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BS: why do we need religion

John Hardly 03 Mar 05 - 03:52 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 03 Mar 05 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Mrr 03 Mar 05 - 01:41 PM
Little Hawk 03 Mar 05 - 01:27 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 03 Mar 05 - 01:16 PM
Don Firth 03 Mar 05 - 12:22 PM
Amos 03 Mar 05 - 11:43 AM
GUEST,Guest 03 Mar 05 - 10:43 AM
Amos 19 Feb 05 - 07:36 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 05 - 05:11 PM
GUEST,Mrrzy 19 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM
Little Hawk 19 Feb 05 - 11:21 AM
Blissfully Ignorant 19 Feb 05 - 07:34 AM
Little Hawk 18 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,~S~ 18 Feb 05 - 03:16 PM
EagleWing 18 Feb 05 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,mRR 17 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM
Blissfully Ignorant 17 Feb 05 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,mrr 17 Feb 05 - 12:05 PM
Kaleea 17 Feb 05 - 01:46 AM
Little Hawk 16 Feb 05 - 09:30 PM
Bill D 16 Feb 05 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 03:37 PM
EagleWing 16 Feb 05 - 02:31 PM
EagleWing 16 Feb 05 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Mrr 16 Feb 05 - 01:45 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 07:14 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 07:12 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 06:47 PM
Little Hawk 15 Feb 05 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Visitywyg 15 Feb 05 - 05:17 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 04:59 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 03:59 PM
EagleWing 15 Feb 05 - 03:54 PM
Once Famous 15 Feb 05 - 03:42 PM
dianavan 15 Feb 05 - 03:26 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 15 Feb 05 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 03:09 PM
EagleWing 15 Feb 05 - 03:05 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 03:02 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Feb 05 - 02:16 PM
Jim Tailor 15 Feb 05 - 02:13 PM
TheBigPinkLad 15 Feb 05 - 02:09 PM
Bill D 15 Feb 05 - 02:07 PM
Amos 15 Feb 05 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Mrr 15 Feb 05 - 01:40 PM
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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,mRR
Date: 17 Feb 05 - 03:04 PM

Very well put!


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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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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