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Would the world be better or worse without religioin?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
mark black
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Post by mark black » November 8th, 2008, 7:53 am

Kshatriya,

How can you string together all the right ideas, and yet come to the wrong conclusion?

I agree that abandoning religion we are faced with a nihilistic crisis, but it's one that is created by religion. Youthful indioctrination with fantastic ideas is an enchantemnt that creates an emotional dependence on what an inquiring, adult, rational mind can scarcely credit.

But it's only with our eyes fixed upon the heavens do we imagine the abyss before our feet. Looked at rightly, the reality is more spiritually profound than any religious dogma.

Billions of years of evolutionary struggle, of generation after generation struggling to survive and breed, gives us the ability to think and feel and know. We are the achievement of intellectual awareness by life on earth - a part of the beautiful and majestic reality of the natural world.

The individual dies, and the species lives on. Thus, our individual moral and spiritual worth is realized by securing the continued existence and welfare of the species. In order to do so we need to act on the basis of rational knowledge, as opposed to religious, political and economic ideology, and to be a little more humble in our wants - in order to balance human welfare and environmental sustainability.

And this by no means infers a return to some rural aesthetic, but the application of scientific knowledge and technology on the basis of merit, rather than for profit - to secure this balance.

The age of ideology is at an end, one way or another. It will either end or put an end to humankind. I think it will be brought to an end, because it is clearly false; epistemically and morally wrong - and for that reason, constantly undermines itself.

Scientific truth is the new religion - the way and the light. Life grows toward the light and flourishes.

mb.

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Post by Belinda » November 8th, 2008, 3:02 pm

Mark black, I often agree with you, but I disagree that a species should be the chosen unit of value. I think that a species(e.g.the human species)is an abstract concept . True it is a scientific concept that has tremendous corollaries such as the Human Genome Project with all the accompanying benefits for human individuals and helping them to not get diseases. However I think that the human individual is more than a grand and fertile concept, and even mapping the human genome is justifiable only with reference to the welfare of the human individual as the prime unit of value.

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Akhenaten
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Post by Akhenaten » November 9th, 2008, 9:07 pm

Have you ever heard of the human condition, the Universal Human Condition, known as a 'Scotoma'? Its where-in the mind sees things, and basically translates them into things it can comprehend.

For a decent example, not too long ago a man had a surgery to implant two devices inside his head, to replace his optical nerves. He, for the first time in over 40 years, can see... however he has no idea what he is seeing. His mind cannot make the connection between the visual data and any 'Visual Memory' as its termed. Because of this, the only memories had being those of childhood, he will often mistake almost on the level of a hallucination one object for another. His mind forces him to see something that really isn't there, even with the chip feeding the data directly to his optical centers, simply because its referencing it to a memory.

This concept works for science. Every great scientific find was looked for. Those that happened by random accident often caused much heartache, grief, and was generally exploited to some other means, so lets not include those.

Lets take Physics:

We knew there were planets out there with us, we found them. We then knew there were stars, billions of them... we've found billions. We then knew we were in a galaxy, spinning... we found it. We knew there were other galaxies, we found them. We knew that space was infinite and it pretty much is. We knew there were black holes, we found them. We knew there was Dark Matter, We found it. We knew there were quarks, we found them. We knew there were Fundamental Particles, we found them. We knew there were Supernovi, we found them. We knew there were Gamma Ray Bursts, we found them. We knew there was background microwave radiation from the big bang, we found it. We know there are aliens among us, we begin to see them constantly.

Does anyone else see a trend? Especially since we -knew- all of these things before we ever found traces of them. People set off to find Noah's Ark, they find it. They set off to find the home of Pontias Pilate, they found it... the list goes on. We justify our existence and fundamental beliefs daily by producing them ourselves. The mind sees what it wishes to see.

For decades of staring at the sky, we couldn't find a chunk of ice in our little neighborhood that was bigger than our moon, yet we were beginning to detect planets around other stars? No one saw 3 planetoids in our outer solarsystem, large ones, until they looked for them directly. Odd, as the hubble had taken snapshots of almost every inch of our sky within the boundaries of the Cloud.

Science is not an attempt to learn what is there, it is an attempt to prove what we think is there, and does so on a regular basis. Sadly, every so often, every major scientific fact is overturned by a new, and incredibly different one. The only ones that survive are the Theories. We are even beginning to question Thermodynamics in certain respects. Those were... well... the laws.
DISCLAIMER: THIS DOCUMENT does not cover all individuals in the infinite and variable universe. This is in no way is speaking on cases of incredible, random, or odds of more than 1 : Pi against probability.

mark black
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Post by mark black » November 9th, 2008, 10:01 pm

Belinda,

A species is not merely an abstract concept. Its basis is a biological/genetic reality. All life on earth is related at some remove, but a species is a breeding group that produces fertile off-spring and thus perpetuates itself.

The individual is important, but the species almost infinitely more so. It's not a mere numbers game - that two people are worth more than one, but that the individual is made, in every concievable respect, of that which can only be fostered by the species. Individuals do not evolve - species evolve, and bestow the benefits of evolution on the individual. No individual creates language or culture, or develops thier own knowledge, nor can the individual be born or have the means to survive. Our individual life - our ability to think, feel and know, our language, skills, our very existence is the gift of the species. Everything we are and know is the product of thousands of generations struggling to survive and breed and know - adding thier incremental individual contribution to the collective pot that is humankind.

Similarly, the individuality inherent to democracy and capitalism is not about the individual per se - but about making society work. In law, politics and economics the interests of the individual are routinely subjected to those of the collective - be it society or the company..., and to abstract concepts like justice, so why not the species?

mb.

mark black
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Post by mark black » November 9th, 2008, 10:18 pm

Akanahten,

Please explain to me how there can be such things as traffic lights if everyone sees what they want to see. Never mind that traffic lights wouldn't work to stop the traffic because we'd all want to see a green light - the technologu couldnt have been developed - nor any other technology. There could be no books or media of any kind, no written or spoken language unless the perception of one person were similar to that of another. Where differences in understanding arise, the difference is not in what is percieved - but in how perception is interpreted. We all see the same reality, but like two people obseriving the same meteor shower, one sees ferrous rock burning up in the atmosphere, while another sees a good omen. The difference between them is that the first is an astrophysicist while the other is a woman whose lover has just proposed marriage. In short, it is the terms in which we view reality that account for apparent differences in perception. But reality exists, and perception is limited, but accurate to reality.

mb.

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kiwi bird
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Re: Would the world be better or worse without religioin?

Post by kiwi bird » November 22nd, 2008, 1:23 pm

Well, suppose there never were any religiosity. Then we need to re-think the whole history of philosophy and science. And that is way too difficult task: suppose the greeks had no thoughts on gods, that there were no church fathers who transferred the greek philosophy to middle ages, and that there were no theologians who created the modern university. And maybe religion is originally, at least partly, about that human curiosity, that predated science and philosophy also. Just as science and philosophy, it seeks to explain our experience (among other things).

I don't mean that science and philosophy depends on religion today. Maybe we should focus on current times. How about we reformulated the question, for example like this: "If all forms of religiosity ceased to exist right now, would the world become better?"

But then we have another problem (and anyone familiar with cultural anthropology and scientific study of religion is familiar with this also): what is religion? Western folk are used to the idea that we separate non-religious and religious activity (and thus, giving birth to now-dated definitions such as "religion is a belief in supernatural god" etc.) But this is not the case everywhere. There are cultures that see their spirits and gods are just as natural, as the house they live in. They might not even have a word for "religion". Now if we speculate about religion disappearing, what would disappear in those type of cultures?

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Post by Belinda » November 22nd, 2008, 3:41 pm

Akhenaten, Nov9, I agree and I would put it this way and I wonder if you agree with it.

We need to find patterns in the world that make sense. The patterns are concepts. Scientists find patterns too and call them theories. Philosophers ask questions about the ontological status of the patterns. Mystics in mystical states don't need patterns.

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Post by Belinda » November 22nd, 2008, 3:43 pm

Kiwi the best way of tackling the problem you describe (that I have encountered) is to say 'religious experiences' instead of 'religion'.

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kiwi bird
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Post by kiwi bird » November 23rd, 2008, 5:26 am

Belinda wrote:Kiwi the best way of tackling the problem you describe (that I have encountered) is to say 'religious experiences' instead of 'religion'.
Yeah, that's one way to go. But I suppose we still have the problem of definition ('religious experience'). I think we're gonna need several, as no good definition is capable of including all traditions in the world.

A bit offtopic, sorry.

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Akhenaten
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Post by Akhenaten » November 23rd, 2008, 9:46 am

Mark Black:

Like all lifeforms we emit energy in varied forms and wavelengths, two of these are alpha and beta waves. Brain waves, if you will. Alpha waves respond as active neural function, beta waves your autonomic functions. These are very low intensity, but we do have fairly common machines that use this to their advantages in certain medical and legal issues. Now, as with all energy it is moved and distorted by gravity and the earth's magnetic field, much like the Van Alan belt (which I have no idea how to spell).

Generally speaking people dismiss comments that use the term Energy in relation to something originating from the human body. Unfortunately they're generally justified with the quasi-esoteric non-sense spouted fairly often. However, let me assure you, that by Energy I mean wavelengths of a detectable, measurable, and labeled nature.

If this is the case, and as our mind operates using the same form of energy, it would... network, I suppose one could say. Not that human beings share minds, its that large groups of people can adjust and change reality. This has been proven in dozen's of cases, the most famous of which are easily findable on Google, of individuals gathering to change weather patterns, crime rates over short periods, and so forth. They do this by spending days, consentrating on a certain goal. The largest of these experiments used over 4000 people, and had a very amazing result... most of these were funded by various governments and very public.

With this, we all see a green light, or a red light, at the time that we all expect to. When you feel angry and frustrated at sitting at a red light too long, look around you and pay attention to the other drivers as well. They share your feelings, atleast the fundamental ones, on the situation. As the old adage goes 'A watched pot never boils.' The only issue is, unfortunately, that humans don't tend to notice the fact that so many people around them feel the exact same as they do at the time. Have you ever noticed those whom complain that they have no friends, truly don't? Yet those who never seem to question it have a veritable band of merry wo/men. Let us, for sake of meerly logical argument, list a couple of situations where this blatantly applies:

When we are scared, we start to make other's around us nervous.

When we see someone crying in a good story line of a show, our throat clenches up, if not crying fully.

When someone gags and vomits, it makes us (most people) gag and/or vomit as well.

Men, when we see another man get kicked in his jewels, our groin twinges.

When we see soldiers blown apart, our stomache turns.

When we laugh (diabolical aside), others around us feel better.

Sincerity can be felt by any one of us a mile away, save that women tend to have more manipulative control.

When someone lies to us, especially about something important or dear to our hearts, we often know the truth long before they, or we, will admit it.

Our physical structure falls within specified ranges, as do all life forms thus far exhibited on our planet. This has been so obvious for so long egypt had found the Fibanocci sequence thousands of years before Fibanocci.

~

One can look around them, if they stop, look, and listen to every one else, just the average people on the street... watch them, and then think about your own mood. Does your mood match your thoughts? Often not, this tends to make our mind get 'side tracked.' How often do people actually do this? Seldom, as the concept has become tabboo and even considered rude by most.

The greatest of all human achievements have been brought about by people that had, at some fundamental level, a common goal. Often, the larger the number of people, the easier their task was. I am not meerly speaking of building projects or war.

We forget in today's day and age that for over 40,000 years of -known- history, people have congregated into small similar groups, across the world. Traditional in -all- of these small societies was the concept of feasting... 'town gatherings' one might say. Those most skilled ruled, those considered wise advised, and other than that men were free. One cannot claim women were not free, as one can easily see in the stories of Bodica, Nefertiti (sp?) and other such ancient female leaders... male dominance seems to be a side effect of monotheism. We are not as close to one another as we were for the greater portion of human history, yet we think we are now somehow greater for it? As the saying goes 'Divide and Conquer.' Namely because its easier that way. I smell propoganda and greedy influences, but thats just me.

We've been taught, by science of course, which is and always had been funded primarily by government organizations (Atleast the ones you hear about more often), of course that anyone talking about anything concerning this is paranoid, dilluted, or simply an idiot.

Lets take a look at your average American person, since that is what most of us are:

Working knowledge of technology that is 5-10 years out of date.

Oblivious as to the dealings of their own government, using their money and lives as bargaining chips.

Unaware of the laws that are being passed, and those who are often have not read them in detail.

Unaware of even the basic precepts covered in the Declairation of Independence nor the Constitution, the two most important documents governing how their lives should be.

A working knowledge of physics and science that is 10-20 years out of date.

A working knowledge of medicine that is 10-20 years out of date.

Paranoid of their government. (granted we American's know our government lies, cheats, kills, and steals, so I am not sure if that still quallifies.)

Distrustful of social classes lower than their own. (Thankfully, you're warranted as the crime rate gets higher the farther down you go.)

Scared of other human beings more than wild animals or natural disasters. (If you're from Louisiana then this may not apply again yet.) Lets be honest, you'd be more afraid to see a maniac than a bear, and ones more likely to maul you to death than the other... and hey, one is not almost a ton.

More concerned with what others think of us, than what our own families do. Often, now days, we tend to want to show that we do not care what others think of us, yet we go through so much trouble to assure them of this.

~

Yes, we're so very unique in our thought patterns. :roll:

The sad part is that all of the things above are true, and you can test this by going outside right now and asking a few questions of the first person you run across.

They are true because we say so. Why are gas prices so high? Because we believe in money. Believing in money means that if that number up on the board is bigger, you need more green pieces of paper. This, basically, is money. Its something that has no real value, except possibly as fire starter, yet it can take from you everything that you spend a lifetime working for. Its like carrying a grenade in your pocket, that you trade for lunch, and one day, no fault of your own, it might explode. Tantamount morons from an objective stand point? Yes. And no I will not debate a better system, as the better systems require a better standard of people.

We create our own reality, the evidence is quite litterally every where you look. Does a truely colorblind person understand what a color is, and for those who meerly see the wrong colors can they see the real color? No, their mind has no visual or experienced frame of reference... yet some how there are many people suffering from this condition who can learn how to distinguish colors in other ways. You are telling me that spectral analysis (which compared with the motion detection of the side vision, and the detail and focusing speed of the pupil, is meerly a luxury.) is so important that the brain manifests the 'color' concept into a new sense? Not only that, but it apparently does this with no outside resources and no base code to work with.

People will pray with a holy man, yet blow themselves up or endure torture for a fanatic. We believe what we believe, the illusion that you believe, percieve, or think anything is meerly that, an illusion. Most people never spend enough time soul searching to figure out who they are any more... to many other worries.

(P.S. I think I got alpha and beta waves backwards, but I can never remember the 50/50 choices :roll: )
Last edited by Akhenaten on November 27th, 2008, 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DISCLAIMER: THIS DOCUMENT does not cover all individuals in the infinite and variable universe. This is in no way is speaking on cases of incredible, random, or odds of more than 1 : Pi against probability.

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Akhenaten
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Post by Akhenaten » November 27th, 2008, 2:07 pm

*Tallies a point* 8) ... :lol:
DISCLAIMER: THIS DOCUMENT does not cover all individuals in the infinite and variable universe. This is in no way is speaking on cases of incredible, random, or odds of more than 1 : Pi against probability.

df544
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Post by df544 » February 20th, 2009, 8:53 pm

I think the world where people practice their desires is better with a "God" religion.

That is, the difference between today's capitalist society and that of the ancient Egyptians is that at least the base of the pyramid building have a little more than the slaves did then.

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