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Everything posted by disarray

  1. As you provided no quote, I can only say (since I have posted frequently lately) that I for one have never claimed that religion was THE (only or major) problem, nor that there would be some sort of utopia free of strife and full of harmony. However, I think that there is room, for example, to discourage the sort of fundamentalism that seems to be most strongly associated with displays of power and violence. I would agree though that under pessimism or over optimism with respect to mollifying the negative effects of religion in the future is, of course, not very realistic.
  2. The very fact that you feel that you need to be somewhat apologetic for expressing your opinion suggests, I think, that religion, or rather some religious people feel that they have the right to pressure people not to speak out against religion. In the "old days" one could be ostracized or even tortured for expressing such thoughts openly, but that cultural pressure is still in the air. I agree with what you have said, but even if I didn't, I would applaud you for having the courage to say what you think, rather than mincing words as I tend to do.
  3. Guess no one is "biting," but I do think Jefferson is an interesting figure with regards to the question of whether one can be spiritual, but not religious. In practice, religion implies such things as ritual, creeds, images, etc. Indeed, the degree to which one has visible representations of ones beliefs was arguably a bone of contention between Moses and those who worshiped idols, as well as between the more ritualistic Catholics and Protestants (esp., for example, the Puritans). Jefferson et al seemed to have had the idea that if one shears away all those elements that give the various religions and sects their unique identity, then there would be less conflict between them. (Samson's loss of strength at having his hair cut by Delilah and the head shaving of army recruits comes to mind in this regard). Indeed, he went so far as to deny Jesus's divinity and the general notion of a personal God. In practice, this led to his hand in the construction of the principle of the Separation of Church and State (although there is some controversy as to the specifics). So what's left that we might call "spiritual?" Well, he seemed to glean a handful of moral principles directly from Nature and/or the rather metaphorical God of Nature. Jefferson's thought was similar to Kant's belief that morality was hard wired into Nature (categorical moral imperative). The idea that one could be "inspired" directly by Nature was also a current notion of the times. We read about these morals in the Declaration of Independence, which speaks of the Freedom and Equality of all "men," regardless of religious affiliation. (Though he perhaps did not fully take the principle to the logical conclusion that we do today to include people of all incomes, gender, and race). This seems to me to be a good way to go: For a society (or world) to agree upon a few basic principles that seem fundamental (on perhaps a humanistic level) in their universal respect for human life and happiness. As with Eastern Religions, Jefferson's notion that all are equal seems to parallel the notion that all living things in Nature are valuable in their own right. In a nutshell, the genius of Jefferson in this respect was that he wanted to cut out the "middleman" that dogma, miracles, ritual, creed, and orthodoxy provided, and cut to the chase by communing directly with (the spiritual dimension) of Nature. Didn't notice.
  4. I think that trying to unravel the centuries of misunderstanding and animosity that have been knotting up countries in Europe and the Middle East to this day, for example, is going to take a degree of social, military, and religious analysis and diplomacy that is far beyond just saying, as John Lennon and millions of others have futilely suggested, to "give peace (and forgiveness or whatever) a chance." I was under the impression that this thread was, at least in part, an attempt to determine the specific aspects and dynamics of religion (in some depth) that led to power struggles and violence. We all know, for example, that people from different religions often fear and hate those from others. But the causes for such hatred and fear are complex and often unapparent. We can't, much as we would like, just raise our hands in a peace gesture and make it all go away. But no, history, as the great historian, WIll Durant, once observed, is a seemingly endless series of bloody and generally senseless wars following one after another.....blood, blood, blood, ad nauseum.
  5. . I believe the original post was as follows: "Since I understand atheism to be mostly the rejection of claims that assert the existence of god(s), rather than the positive view that there is no supernatural realm or god(s). By this definition, I would consider myself an atheist. There are some popular atheists who claim to be highly spiritual (or at least interested in spiritual experience). Sam Harris comes to mind. I just wanted to start up a conversation to see what the members here think. If you wouldn't mind, if you answer, please state where you stand as far as whether or not you are an atheist/theist/religious/non-religious/deist/etc." I just pointed out what I think are the positive and negative aspects of being or promulgating atheism...How is that far away from the OPs original inquiry? To be more specific, I referenced Jefferson, who rewrote disseminated the New Testament shorn of its miracles because he felt that Jesus was a great thinker. I think it reasonable, given what I know about Jefferson's thinking, to suggest that he himself thinks that it is possible to have a spiritual outlook on life (e.g., encouraging community spirit and communing with the spiritual dimensions of Nature) without subscribing to 'supernatural realms and (orthodox) gods' per se. As for the OPs inquiries about my own feelings and leanings on the issue, I think that my posts in general indicate that I have a like-minded attitude as Jefferson.
  6. As Jung (et al) pointed out, if science eradicates religion, people's religious 'instincts' to believe and worship something greater than themselves (Freud referred to gods as projections of our parents), then people's need for religious/spiritual sustenance will cause them to seek elsewhere, like water temporarily dammed when flowing downhill. Hence, one might point out the rather unorthodox spiritual seeking of the sixties' hippies, or more to the point, the quasi scientific beliefs of New Agers, and the general interest in Eastern religions that has steadily grown in the West. I am not so sure, for example, that I want to visit a dying grandmother, for example, and then try to intellectually browbeat her into rejecting her belief that Jesus has forgiven her sins and that she will soon go to heaven to rejoin her deceased husband for all eternity. As I recall, Ben Franklin and Matthew Arnold, for example, thought that traditional Christianity was superstitious nonsense, but that it was a good thing because it comforted the masses and encouraged them to behave well. I certainly agree with the the comforting aspect, and suspect that believing that a god personally loves one, that he rewards good and punishes evil at some point, and that he offers eternal life, helps millions get through the agony of their daily lives. As I have mentioned somewhere before, whether one is a Buddhist or a Christian or a Muslim or a Jew, etc., there are typically and traditionally certain steps that one must take to get from A to B; that is, from not being saved and to being saved (and gaining eternal life or perhaps respite from seemingly pointless reincarnations). Problems seem to occur, even within sects of the same religion, when one groups recipe for getting into heaven is not quite the same as someone elses. The deal is that both groups can't, from their point of view, be right. One has to be wrong...This seems to me to be a key factor in conflicts between, for example, Catholics and Protestants, or even among early Christian sects, and hence we see people such as Jefferson warning that we don't want to have a repeat of the sort of religious conflict over religious creeds (etc.) that occurred (for centuries) in Europe. And indeed, Jefferson was much maligned by many 'ordinary' people on the streets as he traveled around town minding his own business by people who had heard that he was not a proper Christian, who did not believe that Jesus performed miracles, and who was some sort of deist (which, they presumed, means one might as well be an atheist). So yes, it would be nice if people could accept that there are many roads all leading to Rome, so to speak, but in practice, history has taught us that people tend not to be very open to this idea. Call it a spinoff of ethnocentrism if you like, but my church is always better than yours.
  7. No I did not say it was impossible...that was never the issue. I said that, in general, those who adopt the culture but don't really subscribe to the precepts may, in many cases, be living a sort of contradiction, which may involve hypocrisy, role playing, cognitive dissonance, etc. It was then you seemed to take things personally, saying, "I've been accused of being many things. Inarticulate, intentionally obtuse, and hypocritical are not included in that set." Then I pointed out that I was not referring to you personally, and explained that I myself, as per Xmas, participated in the culture without accepting the beliefs. So I merely clarified that I did not accuse you personally of being hypocritical, and certainly did not even use words such as inarticulate or obtuse. Obviously, it is not impossible. I merely pointed out in more than one post just why it can be undesirable in a society: unnecessariy perpetuates archaic beliefs, makes it difficult to know what beliefs a person really espouses, leads people to say and even support issues out of political correctness, justifies violence (mafia, national attacks on foreign countries, even when they have different cultures despite essentially having the same religion), gang violence, tends to unnecessarily marginalize minority religions, etc.
  8. Are you thinking of some ideal world where people never initiate warfare, only defend themselves, or maybe you are thinking of a world where people don't bond together by describing those with whom they are competing for resources as being less than human? Are you suggesting that people can behave so rationally? History says otherwise.
  9. I was looking more for something along the lines that all countries (states, tribes, whatever) have a tendency to dehumanize their perceived or real enemies. One way to do this is to put the enemy's motives in question (even when, ironically, they are much like ones own motives, e.g, desire for land, money, resources). And yes, inciting fear is a major tactic that goes hand in hand with questioning an enemy's motives. Ones own religion (and sometimes ones enemy's) allows one to cut to the chase by portraying them as having motives that are negative on a grand (e.g., supernatural/religious) scale. Thus, ones enemies are described as being evil, possessed, perverse, wicked, pagan, degenerative, etc, It then follows that one has to "save" said enemies by colonizing, "civilizin," and converting them. This often entails taking over and/or taking control of their land, women, "manpower" (via slavery), and resources. Or a country can just cut to the chase, and kill as many people as possible (again, in the name of religion and religious values) and then take over land, women, and resources. And I am not singling out any one country: The conquest of Africa and the ensuing culling of slaves being a case in point: European missionaries especially from Portugal, France, Britain, and Germany went to Africa under the premise of going to convert the locals to Christianity. Some of them stuck to their mission.... others however, aided in the colonization of Africans by Europeans. In many cases Christian conversion looked more like European Capitalist conversion and the plunder of African resources. http://www.globalblackhistory.com/2012/10/role-of-missionaries-in-colonization-of-africans.html It is revealing to look at what happens in specific countries in Africa: Nigeria, evenly distributed between Christians and Muslims, is a country where people identify themselves by their religion first and as Nigerians second. Around 20,000 have been killed in God's name since 1990. [...] This is one of many religious battlefields in this part of Africa. Evangelical Christians, backed by American collection-plate money, are surging northwards, clashing with Islamic fundamentalists, backed by Saudi petrodollars, surging southwards.”The Economist (2007) In general, people are not so much different, and, given half a chance, will use the technique of justifying aggression by dehumanizing the enemy by inciting religious animosity where possible. In the case of Nigeria, I suspect that both Muslims and Christians accuse each other of economic and religious imperialism.
  10. Certainly the role of religion in violence is multifarious. I would suggest that a balanced/objective approach would be to examine the role(s) that religion (in combination with other factors) plays for all countries most directly involved in a violent conflict of this nature.
  11. There is certainly quite a lot of biased material available online, though, as you say, it seems that surprisingly little scholarly research has been done in this area. A relevant article is a Penn State U. one entitled Wars and Rumors of Wars: Explaining Religiously Motivated Violence, which looks at the data and concludes that religion acts as both key agent and volatile catalyst: “When religious groups are targets of restrictions, discrimination and isolation, their capacity for social action is enhanced by providing both shared grievances and an increased unity. This capacity is enhanced even more when religion serves to mobilize social and political movements. Together, the clear group boundaries, shared grievances, common religious beliefs, dense social networks, and organizational vehicles for social action result in a high capacity for collective social action.” https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=16&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwi82ZifnsbOAhVN12MKHSW2Cy4QFgh0MA8&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thearda.com%2Fworkingpapers%2Fdownload%2FWar%2520and%2520Rumors%2520of%2520War.pdf&usg=AFQjCNFeyWlczNmZwd72XcRT3UdSBttrEQ&sig2=vaBndqOXABAbBAeRObNt6w As for Mao, as he was mentioned, he was seen by many, particularly pre-1950s as a hero with a vision. Indeed, we can see that political card being played in American politics today re the Presidential campaign, so we need not think of the formula (hero + savior + national vision) as being the main tool of only dictators. Indeed, such a formula could well describe many a religion.
  12. Well, I don't know if one can say the same about Hinduism, so I suspect that one is cherry picking from the Eastern religions a bit. I can't help pointing out that transcendence seems to be a definite if not integral part of their belief system even though they don’t believe in a god, per se, as they do believe in what Western scientists would describe as supernatural (aka transcendental) events, e.g., people who break the cycle of reincarnation. Indeed, I am reluctant to accept the idea that the notion of karma, reincarnation, and nirvana is all that much different from the Christian concepts of sin, hell, and heaven....all based on the behavioral concepts of positive and negative reinforcement of behavior. A key issue, I think, is whether one claims that ones own religion has the right recipe for getting to a "good place" and others don't, so that it is necessary to show that other religions are wrong and your religion is right, even if it means killing off (if not converting) that religion's worshipers. Jainism works for peace because it is so insistent that nonviolence and tolerance are essential ingredients for attaining liberation of the soul. Hence, Jainists are not fundamentalistic, as a rule, because they are tolerant. A cynic might point out, as many have, that one is ultimately being selfish if one is good to others just to get into a "good place" oneself (or at least out of a bad place). But I guess one might retort that the idea is that one becomes a better person if one goes through the motions for a while. I realize that not all Eastern religions embrace the notion of reincarnation, and if they do, not necessarily in the same way. But one finds there that, like the Abrahamic religions, they have to a some degree a common (historical/cultural) origin. For comparison's sake, I think it more profitable to examine the etiology of power struggles and violence in Buddhism and Hinduism. (To me Confucianism and early Judaism are not 'true' religions in the sense of that they basically/historically attempted to bind people together as a community with rigorous codes of righteous conduct, rather than focusing on the attainment an afterlife of some sort.)
  13. Referring me to some author's books is not really addressing the issue...perhaps you could proffer a quote to which I might respond. I did not claim that all Eastern religions are essentially mystical, however, I see no point in overlooking those aspects that are clearly mystical or transcendent or supernatural or otherworldly or what have you (whether deemed integral or not) from what I consider to be a Westerner's point of view. And yes, I am suggesting that if you are going to call any set of beliefs religious, irregardless of whether you label them as Eastern or Western, then there is a general understanding in the everyday world that such beliefs are in some way more than just the equivalent of the Boy Scout code of conduct. In short, from a Westerners point of view, I think it is questionable as to whether one would label Confucianism as being a religion, and ditto for Buddhism, though for somewhat different reasons. No broad paint brushing as you suggest, just tweaking definitions. Now if you are suggesting that many Easterners define religion in a different way then Westerners do, then that is fine....but again, I think that it is just boiling down to how individuals or groups of people choose to define words such as mystical or religion. Bottom line is that "words" and there meanings are not set in stone, and vary (in different degrees) from culture to culture, language to language, person to person, group to group, etc. There is often no ultimate right or wrong about such things, but rather just a matter of reaching an agreement as to how such terms are used by the majority of people in the majority of contexts in a particular society. In any case, the real issue, in terms of this forum thread, has perhaps more to do with whether Easterners appeal to their religion in order to validate their controlling tendencies and their violence and with others of different "religious" beliefs....and my guess is that they do, though perhaps in a different way than is common to Western religions.
  14. As I read through various people's experiences, I read about their sense of oneness with the universe. I am not suggesting that the world necessarily turns into a glittering array of gems. Nevertheless, the experiences people describe are typically mystical, e.g., feeling at one with the universe. Indeed, Suzuki himself suggests that a sense of something beyond (aka, imo,transcendental) is an essential component of satori. Mysticism as defined by D.T. Suzuki: ” something which is of quite a different order from what I am accustomed to. The feeling that follows is that of complete release or a complete rest---the feeling that one has arrived finally at the destination...As far as the psychology of satori is considered, a sense of the Beyond is all we can say about it; http://www.bodysoulandspirit.net/mystical_experiences/learn/experts_define/suzuki.shtml My first Satori Experience: There was the undeniable sense that I was actually a part of the infinite universe, I was not separate from it. I could feel that connection, or rather, the lack of separation from it. There was still the sense of me but it was not separate from everything else. The borders of separation were gone. http://www.globalone.tv/profiles/blogs/my-first-satori-temporary-experience-of-enlightenment My awakening experience: Satori At first, after my first satori had ended, I felt quite alone. Nobody could understand what I went through. I failed to reproduce this ultimate high I had reached, and I couldn’t communicate what I felt. https://medium.com/@ripper234/my-awakening-experiences-aka-satori-96f9b82e7a60#.wnif8cm9g Again, there is not much point of speaking of mystical/religious experiences if one means nothing different than everyday life as experienced by most people most of the time. Saying that mystical experiences make one aware of transcendental realms or states of consciousness makes sense to me, though, again, I don't see much point in being too adamant about how one is using the word transcendental; however, satori is often regarded as being a mystical experience and, mystical experiences tend to imply transcendence, though again, this is a controversial point: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1399069?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents Certainly some endgame state of Nirvana to which many people seem to aspire (however one might speculate as to the degree of consciousness in such a state) is not the same as the state (of mind) I have right now.
  15. I agree. In everyday use of the term, when we think of religion, we generally think in terms of some sort of role model on a super/transcendental scale. Indeed, in practice, it seems that there is always some sort of hero worship involved, whether or not the hero takes the form of a deity, or just an ordinary human (Confucius), or someone whose status seems to be somewhere in between, depending upon whom you ask, e.g., Jesus, Buddha, or Hercules for that matter. But yes, just superficially adopting the culture (e.g., symbols, aura, ritual) without actually partaking of the general notion of compassion that is at the core of most major religions (that I know of) can not only be a ridiculous token gesture (as in a vicious, sadistic biker who wears a cross around his neck), it can also be a dangerous way of bonding with like-minded criminals and validating their actions, as in the mafia example you give.
  16. Ah, that's what I was hoping someone would clarify....In many explanations there is no attempt to make any distinction between optical and physical, or there is the presumption that they are always the exact same thing. That's what I had been trying to say in another thread, but it seems some people balk at this notion because it seems to imply some sort of physical explanation for time dilation. It seems that the word "physical" is anathema in some contexts when talking about time dilation, which is fine with me, as I don't think of space as being a physical object per se anyway. Please elaborate on this statement of yours, as I don't think that saying that time slows down is the only possible explanation that one can give when explaining time dilation.
  17. Ok, well I checked out the link "isn't a requisite" and got taken directly to the statement that "Atheism is acceptable within some religious and spiritual belief systems, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Syntheism, Raëlism,[72] and Neopagan movements[73] such as Wicca." So yes, some of these are religious (having transcendental gods, e.g., Hinduism) and some are spiritual beliefs systems (having a belief in some sort of transcendental realm but not well-defined gods, e.g., generally speaking, modern day Buddhism. Personally, I don't know how one can be an atheist in a religion such as Hinduism with its numerous gods, given that the origin of the word "theism" is "god" (from Gk. theos) Speaking of Wiki, it defines religion as a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence".[1] Different religions may or may not contain various elements, ranging from the "divine",[2] "sacred things",[3] "faith",[4] a "supernatural being or supernatural beings"[5] or "[…] some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life. Personally speaking, the students in the Comparative Religions class I was in came up with a definition of "religion" that required the element of "transcendence." Indeed, we agreed that it was debatable whether or not one could say that Buddhism or Confucianism were religions. Buddhism certainly has an element of transcendence, but the transcendental object is not some God, but rather the worshiper him/herself. Merriam-Webster defines "theism" as the "belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world." So, as far as I can tell, the difference between theism and religion is a quantitative one in which the latter has a somewhat less insistence that the transcendent being that one is believing in and/or worshiping has a fairly clearly defined personhood. In short, theism seems more anthropomorphic. So I concede that there is a difference, but I don't think that it matters all that much whether one says that one is a theist who worships Jesus or Allah or a religious/spiritual New Ager who claims to worship and believe in a "higher power," whatever that might mean. To me, this is just semantic quibbling. In my mind, the important thing, as far as making a difference, is whether the object of transcendence makes a difference to the way one lives, e.g., proscribes a life path and moral values. If it don't make no difference to your life, I don't see how it matters if someone believes that there are fairies dancing at the bottom of ones garden in the middle of the night.
  18. Well yes and no. I have met people who say they felt quite liberated once they became atheists. It is hard to say whether they were happy to dispense with the hope of an afterlife, or just glad not to have to accept the intellectually insulting beliefs of the religion that their parents had foisted upon them. But, as T.S. Eliot noted, in general, "human beings cannot stand too much reality." One of the things that discourages and worries people is that life is short and the absence of the hope that heaven provides for many is a comfort." Though I am in favor of honesty, life seems to run more smoothly if we pretend to be in a better mood then we really are when dealing with peers and customers at work, that we always love are children (equally) despite their getting in our hair on a daily basis, etc. It's all part of being civil and polite. I personally don't think that it is impossible that consciousness survives physical death, and I could, if pressed, put together a defense of this belief based upon the scientific remarks of various physicists. But that is another issue. My point is that the belief in eternal life is a great comfort to people, so much so that we talk about the fear of death, a revulsion at nature's cycle of birth and decay, the hope that one will meet up with ones loved ones after death, etc. I am not fussed if some people choose to believe in eternal life...as long as they don't attempt to get me to believe in a bunch of religious "baggage" that goes with such a belief....that is, as long as they don't then tell me I must believe in the same god and follow the exact same moral codes and accept the same superstitious nonsense and participate in the same inane rituals as they do.
  19. By cryptic, I just meant that, as I said, I am doing the best I can to address your remark based on the number of words you have said, so I am not sure why you continue to be offended. I am sure a lot of people celebrate Christmas with their family, but are either agnostic, atheistic, or indifferent. Indeed, Christmas is so ingrained into our society that people who don't celebrate it are often seen as un-American or as subscribing to an odd or pagan religion. I celebrate Christmas myself but have not been religious since the age of 12, so I think that your assumption that you are being personally attacked is misplaced. And no, I don't think that I am being hypocritical because I make no secret of not being religious. Indeed, I have gone to midnight Christmas services, though I don't normally go to church, to accompany my religious relatives. However, it is my personal preference not to sing songs with words that talk about needing Jesus to forgive me for my sins through his sacrifice on the cross and resurrection into heaven, nor do I recite the Lord's prayer, nor take communion (the body and blood of Christ) nor do I recite any religious creeds, etc. as I personally feel that to do so is hypocritical and/or dishonest. I simply go and participate as much as possible otherwise for the sake of the fellowship, and, to some extent, because I soak up the aesthetic sense of the ritual, much as Santayana said that he did. If your Christmas goes a little bit different, more power to you. But again, I think your tendency to feel personally insulted is detracting from the original point which was whether or not a religion's rituals/culture has sufficient positive characteristics to justify its existence, particularly when so many people either do not, deep down, believe in many of the beliefs of said religion, or else don't believe in them sufficiently to be at all worried when they don't, for example, adhere to the ridiculous 'laws' in Leviticus. They aren't worried because they think they will be forgiven, I would suggest, as that they just think that they are ridiculous. (Again, at least Muslims are less hypocritical in this regard, even if they are adhering to archaic practices such as stoning adulteresses.) You seen to be annoyed by the word "hypocritical." Well, again, I did not claim that you in particular were being hypocritical, I was talking about the society in general. Indeed, I am not focused on character assassination but rather on pointing out the conflict between the beliefs and values of a 2000 or so year old religion (esp. Abrahamic) and our own modern beliefs and values. The gap is so substantial that a certain amount of pretense, cognitive dissonance, hypocrisy, and/or role playing is almost inevitable. Just as importantly, hanging on to the transcendentalist religious values of an archaic, superstitious religion no doubt (in my mind) hinders social and scientific progress, as I explained above. So again, if I use a word like "hypocritical," I am making a general social comment. Just how you might juggle or might not juggle roles as an atheist at Christmas need come under the umbrella social descriptive phrase that I might use. Let's not obfuscate things by assuming that my comments are directed at you. I am just making general social comments, not claiming, for goodness sake, that every atheist, for example, who attends a religious function is a hypocrite.
  20. Wow. Where to start. You are really underscoring my point that it is a rather empty, gratuitous, and, in practice, downright hypocritical, token gesture to labeling oneself a Christian if it is just a "cultural" undertaking and little or nothing more. You do not go into detail (and that is part of the problem with short, cryptic posts), but I gather that you are referring to the nice feelings and perhaps health benefits that one gets from congregating and socializing, what with pot lucks, and Bible group discussions, and Sunday dress up, and Easter egg hunts, and opening Christmas presents, etc. But religion or ones deepest philosophy of life should, I suggest, be the last thing to be superficial. What is the point of making a huge holiday out of the birth of Christ if one does not believe the creed that one recites in church that he is the savior who died for our sins so that we may have everlasting life? If fellowship and an excuse for relatives to get together and have a cultural feast is the goal, why not celebrate the birth of Elvis or Madonna (who did a pretty good job of capitalizing on her religious background)? At least these two are contemporary and don't come from a passe' culture that is essentially 3000 or so years old. At least that way we are not dragging along the baggage of an archaic and superstitious culture into the 21st century, complete with its stoning of women for adultery (or even being raped), and other bizarre practices/beliefs. (Judaism is a more complicated issue in terms of its eschatology, so focus on Christianity and Islam in this regard. But I do notice that many if not most Christians do not make religion and religious ethics as much a part of their daily lives as many other religious people do, e.g., Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, which is what happens when ones religion is just a cultural facade.) No, I don't particularly want to be hanging out with a bunch of people at a church picnic who talk about God and sin and religious ethics while all the time wondering whether they are just spouting off what they think is politically correct....or wondering whether the congressmen/women I voted into office are going to vote against abortion or other measures because they think that it is the religiously correct thing to do, or what they think their constituents might (or might not really) think is the religiously correct thing to do. For "godsake" there is enough two-facedness, schmoozing, patronizing, insincerity, double-speak, etc. in this world already without encouraging people to label themselves as Christians or whatever when in their hearts they just want to hang out with a bunch of people who share a few rituals.
  21. When I clicked the link on the word "humanism" from the wiki site you mention, it states that "today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world" so that the term secular is implied when one describes oneself as a humanist. Even religious humanism, which wiki describes as a "non-theistic life stance centered on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world" does not sound all that religious. Secular religion is defines as "a term that has been used to characterize capitalism, communism, and other nontheistic communal belief systems," a concept that underscores Tampitrump's comment that "Secularism alone does not have the tenets of pursuasive power to lead nations into genocide or corruption. It takes a dogmatism or tyranny to do that. Whatever Stalinism, National Socialism, and all the other so-called "secular forces" that led to this type destruction were, they weren't secular. They carried very religion-like tenets" "Secular theism/theistic secularism: includes a belief in deity or deities but without any ritual practice." http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2015/10/29/atheist-pagan-does-not-equal-secular-pagan/ Wiki defines Christian atheism as "a theological position in which the belief in the transcendent or interventionist God is rejected or absent in favor of finding God totally in the world...." Ultimately, I would suggest that one can't have ones cake and eat it too. It is nice to apotheosize and transcendentalize ones heritage, existence, purpose, morality, and dignity, but it is probably a rather superfluous gesture do do so if one is just going to give the deity the role of cheerleader or mere figurehead, permanently relegating him/her/them to the bench.
  22. But that is the point of the scientific attitude as opposed to many other approaches...that whether or not one wants something to be true is irrelevant to the pursuit of knowledge.
  23. So moderation: I don't know if there are or have been any purely capitalistic or socialistic (or whatever) socieites...The question is a matter of proportion. That's largely the reason that countries hold elections, typically between left and right leaning political candidates. Saying that theism isn't necessary for religion seems like a oxymoron. Again, what is needed is moderation. Ecumenical movements that encourage religions to accept other religions is a major step in the right direction. Secondly, progressive movements that acknowledge scientific advancements is another. I am not Catholic, but even that dogmatic institution has been moving, albeit slowly, in these two ways.
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