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Would the world be a better place without religion?


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MonDie's post appears to have just touched the surface of a much deeper subject. That post seemed to address some of the factors that may motivate certain personalities to participate in religious activities, while other critical- and/or analytical thinking individuals may turn away from it. There is much more to it than just that though. Of course our behaviour is largely influence by the interaction between our genes and our environments. Religious activity most probably has its origin in either a spandrel of evolution or a meme and remains to be strongly linked to one's cultural ancestry. As such the gene/environment interaction plays an important role in strengthening alliances to any particular religion which makes it extremely difficult to shed. An interesting topic to research is the impact of the Age Of Enlightenment and how it effectively got entire populations to reconsider the merits of so-called organised religions and the roles that these religions play in society. Another even more disturbing subject relates to the so-called toxic nature of Abrahamic religions and how it has impacted on humanity's psyche. Julia Kristeva dealt with it in the publication Psychoanalysis, Monotheism and Morality and she also covered it, as well as influence of the Age Of Enlightenment & Baroque era's, in a presentation entitled The Forces Of Monotheism Confronting The Need To Believe (http://www.kristeva.fr/the_forces.html).

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Would the world be a better place without religion? A 100% yes is my answer.

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If Judaism did not spread to Europe (by crossing boundaries) then the Holocaust could not have happened. If islam did not cross all those boundaries then there would be no Islam terrorism. The spreadi

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An interesting topic to research is the impact of the Age Of Enlightenment and how it effectively got entire populations to reconsider the merits of so-called organised religions and the roles that these religions play in society.

 

 

Only when secularism works out a way to inspire a, real life long, sense of purpose for most, will I call it "The age of enlightenment".

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^ Well whether you like it or not, it happened and it is referred to as such. I am also not sure why you seemingly want to rely on any organisation or movement to "inspire a real life long sense of purpose for most"..? As in creating a false sense of being a preferred religious worshipper, as in being born sinful, feeling the burden of guilt and remorse for your entire life and having to repent for your sins in order to stand a chance to be saved from eternal damnation by the grace of an imaginary deity? We have it in ourselves to find- and to pursue said sense of purpose in our lives, there is no need to rely on superstitions (or on external organisations/movements).

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As in creating a false sense of being a preferred religious worshipper, as in being born sinful, feeling the burden of guilt and remorse for your entire life and having to repent for your sins in order to stand a chance to be saved from eternal damnation by the grace of an imaginary deity?

 

 

An example of how the bible has been misinterpreted, perhaps; given that the majority of us adult humans are guilty of something, and the personal relief the act of forgiveness gives us all; imagine the relief when that lens is directed upon oneself, no god required.

You may not like the concept of religion, but don't let secular dogma blind you to the potential that the bible may contain something, that atheism doesn't understand; when that happens I won't just say "The age of enlightenment" I'll celebrate it.

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@ dimreepr: I am trying to follow, but you are speaking in tongues. It is much easier and it makes a lot more sense to just accept our shortcomings as part of our evolved nature than to be burdened by the guilt thereof...as if only humans have the unique ability to sin in the eye of some omnipresent god. It would seem as if you exalt the Bible above its religious interpretation and dogma, as if first Paul, then Irenaeus, then Augustine and finally the church fathers who formalised the Nicene Creed, have all misunderstood something. As if you consider the Bible to be the actual word of God misinterpreted by men. You do know when and by who the various parts of the Bible were written and compiled, of its cultural history, how it came to its present canon, no? You are implying that "secular dogma" (?) blinds us to the possibility that the Bible may contain something. What could possible be contained in a collection of 2,000 - 3,000 year old scriptures that may give us a sense of purpose in our modern-day lives? I have grown up with the Bible, I have read it front to back, many times. There really is not much in it to hold dear, something that is somehow unique or special from other similar ancient teachings. It is totally over-rated, it has become useless.

 

Why is it always assumed that every bit of criticism levelled against (organised) religion and/or its various sacred scriptures must be coming from atheists? So one is either in that little box or outside of it and labelled accordingly..?

 

I suggest that you read (at least sections 2 & 3 of) that Julia Kristeva lecture that I linked earlier (it is not that long). Perhaps it would encourage you to explore the psychology of religion a bit further..?

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As if you consider the Bible to be the actual word of God misinterpreted by men.

 

 

This is why you don't get it; I consider the bible the actual word of God wise men/women, misinterpreted by other men/women...

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Oh ok, I accept your explanation although I am still somewhat intrigued by your high admiration for the Bible in particular. I am trying to gauge why you would deem the Biblical canon to be unique when it comes to wisdom, moral teachings and/or providing a sense of purpose in life. Most of the Old Testament was written during Babylonian and Persian exile. It was hugely influenced by the oral and written folklore, ethics and traditions of these more advanced civilisations. Earlier in the thread I referred to the Neo-Sumerian Empire, the origin of two of the oldest examples of written laws that predated Mosaic law and much of the OT by quite a stretch and later gave rise to the Babylonian civilisation. The Book of Proverbs, for example, could well be described as a source of great ancient wisdom. It is important to acknowledge the fact that said book cannot only be accredit to King Solomon (and his alleged mythical wisdom), but that it ended up being a collection of various middle-Eastern scriptures of wisdom spanning an entire millennium. Similarly you could perhaps point to Jesus' Sermon On The Mount as a good example of wise moral teachings, perhaps also selected parts of Paul's epistles. However, upon closer examination of the Sermon On The Mount as well as some of Paul's writings it becomes apparent that a lot of that were also borrowed from contemporary literature of the time (The Dead Sea Scrolls contain large parts of Jesus' sermon, but were written approx. a century before the alleged sermon). Some of these teachings were also very similar to what Confucius and the Buddha taught 500 years earlier.

 

So if you were implying that the Bible remains to be an important historical document in view of the fact that it managed to merge and preserve a collection of wide-ranging ancient teachings and folklore, I would agree with you. If, however, it was your contention that the authors of the Bible were uniquely gifted in their ability to convey a sort of wisdom that is both timeless and that could still provide us with a sense of purpose, well of that I am not convinced.

Edited by Memammal
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Oh ok, I accept your explanation although I am still somewhat intrigued by your high admiration for the Bible in particular. I am trying to gauge why you would deem the Biblical canon to be unique when it comes to wisdom, moral teachings.

 

 

I only mention the bible because I was brought up in a christian culture, I have said many times, I consider all major religions to be equal in terms of the wisdom they contain; I've also said, more than once, the bible isn't trying to teach or guide our morals.

 

Most of the Old Testament was written during Babylonian and Persian exile. It was hugely influenced by the oral and written folklore, ethics and traditions of these more advanced civilisations. Earlier in the thread I referred to the Neo-Sumerian Empire, the origin of two of the oldest examples of written laws that predated Mosaic law and much of the OT by quite a stretch and later gave rise to the Babylonian civilisation. The Book of Proverbs, for example, could well be described as a source of great ancient wisdom. It is important to acknowledge the fact that said book cannot only be accredit to King Solomon (and his alleged mythical wisdom), but that it ended up being a collection of various middle-Eastern scriptures of wisdom spanning an entire millennium. Similarly you could perhaps point to Jesus' Sermon On The Mount as a good example of wise moral teachings, perhaps also selected parts of Paul's epistles. However, upon closer examination of the Sermon On The Mount as well as some of Paul's writings it becomes apparent that a lot of that were also borrowed from contemporary literature of the time (The Dead Sea Scrolls contain large parts of Jesus' sermon, but were written approx. a century before the alleged sermon). Some of these teachings were also very similar to what Confucius and the Buddha taught 500 years earlier.

 

 

 

My contention would fall flat on it's face if this wasn't true.

 

Wisdom is just as true now as it was 2,000/4,000/6,000, etc., years ago and is just as difficult to impart.

 

Imagine you wake up one day and you suddenly understand <insert bible>; you go from friend to friend telling each exactly how to be at peace with the world, and all you get for your efforts are blank stares (at best) and aggressive denial.

 

If you're blessed with the ability to teach, you seek out cultural analogies and relevant texts and you twist them together; then you find the thread that ties it all together and before you know it another bible is born.

.

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This is why you don't get it; I consider the bible the actual word of God wise men/women, misinterpreted by other men/women...

Why do you think your interpretation is the correct one?

And all the moral paradoxes in the NT are written by wise men?

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In dim's defence, I used to get a lot of positivity out of it... but we were taught to read it whilst being guided by the holy spirit. My whole life, before I read the bible or listened to a sermon, I would pray first that the holy ghost would guide me through it and let me hear (or read) only what he wanted me to hear so that I would receive his message. Basically, you ignore a lot of BS. ;-) I love the messages of love and forgiveness etc..

 

I would still be a Christian today if I believed in God. The NT does supercede the old and brings a completion/evolution to the storey and is full of love if you ignore some of it (let those that have ears listen). I still love the Holy Ghost!! lol - only I believe it to be something other than what I used to belive it to be. (I used to believe it was God, but now I believe it is the best of me or something different that I can't explain). Maybe I am prejudice against the Koran and Islam because I was a Christian, but I really DO hate it. It is all OT stuff and Christianity is about moving on from Dogma and being free... However, in this modern day, I can no longer make excuses for the crap in it and have now started to distance myself from it completely. Also, it is pretty obvious that there is no god as it is described in any of those books. (thus I called them books of lies earlier - because I believe they are).

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Why do you think your interpretation is the correct one?

 

I haven't tried.

 

And all the moral paradoxes in the NT are written by wise men?

 

 

 

No, they are misunderstood because they're out of context and interpreted by men.

In dim's defence, I used to get a lot of positivity out of it... but we were taught to read it whilst being guided by the holy spirit. My whole life, before I read the bible or listened to a sermon, I would pray first that the holy ghost would guide me through it and let me hear (or read) only what he wanted me to hear so that I would receive his message. Basically, you ignore a lot of BS. ;-) I love the messages of love and forgiveness etc..

 

I would still be a Christian today if I believed in God. The NT does supercede the old and brings a completion/evolution to the storey and is full of love if you ignore some of it (let those that have ears listen). I still love the Holy Ghost!! lol - only I believe it to be something other than what I used to belive it to be. (I used to believe it was God, but now I believe it is the best of me or something different that I can't explain). Maybe I am prejudice against the Koran and Islam because I was a Christian, but I really DO hate it. It is all OT stuff and Christianity is about moving on from Dogma and being free... However, in this modern day, I can no longer make excuses for the crap in it and have now started to distance myself from it completely. Also, it is pretty obvious that there is no god as it is described in any of those books. (thus I called them books of lies earlier - because I believe they are).

 

 

From this, I'm getting a reason to include god; a nice spiky finial to adorn that stick.

 

Forgive, a person is no different to god, your hate, for them, will have no effect at all on them.

Edited by dimreepr
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QUOTE: "your hate for them"..

 

I presume you mean muslims? I never said I hated them - I said I hate the religion. Sorry if that was not clear.

 

"from this I am getting.... adorn that stick"

 

Sorry - I do not understand that sentence at all.

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I have no hate of god.... I do not believe there is one (not that is defined by any of the worlds books anyway). I used to believe it.... but I seriously think that I must have been crazy.... I forgive myself for that.


I used to love what I thought was God.


Maybe I am still sore after a lifetime of lies Dim - you may be right. I am not perfect by a long way and maybe there is some bitterness in me that needs working out.... I would have put it at the foot of the cross in the past - maybe I still can as way of working through it, but I will not lie to myself or anyone else any longer, it isn't the truth (from what I can see) - but it is a damn site better than a lot of things I hear.

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I have no hate of god.... I do not believe there is one (not that is defined by any of the worlds books anyway). I used to believe it.... but I seriously think that I must have been crazy.... I forgive myself for that.

 

 

Have you?

 

I used to love what I thought was God.

 

 

This why I question.

 

 

I am he as you are he as you are me

And we are all together

See how they run like pigs from a gun

See how they fly

I'm crying

 

 

 

 

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No, they are misunderstood because they're out of context and interpreted by men.

I see. So all immoral stuff and the ridiculous paradoxes are not there? We only think they are there because we misinterpret everything?
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I see. So all immoral stuff and the ridiculous paradoxes are not there? We only think they are there because we misinterpret everything?

 

 

Why do you feel the need to beat this, particular, underdog?

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thus I called them books of lies earlier - because I believe they are.

 

They are only lies in as much as Harry Potter is a lie. Or maybe the Iliad is a better comparison; it doesn't matter if it is historically accurate, it is an exploration of the human condition, as meaningful today as ever it was.

 

No one rails against the Dark Side in Star Wars. Why? Because we all know its a metaphor, a story, not events that actually transpired a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. The problem with many religious people is that they have been brought up to revere holy books as a literal truth rather than allegory. The solution isn't simply to declare their holy book evil, or silly, or false - polarising the discussion - but rather to point out the wisdom contained in them and encourage people to engage with those aspects. Then in (a lot of) time the various holy books can take their place alongside the great classics of literature: no more and no less.

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I am he as you are he as you are me

And we are all together

See how they run like pigs from a gun

See how they fly

I'm crying

I Am The Walrus - The Beatles. Now that is gospel ;)

 

@ Prometheus: I like the last paragraph of your last post above. One observation:

The problem with many religious people is that they have been brought up to revere holy books as a literal truth rather than allegory.

The problem does not really lie with the many religious people, but with their religions, their churches, their pastors, their parents, et al. The essence of the good gospel is flawed and those spreading it feel obliged to do so as the stakes are too high. A vicious circle repeating itself with every generation as the perils and guilt of original sin are being passed on.

Edited by Memammal
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They are only lies in as much as Harry Potter is a lie...

 

I disagree here Pro, because the religious texts are taught as fact. HP and StarWars are not. lol.

 

I do believe there is good in Christianity - if it causes people to soul search and repent from wrongdoing then that can't be bad - the world needs better people to make it a better place, but in this day and age it is time we moved on from works of fiction and face facts.

PS - wrt to I am the Walrus... I think the next verse sums up how I feel about religion at the moment:

 

"Yellow matter custard, Dripping from a dead dogs eye!"

Edited by DrP
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Typo?

No.

The NT seems more moral then the OT but there is a lot of paradoxes and immoral stuff, it's just less obvious then in the OT.

 

Like I've said before, religion slows down moral and science evolution.

A world without religion would be an upgrade compared to this one.

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The problem does not really lie with the many religious people, but with their religions, their churches, their pastors, their parents, et al. The essence of the good gospel is flawed and those spreading it feel obliged to do so as the stakes are too high. A vicious circle repeating itself with every generation as the perils and guilt of original sin are being passed on.

 

I agree in part, religious institutions too often serve their god or themselves before they serve humanity. Until they serve humans foremost they are a bane. But at some stage we must take personal responsibility for our actions, we cannot excuse religious extremists their atrocities because they were inculcated by the wrong doctrine. But perhaps that's another discussion.

 

I disagree here Pro, because the religious texts are taught as fact. HP and StarWars are not. lol.

 

I quite agree. Religions contain no facts, but some truth. Taking them literally is to misunderstand them in the most fundamental way possible.

 

 

 

- if it causes people to soul search and repent from wrongdoing then that can't be bad - the world needs better people to make it a better place, but in this day and age it is time we moved on from works of fiction and face facts.

 

I hope we never move on from fiction: our narratives are what us human. But i agree that it has no place in determining the facts of the universe. There is a time and a place for it.

 

I'm reading lots of Terry Pratchett at the moment: he sums it up much better than i.

 

 

Humans need fantasy to be human; to be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

 

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