Religion - is one better than another?

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Profile MOMMY: He is MAKING ME Read His Posts Thoughts and Prayers. GOoD Thoughts and GOoD Prayers. HATERWORLD Vs THOUGHTs and PRAYERs World. It Is a BATTLE ROYALE. Nobody LOVEs Me. Everybody HATEs Me. Why Don't I Go Eat Worms. Tasty Treats are Wormy Meat. Yes
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Message 1453611 - Posted: 13 Dec 2013, 20:03:12 UTC

I find this argumentation a little to[o] black and white


Oh My GOD! Black and White. Here! Absolutes. Here! This Group is sO Against Black/White Absolutes 'it' 'is' Comical to see the Above Quote said about V. T.

OMGOD.

Suppose when it Comes To Bashing Religion, these Atheists/Science Types 100% Believe in Da Black/White Absolutes GOD.

' '

May we All have a METAMORPHOSIS. REASON. GOoD JUDGEMENT and LOVE and ORDER!!!!!
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Message 1453682 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 1:36:46 UTC - in response to Message 1453568.  

When I see the word "need" as it relates to living life, I think of air, food, water. The rest are wants. They want to believe there's an afterlife, because nothingness scares them. They want to believe there's a being that looks out after them, because they want to feel loved. They want to believe we were created by a deity, because they want to feel special.

Those things are wants if you take as the standard of life a very biological interpretation. Indeed, you do not need faith or religion in order to keep your body functioning. But if you expand what 'life' as a minimal standard should be to include things like feeling happy and/or free from fear, then faith and religion can become a need. I mean, having a roof over your head is considered in the west also a need and not a want. Having a job, again a need. Getting at least some basic form of education is again a need.


You don't need religion to feel happy and/or free from fear. Religion is the original snake oil that sells hope to the hopeless instead of teaching them to find it within themselves.

Faith and religion are a self-serving belief system. Again, I'm OK with people who have those wants, but I refuse to buy it as a "need" for living life. And there's so many of them that know no other way of life, how would they truly know it as a "need" unless they've put in a full effort to live another way? Because personally, I think if they ever tried living life knowing there's no reason to believe in fairy tales and gods, and start taking more personal responsibility for their own lives instead of thinking someone else has a plan for them, they just might be able to find happiness within themselves instead of drawing it from fiction.

Trust me, I've been there. I've been an atheist. It just didn't do anything for me. I find the answers unsatisfying and the reasoning behind unconvincing. Sure, you are right when you say there is no reason to believe. But so what? I also see no reason in not believing. My fatalism does not stem from any religious upbringing, that is purely the result of science. Humans have no control over their behavior, its all chemicals and electric signals, set in motion by a whole range of factors. So indeed, no human is technically responsible for their behavior and we got the scientific proof to back that up.


Interesting. And I've come from the opposite end. I grew up in a very Roman Catholic upbringing, turned religion-agnostic but still believed in a god (as you currently are at), then finally to Atheism.

So I've been a believer. I've been pissed at the Atheist who took down our Christian Cross on our town's water tower. I swore it was going to be me who climbed up there to put it back. I, too, know what it's like on the other end of the spectrum. If you say you tried Atheism and it didn't work for you, then methinks you didn't do it right and expected science to have all the answers - but you're the first to point out that it doesn't have all the answers, so it sounds like your expectations were setup to fail at being an Atheist. More often than not, people who claim to have tried Atheism, didn't really understand what it is to be Atheist and largely mis-self-identified themselves out of confusion.

Aside from that, I find this argumentation a little to black and white. You are basically saying that people who believe in God or who follow a religion draw all their happiness from that faith. Maybe a few people actually do. But the vast majority are no different than people who don't believe in God. They draw happiness and satisfaction from the same sources as everyone else. At best, religion can just gives them a little extra happiness. You know, its like saying that you shouldn't support a sports team because you don't need to support a sports team to be happy. Is that a good argument to stop supporting a sports team? I doubt you will convince any sports fans to stop supporting their sports team.


You've reduced my argument ad absurdum, and in doing so completely failed to understand my viewpoint simply so you could attempt to point out how wrong you believe me to be. You're quick to argue and slow to come to an understanding or agreement - seemingly and especially toward Atheists, all the while preaching respect for religion and believers. As you say, not a good way to get people from an opposing view on your side.

My argument was that people don't need religion. If they want religion, then that's fine by me, but don't sell it to me as a need. That was the original statement I wanted to shed some light on and point out how incorrect it is. I'm also frequently told that believers are generally happier than non-believers, an attribute directly associated with having belief. If we accept that to be true, then than refutes everything you just said in this paragraph. If you find my position to be too basic, well, that's simply the way I see this issue. You also contradicted yourself by at first saying that it is a need for some people's lives, but then you say that many believers don't draw their happiness simply from belief - so then they really don't need religion; they want it because they believe it enhances their lives. Fine by me, even if I still disagree. But it's still not a need.

And yes, I would tell sports fans that they don't need to support a sports team to be happy because I hate sports. Further, my arguments are not meant to convert people to become anti-sports (or Atheism for that matter), so I'm not proffering my ideas to them to change their minds. I wouldn't care if they stopped supports sports teams because I said they don't need to.

And I think my last paragraph outlines the problem with discussions like this. You seem to think that one person's outspoken views means they think everyone should believe as they do. This couldn't be further from the truth for me. I'm outspoken about my positions and beliefs, but I don't expect anyone to follow my lead.
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Message 1453686 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 1:41:50 UTC - in response to Message 1453611.  

I find this argumentation a little to[o] black and white


Oh My GOD! Black and White. Here! Absolutes. Here! This Group is sO Against Black/White Absolutes 'it' 'is' Comical to see the Above Quote said about V. T.

OMGOD.

Suppose when it Comes To Bashing Religion, these Atheists/Science Types 100% Believe in Da Black/White Absolutes GOD.


Can you please point out to me where I've ever claimed that I don't believe in absolutes?

Suppose when it comes to bashing all the Dem/Libs/Atheists on this forum, your type 100% believes in finding any way to troll them as much as you can.
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Profile MOMMY: He is MAKING ME Read His Posts Thoughts and Prayers. GOoD Thoughts and GOoD Prayers. HATERWORLD Vs THOUGHTs and PRAYERs World. It Is a BATTLE ROYALE. Nobody LOVEs Me. Everybody HATEs Me. Why Don't I Go Eat Worms. Tasty Treats are Wormy Meat. Yes
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Message 1453740 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 4:46:17 UTC

I'm outspoken about my positions and beliefs, but I don't expect anyone to follow my lead.


Why can't you be Quiet Concerning your Positions and Beliefs? Are yOu trying tO cOnvert?

yOu and I can bOth Stand Or Sit facing a Fence pOst and State Our Positions and Beliefs and Have The Same Effect.

Yet, We Are Here. Hmmmm.

I dO nOt Expect anyOne tO fOllOw my lead and yOu dO nOt Expect anyOne tO fOllOw yOurs.

Yet, We Blabber. yOu in Many Many Paragraphs, me in a Few Gibber Jabber Sentences.

As a Certain pOster has asked: Why???

Yes, yOu Enlighten, and I annOy. yOur Posts have Value, mine nOne.

What is The impOrt of either? They learn frOm yOu and twit filter me.

And Millennia Later, The Dust Still Scatters in The Wind.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Hey George, EveryOne has A Different Truth. Some True, others More True, Some Absolutely True. But what is true? I knew as a Machinist, but what is True/Truth to The World Of Distressed Peoples and Richie Richies and All in Between?

' '

May we All have a METAMORPHOSIS. REASON. GOoD JUDGEMENT and LOVE and ORDER!!!!!
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Message 1453745 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 4:59:14 UTC - in response to Message 1453740.  

Why can't you be Quiet Concerning your Positions and Beliefs? Are yOu trying tO cOnvert?


If I were trying to convert, I wouldn't have stated what I did.

As a Certain pOster has asked: Why???


I value the discussion of ideas. Even those I don't agree with. I actively seek out views different than my own so I can better understand why someone thinks the way they do. Including you.

Yes, yOu Enlighten, and I annOy. yOur Posts have Value, mine nOne.


You could choose to enlighten and contribute value, but instead you choose derision of those you disagree with. Instead you would rather discourage open discussion by suggesting it is pointless. You do not see the value in understanding others, even those you disagree with.

And Millennia Later, The Dust Still Scatters in The Wind.


Yes, that's very true. But since we live in the here and now, we may as well try to understand each other. Your position seems rather defeatist and full of existentialist issues.
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Message 1453755 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 5:56:03 UTC

'derision'

'pointless'


Yep. How Most Atheists Here view GOD and Religion.

And A Faux Thread of 'is one better than another?' will not 'Create' 'Understanding' fO any One, nO matta hOw much 'discussion' is given back and fOrth.

GOD and Religion is Coming Back Strong. Science and Technology, nO matta hOw Wonderfully Beneficial and Beautiful, 'is' 'its' own Worst Enemy.

Sort of How Religion is viewed as 'its' own Worst Enemy.

Science needs to Learn from The 'Creators' of 'Intelligent Design' on How To Communicate to The General Poplace of Da World.

Can't do 'it' with Science TV "Shows" and Science "Movies" as Presented Now.

Learn from The I.D. Architects. The World 'is' filled with The 99% Desiring To Believe.

Sweetness

fO shO fO evA

' '



May we All have a METAMORPHOSIS. REASON. GOoD JUDGEMENT and LOVE and ORDER!!!!!
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Message 1453759 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 6:02:25 UTC - in response to Message 1453755.  

'derision'

'pointless'


Yep. How Most Atheists Here view GOD and Religion.

Unnecessary would be a better word.

And A Faux Thread of 'is one better than another?' will not 'Create' 'Understanding' fO any One, nO matta hOw much 'discussion' is given back and fOrth.

Faux Thread? Please explain what you mean by that. I thought my question is pretty clear. Is one religion better than another or will any religion do? Is one religion right and one wrong? and how do you know which one is right?

Surely with all your certainties you can answer these questions.

GOD and Religion is Coming Back Strong. Science and Technology, nO matta hOw Wonderfully Beneficial and Beautiful, 'is' 'its' own Worst Enemy.

Sort of How Religion is viewed as 'its' own Worst Enemy.

Science needs to Learn from The 'Creators' of 'Intelligent Design' on How To Communicate to The General Poplace of Da World.

By selling them snake oil? ID is dishonest. I don't think the general populace needs more dishonesty.

Can't do 'it' with Science TV "Shows" and Science "Movies" as Presented Now.

Learn from The I.D. Architects. The World 'is' filled with The 99% Desiring To Believe.

Sweetness

fO shO fO evA

' '


Anyone can pull numbers out of their backside. 99%? keep making stuff up and trying to make it sound like it means something. That's all you can do.
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Message 1453781 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 7:07:37 UTC - in response to Message 1453755.  
Last modified: 14 Dec 2013, 7:10:52 UTC

'derision'

'pointless'


Yep. How Most Atheists Here view GOD and Religion.


And your Dem/Lib/Atheist trolling/bashing is going to offset that, am I right?

And A Faux Thread of 'is one better than another?' will not 'Create' 'Understanding' fO any One, nO matta hOw much 'discussion' is given back and fOrth.


You can't know that. I've learned many things from people of differing views on this forum and others, and in real life. Every thread like this, no matter how it might to you, gives some the place to speak and others to listen. Understanding does happen. Unfortunately, not enough people take the understanding route.

GOD and Religion is Coming Back Strong.


Another unsubstantiated claim, purposefully meant to discourage the Evil Atheist Conspiracy into giving up. If you say so.

Science needs to Learn from The 'Creators' of 'Intelligent Design' on How To Communicate to The General Poplace of Da World.


That would be a disservice to science. The beautiful thing about science is that it doesn't require belief from the mass populace. So long as there are inquisitive people looking to understand the Universe without the lens of dogmatic religion, there will always be fact-based reasoning.

Learn from The I.D. Architects. The World 'is' filled with The 99% Desiring To Believe.

Sweetness

fO shO fO evA


Oh yeah, and that 99% is leaning more and more toward Atheism with every decade of scientific discovery, even if the US tries to push more religion in schools and keep Americans ignorant and obedient. The facts are undeniable and the truth be damned.

As we continuously discover a Universe without God... definitely sweetness. Fo sho and fo eva. Ramen.
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Message 1453790 - Posted: 14 Dec 2013, 7:31:29 UTC

After all, WE came over on the Mayflower........
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting." Alan Dean Foster

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Message 1454137 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 11:04:45 UTC - in response to Message 1453682.  
Last modified: 15 Dec 2013, 11:06:25 UTC

You don't need religion to feel happy and/or free from fear. Religion is the original snake oil that sells hope to the hopeless instead of teaching them to find it within themselves.¨

That is too easy to say. Sure, I would be happy regardless of the believe in an afterlife. Then again, I'm one of the most privileged people on the face of this earth. I've been born in the right family, in the right country. I'm a white male with an above average intelligence who grew up in a stable loving family environment, and where my parents have enough money to afford me a life of relative luxury. I will finish university and probably get a good job somewhere. Its true, I have to actively start sabotaging myself in order to get to a point where I become unhappy. But what about all the people who didn't win the genetic lottery like me? Who were born in the wrong family? Who aren't white males living in a stable upper middle class family? Its easy to say they should all just teach themselves to be happy. That's like telling poor people that they should just get a job and work hard or telling depressed people to just shrug it off. I can imagine that for quite a lot of people, faith or religion are providing them with the hope they need to get through the day.

And it provides me with the hope that while I may have been born lucky, there is some justice for the other 7 billion people who aren't me. That life doesn't boil down to 'tough luck' to all the people born poor and miserable. Honestly, I can't stand the thought of that.


Interesting. And I've come from the opposite end. I grew up in a very Roman Catholic upbringing, turned religion-agnostic but still believed in a god (as you currently are at), then finally to Atheism.

So I've been a believer. I've been pissed at the Atheist who took down our Christian Cross on our town's water tower. I swore it was going to be me who climbed up there to put it back. I, too, know what it's like on the other end of the spectrum. If you say you tried Atheism and it didn't work for you, then methinks you didn't do it right and expected science to have all the answers - but you're the first to point out that it doesn't have all the answers, so it sounds like your expectations were setup to fail at being an Atheist. More often than not, people who claim to have tried Atheism, didn't really understand what it is to be Atheist and largely mis-self-identified themselves out of confusion.

Oh no, I was born as a Catholic. Moderate Catholic to be precise, so I never experienced any of the negative aspects that come with extremism. To me the church was always a benign but boring place to be. But you know, there are parts of the bible that irked me, things I felt that weren't right, and so I drifted from Catholicism to not believing in God. Then I read Dawkins book, and it appealed to me, so by that point I started to identify as an Atheist, though by my non belief I already was one before. However, after a few years I grew more dissatisfied with Atheism. I reread Dawkins book and found that it too had started to irk me. The arguments he presented were not satisfying. I started seeing flaws in the books logic, and that turned into seeing flaws into logic employed by Atheist in general. Discussions about God where I used to be arguing against God started to irk me, annoy me. They were to easy, it felt almost childish. So, I started to move away from Atheism. I tried arguing for a God, and found that it suited me more. I found the logic I used to be more convincing then anything I've ever tried before. So, now I've come back to believing.

But mind you, I do not follow a particular religion. I make a sharp distinction between religion and faith. I have faith that there is a God, but what that God is like, I have no idea. I still do not believe that any religion here has it right, so to call me a Christian or something would be incorrect (I like the new pope though :P )

And no, it was not that my expectations of Atheism weren't met. Not at all. Like I said, the logic of it no longer convinced me, while at first that wasn't the case.

You've reduced my argument ad absurdum, and in doing so completely failed to understand my viewpoint simply so you could attempt to point out how wrong you believe me to be. You're quick to argue and slow to come to an understanding or agreement - seemingly and especially toward Atheists, all the while preaching respect for religion and believers. As you say, not a good way to get people from an opposing view on your side.

Two things here. First, agreement for the sake of agreement is not a good thing. No one should just agree with the other side because they are afraid that otherwise the other side gets angry. You will need to convince me before I agree with you. Me arguing against your point of view is just me engaging your viewpoint in a critical manner. You as someone who believes in the usefulness of science and the scientific method should be able to appreciate it if people engage with your ideas in a critical manner, rather than just roll over and mindlessly accept whatever you say.

But, just because I argue against your point of view does not mean I do not respect you or your point of view. Far from it in fact. If I didn't think you had anything worth saying, I would have ignored you. The fact that I try to respond to you means that I'm thinking about what you said. To me, considering other peoples ideas is the ultimate form of respect I can have for them.

And I think my last paragraph outlines the problem with discussions like this. You seem to think that one person's outspoken views means they think everyone should believe as they do. This couldn't be further from the truth for me. I'm outspoken about my positions and beliefs, but I don't expect anyone to follow my lead.

Honestly its not that hard to get such an impression when you start saying that 'I didn't try Atheism the right way'. From there it implicitly follows that had I tried it your way, I would be a happy and satisfied Atheist today. I contest such a notion.

But alright, I'll keep this in mind for next time.
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Message 1454141 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 11:12:11 UTC - in response to Message 1454130.  
Last modified: 15 Dec 2013, 11:13:47 UTC

Lastly this Lilith person. She doesn't seem to feature in Genesis at all, and anyway is supposed yo have left Eden voluntarily not chucked out.

Lilith is a Hebrew name for a figure in Jewish mythology, developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be in part derived from a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts of Assyria and Babylonia. The Hebrew term Lilith or "Lilit" (translated as "Night creatures", "night monster", "night hag" or "screech owl") first occurs in Isaiah 34:14, and in Jewish folklore, from the 8th–10th century onwards, and the legend was greatly developed during the Middle Ages.

Lilith becomes Adam's first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. This contrasts with Eve, who was created from one of Adam's ribs. Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael. The resulting Lilith legend is still commonly used as source material in modern Western culture, literature, occultism, fantasy, and horror.

I see, my bad. Still, the underlying notion of patriarchy and misogyny remain. Eve was created not as an equal to Adam, but as subservient, as less. It only furthers the notion that women were created to please and serve men, because had they been created equally, they would have walked off to find something better to do with their time.

Also, it doesn't do your image any good if the female that was created as an equal, walks off and is now considered the mother of a bunch of sex demons.

Alright, this example is Jewish, not Christian. Christians still have the whole 'original sin' concept and for centuries they blamed Eve for that, and using it as a justification to oppress women.
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Message 1454160 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 12:48:29 UTC - in response to Message 1454157.  

Heh, are you suggesting God was actually aliens who meddled with our ancestors culture? And given our lack of scientific knowledge, we perceived their technological marvels as 'magic' (any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic). Honestly I think there is something to say for such an idea.
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Message 1454163 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 12:54:16 UTC - in response to Message 1454162.  

Indeed, its probably a little to much off-topic.
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Message 1454237 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 17:11:40 UTC - in response to Message 1454162.  

Yes, there most certainly is. Perhaps another thread?


No its fine here. Its still near enough the topic and its interesting.
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Message 1454240 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 17:26:51 UTC - in response to Message 1454137.  
Last modified: 15 Dec 2013, 17:56:33 UTC

You don't need religion to feel happy and/or free from fear. Religion is the original snake oil that sells hope to the hopeless instead of teaching them to find it within themselves.¨

That is too easy to say.


Yes, it is easy to say and harder to do. I never claimed it would be easy for people to find hope within themselves, but it is far preferable to finding hope in a lie. I cannot find it agreeable in any way to say that people need to be lied to about life and the Universe.

Then I read Dawkins book, and it appealed to me, so by that point I started to identify as an Atheist, though by my non belief I already was one before. However, after a few years I grew more dissatisfied with Atheism. I reread Dawkins book and found that it too had started to irk me. The arguments he presented were not satisfying. I started seeing flaws in the books logic, and that turned into seeing flaws into logic employed by Atheist in general. Discussions about God where I used to be arguing against God started to irk me, annoy me. They were to easy, it felt almost childish. So, I started to move away from Atheism. I tried arguing for a God, and found that it suited me more. I found the logic I used to be more convincing then anything I've ever tried before. So, now I've come back to believing.


Interesting. So you base your faith purely on a sense that you enjoy arguing in favor of a God, and because you didn't find the logic of an Atheist agreeable. If this is the extent of your Atheist experience, then surely you didn't understand what Atheism is all about.

But mind you, I do not follow a particular religion. I make a sharp distinction between religion and faith. I have faith that there is a God, but what that God is like, I have no idea. I still do not believe that any religion here has it right, so to call me a Christian or something would be incorrect (I like the new pope though :P )


So then you are truly not an Agnostic. You simply don't believe in organized religion, but you do have faith that a god exists. As I said in our last discussion, it all boils down to if you have faith or not. There is no such thing as pure Agnosticism, and anyone who thinks they are purely Agnostic are simply confused about what they believe.

And no, it was not that my expectations of Atheism weren't met. Not at all. Like I said, the logic of it no longer convinced me, while at first that wasn't the case.


Based upon our last discussion, it would seem you simply didn't like the logic at all because you felt that science was ignoring some sort of 'larger picture'. I would say that, in fact, you did setup Atheism to fail for you if you actually think this.

Two things here. First, agreement for the sake of agreement is not a good thing. No one should just agree with the other side because they are afraid that otherwise the other side gets angry.


Not sure why you would get the impression that I feel you should agree for the sake of agreement.

You will need to convince me before I agree with you. Me arguing against your point of view is just me engaging your viewpoint in a critical manner. You as someone who believes in the usefulness of science and the scientific method should be able to appreciate it if people engage with your ideas in a critical manner, rather than just roll over and mindlessly accept whatever you say.


I'm also not sure where you're coming from with this comment either. I have never laid down any expectation that you must simply accept whatever I say. It is up to you to research what I've said, if you're interested, and make up your own mind. I would encourage you and everyone else to approach my views with the appropriate level of skepticism, but do understand that I will only bother to try to convince someone if I feel they are willing to listen in the first place.

Honestly its not that hard to get such an impression when you start saying that 'I didn't try Atheism the right way'. From there it implicitly follows that had I tried it your way, I would be a happy and satisfied Atheist today. I contest such a notion.


I don't know about "my way", but I do know that there is a right way and a wrong way. To me, the angry youth who is mad at God and therefore self-identifies as Atheist just to rebel is not an Atheist and not really getting what Atheism is really about. Similarly, someone who simply reads an argument by an Atheist and agrees with them because they didn't look into it critically enough isn't really an Atheist either.

Of course you would contest such a notion, as stating such directly challenges the Atheistic period of your life, a period that you quite clearly feel you have put behind you, and here I am telling you that you didn't do it right, thus taking away your argument that "I was once Atheist and it didn't work for me" as it would force you to re-visit it and re-examine that period.
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Message 1454243 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 17:35:50 UTC - in response to Message 1454130.  

I think it is equally true that some people NEED religion to be happy, as much as others WANT religion because it makes them happy. It's like having a hot drink on a cold day to feel better, you might both need and want it in equal measure. The question of supporting a sports team like a football club has been mentioned. Some of that will be because of the love of a sport, but some will be the apparent psychological benefit of being a member of a likeminded group. In that respect religion and supporters clubs are no different, there have been religious wars in the past and regular punch-ups between fans of rival clubs resulting in human deaths.


Sorry, I'm still not coming around to this sort of thinking. I think the love of a particular sports team is merely a love for competition, a love for a hometown, a love for rivalry, and yes, to get together with other like-minded people to share views.

In both aspects, a love for a particular team or sport or religion is purely an enjoyment of being a part of something. If this same feeling could be replaced by any other thing and provide the same benefits, then the original thing is truly not needed, or a requirement for, life.

It is my view that people have simply rationalized their way into believing certain things are needs when they are actually wants. You don't "need" that hot drink on a cold day to feel better. You want that hot drink because you believe it will make you feel better, and thus the psychological effect is self-fulfilling. The same exact thing can be said of belonging to a team or club, and the same exact thing can be said of religion.
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Message 1454244 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 17:55:24 UTC - in response to Message 1454137.  

You don't need religion to feel happy and/or free from fear. Religion is the original snake oil that sells hope to the hopeless instead of teaching them to find it within themselves.¨

That is too easy to say. Sure, I would be happy regardless of the believe in an afterlife. Then again, I'm one of the most privileged people on the face of this earth. I've been born in the right family, in the right country. I'm a white male with an above average intelligence who grew up in a stable loving family environment, and where my parents have enough money to afford me a life of relative luxury. I will finish university and probably get a good job somewhere. Its true, I have to actively start sabotaging myself in order to get to a point where I become unhappy. But what about all the people who didn't win the genetic lottery like me? Who were born in the wrong family? Who aren't white males living in a stable upper middle class family? Its easy to say they should all just teach themselves to be happy. That's like telling poor people that they should just get a job and work hard or telling depressed people to just shrug it off. I can imagine that for quite a lot of people, faith or religion are providing them with the hope they need to get through the day.

And it provides me with the hope that while I may have been born lucky, there is some justice for the other 7 billion people who aren't me. That life doesn't boil down to 'tough luck' to all the people born poor and miserable. Honestly, I can't stand the thought of that.

I am not sure that your assumption that all poor people are unhappy and all rich people are happy holds true. I know that money helps, that's for sure. Also, if people are in a bad place and religion teaches them to accept that rather than do something about it then I don't think religion is really helping in the long term. It does of course depend on what religion and how its interpreted. Jesus got a lot of following at the time because he preached revolution against the Romans.



Oh no, I was born as a Catholic. Moderate Catholic to be precise, so I never experienced any of the negative aspects that come with extremism. To me the church was always a benign but boring place to be. But you know, there are parts of the bible that irked me, things I felt that weren't right, and so I drifted from Catholicism to not believing in God. Then I read Dawkins book, and it appealed to me, so by that point I started to identify as an Atheist, though by my non belief I already was one before. However, after a few years I grew more dissatisfied with Atheism. I reread Dawkins book and found that it too had started to irk me. The arguments he presented were not satisfying. I started seeing flaws in the books logic, and that turned into seeing flaws into logic employed by Atheist in general. Discussions about God where I used to be arguing against God started to irk me, annoy me. They were to easy, it felt almost childish. So, I started to move away from Atheism. I tried arguing for a God, and found that it suited me more. I found the logic I used to be more convincing then anything I've ever tried before. So, now I've come back to believing.

I read Dawkins a long time after I realised I simply did not believe in god. I wasn't raised at home either as a believer or a non-believer. It simply never came up. I was sent a local Church School simply because there was little other choice in the area. There I was indoctrinated with Church of England Christianity which is slightly different from Catholic Christianity. More pragmatic and more focused on the teachings of Jesus rather than the trappings and ritual. I thought for the longest time that of course there was a god. I wasn't convinced that it was like the one in the bible as there were so many weird flaws and contradictions in the bible..and some downright nasty stuff that I couldn't get on board with. It just seemed very wrong to me (even as a child) and the old testament god seemed plain mean and crazy. At university I started to explore the idea of god as I studied Physics. The more I learned about the universe the more I thought it was so amazing that surely there was some force behind it. However it was around this time that I knew that the Christian god certainly did not cut it and had no relevance to what I was learning about. The more I learned the more distant and excluded god got from the whole process. I was left with a benevolent god who had created the universe and sat back to watch with some unidentifiable purpose.

The next step on the process of separating from my cultural indoctrination was learning about biology and other life. It had always been apparent to me that other life was just as important as human life. I've been a vegetarian since I was 16 years old because I did not like the farming practices that tortured animals for the whole short lives before they were killed for our food. It seem so disrespectful and cruel. This attitude towards other life on the planet stems from the Christian belief that they were put there by god for our purpose and use. This idea is so obviously wrong to me that it separates me even further from the christian god. The more I learned about biology and the interconnectedness of life the more I realised that we weren't special or apart from nature, but intricately entwined and dependent on it. I also learned that like god, nature was completely indifferent to the individual. The exact opposite to what we are taught about god. The indifference is the key to letting go of god. Every bit of evidence around the universe, no matter where you look, displays the indifference of the universe to our individual wants or needs. We have no special place in it, we are not intrinsically better than any thing else in it. Different in someways, but not necessarily better. If there is a consciousnesses that the universe has to behold itself, it is us. There is clearly no outside force. The day I realised that there was no god was a huge awakening and relief for me. I gained the power of self determination and adult responsibility that is missing from so many believers. It was the day I realised that there was no one judging me or protecting me or watching over me so I'd have to do it myself. It was day I grew up, although I still totally get the desire to go back to the infantile state of needing a higher power to take care of me.

But mind you, I do not follow a particular religion. I make a sharp distinction between religion and faith. I have faith that there is a God, but what that God is like, I have no idea. I still do not believe that any religion here has it right, so to call me a Christian or something would be incorrect (I like the new pope though :P )

I think we all like the new pope, (unless you are Sarah Palin)

And no, it was not that my expectations of Atheism weren't met. Not at all. Like I said, the logic of it no longer convinced me, while at first that wasn't the case.

Atheism is a state of expectation. It is a state where you realise your expectations are irrelevant.

Two things here. First, agreement for the sake of agreement is not a good thing. No one should just agree with the other side because they are afraid that otherwise the other side gets angry. You will need to convince me before I agree with you. Me arguing against your point of view is just me engaging your viewpoint in a critical manner. You as someone who believes in the usefulness of science and the scientific method should be able to appreciate it if people engage with your ideas in a critical manner, rather than just roll over and mindlessly accept whatever you say.

But, just because I argue against your point of view does not mean I do not respect you or your point of view. Far from it in fact. If I didn't think you had anything worth saying, I would have ignored you. The fact that I try to respond to you means that I'm thinking about what you said. To me, considering other peoples ideas is the ultimate form of respect I can have for them.

And we all appreciate your polite stance in this discussion, and your willingness to engage on a rational level. Even if we don't come to the same conclusions.

Honestly its not that hard to get such an impression when you start saying that 'I didn't try Atheism the right way'. From there it implicitly follows that had I tried it your way, I would be a happy and satisfied Atheist today. I contest such a notion.

But alright, I'll keep this in mind for next time.

I am not sure that was what he is saying. The notion that Atheism is an answer is missing the point. Atheism is position where you realise there is no answer and that its still going to be ok. It just makes your existence more a statistical miracle than it was. It means that you have to bring meaning to your life and stop looking for it outside yourself.
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Message 1454248 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 18:14:35 UTC - in response to Message 1452996.  

I which case you can regard my previous posts applicable for a hypothetical situation where the beer can pole was placed right next to the nativity scene. My apologies, I should have paid closer attention. Like I said, as long as it keeps a respectful distance from the nativity scene I don't care what displays of other religions they place there (I would favor a statue of Cthulhu or some other Lovecraftian God).

EDIT Heh, now I think of it, Cthulhu sitting on top of the roof of the shelter would probably make a pretty awesome sight ;)

EDIT 2 Talking about Christian symbols having to share the public space with other religions, I heard Satanist were going to place a symbol of Satan next to a statue of the 10 commandments outside a courthouse in Oklahoma.

I came across this and thought of you.


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Message 1454249 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 18:34:08 UTC - in response to Message 1454245.  

You want that hot drink because you believe it will make you feel better, and thus the psychological effect is self-fulfilling.

If I walk past a pub on a hot summers day I am going to be tempted to pop inside and have a cold beer. Firstly it will slake my thirst, secondly it will taste nice. I don't just think or believe that, I know that from the past experience of having done it before and the effects it previously gave me gave me. The same with the hot drink.


Knowing that a drink will taste good or will self-fulfill a psychological want to feel better still does not make that drink a need. Again, I still feel you are falling into the trap over over-rationalizing between needs and wants by attempting to convince yourself that a want is actually a need.

With religion people will try it, and if they get a nice warm feeling inside, they will continue with it, if not then they won't. Taking it down to the next level they may not understand psychologically or physiologically why it has this efficacious effect upon them, all they know is that it does and that they like it, and they would rather have it than not.


Agreed, people tend to return to things that make them feel nice. They want to feel nice. Methamphetamine has the same addictive attributes, and to those using it, they return to it because it makes them feel good, and they may not understand how it works, all they know is that they like it and would rather have it than not.

Life can be lived, and happiness can be achieved without either.
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Message 1454274 - Posted: 15 Dec 2013, 21:23:56 UTC - in response to Message 1454240.  

Yes, it is easy to say and harder to do. I never claimed it would be easy for people to find hope within themselves, but it is far preferable to finding hope in a lie. I cannot find it agreeable in any way to say that people need to be lied to about life and the Universe.

Things like the existence of God or an afterlife are not lies. They aren't truth either, they are just something you believe in or you don't believe in.

Interesting. So you base your faith purely on a sense that you enjoy arguing in favor of a God, and because you didn't find the logic of an Atheist agreeable. If this is the extent of your Atheist experience, then surely you didn't understand what Atheism is all about.

Oh, what is Atheism about then, aside from not believing in God(s)? Do tell, what did I miss?

So then you are truly not an Agnostic. You simply don't believe in organized religion, but you do have faith that a god exists. As I said in our last discussion, it all boils down to if you have faith or not. There is no such thing as pure Agnosticism, and anyone who thinks they are purely Agnostic are simply confused about what they believe.

And I don't recall claiming I was agnostic. I think I pretty firmly stated several times that I believe in God.


Based upon our last discussion, it would seem you simply didn't like the logic at all because you felt that science was ignoring some sort of 'larger picture'. I would say that, in fact, you did setup Atheism to fail for you if you actually think this.

I do regard that as a flaw in the way science currently operates. I believe that by dividing science in so many strictly separated sub disciplines we get models that are only of limited use and that by only focusing on the visible (and therefor obvious) we miss out on certain things. Let me make it clear though, that despite what I see as flaws, I love science and the answers it provides.

However, despite the fact that I think that science can do better, that was not the reason I stopped being an Atheist. Like I said, it were the arguments that Atheists use to argue that there is probably no God that no longer convinced me. Science has nothing to do with it.


Not sure why you would get the impression that I feel you should agree for the sake of agreement.

Mostly because you said this:
"You're quick to argue and slow to come to an understanding or agreement - seemingly and especially toward Atheists, all the while preaching respect for religion and believers."

In my head that translated as criticism on me arguing back and being hard to convince. It felt like you were saying I should agree with you more quickly because things were getting a little ugly. My apologies if I mistranslated it.


I'm also not sure where you're coming from with this comment either. I have never laid down any expectation that you must simply accept whatever I say. It is up to you to research what I've said, if you're interested, and make up your own mind. I would encourage you and everyone else to approach my views with the appropriate level of skepticism, but do understand that I will only bother to try to convince someone if I feel they are willing to listen in the first place.

I translated your comment as criticism on my respect for you and atheists in general.


I don't know about "my way", but I do know that there is a right way and a wrong way. To me, the angry youth who is mad at God and therefore self-identifies as Atheist just to rebel is not an Atheist and not really getting what Atheism is really about. Similarly, someone who simply reads an argument by an Atheist and agrees with them because they didn't look into it critically enough isn't really an Atheist either.

Hmm strange, I didn't know Atheism was such an exclusive club that only allows those with pure enough motives to join. I also didn't know you had such an extensive knowledge on my motives that you could actually make an accurate assessment of them. I always thought (and I recall numerous self identified Atheist claiming, but perhaps their motives weren't pure enough either) that Atheism just meant you don't believe in God and/or believe in the non-existence of God. So, why are the examples you mentioned here not really atheists and what exactly is it they are doing wrong.

Of course you would contest such a notion, as stating such directly challenges the Atheistic period of your life, a period that you quite clearly feel you have put behind you, and here I am telling you that you didn't do it right, thus taking away your argument that "I was once Atheist and it didn't work for me" as it would force you to re-visit it and re-examine that period.

You make it sound like I had some traumatic experience that made me to afraid to dwell on a past period of my life. I can assure you that nothing I experienced even comes close to being traumatic to me. And I'll happily reassess that period if you give me a good reason to do so. I consider constant self reflection a crucial part of critical thinking. The real reason I oppose your notion is because I don't think there is a right and a wrong way to be an Atheist.
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Message boards : Politics : Religion - is one better than another?


 
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