Religion

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Jorsh!
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Re: Religion

Postby Jorsh! » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:27 am UTC

westcydr wrote:Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?

Egyptian mythology didn't have eternal damnation as such, but the unrighteous did have their souls fangoriously devoured by the goddess Ammit, known appropriately as the Devourer of Souls. Those guys sure knew a good deity story when they found one.

Now that the trivia (I love trivia!) is out of the way:
tday93 wrote:This is a bit to broad of a statement, Baha'i believes that all other faiths are valid, and are in fact part of itself. Buddhism as well believes that any given faith that is not Buddhism is equally valid. And in many religions there is no consequence, in Baha'i there is no version of eternal damnation, and i'm pretty sure other religions hold this same belief.

The problem with believing that all other religions fall under your own is that many of those religions would clearly disagree. Thus, a religion that believes all other religions are part of itself believes that in at least one area, it is right while others are wrong. Eternal damnation story or not, that still potentially gives them something to be smug about.

Edit: I should probably point out that I am not calling you smug. I quite enjoy your posts so far.
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Re: Religion

Postby tday93 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:34 am UTC

Jorsh! wrote:
westcydr wrote:Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?

Egyptian mythology didn't have eternal damnation as such, but the unrighteous did have their souls fangoriously devoured by the goddess Ammit, known appropriately as the Devourer of Souls. Those guys sure knew a good deity story when they found one.

Now that the trivia (I love trivia!) is out of the way:
tday93 wrote:This is a bit to broad of a statement, Baha'i believes that all other faiths are valid, and are in fact part of itself. Buddhism as well believes that any given faith that is not Buddhism is equally valid. And in many religions there is no consequence, in Baha'i there is no version of eternal damnation, and i'm pretty sure other religions hold this same belief.

The problem with believing that all other religions fall under your own is that many of those religions would clearly disagree. Thus, a religion that believes all other religions are part of itself believes that in at least one area, it is right while others are wrong. Eternal damnation story or not, that still potentially gives them something to be smug about.

Edit: I should probably point out that I am not calling you smug. I quite enjoy your posts so far.



Good point, its kinda like trying to say that red is the same as red and yellow together. The simple fact that they are different gives both sides something to be smug about if they personally believe that there way is the only correct way. But, in Baha'i at least, the only way to be smug is to be smug about being so tolerant, and so the people that would do that in the first place generally don't seem to be attracted to Baha'i


o ya, thanks for the compliment :)
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Re: Religion

Postby TheOrangeMan » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:26 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:
westcydr wrote:Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?


Islam for one.


Which together account for approximately 60% of the Earth's population. That is to say, there are more religious people that adhere to a faith with some version of damnation than those that don't. Also, for religions with reincarnation, the cycle of death and rebirth without liberation can be seen as a kind of damnation in that it's a punishment for living your life badly (although you can usually redeem yourself so I guess it's not "eternal" damnation). If you roll in Hinduism and Buddhism, that's about 72% of the population. If you remove the percentage of the population considered atheist and non-religious you're left with about 83% of the 'religious' population having either damnation or an idea comparable to it in their faith.

To answer your question, not many religions have damnation, but most of the world believes in it anyway (even if you take out reincarnation, which I admit was a bit of a stretch on my part, that's still 60% for just Christianity and Islam).
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Re: Religion

Postby westcydr » Mon Aug 18, 2008 5:05 pm UTC

TheOrangeMan wrote:
roc314 wrote:
westcydr wrote:Judaism also has no eternal damnation.. how many religions that are not Christianity do believe in eternal damnation?


Islam for one.


Which together account for approximately 60% of the Earth's population. That is to say, there are more religious people that adhere to a faith with some version of damnation than those that don't. Also, for religions with reincarnation, the cycle of death and rebirth without liberation can be seen as a kind of damnation in that it's a punishment for living your life badly (although you can usually redeem yourself so I guess it's not "eternal" damnation). If you roll in Hinduism and Buddhism, that's about 72% of the population. If you remove the percentage of the population considered atheist and non-religious you're left with about 83% of the 'religious' population having either damnation or an idea comparable to it in their faith.

To answer your question, not many religions have damnation, but most of the world believes in it anyway (even if you take out reincarnation, which I admit was a bit of a stretch on my part, that's still 60% for just Christianity and Islam).

Yes, but how many in those two groups truly believe?
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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:53 pm UTC

westcydr wrote:Yes, but how many in those two groups truly believe?


So you're saying that because not everyone is deeply believing in their religion, that their views don't matter? Besides, that is near impossible to measure. What if, for example, they don't believe that you need to go to church once a week to be a member of their religion. They would not be counted among "true believ[ers]", but they still might believe in hell.

TheOrangeMan wrote:If you remove the percentage of the population considered atheist and non-religious you're left with about 83% of the 'religious' population having either damnation or an idea comparable to it in their faith.


If they don't believe at all in their religion, then they would fall under this category, and not have any effect.

EDIT: I would think that the percentage of Christians and Muslims who "truly believe" would be around the same as the percentage of Jews who "truly believe".
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Re: Religion

Postby westcydr » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

Sorry, I did not mean the evangelicalese "Believe" that represents the following of the whole religion, I meant, "Do they really believe that every non Christian (or Muslim, for Muslims) really and truly will be burning forever in some kind of hell?".
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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:48 pm UTC

westcydr wrote:Sorry, I did not mean the evangelicalese "Believe" that represents the following of the whole religion, I meant, "Do they really believe that every non Christian (or Muslim, for Muslims) really and truly will be burning forever in some kind of hell?".


I know some who literally believe this, and I know some who do not. I would guess that those who believe that all others go to hell would be mostly limited to the more fundamental sects. As for numbers, I would say that a minority, but a large minority (say 20-40%) are like this. I think the farther back in time you go, the more of those who would believe this you would find; it's almost taboo in modern society to think that people who disagree are inherently evil (this probably means that in the future, this number will decrease).

Interesting point; I think you are right in saying that the average person doesn't believe that everyone who thinks differently will be damned.
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Re: Religion

Postby TheOrangeMan » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:47 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
westcydr wrote:Sorry, I did not mean the evangelicalese "Believe" that represents the following of the whole religion, I meant, "Do they really believe that every non Christian (or Muslim, for Muslims) really and truly will be burning forever in some kind of hell?".


I know some who literally believe this, and I know some who do not. I would guess that those who believe that all others go to hell would be mostly limited to the more fundamental sects. As for numbers, I would say that a minority, but a large minority (say 20-40%) are like this. I think the farther back in time you go, the more of those who would believe this you would find; it's almost taboo in modern society to think that people who disagree are inherently evil (this probably means that in the future, this number will decrease).

Interesting point; I think you are right in saying that the average person doesn't believe that everyone who thinks differently will be damned.


Regardless of which is true, the point of my comment was not that most people think others will be damned; it was that the possibility of being damned yourself, should your choice of religion be wrong, is much more intimidating that the possibility of being wrong, should the the scientific theory you picked be wrong. If you choose to believe string theory and it turns out that strings don't exist at all, the consequences have little, if any, bearing on your life.

EDIT: For clarification I pointed out those statistics to show that the idea of damnation (and similar concepts) is prevalent enough in the world to be of significant concern when accessing one's own beliefs. That and to provide a counter argument to the point brought up which could potentially belittle my previous statements.

EDIT AGAIN: Also, the post that provoked the comment was meant to compare and contrast religion and science. The comparison being that they both require faith and the contrast being the value they place on said faith. The point about damnation was really only made as an example of motivation behind choosing a religion vs. choosing a theory. It was a point of contrast to show that doubt does not necessarily contradict faith in science as it usually does in religion.

Oof, I can just see people making posts about that last statement now P: I'd better expand on it. What I mean is that faith in science depends upon supposition. Suppose theory X is right and theory Y is wrong. Well, in order for X to be right, the axioms that define X must be true. Of course, since they're axioms they must be taken on faith so it's really more a question of "does this make sense" more than "is this true". The thing about science vs. math though is that usually we don't know the axioms from the get go. We form a theory first and then look for evidence to support the theory. The evidence that we cannot find forms the axioms. Of course, we're discovering new techniques every day so these axioms must constantly be reexamined to make sure that they cannot be proven. This goes hand in hand with the desire to minimize the axioms. In addition, we must also reexamine other theories to make sure they have not become more valid given the new information we've found. In religion, belief depends on faith. I have faith that X is true so I can believe that Y is true as well (Note, this is a different set of X and Y's =P). For instance, if one has faith that god exists, one can believe that god created the universe (if the god you have faith in is defined as having created the universe, of course).

TANGENT

Math is similar. In mathematics we define axioms to be true and prove theorems with them. To reiterate, mathematical axioms are defined to be true. That is to say there is no question as to whether they are or aren't, they simply are because we designed them that way. It's also worth pointing out that the universe is not based on math; math is based on the universe. Our ability to simply define things as true in math has no bearing on how our universe works. We can define 1 + 1 to equal 0, but that doesn't change the universe or the physics that correspond to it. I'm getting that feeling again P: I must point out again that the math used in physics is based on how our universe REALLY works. We can't define 1 + 1 to equal 0 in physic unless we actually find a system that behaves that way. We can do so in math because math is abstract; it can but doesn't always represent a real system.

/TANGENT
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Re: Religion

Postby clintonius » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:17 am UTC

*facepalm*

If this conversation turns toward Pascal's Wager one more time I think I'm going to fucking scream.

At any rate, I imagine that damnation is a significant factor in the religious choices of many -- myself (converting to Christianity due to fear [and later un-converting, though that isn't really the point]) and tday93 (converting from Christianity to Baha'i due to "the 'burn in eternal Hellfire' thing") included. What is your point?
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Re: Religion

Postby TheOrangeMan » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:41 am UTC

clintonius wrote:If this conversation turns toward Pascal's Wager one more time I think I'm going to fucking scream...

...What is your point?


xD Rest assured, I have no desire to bring up Pascal's Wager. I was in the middle of editing my post when you responded (I was hoping I could be quick before anyone saw it, but alas, no such luck). I guess my point originally was that nothing can be proven logically with absolute certainty in response to a post saying that it doesn't take faith to believe something that has been 'proven' scientifically.
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Re: Religion

Postby CVSoul » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:28 am UTC

TheOrangeMan wrote:I guess my point originally was that nothing can be proven logically with absolute certainty in response to a post saying that it doesn't take faith to believe something that has been 'proven' scientifically.


Several hundred years ago, it was "proven" scientifically that the earth was the center of the universe. No matter how you measure it, there's no way of telling if you'll be wrong in the future.

That being said, religion is, by definition, something without scientific proof.

clintonius wrote:At any rate, I imagine that damnation is a significant factor in the religious choices of many ...


Damnation is motivation, although if a religion wants to succeed it'd better not be the only one. Hard to preach heaven and hell to someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife.

However, the type of damnation is what varies between religions. For example, the base point of Judaism is that those who sin can not be one with God, and everyone sins. Since the wages of sin are death, you take it out on something innocent-- in the days of the Bible, that would be a sheep or something.
Christianity is just Judaism with the assumption that Jesus, who was innocent and still sacrificed, is God-- therefore, his omnipresence qualifies all of humanity for having killed him (or something like that). There's a matter of sacrifice somewhat similar to Harry Potter's parents involved there too, but it's basically saved-by-grace.

So, most religion will threaten to send you to Hell, it's a wonder the ones that guarantee it are so popular. But even though I'm a Christian, it's not for the Afterlife Insurance. It's for this life, and for the sake of others... which is what it's supposed to be.... I think.
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Re: Religion

Postby Kaiyas » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:11 am UTC

CVSoul wrote:Several hundred years ago, it was "proven" scientifically that the earth was the center of the universe. No matter how you measure it, there's no way of telling if you'll be wrong in the future.


You also have to point out how Galileo and Copernicus were suppressed by the Church.... Science maybe currently flawed, but with more and stronger evidence, it is generally self correcting. :lol:
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:12 pm UTC

CVSoul wrote:Since the wages of sin are death, you take it out on something innocent-- in the days of the Bible, that would be a sheep or something.


If your talking about animal sacrifices, I'm not entirely sure the point your trying to make here, but I am under the impression that sacrifices that occurred in the temple were not conducted for the reasons you just laid out.

CVSoul wrote:So, most religion will threaten to send you to Hell, it's a wonder the ones that guarantee it are so popular.


Perhaps saying something about the mindset of those who follow those sorts of religion, and to a lesser degree, most other religion? Like... A need to be told what to do?
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Re: Religion

Postby CFT » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:45 pm UTC

First, let me state that I join this discussion late, and there is no way that I'm going to read 35 pages. So I have very little clue what I'm talking about.

Izawwlgood wrote:
CVSoul wrote:Since the wages of sin are death, you take it out on something innocent-- in the days of the Bible, that would be a sheep or something.


If your talking about animal sacrifices, I'm not entirely sure the point your trying to make here, but I am under the impression that sacrifices that occurred in the temple were not conducted for the reasons you just laid out.


I think he is talking about the scape goat. Once a year, the high priest would put all the sins of the people on the head of the scape goat, and send it to the a place called Azazel in the desert to die. Or throw it off a cliff called Azazel. I have heard that version too. Again I emphasize that I have very little clue what I'm talking about. Either way, the important thing is that the goat dies.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:04 pm UTC

Oh funny point this: I did the Torah portion over Yom Kippur for about 5 years after my barmitzvah, and was always bemused by the mention of Azazel.

I was under the impression that Azazel was a 'spirit of the wilderness' and the sacrifice was, even among biblical scholars, kind of a 'Yeah, who the fuck knows, we do it because it was done before us'.

Okay, but still, what point are you trying to make with Azazel? I've never heard of Azazel getting any more credence then the type of wood used to build the Arc... It's an oddity, nothing more.

EDIT: Wikipedia jogs memories and makes points! Azazel is a cliff! A place! The origin of 'confession'!
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Re: Religion

Postby Axel » Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:55 am UTC

I cannot deny the existence of a god(s) with 100% certainty, but I don't believe in one/some for several reasons.

First, there is no reason to believe in a god, and there is, in a sense, reason not to. Just for example, let's take the Christian God. If someone believes in God, regardless of what they've done in their life (killed people, etc), then they will be saved as long as they ask for it. If they don't believe in God, and don't ask for forgiveness, then no matter how good they were in life (think Gandhi), they're going to hell. Assuming that God exists, then he must either judge us based on our belief, or not judge us on our belief (obviously). If God judges people on their beliefs and not their actions, then I'm not going to worship that God. I'm not going to follow a God who just wants an army of worshipers, uncaring about how evil they were in real life. On the other hand, if God doesn't care what we believe, then I find no reason to believe in God, although I find no reason not to, either.

Evil God - bad (-1)
Neutral/Benevolent God - Neutral (0)
No God - Neutral (0)

-1 + 0 + 0 = -1, so I shouldn't believe in/worship a God.

My second reason is based on a contradiction with a commonly used (in my three-year experience of fighting the Fundies) "proof" of the existence of a God: that the universe is so complex, nothing other than God could've created it. The issue with this argument is quite obvious: If something created this universe, then 1) it must be more complex than the universe, and 2) it must either have lived for all eternity or been created by something else even more complex. Even if you stop at something (God) creating the universe and claiming that he has lived for all eternity, then God can be used in the same argument as that in which the universe was used, only on a more complex scale. If two explanations have an equal probability of being correct, then the less complex one is more likely to be correct, meaning that the universe is more likely to not have a creator than it is to have one.

Third, I would like to point out that God cannot be omni-benevolent (obviously not the correct term, but it goes well with the other omnis), omniscient, and omnipotent. I know that this point does not directly influence a belief of God in general, but it did help me get away from the idea of a Christian God. If God were all three, then we would not have "sin." If God were all three, then Lucifer (And all those other angels) would never have betrayed him, because he would've known about it in advance. If they never betrayed him, then Eve wouldn't have been tempted in the Garden of Eden, and humans would be "sinless."

On a similar note, God cannot be perfect. If God truly was the beginning of all things, then he must be the source of sin. If God was perfect, then he could not create imperfect beings, and if humans (And the angels) were perfect, then once again, there would be no sin.

For my fifth point, I would like to point out that the idea of a Heaven in which all inhabitants are completely happy revolts me. Apparently, when you die and go to heaven, you could care less about the suffering of Earth's inhabitants, or about your friends/family members now burning in hell.

As my last point, I would like to ask the purpose of Earth itself. It can't be used as judgment, since God is omniscient and may as well just save his worship-slaves the pain of living on Earth, send the good people straight to heaven, and the bad people straight to hell - or, better yet, just don't make the bad people to begin with.

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Re: Religion

Postby Adalwolf » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:23 am UTC

I don't know how anyone in their right minds can follow Jainism or Buddhism. Both religions defy basic human nature. Everything is an illusion, life is suffering, people should deny themselves everything, and eventually when they transend or ascend they become nothing.

Those two religions are completely against my nature, and are in fact, quite repulsive to me.

I'll stick with the religion that speaks across time and space, the religion of my ancestors, the religion that calls to every northern soul. Paganism, thank you much.

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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:37 am UTC

You had some, not logical inconsistencies, but some premises that may or may not be true, which you should consider.

Axel wrote:Third, I would like to point out that God cannot be omni-benevolent (obviously not the correct term, but it goes well with the other omnis), omniscient, and omnipotent. I know that this point does not directly influence a belief of God in general, but it did help me get away from the idea of a Christian God. If God were all three, then we would not have "sin." If God were all three, then Lucifer (And all those other angels) would never have betrayed him, because he would've known about it in advance. If they never betrayed him, then Eve wouldn't have been tempted in the Garden of Eden, and humans would be "sinless."


You are assuming here that foreknowledge of an event means you will act. It is perfectly possible that God could know that Lucifer would betray him, but not stop it. There was another thread around about how omnipotence means the capability to do all things, not actually doing all things.

On a similar note, God cannot be perfect. If God truly was the beginning of all things, then he must be the source of sin. If God was perfect, then he could not create imperfect beings, and if humans (And the angels) were perfect, then once again, there would be no sin.


I believe that most Christians think that Adam and Eve sinned of their own choice. God made them perfect, but then they broke that. As free will is a central doctrine in Christian theology, God could allow someone he created to make a wrong decision.

For my fifth point, I would like to point out that the idea of a Heaven in which all inhabitants are completely happy revolts me. Apparently, when you die and go to heaven, you could care less about the suffering of Earth's inhabitants, or about your friends/family members now burning in hell.


Actually, I agree with you here.

As my last point, I would like to ask the purpose of Earth itself. It can't be used as judgment, since God is omniscient and may as well just save his worship-slaves the pain of living on Earth, send the good people straight to heaven, and the bad people straight to hell - or, better yet, just don't make the bad people to begin with.


But that would remove the whole concept of free will. Sure, (assuming that Christianity is correct) God knows what everyone does in advance, but unless he is to not allow free will (which would invalidate many things, probably including God's "omnibenevolence").

For the record, I think there are a lot of logical fallacies within mainstream Christianity, but changing a few premises makes the religion so much more possible. Not to say it is true or not (I personally think that the existence of God is an axiom, it cannot be disproved or proved), but the right kind of Christianity is logically consistent. Good analysis, though; I'm stealing some of what you said next time my Christian friends get overly evangelical on me (I like your argument about everyone in heaven not caring about those in hell; that is quite good).

Evil God - bad (-1)
Neutral/Benevolent God - Neutral (0)
No God - Neutral (0)

-1 + 0 + 0 = -1, so I shouldn't believe in/worship a God.


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Re: Religion

Postby Kaiyas » Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:26 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:No one is allowed to respond to this with Pascal's Wager? Don't do it!


It's wrong because it is:

An argument from consequences,
A false dichotomy,
And theologically dishonest.

But as to the rest of the discussion, it boils down to "free will"?
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Re: Religion

Postby Longhouse » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:12 pm UTC

Adalwolf wrote:I don't know how anyone in their right minds can follow Jainism or Buddhism. Both religions defy basic human nature. Everything is an illusion, life is suffering, people should deny themselves everything, and eventually when they transend or ascend they become nothing.

Those two religions are completely against my nature, and are in fact, quite repulsive to me.

While I am very interested in Buddhism (to the point that I very well can imagine becoming a monk some time in the future), I must confess my lack of understanding in many of its concepts. In other words, don't take my words as gospel :P I must, however, say a few things about your post, as you seem to have misunderstood some of the core concepts of Buddhism (I don't know much about Jainism, I'm afraid, except for some extreme examples of asceticism):

Everything is an illusion

What? Really, I don't know were you got that from. Seriously.

life is suffering

Again, I can't say I understand it well myself, but I know this: What commonly is translated as "suffering" is the word dukkha which cover a fair few number of emotions. That Wikipedia article says the following:
Dukkha (Pāli दुक्ख; Sanskrit दुःख duḥkha; according to grammatical tradition derived from dus-kha "uneasy", but according to Monier-Williams more likely a Prakritized form of dus-stha "unsteady, disquieted")

While pain, both psycological and physical, surely is part of dukkha, so is frustration, anxiety etc. In other words, in the phrase "life is dukkha" is held the claim that life is full of dissatisfaction. We want things all the time, and if we don't get them, we often get angry, or grumpy. We want pleasant things to stay, even though they ultimately won't since the world constantly changes. We want to stay away from unpleasant things, and when we can't we get upset. All those things are dukkha.

people should deny themselves everything,

Nope. They should live simple. Well, really, they could, I guess, theoretically live quite extravagant and still reach enlightenment, but that would be harder than it already is. Since Buddhists try to rid themselves of their attachments, simple living helps that goal.

and eventually when they transend or ascend they become nothing

Why would they? Contrary to what you seem to believe, Buddhism strives away from nihilism. It's considered an incorrect world-view.

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Re: Religion

Postby SabreKGB » Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:50 pm UTC

Adalwolf wrote:I'll stick with the religion that speaks across time and space, the religion of my ancestors, the religion that calls to every northern soul. Paganism, thank you much.


I'm just going to go ahead and point out that "paganism" isn't a religion. It's pretty much just the set of all religions not abrahamic. As for "speaks across time and space"...well, flowery prose i guess, but I think not. Whatever floats your boat, man.

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Re: Religion

Postby Tadeu » Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:31 am UTC

Well I'll be answering the question strictly since i do not want to read 35 pages of the usual stuff when it comes to Atheist vs Christianity.

My dearest opinion about religion is that it's something that'll never go away. We may not know it yet but religion might be in our genes. Humans, in general, are programmed to believe in some higher power, and those powers, being real or not, do affect our world in realistic and undeniable ways, for better or worst. It is also a personal belief that science, as it is, is another religion. Of course people could claim we used it to move mountains and change the world, but you could make the same claim for religion, and science holds some of its unproven theories as truth, and much of Scientific Canon is unprovable or may be proven wrong in the future, and is defended just as fervently as many religious doctrines. The reason why i say it can't be proven is because we, humans, "created" science, and we give thins in our world labels, and, as it is, it can be all a figment of our imagination that was purely coincidental. We can "prove" everything we invented, and it might work most of the time, but purely speaking, everything is a postulate that can't be proven.

I do not think people should hate religion, for we owe much if not all of our civilization to it, our moral ideals, and the expansion of our intellects to it, and being real or not, God (and gods) have had massive effect on us, and in many ways, science can't put a finger on that. Something that doesn't exist, yet it is a fact has affected us in one way or another. For many other great religions, say Buddhism, they can affect body and mind. Many Buddhist monks are known for extraordinary abilities such as maintaining and raising body temperature, physical prowess to a point where they change the shape of their bodies, and open-minds with extraordinary wisdom and brilliance. And this is a religion who doesn't have a god more then it actually has a deity that was nothing but human.

Religion also has the ability to affect the Geo-political world, and science equally. The many problem people blame religion can be blamed on science too, such as wars, famines, pestilence and close-mindedness, and really, as i said before, all of these things were created by men. None of it can be proven, therefore we can use the teapot to represent both a god and sciences.

Keep in mind this is just my incoherent idea which i just typed out (you'll find a ton of nonsense in there i'm sure) and it's just my opinion, nothing else. It's what i believe, and you're free to express what you feel, because our founding fathers gave you that undeniable right. Which ironically came from ideals set by a mix of sciences and religion. Go figure.

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Re: Religion

Postby SabreKGB » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:17 am UTC

Tadeu wrote:My dearest opinion about religion is that it's something that'll never go away.


I, somewhat resignedly, tend to agree with you there.

Tadeu wrote:We may not know it yet but religion might be in our genes. Humans, in general, are programmed to believe in some higher power, and those powers, being real or not, do affect our world in realistic and undeniable ways, for better or worst.


Perhaps.

Tadeu wrote:It is also a personal belief that science, as it is, is another religion.


Sure, a personal belief that is wrong.
Tadeu wrote:Of course people could claim we used it to move mountains and change the world, but you could make the same claim for religion, and science holds some of its unproven theories as truth


"But...but, science is just dirty old religion, and if that's so, then mine is better anyway!" Right?

Tadeu wrote:and much of Scientific Canon is unprovable or may be proven wrong in the future, and is defended just as fervently as many religious doctrines.


Yeah, right. And all those priests and cardinals of science will burn you at the stake for believeing the wrong things. Care to point me to a copy of the "Scientific Canon"? (with caps, no less)

And, maybe if you'd read through the thread you'd have seen some of your anti science BS preemptively demolished, eh?

Tadeu wrote:The reason why i say it can't be proven is because we, humans, "created" science, and we give thins in our world labels, and, as it is, it can be all a figment of our imagination that was purely coincidental. We can "prove" everything we invented, and it might work most of the time, but purely speaking, everything is a postulate that can't be proven.


And we could all be brains in vats. It's a non-starter. Descartes' demon really doesn't matter. Play like it's real. The other part of the above is just drivel, lacking in any content. Seriously, are you trying to say something like, "Stuff might not be real, so we might as well just throw up our hands and say 'fuck it'"? Cause that's the closes thing to a point you came to right there.

Tadeu wrote:I do not think people should hate religion, for we owe much if not all of our civilization to it, our moral ideals, and the expansion of our intellects to it


Bullshit.

Tadeu wrote:and being real or not, God (and gods) have had massive effect on us, and in many ways, science can't put a finger on that.


Sure it can. So can history. It's not mystical, it's very easy to understand. Social control, manipulation, carrot-and-stick, hope, fear. We understand these motivators just fine without you trying to add any juju to it.

Tadeu wrote:Something that doesn't exist, yet it is a fact has affected us in one way or another.


No one says religion doesn't exist, and religion is what has the effect. Not gods. If you have evidence to the contrary, there is a Nobel, a templeton prize, and some serious cash from Randi waiting for you.

Tadeu wrote:For many other great religions, say Buddhism, they can affect body and mind. Many Buddhist monks are known for extraordinary abilities such as maintaining and raising body temperature, physical prowess to a point where they change the shape of their bodies, and open-minds with extraordinary wisdom and brilliance. And this is a religion who doesn't have a god more then it actually has a deity that was nothing but human.

Firstly, how about we see some citations? Secondly, that doesn't even contribute to your point. A person controlling their own body has nothing to do with religion. Is a Bruce Schneier roundhouse kick a divine event?

Tadeu wrote:Religion also has the ability to affect the Geo-political world, and science equally.


Geopolitics, yes. Science...well looking at the Bush administration's war on science, i am sadly forced to agree with you there too.

Tadeu wrote:The many problem people blame religion can be blamed on science too, such as wars, famines, pestilence and close-mindedness


Please, remind me when the last Newtonian crusade was...?

Tadeu wrote:and really, as i said before, all of these things were created by men.

Really? God(s) seems to be in the famine, war, and pestilence business quite a bit.

Tadeu wrote:None of it can be proven, therefore we can use the teapot to represent both a god and sciences.

I think you may be confused as to what the teapot actually means. Google it again, read more, understand more, get back to us.

Tadeu wrote:Keep in mind this is just my incoherent idea which i just typed out (you'll find a ton of nonsense in there i'm sure) and it's just my opinion, nothing else. It's what i believe, and you're free to express what you feel, because our founding fathers gave you that undeniable right. Which ironically came from ideals set by a mix of sciences and religion. Go figure.


*sigh*

The founding fathers did not give us that right. The political philosophy they espoused explicitly goes against that idea. Rights are inherent, all they did was create a system of government that was supposed to be restrained from violating them.

And religion wasn't a part of it, sorry. Freedom of, yes. Religion itself? Nah.

You're right though, i did find a lot of non-sense...

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Re: Religion

Postby Axel » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:22 am UTC

roc314 wrote:You had some, not logical inconsistencies, but some premises that may or may not be true, which you should consider.

Axel wrote:Third, I would like to point out that God cannot be omni-benevolent (obviously not the correct term, but it goes well with the other omnis), omniscient, and omnipotent. I know that this point does not directly influence a belief of God in general, but it did help me get away from the idea of a Christian God. If God were all three, then we would not have "sin." If God were all three, then Lucifer (And all those other angels) would never have betrayed him, because he would've known about it in advance. If they never betrayed him, then Eve wouldn't have been tempted in the Garden of Eden, and humans would be "sinless."


You are assuming here that foreknowledge of an event means you will act. It is perfectly possible that God could know that Lucifer would betray him, but not stop it. There was another thread around about how omnipotence means the capability to do all things, not actually doing all things.


Yes, but doing nothing is still bad in this case, because God is effectively allowing sin to exist, and, since he has the power to stop it, it's his fault.

roc314 wrote:
On a similar note, God cannot be perfect. If God truly was the beginning of all things, then he must be the source of sin. If God was perfect, then he could not create imperfect beings, and if humans (And the angels) were perfect, then once again, there would be no sin.


I believe that most Christians think that Adam and Eve sinned of their own choice. God made them perfect, but then they broke that. As free will is a central doctrine in Christian theology, God could allow someone he created to make a wrong decision.
...
As my last point, I would like to ask the purpose of Earth itself. It can't be used as judgment, since God is omniscient and may as well just save his worship-slaves the pain of living on Earth, send the good people straight to heaven, and the bad people straight to hell - or, better yet, just don't make the bad people to begin with.


But that would remove the whole concept of free will. Sure, (assuming that Christianity is correct) God knows what everyone does in advance, but unless he is to not allow free will (which would invalidate many things, probably including God's "omnibenevolence").


A point I did not make in my original post is the response to this question, one I came across while reading about the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. If God knows what we do in advance, then we truly have no choice in the matter - God's omniscience itself destroys our free will, because what we will do is already "decided" because God has seen it before we did it. And, before someone replies with "God seeing it doesn't mean God controls it," I don't mean that God is deciding it, I just mean that it's predetermined.

roc314 wrote:
Evil God - bad (-1)
Neutral/Benevolent God - Neutral (0)
No God - Neutral (0)

-1 + 0 + 0 = -1, so I shouldn't believe in/worship a God.


No one is allowed to respond to this with Pascal's Wager? Don't do it!


I find Pascal's Wager to be indifferent to my argument's standpointincorrect, since my not wanting to believe in an evil God is based on since it does not incorporate personal integrity - if God is evil, even if I'm promised eternal "bliss" (aka ignorance), I'm not worshiping him.

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Re: Religion

Postby Exotria » Fri Aug 29, 2008 1:35 am UTC

I do not think people should hate religion, for we owe much if not all of our civilization to it, our moral ideals, and the expansion of our intellects to it, and being real or not, God (and gods) have had massive effect on us, and in many ways, science can't put a finger on that. Something that doesn't exist, yet it is a fact has affected us in one way or another. For many other great religions, say Buddhism, they can affect body and mind. Many Buddhist monks are known for extraordinary abilities such as maintaining and raising body temperature, physical prowess to a point where they change the shape of their bodies, and open-minds with extraordinary wisdom and brilliance. And this is a religion who doesn't have a god more then it actually has a deity that was nothing but human.


Somewhere on the fora I definitely remember seeing someone(probably Belial) pointing out how much of civilization we also owe to, y'know, slavery, imperialism, killing and slaughtering... that sort of thing. Even if it helped our past, if it's in many peoples' beliefs that it's harming our future, why shouldn't they hate it? Having a false belief that there's cake at the end might lead to some sort of progress, but it won't necessarily get us where we want to be.

Religion also has the ability to affect the Geo-political world, and science equally. The many problem people blame religion can be blamed on science too, such as wars, famines, pestilence and close-mindedness, and really, as i said before, all of these things were created by men. None of it can be proven, therefore we can use the teapot to represent both a god and sciences.


The difference is that having a scientific understanding of all those things helps us prevent them, whereas religion kind of just says we're sinners and being punished for the error of our ways. That doesn't really help.

Also, with the 35 pages of this topic, I was probably pre-emptively refuted. Drat.
Elvish Pillager wrote:
niolosoiale wrote:So which side of the fence would you say I'm on? Why?

The confusing one. I think you should pick a different fence.

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Re: Religion

Postby Mr. Galt » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:07 am UTC

Lets talk about the past things Religion/Science have done for the good or bad of our current cultures and problems.
Exotria wrote:
I do not think people should hate religion, for we owe much if not all of our civilization to it, our moral ideals, and the expansion of our intellects to it, and being real or not, God (and gods) have had massive effect on us, and in many ways, science can't put a finger on that. Something that doesn't exist, yet it is a fact has affected us in one way or another. For many other great religions, say Buddhism, they can affect body and mind. Many Buddhist monks are known for extraordinary abilities such as maintaining and raising body temperature, physical prowess to a point where they change the shape of their bodies, and open-minds with extraordinary wisdom and brilliance. And this is a religion who doesn't have a god more then it actually has a deity that was nothing but human.


Somewhere on the fora I definitely remember seeing someone(probably Belial) pointing out how much of civilization we also owe to, y'know, slavery, imperialism, killing and slaughtering... that sort of thing. Even if it helped our past, if it's in many peoples' beliefs that it's harming our future, why shouldn't they hate it? Having a false belief that there's cake at the end might lead to some sort of progress, but it won't necessarily get us where we want to be.


The thing with god/the scientific process, is it doesn't fucking care if anyone hates it.

I mean come on, its GOD/the SCIENTIFIC PROCESS.

Both are above our like/dislike by the non-ability to prove or disprove god and the complete logicality of science.

Even if we hate it, it still doesn't change the fact that its past consequences are. Hating It merely keeps us from learning anything else concerning It from a neutral point of view.

Religion also has the ability to affect the Geo-political world, and science equally. The many problem people blame religion can be blamed on science too, such as wars, famines, pestilence and close-mindedness, and really, as i said before, all of these things were created by men. None of it can be proven, therefore we can use the teapot to represent both a god and sciences.


The difference is that having a scientific understanding of all those things helps us prevent them, whereas religion kind of just says we're sinners and being punished for the error of our ways. That doesn't really help.


Your simplifying things unbearably so.

Just like scientific understandings can be misinterpreted, ill-used or incomplete, so can religious interpretations. The problem is that overly zealous religious people don't think thats possible. This makes people who love science hate them.

Science has been used to do things just as terrible as religion has. The key word here is "used".

I'm not arguing either side based on their specific qualities, just their consequences. Almost Everything has uses that could be interpreted as good or bad depending on your morals. That doesn't mean the object/idea is inherently bad or good.
For instance, I could use a C++ guide book to learn a potentially useful skill. I could also use it to kill small to medium animals.
Science has been used to improve health for the entire world, provide easy communication and promote the sharing of ideas/education. It also has made it easier to kill someone than check out of a grocery store, and we could probably use enough of our technology to incinerate half of the worlds population in a few hours.
Religion has promoted literacy and exploration, increased humanitarian aid, consolidated power (arguably good and bad), provided stability in small communities. It also launched a bloodthirsty campaign that ended millions, often fosters ignorance and provides a means to argue against anything without reason.

It swings both ways and anyone that ignores that (I'm looking at you, SabreKGB) shouldn't argue either way before getting their angst sorted out.

Also, with the 35 pages of this topic, I was probably pre-emptively refuted. Drat.


Probably me too, but at least we can argue with each other.
Although arguing with me probably isn't very fun. Most people just look at me funny and walk away.

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Re: Religion

Postby Turambar » Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:58 am UTC

As a science nut who is also a religious person, I always stand at a weird place in these debates. First of all, I will take evidence over opinion any day, but unfortunately (or fortunately? Who knows), the question of the existence of a deity (or deities) is not answerable by science.

Axel wrote:Third, I would like to point out that God cannot be omni-benevolent (obviously not the correct term, but it goes well with the other omnis), omniscient, and omnipotent. I know that this point does not directly influence a belief of God in general, but it did help me get away from the idea of a Christian God. If God were all three, then we would not have "sin." If God were all three, then Lucifer (And all those other angels) would never have betrayed him, because he would've known about it in advance. If they never betrayed him, then Eve wouldn't have been tempted in the Garden of Eden, and humans would be "sinless."

On a similar note, God cannot be perfect. If God truly was the beginning of all things, then he must be the source of sin. If God was perfect, then he could not create imperfect beings, and if humans (And the angels) were perfect, then once again, there would be no sin.

For my fifth point, I would like to point out that the idea of a Heaven in which all inhabitants are completely happy revolts me. Apparently, when you die and go to heaven, you could care less about the suffering of Earth's inhabitants, or about your friends/family members now burning in hell.

As my last point, I would like to ask the purpose of Earth itself. It can't be used as judgment, since God is omniscient and may as well just save his worship-slaves the pain of living on Earth, send the good people straight to heaven, and the bad people straight to hell - or, better yet, just don't make the bad people to begin with.

It's called free will. If God were to give humans free will, then that would mean giving humans the capacity to do something other than what God would prefer them to do, and that right there is the definition of sin in the Abrahamic religions (deviation from the will of God). So you cannot have free will without the option for humans to sin. This is a pathetic, tired, useless old argument that you are trotting out. The next person to attempt the Epicurean Paradox is going to disappear and their body will never be found. Erm, just kidding. ish. Also, you are using the words "perfect" and "imperfect" in an entirely arbitrary manner.

The purpose of Earth? You've spent how long living here and it hasn't yet occurred to you that maybe we're here to live and make choices?
"Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it."
--Richard Feynman

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Re: Religion

Postby Exotria » Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:34 am UTC

Mr. Galt wrote:The thing with god/the scientific process, is it doesn't fucking care if anyone hates it.

I mean come on, its GOD/the SCIENTIFIC PROCESS.

Both are above our like/dislike by the non-ability to prove or disprove god and the complete logicality of science.

Even if we hate it, it still doesn't change the fact that its past consequences are. Hating It merely keeps us from learning anything else concerning It from a neutral point of view.



Well, yes, my point was more of hating religion and its effects in the present than hating on deities or the past. If religion is messing crap up today, I don't see why people who disbelieve it shouldn't hate it for that, as it seemed to me like Tadeau was granting religion a status of A-OK just because it did a few useful things in the past. A neutral viewpoint may be useful, but it doesn't necessarily have to be enforced. The use of the word 'should' irked me because it implied that hating religion was somehow wrong. People can hate whatever they want! It's just acting on that hate that is generally not appreciated by other members of the social contract. Therefore, religious folks can hate science, but if they're hurting scientific progress then it becomes the rest of society's problem to fix, and may incite their hatred of religion.
Just like scientific understandings can be misinterpreted, ill-used or incomplete, so can religious interpretations. The problem is that overly zealous religious people don't think thats possible. This makes people who love science hate them.

Science has been used to do things just as terrible as religion has. The key word here is "used".

I'm not arguing either side based on their specific qualities, just their consequences. Almost Everything has uses that could be interpreted as good or bad depending on your morals. That doesn't mean the object/idea is inherently bad or good.
For instance, I could use a C++ guide book to learn a potentially useful skill. I could also use it to kill small to medium animals.
Science has been used to improve health for the entire world, provide easy communication and promote the sharing of ideas/education. It also has made it easier to kill someone than check out of a grocery store, and we could probably use enough of our technology to incinerate half of the worlds population in a few hours.
Religion has promoted literacy and exploration, increased humanitarian aid, consolidated power (arguably good and bad), provided stability in small communities. It also launched a bloodthirsty campaign that ended millions, often fosters ignorance and provides a means to argue against anything without reason.


Religion was created to be used by people to do certain things. Even if it originated with some random deity, he was still using it to get people to do stuff. Then other people used religion to line up people with their beliefs, and so on and so forth. Science has just been there and never tells anyone what to do. It doesn't concern itself with morals like religion does, so any faults of how things are used fall under either neutral or religion. They can both certainly be used, but religion is inherently much easier to use because nothing about it is verifiable. We can't go out and test whether Jesus rose from the dead, but we can go out and test that gravitational acceleration on the surface of Earth is 9.81 m/s^2. It's much easier to mislead people with religion because that is the case. Science was created with no goals or observable purpose, but religion is out to get people to do crap, and so peoples' morals are much more affected by religion. And peoples' harmful morality is what causes pain and suffering in the world most often, not the tools they use to make the world fit it.

Or basically religion is at fault for any problems it creates because it makes people do stuff with it, while also getting any credit for good it does, while science is neutral and anyone misusing it is at fault rather than science itself. I think that made sense.

And I didn't really come in here to be involved in a long argument, mostly just to supplement others, but hey, I can be argumentative if I need to?
Elvish Pillager wrote:
niolosoiale wrote:So which side of the fence would you say I'm on? Why?

The confusing one. I think you should pick a different fence.

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Re: Religion

Postby Mr. Galt » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:18 am UTC

Exotria wrote:

Well, yes, my point was more of hating religion and its effects in the present than hating on deities or the past. If religion is messing crap up today, I don't see why people who disbelieve it shouldn't hate it for that, as it seemed to me like Tadeau was granting religion a status of A-OK just because it did a few useful things in the past. A neutral viewpoint may be useful, but it doesn't necessarily have to be enforced. The use of the word 'should' irked me because it implied that hating religion was somehow wrong. People can hate whatever they want! It's just acting on that hate that is generally not appreciated by other members of the social contract. Therefore, religious folks can hate science, but if they're hurting scientific progress then it becomes the rest of society's problem to fix, and may incite their hatred of religion.
Just like scientific understandings can be misinterpreted, ill-used or incomplete, so can religious interpretations. The problem is that overly zealous religious people don't think thats possible. This makes people who love science hate them.

Science has been used to do things just as terrible as religion has. The key word here is "used".

I'm not arguing either side based on their specific qualities, just their consequences. Almost Everything has uses that could be interpreted as good or bad depending on your morals. That doesn't mean the object/idea is inherently bad or good.
For instance, I could use a C++ guide book to learn a potentially useful skill. I could also use it to kill small to medium animals.
Science has been used to improve health for the entire world, provide easy communication and promote the sharing of ideas/education. It also has made it easier to kill someone than check out of a grocery store, and we could probably use enough of our technology to incinerate half of the worlds population in a few hours.
Religion has promoted literacy and exploration, increased humanitarian aid, consolidated power (arguably good and bad), provided stability in small communities. It also launched a bloodthirsty campaign that ended millions, often fosters ignorance and provides a means to argue against anything without reason.


Religion was created to be used by people to do certain things. Even if it originated with some random deity, he was still using it to get people to do stuff. Then other people used religion to line up people with their beliefs, and so on and so forth. Science has just been there and never tells anyone what to do. It doesn't concern itself with morals like religion does, so any faults of how things are used fall under either neutral or religion. They can both certainly be used, but religion is inherently much easier to use because nothing about it is verifiable. We can't go out and test whether Jesus rose from the dead, but we can go out and test that gravitational acceleration on the surface of Earth is 9.81 m/s^2. It's much easier to mislead people with religion because that is the case. Science was created with no goals or observable purpose, but religion is out to get people to do crap, and so peoples' morals are much more affected by religion. And peoples' harmful morality is what causes pain and suffering in the world most often, not the tools they use to make the world fit it.

I agree with morality(or lack of, depending on your description) being the cause of most or all pain and suffering caused between people or aimed at the self.

With most organized religions coming pre-packaged with its own morality and science being more of a bring-your-own-morals, I also agree that organized religions are more about controlling a populace, and easier to mislead. To what purpose is something that's decided by the religion itself.


Or basically religion is at fault for any problems it creates because it makes people do stuff with it, while also getting any credit for good it does, while science is neutral and anyone misusing it is at fault rather than science itself. I think that made sense.

And I didn't really come in here to be involved in a long argument, mostly just to supplement others, but hey, I can be argumentative if I need to?


Because of its un-verifyable-ness, I don't see how religion could be held responsible for anything. Only its followers. Where those followers throw that responsibility is up to them (and what should be argued as right or wrong, not religion itself)

And because of scientific facts' (s's, 's?) provability, it also cannot be held responsible for anything. Only those that (mis)use it.

What I think anyway.

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Re: Religion

Postby Exotria » Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:56 am UTC


Because of its un-verifyable-ness, I don't see how religion could be held responsible for anything. Only its followers. Where those followers throw that responsibility is up to them (and what should be argued as right or wrong, not religion itself)


The deity or deities of the religion are unverifiable. The religion itself, however, is verifiable. It definitely exists. Now, if a religion causes someone to make a decision in order to follow that religion, it is the religion's responsibility as well as the individual's, because it told them to do it. If a religion is causing people to do bad things by them following its orders, then it is a Bad ThingTM as well. This, though, only really works with interpretations of religions, which I've really been using in place of religion in this post. A bad habit. There are so many types of Christianity, even without counting the sects. There's antigay Christianity, antiscience Christianity, and there's proscience and progay Christianity too. The religion that's harmful is the one that induces its members to cause harm. If people are telling their kids that Jesus hates gays, then that's bad religion that a good deal of people have perfectly good reasons to hate.

But because these different sects get different labels, while having the pro and anti sectors within, a lot of people get into hating the all-encompassing label that includes both sectors, and that really isn't good.

*this post contains arbitrary uses of 'good' and 'bad'*
Elvish Pillager wrote:
niolosoiale wrote:So which side of the fence would you say I'm on? Why?

The confusing one. I think you should pick a different fence.

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Re: Religion

Postby Mr. Galt » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:10 am UTC

When I meant the religion was unverifiable, I was referring to any "truth" around the beliefs of said religion. Most beliefs center around any given deity, so I would say thats a given, but you made it clearer than I did.

Also, I'm going to borrow your idea real quick. Ignoring the concept that some religions try to emulate their deity/ies, even if their is a teaching that so and so deity hates this particular group, doesn't automatically mean that all of its members do as well.
I know that probably doesn't hold much water in reality, (almost never for any Abrahamic religions), but I think its worth considering.

The main thing I'm trying to get down is that Religion as a theory cannot be blamed for any actions of a religious person. A specific religion is a whole different story, like you said.

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Re: Religion

Postby Exotria » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:52 am UTC

Oh oh! Yes, I do believe we're agreed here. Religion as a concept is fine, but when you have specific brands of religion, they're bad. Kind of like how Anon has the manifesto of dismantling Scientology in its current form. Basically if your religion doesn't involve messing around with other peoples' lives in a negative fashion (or any fashion if its unwanted by those people), it's cool. I think that's the case, at least.

I really wish they'd cut out that whole religious ceremonies for children thing though. They should make religious consent the same as sexual consent, because you aren't ready to make decisions like that yet when you're young. Being baptized would probably put you out of the running for any Satanic cults you'd want to join later in life that are exclusive to the unbaptized, and that would suck for future you if you were into that kind of thing. Extreme example, but I still find this kind of indoctrination obnoxious.
Elvish Pillager wrote:
niolosoiale wrote:So which side of the fence would you say I'm on? Why?

The confusing one. I think you should pick a different fence.

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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:25 am UTC

@Axel: Before we continue, let me point out that I don't what I posted is necessarily the best way to explain the existence of God; I was just pointing out that some of the logical inconsistencies you pointed out could be resolved easily. Personally, I believe that the existence of God is an axiom in any discussion, so there is no way to really prove anything. You can, however, disprove certain assumptions related to the existence or nonexistence of God.

Axel wrote:
roc314 wrote:You are assuming here that foreknowledge of an event means you will act. It is perfectly possible that God could know that Lucifer would betray him, but not stop it. There was another thread around about how omnipotence means the capability to do all things, not actually doing all things.


Yes, but doing nothing is still bad in this case, because God is effectively allowing sin to exist, and, since he has the power to stop it, it's his fault.


The only answer I can give to this is that sometimes allowing bad things to happen can lead to good events. Murder is bad, but sometimes, it would be best for someone to die. I'm certainly not complaining that Saddam Hussein was executed, or that Marie Antoinette was killed. Sometimes bad stuff must happen. It was bad that the USA raped and pillaged the land and its native inhabitants in its westward sprawl. But if that would not have happened, then maybe there would have been no one to stop Hitler in WWII. Maybe there would have been no one to stand against Stalin. Basically, events are too complex to say for certain that something was "bad". We can say that it appeared to have negative consequences, but it is hard to sort out what the "good" consequences are and what the "bad" consequences are.

Axel wrote:A point I did not make in my original post is the response to this question, one I came across while reading about the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. If God knows what we do in advance, then we truly have no choice in the matter - God's omniscience itself destroys our free will, because what we will do is already "decided" because God has seen it before we did it. And, before someone replies with "God seeing it doesn't mean God controls it," I don't mean that God is deciding it, I just mean that it's predetermined.


There are two possible ways to answer this. The first is that knowledge of how someone will act does not influence their action. If my friend knows I will order the bacon cheeseburger with fries, does that in any way affect my choice? As long as there is no active observation ("hey, are you getting the bacon cheeseburger?") that would interfere with my choice (which would do a lot to explain why God (if he exists) doesn't interfere much), then I could still do whatever I want. It isn't fate, it is understanding how someone will act.

The second is to adopt a slightly different definition of omniscient. If we define it as the potential to know everything, not actually knowing everything, then there is no contradiction here. All God has to do is look is his crystal ball, and he will know what I am doing tomorrow. He just doesn't choose to do so.

Basically, while I do not think that modern Christianity is the best religious system, I don't think it is inherently wrong. Many interpret it in a way that can be shown to be wrong, but that does not invalidate it by itself. You don't have to accept it just because a certain view of it is logically consistent, but if it makes you happy, go for it. If the thought of an omnipotent being seems like a negative thing (as he/she/it would be far from benevolent towards humankind), then go with that. What is important is to go for what works for you, but not to judge others on what they choose. To be cliche, there is no right answer.

(I'm not trying to say you are wrong, far from it, but I just wanted to point out that it is nearly impossible to disprove/prove any broad religious idea. (Besides, I'm curious to see what people think about my beliefs, and whether or not they are valid.))

Personally, whether or not I think God exists varies day to day. Some days, I think so (and get depressed if I think otherwise). Other days, the very idea of a all-powerful being is anathema (for much the reasons it appears you do). The important thing is to not have your morals and ethics founded on one dogma. If the only thing keeping your from killing random people is the sixth commandment, you have serious issues.

I find Pascal's Wager to be indifferent to my argument's standpointincorrect, since my not wanting to believe in an evil God is based on since it does not incorporate personal integrity - if God is evil, even if I'm promised eternal "bliss" (aka ignorance), I'm not worshiping him.


Can we just start a new thread just to discuss every single flaw with Pascal's Wager? I'm sure we could come up with a huge list.
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Re: Religion

Postby oxoiron » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:03 pm UTC

Exotria wrote:I really wish they'd cut out that whole religious ceremonies for children thing though. They should make religious consent the same as sexual consent, because you aren't ready to make decisions like that yet when you're young. Being baptized would probably put you out of the running for any Satanic cults you'd want to join later in life that are exclusive to the unbaptized, and that would suck for future you if you were into that kind of thing. Extreme example, but I still find this kind of indoctrination obnoxious.
Let's assume for a moment that my parents were not allowed to have me baptized. While this lack of baptism may keep me eligible for the Satanic cult you mentioned, what if later in life I want to join a cult religion that requires its members to have been baptized as infants?
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Re: Religion

Postby Axel » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

roc314 wrote:@Axel: Before we continue, let me point out that I don't what I posted is necessarily the best way to explain the existence of God; I was just pointing out that some of the logical inconsistencies you pointed out could be resolved easily. Personally, I believe that the existence of God is an axiom in any discussion, so there is no way to really prove anything. You can, however, disprove certain assumptions related to the existence or nonexistence of God.

Axel wrote:
roc314 wrote:You are assuming here that foreknowledge of an event means you will act. It is perfectly possible that God could know that Lucifer would betray him, but not stop it. There was another thread around about how omnipotence means the capability to do all things, not actually doing all things.


Yes, but doing nothing is still bad in this case, because God is effectively allowing sin to exist, and, since he has the power to stop it, it's his fault.


The only answer I can give to this is that sometimes allowing bad things to happen can lead to good events. Murder is bad, but sometimes, it would be best for someone to die. I'm certainly not complaining that Saddam Hussein was executed, or that Marie Antoinette was killed. Sometimes bad stuff must happen. It was bad that the USA raped and pillaged the land and its native inhabitants in its westward sprawl. But if that would not have happened, then maybe there would have been no one to stop Hitler in WWII. Maybe there would have been no one to stand against Stalin. Basically, events are too complex to say for certain that something was "bad". We can say that it appeared to have negative consequences, but it is hard to sort out what the "good" consequences are and what the "bad" consequences are.


While I agree that sometimes bad events can lead to good things, 1) that does not excuse the immorality of allowing such a situation to occur, and 2) you shouldn't punish other people (us) for things that, once again, are your fault (sin).

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Re: Religion

Postby roc314 » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:46 am UTC

Axel wrote:While I agree that sometimes bad events can lead to good things, 1) that does not excuse the immorality of allowing such a situation to occur, and 2) you shouldn't punish other people (us) for things that, once again, are your fault (sin).


The way I look at it on days when I'm religious is that if God interfered once, then he would be unable to not interfere again. People would demand that he fix problems in their lives, and people would come into harsh disagreement. What if both sides in a war are praying for victory? How could you do anything about that without going against what half the people want? The only way to be able to do anything would be to interfere as little as possible, and to do so as subtlety as possible. Once you set the precedent of effecting a change you cannot go back, no matter how essential it is.

As for 2, I don't think that God would punish anyone for something that's not their fault. It is awfully heretical of me to say so, but God isn't going to punish people for something he could have prevented. If you murder (without any reason like self-defense or something like that), then you truly did make a bad decision, and God, if he exists, would punish you for that. But if you happened to be born in some obscure corner of the world, and your culture taught that it was acceptable to kill some other tribe, then I do not think God would punish you for that. In my view, God would allow everyone a chance to understand their lives, and decide what they want to do, before he decides whether they get to go to heaven or not. God will judge you on how you act, not whether you were born in the right culture or happened to have parents in the right religion.

EDIT: I also forgot to welcome you to the fora. Welcome, Axel, and hopefully we can keep xkcd an intelligent part of the internets!
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Re: Religion

Postby Axel » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:14 am UTC

roc314 wrote:
Axel wrote:While I agree that sometimes bad events can lead to good things, 1) that does not excuse the immorality of allowing such a situation to occur, and 2) you shouldn't punish other people (us) for things that, once again, are your fault (sin).


The way I look at it on days when I'm religious is that if God interfered once, then he would be unable to not interfere again. People would demand that he fix problems in their lives, and people would come into harsh disagreement. What if both sides in a war are praying for victory? How could you do anything about that without going against what half the people want? The only way to be able to do anything would be to interfere as little as possible, and to do so as subtlety as possible. Once you set the precedent of effecting a change you cannot go back, no matter how essential it is.


If God had prevented sin, then none of the above situations would occur, nor would any others that would cause this dilemma (As far as I can see; I may be missing something).

roc314 wrote:As for 2, I don't think that God would punish anyone for something that's not their fault. It is awfully heretical of me to say so, but God isn't going to punish people for something he could have prevented. If you murder (without any reason like self-defense or something like that), then you truly did make a bad decision, and God, if he exists, would punish you for that. But if you happened to be born in some obscure corner of the world, and your culture taught that it was acceptable to kill some other tribe, then I do not think God would punish you for that. In my view, God would allow everyone a chance to understand their lives, and decide what they want to do, before he decides whether they get to go to heaven or not. God will judge you on how you act, not whether you were born in the right culture or happened to have parents in the right religion.


This goes back to my original post, where I criticize Christianity for saying that God judges based on belief, and is one of the reasons I don't follow any belief - God should base who gets into Heaven and who doesn't based on actions, not belief, so if that is how God works, I'll go to heaven (hopefully); if it's not, then I don't want to worship God; and if God doesn't exist, then it really doesn't matter, does it?

roc314 wrote:EDIT: I also forgot to welcome you to the fora. Welcome, Axel, and hopefully we can keep xkcd an intelligent part of the internets!


Thanks. It seems to be one of the few places where I can actually carry out a debate (Which rarely occurs even in the meatosphere) without being insulted.

One of the less-than-intelligent replies I received in a religion debate on an old forum went something like, "Oh me yarm u noob, how can you not believe in god? he is the allmigty!!1! the proof is in the univers - its so complex, there must be a god! ur gonna go to hell!!!1!11!!!1!!1one!!11!!"

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Re: Religion

Postby natraj » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:23 am UTC

Axel wrote:This goes back to my original post, where I criticize Christianity for saying that God judges based on belief, and is one of the reasons I don't follow any belief - God should base who gets into Heaven and who doesn't based on actions, not belief, so if that is how God works, I'll go to heaven (hopefully); if it's not, then I don't want to worship God; and if God doesn't exist, then it really doesn't matter, does it?


What I learned in school (I went to a really conservative Catholic school) wasn't actually like this -- I mean, we did not learn that God damns people to Hell because they were of the 'wrong' religion (or no religion at all.) We were always taught that God does judge people based on their actions, and non-Christians who live good lives still get to go to Heaven. Our religion classes always said that yes, the Bible says you can't go to heaven without accepting Jesus, but if Jesus is real you can meet Him and accept Him after you die just as well, and people whose actions are good aren't going to be condemned.

(There is some quote that I don't remember and don't feel like looking up at the moment, so I'm totally paraphrasing, about what Catholic teaching on Hell is -- basically, that yes, we believe in Hell -- we just don't know if there's anyone in it.)
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Re: Religion

Postby Axel » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:41 am UTC

natraj wrote:
Axel wrote:This goes back to my original post, where I criticize Christianity for saying that God judges based on belief, and is one of the reasons I don't follow any belief - God should base who gets into Heaven and who doesn't based on actions, not belief, so if that is how God works, I'll go to heaven (hopefully); if it's not, then I don't want to worship God; and if God doesn't exist, then it really doesn't matter, does it?


What I learned in school (I went to a really conservative Catholic school) wasn't actually like this -- I mean, we did not learn that God damns people to Hell because they were of the 'wrong' religion (or no religion at all.) We were always taught that God does judge people based on their actions, and non-Christians who live good lives still get to go to Heaven.


In that case, my original argument still stands true - I'm better off NOT believing in God now. And, unless I am mistaken (which I seriously doubt), Christians still get through to Heaven, regardless of their actions, because they asked for forgiveness.

natraj wrote:the Bible


Don't get me started on the bible, its many contradictions, and its completely immoral punishments/situations ("If a child has cursed his mother or father, he shall be put to death"). I know you weren't referencing the bible as support to your post, but I just thought I'd put this here for future reference of those who may try to bring it up ("Well, the bible says X, so Y and Z"). I would also point out that I love how most newer "translations" of the Bible seem to leave out such things as are mentioned above.

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Re: Religion

Postby natraj » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:48 am UTC

Axel wrote:And, unless I am mistaken (which I seriously doubt), Christians still get through to Heaven, regardless of their actions, because they asked for forgiveness.


I have heard some people from other denominations that have said this, but in my religion, at least, that is most definitely not what we're taught. Belief is completely meaningless if you don't live a life that supports those beliefs.
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