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Itoero

Would the world be a better place without religion?

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If there is evidence then you should be able to provide some references. Identical is a strong word.

 

But i generally agree in removing religion from nationhood. This is part of the reason i use the word spiritual instead of religious. As soon as someone says they are religious the question which one naturally follows. If someone says they are spiritual it is much harder for others, and themselves, to associate a label with it.

 

 

 

As i understand it Catholicism is the only religion that asserts the clergy is a necessary intermediary to the divine. Part of the Reformation was about removing this necessity - yet the UK does not officially (or in practice, where are the 26 scientists given seats in the House of Lords?) have separation of church and state.

 

The will to power is a human trait and religion, nationalism and identity politics have always been prone to it. For instance, the socialist agenda was entirely subsumed by dictators in soviet Russia. Take away religion and politicians will just subvert some other identity of a target population. Religion is a tempting one though, given its power to cross borders. By targeting religion specifically we are treating the symptom not the cause while alienating some of our religious brethren.

I agree the will to power is a human trait but I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

http://tinyurl.com/z2jt5p5

Far from a complete bibliography ( my library is packed prior to moving house next week)
I do however recommend an unfashionable tome ( yet to have it’s central thesis disproven)
in relation to this issue, if not fully focused on it. Arthur Koestler’s “The Ghost in The Machine"
Edited by Dissily Mordentroge

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... I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

I find it strange you acknowledge the tribalistic 'us vs them' mentality is the cause of many problems yet quickly engage in it yourself under the banner of 'they did it first'. Many religious people at least have the excuse of ignorance (though that becomes less compelling when it is wilful) but i expect better of someone as erudite as yourself.

 

 

 

I agree the will to power is a human trait but I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

http://tinyurl.com/z2jt5p5

Far from a complete bibliography ( my library is packed prior to moving house next week)
I do however recommend an unfashionable tome ( yet to have it’s central thesis disproven)
in relation to this issue, if not fully focused on it. Arthur Koestler’s “The Ghost in The Machine"

 

 

Thanks for the links.

 

The first one links to google books and the relevant pages are hidden.

 

The second one is titled Is Religion an Evolutionary Adaptation? I'm not disputing that it is: although i am very weary of the 'just so' evolutionary argument for anything which has no actual predictive power. Also, the author claims the 'central unifying feature of religion [is] a belief in an unverifiable world'. I don't think that applies to Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism - not that these faiths don't contain beliefs in various unverifiable (and sometimes just plain silly) things, but that they are not central to the religion. This problem arises (on this thread) because we have not defined religion, i'm not sure why the author of this paper hasn't though. Maybe it's just agreed to such an extent in sociology that it is deemed unnecessary to say? In short, i'm not sure how this paper verifies that religion is identical to 'us/them' tribalism.

 

The third barely touches the subject: it's only reference to religion in 80 pages is this quote: 'Recent work suggests that religion and rites that galvanize group solidarity and deepen commitment spread by cultural group selection (Henrich 2009).' OK, some religions are under some kind of group selection. So what? And what about religions that don't galvanise group solidarity and deepen commitment spread?

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The problem I see with 'God can't be real' is in order to convince others something doesn't exist one requires an agreed definition of that something.

(Aquinas, if he was with us, might assert the All Being must exist, that is 'God', otherwise nothing can exist)

As the religious keep telling us 'God' is beyond definition and atheists tell us 'God' is a meaningless concept upon what basis can the discussion continue?

 

 

I don't think the semantics are important because I contend the concept of god is or became a teaching aid. Which is why I urged you to read my posts. Like DrP said, "it's complicated".

Edited by dimreepr

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I find it strange you acknowledge the tribalistic 'us vs them' mentality is the cause of many problems yet quickly engage in it yourself under the banner of 'they did it first'. Many religious people at least have the excuse of ignorance (though that becomes less compelling when it is wilful) but i expect better of someone as erudite as yourself.

 

Erudition doen't remove one from the tribe homo sapiens.

I'm up to my ears packing up house so will be scarse around these parts for a while.

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I did have an interesting thought after reading the free publication "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

 

Basically there are two things that run society: money (elite status), and organized groups (interest groups).

 

[edit] in my opinion...[/edit] behaving ethically or morally has two components: determining the right decision, and following through with it. I realized the paradox that these organized groups may be very good at getting what they want, and yet they may be very bad at determining what is for the best because of groupthink. One powerful interest group is the Christian Coalition of America, but this would by no means be exclusive to religious, organized groups. The NRA is a good example of a powerful interest group that sees everything in black and white. The NRA seems to want zero gun regulations no matter how well-informed some particular regulation may be, and that's probably the product of groupthink.

 

Overview of powerful interest groups: http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/11/18/fortune.25/index1.html

 

Regarding the tendency toward secondary psychopathy in the non-religious (which I discussed on page 12), it occurred to me that women and gay men are more likely to suffer from borderline personality disorder. It is thought that the primary psychopath is more similar to a narcissist, whereas the secondary psychopath is more similar to a borderline. Incidentally, women and gay men are some other disadvantaged people whose rights are being attacked by these organized groups, for example by the National Right to Life Committee and the Christian Coalition.

 

Alas, if the problem is that organized groups tend to be both powerful and stupid, then this may very well be a problem that goes beyond religion and, furthermore, would not include all modes of religiousness.

 

On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God".

Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives. Any acceptance by the general community to such cosmic elitism is to put our heads on the chopping block of whatever arbitrary whim said priesthood wishes to pursue from burning at the stake, stoning to death, amputation of limbs, all the way up to genocide.

"The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall be thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his annointed." 1St Samuel.Ch:2.V:10.

It arguably wouldn't be a problem if everybody was allowed to talk to, or receive communication from, the god and to come to their own conclusions about what the god wants. Alas I dislike how a lot of Christianity divides the divine into good spirits and evil spirits. If someone actually demonstrated a divine connection, many Christians would dismiss it as the work of Satan if they don't hear what they want to hear. From what I've gathered, superficially perhaps, there seems to be a history of Christians lumping the gods of other religions togethor under the label of Satan.

Edited by MonDie

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The question you are failing to address is whether all these things would occur without Islam, or without religion at all.

 

A few Muslims murdered people because of a perceived insult to Muhammad. Without Islam that particular event would not have happened. But without Islam, or religion, would a group with some identity still exist that would be quick to take offence and kill. Human history suggests emphatically yes: our tribalistic behaviours are deeply ingrained.

 

I hypothesise that it is these evolved group behaviours that are the cause of such violence and oppression - not any particular group (if there could be said to be one cause for quite complex behaviours).

 

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether the beliefs of a group make them more prone to violence. As you point out, if someone says they are killing in the name of god you should believe them. But the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, yet there are currently different levels of violence in adherents. So what is the difference? Well, the socio-political landscape is entirely different. I would suggest it has something to do with that. Simply saying 'Muslims did it', is an appeal to tribalism. Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). Focusing on particular manifestations is like playing an awful pop-up game - we smack one on the head, just for another to pop up

A world without religion(and spirituality) would be a world were people base themselves on facts...things that actually happened. Racism would not exist.

There would still be wars but less and for different reasons.

Science would stand a lot further.

If you believe a god created something then you think you already know the cause for that 'something'. Science evolves via imagination, by believing in a god you place limits in that imagination.

 

If the scientific mindset caused for a stronger evolutionary succes then I don't think there would be spirituality and religion.

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A world without religion(and spirituality) would be a world were people base themselves on facts...things that actually happened. Racism would not exist.

 

 

That seems very unlikely. The concept of in and out groups seems to exists in all human societies and is independent of religion.

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Racism would not exist.

 

Do you really believe that? Really?

 

If you believe a god created something then you think you already know the cause for that 'something'. Science evolves via imagination, by believing in a god you place limits in that imagination.

 

No offence but you perfectly demonstrate that this is false. In various threads you have displayed an intellectual obstinacy normally associated with the religious, to the point you won't even acknowledge other people's input.

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If you believe a god created something then you think you already know the cause for that 'something'. Science evolves via imagination, by believing in a god you place limits in that imagination.

 

 

I don't believe this either. Many (most?) early scientists were driven by their desire to better understand their God's creation - in fact they thought this was their duty.

 

So much science has been driven by religion.

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I don't believe this either. Many (most?) early scientists were driven by their desire to better understand their God's creation - in fact they thought this was their duty.

 

So much science has been driven by religion.

 

Charles Darwin is a great example of this.

 

He became a close friend and follower of botany professor John Stevens Henslow and met other leading parson-naturalists who saw scientific work as religious natural theology, becoming known to these dons as "the man who walks with Henslow". When his own exams drew near, Darwin focused on his studies and was delighted by the language and logic of William Paley's Evidences of Christianity[29]

 

Edited by dimreepr

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^ per dimreeper's quote. This is reminiscient of many autistics' ideas about God. Many of them see God in the natural workings of the universe rather than seeing God in the exceptions, the "miracles". Many people with high-functining autism (autism with a normal IQ) identify as atheist or agnostic, and others yet may say that their religious views, and perhaps those pertaining to God, are self-created.

Part of autism includes "repetitive behaviors" and a need for order and scheduling with a particular rigidity and resistance to change, which I suppose is why they become so deeply engorged in one and only one subject matter, often a scientific or mathematical subject matter. It is sometimes speculated that scientists have a higher preponderance of the genetic variants that dispose to autism.

Edited by MonDie

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^ per dimreeper's quote. This is reminiscient of many autistics' ideas about God.

 

 

It's also reminiscent of people who are totally immersed in a society that uniformly demands god is real.

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It's also reminiscent of people who are totally immersed in a society that uniformly demands god is real.

 

Do you want me to tell everyone else what you are suggesting for you? Okay, we might be urging them toward belief in God, which is why they adapt the concept in a way that is acceptable both to themselves and to society at large. Given that science is centered around the objective pursuit of truth, this might be a problem, especially if we have stigmatized the people with scientific proclivities who failed to conform. Very good, dimreeper. That's an excellent point. :P

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^ per dimreeper's quote. This is reminiscient of many autistics' ideas about God.

 

 

I would have thought it is most people's idea about God. (People who believe, I mean.)

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By the way, it does apply to scientists too.

 

http://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

 

 

 

Indeed, the survey shows that scientists are roughly half as likely as the general public to believe in God or a higher power. According to the poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. By contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power, according to a survey of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July 2006.

Along the way, I would like to remind our religious readers of what autism is.

 

Children with Autism have Extra Synapses in Brain (Columbia college)

http://newsroom.cumc.columbia.edu/blog/2014/08/21/children-autism-extra-synapses-brain/

 

Heritability of autism spectrum disorders: a meta-analysis of twin studies (NIH.gov)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26709141

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Do you really believe that? Really?

In a world without religion, people would base themselves on facts. Then there would be no racism since racism refers to e believe not based on facts.

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In a world without religion, people would base themselves on facts. Then there would be no racism since racism refers to e believe not based on facts.

 

So if i show you one racist atheist you would be happy to admit to being wrong?

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In a world without religion, people would base themselves on facts. Then there would be no racism since racism refers to e believe not based on facts.

 

 

Evidence please.

 

Although, as you appear to be an atheist and this opinion is not based on facts, it is a self-falsifying hypothesis. Well done. Quine would be proud of you.

Edited by Strange

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So if i show you one racist atheist you would be happy to admit to being wrong?

No. In a world without religion we would have a different mindset which prevents us from being racist.

Evidence please.

 

Although, as you appear to be an atheist and this opinion is not based on facts, it is a self-falsifying hypothesis. Well done. Quine would be proud of you.

You ask evidence for how the world would look like without religion???Seriously?

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No. In a world without religion we would have a different mindset which prevents us from being racist.

You ask evidence for how the world would look like without religion???Seriously?

 

 

Just in case you're not trolling, read this.

 

 

In the 20th century alone, more people were slaughtered under Secularist God-denying governments, and in the name of secularist ideologies, such as Nazism and Communism, than in all the documented religious persecutions within western history combined!

 

Edited by dimreepr

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You ask evidence for how the world would look like without religion???Seriously?

 

 

So there is no evidence. In which case I can prove you wrong, using exactly the same level of evidence and logical argument that you have.

 

Are you ready for this, it is complicated:

 

You are wrong.

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In a world without religion, people would base themselves on facts. Then there would be no racism since racism refers to e believe not based on facts.

 

I find the reverse more plausible: that without racism there might be no religion. "Religion" tends to refer to culturally-influenced manifestations of spirituality.

Meanwhile, I'm pondering my social psychology course and all the ways in which group pressure can make people do horrible (and horribly stupid) things. Maybe religious people are okay as individuals, but as a group they do terrible things. This perspective shifts the focus away from the traits of religious individuals, and toward the ways in which religious individuals are dispersed or organized.

Edited by MonDie

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"Religion" tends to refer to culturally-influenced manifestations of spirituality.

 

 

Then how do you explain the spread of new religions across multiple cultures?

 

I find the reverse more plausible: that without racism there might be no religion.

 

This makes no sense.

 

In a world without religion, people would base themselves on facts. Then there would be no racism since racism refers to e believe not based on facts.

 

 

The reverse of this would be 'In a world without religion, people would base themselves on fiction and racism is based on facts'.

 

The simple and overwhelming fact when it comes to racism, nobody is born a racist.

Edited by dimreepr

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Dimreeper, you are right, race/ethnicity isn't the only form of human grouping upon which religious differences may be upheld.

 


 

Incidentally, the nonconformity of autistics isn't entirely due to deficits in social ability... _Rick_. The original Asch conformity experiment had several people answer a line-judging question where the correct answer is obvious. In the experimental condition, the other participants were told to all give the same incorrect answer (for example, they all choose D when the correct answer is obviously B). Most people give the incorrect answer in the experimental condition, but autistics appear less susceptible to this effect. This could explain why autistics are less likely to drink even though they are susceptible to depression and prone to substance abuse problems.

 

Social conformity and autism spectrum disorder: a child friendly take on a classic study (NIH)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24126871

 

People with autistic tendencies vulnerable to drinking problems (Washington University of St Louis)

https://source.wustl.edu/2014/05/people-with-autistic-tendencies-vulnerable-to-alcohol-problems/

 

 

 

“Drinking to intoxication is a social activity that is more likely to occur in a group,” said first author Duneesha De Alwis, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry. “People with autistic traits can be socially withdrawn, so drinking with peers is less likely. But if they do start drinking, even alone, they tend to repeat that behavior, which puts them at increased risk for alcohol dependence.”

 

[...]

 

Those with more ADHD traits were more likely to engage in social drinking and to drink until they were intoxicated. Those with autistic traits didn’t do either, but if they drank at all, they still had an elevated risk for alcohol dependence.

 

An interesting question emerges: are autistics failing to see the value that religion has to our society, or are they just put off by, or less susceptible to, the stupidity that arises from group conformity and religious conformity?

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Dimreeper, you are right, race/ethnicity isn't the only form of human grouping upon which religious differences may be upheld.

 


 

Incidentally, the nonconformity of autistics isn't entirely due to deficits in social ability... _Rick_. The original Asch conformity experiment had several people answer a line-judging question where the correct answer is obvious. In the experimental condition, the other participants were told to all give the same incorrect answer (for example, they all choose D when the correct answer is obviously B). Most people give the incorrect answer in the experimental condition, but autistics appear less susceptible to this effect. This could explain why autistics are less likely to drink even though they are susceptible to depression and prone to substance abuse problems.

 

Social conformity and autism spectrum disorder: a child friendly take on a classic study (NIH)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24126871

 

People with autistic tendencies vulnerable to drinking problems (Washington University of St Louis)

https://source.wustl.edu/2014/05/people-with-autistic-tendencies-vulnerable-to-alcohol-problems/

 

 

 

 

An interesting question emerges: are autistics failing to see the value that religion has to our society, or are they just put off by, or less susceptible to, the stupidity that arises from group conformity and religious conformity?

 

 

You're conflating group conformity to religious understanding, but that invalidates any wisdom religion has to offer; the question remains unanswered in this and other similar threads, how do you explain the spread of new religions across multiple cultures?

Edited by dimreepr

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