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Is religion beneficial?

Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?

Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
one_love
Posts: 41
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9/9/2015 12:16:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible) : :

If it hadn't been for God's Beast, none of God's people would have learned how to build things with their human hands. All religions and science came from the Beast so of course religion and science has been beneficial for God to teach us about how He created everything, especially now that He has taught His people how to build computers and computer programs. He uses this technology to teach me exactly how He created everything.

Christianity, Islam and Judaism were used heavily by God's Beast to spread building techniques throughout the rest of the world beyond the Roman Empire and Asia where the Beast has already influenced the minds of men to build things.

So with lots of respect for God's religions, I can tell you how much they benefitted God's people.
uncung
Posts: 3,455
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9/9/2015 4:12:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise?
deetoodee
Posts: 50
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9/9/2015 4:26:24 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 4:12:57 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise? : :

Religion doesn't deliver us into the Kingdom of God. God did that when He planned His creation before He spoke it into existence.
uncung
Posts: 3,455
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9/9/2015 4:45:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise? : :

Religion doesn't deliver us into the Kingdom of God. God did that when He planned His creation before He spoke it into existence.

Who said so? You? God?
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 4:58:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 4:12:57 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise?

Define "true religion".
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
uncung
Posts: 3,455
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9/9/2015 5:05:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 4:58:36 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 4:12:57 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise?

Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 5:16:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 5:05:31 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 4:58:36 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 4:12:57 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise?

Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.

Is that a new religion? I am not aware any such thing exists.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
uncung
Posts: 3,455
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9/9/2015 5:21:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.

Is that a new religion? I am not aware any such thing exists.

No, it is not. It the religion of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and all saved people.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 5:24:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 5:21:45 AM, uncung wrote:
Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.

Is that a new religion? I am not aware any such thing exists.

No, it is not. It the religion of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and all saved people.

Ah, well that statement is demonstrably untrue.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
uncung
Posts: 3,455
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9/9/2015 5:28:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 5:24:13 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 5:21:45 AM, uncung wrote:
Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.

Is that a new religion? I am not aware any such thing exists.

No, it is not. It the religion of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and all saved people.

Ah, well that statement is demonstrably untrue.

Who said that it is not true? you? God?
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?

I think once it provided a mixed blessing, but now it's largely dead weight.

In ancient times, religion -- especially monotheism -- helped to build a national identity, formalise philosophy,p romote literacy, a support administration, and promote the rule of law. If you lived in an ancient, tribal society and wanted to build a bigger civilisation -- a kingdom or an empire -- then having a national religion gave you a common national narrative, while having a single, metaphysical, supervisory moral authority helped bind your law to a common cultural narrative, and make it more than simply a social order supporting the ruling dynasty.

We know that monotheism has been especially good in supporting nationalism. The Israelites built a monotheistic cultural identity at about the time the Babylonians displaced them from their land, and were able to survive both landed and landless as the people we now call Jews for over a millennium.

With its rule wobbling, the Roman empire adopted as its state faith a version of the Judaic reform movement we now call Christianity, and was able to keep its cultural identity held together (in two fractions really -- the Eastern and Western fractions) even after its social infrastructure collapsed. Multiple Frankish, Anglish, Saxon and Celtic kingdoms used Christianity to build their national identities, and the use of Christianity to build national identity continued through to the Enlightenment.

Among the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks, and numerous peoples of Central and South-Eastern Asia, Islam has filled a similar role. Meanwhile Hinduism and Buddhism have built polyglot national identities for most of the remaining Asian countries, and so on.

But I said that religion is a mixed blessing, because the same religious authority that creates nationalism -- a doctrinal national identity with clear in-groups and out-groups -- also supports nationalistic supremacism. We've seen this plentifully in Christianity, both with respect to Christian attitudes to other faiths, and the various lethal and genocidal schismatic divisions within Christianity.

Sadly, even today we see Christian nationalistic supremacism over-represented -- especially in the emergent, charismatic Christian faiths such as Evangelicalism, and none can doubt the nationalistic Muslim supremacism of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIL.

Moreover, we know from history that philosophy, art, cultural identity, morality, compassion and the rule of law can exist secularly, without some authoritative theology to drive it or bind it. We also know that better we get at feeding and educating ourselves, the more peaceful and compassionate we become, while the more peaceful our societies and the better we get at expressing ourselves, the more pluralistic we become, and the faster we grow.

So the more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.

But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.

I hope that may be useful, Skep.
JJ50
Posts: 2,144
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9/9/2015 9:44:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Religion can be benign and do no harm is practised by moderates. It is the fundamentalists who often cause mayhem!
joetheripper117
Posts: 284
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9/9/2015 11:16:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

I would say that religion can be either good or bad depending on the society. It seems that in the Middle Ages, religion was the strongest binding factor to keep communities together, and was thus very important. But in the modern day, I would say that religion is no longer needed to keep society alive; and some of its adherents' wish to delay scientific progress is becoming more and more noticeable. Because of this, I would say that religion in the modern USA is a detriment, albeit a very slight one.
"By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out."
-Richard Dawkins
"The onus is on you to say why; the onus is not on the rest of us to say why not."
-Richard Dawkins
DanMGTOW
Posts: 1,144
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9/9/2015 12:01:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

i disagree with your pro list
people provide charity and community, not religion.
and since many religions will tell you to pray for healing instead of going to a hospital then i'll argue health risks as a con as well
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 1:19:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?

I think once it provided a mixed blessing, but now it's largely dead weight.

In ancient times, religion -- especially monotheism -- helped to build a national identity, formalise philosophy,p romote literacy, a support administration, and promote the rule of law. If you lived in an ancient, tribal society and wanted to build a bigger civilisation -- a kingdom or an empire -- then having a national religion gave you a common national narrative, while having a single, metaphysical, supervisory moral authority helped bind your law to a common cultural narrative, and make it more than simply a social order supporting the ruling dynasty.

We know that monotheism has been especially good in supporting nationalism. The Israelites built a monotheistic cultural identity at about the time the Babylonians displaced them from their land, and were able to survive both landed and landless as the people we now call Jews for over a millennium.

With its rule wobbling, the Roman empire adopted as its state faith a version of the Judaic reform movement we now call Christianity, and was able to keep its cultural identity held together (in two fractions really -- the Eastern and Western fractions) even after its social infrastructure collapsed. Multiple Frankish, Anglish, Saxon and Celtic kingdoms used Christianity to build their national identities, and the use of Christianity to build national identity continued through to the Enlightenment.

Among the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks, and numerous peoples of Central and South-Eastern Asia, Islam has filled a similar role. Meanwhile Hinduism and Buddhism have built polyglot national identities for most of the remaining Asian countries, and so on.

But I said that religion is a mixed blessing, because the same religious authority that creates nationalism -- a doctrinal national identity with clear in-groups and out-groups -- also supports nationalistic supremacism. We've seen this plentifully in Christianity, both with respect to Christian attitudes to other faiths, and the various lethal and genocidal schismatic divisions within Christianity.

Sadly, even today we see Christian nationalistic supremacism over-represented -- especially in the emergent, charismatic Christian faiths such as Evangelicalism, and none can doubt the nationalistic Muslim supremacism of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIL.

Moreover, we know from history that philosophy, art, cultural identity, morality, compassion and the rule of law can exist secularly, without some authoritative theology to drive it or bind it. We also know that better we get at feeding and educating ourselves, the more peaceful and compassionate we become, while the more peaceful our societies and the better we get at expressing ourselves, the more pluralistic we become, and the faster we grow.

So the more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.

But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.

I hope that may be useful, Skep.

Thank you for that reply, Ruv. You've expressed a view I am coming to I believe.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 1:29:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 11:16:54 AM, joetheripper117 wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

I would say that religion can be either good or bad depending on the society. It seems that in the Middle Ages, religion was the strongest binding factor to keep communities together, and was thus very important. But in the modern day, I would say that religion is no longer needed to keep society alive; and some of its adherents' wish to delay scientific progress is becoming more and more noticeable. Because of this, I would say that religion in the modern USA is a detriment, albeit a very slight one.

Agreed, although I'm not sure religion in America is a small detriment. Consider the acceptance *or lack thereof* of scientific theories by the general population, the constant attempt to teach religion in schools ( ID, historical revisionism, etc), and the blatant discrimination against gays, atheists, and Muslims.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 1:37:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:01:41 PM, DanMGTOW wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

i disagree with your pro list
people provide charity and community, not religion.
and since many religions will tell you to pray for healing instead of going to a hospital then i'll argue health risks as a con as well

I agree that people do most everything on both lists. However, it is religion that is used as the justification. So I agree with what you are saying, but I'm afraid i missed the point.

I agree with your health risks addition.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,128
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9/9/2015 1:46:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 5:28:45 AM, uncung wrote:
At 9/9/2015 5:24:13 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 5:21:45 AM, uncung wrote:
Define "true religion".

The true religion is the religion that has no error whether in scientific sense or any fact stuff. It means the religion that is not diametrical with the the existing facts, at least in the eyes of non theists.

Is that a new religion? I am not aware any such thing exists.

No, it is not. It the religion of Adam, Moses, Jesus, and all saved people.

Ah, well that statement is demonstrably untrue.

Who said that it is not true? you? God?

Anyone who has ever read how Jacob manipulated the genetics of his herd, or read of the domesticated camels Abraham had 600 years before the existed in the region, or..or...or...

The point being, there is much scientific/historical errors taught by religions relying on the Bible
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
DanneJeRusse
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9/9/2015 2:46:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?

I think once it provided a mixed blessing, but now it's largely dead weight.

In ancient times, religion -- especially monotheism -- helped to build a national identity, formalise philosophy,p romote literacy, a support administration, and promote the rule of law. If you lived in an ancient, tribal society and wanted to build a bigger civilisation -- a kingdom or an empire -- then having a national religion gave you a common national narrative, while having a single, metaphysical, supervisory moral authority helped bind your law to a common cultural narrative, and make it more than simply a social order supporting the ruling dynasty.

We know that monotheism has been especially good in supporting nationalism. The Israelites built a monotheistic cultural identity at about the time the Babylonians displaced them from their land, and were able to survive both landed and landless as the people we now call Jews for over a millennium.

With its rule wobbling, the Roman empire adopted as its state faith a version of the Judaic reform movement we now call Christianity, and was able to keep its cultural identity held together (in two fractions really -- the Eastern and Western fractions) even after its social infrastructure collapsed. Multiple Frankish, Anglish, Saxon and Celtic kingdoms used Christianity to build their national identities, and the use of Christianity to build national identity continued through to the Enlightenment.

Among the Arabs, the Persians, the Turks, and numerous peoples of Central and South-Eastern Asia, Islam has filled a similar role. Meanwhile Hinduism and Buddhism have built polyglot national identities for most of the remaining Asian countries, and so on.

But I said that religion is a mixed blessing, because the same religious authority that creates nationalism -- a doctrinal national identity with clear in-groups and out-groups -- also supports nationalistic supremacism. We've seen this plentifully in Christianity, both with respect to Christian attitudes to other faiths, and the various lethal and genocidal schismatic divisions within Christianity.

Sadly, even today we see Christian nationalistic supremacism over-represented -- especially in the emergent, charismatic Christian faiths such as Evangelicalism, and none can doubt the nationalistic Muslim supremacism of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIL.

Moreover, we know from history that philosophy, art, cultural identity, morality, compassion and the rule of law can exist secularly, without some authoritative theology to drive it or bind it. We also know that better we get at feeding and educating ourselves, the more peaceful and compassionate we become, while the more peaceful our societies and the better we get at expressing ourselves, the more pluralistic we become, and the faster we grow.

So the more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.

But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.

I hope that may be useful, Skep.

^This^ Not much more can be added to it.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
dhardage
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9/9/2015 3:04:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Religion is an atavistic leftover from our primitive past when we needed some means to feel we had some control of the natural phenomena that surrounded us. Yes, it can be a unifying factor and yes, it can help bring people together to help in a crisis or to do good works to the less fortunate. That said, we don't need religion to do that. The extreme nationalism and bigotry so prevalent in modern religion, particularly among the literalist and fundamentalist monotheists, demonstrates that this once useful artifact of our past has become a detriment to the human race and needs to be shed as a child sheds clothing he or she has outgrown. We have outgrown the need for religion but too many of us still want our security blanket and are wiling to struggle, fight, and even kill to keep it.
RuvDraba
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9/9/2015 7:15:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 1:19:42 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
The more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.
But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.
Thank you for that reply, Ruv. You've expressed a view I am coming to I believe.

Thank you for your thoughts, Skep. I thought I'd elaborate on this a bit, and see if any of it is helpful.

It's not hard to agree with people of good will on what a good outcome is: safety, peace, abundance, dignity, prosperity, intellectual freedom. Everyone wants these for themselves, and the only people who don't want it for their neighbours too are the malignant, the envious and the narcissistically ambitious.

To the extent that we can agree on these basic human goods across religious divides, religion should be no impediment to human welfare. If people of different traditions can agree on what is good for them both, they can cooperate and sacrifice toward that shared end. Theoretically, the more religion can encourage and inspire sacrifice and cooperation across traditional divides, the better for human welfare it ought to be.

Yet that isn't what we see.

At first it begins as simple tribal prioritisation: put the welfare of your own tribe first. But religious xenophobia is insidious: tribalism becomes rivalry becomes jealousy becomes envy becomes theological hegemonism becomes nationalistic supremacism. And so we see the reverse: that the more steeped a faith is in the importance of its own beliefs and rites, instead of offering sacrifice and cooperation, it demands submission.

And theology goes right along for the ride, entrenching selfishness and conceit into doctrine: my tribe has a god and your tribe has a god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, my god spits upon your god, and so do I. Or: your tribe has a god, and my tribe has the same god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, our god spits on your tribe's worship, and so do I. Or: my tribe has a god, while your tribe has no god. Since my tribe is more important, your tribe will tiptoe past my god as a token of respect.

Religion has had millennia to show that it is better than this. That it can escape enshrining conceit, selfishness, and tribalism into metaphysical doctrine. That its aspiration toward the moral, sublime and universal is evidenced in its cooperation and sacrifice toward the welfare of all men, rather than xenophobia, envy and supremacist conceit.

It has not only failed to demonstrate this, for the most part, it has failed to even try.

In fact, it has now failed so badly that religion is now most known for seeking to impede and corrupt those practices that we know do work to advance human welfare: empirical inquiry, critical thought, education, democracy, secular government, social equality and the emancipation of women.

I can accept religious apprehension as a personal inspiration for life, and welcome it as an artistic expression. But all of that resides in the realm of the subjective and individual, and has no authority over others.

Socially, I believe that religious tribalism has had its day, and I for one will no longer tolerate theology throwing its leg over governance, justice, national identity, science or the lives and minds of children.
Skepticalone
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9/9/2015 9:19:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 7:15:49 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/9/2015 1:19:42 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
The more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.
But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.
Thank you for that reply, Ruv. You've expressed a view I am coming to I believe.

Thank you for your thoughts, Skep. I thought I'd elaborate on this a bit, and see if any of it is helpful.

It's not hard to agree with people of good will on what a good outcome is: safety, peace, abundance, dignity, prosperity, intellectual freedom. Everyone wants these for themselves, and the only people who don't want it for their neighbours too are the malignant, the envious and the narcissistically ambitious.

To the extent that we can agree on these basic human goods across religious divides, religion should be no impediment to human welfare. If people of different traditions can agree on what is good for them both, they can cooperate and sacrifice toward that shared end. Theoretically, the more religion can encourage and inspire sacrifice and cooperation across traditional divides, the better for human welfare it ought to be.

Yet that isn't what we see.

At first it begins as simple tribal prioritisation: put the welfare of your own tribe first. But religious xenophobia is insidious: tribalism becomes rivalry becomes jealousy becomes envy becomes theological hegemonism becomes nationalistic supremacism. And so we see the reverse: that the more steeped a faith is in the importance of its own beliefs and rites, instead of offering sacrifice and cooperation, it demands submission.

And theology goes right along for the ride, entrenching selfishness and conceit into doctrine: my tribe has a god and your tribe has a god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, my god spits upon your god, and so do I. Or: your tribe has a god, and my tribe has the same god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, our god spits on your tribe's worship, and so do I. Or: my tribe has a god, while your tribe has no god. Since my tribe is more important, your tribe will tiptoe past my god as a token of respect.

Religion has had millennia to show that it is better than this. That it can escape enshrining conceit, selfishness, and tribalism into metaphysical doctrine. That its aspiration toward the moral, sublime and universal is evidenced in its cooperation and sacrifice toward the welfare of all men, rather than xenophobia, envy and supremacist conceit.

It has not only failed to demonstrate this, for the most part, it has failed to even try.

In fact, it has now failed so badly that religion is now most known for seeking to impede and corrupt those practices that we know do work to advance human welfare: empirical inquiry, critical thought, education, democracy, secular government, social equality and the emancipation of women.

I can accept religious apprehension as a personal inspiration for life, and welcome it as an artistic expression. But all of that resides in the realm of the subjective and individual, and has no authority over others.

Socially, I believe that religious tribalism has had its day, and I for one will no longer tolerate theology throwing its leg over governance, justice, national identity, science or the lives and minds of children.

Yes, this is very helpful, Ruv. It is quite a lot to chew though, so I hope you'll understand my silence while I let it all sink in. ;-)
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
RuvDraba
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9/9/2015 9:48:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 9:19:58 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 7:15:49 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/9/2015 1:19:42 PM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 9/9/2015 8:25:44 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
The more science, peace, prosperity and education we have, the less we need religion. In the most prosperous of modern countries I think its role is now largely cultural. It's a source of imagery, cultural references, rituals and connection to the past. It's also a source of (I believe quite legitimate) moral inspiration at times.
But it is no longer a useful source of morality, justice or intellectual authority. And it seems to me that the people who most want it to retain those roles least understand or care what morality, justice and intellectual integrity actually mean.
Thank you for that reply, Ruv. You've expressed a view I am coming to I believe.

Thank you for your thoughts, Skep. I thought I'd elaborate on this a bit, and see if any of it is helpful.

It's not hard to agree with people of good will on what a good outcome is: safety, peace, abundance, dignity, prosperity, intellectual freedom. Everyone wants these for themselves, and the only people who don't want it for their neighbours too are the malignant, the envious and the narcissistically ambitious.

To the extent that we can agree on these basic human goods across religious divides, religion should be no impediment to human welfare. If people of different traditions can agree on what is good for them both, they can cooperate and sacrifice toward that shared end. Theoretically, the more religion can encourage and inspire sacrifice and cooperation across traditional divides, the better for human welfare it ought to be.

Yet that isn't what we see.

At first it begins as simple tribal prioritisation: put the welfare of your own tribe first. But religious xenophobia is insidious: tribalism becomes rivalry becomes jealousy becomes envy becomes theological hegemonism becomes nationalistic supremacism. And so we see the reverse: that the more steeped a faith is in the importance of its own beliefs and rites, instead of offering sacrifice and cooperation, it demands submission.

And theology goes right along for the ride, entrenching selfishness and conceit into doctrine: my tribe has a god and your tribe has a god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, my god spits upon your god, and so do I. Or: your tribe has a god, and my tribe has the same god. Since the welfare of my tribe is more important, our god spits on your tribe's worship, and so do I. Or: my tribe has a god, while your tribe has no god. Since my tribe is more important, your tribe will tiptoe past my god as a token of respect.

Religion has had millennia to show that it is better than this. That it can escape enshrining conceit, selfishness, and tribalism into metaphysical doctrine. That its aspiration toward the moral, sublime and universal is evidenced in its cooperation and sacrifice toward the welfare of all men, rather than xenophobia, envy and supremacist conceit.

It has not only failed to demonstrate this, for the most part, it has failed to even try.

In fact, it has now failed so badly that religion is now most known for seeking to impede and corrupt those practices that we know do work to advance human welfare: empirical inquiry, critical thought, education, democracy, secular government, social equality and the emancipation of women.

I can accept religious apprehension as a personal inspiration for life, and welcome it as an artistic expression. But all of that resides in the realm of the subjective and individual, and has no authority over others.

Socially, I believe that religious tribalism has had its day, and I for one will no longer tolerate theology throwing its leg over governance, justice, national identity, science or the lives and minds of children.

Yes, this is very helpful, Ruv. It is quite a lot to chew though, so I hope you'll understand my silence while I let it all sink in. ;-)

I think it's right to chew on it, Skep. Religion is not only popular; it enjoys a reputation (even among nontheists) of being benign. And that reputation is built in part on some grand claims about its own contributions to civilisation, art, morality and human welfare.

The hard question is to decide whether it has a right to those claims, or whether it's simply taking credit for common human compassion, cooperation, imagination and problem-solving to better exploit good will.

My position is that cultures tend to make their rituals sacred anyway (we see this with sports, for example.) That's a human behaviour which puts most religious practice on the cultural/arts spectrum, and there's no point reviling it. The part I take strong exception to though is theology: which I cannot but see as tribal supremacism made doctrine, with the role of gods as referred moral authorities.

Anyway, that's an evaluation one must make independently. I'll shush now unless you ask me something, or someone else does, or someone says something I disagree with. :)
deetoodee
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9/9/2015 10:25:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 4:45:47 AM, uncung wrote:
the true religion delivers us to gain salvation and conveys us to the paradise in hereafter. Is there any better than salvation and paradise? : :

Religion doesn't deliver us into the Kingdom of God. God did that when He planned His creation before He spoke it into existence.

Who said so? You? God? : :

I did.
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,285
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9/10/2015 12:09:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/9/2015 12:05:44 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
Does religion provide a net benefit to our world, or is it a detriment?


Pro
Hope
Charity
Community
Health benefits
Tranquility
Artistic endeavors
Ethics (average believer - not extremes)
Comfort (in the face of death)

Con
Discouragement of rational thought (scientific theories, medical care)
Indoctrination
Discrimination (homosexuals, other races, women, atheists)
Genocides (in the name of God)
Avoiding education on sex (many issues related to this one - HIV, teen pregnancies, shotgun weddings, etc.)
Censorship (speech,art, etc.) or disseminating misinformation of dissenting views. (scientific theories)
Proprietary view of society. (blue laws, ID in schools, etc.)
Ignoring or denying environmental issues.

Please note, I am not including pantheism, panentheism, or deism. Feel free to add to or knock these as you see fit. I admit, I was having trouble finding benefits that are exclusive to religion. Maybe some of you can beef up the Pro side a bit. Additionally, not all of the Con side is exclusive to religion either, but it is a little more substantial. Let's try to keep it civil. (as much as that is possible)

I think that a lot of the latter points are symptoms not of religion in particular, but of mass movements in general, which is important to keep in mind. Removing religion won't remove those vices, as the rather vatic evolution of Soviet communism demonstrates.

I think that, in the West, we've built a strong alternative tradition through which we can dispense with the political aspect of religion and retain it as a cultural institution without entangling it in our political systems, especially in the US (this doesn't really apply to, for example, Russia.) I think, however, that it is a huge error in judgment to take for granted the leaps in cultural evolution which we have made. We CANNOT just take Western secularism and transplant it into hostile soil; it will die before bearing fruit, and the civilization upon which it has been inflicted will suffer immense cultural damage and will harbor an intense resentment for the West as a result. For Exhibit A, look at the Middle East. For Exhibit B, look at China. The secularism which we have is built upon a specific foundation which is peculiar to Western Europe and the sort of Tabula Rasa, displacement model societies which we established through colonization (America, Canada, and Australia).
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
RuvDraba
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9/10/2015 9:12:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 12:09:46 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
We CANNOT just take Western secularism and transplant it into hostile soil; it will die before bearing fruit, and the civilization upon which it has been inflicted will suffer immense cultural damage and will harbor an intense resentment for the West as a result.

I'm glad you're participating in this, Skeps. I wanted to see what you thought. :)

We've seen that the institution of democracy doesn't work for cultures until they have in place an ethos against corruption, and another for the constructive popular participation in government, so it's true that some institutions don't transplant well.

But what what are the suspected mechanisms for instability or decay when secularism is introduced?

Put another way, what religious functions or influences are curbed, what happens in response, and how does that result in social deterioration?

Which are the best examples of this, and how can we be sure that the cause is injected secularism, and not other social changes?
Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,285
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9/10/2015 11:38:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 9:12:20 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/10/2015 12:09:46 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
We CANNOT just take Western secularism and transplant it into hostile soil; it will die before bearing fruit, and the civilization upon which it has been inflicted will suffer immense cultural damage and will harbor an intense resentment for the West as a result.

I'm glad you're participating in this, Skeps. I wanted to see what you thought. :)

We've seen that the institution of democracy doesn't work for cultures until they have in place an ethos against corruption, and another for the constructive popular participation in government, so it's true that some institutions don't transplant well.

But what what are the suspected mechanisms for instability or decay when secularism is introduced?

Put another way, what religious functions or influences are curbed, what happens in response, and how does that result in social deterioration?

Which are the best examples of this, and how can we be sure that the cause is injected secularism, and not other social changes?

Look at Islam for the best example. Islam was a fully incorporated institution, and once the political apparatus was destroyed we attempted to Westernize the region. The result was that other age-old institutions began to atrophy, but the religiosity never decreased, and the result was weakened religious institutions which could not stand up to the wave of extremism that followed. Probably the most salient specific example is the madrassa system, which once delivered a full education, but which was displaced by introduced, Western-style education and ended up losing its universality and becoming hotbeds of radical theology. It's rather like transplanting a foreign species into a forest; it'll grow, sometimes rampantly, but it also wreaks havok on the native ecosystem to the point where it can often no longer function. Had we left Islam, and it's social institutions, fully intact after WWII, I doubt that Islam would have many of the problems that it does today because those social institutions were a huge moderating influence.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
RuvDraba
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9/10/2015 6:49:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 9/10/2015 11:38:48 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 9/10/2015 9:12:20 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 9/10/2015 12:09:46 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:
We CANNOT just take Western secularism and transplant it into hostile soil; it will die before bearing fruit, and the civilization upon which it has been inflicted will suffer immense cultural damage and will harbor an intense resentment for the West as a result.

I'm glad you're participating in this, Skeps. I wanted to see what you thought. :)

We've seen that the institution of democracy doesn't work for cultures until they have in place an ethos against corruption, and another for the constructive popular participation in government, so it's true that some institutions don't transplant well.

But what what are the suspected mechanisms for instability or decay when secularism is introduced?

Put another way, what religious functions or influences are curbed, what happens in response, and how does that result in social deterioration?

Which are the best examples of this, and how can we be sure that the cause is injected secularism, and not other social changes?

Look at Islam for the best example. Islam was a fully incorporated institution, and once the political apparatus was destroyed we attempted to Westernize the region. The result was that other age-old institutions began to atrophy, but the religiosity never decreased, and the result was weakened religious institutions which could not stand up to the wave of extremism that followed.

So you think the religiosity was cultural rather than institutional, while the moderation was institutional rather than cultural?

That's interesting. I've also seen accounts though that say the religiosity in Afghanistan (say) wasn't religiosity at all, but Pashtun ethnic nationalism using religiosity as its rallying cry. You can potentially interpret Daesh (IS) as Arab nationalism taking advantage of regional instability and using Sunni religiosity as a pretext. Do you have a view on that?

And how does that account explain how rapidly Islamic nationalism spread to Muslim populations in Atlantic civilisations? Theoretically, if I follow your argument, Western religiosity is more institutional than cultural, and our moderation is certainly more the reverse.

So how were middle-class Muslim kids raised in Atlantic civilisations so readily radicalised?

Probably the most salient specific example is the madrassa system, which once delivered a full education, but which was displaced by introduced, Western-style education and ended up losing its universality and becoming hotbeds of radical theology.
The analogy might not translate, but Oxford and Cambridge were both originally founded as religious centres of learning. They have at times, been hotbeds of radical politics (for example, during the communist era), but at what point in history could they have become hotbeds of radical theology, and how?

And if they never could, why not?

Had we left Islam, and it's social institutions, fully intact after WWII, I doubt that Islam would have many of the problems that it does today because those social institutions were a huge moderating influence.
You've chosen WWII, and not WWI, which destroyed the Ottoman Empire, a 750 year-old regime which had at the time, domain over Bulgaria, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, coastal Arabia, and North Africa through to Tunisia. [http://media.maps.com...] Why?

Appreciating your thoughts, Skeps.