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Unseen benefits of religion...(for the athiest)


petrushka.googol
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I was pondering on what benefits religion could offer the professed atheist.

 

I came up with the following bullet points -

 

- It permits time regression - Religions are rooted in the past and more often than not reflect the mores and customs of some pristine society. Read some religious text and the imagery is very vivid, vestures now archaic, social standards now defunct, but yet these very things bring in a nostalgia for those grandiose statements of the human condition.

 

- it promotes sociological bonding - meeting in a common forum has unquestionable social benefits

 

- it develops the habit of reading - ancient texts have a unique ability to train the mind and may even appeal to readers of Shakespeare, for example, as both are usually adapted to poetry

 

- it promotes equanimity if read in the right spirit

 

- it cuts across age groups and is cross demographic - religious texts are read by a wide range of the population with basic reading skills. It does not require specific skills, say scientific or actuarial, to grasp the basic ideas

 

Just my opinion.

 

Please reflect on the same. :wacko:

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"reflect the mores and customs of some pristine society."

Their views may have been, in some sense "pristine" but they were barbaric.

I can reflect perfectly well on that without needing to believe in a sky fairy.

 

"meeting in a common forum has unquestionable social benefits"

And my friends and I enjoy those benefits without any need of religion.

 

"it develops the habit of reading"

Well,, for most of history, the majority of people were religious, but couldn't read so that's just plain wrong.

What promoted literacy was the removal of debarments to social mobility.

Many of those, such as the denigration of women and the caste system are maintained by religion.

The less literate parts of the world are still the more religious ones so you assertion's simply not true.

 

"it promotes equanimity if read in the right spirit"

No, equanimity may promote reading it that way but the texts still say you should stone people to death for being different.

 

 

"- it cuts across age groups and is cross demographic - religious texts are read by a wide range of the population with basic reading skills. It does not require specific skills, say scientific or actuarial, to grasp the basic ideas"

Not really.

It's education which allows people to grasp basic ideas and religion is noted for prevention of education.

People are perfectly capable of grasping many ideas without religion.

religion, on the other hand, tells them what ideas are forbidden.

That's not a recipe for progress.

 

All in all, you have not put forward a single idea that can not be done at least as well,and generally better, without religion.

Edited by John Cuthber
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Recently, much to my surprise, I started thinking that maybe large religions do provide benefit to society.

 

I mean, if we suppose that for most people it is necessity to seek for guidance and that most people naturally herd toward 'promising' ideas, then it is good to keep them gathered in large stable groups. Much better than have them wandering around being easily attracted to any 'leader'... If you 'forcefully' take their religion from those people (majority) they will not suddenly become independent thinkers. Instead they will start wandering and will eventually reach Scientology or whatever.... So, lately I see major religions as beneficial because are lesser of the two evils.

 

(Sorry if I sound disappointed with people. I am not. There is nothing wrong with the herding behavior. But when I see herd-leaders that either don't know how to lead or are leading maliciously, you can be sure that I will criticize.)

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". If you 'forcefully' take their religion from those people (majority) they will not suddenly become independent thinkers. Instead they will start wandering and will eventually reach Scientology or whatever"

 

So, the problem is that, without religion, people drift towards religion.

 

Why not herd them in the direction of rational thought?

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I was pondering on what benefits religion could offer the professed atheist.

 

I came up with the following bullet points -

 

- It permits time regression - Religions are rooted in the past and more often than not reflect the mores and customs of some pristine society. Read some religious text and the imagery is very vivid, vestures now archaic, social standards now defunct, but yet these very things bring in a nostalgia for those grandiose statements of the human condition.

"Pristine society", the major religions on the world today are misogynistic, violent, and intolerant in nature. Buddhism is the lone exception amongst the various religions practiced by millions.

 

- it promotes sociological bonding - meeting in a common forum has unquestionable social benefits

 

Religion has caused wars. People kill themselves and others in the name of religion. Religion like race creates classifications that seperate and divide people.

 

- it develops the habit of reading - ancient texts have a unique ability to train the mind and may even appeal to readers of Shakespeare, for example, as both are usually adapted to poetry

 

Many religious texts are full of contradictions and hypocrisy. Many who believe in them train themselves to see what they want to see in them. Ignore the text as written in replace of there own interpretation. It hurts both their reading comprehension and integrity.

 

- it promotes equanimity if read in the right spirit

 

In Buddhism perhaps...

 

 

- it cuts across age groups and is cross demographic - religious texts are read by a wide range of the population with basic reading skills. It does not require specific skills, say scientific or actuarial, to grasp the basic ideas

 

Just my opinion.

 

Please reflect on the same. :wacko:

It teaches people that the truth behind things is basically magic. No need for science. No need to learn. God will provide. If you are hungry just pray. If there is a draught just dance. It is nonsense and has lead to the death of billions throughout time.
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"Pristine society", the major religions on the world today are misogynistic, violent, and intolerant in nature. Buddhism is the lone exception amongst the various religions practiced by millions.

 

 

Religion has caused wars. People kill themselves and others in the name of religion. Religion like race creates classifications that seperate and divide people.

 

 

Many religious texts are full of contradictions and hypocrisy. Many who believe in them train themselves to see what they want to see in them. Ignore the text as written in replace of there own interpretation. It hurts both their reading comprehension and integrity.

 

In Buddhism perhaps...

 

It teaches people that the truth behind things is basically magic. No need for science. No need to learn. God will provide. If you are hungry just pray. If there is a draught just dance. It is nonsense and has lead to the death of billions throughout time.

 

Religions in my opinion should adapt to the times. For the uninitiated there even exists a Jedi religion (which i believe endorses telekinesis, the dark side etc.).

 

Religion may have been the outward pretext for many wars but the underlying causes were squabbling over natural resources, linguistic and cultural differences, desire for dominating others i.e. adrenaline driven personalities etc. They still exist and possibly will continue to do so for an appreciable time to come.

 

Religious texts have a variety of interpretations including those of the founders. If I personally were a spokesman of some religion I would definitely have to admit that the views that I am expressing are not really my own (and actually I would stand to get nothing by promoting them.).

 

God and magic are not really synonymous. Magic as the driving force for religion is the view expressed by charlatans and constitutes only their viewpoint. Religion currently is misinterpreted by evil people for their own ends. The end product is diabolical. That this was the view of the respective religions founders is debatable. :wacko:

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Religions in my opinion should adapt to the times. For the uninitiated there even exists a Jedi religion (which i believe endorses telekinesis, the dark side etc.).

 

Religion may have been the outward pretext for many wars but the underlying causes were squabbling over natural resources, linguistic and cultural differences, desire for dominating others i.e. adrenaline driven personalities etc. They still exist and possibly will continue to do so for an appreciable time to come.

 

Religious texts have a variety of interpretations including those of the founders. If I personally were a spokesman of some religion I would definitely have to admit that the views that I am expressing are not really my own (and actually I would stand to get nothing by promoting them.).

 

God and magic are not really synonymous. Magic as the driving force for religion is the view expressed by charlatans and constitutes only their viewpoint. Religion currently is misinterpreted by evil people for their own ends. The end product is diabolical. That this was the view of the respective religions founders is debatable. :wacko:

What religion should do or how it has been misinterpreted doesn't speak to the unseen benefits you opened this thread with. Are you saying that under the right circumstances there could be benefits or that there currently are benefits?
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So, the problem is that, without religion, people drift towards religion.

 

Why not herd them in the direction of rational thought?

 

It is my thinking that people invariably drift toward religion. I am not aware if ever such an experiment was conducted, but I believe that if we take an isolated group of people (never before introduced to any religion) the group will soon invent a religion. Larger the group, faster the drift... A major religion, might be the stable end-phase of such a drift (and might thus be a beneficial 'invention').

 

This is how I explained the prevalence of religion to myself. If you can provide a better explanation, I will be glad to hear because this would relieve me of my unpleasant thinking that 'something went wrong with human-mind design'.

 

"Why not herd them in the direction of rational thought?"... Hmm... you did not give up hope yet? I think I did... There is no comfort in rational thought. And I think that maybe it is the comfort that drives people toward religion. Seeking for comfort is not a far-sighted activity for a person. I think that it is possible that the same 'bug' in our mind is responsible for religion, substance abuse, obesity... all these comfort-seeking activities coming from the same or similar cause... And if my speculation is correct then herding people in direction of rational thought might be a very hard task. (Note: I didn't say that it is easy to herd people any way you want. To herd them easily you must provide comforting ideas to them.)

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"reflect the mores and customs of some pristine society."

Their views may have been, in some sense "pristine" but they were barbaric.

I can reflect perfectly well on that without needing to believe in a sky fairy.

 

"meeting in a common forum has unquestionable social benefits"

And my friends and I enjoy those benefits without any need of religion.

 

"it develops the habit of reading"

Well,, for most of history, the majority of people were religious, but couldn't read so that's just plain wrong.

What promoted literacy was the removal of debarments to social mobility.

Many of those, such as the denigration of women and the caste system are maintained by religion.

The less literate parts of the world are still the more religious ones so you assertion's simply not true.

 

"it promotes equanimity if read in the right spirit"

No, equanimity may promote reading it that way but the texts still say you should stone people to death for being different.

 

 

"- it cuts across age groups and is cross demographic - religious texts are read by a wide range of the population with basic reading skills. It does not require specific skills, say scientific or actuarial, to grasp the basic ideas"

Not really.

It's education which allows people to grasp basic ideas and religion is noted for prevention of education.

People are perfectly capable of grasping many ideas without religion.

religion, on the other hand, tells them what ideas are forbidden.

That's not a recipe for progress.

 

All in all, you have not put forward a single idea that can not be done at least as well,and generally better, without religion.

 

And then there's the real benefits of nonreligion to both the individual and society as a whole.

 

 

Given the above benefits of irreligion to society to which I linked above, and the fact that analytic thinking promotes religious disbelief, that's great news.

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And then there's the real benefits of nonreligion to both the individual and society as a whole.

 

 

I'll look at these.

 

Increased religiosity has been correlated with increased prejudice and increased support for suicide attacks. My personal suspicion is that religiosity is often an expression of in-group commitment, and that in-group commitment is probability associated with out-group dislike.

Dan Batson presentation - http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/science-and-religious-conflict-conference-does-religion-lead-to-tolerance-or-intolerance/dan-batson-with-commentator-steve-clarke

"Religion and Support For Suicide Attacks" Ginges et al - http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~ara/Manuscripts/GingesHansenNorenzayan2009.pdf

 

 

On the positive side, however, religion has been correlated with better health (at the individual level) and less crime (at which level??).

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195396607/obo-9780195396607-0177.xml

"Mortality Differentials and Religion in the U.S.: Religious Affiliation and Attendance" - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035005/

 

All of these, however, are just correlations, and a correlation at the individual level won't necessarily appear at the societal level.

Edited by MonDie
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  • 3 weeks later...

theses all benefits can be availed by forming group of like minded people... no necessary on religion but be anything else as well... say for example science.. but the negative consequence of .religion is far beyond imagination....'Cultures, history, years of accumulated wisdom' wipe out by invading religion ....conversion, genocide.. because my god is better than his.... funny part is that.. same person is ok after conversion... there are thousand of examples across globe that our valuable history of mankind were destroyed after adopting different religion ... why ?

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[snipped]

 

there are thousand of examples across globe that our valuable history of mankind were destroyed after adopting different religion ... why ?

What do you mean? Are you saying that secular societies regressed after religion gained power? Were they secular because the citizens were non-religious, or was it just a secular government?

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"No, equanimity may promote reading it that way but the texts still say you should stone people to death for being different."

 

Sorry for asking a question regarding an almost month old post but what punishment exactly do you mean? If you mean stoning for adultery in the Bible, then this is no argument - as Jews stopped practicing it completely AT LEAST by the time of Jesus, about 2000 years ago. In Talmudic law to be sentenced to death for any offence requires such an absurdally high standards of proof that a court that sentenced more than two people to death over the course of 70 years was considered bloodthirsty.

 

That's a very racist way of putting things... Why not Easternized?

 

Western Civilization is not a race.

Edited by Irbis
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"No, equanimity may promote reading it that way but the texts still say you should stone people to death for being different."

 

Sorry for asking a question regarding an almost month old post but what punishment exactly do you mean? If you mean stoning for adultery in the Bible, then this is no argument - as Jews stopped practicing it completely AT LEAST by the time of Jesus, about 2000 years ago.

 

Western Civilization is not a race.

Bollocks

Jesus is recorded as having witnessed and acted on it so it was apparently going on at the time of Christ.

http://biblehub.com/john/8-7.htm

though it's fair to say that's a questionable account.

However, it still goes on today and it's based on the same scripture.

 

And, nice bit of semantics there. It's true that the assertion isn't an example of prejudice against a race, but this

"The sooner the Middle East is Westernised, the better."

is still a breach of the rules which forbid insulting any group..

Edited by John Cuthber
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[snipped]

And, nice bit of semantics there. It's true that the assertion isn't an example of prejudice against a race, but this

"The sooner the Middle East is Westernised, the better."

is still a breach of the rules which forbid insulting any group..

 

I think Iota just wants them secularized and thinks Westernization would be the most immediate transition to secularism.

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@John Cuthber:

The stoning as depicted there has never been practiced by Jews, it looked totally different... the culprit was brought to some place high above the ground and thrown down and if they did not die, stones were used. And these weren't small stones but big heavy ones that were mean to finish the victim off. That story from the New Testament was probably fabricated by Christians in order to make Jews look like villans and make their prophet take more credit for "abolishing" these barbaric practices

 

The second aspect of that punishment is that even before Jesus, Jews introduced such rigoristic standards of proof that death penalty became de facto illegal.

 

These are the steps that must have taken place for someone to be eligible for death penalty for any offence under Jewish law:

1. Before comitting the crime the perpetrator was warned by two kosher witnesses that the actions he/she is about to do is punishable by death. The witnesses must be upstanding citizens known to have never sinned in public, with the knowledge of both Torah and Talmud, plus they cannot be related to the perpetrator.

2. The perpetrator accepted the warning, i.e. stated that he has heard the it but is going to do it anyway

3. The perpetrator then comitted the crime immediately after accepting the warning. This is determined by the amount of time it takes to say "Shalom Lecha Rabbi", - about 3 seconds.

 

Imagine that - you are about to commit adultery, two witnesses who are known to be perfect citizens warn you that it's a capital crime and you disregard the warning and commit the crime within, like, 3 second after that... how probable is such a sequence of events? O.o But all of that is needed just to consider the POSSIBILITY of giving you death sentence - as that's not everything so let's move forward.

 

4. The punishment can be carried out only by the Sanhedrin, the highest religious court in Jerusalem which has been disbanded since 70 AD. So unless it is rebuilt, there is no one capable of carrying out your stoning.

5. The witnesses were examined separately. Any discrepancy - even a minor one - would render their testimony invalid.

6. The witnesses could be called to either defend the accused or to claim the other witnesses were lying (eidim zomemim)

7. The judges (there must be 23 of them) would deliberate. During this process, a judge who argued for innocence could not change his mind and argue for guild, while a judge who argued for guilt would be allowed to raise arguments for innocence (after which he could not raise any arguments for guilt).

 

 

5. The most junior judges would speak first with more senior judges speaking later on, so that the younger jusges would not be worried about contradicting the most senior judges.

6. The court would then vote. A majority of two votes was needed for guilt.

 

So your argument that the bible advocates stoning is pretty much BS. No one interprets it in such a way since, well, antiquity. I think that the Bible can have positive influence on people.

Edited by Irbis
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@ Irbis, lots of things can have positive influences. A positive person with empathy and consideration for others is what's key. I don't believe the bible, quran, torah, or any other religious book actually inspires people to be better than they are otherwise based on their unbringing and background. Which is why religion is so easily turned ugly by ugly people.

Some peoplfibre positively influenced by painting, music, sports, and yes religion. I don't think merely being a positive influence is a good criteria for making a value judgement for or against something. For some people mixed martial arts cage fighting is a positive influence. Something to keep them away from crime. Some female adult film stars insist their careers make them feel empowered and liberated. I don't think either cage fighting or adult film are positive influence regardless of the positive impact they superficially appear to have on some peoples lives.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Perushka - I feel you have missed a trick.

 

Some religion is theistic, some is not. So, we could say that what religion has to offer the professed atheist is Buddhism and Taoism. I am a professed atheist and am convinced of the truth of Buddhism's philosophical scheme. This muddles the issues a bit.

 

If an atheist approaches the Bible with the idea that theism is often a personification of natural forces, and can be interpreted as such, then I think such writings have much to offer, or at least more than they would otherwise. It just means working hard to clear the text of its overlay of folk-divinities and hyperbolic propaganda, and seeing through the simplified explanations, which are often of the kind that has babies being delivered by storks and found under goosebury bushes. A capable scientist should be able to see through the teachings for the masses after a bit of detective work in comparative religion. Hell, even many Christians say that it would be wrong to state that God exists. We have to get past bashing the imagery and metaphors and get at the message itself.

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I attended a religious school; even then when I was in my formative years - and to be non-scientific about it - I thought it was a load of rubbish.

 

Presumably they thought that was all one needed to get through life.

 

And as I've said previously on this forum, when I left school I could just about write my own name.

 

I'm sorry, but religion gives me the creeps.

Edited by Delbert
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Yeah. I can understand that of course. But I think what you mean is that religion as you know it gives you the creeps. Who was running the school? If it was the Catholics you have my sympathies. I taught guitar in a Catholic girls school for a while and it was a frightening mixture of dogma, guilt, fear, discipline and lust. (I remember one of the girls (at 15) was expelled for playing hookie and plying her wares in the city centre). Some dogmatic religious approaches are, as you say, a bit creepy, and can scar a young person for life.

Edited by PeterJ
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