Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
How relevant is your religion ?

By nr0mx in Culture
Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:44:42 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

So, do you need it ? Why ?

Since the question of 'religious fundamentalism/extremism' is in the general consciousness at present, the time seems ripe to pose this question. And to remember that this is not an isolated occurrence, nor a particularly novel one.


Religious intolerance has been unleashed before in ages gone by, in different regions, under the flag of some other religion.

But in this day and age, where almost every second technological advance begs the question 'Is man attempting to play God ?' it would help if we could take another look at our views on something that seems to dictate our and others lives to such a great extent . Specifically,

  • Do you 'practice' your religion ? And what do you understand by 'practicing a religion' ?
  • How important is your religion to you ? Where would you place it in a list of significant factors that define you ?
  • Our values, cultures and 'quality of life' have changed over time, has your religion too, and how well does your religion represent it now ?
  • Do you know/understand your religion ? If you think you don't, do you think you will ( maybe make an effort ) at a later point ?
  • Do you hate anybody because of his/her religion ?

Religion seems to represent a 'blind spot' for most of us. It is a very powerful subject, the very nature of the which seems to preclude a 'logical' discussion/debate, and this is what seems to place such malevolent power in the hands of zealots. For if you cannot discuss it on the same plane of conciousness, if the very use of 'logic' in the discussion can be questioned successfully, what then ?

Who is this God person anyway ?

Is 'Religion' central to the concept of God ? Why ?

Can I not get rid of 'Religion', and still believe in God ? I see the same values being eulogised in the embodiment of God, whatever religion ( that I know, which isn't that many ) I think of.

Also is God a distinct entity, blameless, separate from ourselves, when God could/should be ourselves, i.e. the perfection that we seek, the values that we yearn to posses, the attributes we admire ?

If you think both are the same thing, think what it means to say 'My Religion/God demands this'. Why does the above statement let so many people get away with any imaginable horror, when a 'I demand this ?' would not.

In conclusion, I ask ---
Is religion still necessary ? Can you think of a world without it ? Is it a better one, or worse ?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Oh , I have decided. Give me ...
o Religion with God . 9%
o Just God please. 12%
o Ohh ... I cannot decide 6%
o No thanks 32%
o No thanks!. I am God. 38%

Votes: 129
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Also by nr0mx


Display: Sort:
How relevant is your religion ? | 135 comments (120 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
If X then Y... if X (3.66 / 6) (#4)
by Woundweavr on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:07:46 PM EST

The use of religion to guide morality is tricky. Assuming God set down a series of morals, who are we to question that? Whether you are talking about jihad, ritual pumpkin carving or anti-homosexual behavior, who are we to decide God is wrong. There is the danger in religion. The Bible said God made man in his image, but this is only one view. God could have, and it seems likely he/she would have, a completely alien view point that invalidates our own ethical questions. The extremists that carry out what appear to us horrific acts could be right. We just don't know, can't know. In the end we have two primary choices or we could go part way. We can buy into a religion wholesale much like extremists do. We can develop our own code of behavior. Or we can take some from each, emphasizing the parts of religion we agree with and deemphasizing or ignoring that which we don't. The third option is probably the most common, and thats a big reason we have so many factions even within each general religion(Catholic, orthodox and protestant and their subgroups, etc).

There's probably nothing more dangerous than someone who is convinced that God will back up anything he does.

Assuming God... (3.60 / 5) (#15)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:52:51 PM EST

Assuming God set down a series of morals, who are we to question that?

"But Mommy, why do I have to go to bed nooooowwww?!?"

"Because I'm the mommy."

Heh. I've never understood why people believe that just because some supernatural old guy/spirit/genius/hack (pick one) created us that means we should mindlessly follow his/its/her dictates. If you can't follow a religion because you want to, then there is something wrong with that religion, or with you. "Just Because" is a cop-out, especially when it pertains to morality.


------
I love working with computers. I mean, in what other line of business can you say the words "Gold-Plated Crimp-On Banana Plugs" with a straight face
[ Parent ]
Omnipotent and all that (4.75 / 4) (#36)
by mech9t8 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:26:31 PM EST

Well, the usual explanation is that if you don't follow his dictates, you get to burn in hellfire forever.

Alternately, since he's infinitely wise, he knows what's going to be best for us and make us happy.

Of course, that's leads to one of my favorite arguments against behaviour-dictating religion... Since this supreme being has done such a terrible job explaining what he wants to us (ie. millions of different religions all contradictory and killing each other), he's either (a) fucking with us, or (b) not omniscient (because if he was omniscient and omnipotent he'd be able to communicate perfectly). Either way, it seems those are good enough reasons to dismiss both the "burn in hell" argument and the "he knows best" argument.

Doubt it would convince anyone that believes in such things, though... because, you know, "he has his reasons"... amazing how that can explain just about everything... ;)

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]
Or ... (none / 0) (#81)
by pyramid termite on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:19:23 AM EST

Since this supreme being has done such a terrible job explaining what he wants to us (ie. millions of different religions all contradictory and killing each other), he's either (a) fucking with us, or (b) not omniscient (because if he was omniscient and omnipotent he'd be able to communicate perfectly).

... c. We're very poor listeners or we didn't want to listen and got it all mixed up. To be fair, I think you've got to admit this could be a possibility, especially seeing as we can point to all sorts of examples where people don't listen to each other well. I don't think it would be very interesting to God to have a bunch of mindless automatons who listened to everything he said and got it right all the time. No, I think the interaction's a lot more complex than that. He doesn't need to fuck with us because we do a fairly good job of that with each other, and omniscient and omnipotent doesn't necessarily mean omnimanagerial.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
poor listeners (none / 0) (#83)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:57:20 AM EST

But then the question arises of wtf did he create us as such poor listeners? Is he a sadist or a masochist?


------
I love working with computers. I mean, in what other line of business can you say the words "Gold-Plated Crimp-On Banana Plugs" with a straight face
[ Parent ]
No, he's just different (none / 0) (#86)
by pyramid termite on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:28:10 AM EST

I mean, if he created something just like himself, then it would be himself. So, in creating us, he created something different. Judging from myself and the others I see around me, I'd say we've got considerably less capacity, and therefore being poor listeners, or not being able to communicate as well as him would be part of the problem.

I guess that leads us to the simpler version of your question, "why did he create us at all?" Ummm, I'm tired, so I think I'll pass on that one for now ...

Maybe he just felt like doing something ... Buddhists say that desire causes suffering, (although I've seen that translated as "caseness" or "is/isnotness"), but maybe it just creates. I see this as good. According to Genesis, so did God. But why? Oh, I don't know. Just like the old lady's statement that the world was supported by an infinite stack of turtles, it's questions all the way down ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Why we are poor listiners? (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by bart on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:56:34 PM EST

Why we are poor listiners?

Because we were given free will, at least according to the Christian creationism, which I'm guessing is being discussed here. And since we have free will, we can accept or reject God.

Christians also believe that God is impelling, not compelling. This means that he doesn't impose on us and doesn't force us to follow his rules. You have to take the first step to accept him and the things he offers.

And since the Christian religion is not an easy one to accept and understand, many people simply choose to not listen to the message it offers.

I apologize if this sounded like preaching - it wasn't meant as such.

(As a sidenote, I'm really impressed with the quality of posts in this discussion. I'm fairly new to K5 - although I registered a while ago - and hope this is something that's present in all threads/stories.)

[ Parent ]
Communication skills... (none / 0) (#119)
by mech9t8 on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:21:36 AM EST

omniscient and omnipotent doesn't necessarily mean omnimanagerial

I would say it does. Managing and communicating are skills just like any other; someone who was truly omniscient would *know* how to communicate with anyone, even poor listeners. If he doesn't know how to communicate with us, that's something he doesn't know - and therefore he isn't omniscient. If he doesn't have the power to communicate with us, that's a power he doesn't have - and therefore he isn't omnipotent.

Saying "knowledge doesn't include knowing how to communicate" is just a cop-out. Saying that omniscience and omnipotence extend only to the simplest physical interpretations limits omniscience and omnipotence too much for the "omni" to be in there.

IMHO, of course. ;)

I don't think it would be very interesting to God to have a bunch of mindless automatons who listened to everything he said and got it right all the time.

Exactly. Not interesting for him for us to be a bunch of happy people sitting around not fighting with each other. So he gives us, say, a bunch of contradictory religions to fight over.

Doesn't do much for his credibility, I'd say...

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Why blame him for our faults? (none / 0) (#120)
by pyramid termite on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 01:27:52 PM EST

Managing and communicating are skills just like any other; someone who was truly omniscient would *know* how to communicate with anyone, even poor listeners.

Would he "know" how to communicate with someone who had no language? This seems like a variety of the "can he make a rock so big he can't lift it?" paradox. In short, we've taken a concept, "someone who doesn't listen well", and blamed God for it, rather than the poor listener (or rock).

Not interesting for him for us to be a bunch of happy people sitting around not fighting with each other.

Now why would people not fighting each other be mindless automatons?

So he gives us, say, a bunch of contradictory religions to fight over. Doesn't do much for his credibility, I'd say...

No, he didn't give us the religions; we created the religions after misunderstanding what he said to us at various points. The whole problem here is that you've taken our faults and shortcomings and blamed God for them, instead of ourselves. It's our credibility and communication skills that are in question here - if you're an atheist, you may as well argue that the universe has faulty credibility or communication skills because we don't understand it and don't understand each other. It would be seeing the universe as if it should have human qualities; why should we do that with God anymore than we would an impersonal universe? It's like saying God or the universe isn't purple - it may be true, but how meaningful is it?
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Well, the whole "blame" idea is a separa (none / 0) (#121)
by mech9t8 on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:46:05 PM EST

If (if?) god forced us all into a universe where most people are unhappy, would he still be worthy of worship? Would he still be benevolent? Or would we just take his word for it that we're better off than the alternative? But that's a whole other discussion...

Would he "know" how to communicate with someone who had no language?

I would say, yes. Just like (on a much much simpler level) the Crodile Hunter is better at not getting attacked by wild animals than, say, me. Communication is not necessarily limited to language.

But I imagine that issue is just one of those "going to disagree" issues.

It's our credibility and communication skills that are in question here - if you're an atheist, you may as well argue that the universe has faulty credibility or communication skills because we don't understand it and don't understand each other.

No, because no one's claiming the universe is *trying* to communicate with us. This particular argument isn't argument about whether god exists - it's an argument against whether he's trying to communicate with us - and, thus, whether any of the religions have any validity as a way to gain insight into him or the proper way to live one's life.

I think that if there was an benevolent, omnipotent god, and he was trying to communicate with us, we would get the message loud and clear. Therefore, since humanity obviously hasn't gotten any loud and clear message, religions must be human constructs. It's just a much simpler explanation - god can still be an omnipotent being, and you don't have to make excuses or rationalizations for him being a lousy communicator.

Of course, that makes things a lot more complicated, becuase instead of being to able to look at a book for the answers on how to live your life, you gotta rely on our imperfect study of the universe, and human behaviour, and society, and whatnot.

(That's not to say that religions aren't worth studying - they could be fonts of collected human human wisdom to various degrees, and they're certainly great example about what people want to believe, and how to get millions of people to do things. There are reasons why the major religions have billions of followers while their competitors have died off, and it's certainly worth studying those - I just don't think divine inspiration is one of them.)

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Assumption and law maker (none / 0) (#92)
by Woundweavr on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:09:13 PM EST

First of all, the real problem is the assumption of the existance of a god.

If you assume such a being exists, and he created humanity and he knows all, is all powerful and perfectly benevelant, then it follows that he can set morality. On one hand, in your bedtime argument, the child can not see that staying up to late will make him/her unable to stay awake the next day. While a boss, parent, dictator might not know what is best because of their own ignorance, faults or malice, you cannot claim the same for God. Secondly, its with the previous assumptions, its God's house. Morality is his house rules and if you disobey them, he might not be happy. Just as someone who doesn't use a coaster in Martha Stewarts house is gonna get a swift blow to the groin with a hand made walking cane, God might damn you for eternity or reincarnate ya as a whooping crane. If the man/woman/thing set gravity and thermodynamics, then it follows he could set a similar Law of Proper Behavior in Sentient Beings if he wants to.

[ Parent ]

My answer to your questions (4.62 / 27) (#5)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:09:44 PM EST

1) No, I do not practice my religion. I do not have a religion. I'm smugly athiest.
2) As I said, I have no religion, but the religion of others is quite important to me. However, this importance is very negative. Read on for a more detailed assessment.
3) I can't answer this, as I'm athiest.
4) I consider myself an expert on Christianity.
5) Yes, I hate some people because of their religion. Details will follow.

My boyfriend and I have debated religion for several years now, Christianity in particular. We've gone from how religion first came to our collective conscious to how religion will cope with emerging technologies and scientific breakthroughs, to the merits of faith vs. factual reasoning.

I am very biased on this subject, so be forewarned.. =)

First, a bit of history concerning myself. I was born in 1980 in a smallish town in Montana. I was raised Christian by my parents, Lutheran in particular, and belonged to a very devout family and congregation as a whole. Because of my religion I tended to take a very conservative view on the world. And all this was fine and dandy.. -- until I reached puberty and realized I was gay.

And here we have an interesting paradox. It was because of my inherited Christianity that I became depressed for several years, a depression that my parents refused to acknowledge a 12-year-old could experience, a depression that lasted until I was 15 and caused me to contemplate suicide every waking moment of my life. Yet it was also because of my religion that I never actually followed through with my desire to end my life, for I feared Hell more than I feared continuing my life in my decrepit state of depression.

So, in a way, Christianity saved my life then -- but I can never forget that had I been athiest from the beginning, I probably never would have wanted to end my life in the first place.

Casting off a religion in which I was shrouded since the day of my birth, a childhood where my day of baptism was as important to my family as the day of my birth, a childhood where all my friends were the children of other Christians, a childhood where church was not a monthly or a weekly event but an almost daily ritual, a childhood where more time was spent listening to my father and his damned home Bible Study than watching TV -- removing such a large aspect of your life and denouncing the hold Christianity has over you is kind of like detox from drugs.

You wake up at night in cold sweats, crying for no apparent reason. Your heart nearly stops at times when your mind sets itself into an infinite loop of contemplating Hell. You lash out at everyone, somehow hoping that making others share your misery will ease your pain. And by the time you convince yourself there is no Hell, no God, no punishment for suicide you no longer have the need of such things for it was Hell and God that caused your pain in the first place.

Just like drugs you can get over it with enough time. It took me until I was 16 to wash the last of Christianity's slimy residue from my body.

Just like an ex-druggy, tho, you find yourself hating that which had enslaved you. I look at Christianity like a ex-heroin addict looks at his vice -- with utter contempt. Contempt for what religion did to me, contempt for what religion causes others to do.

Contempt for the defense of marriage act which was based largly on moral and religious grounds. Contempt for what conservative Christians teach their children, views which have caused my nose to be broken on two separate occasions.

And this is why I hate some people because of their religion. Because as you're thrown up against the row of lockers one final time, your face dripping with blood, being called faggot loudly in your ear -- you wonder if these people would be so cruel if it weren't for their religious beliefs.

And you wonder how many wars are fought over religion, and how much pain and suffering...

But that's just me. Your mileage may vary.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


That's rough (3.83 / 6) (#19)
by webwench on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:03:16 PM EST

That's a rough way to come around to atheism.

I was lucky in a sense, because I was raised almost completely without religion by an agnostic mother and a Christian-by-default father. I was quite old (early high-school) before I even realized how ubiquitous faith was -- I just assumed many people were like me. I say I was lucky because I didn't have all of the conflicts between belief and ritual, and my own doubts. Some would say I was unlucky because I was not exposed to the idea of religion while young. I prefer to think, of course, that my parents allowed me to make up my own mind.

I consider myself 'hard agnostic', although others would tend to call me atheist. The distinction can be fine, and there are degrees of atheism and degrees of agnosticism. Agnostics range in degree from "I don't particularly like God, so will not worship him," through "I dunno" and "I haven't/don't want to think about it" to "I have no reason to believe one exists, but I don't have proof either way". (I fit the last description best.)

I think atheism is most properly described as a faith in and of itself -- the faith that no God can possibly exist, even in the absence of proof of nonexistence. Of course some would say, "I have no proof that the universe wasn't created by an enormous homosexual leprechaun, but I'd still say I'm a leprechaun-atheist." Really, I guess that if the preponderance of the world's population thought things *were* run by the big green guy, that last quoted staement may read a little differently -- heresy rather than ludicrousness.

There is more information about atheism and agnosticism on www.infidels.org , particularly in the library. Also there's a good about.com section on atheism and agnosticism.



[ Parent ]

Atheism as a religion (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:17:50 PM EST

Oh, I completely agree. Since we can't prove that God does exist doesn't mean by default that he doesn't exist. Just because I can't prove there are other planets in the Universe which evolved life doesn't mean no other planets in the Universe have evolved life. It's illogical.

So if you take religion to mean 'having faith in something in which you cannot prove' then, yes, my atheism is clearly a religion. However, calling atheism a religion in my comment would likely get me flamed =)

And I don't personally consider it a religion. I consider myself to have faith in something I cannot prove, just as some people have faith that aliens exist. But I don't have rituals, or morals set soley on the point that God doesn't exist -- so I don't classify it as a religion. Religions are based on far more than simply having faith that God Does Not Exist.

But there are times, I admit, when I waver from Atheism to Hard Agnosticism (I know exactly what you mean), sometimes when faced with a certain situation that my mind can't grasp when I ponder if I'm wrong and if there is a God. But this is getting all too personal -- even Einstein didn't believe all his theories and questioned himself constantly -- that doesn't mean all of K5 need know it.

So, in short, conscice terms I am an athiest, and atheism, at least for me, is not a religion.

As for my life...bleh, I learned a long, long, long time ago nobody liked to listen to be wallow in self pity. =) And it's not like I have anything to complain about now.

Further, if I had the opportunity (believe this or not) I would not change the way I grew up. Who knows what I would have became had I not been forced to question my very essence at such a tender age? While my experiences are not something I would be willing to subject any other creature to, I know I would not be the same person had I had a different past.

And frankly, I rather like who I am.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Difference between agnostics and atheists (5.00 / 8) (#30)
by epepke on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 04:07:39 PM EST

I think atheism is most properly described as a faith in and of itself -- the faith that no God can possibly exist, even in the absence of proof of nonexistence.

As a strong atheist, I hear agnostics say this all the time. I scratched my head about it for a while. Then I realized that it illustrated the difference between agnostics and athiests. To illustrate, here is a hypothetical conversation between an agnostic and an atheist:

Atheist: I believe that there are no living trilobites.

Agnostic: OK.

Atheist: I believe that there is no Easter Bunny.

Agnostic: OK.

Atheist: I believe that there is no God.

Agnostic: How can you say that? You must have faith that no God could possibly exist!

People believe things based on the preponderance of evidence. They do it all the time. For atheists, and also for many theists, a belief in God is just like any other belief, formed the same way. However, for agnostics, a belief in God is somehow special--for some reason, unlike every other category, agnostics think that one cannot believe that no God exists without dogmatic faith or an assertion of complete knowledge of the entire universe at a quantum level. For some reason, the agnostic thinks that this is not allowed.

So, from the agnostic point of view, agnosticism is the only rational alternative, as it admits that they cannot know for sure. From the atheist point of view, agnosticism irrationally places belief in God into this special category as a matter of prejudice.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
What you believe the meaning of 'belief' is (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by webwench on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 04:56:36 PM EST

The key word in the examples you gave is the term 'belief'. An agnostic would say that 'belief' without 'full knowledge' equals 'faith'. An atheist would say that a lack of belief in God is no less a 'faith' than a lack of belief in the Easter Bunny.

You're right; it's a difference of opinion, plus a difference in how people define and choose to understand the term 'belief'.

I've argued it both ways in the past, and either 'side' is quite valid IMHO. However, when I personally say I 'believe' or 'don't believe' something, I think, I would not use 'believe' if I could say 'know'. Thinking that belief is not certitude is what divides the two (atheism and agnosticism), I suppose.



[ Parent ]

I'll try again (5.00 / 1) (#34)
by epepke on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:18:14 PM EST

An agnostic would say that 'belief' without 'full knowledge' equals 'faith'.

An agnostic might say that, but he and/or she would really mean 'belief' without 'full knowledge' equals 'faith' but only in the case of God and not for any other category at all. Omitting the qualifier in bold falsely implies that "'belief' without 'full knowledge' equals 'faith'" is a general prinicple of agnosticism, which it manifestly and obviously isn't.

I'm not trying to argue which is "better"; in fact such an argument would be purposeless without all the assumptions on the table. I'm just pointing out that this is a basic assumption that agnostics carry to any discussion. I also see from your response, which is consistent with my other experience, that they omit qualifiers in such a way as to hide the basic assumption. Given that, there can be no getting the assumptions on the table in the first place!


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
So you say... (none / 0) (#43)
by webwench on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:11:55 PM EST

I think you're speaking erroneously for a lot of people when you state, "An agnostic... would really mean 'belief' without 'full knowledge' equals 'faith' but only in the case of God and not for any other category at all." You're asserting that an entire group of other people 'really mean' something other than they say, when in fact you have no idea whether they 'really mean' something other than what they say (unless, of course, you are God), and using that to discount my argument.

[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.60 / 5) (#46)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:34:06 PM EST

I think that the problem we're having here is the simple basis that religions seem to revolve around God or whatnot. I mean, there is the Church of the Subgenious (of J.R. Bob Dobb fame), but that's never taken seriously.

And there's really not that much difference between someone who says, 'cold fusion might be possible, I'm not sure' and one who declares, "I have full faith that cold fusion will one day be a reality," or one who says, "I don't believe cold fusion is possible." Here these statements would merely be taken as opinions and not dwelled upon for so long.

For some reason, tho, when this gets applied to religion people need to define all sorts of stupid little labels. Even I, who prolclaim loudly I'm athiest, state that the label I choose could easily change (to become a religion, a simple belief, blah blah blah).

It seems to me much more valuable to discuss ideas, not semantics.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Amount of evidence (4.25 / 4) (#33)
by mech9t8 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:00:58 PM EST

People don't believe in living trilobites because there was physical evidence they existed, there's physical evidence they died out, and there's no physical evidence that they exist today.

People don't believe in the Easter Bunny because the origin of the myth and the hidden Easter eggs is well known.

There's a lot of evidence to support those beliefs. However, we have no firm evidence how the universe actually started, why it evolved how it did, etc etc etc.

Saying "there is, for sure, no supreme being" is like saying "there are, for sure, only four dimensions", or "there is, for sure, no extraterrestial life" or "there is, for sure, nothing smaller than the atom" (several decades ago). That is, the existence of a supreme being is something that we just don't know enough about the universe to say for certain.

That being said, I think the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that all current religions are man-made creations, and every way that people claim to contact God can usually be explained in non-divine terms. But dismissing all man-made religions is not quite the same as (although effectively pretty similar to) dismissing the notion of a supreme being altogether.

The non-existence of the Easter Bunny can be explained; the non-existence of trilobites can be explained; how this whole "existence" thing came to be, currently, cannot. Maybe shouldn't be; maybe it can't be; using it as a justification for behaviour and whatnot certainly seems pretty weak to me. But it is why the whole "god" thing gets put into a separate category than the Easter Bunny.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]
As an atheist.... (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by Count Zero on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:19:56 PM EST

...this is something I've gotten into battles over before. And I think you explained it quite well.

I concur with your opinion, that I do not believe in God, or the Easter Bunny, because I have no knowledge of evidnce for either.

In the past, on various forums, when I have made the statement that "I am an atheist", someone, be they theist or agnostic, will make the statement that I am making a statement of faith. I disagree that this is so.

The way I define atheism is "I have seen no evidence of a God. It is illogical to accept the existance of something for which I have no evidence, so I do not believe. I would be the first to admit I was wrong, were such evidence be shown to me, however, since I find the claim of God to be quite extraordinary, the evidence would need to be extraordinary as well."

[ Parent ]
Atheism (none / 0) (#96)
by Weezul on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:55:55 PM EST

The Atheism is a faith line is pure bullshit. Atheists don't necissarily feal God is impossible. We don't really even know anything absolutly. Atheists feal god is sufficently unlikely that any form of religious *practice* is unprofitable, i.e. likely hood of gods existance.times payoff for praticing if god exists is a negligable. It's just like not buying flood inshurance since you live on a hill. It might flood, but it's not worth paying the inshurance agencies seretary to file the paperwork. If you don't go to church cuz you think god is unlikely, your an atheist. (If you don't to to church cuz your lazy or you don't think your priest has his hotline to god in working order, your still be a christian)

I would reserve agnostic for people who feal there is a *good* chance of some god existing, but (a) don't care or (b) don't worry about it cuz they don't know which one. You can not seriously call yourself an agnostic if you feal there is only a 1% probability that god exists.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
Pseudo-Christians (2.60 / 5) (#35)
by dave114 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:19:46 PM EST

And this is why I hate some people because of their religion. Because as you're thrown up against the row of lockers one final time, your face dripping with blood, being called faggot loudly in your ear -- you wonder if these people would be so cruel if it weren't for their religious beliefs.

All I can say is that these people you've encountered don't sound much like true Christians. While I don't necessarily agree with you that homosexuality is right, I don't think that this is the way that you should be treated. Unfortunately, so many people are content to label themselves Christians without making any attempt to really live the life.

[ Parent ]

Which is why I said 'some' (3.60 / 5) (#37)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:28:01 PM EST

Christians. Just because you feel like defining Christianity as something other than these individuals do doesn't make you right.

But deciding that my use of 'some' means 'all' does speak lowly of your reading comprehension skills...

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
I never read 'all' (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by dave114 on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 10:39:04 PM EST

Christians. Just because you feel like defining Christianity as something other than these individuals do doesn't make you right.

It doesn't necessarily make me wrong either. If I say "1 + 1 = 5", is that right?

But deciding that my use of 'some' means 'all' does speak lowly of your reading comprehension skills...

I never read an 'all' into your earlier comment. I was merely attempting to suggest that perhaps the people who attacked you were not demonstrating real Christianity by their behaviour.

[ Parent ]

real christianity (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by rdskutter on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:20:28 AM EST

"Real Christianity" is whatever you, I or anyone else defines it to mean

[ Parent ]
That's like saying... (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by Stickerboy on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:21:15 AM EST

... that the Muslims who preach that killing innocent civilians is holy and will take you to paradise, are, in fact, true Muslims.

Christianity and Islam are two religions that have set down some pretty strong guidelines on how their devotees should act, within a little interpretation.

When Islam says that killing innocent civilians is bad, there isn't any way to put that into a different context. You can't do that and claim to be a follower of Mohammed's teachings.

When it says in the Bible to not judge non-Christians for their sins, to forgive others, and to not act out of anger, those "Christians" who attack homosexuals aren't following Christ's teachings.

When the Roman Catholic church claimed that the Pope is infallible, directly contradicting the Bible, that priests had the power to transform bread into Jesus' flesh (which is never mentioned in the Bible), and that you can be saved through good works (directly refuted by Paul), they weren't acting any more Christian than the next nonbeliever. The Pope's infallibility and transubstantiation were good for the Church, in terms of keeping their authority and power. "Good works" was a nice source of monetary income for the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages/Renaissance.

[ Parent ]
Cop-out (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by KOTHP on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:03:00 AM EST

The author never claimed that the attackers were Christans, only that their actions were likely influenced by the messages that Christianity spread. If I claim "All blacks are sinners", then turn around and say "but we should treat them OK", it's not going to do much to mute the justifiable outrage at the original assertion.

[ Parent ]
Sorry to hear that. (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by xriso on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:25:38 AM EST

"I consider myself an expert on Christianity."

I, too was raised Christian. It was mostly fine, until I realised that I was a sinner. At that point, I also understood the actual message of Christianity, which is said all over the New Testament. That message is, "You are a sinner, and you can't fix it all by yourself. Jesus will help that." Of course, you know all this already, right?

Now, I know that the OT Law covers a large area. However, considering the fulfillment of that Law by Jesus, I am not quite sure whether homosexuality is necessarily bad. I'm sure that if you are an expert on Christianity, you know whether it is in fact a sin or not, so I'll leave that up to you. Personally, the only sexual sin I have committed is lust, so far.

Anyway, I've been looking at your childhood experiences with Christians, and I must say it is rather different than mine. My parents were pretty lazy about it, other than sending me to the local Christian school. It may suprise you that being openly Christian was looked down on by the other students. My brief stay at a public school showed me that there was little difference. So, in effect it was completely up to me and a couple friends to study Christianity, with the help of the Internet, of course. :-)

I have learned much, but I'm sure that I'm not as well learnt as an expert like you. eg. I'm sure you've known for years that faith in fact does not oppose rationality or science.

Anyway, I'll be praying for you. God be with you.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
[ Parent ]

Don't pray for me (4.00 / 5) (#68)
by DranoK 420 on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:12:52 AM EST

It would be like me telling you that I'd ask the golden dog of money to look after you. People praying for me feels as dirty as people worshiping idols must feel to you.

The problem is that there's a lot of people who claim to be Christians who have never actually read the Bible. I have, on several occasions. In fact, I have my confirmation Bible in the next room and I still read it. Let me tell you -- it's not all love and glorly like the Gospel. I mean, anyone can read the book of Mathew and get a warm fuzzy feeling about God, but there's over a thousand other pages that are getting ignored.

OK. So lets pretend you complete ignore the Old Testament and all the jaw-crashing goodness contained within. Have you ever read what Paul wrote? I hope if you're a woman you're not too offended. And don't give me this symbolic crap -- there's only so many ways you can take the word-for-word account of some of the authors' letters to other parishes.

I agree with my father (although I'd spit in his face if I could muster the will power) on many things, and one of them is the belief that you can't just selectively cut and paste pasages from the Bible to make a feel-good version appropriate for fuzzy carebares and glow worms. You kinda gotta take the entire thing, you know?

And don't feel sorry for my childhood either. I got over it, ya know? There are worse horror stories to read that are true that could make your skin crawl.

I forgot where I was going with this comment so I think I'll stop...before I start rambling on out of control.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Oh come off it ... (1.50 / 2) (#79)
by Kalani on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:05:08 AM EST

Look, I'm not religious but the guy wasn't insulting you. If somebody tells me that they'll pray for me (in the non-derogatory sense), I take it as the compliment that it was intended as. I don't require all people to compliment me by saying, "I SALUTE YOU KALANI, AND I APPRECIATE YOUR OFFERINGS TO MY KINDLY MIND," or any other such arbitrary expression of appreciation. It's an issue of custom, and all human beings adopt some collection of customs (even if it's mathematical notation).

It's one thing to have a person attempt to push his religion onto you -- that's intolerable -- but reacting with hostility to what was essentially a gesture of friendship just makes you look like an asshole.

And this:

I agree with my father (although I'd spit in his face if I could muster the will power) on many things, and one of them is the belief that you can't just selectively cut and paste pasages from the Bible to make a feel-good version appropriate for fuzzy carebares and glow worms. You kinda gotta take the entire thing, you know?

First of all, where exactly did that comment about your dad come from? Have you got some kind of repressed anger? Maybe you should talk to somebody about that and you'd stop seeing hostility where there is none.

As for the other point, yes you can dismiss the things that you don't like. Isaac Newton was a biggie in mathematics and physics, but we now use the Leibniz notation when working with the Calculus because it is clearer. Does that mean that we ought to abandon everything published by Newton just because we find the notation of dy/dx more flexible than y'(x)? Should we stop using Calculus because Relativity and QM are more accurate than Newton's Classical Physics?

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Uh-huh (3.00 / 2) (#98)
by DranoK 420 on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:18:41 PM EST

Believe it or not, there is quite a difference between math and religion. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine precisely what this difference is.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
You missed the point (2.00 / 2) (#117)
by Kalani on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 03:16:35 AM EST

It's not about mathematics you fool, it's about basic logic. Read the last paragraph again.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Who cut and paste first? (4.00 / 2) (#82)
by pyramid termite on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:50:58 AM EST

I agree with my father (although I'd spit in his face if I could muster the will power) on many things, and one of them is the belief that you can't just selectively cut and paste pasages from the Bible to make a feel-good version appropriate for fuzzy carebares and glow worms. You kinda gotta take the entire thing, you know?

I don't agree with your dad on that point (or many others, I'm sure). Who cut and paste the Bible together in the first place? There's a Catholic Version and a Protestant Version; there's ample evidence of parts being left out because they didn't fit well with the beliefs of those who won the early theological fights of Christianity; there's a good amount of internal evidence that sections supposedly written by the same person was actually written by two or more different people at different times; and there's also some remarkable similarities between stories in the Bible and surrounding myths and cultural conflicts of other peoples. I also find it curious that people decided the whole scriptural process ended 2,000 years ago and nothing since then could have possibly been inspired by God or revalatory of him. There's a Cabalic belief that every word uttered is an angel, although I guess some of them could be demonic ones. Add to this Allen Ginsberg's comment that he and his friends' books were published in heaven and I really wonder - where does the Word that is God end or begin? Just within the pages of one book or perhaps still going on, even as each of us write our thoughts?

I guess you could call me a radical Christian - it's a shame what people do in the name of God to condemn love, and that includes gay love. How is that supposed to serve others?
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Well your reasoning is certainly logical (2.00 / 1) (#97)
by DranoK 420 on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:16:01 PM EST

And I would swoon if more people agreed with you, unfortunately, at least from my experience of the religion, devout Christians believe you gotta take the entire thing, and have since Catholicism to protestants etc. By deciding to remove certain parts, whatever, I think you're in essence defining a new branch of the religion. A lutheran can't really call himself a lutheran if he throws out a few books of the Bible...

Dranok


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Me, if it helps... (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by PigleT on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:06:25 AM EST

"1) No, I do not practice my religion. I do not have a religion. I'm smugly athiest."

OK, I'm a "practicing" Christian, but not the sort that you used to hang out with...

"2) I have no religion, but the religion of others is quite important to me. However, this importance is very negative."

Others' religion is moderately important but (a) I'd prefer they were sociable first and (b) I can't abide *fundamentalism* whatever the religion being misrepresented is.

"4) I consider myself an expert on Christianity."

Interesting.

"5) Yes, I hate some people because of their religion. Details will follow."

I can dislike the way people behave. I dislike it even more when either (a) they think their religion dictates antisocial behaviour, or (b) people try to blame it on a religion.
This I feel strongly; you *can't* blame Christianity for the Crusades, but you can blame the people involved for using a particular religion as an excuse.

"I never actually followed through with my desire to end my life, for I feared Hell more than I feared continuing my life"...

Well, I'm not convinced that mere suicide is any reason to "go to Hell". My sort of Christianity is an ongoing "relationship" with God, that being the Christian God whose deeds and nature are to be found documented in the obvious places. If that relationship is going "well" then I don't exactly want to drop off the planet - more to the point I can be happy as a kite. My God would not consign someone to the eternal rubbish-heap just because they chose their departure in a way that He didn't want, not when on balance they've chosen a way of life *with* Him.

"removing such a large aspect of your life and denouncing the hold Christianity has over you is kind of like detox from drugs."

I'm sure it was, for you. Bear in mind, however, that there is Christian, and there is "middle-class". There is Christian, and there is "social club". There is Christian, and there is "ritual".
The 3 quoted things there do not *define* a Christian, nor do they define the religion of Christianity. There are plenty enough other denominations and independent churches around where you might find sociability as you desire and acceptance as you need.

"Contempt for what religion did to me, contempt for what religion causes others to do."

Sounds about right. Some people don't get on well with some definitions of "religion".
I suggest you consider deeper the differences between "a religion", Christianity in particular, and your (rather sad) experiences as a subset thereof.

"you wonder if these people would be so cruel if it weren't for their religious beliefs."

You're right to wonder this. I suspect they would be, and it is *they* who need a "crutch" on which to blame their offensiveness.

There's no greater test of one's Christianity to say that, as another example, a paedophile is still a human and deserving more of care and attention than the noose. I'd consider calling it "separating the sin and the sinner", don't know about you.

~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately (3.00 / 2) (#99)
by DranoK 420 on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:26:38 PM EST

christianity spans a far larger time-frame than your lifetime, and while you may be noble, kind and caring this seems to be a recent development among some practicioners of the religion.

I would submit, therefore, that if you want to distance yourself from your much more fundamental brethren that a new denomination should be created for as it stands when I hear 'Christian' I end up thinking of fundamentalists, not those who want to focus merely on the gospel. *shrug*

As for being an 'expert' in Christianity, this is relative. By this I mean I can frickin quote passages from OT and NT until the cows come home, understand the political motivations of the progression of Christianity in the middle ages from catholicism to the protestants to the struggle of power between the crown and the church, to how more recently Christian morals have become an acceptable pretense for common law.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Strange (1.00 / 1) (#130)
by PigleT on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 10:08:39 AM EST

"a new denomination"

There are more Christians out here than one of you. A denomination is only supposed to serve as a guide to the sort of thing you can expect a particular local church to believe and practice; you still have to shop around for a church where the folks are sociable and the beliefs tolerable. I do speak from a little personal experience of this; I spent a very unhappy 9 months not knowing *anyone* at one church, followed by 6 months getting hassled "oh look a new-comer" at another, before finding my current place.

Either way I'm not out to "get you back into church" or anything; that should spring from a desire to attend to fulfil personal spiritual needs, or not.

All I would suggest is that you contemplate further separating baby and bath-water before throwing both out.

"more recently Christian morals have become an acceptable pretense for common law."

Erm... but Christianity has had *more* of an influence on the UK's law than it does now, I think??
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
I have a question (none / 0) (#123)
by webwench on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 11:45:50 PM EST

I have a question for you: do you think that religion is necessary for individual morality? In other words, do you believe it is likely that modern people, without the structure or rules of religion, can have what you would consider to be acceptable moral values?

[ Parent ]
My answer ;) (none / 0) (#129)
by PigleT on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 10:02:04 AM EST

I'd see "religious" as one way to decide on a moral course of action, alongside Kantian, Utilitarian, Duty-fulfilling... Religion.

That way you expand slightly the set of questions you can consider, and get another perspective on the things the "secular" approaches answer. You can "favour" any of the above more than another if you want, of course.
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
Your problem is that you don't know what it is. (3.45 / 11) (#7)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:22:06 PM EST

"Religion" is how Man structures his relationship with God and, as such, is not a single thing. A particular person's religion might require a lot of organization (Catholics, for example) but that just makes it an organized religion.

Most Protestants, on the other hand require that you have a "personal" relationship with God. The "organized" part of Protestantism is meant to help you develop that personal relationship, but it's way secondary and not essential to the process. (Individual Protestants might argue that I'm wrong about that, but they would be arguing against the very principle that split them off from the Catholics!)1

In any case, when you ask "Can I not get rid of Religion and still believe in God?" the question doesn't make sense. In the broadest meaning of the word, even athiests have a "religion" - their relationship with God is that they do not believe she/he/it/they exist.2

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of the "organized" part of religion in your personal life go right ahead; but at least be aware that you are losing the support and input of other people who also have put a lot of thought into this whole God thing.

1 (Note that since I cannot legitimately speak to how Jews, Muslims or Frisbeetarians define their relationship with God, I'll just hand-wave here and pretend I don't need more examples. Still, they do have a relationship with God of some sort and thus a religion.)

2 (Troll-be-gone warning: I am not implying a judgement on athiests with that statement. An athiest might argue that you cannot have a relationship with something that does not exist and in most senses that is true - but in a theistic environment, being athiestic does create a relationship - it alters how you interact with the thiests around you.)


------
I love working with computers. I mean, in what other line of business can you say the words "Gold-Plated Crimp-On Banana Plugs" with a straight face
No third option (3.33 / 6) (#8)
by CrazyJub on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:27:07 PM EST

You don't even consider non-belief as an option. Atheism is alive and well, and growing.

Or Forth Option (3.77 / 9) (#11)
by Jel on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:42:40 PM EST

Not to mention the lack of a forth option - the "pseudo-religions" of the east, which have much more in common with philosophy than with religion. There are a hell of a lot of people who have found better ways than the two presented here. That only two are presented hilights the problem the original poster is complaining about - lack of acceptance and understanding.

For those offended by the "pseudo-religion" comment, don't be. I happen to follow one of them. I'm just simplifying for the sake of relevance.

And no, I don't need my "religion" so to speak, but I choose to keep it. It provides a sound basis to back up my morality and helps remind me of my chosen goals in life. That doesn't mean that I won't drop it as fast as anything if I ever find that it does me or others more harm than good. Ultimately, righteousness comes down to individual choices. One apparant difference between the religions of east and west is that western religions remove the need for personal responsibility (the devil made me do it, forgive me for my sins, etc). Eastern religions, in contrast, generally encourage "knowing oneself", making decisions with the greater good in mind, and learning from mistakes.

In short, just because the religion you grew up with and accept as the one true faith has come to seem a little harse or insufficient, is no reason to badmouth those paths which have had, for much longer, more understanding, accepting, and productive approaches. Some religions have never caused a war. Some describe war as the inevitable climax of life on Earth. I know which path I prefer.



[ Parent ]
Pseudo-religions & Atheism (3.50 / 4) (#16)
by nr0mx on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:57:21 PM EST

Agreed! I am a believer in the Eastern philosophies, and have no bones to pick with them.

It is the 'action without responsibility' phenomenon that is blindly accepted when it comes to religious matters that I am questioning.

[ Parent ]

Forth? (2.50 / 8) (#17)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:58:15 PM EST

Isn't that a programming language?

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 6) (#38)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:31:32 PM EST

FORTH is clearly a religion. It just happens to manifest itself in programming.

[ Parent ]
It's the same with Lisp ... (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by Kalani on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:01:44 PM EST

... but nobody discusses it because the priests talk funny.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
true not! (2.50 / 2) (#54)
by ucblockhead on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:19:39 PM EST

best Forth programmer Yoda is! Very popular Yoda is!
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Religion (2.00 / 2) (#49)
by Weezul on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:12:09 PM EST

I think all religion will gradually evolve toward safe irrelevence like the European religions. Britin has priests now who do not take the existance of god literally.. just like sane christians here do not take the 7 day creation story literally.

One day over a hundred years from now we will all wake up and discover we are all atheists, but people still work at the churches cuz they are just so darn pretty.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
To how I practice religion.... (3.66 / 12) (#9)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:27:24 PM EST

I do it the way Christians are supposed to do it (as opposed to the way many Christians actually do it.)

By this I mean, I attempt to respond to every situation in a way that Jesus himself would approve of. (As opposed to his Old Testament poppa.) The rule of thumb is that I should treat absolutely everyone I meet with love and forgiveness. I often fall short of that ideal - out of fear, selfishness or whatever, but I do consider that a failure, not a strength.


------
I love working with computers. I mean, in what other line of business can you say the words "Gold-Plated Crimp-On Banana Plugs" with a straight face
GAKR (2.25 / 12) (#12)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:47:21 PM EST

A Good and Accepted Kuro5hin Reader must hate all forms of religion. Especially Christianity. Being atheist is best, but Taoist or Buddhist can be "cool" if done "unreligiously". If you do happen to firmly believe in a religion, then you'd better not give the slightest signs of it! Otherwise you'll be written off as a crackpot who can't think "rationally"

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
Actually, what I'm surprised most by... (4.00 / 9) (#28)
by Shovas on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:35:18 PM EST

Greetings,

There seem to be quite a number of people on K5, and dare I say it Slashdot, who are part of the current non-pop religion, Christianity.

I also find it encouraging that these same people also have facts to back themselves up in most situations. A few discussions on Slashdot's latest "Still more evidence for evolution" had these people in it. I was quite proud, indeed, truthfully to see these people discussing the issue while being surrounded by posters spewing comments like "no one ever takes creation seriously" and "creation isn't believed in by anybody but fanatic fundamentalists". I've seen it here, as well. While the majority sometimes dismiss these people, they bring good ideas and facts to the table. What I like most, however, is the fact they roll with the punches and keep posting. It's tough being a Christian these days, moreso than many other religions.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Great! (none / 0) (#125)
by elektrogott on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 05:03:38 PM EST

It's tough being a Christian these days,...
So you're feeling marginalized and punched?
That's great, this things made christianity successful in the beginning.

[ Parent ]
Interesting side-point... (none / 0) (#126)
by Shovas on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:11:15 PM EST

Greetings,
So you're feeling marginalized and punched?
That's great, this things made christianity successful in the beginning.
I don't think Christianity is any less successful now than it ever was, considering things abroad go relatively well. You made me think of an interesting side-point, though. It seems in the highly developed nations where anti-Christian sentiment runs rampant. Granted, a very, very significant portion of(for example) the US is supposedly Christian(upwards of 50%...so people say in surveys). While I don't hesitate to press the idea that evangelizing is needed, I think perhaps a critical mass and a critical point in sociological development has possibly been reached in the highly developed nations.

What I mean to say is that the further pop-thought penetrates a society, the less people are willing to even listen to alternative ideas. Then again, perhaps we're not advanced enough in the post-modern era to see yet what may become of people and their preconcepts towards alternative ideas.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Horribly written... [WAS: Interesting side-point] (none / 0) (#127)
by Shovas on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:19:07 PM EST

Greetings,

Let's try again. Straight to the meat of the ponit:

You made me think of an interesting side point. It seems that we may have reached a critical mass of "believers" in highly developed nations, to the point that the non-believers willingly ignore alternative beliefs. This seems to be caused by pop-thought enforcing the scientific method on all facets of life(which I would suggest can not encompass all areas, but that's another debate). At the level the population is at, it seems this outweighs or cancels out the desire for something "more."

I hope that was better. Whatever. I think the basis of my point was that maybe we've reached a critical mass in the highly developed nations and have quite an army of detractors to come up against.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Don't think so (none / 0) (#133)
by elektrogott on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 05:33:35 PM EST

I can't comment on the situtation in the US, but I don't think thats the case in europe and specially germany.
While the christianity seems on decline, escpecially the established churches are struggling (though their existance is not even remotly threatend), esoterism and similar stuff has made an inroad into the ecological, leftist, feminist movement and even somewhat into "official" churches (Germany). So there is the desire for something more, it seems that the christian churches just can't penetrate this "market" with their current offerings.

The most disturbing thing is it's success among young and educated people. And yeah they will have no problem in dismissing science when it contradicts their beliefs and on the other side use science whenever it furthers their goals. I would even tend to say, that hardcore science followers are also in decline.
Or, whatever.

[ Parent ]
Hardcore science followers in decline... (none / 0) (#134)
by Shovas on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 06:25:55 PM EST

Greetings,

That's very true. For some reason I wasn't thinking of the situation in Europe. Of course I knew, in the back of my mind, that statistics showed Christianity doing very brutally there. As for hardcore science followers, I don't know. I tend to think that, in the circles that discuss these types of issues, there has been a polarization of the ultra religious and the ultra scientific. I _know_ there's a less-polarized area as there are plenty of scientists who know the theory of evolution is too flawed to have any foundations, and there are also Christians flowing into the wishy-washy non-literal interpretation of Creation and allowing for the theory of evolution, but still demanding it be divinely guided.

Ahh, to have a good ol' science / religious debate again! I haven't seen a good story on this in quite some time, quite to the joy of some I don't doubt. :)

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Alternative religions (3.33 / 6) (#13)
by jesterzog on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:49:39 PM EST

Well I was brought up as an anglican, and that was okay for a bit when I was growing up but I think the main reason I was involved was because my parents were involved and that's what they wanted me to grow into. (They probably still do.)

I don't know if growing out of it is the right term to use, but while I like to think about how everything works and fits together on that scale, the whole idea behind christianity has never really appealed to me.

A few of my friends and people I know in my situation ended up turning to things like wicca and various other forms of paganism, but most of that didn't work much for me, either. Right now I consider myself a free agent, and I don't subscribe to any particular religion except for my own ideas -- which I think is the best way to go.

For what it's worth, the closest thing I've found so far to the way I think is Scientific Pantheism, which is more of a scientifically-compatible subset of a conglomeration of pagan-type ideas than anything really specific. I'm not about to donate any money, though, because right now I don't see the point. Whatever my religion is should be defined much more by me than by any organisation.


jesterzog Fight the light


Religion is irrelevant (2.55 / 9) (#18)
by wiredog on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 02:59:24 PM EST

Prepare to be assimilated.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
No responsibility for actions ! (2.80 / 5) (#20)
by nr0mx on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:04:33 PM EST

The article was me asking for opinions

Mine is this -- The combination of the two factors

1. God is blameless
2. God demands that this be done
creates a channel where I can choose to believe that I am not responsible for my actions, because God wished it.

Take a look arond, at the religious hate smouldering all around, and let me know of the religion that asks you to hate/kill/maim others ? Which religion do all these people belong to ?

I think religion with all its other associated benefits isn't worth it if it cannot effectively tackle this issue. ( which it hasn't for the past so many decades )

My religion and how it defines myself (3.83 / 6) (#23)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:18:33 PM EST

I'm going to wade into the topic and hopefully I won't regret it.

Religion is something that mankind has always had and will always have. Religion is a set of principles, faith or beliefs that person carries with them. For most, this involves a deity of some sort, with a set creed to follow. Others live by the Golden Rule or perhaps carpe diem. While you don't need God for a religion, the reverse doesn't hold true. If you believe in a higher power, then you must have some sort of religion to go by.

To answer your questions, I feel my religion greatly defines who I am. Specifically, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (You might better know us as Mormons.) I feel that I live my religion every day and makes me a better person for it. My belief in Jesus Christ has helped me to better understand others while also providing me an example how to live my life.

I have served a two year mission in Milan, Italy, so I've had a chance to better understand the different beliefs of other people. I've grown to know and love different people who believe in also believe in Christianity as well as Islam, Buddhism, and African Spiritualism.

As a missionary I learned that religion itself is a very personal experience. One of the great principles of my religion is that all people have Free Agency; the ability to choose for themselves how to think or act. It's what we do with this gift that matters in the end. People must be allowed their freedom to be able to believe as they want.

The world has a long road to go before there's religious freedom. Here in this country we're too quick to throw out the "You're going to Hell!" statement to those who don't believe as you do. It's been said to me many times. For that matter, it was legal 160 years ago to kill any Mormons in the state of Missouri as part of an Extermination Order signed by the governor. While not that extreme today, there are signs of that same attitude towards anyone who isn't Christian or doesn't fit into what they think is Christian.

Religion may seem to cause conflicts around the world, but the world still needs it. It does make the world a better place. For the vast majority of the population of the world it gives guidlines on how to treat others and how to be a better person. It's only when religion is used to force others to belive likewise do the real conflicts begin.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

Back up your assertions please (3.50 / 2) (#94)
by lb008d on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:58:02 PM EST

Religion may seem to cause conflicts around the world, but the world still needs it.

Why?

It does make the world a better place.

How?

For the vast majority of the population of the world it gives guidelines on how to treat others and how to be a better person.

How do some of us figure this out on our own, and why can't other people do the same?

[ Parent ]

God is a talkshow host (2.57 / 7) (#26)
by jabber on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:26:51 PM EST

No really.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Religion/god (3.70 / 10) (#27)
by John Thompson on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 03:34:33 PM EST

nr0mx wrote:

Can I not get rid of 'Religion', and still believe in God ?

I'd rather have it the other way around: can I not get rid of god, and still profess some religion?

The Unitarians and Buhdists seem to be OK with this...



Christians without god. (3.00 / 3) (#56)
by Weezul on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 10:27:15 PM EST

I think Europe is headed that way too. I know Britin has a number of atheist priests now. It's perfectly natural for the intelectuals of any religion to figure out that the existance of god should not be taken litteraly.. just like the 7 day creation story should not be taken literaly. It will just take a long time for this to trickle down to the masses.

Personally, I tend to doubt the relevence of 2000 year old philosophy or beliefs, but lots of people seem to like it.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
Three thoughts on the subject (4.50 / 10) (#29)
by atreides on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 04:03:48 PM EST

1. There are two things I feel a religion has to have to be a religion. Those are dogma and kerygma.

Dogma, as everyone knows, is the written, codified tenets that one must live by. And every religion has it, whether it's as simple as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" or as complex as Mosaic law. Every religion has a "Believe this, do this, don't do this" section.

Kerygma, on the other hand, is the personal experience that your faith and practice bring. It takes many forms: the ecstacy of a whirling dervish, the feeling of spiritual and historical connectivity of Passover, a Catholic who feels closer to Christ by suffering his physical pain, an old woman in a black church who falls to the floor, speaking in tongues, a snakehandler's feeling of invincibility and holiness that comes from avoiding the serpent's bite and far too many other ways for me to even begin to count.

Unfortunately, the easier thing to convey is the dogma and that is the level most people stay. These are the people who only do what they have to to be able to say that they are Christian/Jewish/Muslim/Other. The people who tend to feel the kerygma either say little because the believe that it's a personal thing or spend a lifetime trying to explain their feeling to others. They can't really explain it fully, but sometimes they say enough to inspire others to attempt their own kerygma.

That's why a lot of people, in my opinion, feel unsatisfied with their religion. They've spent all their time adhering to the dogma, which appeals to their reason, and little time on kerygma, which is supposed to fill their spirit. So they feel empty and try to fill the void with things and stuff and diets and self help books and medication when all they need is to find something they believe in and follow it as far as they can. It doesn't have to be religion. It can be football or art or music or computers or cars. Anything can be your religion if you find your bliss and engross yourself.

2. I think Terry Pratchett made the best statement about organized religion in his book Small Gods. Early in a god's development, it is small. As the god gets more believers, it grows bigger. If the god is not careful, the day comes when the worshippers are not worshipping the god, but rather the church built around the god. In this case, eventually, the god returns to it's original small stature and the church remains like a giant shell, hard on the outside, but with nothing left within.

3. Never to miss a chance to take a thought from Bab5, a few thoughts from The Deconstruction of Falling Stars:

"Faith sustains us in the hour when reason tells us that we can not continue, that the whole of our whole lives is without meaning."

"[Reason is] not useless, but it is also not enough. Faith and reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with both than you can with just one."

"That's all that faith requires. That we surrender ourselves to the possibility of hope."

Everyone has faith in something. Scientists have faith in science. Students have faith in their teachers and textbooks. Bankers have faith in money and the market. Faith is just believing that there is something else beyond what you can't see, touch or control.

That's it. I'll shut up now...

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary doesn't crave stardom.

Faith and Reason (4.20 / 5) (#47)
by Znork on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 07:00:24 PM EST

Faith is what you need when you wish to believe in something for which you have no rational grounds to believe in.

Conversely, you do not need faith to believe in something when you have rational grounds for that belief.

Scientists do not need faith to believe in science. Science is the essence of believing things for which you can find a rational ground.

Students do not need faith in their teachers and textbooks until the teachers or textbooks start to diverge from reason and observations.

Bankers... well, ok, faith there... often accompanied with robes, strange masks and the worship of Mammon I suspect :)



[ Parent ]
Yes, they do need and have faith... (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by atreides on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:23:16 PM EST

A scientist conducts an experiment in a certain way because he has faith in the Scientific Method and because he has faith in the findings of people who followed the Scientific Method.

A student has faith that the information in his textbook is correct and that the people teaching him know what it is that they are teaching.

You have faith that when you turn the tap, water will come out. You have faith that when you flip the switch, the power will come one. You have faith that when you turn the key, the car will start. And when it doesn't you take it to the appropriate witch doctor/high priest (plumber, electrician, mechanic) to remedy.

Someone says subatomic particles exist. Do you believe it? Yes. Have you ever seen one? I'm betting no. You, however, have faith in the High Priests of Science and their dogma of the Scientific Method. You have probably had some experience with it in Science courses and have reason to believe it. Therefore, you have faith that a person who has claimed to use it has seen or found something you have never seen because you have faith in the Method.

How is this different than a layman believing a priest when the priest talks about sin? The layman has been acquainted with the appropriate dogma (the Ten Commandments) and seen for him self how such things as killing and lying and coveting are bad. Someone who professes the same belief structure and has devoted his life/time to the pursuit of those beliefs tells him that credit cards are sinful (because they inspire sloth, usury and materialism which begets coveting), why shouldn't the layman believe him?

Science is just as much a religion as any other. It is just more based in reason than many others. It has dogma (the Scientific Method), kerygma (discovery, knowledge and education), a priesthood (Scientific and academic circles) and legions of believers (the general public). But many scients believe in God or have strong faith because they are progressed enough to realize what they don't know. What's beyond a quark? What's beyond that? What's beyond THAT??? More importantly, why that way and not another?

You see my point?

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary doesn't crave stardom.
[ Parent ]

Semantic error on line 1 (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by bruce on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:22:32 PM EST

The word "faith", like most words, has different meanings in different contexts. Religious faith is a very different creature from more mundane uses of the word, and you are confusing one with the other.

When I walk over a bridge, I generally have faith that it won't fall down. If nothing else, I hold this faith on the evidence of thousands of people before me crossing it, and it hasn't fallen down yet. It *looks* substantial enough to hold me up. And, should this faith be misplaced, and an earthquake or a corrupt contractor cause it to fall anyway, my philosophical view of life will not be revolutionized. (although I might be a bit more anal about building codes...) At any rate, faith in a mundane sense is good only if you have adequate reason to hold it.

On the other hand, religious faith is a virtue only in opposition to the evidence at hand. If God were like a Star Trek ship computer, and could be addressed and commanded with tangible result, you wouldn't need religious faith. Only when the Problem of Evil rears it's ugly head, and times are bad, and believers raise their voices to heaven, crying "Why, O Lord, have you forsaken us?", is the strength of their religious faith tested. The stronger the evidence against their beliefs, the stronger their faith must be to maintain it. And, despite constant calls to maintain faith, it is fairly easy to come up with a faith strong enough to hold its own against any empirical evidence whatsoever.

Of course, these different meanings are related. But claiming they are identical is just blatantly ignorant of comman usage.

[ Parent ]

I'm not so sure... (1.50 / 2) (#106)
by atreides on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:36:16 PM EST

Faith is faith. Sometimes they have different sources. Sometimes they have different levels of reason and experience behind them. Sometimes the justifications seem quite absurd. Regardless, faith that a bridge won't fall down is, at the root, the same as faith in a church. The bridge won't fall because you've seen thousands or people cross it even though it has some physical flaws like weathering or a little wood rot. The religion won't collapse because millions have practised it successfully even though it has some minor doctrinal or philosophical flaws like unbelievable stories or an overpowerful priesthood or something.

Faith is confidence in a person or thing. By extension it also means belief in the doctrines of a religion because you are placing your trust in a set of doctrines. The only reason they look different is because there are different emotions attached to faith in one thing or another.

"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary doesn't crave stardom.
[ Parent ]

You can't have it both ways (4.00 / 2) (#108)
by bruce on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:55:47 PM EST

Either: admit that you're talking about different kinds of faith, and religious faith is distinct from mundane faith, or else: admit that, if you lump all sorts of faith together, faith doesn't distinguish religion from any other human activity, and that taking a shit is as much an act of faith as making a prayer.

In both cases, faith says nothing whatsoever about science being "just as much a religion as any other".

[ Parent ]

Too big a word (none / 0) (#115)
by Wah on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 11:07:56 PM EST

(a.k.a. the descent into semantics)

Faith as taken as a reason for doing something would mean that it fits just fine for both defnitions. Someone has a faith in science and acts on that belief by dedicating a portion of thier life to practicing that faith in the belief that it is worthwhile for Science. Someone has a faith in a religion and acts on that belief by dedicating a portion of their life in the belief that is it worthwhile for their Religion.

The distinction comes, I guess, in the level and amount of that life which one dedicates and how far that faith takes them. It's a matter of degree (which is the distinction you seem to be going for) but it is the same thing. You would have to add more qualifying words to define the degree, but now you've added more words and clouded it even more.

So, IMHO as a jumper in, it's the same thing, Faith.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Pratchett << Leiber (2.66 / 3) (#72)
by ragnarok on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:51:06 AM EST

2. I think Terry Pratchett made the best statement about organized religion in his book Small Gods. Early in a god's development, it is small. As the god gets more believers, it grows bigger. If the god is not careful, the day comes when the worshippers are not worshipping the god, but rather the church built around the god. In this case, eventually, the god returns to it's original small stature and the church remains like a giant shell, hard on the outside, but with nothing left within.

Read Fritz Leiber's "Swords in the Mist : Lean Times in Lankhmar", about "The Second Coming of Issek of the Jug".


"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sister's prophecies
[ Parent ]

Science vs faith (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by I am Jack's username on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 07:00:52 AM EST

"Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, 'yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!' If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it." - Dan Barker

"Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits." - Dan Barker

"Explaining the unknown by means of the unobservable is always a perilous business."

"There is no faith, however respectable, no interest, however legitimate, which must not accommodate itself to the progress of human knowledge and bend before truth." - Paul Broca

"[T]here's only any point in believing something if it's true." - Richard Dawkins, interview with Douglas Adams
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Thanks for the great sig material. (nt) (none / 0) (#124)
by heph on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 07:03:52 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Religion and the belief in a god are not the same (4.11 / 9) (#31)
by Wing Envy on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 04:15:56 PM EST

I've always considered myself to be religious, yet I do not believe in any "god", nor do I go to any "church" or read any "bibles". I consider "god" to be the placebo given to children in place of good parenting, "churches" as a substitution for acceptance, and "bibles" a replacement for real life knowledge.

If left to their own devices, it would be interesting to know how many people would be kind, loving, and generous if they were to discover that no "ultimate" goal is to be reached. If, in fact, each person were to realize they must create their own "heaven" while living, to actually take responsiblity and control of their lives and to realize their resposiblity and control of the lives they interact with in any moment of any day.

My "religion" is based entirely on my rationalizing my experiences, attaining as much knowledge as possible, and weighing them against one another. This is how I have developed my subsequent beliefs of right and wrong. They are not without proof, not without reason, and they do not waver or sway.

I am not without understanding or acceptance. I do not pity others or think them foolish for their beliefs. What I do despise are those who are so stubborn to accept the truth, even when slapped repeatedly in the face with it, that they circumscribe their knowledge with spurious "belief".

In adulthood, "god" is the placebo for stupidity.


You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.
-mrgoat

I... (2.33 / 9) (#39)
by DeadBaby on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 05:59:30 PM EST

I, Of course, do not waste my mind on such silly fiction as religion but I don't hate those who do. I pitty them mostly. I know someday they're going to wake up and realize their life has been someone else's lie and they're going to feel, very, very empty. Likely they'll do the christian thing and just fake it the rest of their lives, keeping their lies nice and fresh.

If they somehow die without realizing what a bunch of BS it has all been... more power too them. I wish I could live a lie and be happy.



"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
Atheists should not be considered citizens? (4.81 / 22) (#40)
by webwench on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:01:39 PM EST

Some of you might find this interesting:

From the Gallup News Service, this report on a recent poll which focused on voting preferences:

"The poll shows that members of certain groups, including atheists, homosexuals, and Mormons, could find that these characteristics, even today, could be taken into account as negative factors by a sizeable portion of the U.S. population."

When 1,014 people were asked if they would vote for people with certain characteristics, here's what the poll found (+/- 3% error):

  • 95% would vote for a black candidate
  • 94% would vote for a Jew or a Baptist for president
  • 92% would vote for a Catholic or a woman for president
  • 79% would vote for a Mormon
  • 59% would vote for a homosexual
  • only 49% would vote for an atheist
The article also shows a history of answers to these questions for years going back to 1937 for some questions.

Nearly as shocking to me personally, I found that seven states' (Arkansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas) state constitutions "require belief in a higher power to hold public office". South Carolina's state supreme court ruled in 1997 that the requirement was unconstitutional, after a College of Charleton professor, Herb Silverman, filed suit. Silverman "is an atheist whose application for notary public was turned down because he had crossed out the part of an oath that read 'so help me God.'" The matter should have been settled in 1961, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot require constitutional officers to profess a belief in God. However, these requirements remain on these states' constitutions.

In 1988, George Bush (Sr) told a reporter, "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."

It's clearly still considered acceptable by a very large portion of Americans to treat the non-religious as second-class citizens.



HAHA! (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by valeko on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:10:24 PM EST

In 1988, George Bush (Sr) told a reporter, "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."

LOL!

Did he really say that? Can you give me a source which can certify the accuracy of this exact quote?

Hahahaha... that's one of the funniest things I've heard in a while.


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Ha-ha funny, or...? (5.00 / 3) (#44)
by webwench on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:27:22 PM EST

Some sources:

www.holysmoke.org | www.religioustolerance.org | www.atheistalliance.org | www.skeptictank.org | www.newgomemphis.com

Actually, you can paste the whole quote into Google and get back hundreds of references to it.



[ Parent ]

err.. yeah... (4.16 / 6) (#48)
by Danse on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 07:07:51 PM EST

So funny I think I might cry. We live in a sick, fucked up country. Comments like that from Bush make him no better than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. He thinks that because we don't believe in his religion, or any other for that matter, that we just aren't as human as he is. We just don't count as much. This is the source of much of the bloodshed and suffering in the world. Pretty sad to see it coming from the president of a country that condemns so many other countries for treating certain groups as second-class citizens, or worse. Mr. Bush is a warped individual.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
It's fucked up if he believes it ... (4.75 / 4) (#52)
by Kalani on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:50:51 PM EST

... but as another poster pointed out, most voters are religious (or want a religious person in office). Religion is often used as a "quick verification" of moral integrity (in the same way that lazy companies use degrees as a quick verification of ability to perform). Any person aspiring to high political office will recognize this and exploit it, regardless of whether or not he/she is religious.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but Bill Clinton also invoked religion to ward off attackers. After the whole Monica thing, he made a point of mentioning "God's forgiveness" and of being seen with clergymen. Without religious overtones, sadly, many people will be incapable/unwilling to understand what is being said.

If you work as a programmer, think of it like the relationship that most programmers have with non-technical hiring departments. Explaining intricate details of your contribution to research in compiler design won't win you any points with a person who doesn't understand what you're talking about, so you invoke the mystical power of buzzwords, a degree, or "industry certification" (ugh).

Don't get me wrong, I am not degrading a university education. In fact I think that it's very valuable (at least to immerse yourself in the concepts that are the ceterpiece of most university coursework), but then I also think that some higher philosphical thought is also important ... and blind faith in a degree is to a university education as blind faith in religion is to far-reaching philosophical thought.

That's life I guess. What you see at the surface of any complex process is a superficial caricature of its underlying structure (and that goes for analyzing society by this token of seeming religious devotion as well).

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Makes no difference... (3.33 / 3) (#60)
by Danse on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 11:50:01 PM EST

Whether he believes it or not, it's fucked up that he would say it at all. He either believes it, in which case my previous post holds true, or he doesn't believe it, in which case he has the moral backbone of a slug. To say such a thing about your fellow citizens, human beings capable of being every bit as good as any religious person, makes him a spineless jellyfish. That he became president only enforces my belief that this country is a bunch of sheep who are lead by the rhetoric of men such as Bush.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
No it makes him a politician ... (4.40 / 5) (#65)
by Kalani on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:55:56 AM EST

... and if you think he's bad for giving a nod to the "silent and perhaps philosophically childish" majority then just wait until the one who really thinks in such simple terms gets elected (well, that may very well be the case with W, I'm not sure).

Unfortunately, it's what the people want. If the people would elect the person who was a paragon of reason, despite his assertions that contradict popular "thought," we wouldn't have to put up with the guys and gals who wield religion like a club. As it is, the people who make it to the federal level are sleeping with corporations more than they are with The Church.

On this subject, I agree with the general statement that Machiavelli made in "The Prince" when he said: "for how we live is so far removed from how we ought to live that he who abandons what is done for what ought to be done shall sooner bring about his own ruin than his preservation."

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
That's OK (2.50 / 4) (#55)
by quartz on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 09:56:59 PM EST

Most atheists are too smart to run for public office anyway.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]
George Senior, not GWB. (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by webwench on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:58:38 AM EST

I've seen enough responses about 'our president' that I thought I'd better restate something -- this remark came from George Bush Sr, the guy who was VP when Reagan was president. George W Bush, the current president, is this guy's son.

[ Parent ]
The highest power (1.00 / 1) (#107)
by nusuth on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 06:06:07 PM EST

... seven states' ... constitutions "require belief in a higher power to hold public office".

I believe in the highest power, $$$, do I get bonus votes?

Perhaps I should stop bashing my country, at least we have had an atheist president (although she didn't admit it publicly.)

[ Parent ]

Guidance (3.75 / 4) (#41)
by holdfast on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:02:33 PM EST

I think, many of us look to some higher sources of information in many of our activities.
For example, When I am dealing with a group of MS Windows computers, I am likely to first of all look up information from the "sacred" sources of Bill - or Technet.
Humans tend to follow leaders. Sometimes this is good. For example I read an article here mentioning Martin Luther King yesterday.
Sometimes it is seriously disasterous - Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so on.

We refer to greater things. We just have to use our intelligence as well. Too often people follow blindly. It is not unheard of for someone to spend ages looking through manuals to solve a problem with a file system to then notice that the IDE cable is loose.
Over the centuries, the faithful of many religions have pored through Holy books and have missed out on the basics. My understanding of a "fundementalist" is someone who puts aside all the experts and checks out the simple things first. Fundementalism is a much maligned concept. I am a fundementalist PC engineer. The first thing I do is look to see if it is plugged in.
People who rely on tradition, or charismatic leaders and their reinterpretations of their religious writings are not fundies. They are just gullible.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
What you say?!? (4.00 / 3) (#77)
by Kalani on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:33:05 AM EST

I am a fundementalist PC engineer. The first thing I do is look to see if it is plugged in.

You and your liberal "PC engineering" ilk disgust me. Whenever *I* encounter unexpected behavior, I rip the case open and pull out my multimeter.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
nontheist here (3.40 / 10) (#45)
by adiffer on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 06:29:35 PM EST

I'm technically a non-theist.
That means I don't believe there is or isn't a God.
I find the whole issue not worth my time anymore because to me the question of whether there is or isn't a God translates to something like 'What is the difference between a duck?'

So...
I don't find religion to be necessary.
I can imagine a world without religion.
I think it would be a better world. It would certainly be different.

I don't think such a world without faith would be all that stable. People tend to form a faith around something that gives their lives purpose. I've done that too. It is unlikely my faith would be interpreted by anyone as a religion, though. By unstable, I do not mean violent or anything like that. A person without some kind of faith tends to find one...that's all.
-Dream Big. --Grow Up.
Apatheist here (none / 0) (#122)
by gauze on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:59:13 PM EST

I don't care if there is a god :-)
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]
I practice the most common U.S. religion ... (2.88 / 9) (#51)
by lvogel on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 08:25:53 PM EST

The Consumer Church of Social/Civil Apathy
-- ----------------------
"When you're on the internet, nobody knows you're a dog!"

-a dog
since we're on the subject (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by Lenny on Sat Feb 09, 2002 at 02:36:13 AM EST

I took a test in school today.


"Hate the USA? Boycott everything American. Particularly its websites..."
-Me
[ Parent ]
Gnostic. Not Agnostic. (4.66 / 6) (#61)
by Dirac Tesseract on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 11:59:35 PM EST

Well, since we seem to be doing a religious "roll-call" of sorts here, I suppose I'll throw my hat into the ring. I consider myself to be kin to the theosophy of Gnosticism. Gnostics know that God exists, because they know that they exist, and Gnostics believe that they contain the very essence of God (a more direct definition of "the soul"). This is not a faith, as faith precludes knowledge. I also do not see it as something to convert others to, because again, conversion precludes knowledge. I do not consider people of other faiths to be "deluded" or "evil," because I trust that they truly know what they know, and if God to them is a separate abstract entity from themselves, then so be it, more power to you.

I don't want to pontificate, but I wanted to say this, because it is rare that I can feel that a conversation about theosophy is going to go over well with others, but this is an intelligent and tolarant group, as far as I have observed. In direct reference to the question at hand, it is my understanding that the relevence of a religion is unimportant, to the point of complete subjectivity. One knows what one does, and the nature of one's knowledge should not be the subject of derisive inquiry, such as that which would be leveraged by those who misconstrue the Socratic method. I'm not saying that the author of this discussion is such a person, rather I am simply concerned about the question of 'relevence' when held in the light of people's knowledge.

I consider this an important question, even if I disagree with what might be the typical implication of it's inquiry, so I give it a +1FP.

As Hermes Trismegistis said, "Know ye not that ye are Gods?"


Sendmail may be safely run set-user-id to root. -- Eric Allman, "Sendmail Installation Guide"
Hello. (2.37 / 8) (#64)
by xriso on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:53:28 AM EST

Please define "religion". Otherwise, please refrain from using such a vague word.

Anyway, I fall under the label of Christian (more specifically, Protestant). It would be great if everyone was a Christian (that's one of the great things about heaven!). Anyway, this is not the case.

I do not question logic, even though it is sometimes very difficult to apply. I do not believe that I should force other people to conform to the Bible, even if it would be wise for them to (if God wanted us to be forced, he would have done so already).

In case you think that all "religion"s are simultaneously true, read John 14:6. It is impossible to have both Christianity and another "religion" true at the same time.

God is a seperate entity who is responsible for our existence. God is the measure of all things.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Regarding "forcing"... (4.00 / 2) (#95)
by Shovas on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 01:13:19 PM EST

Greetings,

"I do not question logic, even though it is sometimes very difficult to apply. I do not believe that I should force other people to conform to the Bible, even if it would be wise for them to (if God wanted us to be forced, he would have done so already). "

God doesn't force. Forcing would be a breach of free will and humans must retain free will for there to be any point at all to his creation.

I beg to differ on your logic not to "force other to confirm to the Bible..." Certainly, you should not force others to conform to the Bible. I get the idea, though, that you mean to say you don't think it is necessary to spread God's word. If that is true, you are sorely mistaken. In this day and age, it is considered highly poor by the world to evangelize to the world. But Christians are not of this world. They live in it, but are not _of_ it. God's command to "make disciples of all nations"(sorry if that's an incorrect quote) completely obliterates your arugment that if God wanted us to, he would force us. It is also not simply because God command Christians to do this. If Christians truly desired to be like God and love their neighbour, it would be an act of love to go our and SAVE these people who are condemned to a much worse fate than I hope you are.

If truly were speaking of "forcing" people to believe, then excuse this interruption and continue with your regular K5 programming. :)

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Yes, evangelism is necessary! [nt] (none / 0) (#113)
by xriso on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:33:43 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Traditional Lapsed Catholic: 'Nuff Said [nt] (1.33 / 3) (#69)
by TON on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 03:16:02 AM EST


"First, I am born. Then, the trouble begins." -- Schizopolis

Ted


-1: assumption that every one has one (2.50 / 4) (#71)
by LQ on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:47:20 AM EST

I hate the assumption that everyone has a religion. When a form asks "religion?", I always put "none". It's such a medieval thing.

Hehehe (3.00 / 2) (#110)
by Pihkal on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:16:30 PM EST

I like to put down "Nunya". And then when they ask about it, I can say "Nunya damn business!!!"

He he he.



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
84% Christianity? (3.33 / 3) (#73)
by Echo5ive on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:18:02 AM EST

Since I was looking up some info about Sweden (my home country) for a curious American the other day, I know that 84% of the Swedish citizens are Christian. On the paper, that is.

I'm a Christian too. I'm a member of the Swedish Church - still on the paper only. I haven't bothered to go get a form so I can leave the church.

The thing is, if both your parents are members of the church, any children automagically become members.

In reality, I'm an atheist - mostly. Occasionally I call myself a Pope of Discordia - I have a certificate that says I am one. You can have one too, just print one and sign it.

Every now and then I tell my friends about the Invisible Pink Unicorn ("How do you know the unicorn is pink if it's invisible?" - "How do you know God exists if you've never seen him/her/it?").

I'm a member of the Illuminati too, but I'm not supposed to tell you that. Hang on, there are some men in black at the door, brb...

*sound of fight and someone getting dragged into a black van and never heard from again*



--
Frozen Skies: mental masturbation.

[OT] Are you a (former) FidoNet user? (2.00 / 2) (#76)
by boxed on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:32:49 AM EST

...or is the invisible pink unicorn a more widely spread concept than I thought?

[ Parent ]
Fidonet still lives! (2.00 / 2) (#78)
by Echo5ive on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:44:51 AM EST

Although barely. It's in its final stages of decay now... but yes, I did hear about the IPU first on Fidonet.



--
Frozen Skies: mental masturbation.

[ Parent ]
Actually... (2.50 / 2) (#89)
by Elendale on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:12:40 AM EST

The invisible pink unicorn argument (or at least, the invisible pink unicorn itself) has existed for a long time. I remember it being used in a philosophy of language class i took when we were talking about audiences/listeners, at least.
In any case, who says there is no invisible pink unicorn? Equal rights for invisible pink unicorn deities!

-Elendale (i can see "The Church of the Pink Unicorn" already...)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
God is an accident of biology (4.33 / 3) (#74)
by kdh on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:18:49 AM EST

Y'see, human beings are social animals, like baboons or dogs, so we are programmed by evolution to recognize other humans as persons like ourselves. Thing is, this recognition of humanity spills over into other objects, leading to the phenomenon of anthropomorphism, which develops, as cultures evolve, into paganism, and more rigorous forms of religion like Seventh-Day-Adventism.

My pet theory is that this phenomenon explains why cats, which are not social animals and thus not genetically predisposed to recognize the personhood of others, torture small animals and are aloof toward humans, whereas dogs are loving toward people and do not torture their food. So you see, if humans had evolved from non-social mammals, we would all be sociopathic atheists.

Too bleak? Try this alternative theory: God is in fact a South Korean Boy Band.

I don't think torture is the right word... (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by Shovas on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:56:12 PM EST

Greetings,

Both dogs and cats can be highly loving to their masters. So, immediately, your idea that cats are not social is flawed. Certainly, they prefer to spend large amounts of time by themselves, but domestic cats also spend a significant amount of time sleeping on their master, lying in parts of the house that are commonly trafficked, sleeping at the front door or in a position to watch it for when someone comes in, or playing(scratching and biting) with their master's hand. Dogs do the same, even to more an extent, but we're speaking of two animals which are domestic, and 'domestic' being the key thought.

To the point, however. Your use of the word 'torture' personifies the subject of the thought when used by a human, as it carries connotations of power, wrong-doing, mean-spirited behaviour and whatnot. These are animals and they are built to procreate and survive. There appears to be no other purpose in their existence(in the vein of emotions, desires, thought, etc.).
As an aside, you may argue dolphins, whales or other animals become "depressed" when in closed spaces or held captive for too long a time. Or, they become "happy" when played with or treated "kindly"(again, using such a word personifies the subject, so let's be careful). The fact is, though, that we know nothing beyond that these animals become simply docile or slow to act. This can be easily attributed to the fact, for instance, that whales in tanks little larger than twice their size have no place to go and nothing to do, and hence no reason to do anything. They don't even have to catch their own food. We must be careful when projecting our behaviour on the animal, if we were in a similar situation.
It may be more correct to say they act with their prey as they do with almost anything that moves. Cats seem literally programmed to go into predator mode, lower themselves to the ground, stalk their prey and get ready to pounce. Simply running my hand across the carpet in plain sight of my pet prompts the animal to go into that predator state. Done just right, the cat will pounce on the hand if I'm not too careful. :)

The important thing to know here is that behaviour of animals seems no more related to why humans act the way they do, as opposed to simply being programmed to procreate and survive(with all the associated attributes of that survival). Remember, we are not yet presented with a case so clearcut as Planet of the Apes.

Farewell,
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Atheist? (3.60 / 5) (#75)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 05:22:19 AM EST

That I guess does not count as a religion of course, but is an interesting indictment about your article that you did not consider that option in your article or poll.

Nevertheless I would like to join the fray:

Do you 'practice' your religion ? And what do you understand by 'practicing a religion' ?

Allowing myself to stretch the word religion to the broader one of belief then I would say I do, I avoid by all means any act of servitude towards something I don't believe in, I fight vigurously any intrussion of religiosity in public life and in general distrust and fight in all the legitimate means to my avail the places where religion tries to make inroads.

How important is your religion to you ? Where would you place it in a list of significant factors that define you ?

Religion has no important part in my life whatsoever, but of course that does not mean I have no moral values(or so I believe :-) ).

Our values, cultures and 'quality of life' have changed over time, has your religion too, and how well does your religion represent it now ?

I have no religion, thus I can't really answer this.

Do you know/understand your religion ? If you think you don't, do you think you will ( maybe make an effort ) at a later point ?

I will never waste my time trying to understand any religion. Anyway religions are not a matter of understanding but of faith otherwise how can we undesrtand why menstruating women can't enter to a Budhist temple or a mosque? Why the dalits (untouchables) are treated like they are in Hinduism? Why Christians can go and obliterate entire populations of people and feel no remorse whatsoever?

Do you hate anybody because of his/her religion ?

Never. I have Muslim, Budhist, Christian and Hindu friends. I pity them for wasting their time in such endeavours but most probably pity is mutal because surely they think I am missing something which I clearly I am not.

I will not delve in the concept of god, an idea that has helped humanity as a whole very little and that has caused immense suffering through human history.
---
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Advaitic (Monistic) Hinduism (4.66 / 6) (#85)
by pilot on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:21:51 AM EST

I guess the diverse K5 crowd is mostly atheistic or Christian. Here's an alternative view. (A timely story too...my roomate and I had a discussion last night that went until 4am :-)

Advaita Vedanta is a branch of religion known as atheistic theism. It is not a religion in the classical Western sense, because there is no God in the traditional sense. What exists is more along the lines of a univsal soul.

Practicing Advaita Vedanta: This amounts to looking at your actions from an objective view (like a vulcan). We try not to let emotion cloud judgement. Of course, we find the religion itself consistent and logical. It is very possible to reach final emancipation through internal logical discrimination (looking within oneself).

Importance of Religion: Very. My religion is tied closely to my culture. And my culture is very important to me.

Time: My religion contains a very small framework with a large number of paths which one can follow. Hinduism as a whole allows us to follow many paths to an end, and hence accepts a wide variety of "contradictions": it includes both atheistic theism, and theistic theism. As time changes my values and life-views, I have shifted paths within advaita vendanta. The Bhagavad Gita which is often called the bible of hinduism, is simply a handbook of these different paths. (And this work is not the definitive handbook. That distinction belongs to a work called the "Brahma Sutra")

Understanding the religion: I understand part of it, and understand the framework from which the rest of it emerges. I have been trying to understand it, but it is difficult. Unlike other major religions, advaita vedants provides a small framework from which "rules" are derived. But the importance belongs to the framework. It is like a dynamist view of life (http://www.dynamist.com)

Religious Hate:I hate people who commit atrocious deeds in the name of their religion. Of course, my religius tradition does not condone hate. It simply clouds judgement.

I hope this little article has helped people realize that eastern religions are significantly different from western religion. Many people would consider Eastern religions an Eastern way of life, and hence, atheistic.

me (2.50 / 2) (#87)
by bsmfh on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:00:38 AM EST

In conclusion, I ask --- Is religion still necessary ? Can you think of a world without it ? Is it a better one, or worse ? No. No. Worse, mostly.

I appreciate your point, as certainly religon is abused by humans as an excuse to commit stupidity and atrocity on a regular basis. However, I think that some good comes from it, and I choose to live with it, and participate in it by conducting my life a certain way. If you can't tell my religon from observing the way I live my life, then I'm doing something wrong. And you can bust me for it.

My personal religion (4.00 / 3) (#88)
by avdi on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 10:02:18 AM EST

In my journey away from Christian fundamentalism and towards less clear-cut areas, where the only surety is that I can never be absolutely sure, I have encountered a surprising phenomenon. Rather falling apart as the basis for my reality was systematically dissasembled by my own doubt, I find myself surprisingly intact. I am coming to realize that, through all the beliefes I have held, and all the belief systems I am now exploring, I have a bedrock personal religion that never changed a whit.

It's not Christianity, or anything else - it's too basic for that. It's more a system of ideals and values than anything else. Profoundly humanist, compassionate, hopeful and chivalrous, it would fit comfortably into Christianity, Buddhism, Paganism, and secular humanism. It can be expressed in terms of any of those systems - and indeed, I can't say which, if any, of those expressions would be the canonical one. I believe in the importance of personal honor; of constant forgiveness; in the power of the invisible bonds between humans, whether expressed in psychological or metaphysical terms. I believe in the importance looking toward whatever transcendent archetypes move you toward more self-actualizing and/or altruistic behaviour. I believe in focussing outward, on my fellow humans and environment, as the only practical path toward inward fulfillment. No matter what formal religion I practice, I believe this deeply personal religion will always be the at the core of that outward expression.

--
Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

Guess (4.62 / 8) (#91)
by priestess on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 12:01:56 PM EST

Do you 'practice' your religion? And what do you understand by 'practicing a religion'?
I practiced my religion for a while, almost getting there, but eventually practice stopped being enough and I had to commit to living it.

By practice I mean stopping all sin. In my church there is only one sin: Not sending thirty dollars to "Bob", so I did that and now I'm SAVED.
How important is your religion to you ?
I live my religion every minute of every day, I breathe it in and fart it out, it's a part of me because, essentially, I make it up as I go along. This works better for me that some strange and alien rule-book, and the Aliens will soon be here to prove my point! Some people want their sins forgiven, but "Bob" excuses mine.
Where would you place it in a list of significant factors that define you ?
First, and last, My religion is more about calling true that which I believe than believing that which is true. It's more about changing the world than changing myself. It's unimportant, yet it does in itself define me because it reflects me. Best of all, I can change it on a whim!
Our values, cultures and 'quality of life' have changed over time, has your religion too,
My religion changes to reflect my view faster than my views change to reflect my reality, or somone elses. Light, you see, has a speeed limit, but Slack travels faster than light, faster than thought, faster even than stillness. If I believe it, and if I utter it drunkenly in a pub, then it's defined as being true. No letter to the pope could travel so quickly.
and how well does your religion represent it now ?
My religion exists for three reasons:
  • To justify any action I care to take
  • To undeniably represent as true the current state of my own mind, even if I'm pissed and whatever
  • To make money for "Bob"
It does all of these, with the exception of the latter anyway, very well indeed. It represents my views becasue it is my views, and nothing else besides.
Do you know/understand your religion ?
Not only do I know and understand my religion, I define it myself, no clergy or pope will pull the wool over my eyes, I'll pull the damned wool over my own eyes. My religion means exactly what I choose for it to mean at any given minute, even when I chose for it to mean something else.
Do you hate anybody because of his/her religion ?
YES!, like all normal, decent, moral, real, inspired religions I hate everyone in a different religion than me, and a good proprotion of those who share the same one. I hate them because they're different than me, and that scares me. I hate them because without the word of "Bob" to keep them sane and moral they might go into a shooting murdering spree at any second. I hate them because they cut their hair in the wrong styles. I hate them becasue they blink funny, they walk with a strange gait and their armpit hair isn't the same as mine. I hate them becasue they're PINK, even when they're brown. I hate them becasue they don't believe in the Conspiracy, or they believe in the wrong one. Make no mistake about it, when the End Of The World comes and they all FRY in eternal torture, when their souls are sucked up and devoured by the elder-gods, when the Xists come to harvest EarthFarm1 and let it lie fallow for a billion years I'll laugh evily on the escape vessels as I watch in 5.1 dolby suround sound digital cinematic smellivision their pain and humiliation. Yes, those who don't share the same religion as me will suffer at the xists hands. Bwahahaha.

Luckily, I don't have to do anything about it, indeed even trying to do so would be more effort than they're worth. However, the Xists should be here to take care of them all for me and whisk me away to eternal sexual and chemical pleasure any minute now. In fact, I better go pack....

Pre..........
Who can't understand why anyone would take this crap seriously.
----
My Mobile Phone Comic-books business
Robots!
I am a transhumanist (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by eemeli on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 02:27:51 PM EST

I have not managed to find a good definition of my beliefs regarding any God (i.e. that the existence of God in unproveable from within our universe). However, the closest thing to a religion I've got is transhumanism, so here's my answer in relation to that. (small note: much of this might not make any sense if you have no idea what I'm talking about; the above page should give a relatively good concise explanation)

  • I practice transhumanism to the extent that I strive to become posthuman. I picked my undergrad course (electronic engineering) partly because of my beliefs, and I try to explain to people what this "transhuman" thing is about if they ask me.
  • In the long term, I consider the coming Singularity one of the most important steps in human evolution. Acknowledging it and believing in that it will take place are important to me. However, in day-to-day life, transhumanism has little effect on my actions.
  • Transhumanism as a philosphy has not really existed for long enough for society to change much yet. One of the basic ideas behind transhumanism is the radical change of society. Whether or not this is already happening is debatable.
  • I think I understand the basis of transhumanism. However, where those ideas may lead us is inherently unknowable.
  • I don't hate anyone. However, active belief in a supernatural makes so little sense to me that I pity those that practice it.

eemeli



Transhumanism versus Judeo-Christian (none / 0) (#103)
by LilDebbie on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:07:30 PM EST

After reading some of the main tenets of Transhumanism, I was surprised to find mainly similarities between it and the Judeo-Christian tradition. I believe this reflects the influence millenia-old philosophy still has on our culture today.

Transhumanists believe in a time referred to as the Singularity, which they jokingly refer to as the "Techno-rapture," a time strikingly similar to the concept of redemption/salvation. This techno-religion thinks mankind will be saved (or damned, as they admit as a possibility) by technology. Furthermore, you stated that you are preparing for this occurence by studying EE (may I say you have the devotion of a saint). This parallels the religous tenet of purification of the spirit by means of sacrifice etc.

This leads me to believe that the transhumanist religion is centered around a deus machina, an AI that, hopefully, will lead mankind into a better, posthuman/Messianic age.

Not to rag on your beliefs, anything that gets you to study EE is quite impressive, but Transhumanism sounds a lot like the pipe-dreams man has always purported as the inevitable future. Mankind will likely always remained flawed, and that is our true glory.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Always is a long time (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by Pihkal on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 07:02:44 PM EST

I feel compelled to take issue with your last sentence. Always is a very long time. On what do you base this assertion, or more likely, belief? Induction is not a valid way to determine knowledge. Just because the sun has risen every day of my life, and every day of everyone's lives before me to the dawn of recorded time, does not mean that I "know" the sun will rise tomorrow. An huge-ass asteroid might smack the earth counter to its direction of spin while I slept, ensuring that the sun will not rise tomorrow. Likewise, just because humanity has been flawed in the past is no guarantee that humanity will continue to be flawed. I will conceed, though, that it may just be a matter of definition. If humanity is something that, by your definition, must be flawed, then anything that eliminates those flaws must be nonhuman.



"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!"
-- Number 6
[ Parent ]
It's not a religion (1.00 / 1) (#131)
by eemeli on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 11:42:59 AM EST

I agree that parallels may be drawn between the Singularity and religious aspirations for ascension or rapture. I'd like to note that Judeo-Christian traditions aren't the only ones that have a similar concept; can you name a single religion that does not have such a concept? However, that's as far as the parallels with religion go.

The reason I "believe" in transhumanism is that to me, it's the obvious path we're taking. The pace of technological development has become exponential during the last 100 years, and there is no reason to doubt that this will continue in the future. If you're interested, read Ray Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns. It probably explains better than I can why this is so obvious to me.

And oh, the reason I picked ElecEng was not for the "purification of [my] spirit by means of sacrifice", but because I thought it'd be the most intersting subject to study, partly because of my belief that very interesting development are and will be happening in this field.

eemeli



[ Parent ]
These days... (none / 0) (#102)
by Scandal on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:03:44 PM EST

I am my own religion. And, no, I don't accept converts. Find your own damn salvation.


*Scandal*


A better idea... (none / 0) (#104)
by paddymick on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 04:49:09 PM EST

Instead of having a God without a religion, how about a religion without a God. Maybe the idea of God is the real weak link here...
Man is a stranger everywhere.
God and religion (none / 0) (#112)
by svampa on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 08:32:48 PM EST

IMHO, religions try to answer these questions:

  • Who created the universe or how it was created?
  • <l>Where do we come from? why are we here?</il>
  • What is after death?</il>
  • What's good and what's evil?</il>

    A common answer to the first two questions is "a god knows why" even politheist religions have a "master god" who started everything

    The sense of good and evil usually is blended with a reward or a punishment after death, and sometimes the juzge is a god

    Sorrunding the whole thing may be priests, that know better than you the answers, rituals etc.

    Finally, you feel you belong to a comunity, a group that have the same religion, that fix good/evil with laws, and some times fix rituals as laws too.

    Religion with God is a question from a west point of view. Budism has no gods, they are borrowed from cultural comunities. The lot of religions of India (what's known as hinduism) have gods for everything... on the earth, but those gods have little to do with what happens after death.

    Religion fanatism has little to with religion, as violence in sport teams supporters has little to with sport. It has to do with comunity feelings. In religions with A GOD, you add a very big leader... that may order you to conquer, even sacrifying your life, by peaceful means (misonary) or by violence inquisition.

    According with my parents I should be catholic. But I have my own answers for those questions, I am sure they are as right or wrong as Pope answers.

    Do I practice my religion?, do I live according with my own answers? well... I try it hard. Do I practice rituals.. church etc? no

    This just my point of view about religion and God



  • Religion's role in self-definition (none / 0) (#114)
    by RadiantMatrix on Fri Feb 08, 2002 at 09:32:07 PM EST

    Religion -- or the lack of it -- is most definately important to one's view of oneself.

    A person's religion (or lack thereof) does much to shape thier world-view. As such, religious background is a large factor in creating what I like to call everyone's "personal philosophy" -- our way of filtering and interpreting experiences, making decisions, and so on.

    Even those who are "born-again atheists" (those who were raised with strong faith in religion, but ceased to believe in God/religion later in life) cannot deny that their religious upbringing has absolutely no effect on how they view the world.

    As Voltaire so rightly said: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to create Him." Or, to be more egalitarian: 'Whether gods exist or not, humanity needs to believe in them.'

    Maybe someday we will evolve to the point where humanity no longer needs to believe in higher power. The question at hand then will be whether a god ever existed, or whether gods were only ever a creation of the human mind.

    --
    No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

    What GOD??? (3.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Sattwic on Thu Feb 21, 2002 at 03:45:36 AM EST

    Buddhism is the world's third largest religion. A religion WITHOUT A GOD.
    How do you reckon with that fact?

    Buddhism is a Atheist Religion. Yet, has the most complete and admirable ethical system as compared to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    Means what: God is not necessary or a belief in God is not necessary to behave well towards other living beings. Belief in God and Ethical life are not so closely bound as many people think.

    Buddhism or Hinduism (and Jainism) are basically Non-violent and peaceful religions.. tolerant to other belief systems since they do not preach 'exclusiveness' to a club called Heaven. (They Don't have a eternal Heaven or promises of sone eternal reward for faith/deeds either: They are not seeking to buy your soul/faith with Heaven)

    Advaita Vedanta (A School of Thought in Hinduism) teaches that the Soul is GOD, This life and world is an illusion and that we as a person are nothing but a numerous number of neurons, neurotransmitters and electrons which make up the mind, the personality, consiousness and Life. We are in Reality, The Reality Itself: GOD.
    The Illusion of 'Self' is so strong that we are lost in living a life with self made goals, seeking pleasure and shunning pain, without realisation of what life is and its relationship to reality. We are God, dreaming that we are what we think we are right now.

    The Point is: Religion has been the cause of many wars and bloodshed.
    The Question is not whether we need religion or not, but the real search is for the optimum and humanistic religion which, on application, will not be the cause of warfare, but will be a force for coherence and tolerance.



    How relevant is your religion ? | 135 comments (120 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Display: Sort:

    kuro5hin.org

    [XML]
    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!