Author Topic: Any relevance for religion?  (Read 15532 times)

Kai

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2012, 01:02:41 am »
I disagree that you exist without mythology. You write yourself a story about who you are, where you came from, what it means to be you and what it means to be part of your community. You take in other myths about the world around you, like electromagnetic forces and DNA and transatlantic voyages.

There is a fundamental difference between these myths and the ones that we generally call religion, in that yours are measurably "less wrong" than the ones that most religions are based on, but there's really no way you can say you exist entirely without myths.

Please define "myths".



Dok Howl - If hierarchy is the necessity, then this does not necessarily mean that humans need religion. Thats a conclusion jump. Hierarchy can be had in other things.

But I don't believe humans need hierarchy either. Humans /create/ hierarchy, but need it? What evidence do you have?
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #31 on: March 14, 2012, 01:02:59 am »
Queen G's got it (along with some great points by Dok).

I see religion as a stabilizing force on the community's Narrative. A Narrative will be generated by any community, and certain power-retaining factions will want to have a measure of control over the stability of that Narrative. Enter Religion, or hierarchy structure reinforced via mythology.


Religion serves to encode and preserve "insights/information" obtained by the important figures (most of the time related to brain-state change techniques or other 'spiritual experiences') against the ravages of entropy as generational time goes by.
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #32 on: March 14, 2012, 01:10:16 am »

Dok Howl - If hierarchy is the necessity, then this does not necessarily mean that humans need religion. Thats a conclusion jump. Hierarchy can be had in other things.

But I don't believe humans need hierarchy either. Humans /create/ hierarchy, but need it? What evidence do you have?

2 million years of heirarchies, and the fact that humans will invariably create a heirarchy if none is present?

And I have also stated an additional reason that religion is an emotional need:  The fear of death.  Those two things put together generate an emotional need for religion in most humans.

What sort of evidence were you looking for?


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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #33 on: March 14, 2012, 01:13:33 am »
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Kai

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #34 on: March 14, 2012, 01:16:50 am »

Dok Howl - If hierarchy is the necessity, then this does not necessarily mean that humans need religion. Thats a conclusion jump. Hierarchy can be had in other things.

But I don't believe humans need hierarchy either. Humans /create/ hierarchy, but need it? What evidence do you have?

2 million years of heirarchies, and the fact that humans will invariably create a heirarchy if none is present?

And I have also stated an additional reason that religion is an emotional need:  The fear of death.  Those two things put together generate an emotional need for religion in most humans.

What sort of evidence were you looking for?

Is there any case where humans have done without hierarchies?

Also, emotional need can be covered by other means, so that doesn't necessitate religion. Which was my original question: Is religion necessary for human well being?


Queen G's got it (along with some great points by Dok).

I see religion as a stabilizing force on the community's Narrative. A Narrative will be generated by any community, and certain power-retaining factions will want to have a measure of control over the stability of that Narrative. Enter Religion, or hierarchy structure reinforced via mythology.


Religion serves to encode and preserve "insights/information" obtained by the important figures (most of the time related to brain-state change techniques or other 'spiritual experiences') against the ravages of entropy as generational time goes by.

Science and scientific knowledge creates narratives that encode and preserve insights obtained by key researchers. Does that mean science is religion? It doesn't seem to be to me.
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Kai

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2012, 01:17:48 am »
Please define "myths".

"useful lies"

Are you saying that the helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid is a "useful lie"?
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Doktor Howl

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2012, 01:21:37 am »
Is there any case where humans have done without hierarchies?

Not in any number or for any length of time, as far as I know.

Also, emotional need can be covered by other means, so that doesn't necessitate religion. Which was my original question: Is religion necessary for human well being?

I'm just telling you what IS out there, Kai.  I have no idea what would happen to the majority of humans if you could suddenly take away their religion.  I suspect they'd replace it with other illogical beliefs.


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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2012, 01:29:41 am »
Please define "myths".

"useful lies"

Are you saying that the helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid is a "useful lie"?

For most people to say that they *know* DNA is a double helix is a lie. They don't know, they've been told by other people, and those other people were told by other people, and very few of them have ever actually looked at any amount of DNA in the kind of detail necessary to observe that structure. But it's a hell of a lot easier for us to just run with it than to have everyone actually do the observation first hand.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2012, 01:39:27 am »
Please define "myths".

"useful lies"

Are you saying that the helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid is a "useful lie"?

For most people to say that they *know* DNA is a double helix is a lie. They don't know, they've been told by other people, and those other people were told by other people, and very few of them have ever actually looked at any amount of DNA in the kind of detail necessary to observe that structure. But it's a hell of a lot easier for us to just run with it than to have everyone actually do the observation first hand.

This is a good point.  While I don't personally doubt the concept of DNA, I don't have the training to have "seen" it for myself.  I take it on faith, based on things like published & repeated experiments, etc...Which I haven't even actually read.

Outside of schooling 19 years ago, in math & physics, science is essentially a religion for me, in that I accept the facts as stated by prominent scientists.  This is by no means to say that I don't think there IS evidence for their claims, nor am I implying that science is a religion in itself; just that it is for me.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2012, 03:45:25 am »
I think that while religion (current and historical) does offer hierarchy morality community explanations and a buffer to the knowledge that were all going to die not all religions offer some of these (i dont see mine offering hierarchy community morality or explanations) but rather purpose. It imbues the universe with some sort of purpose. Theres a point to all of this. And i think thats the need it fills in people. People need there to be a point to the story.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2012, 04:07:47 am »
Please define "myths".

"useful lies"

Are you saying that the helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid is a "useful lie"?

For most people to say that they *know* DNA is a double helix is a lie. They don't know, they've been told by other people, and those other people were told by other people, and very few of them have ever actually looked at any amount of DNA in the kind of detail necessary to observe that structure. But it's a hell of a lot easier for us to just run with it than to have everyone actually do the observation first hand.

How does that makes "myth" = "useful lie"?

A lie is false information. Is hearsay always false?

How much of what you "know" about the world is known and tested firsthand?

Is everything you have not known and tested firsthand false?
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2012, 11:56:29 am »
Which was my original question: Is religion necessary for human well being?

I agree with pretty much everything Howl has said so far, so I won't get redundant.  But in response to the above, I can say a few things:

1- It sounds like you really want the answer to be "no".

2- I'm not sure we've really nailed down what is specifically meant by "religion" (*I put on my robe and semantic hat*).

3- It would appear that humans need something that is at the very least functionally similar to a religion.  So if you remove supernatural deity worship, most humans would gravitate towards a social structure that behaved in a similar fashion.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2012, 12:19:00 pm »
I agree with Dok and LMNO... humans need a tribe, the tribe that most humans can comfortably function in appears to be a religious one. Political tribes are easy for some people, but its a tricky horse to ride. The Scientific tribe is easy for the people that are capable of processing information within a specific context. Religion is easy for anyone willing to join.

By easy, I mean it doesn't require lots of thought. When I was a JW, I was ready and willing to die because that's what the religion said. I carried a card that ordered no blood transfusions. I knew if we were ever persecuted (as happens in many countries) I would easily die rather than renounce my faith. It wasn't that I had agonized over these issues for years or really studied anything... it was simply TRUE. Its what the organization said, therefore its what God said, therefore there was no reason to think about it.

My Grandmother once tried to get my family to leave the religion. There was some argument about Christmas and my Dad told her it wasn't Christs birthday. She went to her preacher asking for proof from the Bible that it was Jesus birthday. He said "well, we celebrate it because he's our savior".

That answer was more than good enough for Grandma. It didn't answer the question, it didn't even make sense in the context, but that doesn't matter... the Tribe has its rules and the tribe members follow those rules.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #43 on: March 14, 2012, 12:34:46 pm »
Is there any case where humans have done without hierarchies?

Not in any number or for any length of time, as far as I know.


We are social creatures. In my (limited) experience, even in an environment where there is no explicit social structure, where we don't consciously know it, there is a hierarchy. We communicate it with eye contact, with subtle pauses in our speech, with body language.

Maybe there was once an environment where this didn't happen. But it would have been forced and unnatural.

I think every person needs to belong to some kind of group where they generally agree on what the important questions are, and are at least close to each other with those answers. And that seems pretty close to a religion to me.

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #44 on: March 14, 2012, 01:24:11 pm »
How does religion function?

- It provides rules and structure so that people within the group can interact socially with a minumum of conflict.
- It provides an answer (however inaccurate it may be) to the question of Weird Shit That Happens.

I think (but can be convinced otherwise) that all other common (negative) features of a religion are not necessary, and relate more to power politics than anything else.