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BS: why do we need religion

GUEST,nosey 15 Feb 05 - 11:35 AM
Rapparee 15 Feb 05 - 11:42 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Feb 05 - 11:44 AM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 11:48 AM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 11:59 AM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 12:02 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 12:07 PM
Wolfgang 15 Feb 05 - 12:29 PM
Jim Tailor 15 Feb 05 - 12:36 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 12:37 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 12:38 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 12:40 PM
Donuel 15 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM
ard mhacha 15 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 12:50 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 12:51 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 12:55 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM
Jim Tailor 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM
Donuel 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 01:02 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 01:08 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 01:18 PM
Wesley S 15 Feb 05 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 01:30 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 01:40 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 01:49 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 02:07 PM
TheBigPinkLad 15 Feb 05 - 02:09 PM
Jim Tailor 15 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Feb 05 - 02:16 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 03:02 PM
EagleWing 15 Feb 05 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 03:09 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 03:12 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM
dianavan 15 Feb 05 - 03:26 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 03:42 PM
EagleWing 15 Feb 05 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 03:59 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 04:05 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 04:11 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Visitywyg 15 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 06:10 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 06:47 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 07:12 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 01:52 PM
EagleWing 16 Feb 05 - 02:22 PM
EagleWing 16 Feb 05 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 03:37 PM
Bill D 16 Feb 05 - 04:34 PM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 05 - 09:30 PM
Kaleea 17 Feb 05 - 01:46 AM
GUEST,mrr 17 Feb 05 - 12:05 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 17 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,mRR 17 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM
EagleWing 18 Feb 05 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,~S~ 18 Feb 05 - 03:16 PM
Little Hawk 18 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 19 Feb 05 - 07:34 AM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 05 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Mrrzy 19 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM
Amos 19 Feb 05 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Guest 03 Mar 05 - 10:43 AM
Amos 03 Mar 05 - 11:43 AM
Don Firth 03 Mar 05 - 12:22 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 03 Mar 05 - 01:16 PM
Little Hawk 03 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Mrr 03 Mar 05 - 01:41 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 03 Mar 05 - 01:46 PM
John Hardly 03 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM
Bill D 03 Mar 05 - 04:16 PM
Little Hawk 03 Mar 05 - 04:59 PM
Amos 03 Mar 05 - 05:08 PM
Little Hawk 03 Mar 05 - 05:12 PM
John Hardly 03 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM
Little Hawk 03 Mar 05 - 05:16 PM
Bill D 03 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM
Mrrzy 03 Mar 05 - 07:45 PM
Amos 29 Aug 05 - 07:24 PM
John Hardly 29 Aug 05 - 07:36 PM
bobad 29 Aug 05 - 07:39 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 29 Aug 05 - 07:49 PM
Bill D 29 Aug 05 - 08:01 PM
CarolC 29 Aug 05 - 08:03 PM
Bill D 29 Aug 05 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,ABE 29 Aug 05 - 08:24 PM
Bill D 29 Aug 05 - 08:38 PM
*daylia* 29 Aug 05 - 08:45 PM
Amos 29 Aug 05 - 11:02 PM
Wolfgang 30 Aug 05 - 09:52 AM
Wolfgang 30 Aug 05 - 09:57 AM
Paco Rabanne 30 Aug 05 - 10:58 AM
Clinton Hammond 30 Aug 05 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,DB 30 Aug 05 - 11:18 AM
Little Hawk 30 Aug 05 - 07:44 PM
John Hardly 30 Aug 05 - 10:46 PM
Amos 30 Aug 05 - 11:23 PM
John Hardly 12 Sep 05 - 11:30 AM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 05 - 12:31 PM
John Hardly 12 Sep 05 - 12:38 PM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM
katlaughing 12 Sep 05 - 01:01 PM
Pseudolus 12 Sep 05 - 01:02 PM
Amos 12 Sep 05 - 02:35 PM
Bill D 12 Sep 05 - 02:41 PM
Pseudolus 12 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM
Amos 12 Sep 05 - 03:58 PM
Little Hawk 12 Sep 05 - 04:13 PM
Pseudolus 12 Sep 05 - 04:26 PM
Amos 12 Sep 05 - 05:00 PM
Bill D 12 Sep 05 - 05:11 PM
Bunnahabhain 12 Sep 05 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,the Angels 12 Sep 05 - 06:30 PM
Bill D 12 Sep 05 - 08:06 PM
GUEST,the Angels 12 Sep 05 - 08:18 PM
SINSULL 12 Sep 05 - 09:57 PM
GUEST,Stephen L. Rich 13 Sep 05 - 02:09 AM
DMcG 13 Sep 05 - 07:54 AM
Bill D 13 Sep 05 - 01:24 PM
Bill D 13 Sep 05 - 01:41 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 05 - 01:49 PM
Wesley S 13 Sep 05 - 01:56 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 05 - 02:03 PM
Amos 13 Sep 05 - 02:04 PM
Pseudolus 13 Sep 05 - 02:37 PM
Bill D 13 Sep 05 - 03:39 PM
Amos 13 Sep 05 - 03:47 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 05 - 04:37 PM
katlaughing 13 Sep 05 - 04:41 PM
Wesley S 13 Sep 05 - 05:50 PM
Ebbie 13 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM
Bill D 13 Sep 05 - 07:40 PM
Ebbie 13 Sep 05 - 08:12 PM
Little Hawk 13 Sep 05 - 08:43 PM
Bill D 13 Sep 05 - 09:43 PM
Little Hawk 14 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM
Bill D 14 Sep 05 - 02:55 PM
Amos 14 Sep 05 - 11:52 PM
GUEST,Jdozs 15 Sep 05 - 08:09 AM
dianavan 15 Sep 05 - 10:35 AM
Pseudolus 15 Sep 05 - 11:00 AM
Bill D 15 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM
katlaughing 15 Sep 05 - 01:27 PM
Bill D 15 Sep 05 - 01:54 PM
katlaughing 15 Sep 05 - 02:18 PM
Little Hawk 15 Sep 05 - 03:40 PM
Amos 15 Sep 05 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Jdozs 15 Sep 05 - 05:25 PM
GUEST, Ebbie 15 Sep 05 - 05:41 PM
Peace 15 Sep 05 - 05:57 PM
Little Hawk 15 Sep 05 - 06:02 PM
Little Hawk 15 Sep 05 - 06:28 PM
Amos 15 Sep 05 - 06:53 PM
Little Hawk 15 Sep 05 - 07:03 PM
katlaughing 15 Sep 05 - 08:01 PM
Ebbie 15 Sep 05 - 08:31 PM
Bill D 15 Sep 05 - 08:46 PM
Bill D 15 Sep 05 - 08:57 PM
Amos 15 Sep 05 - 09:01 PM
Ebbie 15 Sep 05 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 16 Sep 05 - 07:55 PM
beardedbruce 16 Sep 05 - 08:03 PM
Bill D 16 Sep 05 - 10:34 PM
freda underhill 16 Sep 05 - 11:52 PM
Little Hawk 17 Sep 05 - 08:48 AM
Bill D 17 Sep 05 - 11:06 AM
Amos 17 Sep 05 - 11:38 AM
John Hardly 17 Sep 05 - 11:40 AM
John Hardly 17 Sep 05 - 11:47 AM
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Subject: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,nosey
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:35 AM

In this day & age why do people still feel the need for religion, I really am interested to know the thoughts of mudcatters on this subject. WHY OH WHY OH WHY?????????????????/


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:42 AM

Because it starts and maintains contentious threads like this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:44 AM

Sheesh!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:48 AM

Some people need it and some people don't.

If that were the end of the discussion, with no ifs and buts, the world would be a saner place.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 11:59 AM

For comfort and solace.

It helps to believe there's a divine purpose in pain and suffering - that at the end of it all there's a just reward for those who've lived a proper life and borne their disappointments well, and a fitting punishment for those who haven't. It's a relief to believe that we're not alone when it feels like we're all alone.

It helps to lessen the fear of dying. It takes the edge off the nagging remnants of doubt that at the end of life all our trials and tribulations may have been for naught, and nothing but a return to an empty void is the only thing that awaits us.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:02 PM

....besides, it keeps temptation in check (sometimes) and helps maintain a semblance of order, for if there were no divine punishment for knowingly doing wrong, more people would be tempted to surrender to pure hedonism.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:07 PM

Actually, this is a very interesting question. There is a guy here at UVa who writes articles, among other things, about how "religion was the real hijacker on 9-11" and the dangers of religious thinking in general, for men in particular whose evolution includes lethal raiding in groups. I'll find links if I can. His main thesis is that we can no longer afford the luxury of tolerating superstitious thinking. I'm beginning to agree...


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wolfgang
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:29 PM

Interview with Churchill (2004)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:36 PM

Maybe, just maybe...

because there is truth in one, or the other, or all of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:37 PM

Religion is basic to human existence...

Catholics (at least some of them) believe in the organized religion of Catholicism. As such, that means that they believe in a long-established set of social and cultural traditions going back almost 2,000 years, which they have usually acquired from their families and their communities. So what's unusual about that?

Muslims are much the same. So too are Buddhists, Janes, Taoists, Confucianists (that's a philosophy), followers of Zen, Protestants of many denominations, Jews of various varieties of Judaism, etc....

It's a question of being born into a social fabric and assuming that it is normal, that's all. People generally do that.

Then you have the modern atheist. He practices a somewhat new religion, based on different perceptions of reality...and he worships ideals and "gods" that make sense to him. In doing so, he stands upon what makes HIM feel secure in an insecure World. What makes him feel secure may be: his own individuality (rugged individualism), his survival skills, his ego, money, property, reputation, fame, acquired knowledge, a law degree, etc....ad infinitum.

He is actually worshipping some of the "false gods" pointed to in many religious texts, but he doesn't realize it, that's all.

Everybody is religious in their own peculiar way.

If you ask why people need religion, you might as well ask why they need music, or hairstyles, or clothing styles, or politics, or philosophy, or logic, or any other common thing that people have.

Everybody does a whole bunch of things in an automatic way, not knowing why they do, mostly because they saw and heard other people doing it while they were growing up! That's what's so funny about it all. A philosopher is someone who notices how funny and arbitrary it all is and talks about it. Most people are too busy or just plain oblivious to bother with philosophy.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Once Famous
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:38 PM

Guest, nosey

Do you take a dump everyday?

why do you bother?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:40 PM

Admirably stated, Martin. And much briefer than what I said. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM

Yes some do some don't.
My older son with challenges created an imaginary friend Mr. Prott.
My younger son did not create an imaginary friend.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: ard mhacha
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:46 PM

Don`t forget religion elected George Bush.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:50 PM

Possibly. I think what really elected him was 2 things:

1. Diebold voting machines.

2. The fact that the average American won't vote for a man that appears to be more articulate and intelligent than himself! Kerry was a dead duck, cos he wasn't just plainfolks enough to get elected in the USA.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Once Famous
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:51 PM

religion did not elect george Bush

People with moral values did.

Deal with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:53 PM

Yeah? You saying I don't have moral values, Martin?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Once Famous
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:55 PM

Possibly.

Probably.

You fucking didn't vote any way, Canada brain.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM

Heh! That's true, I didn't. But look...if I could have voted, I would have voted against Bush. Several times, if possible.

Well, now I think you and I have completely derailed this thread, Martin. Nice work.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM

I just googled it. Morelle Values:

Risotto Al Sugo di Fagiano e Morelle Risotto with Pheasant and Morelle Mushrooms $13.00.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 12:59 PM

If I pre emptively "killed" my neighbor I suppose I would have that old time religious moral values.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:02 PM

But, Donuel, that's the only way to be really SAFE! Kill 'em all. Get your neighbours before they get you. Yessirree, Bob! Head 'em up, and smoke 'em out.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:08 PM

Hang on here just a sec. While I agree wholeheartedly that for some people the driving force behind religion is to fill a need, I would suggest that your question is framed on a tilt. There are those for whom it is a matter of discovery or simple experience of part of the world.

You can squirm on that hook all you want, but for some people experience is a bit richer than plain physical sensations. The "body-is-all school" of thought may dismiss anything not so perceived as "superstition". But to do is to surely make a superstition out of materiality, one which forbids understanding the creative power of the individual. Furthermore, the purely materialist school of thought leaves precious little room for any ethics except profit, and justifies war at will, random destruction, and mud.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:18 PM

Ah...now we're back on track. Very good, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wesley S
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:25 PM

This is another great example of a thread that will appeal to people who already have their minds made up - and if you have to ask the question then you won't trust the answers you'll get. At least - that's my opinion.

We can also ask why some people DON'T need religion. The result will be the same. More of the "us vs. them" thinking.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:30 PM

Excuse me, Little aHawk, I beg to differ. I don't "worship" anything. You posted: Then you have the modern atheist. He {or she, adds the pedant} practices a somewhat new religion, based on different perceptions of reality...and he worships ideals and "gods" that make sense to him. In doing so, he stands upon what makes HIM feel secure in an insecure World. What makes him feel secure may be: his own individuality (rugged individualism), his survival skills, his ego, money, property, reputation, fame, acquired knowledge, a law degree, etc....ad infinitum.
He is actually worshipping some of the "false gods" pointed to in many religious texts, but he doesn't realize it, that's all.
Everybody is religious in their own peculiar way.

I am not religious in any way. I have ideals - I don't worship them. I do not feel secure in an insecure world, and that's OK with me. I accept the insecurity. I accept the place of people in the scheme of the natural world, and that isn't at the top of any evolutionary ladder. I don't follow any gods, not even false ones. And I think I'm about as modern as an atheist can be.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM

I don't think there need by a division. It should be a given that there is a spectrum of possible realities vis-a-vis Religolandia, and everyone comes from somewhere on the map. DIversity is a plus in this respect.   Some people turn to religion because it gives them a reason NOT to face up to personal issues. Others turn to it in order to be able to deal with their own lives in a more complete way; still others thing that their lives and their "religions" are a continuous gradient, not a separated set of boxes.

I think the framing of the original question is slightly off, because what it protests against is not the essence of religion but the essence of fanaticism. There is no spiritual truth in fanaticism, whether Eastern or Western; it just isn't spiritual to believe in slaughter or hard and fast categories. At least, so it seems to me. Reactionary responses and categorical imperatives are mandates of the worst the human mind can offer; while genuine spiritual insight would presumably be of the best. Fanaticism is just a cheap excuse for ignorance; spirituality is along-term cure for it.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:32 PM

Also, Martin Gibson, I take a dump whenever my colon fills up with dung, just like any other animal. No part of me fills up with the need to believe in the supernatural, nor yours either - humans want to have the unexplained explained, but there is no longer any need to find answers outside the natural world. The need was there before the invention of science, but exists no longer.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:40 PM

Good point Amos, but I'd say that we don't even need non-fanatical religion either. I would use the term "outgrow" as for any other imaginary friend.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 01:49 PM

Well, Mrr, let's look, for example, at the Buddhist concepts -- that there is such a thing as right living, and avoiding extremes and other well-thought-out policies can lead you to a state of enlightenment, in which you discover more and more about your spiritual nature and the nature of the universe.

No imaginary friends involved.

I suppose you could assert that enlightenment is just an imaginary substitute for facing reality, but I think in doing so you would be doing reality a major disservice and limiting your own potential at the same time.

Generally those who have done no meditation are quite sure that they will discover nothing by doing it. Oddly enough, those who have done it usually don't believe that.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 02:07 PM

"But to do is to surely make a superstition out of materiality, one which forbids understanding the creative power of the individual."

nope, Amos.."surely" is excessive. I tend towards material explanations, but always examine them, just as I do 'spiritual' ones. I see creative power in many individuals without, I hope, any presumptions regarding where it comes from. Being able to meaningfully use a phrase like "creative power" does not automatically endow it with some alternate form of existence.


"...the purely materialist school of thought leaves precious little room for any ethics except profit, and justifies war at will, random destruction, and mud."

Well, any Kantian would severely disagree with you...there are various ways ethics can be defended and applied, working from logical principles. As to justifying war and random destruction, seems to me the 'spiritually' based systems manage that quite well also. I was not aware mud NEEDED justification...*grin*

as to the original question, it is perhaps not framed correctly, as "we" all seem to "need" different things.
It is not hard to explain (no matter what the 'truth' is) why humans could not have avoided developing religion, and we have only been able to seriously consider alternatives for a relatively short period.

If Mudcat endures for 300-400 years, perhaps scholars researching these threads will wonder why we needed to debate it at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 02:09 PM

I thought this might be appropriate as this thread has now appeared in its myriadic iteration:

Boredom (Procol Harem)

Some say they will and some say they won't
Some say they do and some say they don't
Some say they shall and some say they shan't
And some say they can and some say they can't


All in all it's all the same
But call me if there's any change

Some say there's nothing and some say there's lots
Some say they've started while some say they've stopped
Some say they're going and some say they've been
Yes, some say they're looking and some say they've seen


All in all it's all the same
But call me if there's any change


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Jim Tailor
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM

I like Amos' post as well, but would just like to reiterate that there is still the possibility that religion(s) reflect objective truth -- not merely a product of imagination.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 02:16 PM

You need someplace to play bingo.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:02 PM

Why would there be any basis for "good" if there really was nothing but an association of molecules in a person, with no more than that, a Skinnerian bunch of S_R links firing off on some mechanistic scheme? Why would there be any grounds for thinking of anything creative or innovating or hoping the more tedious and entropic aspects of life would change?

These things require perception and intent, or postulation, two things that molecules just don't have in them to do. You can make a videocamera out of molecules, but you can't make it perceive.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: EagleWing
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:05 PM

Any religion, any religion at all has got to be more interesting than bingo!

Oh damn! I wasn't going to get involved.

New thread

Why do people keep starting this same old thread over and over again - and somewhere down the thread someone will say it's been hi-jacked by religious people.

So I might as well do that right now.

Why are all you religionists (I do think that's a good word - wondewr what it means) keep hi-jacking every thread with the word "religion" in it. Stay out of it and stop harrassing people and throwing the Bible at them!

First you take over the thread, next you take over Mudcat. Soon the whole world!! It's a conspiracy of religionists!

There, will that do. Saves anonymous GUEST(s) from having to say it.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:09 PM

Amos - sure, there is "such a thing as right living, and avoiding extremes and other well-thought-out policies can lead you to" - and here is where we diverge -- I would then end that sentence with the word Happiness. Furthermore, since we know that it takes science to help one "discover more and more about [one's] nature and the nature of the universe" there is no need for the word "spiritual" in there at all, and suddenly, instead of being Buddhist, you're just (boringly?) sensible.
And for your later post: The basis for good is nature - pain is bad, pleasure is good; truth is good, getting caught lying isn't (but NOT getting caught, is). The only thing people add (in contrast to other animals) is that *others'* pain and pleasure makes it into the equation. No need to posit any supernatural anything laying down the law of good and bad, it's already a given.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:12 PM

...at least it's better to believe in something, anything, than to believe in nothing at all. Those who believe in nothing are the kind who one day stir from their trance to find the carnage of dead bodies and spent cartridges all around them in a fast food restaurant and an empty, semi-automatic weapon smoking in their hands.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM

The US (and others) need religion to justify it's bloodlust. Without it, they are blood thirsty murderers. With it they are defending their beliefs.

Simple really. How many wars are being raged in the name of atheism?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: dianavan
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:26 PM

We need religion to control the masses.

Some people need religion to support them through tough times.

Other people need religion to encourage them to seek the truth.

For every religious person, there is a reason for religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Once Famous
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:42 PM

Guest, Mrr

rumor has it that your colon is perennially full of dung which makes you totally anal retentive.

I'm sure you will be pleading "Please God, Help Me." when you are writhing in pain from some kind of cancer on your deathbed. amazing how aethiests find religion at that time.

In the meantime, get out and try to find a vowel for your name.

amos, I would have to say that your discussion of molecules is great science, but has nothing to do with spiritual religion.

the moron who started this thread has a problem believing in God. Fine. wonderful. He doesn't have to. I don't have to think that he is anything other than a devil worshipper and that he might just be pure evil. who knows? Or in this loser's case who nose? I have no use for him.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: EagleWing
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:54 PM

Oh dear!

I hoped for a while that Little Hawk's attempts to derail this thread might work.

Then I thought a bit of silliness from me might help.

Instead we've got all the usual people banging their meaningless gongs so I'll leave this one alone. Bye bye.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 03:59 PM

Martin Gibson, I have been on what could have been my deathbed, and it did not occur to me to pray. It *did* occur to me to do whatever the doctors were telling me to do, and I did, and I survived, and I thank the science behind them. And I *do* have a vowel, if you were a regular you'd know that Mrr is short for Mrrzy (*G*). I am a member, I just don't do the cookie thing at work.
Also guest, I don't agree that "at least it's better to believe in something, anything, than to believe in nothing at all." I think it's better to believe in something real than to believe nothing at all, which is better than believing in the supernatural in this day and age.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 04:05 PM

Dianavan, I agree with your first point - governments do need religion to control the masses. The masses, on the other hand, need common sense.
Some people turn to religion to support them through tough times. I think they'd be better off with friends.

Other people use religion to encourage them to seek the truth. Nobody needs religion for that, just do it. Science helps, a lot.

For every religious person, there is a reason for religion. Of course. But for every nonreligious person, there is no reason for religion.

I am moving from saying "I don't believe in any gods" to saying "there are no gods" - the first seems to allow for the existence of gods in whom I don't believe, so it's almost a nonsensical statement.
But then, I'm turning into a radical rabid fanatical evangelical atheist, which I wasn't before 9-11 and our (*sigh*) gubmint's response to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 04:11 PM

"two things that molecules just don't have in them to do"

This seems to me to be very close to the difference in our viewpoints. I just have no particular problem with the idea that a critical mass of molecules MIGHT develop self-awareness concepts. And this is the way Occam would see it. Postulating META-physical concepts which are, by definition, untestable, is infinitely more complicated and open to any off-the-wall hypothesis. 'You can't prove a negative, so it just might be true.'

A.N. Whitehead not only worked out the basis for how conciousness/free-will might be based on sub-atomic particles, but also gave us the admonishment "Strive for simplicity, but learn to mis-trust it." I try to remember that.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Once Famous
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM

Eagle Wing

It's hard to be silly when your faith is strong.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Visitywyg
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM

Hockey On? Off? Who cares? Never....

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 06:10 PM

Mrr - I understand your viewpoint perfectly. Yes, in your terms, you don't worship anything. That's your understanding. However, in my terms you do. It's a question of perspective.

I've never known anyone who didn't unconsciously or consciously worship someone or something. That someone or something doesn't have to be a "God" nor does it have to be part of an organized traditional religion. It doesn't require a ritual, a prayer, or any other outward behaviour. It just requires an inner devotion, an inner committment, an inner level of faith and confidence that one has in whatever one has faith in. Never seen anyone yet who didn't have faith in something, even if it was nothing more than the strength of his own fist. But...the day will come when the strength of his own fist fails him.

The human ego really wishes to bow down to no god but itself. And it loves to argue, and be "right". It's that little ego that launches silly, combative threads that ask questions like "why do we need religion". It does that because it feels threatened in some way BY organized religion...or superior to it...at any rate, not friendly to it in the least. It's a viewpoint based on holding a grudge.

Now, let me pose some different views on some stuff you said:

"governments do need religion to control the masses"

Yes and no. You can control the masses far more effectively with money! And with material goods. Religion is a joke in most places next to the control that money has on people's minds. And you know why? Because people worship money, my friend, that's why. They just pay lip service to religion. A few people will kill someone because they think it's on "God's behalf"....a great many more people will kill someone for money. Think about it. Build a religious shrine, and a few people will come there. Build a casino and millions will come there. Money is a far bigger god in the mind of the average man than God is. They look to money to solve all their problems and give them happiness. It doesn't. That's a religion, and a damned silly one too. It's a religion that is ecologically wrecking the entire World. Worry about that if you want to worry about something.

You also asked:

"How many wars are being raged in the name of atheism?"

Plenty. The Communists waged war after war in the name of atheism. The Khymer Rouge killed over a million Cambodians in the name of atheism. The Red Chinese invaded Tibet and massacred people there in the name of atheism. And they were very proud of themselves, because they had been trained to hate and despise "religion".

And you know what's really funny about all that? Communism is itself a fanatical religion...a political-economic religion that does not believe in God. It has its holy books, like Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, it has its prophets...Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Fidel....it has its holy wars. It's a godless, humourless, materialistic religion.

It's quite easy to have a godless religion. Just make up something else to believe in besides God, believe in it fervently, preach it, prosyletize it, and attempt to convert others. Attack them if they prove unwilling to convert.

There you have a new religion, all ready to go out and fight some holy wars with. A child could do it, it's so easy.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 06:47 PM

Although I quibble with you on your 'personal' use of words, you make some very important points, Little Hawk. Wars have been waged in the name of anti-religious principles, though I don't particularly care for calling any strong belief a religion. When you talk to people who have narrower views of what religion is, you spend extra time arguing definitions.

'God is everywhere in all things and in all of us' can sound very important.....but if it all boils down to a personal definition, it loses something.

Aside from that, your thoughts about the social relevance of money and war, etc., and how they sometimes mimic the fervor of religion are spot on.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 07:12 PM

BillD:

Occam might not agree with you if the subect were examined at depth. In this wise: let us acknowledge that the physical universe contains space and time which are insensate, indifferent, imperceptive. Let us stipulate further that atoms of every element known show no sign of awareness, and their involvement into molecules appears to be purely based on an insensate mechanism.

To posit that molecules assembled beyond a certain degree of complexity can suddenly make the leap into awareness, communication, and the ability to intend strikes me as offering a really absurd extension. I am aware that systems achieve new characteristics when they achieve critical numbers of transactions, but I have seen no evidence that so fundamental a difference in basic nature as that from insensate mechanism to aware understanding has ever been achieved merely by adding complexity.

That seems ion the face of it to be a highly UN-simple assertion, one based in blind faith that it must be so, a faith almost religious in its intensity.

Also, there seems to be a school of thought here that implies that in order to be spiritual, a world-view must include God. I don't see why this is necessarily so.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Feb 05 - 07:14 PM

It isn't necessarily so. One can posit a number of spiritual philosophies that do not include God. Taoism is one of them. Buddhism appears to me to be another.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 01:45 PM

Actually, Little Hawk, I would beg to differ that whether I worship anything is a matter of perspective. Worship has a definite meaning, which does not apply to the way I feel about anything that I respect, believe in, or admire.
And it wasn't I who asked about the wars being raged in the name of atheism - which is not what communism is about, by the way, it's a side issue. Not everything that atheists do is done in the name of atheism. Communism may be all you say, but it is not a religion. Neither, for that matter, is atheism, although I know of (and disapprove of) a movement to have it called so, in order for atheist groups to become tax-exempt. But I did think that the question was a good one.
My question is, I guess, what is Spiritual. If it's whatever makes you happy, why use the word Spiritual? Why not happiness? It's like the word Wellness - what was wrong with the word Health?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 01:52 PM

OK, went to the online encyclopedia:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Worship usually refers to specific acts of religious praise, honour, or devotion, typically directed to a supernatural being such as a god or goddess. It is the informal term in English for what sociologists of religion call cultus, the body of practices and traditions that correspond to theology.
This has nothing to do with my feelings or behavior so far.
Religious worship may be performed individually, in informally organized groups, or as part of an organized service with a designated leader (as in a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque). In its older sense in the English language of worthiness or respect, worship may sometimes refer to actions directed at members of higher social classes (such as lords or monarchs) or to particularly esteemed persons (such as a lover).
Hmmm - I *have* been deeply in love - although I'm not right now. I'll have to think about whether that ever constituted worship for me.
Typical acts of worship include:
prayer; sacrifice (korban in Hebrew); rituals; meditation; holidays, festivals; pilgrimages; hymns or psalms; the construction of temples or shrines; the creation of idols of the deity.
OK, I don't pray, although I hope; I don't sacrifice TO anything, although I have certainly sacrificed FOR some things; I have habits and follow traditions, I guess you could call some of those rituals but that term means "with supernatural oversight" which we don't have in our family habits/traditions; I'm big into holidays and festivals but not to benefit anything supernatural; I believe that all the energy wasted on temples and shrines could be much better applied to, say, schools; and I don't create idols.
Hmmm. I'm gonna have to think about the rituals and being in love things, though...


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: EagleWing
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 02:22 PM

"Eagle Wing
It's hard to be silly when your faith is strong."

Oh dear. That either means my faith is weak (and it does have its moments) or that I failed to be silly.

My friends will never believe that latter suggestion since I have been very silly all my life.

Recently, on another thread, I was even officially declared to be silly!

So it must be my faith that's in doubt.

Oh well, Martin. Back to the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: EagleWing
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 02:31 PM

"Not everything that atheists do is done in the name of atheism."

And not everything that is done in the name of God or Religion has much really to do with religion.

Northern Ireland, for instance, is about a United Irish Republic v. Union with the UK. It's just convenient that most of the supporters of the former are "Catholic" and most of the supporters of the latter are "Protestant".

Even the English Civil War was about monarchy v. republic.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 03:37 PM

Ah, but the Catholics hate the Protestants, and the Protestants hate the Catholics, and the Hundus hate the Moslems, and everybody hates the Jews... just to bring it back to music, LOL!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 04:34 PM

Amos

"...but I have seen no evidence that so fundamental a difference in basic nature... has ever been achieved merely by adding complexity."

I have. The evidence of evolution and anthropology, plus the latest research in neurology suggests that this is precisely what is happening. Self-awareness and reflective consciousness seem to be directly related to size and complexity of brains. It is, of course, not possible under the current state of knowlege to describe exactly what might constitute 'critical mass' or what the precise mechanism might be....but that hypothesis seems, to me, easier to explore than to posit a set of concepts that cannot be explored, except linguistically.

I can't quite imagine how your viewpoint deals with the various points on the continuum between one-celled organisms and fully aware humans.....Do worms participate in metaphysical consciousness? Do dogs? Chimps? (excluding, Chongo, of course)..and how about humans with severe retardation? In my approach, these are merely varying degrees of complexity and susceptible to research....and it CAN even be modified to accommodate some of your position, if evidence can be presented in a way that does not violate the scientific method.

You seem to be saying something on the order of "well, I can't see how materialism can account for everything, therefore there IS a realm beyond material stuff...some of us have seen and felt it, and we don't agree that it needs proof of the type you want."

If that's what it comes down to, it just becomes a personal attitude, much like picking a religion does...

Interesting to compare all these various ideas, though, or we'd not spend the time on it....and, it must be said that the position people take on these issues sometimes affects pragmatic decisions in life- right down to how they spend money or vote for president.

(durn...one set of thoughts leads to another, and I can't work it all into one post...*wry grin*...I need to go turn wood!)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Feb 05 - 09:30 PM

Mrr - Did you ask what "spiritual" means? Well, I think it means that one believes in Spirit...that is, that there is something beyond the physical surface appearances of bodily life, and that that something gives life real meaning. Spirit can be defined as conscious awareness, self-awareness, a sense of being, a sense of identity and purpose. It is a non-physical reality that permeates all that is physical. It is also normally believed to be eternal and, whereas physicality is temporary and subject to the laws of entropy.

Spirituality is founded upon conscious intent. As you intend, so you are. That involves both thinking and feeling.

Spirituality is the source of a moral value system based upon Love and Unity, rather than upon Fear and Division.

It is not necessarily tied to any organized religion or to ideas of a "supreme being", though it can be.

The path of spirituality is the path of self-knowledge and of Love.

That's a start, anyway.

I've met atheists who were quite spiritual people.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Kaleea
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 01:46 AM

Ummm, so, uh, back to the Q? at hand:
   nosey, are you asking "why do we need organized religion," or "why do humans feel the need for some sort of spirituality or belief in a higher power?" There is a big difference. When you ask "we," do you mean we as in all humans, or we as individual persons on the ol' Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,mrr
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 12:05 PM

Stephen Pinker has some done some great writing on the evolutionary psychology of religion, and points out that the adaptiveness of religion, if any, is different for the priesthood and the flock. Very interesting stuff. Ties right into Kaleea's point, above.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM

Fear is the most effective method of controling the masses, that's why governments can use religion-

" If you don't do this, you'll go to hell!"

Money- "If you don't do this, the economy will collapse!"

Or just plain old fear- "If you don't do this, someone will shoot you!"

Of course, they can be used together- "If you don't do this, someone will shoot you, the economy will collapse, and then you'll go to hell!!!"

It's all about cultivating paranoia...religion is just a tool that can be used to achieve this.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,mRR
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM

Very well put!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: EagleWing
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 02:42 PM

"It's all about cultivating paranoia...religion is just a tool that can be used to achieve this."

Sounds good - until you look at it carefully.

Hitler and Stalin managed to do all that with no real reference to religion at all.

You could certainly reach the same results using science.

Frank L.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,~S~
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 03:16 PM

I doubt Native Americans would be amused to learn that the majority culture that stamped out their culture and spirituality sees religion so narrowly. Swap out the whole discssion for one about aspects of Native American life, and IMO the perspective on spirituality would, by necessity, have another whole dynamic. I can imagine us all tripping all over ourselves to be respectful, curious, fascinated, and, really, sort of adorably human.

But such a question would be better addressed WITH a Native friend, couldn't most of us agree? An exchange of hearts, past the boundaries that usually make a discussion like this inappropriate in a casual social setting? Would most of us, for example, walk up to a person of color and say, "Hey, I always wondered, what's up with that stuff your people put in their hair????" Well, no, but it IS the kind of question a caucasian woman might ask a close Black friend, during a sleepover. Asked differently, perhaps, as well. One hopes the interested party would pick an opportune moment, one hopes she also would know the friend well enough to know how to ask without giving offense.

What I have been reflecting on, during my vacation from BS threads, has been how these kinds of questions remind me of how a caucasian person who lacks diversity among their friends will ask very poorly-informed and awkward questions about other cultures they do not share or understand. In a close relationship with a Christian friend, for example, I doubt that genuine curiosity would be expressed in quite this fashion. Perhaps the answers and dialog people seek would be conducted more effectively and informatively within a friendship that has a good base of respect for one another as unique individuals... approaching it in this distant fashion seems somehow not quite right, even just in practical terms, for such a personal subject.

I know I do it too. I've asked some pretty bald questions of wiccan, pagan, and atheist friends. Some of them around here. But via PM, so I guess that would be why the usual reaction at my "intolerance" and "narrowness" has no publicly-viewable posting record in contrast. :~)


All I have today on this is that 2 cents' worth. And a reflection, rather than a reaction. I'd welcome others' reflections in response, but I have learned that at Mudcat, what I am more likely to get IS reaction.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM

Hitler referred to religion a great deal. He used it to rally the German people against supposed threats from non-Christian Jews and godless Communists. Every German soldier in the Wehrmacht wore a belt buckled that said "God is with us" (translated). Nazis were under the impression that they were fighting on behalf of Christian civilization. (Hitler was secretly into some very odd occult stuff, but he did not make that very apparent to the average German. He praised Jesus Christ in Mein Kampf, as having been not a peacemaker, but a "fighter"...presumably for all that was right and good in Hitler's view of things.)

Stalin used organized Christian religion as something to fight against...the "opiate of the masses". In fact, Stalin was in charge of a new organized religion...one that idolized HIM and the Communist Party. It was one of the strictest and most vicious religions of all time, and its only real god was Stalin himself...and the barrel of a gun.

Accordingly, they both used religion as a motivating factor, but in opposite manners.

Nevertheless, Blissfully Ignorant's point is spot on:

"Fear is the most effective method of controlling the masses."

Exactly right. One can choose to enlist religion in stirring up fear...or not...but the key is Fear. Make people afraid, and they will give their willing assent to all manner of destructive policies on the part of their rulers.

Fear is the key that opens Pandora's box. We need to eliminate Fear, not religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:34 AM

"Sounds good - until you look at it carefully.

Hitler and Stalin managed to do all that with no real reference to religion at all.

You could certainly reach the same results using science."

That's my point exactly- religion is just one way of cultivating fear in a society, so to say that we need religion to controll the masses is innaccurate.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 11:21 AM

You can "control the masses" with anything that plays heavily on their insecure minds. It might be religion, financial security, hatred of foreigners, material greed, political fanaticism, a sense of grievance over past wrongs and persecutions (refer to Nazi Germany and Israel and Al Queda for spectacular examples of that!), a sense of racial superiority and "manifest destiny" (Germany, Rome, Israel, the USA, Japan, etc...)...any darn thing at all!

And at the basis of it will be...Fear. Fear based on a sense of separation and disunity from one's fellow human beings. Love unites. Fear divides. Love see the similarities and forgives the differences. Fear sees only the differences and forgives nothing.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrrzy
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM

Little Hawk, I would think that if we eliminate a major cause of fear, we'll have done a great deal to diminish fear. I would also also think that it would be a very bad idea to eliminate something as necessary to the indivudual's survival as Fear, even if one could overcome such a basic element of our motivational system. Literally, that is.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM

Ah, yes, well that shows just how tricky words are. I clearly don't mean that we should eliminate caution...or the appropriate awareness of physical or other danger. For instance, I am quite correct to fear that I might lose control of the car on an icy road...and accordingly, to drive carefully. I am correct to fear that a mother bear may decide I am a threat to her cubs...and behave accordingly. I am correct to assume that a cop on the beat may be nervous, and accordingly not to make sudden moves that he might misinterpret.

If, however, I have been brought up to fear and hate Jews or Arabs or Blacks or Communists or cops as a group just because they are "different" from me and my family...that's where the trouble begins. Such fears and hatreds are irrational. They have no place in a mature human community.

I quite agree that organized religions have often encouraged and exploited such fears. Oddly enough, most of those religions are based on teachings which point to a far wiser path, but the churches and their followers have frequently tended to lose sight of those teachings. Religion tends to become a handmaiden to political objectives.

In religions, as in other fields of human interest, one finds both ignorance and brilliance.

You see, spiritual study has gone quite far in reducing my fears. I am far less fearful in most ways now than I once was, and it's partly because of experience, but mostly because of spiritual studies that shed light on my experience. Those studies were not confined to any particular organized religion in my case, but found some useful input from the traditional teachings of a great many religions.


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Subject: The Kinder and Gentler Christianity
From: Amos
Date: 19 Feb 05 - 07:36 PM

The following is by Sister Joan Cittister, OSB, and was published in the National Catholic Reporter. Like Jerry, Joe, Praise and others here, she is the kind of Christian I am delighted to associate with!

A





Is this kind of Christianity Christian?


By Joan Chittister, OSB

The problem with the political agenda of the Radical Right is not that they're wrong. Who isn't concerned about the so-called "moral values" on which this last presidential election is said to have hinged.

Each of those concerns surely merits attention. Abortion, for instance, is indeed a major issue. Hitler did it and called it eugenics; the Chinese did it in Tibet and called it population control. Obviously, the whole question of the morality of abortion is a serious and an imperative one, as is birth control for some denominations and alcohol for others, for instance. Just as obvious, however, is the question of whether or not the government of a pluralistic state ought to be legislating for any of those things according to the tenets of any one particular religious tradition. Those are questions of faith, not of politics. That's how we got the Taliban in the first place. Someone somewhere decided that their religion had to be everybody's religion.
The question for the state, then, is not whether or not abortion is morally wrong. That is for religions to decide. The question for the state to determine in its responsibility to assure "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is, What is life? When we know that answer, we'll all know, each of us from a different religious perspective, the political answer to abortion.

This is not the first time in U.S. history, however, that politics began to look like religion and single-issue religion tried to drive politics.

It was religion that fostered prohibition on moral grounds and its notoriously ineffective decline into the speakeasies operated by organized crime syndicates.

It was also religion that supported slavery and segregation and the argument that God made the white man (sic) superior.

It was religion that fueled the fire or provided the basis for many a war or Crusade.

It was religion that inveighed against dissection and all the medical information that came from it.

Religion -- including Christianity--however sincere, has often been proven wrong as time went by.

It may be prudent then, while we insist that it was God's will that we invade Iraq, and that it is murder to engage in stem cell research, that we approach all our questions with political respect for different religious sensitivities everywhere.

I understand the so-called "conservative" agenda. I even share its concerns. They are real and they are important. But they are also incomplete -- which is why I doubt that, as they are being framed right now, that they are either "right" or "religious." The agenda is simply too narrow, too concentrated on issues around human sexuality alone, and too self-centered to be the agenda that drove Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem curing lepers, feeding the hungry and raising the dead to life.

Anyone has the right, of course, to privatize religion and call that "Christianity." But no one has the right in a nation based on the separation of church and state to impose it on everyone else. After all, while some people are getting a patent on their definition of Christianity, the rest of the Christian agenda may well pass us by. If we're going to create a party platform on "Christian" values, we ought to at least ask whose Christianity we are selling -- and how.

There are many Christian churches, for instance, that oppose to abortion on demand but leave room in their moral pantheon for therapeutic abortions. Some religions, in some circumstances, would even require it.

School prayer, one of the icons of the movement, sounds very good in principle. But in a nation now decisively pluralistic, whose population is now more Buddhist, more Hindu, more Muslim, more Jewish than ever before in history -- and each of them getting larger every day -- whose prayers shall it be?

From 1990-2000 devotees of Islam in the United States rose 109 percent, of Buddhism 170 percent, of Hinduism 273 percent and of Christianity 5 percent.

Do Christians of the radical right really want their grandchildren reading from the Koran or the Vedas or the Flower Sutras for morning prayer? And if not, what will those same Christians do when school boards under different ethnic influences require them? Will they declare that minority schools in ethnic areas must use the Christian scriptures to satisfy our definition of God because this nation was settled, founded, incorporated by Christians over 200 years ago?

Obviously, there is a difference between questions of personal faith and questions of public politics.

But politics do touch on the rest of the Christian value system, if not in its speeches, certainly in its budget. Here politics and morals become one, are public, are universal, are not amenable to individual choice.

This month we saw "compassionate conservatism" -- all that concern we're told this government has for moral values and life and Christian identity -- show its real face. Now that the election is over, abortion and school prayer have suddenly disappeared from this administration's agenda, but the release of the Bush White House budget makes the administration's values clear. Furthermore, because the budget impinges on every citizen in this society, the values cannot be dismissed on grounds of personal moral commitment.

National budgets are a nation's theology walking.
In an era in which we call poverty "low-income" and hunger "lack of food security," the number of poor, according to the U.S Census Bureau, is increasing and the number of hungry in the richest country in the world has been rising steadily for four years. To pay for a war we should never have fought -- at least not for the reasons they gave us -- this budget is slashing domestic programs.

The budget of this Christian presidency cuts food stamps. It reduces support for subsidized housing. It suggests pillaging social security. It reduces environmental enforcement programs and scientific research in a scientific age. It even reduces veteran's health benefits.

Clearly, the country is in danger of going the way of all oligarchies; power and wealth are sucked to the top, while those on the bottom bleed. We can call it "Christian" as it collapses.

And all the while, we watch more food lines forming, more homeless on the streets, more environmental degradation and more of the elderly living destitute lives.

More than that, according to the budget analysis done by Bread for the World, (www.bread.org) while we honor our tax breaks to the rich in this country, we are not keeping our promise to fight HIV/AIDS around the world or to support the Third World development programs that might really make us secure in the future.

From where I stand, it seems that the poor who will be most affected by these budget cuts have no political voice with which to protest them and the rich can hardly be expected to object since they are benefiting from them

That leaves only the Christians -- the pastors and the bishops and the Religious Right -- who worked so hard to put this administration into office, to require that the rest of the Christian agenda finally be faced. Otherwise, forget the prayer in schools, the definition of marriage, or the fight against abortion. We lost the Christianity of this Christian nation a long time ago.

Comments or questions about this column may be sent to: Sr. Joan Chittister, c/o NCR web coordinator. Put "Chittister" in the subject line. E-mails with attachments are automatically deleted.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 10:43 AM

Just remember the greatest crimes in human history were done by atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 11:43 AM

Guest,

I doubt it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Don Firth
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 12:22 PM

Amos, thanks for posting that. Right on the button!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 01:16 PM

How come you don't hear of anything being blown up in the name of Buddhism?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM

The Nazis were not atheists. They were quite mystical on the upper levels, and generally conventionally religious on the lower levels. Every German soldier wore a belt buckle on which was emblazoned "God (is) With Us", in German words.

They committed some of the greatest crimes in history.

The Holy Roman Empire/Church of Rome committed some of the greatest crimes in history, wiping out vast numbers of people merely for having a different belief in some way.

There are numerous other examples...

On the other hand, atheists also have committed great crimes. Stalin murdered millions, so did Mao, and so did Pol Pot.

The fact is, crimes are just as easily committed by atheists as by fanatical religions.

And the REAL truth is, atheism IS a religion, but it's not a religion that theorizes or includes the existence of "God", that's all. It has its own chosen idols to bow down to, among which are: materialism, survivalism, profit, the ego, a political theory, a political party, and/or a charismatic authoritarian leader.

Nothing is more dangerous than a fanatic...whether or not he is an atheist OR a member of some traditional religion like Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

We need compassion, wisdom, and Love. Those can be found and developed either within organized religion or outside of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 01:41 PM

Dear GUEST,Guest of Date: 03 Mar 05 - 10:43 AM who wrote "Just remember the greatest crimes in human history were done by atheists."

Nonsense. Read history.
Also, atheism is NOT a religion; if it were, we'd be tax-exempt.

Someone once said that all that is needed for evil is for good men to do nothing. Someone also said that for good men to do evil requires religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Blissfully Ignorant
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 01:46 PM

Nah, i think all that's needed for evil is people.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM

Well, according to Blaise Pascal, the reason we need religion is...

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God"


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 04:16 PM

very poetic. "Vacuums in the heart" may exist about a lot of things.........Pascal also suggested that one should believe in God because 'it's the safest bet'....a real deep thinker, that Pascal.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 04:59 PM

You got it, Blissfully Ignorant. :-) People are the problem, not religion. Fearful people. Yet some of the finest people I have ever known have been numbered in the ranks of both the religious and those who are termed "atheists"...

I was amused by the comment that "atheism is NOT a religion; if it were, we'd be tax-exempt."

Ha! Funny! Well, the reason we have taxes, I'd say, is that MONEY is a religion. Right now, the worship and pursuit of money is the most powerful organized religion on the face of the Earth, basically dominating and running virtually every society in existence. That's why it says on American money: "In God We Trust"

The money IS the God being referred to in that case. :-) A few people are willing to lie, cheat, and kill for the God of heaven...millions are willing to do it for money! Just ask Al Capone about that. Ask any thief or mugger or arms manufacturer.

Money is a made-up thing. People created it. It's a totally artificial idea. To kill people over a completely artificial, made-up thing sounds like a very primitive religion to me...and primitive religions are usually quick to sanction violence.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:08 PM

LH:

You-all better slow down waving your arms when you type or you gonna end up up a tree and no way to get down, dude!!

Every assertion is not religious and every philosophy is not a religion. Atheism is a single tenet that states God (as envisioned by CHristians, or Hindus, or Janists or any religion that has one or more) does not exist.

This COULD be a religious statement but it isn't necessarily so,.

1. a subjective relationship to certain metaphysical, extramundane factors. A kind of experience accorded the highest value, regardless of its contents. The essence is the person's relationship to God or salvation. Jung called them psychotherapeutic systems and believed they contained, offered a gradiant for, and transformed instinctual (hence asceticism), nonpersonal energies, giving people a cultural counterpole to blind instinct, help through difficult transitional stages, and a sense of meaning. They also help separate the growing person from his parents. For Jung, the unconscious had a religious function, and religion rests on an instinctive basis. Different from creeds, which are codified and dogmatized versions of a religious experience. Creeds usually say they have THE truth and are a collective belief. For Jung, no contradiction existed between faith and knowledge because science has nothing to say about metaphysical events, and beliefs are psychological facts that need no proof.
www.tearsofllorona.com/jungdefs.html

2. (generic definition of): A means of getting in touch with and of attaining at-onement with "ultimate reality." In slightly different words, a religion is a system of symbols (e.g., words and gestures, stories and practices, objects and places) that functions religiously, namely, an ongoing system of symbols that participants use to draw near to, and come into right or appropriate relationship with, what they deem to be ultimate reality.
www.aar-site.org/syllabus/syllabi/c/cannon/r201glos.htm

3. Generally a belief in a deity and practice of worship, action, and/or thought related to that deity. Loosely, any specific system of code of ethics, values, and belief.
www.carm.org/atheism/terms.htm


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:12 PM

If you think the arm-waving is bad, Amos, you oughta see how I keep darting my tongue in and out...and that facial twitch! Oy! I oughta see if I can get a job as a Reality TV show host, and make big bucks. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:13 PM

Oh, man! You don't like Pascal?! Dang, another scientific theory shot through the heart. Who you gonna believe in matters of religion, if not a scientist?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:16 PM

Well said! Hear! Hear!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 05:31 PM

to "Colonel Bogey March"

"Physics is what we learned in class.
Einstein said 'En-er-gy- is mass.
Newton is high-fa-lutin'-
And Pacsal's a rascal...so's Boyle"

"Trolley, he made the Trolley car,
Leyden, he made the Leyden jar-
Curie rides in a surrey-
And Diesel's a weasel...so's Boyle"


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Mar 05 - 07:45 PM

"Money is a made-up thing. People created it. It's a totally artificial idea. To kill people over a completely artificial, made-up thing sounds like a very primitive religion to me...and primitive religions are usually quick to sanction violence. "
Actually, sounds like ANY religion to me, so we're almost in complete agreement!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 07:24 PM

RELIGION

Religion is a defense against having a religious experience.

             Joseph Campbell quoting Carl Jung
                        The Power of Myth


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 07:36 PM

Hey, I just read that on a different thread.

Kinda begs the question...

Why not cut out the middle man? Why give Campbell $.02 for something that isn't his?

Who do you like better -- Carl Jung or Neil Young?

...and if Neil is Young, did that make him too old to ride with Jesse James and the Youngers?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: bobad
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 07:39 PM

To provide a rationale to kill people?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 07:49 PM

So Amos... wots with ressurecting dead anti-religion threads? I was enjoying the lack of anti-religion, anti-religious right (not being one, myself) and anti-Republican (not one of them, either) threads   :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:01 PM

ummmm...cute...but not very profound


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: CarolC
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:03 PM

LH waving his arms...

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:18 PM

oh, my! Gesticulating in public!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,ABE
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:24 PM

Good Grief! Reviving a thread almost 6 months dead?

Amos, someone needs to get a life and it appears you are it!
I am new here but have seen enough - I will also seek a life elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:38 PM

threads are never truly 'dead' around here..*grin*...they merely hibernate, then rise like Zombies to walk again!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: *daylia*
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 08:45 PM

Well, acts of God do benefit insurance companies.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 29 Aug 05 - 11:02 PM

Sorry, Jerry. I forgot I had posted it to the first thread.

I think it has a certain telling depth to it, and is often true, but not in all cases.

Abe, I am sure I don't know what you are on about, mate, but if you hang around I would be willing to hear about it.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 09:52 AM

This demonstrates the wisdom of closing BS threads after a certain time:

Imagine Amos would have been able to resurrect all threads into which the little quote seems to fit...

Now where did I read recently that skeptical quote about...I could insert it in all threads about...

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 09:57 AM

BTW,

the correct opening words for repeated information are:

you may have missed this (copyright: Shambles)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 10:58 AM

100.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 11:12 AM

Why Religion?

Get a copy of "Salmon Of Doubt"... the poshumous Douglas Adams book, and read the chapter entitled "Is There An Artificial God" for what I think has to be one of the best answers to the question....


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,DB
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 11:18 AM

We need religion because:

(a) We're all scared about the big unknown DEATH.

(b) Our complicated brain chemistry plays all sorts of strange tricks on us.

(c) We're all subject to random events which we can't control.

Long ago some genius realised that he/she could pretend to intercede, on our behalf, with some supernatural being(s)who 'really' controlled these things. This genius could then rake off more than his/her fair share of his/her society's surplus wealth without actually doing very much. Hence 'Organised Religion' was born.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 07:44 PM

What we all need is merely this: something to believe in.

It may or may not fall within the category termed "religion".


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 10:46 PM

We don't "need" it. But it might represent objective truth -- maybe not all in one neat package, maybe not any one religion alone.

The "need" is to understand our world without dismissing what we don't understand. Some would like to believe that religion is the avoidance of facing what we don't understand. That may be so. It certainly would appera that way in some cases.

But it might also be that dismissing all religion on the basis of either one religion's weakness to address mysteries that matter to one, or on the basis that one religion is the same as any other, is faulty logic.

It's like looking at asprin's ineffectiveness on cancer and concluding, "why do we need medicine?"


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 30 Aug 05 - 11:23 PM

Wisely said, John Hardly.

I think despite the many wonders of advancement made into analyzing which areas light up when and how, and into biochemistry, and into emerging systems and the nature of complexity, we STILL cannot explain the simple miracle of a truly intended "Hello".

There is still more to the universe than all our philosophy to date.

Just ask Little Hawk! :)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 11:30 AM

"...The interviewer, Mr. Assayas, begins by asking Bono, Doesn't he think "appalling things" happen when people become religious? Bono counters, "It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma."

The interviewer asks, What's that? "At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one," explains Bono. "And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that. . . . Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

The interviewer asks, Like what? "That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge," says Bono. "It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity."

Then the interviewer marvels, "The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that."

"The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death," replies Bono. "It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven."

The interviewer marvels some more: "That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has His rank among the world's great thinkers. But Son of God, isn't that farfetched?"

Bono comes back, "Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: He was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, No. I'm not saying I'm a teacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying: 'I'm the Messiah.' I'm saying: 'I am God incarnate.' . . . So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. . . . The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched."


What is most interesting in this exchange is the reaction of the interviewer. This hip rock journalist starts by scorning what he thinks is Christianity. But it is as if he had never heard of grace, the atonement, the deity of Christ, the gospel. And he probably hadn't. But when he hears what Christianity is actually all about, he is amazed.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 12:31 PM

Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z-Z

To those who get their intellectual ego jollies trying to disprove everything they don't already believe in:

Look, why not just leave other people alone? If their beliefs aren't doing any harm to you or anyone else, what difference does it make whether or not they believe what YOU happen to believe?

Who put you in charge of the Universe, anyway?

My belief in karma, reincarnation, and a number of other spiritual things like that does no harm to anyone. Just go away if you don't like it. Bug somebody else. Screw off. Make like a tree and leave. Etc.

Can you tell I'm just a wee bit fed up with all this endless shit this morning?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 12:38 PM

So I take it you're not a big Bono/U2 fan? :^)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 12:51 PM

I just typed out a lengthy reply, sent it, and it vanished into thin air.

Great.

I like their music fine, to put it briefly, and I am unconcerned about what Bono believes. That's up to him.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 01:01 PM

Has anyone read this book: God without religion? Here are a couple of paragraphs from that link:

What led you to write God Without Religion?

After living as an ascetic for nearly two decades, engaging day and night in sophisticated methods of sense-introversion, and eventually coming to an inner understanding of how the human sense of identity manifests, I felt burdened by my discovery and needed to share what I'd found. I wanted to help people by demonstrating how the ideas of God introduced by organized religions have propagated divisiveness through split-level thinking like "us and them," "believer and infidel," and "saved and damned," leading to prejudice, violence, and ultimately, war. I wrote God Without Religion to introduce the idea of a universal God-a concept approached by past philosophers and mystics, but never explored comprehensively from the inside out.

- top -

Do you think the average American can relate to a book that challenges the religious bedrock on which this country was founded? Whom do you perceive to be your readership?

Americans are often taught that this country is founded on religious beliefs, but many Founding Fathers, like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, actually opposed organized belief systems. Jefferson said that he inwardly swore "eternal hostility" toward organized religions. Lincoln, widely considered the most spiritual United States president, admitted during his campaign that he'd never joined a church. God Without Religion seeks to inspire a personal involvement with a new idea of God and is intended for anyone interested in spiritual growth, regardless of religious, cultural, or political affiliation. Atheists, too, can benefit from this book.


It sounds interesting.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Pseudolus
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 01:02 PM

I like Bono...a lot! I'm not sure I've ever heard it said better.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 02:35 PM

The world -- meaning, each individual in the world -- is quite capable of taking away its own sins and being free from their burden. But it requires a level of willingness to see them and acknowledge them.

Without that willingness, they just get dramatized.

Invoking some Higher Being to jump in and tell you it is okay is only a marginal remedy, because whiile it may relieve some short-term pressure, it leaves you with your self-defined gap between what you have done and what you are willing to face honestly.

Given clean hands born of that level of honesty, one is quite able to be the source of his own forgiveness in the world without any pointy hats being called into play.

I do apologize if this collides with anyone's articles of faith, but it is what I have seen in sixty years of observation of the ways of life on this eccentric ball.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 02:41 PM

" If their beliefs aren't doing any harm to you or anyone else,"

well, Little Hawk, I see your irritation, but that's a big 'if'. Unfortunately, what some people believe makes a huge difference in how they act (i.e., vote, share, help, condemn, kill, support, allow, respect, hide, notice, ridicule, etc..etc...etc..)

We in the USA are about to get 2 new justices on our Supreme Court, and knowing what they believe can affect the very substance of our lives for generations.

Of course an abstract belief by a private citizen on some arcane metaphysical matter is probably not going to **directly** affect me, and I do not make my posts here with any notion or expectation of changing a mind about God, the nature of the Universe, or how many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin......but there is a certain class of arguments and defenses OF various beliefs that is, in my opinion, inherently weak, misleading and therefore dangerous to rational behavior.

If you believe, abstractly, in a "zealous and strict God", I can shrug, but if you use that belief to vote for a politician who is going attempt to restrict my freedoms based on that type of God, I WILL comment on it! There is a continuum of the 'seriousness' of forms and degrees of belief vectors, and I may at some point note a bad argument, even when the immediate relevance of the issue is not obvious. Just as others have the right to express their opinions, I reserve the right to comment if I think those opinions are poorly expressed and inadequately defended!

There ARE fair and reasonable ways to express opinions that are totally different from mine...and indeed, in many cases, mine may turn out not to be the 'right' ones--- but when ideas and concepts and opinions are simply stated as if they are 'revealed truth' and not to be questioned, I cannot resist replying.

If one reads my posts regularly and carefully, they ought to see that my interest is not so much in "what to believe", but in "how to think ABOUT believing". Some issues, in principle, have no absolute answer that we are likely to arrive at anytime soon. This does not mean we should not speculate, discuss and theorize, as they are interesting and, potentially important.....which is all the more reason for being careful in the process of wondering.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Pseudolus
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 03:42 PM

There's a big difference in "invoking a higher being" and believing that a higher being has been there all along. I'm not thinking there is any point in starting a discussion on the existence of God but I don't think it's necessary to belittle those that do believe by implying that we've made him up for our own selfish reasons or to refer to him as our imaginary friends. Just my two cents...

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 03:58 PM

Well, Frank, I respect that, and I apologize for my offensive remarks. I hope you can appreciate, in turn, how wearisome it can become to be told about the nature of the Infinite by people whose spirituality is lacking in many other respects, including tolerance, compassion and a healthy reverence for individual freedom of insight.

My problem has never been with those who believe in God in the fullest and broadest sense, but rather those who would use the vocabulary of that belief (a bruised and abused vocabulary at that) to forward what are transparently small-minded human-only concerns, such as dictating what to eat and what small boys may or may not do with their penises, or undermining the grand and humane spirit of the United States Constitution with petty minded moralisms. To my mind, anyone who has touched the genuine spark of God in the smallest way, even for an instant, would immediately be relieved of such ire against other people's lives and choices, in a transport of deep compassion.

Amos


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 04:13 PM

Uh-huh. Okay, Bill. No problem.

As far as I'm concerned, Bill, any number of angels could dance on the head of a pin...

if they chose to. ;-) But why would they?

Angels have no physical dimensions of measurement, so it would be child's play.

It would be like saying: "How many thoughts or ideas can be placed on the head of a pin?" An infinite number, that's how many.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Pseudolus
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 04:26 PM

Thanks Amos,

   I must say that it is also tiresome to see some of the people you talk about while knowing that I'm being grouped together with them because I'm a Christian so I can relate to what you say. There are a lot of people out there that are also Christian that do not necessarily speak for me!

   I probably jumped a little furthur down your throat than I should have. A little knee jerk reaction but as much as I try to stay away from threads with titles like these, I can't help myself and sometimes it gets to me. So, I appreciate your response.

   For what it's worth I don't feel like I have an imaginary friend and I certainly don't feel like I have a mental illness like another thread would have wanted us to believe. I have a belief in God and that I will be with him when he's ready for me to go there.


Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 05:00 PM

Well, I do too, Frank. I don't refer to 'him' in the third person singular masculine, but I think the sense is the same.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 05:11 PM

"Angels have..." which angels are those? I've not seen any.

All Drolizankers are inherently petulant, too! (maybe about dancing angels...)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 05:32 PM

BTW, Bono's answer is an almost word perfect copy of the arguement of theAlpha Course, which was argued in very similar language by C.S Lewis in his 'Mere Christianinty' in the 1940's, and almost certainly further back.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,the Angels
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 06:30 PM

Bill, only a few people ever see us while they are still in the physical. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons.

Here are some...

Their attention is on other matters.

Their spiritual frequency is not high enough to perceive beyond a very limited spectrum of what is termed "visible light".

Their rigid belief systems censor their perceptions of reality. Children, for instance, are far more likely to see spiritual phenomena, because they haven't yet decided that they don't believe in such things (they haven't been told not to yet, in other words). Belief itself can grossly limit perception. Negative beliefs reduce one's ability to "see".

Angels will appear to people sometimes in moments of tremendous stress and/or great need. The stress itself proves sufficient to heighten perception, and the need may be there for an Angelic communication of some kind.

There has been no particular need for you to see an Angel lately...therefore you haven't seen one. Whether this will change depends entirely on you.

Many people do see Angels when leaving the body, at what is termed "clinical death". This may happen in your case. Let's wait and see.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 08:06 PM

gee...are the Angels answering me collectively? Purty amazing! And if so, can we have one keep an eye on this place as a sort of "guardian"? We have a chimp named Chongo who helps a lot on some matters, but he don't get on every day.

you, know, those angelic expositions remind me of other things I've read recently...you Angels don't happen to visit Canada a lot, do you?

"...therefore you haven't seen one. Whether this will change depends entirely on you." hmmm...You mean, if I want to bad enuf, I can do like others and convince myself I see stuff? Yep...I'll agree that's prob'ly so! And when my 'clinical death' comes, whether temporary or permanent, I got a BIG list of stuff I'd rather see...*grin*


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,the Angels
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 08:18 PM

Careful, Bill...careful. Your "clinical death" may arrive sooner than you think! It's not good to get cheeky with God. (that's a joke, Bill...) We are keeping a close eye on you at all times, and will make sure you don't shuffle off this mortal coil until you have made ALL the mistakes you came here to make this time! (*much laughter here in the spiritual regions)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: SINSULL
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 09:57 PM

And the clickies below are (appropriately) Catholicism for Dummies and the Dark History of Religion, 7 Great Lies of Organized Religion. What say we read them both and report back?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Stephen L. Rich
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:09 AM

Why do we need religion? So that even atiests can have something to hate.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: DMcG
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 07:54 AM

Here's an interesting view from Roy Hattersley


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 01:24 PM

"So that even athiests can have something to hate."

and what do NON-atheists hate?

gee, Stephen, I hope you don't take your comment very seriously..most atheists I know do NOT 'hate' religion, they merely dispute its claims. I don't like listening to the few that DO hate.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 01:41 PM

"... until you have made ALL the mistakes you came here to make this time!"

Make mistakes!? I don't make mistakes...I thought I made one once, but I was wrong.

*giggles from the material realm*


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 01:49 PM

I think Stephen has basically got it fairly right there, Bill. For "hate" you could substitute the words "feel superior to".

Most threads that are started with a title such as the title of this thread are started out of the poster's basic hostility to or smug sense of superiority over the very idea of religion. Hostility is hostility. When it's more extreme, it's called hatred. When it's less extreme it might just be called prejudice.

People who are hostile toward what they call "religion" generally lump all forms of spiritual belief whatsoever in with organized religion...as if the two had to be synonymous. They don't. Not by any means.

In other words, the person who dislikes religion decides that it has and must have one specific definition (which he made up)...which is the prejudiced, pejorative way that he sees "religion"...and he then consigns all forms of spiritual belief (most of which he is very ignorant of) within the straitjacket of that specific dumbass definition of his...which he created out of his own prejudice, just so he can have something to look down on and feel better than.

His definition may be equivalent to a crock of shit. It would be like asking Hitler for his opinion of Jews. Pointless.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wesley S
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 01:56 PM

Pointless - exactly.

Those that believe - will continue to believe.

Those that don't - won't.

And never the twaine shall meet.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:03 PM

Nobody likes other people making false assumptions about them.

If I said I was Christian, people would make plenty of false assumptions about me. So I don't say that. I do believe in "the Christ Spirit", but I'm not Christian. The Christ Spirit predated Christianity, and in any case, predated this whole planet, in my opinion. If you don't know what I mean by the "Christ Spirit", then telling you this won't accomplish a damn thing, will it? And do I care? No.

I don't need to be Christian. I just am, period. I am. That's all there is to it. I am. I always have been and I always will be. I was when there was no Christianity. Same as you. We are.

See what you can assume out of that. You cannot NOT BE what I am. You know why? Because you are too. If that's okay, great. If not, don't worry about it. Cos if you're not into it, then from your point of view it would be a waste of time to worry about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:04 PM

Regardless I think it is informative to make an important distinction between the experiential nature of spiritual events (including OOB, remote perception, transcendant insights, epiphanies of various kinds, contact with the Infinite, and on through the long list of religious experiences as individuals have perceived them) VERSUS and IN CONTRAST WITH the establishment and institutionalization of fixed agreement sets which passes for organized group-religion on this whacko planet.

I personally abhor organized religion, considering it to most often be an oxymoron and a scam, with some distinct exceptions. But I do not believe anyone, any state, individual or authority-figure has any right to gainsay anothers individual experiences or lack thereof, or tell him what he should think about these.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Pseudolus
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:37 PM

Wesley, I have to disagree. Things happen in people's lives and they find religion, lose religion possibly several times throughout their lives. I do agree that there will always be a group for and a group against and it's unlikely that we can all agree and be on the same page. But there will always be some folks changing groups.

Amos, You make an interesting point on "organized religion". I guess in some ways I would be against organized religion for organized religion's sake. I read your post and I thought about why I go to my church every week. It's not because I have to, it's not because of a fear of going to hell if I don't. The reason I go to church every week is to be with a group of people who all believe the same thing that I do. My church family has been an incredible support system at times when I really needed it and I've had the opportunity to experience the feeling of helping when others have been in need. Is that unique to my church? Of course not. Are we "organized"? Yep! It's no secret that I believe in heaven and plan on going there. I don't believe that you have to be part of any religion or believe any certain things to be welcome when the time comes.

Little Hawk, I totally agree that as soon as you tell someone you are a Christian, there are assumptions made about you and not all of them are good! I too hate it when those assumptions are made especially with sweeping remarks in a thread.


Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 03:39 PM

" When it's less extreme it might just be called prejudice."

Prejudice: "A partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation"

yeah, there ARE those who operate that way....I don't. I was raised IN a religion,and I still don't hate it, and my disagreement with it is not prejudice, because I came to my views THROUGH 'objective consideration'...unlike most of those who are still members. Thus, I do not state that religion is wrong, but merely that I see most of the defenses of it as flawed, i.e.unproven. I STILL retain an open mind, but 'open' does not mean 'trying very hard to believe' in my view...it means looking at all points of view and accepting or rejecting them according to proof, logic, and fairness- not 'comfort level'.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 03:47 PM

Frank:

The free and voluntary association of like-minded souls is the exception of which I speak. I am deeply opposed to any form of spiritual tyranny, which is why I sometimes sound off about groups I consider to be heavy-handed, dogmatic, or doctrinaire. The reason associations can be tricky is because it is only a small step from "talking to a group of like minded souls", and letting your soul become like the group mind, a very different thing indeed.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 04:37 PM

Well said, Frank. The best reason to attend any church or such group, in my opinion, is that it allows one the company of kindred souls. ("where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I also")

This would be just as true for a gathering of physicists or a gathering of refrigerator salesmen, by the way, quite regardless of religion. We humans are creatures who benefit tremendously from sharing our minds and hearts in common purpose with others.


Bill - I get you. But...there are a great many things that cannot be proven or disproven, though they can certainly be experienced in one way or another. Oddly enough, it is primarily those things that concern me. The things which can be proven or disproven in this life hold little interest for me.    They're just not that important to me. I guess if I was a detective trying to solve a murder case...or a research scientist investigating DNA...then I'd be more concerned about such things! ;-)

It's primarily consciousness itself that concerns me...perceptions of reality...inner concepts and belief systems, and how they function in a person, and what results from their functioning. Silence. Thought. Love. Compassion. Jealousy. Wisdom. Insecurity. Faith. Wonder. Passion. Imagination. Idealism. Hope. Joy. Sorrow. Self-esteem. Those are the things that really concern me. The "inner man". Consciousness. Being. The awareness that "I am". None of them are susceptible to either proof or disproof in any respect that I know of. They are subjective in nature, not objective. They cannot be measured, yet they are crucial to existence. I am concerned about subjectivity.

Objectivity is logical, procedural, and usually quite obvious (to me, anyway) and it doesn't fascinate me. I use it merely when I need to use it to accomplish something practical. It's prosaic.

I will not be an objective phenomenon when I leave this body, Bill, and I am only going to be here in this body for a ridiculously short blip in the annals of time. My body...without the conscious being that is me...will have no function, and will vanish pretty quickly.

I'm concerned about me...the Life that animates this body. I am not provable or disprovable...except as a body. The fact that you see this post is proof that I (or somebody) just typed it. So what? ;-)

What's important is not proof that I typed it, not proof that I have a body at the moment, but the meaning that is communicated IN what I just typed...

(and that can be debated about some, but not proven)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 04:41 PM

I think it is important to remember that Christians, in the US, at least, may be painted with a broad brush because the extremists of Christianity have become the vocal majority and *embedded* their *crusaders* in every level of our government, working to have the most profound effects on each and every one of us. IMO, it is up to all Christians who do not agree with them, and the rest of us, to oppose them.

LH, you sure you weren't ever a Rosicrucian?**bg** Well-put.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Wesley S
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 05:50 PM

It's as easy to generalise about Christians as it is to generalise about folk singers. In other words - you can't. Or shouldn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM

Kat said: "...working to have the most profound effects on each and every one of us. IMO, it is up to all Christians who do not agree with them, and the rest of us, to oppose them."

I agree. Just like we think that the less visible Muslims should be out there protesting the violent ones. Lately some Muslim leaders are making clear their opposition and disapproval.

Some Christians are doing their part too, for instance, Jim Wallis of God's Politics is very clear and articulate in his views of what is wrong today and how we can fix it. However, we need higher profile people, vociferous people, people who state their positions and hammer it home.

If we don't - and soon - I think this country is in deep doo doo and will be for a long time to come.

(Reminds me of a commentator who said he saw a young woman dressed in her high heels and finery step out of a limo onto the sidewalk and exclaim: 'Oh shit! I stepped in some doo doo.")


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 05:52 PM

Kat, you are a good soul, and I am sending you a big smile!

I don't know much about the Rosicrucians. Maybe I was one in another lifetime.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 07:40 PM

well, Little Hawk...I see a bit more in your explanation about your personal, ultimate 'concerns'. If most of your interest is in all those concepts about conciousness and its functioning, of course you will both 'see' and phrase things differently than I might...but we still must debate and communicate 'as if' we follow the same set of constraints, since no matter how we view matter & reality, we are both trapped in it in similar ways.

That's why I pick and poke at some remarks. In your thoughts, you make a couple of statements that, by their nature, have debatable assumptions embedded in them:

"there are a great many things that cannot be proven or disproven, though they can certainly be experienced in one way or another."

This calls into question just what a 'thing' is, and what it means to be experienced without being 'proven'...and even how to deal with 'in one way or another'. We DO have experiences, both of obvious physical things like doors, and of not-so-obvious things like ideas and dreams. You treat some of these concepts as if it is given that they are independant of the body doing the experiencing. THAT is the great debate ...and the important point is not whether they ultimately are or are not, but whether the answer can be given and unquestioned.

"I will not be an objective phenomenon when I leave this body,"

same basic point...you **state** that there IS a separate 'you' that will 'leave the body'. There might be...I don't claim I can prove that there is not, but I certainly see no way to know this, and from my viewpoint, claims that "this is how it works" are at best, vague, and at worse, wishful thinking. I see the allure, I just don't see the basis. Sorry, but just explaining that it is 'not subject to standard "proof" does not validate it as true.
   If, as you say, you consider being 'in' a body prosaic and boring, it is nevertheless the case that while you are in it and subject to this awkward way of communicating with your fellow 'trappees', certain rules apply to all our situations, one of which is...we won't KNOW the answers about mind/body dichotomy until we die...(or leave this body, and there I am at a disadvantage...if I am right, I don't get to say "I told you so".....'taint fair, says I...I guess I compensate for this unfairness by excessive pedantry while I'm here...


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 08:12 PM

Ah, but Bill D, just think how happy you will be if you are proved wrong! *G*


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 08:43 PM

I'm not interested in trying to validate it as true, Bill. I'm interested in interpreting it, given that I have some experiential awareness of it.

I frankly don't care whether or not it's "validated", by your system or anyone else's. I accept what I experience as it comes to me, and I interpret it as best I can. Spiritual things and emotional and mental things are not to be validated and thus proven "true", they are to be experienced directly and interpreted in order to derive meaning from them.

If you don't experience them, I've got no problem with that at all.

You don't see the "basis" of my belief in a soul that is independent of the physical body, because it doesn't meet your chosen set of assumptions about reality. Fine with me. It doesn't matter. Your view of reality is fine for you, and mine is fine for me. I don't see the "basis" of voting for either the Democrats or the Republicans, nor do I see any rational basis for those 2 parties continuing to exist (given their record). Okay? You pick your basis, and I'll pick mine.

Note: When I use the word "thing" in the above context, I am referring to a subjective experience...something one experiences in a conscious way. An experience is a thing. It's not a tactile or measurable thing, but it is something that one experiences....

"some thing..." Anything that is something is some thing. ;-) Anything we can discuss is something, including any totally hypothetical concept. It's a concept, and a concept is a thing. It's a mental thing. Is it provable? Maybe, and maybe not. Do I care? No, not really.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 09:43 PM

ah, Ebbie...I am not so sure I WOULD be happy! It very much depends on whose version of eternity or 'higher planes of existence' turns out to be true. I have had some of them explained that, "no thank you, I don't care to go forever under those bylaws"

I don't expect it to be an issue, somehow.

Little Hawk: over & over you miss my point....I am not arguing 'reality'...I don't HAVE a "chosen set of assumptions about reality"....I have an 'opinion' about how to conduct a debate, plus, way down low in priority, some 'suspicions' about what reality is probably not.

You use words like "every thing" and "validate" and "provable" in slippery ways that are very close to, if not totally, equivocation. ...this does not make you 'wrong' about reality, but it IS a flawed usage There are rules about proof, logic, coherent argument, etc., that are not subject to 'agreement'. You cannot just say "you pick your (rules) and I'll pick mine".

You can say "It is my opinion that mind and body are independant", and you can say "I choose not to enter this discussion or abide by those rules you refer to", and there is little I can say... "You say to-may-to, I say to-MAH-to"...but you can also say "I don't like 2+2 always equaling 4", and it won't get you $5 at the bank.


so...I do understand that you have a different set of concerns, and that you feel you have had experiences that justify, if not 'prove', your viewpoint...(and yes, I understand that you don't really feel the need to justify OR prove any basis for thinking differently than I do.)
We both know that we shoulda called it a draw a long time ago....*grin*...but I'd venture we both derive a certain satisfaction from refining our viewpoint in these various discussions......I will, however, refrain from direct confrontation on these issues in the future, if you think it best. I like debate, but I don't like getting close to antagonism with folks I truly respect and enjoy....


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Sep 05 - 12:14 PM

I'm not conducting a debate, Bill. Maybe that's why I don't get your point. I'm simply discussing things I'm interested in.

What is your point, anyway? Try and make it brief. ;-)

EVERYONE, Bill, EVERYONE has a chosen set of assumptions about reality! (unless they are in a coma or otherwise unconscious)

It's just that most people take their own chosen set of assumptions about reality so totally for granted that they don't even know they have them! I don't do that. I have been examining my basic assumptions, and challenging them, ever since my early 20's. I have changed my opinion about a whole lot of things, and I will no doubt continue to change my opinion with further investigation.

Life is not about "proof", as far as I'm concerned. It's about transformation.

I wouldn't say that mind and body are independent, exactly, I'd say that they are fully integrated while the body is alive, but that body is much secondary to mind, an effect of mind...since it was built BY mind in the first place, and is later discarded by that same mind when it wears out. Kind of like a car...built by mind, used by mind, discarded by mind. Only...a body is built through normal biological processes (conception, 9 months in the womb, birth, growth, etc.) whereas a car is built on an assembly line.

I assume that you think mind arises from the body, whereas I think it's exactly the other way around. I see little likelihood that we will arrive at a resolution of that philosophical difference, and I see no way of effectively dealing with it through your debating system. No way whatsoever. You can't play chess with a deck of cards or saddle a moonbeam with a refrigerator. ;-)

I am NOT debating. I'm discussing. Who needs a debate?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Sep 05 - 02:55 PM

" EVERYONE has a chosen set of assumptions..." hmmm...if you mean something like a "working hypothesis"...maybe I do, but the flavor of the remark is that of inflexible and pre-digested 'answers'. That, I do NOT do...and you suggest that you don't either. "I have been examining my basic assumptions, and challenging them, ever since my early 20's." ... yet, your usual way of formulating responses seems to state that "this is how it is" rather than "this is how it seems to me. You may consider this nit-picking, but to me it is important to not phrase things in such a way as to imply "...and if you'd just open up and allow yourself to see the truth, YOU'D see it my way, also"!
Perhaps I am over-sensitive to language that resembles, except for details, religious prosyletizing that I have struggled with for years. Plus, 6-7 years of serious study in philosophy also have attuned me to notice positions that don't include disclaimers when they make generalizations.

Do I think " mind arises from the body"?...well, I am not sure. I can, at least, describe a process that is internally consistant, compatible with most of the relevant scientific principles, and seems to account for all of the observable phenomena. You say you ARE sure of the opposite, but you never say quite 'how' a mind can 'build' a body. From what? Where is a mind located BEFORE it is "fully integrated"? How can we even conceptualize mind without body?

You ask, "What is your point?" (and make it brief ;>) )..ok, one brief try.
My point is,
1)we do have models for 'how' things work in my (current)view of reality, and we CAN measure and test them.
2)*IF* we postulate other views, we need some sort of test. If a view is postulated that, by definition, cannot BE measured or tested, then it IS merely a linguistic construction...even if it is ultimately true.
3)UNTIL there is a way to 'know', it remains a linguistic construction, like poetry.
4) *IF* more is claimed for a position than being linguistic poetry, the burden of proof is on the assertor. Poets do not claim universal application for their concepts. Coleridge never said "Xanadu" was a place in reality, just as Plato never really said his "forms" had independant existance.
5)..and here is the subtle part...IF one posts anything that LOOKS like claims of stuff that is not testable, measurable, repeatable, photographable, they are gonna get called on it..*grin*. A circular argument that "It's NOT provable, and I don't care to try, I just KNOW it!" is like a red flag. Some of us just can't resist.

(fingers itching to expound & enlarge...but I may already may be beyond 'brief') (you know the old college remark, "I don't have TIME to write a short paper"?)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 14 Sep 05 - 11:52 PM

Poetry, among other things, is valued because it touches the Knower in a way that he did not know he was knowing but knows he was as soon as it is pointed out.

This is not subject to proof, of course, but to my mind, is never the less true.

How d'ya like them apples, Bill? :D

With fond regards,


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Jdozs
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 08:09 AM

I'm 26 with 2 children and a wonderful wife. I am a high school graduate without college education. I spent all but 3 years in 2 different baptist private schools. My parents were alcholics and drug addicts among other things and did not have the time to teach basic moral principals to me. I write that only to give you a better understanding of me and maybe shed light into why I Choose the path I lead. I struggled for last few years with thoughts of religion and god. I wished I had some sort of answer to all of this. I slowly started loosing my faith in the church and as that diminished so did my faith in a higher being. I believe this was due to the fact that I no longer needed it. I did not need to believe in a protecter, in afterlife, creation, or things greater than myself. I wondered is this it no longer. I didn't care. If this is it than why not make the most of it. If this is not all there is than worry about that train when it comes. Religion fills voids not much different than an addict needs a fix. People need to depend on things greater than themselves. Lack of control gives man someone to blame when things do not work out the way they wanted. An ideal of afterlife gives hope in a world of unexplainable chaos. Life is a series of choices whether they be yours or someone elses. Grasp what is here. Love your family, self, friends, and all things around you. Death is not to be feared but rather embraced as the final cycle of all living things.

I fear I may have been a little long winded so I will end with this

"Right and wrong is in the costitution of ones own mind" RWE


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: dianavan
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 10:35 AM

"The reason I go to church every week is to be with a group of people who all believe the same thing that I do."

Thats just like any cult.

Trouble is, right or wrong, your peer group gives you the confidence to believe that you are somehow morally superior to those who are not part of your cult.

"People need to depend on things greater than themselves."

Maybe you do but not everyone needs this. Sounds like helplessness and despair to me.

"Lack of control gives man someone to blame when things do not work out the way they wanted."

Yeah, right. Blame it on God!

"An ideal of afterlife gives hope in a world of unexplainable chaos"

Hope is not dependent on a belief in an afterlife.

If anything, I feel sorry for people who think that life is so bleak that they need to believe in something that does not, in fact, exist. Its a state of mind.

The way you talk, any cult would serve the same purpose.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Pseudolus
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 11:00 AM

Dianavan, If you believe that I need my peers to give me confidence to be morally superior to those who believe differently than me then you have shown only that you don't know me, or for that matter my peers. I don't feel superior to anyone morally or otherwise. If I did, that would mean that I have judged and it is not my right to judge anyone. You may want to read the post from Jdozs again. He didn't state that he believed "People need to depend on things greater than themselves" or that HE needed to be able to blame God, he was describing what he thought was behind people needing religion.

For what it's worth, I don't believe that life is bleak and I am not a member of a cult. I just believe that there is a God, he watches over me and when I die, it won't be the end, just the end of life as I know it now.

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM

"This is not subject to proof, of course, but to my mind, is never the less true."

the "to my mind" part is a direct violation of the rule that says "You cannot just say "you pick your (rules) and I'll pick mine" , Amos, as well as points 2), 3), 4), and 5 above. (That rule, by the way, is not just some arbitrary thing, ol' Bill decided to make up so he could harass free-thinkers....it is a distillation of the essentials of logic, scientific method (and probably, of Roberts Rules of Order, too ;>)

You USE poetry to DEFEND poetry as a way of getting around my claim that poetry, by itself, is not a valid substitute for proof.
   Poetry certainly does provide illuminating metaphor and linguistic entry into ways of re-evaluating experience, but I'm not sure it gives us 'knowing', unless we allow a pretty ambiguous, subjective and vague definition of 'knowing'. *I* use poetry...I like poetry...I can move into a mode where I need poetry to 'flavor' my feelings and capture a mood--but poetry is an attempt to reflect reality, not an independent piece OF reality.

Them apples gots a few rotten spots, Amos......*grin* I'll nibble on 'em, but I won't bite with my eyes closed.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 01:27 PM

BillD, I thought the poetry thing was lame, too (sorry, Amos) but, you said, but poetry is an attempt to reflect reality, not an independent piece OF reality.

Like the eternal question of "what is folk music" I would ask you "what IS reality?"

(Feel free to use both hands in reply:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 01:54 PM

ah, kat, I would wear all (ummm...10, at the moment) fingers to nubbins trying to answer what philosophers and physicists and poets have struggled with for thousands of years! Any simple answer is open subjective interpretation, and any complex answer is open to detailed dissection by folks with VERY sharp knives!

I could say "reality is what we all experience in the same way" sound good? But what about color blindness? What about dreams? are they 'real', even though yours are very different from mine?

I could say "reality is what we experience" ...and all those who claim to have 'experienced' ghosts or OOB flights or auras will claim me as one of theirs! *shudder*

"Reality" is a word...it is useful in context among people who agree to use it in a consistent way for the purposes of communicating and not spending all their time arguing....but like 'folk', you will never get a consensus. There are those who want to say 'folk' is "anything done by 'folks'", and then imagine they have said something! I prefer to use a working, inductive definition that can be useful without being so broad as to include anything the claimant feels strongly about....

Thus, I treat attempts to subsume personal feelings and subjective (those which are by definition untestable)theories under very broad notions of 'reality' as rhetorical manipulation.

(translation: my hobby is shooting down wild claims and asking folks to not implicitly suggest that their pet theory really 'ought' to be mine also)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 02:18 PM

Well, my tongue was in my cheek when I asked, but you have done well, Billdarlin'...in a reasoned and not so longish reply. (I didn't go in to it as I knew it cold go on forever, too!**bG**) Thanks!

An interesting side discussion, though, could be the mass consciousness and the effect Bush's fearmongering has had on it manifesting all manner of paranoia, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 03:40 PM

The one thing I know, Bill, is that I don't know! ;-) I just live and learn as best I can.

I'm not debating or arguing, just discussing things that interest me. When they interest me a lot, I get passionate about it.

My supposition is that a mind builds a body one cell at a time from pure energy, using a high level of organized and purposeful biological intelligence. It's also possible that a mind in quite a confused state could build a body in a sort of unaware way through the same biological method. The biological structures are there to do it, obviously. Science agrees on that.

In the same way, an assembly line in an auto factory is there, along with tools, paint, etc...to build a car...but nothing whatsoever will happen until a mind makes to decision to get the process rolling, right? A number of minds have to be there to monitor and supervise the process. I think everything works that way, by intelligence...mind decides, natural laws provide, and something is accomplished.

I might be wrong.

There is no way for me to set up a lab experiment confirming or denying my suppositions. At least, not that I know of...

But then, like I said, the one thing I know is that I don't know. And just about nobody else does either. The commonest error people make is to think they DO know a lot when in fact they know precious little about reality. They just accumulate available facts. The facts they accumulate make up what amounts to a few grains of sand on a very, very long beach, in my opinion.

But it's just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 05:24 PM

I suggest you missed the point, Bill.

Poetry violates the rules of grammar, the norms of language, and the predispositions of normal reading.

By breaking those rules, it bypassed the filtering machinery so often used to stand between the self and immediate apperception.

There was nothing lame about it. (Sorry, kat.)

There is absolutely no logic in comparing a woman to a summer's day.
But it works anyway.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Jdozs
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 05:25 PM

yes dianavan hope is not dependant upon belief in an afterlife. But an afterlife is dependant upon hope. I'm not sure if you read my post in full. Maybe you were torn by the 150 posts above it or maybe I did not understand the topic. I do not feel the need of religion in my life. However others do. I was trying to explain why I thought people needed religion. Seeing as I too walked that life of god and religion I wanted to express my thoughts just as you did. You are correct any cult would serve the same purpose I however do not belong to any cult nor any religion for that matter. And people do need something to blame whether it is god when a family member dies or god when the weather is great. I'm a realist I see things for what they are. And the way I see it is religion fills a void, it allows those who do not wish to own up to there choices someone to blame. It gives peace of mind to the questions they can not answer. Is it wrong? no it is not. at least not for those who believe in it. My grandmother once told me if you follow a life of god and die and find out it wasn't true what harm did it cause in living that life. None absolutely none. This is a topic that has been discussed for many years. The answers are out there. The truth is right in front of you. The wisdom to understand it however is not always within you. http://www.godlessgeeks.com/WhyAtheism.htm
Check out the link it has some very good points. But atheism is turning into a cult also. I enjoy discussing, debating, and arguing these topics but I understand at the end of it all it still comes down to choice and I can not make your choices for you. It's been fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST, Ebbie
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 05:41 PM

I keep looking at the title of this thread: Why do we need religion.

It's easy to change the words- and totally change the meanings:

'Do we need religion?'
'Why we need religion'.
'We need religion.'
'Why religion?'

It occurs to me that only one of those alternate titles actually seeks information.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Peace
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 05:57 PM

IMO, we need religion for two reasons:

1) Give God something to ignore
2) Give religious 'leaders' something to do


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:02 PM

LOL! Yay! Best comments yet, Peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:28 PM

Bill, this occurs to me. Maybe you have such a strong instinct for "shooting down wild claims", because you yourself made a lot of wild claims in some other lifetime! You may have been a snake oil salesman or a person who conducted seances for big bucks and brought "messages" to people from their dear departed grandmothers, while tapping the bottom of the table with your boot! Maybe your own past karma is what is causing you to react so much to that sort of stuff.

Just one among numerous possible theories. ;-)

It wouldn't be the first time, for instance, that a former drunk has come back in the next life as a moral campaigner against alcoholism...or any number of other such examples. That's duality for you. The thing people most can't stand is their own glaring past errors, demonstrated by others.

(that's more spiritual theorizing...nothing more) (I'm not saying I know.)

I find it fun to discuss such things, just in order to raise the possibility and give it some thought.   Who are we here to work on and improve? Others or ourselves?


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:53 PM

Surely the hand of the Almighty is quite capable of making stuff to ignore? Hey, even I can do that by the bucketful, and I have no pretensions to godhead.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 07:03 PM

I have an old friend who is probably quite close to his time of death. He just called me on the phone to tell me that he had a heart attack, I think it was a day or two ago. He's at home now. The Doctors feel he has not long to live (but maybe as long 6 weeks, they said).

I have seen this coming for quite some time now.

Now here's the thing. He had an experience during that heart attack: what is called a "near death" experience. He found himself out of the body, inside a white room. In that room was every person he has ever loved or truly cared about...and lost...in this life. He said that they were not physical people, they were spiritual presences, like bodies of light. He said that he also was not a body anymore, but a living presence of energy or light. He could easily recognize everyone, although they were not in physical form. They spoke to him. They all told him that they love him, that life is eternal, that he will never die, that he will be with them when he leaves the body.

This guy is not going to be here long. I know he's telling me the truth. He's got nothing left here to be putting on a show for.

He has seen the same "white room" before, when he nearly died of a drug overdose several decades ago. He says the only difference this time was, there were some new people in the room who weren't there the first time. They hadn't died yet.

This my oldest friend in this town. I have to think about spending some time near him while I still can. I'll be doing that. We have stuff to talk about.

He says he is not afraid of death now, not in the least, because he knows that what he really is will not die. But he's suffering a lot of physical pain in the meantime.

We're all going to have to deal with this one day. I consider it a privilege to have known this man, and I will know him when I'm no longer "here". Depend on it.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 08:01 PM

LH, that is beautiful...I wish you and your friend moments of peace and memories...thanks for sharing it with us. It is a true friend who can understand and be there for someone when they are dying.

I also got a chuckle when reading your possibilities for BillD's past lives.**bg** Nice balance there between the two.

BTW, a Rosicrucian, first and foremost, is a walking question mark.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 08:31 PM

As I age, I frequently muse on the 'Great Mystery'. There are so many things to ponder.

'We' like to say that we'll "meet again" but what do we really mean? Surely not the child left behind when his young mother died and who is now 90 years old? Surely not one's first love when other loves have come and gone? Surely not the baby that died when we were 15 years old and alone? Surely not the dear friend I lost to death when we were 19 years old and I am now 80?

If there is anything to the concept of life after death, it must be that only pure all-embracing Spirit survives. For that to be meaningful it seems to me that each Spirit must have undergone many incarnations, and that each Spirit treasures the many lives they have had together.

I doubt that my hypothetical husband is 'waiting for me there', when I've had other dearly loved husbands since. I doubt that my young mother will enfold this old woman in her arms, welcoming her baby home.

I still love Gospel songs though!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 08:46 PM

such a plethora of 'maybes' there, Little Hawk.. :>0

Maybe in a former life I was sitting in the Lyceum, baiting Socrates about his 'method'....but maybe not.

you say "I find it fun to discuss such things, just in order to raise the possibility and give it some thought." ....yep, it is a useful and traditional exercise in order to practice thinking and explore our shared experiences. I do it myself about some things. What I often see, however, is the line being crossed bewteen "what if X were the case?", to "that sounds so good and hangs together internally, that I bet it is probably true!"

It is not too hard to construct an internally consistent theory, much as David Hume did with his very 'solipsistic' view of experience. (I can't prove that anything exists outside my own mind)...but there is little practical application for such a theory. You can't get a court to ignore your crimes by claiming that 'there really isn't any 'bank' that can BE robbed.

At their worse, 'what ifs' can be dangerous and detrimental. Small children, who believe things easily, can be seriously traumatized by scary stories and lies. Religious cults based on the fantasies of charismatic, but disturbed, leaders can bring misery to many people.    There is a long, convoluted continuum between harmless, creative speculation and dangerous, inaccurate distortion of reason for dishonest purposes, and obviously, there is no clear 'line in the sand' where it shifts from bad to good. Just as in defining 'folk', there are many things to consider when evaluating a claim or idea.
   As you may have possibly noted in passing, (*VERY big grin*), one of my favorite targets is careless use of language and lack of reasonable disclaimers when promoting a less-than-obvious notion. I do this because of the POWER of words, written or spoken, to influence receptive minds; and a well-tuned and emotionally presented FALSE idea can win support easier than a careful, logical, BORING explanation of the alternatives!

Is it worth my time?...well, it got things like: "(that's more spiritual theorizing...nothing more) (I'm not saying I know.)" included in one post! A huge step...*smile*

You know what the situation is: in a forum like this, we have folks steeped in Astrology, Religion, Para-normal abilities, Witchcraft, Alien Encounters, theories of alternate Universes, theories of multiple levels of THIS Universe, Mythology, ...and who knows, maybe Phrenology, Tarot, tea-leaves and sheep entrails too! Since all those things have been important parts of our history as humans, I have no problem with those who wish to explain why they are intrigued by such ideas, but when their statements assume the truth of the notions, my alarm bells go off!

( yeah, we have a few contributors who really can't deal with this discussion and who I seldom bother to talk to...this usually means religious fundamentalists who simply have no idea how to debate their beliefs....but CAN include those who just as vehemently and carelessly deride and ridicule a belief because of some emotional baggage...

Amos...if you are reading way down here, I don't think I did 'miss the point'...I see what you are trying to convey about the power of poetry (in its various forms) to expand the mind and help us express things that proper grammar often limits...but....(you knew there'd be a 'but', huh?)...but, your sentence:
"By breaking those rules, it bypassed the filtering machinery so often used to stand between the self and immediate apperception."
breaks what *I* consider to be rules by (very long pause here, as I sit and stare at the screen and try to express my concern..)....let's try this....by exaggerating inflating? the concept of 'self' and loosely applying the very possibility of immediate apperception to what a 'self' might be able to do at all.
   Kant used language like "pure apperception", and it does have cognative relevance in some contexts, but he was purty durn strict about his usage. [I ain't too sure whether my 'self' (as differentiated from 'me') CAN 'immediately apperceive' anything if that means something different from 'experience'.] Husserl used the idea of an 'eidetic reduction' to explain certain theoretical philosophical processes, but no one ever seriously suggested that we could go about doing eidetic reductions, as if it were just a matter of practice, like Yoga breath control.


well...as usual, more answer than I planned, or than anyone probably wanted. .....but I typed it, and I'm jolly well gonna hit the damn submit button before I lose it all!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 08:57 PM

(several posts while I cogitated, I see)

Little Hawk....I too, have NO doubt your friend was totally honest about his experience. No matter what it means ultimately, it has personal meaning for him, and I hope sincerely that the images involved make whatever time he has left easier.

Kat...you be careful about my possible past lives! I shudder to think of the ramifications if it turns out I used to teach rhetoric to Little Hawk!


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 09:01 PM

In my father's house are many mansions, one spiritualist.

Beautifully told story, LH!

I think that postulating to meet someone again is like postulating anything -- sometimes you make it happen just that way and other times it gets put on hold while other things unfold. Sometimes it springs on you like a quail in a back-country snowdrift, wham, and you're all caught off guard and fluttering like a baby.

It is a question of what and "how much" you are being at the time you create that postulate; anyone has experienced being more full themselves at some times than others. The difference in energy and awareness and sensitivity can shift wildly and with those thing, so also the power of any given decision made.

Just as you cannot solve a problem at the same energy level at which it was created, you tend to be more swept up by decisions made at energy levels higher than you presently operate at; this is why some people have problems deciding on which fork to use, while others can comfortably weigh much bigger problems, like which continent to use. Like nested, cascading shells of diminishing being, the things we leave unhandled and unfaced tend to haul us into smaller scopes of existence, until all we have to reckon with is the body and a small array of very solid thoughts about things to buy. The reverse is also true -- the more you face squarely and openly, the freer you are.

Anyway, ya never know when you're gonna meet someone you have unfinished business with, for better or for worse! :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Ebbie
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 09:10 PM

I agree with you, Amos. Fresh grief demands more certainty than does later reflection. But I do love examining my biases and hidebound beliefs.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 07:55 PM

It really does seem to come down to wishful thinking. I don't mean that facetiously. All of us do it, but from the cover of the many dogmas that are our various religions.

Logically, we are wasting so much of our finite time and energy on things that are, to me, unknowable.

I'll just wait and see---or not.

Love to all,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: beardedbruce
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 08:03 PM

Amos, I think I object to your comment

"Poetry violates the rules of grammar, the norms of language, and the predispositions of normal reading."


Under some circumstances, it can stretch the norms, but I fail to see how it violates rules of grammer. Perhaps you need to look for a better class of poetry...


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 10:34 PM

(I think he means 'sometimes' violates 'standard' grammar to make its point..)


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: freda underhill
Date: 16 Sep 05 - 11:52 PM

that account of your friend's experience was wonderful, Little Hawk. my sister always dismisses anything like this as a "psychosis" brought on by the body's "chemicals". i wish my body would produce a few chemicals like these..

freda


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 08:48 AM

The chemicals are the after-effect of the consciousness, not its cause, in my opinion. ;-) For example: You get angry about something, and your body immediately starts producing adrenalin, etc...chemical responses TO the anger. The adrenalin did not cause the anger, the anger caused the adrenalin to be released into your system, providing enhanced "fight or flight" capabilities to the physical body.

Note that this puts YOU in charge of your life, rather than making you a passive victim at the effect of "chemicals" or some other uncontrollable factor, and that's important! If you can control your consciousness, then your whole life becomes empowered and greatly blessed. If you can't control your consciousness, then you're just a pawn of various outer conditions.

I know which approach sounds good to me. Chemicals? Bah! Humbug! ;-)

I have spent some good time with my friend, and he's feeling fairly serene, I'd say. He just wants to complete a few things here before he goes, and I'm helping with that.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Bill D
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:06 AM

good for you, Little Hawk....

I hope I will have some lead time when I am ready to go, and I KNOW I will have loose ends to be tied up. I hope I have a friend or two to help like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: Amos
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:38 AM

BB:

As a violators of grammar in poetry yourself I am surprised you should make such an objection; perhaps thou dost protest too much?

As for a better class of poetry, there's always that indeed.

You will find plenty of liberties taken with grammar in excellent poetry, from the (just for example) Kiplingesque pounding of the "Bells, bells, bells, bells, bells!" to the fanciful inversions of ee cummings and the uproar of Alan Ginsberg. Grammar is a framework readily bust on behalf of some transcendent communication. My point, then and now, is that good poetry breaks the mold of entrammeling logic in order to offer some leakage into a freer plane of being.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:40 AM

[best homer simpson voice] m-m-m-m-m-m chem-i-cals [/best homer simpson voice]


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Subject: RE: BS: why do we need religion
From: John Hardly
Date: 17 Sep 05 - 11:47 AM

Are you itchin' for relitchin'?


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