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Religious Discussion 
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Post Religious Discussion
To bring this back on track(lol).
People that have faith are often good people(those that are not tend to be utterly horrific though, so it averages out I suppose) which is not restricted to faith in the divine to be noted.
Some deists consider science to be a religion and a 'faith', and although it does have some of the characteristics it lacks a few important ones, like a deity(unless you consider objective truth and reality as observably proven to be a deity i suppose).
All institutions tends towards dogmatism, those of strong faith(religious, SJW of all kinds, Marxism, Capitalism, etc) probably more but it is hard to quantify.

faith can be a beautiful thing(when the faith utterly disregards proven reality I get twinges however), but once you get a group of people in on it, due to human group behavior it usually gets fucked up quickly, just look at the recent SJW movements, oy vey.
organizations of faith are not good, mostly because of it's tendency to subvert free will.

and for you religious people out there, if you did not have the blanket safety and social acceptance of religion, the amount of delusions needed for being religious would quite possibly get you thrown into an asylum for being a danger to yourself and your surroundings, equality damn it!

bottom line, people with delusions are often annoying, organizations with delusions are often dangerous.


and then to the tangent.
there have been 'some' discussion on the matter of human evolution(some claim 7 million years), but I'll state that you would probably not look twice at a early human(from a million years back or so) in modern clothing just walking down the street, it is behavior that might set you off, but such are learned to a high degree.


Tue Aug 04, 2015 3:53 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Discord I mean no disrespect but I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with you on many of your previous points.

When you say people of faith are often good people please understand that I am a political scientist and a historian. A very large part of human history is influenced by, if not outright dominated by theocratic governments which I have devoted no small time to studying. So I immediately have a massive reservoir of historical data to draw upon to that directly contradicts your claim.

I shall list a few right now, focusing upon Christianity to conserve time: the crusades, the African slave trade, the extermination and enslavement of indigenous South American peoples, the extermination of indigenous North American peoples, the persecution of scientists, free thinkers and skeptics throughout their history, the debasement of women (that is half the human species right there), the witch trials, hunts and burnings and the inquisitions, the persecution of lesbians, homosexuals, transgendered, bisexuals, the preaching that the Jews were responsible as a race for the crime of deicide and being responsible for the vast reservoirs of hostility towards Jews in the time leading up to World War II, their disturbing alliance with fascism and in particular with Nazi Germany and Hitler.

This is not a comprehensive list and it only mentions a few items from the history of a single religion, but I would strongly advise you to seriously reexamine your opinion on the matter of faith being a beautiful thing and that people of faith are often, or even sometimes good. I honestly and respectfully disagree with your assessment that people of faith have been a good influence on us, or even a marginally good one.

Your second claim that people without faith tend to be utterly horrific also caught my attention, as until very recently in human history, it has not really been possible for there to be any people who are not counted among the faithful. The crime of disbelief throughout the vast majority of recorded human history was punishable by termination, usually preceded by torture. Human sin was known to cause earthquakes, tornadoes, disease, famine, witches, etc and the sin of not believing in God was the worst sin of all.

I tend to see Sam Harris's definition of faith as true, that faith is the excuse to believe in something when given bad evidence.

Can you please clarify what you mean when you said
Quote:
and for you religious people out there, if you did not have the blanket safety and social acceptance of religion, the amount of delusions needed for being religious would quite possibly get you thrown into an asylum for being a danger to yourself and your surroundings, equality damn it!
It sounded like there were several ways it could be interpreted.


Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:37 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Grayhome, if you truely are an historian then you should know the basic rule that your own oppinions and prejudices should never influence what you find in your sources. Its easy to pick a few examples and put them out of context, but that is not how it should be done. Any historian knows that.

Maybe you take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. Maybe try to find out where religion comes from, how religions developed over time and how it influenced humanity. Not everything done in the name of religions is or was bad/good per se. Its the circumstances that matter. The world is not either good or bad, black or white, its more like different shades of grey (no, not 50!).

Therefore I will not go into the list of events you picked, as it wold take to much time and efford to try to put these things right. However, allow me a question:
Do you know where the first monumental building was erected, what it was and what it was used for?

I make it easy for you: on the hill Göbekli Tepe, in Turkey and it was a Temple. Build around 9600 to 8800 BC. Scientists suggest that the area around it was also the place, where some of our cultivated grain (like Einkorn) originated from, around the same time. Religion was right there, at the centerpoint, when people started to settle down and stopped beeing hunter/gatherers and some say that it was the main reasons for that.
So, after this little example, can we settle that not everything is bad, that came from religions and that not all people beliving in a religion are terrible people? This forum is, btw not the right place to discuss something like that, in my humble oppinion.

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Tue Aug 04, 2015 6:30 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
So Suederwind your argument, if I understand it, is that all of the events I detailed in my previous points were perfectly acceptable as long as the religion's followers build fittingly beautiful monuments glorifying their god/gods? I strongly disagree with your assessment and I think that the time, energy and money used to construct religious monuments and conducting holy wars would have been much better spent upon the agriculture, housing, medicine, infrastructure, etc of the nation in question.

You claim that the events I mentioned before were just a few minor examples? That there is a "bigger picture" that I am missing? I would ask you to explain in greater detail what you mean by that please. It sounds as though you are claiming that the extermination and enslavement of vast swathes of the populations of South America, Africa, India, Australia and North America were simply minor events which held no historical importance and can be waved away as someone's mere opinion. That the events I mentioned before were not backed up by massive amounts of evidence and considered to be historical fact by Historians and indeed, much of the religious community. If that is the case then I respectfully disagree with you sir. I disagree with you most strongly. The scars of those events are still with us to this very day, and shall be with us for centuries, if not millennia, to come.

As to your putting of those things I briefly touched upon in my previous post right, the Vatican (and other official heads of Christianity) has already acknowledged that they were responsible for most, if not all of them and issued official apologies for them (I shall conduct further research into whether or not the apology extends to the LGBT community). These are historical facts backed up by massive amounts of evidence. This evidence can not be merely waved away as a few rogue operatives, these events are the deliberate and calculated efforts of a system that believes that it is not capable of doing wrong, because it has god on it's side.

I strongly disagree with your assessment that religion has led to some form of progress, whether it be technological, social, cultural, or what have you. As far as I have been able to determine, that vast majority of progress which has been made has been made in the teeth of Religion, with those who made such progress being persecuted, cast into exile, tortured and executed as heretics.

Some links to the apologies I mentioned, I found them to very informative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apologies_made_by_Pope_John_Paul_II

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/65889.stm


Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:12 am
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Post Re: Miscellaneous Terran question-and-answer thread
Just because the gave us grain doesn't mean that they couldn't have persecuted women and minorities.


Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:23 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Do we really have to do this? Is this thread really neccesary?


Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:30 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Since there seems to be a rather strong desire to discuss religion in real life and not as it pertains to Outsider, I've decided to split the discussion from the Terran Q&A thread. Feel free to discuss religion here to your hearts content.

{Edit}

And yes, it is necessary, as the discussion was taking place in the Terran Q&A thread and was patently off topic.

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Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:33 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Razor One, it was not my intention to make things worse in the Terran Q&A thread.

Grayhome: I think it would be better to discuss this by Personal Messages, if you want that, as you totaly missed what I meant to say.

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Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:51 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Relax, I'm not angry, but this isn't my first time on the religious discussion merry go round. I don't mind tangential discussions in general threads, but there was a desire for the discussion to be topical, or if not stop, and otherwise at least take place elsewhere. Splitting the thread satisfies all parties. As long as the forum rules are respected then discussion here is perfectly fine.

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Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:04 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
There is no need to make the conversation private Suederwind, we're all adults here and thus reasonable. Please clarify what I have misinterpreted in your posts, text is not as clear as verbal communication and a lot is lost in the message.

I apologize that I might not be able to get back to you for a while, someone loaded the new Cosmos series onto youtube.com and my time is being devoured by that at the moment. sound quality seems a touch off but other than that the quality seems decent.

I really need to buy both of those series, Carl Sagan's Cosmos and the new Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVh2-VHDC-xz7A5TageErog


Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:58 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
hi hi

It is not really a good idea to look at anthropology using our own contemporary context as a "normal control group." There is no real way to limit confirmation bias, especially in the case of religion, because it has been so pervasive throughout human history. It is difficult to find many examples of cultures that were significantly devoid of religion until much more recently, and thus difficult to separate which aspects of history are causal and which are corollary. (among other difficulties)

People are complex things, both in groups and as individuals, with a wide range of factors that can contribute to any one behavior or set of behaviors. Isolating the causal nature of religion is difficult because religious groups vary so drastically from place to place and changing from time to time.

* Religion contributes to authoritarian social structures, which is negative. But not all social structures with religion end up with authoritarian, and conversely, people like Joseph Stalin have shown that religion is not necessary for authoritarian social structures.
* Violent video games and movies contribute to aggressive behavior, which is negative. But not everyone who plays violent video games or watches violent movies expresses violence against others, and conversely, history has shown that electronic media is not necessary for aggressive behavior.
* Alcohol contributes to domestic abuse, which is negative. But not everyone who drinks alcohol engages in domestic abuse, and conversely, not all domestic abuse involves alcohol.
* Processed food contributes to heart disease, which is negative. But not everyone who eats processed food develops heart disease, and conversely, heart disease was still something that happened before the advent of processed food.

As time progresses and our understanding of the world increases, what few absolute benefits that religion may have once provided have become fewer and fewer, replaced by newer alternatives. Even so, there can still be relative benefits for people, as long as one does not view the world in a holistic, black and white way. Especially since people are capable of growing and changing over time. There are certainly a wide range of social structures available to people, and some are notably more harmful than others, in a non-linear way.

Science and empirical observation are generally going to provide a better foundation for decision making than blind faith, so long as they are accurate, but sometimes religious organizations support science and empirical observation, further confounding the argument.

To list a couple examples:
* If Gregor (originally Johann) Mendel had not become a friar, gotten a free education as a result, and received encouragement from his peers at St. Thomas's Abbey, would he have ever conducted his revolutionary experiments on plant genetics and hybridization?
* If Caliph Harun al-Rashid hadn't founded the House of Wisdom in 9th century, would Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī have had the resources at his disposal, in terms of translated Indian texts among other things, to invent the first systematic approach to solving linear and quadratic equations, founding the science of Algebra?

We may never know what would have happened otherwise, because in terms of anthropology, there is no alternate history to compare.

Although I am not particularly religious myself, I find there are a number of ideologies that are much more harmful to society on a whole. For example:
* Holism, the aggregation of traits and qualities into a single, yes or no evaluation of a individual, group, or object, continues to be problematic even amongst highly educated people. Even using a simply histogram to look at the distribution of traits will provide a more accurate understanding of something. Why focus on the black and white shadow of an object when we have the capability to inspect the object directly? Because it is simple and easy.
* Just world hypothesis, which has its roots in cognitive dissonance and is a self-defense mechanism against fears of random events, likely contributes strongly to any number of cases where people refuse to help others in need.
* Zero-sum fallacies, I find are remarkably prevalent in people's decision making, especially in economics, and people's unwillingness to act, when acting can result in an increase in overall benefit.


Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:19 am
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Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:42 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
No cross, no crown.

Slash and burn plz.

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Post Re: Religious Discussion
I love Karst45's avatar in this thread...


Anyway, there is something in the bible (and in the Torah) that changed human behaviour:
God gave us a free will, and we will be judged by what we do/did.

Beforehand, God(s) had everything predetermined, and we were doing the will of the Gods. We were not responsible for our actions.

The change is small, but had a gigantic effect: if you wanted to live a better life, you had to work for it, and you could earn it yourself.
You were responsible for yourself, not your god(s).

Now, the churches, especially the medieval Roman Catholic church, did claim they only did God's will (and that it was not their own doing), and disregarded that God gave us a free will, and does not predetermine our steps through our life. But the belief, the religion, still teaches that you have a free will.

Religions are far less dangerous than many modern people claim.
It's what is done in the name of a certain belief that is dangerous, although some of these actions go against what the religion teaches.

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:22 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Krulle

Quote:
Anyway, there is something in the bible (and in the Torah) that changed human behaviour:

Why is your bible something you consider to be an authority on this matter? There are massive amounts of the Christian bible that have been proven to be wildly inaccurate and outright false. How do you know that human behavior changed after the bible came into effect?

Quote:
God gave us a free will

How do you know that there is a god? How do you know there are not multiple gods? How do you know he gave us free will? Do you not see the inherent contradiction of stating that "of course we have free will, the boss let's us have it"?

Quote:
we will be judged by what we do/did.

Well technically you are correct in a way, but not the one I think you mean. According to the Christian bible humans will be judged on our faith and submission to god. One of my main disagreements with Christianity is this very concept. You can be an atheist, donate blood frequently, work at food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. You can never lie, cheat, steal, murder, maim, etc. However upon your death you are, according to the christian bible, going to be damned for all eternity to a nightmarish hellscape where you will be tortured forever. Meanwhile, you can be a serial murder and a child rapist on death row and after a dinner of fried chicken and a few minutes with a priest get straight into heaven no strings attached. So technically Krulle yes, the Christian god does judge you upon your actions, but it is a very specific and creepy kind of action, and loopholes are built in for all other actions which makes the entire concept of Christian justice a non-sensible one. Thankfully the laws in the United states are not based upon religious values, but upon purely secular ones.

Quote:
Beforehand, God(s) had everything predetermined, and we were doing the will of the Gods. We were not responsible for our actions.

How do you know that there is or are a god(s)? How do you know he/she/it/they had everything predetermined? Why would the existence or nonexistence of god(s) have any effect upon personal responsibility?

Quote:
The change is small, but had a gigantic effect: if you wanted to live a better life, you had to work for it, and you could earn it yourself.
You were responsible for yourself, not your god(s).

I can determine no noticeable difference between the post-Christian and pre-Christian behavior. Rulers were claiming the backing of supernatural forces for thousands of years before Christianity was invented. These rulers launched religious wars, inquisitions, witch hunts, and justified atrocities like slavery, genocide, and mass-rape by intoning the supernatural, just as Christians did, and still do. I would also say that is seems a great coincidence that the only better life I can personally see is the sort of life that comes without the belief in the supernatural. Nations with low levels of religiosity do significantly better in most, if not all, measurable criteria than nations with high levels of religiosity.

Quote:
Now, the churches, especially the medieval Roman Catholic church, did claim they only did God's will (and that it was not their own doing), and disregarded that God gave us a free will, and does not predetermine our steps through our life. But the belief, the religion, still teaches that you have a free will.


The Christian churches in the developed world don't have much of a say in whether or not anyone has free will, they're not allowed to torture people anymore. However they have shown time and time again throughout history that people are to take the churches mandate upon matters as coming from a higher power (i.e. climate change, abortion, civil rights LBGT rights, contraceptives).

Concerning your claim that religion (I am assuming you mean Christianity) allows their subjects free will I am going to have to strongly disagree with you analysis. According to the direct teachings of Christianity you either join up or you get condemned forever to be tortured in hell.

According to Christian teachings I am born into this world (I have no say in my birth), I am created imperfect (not the move I would have chosen), and then I am commanded upon threat of eternal damnation and hellfire to be well. There are no alternatives for me. There is no escape from this system. I have no say in any of this. Everything comes down as official mandates from the throne of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent authoritarian entity who has neglected to provide any evidence whatsoever for his existence, an existence which even the greatest of minds of his own followers cannot prove is real in the two thousand years they have claimed he has been influencing them. I cannot see how that can possibly be construed as a free or fair choice in any meaningful way.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:30 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
icekatze

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It is not really a good idea to look at anthropology using our own contemporary context as a "normal control group." There is no real way to limit confirmation bias, especially in the case of religion, because it has been so pervasive throughout human history. It is difficult to find many examples of cultures that were significantly devoid of religion until much more recently, and thus difficult to separate which aspects of history are causal and which are corollary. (among other difficulties)

I do not need to compare historical societies with modern societies; I can compare modern societies with high levels of religiosity to modern societies with low levels of religiosity and examine the results. The trends are not good for the religious nations and very good for non-religious nations. The following link is an excellent examination of modern nations based upon multiple factors, but expressly religiosity and how it effects their society: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.pdf


Quote:
people like Joseph Stalin have shown that religion is not necessary for authoritarian social structures.

This Youtube video sums up my feelings concerning the claim that Stalin was an atheist or championed any sort of atheist idealism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRhczvtmbWE



Quote:
Science and empirical observation are generally going to provide a better foundation for decision making than blind faith, so long as they are accurate, but sometimes religious organizations support science and empirical observation, further confounding the argument.

Icekatze, when you say “generally” you are implying that there are situations where evidence, reason and logic cannot be used or that they are not the best tool to use. Can you please present me with a few situations, problems or decisions which are better solved by willful ignorance and gullibility than scientifically derived evidence, reason and logic? I ask this because I honestly cannot think of a single one.
Sometimes a few religious organizations do indeed support science and empirical observation, but that is totally unattached to the scientific process itself. The support of religious organizations neither lends nor detracts credence to science in the eyes of the scientific community. Why is the approval or disapproval of an institution which has nothing to offer the scientific community relevant to scientific progress? Simply because a specific religion or faction thereof accepts science does not lend credence to their theistic/deistic claims.


Quote:
To list a couple examples:
* If Gregor (originally Johann) Mendel had not become a friar, gotten a free education as a result, and received encouragement from his peers at St. Thomas's Abbey, would he have ever conducted his revolutionary experiments on plant genetics and hybridization?
* If Caliph Harun al-Rashid hadn't founded the House of Wisdom in 9th century, would Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī have had the resources at his disposal, in terms of translated Indian texts among other things, to invent the first systematic approach to solving linear and quadratic equations, founding the science of Algebra?

We may never know what would have happened otherwise, because in terms of anthropology, there is no alternate history to compare.

You do understand Icekatze, that these men are in fact using science to make these determinations and not instructions from their respective holy texts? If the bible or the koran had detailed instructions for heredity, genetics, algebra, calculus, germ theory, the theory of gravity, nuclear theory, atomic theory etc, then that would make them useful and would lend credence to their claims about reality. That religious individuals use science to make scientific discoveries is not a matter of contention, indeed the universal nature of scientific truth shows how superior it is to every other form of thought currently known.
Also, there was a religious scholar who came into the limelight after the golden age of islamic who claimed that mathematics was the tool of the devil. The Islamic world entered a dark age which much of it is still trapped in to this day. I examine the Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East and I examine the Christian fundamentalists in the united States, and I see similarities which send shivers running down my spine.
Here are two videos of Neil DeGrasse Tyson detailing the erosion of progress by religions which explains my fears very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oxTMUTOz0w & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xvILvxYbFA

Quote:
Although I am not particularly religious myself, I find there are a number of ideologies that are much more harmful to society on a whole. For example:
* Holism, the aggregation of traits and qualities into a single, yes or no evaluation of a individual, group, or object, continues to be problematic even amongst highly educated people. Even using a simply histogram to look at the distribution of traits will provide a more accurate understanding of something. Why focus on the black and white shadow of an object when we have the capability to inspect the object directly? Because it is simple and easy.
* Just world hypothesis, which has its roots in cognitive dissonance and is a self-defense mechanism against fears of random events, likely contributes strongly to any number of cases where people refuse to help others in need.
* Zero-sum fallacies, I find are remarkably prevalent in people's decision making, especially in economics, and people's unwillingness to act, when acting can result in an increase in overall benefit.



You seem to be making subtle accusations icekatz, why don’t you simply make them? We’re all adults here and we can have an honest and frank conversation without causing anyone any harm. Though I do consider it a great irony that you seem to be accusing me of negative attributes that religion is rife with. For the most part we seem to be in agreement, but please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken. You seem to not be arguing for the truth of religious claims, nor am I. You do not seem to be advocating the moral superiority of the religious over the non-religious, nor do I. You seem instead to be arguing that religion serves some sort of social utility, which I totally agree with. Where we seem to defer is that you seem to be advancing the line of reasoning that religion serves as a sort of positive moral compass for those who would otherwise have a negative effect upon their society, whereas to me is seems to be invented as a highly effective tool to trick gullible, ignorant people into doing horrible things against their better judgment.


Last edited by Grayhome on Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:16 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Ok, ok. So here's my take on this in a more concise fashion. I look at history and see this: there were good men of faith and bad men of faith. There were good men of no faith and bad men of no faith. What does that tell me? That men are good and bad irrespective of their beliefs.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:29 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
@Grayhome:

Your belief is that the bible as a whole is false.
That is your belief and you defend it with vehemence.
I don't share that belief, nor do I believe that the bible is "the truth".
The bible is a collection of stories, many of them about morale, and how you should behave.
You can learn from that, or not.

And while my upbringing was not very Christian, I do believe that in total Christianity brought more good than bad.
But since I cannot observe any universe with the same starting parameters, but without Christianity, I cannot prove whether this is actually true.

And you, once again, mix the whole bible as being Christianity. It is not. The old testament are for the most part of Christianity just a collection of stories, some of which are even against the teaching of JC. I don't consider the old testament as anything relevant for my beliefs, even more so when JC teached elements which contradict the old testament.
The same with many parts of the new testament, as they recount elements which did not come from JC, but from others who spoke in His name, but even went against the teaching of JC.
But then, even the parts which concern JC and his life directly are from times long past the alleged time of death. If he even lived (which I doubt - there is no record in the long list of Roman records of crucified persons with the name of JC, or Jesus of Nazareth, Rex Judicae).


And no, Christianity does NOT evaluate you solely on your belief and submission to God.
Your deeds are more important than your belief.
If you believe, and you did more good than harm, then.... comes whatever they promise and I don't believe in.
If you don't believe in God and the purgatory/hell, then you don't need to be afraid of an after-life in hell, as it does not exist.
And no matter how often you prayed to god, one murder and "you're OUT". No redeeming from that. The Church may have told otherwise (it is NOT in the bible), but the Church does not represent Christianity, although they tell you so. But the church also sold letters freeing you from purgatory/hell, just because they wanted your money. There is nothing the Church can base this "trade" on, nor could they ever prove that it would have an effect on your "afterlife".

And the old testament is for large parts the same as the Torah, upon which the Jewish belief is founded. No, I did not limit my "claim that religion allows their subjects free will" to Christianity. Notably the first (occidental) religion which teached us that your actions are independent from any will of any God was Jewish. I did intend to include this religion too.


And you are born into this world without having a say over this. Whether you base this on your believe in a God who gave you life, whether you base this on nature and it's will to procreate, it does not matter. You had no say in it. neither does a rabbit baby have a say in the matter whether it will be born or not. Nor does a tree growing have a say in it.
And you do have a choice to not believe. Sufficient converts in any direction have proven that they will not be slain by thunder and lightningbolts just because they seceded from Christianity.
If you are fine with your believe, whether you name it Christianity, Catholicism, Baptism, Jewish, Moslim, Buddhaism, Taoism, Atheism, Science,... it is all fine with me. be happy, there is no afterlife anyway, no matter what the bible or any other religion tells you. If there is rebirth, you will not remember anyway, and it does therefore not matter how you live this life. It's solely up to you, and society will judge you by what you did.
The Torah and the bible tell you to give someone who really repents a second chance (although no-one can prove or disprove heaven and by what rules someone gets in or not - someone repeatedly murdering and only repenting on his deathbed is someone I cannot believe to be admitted to wherever or whatever "heaven" is).
Which I see as an improvement over previous rules. This still did not perpetrate into society until society got better education. But also society always interpreted it as "then get to work and we will evaluate whether you have really changed". Someone only repenting on his deathbed cannot be reevaluated, and has therefore no chance to prove that he has become a good person. Society will still remember him as murderer - no matter whether he really repented and changed or not.

And that the old stories (I tend to see the whole bible as "old stories" which somehow survived all the social changes and are outdated stories) condemn certain sexual orientation does have it's reasons. LGT usually live their life for one generation, their own. Then they die, and they are no more. Society does benefit from them as they can put more energy into other things (like theatre, politics,...) (so be welcome to live how you want it, life's short as it is), but the next generation is not brought up by them. Except now in the modern times - but it still remains a lower quota than with mother/father pairs who cannot give birth themselves but raise someone else's kids.
(It did happen in the medieval times, hardships within families sometimes meant that kids were brought up by the aunt/uncle who somehow always stayed single. - But it was nowhere near normal.)

Society as a whole is very conservative.

My student association was, when it was founded, considered to be progressive. By the time my local club got founded, the association was considered to be "ultra-conservative", although the base law of the association has not changed. Within the association, our club was considered to be progressive when the local club founded itself. Society considered us "conservative", and without looking at us in detail mostly classify us as "outdated and ultra-right".
Take your viewpoint. I have mine, and so far nothing you said has been an argument I have not heard just because I'm a member of a Christian Student Association.


And yes, I agree that it is good that in the western democracies the law has become fully secularised.
But most textbooks of religions are not much else than a collection of moral values which were existent and predominant in the society (of that time) anyway, and thus are a formalised set of rules. With the addition of "God". If you scrap the parts referring to "God" and "his wonders", not much more than certain basic Human interaction rules remain.
For a long time this was the law. And it was considered to be much better than not having such a law and having to submit to the law of the stronger. With the religion behind you, many despots have been overcome. And it is not without reason that many despots either tried to make the religion and it's formal representatives work for them, or try to get rid of religion altogether.

tl;dr: IMHO the bible is a collection of stories. Even the r.c. church does not take all of it at face-value truth. I do interpret it much more freely than the church (who does not represent my personal belief), and disregard many stories as "advertisement" and "in modern context without any value". It had its values in those times, and additions and alterations have been made to fit other societies.

- also my last post on this subject; the argumentations are circular by now and based on fundamental beliefs of persons participating - nothing good can come from that -

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:05 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
I'm working third shift these days and should set something like this out when I have more sleep. This isn't well fleshed out but the bones are there.


Mr.Tucker wrote:
Ok, ok. So here's my take on this in a more concise fashion. I look at history and see this: there were good men of faith and bad men of faith. There were good men of no faith and bad men of no faith. What does that tell me? That men are good and bad irrespective of their beliefs.



Good and bad irrespective of their own beliefs, if true, implies a higher moral authority. Question becomes which authority and why. Any moral authority higher than ones own reason requires faith.

Quote:
This Youtube video sums up my feelings concerning the claim that Stalin was an atheist or championed any sort of atheist idealism


Communist governments killed just how many millions, tens of millions, estimates as high as 120 million or more of their own citizens through one means or another in the last century? Hardly say they put themselves out as representative of faith. Much the opposite. Communist doctrine, Marxist doctrine, holds faith as an enemy of human development.

In fact, every example given in history of the terrible influence of faith shows collusion of both faith and government. And government devoid of faith is no better, as noted just above. Perhaps the corrupting influence is not faith, but the power of government? Western Civilization's separation of church and state was developed in no small part in recognition of that.


But why does it matter? Separation of powers. As power becomes more centralized and absolute abuse follows. In modern governments we have separated the legislative and executive powers. (At least in theory, sore point for me there but I'll save that for another day.) That is, one body decides the law and one body executes the law. Where is the law then sourced from? Moral reason. What guides moral reason? Behind every well reasoned, or not so well reasoned, position of moral impetus lies a certain set of axioms held to be true on, ultimately, faith. Amusingly, even atheist morality requires faith to function.

Government is the power to carry out the predominate, common moral nature of a society. Again, that nature being an extension of faith. When government intrudes on the realm of the religious, it sets itself up as the source of moral nature. Axiom -> reason -> law -> execution becomes execution -> axiom -> reason-> law. In this way you could say it begets itself. This loop is dangerous. We witness the loop in atheist structures as well, except that atheists tend to believe themselves morally superior and immune to religious faults. Almost amusing, if not for the death toll.

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I examine the Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East and I examine the Christian fundamentalists in the united States, and I see similarities which send shivers running down my spine.


Then you haven't examined them hard enough. Islam is inseparable from government, as it prescribes itself as the government in the Koran. Christianity makes a distinction between itself and Caesar.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 9:28 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
hi hi

Quote:
This is not an attempt to present a definitive study that establishes cause versus effect between religiosity, secularism and societal health. It is hoped that these original correlations and results will spark future research and debate on the issue.
- http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.pdf

There have been so many radical changes in society in the last two centuries, that it is going to be very difficult to isolate any single cause for a phenomenon. It is unfortunate that their sample size was so very small, and Japan and possibly the United States, seem to be the only recorded countries that come from a different religious background, and notably the two countries that are remarked upon for their exceptions to the trends. I would have been very interested to see the differences between Saudi Arabia and the legally secular Iraq prior to the US invasion.

I say that evidence, reason, and logic generally are superior to blind faith because there are sometimes cases where evidence is misinterpreted, reason is misapplied, and logic is founded on faulty premises, and in these rare cases, traditional approaches that have been used over long periods of time, regardless of how they were first established, can prove more effective. Such cases are thankfully rare enough, and usually corrected quickly (although in the case of things like global climate change, not corrected quickly), but that is cold comfort for the people whose friends and family have died because of it. Just a couple examples are various modifications to baby formula over the years, from not enough salts, to the addition of xanthan gum; and in the field of engineering, the infamous De Havilland Comet and its fatal design flaws.

Saying that any contributions made by religious institutions are separate, and thus do not count, is establishing a true-by-definition tautology. The argument that I take issue with is that people who are religious cannot be worthy of respect. People who are religious can indeed make tremendous contributions to science and human understanding, can live peaceful lives that improve the happiness and satisfaction of those around them, and be a force for changing unjust social structures. Any of those things, and more I say, are worthy of respect, and should not be discounted because of someone's personal beliefs.

I make no accusations, in part because I am trying to keep this civil, but also because this discussion has been so ridiculous from the beginning that I am having trouble determining what people's views actually are. However, I would personally be very careful about telling anyone that they should cope with mental distress in any one true way, and (perhaps more importantly) ridicule and shun those who do not, regardless of where that mental distress originates from. Antagonizing people is not going to be terribly persuasive, and science and reason still needs to be persuasive.

I do not call anyone here a bigot, but there is definitely a danger in becoming bigoted when one becomes intolerant of others because of their religion, as well as race, gender, nationality, etc.

Quote:
We [writers] decry too easily what we do, as being kind of trivial — the creation of stories as being a trivial thing. But the magic of escapist fiction … is that it can actually offer you a genuine escape from a bad place and, in the process of escaping, it can furnish you with armor, with knowledge, with weapons, with tools you can take back into your life to help make it better… It’s a real escape — and when you come back, you come back better-armed than when you left.
- Neil Gaiman

Just because a story is a work of fiction, it does not follow that the story cannot inform people with some amount of truth.

I question whether the exploitation of people through propaganda is the cause or the effect of dogmatic ignorance.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:53 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Quote:
Your belief is that the bible as a whole is false.
That is your belief and you defend it with vehemence.
I don't share that belief, nor do I believe that the bible is "the truth".
The bible is a collection of stories, many of them about morale, and how you should behave.
You can learn from that, or not.

Well if you could specify which bits you consider true we can hash this out. As for myself, I see claims such as…
Convulsions are signs of demonic possession
Humanity relies upon god for our morality and humans cannot be morale without god.
These views upon the nature of our reality are not only false, but downright harmful toward human development.


Quote:
And while my upbringing was not very Christian, I do believe that in total Christianity brought more good than bad.

Then I respectfully challenge you to find the morally positive equivalent to the extermination and enslavement of the indigenous populations of Africa, Australia, South America, North America, etc in the name of the Christian god. Because I cannot. Furthermore I have mentioned several times previously (and provided a great deal of evidence) that the further away from God you get, the higher quality and quantity of life humans enjoy becomes. Your claims to the contrary must be backed up with evidence Krulle to be valid. Your personal beliefs are not considered to be credible evidence.


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But since I cannot observe any universe with the same starting parameters, but without Christianity, I cannot prove whether this is actually true.

You don’t need to observe different universes, you can use this one.


Quote:
And you, once again, mix the whole bible as being Christianity.

Oh no sir, no-no-no I do not. The Christian bible is a bad copy of the Jewish Torah, and the koran is a bad copy of the Christian bible. All religions are, as I see them, fragments of the same greater untruth. I see religion as a whole to be a slowly but surely disappearing leftover from an age of superstition and ignorance. Your and other posts seemed to be focusing on the Christian perspective of reality so I limited myself to that specific theism. If you like we can debate the merits of other religions and their views on reality but I consider them to be just as, if not even more so, untrue.


Quote:
I don't consider the old testament as anything relevant for my beliefs, even more so when JC teached elements which contradict the old testament.

Krulle I mean no disrespect but I find it very poor praise indeed when a person’s greatest praise for their holy text is that the majority of it can be safely ignored.


Quote:
The same with many parts of the new testament, as they recount elements which did not come from JC, but from others who spoke in His name, but even went against the teaching of JC.

Considering the Christian bible was created after Jesus Christ was reported to have died, it does not count as a credible source in any historical or scientific circle that I am currently aware of. Nor do I consider the teachings of Jesus to be particularly moral, for many reasons, particularly because he never says a word against slavery.


Quote:
And no, Christianity does NOT evaluate you solely on your belief and submission to God.

Yes it does. That may not be your personal view but it is the historical and literal translation of the Christian bible.


Quote:
Your deeds are more important than your belief.

No they aren’t, again that may not be your personal view but it is the historical and literal translation of the Christian bible. There are loopholes written into the bible to excuse even the most grievous of crimes toward your fellow humans. At times grievous harm toward your fellow humans is commanded by holy mandate.


Quote:
Society as a whole is very conservative.

I respectfully insist that society is not very conservative, or even that society has a conservative majority. If that were the case the American Civil War, the Civil Rights movement, LGBT rights movement etc, would never have occurred, let alone succeeded. Humanity as a whole would not have progressed to a more secular world if conservative elements in our past held all or even most of the power.


Quote:
For a long time this was the law. And it was considered to be much better than not having such a law and having to submit to the law of the stronger.

I cannot help but feel that you are misinformed concerning Christian philosophy throughout it's history. The entirety of the Christian argument is and has always been that might equals right. The Christian god is and was believed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent and that he must be loved and feared in equal measure by his followers at all times. Anyone who disagrees goes straight to eternal damnation and torment. The divine right of kings alone was entirely based upon the philosophy that the super humans who occupied positions of power (the monarchy and the church) were chosen from on high by almighty god to rule over the weak, lesser beings that were everyone else.


Quote:
tl;dr: IMHO the bible is a collection of stories. Even the r.c. church does not take all of it at face-value truth.

Well Krulle the problem as I see it is that though some churches have been forced to admit that they have been lying over the last few thousand years, (after a millennia of maintaining the truth of their texts in defiance of mounting evidence to the contrary) a few holdouts continue to maintain that the bible is 100% accurate and the direct word of God. Then they go to developing nations and tell people that condoms are sinful, all LBGTs are demons and that there are women performing witchcraft, all of which results in a significantly decreases quality of life for those people. I hope you can see my problem with this and agree with me that this behavior is not beneficial and is in fact harmful to all parties involved.


Quote:
- also my last post on this subject; the argumentations are circular by now and based on fundamental beliefs of persons participating - nothing good can come from that –

No Krulle they are not. You are stating things as true and then not providing any credible evidence to reinforce your claims. I am providing scientificfacts and historical facts backed up by overwhelming amounts of evidence which have been collected by experts in their chosen fields over the course of the last century. I mean tt really doesn’t take much to prove the bible to be inaccurate, the book claims convulsions are signs of demonic possession for goodness sake.


Quote:
And you do have a choice to not believe.

Please clarify that statement. Because to my mind a god who provides no evidence that he exists and a great deal of evidence that he does not exist, and then damning those who “choose” to not believe in him to eternal torment, does not qualify as a real choice in any meaningful way. Is the choice god presents me whether or not I can believe in him based upon bad evidence? Is that the choice that you are speaking of?


Quote:
Sufficient converts in any direction have proven that they will not be slain by thunder and lightningbolts just because they seceded from Christianity.

Krulle that is technically true, but you will pardon my mentioning that the r.c. church did spend considerable time, energy and funds developing and deploying a vast number of torture devices to “save the souls” of heretics. So while those who left Christianity have never been struck by lightning bolts (to my knowledge), they have undergone massive persecution and torture at the hands of the faithful.


Quote:
If you are fine with your believe, whether you name it Christianity, Catholicism, Baptism, Jewish, Moslim, Buddhaism, Taoism, Atheism, Science,... it is all fine with me.

Krulle, Science and Atheism are not systems of belief. One is an extremely useful method for determining what is true and what is false and the other is the rejection of the supernatural. Neither of those systems has anything to do with or requires faith in any way whatsoever.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:29 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Oh well, I feel this discussion is going nowhere, but anyway:

Quote:
The Christian bible is a bad copy of the Jewish Torah, and the koran is a bad copy of the Christian bible.


Thats an unusual remark from a historian... Have you read about how the Torah, the Bible or the Quran came to be? Something about their origins, transmission history, translations, etc...? Anything?

I won't comment the rest, as it shows some serious lack of knowledge in many areas. Please don't take this personally, but you should read more about how the first religions appeared, how this influenced humanity on social, biological and other areas. A start could be this article: Link. Yes, I know thats "only" Wikipedia, but English is not my first language and I have to improvise here.

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:35 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Props to icekatze for making an effort to try to not be biased in taking a contrary position in an argument where he is likely to draw the ire of others for doing so.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:24 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
gray: yes I will stand by my views, which incidentally dovetail your own quite well except for some small details, I think you might have skimmed a bit too much while reading my posts.

1: human nature.
Singular humans tend to be quite logical and analytical(it's a survival trait and the reason we have so big brains), in groups they tend to get stupid real fast(interestingly enough this has also been a survival trait for millions of years).
Religion tends to make this worse first by removing 'singular'(or to much of it, also known as solitary confinement aka torture) then by showing how happy they are and how much better being in a group is.
Do note the 'Tend' which I use as a placeholder for statistic probability.

2: good people of faith.
Most people of faith are good people, they are quiet, pray to whatever when they feel the need and you seldom notice them.
I seldom(there is some correlation between these two previous 'seldom') have issues with these people.
A large minority are the crazies, which have utterly turned off their brains for the glory of....whatever
These are also the second most common group to be in authority positions.
Finally we have the manipulative bastard that are often intelligent, belief optional.
quite often in it for the booty.

so lets break this down in wildass guesstimates, since i am to lazy to try and find any actual statistics, and would be vary of any such found.
~70% of those that profess faith actually have faith, the rest just go along to keep the neighbors happy and the torches and pitchforks away.
~20% are not very nice people, and may use 'faith' as a tool to be not nice to their neighbor whom may have a * which they are envious about...or whatever reason they have for being nasty people.
~20% are actually the crazy kind.
~5% are the manipulative kind
<1% are selfishly evil bastards

The ones in authority are often disproportionately represented by the (often vocal)minorities, the fewer in a group the higher the percentage of these in authority, do note that there is quite a bit of overlap, and the more overlap the more of a minority the person is the more likely to be in charge at some level.
This however is quite similar to the rest of the population, so matters little but is included as a reminder of how groups work.

3: the mindset of religion.
Now here is where it gets tricky, religion is generally dogmatic in giving you answers to all your questions(seldom factual) and about leaving choice to higher authority, both of which is in sync with human group mindedness, and therefor easily persuaded to follow in line.
To not question authority, god will forgive me and no mere mortal can judge me.....
A few more things here about how religion fills a void and other psycho babble, but you probably get the idea.

4: the conclusion.
combing #1 & #3 overlaying #2 bring us.
People of faith are often nice and good people, these nice people are also easily manipulated/brainwashed/controlled, which leads to others who are less nice then can do some really bad things with these people used as blunt instruments.
Which is why I say 'faith can be beautiful, but as soon as this becomes a group activity....well, shit happens.'


next up!
society is conservative?
It is a dynamic mess of desires and goals.
But society and more specifically the ones at the top, tend to be quite conservative, for obvious reasons if you think about it(they often fail in their endeavors to stop progress and change though).
so both agents of chaos and order move around in society, the rest of us just try and get by while avoiding the crossfire.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:26 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Quote:
and for you religious people out there, if you did not have the blanket safety and social acceptance of religion, the amount of delusions needed for being religious would quite possibly get you thrown into an asylum for being a danger to yourself and your surroundings, equality damn it!

Discord can you please clarify what you meant when you said this, it seemed to sound like the religious are somehow responsible for freedom of religion in the United States or that equality is the product of religious individuals or of religion itself. That would contradict much of what I know of the founding fathers and their reasoning behind establishing freedom of religion, most of which was due to many of them being from a nation where one church was overwhelmingly oppressive and dysfunctional and they desperately wanted to not have a repeat of that fiasco. If this is not what you meant I apologize, but please clarify.


Quote:
so lets break this down in wildass guesstimates

Discord please, let's really not. Unless you have actual statistical information to provide to back up your claims, self admitted estimations of a population's religiosity are not beneficial to your argument. They instead dramatically weaken your argument. I am trying to be helpful here Discord.


Quote:
Most people of faith are good people, they are quiet, pray to whatever when they feel the need and you seldom notice them.
I seldom(there is some correlation between these two previous 'seldom') have issues with these people.
A large minority are the crazies, which have utterly turned off their brains for the glory of....whatever
These are also the second most common group to be in authority positions.
Finally we have the manipulative bastard that are often intelligent, belief optional.
quite often in it for the booty.

Discord I respectfully disagree with you that any society or individual can base their decisions upon willful ignorance and a lack of credible evidence and earn the label of good. They may do some good by accident, but for the most part they are doing great harm. For example when a good person of faith donates money to their church, and their church takes that money overseas to a developing nation and uses it to proclaim "condoms are sinful" they are not doing good. They are measurably weakening that nation's population, economy, military, society, etc. To my mind, even in the best case scenario, the person of good faith is being conned into doing great evil. That is to say nothing of those people of good faith who support churches who have institutionalized the rape of children on the international scale, and when said churches are confronted about it swap those rapists from parish to parish so they can find fresh victims and threaten the victim's families with damnation in the afterlife and legal prosecution in this one.


Quote:
4: the conclusion.
combing #1 & #3 overlaying #2 bring us.
People of faith are often nice and good people, these nice people are also easily manipulated/brainwashed/controlled, which leads to others who are less nice then can do some really bad things with these people used as blunt instruments.
Which is why I say 'faith can be beautiful, but as soon as this becomes a group activity....well, shit happens.'

I do not understand how you can say that easily manipulated people who can be regularly deceived into doing great harm can be good. At best I see them as a chaotic element that swings wheresoever their whims dictate. Do you mean that evil actions do not count as evil because the people of faith believe them to be good? If it was my deep and heartfelt religious belief that my next door neighbor's daughter was a witch and that she was casting an evil spell over my house to murder me, and that the most moral action I could take was to destroy her, and I carry through with that action, am I incapable of being found guilty of murder?
Discord I do not mean to offer offense but I simply do not see how ignorance and gullibility can be viewed as beautiful. Can you please explain why you think this and provide a few examples? I am really not meaning to be disrespectful here, I honestly can not conceive of a situation where blind faith is a beautiful thing.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:39 pm
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