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Religion when it had real power!


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No one here is on a rampage to eradicate religion or carrying a placard while protesting outside church doors. On the other hand, progress will not be made if one just minimizes the negative aspects of religion by saying that it has done a lot of good, or it's not the only problem, or its not the only thing that causes conflict, or that its just an excuse for conflict and never a motivating factor in itself.

 

Yes, books pointing out the follies of Creationism is a start. But people resist change in their thinking because religion satisfies so many deep seated needs. One can't just get rid of religion without offering satisfactory alternatives: What is needed is to replace the notion that evil spirits cause people to commit crime with an examination of the toxic social conditions at the heart of the problem, to replace patriarchal religious attitudes with more egalitarian ones, to replace subscription to a particular belief system as a means towards sustaining the self in an afterlife with a deeper understanding of nature and with universal hope, to replace the worship of some abstract deity(s) with humanism and humanitarianism, to replace ethical codes set in stone with tolerance and critical thinking, to replace ethnocentrism with multiculturalism, to replace admiration for wealthy media heroes with admiration for the kind and generous, etc.

 

I respect Jainism and Judaism because they think in terms of the well-being of the entire community, while Christianity, for example developed in a way (post Augustine) that seemed to emphasize individual salvation; and both Islam and Christianity each maintain a strong insistence, by and large, that any other religion is pagan, evil, and damned. People need something to belong to, and in today's situation of global competition, people need to have respect for other communities while creating bonds within their own to reduce alienation, e.g., community parks, recreation centers, festivals, events, celebrations, parades, etc....things that seem to be gradually taken over by job fairs, new stores, shopping malls and strips, political rallies, and the like.

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Yes; they were. Because none of them did anything to stop the cruelty of those barbaric beliefs.   How could anyone be in a position to say "actually folks- let's stop persecuting people for no goo

Hard for me to agree with your last point. Christianity is often cultural more than theistic. Same with Judaism, and likely a number of others.   That's why there are cultural Christians and cultur

Not sure what you are referring to. Personally, I never disagreed that it would still be the case that there would still be conflict in the world if religion disappeared, but merely emphasized as my o

 

Many societies have made huge strides in terms of reducing conflicts over slavery and women's rights, so yes, there will always be conflict, I suppose, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep on trying to reduce it.

 

Which brings us round full circle to the core problem of religious institutions: their inability and/or unwillingness to adapt to the changing needs of humanity. While that remains so they are part of the problem when they should be striving to be part of the solution.

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I find statements like, "Religion gives meaning to people's lives, and morals to live by," very offensive. For one thing, it implies that without a religious belief, morality and purpose cannot be had. Secondly, if you have to believe in fairy tales in order to act right and to feel special, then it is you who is the lesser person, not me. There is absolutely no need to believe in ancient holy books in order to have what is innate to us and many other species. Euphemisms like these do not work with me. Believing in the occult or the Nation of Islam probably gives meaning to some people's lives too, but I don't think there is one good thing about either of them. I think they are despicable and absurd. Like I said in one of my recent posts, get a hobby, study philosophy, learn science, go outside and explore, listen to music, etc. There is plenty of meaning in the natural world you inhabit. There are still seemingly infinite things we haven't discovered about the world we live in that should be the basis of purpose in our lives. We don't need divisive, ignorant, and absurd religions to try to make sense of life or ourselves. Science and philosophy do just fine at that without any help from religion. All of the good parts of religion are not exclusive to religion and can be easily had without it. So yes, I believe religion is ENTIRELY bad, full stop. The parts that are considered "good" really have nothing to do with the religion. The good parts are usually the secular parts. The "religion" parts are the divisive and dogmatic parts. Dogma, in my opinion, has absolutely no place in human society.

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Are you suggesting that there would be just as much conflict in the world if religion vanished.

I have no way of knowing, so no. That's not what I'm suggesting.

 

But surely you agree that religious belief generally plays a significant belief in religious conflict today (as always), and that it, for good or better, frequently and often strongly affects their attitudes and beliefs with regards to such controversial issues as euthanasia, abortion, stem cell research, birth control, race relations, multiculturalism, blind obedience to authority, homosexuality, transsexualism, prayers in schools, forced allegiance to God for citizenship, prayer in public events and meetings, divorce, etc. etc.. Surely these issues create various levels of conflict in our society to this day, and surely religion adds fuel to these issues in various degrees.

It's merely one more trait we use to separate ourselves into us/them. It's a powerful one, yes, but so too are race and gender and political outlook, for example.

 

To assume that there would not be less conflict were religion to go away

Who do you think is assuming this? Surely, not me.

 

...but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep on trying to reduce it.

Agreed
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I find statements like, "Religion gives meaning to people's lives, and morals to live by," very offensive. For one thing, it implies that without a religious belief, morality and purpose cannot be had. Secondly, if you have to believe in fairy tales in order to act right and to feel special, then it is you who is the lesser person, not me. All of the good parts of religion are not exclusive to religion and can be easily had without it. So yes, I believe religion is ENTIRELY bad, full stop. The parts that are considered "good" really have nothing to do with the religion. The good parts are usually the secular parts. The "religion" parts are the divisive and dogmatic parts. Dogma, in my opinion, has absolutely no place in human society.

I recall the occasional government ad supporting U.S. space exploration to be rather questionable in the sense that they say things along the line that space exploration is a natural expression of mankind's (sic) basic need for adventure and need to know if there is life elsewhere (as if an extension of manifest destiny) and that the money (hundreds of billions) spent on space shuttles (collecting moon rocks, exploring Mars, Jupiter) is well spent because there have been technological discoveries made as spinoffs from designing the rockets, etc.

 

My response is that such equal if not greater spinoffs could have occurred had we spent those billions on something more directly likely to be useful, e.g., studying the ocean and the ways we can utilize its resources.

 

Similarly, people say that religion satisfies people's "religious impulse," to relate to something greater than themselves, and my response again is that this can be done in ways that do not enable various societies with an excuse to justify waging wars (as if God is on their side) or their moral beliefs (as if God says they are right and thus unquestionable). As history stands, religion has always been a sort of con game, wherein, I suspect, even those doing the conning (i.e., religious leaders) do not realize that they are doing the conning, though many ministers will, in confidence, say that they don't believe in such things as miracles, resurrections, etc.

 

We do see many churches that attempt to satisfy people's spiritual needs (aka religious impulses) without claims that there are moral absolutes, or divine beings, or recipes for salvation, or elaborate rituals, prayers, etc., (e.g., Unitarian) though at some point one can't help asking whether one can justifiably call them churches, or describe their practices and teachings as being religious.

 

It's merely one more trait we use to separate ourselves into us/them. It's a powerful one, yes, but so too are race and gender and political outlook, for example.

Identity markers per se are not necessarily a good thing, if that is your drift. Look at the centuries of violence and other forms of conflict/power struggles created over race and gender (simple biological markers). But religion has elements that make it even more incendiary, and indeed, particularly with regards to race, provides that extra catalyst that enables individuals and groups to claim superiority and to indulge in violence. But similar religious-based aggression has been directed towards women, from something "minor" as their role in the church and family to witch burning.

 

Religion provides more than just a means of self-identifying a culture. Within the Abrahamic religions we see additional traits that incite violence: insistence that God is on ones side when it comes to war, insistence that enemies are evil and that God hates their practices so that people feel obliged to attack the enemies, insistence that God wants you to spread the "Word" as a justification for colonization and forced conversion (in collaboration with economic hegemony and genocide), insistence that ones own religion has the only true recipe for achieving salvation with the result that other religions need to condemned or eliminated (as in power struggles for centuries between Catholic and Protestants in Europe), etc. Similar conflicts in dogma have caused violent conflict in Eastern religions, e.g., between Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Seriously. I will request once more. Please make a conscious effort to STOP reading into my words. I meant what I said. It was simple.

 

Even if religion vanishes, there will still be conflict.

 

That's all.

End program.

Terminate procedure.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

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Seriously. I will request once more. Please make a conscious effort to STOP reading into my words. I meant what I said. It was simple.

Even if religion vanishes, there will still be conflict.

That's all.
End program.
Terminate procedure.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Not sure what you are referring to. Personally, I never disagreed that it would still be the case that there would still be conflict in the world if religion disappeared, but merely emphasized as my own observation that this statement need not be interpreted as claiming that there will be less conflict if religion disappeared, as it could easily be interpreted as suggesting this. I was not claiming that it was your intention for others to interpret the statement in this manner, however, as I have no way of knowing what you meant other than the words you type. I see no harm in my qualifying a statement that I see in front of me, and I see no need to assume that I am reading something into your words other than what you posted.

 

But, as long as you mention it, I do wonder why anyone would have as a main point in a post there would still be conflict even if religion vanished, since this is so incredibly obvious as to be gratuitous and irrelevant.

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But, as long as you mention it, I do wonder why anyone would have as a main point in a post there would still be conflict even if religion vanished, since this is so incredibly obvious as to be gratuitous and irrelevant.

Perhaps it would seem less confusing if you actually read the threads in which you're participating instead of just writing loquacious bloviating posts.

 

Religion is THE problem. Religion is what informs people's worldviews to begin with.

It's funny to me how people who broadly agree still manage to find ways to engage in conflict.

 

Religion is self-evidently problematic. Would be better in my mind if it were discarded with all of the countless others in the graveyard of human mythology where it rightly belongs.

 

To suggest, though, that religion is THE problem as opposed to A problem, or that some utopia free of strife and full of harmony would be immediately realized were religion to sunset is just stupid.

 

This thread alone provides ample evidence of that assertion given how clearly it demonstrates the way people who broadly agree still manage to find ways to engage in conflict.

I for one have never claimed that religion was THE (only or major) problem, nor that there would be some sort of utopia free of strife and full of harmony.

You seem to struggle with seeing what's right in front of you. Let me be crystal clear.

 

I wasn't talking to you!

 

There. Better now, or would you prefer to continue acting like a self-righteous holier than thou word of the day calendar blowhard?

Edited by iNow
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There seems to be some conflict here.

Are you guys of differing religions ?

 

( sorry, I'm trying to lighten things up, and couldn't help myself )

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Perhaps it would seem less confusing if you actually read the threads in which you're participating instead of just writing loquacious bloviating posts.

 

Hmmm. I just asked how your comment that "Even if religion vanishes, there will still be conflict" is pertinent, and you repeatedly respond by suggesting that I am being loquacious and not reading the posts. Certainly, if you wish to quote something I have said as being bloviating (aka empty) or loquacious (talkative), I would try to rephrase it, but just making general comments about my writing in general hardly seems constructive.

 

Similarly, you stated that, religion is "merely one more trait we use to separate ourselves into us/them. It's a powerful one, yes, but so too are race and gender and political outlook, for example." Regardless of who you were addressing, I responded to the statement itself (which is a reasonable thing to do as a discussion participant) by agreeing that it is a trait, but pointing out that this statement on its own may be misleading, because religion (as a social-identity marker) is not just any ole trait, but rather a particularly dangerous (as well as powerful) one with respect to power struggles, colonialization, justifications for war, competing eschatologies, etc., which are specific and substantial comments in keeping with the topic of this thread.

 

As no one here has claimed that religion is THE only thing that causes conflict (or that it is the only trait providing social cohesiveness and identity. for that matter) and as no one, as far as I can tell, claimed that "some utopia free of strife and full of harmony would be immediately realized were religion to sunset," I fail to see the relevance of stating that conflict would continue were religion to vanish. Simple as that...no insults, no misreading (as you complain), no emptiness, no personal insult..... just a simple observation.

 

Rather than continually being offended for vague reasons, while at the same time, derogating me as a "self-righteous, holier than thou, blowhard," it might move things along a little more were you to answer my question regarding the relevance of your remarks about there being sources of social conflict and there being social-identity traits other than religion. In any case, ad hominems always seem to me to be a way of detracting from the issues at hand, so I am not going to respond to them nor reply in kind....but the bottom line though, after all is said and done, is that you responded with insults rather than answer my question.

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I quoted the part where someone was saying precisely what you've repeatedly claimed nobody was saying.

 

That is where my comments were focused, but for whatever reason you continue to ignore that relevance and context.

 

Encourage you to note that this ties directly to my suggestion that you seem to be failing to properly read/comprehend the thread.

 

Also, it might be time for you to lookup the definition of ad hominem.

.

 

ad-hominem-vs.-traditional-insult--225x3

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No, I know exactly what you are referring to and no, I am not misreading anything, as you assume.

Although someone claimed that religion was THE cause of conflict (and later modified it to suggest that it was the main cause), I am making the educated guess that he realized that there are of course other things that cause conflict in the world. In particular, there is conflict over resources, and there is conflict arising from xenophobia/racial prejudice, and their is conflict arising from sexual jealousy, etc.

 

If you reread the posts yourself, you can see that you continued to argue that religion was not THE only thing that cause conflict as well as the similar point that it was just one of many traits, even after the person who made this claim retracted it, and said that 'he' would go halfway and say that it was just the main thing. Hence my posts noting that you were, in effect, beating a dead horse....(Don't take that literally..nothing personal.)

 

Indeed, generally speaking, when one reads or hears someone claim that feminism, for example, is THE cause of conflict in the world, they don't literally mean that conflicts between men and women are the only conflicts that exist in the world. People often use hyperbole to make a point. I have read and heard self-avowed feminists acknowledge that they feel it necessary to exaggerate their statements in order to redress what they claim is the imbalance that has resulted from years of patriarchy. What people (really) mean when they say that patriarchy or religion is THE cause of conflict in the world is not that it is the ONLY cause of conflict, but rather that they see it as being the hub from which all other problems stem....Perhaps, a better analogy is to say that they think of religion (or patriarchy) as being like the head of an octopus, with all its tentacles having a "hand" in all the other problems.

 

Indeed (if I can type a little more here without being too wordy), one can easily show that religion does indeed have its 'finger in (virtually) every pot' that causes conflict: high connection with patriarchy itself, racism, resource and land appropriation, political control.....well, you get my drift.

 

But a key reason that one could reasonably say that religion is the overriding and ubiquitous factor is that it puts the imprimatur of Godliness on whatever beliefs a person or society holds in order to gain power and control:

 

  • Instead of saying that I want your land, religion allows one to say that God has granted this land to you.
  • Instead of saying that I want to control women, religion allows one to say that God has granted me the right to control the household.
  • Instead of saying that I don't want women on birth control and I don't like homosexual marriages, religion allows one to say that God only permits "natural" sexual relations, (and perhaps stone people who don't fit the mold).
  • Instead of saying that I don't want people with a certain color of skin around, religion allows one to say that God considers them to be an inferior race.
  • etc.

 

In any case, this is my take on the situation. If you disagree, please don't just say that I have misread...I am entitled to my opinion and to my interpretation, whether you agree or not. I try to understand where a person 'is coming from' when I read posts, not to hammer them over the head by taking what they have said too literally. And I am sorry that this post is a little wordy or that my word choice might not be good enough or that I seem self-righteous....not all of us are as highly succinct or perhaps educated and humble as yourself.

 

As for your dick diagrams....charming!

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Although someone claimed that religion was THE cause of conflict (and later modified it to suggest that it was the main cause)

I take full responsibility for this statement. I've already admitted ad nauseam to being stupid and of inferior mind, so no one can call me stupid for this. I'm going go ahead to claim entitlement to my possible unrealistic assessment of religion. I think religion is as close to being THE problem as any one thing can be. Almost every erroneous action can be traced back to a belief that was informed by a person's ridiculously-idiotic religious worldview, or something very similar to religous thinking.

Edited by Tampitump
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Almost every erroneous action can be traced back to a belief that was informed by a person's ridiculously-idiotic religious worldview, or something very similar to religous thinking.

What about chimpanzees and other apes who engage in these same behaviors you lament, often with greater frequency and intensity than humans?

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What about chimpanzees and other apes who engage in these same behaviors you lament, often with greater frequency and intensity than humans?

I agree with that. Numerous books have been written regarding human aggression, and the "religious impulse" per se is not exactly a key factor in most theories (Konrad Lorenz, Erich Fromm, etc.)

 

Strictly speaking, the hypothesized religious impulse deals with such things as wishing to protect the dead, to communicate with ancestors, to wish to live after physical death, to believe in moral order, to believe that one is protected, etc. In practice, people do this in groups so that we do get spinoffs such as charity, fellowship, bonding ceremonies, etc. So yes, religion, per se, can be seen as just one more socio-cultural trait/activity along with music, dancing, dress, festivals, rituals, etc.

 

But speaking of apes, a great deal of aggression revolves around demonstrations of superiority and dominance with regards to territory (i.e., mates, land, food, offspring, etc.). As one can see in the #1 Commandment of 'monotheistic' Judaeo-Christianity, there can be only one Real god who is king of the hill, and he/she/they is the only one who can grant people eternal life and the only one who can say what is absolutely right or wrong. As with apes, he can be a jealous and ruthless leader, wanting you to be loyal to no other leader/god. If everyone in the world held the same religion, there probably wouldn't be much conflict over who is right and who deserves to have religio-political power in a region.

 

In short, religion can be a very positive thing as long as one is talking about what happens within a community. However, once communities with different religions come into contact and/or competition with each other (and 'ethnocentric impulses' kick in), there are likely to be major conflicts (over, as with apes, land and resources) in which both sides are saying something tantamount to "My Dad is Bigger than Your Dad, so you are wrong and you better watch out." It is at this point when individuals or groups with different religions/gods meet up that religion often ceases to be just one more trait, and becomes a main catalyst for violent conflict.

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One could argue that human aggression is instinctive.

We are after all, animals.

One could them make the argument that religion, which came even earlier than societal structure, is what curbed our instinctive nature,

It taught us to 'play nice' with each other against our baser instincts. In other words ( if you are religious and believe that sort of thing ), it gave us a 'soul'.

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What about chimpanzees and other apes who engage in these same behaviors you lament, often with greater frequency and intensity than humans?

Chimpanzees lack the ability to reason on the level of humans. It is a false equivalency. There is no excuse for humans not to behave absent religion.

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Sure there is, and its the same reasons the chimps have, greed, lust, power, etc.

Being able to reason just lets you think of even more ways to satisfy your greed, lust, need for power, etc.

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Sure there is, and its the same reasons the chimps have, greed, lust, power, etc.

Being able to reason just lets you think of even more ways to satisfy your greed, lust, need for power, etc.

Sure there's NOT. Chimps don't have a smorgasbord of other options in their arsenal to draw influence from other than their instinctive impulses. Humans do. We have the capacity to think and act aginst most of our biological, natural tendencies. We can weigh them in terms of reason and logic, chimps largely can't. If they could, they would have evolved more along our lines by now, and they haven't. They, like most other non-human animals, still act mostly on instinct and way less on a conscious awareness and reasoned preponderance of the evidence. Sorry bud, but your house of cards just ain't staying together. Its an OKAY argument, but still just.....not very good. Edited by Tampitump
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One could argue that human aggression is instinctive.

We are after all, animals.

One could them make the argument that religion, which came even earlier than societal structure, is what curbed our instinctive nature,

It taught us to 'play nice' with each other against our baser instincts. In other words ( if you are religious and believe that sort of thing ), it gave us a 'soul'.

 

I don't think that there is much question as to humans having one or more aggressive instincts.

Religion came before societal structure? Please...tell me more.

In many cases, religion excited instincts. Certainly Abrahamic religions, for a start, curbed sexual instincts, but that is a mixed blessing so to speak....as discussed by Freud (Civilization and its Discontent) et al.

Again, religion taught people to play nice with those within the community, not outside. Even when the theory is universal love, this tends to still hold true.


Chimps don't have a smorgasbord of other options in their arsenal to draw influence from other than their instinctive impulses. Humans do. We have the capacity to think and act aginst most of our biological, natural tendencies. We can weigh them in terms of reason and logic, chimps largely can't. If they could, they would have evolved more along our lines, and they haven't. They, like most other non-human animals, still act mostly on instinct and way less on a conscious awareness and reasoned preponderance of the evidence. Sorry bud, but your house of cards just ain't staying together. Its an OKAY argument, but still just.....not very good.

No, humans have all the same base instincts, they are just more clever at concealing them, both from themselves and from others. Religion often functions just to reinforce a society's legal system, validating it on a supernatural level...That doesn't mean that humans somehow become significantly more altruistic than other animals. Indeed, the problem with many if not most religions is that they use rewards and threats and punishments to get people to curb their instincts...that doesn't say much, ultimately, for the fact that humans don't behave as badly as chimps, who, after all, are unusually aggressive. A closer comparison to humans is arguably the bonobos who are far less aggressive.

 

Religion is a man-made product. Except for scriptural passages and some rituals that encourage aggression, religion does not cause intergroup conflict in and of itself: As far as anthropology is concerned, there is no God that is actually encouraging people to make war. Ultimately, religion is mostly a catalyst that performs various social functions, and has the drawback that it often does not keep up with the times (thereby causing internecine conflict), owing to its predilection for claiming that its beliefs and values are supported by God(s) and therefore absolute and immutable.

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No, humans have all the same base instincts, they are just more clever at concealing them, both from themselves and from others. Religion often functions just to reinforce a society's legal system, validating it on a supernatural level...That doesn't mean that humans somehow become significantly more altruistic than other animals. Indeed, the problem with many if not most religions is that they use rewards and threats and punishments to get people to curb their instincts...that doesn't say much, ultimately, for the fact that humans don't behave as badly as chimps, who, after all, are unusually aggressive. A closer comparison to humans is arguably the bonobos.

I don't doubt we have similar instincts. I'm aware. What I'm saying is that the chimps don't have much beyond those instincts and humans do. If not, we would not have evolved the modern society we live in today. We have the instincts, plus the added ability to reason about them. For instance, we have natural instincts to have sex and procreate like the chimps do, but celibacy and self-preservation happens ALL THE TIME in humans. We don't JUST have the instincts, we have reason, which allows us to decide against our natural impulses and desires in ways unavailable to the other animal species. We like to eat just like the chimps do, but we can say "you know what, since we're going out to eat a big meal at Red Lobster tonight, I'm going to fast all day so I'll be REALLY hungry for the big meal!". Humans have a capacity to reason and to willfully negate their nature and biological urges in ways chimps cannot. Argument still invalid.

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I don't doubt we have similar instincts. I'm aware. What I'm saying is that the chimps don't have much beyond those instincts and humans do. If not, we would not have evolved the modern society we live in today. We have the instincts, plus the added ability to reason about them. For instance, we have natural instincts to have sex and procreate like the chimps do, but celibacy and self-preservation happens ALL THE TIME in humans. We don't JUST have the instincts, we have reason, which allows us to decide against our natural impulses and desires in ways unavailable to the other animal species. We like to eat just like the chimps do, but we can say "you know what, since we're going out to eat a big meal at Red Lobster tonight, I'm going to fast all day so I'll be REALLY hungry for the big meal!". Humans have a capacity to reason and to willfully negate their nature and biological urges in ways chimps cannot. Argument still invalid.

 

The issue was whether religion is a main cause of conflict. No one claimed that humans don't have the ability to repress/modify aggressive instincts. Speaking for myself, I would agree that we have similar instincts as apes in various degrees depending on which apes one is talking about (and you agree with this). The aggressive hominid (aka ape) instincts that we have are not religious in nature; that is, they are not really offshoots of some religious impulse.

 

Therefore, it is not valid to say that our basic aggressive instincts are religious in nature, or that, conversely, our religious impulse/instinct causes aggression. The fact that, as you say, humans have a far greater cerebral capacity to reason and to repress/modify basic instincts such as sex and aggression does not really change the fact that the religious impulse (presuming that there is one) is not a main cause or even A cause of human aggression.

 

Indeed, religion does often serve as a part of a culture's/society's ability to reason and create concepts that repress/modify aggressive impulses. If that is your drift, it would seem that you are now arguing that religion curtails aggression rather than causes it. But I think it more likely that you are really suggesting that humans have the ability to repress/modify aggressive instincts, and moreover, that they have been so successful at repressing them that, except for the influence of religion, people would by and large be pretty peaceful. If so, I don't agree with that...Resources and demand are so much in demand, as always, that there will continue to be conflict and war between groups (e.g., tribes, states, nations). Eliminating religion would perhaps just lower the flames a little.

 

There are many theories as to what causes human aggression, and perhaps we could take a look at them. But by and large, they have to do with biological instincts involving survival, reproduction, and resource acquisition. Again, my stance is that religion is best described as a catalyst (rather than a cause) for those in power in a given society to increase their dominance over others in that society by sanctifying their beliefs and values (thereby sometimes creating conflict and sometimes harmony), and to incite and justify aggression towards other societies. In any case, religion can be used as a psychological weapon. Right makes might, and conversely, might makes right: By claiming that ones aggression is validated by God (as Constantine did mid-battle) one gains a moral advantage as well as an increase in morale.

Edited by disarray
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Therefore, it is not valid to say that our basic aggressive instincts are religious in nature, or that, conversely, our religious impulse/instinct causes aggression. The fact that, as you say, humans have a far greater cerebral capacity to reason and to repress/modify basic instincts such as sex and aggression does not really change the fact that the religious impulse (presuming that there is one) is a main cause or even A cause of human aggression.

No no no.....The argument was that without religion we still have the apeish instincts that account for the conflict and atrocity. My argument is NO. We've evolved secular, modern, liberal democracy, which is a sapient middle finger in the face of our primate, instinctive, tribal nature. Secular, liberal, democracy in its modern form was a product of the Enlightenment, a movement done ENTIRELY by humans which was predicated ENTIRELY on reason and not a single other thing. Get rid of religion, sure, we'll still have the apeish urges, but we'll also have the capacity to override it via reason, which we will most certainly do by this point. Our primate instincts are like a wild dog we are slowly domesticating. At this point, we've basically turned it into a house dog. By and large, if religion dies now, I think our species will carry on the trend of modernity instead of falling back into tribalism and war because we're apes. Even with religion we still keep making substantial progress. We've overcame our barbaric primate past by reasoning ourselves against if (for the most part), religion is the only think left that needs to die. Whoever is telling it that the party ended for it long ago just doesn't seem to have a loud enough voice.

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