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Religion

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 (Edited)

A thread that is sure to be locked if not used carefully, but one I could not find, and one I think this site deserves.

Besides, since my brillian thread over here was locked, I figure we deserve another, perhaps less sarcastic, look at religion.

Clear rules should be set up and followed here.  Of course I have no way of enforcing such things, but they are sensible guidelines to prevent this thread from being locked.

1) Be respectful.  You have the right to disagree with anyone's belief system.  You may even think it worth nothing but doodoo.  But when addressing the largest single religious organization (The Catholic Church) or a cult followed by a single individual, speak respectfully.  Again, this does not mean you cannot point out aspects with which you disagree.  It simply means that when you disagree, do so with respect.  Have I been redundant enough?

2) No personal insults.  Pretty obvious, but since we're dealing in a particularly sensitive topic, things could be easily misconstrued.

3) Take time out.  If a conversation becomes heated, don't be afraid to agree to a break in discussion till heads are cooler.

4) Be cautious in humor.  While you may feel you are being innocently playful, be aware that your comments may still offend.  I have no problem with people making jokes (go ahead and make some multiple wife joke at me, I promise I'll smile and go home and tell my wife about it; and my other wife; and my concubine; and my betrothed; and my mistress).  Just be cautious, and if you do offend someone, don't be afraid to apologize.

5) Don't tell my one and only wife about the above made joke, or I won't even have any wives to joke about :)

 

That's it for the rules, guidelines, suggestions, etc.  Let's have a good, clean brawl.

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:-/

Yes, this a thread that should be here, but I doubt that that many people want to share their belief system.

However, if handled correctly, this could be an interesting thread.

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Now that I've created this thread, I want to address the topic of the supposedly ideal religiously-void society.  For instance, the 10 Commandments in front of a court house.  I oppose removing such images.  Even if I were not Christian (yes, Mormons are Christian) or Jewish, or even Samaritan (there are indeed a few of those still around), I would not demand such be removed.  We maintain cultural items, even if there is a religious element mixed in there.  Should I demand we remove Indian pottery with ancient religious symbolism from a public museum?  I don't think so, because even if you don't worship the same way the Anasazi did, you can still appreciate the cultural significance of their religion and its impact (albeit small) on our lives today.

Let me give you an example of what I feel is not the ideal: the country of Uruguay does not have a Christmas or Easter holiday.  Now they still acknowledge such days as holidays, but give them some generic name, like Tourism Week for for Holy Week, etc.  Of course anyone can celebrate the religious holiday if they wish, but the religious aspect is completely ignored by the government.  Again, there is cultural significance to these days, even if you choose not to take part in the religious aspect.  I would have no problem living in a foreign nation and getting a day off and calling it by the prevalent religion's name without taking part in the religious aspects.  Heck, I might even go ahead and take part in the religious aspects, just to understand the people better!

Finally, where I work and where so many work, you cannot display Christmas decorations at Christmas time.  To me, this is not appropriate.  Would you ask a Buddhist not to display a Buddha statuette on his or her desk?  Would you ask a Wiccan to remove plants from his or her work area?  I think that these things would be overstepping bounds.  And Christmas has been secularized to the point that one need not even allude to Christian origins.  Why can I not celebrate what is part of my culture, simply because other people don't share that cultural identification?

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Ziggy Stardust said:

:-/

Yes, this a thread that should be here, but I doubt that that many people want to share their belief system.

However, if handled correctly, this could be an interesting thread.

 I am generally rather open about my beliefs.  Hopefully I got it started on the right foot, and that it remains civil.

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darth_ender said:

 ...Even if I were not Christian (yes, Mormons are Christian)....

I don't really know much about Mormonism. Besides the fact I went to see the jail they put Joseph Smith in a couple of weeks ago.

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^Ah, you were in Carthage, Illinois?  Or was it Liberty, Missouri?  Or perhaps you visited one of the lesser knowns, in which case, I have no idea which jail you visited.

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Liberty. It was pretty interesting, and they weren't trying to convert me or anything. So it was pretty cool.

The bank that Jesse James robbed was right up the street.

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The problem with stuff like the 10 commandments in front of a court house, is that stuff like that is very prone to actually being taken seriously by some.

Some imagery on old pots in museums or restaurants is one thing.
Making a rather bold insinuation that a COURT OF LAW may be somehow operating under Biblical authority, is something completely different.

Fine if they don't, but anyone putting something like that in front of a court house should be aware of the implications of it, and leave it as a form of provocation at best.
When the Bible and Christian imagery have become mere "cultural artifacts" in our society, then there would be no problem.


PS:
As for respect - there is no need at all to personally abuse people for their beliefs, BUT: if someone finds a belief stupid, they should be free to say so. It'd be a no-go in a friendly table debate among friends, but shouldn't be a taboo on an open discussion forum.

I don't see why "offense" should be something one should care greatly about when making statements. I simply don't.
If an insult is aimed at some acquaintance or loved one, fine, I can see that - but we also have a tendency to attach our egos to idols, authority figures or worldviews and get hurt whenever someone "insults" them, and I don't see any reason to show regard for that.


The way I see it, religious people either think they have valid reasons to adhere to their beliefs, or they consciously believe in something they know is completely ridiculous on a rational basis.
The first group should be laughing at the ridicule; the second can still say "talk to the hand; the face realizes that".

The third group that tends to make stupid arguments and show complete ignorance of rationality or (common) knowledge, doesn't deserve much extra respect for their views imo.

Haven't seen any of those on here, though... or, there was a guy who PMed me to stop saying "god damn" on his thread because it was blasphemous... so if he comes here... LOL.

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A topic I'd like to raise myself:

On the premise that religions are made of delusions and unfounded claims (if someone thinks they have evidence, this point doesn't apply there) - should it be considered an ideal that people are better off living in reality, or could one say that being able to live in delusions is a "valuable" aspect of being human?

I mean, we all know of plenty of cases where delusion results in indisputably BAD things - intolerance and bigotry, crankery, damage inflicted on society, health, etc..
Some forms could also be called positive - the belief in a blissful afterlife or seeing their loved ones again may have a therapeutic and comforting effect (excluding the questions whether it could motivate people to treat death with less care); a belief in some kind of divine judgment may keep some people in line, or give them motivation to live up to their own (or in the worse cases, society's) moral values.


As far as I'm concerned, the fun definitely ends when unfounded beliefs make their way into public education and start mixing up with... well, known facts.
I don't see how something like that can be good for a society.

However, talking about personal offense again (the kind that results from burst bubbles) - should those bubbles be respected and treated with care at the fear of taking away some relevant crutch from a mind, or... should they be burst because they're bubbles?

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Technically I was raised Catholic but over the years I've come to view religion as more of a suggestion than a requirement.

In the end, all religions seek to accomplish the same thing - at best, teach people how to be nice to each other; at worst, brainwash them into living their lives (and dying, depending on the individual or group in charge) the way someone else tells them to.  Where you land between those extremes depends on how well-balanced you were to start with.

My outlook on life - we’re all on the Hindenburg anyway…no point fighting over the window seat.

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I guess I would classify myself as a pro-theism agnostic with mixed feelings about religion. I like the idea of a benovolent God existing and there being some sort of plan/design to the universe, though I myself can't believe in either at this time due to a lack of conclusive evidence. As for religion, I believe that in the right hands it can be a progressive force for good, encouraging self-improvement, brotherly love, and cultural evolution, while in the wrong hands it can be used to gain personal power, spread ignorance, nurture intolerance, and control others.

suspiciouscoffee said:

Canon is fake, I do what I want.

***

Divergent Universes

Dreams of a Randy Git-Fiend

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twooffour said:

The problem with stuff like the 10 commandments in front of a court house, is that stuff like that is very prone to actually being taken seriously by some.

Some imagery on old pots in museums or restaurants is one thing.
Making a rather bold insinuation that a COURT OF LAW may be somehow operating under Biblical authority, is something completely different.

So I take it that you have no problem with the 10 commandments being posted in a public park then?  After all, I doubt the no littering signs are operating under the 10 commandments.  And on the reverse, I doubt you are one of those liberal Muslim apologists who say it's okay for a Sharia court to operate in the UK.


Fine if they don't, but anyone putting something like that in front of a court house should be aware of the implications of it, and leave it as a form of provocation at best.
When the Bible and Christian imagery have become mere "cultural artifacts" in our society, then there would be no problem.

But there you are wrong, my friend.  Regardless of one's adoption of the religions themselves, our values today have been shaped by a Judeo-Christian cultural heritage.  If the majority of this nation's founders and citizens had been Hindus or Muslims, do you believe the same ideals would be represented in our society?  Certainly many similarities would exist, but there would be vast differences in the evolution of our present culture vs. this hypothetical one.  Our laws today, whether you like it or not, have been influenced by the 10 Ccommandments.



PS:
As for respect - there is no need at all to personally abuse people for their beliefs, BUT: if someone finds a belief stupid, they should be free to say so. It'd be a no-go in a friendly table debate among friends, but shouldn't be a taboo on an open discussion forum.

I don't see why "offense" should be something one should care greatly about when making statements. I simply don't.
If an insult is aimed at some acquaintance or loved one, fine, I can see that - but we also have a tendency to attach our egos to idols, authority figures or worldviews and get hurt whenever someone "insults" them, and I don't see any reason to show regard for that.

 I believe my first post said it was okay to criticize another's religion.  Just be respectful.  Simply saying, "Baptists are crazy, overzealous, Bible-thumping bigots" is not appropriate.  However, if one feels this way about Baptists, they need simply state, "I disagree with the overly-literal interpretations of the Bible utilized by Baptists, in addition to their rigid mindset and intolerance of others' ideas."  See the difference?

The way I see it, religious people either think they have valid reasons to adhere to their beliefs, or they consciously believe in something they know is completely ridiculous on a rational basis.
The first group should be laughing at the ridicule; the second can still say "talk to the hand; the face realizes that".

The third group that tends to make stupid arguments and show complete ignorance of rationality or (common) knowledge, doesn't deserve much extra respect for their views imo.

Haven't seen any of those on here, though... or, there was a guy who PMed me to stop saying "god damn" on his thread because it was blasphemous... so if he comes here... LOL.

I'm glad you have a way you see it.  That's the value of opinions, and opinions are the reason I established this thread.  However, you oversimplify, and as our discussion was headed in the politics thread, you tend to disregard many of my valid arguments and beat other items to a pulp.  Let me finally reiterate my view from there without going into greater depth at this point:

There are multiple ways to view the universe, not just the skeptic's way.  While science leads to greater understanding of how it all workds, it is not the only way to appreciate the world.  Take art.  What is beautiful for one may be hideous to another.  To the one who finds the art beautiful, that is his or her truth, and all scientific studies could not disprove that person's understanding of what makes something beautiful.

Take illness.  Scientific studies have allowed physicians to treat and cure countless afflictions.  But when a doctor asks, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how  much pain are you in?" are they requiring scientific evidence to back it up?  If their screenings find nothing physically wrong with the person, or at least nothing that should warrant a severe pain, do they tell the patient, "You're just delusional; you're not really in that much pain"?  Of course not.

Our understanding of intuition is quite limited.  Even barring any supernatural reasons, when someone receives intuition later proved correct, how do we react?  "It's pure coincidence," you might say.  Or were they perceiving details and reasoning them out without conscious effort?  We may not be able to scientifically prove how they came to that conclusion, but that does not necessarily prove the conclusion as coincidental.

Occam's razor suggests that we accept theories that require the fewest assumptions.  Nevertheless, when we accept a theory as likely truth, we do not simply discard all other theories.  There are competing theories to define the "Theory of Everything."  I am not the one to tell which makes the fewest assumptions, but let it be said that there are certainly stronger and weaker theories.  Yet, in the end, we may find that one of the less popular theories is closer to the truth.

The same can be said of religion.  Assumptions are made, and it relies on subjetive data for the seeker to arrive at his or her conclusions.  But just like art, abstract concepts, illness, intuition, and so many other things out there, simply lacking evidence to prove it true does not make something false.  And just like so many things, there is more than one way to test for truth.  It simply is the case that not all things are as easily demonstrated to the rest of the world.

Now twooffour, we have had a tendency to butt heads.  I probably will ignore your future posts simply for the sake of keeping the peace and preserving a thread that I feel deserves a place here.  But if you are to proudly assert how insensitive he is to the rest of the world, don't be so dang sensitive when anyone makes a lighthearted jab or disagrees with you.  You sure get worked up over little things, even when meant in good fun and even if only directed at what you believe as opposed to you personally.  Lighten up.

The beauty of opinions is that they are varied.  Just because you can state your opinion with passion and many words does not make it correct.  But if you want people to listen, persuasion is a far more powerful tool than verbally clubbing us as if you were an arctic seal poacher.  And respecting other's opinions though you disagree might earn you a little respect in return.

Hope to hear more from you, but like I said, I will probably not reply.  No offense.  It's not like I hate your guts.  I just don't want another brilliant thread of mine locked by Big Mama.

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I would discuss my religion, but I don't want to be looked at differently, so instead I will add my opinion every once and a while until you can solve the puzzle.

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I love comparative religion, and would not look at you differently, regardless of your beliefs.  However, your thoughts are fair.  Besides, I already take you for an utterly hopeless weirdo, so I doubt your religion would change that.

 

Oops!  Rule 2! ;)

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Well, the politics thread is still around.  If those who are jerks are ignored, I feel it can also be a good platform for mutual understanding and beneficial discussion.

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Ziggy Stardust said:

I would discuss my religion, but I don't want to be looked at differently, so instead I will add my opinion every once and a while until you can solve the puzzle.

 I should add that none of us would look at you differently if you confessed to being a member of the Ministry of David Bowie and sang hymns every Thursday night, such classics as "You Remind Me of the Babe," and "Under Pressure."

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After all, I doubt the no littering signs are operating under the 10 commandments.  And on the reverse, I doubt you are one of those liberal Muslim apologists who say it's okay for a Sharia court to operate in the UK.



Not sure what you mean exactly.
No, I don't think that any law system should be built on religious dogma, no matter whether its Islam or Christianity.

As for 10 commandments on the front door, as I said, I didn't say that should somehow be forbidden, but I think an insitution that already should be trying to make a point of being secular, would do best by not generating contradicting imagery in a social environment where not everyone is actually convinced that a secular law system without a Bible is any good.



our values today have been shaped by a Judeo-Christian cultural heritage.



I don't see how that matters.
They've been shaped by people who, while mostly accepting Christian beliefs, have had the most differing "interpretations" of it that you could imagine.

If the Reconstructionists were at power, we'd have a hardcore theocracy with stoning, propaganda and mandatory religion.
As it happens, we've got people who believe in the moral side of it.

So seeing that we could have ANY sort of society under the banner of "Judeo-Christian", and anything from "do not kill" to "kill the unbelievers" could be justified, we have to conclude that we ended up like this because of... the people who took their faith into a particular direction.

Should we pay our dues to the religious influence, or to the people who thought Sermon on the Mount was better than Exodus?
Should we stress that we have our values and laws from the Bible, when in actuality we cherry-picked the parts we found agreeable, that don't need any religious influence to deduce in the first place?


All I know is, America has been founded on the separation of church and state, and I don't see why a court of law should prefer to make any implications to the contrary.
The 10 Commandments begin with an order to worship Yahweh and no other Gods. Why should we need THAT in front of a secular court of law?

We realize why stealing is bad based on LIFE. We've also realized that commanding people to believe in a certain God is stupid, so we've discarded that.
I'd much rather have a giant brain printed on the front door than a list of commands judging thought crime.




"I disagree with the overly-literal interpretations of the Bible utilized by Baptists, in addition to their rigid mindset and intolerance of others' ideas."



But that's the thing, though, we don't have any such bible-thumping bigots on here, so why not call them that if there's no one to offend?
However, should any actual bigot or racist or whatever come on this thread, he'll get no sweet-talk or respect from me.

Calling things their names is the name of the game.




 

 

There are multiple ways to view the universe, not just the skeptic's way.  While science leads to greater understanding of how it all workds, it is not the only way to appreciate the world.  Take art.  What is beautiful for one may be hideous to another.  To the one who finds the art beautiful, that is his or her truth, and all scientific studies could not disprove that person's understanding of what makes something beautiful.



They could explain why or how a person comes to a certain conclusion or perception.
Disproving the FACT of individual perception wouldn't only be outside the realm of science, it would actually be unscientific.

At any rate, science is there to gather facts and understanding of reality.
Opinions about art isn't another way to view the universe, it's about subjective impressions about objects.

Religious beliefs relate to factual claims, not personal impressions that are entirely subjective.

 

 

Take illness.  Scientific studies have allowed physicians to treat and cure countless afflictions.  But when a doctor asks, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how  much pain are you in?" are they requiring scientific evidence to back it up?  If their screenings find nothing physically wrong with the person, or at least nothing that should warrant a severe pain, do they tell the patient, "You're just delusional; you're not really in that much pain"?  Of course not.



1) The fact that patients often can't be trusted with an accurate description of their sensations and there's no way to check reliably, is actually acknowledged as a problem in diagnostics.
The maxime being: do as best as you can with what's available.

2) Not delusional - ILLUSIONAL. Pain without physical causes is called psychosomatic, it happens all the time - depression, anxiety disorder, hypochondria etc. etc.

 

Obviously, it often happens that an actual problem can't be detected and the doctor wrongly puts off a sympton as psychological, while it's actually physical.
That has nothing to do with worldviews, however, it just means the methods need more and more improvement in precision.



 

Or were they perceiving details and reasoning them out without conscious effort?  We may not be able to scientifically prove how they came to that conclusion, but that does not necessarily prove the conclusion as coincidental.



Well, intuition can go both ways - it can be delusional, but it can also pick up on things the consciousness doesn't.
While no one says following it is always wrong, can it be called a reliable method in gaining and cementing actual knowledge? NO.


Yet, in the end, we may find that one of the less popular theories is closer to the truth.


Based on new EVIDENCE, right?


simply lacking evidence to prove it true does not make something false.


Please look up "burden of proof" - it's an absolute must for anyone who wants to partake in a discussion about religion.



But if you are to proudly assert how insensitive he is to the rest of the world, don't be so dang sensitive when anyone makes a lighthearted jab or disagrees with you.



Where am I being sensitive??

Why you're starting to preach kindness and peace when I actually haven't insulted or demeaned a single user in this thread, giving no reason whatsoever for anyone to lock any threads, is beyond me.

Is it paranoia, or just your obscure "sense of humour"?



Just because you can state your opinion with passion and many words does not make it correct.


No.
Backing it up with reason makes it correct.

Not correct in a final sense, but a temporary correctness until valid counterpoints are made.


In this case, I think I've made a pretty good case for why your analogies to art and medicine aren't valid and don't translate well to religion, but apparently, in a "sensitive topic", making simple points based on logic can easily rub people the wrong way. *surprise surprise*

If your point is that religious claims could be correct even if they're not proven, well d-uh.
But that kind of "intuitional certainty" hasn't lost anything in science or law, so I don't even know why you're bringing it up.


PS:
If you allow me the expression, sir, I've noticed that you're somewhat of a "murky".
You like to make vague, foggy points with implications and analogies, sort of twirling and dancing around a point without actually making a clear case.

Why this talk about "different ways to view the world"?
Well here's one way to view the world: I know a schizophrenic. He sees demons and ghosts. There's no evidence that they exist and we know schizophrenics see that kind of thing due to brain dysfunctions, but they COULD be real now couldn't they?
So I'll just follow my "intuition" and consider that a relevant probability.

Someone tells me "but this is ridiculous lol!"

To which I reply: "Well, it's irrational in a scientific sense, but there's that feeling that I'm following here. That's also a way to view the world, aside from the skeptic one - but I wouldn't teach that in a science class so don't worry lol!"

Isn't this a much clearer summary of the issue here?

 

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TV's Frink said:

Agnostic FTW! Woot woot!

...

I still try to be respectful of religion, even though I am not myself religious. I don't know the answers, but in saying that, I don't see how I can say that any other group doesn't have the answers either. How would I know?

The issue is simpler (in principle) than this last sentence suggests.

Religion has no answers (in the "valid" sense of the word) if it has no evidence to back up their answers (that they actually give).
Atheism doesn't claim to have any answers.


Hence, weak atheist.
I don't know of any evidence that backs up the claims of any religion - and stick to the label that makes no claims without backing them up in the first place.
Seems sound to me.

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Wait, are you making fun of Frink's religion?

Dammit Zig, calm down.....

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twister111 said:

http://i.imgur.com/gcEjz.gif


http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/7405/cooly.gif

 

I can feel the hot...