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 Post subject: Religion thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:36 am 
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Same idea as the shadow science thread.
(Mods, if you want to add some disclaimers in either of these, feel free. :) )

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:29 pm 
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* Disclaimer *

The views expressed by the participants are not necessarily indicative of the views or opinions of the Calm Chaos Team.

Differeing views are expected but discussions must be kept rational in nature.

No insulting or disparaging remarks about any particular religion or participant will be tolerated.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Let's start with something Chuck kept quoting ...

The bit from Cosmos ("The Edge of Forever") ... the whole infinite regression argument, so why not say the universe has always been there and no creator was needed.

This is one of his good points.

Another is on omnipotence, leading to omniscience, hence precluding free-will.

Your opening thoughts on either of these, folks?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 3:08 pm 
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Well...there are of course, two schools of thought about that.

The first is the scientific version that basically ( to the best of my limited understanding ) states that the Universe has always been there, and that there was a Big Bang that created all the things in it.

The other is the religion version that ( again, to the best of my understanding ) the Creator is infinite so therefore, nothing had to create the Creator.

In my humble opinion, quoting a book ( ANY book, including the Bible ) is kind of ... I don't want to say pointless but I can't come up with the right word. Books were written by Man. Regardless of wether Man says they were " handed " down from God himself, Man wrote them. That means that they were interpreted at the whims of Man. The fact that the Bible has gone through so many translations is also somewhat problematic. The language that it was originally written in is sometimes hard to translate. That means that if three people translate from the same language TO the same language, you may wind up with three different interpretations of what the words say.

Carl Sagan wrote the book, but he was a Man as well. Books written by Man almost have to be questioned based on the biases or psychology of the Man writing it. Sagan didn't believe in God ( or so it would seem ) so the book he wrote is almost automatically going to be determined as biased by those who do believe.

In either case, there is no independent thinking really involved. They are words on a page that people either accept, or don't accept.

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 Post subject: Re: Religion thread
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:22 pm 
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I'll post more when I have more time and some others chime in.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:27 pm 
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Knightmare wrote:
In my humble opinion, quoting a book ( ANY book, including the Bible ) is kind of ... I don't want to say pointless but I can't come up with the right word. Books were written by Man. Regardless of wether Man says they were " handed " down from God himself, Man wrote them. That means that they were interpreted at the whims of Man. The fact that the Bible has gone through so many translations is also somewhat problematic. The language that it was originally written in is sometimes hard to translate. That means that if three people translate from the same language TO the same language, you may wind up with three different interpretations of what the words say.

Carl Sagan wrote the book, but he was a Man as well. Books written by Man almost have to be questioned based on the biases or psychology of the Man writing it. Sagan didn't believe in God ( or so it would seem ) so the book he wrote is almost automatically going to be determined as biased by those who do believe.

In either case, there is no independent thinking really involved. They are words on a page that people either accept, or don't accept.


Here's what I was trying to express in the thread over in Cafe SETI:

The argument about infinite regression: well, what came before that. Answer that, and somebody says, well, what came before that?

That is an example of an ancient philosophy stunt, which Chuck rails against. I mentioned over there several times undefined terms and axioms to end the circular arguments. This is something someone can look up, not just on the internet, but by grabbing textbooks from across the centuries.

To avoid circular reasoning, we have to begin with some small set of assumptions which cannot lead to any contradictions, etc. ... . Plain and simple.

Therefore, use whatever word you like ... belief, assumption ... whatever ... these are behind our arguments, whether you see them or not and whether you like them or not. No rational reasoning can proceed very well w/o some basis on this.

Mathematicians understand this very well. But for someone that has only had a little mathematics, the usage of these things is not obvious. Most people just want to use what we've built to solve problems in their fields.

Heck, we do not really know that someone like Chuck really is a scientist. What investigations has he performed? If he has, presumably it has been in the area of psychology, which he claims to have studied. Therefore, he is most likely not an authority on any other area, such as physics. He most likely has not performed studies which replicate the studies he has quoted. Besides, who has enough time in their lives to replicate all these studies. If he cannot understand the basis underlying the mathematical tools used in those studies, he may also not understand the basis of the scientific method itself!

It's not that I disagree with the findings of the studies he has quoted.

I've got to get back to work, so I may not be entirely clear here, but it is for these reasons I have trouble believing he or anyone else is capable of reasoning without some set of assumptions/beliefs.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:02 pm 
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From one of Chuck's posts:

"Carl Sagan discusses religion distinctly in the scene where the camera is aimed up at him, and he is on a moving boat in the episode 'The Edge of Forever', where he says that "some religions attempt to answer the question of 'Where did the universe come from?' with a creator - but if we are brave in our questioning we must ask 'well what made the creator then?' Why not save a step and conclude there was NO creator. Or if one claims the creator was always there, why not save a step, and conclude the universe was always there?""

One, how are these conclusions rather than assumptions?
Two, is this one philosophical stunt to get out of another, or is there something deeper here?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:33 pm 
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Nice to find another Religious Thread I can go to. It was one of my favourite threads on Seti.
Maths was one of my worst subjects at school, so I cannot proceed from a mathematician's point of view, but I would like to add a few thoughts about the origins of the universe anyway.
There have been some theories put forward about the origins of the universe and whether or not there is a 'creator.'
One theory holds that ours is not the only universe. Supposedly there are many universes, or an infinite number of universes, continually coming into being or dying. This is known as the 'Multiverse' theory. If there are other universes, then it must be that in at least some of them, life may have come about by chance without the need for a creator. This seems to dispense with the need for a Creator or god. The weakness with this theory, however, is that it cannot be tested by science. We will never be able to go beyond this universe to find out. Another problem with this theory is that it seems to go against the principle of 'Occam's Razor' which holds that the simplest explanation is the best explanation, so may be rejected on those terms by some scientists.
Another is that the universe was never created - it has always been and always will be.
Or perhaps, the Big Bang, from which the Universe came about, was the result of a cataclysmic explosion brought about by a race of advanced beings who destroyed themselves. But in doing so, they brought our Universe accidentally into creation. (A very colourful thought with science fiction fans in mind).

I think all of these theories might exclude a Creator. However, they cannot be tested, apart from the Big Bang theory of course. But where did the Big Bang come from? Maybe it came from nowhere. But where is nowhere?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:45 pm 
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I would like to add another thought. Why can't we have a god who was created in the beginning of the Universe? If he/she was created would that make them any less of a god? The only difference would be that they did not create the Universe, but they could have designed it to their specifications.

Another thought I would like to add regards religious texts. It is quite possible that God has used written texts to convey his message to Mankind, but this is a very dodgy and unreliable way of doing it. Surely an all-wise and knowing god would have used a far more full-proof method than human agency and the limitations of the written word. Humans are not perfect mediums when it comes to receiveing and passing on divine messages. So I suspect that all religious texts - IFthey are divinely inspired - contain flaws and contradictions in their teachings. In other words, the message has been corrupted and coloured by passage through the human mind.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:23 am 
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If we consider that we exist in a physical universe made of atoms, electrons, and various other atomic particles why could there not exist other universes not made of this "stuff"?

Of course this is well beyond any kind of scientific explanation as science is limited by its own toolkit (which is *very* new and primitive) which is the application of experimental testing and human observable events. Consider events or concepts that may be beyond that of human perception and insight? Is it such a crazy idea? And if it is not perceivable or measurable by human science does it exist??? I would say yes, but it is definitely something that is outside or beyond our universe as we know it.

Consider time itself. Isn’t this a function and fundamental property of the universe in which we exist? The "natural" decay of elements is what time IS? If elements didn’t decay and get reborn in stars then how would the universe be? Isn't this a little weird? Some scientists postulate that if atomic weights and forces etc were not what they are, the universe could NOT exist as it does today! Planned or by accident?

Some of this cogitating may help us understand why we cannot and may never be able to answer with total and utter certainty "what happens when we die?" :smt017

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:21 am 
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susan wrote:
There have been some theories put forward about the origins of the universe and whether or not there is a 'creator.'
One theory holds that ours is not the only universe. Supposedly there are many universes, or an infinite number of universes, continually coming into being or dying. This is known as the 'Multiverse' theory.


The last book of Clarke & Lee's "Rama" series deals with this idea. Advanced creatures or machines tinkering with initial conditions in different universes, to see which one's end up in "harmony." I forget what the conclusion about God was in that book.

But, still, it is a piece of fiction. On the other hand, Clarke probably has a good awareness of actual science. Plus, I think there's been at least one article in Discover magazine in the past few years regarding multiverses or "membrane" ("brane" for short) theory.[/quote]

As I mentioned earlier, our difficulties in these discussions include either not being trained being scientists or, for even people like myself and Chuck, it's stuff outside our areas. Assumptions MUST be being made. Even within one's scientific area, as I have discussed several times, assumptions ARE made, to assist the reasoning process in order to avoid circular reasoning.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:34 am 
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susan wrote:
I would like to add another thought. Why can't we have a god who was created in the beginning of the Universe? If he/she was created would that make them any less of a god?


Depends on the definition god, eh? Creator included, or just having infinite powers or whatever, eh?

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Another thought I would like to add regards religious texts. It is quite possible that God has used written texts to convey his message to Mankind, but this is a very dodgy and unreliable way of doing it. Surely an all-wise and knowing god would have used a far more full-proof method than human agency and the limitations of the written word. Humans are not perfect mediums when it comes to receiveing and passing on divine messages. So I suspect that all religious texts - IFthey are divinely inspired - contain flaws and contradictions in their teachings. In other words, the message has been corrupted and coloured by passage through the human mind.


I concur.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:11 am 
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susan wrote:

There have been some theories put forward about the origins of the universe and whether or not there is a 'creator.'
One theory holds that ours is not the only universe. Supposedly there are many universes, or an infinite number of universes, continually coming into being or dying. This is known as the 'Multiverse' theory. If there are other universes, then it must be that in at least some of them, life may have come about by chance without the need for a creator. This seems to dispense with the need for a Creator or god. The weakness with this theory, however, is that it cannot be tested by science. We will never be able to go beyond this universe to find out.


Sue, if you are interested in Multiverse theory, there is a book called "The Fabric of Reality" which is written by a guy named David Deutch (he's a quantum physicist) and well the book is predominantly about the nature of reality and the possibility of multiple universes in relation to quantum theory. It also talks about a theory for "everything" (not just clearing up the problems between quantum physics and relativity but a theory which brings together all scientific and related disciplines).

This book gets the old grey matter working... and is an interesting alternative perspective on reality.

Craig.
p.s. this is not a work of science fiction and is based on the science of quantum physics.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Fine Enigma. I've noted the book and the author. It may well be worth a read. Thanks. :smt001


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:44 pm 
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Did God create man, or man create God? ummmmm im not religous so dont get me wrong but is it the right time or in fact will there be a right time to answer that question, if we could go back in time and bring a cave man into the 20th century would he not think that we were gods, if we could travel to the 40th century would we not maybe think that they where gods, in the future when space travel becomes as easy as driving your car and maybe other species have been discovered would we be able to answer that question I dont know its a hard one. surely anyone that trys to answer can only give a time related answer, because our knowledge of the earth let alone the universe is changing every day, we still discover things about the earth that have scientist second guessing each other. :smt017


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:43 pm 
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Great discussion. Looking at the above post there is a very diverse view. At 48, it’s easy to think of oneself as well read and open minded. In reality there are so many different viewpoints out there on both science and religion. What I have tried to do recently is to try and step back from what I have been told as a child through adulthood and try and see what’s really there. The problem is that when living a full life one doesn't have the time to look and read all there is on either subject. We all tend to gravitate towards the result that works best for our individual perspective of the world. If I were to sum up either view and look at it from a fresh pair of eye's, which is hard to do without preconceived notions, I think a person could come to a degree of certainty about what’s out there. This is where faith comes in. I don't mean religious faith. But the kind of faith that say's, "I don't know everything, but there is a body of evidence that looks to be more true out there".
Can you look at a summed up version of God/Christianity and say hey, almost as good as Lord of the rings but thought up by man.
Can you look at science and say it’s a bunch of non-believers trying to justify their beliefs in nature and the physical world.

Myself, I have tried to look at both sides as objectively as possible which I am sure is still slanted towards science but I have "Faith" that there are some really smart people out there and that a scientific viewpoint trumps religion.
Traveling around the world I have noticed some basic true-ism's. The poor and downtrodden are usually very religious. Is this because they have no control over their physical existence due to forces beyond their control so religion helps them deal with reality by promising a better afterlife?
It seem plausible to me. In looking back in time this can be seem as far back time is recorded. When gathering a large group of social beings together as we humans are, there always needs to be a set of controls or rules for a society to gel cohesively. Religion is one good way to do that.
If you look closely, some of the smartest people in our history, how many were truly religious? Society always imposes that we be seen as good church going folk (see "politicians") or at least to present that view. But strip away what might have been done for acceptance and how many intellectuals out there are truly religious. Anyway, I could go on and on and to be honest, I still don't think I have expressed my thoughts on this as clearly as I wish to but I hope you people understand where I went with this, and I do welcome other viewpoints. I will always look at new evidence that contradicts my current viewpoint.
:smt001

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 Post subject: Expectations about religion...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:23 am 
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I think there has often been too much emphasis on science versus religion with one (science) being better than the other (religion) since science aims to find the truth about the nature of existence.
Religion fulfils different needs to science. It seems to fulfil basic inner needs, providing comfort (more often for the bereaved) as well as spiritual solace and a sense of community for many who might be lonely.
However, religion actually does attempt to look for its own version of 'truth.' Not objective truth in the way science does, but subjective truth perhaps, a certain 'something' within the individual that can be tapped, either by prayer, meditation or other spiritual practices.
I do not think it is any good trying to compare the two and to say that one is better than the other at finding the 'truth' since they both fulfil completely different needs. Religion seems to concentrate mainly on the nature of subjective reality, whereas science concentrates on the objective, the three-dimensional, the world that can be observed, measured and verified.
That is not the job of religious belief and never has been.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 1:27 am 
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Susan, what you state is true on many levels but ( there always is a "but") religion can also be a very negative thing as well. How many people living in this world are poor, abused, living a miserable life yet they hang on becuase they carry a belief that the after life will be better. Maybe if people put away there religion and take a good look at where they are, maybe instead they will change things. If you think this is your one shot at life do you think people will so willingly take the crap there handed. Would you let your son or daughter enlist in a war and fight for some intangable goal some meglomaniac wants. Maybe people will cherish the life they have just a bit more if they were not so blinded by any faith. Lets not mention the thousand or so different versions of religion that each person feels is the "correct version".
Also, why do we need religion to believe that there may be an afterlife. Science has yet to fully investigate that one. I mentioned in another thread about multi-universes. May be the thought of many copies of myself out there would suffice for carring on. I see my son who is almost 20 and I hear him say so many things that he heard me say when he was young. Many of those things I picked up from my father so in a way we do live on and religion is not a part of it. There are so many rieligions out in the world and its all so subjective. It can't be tested. Science can test many things and the capabilities are growing fast. If it was a horse race, my money would definetly be on science. Its just more grounded and I guess the thought of walking through life believing in something that turns out to be false is much more terrifing to me than looking for the truth while I am here. It just seems much more fulfiling to me.
I guess it boils down to whatever gets you through the day. :smt017

By the way, might I suggest to Buga1 that he add a spellchecker to this site. My spelling is horrible.. lol

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 3:29 am 
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Quote:
By the way, might I suggest to Buga1 that he add a spellchecker to this site. My spelling is horrible.. lol


As long as it isn't Rick doing the spell checking.

He can't spell either...lmao

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 10:25 pm 
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I guess I have been leaning on spell checker to long.. So has Rick apparently.. :smt036

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:58 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Susan, what you state is true on many levels but ( there always is a "but") religion can also be a very negative thing as well. How many people living in this world are poor, abused, living a miserable life yet they hang on becuase they carry a belief that the after life will be better. Maybe if people put away there religion and take a good look at where they are, maybe instead they will change things. If you think this is your one shot at life do you think people will so willingly take the crap there handed. Would you let your son or daughter enlist in a war and fight for some intangable goal some meglomaniac wants. Maybe people will cherish the life they have just a bit more if they were not so blinded by any faith. Lets not mention the thousand or so different versions of religion that each person feels is the "correct version".
Quote:
Also, why do we need religion to believe that there may be an afterlife. Science has yet to fully investigate that one.
I mentioned in another thread about multi-universes. May be the thought of many copies of myself out there would suffice for carring on. I see my son who is almost 20 and I hear him say so many things that he heard me say when he was young. Many of those things I picked up from my father so in a way we do live on and religion is not a part of it. There are so many rieligions out in the world and its all so subjective. It can't be tested. Science can test many things and the capabilities are growing fast. If it was a horse race, my money would definetly be on science. Its just more grounded and I guess the thought of walking through life believing in something that turns out to be false is much more terrifing to me than looking for the truth while I am here. It just seems much more fulfiling to me.
I guess it boils down to whatever gets you through the day. :smt017

By the way, might I suggest to Buga1 that he add a spellchecker to this site. My spelling is horrible.. lol



I fully agree with you on the quote about the afterlife and religion. Religion has had the monopoly on life after death for far too long. It is time to investigate the mystery of whether we survive our demise and I believe it has and is currently being investigated by some scientists.
I am not sure if all religious people are 'blinded' by their faith, but it is certainly true that some of the strongest mental and psychological chains can be caused by religous faith. A healthy scepticism in what one believes is always a good thing.
I still hold to the belief that religion is not necessarily the cause of all of the world's suffering or even most of it. Some of the most atheistic countries have sent people into battle and they have gone willingly it seems - just look at China or Russia.
The root of much human suffering lies in instinctual human aggression, and that cannot be removed by abolishing religous belief.
Religion can be lethal I admit, never more so when it is mixed in with politics and territoriality.
I think it is time politicians and psychologists looked at instinctual human aggression. If that could be controlled, religion might take on a much more benevolent face - and perhaps so would politics.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 3:55 pm 
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ummm this is just a thought so dont go jumping down my throat ok lol.

I think that a lot of people would agree that religion is misused and made lethal, so maybe if religion didnt excist we might not be so easily pulled into wars or would we as a race just find something else to fight over?
As for china/russia sorry but cant agree there susan both china and russia have gone to war because of devotion to leader at time and he in turn has gone to war because of his belief that he is doing the greater good for his people is that not a form of religious worship??


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:21 pm 
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yeababy wrote:
ummm this is just a thought so dont go jumping down my throat ok lol.

I think that a lot of people would agree that religion is misused and made lethal, so maybe if religion didnt excist we might not be so easily pulled into wars or would we as a race just find something else to fight over?
As for china/russia sorry but cant agree there susan both china and russia have gone to war because of devotion to leader at time and he in turn has gone to war because of his belief that he is doing the greater good for his people is that not a form of religious worship??



Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. Devotion to a leader, to the point where people are willing to die for him is a form of religious worship. But to me, that only goes to prove that you can't get rid of worship by abolishing conventional religion. If you do away with God, someone will step in for sure to take his place, whether that be a megalomaniac or an all powerful State machine.
Pol Pot and Mao Zeedong tried it. So did Stalin and Hitler. They all wanted to be worshipped and feared. So they suppressed religion. In its place they founded tyrannies which saw thousands of innocent people murdered, and in Stalin's and Mao's regiimes patients dragged out of their hospital beds, and old people, women and children marched to the fields and forced to work, to plant food.
I would not say that you are wrong. Religion causes major problems. I would like to play devil's advocate with my own argument if you don't mind. The strongest argument against my own position is this I think: You can also have hardline regimes that are also religious, not just atheist. I only have to look at countries like Saudi Arabia or Iran to see that. Neither of these countries seem to have very good human rights records, but neither does Turkey, which has a secular constitution. That means Islam, although a majority faith in Turkey, cannot be a State religion. The state remains secular, but their human rights record has been appalling to date. The picture overall seems much more complicated. At the moment though, the world seems to be going mad with religious fundamentalism and this is causing wars and other problems. I accept that fully.


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Actually when you abolish something there is a certain type of person out there that will want it all the more. If religion goes, it will have to be because people no longer need it. I don't see that happening anytime soon. We just got to make science more sexy and appealing.
Now, if we could only get the Pussy Cat Dolls to recite the periodic Tables or have Brad Pitt play a young Einstien.. :smt017

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Yes, but there is also a danger that if you abolish something, it will simply go underground, which could make it all the more dangerous.
Have you ever entertained the thought (I have) that IF scientists could prove there was life after death, that this would actually destroy religion or make it far less appealing? People would be too fascinated with what may lie beyond. Religion and all its trappings would be forgotten. Or would it only serve to strengthen religious belief? I have often wondered about that.
Also I certainly agree that science should be more sexy. People also forget about religion when sex comes on the scene.
There should be more sexy people within science. There should be more romance in sci fi films. People like the late but lovely Jon Pertwee and Gigolo Jo from Steven Spielberg's movie, 'Artificial Intelligence.' And how about Duran Duran from the film 'Barbarella,' and for the benefit of male posters, Jane Fonda, who played Barbarella the character.
And where are all the good looking scientists and aliens who could give us, love in space.
Don't good looking people ever go into science proper? Or do they just stick to science in the movies? :smt001


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I think we need to clarify the term "religion". Religion on its own in isolation is 'safe', that is when one is let ponder religion as an individual in isolation.

I would like to make the point that religion becomes dangerous when it's organised. Organised religion is a very powerful tool of control for churches, governments, politicians and fundamentalists.

@ Brian, i have seen a similar situation to what you have described. The poor and downtrodden (usually also poorly educated as well) tend to hold blindingly strong belief in god and organised religion. Of course this ignorance is exploited by the church etc.

If these people spent similar amounts of time thinking about solving their problems than praying etc they may get out of their situation. Religion is a mental, social cushion and a very "easy way out".

Some people (many?) are also terrified of what happens after they die! Only a few books have claimed to answer that one.

P.S. I watched Barbarella as a kid and i though Jane Fonda was VERY sexy.... lol.....

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Enigma wrote:
I think we need to clarify the term "religion". Religion on its own in isolation is 'safe', that is when one is let ponder religion as an individual in isolation.

I would like to make the point that religion becomes dangerous when it's organised. Organised religion is a very powerful tool of control for churches, governments, politicians and fundamentalists.

@ Brian, i have seen a similar situation to what you have described. The poor and downtrodden (usually also poorly educated as well) tend to hold blindingly strong belief in god and organised religion. Of course this ignorance is exploited by the church etc.

If these people spent similar amounts of time thinking about solving their problems than praying etc they may get out of their situation. Religion is a mental, social cushion and a very "easy way out".

Quote:
Some people (many?) are also terrified of what happens after they die! Only a few books have claimed to answer that one.


P.S. I watched Barbarella as a kid and i though Jane Fonda was VERY sexy.... lol.....



I think the whole subject of personal 'survival' after death needs to be separated from religion. Some researchers have actively sought to investigate the survival problem, people such as William Crookes, Dr. R Crookall, Oliver Lodge, Frederick Myers etc, often it seems, at some risk to their reputations.
I am not saying there is such a thing as survivial. In fact the idea does clash a lot with my belief in Darwinism and evolution, but if survival is a fact, then how do I accept both? I am not sure.
You don't need religion to believe there is a place we go to when we die. I have met atheists who keep very open minds about the subject; and I have also met some religious church-going people who do not accept the idea of survival at all, yet they accept and live by the moral teachings of their faith. For them religion has a strong social and moral dimension - without all the trappings of supernaturalism. So the 'battle' lines are not clearly drawn - between atheists and religious. There is no clear cut dividing line it seems. Yet one poster on the Seti boards seems to think there is. They make a fatal error in their philosophy because they appear to be guilty of black and white thinking.
As to the subject of survival, I don't think religious belief necessarily gives more comfort to a dying person, but it might do in some cases. It may depend on how strong that person's faith is.


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susan wrote:
I think the whole subject of personal 'survival' after death needs to be separated from religion. Some researchers have actively sought to investigate the survival problem, people such as William Crookes, Dr. R Crookall, Oliver Lodge, Frederick Myers etc, often it seems, at some risk to their reputations.
I am not saying there is such a thing as survivial. In fact the idea does clash a lot with my belief in Darwinism and evolution, but if survival is a fact, then how do I accept both? I am not sure.
You don't need religion to believe there is a place we go to when we die. I have met atheists who keep very open minds about the subject; and I have also met some religious church-going people who do not accept the idea of survival at all, yet they accept and live by the moral teachings of their faith. For them religion has a strong social and moral dimension - without all the trappings of supernaturalism. So the 'battle' lines are not clearly drawn - between atheists and religious. There is no clear cut dividing line it seems. Yet one poster on the Seti boards seems to think there is. They make a fatal error in their philosophy because they appear to be guilty of black and white thinking.
As to the subject of survival, I don't think religious belief necessarily gives more comfort to a dying person, but it might do in some cases. It may depend on how strong that person's faith is.


Survival after body death will be difficult to prove at best, we may never know. Regardless i am sure people will not stop thinking about it in a hurry....

I am not sure i understand the linkage between survival and darwinian evolution... .can you explain further?

As for moral teachings from certain scriptures, yes i can see the value... the problem is that they are open to interpretation and inconsistent when interpreted by different people. This leads to a lot of problems.....

Well we all know about that poster. I accused him of polarised (black/white) thinking on more than one occasion, but it fell on deaf ears i'm afraid....

Re the battle lines.... they may not be clearly drawn but i believe we are moving into a period in time and history where organised religion is going to face some serious challenges, especially from agnostic thinking.

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Enigma wrote:
susan wrote:
I think the whole subject of personal 'survival' after death needs to be separated from religion. Some researchers have actively sought to investigate the survival problem, people such as William Crookes, Dr. R Crookall, Oliver Lodge, Frederick Myers etc, often it seems, at some risk to their reputations.
I am not saying there is such a thing as survivial. In fact the idea does clash a lot with my belief in Darwinism and evolution, but if survival is a fact, then how do I accept both? I am not sure.
You don't need religion to believe there is a place we go to when we die. I have met atheists who keep very open minds about the subject; and I have also met some religious church-going people who do not accept the idea of survival at all, yet they accept and live by the moral teachings of their faith. For them religion has a strong social and moral dimension - without all the trappings of supernaturalism. So the 'battle' lines are not clearly drawn - between atheists and religious. There is no clear cut dividing line it seems. Yet one poster on the Seti boards seems to think there is. They make a fatal error in their philosophy because they appear to be guilty of black and white thinking.
As to the subject of survival, I don't think religious belief necessarily gives more comfort to a dying person, but it might do in some cases. It may depend on how strong that person's faith is.


Survival after body death will be difficult to prove at best, we may never know. Regardless i am sure people will not stop thinking about it in a hurry....

Quote:
I am not sure i understand the linkage between survival and darwinian evolution... .can you explain further?


As for moral teachings from certain scriptures, yes i can see the value... the problem is that they are open to interpretation and inconsistent when interpreted by different people. This leads to a lot of problems.....

Well we all know about that poster. I accused him of polarised (black/white) thinking on more than one occasion, but it fell on deaf ears i'm afraid....

Quote:
Re the battle lines.... they may not be clearly drawn but i believe we are moving into a period in time and history where organised religion is going to face some serious challenges, especially from agnostic thinking.


It is difficult for me to reconcile Darwinism with survival because I equate Darwinism with materialism. If Darwin is right and we have literally arisen from the dust and are subject to the blind forces of evolution, is there any reason to suppose that we possess any kind of 'soul' that can survive after we die? We may be just material creatures, as Richard Dawkins thinks, and that is why I have a problem accepting both. It might be possible to accept Darwinism alongside survivial but I do not see how at present.

I think also that organised religion faces some serious challenges, especially if we do manage to find intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Organised religion, particularly Christianity or Islam, may have to re-assess its beliefs that Man on earth is some kind of special creature under God. It might be that the world's faiths will have to re-define themselves.

Anyway, I think you can be spiritual without being religious and religious without being spiritual. I don't think people need religion to believe in some kind of life hereafter. And as you say, we may never know the answer to that one. But I don't think it will stop people from delving into the mystery, even if all organised religion were to vanish. As I say, I think such a huge question as survival belongs within the domain of science, even if it cannot solve the mystery.


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Thanks for the clarification. Yes, i see your point, and i guess Dawkins does as you say look at life from the view of a materialist. However i don't think that this slams the door on the existence of a soul etc as this is something that science has yet to measure or really observe effectively. At the moment it would be classed as supernatural mysticism, however many areas of study started like that until the science developed (one that comes to mind is alchemy vs chemistry). To me its a bit like evolution without mutation these are interlocking to form a better answer to progress (cumulative selection) however there was a point in time when the view on mutation was not clear until scientific understanding improved.

For me , I hope that there is a general movement towards agnosticism and that organised religion dies a natural death....

Agnosticism allows people to pretty much believe what ever they like (call it freedom?). I have met some agnostics with extrememly different (but functional for them) views on life, afterlife etc however these people dont want to force their views on other people.....

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Call me agnostic then....

I have read the Bible, and there is one line that seems to sum up the whole thing for me.

John 3:16

Have any of the folks who like to tell people how to live ever noticed that at the end of that line there is no phrase stating "....but you have to..."

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Knightmare wrote:
Call me agnostic then....

I have read the Bible, and there is one line that seems to sum up the whole thing for me.

John 3:16

Have any of the folks who like to tell people how to live ever noticed that at the end of that line there is no phrase stating "....but you have to..."


I am rather agnostic myself.

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I would definitely call myself an agnostic too, and I agree that this allows for an open mind. I think some of the heaviest (mental) chains are religious chains, because it can so stifle freedom of thought.
However, unlike Knightmare, I do like Christmas because I bring my own inner meanings to it, something I couldn't take to a church and discuss with the vicar.
And I like the food and wine. Ditto. :smt020


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susan wrote:
However, unlike Knightmare, I do like Christmas because I bring my own inner meanings to it, something I couldn't take to a church and discuss with the vicar.
And I like the food and wine. Ditto. :smt020


Well...my reasons for not enjoying Christmas are more personal than religion based.

Some family issues and other things have managed to ruin Christmas for a long, long time for me.

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Sorry to hear that Knightmare. Families can be a real pain I know, especially at Christmas time. Luckily for us we will be able to enjoy a quiet Christmas this year. We won't be seeing the family until New Year's Eve.


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