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Would the world be a better place without religion?


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#41 iNow

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:33 PM

The argument against people who assert the bible is the source of morals is rather simple, though generally falls on deaf ears. The argument is this:

If the bible is the source of morals, how do people know which parts of it to ignore and which parts are required? We don't stone people to death for working on Sunday or wearing clothes of different fibers or eating shellfish. We ignore the majority of the iron age tribal silliness that's there.

Given this, we must have an external barometer... a 3rd party source of morality against which even the bible gets compared. The bible may supplement and inform morality for some, but calling it the source is remedially false.
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#42 dimreepr

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:34 PM

Why do you think the book wasn't understood 2000 years ago? 

 

 

Because of the NT

 

 And what does it matter?
So if they didn't understand it, we also can't understand it? Why not?

 

 

 

It matters because we don't understand it.

 

And if you throw away the OT, you throw away all the stories about Moses and Isaac...and the 10 commandments...

 

 

 

So.

 

The NT says you need a human sacrifice to be freed from your sins. Do you think that's moral? 

 

 

 

Given the sacrifice was voluntary, how is it not moral? 


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#43 DrP

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:34 PM

being fair - it says that sacrifice has been made once and for all and is no longer needed.

 

 

 

 

PS - but I now believe it to all be complete dross.


Edited by DrP, 17 November 2016 - 04:34 PM.

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#44 dimreepr

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:38 PM

being fair - it says that sacrifice has been made once and for all and is no longer needed.

 

 

 

 

PS - but I now believe it to all be complete dross.

 

 

I urge you to revisit the dross, not to become a god botherer, there is wisdom in the parts that don't include that which that society demanded.


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#45 DrP

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 04:56 PM

I studies it for about 35 years dim...  why step back to something that is tried and tested to be BS? It is full of lies mate. MUCH better than the other one though..  ;-)   I would have argued against Trumpitups statement that it says death for apostates...  it doesn't - that's the other book of evil. ;-)   


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#46 Itoero

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 05:03 PM

Because of the NT

 Can you give the verses that show they did not understand the OT?
In the NT, Jesus referred several times to the OT and agreed with it...it's the word of God.
If you throw away the old testament then you are debunking Jesus.
 

It matters because we don't understand it.

again...Why not? It's translated in English isn't it?

  
 

Given the sacrifice was voluntary, how is it not moral?

It was not voluntary...Jesus did not choose to be sacrificed.
Jesus was created by God to be sacrificed.

being fair - it says that sacrifice has been made once and for all and is no longer needed.
 
 
 
 
PS - but I now believe it to all be complete dross.

So because Jesus was sacrificed, we can sin?
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#47 dimreepr

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 05:03 PM

I studies it for about 35 years dim...  why step back to something that is tried and tested to be BS? It is full of lies mate. MUCH better than the other one though..  ;-)   I would have argued against Trumpitups statement that it says death for apostates...  it doesn't - that's the other book of evil. ;-)   

 

 

If you're completely content with life then of course there's no need, but since you think it's BS and full of lies, I think perhaps you've yet to achieve contentment, inner peace and maybe enlightenment did a fly-by. 


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Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am.... -John Donne.

 

 

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#48 Prometheus

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 05:15 PM

  • it was contentious to say that religion played an important part in the development of morality in humans;

 

So without religion you are reasonably sure our sense of morality would have developed in exactly the same manner? And you base this on the fact there was at least one code of laws which predates most major religions?

 

 

  • I was not convinced that morality would have remained the province of either the sophists or the elite if it was not for religion...on the contrary, religion often claimed and reserved moral high ground for those representing the church and the monarchs

 

I'm not convinced of it myself, hence the conditional phrase 'i imagine...'. But the OP asks us to speculate, so i did. I haven't offered anything to back my speculation, but neither have you. But that's the nature of the subject - it's like speculating on what would happen if certain historical  figures had not existed. We can guess, but we can't be as sure as you seem to be. Unless you do know some sources of evidence that can make us so sure - then please share.

 

  • I did not agree with your sweeping statement that morals became obvious to us as a result of religious people;  

 

Can we agree morality is something humans create? Can we further agree morality is not static; it has changed with time? If so, then humans have been changing it, nothing else. Some of these people have been religious. Hopefully the issue of abortion will seem obvious to our progeny: if it does become so it will be because some people have thought long and hard about it. They may or not be religious - likely a bit of both. 

 

By analogy, the development of science has relied on a few great people and lots of other people filling in the gaps. Why do you suppose morality is any different in this regard?

 

  • humanity never required religion in the first place...

 

Maybe, but our history became one with religions taking a roll in morality. Whether we today regard that morality as moral now is beside the point. People did, and many still do.

 

And maybe we can do without religion in the future - but how? It's not a trivial question, it might be one of the most important questions we ask.

 

  • Why the Bible (or other holy books) should not be seen as morally relevant today (of course religious followers think differently).

 

Just because we are Western and i assume we are most familiar with that holy book. It's funny i've become an Christian apologist when i agree with the implied thrust of this thread that monotheism was the worst idea humanity ever had. It's just that i don't think it nearly as black and white as it is sometimes caricatured. I agree with dimreepr in that we should not throw out the baby with the bath water.

 

 

 

I think it reasonably safe to assume that we would have been perfectly OK. You only have to look at what happened with indigenous tribes in various parts of the world who were unburdened by the influence of major religions until fairly recently (a few hundred years ago). Most of them managed to establish successful, sustainable and moral societies on their own...admittedly each with their own superstitions and the odd inter-tribal war over food, land or power. Regrettably most of them are worst off today as a result of foreign influences, including religion (Africa, for example. is a hot spot i.t.o. wars being fought between Islam controlled countries/tribes and Christian controlled ones).     

 

Yeah, probably in the most general sense we would have been OK. Maybe even better, but who really knows how the dice would roll. Maybe our history would still be full of people and battles and events - just with different names. And we would still have had countries and atrocities and marvels - just different borders and places and reasons.

 

Maybe we would have developed an industrial economy thousands of years earlier and brought about a mass extinction event. 

 

What tools do we have for determining which outcomes are most likely could we repeat the experiment?

 

Given this, we must have an external barometer... a 3rd party source of morality against which even the bible gets compared. The bible may supplement and inform morality for some, but calling it the source is remedially false.

 

Just in case this includes me: i'm not saying morality has a divine source. I'm not saying holy books don't have deprave moral standards in comparison to some of those we have today. I'm saying people have, and still do, look to these as sources of morality (even if the true source predates the religion) and so in our dialogue with such people, we need to be aware of such. Heck, Israel is still trying to draw borders based on a holy book - that holy book then must be relevant today, how can it not be part of the dialogue? 

 

Is violence committed in the name of religion because of the religion, or the innate nature of man?

Is goodness committed in the name of religion because of the religion, or the innate nature of man?

 

All i ask is that we be consistent, and that we do not shrug off the 84% of humanity that is religious as irrelevant to the discourse on morality.


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#49 dimreepr

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 05:21 PM

 Can you give the verses that show they did not understand the OT?

 

 

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." Matthew 5:17

 

Why would he need to say this if the people didn't think he was trying to abolish what came before? And what was he attempting to fulfill?

 

Let's not forget that this is a translation from a language embedded in a society we can't possibly fully understand.


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Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am.... -John Donne.

 

 

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#50 Itoero

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 07:04 PM

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." Matthew 5:17
 
Why would he need to say this if the people didn't think he was trying to abolish what came before? And what was he attempting to fulfill?
 
Let's not forget that this is a translation from a language embedded in a society we can't possibly fully understand.

That does not say anything concerning the understanding of the OT...That's about understanding Jesus. In the NT, Jesus referred several times to the OT and agreed with it, it's the word of God.
If you throw away the old testament then you are debunking Jesus.
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#51 dimreepr

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 07:33 PM

That does not say anything concerning the understanding of the OT...That's about understanding Jesus. In the NT, Jesus referred several times to the OT and agreed with it, it's the word of God.
If you throw away the old testament then you are debunking Jesus.

 

 

Yet you fail to answer my questions, try that before you attempt to debunk my post.


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Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am.... -John Donne.

 

 

WARNING ...Participation in topics I start can seriously affect you’re grades... WARNING


#52 iNow

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 07:42 PM

Just in case this includes me...

Not intentionally, no. Commenting more broadly on the claim so often repeated by so many, not on your specific contributions or thoughts. Cheers.
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#53 Itoero

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 09:20 PM

Yet you fail to answer my questions, try that before you attempt to debunk my post.

You asked:
"Why would he need to say this if the people didn't think he was trying to abolish what came before? And what was he attempting to fulfill?"
=>You find many explanations for this on google. Why do you ask that? It's completely irrelevant.
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#54 Memammal

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 07:59 AM

Try pointing out the immoral and disgusting stuff in the NT.

One of the most immoral, disgusting teachings imaginable originated from the NT. Paul's doctrine of original sin. In my view, that is the worst of Christianity, arguably the worst religious teaching in the history of mankind. The alleged global flood would have been devastating (if true), destruction of Sodom & Gomorra was pretty bad (if true), the genocide of the Canaanites was probably one of the most disturbing divine acts, but the teaching of original sin has single-handedly enslaved 2000 years of Christian generations into believing that all of humanity, every single innocent baby being born, are sinful creatures who can only be saved from eternal hell through the church, or through divine forgiveness, by virtue of Jesus having died on the cross. Of course rational thinking, knowledge about our true origins and a bit of Bible reading will reveal that the entire idea of original sin is profoundly flawed. The damage that this silly idea has caused to the collective psyche of Christians is irreversible; all that can be done is to educate in order to cure and prevent further infection.


Which reminds me...

 

Prometheus wrote:

...In addition, unfortunately people still use this book for moral guidance. To engage with them we need to understand their perspective rather than just brandish them immoral. 

I responded

It will take many generations for these societies to rid themselves from their religious roots, I am afraid. See my previous reference re skewed moral compasses. Not that I am branding them immoral though. 

I would have to reconsider that very last sentence. Should one turn a blind eye to collective ignorance considering its immoral consequences..?


Edited by Memammal, 18 November 2016 - 08:07 AM.

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#55 Prometheus

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 10:38 AM

I think this very good debate is pertinent. Well argued, for the most part, from both sides. Includes Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams among others. Bit long though.

 


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The wild geese do not intend

To cast their reflection

The water has no mind

To retain their image.

 

 

To naively frown upon split infinitives.

 

www.senseaboutscience.org/

 


#56 dimreepr

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 04:40 PM

An excellent debate +1 for sharing.

 

I don't want to get mired in the minutiae of a book 2,000 years out of date, I am an atheist after all, so I apologies for not responding to previous posts.

 

My point is, science can't show us the path to contentment because it's a personal journey and so not empirically discover-able for all. I contend that religion has addressed this issue directly, not only by espousing the value of forgiveness, tolerance and love for our fellow man, it's far more nuanced than that, because we're all essentially clones and given the same inputs our reactions would be broadly similar.

 

I think contentment is not just a matter of the mind, it also has a physical aspect, which is ignored/overlooked because of the pernicious nature of our everyday addictions, substances are obvious but what of entertainment or people or food etc (essentially anything that triggers our internal reward system).

 

To be truly content one needs to reset that reward system to a base level; why else did the profits, those who started said religions, disappear for 40 days, or so; it wasn't the devil the tempted Jesus, it was his own desires/addictions.


Edited by dimreepr, 18 November 2016 - 04:42 PM.

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Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am.... -John Donne.

 

 

WARNING ...Participation in topics I start can seriously affect you’re grades... WARNING


#57 Itoero

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 08:01 PM

My point is, science can't show us the path to contentment because it's a personal journey and so not empirically discover-able

They call it 'social science'.

Edited by Itoero, 18 November 2016 - 08:01 PM.

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It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how Nature is. Physics concerns what we say about Nature.

#58 Prometheus

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Posted 18 November 2016 - 10:37 PM

They call it 'social science'.

 

I agree up to a point.

 

For instance, research suggests that people get little to no increase in happiness past a certain level of income. But few people would actually limit their income to this threshold - it takes something more than the numbers to actually reveal this truth to most of us. Either we go through the riches and directly experience a lack of extra happiness, or some other life events with some reflection and good advice help us see it. I would call this something more spirituality (not meaning something spirit like, just this very process), but whatever. Religion could help in this matter, unfortunately most religions are concerned with such trivialities as whether certain flaps of skin should be chopped off.

 

Which brings me to the other thing science can do for spirituality - tell us exactly what religion need not concern itself. Beginning of the universe, the colour of the sky, life elsewhere in the universe? Science has these, and many other things, covered. This leaves priests and free to focus attention on important stuff like increasing compassion and empathy in the population.

 

One can hope anyway.


Edited by Prometheus, 18 November 2016 - 10:45 PM.

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The wild geese do not intend

To cast their reflection

The water has no mind

To retain their image.

 

 

To naively frown upon split infinitives.

 

www.senseaboutscience.org/

 


#59 Itoero

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 08:16 PM

I agree up to a point.
 
For instance, research suggests that people get little to no increase in happiness past a certain level of income. But few people would actually limit their income to this threshold - it takes something more than the numbers to actually reveal this truth to most of us. Either we go through the riches and directly experience a lack of extra happiness, or some other life events with some reflection and good advice help us see it. I would call this something more spirituality (not meaning something spirit like, just this very process), but whatever. Religion could help in this matter, unfortunately most religions are concerned with such trivialities as whether certain flaps of skin should be chopped off.
 
Which brings me to the other thing science can do for spirituality - tell us exactly what religion need not concern itself. Beginning of the universe, the colour of the sky, life elsewhere in the universe? Science has these, and many other things, covered. This leaves priests and free to focus attention on important stuff like increasing compassion and empathy in the population.
 
One can hope anyway.

Past a certain level of income, your income is just not linked to happiness.
If you have some emotional turmoil then you go to a psychiatrist or another able person.
What help can a priest give?

Here in Belgium, Christianity is in a pretty fast decline. Many people are official a catholic (like me), they were baptized and did 2 communes but that's more about tradition then anything else. I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist.
Bibles are mostly used to fill up boxes in the attic.

In well-faring/peaceful countries, you see a decline of religion.

If religion teaches a moral framework then that framework was not invented by religion.
Morals evolve through natural processes. Morality definitely does not depend upon religion. The fact that many Christians think you need religion to be moral is the main reason why atheists are so mistrusted in USA.
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#60 Prometheus

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 10:35 AM

Past a certain level of income, your income is just not linked to happiness.
If you have some emotional turmoil then you go to a psychiatrist or another able person.
What help can a priest give?

 

Depends on the priest. There are some good ones and some bad ones. Just like psychiatrists: if you can afford a psychiatrist. 

 

I would suggest some of the people who most need emotional assistance are prisoners. Yet they are usually the ones most deprived of this help. But priests are willing to go into prisons and offer such support.

 

I've been an atheist all my adult life. The first time i actually saw priests at work was when i was a nurse, starting on an oncology ward. There is an unfulfilled need to attend to the emotional needs of the dying (we just don't know it because the deceased cannot speak). Nurses have neither the time nor the training to attend to this need. The only people i saw helping in this were priests. As a nurse i was able to eavesdrop on some intensely personal conversations and this is how i came to respect some priests; some of them were very skillful and did not peddle any dogma. 

 

And yes, non-religious people could fulfil this roll. But the point is they generally don't, not in the numbers society needs. It's easy to sit back and mock religion but if you want to do away with it focus on what people get out of it and start seeing how we might replace the invaluable services it does offer.

 

 

If religion teaches a moral framework then that framework was not invented by religion.
Morals evolve through natural processes. Morality definitely does not depend upon religion. The fact that many Christians think you need religion to be moral is the main reason why atheists are so mistrusted in USA.

 

I don't think anyone here is contesting this. The evils of religion are evident and i absolutely support calling them out to people who cannot see it. But people also do good works in the name of religion and we are far too quick to dismiss these. 

 

If evil in the name of religion is because of the religion, why is good done in the name of religion not because of the religion? Either give me a good reason or be consistent.


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The wild geese do not intend

To cast their reflection

The water has no mind

To retain their image.

 

 

To naively frown upon split infinitives.

 

www.senseaboutscience.org/

 





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