Necessity of religion

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Postby DjVortex » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:51 am

Skept wrote:But to answer your question, yes I do think that social life disintegrates under socialism, in a peculiar way.


That was not my question.

You seem to have a false dichotomy here: Either a country is religious, or it's socialist. Most western European countries are neither socialist nor very religious (especially the northern ones). They can be labeled as secular. I asked you about these countries.
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Postby Skept » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:39 am

DjVortex

Which country in particular? And what was your question?


Lausten

No, I do not presume to know what others think.. why would I do that? I prefer to have people explain what they are thinking before I tell them what I think about what they are saying.


dobbie

Not everything can or should be verbalized. Not everything is possible to study empirically either. How do you study human dignity and the value of friendship? You cannot. These are intangible things.

The underlying theory of modern science is that everything is reducible to matter. There is no 'metaphysical' realm in modern science. What is observable also is the material world. But there are intangibles that are fundamental for our well being and prosperity.

How you describe things will affect the way you see them. If you describe life as a fermentation of matter, that is a very pessimistic view on things and it will not provide any room to see any special value of living things. I am not referencing to the evolution of species. As far as I understand it, evolution is over and done with when we are born. It is not something that happens to us. Evolution is also not a living thing that "does" something. What is of importance is what value we place on those who are born and those who are alive. And we should not, or cannot derive that value from the evolutionary process because then all values would also be reducible to that inanimate process.

Does it sound confusing? Another way of putting it is that evolution cannot or should not be that which informs our value judgements. Since evolution is an entirely mechanical, unaware process that has nothing to do with us, it would be wrong to describe our value as living beings from an evolutionary point of view.

Some religions see animals as sacred for various reasons. If I would have that religion I suppose I would too. What cultures recognize as sacred differs. Essentially I think all life is part of something sacred and should be respected. What I suggested was not that animals are not sacred, but rather that humans and animals are different and should not be treated or seen the same way. Just as I think humans should not be seen the same way; People are different.

To have a morality you have to recognize values, else what is there to base morality on? I have come to see tho that without God there cannot be any sound morality because we humans can never assess the ultimate value of life or existence. I think we can only make an approximation but we are not the final judge. We tend perhaps also to judge according to temporal merits. Only God can see our essence and know the true value of things and our actions, therefore only God can be the final judge.
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Postby Lausten » Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:24 pm

That is the problem with the atheist agenda, when atheists swipe away religion there is nothing left but mundane affairs, and basically nothing to live for.

This is your assertion. It involves assuming what other people think.
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Postby Skept » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:00 pm

Lausten

I do not claim to be a mind reader. There is no mystery to it; I simply derive it from a few facts of logic, psychology and history. History shows us that the moment a society gives up religion, it withers. Why did the Mayas disappear? Why did the Roman empire disappear? Why did the Babylonian empire disappear? Why did the Egyptian empire disappear? They disappeared in all likelihood because they lost their religion or they changed religion. Religion is the fiber that binds a society together to make it work as one organic whole.

What is left when religion disappears? As I said, mundane affairs. The atheists who are not leftists are still suckers for the leftists agenda. And they in turn are suckers for the Marxist agenda that want to overthrow all societies. Why do you think communists want to abolish religion? Because they know that religion binds a people together and makes them strong. Without religion people become shattered and vulnerable, they isolate themselves in pockets and have no perception of belonging to a people and a culture.

Societies with a strong religion are the most successful and prosperous. Take a look at the Jewish society which has a very strong religious core. Jews have survived throughout the centuries and are one of the oldest societies on earth. Where does this success come from? Why havent they also been overturned like other nations? The reason for their succes I believe is because of religion. Their sense of nationality is tied to their religion. Unlike most people today that only ties their religion to a philosophy, faith, rituals or salvation. The Jewish people have a sense of being one, regardless of where they are, or what kind of society they happen to live in or what kind of government they have, because they are united in their religion. Those who have a nationality that is not tied to their religion, tie their nationality to something else, typically something temporal; Like a language, a flag, a king, a government, a piece of land. So when times change, kings die, governments changes, land is stolen or abandoned, they also change and become shattered and become a people without identity, because they have no concept of belonging together as a nation in a common religious purpose.

Christianity has survived for long and has spread to various countries, but it seems to be disappearing in the west now because of scientific progress and propaganda. But a Christian is still only someone who converts, he might have to forsake his country and people to do so. But a Jew's nationhood is tied to his religion. A Jew can be an atheist, but he will still belong to the Jewish people. He will not be an outsider for thinking differently. Unlike the Christian, if he forsakes his faith he is counted as a 'lost sheep' and will be looked down upon. Because a religion entirely based on faith is at bottom unreasonable and inhuman. Jews have survived throughout the ages through turmoil and persecution, and some have converted to other religions, but they still survive as one people and I believe it is thanks to their religion. Not the language, not the land, not the government, not the constitution, not politics, not the clothes, not the music, not the customs, not any temporal thing, not even patriotism, but religion.
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Postby Lausten » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:11 pm

I do not claim to be a mind reader. There is no mystery to it; I simply derive it from a few facts of logic, psychology and history.

Not sure what psychology or history you are reading. I might suggest "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond
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Postby Skept » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:37 pm

Lausten

I havent read Jared Diamonds book. So with reservations for being wrong, what I can gather from reading about it is that he argues for the theory that societies change because of environmental changes, is that correct?
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Postby Lausten » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:28 pm

societies change because of environmental changes, is that correct?

That's part of it. More important is that they fail to acknowledge their own impact on the environment. Like cutting down all the trees then lamenting that the trees are gone.

That's the 30,000 foot view. I'm really trying to say that I don't think you have any backing for most of the things you said in your latest long post. I'd be glad to follow-up on your sources if you had any, but I'm not going to summarize Jared Diamond or argue any of your points if you continue to say that they are obvious and based on common knowledge.
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Postby Skept » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:49 pm

Lausten

You have to look up the facts yourself. What I am doing here is to present an argument, or theory if you will. And this theory is that religion informs culture. Religion is the formulation of the cultural vision. Therefore with the demise of religion, the culture also disintegrates. This theory is what I consider to make the most sense out of the evidence.

Environmental circumstances I think is incidental to religion. We all know that a society that isnt annihilated by disease, war or starvation is still a society and will preserve it's culture. They cannot jump into another culture and still remain the same society. And what is it that informs culture? Religion.

If we look at the Maya who had a calendar where each point in time over a whole year was a god, each god with its own sort of behaviour. They therefore developed astrology and divination to try and understand the will of the particular god to be able to predict the future. They had a religious story, or myth, about corn which has been interpreted to mean an allegory of the agricultural year. For a farmer the ability to understand the weather and the seasons is fundamental. If a farmer had a technology to be able to predict the weather and plan for the harvest he would love to have it. The Mayas had such a technology; their religion. Their religion was therefore based on agriculture. But with the disintegration of their culture they also abandoned their particular form of agriculture.

So why did they not continue to build their temples? Why didn't they continue to sacrifice humans to their gods? Why didn't they continue their ways? My theory is, they lost their religion. Perhaps from outside influences or maybe even discoveries and new ideas from within that made them look at their own religion with skepticism. New ideas took over and eventually the culture disintegrated, people got sick and tired of it and left the whole project. Probably they simply took up the ancient tribal ways again.

And why did the Egyptians build pyramids? Because of religion. They didn't do it for fun. Well for the pharaoes it might have been. But the populace, those who had to drag the stones up to the pyramid, why did they do it? They got a wage for it, but why do it? Because the pyramids served as toms for their lords. It was a religious project. But how are you going to convince people to build pyramids if they don't believe in the religious project?
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Postby Lausten » Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:07 pm

But how are you going to convince people to build pyramids if they don't believe in the religious project?
Just kill a couple of 'em. The rest will get the idea. I have no evidence for that, it's just my theory. Actually it's really a hypothesis. A hypothesis is something that you come up with when you have some anecdotal evidence or maybe just an idea. Then you gather facts, do experiments, ask people to review your work, and collaborate with others. If you gather enough evidence and proof, then you can call your idea a theory. Really at that point it is not your theory anymore, but it would be your hypothesis that got it started.

I've been to Mayan ruins, I've been to their museums. They don't know exactly why the Mayan civilization collapsed. There are some hypotheses and they have some facts about it. Maybe you should read National Geogrpahic and see if that supports your hypothesis or not, then we might have something to talk about. Or, every time I challenge part of your hypothesis with a teeny tiny fact, you could say, "well, its just my theory, I'm not interested in facts". It's your call, whatever.

You present your "theory" and have a "therefore" then claim it is backed up by evidence. Then you tell some stories that require huge leaps of logic and assume that you know what Mayans and Egyptians were thinking. If you're going to do that, you need additional evidence to support why you think they thought that way. The challenges to that have already been made by me and others in this thread, so I'm not going to repeat them.

Alternatively, you could question us. Rather than repeating your "theory" and coming up with new examples that are just repeats with different names, you could ask us why we think what we do. You would need to be specific and show genuine interest. Something you haven't done so far.
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Postby Skept » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:47 pm

Lausten

There is no challenge. I am working from the same evidence as you are, but I come to different conclusions and that is what this discussion is about. If you see what you say are 'huge leaps of logic' in my theory, then I would be happy to hear your criticism. Why don't you explain why my theory/hypothesis doesn't make any sense?
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Postby Lausten » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:34 am

We've already been over this, but here we go again. We are not working from the same evidence, as you have indicated that you are familiar with different sources from me. Or is there some other "same evidence" that you are referring to?

From your OP:
Skept wrote:That is the problem with the atheist agenda, when atheists swipe away religion there is nothing left but mundane affairs, and basically nothing to live for.

That's a huge leap. Take Sweden for instance. Not much religion there, but they seem to have quite a bit going for them above the mundane. I don't you would find too many people who say they have nothing to live for.

I've swiped religion from my life and I'm doing okay, quite interested in the future.

Does that help explain anything?

Edit: I was just poking around and I see from your first post that you are from Sweden. I have travelled, but not to Sweden, is my view of your country that far off? My understanding is that religion there is almost as rare as atheism here in America.
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Re: Necessity of religion

Postby Fyrebrand » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:21 pm

Fyrebrand wrote:Refresh my memory, would you -- what worth, purpose, or meaning does religion give to life, exactly?


I'm still waiting for an answer to this question, actually.

You seem to be very fond of stating weird non-sequiturs like "Science and strict materialism cannot see the value of things," and "there is no qualitative hierarchy anymore and nothing that can defend human worth and dignity."

Apparently, human beings finding value in their own lives is not enough. Alright, let's assume that we really have no idea what worth or meaning there is in the universe. We're just here, on this mysterious planet, not sure how we got here or why any of this is going on.

So, you say that the only thing that gives our lives meaning and purpose is religion. The implication, then, is that you know what that meaning and purpose is, right? Otherwise, I don't see how you could be making this claim.

So, that meaning and purpose is: __________________ ?
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Postby dobbie » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:19 pm

Fyrebrand wrote:Refresh my memory, would you -- what worth, purpose, or meaning does religion give to life, exactly?

And, to Fyrebrand's question addressed to Skept, I had previously added a question of my own for Skept but it went unanswered: Which religion is the right one for this worth, purpose, or meanng to life?
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Postby Orestes » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:57 am

I don't agree with Schopenhauer when he said that to strip religion from the masses is to deprive them of a metaphysical consummation, though I do wonder what would replace it. Without that fulfillment, would futility appeal them them? I'm not sure. I know people are deeply emotionally oppressed in today's society, where violence appears gratuitous. We have become shallow for that reason in my opinion, where all injuries are inflicted on the body, though we know better. I don't think people who believe in a certain practicality to the damage they do to people for the greater good, who never have suffered it themselves, or people from the atheist experience, at worst indignant, community bound people ever suffered enough to know their practicality at all and should have any more power over those who know. Sacred to me are the impressions men don't see with their bare eyes.
"If complete indifference is required for freedom, then there is scarcely ever a free act. For even if by chance, the reasons are equal, the passions will not be"-Leibniz
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Postby Skept » Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:21 pm

It doesn't matter which religion you have, I'm not advocating a particular religion as such. But what we can see is that religion has a conservative influence on a culture. If you remove that influence the cultural integrity will wither. Even tho you can't prove religion, it is still what gives continuum and preservation to culture. Probably people will inevitably develop religion tho, but what is at stake right now is the cultural wars going on that many atheists seem completely oblivious about.
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