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Can we reopen the "rational foundations of religion" thread again?


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3 hours ago, Peterkin said:

So  I don't think we're talking about the same thing, and doubt if we can.

Perhaps.

3 hours ago, Phi for All said:

I'm trying to be extremely specific and thoughtful in my wording, and you're trying to dial your arguments back to the point of overgeneralized meaninglessness, so no, I don't agree. I'm arguing that the foundations of most religions are rational, and you seem to be arguing that it can't be true because of what they've become.

Is that how you see it? I'm saying there is good and bad in religion, and I am presumptious enough to say that is I'm sure what you accept, based on the evidence of your generally informative posts on this forum. You listed the good, I listed the bad. On the rationalisation,  all I am maintaining is that while beliefs in gods and spirits and such were fundamentally necessary at that time, to explain the universe around them, we certainly don't in a reasonably enlightened age, scientifically endorse beliefs in invisible deities. How about human sacrifice as a fundamental to some past religious/faith? Yes the majority of the world's population are said to be religious...I'm still (as far as I know) a Catholic...perhaps and imo a very good chance why many still accept a deity is out of fear of the finality of death, wishful thinking, (without scientific evidence) and similar. Likewise our distant ancestors, in the face of illness and such, may have re-enforced their mythical beliefs, to help alleviate serious concerns in the face that illness.

Either way, be any of that as it may, I remain as tolerent as ever to religious folk and their carryings on, based on their fundamentals, as long as it does not conflict or hinder my way of life or morals.

3 hours ago, Phi for All said:

I'm trying to defend the site owner's decision to encourage posting about the rational foundations of religion, so I focused on just that, the foundations.

And I support that. I generally am not critical of what religious people tell me about their beliefs, in the proper sections,  until thet start criticising science, although this thread may be an exception. 🤔

3 hours ago, Phi for All said:

I think you're forgetting that it wasn't myth to the people who created the foundations of the religion. You have a modern perspective that lets you see myth = bad, 

 

Not bad (in all circumstances) just based in ignorance and while understandable of that ignorance for that time, still critical of it when applicable...eg human sacrifice.

 

 

Edited by beecee
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7 hours ago, Peterkin said:

The foundations of religion [general term for a social phenomenon] are not interchangeable with the tenets of any particular religious belief.

None the less none of them are based in or on rationality. 

7 hours ago, Peterkin said:

 

And yet the phenomenon of religion has lasted for thousands of years, if not tens of thousands; even particular religious institutions have lasted hundreds, and in some cases, at least two thousand years. What's "not very long" in the life-cycle of a skyscraper? 

You are forgetting the ones that have lasted for longer than 2000 years or do I sense a bit of favoritism? 

7 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Social structures are not like buildings; they have different foundations and serve different purposes.

I thought religions all claimed to be true as opposed to social structures which can be total bullshit and still withstand the test of time. I mean the Illuminati is still around. 

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10 hours ago, beecee said:

Is that how you see it? I'm saying there is good and bad in religion,

OK, forget it. My arguments specifically about the foundations of religion can't seem to get through your desire to bash all current religion. I'm tired of trying to work past this obvious strawman. I hope this isn't intentional.

 

10 hours ago, beecee said:

You listed the good, I listed the bad.

NO! That's not at all what happened. I listed some of the noble reasons a religion might start (you know, foundational stuff), and you listed the bad things many have become. I don't know how to explain the difference to you anymore, and I'm frankly tired of your insistence on dragging my posts through the dismissive filters you've installed surrounding the subject. 

It's a mark of integrity that you can understand something and acknowledge it without embracing it or accepting it as right. I don't embrace religious beliefs, but I certainly don't think they started out corrupted. That happens over time to most human institutions.

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1 minute ago, Phi for All said:

OK, forget it. My arguments specifically about the foundations of religion can't seem to get through your desire to bash all current religion. I'm tired of trying to work past this obvious strawman. I hope this isn't intentional.

 

NO! That's not at all what happened. I listed some of the noble reasons a religion might start (you know, foundational stuff), and you listed the bad things many have become. I don't know how to explain the difference to you anymore, and I'm frankly tired of your insistence on dragging my posts through the dismissive filters you've installed surrounding the subject. 

It's a mark of integrity that you can understand something and acknowledge it without embracing it or accepting it as right. I don't embrace religious beliefs, but I certainly don't think they started out corrupted. That happens over time to most human institutions.

Religion IMHO was just an attempt to explain our reality in terms of what we observed, our instinctive biases, and a generous dollop of mind altering drugs. There was no doubt some logic in it as far as the observations go but they were flawed and no method of testing them existed. I am willing to discuss whether or not this involved rationality but IMHO any rationality was immediately overshadowed by the need for ritual and control by an individual or an elite group. Belief and faith played and still play a paramount part in religion and these are not rational means of obtaining knowledge.   

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3 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Religion IMHO was just an attempt to explain our reality in terms of what we observed, our instinctive biases, and a generous dollop of mind altering drugs. There was no doubt some logic in it as far as the observations go but they were flawed and no method of testing them existed. I am willing to discuss whether or not this involved rationality but IMHO any rationality was immediately overshadowed by the need for ritual and control by an individual or an elite group. Belief and faith played and still play a paramount part in religion and these are not rational means of obtaining knowledge. 

You and @beecee describe our yesterday's as ignorant and today as enlightened, as if we know better?

Our ignorance of yesterday is no more enlightened than our ignorance of tomorrow...

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1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

I am willing to discuss whether or not this involved rationality but IMHO any rationality was immediately overshadowed by the need for ritual and control by an individual or an elite group.

I can argue the rationality of ritual fairly well. For people who can't read, ritual repetition is one of the best ways to learn. It's how most of our oral stories were passed down. You see early religious individuals trying to "control" their group, but it probably just started out as teaching what they though was right, in the right way. You repeat the chant, and if you get it wrong you get corrected. Most teaching progressed like this, and still does.

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20 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I can argue the rationality of ritual fairly well. For people who can't read, ritual repetition is one of the best ways to learn. It's how most of our oral stories were passed down. You see early religious individuals trying to "control" their group, but it probably just started out as teaching what they though was right, in the right way. You repeat the chant, and if you get it wrong you get corrected. Most teaching progressed like this, and still does.

Moreover, rituals predate humans. Other mammals, birds have rituals. My dogs love rituals and don't like when a ritual goes "wrong".

Maybe religions predate humans as well?

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13 hours ago, Moontanman said:
21 hours ago, Peterkin said:

And yet the phenomenon of religion has lasted for thousands of years, if not tens of thousands; even particular religious institutions have lasted hundreds, and in some cases, at least two thousand years. What's "not very long" in the life-cycle of a skyscraper? 

You are forgetting the ones that have lasted for longer than 2000 years or do I sense a bit of favoritism? 

I didn't mention any particular religions, nor shown favour to any (in this instance). The time-spans I mentioned in comparison to the longevity of skyscrapers seemed to me sufficiently inclusive.

 

13 hours ago, Moontanman said:

None the less none of them are based in or on rationality.

  This is no entirely true, though it also misses the point.

Humans have rational and irrational ideas. Humans have rational and irrational fears. Humans have rational and irrational responses to the environment and to events in their lives. When irrational fears and desires create a crisis addressing that crisis is rational, even if addressing it means inventing an irrational response.

A man's wife died recently. She used to read bedtime stories to their small child and he misses her, doesn't understand about death or why she abandoned him. Child can't go to sleep without the mother reading him stories, and he's starting to imagine bizarre things due to sleep deprivation. The father, not exactly in the grandest emotional condition himself, is worried. He has explained about how people don't want to die, but they do, and that it's forever; they can't come back. Child says father is wrong, because he's seen his mother. (this is a common occurrence ) No, the father explains, he was just dreaming (except he can't go to sleep, so he knows this is lie) or 'just' imagining things - as if imagination were a trivial thing! But the child is not convinced. And he can't sleep until his mother reads him a story.

So, the father says: "Well, Mommy can't come back anymore, but she can see you from heaven. If you close your eyes and try to sleep, she'll be able to read you a dream. That's even better than a story!" Child allows himself to be tucked up and closes his eyes. And every night, until he's a big lout of 8 of 9, he goes to sleep confident that his absent mother will read him a dream and he feels less bereft. And even when he's grown, sometimes, in very stressful situations, he might go to bed, close his eyes and think, "Mom, can you read me the solution to this problem?"

Was the father wrong to say that? In the sense that the statement was incorrect, yes. Did he believe it himself? Who knows - he probably wanted to, or at least wished it was true. Did he intend to brainwash the child? No, he intended to comfort his child. Whether it was the right or wrong thing to do,it was a rational thing to do - and it worked. (It's not his fault that it worked so incredibly well, and works so universally, that far more ruthlessly ambitious men than himself were able to parlay it into  hegemonies of immense wealth and power -- all of them quite rationally based on semi-rational human psychology.)

The foundation of a cult has been laid.

4 hours ago, Moontanman said:

any rationality was immediately overshadowed by the need for ritual and control by an individual or an elite group

What's irrational about an individual or elite group using whatever tools and methods are available to give themselves an advantage over others? Given competition for resources, mates, status etc., of course. Hierarchy, the drive to be top dog, top of the food chain, certainly predates H. sapiens by some 60 million years, and so does the pack impulse to take direction from a leader. If that's irrational, it's also unshakable.

Edited by Peterkin
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1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

I didn't mention any particular religions, nor shown favour to any (in this instance). The time-spans I mentioned in comparison to the longevity of skyscrapers seemed to me sufficiently inclusive.

 

  This is no entirely true, though it also misses the point.

Humans have rational and irrational ideas. Humans have rational and irrational fears. Humans have rational and irrational responses to the environment and to events in their lives. When irrational fears and desires create a crisis addressing that crisis is rational, even if addressing it means inventing an irrational response.

A man's wife died recently. She used to read bedtime stories to their small child and he misses her, doesn't understand about death or why she abandoned him. Child can't go to sleep without the mother reading him stories, and he's starting to imagine bizarre things due to sleep deprivation. The father, not exactly in the grandest emotional condition himself, is worried. He has explained about how people don't want to die, but they do, and that it's forever; they can't come back. Child says father is wrong, because he's seen his mother. (this is a common occurrence ) No, the father explains, he was just dreaming (except he can't go to sleep, so he knows this is lie) or 'just' imagining things - as if imagination were a trivial thing! But the child is not convinced. And he can't sleep until his mother reads him a story.

So, the father says: "Well, Mommy can't come back anymore, but she can see you from heaven. If you close your eyes and try to sleep, she'll be able to read you a dream. That's even better than a story!" Child allows himself to be tucked up and closes his eyes. And every night, until he's a big lout of 8 of 9, he goes to sleep confident that his absent mother will read him a dream and he feels less bereft. And even when he's grown, sometimes, in very stressful situations, he might go to bed, close his eyes and think, "Mom, can you read me the solution to this problem?" Was the father wrong to say that?

It was both wrong and irrational. Lying to a child is always wrong, telling a child that something irrational is true is doubly wrong. 

1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

 

What's irrational about an individual or elite group using whatever tools and methods are available to give themselves an advantage over others? Given competition for resources, mates, status etc., of course. Hierarchy, the drive to be top dog, top of the food chain, certainly predates H. sapiens by some 60 million years, and so does the pack impulse to take direction from a leader. If that's irrational, it's also unshakable.

The irrational part is the people believing it, the wrong part is the few lying to the many for power. 

4 hours ago, Phi for All said:

I can argue the rationality of ritual fairly well. For people who can't read, ritual repetition is one of the best ways to learn. It's how most of our oral stories were passed down. You see early religious individuals trying to "control" their group, but it probably just started out as teaching what they though was right, in the right way. You repeat the chant, and if you get it wrong you get corrected. Most teaching progressed like this, and still does.

Hmm, I think we are using the word ritual in different ways, I am using it in the sense of something used to control others through repetition and repetition of non truthful things. IMHO words do not have meanings but usages, that is why when you look up a word in the dictionary they have many and even contradictory definitions but your mileage may vary. 

6 hours ago, dimreepr said:

You and @beecee describe our yesterday's as ignorant and today as enlightened, as if we know better?

Our ignorance of yesterday is no more enlightened than our ignorance of tomorrow...

No, you are putting words in my mouth, the past has wisdom as does the present and so will the future, none of them have the last word on knowledge but science becomes ever more accurate, faith and belief are not, were not, and will not be accurate methods of obtaining knowledge. 

Edited by Moontanman
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27 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Hmm, I think we are using the word ritual in different ways, I am using it in the sense of something used to control others through repetition and repetition of non truthful things.

That sounds like "brainwashing". Ritual has nothing intrinsic to do with untruths. Ritual is just a ceremonial form of conduct, usually repeating the same words/movements in unison or along with a speaker. They're usually special words and movements, words everybody wants to get right, sacred words that aren't supposed to change based on individuals (not sacred in a religious sense). Weddings, swearing-in ceremonies, pledges of allegiance, vows & oaths, clubs, leagues, lots of non-religious folks use ritual to mark the importance of an event. Memorizing the words and saying them together ideally creates unity and brotherhood. 

Like any tool, ritual can be misused. Any form of teaching can be misused. Doesn't mean the tool is evil.

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2 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

That sounds like "brainwashing". Ritual has nothing intrinsic to do with untruths. Ritual is just a ceremonial form of conduct, usually repeating the same words in unison or along with a speaker. They're usually special words, words everybody wants to get right, sacred words that aren't supposed to change based on individuals (not sacred in a religious sense). Weddings, swearing-in ceremonies, pledges of allegiance, vows & oaths, clubs, leagues, lots of non-religious folks use ritual to mark the importance of an event. Memorizing the words and saying them together creates unity and brotherhood. 

Like any tool, ritual can be misused. Any form of teaching can be misused. Doesn't mean the tool is evil.

I never suggested the tool is evil, I was just using the word in a different context. Religious rituals have no basis in rational thought. 

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34 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

The irrational part is the people believing it, the wrong part is the few lying to the many for power. 

None of the parts are the foundation.

And you, like Beecee, keep dragging in your subjective moral judgment. People take both rational and irrational actions for reasons that seem wrong to other people. The morality doesn't affect the rationality, or vice versa.

Personally, I would rather lie to a child than watch it suffer - and don't much care who condemns that attitude. Most adults lie to children all the time, for all kinds of reasons, about all kinds of subjects, and if I judge them at all, I do it case by case, not wholesale. But that's just my casual relationship with with truth - subjective.

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3 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

Religious rituals have no basis in rational thought. 

What's happened to your objectivity? Of course many of them had a basis in rational thought. The creators of Gobekli Tepe constructed a place of pilgrimage that must have required an unprecedented amount of cooperation and skill for Stone Age humans 12,000 years ago. They used the knowledge they had at the time to explain their world in the form of stone pillars and megaliths carved with wild animals. Every damn bit of what they were doing AT THE TIME was rooted in rational thought. 

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7 hours ago, Phi for All said:

OK, forget it. My arguments specifically about the foundations of religion can't seem to get through your desire to bash all current religion.

And those foundations of religion as you mention here...

5 hours ago, Phi for All said:

Most things have a rational foundation at the start. That's why they get started, because they're needed and they make sense.  

Which ones, the ones that emphasized working with nature to ensure easier living, or the ones that established fair trade practices, or the ones that emphasized bonds of friendship and family and nation, or the ones that attempted to show the difference between good and evil to bronze age humans? 

Are they foundations or really just qualities that we all would like exhibited by people and nations, religion or no religion? IMO they are simply the foundation of a reasonable morally decent society, among others qualities you didn't mention. 

7 hours ago, Phi for All said:

and you listed the bad things many have become. I don't know how to explain the difference to you anymore, and I'm frankly tired of your insistence on dragging my posts through the dismissive filters you've installed surrounding the subject. 

OK educate me! Let's start with why religions were started in the first place...and were they seen as religions anyway. Wasn't ancient man simply trying to "rationalise" the wonders of the universe around him? Didn't that so called "rationalisation" involve inventing some all powerful, omnipotent being as a "foundation stone" of whatever was to become a religion? Wasn't (in time) that rationalisation shown to be wrong? Wasn't human sacrifice part and parcel of some religious practises? Foundation stones perhaps? I don't really know...I havn't made an issue of studying religions, other then the little book they gave me at school called a Catechism and biblical quotes, by obscure men in an obscure age, in an equally obscure book.

7 hours ago, Phi for All said:

It's a mark of integrity that you can understand something and acknowledge it without embracing it or accepting it as right. I don't embrace religious beliefs, but I certainly don't think they started out corrupted. That happens over time to most human institutions.

I understand that some of the foundations of religions are good. I understand that some were equally bad and harmful, (probably the ones you say are what some religions have become) I understand that while the original foundations were laid in limited times, they were equally wrong in hindsight. I also understand that much of what you say were foundations of religion/s, are simply good qualities we would like all of humanity to possess. I also understand (please correct me if I am wrong) about some biblical story about the God of the bible telling Abraham to sacrifice his Son Isaac? Please don't hold me to the accuracy of that quote, I am going from memory. (His obedience to said God was being tested) the foundation stone of absolute obedience.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_and_rationality#:~:text=Rationalism holds that truth should,conflict with evidence and reason.

 

  1. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.
7 hours ago, dimreepr said:

You and @beecee describe our yesterday's as ignorant and today as enlightened, as if we know better?

Our ignorance of yesterday is no more enlightened than our ignorance of tomorrow...

Wrong. Today we are simply "more" enlightened as to the nature of the universe around us, and tommorow, we may see through the ignorance that still haunts us today. That's science.

20 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

I don't know how to explain the difference to you anymore, and I'm frankly tired of your insistence on dragging my posts through the dismissive filters you've installed surrounding the subject. 

And I'm rather disappointed that you can infer that.

7 hours ago, Phi for All said:

OK, forget it.

OK, I'll leave the last laugh/comment up to you.

33 minutes ago, beecee said:

And those foundations of religion as you mention here...

Are they foundations or really just qualities that we all would like exhibited by people and nations, religion or no religion? IMO they are simply the foundation of a reasonable morally decent society, among others qualities you didn't mention. 

OK educate me! Let's start with why religions were started in the first place...and were they seen as religions anyway. Wasn't ancient man simply trying to "rationalise" the wonders of the universe around him? Didn't that so called "rationalisation" involve inventing some all powerful, omnipotent being as a "foundation stone" of whatever was to become a religion? Wasn't (in time) that rationalisation shown to be wrong? Wasn't human sacrifice part and parcel of some religious practises? Foundation stones perhaps? I don't really know...I havn't made an issue of studying religions, other then the little book they gave me at school called a Catechism and biblical quotes, by obscure men in an obscure age, in an equally obscure book.

I understand that some of the foundations of religions are good. I understand that some were equally bad and harmful, (probably the ones you say are what some religions have become) I understand that while the original foundations were laid in limited times, they were equally wrong in hindsight. I also understand that much of what you say were foundations of religion/s, are simply good qualities we would like all of humanity to possess. I also understand (please correct me if I am wrong) about some biblical story about the God of the bible telling Abraham to sacrifice his Son Isaac? Please don't hold me to the accuracy of that quote, I am going from memory. (His obedience to said God was being tested) the foundation stone of absolute obedience.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_and_rationality#:~:text=Rationalism holds that truth should,conflict with evidence and reason.

 

  1. Rationalism holds that truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma, tradition or religious teaching.

Wrong. Today we are simply "more" enlightened as to the nature of the universe around us, and tommorow, we may see through the ignorance that still haunts us today. That's science.

And I'm rather disappointed that you can infer that.

OK, I'll leave the last laugh/comment up to you.

Other then to ask one more question, doesn't  rationality apply more correctly to believers than to beliefs). 

Edited by beecee
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