Why a world without religion would be a better place

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Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:49 pm
@xris,
xris;126531 wrote:
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.


I can sympathize with that, as it's a question I also consider important.

I think we are hardwired for symbolic response. I doubt that humanity can escape having "gods." These gods can take the form of the abstract words like Reason or Truth or Justice. In the end something vague is used to justify dominance. "Killing in the name of."

Isn't "rationality" itself a sort of idol? Do we think because it is prudent or because we feel that it is noble to think? As soon as we get into feeling of the noble and sublime, we are back in the territory of symbolic response/religion.

But that's just one opinion.
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 03:52 pm
@Reconstructo,
Equilibrium
 
xris
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 04:03 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
The truth is, it divides us an creates dogmatic demands. Have faith but put yourself into a box and the box will contain you.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 04:21 pm
@xris,
xris;126538 wrote:
Have faith but put yourself into a box and the box will contain you.


With respect, isn't this an example of myth-making? The box functions as a sort of negative. It echoes, for me, the idea that sin is alienation from God.

It should be noted that I am not traditionally religious in the least. My concern is with the structure common to all pursuits of virtue.

Can we have an ideal without its counter-ideal, it's inferior shadow? If we make it our ideal to have no counter ideal, our counter-ideal becomes the existence of a counter-ideal.

Also, unless we believe (note that word) that our position is 100% proven, is there not always a at least a modicum of faith sustaining this position?
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2010 04:58 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.


Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, I've had a funeral and other things to attend to, which are far more important.

The suffering that exists in the world has two causes according to Christianity - especially catholicism.

1. Sin - humanity has been given the capacity to choose freely and thus can choose to negate our own humanity by turning inward and becoming absorbed in ourselves (self-absorbed/selfish). Since human beings are anthropologically "social-beings" an extreme form of individualism hurts the community. When a person is absent (death) or by desire (i.e. child running away from home, father running away from responsibility, etc etc) it ultimately hurts others, including the "sinner." The term sin means literally "to miss the mark" - and it was used to describe an archor who misses the target. When we sin, we miss the mark of our humanity. This can cause terrible things to happen, such as sexual abuse scandals - whether its fathers or priests or mothers and teachers, child-abandonment, murder, theft and bullying.

2. Natural-Evil - the aforementioned category describes what is a result of two things, the fall, which causes a continuous break in relationships among humanity, and a propensity to be selfish in the human will (concupiscence). Natural evil however has more to do with the mere fact that the world is not perfect, and lacks complete and perfect harmony. Some fundamentalists will argue that countries experience suffering from earth-quakes and so forth because of high-abortion rates or occult practices. These are not rational claims and often quite offensive. They are most likely a manipulative attempt to scare people into belief. While there is a connection between sin and being kicked out of the "Garden" this connection has more to do with what Chesterton would describe as a "Frustration of Aristotle's Four-Causes" (The Dumb Ox, G.K. Chesterton).

The four causes of Aristotle, held in high esteem by the Church, describe the basic way in which the universe functions. And when choice is applied to the four-causes and something goes against the "formal" and "Final-cause" of a thing, it is distorted.

These are a result of the fall, which is simply the inability to have an object reach its perfection, or its ultimate goal. For humanity that would be "happiness" which we believe exists only in the essence of Love and Truth (i.e. God). Thus 'redemption' implies a sort of re-lineing of the four-causes, repairing our form and bring us back to the garden-state (analogy for perfection).

None of the above described is natural evil however.

Natural evil is the simple recognition that God is perfect and the Universe is not. St. Augustine argued that this universe is the 'Best out of all possible worlds" but it is lacking (relative/comparitively to God). This means that the world lacks perfection, and God could not create a perfect world. Not because God is imperfect or somehow lacking in power, but percisely for that very reason that he is perfect. If God could create a perfect world, he would be creating himself, which is a contradiction. Thus, God can create what is not him, and it must necessarily be inferior to his own nature. Just as artwork is always inferior to a human's work. A painting never has more value than a human being, at least according to Aristotle.

The bottom line however is, "how could God create the universe" knowing that both these evils would exist, and that they are providentially unavoidable by way of necessity (natural evil) and free-choice (sin)?

God probably weighed the pros and cons, and decided that despite all the suffering, despite all the meaningless cruel realities we are faced from mankind or from nature, that our very existence was still worth it. That despite all the evils, there was far more good in the universe than there was evil.

I don't say all this to offen anyone, I'm just trying to explain what we believe. Please do not get defensive, I'm simply trying to develop mutul understanding and offer answers and perspectives that may not be your own.

Pax
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 03:11 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;126547 wrote:
With respect, isn't this an example of myth-making? The box functions as a sort of negative. It echoes, for me, the idea that sin is alienation from God.

It should be noted that I am not traditionally religious in the least. My concern is with the structure common to all pursuits of virtue.

Can we have an ideal without its counter-ideal, it's inferior shadow? If we make it our ideal to have no counter ideal, our counter-ideal becomes the existence of a counter-ideal.

Also, unless we believe (note that word) that our position is 100% proven, is there not always a at least a modicum of faith sustaining this position?

How is this myth making ? Who mentioned sin. If you become dogmatic in your faith it contains you and your ability to think out of the box is restricted. You have to abide by the doctrine in your thoughts and answers.

---------- Post added 02-10-2010 at 04:23 AM ----------

Thomistic;126562 wrote:
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, I've had a funeral and other things to attend to, which are far more important.

The suffering that exists in the world has two causes according to Christianity - especially catholicism.

1. Sin - humanity has been given the capacity to choose freely and thus can choose to negate our own humanity by turning inward and becoming absorbed in ourselves (self-absorbed/selfish). Since human beings are anthropologically "social-beings" an extreme form of individualism hurts the community. When a person is absent (death) or by desire (i.e. child running away from home, father running away from responsibility, etc etc) it ultimately hurts others, including the "sinner." The term sin means literally "to miss the mark" - and it was used to describe an archor who misses the target. When we sin, we miss the mark of our humanity. This can cause terrible things to happen, such as sexual abuse scandals - whether its fathers or priests or mothers and teachers, child-abandonment, murder, theft and bullying.

2. Natural-Evil - the aforementioned category describes what is a result of two things, the fall, which causes a continuous break in relationships among humanity, and a propensity to be selfish in the human will (concupiscence). Natural evil however has more to do with the mere fact that the world is not perfect, and lacks complete and perfect harmony. Some fundamentalists will argue that countries experience suffering from earth-quakes and so forth because of high-abortion rates or occult practices. These are not rational claims and often quite offensive. They are most likely a manipulative attempt to scare people into belief. While there is a connection between sin and being kicked out of the "Garden" this connection has more to do with what Chesterton would describe as a "Frustration of Aristotle's Four-Causes" (The Dumb Ox, G.K. Chesterton).

The four causes of Aristotle, held in high esteem by the Church, describe the basic way in which the universe functions. And when choice is applied to the four-causes and something goes against the "formal" and "Final-cause" of a thing, it is distorted.

These are a result of the fall, which is simply the inability to have an object reach its perfection, or its ultimate goal. For humanity that would be "happiness" which we believe exists only in the essence of Love and Truth (i.e. God). Thus 'redemption' implies a sort of re-lineing of the four-causes, repairing our form and bring us back to the garden-state (analogy for perfection).

None of the above described is natural evil however.

Natural evil is the simple recognition that God is perfect and the Universe is not. St. Augustine argued that this universe is the 'Best out of all possible worlds" but it is lacking (relative/comparitively to God). This means that the world lacks perfection, and God could not create a perfect world. Not because God is imperfect or somehow lacking in power, but percisely for that very reason that he is perfect. If God could create a perfect world, he would be creating himself, which is a contradiction. Thus, God can create what is not him, and it must necessarily be inferior to his own nature. Just as artwork is always inferior to a human's work. A painting never has more value than a human being, at least according to Aristotle.

The bottom line however is, "how could God create the universe" knowing that both these evils would exist, and that they are providentially unavoidable by way of necessity (natural evil) and free-choice (sin)?

God probably weighed the pros and cons, and decided that despite all the suffering, despite all the meaningless cruel realities we are faced from mankind or from nature, that our very existence was still worth it. That despite all the evils, there was far more good in the universe than there was evil.

I don't say all this to offen anyone, I'm just trying to explain what we believe. Please do not get defensive, I'm simply trying to develop mutul understanding and offer answers and perspectives that may not be your own.

Pax
Better men than you, no offence, have attempted to explain gods reasoning and I appreciate your reply but they only serve those who have need to believe god is benevolent. Better one child was saved from suffering than gods great plan was instigated. I often think of the poor parents who are placed in that awful position of having to choose what child to save. Would your god actually choose his plan knowing millions of children would suffer by it. Let him be alone, let us not be created, if by it we need our children to suffer. Thanks xris.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 03:44 am
@Thomistic,
Thomistic;124689 wrote:
More to the point, Aquinas defines "faith" not as blind, but a type of mix between "Opinion" and "Knowledge."


Knowledge in this use is a huge stretch if it is there at all. I would say that faith is 99.9% opinion and if that last bit isn't just more opinion it might have some knowledge. Yeah you might think I am being condescending but honestly where is this knowledge?

Thomistic;124689 wrote:

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.


This experience that you mention can be understood with psychology. The brain is capable of making irrational realities, seem real. Look at what happens during an emotional scene in a movie. You can get wrapped up in the drama of it, even if you know it is fake. Like a scene where two muppets are embracing because one is about to die. This sort of scene can move people to tears, yet it is not real, the muppets are not even real, yet the simulation, the dialog becomes a real event, steering and driving the emotions. I believe these experiences that you refer to are similar. I know that might also sound condescending or insulting, but I mention it this way to state my point. I honestly think a believer kids themselves into believing god is real.
 
Thomistic
 
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 08:08 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;126681 wrote:
Knowledge in this use is a huge stretch if it is there at all. I would say that faith is 99.9% opinion and if that last bit isn't just more opinion it might have some knowledge. Yeah you might think I am being condescending but honestly where is this knowledge?


It is a little condescending, insofar as you are looking at faith from the 'outside' and saying I'm wrong. But I don't care, because at the very least it is your honest perspective.

Thomas Aquinas was simply saying that faith and reason are two realities that go together, which means our basis for faith cannot simply be a cognative response to a plausable existing God but an experience of God (grace). So the analogy would be looking at a state that is too large to know or image completely in our scope of vision, but we do get glimpses in our peripheral vision. Such is true for the experience of God in our own life, and this would involve "revelation" but also a personal-concrete experience of that. If you haven't had that, I wouldn't really think it would be rational to have a belief in God. But as Pope Benedict XVI also claims, we believe there is an anthropological "want" in our heart that points us directly to the Father Son and Spirit. He believes self-knowledge will lead people to that reality, if they are open to the possibility. But if they are far too defensive and far too anti-religion, they remain closed to God.

I've met people who were open to the possibility of God's existence, but never knew him. It puzzled me, but its all the more possible, and I have a great deal of respect for their willingness to be open to the truth and integrity in following what they experience.


Quote:

This experience that you mention can be understood with psychology. The brain is capable of making irrational realities, seem real. Look at what happens during an emotional scene in a movie. You can get wrapped up in the drama of it, even if you know it is fake. Like a scene where two muppets are embracing because one is about to die. This sort of scene can move people to tears, yet it is not real, the muppets are not even real, yet the simulation, the dialog becomes a real event, steering and driving the emotions. I believe these experiences that you refer to are similar. I know that might also sound condescending or insulting, but I mention it this way to state my point. I honestly think a believer kids themselves into believing god is real.


It can be explained as such, but it can also be explained by a real authentic experience of God. I have met many Christians who exhibit the psychological "projection" of God in their life, and I have met those Christians who do not live such a superficial faith.

But if you are closed to the idea of God's existence, you are right, it is very logical to assume we are all stuck in the "God delussion."

---------- Post added 02-10-2010 at 09:14 AM ----------


Quote:

Better men than you, no offence, have attempted to explain gods reasoning and I appreciate your reply but they only serve those who have need to believe god is benevolent. Better one child was saved from suffering than gods great plan was instigated. I often think of the poor parents who are placed in that awful position of having to choose what child to save. Would your god actually choose his plan knowing millions of children would suffer by it. Let him be alone, let us not be created, if by it we need our children to suffer. Thanks xris.


I'm not sure why I would be offended, there are a lot of better men than me, but I'm not sure how that aids the conversation.

Firstly, we do believe that all Children are saved from suffering, because we do not believe death is the end. The second thing is, not even God is free from suffering, for even God's own Child suffered horribly.

But God recognized that the reason why suffering is evil, is because it is the absence of that which is good. And God thinks that suffering blows, and he hates it as a reality, but he loves us all the more, and he won't forsaken us to non-existence. The only reason we hate suffering is because we love goodness, as hating injustice is to loving Justice.

Our hate for what is evil is subsequent to our love for what is good. If good was not greater than evil, than none of this would make any sense. Our very suffering and hate for suffering is a testimony to the fact that goodness is far greater.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 11:37 am
@Thomistic,
Thomistic;126723 wrote:
But as Pope Benedict XVI also claims, we believe there is an anthropological "want" in our heart that points us directly to the Father Son and Spirit. He believes self-knowledge will lead people to that reality, if they are open to the possibility. But if they are far too defensive and far too anti-religion, they remain closed to God.


I have read and studied more religious text than a majority of christians. In fact only 10% of Christians have actually read the bible. I have read it not just once but many versions of it but not only the bible but several other texts as well. If I was anti-religion I wouldn't have even bothered to study it. It is not that I am defensive towards it, but instead my studying has lead me to an understanding that very few acknowledge. It is nothing different than learning how to build something and learning the flaws in the design. If you try to point out these flaws in design to others who have never read the instructions, they will typically refuse to acknowledge your statements.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 04:31 pm
@xris,
xris;126673 wrote:
How is this myth making ? Who mentioned sin. If you become dogmatic in your faith it contains you and your ability to think out of the box is restricted. You have to abide by the doctrine in your thoughts and answers.

I don't mean to be offensive in any way. What I'm saying is that we all seem to have value systems in which their is a negative. If dogmatism is the negative, it functions in a way similar to what Christians' call "sin."

I was comparing your box analogy to a myth. After all, myth just means story. Yes, "thinking outside the box" is a minimal story, but a story nevertheless. Keep in mind that I relate strongly to this idea of thinking outside the box, which is why I want to thinking outside the box of thinking outside the box. I'm all for questioning. It seems reasonable, then, to question the value of questioning, and the structure and purpose of questioning.
Even if the world were without religion in the strict sense, I expect it would remain religious in a looser sense. I doubt that humans can function without some notion of the good, and this notion is likely to expressed in figurative language, as thinking itself is figurative. Another word for figurative is mythological.
 
xris
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 03:41 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;126825 wrote:
I don't mean to be offensive in any way. What I'm saying is that we all seem to have value systems in which their is a negative. If dogmatism is the negative, it functions in a way similar to what Christians' call "sin."

I was comparing your box analogy to a myth. After all, myth just means story. Yes, "thinking outside the box" is a minimal story, but a story nevertheless. Keep in mind that I relate strongly to this idea of thinking outside the box, which is why I want to thinking outside the box of thinking outside the box. I'm all for questioning. It seems reasonable, then, to question the value of questioning, and the structure and purpose of questioning.
Even if the world were without religion in the strict sense, I expect it would remain religious in a looser sense. I doubt that humans can function without some notion of the good, and this notion is likely to expressed in figurative language, as thinking itself is figurative. Another word for figurative is mythological.
I just dont think maintaining a false concept of anything is good for mankind. This battle is about the faithful maintaining control over large sections of our communities by their insistence that pure faith can guide us all. We are not questioning ethics most of the time, we are arguing about dogma that was laid down thousands of years ago.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:01 pm
@ArthBH,
#0 Can't agree at all, don't see how WW 1+2, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq 1+2 was about religion.
It was greed, paranoia, megalomania ..etc.

Sure there has been many great wars about religion, but religion itself isn't the drive, but human nature.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 01:55 pm
@xris,
xris;126998 wrote:
I just dont think maintaining a false concept of anything is good for mankind. This battle is about the faithful maintaining control over large sections of our communities by their insistence that pure faith can guide us all. We are not questioning ethics most of the time, we are arguing about dogma that was laid down thousands of years ago.


I agree with you generally. But I must say that it doesn't seem to me that the Western democracies are actually in the power of the traditionally religious. The government is many cases provides free abortions, for instance. Adultery is not a crime. The media and arguably psychology implies that "healthy and normal" folks commit a moderate amount of "fornication" before marriage. Also divorce is quite legal and socially tolerated.

Also "political correctness" (to stereotype the platform of liberal values) is probably a more dominant belief-system than traditional religion in many significant sub-groups. I have to agree with Zizek that today's "super-ego" is a voice that demands enjoyment and indulgence. Today's "sinner" is the person who doesn't to party.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 08:50 pm
@xris,
xris;126998 wrote:
I just dont think maintaining a false concept of anything is good for mankind. This battle is about the faithful maintaining control over large sections of our communities by their insistence that pure faith can guide us all. We are not questioning ethics most of the time, we are arguing about dogma that was laid down thousands of years ago.

A concept is true to its subject or it is not a concept, and not a concept, it is pure garbage..

---------- Post added 02-11-2010 at 09:54 PM ----------

HexHammer;127085 wrote:
#0 Can't agree at all, don't see how WW 1+2, Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq 1+2 was about religion.
It was greed, paranoia, megalomania ..etc.

Sure there has been many great wars about religion, but religion itself isn't the drive, but human nature.

If it were about capitalism it would be about religion...How can we pretend it is not when Christianity has no natural fight with any body...
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Thu 11 Feb, 2010 09:12 pm
@Fido,
Fido;127243 wrote:
A concept is true to its subject or it is not a concept, and not a concept, it is pure garbage..

---------- Post added 02-11-2010 at 09:54 PM ----------


If it were about capitalism it would be about religion...How can we pretend it is not when Christianity has no natural fight with any body...
In Denmark religion are considerd a waste of time, and most think religious people are delusive. Yet we have enterd the war in the middle east with USA. How has this to do with religion, on Denmarks part?
 
groundedspirit
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 03:07 pm
@Reconstructo,
And maybe this will sound 'condescending' also like someone mentioned - a term not truly in my vocabulary. I would never consider anyones views or statements as such. Nevertheless........
I love discussions like this because they either become circular or diverge.
One cannot have any kind of discussion with resolution unless ALL terms in that discussion are understood and agreed to by all participants. It's the root of why all philosophical discussions go on endlessly before any point of substance is reached.

So........

In this case - for all those who choose to talk about 'god' - I for one (and hopefully others) would like your definition of that term.
Because I have none........

GS
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 03:56 pm
@ArthBH,
As far as the politics/religion relationship goes:

In the usual sense of the word religion, we are talking about God or gods, etc. At least this is how most folks understand the word.

But for me, political ideologies function so much like religions that I sometimes use the word "religion" as a metaphor.

Metaphorically speaking, if a man gets into a fight to defend his "honor", this has a religious aspect. Instead of proving that he's a saint, he is proving that he's a "Man." Man in this case does not simply mean male human. It's a pseudo-religious concept. This "Man" is an ideal to live up to, incarnate. To incarnate just means to put into flesh.

Marxism has functioned this way. The concepts of justice and freedom have functioned this way. The skeptic mocks the Christian for believing in a God he cannot see. But to what degree to all of try to live up to abstractions that we cannot see?

If a country justifies an invasion with abstractions like "freedom," this does (for me) connect with religion. It's just that the God is less transcendent, smaller. The God involved is a word that makes our tails wag.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 04:38 pm
@Fido,
Fido;127243 wrote:
A concept is true to its subject or it is not a concept, and not a concept, it is pure garbage..

---------- Post added 02-11-2010 at 09:54 PM ----------


If it were about capitalism it would be about religion...How can we pretend it is not when Christianity has no natural fight with any body...
I told you I dont mind faith its the concept of religion, the idea that following a flag gives you authority. Christians are at war, a war of dogmatic intentions they intend imposing on us all.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Fri 12 Feb, 2010 05:14 pm
@xris,
xris;127669 wrote:
I told you I dont mind faith its the concept of religion, the idea that following a flag gives you authority. Christians are at war, a war of dogmatic intentions they intend imposing on us all.
Rejecting Christianity(or any religion for that matter) on the basis of your rejection of Christians would seem to be fallacious.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 04:13 am
@Amperage,
Amperage;127681 wrote:
Rejecting Christianity(or any religion for that matter) on the basis of your rejection of Christians would seem to be fallacious.
Christians were mentioned it goes for lot more, if you wish me to be inclusive. Why is it misleading to mention Christians?
 
 

 
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