is far less than the the difference between us and even the most minor of deities.

    I simply don't see any reason to think that this omnipotent thing that created the universe (or even a portion of it) cares about an individual squishy bit of carbon. Someone who doodles with supernovas isn't going to find me all that interesting. I do, but I can't imagine they do.

    The question isn't "What would a parent do?" I come from a line of berzerkers--people who make hardened warriors and soldiers go pale with fear (I've done it, and I've seen many of my family do it). The idea of defying even the laws of physics out of love for someone else is built into me. The issue is, I don't see any reason to assume that the comparison is justifiable. In order to use it you first have to demonstrate that this thing that's beyond human comprehension is comparable to a parent. I'm willing to agree that IF a deity considered itself a parent, your argument is valid. I simply don't see any reason to accept the capitalized premise, is all.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:43 am

    I guess I don't view God as incomprehensible and is it so crazy to think that the essence of who and what I am has the same potential to be like God.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Gregoriouse The Great on Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:54 am

    This is a bit of a generalized version of how I think of religion.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Dinwar on Mon Sep 02, 2013 9:29 am

    aammondd wrote:I guess I don't view God as incomprehensible and is it so crazy to think that the essence of who and what I am has the same potential to be like God.
    It's not crazy. It's simply not supported. All I'm saying is that both options are, given the evidence we have an d the assumption that a deity exists, equally likely.

    Gregoriouse The Great, there's a guy on YouTube called AronRa that has a fantastic talk on the origins of many Biblical beasts. Dragons were, according to him (and his observations on ancient depictions of dragons mirror my own, so I can verify his data), large monitor lizards. Leviathan was a crocodile. Unicorns were rhinos. The images have simply been warped through later storytelling. There's also a mutation that gives deer in China a single horn. I've always wondered what it'd take to breed that in captivity. At any rate, I certainly do believe in unicorns; I can show them to you. Very Happy

    That's not entirely off topic, either. It demonstrates the plasticity of our understanding of religious texts, and even of the texts themselves. We are demonstrably not talking about something written in stone here; we're talking about at best documents that were inspired by a god and filtered through at least one human. Which means before we can accept any religious text as evidence of anything we must demonstrate that the humans got it right. Unicorns and dragons certainly exist, but they were also certainly NOT what you think they'd be.
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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Gregoriouse The Great on Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:26 am

    Wow so much to touch on. One thing I’m not terribly fond of it the circumstances that people stop and say “just look at scientology” or “oh but what those Mormons believe”. I know is isn't what was being addressed here but people saying those belief are weird or silly and yet virgin births and talking snakes are apparently totally normal somehow? Going back into context though with Ron Hubbard  and Joseph Smith it isn't very hard to speculate what their intentions actually were. But… the bible, written in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew which oddly enough were the three primary languages that were taught in Athens colleges  were young roman scholars would be sent off to… not where Jews would be sent to especially given their spite of the Hellenistic culture (Hellas-Greek name for Greek… hell? Coincidence?) which lead to the diaspora in the first place. So a young roman scholar, familiar with these languages, and with Hebrew culture; suppose he wrote the new testament (certainty would explain that language thing huh) to unite the Romans under his law, replacing it with Romans initial religious mythology so he could exploit it for personal gain. “Yeah but that’s not how it worked” right? Say this young scholars name is Constantine. Could this be true? Who knows. It is historically plausible in most elements. My point really though is this: be very wary about pointing fingers, when your own history isn't quite clear. It could very well come back to haunt you.

    You can’t get rid of religion? This is probably true but… hardwired changes over time as well. Were the fate of religion goes we don’t know yet.  
    I also wanted to address “Christianity’s message”. From my time as a Christian I learned that this message very easily seems to change from person to person. My point being what this is we can’t really assume has a clear foundation.

    -scrolling-

    That’s the thing that is troubling, what to pick from the bible to go with and what not too. I recall when I first read through the Bible I thought to myself sarcastically “am I supposed to convert people for not believing or just kill them strait out.” Frankly though, my feeling on is, I don’t care as long as people aren’t choosing the hate and kill stuff. For example, I could use exodus 23 to invoke the notion that any believers who read this have to find me, take me to their congregation, and have their elders stone me at the city gate. This could be invoked to try to justify murder and hate crimes. But as long as it isn’t and as long as we have social norms that hopefully prevent that, I don’t care so much. It’s just not that important. The point is though, religion does have the potential to be the cause of harm. I think though, it takes a certain kind of person to invoke that in the first place; and frankly there is something wrong that persons thinking in the first place if they are pressing a chapter like that in the first place.  

    aammondd wrote:Dinwar, I know that you and I are never likely to agree but I just find your statement a little dismissive of the parent child relationship. Why would a parent not "move the universe" out of love for their child?
    *cough* If I've ever had a beef with the logic of the notion of god it is this. I actually really agree that the deity parent notion makes no sense because frankly bad things happen. I would think a deity parent would probably stop the universe out of love for their child so that they may not be harmed yet, if this was true harm wouldn't happen!. If there is a deity parent their watching a whole lot of cruel stuff happen to their children and they aren't lifting a finger about it. This would be evil coming from anybody not to mention a parent.

    I just don’t approve of the idea of willfully indoctrinating people. Maybe if it was it a wide open kind of thing, like a forum called heated debates lol, it would be appropriate to some degree. I agree with the unicorn analogy because it addresses that. I've heard people say they don’t understand why I have an issue with it. Then I think to myself, “maybe if I told you how to raise your kids because you apparently you are incapable of coming up with an adequate parental philosophy of your own, you’d understand”. To indoctrinate is like saying that you know better about something that no one could actually know better about, and telling someone who knows better that you know better (the topic of course being how the person chooses to believe or not believe in accordance to what works for them). If you don’t know what is wrong with indoctrination, go to the nearest prison and visit a narcissist. Tell them “this is how I live my life and it works for me”. Then just listen to their rant. You’ll get what I mean.

    I've seen some things on dragons existing before. I'll look into that Very Happy


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:56 am

    My use of the biblical scripture was not an appeal to it for authority. It was to point out that like many of you I feel pushing religion on people or condemning others for failure to believe reflects badly upon you.

    As a missionary I did try to "preach" the gospel but the take we always had and all the instruction we were given was to SHARE the message. I've only ever verbally condemned one person and only after looking directly in his eyes and saw that he knew I was speaking the truth to him but he had other designs. It still bothers me to this day that I did that but I will never get the feeling of evil out of my mind nor will I forget the look in those eyes.

    When I use the parent child relationship for God and man I see it as empowering to man not demeaning to God. I have discussed my interpretation of Omnipotent and Omniscient before. I find most of your descriptions of God to be more of the Bug keeper variety and to me if this were the case I would probably feel or believe the same as you. It doesn't make any sense to worship a being who would find me beneath his notice. The reason I use the parent child relationship is to illustrate the why God would care. I do not use it to illustrate or proscribe any other particular behavior. I think I have explained before that the God I believe in is not unbound by rules and many of those rules dictate what is possible to do even in the instruction of the child. One of the most difficult of these to maintain is to ensure that the child is making his own decisions. (Especially when different children learn differently and at different rates)

    I don't know if I could ever make someone understand in a text forum when as you say language is so plastic. I use words that have particular meanings to me but can have equally different connotations to you. I only use my analogy of the parent to explain that if it weren't for what I've found to be true in my own life I would probably believe as you do.


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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by Dinwar on Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:00 pm

    [quote=aammondd]My use of the biblical scripture was not an appeal to it for authority. [/quote]Didn't mean to imply that it was. Smile I was just pointing out that scripture is filtered, is all. I'm actually getting this idea from Thomas Paine and Abelard, with a bit of second-hand Eurasmus tossed in for flavor.

    When I use the parent child relationship for God and man I see it as empowering to man not demeaning to God.
    Actually, I fully understand that view of God. It's the view of God I grew up with (Roman Catholic; the most famous prayer starts out "Our Father"). It's just that I don't see any reason to assume, without substantiating evidence, that it's true. It may very well be--but our desire for it to be, or the comfort we derive from believing it, or any other consideration is irrelevant compared to the question "Is it true?" Whether it's empowering or demeaning is irrelevant. The fact that humans can manipulate electrons is certainly empowering, and the fact that we can't leave our own solar system, which is an infinitesimal speck in the grandeur of the universe is profoundly humbling. The psychological impact is irrelevant, however, as both are true.

    It's not up to us to decide which way we want to feel. It's up to us to determine what's true. How that makes us feel is something to be addressed once that's decided.

    I find most of your descriptions of God to be more of the Bug keeper variety and to me if this were the case I would probably feel or believe the same as you.
    But you don't know what I believe. Wink It would be fairly difficult, considering the fact that even if you could read my mind it wouldn't be stable (I've seen some extremely weird stuff, and had some experiences I'm still processing). I'm merely presenting a possibility that hasn't been discussed in this thread, or even in most of these discussions. My point is merely to illustrate that you are making a few assumptions that need to be analyzed.

    It doesn't make any sense to worship a being who would find me beneath his notice.
    It did to the overwhelming majority of humanity. A god that cares about you one way or another is a relatively recent phenomenon in religion. It was a major issue in Rome around the first century AD, which is what allowed Christianity to gain a foothold (it was one of numerous Mystery Cults [just the anthropological name for them, no offense intended] developed to give a personal aspect to religion, as the official state religion had none). Most of human history has seen gods as truly Other.

    I don't know if I could ever make someone understand in a text forum when as you say language is so plastic.
    Well, I mean over time. I don't mean that words can change meaning with, say, a single discussion; the statement I made to that effect was specifically addressing the fact that the language we speak today is not the language the Biblical authors spoke, and that there are demonstrable differences between our conception of certain ideas in the Bible and the original authors' perceptions of those ideas. We're talking a scale of several millenia here. A conversation between you and me is going to find language fairly rigid. It's like rocks--rocks are extremely hard in the short term, but flow like water in the long term.
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    aammondd

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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

    Post by aammondd on Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:39 pm

    A conversation between you and me is going to find language fairly rigid. It's like rocks--rocks are extremely hard in the short term, but flow like water in the long term.
    Knowing its you I just smiled.


    I was taking your statement a bit further. Language can be more plasitic in its text form because emphasis is so much harder and people have their own connotations around specific uses of words.

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    Re: Mankind Would Be Better Without Religion

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