Author Topic: Any relevance for religion?  (Read 20871 times)

LMNO

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #120 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.


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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #121 on: March 19, 2012, 07:55:25 pm »
sounds more like she's saying that in addition to...

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #122 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #123 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #124 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #125 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #126 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #127 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. 
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #128 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #129 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:
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Telarus

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #130 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?

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.
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Kai

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #131 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.
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #132 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,
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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #133 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...)

Kai

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Re: Any relevance for religion?
« Reply #134 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".
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