Total Posts:4|Showing Posts:1-4
Jump to topic:

Why I, an apatheist, oppose some religions

Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/11/2015 12:23:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Firstly, I'll say that by apatheist, I mean I don't care if there is a deity or not. I won't affect how I act. I believe we should aim at serving other humans, and not some spiritual being that is our 'creator'. 'The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were: extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings.' (Analects 7.21) We should cultivate our virtues, develop them and extend them. If everyone on earth could do this, we have achieved the Grand Union - what Westerners would call Utopia.

Although I'm apatheist, I am against religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam (I'm fine with religions like Buddhism and Daosim) because of one thing: dogmatism. I believe this makes such religions inherently harmful to human civilisation.

Dogma is inflexible. Even if the faith itself is good, dogmatism makes it bad.

'The principle of the philosopher Yang was "Each one for himself." Though he might have benefited the whole kingdom by plucking out a single hair, he would not have done it. The philosopher Mo loves all equally. If by rubbing smooth his whole body from the crown to the heel, he could have benefited the kingdom, he would have done it. Zi Mo holds a medium between these. By holding that medium, he is nearer the right. But by holding it without leaving room for the exigency of circumstances, it becomes like their holding their one point. The reason why I hate that holding to one point is the injury it does to the way of right principle. It takes up one point and disregards a hundred others.' (Mencius 13.26) This is the problem with such religions. People and actions are judged using scriptures that allow little to no flexibility, and that is no different from taking up one point and disregarding a hundred others.

I'll use abortion as an example. I think the religious generally disregard the woman's perspective, probably because of Psalm 139. (Of course, some liberals generally disregard the foetus' perspective too - that's another problem though, and has to do with the insufficient development of the principle of benevolence, which is derived from the feeling of commiseration.)

Secondly, these religions are commanding people to follow the rules of morality instead of developing their innate natures to do good, yet the latter is more important. Only by letting people understand can they develop their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. Without this understanding, they are merely robots. It is like enforcing very strict laws with harsh punishments to control the people (only the law is replaced by heaven and hell)... it may work in the short run, but it cannot really create a civilisation that understands the rules of morality.

By extension, the type of self-control that religious dogma teaches is harmful in my opinion. People are to suppress their desires, instead of cultivating their virtues to override them. We all have our hearts, which houses our principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. If we develop these principles sufficiently, they will not be overriden by our animal desires.

As explained in Mencius 11.15:
Mencius answered, 'The senses of hearing and seeing [NB: represent desires; 'seeing' beauty, 'hearing' good music] do not think, and are obscured by external things. When one thing comes into contact with another, as a matter of course it leads it away. To the mind [NB: it actually says 'heart' but Legge translated it as 'mind' - which is more scientific when you come to think of it] belongs the office of thinking. By thinking, it gets the right view of things; by neglecting to think, it fails to do this. These - the senses and the mind - are what Heaven has given to us. Let a man first stand fast in the supremacy of the nobler part [ie heart/mind] of his constitution, and the inferior part [ie desires] will not be able to take it from him. It is simply this which makes the great man.'

These religions suppressing desires, however, is like building a dam to stop a bathtub from overflowing when you can pull the plug or close the tap. That's why we have paedophiles in churches. The dam is not unbreakable - but the plug won't be pushed back in after you pull it. What religious people seemingly fail to understand is that virtues are innate to us; we do not need an external source for it, not even God. 'Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not infused into us from without [NB: 'from without' is the Legge translation, but the original text said 'from exterior']. We are certainly furnished with them.' (Mencius 11.6)

I will use premarital sex as an example. I know a lot of religious people preach against it (and a lot of non-religious people preach for it - both sides are preaching LOL). Preaching is preaching - it has never stopped teen pregnancy rates, but rather seems to have the opposite effect on it. Why? Teens are just told not to have sex, or are just 'intimidated' with consequences like pregnancy (for girls) and going to jail (for boys). They never get to understand that premarital sex violates the principle of propriety, or that it violates the principle of rectifying names - they are not married in name and thus have no business having sex. 'To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue.' (Analects 12.1) Zhu Xi's annotations have explained 'subduing one's self' as restricting your desires. The focus should be on developing propriety. If the sense of propriety is developed in people's hearts, they will not be led astray by their animal desires to have sex.

This is why I disagree with some religions. and do not believe they are beneficial to society. We need a society of people who have discovered and developed their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom, which, unlike religion, are common to all humans. We don't need a society of people who merely adhere to the teachings of some scripture (which has ignited more conflicts than it has resolved anyway).

Note: I copied many materials from this OP from one of my posts in another thread.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
ethang5
Posts: 4,093
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/11/2015 1:11:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 12:23:21 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Firstly, I'll say that by apatheist, I mean I don't care if there is a deity or not. I won't affect how I act. I believe we should aim at serving other humans, and not some spiritual being that is our 'creator'. 'The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were: extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings.' (Analects 7.21) We should cultivate our virtues, develop them and extend them. If everyone on earth could do this, we have achieved the Grand Union - what Westerners would call Utopia.

Although I'm apatheist, I am against religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam (I'm fine with religions like Buddhism and Daosim) because of one thing: dogmatism. I believe this makes such religions inherently harmful to human civilisation.

Dogma is inflexible. Even if the faith itself is good, dogmatism makes it bad.

'The principle of the philosopher Yang was "Each one for himself." Though he might have benefited the whole kingdom by plucking out a single hair, he would not have done it. The philosopher Mo loves all equally. If by rubbing smooth his whole body from the crown to the heel, he could have benefited the kingdom, he would have done it. Zi Mo holds a medium between these. By holding that medium, he is nearer the right. But by holding it without leaving room for the exigency of circumstances, it becomes like their holding their one point. The reason why I hate that holding to one point is the injury it does to the way of right principle. It takes up one point and disregards a hundred others.' (Mencius 13.26) This is the problem with such religions. People and actions are judged using scriptures that allow little to no flexibility, and that is no different from taking up one point and disregarding a hundred others.

I'll use abortion as an example. I think the religious generally disregard the woman's perspective, probably because of Psalm 139. (Of course, some liberals generally disregard the foetus' perspective too - that's another problem though, and has to do with the insufficient development of the principle of benevolence, which is derived from the feeling of commiseration.)

Secondly, these religions are commanding people to follow the rules of morality instead of developing their innate natures to do good, yet the latter is more important. Only by letting people understand can they develop their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. Without this understanding, they are merely robots. It is like enforcing very strict laws with harsh punishments to control the people (only the law is replaced by heaven and hell)... it may work in the short run, but it cannot really create a civilisation that understands the rules of morality.

By extension, the type of self-control that religious dogma teaches is harmful in my opinion. People are to suppress their desires, instead of cultivating their virtues to override them. We all have our hearts, which houses our principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. If we develop these principles sufficiently, they will not be overriden by our animal desires.

As explained in Mencius 11.15:
Mencius answered, 'The senses of hearing and seeing [NB: represent desires; 'seeing' beauty, 'hearing' good music] do not think, and are obscured by external things. When one thing comes into contact with another, as a matter of course it leads it away. To the mind [NB: it actually says 'heart' but Legge translated it as 'mind' - which is more scientific when you come to think of it] belongs the office of thinking. By thinking, it gets the right view of things; by neglecting to think, it fails to do this. These - the senses and the mind - are what Heaven has given to us. Let a man first stand fast in the supremacy of the nobler part [ie heart/mind] of his constitution, and the inferior part [ie desires] will not be able to take it from him. It is simply this which makes the great man.'

These religions suppressing desires, however, is like building a dam to stop a bathtub from overflowing when you can pull the plug or close the tap. That's why we have paedophiles in churches. The dam is not unbreakable - but the plug won't be pushed back in after you pull it. What religious people seemingly fail to understand is that virtues are innate to us; we do not need an external source for it, not even God. 'Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not infused into us from without [NB: 'from without' is the Legge translation, but the original text said 'from exterior']. We are certainly furnished with them.' (Mencius 11.6)

I will use premarital sex as an example. I know a lot of religious people preach against it (and a lot of non-religious people preach for it - both sides are preaching LOL). Preaching is preaching - it has never stopped teen pregnancy rates, but rather seems to have the opposite effect on it. Why? Teens are just told not to have sex, or are just 'intimidated' with consequences like pregnancy (for girls) and going to jail (for boys). They never get to understand that premarital sex violates the principle of propriety, or that it violates the principle of rectifying names - they are not married in name and thus have no business having sex. 'To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue.' (Analects 12.1) Zhu Xi's annotations have explained 'subduing one's self' as restricting your desires. The focus should be on developing propriety. If the sense of propriety is developed in people's hearts, they will not be led astray by their animal desires to have sex.

This is why I disagree with some religions. and do not believe they are beneficial to society. We need a society of people who have discovered and developed their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom, which, unlike religion, are common to all humans. We don't need a society of people who merely adhere to the teachings of some scripture (which has ignited more conflicts than it has resolved anyway).

Note: I copied many materials from this OP from one of my posts in another thread.

Just curious. Are you wondering why you got no replies?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/11/2015 8:25:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 3/11/2015 1:11:48 PM, ethang5 wrote:
At 3/11/2015 12:23:21 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
Firstly, I'll say that by apatheist, I mean I don't care if there is a deity or not. I won't affect how I act. I believe we should aim at serving other humans, and not some spiritual being that is our 'creator'. 'The subjects on which the Master did not talk, were: extraordinary things, feats of strength, disorder, and spiritual beings.' (Analects 7.21) We should cultivate our virtues, develop them and extend them. If everyone on earth could do this, we have achieved the Grand Union - what Westerners would call Utopia.

Although I'm apatheist, I am against religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam (I'm fine with religions like Buddhism and Daosim) because of one thing: dogmatism. I believe this makes such religions inherently harmful to human civilisation.

Dogma is inflexible. Even if the faith itself is good, dogmatism makes it bad.

'The principle of the philosopher Yang was "Each one for himself." Though he might have benefited the whole kingdom by plucking out a single hair, he would not have done it. The philosopher Mo loves all equally. If by rubbing smooth his whole body from the crown to the heel, he could have benefited the kingdom, he would have done it. Zi Mo holds a medium between these. By holding that medium, he is nearer the right. But by holding it without leaving room for the exigency of circumstances, it becomes like their holding their one point. The reason why I hate that holding to one point is the injury it does to the way of right principle. It takes up one point and disregards a hundred others.' (Mencius 13.26) This is the problem with such religions. People and actions are judged using scriptures that allow little to no flexibility, and that is no different from taking up one point and disregarding a hundred others.

I'll use abortion as an example. I think the religious generally disregard the woman's perspective, probably because of Psalm 139. (Of course, some liberals generally disregard the foetus' perspective too - that's another problem though, and has to do with the insufficient development of the principle of benevolence, which is derived from the feeling of commiseration.)

Secondly, these religions are commanding people to follow the rules of morality instead of developing their innate natures to do good, yet the latter is more important. Only by letting people understand can they develop their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. Without this understanding, they are merely robots. It is like enforcing very strict laws with harsh punishments to control the people (only the law is replaced by heaven and hell)... it may work in the short run, but it cannot really create a civilisation that understands the rules of morality.

By extension, the type of self-control that religious dogma teaches is harmful in my opinion. People are to suppress their desires, instead of cultivating their virtues to override them. We all have our hearts, which houses our principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom. If we develop these principles sufficiently, they will not be overriden by our animal desires.

As explained in Mencius 11.15:
Mencius answered, 'The senses of hearing and seeing [NB: represent desires; 'seeing' beauty, 'hearing' good music] do not think, and are obscured by external things. When one thing comes into contact with another, as a matter of course it leads it away. To the mind [NB: it actually says 'heart' but Legge translated it as 'mind' - which is more scientific when you come to think of it] belongs the office of thinking. By thinking, it gets the right view of things; by neglecting to think, it fails to do this. These - the senses and the mind - are what Heaven has given to us. Let a man first stand fast in the supremacy of the nobler part [ie heart/mind] of his constitution, and the inferior part [ie desires] will not be able to take it from him. It is simply this which makes the great man.'

These religions suppressing desires, however, is like building a dam to stop a bathtub from overflowing when you can pull the plug or close the tap. That's why we have paedophiles in churches. The dam is not unbreakable - but the plug won't be pushed back in after you pull it. What religious people seemingly fail to understand is that virtues are innate to us; we do not need an external source for it, not even God. 'Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge are not infused into us from without [NB: 'from without' is the Legge translation, but the original text said 'from exterior']. We are certainly furnished with them.' (Mencius 11.6)

I will use premarital sex as an example. I know a lot of religious people preach against it (and a lot of non-religious people preach for it - both sides are preaching LOL). Preaching is preaching - it has never stopped teen pregnancy rates, but rather seems to have the opposite effect on it. Why? Teens are just told not to have sex, or are just 'intimidated' with consequences like pregnancy (for girls) and going to jail (for boys). They never get to understand that premarital sex violates the principle of propriety, or that it violates the principle of rectifying names - they are not married in name and thus have no business having sex. 'To subdue one's self and return to propriety, is perfect virtue.' (Analects 12.1) Zhu Xi's annotations have explained 'subduing one's self' as restricting your desires. The focus should be on developing propriety. If the sense of propriety is developed in people's hearts, they will not be led astray by their animal desires to have sex.

This is why I disagree with some religions. and do not believe they are beneficial to society. We need a society of people who have discovered and developed their innate benevolence, righteousness, propriety and wisdom, which, unlike religion, are common to all humans. We don't need a society of people who merely adhere to the teachings of some scripture (which has ignited more conflicts than it has resolved anyway).

Note: I copied many materials from this OP from one of my posts in another thread.

Just curious. Are you wondering why you got no replies?

Not really, I know threads sink quite often. Since you asked me if I was wondering, though, it seems as though you might have an interesting answer...
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
tejretics
Posts: 6,086
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
7/5/2015 11:16:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Bump. Such a thread deserves tons of responses.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass