Why a world without religion would be a better place

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Amperage
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 03:46 pm
@xris,
xris;124443 wrote:
So he created us for our benefit. Did he actually assume we would appreciate our existence without question. Are we allowed to question our existence or are we to be grateful without benefit of knowing.
Of course you're allowed to question but I think we must be careful of our intent behind the questioning. If you have honest questions the bible says ask and ye shall receive but if your intent is hypocritical in nature or bitterness then I think the better question lies within your own heart.

To sum up, questioning or doubting is natural and acceptable. But we must be careful to examine our own hearts for why we are questioning and the motivation/intent behind our questioning to make sure our motives are sincere/pure
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 03:59 pm
@Amperage,
Amperage;124451 wrote:
Of course you're allowed to question but I think we must be careful of our intent behind the questioning. If you have honest questions the bible says ask and ye shall receive but if your intent is hypocritical in nature or bitterness then I think the better question lies within your own heart.

To sum up, questioning or doubting is natural and acceptable. But we must be careful to examine our own hearts for why we are questioning and the motivation/intent behind our questioning to make sure our motives are sincere/pure
So what is the purpose of our existance? an honest question..Why do I exist? is it my choice or gods ? why should I be any less sincere through my disbelief than your faith. The question is still valid. Can I deny my existance to stop one small child's suffering? A gift, a gift of life, has to be accepted before it has value. This god must have desired our existance but he if he exists, restricted our ability , encouraged our failings by circumstance so that we might beg his forgiveness. Love does not give with the need of understanding, it should be as clear as a summers day.
 
EmperorNero
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 04:03 pm
@ArthBH,
To make one thing clear: Atheism has nothing to do with religion.
Some of the worlds major religions are atheistic, such as Buddhism. And many atheists follow organized belief systems that anthropologically can be considered religions.

ArthBH;117300 wrote:
Most religions have the idea that being 'good' all your life will pay for a completely selfish form of life insurance: heaven, or it's various alternatives. This also gets rid of any form of altruism.

If on the other hand you are atheist, you can still be altruistic. Yes, of course many religious people will tell you that they have done things that are purely altruistic, but I find the concept that they have not at some point thought of it as a help to pay for their ticket into heaven unlikely. Do humans really need religion to be kind?


This argument can be easily discredited with an empiric observation. Are there lots of atheist charities doing good in the world or are there religious charities doing good? If you trust the statistics I have seen, giving to charity strongly correlates with being religious.
So claiming that atheists are better people because they don't believe in heaven is simply factually incorrect. Maybe religionists do good things because they believe in a reward in the afterlife, so their charity is technically not altruism. But that's a better force for humanity than this supposed altruism of atheism that can't be seen anywhere around.

ArthBH;117300 wrote:
The other problem that religion creates is the fundamentalist morals and values that it carries with it. These morals are often logically and socially economically flawed, and by that I mean they have no positive influence on society. The reason people follow them is to please God. So there again we see the selfishness of religion. Instead of helping society, religious people are thinking of their own personal gain by following absurd morals so that they can get into heaven. We only have to look back to the slave trade, which the puritans didn't see as morally wrong in any form, to see just how absurd these fixed morals can look.


There are very early signs in archeology of men enslaving each others. So it's been going on forever. What brought it to an end was... what was that? Might it have been Christian morales?
They might not have told you this at school, but the slave trade was ended by a re-vitalizing of Christian morales in the 19th century.
They may have done it to please their imaginary God, but who's having a positive influence on society here?

Good things happen because of selfish motivations. It is erroneous to think that good things only happen because of altruistic and rational reasons. And that we would have a better world if we could get everybody to be rational, and no longer to be selfish. Since humans are inherently selfish your cause is at it's base anti-freedom.

ArthBH;117300 wrote:
It is for similar reasons that often intelligent discussions are infected by people who's morals are perverted by their selfish attention to their religion. If it wasn't for religion, we could discuss economics and logic with more ease, not bothering to stop to think about absurd morals that, from an atheist perspective, do not help anyone.


This argument too is moot. Because religionists believe in their fairy tales they are not somehow less logically capable as people. Quite the contrary, you can observe an astounding lack of logic and skepticism in the political camp that tends to be anti-religionist. For example on the topic of global warming.

ArthBH;117300 wrote:
Not only that, religion represses people, and this is the most dangerous thing of all. Repression creates aggression. We can see it with the muslim extremists, and when it comes to sexual repression, it doesn't take a genius to see a link with it and serial killers such as Ed Gein. And before anyone says it, yes I know their also is a link with serial killers and the opposite extreme to sexual repression as well. But non-the-less repression is dangerous, it's unhealthy, and it's unnatural, and the only thing that creates it is religion, or someone's excuse for it.


They sure had a lot of serial killers back in the medieval ages.

ArthBH;117300 wrote:
This is why I think a world without religion would be better, to give an unadulterated and open minded look at how the world could be made a better, using economics and logic, instead of nonsense morals and values.


Well, you are wrong. Your view of the world is that good things come from rationality, and bad things come from a lack of rationality. Look at any historic event and you notice that this is not the case. Good things can come from selfishness and good intentions often cause suffering and destruction.
The French and Russian revolutions were inspired by the mindset that you support, and they both caused millions of deaths.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 04:24 pm
@xris,
xris;124455 wrote:
So what is the purpose of our existence? an honest question..Why do I exist?
To know God.
Quote:
is it my choice or gods ?
Is what your choice? You have no choice about your existence. One day you wake up and, boom, here you are on planet earth.
Quote:
why should I be any less sincere through my disbelief than your faith. The question is still valid.
well certain lines of questioning weaken while others strengthen. If your questions weaken(or perpetuates even more bitterness, distrust, hatred) then I submit you did not question with sincerity/an open heart.
Quote:
Can I deny my existence to stop one small child's suffering?
I'm not sure I follow. You can't cease to exist in that sense. However, there are millions suffering who could use your compassion if you would only share it with them.
Quote:
A gift, a gift of life, has to be accepted before it has value. This god must have desired our existence but he if he exists, restricted our ability , encouraged our failings by circumstance so that we might beg his forgiveness.
If you believe in the Christian God you must realize that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And this is a free gift. There is no begging only the accepting of a gift. I would disagree that God has "restricted our ability" or "encouraged our failings". In the words of David, "The Lorid is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies." God does not encourage our failings nor does He restrict our ability. On the contrary He saves us from our failings and strengthens us when we are weak.
Quote:
Love does not give with the need of understanding, it should be as clear as a summers day.
It is.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 04:52 pm
@xris,
xris;124431 wrote:
He did not need to but he did...Now either he wanted to or not ? What did he create us for, what purpose do we serve god. I would like an answer please.

What if the answer you ask for does not please you???
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 05:07 pm
@xris,
xris;124431 wrote:
He did not need to but he did...Now either he wanted to or not ? What did he create us for, what purpose do we serve god. I would like an answer please.


We exist simply for the sake of being loved. Should there need be any reason beyond that?

---------- Post added 02-02-2010 at 06:09 PM ----------

xris;124435 wrote:
So you are saying god created us for our good not his? he had no personal gain from this creation? are you sure?


If God is perfect, he has no need for himself. I'm positive of this. If we spit on his love and give him a passive aggresive "finger" he lacks in nothing. God needs nothing from creatures like us, but he desires us to receive his love nonetheless.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:57 am
@Thomistic,
If this god created me for my benefit, why can I not refuse his offer? You cant have it both ways. If something is of benefit to you and its offered, surely the offer can be declined? I have always claimed that if I could stop the suffering of one child by denying my existence , I would, who would not?

I don't care for this view that god has reasons for our existence, its not clear that he is benevolent ,that he loves and cares for us. You may think so but I find very little evidence to support these claims. When millions die of drought in one year its beyond my comprehension that a loving god could stand back and tell us, via his followers, its part of his master plan.

Its naive and simplistic to maintain these beliefs through blind faith. Your excuses for this god are born of desire not logical reasoning.

---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 06:30 AM ----------

EmperorNero;124459 wrote:
To make one thing clear: Atheism has nothing to do with religion.
Some of the worlds major religions are atheistic, such as Buddhism. And many atheists follow organized belief systems that anthropologically can be considered religions.



This argument can be easily discredited with an empiric observation. Are there lots of atheist charities doing good in the world or are there religious charities doing good? If you trust the statistics I have seen, giving to charity strongly correlates with being religious.
So claiming that atheists are better people because they don't believe in heaven is simply factually incorrect. Maybe religionists do good things because they believe in a reward in the afterlife, so their charity is technically not altruism. But that's a better force for humanity than this supposed altruism of atheism that can't be seen anywhere around.



There are very early signs in archeology of men enslaving each others. So it's been going on forever. What brought it to an end was... what was that? Might it have been Christian morales?
They might not have told you this at school, but the slave trade was ended by a re-vitalizing of Christian morales in the 19th century.
They may have done it to please their imaginary God, but who's having a positive influence on society here?

Good things happen because of selfish motivations. It is erroneous to think that good things only happen because of altruistic and rational reasons. And that we would have a better world if we could get everybody to be rational, and no longer to be selfish. Since humans are inherently selfish your cause is at it's base anti-freedom.



This argument too is moot. Because religionists believe in their fairy tales they are not somehow less logically capable as people. Quite the contrary, you can observe an astounding lack of logic and skepticism in the political camp that tends to be anti-religionist. For example on the topic of global warming.



They sure had a lot of serial killers back in the medieval ages.



Well, you are wrong. Your view of the world is that good things come from rationality, and bad things come from a lack of rationality. Look at any historic event and you notice that this is not the case. Good things can come from selfishness and good intentions often cause suffering and destruction.
The French and Russian revolutions were inspired by the mindset that you support, and they both caused millions of deaths.
You propose religion has had a positive effect on society as a whole, it may have its high points but equally it has some bloody awful times. Slavery was condoned by the pope and not many Christians opposed its imposition. How many christian churches where built with guilt ridden slave traders money. I dont agree that Christians are more active in charitable activities, recently its quite the opposite. We have every year several media driven charities that raise millions of pounds by secular means. Look at all the major charities and they are all secular.

It is only recently,in historic terms, that the church has played a part in social beneficial activities or given opposition to authority. The RC church had little to say about fascism and even condoned the slaughter of millions of pagans in the new world. Even in 19c England you where ostracised or refused employment if you did not attend the village church. Not many secular witches burnt heretics at the stake. Look closely at its history its filled with horror stories.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:54 am
@xris,
xris;124443 wrote:
So he created us for our benefit. Did he actually assume we would appreciate our existance without question. Are we allowed to question our existance or are we to be grateful without benefit of knowing.


Existence certainly was imposed upon us, but we also believe that we can choose "eternal death" if we so seek it.

But our freedom is not absolute. We have the option of eternal happiness, as in Aristotle's ultimate end, or the absence of happiness and life.

---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 10:56 AM ----------

"Its naive and simplistic to maintain these beliefs through blind faith. Your excuses for this god are born of desire not logical reasoning."

Xris,

This is an accusation, not an argument.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 10:02 am
@Thomistic,
Thomistic;124673 wrote:
Existence certainly was imposed upon us, but we also believe that we can choose "eternal death" if we so seek it.

But our freedom is not absolute. We have the option of eternal happiness, as in Aristotle's ultimate end, or the absence of happiness and life.

---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 10:56 AM ----------

"Its naive and simplistic to maintain these beliefs through blind faith. Your excuses for this god are born of desire not logical reasoning."

Xris,

This is an accusation, not an argument.
So your certainties through faith are what? are they convincing enough to be called knowledge, a knowledge that is beyond question?

I have the choice, what choice? You have not answered my questions merely given me the usual rhetoric of eternal damnation, if I dont see your perfect god.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 10:49 am
@xris,
xris;124682 wrote:
So your certainties through faith are what? are they convincing enough to be called knowledge, a knowledge that is beyond question?

I have the choice, what choice? You have not answered my questions merely given me the usual rhetoric of eternal damnation, if I dont see your perfect god.


What I have given you isn't rhetoric. Is it too much to ask for some mutual respect? I have no disrespect for what you believe, but all I hope to accomplish here is to develop mutual understanding. In no way am I trying to convert you. Please don't assume I'm trying to discuss these things in a "usual" way since you do not know me at all.

More to the point, Aquinas defines "faith" not as blind, but a type of mix between "Opinion" and "Knowledge."

In other words, those with faith, are those who by grace have come to know God. But that "experience" of God is not fully comprehensible since it is a mystery, and thus there is a realm of the unknown attatched to that faith. In other words, without experience of God it is irrational to believe in God. But that does not mean it is reasonable to say that God does not exist because he has not been experienced.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 11:38 am
@Thomistic,
Thomistic;124689 wrote:
What I have given you isn't rhetoric. Is it too much to ask for some mutual respect? I have no disrespect for what you believe, but all I hope to accomplish here is to develop mutual understanding. In no way am I trying to convert you. Please don't assume I'm trying to discuss these things in a "usual" way since you do not know me at all.

More to the point, Aquinas defines "faith" not as blind, but a type of mix between "Opinion" and "Knowledge."

In other words, those with faith, are those who by grace have come to know God. But that "experience" of God is not fully comprehensible since it is a mystery, and thus there is a realm of the unknown attatched to that faith. In other words, without experience of God it is irrational to believe in God. But that does not mean it is reasonable to say that God does not exist because he has not been experienced.
I have no problem with spiritual experience or the necessity to believe. Its the certainty thats wheeled out like some proven theory. The reticence that believers have in answering difficult questions, its the politics of faith that infuriates me. The side stepping, the referral to scriptures as if confirms their views. Im sorry if I have offended you, I apologize, but I would like my questions to be seriously considered and not have the usual preachers patronizing replies.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 12:37 pm
@xris,
xris;124700 wrote:
I have no problem with spiritual experience or the necessity to believe. Its the certainty thats wheeled out like some proven theory. The reticence that believers have in answering difficult questions, its the politics of faith that infuriates me. The side stepping, the referral to scriptures as if confirms their views. Im sorry if I have offended you, I apologize, but I would like my questions to be seriously considered and not have the usual preachers patronizing replies.


Most people who know me, would never describe me as patronizing. That being said, I am very sorry if that is how you read into my argument. For the record, I would never judge anyone as going to hell or heaven. In my theological perspective, thats not up to me to decide. WHat is coming out here is perhaps a wound that many Christians unfairly project and inflict on others, and on their behalf I apologize.

Lets move on though, shall we?

We have to establish a distinction between conviction and certainty. It is natural for people to have a certain type of conviction that the Sun will come up tomorrow, but that doesn't mean they know in fact it will. Now I'm not an advocate for Hume at all, because I believe we can say with certainty that based upon the nature of the Sun it will come up tomorrow if nothing in that nature changes from now to that time. Whereas hume would suggest that the nature may change tomorrow, to which I just shrug my shoulders and roll my eyes.

On the note of scripture, I'm not a fundamentalist, and I would only quote scripture to express a point I've already systematically laid down. I think there are four pillars to what the Church teaches:

Science - Philosophy - Fath - Tradition

The first two are primarily natural and the latter two are dogmatic and "revealed" or experiential in nature.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 01:14 pm
@Thomistic,
So when logic conflicts with faith how do manage to excuse faith. With my observations of the faithful, in these circumstances, they revert to rhetoric scriptures, like its hidey place where their convictions remain intact. I arrive at this critical moment from a position of a believer who stopped listening to the religious propaganda and asked pertinent questions. I cant help but ask these questions , the trouble is I see myself thirty years ago frantically trying to excuse god these anomalies of faith that I ask now and the very same answers I gave, I receive in return.

Why should any child suffer for our salvation, my salvation. Christ can die for my sins , its his choice but not the countless billions that have and will suffer for gods great cause...Its almost obscene to believe a benevolent god will allow one more child to suffer for a certain mysterious reason. Its beyond comprehension , belief, credibility , logic.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 01:29 pm
@xris,
xris;124714 wrote:
So when logic conflicts with faith how do manage to excuse faith. With my observations of the faithful, in these circumstances, they revert to rhetoric scriptures, like its hidey place where their convictions remain intact. I arrive at this critical moment from a position of a believer who stopped listening to the religious propaganda and asked pertinent questions. I cant help but ask these questions , the trouble is I see myself thirty years ago frantically trying to excuse god these anomalies of faith that I ask now and the very same answers I gave, I receive in return.

Why should any child suffer for our salvation, my salvation. Christ can die for my sins , its his choice but not the countless billions that have and will suffer for gods great cause...Its almost obscene to believe a benevolent god will allow one more child to suffer for a certain mysterious reason. Its beyond comprehension , belief, credibility , logic.


John Paul II wrote in Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) that logic and faith should never stand in contradiction. Meaning that those things which we believe that do not break the law of non-contradiction, or defy fundamental principles of logic, remain plasible and thus merit faith according to tradition and the anthropological "fittingness" they imply.

"in these circumstances, they revert to rhetoric scriptures, like its hidey place where their convictions remain intact."

It is the same tendency I find in others who promote political ideologies. They might quote Karl Marx, and expect people to just receive it b/c his name has some mystical power. I prefer argument. If there is no faith in God, scripture - which we believe is inspired by God - will have little value in the discourse. The only purpose I would offer scripture is to perhaps provide a clarification on what we believe to demonstrate a false perception. Sometimes I present scripture to fundamentalists to demonstrate how their interpretation of scripture is fallacious or contradictorary.

"Why should any child suffer for our salvation, my salvation. Christ can die for my sins , its his choice but not the countless billions that have and will suffer for gods great cause...Its almost obscene to believe a benevolent god will allow one more child to suffer for a certain mysterious reason. Its beyond comprehension , belief, credibility , logic"

This is an honest question and I respect it. What I will say is likely contrary to what some protestants will say. But as a Catholic I believe that God does not desire us to suffer. The term "com-passion" means to "suffer-with" and Christ's passion was a means of being-with us during those dark and lonely experiences we have, even in death. God did not design us to die, and we fall into the "theology" of the fall to explain how death is present.

Even Aristotle preceived death as completely irrational inlight of the human condition. He recognized like Plato that human beings are intrinsically tied to those things which are incorruptable, such as universal truths or "forms." And that death frustrates that desire in us to have everlasting happiness.

So often the next question therefore is "how could an all powerful God permit suffering to exist." St. Augustine answered this question quite well, and I'd be willing to explain it if you are interested. Also a theologian by the name of Fr. Robert Barron also attempted to answer this question.

I was preaching one day and I had said to the congregation: "God hates death. He does not enjoy our suffering, he does not say that it gives him pleasure. What he says is "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Well I didn't realize it, but I had really upset one of the parishoners who was holding onto a great deal of anger towards God. She did not want to let go of her anger whatsoever.

So I realize this is a touchie subject, and I don't wish to oversimplify it at all with simple philosophical responses. The problem of evil to the Christian is not necessarily just resolved through reason, but also the the crucifixion where God Himself was subject to misery as are we.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 03:11 pm
@Thomistic,
I understand death is a consequence of life and one can not be without the other. To holiday forever is more than any soul could tolerate. My suffering does not concern me, its not a selfish request. Its the billions of children that have not known life or have not been given the opportunity to discover. Why does a benevolent god let the constant years of persistent evil inflict these our little children. When will he say enough is enough, has there not been enough pain , testing . It may not be long in heavenly terms, mans existance, but it has run it course. This god is not logical.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:10 pm
@xris,
xris;124744 wrote:
I understand death is a consequence of life and one can not be without the other. To holiday forever is more than any soul could tolerate. My suffering does not concern me, its not a selfish request. Its the billions of children that have not known life or have not been given the opportunity to discover. Why does a benevolent god let the constant years of persistent evil inflict these our little children. When will he say enough is enough, has there not been enough pain , testing . It may not be long in heavenly terms, mans existance, but it has run it course. This god is not logical.



I believe I can offer you an explanation and response to this difficult question. And I appreciate the fact that you do not like it when Childen suffer. I think it is quite an evil thing that shouldn't be tolerated. I hope to respond to this, but at this moment I don't have the "time" I would generally need to give you a concise and thought-out response. Give me a day or two.

Peace
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 12:26 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;117423 wrote:

People have a natural instinct towards religious like beliefs, you can't get rid of that. And I don't know how you would argue that religious people should be converted to atheism..


Religion is an outgrowth of having too big a brain Smile
It roots back to our need to understand - and thereby CONTROL - our environment. To survive.
If we believe we have knowledge - we believe we have control. And that 'knowledge' can be used to control others without it. Which gives US more control. And the circle completes and begins.

I favor breaking the cycle...........

GS
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 01:46 pm
@groundedspirit,
groundedspirit;126486 wrote:
Religion is an outgrowth of having too big a brain Smile
It roots back to our need to understand - and thereby CONTROL - our environment. To survive.
If we believe we have knowledge - we believe we have control. And that 'knowledge' can be used to control others without it. Which gives US more control. And the circle completes and begins.

I favor breaking the cycle...........

GS


In Hermetic Tradition God is thought to be a Cirkel
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:20 pm
@ArthBH,
Sounds to me like making a religion of religiousness. I doubt humans ever function in the absence of symbolic imperatives. Hasn't Marxism (anti-religious) functioned as a religion? Here's another question. Would you persuade or enforce this abolition of religion? Is de-spiritualized prudence enough of a motive for either task?

State atheism has been defined by David Kowalewski as the official "promotion of atheism" by a government, typically by active suppression of religious freedom and practice.[1]
As a strict rule (a period in Revolutionary France being a possible exception), only Marxist governments have ever sought to promote atheism as a public norm, and as a rule in accordance with the doctrine of dialectical materialism. State atheism may include active opposition to religion, and persecution of religious institutions, leaders and believers. The Soviet Union had a long history of state atheism,[2] in which social success largely required individuals to reject theism and stay away from churches; this attitude was especially militant under Joseph Stalin.[3][4][5] The Soviet Union attempted to suppress religion over wide areas of its influence, including places like central Asia.[6] The Socialist People's Republic of Albania under Enver Hoxha went so far as to officially ban the practice of every religion.[7]





 
xris
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:39 pm
@Reconstructo,
Its not a matter of prohibition its case that some of us feel the need to rationally evaluate the need and the necessity of prolonging the idea of religion.
 
 

 
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