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Thread: General religion

  1. Top | #101
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    This was in fact the basis of long-standing civil unrest in the ancient Byzantine empire, which caused serious political ruptures and violence in the streets for more than a century.
    Can you say more about that? Civil unrest: do you mean fighting between those who supported the Byzantine religious artworks and those who wanted them destroyed? In that case it would be similar to the Puritan movement in England.
    More like the Cromwell episode, to make that analogy; two successive emperors listened to the iconoclast argument and ordered all pubic religious artworks destroyed or removed. This did not sit well with to ochlos, the Mob, and the iconoclast movement eventually had to surrrender to inertia. Relations with the Islamic world cooled to an angry and distrustful detent soon thereafter, and any talk of Christians banning religious depictions started to sound seditious within the political framing of the time.

  2. Top | #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Does anybody know how creationists manage to cling to their rejection of evolution even during a pandemic? Doesn't the fact that a virus emerges prove evolution is true?
    That question assumes that our brains are all equally rational and scientifically curious, that we all engage equally in critical thinking, are god observers, and can spot inconsistencies in our reasoning. But if that were the case there would be no creationists, no members of our species that engaged in these wholly emotional thoughts and behaviors involving magic. In short, each and every member of our species would recognize the contradiction that is creationism. But we all do not, or if we do, we deny it.

    So the obvious answer is simply that we are not all cognitively equal.
    I don't like explanations that are based on the religious being idiots. It's too self-congratulatory. I also don't think they are.
    There are obviously differences in how our brains are programmed to respond to certain ideas, but I don't think religious people are less intelligent than non-theists as a group. And I don't think that is what Moogly was saying. The reasons why some people find it easy to believe in unsupported supernatural stories while others do not is likely based on many complex factors, some based on our genes, and some based on the environments in which we were raised. I have never been a believer, and I began questioning stories of gods at a very early age. Even if my parents had been believers (which they were not), and had raised me in a religious household, I doubt it would have stuck. I was naturally predisposed to be a skeptic from a very early age. Likewise, a close friend who happens to be a Christian, became a Christian as a teenager, and has remained a devout believer through his early fifties. Our upbringing and childhood environments were very similar (we grew up together in what used to be a small town in Connecticut), but our views regarding God are dramatically different. We are all unique, and wired differently.

  3. Top | #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    If more people are religious or superstitious than not, there's also a risk for atheists to lose sight of their own bias. Atheists think 'rationality' is normal and a base-line, and that the religious have something wrong with them. But if there are more of them than us, than atheists are the outlier, and we're missing something more fundamental about our species.
    I see rationality as a goal, a way to overcome the "base-line".

    When I watch christians explain the myths they believe in, it's clear they like to feel good as you explain and the beliefs are comforting to them. But the capacity for more critical thinking is there too, however rarely people engage this capacity.

    In general, our innate tendencies seem to be problems to be overcome and not consider "well, this poor state is how we are evolved to be, so thus we are". Some people get over their "base-line" of indulging their biases uncritically more successfully than others.

    The base-line/normal is a problem to be overcome. The people who don't bother trying, and thus remain that ugly thing - the normal base-line - are missing out on something fundamental to our species.

    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    How creationists cling to a rejection of evolution? It's because they have no incentive to disbelieve. Belief feels good, so they will do mental gymnastics to continue believing. This is the same reason Pagans converted to Christianity in medieval Europe - because the Christian answer sounded better / felt better.
    See, this looks like a perversion of reason - to do the mental gymnastics. We're able to think things through but often put the ability to use in self-indulgent beliefs. It's pretty damn blatant in creationists.

    In history class, the text claimed that "dark age" pagans converted whenever the chieftain did. And generally he did because of tribal politics. I don't know why Christianity would sound or feel better to pagans. But still, there's this other side to religiosity - its political uses to promote conformity.

  4. Top | #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by atrib View Post
    The reasons why some people find it easy to believe in unsupported supernatural stories while others do not is likely based on many complex factors, some based on our genes, and some based on the environments in which we were raised.
    Without a doubt. That's called natural selection.

  5. Top | #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    The base-line/normal is a problem to be overcome. The people who don't bother trying, and thus remain that ugly thing - the normal base-line - are missing out on something fundamental to our species.
    I've thought about this a lot over the past few years and I think, fundamentally, it comes down to the mechanics of evolution among our species. The sexually successful person isn't the intelligent one, it's the social/happy/emotional one, the one who feels a sense of divine in their children, and who wants to have as many of them as they can. Where pure rationality recognizes that it's easier to not have kids.

    And I think this is the base-line issue, and one that can't be entirely overcome. Ipso-facto religion may decline because the knowledge is there, and most of us are smart enough to say - ok, fair enough. But the reality is that as a species we're not defined by intelligence - 'sapiens' is a misleading tagline. To expect us to do away with superstition is counter to the very mechanics of our evolution.

    If you get the above, it explains a lot of what we see in the world. From my perspective the rational thing to do is recognize that this is reality, this is us.

  6. Top | #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    The base-line/normal is a problem to be overcome. The people who don't bother trying, and thus remain that ugly thing - the normal base-line - are missing out on something fundamental to our species.
    I've thought about this a lot over the past few years and I think, fundamentally, it comes down to the mechanics of evolution among our species. The sexually successful person isn't the intelligent one, it's the social/happy/emotional one, the one who feels a sense of divine in their children, and who wants to have as many of them as they can. Where pure rationality recognizes that it's easier to not have kids.

    And I think this is the base-line issue, and one that can't be entirely overcome. Ipso-facto religion may decline because the knowledge is there, and most of us are smart enough to say - ok, fair enough. But the reality is that as a species we're not defined by intelligence - 'sapiens' is a misleading tagline. To expect us to do away with superstition is counter to the very mechanics of our evolution.

    If you get the above, it explains a lot of what we see in the world. From my perspective the rational thing to do is recognize that this is reality, this is us.
    I would also add - this idea that 'irrationality' is a problem that needs to be overcome moves back to my point of atheist bias. Most atheists are starting from the framework that we want to do away with religion because it's good for the species. This isn't how we're built.

    Atheists have the idea that it's a good thing if the religious see reason and logic, but this presumes that there is something wrong with how these people are already living and feeling. Where for those people - there is no problem. Fundamentally the militant atheist is political - they don't like religion. It has nothing to do with the feeling or experience of the believers themselves.

    If someone wants to be militant against religion, more power to them, but you're literally trying to counter human nature.

  7. Top | #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    If someone wants to be militant against religion, more power to them, but you're literally trying to counter human nature.
    "Human nature" is a lot of things. Being scientifically curious and developing a very broad-minded awareness of the human condition is as much human nature as being superstitious and writing letters to Santa. Being militantly anti-religious is no less humanly natural than being militantly being anti-atheist. Human nature is not the same thing as the cultural status quo.

    Wouldn't we be a much more accepting and intelligent species if we taught religions - yes, religions, not religion - to our children? And wouldn't we be a more accepting and intelligent species if we also taught those children that atheism and agnosticism will not affect your social acceptance, that those positions are just as acceptable as any religious position? Do you think that's what the vast, vast majority of individual religions want?

  8. Top | #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    If someone wants to be militant against religion, more power to them, but you're literally trying to counter human nature.
    "Human nature" is a lot of things. Being scientifically curious and developing a very broad-minded awareness of the human condition is as much human nature as being superstitious and writing letters to Santa. Being militantly anti-religious is no less humanly natural than being militantly being anti-atheist. Human nature is not the same thing as the cultural status quo.

    Wouldn't we be a much more accepting and intelligent species if we taught religions - yes, religions, not religion - to our children? And wouldn't we be a more accepting and intelligent species if we also taught those children that atheism and agnosticism will not affect your social acceptance, that those positions are just as acceptable as any religious position? Do you think that's what the vast, vast majority of individual religions want?
    Sure, I don't dispute that what you describe is also a part of the human condition. I'm just pointing out the flaw in the common line of atheistic reasoning, which ironically comes from a place of emotion itself, and fails to realize the complete picture.

    This obsession with 'reason' comes from a place of bias and misses the fundamental nature of our species, what it is now, what it's always going to be. It assumes that 'logic' is good, and 'illogic' is bad, that those who believe in religion need to be 'fixed', those who don't believe in religion 'don't need to be fixed'. But most of these people who think this way - they're happy, they live enjoyable lives, they feel purpose, they feel meaning. So who are we to say that their beliefs are wrong or need to be corrected?

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