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Anti Theism, Religion, and Culture

TrueScotsman
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3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
As an atheist, I understand the tendency to characterize religious people purely in negative terms as some kind of ignorant remnant of the past. However, I would say that this is a very unsophisticated and indeed immature response to Theism.

There are many elements to religions, and we tend to assess them purely on their abstractions of reality within which they attempt to explain using metaphysics. For instance, people look at the Problem of Evil and similar arguments to try and refute theism. When in fact, theism and religion in general are historical and social expressions of various cultures and frameworks for human activity.

Think about your own life for a moment, you're born into this strange universe to a particular set of parents, at a particular time and at a particular place, with of course particular genes, etc. Our existence is HIGHLY contingent, and this applies to root of our ideas. Many of the atheists here would likely be devout Catholics or Buddhists had they been born further into the past or in a different country.

Anti-theists and other more angry atheists stand on the shoulders of modern philosophy and look down their nose at the rest of history, not even recognizing their indebtedness to the cultural and intellectual foundations that inspire their ideas today. We need to have more nuanced views that are able to separate the metaphorical and metaphysical from many of the intellectual beliefs and moral values of the past. Not in a way where we then accept some secularized religion, but that we are able to connect to and learn from all the traditions of human history. Which in reality are just different cultural frameworks for human flourishing.

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.
EtrnlVw
Posts: 2,307
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3/21/2016 9:59:29 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
As an atheist, I understand the tendency to characterize religious people purely in negative terms as some kind of ignorant remnant of the past. However, I would say that this is a very unsophisticated and indeed immature response to Theism.

There are many elements to religions, and we tend to assess them purely on their abstractions of reality within which they attempt to explain using metaphysics. For instance, people look at the Problem of Evil and similar arguments to try and refute theism. When in fact, theism and religion in general are historical and social expressions of various cultures and frameworks for human activity.

Think about your own life for a moment, you're born into this strange universe to a particular set of parents, at a particular time and at a particular place, with of course particular genes, etc. Our existence is HIGHLY contingent, and this applies to root of our ideas. Many of the atheists here would likely be devout Catholics or Buddhists had they been born further into the past or in a different country.

Anti-theists and other more angry atheists stand on the shoulders of modern philosophy and look down their nose at the rest of history, not even recognizing their indebtedness to the cultural and intellectual foundations that inspire their ideas today. We need to have more nuanced views that are able to separate the metaphorical and metaphysical from many of the intellectual beliefs and moral values of the past. Not in a way where we then accept some secularized religion, but that we are able to connect to and learn from all the traditions of human history. Which in reality are just different cultural frameworks for human flourishing.

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

Wow, I'm impressed, look forward to your open-mindedness in the future. I would be happy to entertain this attitude, feel free to ask or engage as you wish....I would be happy to oblige.
Skepticalone
Posts: 6,093
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3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.
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
TrueScotsman
Posts: 515
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3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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3/22/2016 1:36:15 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.

I think you generalize a bit yourself. Modern science is a tool just as social reform. IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare. For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.
TrueScotsman
Posts: 515
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3/22/2016 2:18:29 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 1:36:15 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.

I think you generalize a bit yourself. Modern science is a tool just as social reform.

You're not considering the fact that underneath science and social reform is an ideology. In ways science is a tool, but it transcends utility in that it is a communal approach to knowledge regarding the physical world, and it reflect often the ugliness of the human condition.

IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare.

I don't think you're considering my point as deeply as you should. We often innovate and discover for the sake of it, and don't reflect on the consequences of our ideas. Scientists have been extremely hopeful and proud of technological advances, yet this is all part of the faith in "progress" and ignores the clear signs that perhaps we haven't become as Enlightened as we think we are.

For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.

Frankly, this is a short sighted perspective blaming religion itself for the violence caused throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Certainly, those ideas had terrible consequences in many instances, yet we don't necessarily have a privileged position today.

I'm becoming to think that this is the arrogance of reason, to think of human beings as essentially rational, without being conscious of the millions killed in the name of secular modernist ideals in the 20th Century.

The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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3/22/2016 2:35:10 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 2:18:29 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 1:36:15 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.

I think you generalize a bit yourself. Modern science is a tool just as social reform.

You're not considering the fact that underneath science and social reform is an ideology. In ways science is a tool, but it transcends utility in that it is a communal approach to knowledge regarding the physical world, and it reflect often the ugliness of the human condition.

There are numerous ideologies underneath both. You mischaracterize science as some kind of communal mindset instead of the simple process it is. If there is an ugliness to the human condition and it's somehow reflected in science, is it the fault of the mirror that the object in it is ugly?



IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare.

I don't think you're considering my point as deeply as you should. We often innovate and discover for the sake of it, and don't reflect on the consequences of our ideas.

We are a curious species and will always seek to know 'why'. That's part of what differentiates us from other species on our planet.

Scientists have been extremely hopeful and proud of technological advances, yet this is all part of the faith in "progress" and ignores the clear signs that perhaps we haven't become as Enlightened as we think we are.

Please expand on that last statement as I don't understand how it applies in this discussion.

For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.

Frankly, this is a short sighted perspective blaming religion itself for the violence caused throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Certainly, those ideas had terrible consequences in many instances, yet we don't necessarily have a privileged position today.

Again, you have made a statement that does not seem to have any point. Please elucidate.

I'm becoming to think that this is the arrogance of reason, to think of human beings as essentially rational, without being conscious of the millions killed in the name of secular modernist ideals in the 20th Century.

Human beings are not inherently rational or we would never need wars, have rampant hunger in part of the world while others waste food, there would be no crime, no unnecessary violence, and whole bunch of other such things. It takes a lot of work to remain rational when our emotions come into play and it's the ones who do that work that actually make things work. It's easy to give in to our emotions, our prejudices and hatreds, conscious or unconscious. What we are is capable, if we choose to be, of rising above our more primitive instincts and being not only rational but empathetic and compassionate for our fellow beings. Religion can help with that but it just as often encourages those primitive feelings of fear and hatred for those that are 'different'.

You seem to want to give religion a pass on the negatives it generates and emphasize the evils that you lay at the feet of science. I don't see your view as actually balanced, to be honest.

The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

What is the point of the comparison? Both are the result of human use of both. It wasn't science that brought about the violent use of nuclear energy. It was human greed and desire for power. The same could be said for the use of religion to justify aggression and conquest. The difference is that science makes no claims of moral authority, it's just a process for examining and developing explanations for what happens and has happened in nature. Religion claims authority, often ultimate authority, with absolutely no concern for consequences to those who aren't believers in most cases.

The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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3/22/2016 2:59:34 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
This "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded.
Scotsman. while I don't use that language myself, I do have some questions for you.

1. Is it your opinion that, over-all, religious institutions respect you? Do you believe their scriptures and clergy encourage or demand such respect?

2. Do you believe that conversations about matters religious -- or any conversation informed by religion, such as those about law, education, morality, ethics or social justice -- will be just and equitable while that respect is lacking?

3. Is it your view that any reasonable action on your part can produce that respect?

If your answer to every question is 'yes', then your conclusion would make sense. However if you answer any question above with 'no' then what exactly is it you're advocating, who benefits and at what cost?

I personally hold the view that people are not their beliefs. There are many religious people I respect and care for. It is not at all difficult to disagree with the beliefs while respecting the individual's right to dignity, justice, compassion and autonomy.

However, that does not exempt religious dogma, institutions and their aims and methods from criticism, and if it's a legitimate criticism that religion discourages respect of people outside their faith, then it's a legitimate criticism that religion is toxic in any pluralistic, secular society -- which is every developed society in the world.
TrueScotsman
Posts: 515
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3/22/2016 3:08:54 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 2:35:10 PM, dhardage wrote:
There are numerous ideologies underneath both. You mischaracterize science as some kind of communal mindset instead of the simple process it is. If there is an ugliness to the human condition and it's somehow reflected in science, is it the fault of the mirror that the object in it is ugly?

There are Cartesian assumptions behind the foundations of science, you cannot have science without philosophy. I'm not blaming science, I'm just not content with simply regarding it as a tool and disregarding the baggage it brings.




IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare.

I don't think you're considering my point as deeply as you should. We often innovate and discover for the sake of it, and don't reflect on the consequences of our ideas.

We are a curious species and will always seek to know 'why'. That's part of what differentiates us from other species on our planet.

Other species are curious as well, as it is said, "curiosity killed the cat." Not that I am a pessimistic opponent of progress, but I am an opponent of the ideological assumption that has faith in human progress.


Scientists have been extremely hopeful and proud of technological advances, yet this is all part of the faith in "progress" and ignores the clear signs that perhaps we haven't become as Enlightened as we think we are.

Please expand on that last statement as I don't understand how it applies in this discussion.

You seem to have disconnected science from its philosophical roots in the Enlightenment modernity. For instance, artificial intelligence is being developed without a deep consideration of the impact on human job opportunities being uprooted by machines in just about every industry. Science often brings with it, a Utopian view of the future in which technological and social progress will bring us peace, prosperity and free us of all our issues.

The irony is that these Utopian visions often directly create new issues in attempting to resolve the old.


For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.

Frankly, this is a short sighted perspective blaming religion itself for the violence caused throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Certainly, those ideas had terrible consequences in many instances, yet we don't necessarily have a privileged position today.

Again, you have made a statement that does not seem to have any point. Please elucidate.

You're blaming religion which is just another cultural construct of human meaning and foundational to many societies. Yet, we haven't moved on to a particularly superior position necessarily, we have our own modern mythology regarding the promise of technology and social progress.


I'm becoming to think that this is the arrogance of reason, to think of human beings as essentially rational, without being conscious of the millions killed in the name of secular modernist ideals in the 20th Century.

Human beings are not inherently rational or we would never need wars, have rampant hunger in part of the world while others waste food, there would be no crime, no unnecessary violence, and whole bunch of other such things. It takes a lot of work to remain rational when our emotions come into play and it's the ones who do that work that actually make things work. It's easy to give in to our emotions, our prejudices and hatreds, conscious or unconscious. What we are is capable, if we choose to be, of rising above our more primitive instincts and being not only rational but empathetic and compassionate for our fellow beings. Religion can help with that but it just as often encourages those primitive feelings of fear and hatred for those that are 'different'.


It's not about the suppression of emotions either, it isn't about rising above our primitive instincts so much as it is coming to terms with the reality of our condition. Emotional intelligence is required, to be cognizant of our internal inclinations and proclivities and have strategies on how to manage our behavior consciously.

The ideological assumptions that are built into societal structures I think do far more damage than what we are innately inclined to. Xenophobia is not innate, it is culturally informed.

You seem to want to give religion a pass on the negatives it generates and emphasize the evils that you lay at the feet of science. I don't see your view as actually balanced, to be honest.

That's because you're still not getting my point. Religion and science (yes even science) are cultural expressions, communal attempts to gain knowledge and relate to the universe in which we live. Each as their methods, and each has their distinct differences, but each surely has ideological assumptions that are dangerous in my opinion.


The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

What is the point of the comparison? Both are the result of human use of both. It wasn't science that brought about the violent use of nuclear energy. It was human greed and desire for power. The same could be said for the use of religion to justify aggression and conquest. The difference is that science makes no claims of moral authority, it's just a process for examining and developing explanations for what happens and has happened in nature. Religion claims authority, often ultimate authority, with absolutely no concern for consequences to those who aren't believers in most cases.

If you think science doesn't result in different authority structures, including in the moral sphere then you simply haven't been paying attention. Science isn't innately good or evil, you're right in that it can be taken over by people for the sake of selfish gain. However, you're not acknowledging that there is a kind of "faith" in the progress of science and technology that in many ways resembles religion. Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.


The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.

Don't be ignorant of the ideological foundations of modernity. Our poop stinks just like the rest of history.
RuvDraba
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3/22/2016 3:14:18 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 2:59:34 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
If your answer to any question is 'yes', then your conclusion would make sense. However if you answered every question above with 'no' then what exactly is it you're advocating, who benefits and at what cost?

Fixed. Sorry for the error. It's late here.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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3/22/2016 3:22:29 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
There are Cartesian assumptions behind the foundations of science, you cannot have science without philosophy. I'm not blaming science, I'm just not content with simply regarding it as a tool and disregarding the baggage it brings.

Explain that 'baggage', please?

We are a curious species and will always seek to know 'why'. That's part of what differentiates us from other species on our planet.

Other species are curious as well, as it is said, "curiosity killed the cat."

As with most old sayings, it has little real value.

Not that I am a pessimistic opponent of progress, but I am an opponent of the ideological assumption that has faith in human progress.


You seem to have disconnected science from its philosophical roots in the Enlightenment modernity. For instance, artificial intelligence is being developed without a deep consideration of the impact on human job opportunities being uprooted by machines in just about every industry. Science often brings with it, a Utopian view of the future in which technological and social progress will bring us peace, prosperity and free us of all our issues.

The irony is that these Utopian visions often directly create new issues in attempting to resolve the old.

So your solution is to stop trying?


For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.

Frankly, this is a short sighted perspective blaming religion itself for the violence caused throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. Certainly, those ideas had terrible consequences in many instances, yet we don't necessarily have a privileged position today.

Again, you have made a statement that does not seem to have any point. Please elucidate.

You're blaming religion which is just another cultural construct of human meaning and foundational to many societies.

Yes, since the construct seeks to eliminate freedom of will and choice and subjugate adherents to an unseen and unknown power. I find that offensive.

Yet, we haven't moved on to a particularly superior position necessarily, we have our own modern mythology regarding the promise of technology and social progress.

So again, your solution is?


I'm becoming to think that this is the arrogance of reason, to think of human beings as essentially rational, without being conscious of the millions killed in the name of secular modernist ideals in the 20th Century.

Human beings are not inherently rational or we would never need wars, have rampant hunger in part of the world while others waste food, there would be no crime, no unnecessary violence, and whole bunch of other such things. It takes a lot of work to remain rational when our emotions come into play and it's the ones who do that work that actually make things work. It's easy to give in to our emotions, our prejudices and hatreds, conscious or unconscious. What we are is capable, if we choose to be, of rising above our more primitive instincts and being not only rational but empathetic and compassionate for our fellow beings. Religion can help with that but it just as often encourages those primitive feelings of fear and hatred for those that are 'different'.


It's not about the suppression of emotions either, it isn't about rising above our primitive instincts so much as it is coming to terms with the reality of our condition. Emotional intelligence is required, to be cognizant of our internal inclinations and proclivities and have strategies on how to manage our behavior consciously.

The ideological assumptions that are built into societal structures I think do far more damage than what we are innately inclined to. Xenophobia is not innate, it is culturally informed.

I agree and religion only exacerbates that issue by creating an artificial 'us versus them' trope.

You seem to want to give religion a pass on the negatives it generates and emphasize the evils that you lay at the feet of science. I don't see your view as actually balanced, to be honest.

That's because you're still not getting my point. Religion and science (yes even science) are cultural expressions, communal attempts to gain knowledge and relate to the universe in which we live.

I disagree completely. Religion is not about gaining knowledge except when it benefits that religion.

Each as their methods, and each has their distinct differences, but each surely has ideological assumptions that are dangerous in my opinion.

Science has no ideology except to be accurate in examination of evidence. Perhaps scientists want to make things better, but science itself is only about knowledge. It claims no moral authority and makes no claims of infallibility.


The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

What is the point of the comparison? Both are the result of human use of both. It wasn't science that brought about the violent use of nuclear energy. It was human greed and desire for power. The same could be said for the use of religion to justify aggression and conquest. The difference is that science makes no claims of moral authority, it's just a process for examining and developing explanations for what happens and has happened in nature. Religion claims authority, often ultimate authority, with absolutely no concern for consequences to those who aren't believers in most cases.

If you think science doesn't result in different authority structures, including in the moral sphere then you simply haven't been paying attention. Science isn't innately good or evil, you're right in that it can be taken over by people for the sake of selfish gain. However, you're not acknowledging that there is a kind of "faith" in the progress of science and technology that in many ways resembles religion.

Examples, please?

Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.

And again, your solution is?


The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.

Don't be ignorant of the ideological

You make assertions I cannot see as valid. I see Luddite tendencies in your statements but no real factual underpinning.
TrueScotsman
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3/22/2016 3:30:57 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 2:59:34 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
This "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded.
Scotsman. while I don't use that language myself, I do have some questions for you.

1. Is it your opinion that, over-all, religious institutions respect you? Do you believe their scriptures and clergy encourage or demand such respect?


What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?

Religion is an extremely complicated societal and cultural expression that is too mixed to generalize to a degree I can make such a claim. I have known Christians who have had no respect for me, and I have known Christians who have respected me more deeply than most others.

2. Do you believe that conversations about matters religious -- or any conversation informed by religion, such as those about law, education, morality, ethics or social justice -- will be just and equitable while that respect is lacking?


It seems your first question had an underlying assumption that informs this one. Fundamentalists are loud, but they're the minority.

3. Is it your view that any reasonable action on your part can produce that respect?


I'm guessing that all of these questions entail a certain belligerent type of fundamentalist who shows no respect and offers no constructive course for dialogue.

That's not how I view the vast majority of humanity. Fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon and I don't generalize across the entirety of a huge historical tradition that stretches over every culture to make such confident determinations.

Religion like our modern values are just more ancient cultural ideological expressions, built upon metaphysical attempts at knowledge. We don't have a privileged position over them to the degree that we think we do, and science can be used as a tool of destruction just the same as an eschatological belief.

If your answer to every question is 'yes', then your conclusion would make sense. However if you answer any question above with 'no' then what exactly is it you're advocating, who benefits and at what cost?


I'm advocating for rationalistic philosophical traditions to examine themselves with the same measure they examine religion. The cost is our pride and arrogance, thinking that we have finally attained the condition in which human beings will finally prosper. We need to take very realistically our responsibility for the world, and not just have faith in progress.

I personally hold the view that people are not their beliefs. There are many religious people I respect and care for. It is not at all difficult to disagree with the beliefs while respecting the individual's right to dignity, justice, compassion and autonomy.


People have beliefs, and these inform much of their decision making on a day to day basis. These are about as central to these individuals as a cultural expression can be, and totally disregarding it as toxic is a sure way to alienate. Demanding that they conform to the modernist conception of public versus private has had some pretty harmful effects on society.

However, that does not exempt religious dogma, institutions and their aims and methods from criticism, and if it's a legitimate criticism that religion discourages respect of people outside their faith, then it's a legitimate criticism that religion is toxic in any pluralistic, secular society -- which is every developed society in the world.

You keep using the world "religion" without any kind of specificity or reference to a particular sect or religious tradition. This use of speech is irresponsible in my view, we need to be extremely careful to represent distinctions carefully and address the realities of human behavior not just in terms that are convenient to ourselves.

Its easy to blame religious fundamentalists in America for denying global climate change, but the real restriction to action is the capitalist technological society that we ourselves have adopted based upon our enlightenment values.

Not that this is a bad thing, but when we see its damage on society, we don't have the same reaction as we do towards religion. To me, that's a misguided bitterness that reinforces the superiority of one's own position. It is easy to criticize religion, and it feels good at times to do it. Often, we SHOULD be criticizing it, but not while we too have dirty hands.

We are all human beings, and the Enlightenment isn't the transcendence of the past, it is just the next step in human thinking historically.
TrueScotsman
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3/22/2016 3:52:20 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 3:22:29 PM, dhardage wrote:
Explain that 'baggage', please?

A couple things.

1) The dualism between subject and object that is pervasive throughout our language, culture and science.

2) The belief in the supremacy of reason, which in turn informs the belief in social and technological progress. It is the belief similar to that of Hegel, wherein we think history has some kind unified direction in which it is headed.

We are a curious species and will always seek to know 'why'. That's part of what differentiates us from other species on our planet.

Other species are curious as well, as it is said, "curiosity killed the cat."

As with most old sayings, it has little real value.

Skepticism of our skeptical methods of the world seems to be fitting, but its easy to just juxtapose oneself with religious fundamentalism and feel justified.


The irony is that these Utopian visions often directly create new issues in attempting to resolve the old.

So your solution is to stop trying?

My solution is that we should take more seriously the responsibility that we have as human beings in forming our future. Not just to examine the benefits of technology, but also the impacts of new technology on the world and how that effects real people. Indeed, much of what I claim is that those who claim to be the most rational, haven't been fully applying that reason to themselves.


You're blaming religion which is just another cultural construct of human meaning and foundational to many societies.

Yes, since the construct seeks to eliminate freedom of will and choice and subjugate adherents to an unseen and unknown power. I find that offensive.


What's construct, what religion are you referring to? Are you claiming that this is a universal attribute of all religion?

American Anti-Theism is super charged because it has been debating evangelicalism, without much regard for other theological perspectives even within the Christian tradition.. much less the rest of religious expressions.

Yet, we haven't moved on to a particularly superior position necessarily, we have our own modern mythology regarding the promise of technology and social progress.

So again, your solution is?

To more deeply examine ourselves within the modernist tradition of society.


It's not about the suppression of emotions either, it isn't about rising above our primitive instincts so much as it is coming to terms with the reality of our condition. Emotional intelligence is required, to be cognizant of our internal inclinations and proclivities and have strategies on how to manage our behavior consciously.

The ideological assumptions that are built into societal structures I think do far more damage than what we are innately inclined to. Xenophobia is not innate, it is culturally informed.

I agree and religion only exacerbates that issue by creating an artificial 'us versus them' trope.

Do you not suppose that your own thinking exhibited in this thread is not some extension of tribalistic tendencies?


You seem to want to give religion a pass on the negatives it generates and emphasize the evils that you lay at the feet of science. I don't see your view as actually balanced, to be honest.

That's because you're still not getting my point. Religion and science (yes even science) are cultural expressions, communal attempts to gain knowledge and relate to the universe in which we live.

I disagree completely. Religion is not about gaining knowledge except when it benefits that religion.


You're projecting your perspective of religion again. As if religious people are fundamentally dishonest, and YOU'RE actually honest in the pursuit of knowledge. Not all Christians work at Answers in Genesis.

Each as their methods, and each has their distinct differences, but each surely has ideological assumptions that are dangerous in my opinion.

Science has no ideology except to be accurate in examination of evidence. Perhaps scientists want to make things better, but science itself is only about knowledge. It claims no moral authority and makes no claims of infallibility.

This is your blind spot, thinking that modern science has no ideological foundations or assumptions. I would educate yourself more on the tradition of modern philosophy.



The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

What is the point of the comparison? Both are the result of human use of both. It wasn't science that brought about the violent use of nuclear energy. It was human greed and desire for power. The same could be said for the use of religion to justify aggression and conquest. The difference is that science makes no claims of moral authority, it's just a process for examining and developing explanations for what happens and has happened in nature. Religion claims authority, often ultimate authority, with absolutely no concern for consequences to those who aren't believers in most cases.

If you think science doesn't result in different authority structures, including in the moral sphere then you simply haven't been paying attention. Science isn't innately good or evil, you're right in that it can be taken over by people for the sake of selfish gain. However, you're not acknowledging that there is a kind of "faith" in the progress of science and technology that in many ways resembles religion.

Examples, please?


Scientific influence on morality can in the wrong hands be used to justify eugenics as it was in the 20th Century. Or technological innovations in the food industry and how they damaged the environment almost beyond repair. We act as if we are at the pinnacle of history, when civilization has only been around several thousand years. How do we expect to make this planet last with the raping of its resources and habitats.

Science is the enemy and friend in this instance of course, but the other tool of the Enlightenment, Capitalism, drives it forward in pursuit of profits with the assumption of progress.

Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.

And again, your solution is?

Taking into account for our unintended consequences for our discoveries and innovations.



The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.

Don't be ignorant of the ideological

You make assertions I cannot see

That seems to be because you're not that informed regarding your own tradition.
dhardage
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3/22/2016 4:44:07 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
1) The dualism between subject and object that is pervasive throughout our language, culture and science.

2) The belief in the supremacy of reason, which in turn informs the belief in social and technological progress. It is the belief similar to that of Hegel, wherein we think history has some kind unified direction in which it is headed.

Skepticism of our skeptical methods of the world seems to be fitting, but its easy to just juxtapose oneself with religious fundamentalism and feel justified.

Reason has proven itself valid in reality, independent of personal likes or dislikes. I'd say it is the best way.


The irony is that these Utopian visions often directly create new issues in attempting to resolve the old.

So your solution is to stop trying?

My solution is that we should take more seriously the responsibility that we have as human beings in forming our future. Not just to examine the benefits of technology, but also the impacts of new technology on the world and how that effects real people. Indeed, much of what I claim is that those who claim to be the most rational, haven't been fully applying that reason to themselves.

Not a fault of science, of those in power who determine how to use its fruits.


What's construct, what religion are you referring to? Are you claiming that this is a universal attribute of all religion?

Almost without exception.

American Anti-Theism is super charged because it has been debating evangelicalism, without much regard for other theological perspectives even within the Christian tradition.. much less the rest of religious expressions.

Because that is the concept that seeks to gain traction in and control of our secular system of government and law.

Yet, we haven't moved on to a particularly superior position necessarily, we have our own modern mythology regarding the promise of technology and social progress.

So again, your solution is?

To more deeply examine ourselves within the modernist tradition of society.


It's not about the suppression of emotions either, it isn't about rising above our primitive instincts so much as it is coming to terms with the reality of our condition. Emotional intelligence is required, to be cognizant of our internal inclinations and proclivities and have strategies on how to manage our behavior consciously.

The ideological assumptions that are built into societal structures I think do far more damage than what we are innately inclined to. Xenophobia is not innate, it is culturally informed.

I agree and religion only exacerbates that issue by creating an artificial 'us versus them' trope.

Do you not suppose that your own thinking exhibited in this thread is not some extension of tribalistic tendencies?

Hardly. I challenge exclusionary beliefs, I don't endorse them.


I disagree completely. Religion is not about gaining knowledge except when it benefits that religion.


You're projecting your perspective of religion again. As if religious people are fundamentally dishonest, and YOU'RE actually honest in the pursuit of knowledge. Not all Christians work at Answers in Genesis.

I'm expressing an opinion based on past and present results. Religion is fundamentally dishonest in that it demands belief without evidence and condemns by its own principles well-meant challenges to itself.

Each as their methods, and each has their distinct differences, but each surely has ideological assumptions that are dangerous in my opinion.

Science has no ideology except to be accurate in examination of evidence. Perhaps scientists want to make things better, but science itself is only about knowledge. It claims no moral authority and makes no claims of infallibility.

This is your blind spot, thinking that modern science has no ideological foundations or assumptions. I would educate yourself more on the tradition of modern philosophy.



The issue isn't either science or religion, it is about introducing technological and ideological innovations into real human social situations without considering the unintended consequences. Who knew that a pacificist preacher in Galilee would incite violence over the next couple millennia? Who knew that discoveries in physics would lead to the invention of the nuclear bomb, and the closest our species has ever come to destroying itself?

What is the point of the comparison? Both are the result of human use of both. It wasn't science that brought about the violent use of nuclear energy. It was human greed and desire for power. The same could be said for the use of religion to justify aggression and conquest. The difference is that science makes no claims of moral authority, it's just a process for examining and developing explanations for what happens and has happened in nature. Religion claims authority, often ultimate authority, with absolutely no concern for consequences to those who aren't believers in most cases.

If you think science doesn't result in different authority structures, including in the moral sphere then you simply haven't been paying attention. Science isn't innately good or evil, you're right in that it can be taken over by people for the sake of selfish gain. However, you're not acknowledging that there is a kind of "faith" in the progress of science and technology that in many ways resembles religion.

Examples, please?


Scientific influence on morality can in the wrong hands be used to justify eugenics as it was in the 20th Century. Or technological innovations in the food industry and how they damaged the environment almost beyond repair. We act as if we are at the pinnacle of history, when civilization has only been around several thousand years. How do we expect to make this planet last with the raping of its resources and habitats.

You support my contention. See the bold print in your statement. It's the hands of the workman, not the tool that causes the issue.

Science is the enemy and friend in this instance of course, but the other tool of the Enlightenment, Capitalism, drives it forward in pursuit of profits with the assumption of progress.

Unregulated capitalism does indeed. That's why there were, until recently, many laws to rein it in. Plutocrats have managed to get many of those laws repealed. Again, human failure.


Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.

And again, your solution is?

Taking into account for our unintended consequences for our discoveries and innovations.

Many of which cannot be predicted, as you pointed out earlier, so that's not a valid solution.



The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.


That seems to be because you're not that informed regarding your own tradition.

Really? What tradition are you asserting is 'mine'?
TrueScotsman
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3/22/2016 6:04:33 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 4:44:07 PM, dhardage wrote:
1) The dualism between subject and object that is pervasive throughout our language, culture and science.

2) The belief in the supremacy of reason, which in turn informs the belief in social and technological progress. It is the belief similar to that of Hegel, wherein we think history has some kind unified direction in which it is headed.

Skepticism of our skeptical methods of the world seems to be fitting, but its easy to just juxtapose oneself with religious fundamentalism and feel justified.

Reason has proven itself valid in reality, independent of personal likes or dislikes. I'd say it is the best way.

Notice how you're not even open to a skeptical inquiry of your own beliefs and assumptions. Is that reasonable?


Not a fault of science, of those in power who determine how to use its fruits.

I'm not arguing against science and for religion. I'm arguing against the underlying ideologies that promote this faith in the progress of science, technology and social reform.



What's construct, what religion are you referring to? Are you claiming that this is a universal attribute of all religion?

Almost without exception.

More evidence of the irrationality of anti-theism. A very unsophisticated perspective of religion as fixated on fundamentalists expressions.


American Anti-Theism is super charged because it has been debating evangelicalism, without much regard for other theological perspectives even within the Christian tradition.. much less the rest of religious expressions.

Because that is the concept that seeks to gain traction in and control of our secular system of government and law.

That's fine, I too oppose the Zionist policies supported by evangelicals, as well as their dangerous perspectives on social policy. That doesn't incline me to then lump every other religious expression in.

I agree and religion only exacerbates that issue by creating an artificial 'us versus them' trope.

Do you not suppose that your own thinking exhibited in this thread is not some extension of tribalistic tendencies?

Hardly. I challenge exclusionary beliefs, I don't endorse them.

Your beliefs aren't exclusionary? Just because you don't have some kind of conception of salvation and hell, doesn't mean that you don't endorse exclusions that effect real public policy.



I disagree completely. Religion is not about gaining knowledge except when it benefits that religion.


You're projecting your perspective of religion again. As if religious people are fundamentally dishonest, and YOU'RE actually honest in the pursuit of knowledge. Not all Christians work at Answers in Genesis.

I'm expressing an opinion based on past and present results. Religion is fundamentally dishonest in that it demands belief without evidence and condemns by its own principles well-meant challenges to itself.

You're projecting your epistemological perspective on other individuals who don't think the same way. Religion is not fundamentally anything really, it is what HUMANS (people just like you and me) make of it.


Scientific influence on morality can in the wrong hands be used to justify eugenics as it was in the 20th Century. Or technological innovations in the food industry and how they damaged the environment almost beyond repair. We act as if we are at the pinnacle of history, when civilization has only been around several thousand years. How do we expect to make this planet last with the raping of its resources and habitats.

You support my contention. See the bold print in your statement. It's the hands of the workman, not the tool that causes the issue.

And we just assume we have the right hands?


Science is the enemy and friend in this instance of course, but the other tool of the Enlightenment, Capitalism, drives it forward in pursuit of profits with the assumption of progress.

Unregulated capitalism does indeed. That's why there were, until recently, many laws to rein it in. Plutocrats have managed to get many of those laws repealed. Again, human failure.

I'm trying to get it through to you that Science much like religion, politics and culture in general are HUMAN enterprises. They aren't just tools for humans to use, but they are expressions of humans ideas and beliefs.



Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.

And again, your solution is?

Taking into account for our unintended consequences for our discoveries and innovations.

Many of which cannot be predicted, as you pointed out earlier, so that's not a valid solution.

Why can't they be predicted? Is it not possible for us to use reason to analyze the consequences of our actions, especially when it comes to the ultimate application of reason in science?




The Enlightenment is just another convenient fable we tell ourselves, that simply because we've traded in the abstraction of god for the abstraction of universal reason we've finally awakened to our true nature. Meanwhile, capitalism and technology have created a system that is not sustainable given the increasing population growth and environmental impact of our innovations.

Again, not the innovations, the unwise and wasteful use of them. Don't blame the tool for the faults of the workman.


That seems to be because you're not that informed regarding your own tradition.

Really? What tradition are you asserting is 'mine'?

Its crazy to me that you don't see that you're part of an intellectual tradition. The Enlightenment Modernist intellectual tradition is exactly what you're espousing in this thread.
RoderickSpode
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3/22/2016 6:16:30 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 1:36:15 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.

I think you generalize a bit yourself. Modern science is a tool just as social reform. IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare. For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.
Do you think Stalin committed atrocities due to his human nature, or because of his atheism?
RuvDraba
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3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 3:30:57 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:59:34 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
This "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded.
Scotsman. while I don't use that language myself, I do have some questions for you.
1. Is it your opinion that, over-all, religious institutions respect you? Do you believe their scriptures and clergy encourage or demand such respect?
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.

Of the religious creeds you listed, which are the ones whose institutions uphold as a matter of tradition or doctrine:
1) The right to free speech;
2) The right for a child to refuse religious indoctrination and sacraments; and
3) The right for individuals (adherents or otherwise) to criticise scripture, sacred figures, and clergy?

If you believe that some major world faiths enshrine respect for individual thought, dissent and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge as articles of faith, you should be able to name the religious institutions or creeds that do so.

Please now list them. Else, if you can't, please be honest and say that you can name no world religions that encourage respect for freedom of thought, expression and the pursuit of knowledge to this extent, and that you acknowledge that your answer to my first question is 'no'.

I have known Christians who have had no respect for me, and I have known Christians who have respected me more deeply than most others.
That is true, but I asked you about institutions and doctrines -- the engine-rooms for creed and thought.

2. Do you believe that conversations about matters religious -- or any conversation informed by religion, such as those about law, education, morality, ethics or social justice -- will be just and equitable while that respect is lacking?
It seems your first question had an underlying assumption that informs this one.
So you agree in principle that if religious institutions and their creeds don't respect you, then you don't believe they can contribute constructively to law, education, morality, ethics or social justice?

3. Is it your view that any reasonable action on your part can produce that respect?
I'm guessing that all of these questions entail a certain belligerent type of fundamentalist who shows no respect and offers no constructive course for dialogue.
They entail exactly what the questions literally mean. However, you seem to be more inclined to straw-man than answer the questions I have asked.

That's not how I view the vast majority of humanity.
Nevertheless, your topic is about religion, which must include creeds, and the institutions that promote them since these are what drive traditions and belief.

Religion like our modern values are just more ancient cultural ideological expressions, built upon metaphysical attempts at knowledge.
You've made this statement as an article of faith yourself, with no evidence of research or analysis.

So how would you know if you were wrong? If religious thought weren't simply the product of epistemological inquiry, but something more -- for example, a tool of clerical and political classes -- how would you know?

I'm advocating for rationalistic philosophical traditions to examine themselves with the same measure they examine religion.
That's fine, but self-examination isn't what your Original Post advocated. It advocated a conclusion: that religious thought ought not be criticised as toxic. So now you have to justify it, and I believe your reasons for holding this conclusion are emotional, idealistic, and poorly examined.

I personally hold the view that people are not their beliefs. There are many religious people I respect and care for. It is not at all difficult to disagree with the beliefs while respecting the individual's right to dignity, justice, compassion and autonomy.
People have beliefs, and these inform much of their decision making on a day to day basis. These are about as central to these individuals as a cultural expression can be, and totally disregarding it as toxic is a sure way to alienate.
You've strawmanned my post, dodged every single question I asked and even shifted the position you introduced in the Original Post, but I believe your evasion indicates that your answer to every question I asked is 'no'.

You believe that over-all, religious institutions and their creeds do not respect you, and that because they don't, they can not contribute constructively to questions of morality, ethics, law, education and social justice, and that there is no reasonable action you can take to get them to shift position.

If that is not the case, please cite the religious institutions or creeds you know respect irreligion and freethought, which are capable of constructive sociological dialogue with the irreligious, or which will respect the irreligious if they act reasonably within humanitarian values and epistemological principles they uphold.

If you cannot, Scotsman, then that's fine. But in advocating your course of censorship and religious appeasement, you must explain how that will ever change their systematic disrespect of you, and how doing so is socially constructive.

If you cannot explain that, then you can argue all you like about the language in which religion is criticised for its toxic effects (and I'd join you in that myself), and you can argue that materialism, rationalism and empiricism should be criticised and examined in themselves too (and I wouldn't disagree with you there either), however you cannot argue that it's closed-minded to criticise systematic disrespect for its socially toxic effects, and more open-minded to appease creeds and institutions that shall never respect you, whatever you do.
DPMartin
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3/22/2016 7:04:24 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
As an atheist, I understand the tendency to characterize religious people purely in negative terms as some kind of ignorant remnant of the past. However, I would say that this is a very unsophisticated and indeed immature response to Theism.

There are many elements to religions, and we tend to assess them purely on their abstractions of reality within which they attempt to explain using metaphysics. For instance, people look at the Problem of Evil and similar arguments to try and refute theism. When in fact, theism and religion in general are historical and social expressions of various cultures and frameworks for human activity.

Think about your own life for a moment, you're born into this strange universe to a particular set of parents, at a particular time and at a particular place, with of course particular genes, etc. Our existence is HIGHLY contingent, and this applies to root of our ideas. Many of the atheists here would likely be devout Catholics or Buddhists had they been born further into the past or in a different country.

Anti-theists and other more angry atheists stand on the shoulders of modern philosophy and look down their nose at the rest of history, not even recognizing their indebtedness to the cultural and intellectual foundations that inspire their ideas today. We need to have more nuanced views that are able to separate the metaphorical and metaphysical from many of the intellectual beliefs and moral values of the past. Not in a way where we then accept some secularized religion, but that we are able to connect to and learn from all the traditions of human history. Which in reality are just different cultural frameworks for human flourishing.

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

Religion is by atheists always accused of being detrimental. But you soon forget Russia was a brutal communism instituted in atheism and china not far behind, and are societies dominated with the thinking mentioned here. Russia had to keep people in and rule with fear, people couldn"t speak openly even in eastern block countries. and the same was and still is in China.

An individual I used to work with went to the Ukraine to visit relatives just after the iron curtain went down. (not by the choice of the atheism regime mind you) and they would still whisper to each other even in their own dwellings. This is atheism at work, you know actual results. Chairman Mao is another who chased out religion in china, therefore instituting atheism and many people suffered his cruelties, of which some report he himself enjoyed observing the practice of. But the western culture has been influenced by Christianity/Judaism and has developed from savagery to civilized thinking in most aspects of life and society, with the expectations of rights and freedoms now taken for granted, that were in no way granted by governments instituted by atheism thinking and beliefs. Is western culture surfing things like evil doers and corruption, sure anything left into the hands of human nature becomes tainted. But such social ills are prevalent in atheist countries also.

So every time I see the miss use of words like bigot to describe a religious person then if you look up the word it is to be religious therefore faithful to one"s beliefs. Of which an atheist apparently hates.
TrueScotsman
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3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.


I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.

Of the religious creeds you listed, which are the ones whose institutions uphold as a matter of tradition or doctrine:
1) The right to free speech;
2) The right for a child to refuse religious indoctrination and sacraments; and
3) The right for individuals (adherents or otherwise) to criticise scripture, sacred figures, and clergy?


Are you talking about real people, if so I know plenty of religious individuals who support every single one of those. Or are you only interested in criticizing organized creedal expressions of religion? More evidence of an unrealistic and unsophisticated view of religion in the modern world.

If you believe that some major world faiths enshrine respect for individual thought, dissent and the unfettered pursuit of knowledge as articles of faith, you should be able to name the religious institutions or creeds that do so.


When you say "faith" are you confused into thinking that Christianity is in any way a monolithic entity, or really any religion?

Please now list them. Else, if you can't, please be honest and say that you can name no world religions that encourage respect for freedom of thought, expression and the pursuit of knowledge to this extent, and that you acknowledge that your answer to my first question is 'no'.


Individuals of every religion support freedom, appealing to the institutions and ignoring personal spiritual commitments is just one way anti-theists mischaracterize the reality of religious expression.

That is true, but I asked you about institutions and doctrines -- the engine-rooms for creed and thought.


As if that is the only true or valid expression of religion. Beyond the institutions, religion is deeply personal to people, even members of those institutions are too diverse to characterize ideologically.

It seems your first question had an underlying assumption that informs this one.
So you agree in principle that if religious institutions and their creeds don't respect you, then you don't believe they can contribute constructively to law, education, morality, ethics or social justice?


I believe individuals should have their ideas considered independent of broad generalizations that attempt to sweep religious people under the rug. Many very intelligent professors I have had are deeply religious, and they contributed quite effectively to my education. Its easy to bring up the Roman Catholic Church or Southern Baptists and simply view those as somehow representative.

I'm guessing that all of these questions entail a certain belligerent type of fundamentalist who shows no respect and offers no constructive course for dialogue.
They entail exactly what the questions literally mean. However, you seem to be more inclined to straw-man than answer the questions I have asked.


Every single question you've asked is a loaded question, you're only referring to institutionalized religion, which doesn't even properly characterize the lives of members who belong to those institutions.

Religion is much more complicated than you think.

That's not how I view the vast majority of humanity.
Nevertheless, your topic is about religion, which must include creeds, and the institutions that promote them since these are what drive traditions and belief.


It most certainly does, but that's not the whole story.

Religion like our modern values are just more ancient cultural ideological expressions, built upon metaphysical attempts at knowledge.
You've made this statement as an article of faith yourself, with no evidence of research or analysis.


Well I would take the matter up in a formal debate if you really want to challenge me on it. Modernism isn't the transcendence of culture, it is just another expression of culture given the historical foundation that inspires it.

So how would you know if you were wrong? If religious thought weren't simply the product of epistemological inquiry, but something more -- for example, a tool of clerical and political classes -- how would you know?


Religion isn't just epistemological inquiry, it is a great many things to many different people. I'm mostly resisting your attempts at self-serving generalizations.

I'm advocating for rationalistic philosophical traditions to examine themselves with the same measure they examine religion.
That's fine, but self-examination isn't what your Original Post advocated. It advocated a conclusion: that religious thought ought not be criticised as toxic. So now you have to justify it, and I believe your reasons for holding this conclusion are emotional, idealistic, and poorly examined.


Religious thought ought to be taken into consideration based upon all its forms, the term "religion" as we understand it today is a modern framework that we have invented. Words create distinctions and differences that don't really illustrate the reality of the situation. What I'm in favor of, is regarding other humans as distinct and that their views should not be dismissed wholesale based upon inaccurate generalizations based upon institutionalized expressions.

You've strawmanned my post, dodged every single question I asked and even shifted the position you introduced in the Original Post, but I believe your evasion indicates that your answer to every question I asked is 'no'.


Angry because I didn't answer all your loaded questions?

You believe that over-all, religious institutions and their creeds do not respect you, and that because they don't, they can not contribute constructively to questions of morality, ethics, law, education and social justice, and that there is no reasonable action you can take to get them to shift position.

If that is not the case, please cite the religious institutions or creeds you know respect irreligion and freethought, which are capable of constructive sociological dialogue with the irreligious, or which will respect the irreligious if they act reasonably within humanitarian values and epistemological principles they uphold.

If you cannot, Scotsman, then that's fine. But in advocating your course of censorship and religious appeasement, you must explain how that will ever change their systematic disrespect of you, and how doing so is socially constructive.


I'm not advocating censorship, nor am I advocating religious appeasement. I'm advocating for a fairer dialogue that doesn't already dismiss and generalize the opposition in completely irrational terms.

If you cannot explain that, then you can argue all you like about the language in which religion is criticised for its toxic effects (and I'd join you in that myself), and you can argue that materialism, rationalism and empiricism should be criticised and examined in themselves too (and I wouldn't disagree with you there either), however you cannot argue that it's closed-minded to criticise systematic disrespect for its socially toxic effects, and more open-minded to appease creeds and institutions that shall never respect you, whatever you do.

Religion is NOT just the institutions, get that through your head and you'll have made progress. I'm an atheist and a materialist who loves the power of reason, but that doesn't mean our modern tradition is infallible either. I'm really just sick of the arrogance exhibited by my fellow atheists, who make these conversations so toxic, that more reasonable theists steer clear.

Such as y
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,598
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3/22/2016 7:58:05 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 6:16:30 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Do you think Stalin committed atrocities due to his human nature, or because of his atheism?

Neither. He was not only nuts as a result of being beaten mercilessly by his father, he grew up a vicious gangster who imposed his will on Russia once he gained power.
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
TrueScotsman
Posts: 515
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3/22/2016 8:34:15 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 7:04:24 PM, DPMartin wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
As an atheist, I understand the tendency to characterize religious people purely in negative terms as some kind of ignorant remnant of the past. However, I would say that this is a very unsophisticated and indeed immature response to Theism.

There are many elements to religions, and we tend to assess them purely on their abstractions of reality within which they attempt to explain using metaphysics. For instance, people look at the Problem of Evil and similar arguments to try and refute theism. When in fact, theism and religion in general are historical and social expressions of various cultures and frameworks for human activity.

Think about your own life for a moment, you're born into this strange universe to a particular set of parents, at a particular time and at a particular place, with of course particular genes, etc. Our existence is HIGHLY contingent, and this applies to root of our ideas. Many of the atheists here would likely be devout Catholics or Buddhists had they been born further into the past or in a different country.

Anti-theists and other more angry atheists stand on the shoulders of modern philosophy and look down their nose at the rest of history, not even recognizing their indebtedness to the cultural and intellectual foundations that inspire their ideas today. We need to have more nuanced views that are able to separate the metaphorical and metaphysical from many of the intellectual beliefs and moral values of the past. Not in a way where we then accept some secularized religion, but that we are able to connect to and learn from all the traditions of human history. Which in reality are just different cultural frameworks for human flourishing.

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

Religion is by atheists always accused of being detrimental. But you soon forget Russia was a brutal communism instituted in atheism and china not far behind, and are societies dominated with the thinking mentioned here. Russia had to keep people in and rule with fear, people couldn"t speak openly even in eastern block countries. and the same was and still is in China.


Communism expressed in Russia and China does not match the ideals of Marx, let alone secularists here (I would assume on the latter). Making this argument fails to properly distinguish the content of people's ACTUAL beliefs, from the meta narrative simply convenient to our position.

Any ideology, be it religious or secular is prone to radicalization via various circumstances, but those shouldn't be expanded to generalizations.

An individual I used to work with went to the Ukraine to visit relatives just after the iron curtain went down. (not by the choice of the atheism regime mind you) and they would still whisper to each other even in their own dwellings. This is atheism at work, you know actual results.

Atheism is simply a lack of belief in god, the enforced rejection of all religions in Communist China and Russia are not inevitable perspectives of an atheistic view. It is just the extreme of Hegelian leftism.

Chairman Mao is another who chased out religion in china, therefore instituting atheism and many people suffered his cruelties, of which some report he himself enjoyed observing the practice of. But the western culture has been influenced by Christianity/Judaism and has developed from savagery to civilized thinking in most aspects of life and society, with the expectations of rights and freedoms now taken for granted, that were in no way granted by governments instituted by atheism thinking and beliefs. Is western culture surfing things like evil doers and corruption, sure anything left into the hands of human nature becomes tainted. But such social ills are prevalent in atheist countries also.


This is the kind of fundamentalism that grew into the Religious Right during the Cold War. Where you have the fear of secularist humanist morality expanding in America, and the fear of Russian/Chinese Communism infiltrating American society. In actuality, there was never any reality of Communism taking hold in a Constitutional Liberal Republic like our own.

So every time I see the miss use of words like bigot to describe a religious person then if you look up the word it is to be religious therefore faithful to one"s beliefs. Of which an atheist apparently hates.

Just a heads up. *Misuse* :)
RuvDraba
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3/22/2016 9:49:04 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.
I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.
And still despite these disparate views, you were unable to cite a single counter-example in which religious canon supports intellectual freedoms.

Of the religious creeds you listed, which are the ones whose institutions uphold as a matter of tradition or doctrine:
1) The right to free speech;
2) The right for a child to refuse religious indoctrination and sacraments; and
3) The right for individuals (adherents or otherwise) to criticise scripture, sacred figures, and clergy?
Are you talking about real people,
You know that I am not talking about individual adherents, since their influences may be various.

My question pertains to the bodies of formal religious thought promoted to inform and guide adherents -- especially the written canon, comprising sacred scriptures, along with the canonical interpretations and inspirational sermons supplied by influential theologians and religious leaders, which are frequently standardised and promulgated by religious institutions too.

If you would like to argue that such thought has no influence on any adherent, please go right ahead. But I believe you won't. You're just continuing the strawmanning and evasion you began in an earlier response.

And yet again you're also shifting ground from religion to individual faith and spirituality. This despite having previously nominated six world religions, all of which have scriptural canon and popular theological texts.

Scotsman, after your serial evasion, strawmanning, and position-shifting you have confirmed my suspicion. You're uncomfortable with religion being critiqued morally or intellectually as a body of canonical thought, but have no coherent rationale for opposing it, and seem not to much understand religious history or the bodies of thought being critiqued. So having overstated your emotional reaction as the conclusion of an argument, you've now resorted to evasion, because the argument is absent.

I don't think you have any insight or analysis to explore. You're just peddling postmodern cultural relativisim -- which would be fine, if you owned the moral and ethical bankruptcy of doing so, and drew the obvious conclusion: that if you support relativism, you have no place telling others what to do -- including other atheists.
TrueScotsman
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3/22/2016 10:51:21 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 9:49:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.
I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.
And still despite these disparate views, you were unable to cite a single counter-example in which religious canon supports intellectual freedoms.


Perhaps you're confused regarding the OP, I'm talking about changing our rhetoric in discussion. Not providing a "get out of jail free card" for all organized institutional religion.

Your casual dismissal of individual adherents merely demonstrates my point.

Of the religious creeds you listed, which are the ones whose institutions uphold as a matter of tradition or doctrine:
1) The right to free speech;
2) The right for a child to refuse religious indoctrination and sacraments; and
3) The right for individuals (adherents or otherwise) to criticise scripture, sacred figures, and clergy?
Are you talking about real people,
You know that I am not talking about individual adherents, since their influences may be various.


That's fine that you're not talking about them. I AM. This is my OP, isn't it?

My question pertains to the bodies of formal religious thought promoted to inform and guide adherents -- especially the written canon, comprising sacred scriptures, along with the canonical interpretations and inspirational sermons supplied by influential theologians and religious leaders, which are frequently standardised and promulgated by religious institutions too.


If you would like to argue that such thought has no influence on any adherent, please go right ahead. But I believe you won't. You're just continuing the strawmanning and evasion you began in an earlier response.


It is not an all encompassing influence, hence we need to be mindful of these distinctions and not generalize with so broad a brush. Especially in the modern era post-reformation when individual interpretation is placed as the supreme method of determining the truth of Scripture.

And yet again you're also shifting ground from religion to individual faith and spirituality. This despite having previously nominated six world religions, all of which have scriptural canon and popular theological texts.


Yes, because to any one of those adherents you might have different ways of understanding and reading the text.

Scotsman, after your serial evasion, strawmanning, and position-shifting you have confirmed my suspicion. You're uncomfortable with religion being critiqued morally or intellectually as a body of canonical thought, but have no coherent rationale for opposing it, and seem not to much understand religious history or the bodies of thought being critiqued. So having overstated your emotional reaction as the conclusion of an argument, you've now resorted to evasion, because the argument is absent.


I likely know far more about religion than you do, not only am I a former Christian, but I speak Koine Greek, have read the Qur'an, and am deeply knowledgeable about the intellectual and historical traditions of these faiths. I just have overcome my biased bitterness towards these faiths, criticizing that which is dangerous and damaging, but also acknowledging positive influences exhibited, especially on an individualistic level.

Meta narratives are convenient stories in history that we like to tell ourselves, but each of them is ideologically infused with our own biases.

I don't think you have any insight or analysis to explore.

A closed-minded approach to the humanity of others.

You're just peddling postmodern cultural relativisim -- which would be fine, if you owned the moral and ethical bankruptcy of doing so, and drew the obvious conclusion: that if you support relativism, you have no place telling others what to do -- including other atheists.

I'm an Existentialist, not a postmodern cultural relativist. Though it seems you're interested in trying to figure out labels by which to paint me with so that you can negate me.

Some of us are actually interested in constructive discourse.
RuvDraba
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3/22/2016 11:42:49 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 10:51:21 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 9:49:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.
I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.
And still despite these disparate views, you were unable to cite a single counter-example in which religious canon supports intellectual freedoms.
Perhaps you're confused regarding the OP, I'm talking about changing our rhetoric in discussion.
I acknowledged from the outset that I don't myself use language like 'religion poisons everything'. You have yet to ask why I don't, but you're welcome to do so.

Your casual dismissal of individual adherents merely demonstrates my point.
I haven't dismissed individual adherents. I've simply pointed out that when critique of religion (as opposed to individual faith or spirituality), is almost by definition, a critique of a sociological identity built on a canon of thought and traditions -- so it's the thought and traditions, and the resulting behaviours being critiqued, not an individual adherent's apprehension or application of it.

It baffles me that you do not recognise this distinction, since it permeates all religious critique -- including adherents' critiques of other sects.

Of the religious creeds you listed, which are the ones whose institutions uphold as a matter of tradition or doctrine:
1) The right to free speech;
2) The right for a child to refuse religious indoctrination and sacraments; and
3) The right for individuals (adherents or otherwise) to criticise scripture, sacred figures, and clergy?
Are you talking about real people,
You know that I am not talking about individual adherents, since their influences may be various.
That's fine that you're not talking about them. I AM. This is my OP, isn't it?
Then you are not talking about religion, but the individual adherents, and your OP is poorly constructed by your own confusion.

Moreover, in attacking antitheistic critique of religion, you're also misrepresenting the point if you're arguing that critique of religious thought is based on animosity and designed to wound or insult individual religious adherents.

In general, it isn't. However that's not to say that adherents won't construe offense from having their sacred beliefs criticised -- in whatever language. And you've yet to make the case that there's better language to be used, or that it will produce a more constructive conversation. In fact, instead of talking about language, you've been critiquing the thought underpinning antitheistic critique -- which means you yourself are confused about your own objections. Either you support the critique of religious thought but deplore the language, or you believe there's no critique of religion -- only of individuals. Which is it?

My question pertains to the bodies of formal religious thought promoted to inform and guide adherents -- especially the written canon, comprising sacred scriptures, along with the canonical interpretations and inspirational sermons supplied by influential theologians and religious leaders, which are frequently standardised and promulgated by religious institutions too.
If you would like to argue that such thought has no influence on any adherent, please go right ahead. But I believe you won't. You're just continuing the strawmanning and evasion you began in an earlier response.
It is not an all encompassing influence
Apparently you are not reading my posts carefully, Scotsman. In my first response, I wrote that:
I personally hold the view that people are not their beliefs. There are many religious people I respect and care for. It is not at all difficult to disagree with the beliefs while respecting the individual's right to dignity, justice, compassion and autonomy.

I don't know how much clearer I could have been than that. But apparently you want the right to demonise antheistic critique without the attendant obligation of demonstrating that your demonisation is accurate and just.

And yet again you're also shifting ground from religion to individual faith and spirituality. This despite having previously nominated six world religions, all of which have scriptural canon and popular theological texts.
Yes, because to any one of those adherents you might have different ways of understanding and reading the text.
How is that relevant? Any faith that claims knowledge or truth is as accountable for its adherents' inability to interpret its ideas consistently as it is for any inaccuracy. So doctrine that admits multiple, wildly inconsistent interpretations yet claims authority is itself a cause for criticism.

Not only am I a former Christian, but I speak Koine Greek, have read the Qur'an, and am deeply knowledgeable about the intellectual and historical traditions of these faiths.
Splendid. Yet you seem unable to answer specifics with respect to religious support for freedom of intellectual inquiry -- even to the point of acknowledging that in general, religions claiming revelatory authority about the universe offer very little support for independent intellectual inquiry, and in fact, tend to discourage it whenever it conflicts with the authority of revelation.

I don't think you have any insight or analysis to explore.
A closed-minded approach to the humanity of others.
Without demonstrated research and analysis, that's not an insight but a prejudice.

I'm an Existentialist, not a postmodern cultural relativist. Though it seems you're interested in trying to figure out labels by which to paint me with so that you can negate me.
No; but your constant evasion is unconstructive and demands an accounting which you have failed to give.

Some of us are actually interested in constructive discourse.
So I hope, Scot. Please feel free to become one of them.
TrueScotsman
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3/23/2016 12:58:57 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 11:42:49 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 10:51:21 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 9:49:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.
I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.
And still despite these disparate views, you were unable to cite a single counter-example in which religious canon supports intellectual freedoms.
Perhaps you're confused regarding the OP, I'm talking about changing our rhetoric in discussion.
I acknowledged from the outset that I don't myself use language like 'religion poisons everything'. You have yet to ask why I don't, but you're welcome to do so.


Yet, you seem to have the same short sighted disposition of that of the New Atheists, regarding religion as if they were all formulated in the way modern fundamentalism is.

Your casual dismissal of individual adherents merely demonstrates my point.
I haven't dismissed individual adherents. I've simply pointed out that when critique of religion (as opposed to individual faith or spirituality), is almost by definition, a critique of a sociological identity built on a canon of thought and traditions -- so it's the thought and traditions, and the resulting behaviours being critiqued, not an individual adherent's apprehension or application of it.


That's one of the very ideas I am criticizing, that religion can even be coherently framed in that way. Given that there is no actual existing religious framework, outside of the individuals who adhere to and interpret it. Certain individuals stress the communal traditional format, while others express more personal and individualized beliefs that are perhaps more open to reason.

I simply use the term "religion" much more broadly than you.

It baffles me that you do not recognise this distinction, since it permeates all religious critique -- including adherents' critiques of other sects.


I'm criticizing the modern definition of religion, as it has assumptions and baggage that it brings to the debate that is ultimately anachronistic when analyzing the history of "religion." This distinction was not made until the Enlightenment.

Then you are not talking about religion, but the individual adherents, and your OP is poorly constructed by your own confusion.

Moreover, in attacking antitheistic critique of religion, you're also misrepresenting the point if you're arguing that critique of religious thought is based on animosity and designed to wound or insult individual religious adherents.

In general, it isn't. However that's not to say that adherents won't construe offense from having their sacred beliefs criticised -- in whatever language. And you've yet to make the case that there's better language to be used, or that it will produce a more constructive conversation. In fact, instead of talking about language, you've been critiquing the thought underpinning antitheistic critique -- which means you yourself are confused about your own objections. Either you support the critique of religious thought but deplore the language, or you believe there's no critique of religion -- only of individuals. Which is it?


When I initially deconverted I was part of the New Atheist movement, and there is a movement to basically shame people for their religious beliefs. Peaceful, yet aggressive social pressure to try and thwart the spread of religion, which is why the authors used such terse rhetoric.

If you don't think there is some bitterness and emotionally charged rhetoric coming from both sides in recent years, then I don't know what internet you've been surfing.

Apparently you are not reading my posts carefully, Scotsman. In my first response, I wrote that:
I personally hold the view that people are not their beliefs. There are many religious people I respect and care for. It is not at all difficult to disagree with the beliefs while respecting the individual's right to dignity, justice, compassion and autonomy.

I don't know how much clearer I could have been than that. But apparently you want the right to demonise antheistic critique without the attendant obligation of demonstrating that your demonisation is accurate and just.


Well you've come in here with an agenda of loaded questions, and you've been antagonistic from the start. You and I are simply talking past each other on different plains, and you're getting frustrated about it.

I'm stating my OPINION about what I have observed and learned about the modern secular versus religion debate, and this forum basically demonstrates my point. Or really any other forum, where berating each other is almost the default.

And yet again you're also shifting ground from religion to individual faith and spirituality. This despite having previously nominated six world religions, all of which have scriptural canon and popular theological texts.
Yes, because to any one of those adherents you might have different ways of understanding and reading the text.
How is that relevant? Any faith that claims knowledge or truth is as accountable for its adherents' inability to interpret its ideas consistently as it is for any inaccuracy. So doctrine that admits multiple, wildly inconsistent interpretations yet claims authority is itself a cause for criticism.


Not all faith perspectives seek to exert authority over all "truth," theologians such as Barth, Tillich, Kierkegaard, etc. don't really fit into this caricature of religious expression.

Not only am I a former Christian, but I speak Koine Greek, have read the Qur'an, and am deeply knowledgeable about the intellectual and historical traditions of these faiths.
Splendid. Yet you seem unable to answer specifics with respect to religious support for freedom of intellectual inquiry -- even to the point of acknowledging that in general, religions claiming revelatory authority about the universe offer very little support for independent intellectual inquiry, and in fact, tend to discourage it whenever it conflicts with the authority of revelation.


Yet another example of your projection of evangelical fundamentalist varieties of religion onto every other form. The Hermeneutics of Suspicion as first presented by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud were adopted also by theologians themselves who sought to use reason to criticize their own religious traditions as well, yet in more nuanced ways than in the past.

Harris, Dennett, Hitchens, and Dawkins have made a career by ignoring these more sophisticated perspectives and have disregarded moderate and more liberal expressions of religion.

Without demonstrated research and analysis, that's not an insight but a prejudice.


Want to debate it at length? This forum isn't a good format for it, and I actually do know what I am talking about.

I'm an Existentialist, not a postmodern cultural relativist. Though it seems you're interested in trying to figure out labels by which to paint me with so that you can negate me.
No; but your constant evasion is unconstructive and demands an accounting which you have failed to give.


It's not evasion to resist framing the debate in your self-serving construct. Your argument here is EXACTLY my point in how the Enlightenment has sought to restructure the debate by projecting their public versus private distinctions onto religion itself, which has always been deeply personal.

So I hope, Scot. Please feel free to become one of them.

I am one of them, examine yourself. You've be
RuvDraba
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3/23/2016 1:36:21 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/23/2016 12:58:57 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 11:42:49 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 10:51:21 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 9:49:04 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 3/22/2016 7:05:37 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:38:29 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
What religious institutions are you referring to? The Roman Catholic Church? Protestant Christianity? Islam.. Sunni or Shiite? Hindu or Buddhist?
As you doubtless know, I asked you to give me your over-all view. But sure, let's be specific.
I have no "over-all" view of religion in general, I have many different views of particular religious expressions.
And still despite these disparate views, you were unable to cite a single counter-example in which religious canon supports intellectual freedoms.
Perhaps you're confused regarding the OP, I'm talking about changing our rhetoric in discussion.
I acknowledged from the outset that I don't myself use language like 'religion poisons everything'. You have yet to ask why I don't, but you're welcome to do so.
Yet, you seem to have the same short sighted disposition of that of the New Atheists, regarding religion as if they were all formulated in the way modern fundamentalism is.
Is there an evidenced claim hiding under this straw-man?

Critique of religion (as opposed to individual faith or spirituality), is almost by definition, a critique of a sociological identity built on a canon of thought and traditions -- so it's the thought and traditions, and the resulting behaviours being critiqued, not an individual adherent's apprehension or application of it.
That's one of the very ideas I am criticizing, that religion can even be coherently framed in that way.
If it can't then religious institutions and clerical classes are gaining a great deal of money and influence teaching nothing coherent -- which is itself worthy of criticism.

I simply use the term "religion" much more broadly than you.
Without researching it, referencing it or defining it explicitly enough to be constructive, apparently. There are plenty of good sociological definitions and disquisitions about religion. For example: [https://isites.harvard.edu...] [http://www.jstor.org...]

It baffles me that you do not recognise this distinction, since it permeates all religious critique -- including adherents' critiques of other sects.
I'm criticizing the modern definition of religion
Which modern definition of religion are you criticising, Scot? I haven't seen a single academic citation, and your OP's criticism was not directed toward sociology or anthropology, but toward (effectively) New Atheism.

Either you support the critique of religious thought but deplore the language, or you believe there's no critique of religion -- only of individuals. Which is it?
When I initially deconverted I was part of the New Atheist movement,
I would contend that there is no such thing as New Atheist movement. It's a publishing category, not a body of new intellectual thought. Essentially, every criticism of religion leveled by so-called New Atheist publishers has been found before in earlier atheism, agnosticism, secular humanism, Deism, and even the criticism of the religious by the religious.

There's nothing new there, Scot, except the packaging and the cult of celebrity atheists, about which I too am ambivalent at best.

There is a movement to basically shame people for their religious beliefs.
If true, that would be worth arguing and illustrating, not simply asserting.

If you don't think there is some bitterness and emotionally charged rhetoric coming from both sides in recent years, then I don't know what internet you've been surfing.
I think there is, and it concerns me. However I do not diagnose it as you have.

Well you've come in here with an agenda of loaded questions, and you've been antagonistic from the start.
My questions aren't loaded. They're framed against a reasonable and accepted sociological definition of religion, and sit squarely within the context of your OP. Either you believe religious systems capable of producing respect for irreligious thought, or you are arguing that they should be respected despite being unable or unwilling to reciprocate.

You're welcome to argue either, but it is dishonest to evade the question.

And regarding antagonism, I remind you of the terms 'unsophisticated', 'immature', 'closed-minded', 'look down their nose', and 'bitterness', appearing in your OP. I offered you questions; you evaded answering them. My antagonism is toward your dishonest methods and condescending attitude, not the question itself.

I'm stating my OPINION
Why should anyone be interested in your opinion for its own sake? Either you have evidence and argument you wish to present for exploration and critique, or you are just mouthing off.

How is that relevant? Any faith that claims knowledge or truth is as accountable for its adherents' inability to interpret its ideas consistently as it is for any inaccuracy. So doctrine that admits multiple, wildly inconsistent interpretations yet claims authority is itself a cause for criticism.
Not all faith perspectives seek to exert authority over all "truth,"
That's correct. But you need to consider what happens sociologically to the religions that let their adherents challenge claims to revelatory authority, and what happens to adherents when their attempts to contest revelation are suppressed.

Theologians such as Barth, Tillich, Kierkegaard, etc. don't really fit into this caricature of religious expression.
It's true that religion can either be inspirational or authoritarian, or a bit of both. However, that doesn't undermine the position.

Your real problem here is that you need to explore the position more carefully before critiquing it.

Not only am I a former Christian, but I speak Koine Greek, have read the Qur'an, and am deeply knowledgeable about the intellectual and historical traditions of these faiths.
Splendid. Yet you seem unable to answer specifics with respect to religious support for freedom of intellectual inquiry
Yet another example of your projection of evangelical fundamentalist varieties of religion onto every other form.
No, that's another strawman. If you want examples of non Ev-Fundi religions discouraging challenge to revelatory authority, please ask for them.

Harris, Dennett, Hitchens, and Dawkins have made a career by ignoring these more sophisticated perspectives and have disregarded moderate and more liberal expressions of religion.
So say some religious apologists, but they are also prone to extensive strawmanning, as are you.

Without demonstrated research and analysis, that's not an insight but a prejudice.
Want to debate it at length? This forum isn't a good format for it, and I actually do know what I am talking about.
I don't support the system of formal debate used by this site, but feel free to summarise and cite references here.

No; but your constant evasion is unconstructive and demands an accounting which you have failed to give.
It's not evasion to resist framing the debate in your self-serving construct.
Your approach lacked authoritative citation for its definition of religion, shifted ground to focus on individuals rather than institutions and their canon (which are the principle subjects of antitheistic critique in the first place), launched a gish-gallop attack on language, ontology, scientism, populist atheist publications, purported antitheistic ignorance and antireligious prejudice, and evaded reasonable questions about the reciprocity of respect between religion and irreligion, yet mine is self-serving?
Outplayz
Posts: 1,267
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3/23/2016 3:37:26 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
As an atheist, I understand the tendency to characterize religious people purely in negative terms as some kind of ignorant remnant of the past. However, I would say that this is a very unsophisticated and indeed immature response to Theism.

There are many elements to religions, and we tend to assess them purely on their abstractions of reality within which they attempt to explain using metaphysics. For instance, people look at the Problem of Evil and similar arguments to try and refute theism. When in fact, theism and religion in general are historical and social expressions of various cultures and frameworks for human activity.

Think about your own life for a moment, you're born into this strange universe to a particular set of parents, at a particular time and at a particular place, with of course particular genes, etc. Our existence is HIGHLY contingent, and this applies to root of our ideas. Many of the atheists here would likely be devout Catholics or Buddhists had they been born further into the past or in a different country.

Anti-theists and other more angry atheists stand on the shoulders of modern philosophy and look down their nose at the rest of history, not even recognizing their indebtedness to the cultural and intellectual foundations that inspire their ideas today. We need to have more nuanced views that are able to separate the metaphorical and metaphysical from many of the intellectual beliefs and moral values of the past. Not in a way where we then accept some secularized religion, but that we are able to connect to and learn from all the traditions of human history. Which in reality are just different cultural frameworks for human flourishing.

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I see what you mean and respect your position. I have always held that i am Agnostic Atheist - Spiritual. That dash spiritual is a conclusion i have made to be unaffiliated to any label. So... i have been following your path. The fundamentalist that make their religion look like poison are few, you are right, but... they hide behind the ones blindly fighting for the label. Most Muslims i know, they are however Americanized, will talk to me about my beliefs... maybe in the end say they like the idea of god, but most agree that the label is unnecessary (plus, i haven't met one that has ever read the Koran).

Same goes for the Christians in my area, however they are harder to take the label from, and for good reason. Christianity has done a good job of going forward with the times... per se. So, it holds a good ... idk the word ... value to keep up with? But... even with them, i have twisted the stuff that isn't true... they become apologetic, but still say the god/Jesus thing. Even within their religion there is poison behind the scene; that is what i worry about mainly. The misinformation, abuse, evil, in religion happens by the people hiding behind the good people.

There is two sides to religion... good and evil (coincidentally). The good are hardly religious if you sit down and talk to them... and the evil are really religious (ironically). However, remember i have the spiritual aspect to my belief too. The spiritual aspect of helps with the conversations; although my spiritual belief is Atheist and Agnostic in its essence. I have found a way to describe spirituality without a god... and, i think atheists should do the same (just an opinion not a demand). The thing is, Atheists can... Agnostics can... but we are so blind to arguing the past that it keeps us behind. There is nothing in science that can disprove "spirituality" (a possible transcendent realm to this)... i don't think so at least... if you know the science i would be glad to hear it.

I feel that Atheists are losing their own hopes bc of religion, which is understandable. Religion is poison; there is no way around that "fact." So i get it... i don't want to agree to any kind of metaphysical idea... bc i have to keep my persona of everything made up is Fluff. However, i agree that the majority aren't poison - rather really good people. They are willing to listen to other ideas. I just feel, Atheist just showing no hope in anything is close-minded. Agnostics of course are a little better, but usually just passive on every idea. It's cool that we can do that... empathy should also teach us people need a fairy tale type hope... and that is also okay. We are all human, anything we are is amazing. I feel instead of changing that, we should grow with that idea.
RoderickSpode
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3/23/2016 1:12:32 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 7:58:05 PM, DanneJeRusse wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:16:30 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
Do you think Stalin committed atrocities due to his human nature, or because of his atheism?

Neither. He was not only nuts as a result of being beaten mercilessly by his father, he grew up a vicious gangster who imposed his will on Russia once he gained power.
Yes, human nature allows circumstance to dictate action. No way out of the double-standard.

Anyways, the question is aimed at dhardage, and I don't want your post to sway him away from answering the question. I posted a message specifically for you to respond to recently in the science forum that you never addressed. I wouldn't have said anything until now since you're responding to something not addressed to you. You can respond back to me here with my response, but I want to make it clear it's by no means an alternative to dhardage's pending response.
dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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3/23/2016 2:31:04 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 6:04:33 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 4:44:07 PM, dhardage wrote:
1) The dualism between subject and object that is pervasive throughout our language, culture and science.

2) The belief in the supremacy of reason, which in turn informs the belief in social and technological progress. It is the belief similar to that of Hegel, wherein we think history has some kind unified direction in which it is headed.

Skepticism of our skeptical methods of the world seems to be fitting, but its easy to just juxtapose oneself with religious fundamentalism and feel justified.

Reason has proven itself valid in reality, independent of personal likes or dislikes. I'd say it is the best way.

Notice how you're not even open to a skeptical inquiry of your own beliefs and assumptions. Is that reasonable?

You've yet to provide any valid critique of reason, only assertions that it is not necessarily valid. You've consistently pointed out human failings and tried to equate them with a failure of reason. That is intellectually dishonest at best and belies an agenda of some sort.



Not a fault of science, of those in power who determine how to use its fruits.

I'm not arguing against science and for religion. I'm arguing against the underlying ideologies that promote this faith in the progress of science, technology and social reform.

But you've yet to demonstrate its failure, only the failure of individuals to act in what one might call a productive manner. While the world is far from perfect, it's incredibly better than it was a mere four or five decades ago so it would seem that social reform is doing its job, albeit not without setbacks and challenges.

What's construct, what religion are you referring to? Are you claiming that this is a universal attribute of all religion?

Almost without exception.

More evidence of the irrationality of anti-theism. A very unsophisticated perspective of religion as fixated on fundamentalists expressions.

Name one religion that depends on the existence of a deity or deities that does not possess those attributes, if you can.


American Anti-Theism is super charged because it has been debating evangelicalism, without much regard for other theological perspectives even within the Christian tradition.. much less the rest of religious expressions.

Because that is the concept that seeks to gain traction in and control of our secular system of government and law.

That's fine, I too oppose the Zionist policies supported by evangelicals, as well as their dangerous perspectives on social policy. That doesn't incline me to then lump every other religious expression in.

As long as their underlying ideology is based on the same set of holy writings and they consider them the unchallenged word of their deity, yes.

I agree and religion only exacerbates that issue by creating an artificial 'us versus them' trope.

Do you not suppose that your own thinking exhibited in this thread is not some extension of tribalistic tendencies?

Hardly. I challenge exclusionary beliefs, I don't endorse them.

Your beliefs aren't exclusionary? Just because you don't have some kind of conception of salvation and hell, doesn't mean that you don't endorse exclusions that effect real public policy.

Please be specific about the exclusions you believe I support? I detest baseless accusations so you really need to support that one.



I disagree completely. Religion is not about gaining knowledge except when it benefits that religion.


You're projecting your perspective of religion again. As if religious people are fundamentally dishonest, and YOU'RE actually honest in the pursuit of knowledge. Not all Christians work at Answers in Genesis.

I'm referring to religious education in general. Every religion-sponsored school incorporates its own belief system into the curriculum. They encourage belief and denigrate or ignore facts that inconveniently conflict with their belief system.

I'm expressing an opinion based on past and present results. Religion is fundamentally dishonest in that it demands belief without evidence and condemns by its own principles well-meant challenges to itself.

You're projecting your epistemological perspective on other individuals who don't think the same way. Religion is not fundamentally anything really, it is what HUMANS (people just like you and me) make of it.

And as a species we seek patterns and dislike the unknown so we create something that seems to fit and has control of the inherently uncontrollable. That's the recipe for all religion.


Scientific influence on morality can in the wrong hands be used to justify eugenics as it was in the 20th Century. Or technological innovations in the food industry and how they damaged the environment almost beyond repair. We act as if we are at the pinnacle of history, when civilization has only been around several thousand years. How do we expect to make this planet last with the raping of its resources and habitats.

You support my contention. See the bold print in your statement. It's the hands of the workman, not the tool that causes the issue.

And we just assume we have the right hands?

We try to be the right hands but like all human endeavors, it doesn't always work out. The only other alternative is to stop trying and let the inmates run the asylum.


Science is the enemy and friend in this instance of course, but the other tool of the Enlightenment, Capitalism, drives it forward in pursuit of profits with the assumption of progress.

Unregulated capitalism does indeed. That's why there were, until recently, many laws to rein it in. Plutocrats have managed to get many of those laws repealed. Again, human failure.

I'm trying to get it through to you that Science much like religion, politics and culture in general are HUMAN enterprises. They aren't just tools for humans to use, but they are expressions of humans ideas and beliefs.

You've yet to demonstrate that. When you have a fact or two to back it up, feel free to present them.



Many times scientists innovate without consideration for the consequences of their discovery, and it can be even more destructive than some religious beliefs.

And again, your solution is?

Taking into account for our unintended consequences for our discoveries and innovations.

Many of which cannot be predicted, as you pointed out earlier, so that's not a valid solution.

Why can't they be predicted?

It's called chaos theory.

Is it not possible for us to use reason to analyze the consequences of our actions, especially when it comes to the ultimate application of reason in science?

Nope. Too many variables.


That seems to be because you're not that informed regarding your own tradition.

Really? What tradition are you asserting is 'mine'?

Its crazy to me that you don't see that you're part of an intellectual tradition. The Enlightenment Modernist intellectual tradition is exactly what you're espousing in this thread.

I've pointed out where reason has succeeded and failed because of how it is used. I've tried to point out the inherent failings of the magical thinking in religion. If that is Enlightenment Modernism, so be it. You keep making assertions you have no factual backing for and trying to blame the scientific method for how its fruits are used. That's like blaming the tree when someone makes a spear of one of its branches. It's misplaced.
dhardage
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3/23/2016 2:36:31 PM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 3/22/2016 6:16:30 PM, RoderickSpode wrote:
At 3/22/2016 1:36:15 PM, dhardage wrote:
At 3/22/2016 6:10:49 AM, TrueScotsman wrote:
At 3/22/2016 2:50:49 AM, Skepticalone wrote:
At 3/21/2016 8:57:14 PM, TrueScotsman wrote:

Certainly there are many issues which religion is at the heart of, but this "religion poison's everything" approach is extremely closed minded. Its time us atheists got past our bitterness and learned to actually interact with theists in more constructive ways.

I agree. I've been working to avoid generalizing the problems I see with some religious people into a problem of religion (It's a work in progress). I'm coming to realize, the problem of dogmatism is typically the issue that we fight against, and it is not a default of (or limited to) theism.

It's imperative for us to realize this, we go to sites like this and encounter disproportionately a much smaller fragment of the population and project these more absurd expressions onto the general population of religious individuals.

We mock and patronize religion without really considering the human impact of the erosion of our value systems, then assert the supremacy of reason which has had mixed fruit itself. We are all human.. "All too human," we depersonalize and dehumanize in order to validate our own meta narratives without recognizing the underlying issue of meta narratives. They are the ultimate forms of propaganda that we tell ourselves.

We praise the progress of modern science until it produce the nuclear bomb, we praise the progress of social reform until it produces Fascism and Communism. Secularists have their own religious beliefs and stories that we tell ourselves, and for sometime the hermeneutics of skepticism has belonged to those outside of the Modernist/Cartesian branch.

I think you generalize a bit yourself. Modern science is a tool just as social reform. IT's not the tool's fault when someone uses it to fashion a sword instead of a plowshare. For all the good that might be laid at the feet of religion in general an equal portion of evil can go there too. Pogroms against the Jews, the internecine wars between Catholic and Protestant that go on today, the barbaric killing of so-called 'witches' and gays, the Inquisition, the treatment of the natives of the Americas by 'Christian' colonists and invaders, on and on. Religion, in general, demands obedience to an authority that cannot be shown to exist and punishes those who do not provide that obedience and, in extreme cases, demands that unbelievers and apostates be killed. Forgive me if I find that particular tool too amenable to destructive use whether it be as subtle as discouraging critical thought or as blatant as what is happening in many recently 'evangelized' African nations where homosexuality is now a capital crime.
Do you think Stalin committed atrocities due to his human nature, or because of his atheism?

Stalin committed his atrocities because he lusted for power and felt it necessary to crush any opposition. At no point in time did he claim he was doing anything in the name of atheism.

The people I am talking about, in direct contrast, are claiming the things they do are right and proper because their holy book says so. It should be noted here that so-called 'missionaries' from other nations have come in and expounded on this view and emboldened the believers in these nations to take these heinous actions, also in the name of their deity.

Do you understand the difference? Stalin - Despot crushing potential opposition. Some Christians in African nations - Believers committing their own atrocities because they believe their deity says that's how it's supposed to be. Apples and oranges, a totally invalid comparison.