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Old 10th Mar 2014, 16:43   #161
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Originally Posted by sonicgroove View Post
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Even though I consider myself a convinced atheist, I completely disagree. I really don't like this new "radical atheism" all over the internet.

People should be allowed to have opinions and believe in things, even though I have my own reasons to believe they're wrong.

What you're saying is very much personal attack. You quite literally call Kayin a hypocrite, without even explaining why being religious is "intrinsically hypocritical", or why it is diametrically opposed to science. As a true beacon of scientific enlightenment you should at least be able to back up your statements, I'd think.

Being religious doesn't mean that you follow some "holy book" to the letter, or that you even have a "holy book". You don't have to be opposed to vaccination, believe in "sheepherders' stories", or hate people that don't believe the same. You don't even have to believe that there's a "skydaddy", as you call it.
Your arguments might make some sense, but only against this completely fictional concept of "religion" as one big ball of old cliches.

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If your/their religion poured the same effort/money into purely scientific endeavours, who knows where the human race would be now.
What if the entertainment industry poured their money into science instead of dumb romcoms, lame "action" films, and the next Call of Duty? What if all defense departments poured their money into science instead of killing others?
"Religion" is not the reason for exploitation, poverty, cruelty; it's us: humans. We don't need religion to make eachother miserable.

EDIT: Wow. We derailed this thread, which was already derailed from another, again.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 16:44   #162
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A legal framework that would give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples who are married
So in essence what you are saying is that you support the legal right for a homosexual couple to file legal paperwork documenting their committed relationship status in order to enjoy the same legal and societal benefits as a heterosexual couple, but because of antiquated social/religious customs you recognize the heterosexual couple as being married, but the homosexual couple is joined in a civil union bound by legal contract. Since your argument relies on Biblical interpretation, does the same distinction apply to heterosexual couples who forego a church ceremony and simply file the necessary paperwork?

Do you consider the heterosexual couple 'married' by virtue of the fact that they are heterosexual, or is that term reserved for those who are are joined in the church? If neither, what is the actual distinction?

Insofar as basing your definition of marriage on cultural norms that might have been around since the Roman Empire, let's consider that the Roman Empire at one point comprised most of the area from England to modern Sudan. There wasn't really a singular 'Roman' culture - it was more of a broad government that spanned a whole slew of ethnicities, cultures, and languages.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 16:54   #163
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Originally Posted by sonicgroove View Post
I couldn't agree more with the explanation of Philosophy, which I consider a form of science of the unknown/unknowable. Religion is not philosophy though, religion is superstition, illogical thought patterns, social control and downright lies to further the needs of the few at the expense of the many.

When something does more harm than good, generally society does away with it. The problem with religion is that it has such a hold over the less intelligent/enlightened of society, it seems to keep its foothold.
I think that you mix up faith (which is philosophy) with institutionalised religion (which is culture) --which is fair enough because the two overlap and one can over time mutate into the other --from content to form, philosophy to dogma. But just try and do away with cultural beliefs and habits, and see what resistance you will meet then! This is because culture (including religion) actually has a number of important psychological and social functions.

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If there weren't such a taboo regarding the criticism of religion, more people would be enlightened and informed. The so called 'New atheists' understand this and are actively and openly criticizing religion where it matters. Messers Dawkins, Krauss, Tyson, Hitchens (RIP) et al. are bringing the important issues to the forefront, where they belong.
Yeah... and they sound remarkably like firebrand prophets themselves. I wish they would study psychology before they go all preachy on us.

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For anyone that disagrees with this, I challenge them to find a debate which includes any of them against any prominent apologist where they end up losing. I'll save you some time, they NEVER lose. Not because they are good at arguing their corner, but because they have truth and evidence on their side. When it comes down to it, that is all that really matters...truth and evidence.
And now you mix up truth and evidence. Example: "This light is red". "This light has a wavelength of 650nm". Which is true? What is the evidence?

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Oh, and science makes plenty of comments on why we should cure disease. Science is learning all the time to be more moralistic. that's the beauty of scientists, they don't hide when they are wrong, they put their results out and challenge peers to tell them why they are wrong. Probably the most morally astute thing anyone could possibly do, in my opinion.
No, science doesn't. Scientists do, from their philosophical position. Science itself is not moral because there is no scientific basis for morality. The discipline is self-correcting, but that is a logical position, not a moral one.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:19   #164
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What you're saying is very much personal attack. You quite literally call Kayin a hypocrite, without even explaining why being religious is "intrinsically hypocritical", or why it is diametrically opposed to science. As a true beacon of scientific enlightenment you should at least be able to back up your statements, I'd think.
I explained, earlier in the thread, why all religious people are hypocrites. To be honest though, It needs no explanation to anyone who has read the bible (which precludes most religious people, funnily enough!) The most effective way of creating an atheist, after all, is to encourage people to actually read their scriptures.

What you suggested about not following the holy book to the letter, is the single biggest PROBLEM with religion....i.e. Cherry picking. Such practices lead to the persecution of gays, blacks, women, in fact anything that doesn't fit in with the powerful religious leaders' ideal. That's the damage cherry picking causes.

I don't have a 'completely fictional concept' of what it is to be religious either. My criticism is aimed at organised religion, not an individual who keeps his beliefs to himself. The Catholic church, the Muslim faith, Judaism, Hinduism. The 'superpowers' of organised religion are, in particular, the most destructive force on the face of the planet yet they get away with massive injustices on a daily basis, in the name of their gods. This is not right, this will never be right, and this has never been right.

I also agree that the massive amounts of money spent on entertainment is obscene, when you consider that just a one year hiatus and redirection of funds from Hollywood would probably fund a cure for the 3 biggest killers known to humankind.

My ire is not limited to organised religion by the way....Any totalitarian regime is worthy of criticism in such a way.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:35   #165
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Any holy scripture in one image:



But isn't that so with everything we perceive? Which is why people also read horoscopes, do tarot card readings, scatter runes or bones, see signs of portent everywhere.

Contrary to what they believe, people do not change by finding a religion. They find a religion that resonates with who they already are; that gives them structure and form to an existential drive that is already inside of them. Alan Moore suggested as much when he created the character Rorschach in Watchmen:

“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us.

Only us.

Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.




Sounds like a religious epiphany if ever I heard one.

So anyone who has the notion that "if we just got rid of religion, we'd all be better people" I'd have to disappoint. We were good and bad before religion came along, and we are still good and bad in equal measure. Religious people are good and bad, and atheists are. Priests are good and bad; scientists are good and bad. I guess it's just the human condition.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 17:46   #166
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But.....

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

S Weinberg.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:01   #167
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That's like saying being human is an insult to human dignity (and I could see where you're coming from ).

Again: contrary to what they believe, people do not change by finding a religion. They find a religion that resonates with who they already are. If a person is good, he may embrace a religion that tells him to do good things. If a person is bad, he may embrace a religion that tells him to do bad things (but that it's good to do so, of course). If a person is crazy, he may embrace a religion that tells him to do crazy things (but that it's a sane thing to do). In all three instances it is often one and the same religion, because religions are basically huge inkblot tests which tell you to do good, bad or crazy things depending on how you choose to read them. Which is why there are so many different denominations in even the same religion.

Think of religion as a lens. People use it to find focus to who they were already.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:09   #168
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So anyone who has the notion that "if we just got rid of religion, we'd all be better people" I'd have to disappoint. We were good and bad before religion came along, and we are still good and bad in equal measure. Religious people are good and bad, and atheists are. Priests are good and bad; scientists are good and bad. I guess it's just the human condition.
I think I'm with Sonicgroove on this one. Religion provides gravitas to an opinion and after that comes momentum, routine, and continuity.

Religion can be the the reinforcement and justification through which cruel injustices can be perpetuated without reason, logic or fairness. There's no chance of movement from those that follow their faith in this manner, their world view is a point in time snapshot they refuse to move from. The purpose of huge sections of the Christian faith (And I'm sure many others) is to ensure the children they have access to are indoctrinated in the faith and a "You are free to choose for yourself" message is never mentioned.

If you were to take away organised religion then you would have individuals making their own mind up about things and what their faith means to them. Some would make good choices, others bad but the variety supports a model of fairness and debate where the alternative is a dictatorship of 'Think this way.'

I dislike organised religions in the same way I hate the "Party Whip" aspect of British politics. Individuals should have the freedom to decide things for themselves.

Of course those doing the brunt of the oppression are enviably male, so there is an argument that a "Take the men out of the decision making process" would benefit many more people than "Take the religion out of decision making"... but that's an entirely different thread.

No, I'm not going there, don't worry.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:26   #169
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I think I'm with Sonicgroove on this one. Religion provides gravitas to an opinion and after that comes momentum, routine, and continuity.
And nationalism, culture, and football do not?

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Religion can be the the reinforcement and justification through which cruel injustices can be perpetuated without reason, logic or fairness. There's no chance of movement from those that follow their faith in this manner, their world view is a point in time snapshot they refuse to move from. The purpose of huge sections of the Christian faith (And I'm sure many others) is to ensure the children they have access to are indoctrinated in the faith and a "You are free to choose for yourself" message is never mentioned.
And again, how is this different from nationalism and culture?

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If you were to take away organised religion then you would have individuals making their own mind up about things and what their faith means to them. Some would make good choices, others bad but the variety supports a model of fairness and debate where the alternative is a dictatorship of 'Think this way.'
If you take away organised religion, people find other arbitrary tribal distinctions and dynamics to cluster around. I was going somewhere with football: Look at people kicking each other's heads in on the pitch for no other reason than that they support competing football teams. Look at how Yugoslavia fell apart after Tito. Look at the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda. Look at North Korea. Turns out people don't need religion to be real assholes to each other.

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I dislike organised religions in the same way I hate the "Party Whip" aspect of British politics. Individuals should have the freedom to decide things for themselves.
Nobody is stopping them but themselves. Ask yourself why.

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Of course those doing the brunt of the oppression are enviably male, so there is an argument that a "Take the men out of the decision making process" would benefit many more people than "Take the religion out of decision making"... but that's an entirely different thread.
It's also a fallacy. Most girls who get genitally mutilated are taken by their female relatives. The person who does the cutting is also female. Turns out oppression practices is an equal opportunities recruitment policy.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:28   #170
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But.....

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

S Weinberg.
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I think I'm with Sonicgroove on this one. Religion provides gravitas to an opinion and after that comes momentum, routine, and continuity.
Religion may provide an excuse for otherwise good people to do bad things, but I can levy the same criticism against football.

Edit: Darn, Nexxo the Ninja strikes again!

Edit2: Also, that inkblot image is clearly 2 platypuses who have each been shot in the foot, giving each other a high five. Make of that what you will.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:31   #171
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It's also a fallacy. Most girls who get genitally mutilated are taken by their female relatives. The person who does the cutting is also female. Turns out oppression practices is an equal opportunities recruitment policy.
**Indoctrinated, dominated, subservient female relatives***

......Makes a difference
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:48   #172
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By male and female family members alike.

Make no mistake. The Taliban have lost control over whole villages because the women decided to stop playing along. What could the Taliban do? Shoot them all? They tried that with Malala Yusufzai and the bad PR is still haunting them. Similarly research shows that the best remedy against terrorism is educated females. This is because if a man wants to become a suicide bomber, he has to ask his mother for permission to become a martyr. It's part of the cultural religious tradition. And educated mothers are more likely to withhold permission.

Women often have a lot of informal power, if only because they are the mothers of men, and men basically often think with their dicks anyway.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:48   #173
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**Indoctrinated, dominated, subservient female relatives***

......Makes a difference
Yes but the men are also indoctrinated, dominated and subservient to higher ranking men. Nexxo is saying that if they didn't use religion as a means of control then they would just use something else, like money. Money is faith on a level akin to religion itself. Those that control it play with the numbers just like the church plays with doctrines and dogma.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 18:59   #174
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Yes but the men are also indoctrinated, dominated and subservient to higher ranking men. Nexxo is saying that if they didn't use religion as a means of control then they would just use something else, like money. Money is faith on a level akin to religion itself. Those that control it play with the numbers just like the church plays with doctrines and dogma.
I think we just came full circle....Bad church....go to your room!!
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:10   #175
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Humans are messy. Take it from someone who deals with it for a living. There is no nice, clean solution like: if only we got rid of religion/men/women/weapons/money/politicians/lawyers/them foreigners/blacks/whites/the other tribe/science/technology/sex/drugs/alcohol/rock music/television/violent video games/mobile phones we'd all be OK and society would be a perfect little paradise.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:50   #176
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While your comments could only be construed as insulting, I'm not in the habit of taking insult from stuff like that. But you still miss the point.

Science answers how. How did we get here, how did this happen, how did that happen, how did that frog get in the blender. In fact, it's pretty limited. It can't test for lots of things. A lot of stuff is outside its purview. For example, there is no way to construct a scientific test for a deity. But, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Faith answers why. I might have evolved, but why am I here now and what is my purpose? It seeks to answer the intangible questions, the ones of morals, ethics and the meaning of life. It is a necessary part of being human, and even if you don't have faith in a deity you have it in something. Maybe it's yourself, maybe it's society, maybe it's science. But there is still faith in everyone's life. It's a genetically programmed trait-Nexxo could explain that better than I, but I still know that it's an advantageous adaptation. Faith doesn't hurt people, blindly following what others tell you without examining it for yourself hurts you.

Also, I can read Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, and have read the Bible in as close to the original texts as is possible (which is a LOT closer than you think) and it didn't cause me to lose faith any-it caused me to quit discriminating against people. It caused me to reexamine my relationships and open my mind to the idea that love was more important than the people in the pulpit were telling me.

As a final note, the comment about the terminally ill man wasn't a hypothetical. Nexxo deals with them every day, and I happen to be one. I might hope that science can do repairs to me, but hope and faith sustain me. They give me purpose. They keep me from giving up. Nobody can cure what I have, and at my severity it is always fatal. But I haven't given up, and my happiness isn't tied to medical discoveries. I find meaning in allowing myself to be studied so that others can be helped through my suffering. I spend an awful lot of my time telling people the good things they never hear. But I believe that the worth of the actions is intrinsic and not tied to scoring points for an afterlife. If I happen to be wrong, well, in my opinion it's still OK because I won't suffer any more, but I'd rather be the one who gives of themself until nothing is left than to be somebody slavishly tied to slowly advancing science for a condition that simply cannot be cured. Because not everything is that easy to fix. Through faith, I accepted my lot and chose to turn it into something good. It's a choice unique to faith.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 19:57   #177
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And nationalism, culture, and football do not?
I'm not a great fan of those three either.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 20:37   #178
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What you (and I) have a problem with is tribalism in all its forms. Thing is: all aspects of human nature exist because they once had, or still have a function. Tribalism is just the dark side of community. Like all our feelings and impulses, we can't get rid of it; you can't excise the bad bits of our nature because you end up excising the good bits as well. Being human is a package deal, I'm afraid. We can only be mindful and strive to transcend the bad bits while maximising the good bits.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 21:31   #179
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What you (and I) have a problem with is tribalism in all its forms.
Oh yes.

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D'you wanna be in my gang , my gang, my gang?
No. I follow my own path thank you very much. Any group, guild, league, fraternity, theology, gang, tribe, society, class or horde that even touches on 'Be like us. Think like us' ground is abhorrent to me. As abhorrent as the leader of the above gang.

I won't join in. I won't play the game. I will never EVER 'follow the crowd'.

My life is MY life.

And this approach has allowed me to accept that of my twins one has decided that the Christian God she's taught in school is real. She knows her parents don't follow this way of thinking, and we explain why, but her life is HER life.
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Old 10th Mar 2014, 22:11   #180
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