Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Principia Discussion => Topic started by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:11:23 pm

Title: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:11:23 pm
Talking with an old friend yesterday, he brought up that he thought religion, despite being pretty much false, has a necessary place in the human world. I immediately disagreed, but I wanted to ask that question here, because I'm looking for new insights.

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

And on that note, would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack thereof and why?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:17:08 pm
Talking with an old friend yesterday, he brought up that he thought religion, despite being pretty much false, has a necessary place in the human world. I immediately disagreed, but I wanted to ask that question here, because I'm looking for new insights.

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

And on that note, would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack thereof and why?

I think the majority of humans need religion.  It assures them that someone, somewhere, is awake and at the controls...And also tells them that there is an arch-alpha, which gives them somewhere to stand in the greater pack.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 13, 2012, 11:19:52 pm
Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:21:01 pm
Discordianism, on the other hand, seems to reassure certain freak primates that, in fact, everyone's in the club car, and nobody's driving the train.

 :lulz:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: El Sjaako on March 13, 2012, 11:22:00 pm
It seems sort of arrogant: I don't need religion, but those other people do. But I think it is, in some sense, true.

I don't think people could just quit religion. A lot of them would miss the comfort and community they had. But this isn't that humans in general need religion, it's just that those people are used to it, and would have a hard time without.

Largeish communities of like minded people, be it a church, a bar with a lot of regulars, or a mensa chapter, do seem like a really good idea.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:28:43 pm
It seems sort of arrogant: I don't need religion, but those other people do. But I think it is, in some sense, true.


Who said I don't need religion?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:41:33 pm
Talking with an old friend yesterday, he brought up that he thought religion, despite being pretty much false, has a necessary place in the human world. I immediately disagreed, but I wanted to ask that question here, because I'm looking for new insights.

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

And on that note, would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack thereof and why?

I think the majority of humans need religion.  It assures them that someone, somewhere, is awake and at the controls...And also tells them that there is an arch-alpha, which gives them somewhere to stand in the greater pack.

So, is hierarchical structure a requirement of human well being?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:43:35 pm
Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that he wanted someone to hook his brain up to a machine and see how it looks when he contemplates profound truths about the universe as revealed by science, and see if it compares to religious experiences.

If those experiences are comparable, then is religion necessary for that psychological benefit?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:44:23 pm
Talking with an old friend yesterday, he brought up that he thought religion, despite being pretty much false, has a necessary place in the human world. I immediately disagreed, but I wanted to ask that question here, because I'm looking for new insights.

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

And on that note, would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack thereof and why?

I think the majority of humans need religion.  It assures them that someone, somewhere, is awake and at the controls...And also tells them that there is an arch-alpha, which gives them somewhere to stand in the greater pack.

So, is hierarchical structure a requirement of human well being?

I think it's absolutely necessary, as demonstrated by the fact that people will always generate one.

We are primates, thus we are jumped-up pack animals.  A pack requires a heirarchy to function.  Hell, that's why the founders created the office of the president...So the rubes would think there was a king.  63% of Americans think the president can fire a congressman.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:46:10 pm
Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that he wanted someone to hook his brain up to a machine and see how it looks when he contemplates profound truths about the universe as revealed by science, and see if it compares to religious experiences.

If those experiences are comparable, then is religion necessary for that psychological benefit?

Because science, as the Subgenii say, does not replace the terror of the gods.

Humans understand that it's a big, cold universe and that they will die.  Psychologically, this is intolerable, so there is a need for some belief in the continuation of our existences after death.  Science doesn't answer that need.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:47:05 pm
I'm going to come out and say it: I don't think I need religion.

I need community, and that doesn't necessitate religion.

I need some sort of profound questions or answers (or both) to contemplate, but I can get those from science and reality, I don't need myths.

I need principles under which to operate, but I can find and use these without religious doctrine.

Now, what is left. If hierarchy is it, then there seems to be better ways of having it.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:48:37 pm
Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that he wanted someone to hook his brain up to a machine and see how it looks when he contemplates profound truths about the universe as revealed by science, and see if it compares to religious experiences.

If those experiences are comparable, then is religion necessary for that psychological benefit?

Because science, as the Subgenii say, does not replace the terror of the gods.

Humans understand that it's a big, cold universe and that they will die.  Psychologically, this is intolerable, so there is a need for some belief in the continuation of our existences after death.  Science doesn't answer that need.

You say humans, which seems to be a generalization, but that doesn't explain why I don't. If it is intolerable, then how do I exist? How do the many other people who reject "terror of the gods" exist?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:49:57 pm
I'm going to come out and say it: I don't think I need religion.

I need community, and that doesn't necessitate religion.

I need some sort of profound questions or answers (or both) to contemplate, but I can get those from science and reality, I don't need myths.

I need principles under which to operate, but I can find and use these without religious doctrine.

Now, what is left. If hierarchy is it, then there seems to be better ways of having it.

Yes, and I know many other people that feel the same way...But they are by no means in the majority.  And though I don't think this is what you're doing, there is no difference between sneering at people who need religion, and religious people insisting that you cannot have morals or ethics without a belief in a higher power (I mention this because I do know people who sneer at those who require religion).

To every cat his rat...And if religion helps billions of people get through the night, who am I to tell them they're wrong?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 13, 2012, 11:50:38 pm
Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that he wanted someone to hook his brain up to a machine and see how it looks when he contemplates profound truths about the universe as revealed by science, and see if it compares to religious experiences.

If those experiences are comparable, then is religion necessary for that psychological benefit?

Because science, as the Subgenii say, does not replace the terror of the gods.

Humans understand that it's a big, cold universe and that they will die.  Psychologically, this is intolerable, so there is a need for some belief in the continuation of our existences after death.  Science doesn't answer that need.

You say humans, which seems to be a generalization, but that doesn't explain why I don't. If it is intolerable, then how do I exist? How do the many other people who reject "terror of the gods" exist?

When I say "humans", I am of course referring to the vast bulk of humanity.  Outliers exist in every human behavior.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Phox on March 13, 2012, 11:53:20 pm
Talking with an old friend yesterday, he brought up that he thought religion, despite being pretty much false, has a necessary place in the human world. I immediately disagreed, but I wanted to ask that question here, because I'm looking for new insights.

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

And on that note, would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack thereof and why?

I think the majority of humans need religion.  It assures them that someone, somewhere, is awake and at the controls...And also tells them that there is an arch-alpha, which gives them somewhere to stand in the greater pack.

So, is hierarchical structure a requirement of human well being?

I think it's absolutely necessary, as demonstrated by the fact that people will always generate one.

We are primates, thus we are jumped-up pack animals.  A pack requires a heirarchy to function.  Hell, that's why the founders created the office of the president...So the rubes would think there was a king.  63% of Americans think the president can fire a congressman.
Dok nailed it. in the absence of hierarchy, hierarchy will be created, even so little as "there can be only one boss, and that's me".

Religious faith has a demonstrated psychological benefits for humans. I don't know exactly how to compare the amount of good it does to the amount of harm, but it's definitely something our brains seem to want.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson once said that he wanted someone to hook his brain up to a machine and see how it looks when he contemplates profound truths about the universe as revealed by science, and see if it compares to religious experiences.

If those experiences are comparable, then is religion necessary for that psychological benefit?

Because science, as the Subgenii say, does not replace the terror of the gods.

Humans understand that it's a big, cold universe and that they will die.  Psychologically, this is intolerable, so there is a need for some belief in the continuation of our existences after death.  Science doesn't answer that need.
Also, ding. People fear non-existence. This has never computed for me, but so, so many times, people say that if there is no sort of afterlife, nor a soul of some sort, than nothing makes sense to them, and they are in fetal balls on the floor.  But then, these are generally the same people who claim that only humans have ouls in the first place, but I think that's getting a bit off topic. Anyway.. I don't know where I was going with that.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 13, 2012, 11:54:44 pm
You haven't provided evidence that humans need religion, that they are somehow biologically incapable of living without it.

I think this is actually an offensive position, because it requires them to be somehow something lesser than those who can do without. How is this any different than the reification of intelligence through IQ and saying that the lower classes are only suited for labor type occupations because it's in their blood?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:01:36 am
You haven't provided evidence that humans need religion, that they are somehow biologically incapable of living without it.

I think this is actually an offensive position, because it requires them to be somehow something lesser than those who can do without. How is this any different than the reification of intelligence through IQ and saying that the lower classes are only suited for labor type occupations because it's in their blood?

I've never stated that they are biologically incapable of living without it.  If humans were incapable of living without it, there would be no outliers (ie, you).  What I AM saying is that there are billions of people who do require it, and who will - and do - outright reject empirical evidence that contradicts their religious beliefs. 

And in no case, as CAN be demonstrated, is religious need tied to income, competence, or intelligence.  In fact, it doesn't seem to be tied to any other behavior...Though I have noticed, anecdotally, that most people who strongly require religious belief tend to be somewhere in the middle of some given heirarchy.  What that means is beyond me, though I have a few guesses.

Lastly, I fail to see how someone showing a need for religion is in any way inferior to someone who does not demonstrate that need.  I do not view an atheist as being more realistic or mentally competent than an agnostic or a believer, since it is my view that religion and science are utterly divorced from each other, by the very tenets that make them what they are...IE, you cannot disprove the existence of a deity, and you can't prove it, either (and if you did, the whole concept of faith "belief without proof" would be voided, and the whole structure of religion would be rendered useless).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 14, 2012, 12:18:35 am
You haven't provided evidence that humans need religion, that they are somehow biologically incapable of living without it.

I think this is actually an offensive position, because it requires them to be somehow something lesser than those who can do without. How is this any different than the reification of intelligence through IQ and saying that the lower classes are only suited for labor type occupations because it's in their blood?

I've never stated that they are biologically incapable of living without it.  If humans were incapable of living without it, there would be no outliers (ie, you).  What I AM saying is that there are billions of people who do require it, and who will - and do - outright reject empirical evidence that contradicts their religious beliefs. 

And in no case, as CAN be demonstrated, is religious need tied to income, competence, or intelligence.  In fact, it doesn't seem to be tied to any other behavior...Though I have noticed, anecdotally, that most people who strongly require religious belief tend to be somewhere in the middle of some given heirarchy.  What that means is beyond me, though I have a few guesses.

Lastly, I fail to see how someone showing a need for religion is in any way inferior to someone who does not demonstrate that need.  I do not view an atheist as being more realistic or mentally competent than an agnostic or a believer, since it is my view that religion and science are utterly divorced from each other, by the very tenets that make them what they are...IE, you cannot disprove the existence of a deity, and you can't prove it, either (and if you did, the whole concept of faith "belief without proof" would be voided, and the whole structure of religion would be rendered useless).

I'm still having trouble with this 'need', this 'requiring' you speak of. We can speak of addicts 'needing' heroin. Is that the same?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:25:19 am
You haven't provided evidence that humans need religion, that they are somehow biologically incapable of living without it.

I think this is actually an offensive position, because it requires them to be somehow something lesser than those who can do without. How is this any different than the reification of intelligence through IQ and saying that the lower classes are only suited for labor type occupations because it's in their blood?

I've never stated that they are biologically incapable of living without it.  If humans were incapable of living without it, there would be no outliers (ie, you).  What I AM saying is that there are billions of people who do require it, and who will - and do - outright reject empirical evidence that contradicts their religious beliefs. 

And in no case, as CAN be demonstrated, is religious need tied to income, competence, or intelligence.  In fact, it doesn't seem to be tied to any other behavior...Though I have noticed, anecdotally, that most people who strongly require religious belief tend to be somewhere in the middle of some given heirarchy.  What that means is beyond me, though I have a few guesses.

Lastly, I fail to see how someone showing a need for religion is in any way inferior to someone who does not demonstrate that need.  I do not view an atheist as being more realistic or mentally competent than an agnostic or a believer, since it is my view that religion and science are utterly divorced from each other, by the very tenets that make them what they are...IE, you cannot disprove the existence of a deity, and you can't prove it, either (and if you did, the whole concept of faith "belief without proof" would be voided, and the whole structure of religion would be rendered useless).

I'm still having trouble with this 'need', this 'requiring' you speak of. We can speak of addicts 'needing' heroin. Is that the same?

Nope.  Religion seems to be an emotional need (I have no proof to back this up, just personal observation and opinion) that is exhibited by the majority of humans.  There's no denying that billions of people do exhibit that need, or religions would be utterly marginalized (which is undoubtably NOT occurring).  Given the costs and requirements for belonging to a religion, this makes no sense without there being a need on some level or other.

The level of need varies wildly, too, from your stereotypical CoE member that thinks a wild sermon means the vicar went 30 seonds over, to the other end of the spectrum that includes the victims of Jim Jones (I make no distinction between cults and religions), and from the "goes to church on Christmas and Easter" to the devout Hindu aesthetic.

And it doesn't seem to make any difference WHAT the religion is.  I consider Dawkins and his adherents to be religious (though without a deity) no less than the Pope and his followers.

And I think that's an important point, which we haven't considered:  Religion doesn't require a deity, as such, though most follow one or more.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:28:02 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: El Sjaako on March 14, 2012, 12:30:26 am
It seems sort of arrogant: I don't need religion, but those other people do. But I think it is, in some sense, true.
Who said I don't need religion?
I was talking about the person referred to in the OP. Should have quoted, I guess.

I think it's absolutely necessary, as demonstrated by the fact that people will always generate one.

The fact that people always generate religion does not demonstrate that religion in necessary. I think religion pops up because it's easily created by someone crazy and/or seeking power, and memes of the religious type have a built  in ability to stick around.

On the other hand, the continued existence of religion in places like the USSR and North Korea proves something. According to wikipedia, 80% of the USSR professed religious belief, even after all the state anti-religious stuff.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:31:37 am
It seems sort of arrogant: I don't need religion, but those other people do. But I think it is, in some sense, true.
Who said I don't need religion?
I was talking about the person referred to in the OP. Should have quoted, I guess.

I think it's absolutely necessary, as demonstrated by the fact that people will always generate one.

The fact that people always generate religion does not demonstrate that religion in necessary. I think religion pops up because it's easily created by someone crazy and/or seeking power, and memes of the religious type have a built  in ability to stick around.

On the other hand, the continued existence of religion in places like the USSR and North Korea proves something. According to wikipedia, 80% of the USSR professed religious belief, even after all the state anti-religious stuff.

I said that a heirarchy is necessary.  Please don't take me out of context.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Don Coyote on March 14, 2012, 12:32:22 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."

I'll buy that. It fits in with my observations that people will behave with a religious fervor in discussions on things like martial arts, sports teams, and automobile manufactures
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: El Sjaako on March 14, 2012, 12:33:26 am
I said that a heirarchy is necessary.  Please don't take me out of context.
Sorry, I misread. It's late here.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:34:26 am
I said that a heirarchy is necessary.  Please don't take me out of context.
Sorry, I misread. It's late here.

S'ok.  Happens to everyone.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:34:57 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."

I'll buy that. It fits in with my observations that people will behave with a religious fervor in discussions on things like martial arts, sports teams, and automobile manufactures

Also political parties, economic systems, and people who drink tea.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Don Coyote on March 14, 2012, 12:41:39 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."

I'll buy that. It fits in with my observations that people will behave with a religious fervor in discussions on things like martial arts, sports teams, and automobile manufactures

Also political parties, economic systems, and people who drink tea.

I think that the 'religious need' is a manifestation of the 'tribal need' of primates as well.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 14, 2012, 12:44:40 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."

I'll buy that. It fits in with my observations that people will behave with a religious fervor in discussions on things like martial arts, sports teams, and automobile manufactures

Also political parties, economic systems, and people who drink tea.

I think that the 'religious need' is a manifestation of the 'tribal need' of primates as well.

Oh, absolutely.  Most humans need a heirarchy...And the more the merrier.  So they join a religion, a political party, the PTA, anywhere where they can be reasonably sure where they stand in the pecking order.

Some even join forums where they debate things like heirarchies.  :lol:

In any case, religion as a substitute for the tribe is a strong argument, but doesn't address why small tribes also seem(ed) to need religion as well.  If it was merely a substitute for the tribe, small tribes would not demonstrate an apparent need for religion.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Don Coyote on March 14, 2012, 12:48:19 am
I'd actually define "religious need" as "a requirement for a set of observable rules or beliefs whose adherents require no evidence of the belief system's validity."

I'll buy that. It fits in with my observations that people will behave with a religious fervor in discussions on things like martial arts, sports teams, and automobile manufactures

Also political parties, economic systems, and people who drink tea.

I think that the 'religious need' is a manifestation of the 'tribal need' of primates as well.

Oh, absolutely.  Most humans need a heirarchy...And the more the merrier.  So they join a religion, a political party, the PTA, anywhere where they can be reasonably sure where they stand in the pecking order.

Some even join forums where they debate things like heirarchies.  :lol:

In any case, religion as a substitute for the tribe is a strong argument, but doesn't address why small tribes also seem(ed) to need religion as well.  If it was merely a substitute for the tribe, small tribes would not demonstrate an apparent need for religion.

I never thought about that. I guess it ties in with the need for something that is beyond the mortal experience.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 14, 2012, 12:52:19 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai 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?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Telarus 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl 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?

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 14, 2012, 01:13:33 am
Please define "myths".

"useful lies"
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai 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"?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Mesozoic Mister Nigel 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?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk 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.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: El Sjaako 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO 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.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 14, 2012, 01:33:24 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.

I don't think that you have have religion (or society) without the presence of a narrative of history, which is usually pretty far removed from the actual events that took place.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 01:46:42 pm
Thats true too. Religion at least on the mythology end is kinda like to history what alchemy is to chemistry. A precursor to it but not accurate. Usually its broken down into a strictly mythological part where god(s) create(s) the world and a legendary part which is partly historical except with obvious bias and superheroes like samson cuchulainn or achilles.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 14, 2012, 01:53:18 pm
Unlike the chemistry/alchemy relationship, though, I think we still need the "not true" part of history. We need for things to have happened because it's part of a story that makes sense to us, not because a bunch of people did things nearly at random because people are useless, fickle assholes who can't even sort out their own motives before the fact and just make it up afterwards. Whether that story is "God working in mysterious ways" or "Communists are cartoonishly evil bad guys who hated freedom and would do anything to conquer the West" doesn't seem like that big a difference to me.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 14, 2012, 01:54:39 pm
Thats true too. Religion at least on the mythology end is kinda like to history what alchemy is to chemistry. A precursor to it but not accurate. Usually its broken down into a strictly mythological part where god(s) create(s) the world and a legendary part which is partly historical except with obvious bias and superheroes like samson cuchulainn or achilles.

But that's either backstory to generate the appeal to authority when establishing the rules (Item1), or it's there to explain Weird Shit (Item2).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 01:55:34 pm
You mean the russians WERENT actually out to get moose and squirrel?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 02:02:06 pm
But is that always necessarily the case lmno? Sometimes its an attempt to describe some aspect of history without setting up appeal toa uthority or explain the weird shit, no?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 14, 2012, 02:08:09 pm

I don't think that you have have religion (or society) without the presence of a narrative of history, which is usually pretty far removed from the actual events that took place.

Interestingly that is quite close to the anthropological definition of Mythology
 a narrative of history which is, or may be, far removed from the actual events that took place.

When anthropologists use the term it in no way implies whether any given myth is based in truth or fiction.

ed Errant commas and stuff
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 14, 2012, 02:16:59 pm
But is that always necessarily the case lmno? Sometimes its an attempt to describe some aspect of history without setting up appeal toa uthority or explain the weird shit, no?

I dunno.  Even the Book of Kings ultimately is there to establish YHWH's authority over the Jews and strengthen His rules.

And if the stories aren't there for either of those reasons, is that part of the religion, or is it just fucked up social history?  I mean, what stories did you have in mind that are neither about establishing rules nor explaining Shit That Happens?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 02:25:57 pm
What comes to mind is the account of how ireland was settled. First it was by two peoples that each died of plague. Then by the fir bolg who had primitive weapons then by the tuatha de danann (the "gods") who were in turn defeated by the milesians (human gaels). It doesnt on a whole seem to describe anything other than a distorted account of how people came to ireland. The only thing i can see it setting up is the concept of reincarnation (since it is told by tuan maccarrell who is present in each era and tells this history to christian monks)
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 14, 2012, 02:47:24 pm
Since I'm not as familiar with the celtic mythos, I'm afraid I can't directly answer you.  However, it sounds like your overview might be missing something, in the same way of saying "Kings 1 and 2 is just an extended family tree of Jewish kings." 

Yes, it is.  But the ultimate point of the book was to show how wicked they were, and how YHWH destroyed them all.  So maybe there's a deeper point to the myths you're talking about?

Plus, in the realm of dead religions, how sure are we about how they were practiced?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 14, 2012, 02:49:30 pm
Quote
The religious person concerns himself only about the 'Proofs for God's Existence' because he, as bound fast within the circle of belief, inwardly reserves the free movement of the understanding and calculation. Here, I say, the spirit is dependent upon an object, seeks to explain it, to explore it, to feel it, to love it, and so forth . . . because it is not free, and since freedom is the condition of genius, therefore the religious spirit is not inspired. Inspired piety is as great an inanity as inspired linen-weaving. Religion is always accessible to the impotent, and every uncreative dolt can and will always have religion, for uncreativeness does not impede his life of dependency.
- Max Stirner "Art and Religion
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 03:03:32 pm
Since I'm not as familiar with the celtic mythos, I'm afraid I can't directly answer you.  However, it sounds like your overview might be missing something, in the same way of saying "Kings 1 and 2 is just an extended family tree of Jewish kings." 

Yes, it is.  But the ultimate point of the book was to show how wicked they were, and how YHWH destroyed them all.  So maybe there's a deeper point to the myths you're talking about?

Plus, in the realm of dead religions, how sure are we about how they were practiced?

That's a fair point- a lot of other stuff happens in those eras, but as far as I can tell, Tuan MacCarrell only gives an overview to the monks.

With Irish mythology it can get pretty tricky to figure out what is going on. The pre-Christian Irish didn't write down the mythology. It was written down as a point of interest by local monks, who occasionally interject their own obvious bits from Genesis into the narrative (for example, the first wave of invaders are said to be outlaws who somehow escaped the Flood without Noah or God noticing. Goidel, whose name is the root for Gael, is said to have constructed what would eventually evolve into Old Irish out of all the "good parts" of the 72 languages that emerged after the Tower of Babel incident). The Tuatha De are variously described as gods, false gods, wizards, some spags who came from the North or people who descended from the skies in a cloud of smoke.

(http://i.imgur.com/CljaA.jpg)

But, comparing their names to names found on the continent, it's apparent that they were at one point considered gods in Ireland. As far as the practice goes, we don't know for sure. Druids didn't like to write things down. No one knows who they were or.... what they were doing.

I'm just taking that one blanket account, which I interpret as garbled history of immigration. I can look into it deeper, but the running theme in the details seems to be allegory for the cycles of nature and/or how history tends to repeat itself.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 14, 2012, 03:30:51 pm
According to Joseph Campbell myths are most importantly models/guidelines/training for the life that the individual will experience. We are all the Fool when we start on our own Hero's journey.

We see that sort of mythology in modern storytelling. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Inuyasha, Heroes, the majority of comic book stories... all telling the same ancient myths with modern trappings. Maybe those will eventually fill some of the gaps that mythology used to fill.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 14, 2012, 04:13:34 pm
According to Joseph Campbell myths are most importantly models/guidelines/training for the life that the individual will experience. We are all the Fool when we start on our own Hero's journey.

We see that sort of mythology in modern storytelling. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Inuyasha, Heroes, the majority of comic book stories... all telling the same ancient myths with modern trappings. Maybe those will eventually fill some of the gaps that mythology used to fill.

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.

 8)
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: kingyak on March 14, 2012, 05:21:13 pm
No one knows who they were or.... what they were doing.
:lulz:

What if the purpose of the myths is to establish a sense of cultural identity/superiority/awesomeness? Would that make them fall into LMNO's "establishing the rules" criteria?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Disco Pickle on March 14, 2012, 05:37:34 pm
A (younger) friend of mine and I have had this exact discussion.  He takes Kai's position a step further and says that humans have NEVER needed religion and that the planet and human society would be a better place if we had never created religions.  That they certainly are not relevant now that we have SCIENCE! and are even more destructive in the light of the advancement of scientific knowledge.  He, like LMNO mentioned of Kai, seemed to really want it to be true that humans don't NEED religion.  He also argued that the societies that have existed and do now exist would have still been created, but would have flourished in the absence of religion and that it's religion that helps keep them stagnant.

I disagreed with nearly every one of his points, and with good reason.  I did not put it as well as has been said in this thread.  Glad I dropped in for lunch.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 06:01:48 pm
Kingyak- yeah i suppose it does.

Daddy why do we have this particular custom?
Because of this particular mythological precedent.

Pickle-History would look a lot different if there were no religion (and wed just find some other bollocks reason to kill each other and behave irrationally) but because religion is influenced by and influences the culture its associated with none of those cultures would look the same either. Can you picture rome without mars? Sumer without inanna? Egypt without ra? If im interpreting your friends position correctly hes missing that particular bit.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Disco Pickle on March 14, 2012, 06:16:54 pm
Kingyak- yeah i suppose it does.

Daddy why do we have this particular custom?
Because of this particular mythological precedent.

Pickle-History would look a lot different if there were no religion (and wed just find some other bollocks reason to kill each other and behave irrationally) but because religion is influenced by and influences the culture its associated with none of those cultures would look the same either. Can you picture rome without mars? Sumer without inanna? Egypt without ra? If im interpreting your friends position correctly hes missing that particular bit.

Yeah, he was missing a LOT of it.  I face palmed a lot in that conversation.  We can get into some heated discussions because he gets worked up and loud when he's close to being forced to accept that something he thinks he knows is not true or that one of his beliefs need adjusting, but he has strong potential to be a really, really great biped so I try not to push his buttons so hard he gets angry. 

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 14, 2012, 06:27:02 pm
Ive also heard hypotheses that christianity and islam were major factors in how modern science and mathematics developed. Partially as a result of curiosity about how gods creation worked (understand nature and you understand god somewhat) and that islamic prohibition of depicting living things lead to advances in geometry. How integral religion itself was is debatable but its an interesting thought to consider. Anyway its fun to play the what if game but until we have definitive proof of the many worlds hypothesis its just as productive of debating the existence of god and debating the existence of which gods.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 15, 2012, 08:04:36 pm
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.

1- I really want fresh insight on the question. If I seem contrary then you are mistaking my prodding.

2-No we haven't. Do you want to?

3- "humans need something...functionally similar to a religion" and "most humans would gravitate towards [etc.]" do not seem to be equivalent. What is it that those humans which do not seem to need or gravitate towards that social structure lack or have?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 15, 2012, 08:10:35 pm
According to Joseph Campbell myths are most importantly models/guidelines/training for the life that the individual will experience. We are all the Fool when we start on our own Hero's journey.

We see that sort of mythology in modern storytelling. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Inuyasha, Heroes, the majority of comic book stories... all telling the same ancient myths with modern trappings. Maybe those will eventually fill some of the gaps that mythology used to fill.

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.

 8)

1. Rules and guidelines can be self-derived. This is of course difficult. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why "humans need religion"?

2. What happens when those answers are replaced by those which can be shown to match reality, and do not stem from any religion?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 15, 2012, 11:42:33 pm
I could be mistaken but i think i read somewhere that theres some evidence to indicate that religosity is a genetic predisposition. The god gene i think it was called. Could be just that some humans (like myself) need some sort of religion or spiritual system whereas others (like yourself) dont. Maybe asking if humans need religion is a little too general?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 16, 2012, 02:39:41 am
I could be mistaken but i think i read somewhere that theres some evidence to indicate that religosity is a genetic predisposition. The god gene i think it was called. Could be just that some humans (like myself) need some sort of religion or spiritual system whereas others (like yourself) dont. Maybe asking if humans need religion is a little too general?

The suggestion put forward in The God Gene, as I read it, is that "spirituality" [as defined and measured by the researcher] is correlated with a particular gene variation.
 
Quote
Extract from Nature vs. nurture "Gay"gene pioneer tackles God Philadephia Gay News, Oct. 1-7, 2004

" [. . .]  the "god gene" really is a single gene, VMAT2. It makes a protein that transports monoamines, a chemical in the brain. A single variation in the gene affects people's consciousness or the way they perceive the world, and [Dean] Hamer has linked that to spirituality.
 
"All of the spiritual people, all of the great spiritual experiences involved seeing reality in a fundamentally different way," he said. "For a lot of people that is tantamount to nuttiness, or schizophrenia, or something like that, but it's a very intimate part of spirituality.
 
With Paul "on the road to Tarsus" obviously, that was a very dramatic instance of that. Or when Mohammed went flying around in his dreams. But I think that it plays a role in people's everyday life too. Just sitting at the beach, looking at the waves, people can have spiritual experiences and it's because all of a sudden you just see the world in a little bit different light. I think that's pretty cool.
 
"Everything is not as it normally appears."
 
"Spirituality is measured by something called the self-transcendence aspect of personality," a category created by psychologists "that looks at things like, to what degree do people identify with the whole world around them, compared to just themselves," he continued. "And to what degree do people feel that everything in the universe is connected by some sort of spiritual force."
 
When Hamer compared people's behavioral and personality surveys with their DNA, a variation of the VMAT2 gene popped out as having a strong correlation.
 
"It's interesting, not because it is the gene that makes people believers or not, but because just finding that one gene, we think, tells us something about the whole brain biochemistry of spirituality; he said.
 
He says that VMAT2 is but one of what may well be hundreds of genes that play a role in spirituality.
 
Hamer carefully distinguishes between religion and the biological aspect of spirituality.
 
"Religion is a cultural phenomena where the rules are made up by man or come down from God, depending on your point of view, but they are things that you learn, things that can be changed culturally.

 
"The interesting thing about cultural stuff is that it is not necessarily stuff that is good for people; its just good for the culture or the organization that creates it. Which gets into the people who profit from it, who are priests and bureaucrats." http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Bailey/Dean%20Hamer/Hamer%20PGN%20Article/Hamer%20PGN%20Article.html
emphasis mine

It is an interesting piece of research but scarcely qualifies VMAT2 as a "god gene". More interestingly from my personal point of view as an atheist [ yeah, I know, I'm an atheist so sue me  :wink:] I would suggest that Hamer's findings are equally supportive of my atheism, (which I would describe as highly spiritual) than of religiosity which, while it may be spiritual for some people is not invariably so. Hamer's findings may be right, but spirituality is not actually the sole property of the religious. However, going back to Kai's OP, the discussion he seems to looking for is not about social hierarchies or spirituality or mythology but specifically about religion and although people are hedging around and are asking for a tighter definition I think that in many ways that is just avoiding the issue.

So my answer Kai is that No, religion is not necessary nor has it ever been. Religion is a learned behaviour and, as writers in this thread have indicated multiple times, could easily be subsumed into other social forms.

Is it relevant in  an age where science has superseded  its power to explain the universe?  Personally I really doubt it though, as one of Dok Howl's comments upthread suggested, if it were to miraculously disappear overnight there would probably be quite a few unhappy campers who would feel a deep lack in their lives if religion wasn't around.

Would Discordianism fit into that necessity or lack of and why? For me definitely yes. I first heard about  research into a "god gene" back in the late 90's, long before Hamer's paper was published, so there were no real specifics known about what the work was focussed on. The idea of a "god gene" was intriguing though and I was already familiar with Hamer's work on the so-called "gay" gene. This came at a point for me when my ideas on personal, atheistic, spirituality were changing and coalescing around what I'd read about Discordianism. The model of irreligion I eventually adopted for myself came out thinking about how a god gene might actually operate.  It seemed obvious to me as an atheist with a very well defined spiritual life that if there were such a thing that it would be more a spirituality gene than a god gene. A spirituality gene might help to explain many puzzling things about our complex relationships with ourselves, each other and the universe, whereas a "god-gene" while being a killer title for a provocative, [and still controversial] book really begs more questions than it could answer. Round about the same time I was looking at Discordianism as a "religion" and decided it was like a Polo mint, sweet and mouthwatering but there was a decided hole in the middle where spirituality would fit in a traditional religion. Of course I soon decided it wasn't like that at all but it gave me the idea of trying to find a way of thinking about Discordian "irreligion" as a physical process entity, as though there really was a god gene. So for the last many years I have taken the view that religion is a physical property of the body, which is common to everybody, and which has receptors in the brain and therefore requires that something fit on those receptors. I don't have anything better to lock onto those receptors so Discordianism will just damn well have to do. Surprisingly I have found that this ridiculous idea actually works for me, it provides a satisfying explanation of my current 'spiritual' situation.



tl;dr jeez but that old biddy is a fruit loop

also @Twid, I always get the impression that Kai is one of the most spiritual people on the forum [Kai, correct me if I've misread that] so I don't think that the religio-spiritual / or not dichotomy applies here.


edit to extend the emphasis
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 16, 2012, 02:56:10 am
Its hard for me as a theist to separate religion from spirituality. It is totally possible to be a spiritual atheist or a nonspiritual theist but i just happen to be a spiritual theist. Its hard to divorce them (interestingly i consider deities and afterlife concepts to be unrelated. They overlap in most religions but my gods dont offer me anything after death but i reckon ill be born again regardless of their committee). My actual beliefs and theology shift depending on mood. I joke that im an atheist on wednesday an irish polytheist otherwise and a catholic when someone died. I consider discordia like buddhism. It can be your primary "faith" or it can be an adjunct philosophy. For me its an adjunct but i always describe my religion as discordian rather than pagan these days.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 16, 2012, 03:02:19 am
If you pressed me hard enough id probably answer that my religion is being an irishman and a guitarist who believes in reincarnation. The deities i worship specifically (lugh, brid, an dagda mor and occasionally manannan mac lir) reflect that and im ok with them turning out to be metaphors or allegory. Its what they mean to me in everyday life rather than what they actually are that matters (which is why im ok with mocking other pagans who take it too seriously).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 16, 2012, 03:13:08 am
Hmmmm, ya got me there Twid, I don't think I could actually worship a metaphor. Also - I always thought that being an Irishman was a profession, but I stand corrected :wink:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 16, 2012, 03:24:08 am
As long as i get my afterlife i cant give a shit if my gods are real or not ;)
as far as the irish thing i admit i take it to the wall despite my american accent. Its what i am. My father is from a very irish part of ireland. He never taught me what being irish meant other than he was vaguely republican (irish sense of the word). I had to learn it on my own. Get my own irish passport. Figure out why hed get pissed off at some faux pas. I consider myself irish before i would say im bostonian or a new englander or american. With this lack of direction it would have (and almost was) been conducive to ill thought republicanism. I joke about being antibrit sometimes as a result.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 16, 2012, 03:45:25 am
Believe it or not im actually a irish republican culturally catholic *unionist*. I made brief reference to my reasons why last year but if you want me to reiterate i am happy to elsewhere "so's not to shpag up dis tread, like."
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Grimalkin on March 16, 2012, 09:25:04 pm
Religion is not the same thing as spirituality or even faith.  Religion is formula, codex, dogma, ritual, symbolism, hierarchy, confession, piety, charity, fellowship and all the other regulated, delegated drivel designed my creative humans.  Even Discordianism has its precepts, although the refreshing difference is that no one cares when chaos reigns.   :horrormirth:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 17, 2012, 12:08:53 pm
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 17, 2012, 01:02:48 pm
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.
my emphasis

I get what you are saying Ratatosk but I think your last two sentences say it all really. And I think that people who don't get their fix of whatever it is that some people get from religion probably get it some other way. To illustrate that point please excuse me while I paraphrase a bit of your post

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many soccer fans experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the chanting from the terraces is particularly mesmeric is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things can be satisfied through being a soccer fan.


I don't think that religion has any affect on people which cannot be satisfied in some other way. ie it is not a necessary part of human existence, we need to breathe, we need to eat, etc etc, we don't need to have or practice a religion. That so many people do and have practiced one doesn't indicate the necessity of religion but the power that stories and storytelling have over a language oriented species.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 17, 2012, 01:35:43 pm
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.
my emphasis

I get what you are saying Ratatosk but I think your last two sentences say it all really. And I think that people who don't get their fix of whatever it is that some people get from religion probably get it some other way. To illustrate that point please excuse me while I paraphrase a bit of your post

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many soccer fans experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the chanting from the terraces is particularly mesmeric is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things can be satisfied through being a soccer fan.


I don't think that religion has any affect on people which cannot be satisfied in some other way. ie it is not a necessary part of human existence, we need to breathe, we need to eat, etc etc, we don't need to have or practice a religion. That so many people do and have practiced one doesn't indicate the necessity of religion but the power that stories and storytelling have over a language oriented species.


I disagree, while the soccer fan experiences tribal ritual, it is not the same kind of tribal ritual. The war ritual does not replace the religious/spiritual ritual. These both use a similar effect to affect different parts of the psychology.

IF however, we combine ritual and science, we might get something like the early Freemasons. Their liberal thinking, tied together with powerful ritual seems to have provided an environment where many could free themselves of religious trappings.

Antero Alli uses 'paratheatrics' in a similar way. Its designed to engage the ecstatic experience that affects the same psychological handles that religion does.

Religion 'could' be replaced, if the void was filled with something else. That thing would have to be very accessible to all levels of education, require little independent thought on the part of the individual, provide the ecstatic/bliss experience, provide a sense of belonging and provide simple answers to the scary questions that are common among most people.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 17, 2012, 08:17:52 pm
I don't need ecstasy/bliss in my life - I'm sorry but I really just don't.  Maybe I'm defective but I don't feel the need for transcendental experience, mind expanding substances, enchanting sermons, or hypnotic trance dancing. Its just not my bag; yanno? And I would bet quite a lot on the fact that I'm by no means unique. And its not that I'm not familiar with the background theory, I have studied the anthropology and psychology of religion along with performance theory and  aspects of the numinous, its fascinating, but I keep coming around to the same point - religion is not now, nor has it ever been necessary.
It may be important, not to say vital to how some people perceive themselves but, since it is not a key part of everyone's self-perception, it cannot be a necessary part of human existence. If you get a blast from it then hey that's cool but I would strongly suggest that you appreciate that aspect of the numinous because you have learned to, and not because it is an inherent part of the human condition.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: El Sjaako on March 17, 2012, 09:05:04 pm
Religion 'could' be replaced, if the void was filled with something else. That thing would have to be very accessible to all levels of education, require little independent thought on the part of the individual, provide the ecstatic/bliss experience, provide a sense of belonging and provide simple answers to the scary questions that are common among most people.

Let's see if I'm understanding you.

Religion is a common way of filling certain parts of human existence. Most people could do without, but it's something they would have to replace with something else.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 18, 2012, 02:26:25 am
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.

Bullshit. Anyone can listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about the origin of our atoms, understand it, and feel inspiration from it. The concepts are easy; it's how we came to those that is difficult.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 18, 2012, 06:30:31 pm
I do regularly feel a sense of awe when thinking about the Universe from a scientific perspective (it's why I like looking at the night sky or hearing about human evolution). Though I'm not sure how that is similar or different from the impetus for religious experience. At least on my end. Maybe for other people it fulfills that sort of feeling. I dunno.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 18, 2012, 08:35:11 pm
I think religion, organized religion fills in a couple areas... SOME of those areas could be filled by scientific/ethical solutions not rooted in religion. However, there are aspects to religion which cannot be replaced by 'the facts'. Metaphor, illustration, parable, stories designed to pull specific triggers inside the psychology of the individual are important considerations. While we can speak to observed phenomena in science, we do so in a precise, factual way. Religion, on the other hand, is a mystical, metaphoric sort of thing.

Bliss, for example, the state of mind many religious people experience when they are in the center of the moment, when the music and singing or the rhetoric from the pulpit is particularly enchanting is not something 'most' people would derive from a scientist speaking on a similar topic. The theater, the ritual, the feeling of belonging to a group that has 'special' knowledge. All of these things are satisfied through religion.

For individuals that have had the necessary life experiences, education and mindset to revel in science, a scientific lecture can engage the 'bliss'. For the average Joe that didn't excel in science, doesn't know a hypothesis from a theory and can't even begin to grasp the mathematics involved in describing even basic physics (let alone quantum physics)... the words are uninspiring. Humans, ultimately want to feel good. They want to feel knowledgeable, they want to feel like they are connected to something larger than themselves. Religion fulfills that need, science doesn't (for most people).

It's one of the things I came to appreciate when I was reading Antero, Hine, etc. Their systems of 'magic' (their word not mine), are designed to give the participant access to 'bliss' without the necessity of a dogmatic belief system. If science and ritual found a common ground, perhaps 'religion' wouldn't be necessary. However, most scientificly inclined individuals eschew ritual, myth and 'bliss', in favor of directness, proof and clarity.

Bullshit. Anyone can listen to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about the origin of our atoms, understand it, and feel inspiration from it. The concepts are easy; it's how we came to those that is difficult.

I disagree. I personally love the guy, but I'm pretty sure many of the people I grew up with would be mildly interested at best.

The 'need' that I'm talking aabout isn't a need for truth... it a need for an experience.

The quote I posted earlier by Max Steiner, I think addresses a key aspect... the religious/bliss/ecstatic experience doesn't require thinking. It's an experience. All that it requires if for you to be in an environment with your tribe processing a ritual that makes you feel, ummm, special? (I dunno if thats exactly the right word I'm looking for here). If you haven't watched "The Power of Myth" I highly recommend it. Its available on YouTube. Ironically, for me, listening to Joseph Campbell is as inspiring (maybe more for me personally) as Neil DeGrasse Tyson and far better than any religious sermon I've heard.

I'm not trying to argue that we need 'religion' as in a belief in a God... rather most (but not all) humans appear to have a need for X which religion fills (badly, but still better than most of the other options for those people). To be clear, I don't think there is some DNA hardwired requirement here. I think, were we to magically gain total control of all humans at the moment of birth and completely control their experiences from that point on, we could theoretically do away with that need in any human. However, that's highly unlikely and maybe kind of evil ;-)

Maybe, if we use the BiP metaphor, religion acts as the prison yard, the exercise room, the communal television or the library for all the poor schmucks that aren't busy trying to break out of their cell. Of course, for some people trying to escape, taking a break in the rec room is necessary as well.

Does that make any better sense, or am I blathering?

ETA: Also, when I say "bliss" I don't mean specifically dancing in the pews or speaking in tongues. For some people 'bliss' may be discussing scientific concepts, philosophical concepts *insert whatever gives people bliss here* or (least common denominator) religion. Scientific and philosophical concepts require deep thought, lots of reading, critical thinking and some level of education. Religious bliss, on the other hand, can be had by an illiterate person who has never had a deep thought on the subject. Its this 'least common denominator' that would have to be replaced.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 04:03:58 pm
Quote from: La Wik
Bliss can be a state of profound satisfaction, happiness and joy, a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss.


This all reminds me of some of Pratchett's words from Unseen Academicals. The ritual of sporting events, and The Crowd, and how "football isn't just about football".
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 04:32:23 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 19, 2012, 05:30:09 pm
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 06:13:42 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 06:15:24 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 06:18:39 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Ok, first off... slaveryReally?

Secondly, your statement assumes that Religion (or the functional equivalent) actually is something people can live without (also implied - they can live without it and still be happy/fulfilled/complete/etc).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on March 19, 2012, 06:38:05 pm
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion.

I hadn't seen anywhere else in this thread pointed out that Science doesn't really address the 'WHY', but only the 'what' and the 'how'....

Religion is what attempts to answer the 'WHY'.
Perhaps there are some outliers that simply do not care about this question.  they wouldn't need religion.
Perhaps most have a burning desire that a dangling 'WHY' be addressed, and since the only thing that seems to fill that gap is the story that their folks raised them up with, they stick with it.  they need the question answered, and the religion fits the bill.
Perhaps some see the answer given by that story as False, and either fall into some other religion, or they find a way to live with a dangling 'WHY' without much grief.  they wouldn't need religion, either. (but i miss it sometimes)
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 06:41:59 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 06:43:02 pm
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion.

I hadn't seen anywhere else in this thread pointed out that Science doesn't really address the 'WHY', but only the 'what' and the 'how'....

Religion is what attempts to answer the 'WHY'.
Perhaps there are some outliers that simply do not care about this question.  they wouldn't need religion.
Perhaps most have a burning desire that a dangling 'WHY' be addressed, and since the only thing that seems to fill that gap is the story that their folks raised them up with, they stick with it.  they need the question answered, and the religion fits the bill.
Perhaps some see the answer given by that story as False, and either fall into some other religion, or they find a way to live with a dangling 'WHY' without much grief.  they wouldn't need religion, either. (but i miss it sometimes)

I'd pointed out something similar earlier- that religion gives the universe some sort of purpose and plotline.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 19, 2012, 06:47:55 pm
Because most humans are very disturbed when they can't figure out the what's,why's, and how's of the universe.

Religious beliefs fill in those gaps.

It's been that way forever. 

When we can't figure out why something is, we make up a story to explain it. 

I think if humans were more prone to feeling at ease with their inconsequential existence, there would be less need for religion.

I hadn't seen anywhere else in this thread pointed out that Science doesn't really address the 'WHY', but only the 'what' and the 'how'....

Religion is what attempts to answer the 'WHY'.
Perhaps there are some outliers that simply do not care about this question.  they wouldn't need religion.
Perhaps most have a burning desire that a dangling 'WHY' be addressed, and since the only thing that seems to fill that gap is the story that their folks raised them up with, they stick with it.  they need the question answered, and the religion fits the bill.
Perhaps some see the answer given by that story as False, and either fall into some other religion, or they find a way to live with a dangling 'WHY' without much grief.  they wouldn't need religion, either. (but i miss it sometimes)

Yeah.  In fact I fell out of my Baptist upbringing when I became thoroughly unsatisfied that it was God's plan that somebody I loved died so young. 

Another thing to consider in all of this, is that a lack of Religion doesn't equate with a lack of faith.  Maybe it isn't a faith in a personified deity, but do people who shirk religion end up, maybe unconsciously, attaching to some other kind of faith or belief system that helps them feel at peace with their existence. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 06:48:16 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Ok, first off... slaveryReally?

Secondly, your statement assumes that Religion (or the functional equivalent) actually is something people can live without (also implied - they can live without it and still be happy/fulfilled/complete/etc).

It's an excellent example of something the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in for thousands of years, yet it's very doubtful anyone around here would claim it to be an necessity. If you read into it further than that, then that's your prerogative.

I am a people. I live without religion. Unless of course I am /not/ a people. Or I don't live without religion. No /true/ normal person could live without religion, or some sort of no true Scottsman fallacy like that.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on March 19, 2012, 06:50:29 pm
oops. missed it, Twid.
 :oops:

So, Kai.
do you see the 'why' as simply irrelevant or meaningless?  do you simply live with it as an unanswerable question?  assuming you have not found a way to answer the question tidily, does it cause you any grief?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 06:51:10 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Ok, first off... slaveryReally?

Secondly, your statement assumes that Religion (or the functional equivalent) actually is something people can live without (also implied - they can live without it and still be happy/fulfilled/complete/etc).

It's an excellent example of something the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in for thousands of years, yet it's very doubtful anyone around here would claim it to be an necessity. If you read into it further than that, then that's your prerogative.

I am a people. I live without religion. Unless of course I am /not/ a people. Or I don't live without religion. No /true/ normal person could live without religion, or some sort of no true Scottsman fallacy like that.

That's why religion's more like beer. People have been doing it for thousands of years, it's not necessary but people like it so it's probably not going anywhere.

You may be quite satisfied with AA, but that doesn't mean the tavern is going to have any lack of business on the weekend.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 06:52:00 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

Actually, the really unpopular statements in this thread are mine. And I would rather you wouldn't take my statements as some envisioned slight on your character, as they were not.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 06:52:00 pm
oops. missed it, Twid.
 :oops:

All good boyo, it was a few days ago that it was posted anyway.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 06:52:46 pm
Kai, do you also live without (as I made sure to include) "the functional equivalent" to religion?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 06:52:57 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 06:55:14 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

Exactly. I think it's difficult to make the argument that a set of concepts is irrelevant, especially if most of the world accepts those concepts as true (at least for them).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 06:55:44 pm
Kai, do you also live without (as I made sure to include) "the functional equivalent" to religion?

I don't think anyone has defined "the functional equivalent".
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 06:56:15 pm
I thought I had, upthread.  Lemme go look.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 06:57:20 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

I agree that religion is relevant. I asked if it was necessary.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 06:58:05 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

Actually, the really unpopular statements in this thread are mine. And I would rather you wouldn't take my statements as some envisioned slight on your character, as they were not.

I wasn't.

What is upsetting me here, Kai, is that you seem to be operating in The World As Kai Would Prefer It, rather than The World As It Actually is.

Religion is of course relevant to the people who believe in it, and we've had religion approximately as long as we've been recognizably human.  It's not a fad, like hoola hoops.  The fact is, the majority of humanity needs it enough to put up with its various down sides.  This is readily observable.  The data is pretty much self-evident.

But what's going on here, is that you are trying to persuade us that it is not "necessary" (ie, the slavery argument).  Most people here, I think, do not require it.  But to say that it is not "relevant" in the world at large is hiding your head in the sand, in the exact same manner that fundamentalists claim that the fossil record isn't "relevant" when it comes to the origin of our species.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 06:59:43 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

I agree that religion is relevant. I asked if it was necessary.

Well, you actually asked both:

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 07:00:59 pm
Kai, do you also live without (as I made sure to include) "the functional equivalent" to religion?

I don't think anyone has defined "the functional equivalent".

I will.

Atheism, as advanced by Richard Dawkins.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 07:02:30 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

I agree that religion is relevant. I asked if it was necessary.

Well, you actually asked both:

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

Oh wow.

Okay, I'm very sorry, Roger. That was a major, stupid mistake on my part. I completely forgot what I wrote. Please forgive me.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 19, 2012, 07:03:17 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

I agree that religion is relevant. I asked if it was necessary.

On an individual by individual level, I think the answer would vary.

On a macro/humanity level, history suggests that it is.  More humans than not have practiced some kind of religion and more often than not it looks and feels like the point of these religions and their myths and fables are to fill knowledge gaps, or to put people at ease with their existence.  An existence that isn't and never will be 100% defined with respect to their universe. 

So I think on that kind of level it is a necessity, for humanity to feel at ease with itself and its tiny little place in this big, still vastly mysterious universe. 

It so happens that there are small subsets of humanity who feel completely at east now knowing the WHY's of this existence. 

Though, absence of religion doesn't necessarily = no-faith.  And even if it did, is no-faith a faith? 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 07:03:40 pm
Ah.

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.

To go further into point two, this includes not only experiences that current standard knowledge cannot explain, but also the times that many people have had what I call "trancendent experiences" which, for one reason or another, cannot be adequately communicated through third-circuit means.

So I guess the question that I think hasn't really be answered is basically, which part of religion are you objecting to?  The trappings of a Sky Daddy?  The Belief Without Proof part?  Codified superstition?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 07:04:39 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Religion's more like beer. You don't need it and some people are better off without it, but try convincing people that pint on the table isn't relevant.

It's relevant to the people who believe in it.

I agree that religion is relevant. I asked if it was necessary.

Well, you actually asked both:

Does religion serve a necessary place in the human world? Is it relevant in an age of science where what were formerly the most profound questions are now answered (e.g. where does the sun go at night?)?

Oh wow.

Okay, I'm very sorry, Roger. That was a major, stupid mistake on my part. I completely forgot what I wrote. Please forgive me.

 :?

What's to forgive?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 07:05:16 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

Actually, the really unpopular statements in this thread are mine. And I would rather you wouldn't take my statements as some envisioned slight on your character, as they were not.

I wasn't.

What is upsetting me here, Kai, is that you seem to be operating in The World As Kai Would Prefer It, rather than The World As It Actually is.

Religion is of course relevant to the people who believe in it, and we've had religion approximately as long as we've been recognizably human.  It's not a fad, like hoola hoops.  The fact is, the majority of humanity needs it enough to put up with its various down sides.  This is readily observable.  The data is pretty much self-evident.

But what's going on here, is that you are trying to persuade us that it is not "necessary" (ie, the slavery argument).  Most people here, I think, do not require it.  But to say that it is not "relevant" in the world at large is hiding your head in the sand, in the exact same manner that fundamentalists claim that the fossil record isn't "relevant" when it comes to the origin of our species.

I'm sorry. Maybe I should have asked, "What can I do to minimize the harmful aspects of religion?"
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 07:10:37 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

Actually, the really unpopular statements in this thread are mine. And I would rather you wouldn't take my statements as some envisioned slight on your character, as they were not.

I wasn't.

What is upsetting me here, Kai, is that you seem to be operating in The World As Kai Would Prefer It, rather than The World As It Actually is.

Religion is of course relevant to the people who believe in it, and we've had religion approximately as long as we've been recognizably human.  It's not a fad, like hoola hoops.  The fact is, the majority of humanity needs it enough to put up with its various down sides.  This is readily observable.  The data is pretty much self-evident.

But what's going on here, is that you are trying to persuade us that it is not "necessary" (ie, the slavery argument).  Most people here, I think, do not require it.  But to say that it is not "relevant" in the world at large is hiding your head in the sand, in the exact same manner that fundamentalists claim that the fossil record isn't "relevant" when it comes to the origin of our species.

I'm sorry. Maybe I should have asked, "What can I do to minimize the harmful aspects of religion?"

Becoming the Pope and playing the game.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 19, 2012, 07:10:54 pm
Ah.

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.

To go further into point two, this includes not only experiences that current standard knowledge cannot explain, but also the times that many people have had what I call "trancendent experiences" which, for one reason or another, cannot be adequately communicated through third-circuit means.

So I guess the question that I think hasn't really be answered is basically, which part of religion are you objecting to?  The trappings of a Sky Daddy?  The Belief Without Proof part?  Codified superstition?

Codified superstition, yes. If religions were largely harmless, I wouldn't have much of an objection. I have no control over the silly thoughts of others.

Is science the functional equivalent of religion (assuming power structure exists in all human relations)?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 07:12:10 pm
I'm sorry. Maybe I should have asked, "What can I do to minimize the harmful aspects of religion?"

Take all the people out of it?

Frankly, if you got rid of religion somehow, people would find other justifications to do all the harmful shit, because the down side of religion is primarily that it offers a justification for people to do rotten shit to each other.  If they didn't have religion, they'd have some other justification.

Example:  Gay bashing.  Even if the yokels didn't have Paul of Tarsis to fall back on, they'd still be just as nasty...They'd just blame it on "the fate of the Roman empire" (which of course had nothing to do with homosexuality), the fact that "Gays can't reproduce" (which is mostly true, but they never point out that it's the straight people who have Gay kids, or that Gay people have a perfectly valid place in perserving their genetic line, ie, as someone who helps raise the tribe's children without adding any additional burden on the tribe in the form of children of their own).

Of course, the REAL reason isn't that God hates homosexuals, or whatever happened to the Greeks & Romans, etc, but rather that the homophobe spouting all this shit is somehow terrified that they might be homosexual themselves.

That's one example.  War is another good one...If there was no religion to serve as the excuse, they'd just run off and find some other justification for grabbing other peoples' shit.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 19, 2012, 07:12:30 pm
I would tend to think the harmful bits are the same harmful bits that are in politics and government.  I think it's the human made machinery of religion that is harmful, not the religion itself.  It's how some people are taught to wield it.  There are many religious people that I know who are perfectly harmless.  They believe what they believe and they don't go out of their way to convert or harm anyone else. 

Where it goes bad is when you get someone who has a thirst for power, and then takes up religion as one of the implements to gather and centralize power. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 07:18:43 pm
Yeah, what RWHN and Dok said.

Not to be excessively trite, but Haters Gonna Hate.  Whether it's god, religion, politics, or science (yes, even science), bad people will find some sort of justification for doing bad things.  Worse, good people will find justification for doing bad things.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Freeky on March 19, 2012, 07:23:42 pm
I have found that just because a person is religious doesn't mean they are frothing-at-the-mouth haters and warmongers.  A lot of my family members are religious but don't go around bashing people.  In fact when I was tutoring last semester, the lady was very much Catholic, and she went from "I don't have a problem with gays, but I don't think they should get married" to "Well, why not?" after using her think pan for five minutes.

  And while these otherwise good people might spout your basic anti whatever rhetoric, if they don't harp on about it and don't sound too hot and bothered when the conversation comes up, it is more than likely that they wouldn't think that way at all if their community leaders (preachers, etc.) did think that way. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Freeky on March 19, 2012, 07:25:26 pm
In other words, "sheeple" isn't just a Really Real Discordian insult.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 07:38:15 pm
I have found that just because a person is religious doesn't mean they are frothing-at-the-mouth haters and warmongers.  A lot of my family members are religious but don't go around bashing people.  In fact when I was tutoring last semester, the lady was very much Catholic, and she went from "I don't have a problem with gays, but I don't think they should get married" to "Well, why not?" after using her think pan for five minutes.

  And while these otherwise good people might spout your basic anti whatever rhetoric, if they don't harp on about it and don't sound too hot and bothered when the conversation comes up, it is more than likely that they wouldn't think that way at all if their community leaders (preachers, etc.) did think that way.

My mother's mother, who is an observant Catholic, occasionally denounces her nephew for being an asshole to his gay brother, and usually finishes up the thought with, "that's just the way God made him. Obviously He has a reason for it."
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Freeky on March 19, 2012, 07:45:58 pm
I have found that just because a person is religious doesn't mean they are frothing-at-the-mouth haters and warmongers.  A lot of my family members are religious but don't go around bashing people.  In fact when I was tutoring last semester, the lady was very much Catholic, and she went from "I don't have a problem with gays, but I don't think they should get married" to "Well, why not?" after using her think pan for five minutes.

  And while these otherwise good people might spout your basic anti whatever rhetoric, if they don't harp on about it and don't sound too hot and bothered when the conversation comes up, it is more than likely that they wouldn't think that way at all if their community leaders (preachers, etc.) did think that way.

My mother's mother, who is an observant Catholic, occasionally denounces her nephew for being an asshole to his gay brother, and usually finishes up the thought with, "that's just the way God made him. Obviously He has a reason for it."


The hate with regard to religion seems mostly down to what the individual's church goes on at great length about, at least thats the way it looks to me.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 19, 2012, 07:52:16 pm
My mother's mother, who is an observant Catholic, occasionally denounces her nephew for being an asshole to his gay brother, and usually finishes up the thought with, "that's just the way God made him. Obviously He has a reason for it."

I would like to point out, however, that instead of saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because that's a shitty thing for one human to do to another," she's saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because my superstitions invisible sky daddy doesn't want you to be."  Which is also, in my opinion, bad signal.

Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on March 19, 2012, 07:55:25 pm
sounds more like she's saying that in addition to...
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 19, 2012, 07:58:12 pm
My mother's mother, who is an observant Catholic, occasionally denounces her nephew for being an asshole to his gay brother, and usually finishes up the thought with, "that's just the way God made him. Obviously He has a reason for it."

I would like to point out, however, that instead of saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because that's a shitty thing for one human to do to another," she's saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because my superstitions invisible sky daddy doesn't want you to be."  Which is also, in my opinion, bad signal.

Whatever works.

"My invisible sky daddy wants us all to be good to each other" is one of the few UP sides to religion.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 08:10:14 pm
My mother's mother, who is an observant Catholic, occasionally denounces her nephew for being an asshole to his gay brother, and usually finishes up the thought with, "that's just the way God made him. Obviously He has a reason for it."

I would like to point out, however, that instead of saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because that's a shitty thing for one human to do to another," she's saying, "you shouldn't be mean to gay people because my superstitions invisible sky daddy doesn't want you to be."  Which is also, in my opinion, bad signal.

Her argument strikes me more as- It's shitty to hate gay people based on the fact that they're gay and since I accept that people are born gay, then God obviously has no problem with it and can't be used as an excuse.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 08:13:47 pm
The main sentiment of course being, "My nephew is an asshole for treating my other nephew like shit." It would be interesting to go back in time and see what her opinions were prior to him coming out of the closet. Her brother in law had a lesbian sister who he stopped talking to, but then when his own son turned out to be gay and saw his other son doing the same thing he did, he disinherited  the shitty son. Better late than never, I guess.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 19, 2012, 08:26:51 pm
Well, here's the deal:  Religion is obviously relevant, and probably necessary, because the great majority of the world's population has been engaging in it for thousands and thousands of years.

WHY it is so important is another story.  All we can say for certain is that people engage in it...That's undeniable.  So, the question should be "Why is religion relevant and so seemingly important to most people?"

Replace "religion" in the first statement with "slavery". It assumes the necessity of something which people can live without.

Okay.  I'm just saying what IS going on. 

But since that seems to be unpopular, I will bow out.

Actually, the really unpopular statements in this thread are mine. And I would rather you wouldn't take my statements as some envisioned slight on your character, as they were not.

I wasn't.

What is upsetting me here, Kai, is that you seem to be operating in The World As Kai Would Prefer It, rather than The World As It Actually is.

Religion is of course relevant to the people who believe in it, and we've had religion approximately as long as we've been recognizably human.  It's not a fad, like hoola hoops.  The fact is, the majority of humanity needs it enough to put up with its various down sides.  This is readily observable.  The data is pretty much self-evident.

But what's going on here, is that you are trying to persuade us that it is not "necessary" (ie, the slavery argument).  Most people here, I think, do not require it.  But to say that it is not "relevant" in the world at large is hiding your head in the sand, in the exact same manner that fundamentalists claim that the fossil record isn't "relevant" when it comes to the origin of our species.

I'm sorry. Maybe I should have asked, "What can I do to minimize the harmful aspects of religion?"

Agreeing with Dok, LMNO and WHN

Most of the time, religion is the fall guy for the harmful behavior of humans. The Ottoman Empire was far more interested in political and territorial gains... but cranking on Islam got the plebs involved happily. The same for the crusades, it wasn't religion that caused the crusades, religion was the hook to make all the average joe's march happily off to their doom. Even Bin Laden and 9/11 isn't caused by Islam, its caused by political goals... 72 virgins will help a guy strap a bomb to his chest or fly a plane into a building though.

The USSR eschewed religion and participated in lots of terrible things in the name of the State.

Jesus said the most important Law was to love god and to love your neighbor as yourself (with everyone being your neighbor). He forbid his followers from fighting for him, saying that his Kingdom was no part of this world. Jesus (assuming for the moment that he existed) wouldn't approve of most of the behaviors of 'Christians'.

The same for Islam. The word Islam, means Peace. The Koran forbids most of what the extremist elements do today in its name.

Even relatively non-crazy (by comparison) religions like Buddhism have been used to do terrible things.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 19, 2012, 08:29:14 pm
Damn, more replies than I saw :D

Its also a very valid point that "most" people aren't the crazy religious type. Most people just try to get by. If 'most' Christian Americans were frothing at the mouth, Santorum would be way ahead in delegates.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 19, 2012, 08:31:26 pm
Even relatively non-crazy (by comparison) religions like Buddhism have been used to do terrible things.

It's true, just look at what Discordians have done to the internet. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 19, 2012, 08:32:00 pm
I had a techer in high school who lamented american politics hijacking of religion and saying that america would be better off if it was a christian nation because the christians would have to be nice for a change.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 19, 2012, 08:39:46 pm
Even relatively non-crazy (by comparison) religions like Buddhism have been used to do terrible things.

It's true, just look at what Discordians have done to the internet.

 :lulz: :lulz: :lulz: :lulz: :lulz:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Telarus on March 20, 2012, 04:22:56 am
Ah.

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.

To go further into point two, this includes not only experiences that current standard knowledge cannot explain, but also the times that many people have had what I call "trancendent experiences" which, for one reason or another, cannot be adequately communicated through third-circuit means.

So I guess the question that I think hasn't really be answered is basically, which part of religion are you objecting to?  The trappings of a Sky Daddy?  The Belief Without Proof part?  Codified superstition?

LMNO, I question whether your Point 2 (as you've laid it out) is an accurate description of this portion of the religious function. I think the important bit is transmitting knowledge into the future (& attempting to protect against signal degradation). Most of the "stories" are used for this purpose. As opposed to the stories being primary, the stories are vehicles.

I changed this in my internal model of "Religion" after I read an article about how (first the dutch the other) christian missionaries tried for 200 years to convert the indigenous hindu-flavored Balinese region (the only Hinu Island in a predominantly Islamic area), but kept fucking up because the first thing they did was ban the religious structure, calendar, and festivals of Subak.

The use of the quasi-religious "Subak" community structure to facilitate and co-ordinate rice planting and water management incorporates a huge amount of knowledge about the reproductive cycles of rice pests, weather cycles (and mega-cycles), etc. All tied to the religious calendar and festival days used since the 10th century. Also there's some good stuff in the Wiki article on Balinese Hinduism:

Quote
Ritualized states of self-control (or lack thereof) are a notable feature of religious expression among the people, who for this reason have become famous for their graceful and decorous behavior. One key ceremony at a village temple, for instance, features a special performance of a dance-drama, a battle between the mythical characters Rangda the witch (representing adharma, something like disorder) and Barong the protective predator (mostly like a lion) (representing dharma), in which performers fall into a trance and attempt to stab themselves with sharp knives. The dramas regularly end apparently undecided, neither side winning, because the primary purpose is to restore balance.

Rituals of the life cycle are also important occasions for religious expression and artistic display. Ceremonies at puberty, marriage, and, most notably, cremation at death provide opportunities for Balinese to communicate their ideas about community, status, and the afterlife.

To the Bali people, rejecting their religion also meant rejecting all of the encoded technological  advantages (given that calendars are a technology) which the religion provided (which stabilized the region for centuries before the christians showed up).

Oh, I found a good reference in this book on Google Books:
An environmental history of the world: humankind's changing role in the community of life, page 182 to 187 -  Bali: A green revolution? (http://books.google.com/books?id=gYEx7I1gVNQC&lpg=PA184&ots=PtVewGLygZ&dq=bali%20calendar%20missionaries%20&pg=PA182#v=onepage&q=bali%20calendar%20missionaries&f=false)

Quote
Long experience of trial and error was preserved in ritual and sacred calendar. As Clifford Geertz put it, "A complex ecological order was both reflected in and shaped by an equally complex ritual order, which at once grew out of it and was imposed upon it".

I do think that this "change resistant structure" can fall prey to what Cain has pointed out as the primary motivation for people in power: the retention of said power.

The end of the book article explains what happened after the post WWII government tried to get the Bali farmer to "drop the rice cult" (the words of their agriculture "experts") and go towards Bourlaug influenced "Green Revolution" thinking for rice-farming (petro-chemicals, generically modified strains which have shorter production cycles, insecticides to control pests, etc). By 1985 "irrigation scheduling was in chaos and water shortages common in the dry season", not to mention pest blooms and disease vulnerability due to genetic uniformity.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 20, 2012, 07:12:21 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I have heard some people (can't remember who exactly, or when) speak of science as a valueless system, that there are not any rules of ethics or conduct implicit.

I'm not sure how that can be true, since science is mostly drawn from the epistemological philosophy of empiricism. Empiricism values evidence through physical reality.

So you can ask "Why should I seek the truth in physical reality?" and science can give the statement "because knowing the true nature of physical reality is something to value".

The nice thing about physical reality is that it encompases everything. Including human relations. So you can seek through science, using that value of knowing physical reality, to seek a morality outside of religious prescription.

Or am I just spinning in the air.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2012, 07:26:15 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I don't thing science is a form of religion, as belief is not required, and is in fact anathema.

I DO think atheism is a form of religion.  It's also unscientific, as it mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence.

Dok,
Militant Agnostic (I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on March 20, 2012, 07:35:09 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I don't thing science is a form of religion, as belief is not required, and is in fact anathema.

I DO think atheism is a form of religion.  It's also unscientific, as it mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence.

Dok,
Militant Agnostic (I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU).
Isn't there and assumption of absence in absence of evidence? (i guess absence of reasonable hypothesis should be included...)
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 20, 2012, 07:37:34 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I don't thing science is a form of religion, as belief is not required, and is in fact anathema.

I DO think atheism is a form of religion.  It's also unscientific, as it mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence.

Dok,
Militant Agnostic (I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU).

I wasn't asking about whether science was religion, so much as whether science was functionally equivalent to religion in the way LMNO talked about. Functionally equivalent, meaning it serves the same functions as religion, yet is not religion. Functions such as providing rules and structure to human relations, and answers to "why weird shit happens".
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Elder Iptuous on March 20, 2012, 07:43:32 pm
i think, by that criteria, it certainly could...
using observation and rational thought, rules and structures for human relations are developed.
many people prefer to turn to science to explain the weird shit, and will not accept superstition even if science doesn't have an immediate answer, but there is comfort in the assumption that it can/will explain it someday...
and, although it may not provide the egocentric comfort that some request, it can illuminate our place in the context of the cosmos to a degree.
why not?
when you were working on the Emergence thought train (which i understand that you have since shelved) you were attempting just this, no?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 20, 2012, 07:48:49 pm
i think, by that criteria, it certainly could...
using observation and rational thought, rules and structures for human relations are developed.
many people prefer to turn to science to explain the weird shit, and will not accept superstition even if science doesn't have an immediate answer, but there is comfort in the assumption that it can/will explain it someday...
and, although it may not provide the egocentric comfort that some request, it can illuminate our place in the context of the cosmos to a degree.
why not?
when you were working on the Emergence thought train (which i understand that you have since shelved) you were attempting just this, no?

The problem with emergence is that it's basically phlogiston. Thus I dropped that thought train. But yes, it seems like a functional equivalent.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2012, 07:51:33 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I don't thing science is a form of religion, as belief is not required, and is in fact anathema.

I DO think atheism is a form of religion.  It's also unscientific, as it mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence.

Dok,
Militant Agnostic (I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU).
Isn't there and assumption of absence in absence of evidence? (i guess absence of reasonable hypothesis should be included...)

Assumptions?  In MY science?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2012, 07:52:18 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I don't thing science is a form of religion, as belief is not required, and is in fact anathema.

I DO think atheism is a form of religion.  It's also unscientific, as it mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence.

Dok,
Militant Agnostic (I don't know, and NEITHER DO YOU).

I wasn't asking about whether science was religion, so much as whether science was functionally equivalent to religion in the way LMNO talked about. Functionally equivalent, meaning it serves the same functions as religion, yet is not religion. Functions such as providing rules and structure to human relations, and answers to "why weird shit happens".

Still gonna say no.  I think what you guys are pointing at is "rationalism", which isn't quite the same as science.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 20, 2012, 08:01:46 pm
Thinking more about science as a functional equivalent of religion, if it is, how exactly is it so?

I have heard some people (can't remember who exactly, or when) speak of science as a valueless system, that there are not any rules of ethics or conduct implicit.

I'm not sure how that can be true, since science is mostly drawn from the epistemological philosophy of empiricism. Empiricism values evidence through physical reality.

So you can ask "Why should I seek the truth in physical reality?" and science can give the statement "because knowing the true nature of physical reality is something to value".

The nice thing about physical reality is that it encompases everything. Including human relations. So you can seek through science, using that value of knowing physical reality, to seek a morality outside of religious prescription.

Or am I just spinning in the air.


I don't think science could replace religion, but I do think that scientific discoveries about human needs, human physiology, psychology ans sociology could very well provide insight into WHAT religion fulfills in humans... but there would need to be some implementation beyond simply empiricism for most (but not all) people. Antero Ali uses scientific methods to break down traditional rituals and see what bits are actually affecting the human,  Joseph Campbell used scientific methods to break down myth and see what bits are actually affecting humans. More research in this sort of area could very well lead to systems that meet the social/emotional/experiential needs of humans without the nonsensical dogma of religion. Of course, given human tendencies, any system that has that sort of affect on people could be used to control or manipulate... so in a few generations we could see these non-religious social systems being used just like religion is today.

In the end though, its like the difference between writing a book on baking cakes vs baking and eating a cake. The book is useful, helpful and can define things like ingredients, temperature, process... but the experience is something different.

Quote
"because knowing the true nature of physical reality is something to value"


(to play the devil's advocate here)
Why? For the average person... why should they value knowing that physical reality is made up of little invisible atoms, instead of little invisible angels dancing? On the one hand, it may mean that they are less scared of hell, but on the other hand, maybe some people would be far more scared of not knowing, or believing that its a black nothingness that awaits them.

For example, JW's teach that when you die, you're dead. No heaven (unless you are one of 144,000 individuals selected over the past 2000 years), no Hell. They believe that the Good people will be Resurrected to a perfect life on earth after God kills all the bad people... and the bad people will just stay dead, gone, returned to the dust. Many times when I used to preach from door to door, people would tell me that such a concept scared them more than hell.

It goes the other way as well. My grandmother (not a JW) once said that unless she could believe that her father was burning in hell, she wouldn't accept the religion. My great-grandfather was a pretty horrible guy from what I've been told.

What is more important for most people, that they know the physical reality, or that they have some belief that helps them get through the day without losing their mind?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 20, 2012, 08:19:03 pm
Or, does rejecting all these mean that I have long since lost my mind because I don't have some belief that helps me get through the day?

I'm thinking myself around in circles about this. Yes, it seems that science is descriptive and religion is descriptive /and/ prescriptive. Yes, it seems that the majority of people want meaning and purpose prescribed from outside themselves rather than self-prescribed. So where does that leave me? Is this the point many people go running in terror because they don't have a hierarchy installed?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 20, 2012, 08:26:00 pm
Or, does rejecting all these mean that I have long since lost my mind because I don't have some belief that helps me get through the day?

I'm thinking myself around in circles about this. Yes, it seems that science is descriptive and religion is descriptive /and/ prescriptive. Yes, it seems that the majority of people want meaning and purpose prescribed from outside themselves rather than self-prescribed. So where does that leave me? Is this the point many people go running in terror because they don't have a hierarchy installed?

I think that depends on the individual and their experiences in life. Had I even considered these kinds of discussions 15 or 20 years ago... I would have been terrified to think that Jehovah wasn't watching over me. Now, functionally I have no religion... except for Discordianism whch is sometimes perscriptive and sometimes descriptive and sometimes just a lot of fun.

While we all have Common Walls (awesome concept by LMNO) we also have unique walls and bricks in our BiP. Maybe your cell configuration doesn't need the religious sort of thing, or maybe your fascination with science replaces that need. Just because most people need it, doesn't mean everyone needs it. We humans are not so easily categorized, labeled and defined.

I mean, unless you're running around your computer right now in terror... in that case accept Eris into your heart and remember that John Dillenger AND King Kong died for your sins ;-)

Hail Eris!
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 20, 2012, 08:28:36 pm
Or, does rejecting all these mean that I have long since lost my mind because I don't have some belief that helps me get through the day?

No.

The great thing about people is that we're all wired differently.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 20, 2012, 08:30:30 pm
Or, does rejecting all these mean that I have long since lost my mind because I don't have some belief that helps me get through the day?

No.

The great thing about people is that we're all wired differently.

Absolutely, if you don't want to Hail Eris, you can always 'Praise Bob!'  :lulz:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 20, 2012, 09:08:38 pm
Or, does rejecting all these mean that I have long since lost my mind because I don't have some belief that helps me get through the day?

I'm thinking myself around in circles about this. Yes, it seems that science is descriptive and religion is descriptive /and/ prescriptive. Yes, it seems that the majority of people want meaning and purpose prescribed from outside themselves rather than self-prescribed. So where does that leave me? Is this the point many people go running in terror because they don't have a hierarchy installed?

I think that depends on the individual and their experiences in life. Had I even considered these kinds of discussions 15 or 20 years ago... I would have been terrified to think that Jehovah wasn't watching over me. Now, functionally I have no religion... except for Discordianism whch is sometimes perscriptive and sometimes descriptive and sometimes just a lot of fun.

While we all have Common Walls (awesome concept by LMNO) we also have unique walls and bricks in our BiP. Maybe your cell configuration doesn't need the religious sort of thing, or maybe your fascination with science replaces that need. Just because most people need it, doesn't mean everyone needs it. We humans are not so easily categorized, labeled and defined.

I mean, unless you're running around your computer right now in terror... in that case accept Eris into your heart and remember that John Dillenger AND King Kong died for your sins ;-)

Hail Eris!

No, not running around in terror. Should I be? Honestly, it's the every day interactions that terrify me far more than any end-life scenario.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Cain on March 20, 2012, 09:15:25 pm
I would suggest science is not equivalent to religion in the sense of providing meaning because the data available thus far does not seem to support such a notion.

While some people can have, for lack of a better word, transcendental experiences from scientific endeavours and achievements, it is notable that in modern times, and with the progression of scientific knowledge, there has been an explosion in religious belief that cannot be entirely attributed to population growth alone.

Obviously there are problems with this theory, it does not account for everything (uneven distribution of scientific teachings, the resurgence of religion due to collapse of Communism etc) but it is suggestive of the idea that science is not a compelling replacement for religion.  Unfortunately.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Kai on March 21, 2012, 12:02:09 am
I'm not sure religious belief is any more prevalent now, rather, the proponents are louder.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 21, 2012, 01:12:32 am
The atheists are more vocal too. Im sure there were plenty of atheists in the middle ages but they knew enough to ever say so.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Tiddleywomp Cockletit on March 21, 2012, 04:17:00 am
Maybe it goes in cycles. Reason, batshit religious zealotry, reason, batshit religious zealotry...
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Cain on March 21, 2012, 08:16:06 am
I'm not sure religious belief is any more prevalent now, rather, the proponents are louder.

From 1900 to 1980, the pecentages of world population who considered themselves adherents to Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Islam, and Hindiusm all increased.

Meanwhile, although atheism did increase during that time period, it's increase coincides almost exactly with the advent of the Chinese revolution, and the 19% of the world population that moved from Chinese folk traditions into the nonbelieving column during that time period, which strongly suggests the Chinese Communist Party simply reclassified them.

More fundamentalist versions of those beliefs have also been rising the fastest, but that only overlies the general trend towards increased religious commitment.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 21, 2012, 11:50:21 am
Just trying to rephrase here...

"For most people, an unfounded belief in a somewhat sentient force beyond the mundane universe seems to be, if not necessary, at least perferred."
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 21, 2012, 09:29:14 pm
"For most people, an unfounded belief in a somewhat sentient force beyond the mundane universe seems to be, if not necessary, at least perferred."

I would rephrase the italicized to "some entity, information, or experience", although I think I may be conflating "spirituality" with "religion" for purposes of this argument.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 11:59:49 am
An unfounded belief of an experience?  What does that even mean?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 12:07:51 pm
You have an experience but your interpretation of what it was is a belief. For example- alien abduction. Somethings going on there but unless we can figure out how interstellar travel is possible its an unfounded belief and more likely some bizarre but undiscovered brain thing.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 12:12:18 pm
And you don't think "unfounded belief in aliens" fits better into "unfounded belief in a somewhat sentient force" than "unfounded belief in an experience"?

The unfounded belief they have is the interpretation of the experience, not the experience itself.  The aliens are believed to be a sentient force.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 12:17:28 pm
Well sure but its also an example about a belief about an experience- and the only one i could think of while groggy. Hows this then. When someone dreams  they are travelling to other dimensions because of brain quantums. Takes external sentient beings out of it.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 12:21:11 pm
More succinctly- astral travel and other obe's, past life memories, etc. Like is said- i have an afterlife model which i consider independent from theology. I have no experiences to base that on but some do.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: MMIX on March 22, 2012, 12:58:44 pm
More succinctly- astral travel and other obe's, past life memories, etc. Like is said- i have an afterlife model which i consider independent from theology. I have no experiences to base that on but some do.

You know, if I said that they would be queuing round the block to rip me a new one. How do you manage to get away with it Twid? Is it that infamous Irish charm?  :wink:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:06:06 pm
I assumed he was speaking hypothetically. 

However, it does seem that Twid's post does deserve a LOLWAT.

Srsly?  Astral travel and reincarnation?  And you say it's divorced from any kind of belief in a superstructure outside the universe?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:09:07 pm
:lol: i dunno which bit are you refering to? Im willing to entertain that something is happening to someone who perceives themselves being out of their body but im not going to make a leap and say "that must be exactly whats happening"
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:17:10 pm
Well some buddhists are atheists. Do they still believe in reincarnation? I dont see why the concept of a human soul necessitates some sort of external deitys influence. Sure i suppose you still have to figure out where souls come from but does that require gods?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:17:30 pm
:lol: i dunno which bit are you refering to? Im willing to entertain that something is happening to someone who perceives themselves being out of their body but im not going to make a leap and say "that must be exactly whats happening"

Notice I didn't mention OBE.  You're the one who jumped to Asstrails and past life memories.  Thetan much?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:18:44 pm
But yes i am attempting to describe how you can have a belief about an experience.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:22:50 pm
Well some buddhists are atheists. Do they still believe in reincarnation? I dont see why the concept of a human soul necessitates some sort of external deitys influence. Sure i suppose you still have to figure out where souls come from but does that require gods?

That depends on blind reincarnation vs karmic -- and you opened the second can of worms yourself by mentioning "soul".

But first off, are there really Buddhists who think that subsequent reincarnations are not karmically based?  That their next incarnation will be at random?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:24:51 pm
Sure- people believe they can leave their bodies or experience past lives or whatever. I cant really say whats going on with that. The fact that it happens suggests some sort of experience is occuring in the brain. Trying to say what it is other than "this person is perceiving something odd" makes a belief out of it. I seem to be expressing myself poorly but im not really making any leaps here and ive stated before ('aybe not in this thread) that my belief in an afterlife is necessary for me not to get cripplingly depressed about my eventual death. I recognize that it may not be true but dwelling on that isnt good for me.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:27:27 pm
Lmno- im not sure i fully understand the nonwestern concept of karma enough to comment on that. But you also describe blind reincarnation which means that you can see how such a concept can exist without gods.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:29:00 pm
Sure- people believe they can leave their bodies or experience past lives or whatever. I cant really say whats going on with that. The fact that it happens suggests some sort of experience is occuring in the brain. Trying to say what it is other than "this person is perceiving something odd" makes a belief out of it. I seem to be expressing myself poorly but im not really making any leaps here and ive stated before ('aybe not in this thread) that my belief in an afterlife is necessary for me not to get cripplingly depressed about my eventual death. I recognize that it may not be true but dwelling on that isnt good for me.

I think my point is that to even conceive of reincarnation implies an unfounded belief in a supernatural force that has an organizing principle which mimics base-level sentience of a sort.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: AFK on March 22, 2012, 01:30:23 pm
Well, technically and temporally speaking, there is an afterlife.  The open question is whether there is any kind of phantom, energy-packet, or some other kind of metaphysical-sentience that can experience it. 

I guess that's where belief structures come in.  Personally, I have no idea but am fairly content with the idea that whatever it is, I likely will not be in any kind of state that I will experience it.  I kinda figure, if anything, the energy that has been contained in my lifeform will just dissipate into the universe, and that this will happen and be unnoticed by anyone or anything else in the universe. 
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:31:46 pm
Ah- i think i see what youre getting at now. The organizing force to make that sort of thing happen can be thought of as sentience.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:33:12 pm
And it answers a Weird Shit question in a way that comforts you.  So, my definition stands (in my view, at least).
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:35:41 pm
Looks like im going to have to think of a better example unless the obe one still fits.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 01:41:57 pm
Regarding OBEs:

The unfounded belief they have is the interpretation of the experience, not the experience itself

"I experienced something typically called an Out of Body Experience" is much different than "my soul separated itself from my body, and I saw things from a different physical vantage point, even though the amorphous conciousness that floated outside of my body did not have anything resembling optic nerves."
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 22, 2012, 01:46:27 pm
Which implies also some sort of external organizing force. Gotcha. Yep. Other examples it is then.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Doktor Howl on March 22, 2012, 02:23:30 pm
More succinctly- astral travel and other obe's, past life memories, etc. Like is said- i have an afterlife model which i consider independent from theology. I have no experiences to base that on but some do.

You know, if I said that they would be queuing round the block to rip me a new one. How do you manage to get away with it Twid? Is it that infamous Irish charm?  :wink:

Because he's speaking hypothetically, not stating that these things are really real magick.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on March 22, 2012, 05:09:32 pm
You can believe that there is an experience you haven't had yet. Like I can believe there's such a thing as "climbing Mt. Everest" or "living forever on my own planet after death and ruling it as a God" or "being possessed" or even just "being reincarnated."

You don't need to believe anyone is pulling the strings to believe that something like that is possible.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: LMNO on March 22, 2012, 05:12:37 pm
:requia:
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Bebek Sincap Ratatosk on March 23, 2012, 08:59:39 am
I think I see what Twid is saying...

He's saying we might believe an expeirence exists, without attributing a sentient force.

For example, Peter Carroll talks about reincarnation using the "Kia" Kia isn't a god, or a conscious force. It's a concept or maybe a metaphor. In this example, Carroll says the Kia exists as a 'singularity' (in this since vs a duality not the center of a black hole). The singularity "spins off bits of 'stuff' which manifest as human consciousness. Human consciousness exists as a duality, that is it can experience existence (good/bad, white/black, happy/sad) and at death the 'stuff is drawn back into the Kia, until it gets spun out again.

In a sense, it posits a model for reincarnation that wouldn't require a God or consciousness to arrange it, any more than the water cycle requires a consciousness to arrange it.

So its a belief in an experience.

I know Chaos Magic gets a lot of flack here, and I don't want to start that old fight again... but I do think its a good example of a system which attempts to divorce itself from the dogmatic beliefs of religion, while trying to fill the emotional and experiential human needs we've been discussing. Flawed? Sure... but it could be a start. After all, even the implementation of science was pretty flawed for the first few centuries.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: hirley0 on March 23, 2012, 05:02:37 pm
ido consider myself A part of the 10% {OBE
not that i have had many Out of Body experiences | only a few
the most memorable of them all WAS on the day i was BORN
01/26/1938 in dy/mo/yyyy format   Do U REMember that day Hu?



"For most people, an unfounded belief in a somewhat sentient force beyond the mundane universe seems to be, if not necessary, at least perferred."

I would rephrase the italicized to "some entity, information, or experience", although I think I may be conflating "spirituality" with "religion" for purposes of this argument.
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 23, 2012, 05:33:46 pm
How are you able to remember the day you were born?
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: hirley0 on March 24, 2012, 01:01:52 pm
How are you able to remember the day you were born?


i've no idea  /-/ow Human Memories work?
i can say this about that ?meMORy? tough . it was in color | White DOC Lab coat
WITH sound ? My first scream | /-/ hit me on the rump | &i let out a HOWeLL .
I was upside Down { suspended by my ankels | & took a hard hit .

about memory? My short tem memory these days is about gone
can't REMember from one instant to the next. if i put my keys / or glasses down
a 1/2 second later i have no idea wher to find them

some time the i have to search around 1/2 day just to find what happened 1/2
second ago | Very discussting | oh well moving on | Just a second
opic: |/ OBE  (Read 18 times) | i thought the might be 1 R  OBE ? :fnord:  (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,32003.00)
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: hirley0 on March 24, 2012, 05:19:30 pm
i've no idea  /-/o
How are you able to remember the day you were born?

/\/\oRe Friday B$ about 21st ¢ent R
Rather Sure it was April of '58 | T0 had past & the 'Room Stem was on the rise
|| straight up from the sea, more focused than a laser beam || pure sea water
soon the compression wave could be seen approaching the 7 {link available
We were just 4 miles from G0 & 100,000 Kt | although the talk was Mega
{never mind| Many years later i settled on K as my default {whatever the word
is for PRE ? prefix?/? {never mind| about 1/2 way tho the Seven the curvature
of space time Easily seen both in the water & in the air Constant V assumed
optical properties ? such that two stems were seen || || where only one had
been just moments prior, The Second {on the Left) Faded into full illumination
and the it just faded away. at its max it was just as bright vivid an real as
the origional. Moments later the curvature of Space in time past PAST our
ship. a very violent noisey LOUD displacement | that i was told ? cracked
the Hull. it was a singular event . BOOM | and after that we were beyond
that OR mabey a better way of expressing this would be ThaT was beyond US
soon the stem reached an elevation and just stopped rising as if it had hit
the underside of a glass plate. it paused there for an instant as if not knowing
what to do?/? still parellel for thousands of feet. then suddenly it spread
perfectly horizantally as if benieth th flat glass, Moments later it seamed
to eat its way thru and it was then the top of the mushroom formed
there really is no moral to this tail that i am aware of, other than i believe
there really is no way back? back across the curvature { believe what U LiKe
Title: Re: Any relevance for religion?
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on March 24, 2012, 06:02:03 pm
I rather thought not remembering being in your mother's vagina would have been evidence of a benevolent deity. I might have to reconsider my stances, hirley.

Also, I'm not quite sure I understand your last post.
Title: Re: Any relevance for re?
Post by: hirley0 on March 25, 2012, 04:58:58 am
I rather thought not remembering being in your mother's vagina would have been evidence of a benevolent deity. I might have to reconsider my stances, hirley.

Also, I'm not quite sure I understand your last post.

(Um}?8:58p My last post was an attempt to get TT to reg THEN drop 4/8
unless your referring to the UNIverse crap? No i donno
My guess is i Lost telepathy that day
as the duel universe came & WENT?