Total Posts:27|Showing Posts:1-27
Jump to topic:

For Religion To Work ...

PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/18/2016 9:08:02 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
It has to start with what we DON'T know, rather than what we think we do know. Otherwise, we can't tell our pretenses from our probabilities. or that neither of these are the equivalent to actual "knowledge".

"God" begins and ends as a mystery. The Great Mystery of Being. The mystery of why and how existence, exists, " Is occurring. And what is our place, purpose, and meaning within it?

Humanity has always wanted to know. And yet has never been able to reason it out, or discover the right set of facts that could explain it all to us. And, too, we fear our own ignorance regarding it. Because we humans survive and thrive on our ability to understand our environment well enough to control it, and make it serve our interests. When we're confronted by questions that we can't answer, they expose our vulnerability. And we become uneasy. Even paranoid.

In the face of this unease, we have some choices to make. We can simply invent the answers for ourselves, and to the degree that we can convince ourselves that these answers are true and correct, we can be relieved of that fear of our unknowing. And we can live our lives under the illusion that those big existential questions have been resolved.

This is, in fact, what a lot of organized religious groups "sell" to themselves and their adherents: this illusion of knowing that which cannot actually be known so as to relieve them of the fear of their not knowing. Which is, to my mind, both dishonest and unhealthy. They sell "faith" like a drug dealer sells drugs; inducing a false sense of well-being that soon wears off and demands another "fix". To be obtained from the divine authority pushers of the religion. "Religion-monger, give me another shot of righteousness, please!"

But there are other options. We could face our fear and unknowing head on. And actively seek to discover the answers to those existential questions for ourselves. The only problem there, though, is that we humans don't really have the capabilities required for answering them. The answers are beyond our intellectual 'pay grade', so to speak.

The questions, themselves, infer a reality beyond the only reality we know, and even then we only know in a very limited and speculative way. So we have no tools with which to probe this supposed 'meta-reality'. No way even to grasp hold of it with our imaginations (short of falling into a delusional state), so as to properly speculate, even. We end up drawing blanks, and/or opting out with intellectual scapegoats like "eternity" and "perpetuity".

Or, we could try another tack. We could try and 'transcend the questions' by simply accepting them and ourselves for what we are, and move ahead with our ignorance as an asset. In other words, we determine that the purpose of these great existential questions is not to drive us to the answers, but to drive is forward without the answers: with the questions as gifts unto themselves.

Think of it this way, if we really did know why existence exists, and our place within it, we would no longer be who we are. As this phenomena of our unknowing is a fundamental aspect of the 'human condition'. The essential mystery of living would be gone. Our path in all things and at all times would be perfectly clear to us. And we would have little choice but to simply plod along toward an inevitable outcome that we already know awaits us. Not much of a life, I would suspect. Whereas, the fact that these questions remain unanswered for us provides us with choices, and consequences. With danger, and the questionable wisdom of our collective experiences. Life becomes a constant challenge, and our living it shapes who we are, and who we are becoming.

We need those questions to keep us seeking, and curious, and in a state of wonder. Yet we are deeply blessed to have been denied the ability to uncover their answers.

Exciting stuff!

A lot of people are going to choose the willful delusions of organized religion. And will take the drug of it's pretense of divine knowledge, so that they can be relieved of their fear and anxiety. Fear and anxiety caused by their own profound, existential unknowing. And so be it. This is their choice.

Others will spend their lives chasing after the answers to these profound existential questions, ignoring the fact that they will never be able to obtain them, because that just isn't in our nature as limited human beings. But still, I can respect their desire. It's an honest desire, and an admirable task, even if it is ultimately impossible to fulfill.

But I'm more interested in the third option. That is to use the human mind that gave rise to our asking these questions, to turn their asking into a fuel for transcendence. To let the inherent limitations exposed by our asking questions that we can't answer show us the way beyond our wanting/needing to know those answers. Let the actuality of the question become it's own answer.

It's difficult to do. It's Zen-like. But it makes more innate sense to me than the other paths.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/19/2016 12:36:25 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Are you implying religion doesn't work?

If so, in what ways do you think it doesn't work and why do you think your propositions would make it work?

It seems to me that most people think religion would work better than it already does if everyone followed their personal views.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/19/2016 2:53:54 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 12:36:25 AM, Skyangel wrote:
Are you implying religion doesn't work?

If so, in what ways do you think it doesn't work and why do you think your propositions would make it work?

It seems to me that most people think religion would work better than it already does if everyone followed their personal views.

Good questions, and points.

I think any practice will be far more positively effective if we understand it clearly and realistically. There isn't anything inherently wrong with just assuming there is a "big eye in the sky" that sees everything we do, and that will hold us to account, some day, so long as we understand that this is what we're doing. And that the purpose of our doing it is to help ourselves define positive behaviors, and adhere to them. In fact, that being the goal, it seems to me to be a rather positive, useful, and effective practice.

But the practice begins to go off the rails when we lose our clear and conscious recognition of what, exactly, we're doing, and why we're doing it. We forget that we are choosing to believe in this "big eye in the sky" without any actual evidence of it, and that we are doing so for our own benefit. And in the vacuum of this awareness, we start imagining that our "big eye in the sky" is real. Is factual. And therefor is watching over everyone else, too. Now, instead of using the concept to improve our own behavior, we begin using this misperceived concept to judge the ideals and behaviors of others. A generally ineffective practice as we have no control over their ideals and behaviors, and all we can really do is accuse and condemn them in our own minds and actions. And as they will not likely respond well to this.

This is just one example, but it represents many others.

The truth is that honest, realistic, self-awareness is key to the positive and effective use of religious ideals and practices. And that self-awareness begins with a realistic assessment of what we humans can and cannot know. As well as a clear understanding of the difference between certainty, and reasoned probability. We need to understand the difference between what we know to be so by direct experience, and what we believe to be so, by choice.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/19/2016 11:31:05 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 2:53:54 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/19/2016 12:36:25 AM, Skyangel wrote:
Are you implying religion doesn't work?

If so, in what ways do you think it doesn't work and why do you think your propositions would make it work?

It seems to me that most people think religion would work better than it already does if everyone followed their personal views.

Good questions, and points.

I think any practice will be far more positively effective if we understand it clearly and realistically. There isn't anything inherently wrong with just assuming there is a "big eye in the sky" that sees everything we do, and that will hold us to account, some day, so long as we understand that this is what we're doing. And that the purpose of our doing it is to help ourselves define positive behaviors, and adhere to them. In fact, that being the goal, it seems to me to be a rather positive, useful, and effective practice.

Why assume there is a "big eye in the sky" watching us when in reality we have plenty of people on Earth watching us. There is no need to assume that humans watch or judge since we all experience their eyes and judgements on us daily.
It is people, not some eye in the sky, who define positive and negative behaviour and set standards for others to follow.
The problem with some people believing in an "eye in the sky" is that they claim their own standards come from that "eye" and they threaten others with some kind of punishment if they don't obey those standards. When belief in an "eye in the sky " causes the believers to threaten or even kill others who don't believe the same as they do, they own belief becomes detrimental to positive behaviours. It causes people to separate themselves from those who don't believe the same as they do, hence creating division rather than unity.

But the practice begins to go off the rails when we lose our clear and conscious recognition of what, exactly, we're doing, and why we're doing it. We forget that we are choosing to believe in this "big eye in the sky" without any actual evidence of it, and that we are doing so for our own benefit. And in the vacuum of this awareness, we start imagining that our "big eye in the sky" is real. Is factual. And therefor is watching over everyone else, too. Now, instead of using the concept to improve our own behavior, we begin using this misperceived concept to judge the ideals and behaviors of others. A generally ineffective practice as we have no control over their ideals and behaviors, and all we can really do is accuse and condemn them in our own minds and actions. And as they will not likely respond well to this.

Human judgement and condemnation of others seems to be part of human nature regardless of whether people believe in an eye in the sky or not. Consider how many atheists also condemn and judge others because they do not conform to the standards which they set and perceive to be right.

This is just one example, but it represents many others.

The truth is that honest, realistic, self-awareness is key to the positive and effective use of religious ideals and practices. And that self-awareness begins with a realistic assessment of what we humans can and cannot know. As well as a clear understanding of the difference between certainty, and reasoned probability. We need to understand the difference between what we know to be so by direct experience, and what we believe to be so, by choice.

If people were honest with themselves, they would not make any attempt to claim their own standards or morals were 'superior' to anyone elses due to being the standards of some 'superior being in the sky'. They would admit that whatever standards they accept as being 'right' are simply due to their own cultures, beliefs and traditions handed down from one generation to the next, as well as subject to their own tastes, desires and whatever makes them feel good.
Religion ought not be about the worship of some 'eye in the sky' or perceived 'superior standards' but it should simply be a way of life in which people learn to accept each other the way they are and understand that no two people perceive life, morals, standards, good and bad, in exactly the same way.
When people make a choice to believe "X" and they experience "X" due to their own belief , there is no difference between what they know by experience and what they believe to be so by choice.
For example a person who believes "X" will hurt them, will experience a fear of "X" and make any effort to avoid that perceived hurt regardless of whether it will hurt them in reality or not. Their experience of fear is based on their belief and their belief might also be based on their experience of being hurt as in the example of a person who was bitten by a dog having a fear of all dogs for the rest of their lives in spite of the fact that not all dogs will bite them.
It is not easy for some people to overcome their imagined fears.
People who live in the imagined fear that some "eye in the sky" will punish them if they don't believe in that "eye" or comply with its rules, live in fear of condemnation and rejection due to their own beliefs. In that sense their own beliefs are holding them in bondage to fear rather than giving them freedom from fear of punishment or rejection, etc from some 'superior entity'.

People need to learn that there is no punishment for any unbelief in an invisible 'eye in the sky'
Any pain or suffering humans go through is simply part of life and part of the natural consequences of nature or consequences of not conforming to human laws. People punish other people for perceived wrongs. No invisible entity judges, punishes, condemns or rejects any of us at any time.
Dead people are not punished for anything. People use death as a punishment for wrongdoings of the living.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/19/2016 11:51:48 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
To be a scientist, you have to understand and apply the scientific method.

To be a disciple, you have to understand and apply the discipline.

If you aren't doing these things, you can call yourself these things all you want, and you know what? Demographics will probably respect your self declaration.

The fact remains though... Any dummy can go to the library, read a book on science, and believe what it tells them. If you aren't doing some real science, you aren't a scientist, and you no longer have anything to lord over anyone.

The religious fanatics who claim "science" have their priests. Bill Nye the Science Guy? Bwahaha
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/19/2016 11:55:10 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 9:08:02 PM, PureX wrote:
It has to start with what we DON'T know, rather than what we think we do know. Otherwise, we can't tell our pretenses from our probabilities. or that neither of these are the equivalent to actual "knowledge".
I strongly agree. But may I ask, Pure, how one knows when one is ignorant? How does one know when one isn't?

That's not a rhetorical question. I think there are answers. But I'm interested to know what yours are, and why they're not something else.

Use the human mind that gave rise to our asking these questions, to turn their asking into a fuel for transcendence.
To transcend what, and why?

It's difficult to do. It's Zen-like. But it makes more innate sense to me than the other paths.
I don't think there's a problem in considering such questions. I think the methods may be problematic though, depending on what one chooses.
SpiritandTruth
Posts: 2,315
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 12:00:13 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Believe it or not, religion is the science of heart purification, which serves a very similar purpose as the scientific method. People believe in both of these things, but that doesn't mean that those same people practice any of it.

The thing is, those who are anti-religion don't understand the point of it, and probably look at it through the lens of superstition. A good scientist is always practicing the scientific method, it is the religion.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth,
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 12:13:33 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 9:08:02 PM, PureX wrote:
It has to start with what we DON'T know, rather than what we think we do know. Otherwise, we can't tell our pretenses from our probabilities. or that neither of these are the equivalent to actual "knowledge".

It has to start with defining the word religion....

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
1. * The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2. * A particular system of faith and worship.
3. * A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

I will presume you are using this first definition in reference to gods.
If religion is a belief in a personal God or gods, what do you think causes many adults to believe so many different things about God and gods?

One cannot have a belief in the reality of gods if they believe that all gods are mythical characters.
If one believes in the probability that gods are mythical, what would cause them to believe that one God is real? Pretence? Fear of the consequences of adding the one they believe is real to the list of mythical gods?

When it comes to pretences and probabilities, why do you think people pretend or convince themselves that any gods exist in spite of the probability of them all being mythical?

People all seem to know what they believe and in their own mind, their own belief is very real, but not all seem to understand that a belief can be real without the thing in which they believe being real.

In reference to definitions #2 and #3
2.
There we run into the problem of deciding which system out of the many systems of faith and worship is the right one.

3.
If it is an interest followed with great devotion, we could claim the religion of the sports fanatics is their sport, the religion of scientists is their science, the religion of the chefs is their food.... etc

In the third definition, basically the devotion to ones own interests creates the religion of ones choice due to the pursuit of ones own interests. That makes religion a way of life which is motivated by personal desires and tastes, not a belief system which is subject to whether people believe in invisible gods or not.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 12:38:24 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/18/2016 9:08:02 PM, PureX wrote:

"God" begins and ends as a mystery. The Great Mystery of Being. The mystery of why and how existence, exists, " Is occurring. And what is our place, purpose, and meaning within it?

There is no mystery to existence when you understand the reproductive processes of nature. Human existence is created through the fertilisation of egg by a sperm and you know how the baby develops in the womb. Nothing mysterious about it to those who understand the process. It is a natural aspect of life.
As for purpose and meaning, it seems people create their own purpose and meaning in life. It depends on personal perception of the world and ones own environment. Human life is what humans make it.

Humanity has always wanted to know. And yet has never been able to reason it out, or discover the right set of facts that could explain it all to us. And, too, we fear our own ignorance regarding it. Because we humans survive and thrive on our ability to understand our environment well enough to control it, and make it serve our interests. When we're confronted by questions that we can't answer, they expose our vulnerability. And we become uneasy. Even paranoid.

Some seem incapable of reasoning it out. They seem to choose to believe it cannot be reasoned out and will always remain a mystery. To them it will remain a mystery due to their own belief that it cannot be figured out inhibiting their reasoning abilities. Others seem to believe they can reason it out and make sense of it. They end up with a personal answer which satisfies them and solves the "puzzle" in their own mind. Intelligent people understand that there will always be some things we can control in life and some we cannot control. Ultimately nature itself is more powerful than humans will ever be. The best we can do is learn what we can from nature by observing it and experimenting with it. I think people do the best they can in that area and we have obviously learned a lot about how to manipulate certain aspects of nature for our own benefit.

When it comes to being confronted with questions that people cannot answer. I personally don't believe that any questions cannot be answered. There is an answer to any question. There is however not a general human consensus regarding whether an answer is right or wrong. An answer which appears to be perfectly logical to one person might be totally illogical to another.
The problem is in human perception and acceptance of answers which other people provide. It seems that it is in the nature of people to try to find their own answers to their own questions as they remain skeptical about other peoples answers.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 4:56:09 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 11:55:10 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 6/18/2016 9:08:02 PM, PureX wrote:
It has to start with what we DON'T know, rather than what we think we do know. Otherwise, we can't tell our pretenses from our probabilities. or that neither of these are the equivalent to actual "knowledge".
I strongly agree. But may I ask, Pure, how one knows when one is ignorant? How does one know when one isn't?

We are always ignorant. That is the foundation of the human condition. Thinking that we aren't is the delusion. So the question is, HOW IGNORANT ARE WE? Because our knowledge, what little of it we possess, is both relative and tentative. What we can know to be true, right now, by our direct experience of it, may no longer be true ten minutes from now as the criteria of it's truthfulness, change. And it immediately passes from being knowledge to being speculative probability the moment we walk away from it. And even as we are directly experiencing a phenomena we may not be understanding it accurately.

Or ignorance is huge, and profound. Far more-so than we are willing to acknowledge most of the time. Which is why an ongoing practice of rigorous honesty and humility is necessary to a sane mind.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 5:08:46 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/19/2016 11:31:05 PM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/19/2016 2:53:54 PM, PureX wrote:

I think any practice will be far more positively effective if we understand it clearly and realistically. There isn't anything inherently wrong with just assuming there is a "big eye in the sky" that sees everything we do, and that will hold us to account, some day, so long as we understand that this is what we're doing. And that the purpose of our doing it is to help ourselves define positive behaviors, and adhere to them. In fact, that being the goal, it seems to me to be a rather positive, useful, and effective practice.

Why assume there is a "big eye in the sky" watching us when in reality we have plenty of people on Earth watching us.[/QUOTE]Because they can't see into our hearts and minds. And because they can always bee fooled.

It is people, not some eye in the sky, who define positive and negative behaviour and set standards for others to follow.

We are biased in favor of ourselves. By externalizing our ideals, we can somewhat free them from our own bias. We can endow our gods with traits that we are too biased and selfish to honestly attribute to ourselves. It's a way of purifying our ideals by abstracting them. And then setting them as goals for ourselves to pursue.

The problem with some people believing in an "eye in the sky" is that they claim their own standards come from that "eye" and they threaten others with some kind of punishment if they don't obey those standards. When belief in an "eye in the sky " causes the believers to threaten or even kill others who don't believe the same as they do, they own belief becomes detrimental to positive behaviours. It causes people to separate themselves from those who don't believe the same as they do, hence creating division rather than unity.

Yes, we humans pervert our idealism with self-centered fear and desire. But that happens with any or expression of idealism, not just religious idealism.

But the practice begins to go off the rails when we lose our clear and conscious recognition of what, exactly, we're doing, and why we're doing it. We forget that we are choosing to believe in this "big eye in the sky" without any actual evidence of it, and that we are doing so for our own benefit. And in the vacuum of this awareness, we start imagining that our "big eye in the sky" is real. Is factual. And therefor is watching over everyone else, too. Now, instead of using the concept to improve our own behavior, we begin using this misperceived concept to judge the ideals and behaviors of others. A generally ineffective practice as we have no control over their ideals and behaviors, and all we can really do is accuse and condemn them in our own minds and actions. And as they will not likely respond well to this.

Human judgement and condemnation of others seems to be part of human nature regardless of whether people believe in an eye in the sky or not. Consider how many atheists also condemn and judge others because they do not conform to the standards which they set and perceive to be right.

I now. But that doesn't negate the effort. And my point was that the effort would be a lot more effective and positive if we maintained a clear and honest understanding of what we're trying to achieve with such idealism.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 5:08:46 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/19/2016 11:31:05 PM, Skyangel wrote:

It is people, not some eye in the sky, who define positive and negative behaviour and set standards for others to follow.

We are biased in favor of ourselves. By externalizing our ideals, we can somewhat free them from our own bias. We can endow our gods with traits that we are too biased and selfish to honestly attribute to ourselves. It's a way of purifying our ideals by abstracting them. And then setting them as goals for ourselves to pursue.

When people realise they are their own gods which motivate themselves, there is no need to endow invisible gods with anything. Good and bad traits are part of human nature, besides good and bad being subject to human perception and interpretation. It is foolish to blame or attribute bad traits to some invisible evil character and good traits to some imaginary invisible perfect character while attempting to convey the idea that people are not responsible for their own actions... but either the devil made them do it or God did it through them.
It is far more mature to take responsibility for ones own actions regardless of who judges those actions as good or evil.

The problem with some people believing in an "eye in the sky" is that they claim their own standards come from that "eye" and they threaten others with some kind of punishment if they don't obey those standards. When belief in an "eye in the sky " causes the believers to threaten or even kill others who don't believe the same as they do, they own belief becomes detrimental to positive behaviours. It causes people to separate themselves from those who don't believe the same as they do, hence creating division rather than unity.

Yes, we humans pervert our idealism with self-centered fear and desire. But that happens with any or expression of idealism, not just religious idealism.

Many people seem to convey the idea that the "ideal state of being" is to be perfect or pure and in order to achieve that 'state' one needs to be totally free of any evil or bad side. The problem is that 'evil' and 'bad' are created by human judgement and perception. What appears to be evil to one person can appear to be good to another. In that case, none are ever free from the appearances of evil in other peoples judgements.
People create their own ideal standards and seem to expect others to conform to them.
One example is the ideal concept that all people should love and accept each other. It is taught by many religions yet they do not seem to practise what they preach when they condemn and reject others for not believing in their particular God or conforming to their religious rituals. They only love and accept those who conform to their demands.

But the practice begins to go off the rails when we lose our clear and conscious recognition of what, exactly, we're doing, and why we're doing it. We forget that we are choosing to believe in this "big eye in the sky" without any actual evidence of it, and that we are doing so for our own benefit. And in the vacuum of this awareness, we start imagining that our "big eye in the sky" is real. Is factual. And therefor is watching over everyone else, too. Now, instead of using the concept to improve our own behavior, we begin using this misperceived concept to judge the ideals and behaviors of others. A generally ineffective practice as we have no control over their ideals and behaviors, and all we can really do is accuse and condemn them in our own minds and actions. And as they will not likely respond well to this.

Human judgement and condemnation of others seems to be part of human nature regardless of whether people believe in an eye in the sky or not. Consider how many atheists also condemn and judge others because they do not conform to the standards which they set and perceive to be right.

I now. But that doesn't negate the effort. And my point was that the effort would be a lot more effective and positive if we maintained a clear and honest understanding of what we're trying to achieve with such idealism.

Please explain your concept of idealism. What is an ideal world like in your imagination and opinion?
Does it contain both good and evil or only good? If it contains "only good"...How do you decide what is "only good" when some people will always perceive good as evil?
I very much doubt the human race would ever reach a consensus regarding what was 'ideal' or 'only good' when it comes to human attitudes and behaviours.
It is very obvious to me that many believers seem to think that anyone who does not agree with their perception and belief is not good but evil, not smart but stupid, not wise but foolish..etc. In their 'ideal' world, everyone agrees with them and their beliefs and they have no opposition to challenge their thoughts.
If people cannot agree on the concept of idealism in the first place, how on Earth do you suggest they maintain an honest understanding of it when they haven't even reached an honest understanding of what they are trying to achieve.
A goal needs to be reached before it can be maintained.

The 'ideal' concept of 'Love one another', which is taught in the bible, is obviously subject to the human interpretation and perception of the word Love and what it entails.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

When people realise they are their own gods which motivate themselves, there is no need to endow invisible gods with anything.

Ideally, perhaps, but not actually. For a lot of people, the loss of their god-ideal is the result of their giving up on pursuing their ideals, all together. It's a loss of both faith and hope. Not some transcendent self-actualization, as you suggest.

Many people seem to convey the idea that the "ideal state of being" is to be perfect or pure and in order to achieve that 'state' one needs to be totally free of any evil or bad side. The problem is that 'evil' and 'bad' are created by human judgement and perception. What appears to be evil to one person can appear to be good to another. In that case, none are ever free from the appearances of evil in other peoples judgements.

That's only a problem for those who cannot understand that "good and evil" are subjective value assessments, and not objective phenomenal states. This is why it's important that when we create our gods, in our minds, and we endow them with our ideal positive traits, that we understand that this is what we are doing. And that we understand why we are doing it: to use as a tool. To serve us as a conceptual goal/role model for us as we walk the path of life. To help us to keep our 'eyes on the prize' of who we want to become. Or at least who we want to become more like.

People create their own ideal standards and seem to expect others to conform to them.

Only fools expect other people to conform to their standards.

One example is the ideal concept that all people should love and accept each other. It is taught by many religions yet they do not seem to practise what they preach when they condemn and reject others for not believing in their particular God or conforming to their religious rituals. They only love and accept those who conform to their demands.

That we are all hypocrites, and fall short of our own professed ideals, is well known. But I don't see why this should stop us from trying to live up to those professed goals. Do you?

Please explain your concept of idealism. What is an ideal world like in your imagination and opinion?

I don't have the intellect to imagine an ideal world. The world is far to complex for me to presume to know how it works, let alone to know how it might work, better.

But I can imagine a better 'me'. Based on some ideals that I hold to be positive and worthwhile for me, and for everyone I might encounter, through me. For example: Christianity, as an essential ideal, proposes that God's love and forgiveness acting in us and through us to each other, will heal us and save us from ourselves, and help us to help others be healed, and saved, as well. And I believe this is a true and positive idealogical proposal, and a worthy ideal for me to pursue.

Now, I don't always manage to live up to it. In fact I rarely manage to do so to the full extent of it. But I keep trying. Because it remains a worthy ideal even when I fail to exemplify it.

Does it contain both good and evil or only good? If it contains "only good"...How do you decide what is "only good" when some people will always perceive good as evil?

The more clearly I can understand what love and forgiveness is, the better able I am to apply these to the circumstances of my life. But there is much I don't know, and much I can't see in the hearts and minds of others. So all I can do is the best I can with what little information I have. And I have to hope and trust that this will be good enough.

I very much doubt the human race would ever reach a consensus regarding what was 'ideal' or 'only good' when it comes to human attitudes and behaviours.

No. But we don't actually need to reach a consensus. And we don't need to know 'the truth' of good and evil. We just need to learn to be honest with ourselves, and honest with each other, and to keep trying to do better.

It is very obvious to me that many believers seem to think that anyone who does not agree with their perception and belief is not good but evil, not smart but stupid, not wise but foolish..etc. In their 'ideal' world, everyone agrees with them and their beliefs and they have no opposition to challenge their thoughts.

They have become insane. And I feel sad for them. Up is down, and down is up. Their reality is a delusion, and their delusion is their reality. They have become trapped and trammeled by their own fear of being "wrong". Which is foolish, because we are all wrong, nearly all the time. Being wrong about nearly everything nearly all the time is just part of being human. It's nothing to be ashamed of, nor afraid of. But it is why we need to desperately to pursue honesty in our lives and concepts of ourselves and the world. Without it we so easily go insane. And become lost in our delusions of "truth" and "righteousness".

If people cannot agree on the concept of idealism in the first place, how on Earth do you suggest they maintain an honest understanding of it when they haven't even reached an honest understanding of what they are trying to achieve.

Being honest with ourselves and each other doesn't mean that we have to all agree. Or that we have to be "right". The beauty of honesty and humility is that they free us from all that nonsense. And allow us just to be stupid humans, again. But trying to do better.

A goal needs to be reached before it can be maintained.

A lot of goals are like lighthouses. To "reach them", is to end up crashed on the rocks. Especially if the goal involves the idea of perfection, and the navigator is a human. Yet if we use these goals to navigate BY, instead of directly AT, they become very useful and life-saving tools.

The 'ideal' concept of 'Love one another', which is taught in the bible, is obviously subject to the human interpretation and perception of the word Love and what it entails.

Yes. The heart and soul of the Christian message is the healing and saving power of love and forgiveness. Sadly, the organized religions that have evolved in it's wake bears little resemblance to that ideal. But the value of the ideal still stands, regardless of the flaws of it's human namesakes.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/22/2016 10:14:35 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

When people realise they are their own gods which motivate themselves, there is no need to endow invisible gods with anything.

Ideally, perhaps, but not actually. For a lot of people, the loss of their god-ideal is the result of their giving up on pursuing their ideals, all together. It's a loss of both faith and hope. Not some transcendent self-actualization, as you suggest.

People who give up pursuing their personal goals or ideals have either set unrealistic goals and finally realised they are unachievable or were not passionate about attaining their goals in the first place.
When people set realistic goals and have the passion to pursue them, no gods are necessary. They simply need will power and stamina.
However, people can only achieve their personal goals.
Goals which involve other people can only be achieved if all people cooperate as a team.
Religions tend to set goals like "world peace" and claim such goals are the aim and desire of a God. However, such goals necessitate the cooperation of the whole world. Such goals are unrealistic in my opinion due to the fact that conflict is created by people with opposite opinions.
I can't imagine the whole world ever being in total agreement and without conflict about all subjects.
Anyone who believes or hopes the whole world will ever be in total peace without conflicts and disagreements is dreaming. I doubt there will ever be a time when the whole world is in a state of living "happily ever after" in some "eternal bliss".
Such an ideal is a fantasy.
The only place of eternal peace and rest is in the grave. The dead don't argue with each other.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/22/2016 10:25:36 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

Many people seem to convey the idea that the "ideal state of being" is to be perfect or pure and in order to achieve that 'state' one needs to be totally free of any evil or bad side. The problem is that 'evil' and 'bad' are created by human judgement and perception. What appears to be evil to one person can appear to be good to another. In that case, none are ever free from the appearances of evil in other peoples judgements.

That's only a problem for those who cannot understand that "good and evil" are subjective value assessments, and not objective phenomenal states. This is why it's important that when we create our gods, in our minds, and we endow them with our ideal positive traits, that we understand that this is what we are doing. And that we understand why we are doing it: to use as a tool. To serve us as a conceptual goal/role model for us as we walk the path of life. To help us to keep our 'eyes on the prize' of who we want to become. Or at least who we want to become more like.

If the God of the bible is any kind of example of what some people want to be like, it seems that the 'ideal positive trait' is to condemn, reject or destroy anyone who does not agree with what has been set as an ultimate standard or rule for people to live by.
Religions cause many physical and psychological wars in the name of their God. In their efforts to do right and get rid of evil, they actually create evil and attempt to control people with fear.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/22/2016 10:57:31 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

People create their own ideal standards and seem to expect others to conform to them.

Only fools expect other people to conform to their standards.

If that is true, then the God of the bible is a fool for commanding people to conform to his laws, especially since the character must be fully aware of the fact that what one person perceives as good another will perceive as evil and what one person perceives as truth another will perceive as a lie.

One example is the ideal concept that all people should love and accept each other. It is taught by many religions yet they do not seem to practise what they preach when they condemn and reject others for not believing in their particular God or conforming to their religious rituals. They only love and accept those who conform to their demands.

That we are all hypocrites, and fall short of our own professed ideals, is well known. But I don't see why this should stop us from trying to live up to those professed goals. Do you?

If one constantly falls short of "ideals" , one should question whether those ideals are realistically achievable or not. If not, the ideals need to be made more achievable.
It seems to me that many believe that good without evil is the "perfect state" of being.
I seriously doubt that it is possible to have good without evil simply because good and evil are a subjective matter of human perception and interpretation.
When one person sees "X" as good and another sees the same "X" as evil, what does that make "X" ? Good or evil or something which is both good and evil or neither good or evil but simply neutral ?

If the goal is to be a fool or a hypocrite then all achieve the goal without even trying because we are what we are.
Those who accept themselves as they are, don't bother trying to not be what they are.

Those who do not want to be the fools and hypocrites which they are, suffer from self rejection. They make themselves hypocrites and fools by trying to not be what they are. They trying to hide what they are under some facade of righteousness, regardless of whether it is self righteousness or some imaginary righteousness assigned to "chosen" believers by some God for believing in him.
People who cannot accept themselves as they are, obviously cannot accept others as they are either.
People who set impossible goals for themselves also tend to set the same impossible goals for others.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/22/2016 11:47:20 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

Please explain your concept of idealism. What is an ideal world like in your imagination and opinion?

I don't have the intellect to imagine an ideal world. The world is far to complex for me to presume to know how it works, let alone to know how it might work, better.

Yet you start a thread titled "For religion to work......"
The title implies you think it doesn't work and would work better IF......... people did what you suggest.

But I can imagine a better 'me'. Based on some ideals that I hold to be positive and worthwhile for me, and for everyone I might encounter, through me. For example: Christianity, as an essential ideal, proposes that God's love and forgiveness acting in us and through us to each other, will heal us and save us from ourselves, and help us to help others be healed, and saved, as well. And I believe this is a true and positive idealogical proposal, and a worthy ideal for me to pursue.

Those who imagine a 'better' version of themselves, in my opinion, do not accept the current version of themselves to be 'good enough' let alone 'perfect' or 'ideal'.
The concept of love and forgiveness is a two edged sword due to 'tough love' demanding people make restitution for actions which might harm others. One aspect of love is to demand that people pay for their 'sins' and another is to forgive them for their 'sins' instead of demanding restitution from them.
It creates a conflict as to whether to make someone pay or forgive them for their perceived wrongs. People make those judgements according to their emotional involvement with the one who 'sinned' and the extent of the perceived 'sin'.

Now, I don't always manage to live up to it. In fact I rarely manage to do so to the full extent of it. But I keep trying. Because it remains a worthy ideal even when I fail to exemplify it.

Gods 'love' is not always perceived as 'love' in the bible stories either.
I think the problem is that most people perceive the word 'love' as something that makes them feel good not as something that makes them feel bad, convicted, guilty, rejected or condemned about anything.
Tough love is not always about making people feel good. It is about helping them grow up and face the consequences of their own actions. It is about teaching and helping people to take responsibility for themselves instead of relying on others to clean up the mess they make.
Too many people seem to think love is all about being molly coddled.

People who love and accept themselves as they are, don't need saving from themselves.
People who don't accept themselves as they are need to learn self acceptance and stop trying to be something they are not.

Does it contain both good and evil or only good? If it contains "only good"...How do you decide what is "only good" when some people will always perceive good as evil?

The more clearly I can understand what love and forgiveness is, the better able I am to apply these to the circumstances of my life. But there is much I don't know, and much I can't see in the hearts and minds of others. So all I can do is the best I can with what little information I have. And I have to hope and trust that this will be good enough.

Good enough for whom? Are you trying to please others or attain some standards set by other people or simply attaining your own self made standards?
If you do the best you can, then you cannot do any better. Your best is perfect. If you expect yourself to do better than your best, you are placing unrealistic standards onto yourself.

I very much doubt the human race would ever reach a consensus regarding what was 'ideal' or 'only good' when it comes to human attitudes and behaviours.

No. But we don't actually need to reach a consensus. And we don't need to know 'the truth' of good and evil. We just need to learn to be honest with ourselves, and honest with each other, and to keep trying to do better.

Better than what? No one can do better than their best.
Self deceived people, call their own self deceptions honesty. They convince themselves they are being honest with themselves. They lie to themselves and don't even realise they are lying to themselves. If they did, they would not be self deceived but be deliberately making fools of themselves.
Can a person who knows they are a fool and a hypocrite become a better fool or better hypocrite than they already are?
If they don't like who and what they are, they are suffering from self rejection. The only way to overcome that is through self acceptance.
People who accept that they are fools and hypocrites have no need to change who or what they are.
Which is best in your opinion....... To accept yourself as you are or to put yourself down and reject yourself as being something inferior to what you want to be as you attempt to reach an unattainable goal of imagined perfection?
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/23/2016 12:44:27 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

It is very obvious to me that many believers seem to think that anyone who does not agree with their perception and belief is not good but evil, not smart but stupid, not wise but foolish..etc. In their 'ideal' world, everyone agrees with them and their beliefs and they have no opposition to challenge their thoughts.

They have become insane. And I feel sad for them. Up is down, and down is up. Their reality is a delusion, and their delusion is their reality. They have become trapped and trammeled by their own fear of being "wrong". Which is foolish, because we are all wrong, nearly all the time. Being wrong about nearly everything nearly all the time is just part of being human. It's nothing to be ashamed of, nor afraid of. But it is why we need to desperately to pursue honesty in our lives and concepts of ourselves and the world. Without it we so easily go insane. And become lost in our delusions of "truth" and "righteousness".

They may be insane in the eyes of others but in their own eyes they are perfectly sane. Self deluded people are never aware of their self deceptions or how they fool themselves with their own beliefs. They call their own lies truth and call the truth a lie when they deny they are deceiving themselves and refuse to even consider the possibility.
I agree they bind themselves to their own beliefs with their own fear of what might happen if they give up those beliefs. They seem to think it is wrong to give up their belief that they are right.
They obviously do not understand that no one can be right without also being wrong or be wrong without also being right because right and wrong are a subjective matter of human perception.
Truth and lies are as subjective as right and wrong.
Everything just is what it is till humans interfere with human judgements, opinions and perceptions of 'that which is' and argue about their perceptions regarding what it is.

If people cannot agree on the concept of idealism in the first place, how on Earth do you suggest they maintain an honest understanding of it when they haven't even reached an honest understanding of what they are trying to achieve.

Being honest with ourselves and each other doesn't mean that we have to all agree. Or that we have to be "right". The beauty of honesty and humility is that they free us from all that nonsense. And allow us just to be stupid humans, again. But trying to do better.

Trying to do better at what? Should we do better at being stupid humans? Improving ones stupidity only makes one more stupid.
Self deceived people all believe they are being honest with themselves as they lie to themselves and don't even realise they are deceiving themselves.
True humility is about accepting ourselves as we are and not even trying to be something else.
A seed does not struggle to become what it is not by trying to 'improve' itself. It automatically grows into what it is meant to be by simply being what it is.

A goal needs to be reached before it can be maintained.

A lot of goals are like lighthouses. To "reach them", is to end up crashed on the rocks. Especially if the goal involves the idea of perfection, and the navigator is a human. Yet if we use these goals to navigate BY, instead of directly AT, they become very useful and life-saving tools.

The lighthouse keeper knows how to reach the lighthouse without ending up crashed on the rocks.
A goal keeper has no need to reach a goal. His job is to stop others from reaching his goal.
A lighthouse keeper has no need to reach the lighthouse. The lighthouse is there to warn others of the danger of the rocks and keep them away from the area.

People are the keepers of their own goals unless they are out on the boats on the ocean trying to attain other peoples goals and standards.

You seem to see yourself and others as navigators in a boat on the ocean? Are you trying to sail BY a lighthouse without crashing? Are you trying to avoid a goal instead of reaching it? If so, why bother trying to be 'better' than you already are?

If people are navigators in a boat and a storm blows up, the wind and waves will toss the boat to and fro and crash it onto the rocks regardless of how good their navigation skills might be. Some things like natural disasters are simply beyond human control and can destroy anything humans have created including lighthouses.

The 'ideal' concept of 'Love one another', which is taught in the bible, is obviously subject to the human interpretation and perception of the word Love and what it entails.

Yes. The heart and soul of the Christian message is the healing and saving power of love and forgiveness. Sadly, the organized religions that have evolved in it's wake bears little resemblance to that ideal. But the value of the ideal still stands, regardless of the flaws of it's human namesakes.

The concepts of love and forgiveness are practised by many individuals that I have met. I can only presume that many people in the world believe in those concepts regardless of whether they believe in any gods or not. I have met atheists who seem to be more loving and forgiving than some believers.
The bible teaches that anyone who lives in Love lives in God and God lives in them.
The attitude is manifest through the actions. It is not about whether an invisible character is real or not. It is not about what people profess to believe or claim to believe. It is all about how people practise what they 'preach' and how their attitudes manifest through their words and actions.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/23/2016 3:22:11 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 10:14:35 PM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

When people realise they are their own gods which motivate themselves, there is no need to endow invisible gods with anything.

Ideally, perhaps, but not actually. For a lot of people, the loss of their god-ideal is the result of their giving up on pursuing their ideals, all together. It's a loss of both faith and hope. Not some transcendent self-actualization, as you suggest.

People who give up pursuing their personal goals or ideals have either set unrealistic goals and finally realised they are unachievable or were not passionate about attaining their goals in the first place.
When people set realistic goals and have the passion to pursue them, no gods are necessary. They simply need will power and stamina.
However, people can only achieve their personal goals.
Goals which involve other people can only be achieved if all people cooperate as a team.
Religions tend to set goals like "world peace" and claim such goals are the aim and desire of a God. However, such goals necessitate the cooperation of the whole world. Such goals are unrealistic in my opinion due to the fact that conflict is created by people with opposite opinions.
I can't imagine the whole world ever being in total agreement and without conflict about all subjects.
Anyone who believes or hopes the whole world will ever be in total peace without conflicts and disagreements is dreaming. I doubt there will ever be a time when the whole world is in a state of living "happily ever after" in some "eternal bliss".
Such an ideal is a fantasy.
The only place of eternal peace and rest is in the grave. The dead don't argue with each other.

Human beings need to govern their behavior to live together as a cooperative species. Which is what we are. Otherwise we implode, psychologically, and becomes self-destructive, and collectively destructive. (Think in terms of addiction, and obsessive and violent resentment, etc.) We may never eliminate rape and murder from human behavior but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. And nearly every society of humans on the planet recognizes this fact. Because by trying to achieve this "impossible goal" we can at least minimize the destructive behavior. In both ourselves, and in our collective societies.

When people lose their gods, they also lose their conceptual goal-holders. They lose their faith and hope in their own most positive ideals. And this is often disastrous for them, and for everyone around them. Because people tend to become self-destructive and nihilistic without those goals and the hope and faith they had in them.

Atheists prefer to avoid this aspect of theism. And when it comes up they tend to do what you're trying to do: minimize the need for such externalized idealizations, and dismiss them as only being for the weak, or the foolish. But the vast majority of human suffering throughout history has been caused by people who stopped pursuing their positive ideals, or never learned how to set them and pursue them in the first place, and so fell into the pursuit of self-pleasure at the expense of other humans. Which is inherently self-destructive in a cooperative species like we humans. Human beings really do need to establish these idealized goals by whatever means is effective, and maintain their faith in the value of pursuing those ideals. It's how we keep from destroying ourselves.

The alternatives are not good for any of us.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/23/2016 3:25:45 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 10:25:36 PM, Skyangel wrote:

If the God of the bible is any kind of example of what some people want to be like, it seems that the 'ideal positive trait' is to condemn, reject or destroy anyone who does not agree with what has been set as an ultimate standard or rule for people to live by.
Religions cause many physical and psychological wars in the name of their God. In their efforts to do right and get rid of evil, they actually create evil and attempt to control people with fear.

This is why the most important question regarding "God" is not: does God exists? It's how do we characterize God and how is that characterization effecting the way we interact with the world? And this question applies even to atheists.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/23/2016 3:22:11 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/22/2016 10:14:35 PM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/21/2016 9:26:59 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/20/2016 11:02:34 PM, Skyangel wrote:

When people realise they are their own gods which motivate themselves, there is no need to endow invisible gods with anything.

Ideally, perhaps, but not actually. For a lot of people, the loss of their god-ideal is the result of their giving up on pursuing their ideals, all together. It's a loss of both faith and hope. Not some transcendent self-actualization, as you suggest.

People who give up pursuing their personal goals or ideals have either set unrealistic goals and finally realised they are unachievable or were not passionate about attaining their goals in the first place.
When people set realistic goals and have the passion to pursue them, no gods are necessary. They simply need will power and stamina.
However, people can only achieve their personal goals.
Goals which involve other people can only be achieved if all people cooperate as a team.
Religions tend to set goals like "world peace" and claim such goals are the aim and desire of a God. However, such goals necessitate the cooperation of the whole world. Such goals are unrealistic in my opinion due to the fact that conflict is created by people with opposite opinions.
I can't imagine the whole world ever being in total agreement and without conflict about all subjects.
Anyone who believes or hopes the whole world will ever be in total peace without conflicts and disagreements is dreaming. I doubt there will ever be a time when the whole world is in a state of living "happily ever after" in some "eternal bliss".
Such an ideal is a fantasy.
The only place of eternal peace and rest is in the grave. The dead don't argue with each other.

Human beings need to govern their behavior to live together as a cooperative species. Which is what we are. Otherwise we implode, psychologically, and becomes self-destructive, and collectively destructive. (Think in terms of addiction, and obsessive and violent resentment, etc.) We may never eliminate rape and murder from human behavior but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. And nearly every society of humans on the planet recognizes this fact. Because by trying to achieve this "impossible goal" we can at least minimize the destructive behavior. In both ourselves, and in our collective societies.

Cultures attempt to govern themselves through the laws they set and the punishments they inflict on the violators of the laws. Self government is about self control. It seems that not all people have the same sense of self control or the same sense of right and wrong since many violate their own laws in their own cultures.
In the end, all face the consequences of human actions, whether it be their own or other peoples actions.

When people lose their gods, they also lose their conceptual goal-holders. They lose their faith and hope in their own most positive ideals. And this is often disastrous for them, and for everyone around them. Because people tend to become self-destructive and nihilistic without those goals and the hope and faith they had in them.

Many people who claim to believe in God and claim to have high standards still indulge in self destructive behaviour. Those people are evidence that belief in high standards and belief in God makes no difference to the fact that humans will still indulge their own lusts regardless of their belief in an "ultimate standard" of what is right and good. Religion seems to have caused more conflict and division on Earth than anything else.
So how does having faith in any God make people less evil than those with faith in God? The evidence of the statistics of law breakers in jails suggests that believers are more prone to do evil than non believers. There are more believers in jails than non believers.
http://www.alternet.org...

Are you suggesting that their belief in God and high ideals somehow makes them less evil than they are?

Atheists prefer to avoid this aspect of theism. And when it comes up they tend to do what you're trying to do: minimize the need for such externalized idealizations, and dismiss them as only being for the weak, or the foolish. But the vast majority of human suffering throughout history has been caused by people who stopped pursuing their positive ideals, or never learned how to set them and pursue them in the first place, and so fell into the pursuit of self-pleasure at the expense of other humans. Which is inherently self-destructive in a cooperative species like we humans. Human beings really do need to establish these idealized goals by whatever means is effective, and maintain their faith in the value of pursuing those ideals. It's how we keep from destroying ourselves.

Externalised idealizations are of no use to anyone if all they do is talk about the concepts of what ought to be done and still don't do anything practical about it. If people have ideals they need to internalise them, in the sense of taking them seriously and practice what they preach. When they preach external ideals and don't live by them, they turn themselves into hypocrites because they violate their own rules and standards.
Self pleasure is part of human nature and very few can resit the temptation to please themselves. It makes no difference if they are theists or atheists or label themselves with any other labels. Human nature is what it is. Some people simply have more self control than others and don't please themselves at the expense of others. Some don't care who they hurt in the process of pleasing themselves.

The alternatives are not good for any of us.

People will always set goals. I doubt there is an alternative to setting goals. Even the idea of not setting goals involves setting a goal to do nothing, even if it is subconscious and simply manifests through a nonchalant attitude. However, setting goals of being kind and loving to others is not confined to any belief in God. It is subject to the belief in love and kindness. No belief in invisible gods with supernatural powers is necessary to believe in love and kindness.
Life is filled with opposites and always will be.
The alternative to life is death.
Death is the ultimate end regardless of what humans believe. We all end up in the same place.... the grave.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 3:20:28 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/23/2016 3:25:45 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/22/2016 10:25:36 PM, Skyangel wrote:

If the God of the bible is any kind of example of what some people want to be like, it seems that the 'ideal positive trait' is to condemn, reject or destroy anyone who does not agree with what has been set as an ultimate standard or rule for people to live by.
Religions cause many physical and psychological wars in the name of their God. In their efforts to do right and get rid of evil, they actually create evil and attempt to control people with fear.

This is why the most important question regarding "God" is not: does God exists? It's how do we characterize God and how is that characterization effecting the way we interact with the world? And this question applies even to atheists.

The character named God in the bible is obviously characterised by believers as the ultimate authority who needs to be obeyed because he wants what is best for humans and in order to receive the best from this God, they need to submit to his demands without question. They seem to believe the character is real and they will literally face him one day after they die and he will judge them according to what they believe.

The same character seems to be characterised by atheists as a cruel evil dictator who threatens humans with destruction if they refuse to obey him. They see the character as mythical and obviously don't understand the character in the light of "God is Love" because of the seemingly cruel acts of God in the bible stories. They do not believe they will face any gods after they die let alone be judged by any gods.

These totally opposite characterisations and beliefs obviously exist in this world even if people are only arguing about a mythical character who simply personifies human concepts and perceptions of reality.
It affects the way humans interact by creating division amongst them due to opposite perspectives and perceptions of the character.
PureX
Posts: 1,533
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 5:16:43 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/23/2016 3:22:11 PM, PureX wrote:

Human beings need to govern their behavior to live together as a cooperative species. Which is what we are. Otherwise we implode, psychologically, and becomes self-destructive, and collectively destructive. (Think in terms of addiction, and obsessive and violent resentment, etc.) We may never eliminate rape and murder from human behavior but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. And nearly every society of humans on the planet recognizes this fact. Because by trying to achieve this "impossible goal" we can at least minimize the destructive behavior. In both ourselves, and in our collective societies.

Cultures attempt to govern themselves through the laws they set and the punishments they inflict on the violators of the laws. Self government is about self control. It seems that not all people have the same sense of self control or the same sense of right and wrong since many violate their own laws in their own cultures.
In the end, all face the consequences of human actions, whether it be their own or other peoples actions.

When people lose their gods, they also lose their conceptual goal-holders. They lose their faith and hope in their own most positive ideals. And this is often disastrous for them, and for everyone around them. Because people tend to become self-destructive and nihilistic without those goals and the hope and faith they had in them.

Many people who claim to believe in God and claim to have high standards still indulge in self destructive behaviour. Those people are evidence that belief in high standards and belief in God makes no difference to the fact that humans will still indulge their own lusts regardless of their belief in an "ultimate standard" of what is right and good.

This is a false conclusion. The fact that people do not live up to the ideals that they endow their gods with, and that they aspire to manifest in themselves, does not prove that the aspiration is pointless, or ineffective. You are trying ignoring the good by demanding perfection.

The fact that a person has bothered to identify positive ideals through their concept of God, and that they do aspire to embody them implies that they would be successful at least some of the time. And in truth, they are, " some of the time. Which is better than none of the time.

Religion seems to have caused more conflict and division on Earth than anything else.

That, too, is an errant conclusion. Fear, ego, and greed has caused the vast majority of suffering throughout human history. Not religion. In most instances where religion is involved, it is simply being used as a false justification for these other motives. In the history of humanity, almost no human has ever killed another for not believing in their gods.

So how does having faith in any God make people less evil than those with faith in God? The evidence of the statistics of law breakers in jails suggests that believers are more prone to do evil than non believers. There are more believers in jails than non believers.

None of this reveals a thing about what those people would have done without their religious beliefs. Also, the only criminals that go to jail are the poor ones. That doesn't necessarily make them the "bad ones" among us. Not by a long shot.

Are you suggesting that their belief in God and high ideals somehow makes them less evil than they are?

I am saying that for a lot of people, the positive ideals they endow their gods with serve as models for their own behavior. The fact that they do not achieve those positive ideals every time, all the time, does not negate the value of their trying. Which is what you are trying to assert, here.

Atheists prefer to avoid this aspect of theism. And when it comes up they tend to do what you're trying to do: minimize the need for such externalized idealizations, and dismiss them as only being for the weak, or the foolish. But the vast majority of human suffering throughout history has been caused by people who stopped pursuing their positive ideals, or never learned how to set them and pursue them in the first place, and so fell into the pursuit of self-pleasure at the expense of other humans. Which is inherently self-destructive in a cooperative species like we humans. Human beings really do need to establish these idealized goals by whatever means is effective, and maintain their faith in the value of pursuing those ideals. It's how we keep from destroying ourselves.

Externalised idealizations are of no use to anyone if all they do is talk about the concepts of what ought to be done and still don't do anything practical about it. If people have ideals they need to internalise them, in the sense of taking them seriously and practice what they preach. When they preach external ideals and don't live by them, they turn themselves into hypocrites because they violate their own rules and standards.

Before we can internalize them we have to identify them. And we have to learn how to apply them to our reality. This is a function that theism, and religion, can greatly help people with. The fact that not everyone avails themselves of that help all the time does not negate the usefulness or value of it.

Self pleasure is part of human nature and very few can resit the temptation to please themselves. It makes no difference if they are theists or atheists or label themselves with any other labels. Human nature is what it is. Some people simply have more self control than others and don't please themselves at the expense of others. Some don't care who they hurt in the process of pleasing themselves.

We can transcend our animal natures, to become more human. And our gods and the ideals we endow them with can help us to do that.

People will always set goals. I doubt there is an alternative to setting goals. Even the idea of not setting goals involves setting a goal to do nothing, even if it is subconscious and simply manifests through a nonchalant attitude. However, setting goals of being kind and loving to others is not confined to any belief in God. It is subject to the belief in love and kindness. No belief in invisible gods with supernatural powers is necessary to believe in love and kindness.

You don't get to decide for other people what works for them and what doesn't. For people who have experienced very little love, kindness, forgiveness or generosity in their lives, from anyone, it can be very difficult to just blindly believe that any human being embodies these traits. But it's perhaps not so difficult to believe in a divine being embodying them. And so this becomes their first step.

Life is filled with opposites and always will be.
The alternative to life is death.
Death is the ultimate end regardless of what humans believe. We all end up in the same place.... the grave.

It's not about where we end up so much as it's about how we get there.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 8:13:09 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 5:16:43 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/23/2016 3:22:11 PM, PureX wrote:

Human beings need to govern their behavior to live together as a cooperative species. Which is what we are. Otherwise we implode, psychologically, and becomes self-destructive, and collectively destructive. (Think in terms of addiction, and obsessive and violent resentment, etc.) We may never eliminate rape and murder from human behavior but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. And nearly every society of humans on the planet recognizes this fact. Because by trying to achieve this "impossible goal" we can at least minimize the destructive behavior. In both ourselves, and in our collective societies.

Cultures attempt to govern themselves through the laws they set and the punishments they inflict on the violators of the laws. Self government is about self control. It seems that not all people have the same sense of self control or the same sense of right and wrong since many violate their own laws in their own cultures.
In the end, all face the consequences of human actions, whether it be their own or other peoples actions.

When people lose their gods, they also lose their conceptual goal-holders. They lose their faith and hope in their own most positive ideals. And this is often disastrous for them, and for everyone around them. Because people tend to become self-destructive and nihilistic without those goals and the hope and faith they had in them.

Many people who claim to believe in God and claim to have high standards still indulge in self destructive behaviour. Those people are evidence that belief in high standards and belief in God makes no difference to the fact that humans will still indulge their own lusts regardless of their belief in an "ultimate standard" of what is right and good.

This is a false conclusion. The fact that people do not live up to the ideals that they endow their gods with, and that they aspire to manifest in themselves, does not prove that the aspiration is pointless, or ineffective. You are trying ignoring the good by demanding perfection.

I am not ignoring anything PureX. I am facing the facts of human nature. It is a fact that people set themselves unrealistic goals and then condemn themselves for not living up to them or achieving the 'perfection' they desire. I think the whole idea of perfection being something which is void of all evil is unrealistic in the first place due to good and evil being subject to human perception.
It is impossible to ignore good by demanding perfection if you perceive perfection to be the ultimate good.
It is also impossible to ignore evil by demanding perfection if you understand that good and evil are subject to human perception and what appears to be ultimately good to one person might appear to be ultimately evil to another.
In that case, perfection itself is a combination of both good and evil which is subject to human perception.

Now consider this. The God in the bible stories is perceived by some people as a perfect character who can do no evil. The same character is perceived by other people as an imperfect character who does lots of evil things and even admits to creating evil to the shock of those who don't want to accept the fact.
If humans are all created in the image of God and he created them perfect in the first place, why do people have the power and ability to create evil if a perfect God doesn't have the same ability?

If we have the same abilities to create evil as the God character does then we are as perfect as God is and therefore the evil aspects within us are something we should accept instead of trying to reject it and rid ourselves of it.
It is impossible for good to get rid of evil without good becoming destructive instead of creative. Therefore good cannot destroy or kill evil without creating evil at the same time by becoming the killer. It cannot be destructive without also being creative or be creative without also being destructive.
When people realise that, they might finally understand that they are perfect just the way they are regardless of how other people judge them. Good and evil will always be a matter of human perception and judgement. Those who accept themselves as they are have no need to try to improve themselves due to the fact that they see the good and evil within themselves as part of their perfect whole character. If half was missing they would be imperfect like removing the night from the day would make the day imperfect.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 8:43:57 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 5:16:43 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM, Skyangel wrote:

The fact that a person has bothered to identify positive ideals through their concept of God, and that they do aspire to embody them implies that they would be successful at least some of the time. And in truth, they are, " some of the time. Which is better than none of the time.

Atheists also identify positive ideals without any concepts of God but they do have concepts of good. They also embody them some of the time.
Some people just do not attribute the good to any gods or the evil to any devils. Some are more aware of good and evil being subject to human choices and behaviour and take responsibility for their own actions instead of attributing some God for them or blaming some devil for them.

Religion seems to have caused more conflict and division on Earth than anything else.

That, too, is an errant conclusion. Fear, ego, and greed has caused the vast majority of suffering throughout human history. Not religion. In most instances where religion is involved, it is simply being used as a false justification for these other motives. In the history of humanity, almost no human has ever killed another for not believing in their gods.

It is not a conclusion. It is an observation of what SEEMS to be true. Notice the word SEEMS. I understand your perception as well and can see it from your point of view. However, many people have killed others in the name of their God and because they want to control other people. Maybe not for not believing in their gods but definitely for not obeying the commands, rules, laws, of their religion.
http://addictivelists.com...
It is generally about who is in control. People fight to get control in the same ways animals fight to get an "alpha leader of the pack".

So how does having faith in any God make people less evil than those with faith in God? The evidence of the statistics of law breakers in jails suggests that believers are more prone to do evil than non believers. There are more believers in jails than non believers.

None of this reveals a thing about what those people would have done without their religious beliefs. Also, the only criminals that go to jail are the poor ones. That doesn't necessarily make them the "bad ones" among us. Not by a long shot.

The poor go to jail more often than the rich because the rich can pay their own bail or fines. The poor cannot. They need to pay by doing time in hard labour instead of paying money to others.

Are you suggesting that their belief in God and high ideals somehow makes them less evil than they are?

I am saying that for a lot of people, the positive ideals they endow their gods with serve as models for their own behavior. The fact that they do not achieve those positive ideals every time, all the time, does not negate the value of their trying. Which is what you are trying to assert, here.

No, that's not what I am trying to assert at all. That is what you are asserting and seem to gather from what you read.
For a lot of people, their role models are other real people who set good examples not some invisible gods who they cannot see at work anyway. It makes no difference who the role models are. The fact is that people try to follow the concepts which they believe to be good and fair. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don't. Sometimes the good they try to do is judged as evil by others so they despair and give up trying due to other peoples judgements and because they do not understand the concept of good and evil being subject to human judgements in the first place.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 9:04:47 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 5:16:43 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM, Skyangel wrote:
At 6/23/2016 3:22:11 PM, PureX wrote:

Atheists prefer to avoid this aspect of theism. And when it comes up they tend to do what you're trying to do: minimize the need for such externalized idealizations, and dismiss them as only being for the weak, or the foolish. But the vast majority of human suffering throughout history has been caused by people who stopped pursuing their positive ideals, or never learned how to set them and pursue them in the first place, and so fell into the pursuit of self-pleasure at the expense of other humans. Which is inherently self-destructive in a cooperative species like we humans. Human beings really do need to establish these idealized goals by whatever means is effective, and maintain their faith in the value of pursuing those ideals. It's how we keep from destroying ourselves.

Externalised idealizations are of no use to anyone if all they do is talk about the concepts of what ought to be done and still don't do anything practical about it. If people have ideals they need to internalise them, in the sense of taking them seriously and practice what they preach. When they preach external ideals and don't live by them, they turn themselves into hypocrites because they violate their own rules and standards.

Before we can internalize them we have to identify them. And we have to learn how to apply them to our reality. This is a function that theism, and religion, can greatly help people with. The fact that not everyone avails themselves of that help all the time does not negate the usefulness or value of it.

I doubt all people will ever be in 100% agreement regarding what is good and evil. We all SEEM to agree that loving others, being kind and generous is good but then people start arguing about what is real love and what is just lust and not love at all. They argue about whether kindness includes being harsh and direct and includes making people face consequences of their actions or whether to 'let them off the hook' as it were. They argue about where it is possible to be far too generous and whether some even deserve to be recipients of generosity or not, whether generous people can be taken advantage of by others, etc etc. There will always be positive and negative aspects to any human concepts including love and kindness and the things we generally claim are good qualities.
Some people will always need help from others and I understand religions provide help to some people. So do many non religious organizations.
The point is that people help people regardless of whether they are religious or not. Compassionate people instinctively reach out to others. It's part of their nature regardless of what they claim to believe.

Self pleasure is part of human nature and very few can resit the temptation to please themselves. It makes no difference if they are theists or atheists or label themselves with any other labels. Human nature is what it is. Some people simply have more self control than others and don't please themselves at the expense of others. Some don't care who they hurt in the process of pleasing themselves.

We can transcend our animal natures, to become more human. And our gods and the ideals we endow them with can help us to do that.

Humans cannot become more human than they already are. Saying a human can become more human is as ridiculous as saying a dog can become more like a dog. Human nature is what it is. We can learn to control ourselves and instincts a bit better than acting like wild animals but in the end animals can also be trained and train themselves to act and react in certain ways according to the "vibes" they get from their environment.
Self control is no different to self training. It all takes practise. The more we practise something the better we get at perfecting the art.
Skyangel
Posts: 8,234
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/25/2016 9:25:17 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/25/2016 5:16:43 PM, PureX wrote:
At 6/25/2016 3:01:06 AM, Skyangel wrote:

People will always set goals. I doubt there is an alternative to setting goals. Even the idea of not setting goals involves setting a goal to do nothing, even if it is subconscious and simply manifests through a nonchalant attitude. However, setting goals of being kind and loving to others is not confined to any belief in God. It is subject to the belief in love and kindness. No belief in invisible gods with supernatural powers is necessary to believe in love and kindness.

You don't get to decide for other people what works for them and what doesn't. For people who have experienced very little love, kindness, forgiveness or generosity in their lives, from anyone, it can be very difficult to just blindly believe that any human being embodies these traits. But it's perhaps not so difficult to believe in a divine being embodying them. And so this becomes their first step.

You don't get to decide what works and doesn't for others either. It is obvious that all make those decisions for themselves. I am simply saying that a belief in mythical characters in unnecessary. It is possible to understand the concept of love and kindness simply because we learn it though other people. No human on Earth has learned it from any invisible characters. Even people who experience very little love and kindness, still learn the concept of what it ought to be from other people by watching others or watching movies made by people.
Divine beings, invisible gods, tend to have the same characteristics as humans do. They are no different in the aspects of personifying good and evil through their actions.
A starving person is never fed or shown any kindness or generosity by any invisible gods. They are fed and shown kindness by other people. Therefore it is easier to believe that real visible people embody love and kindness than it is to believe any invisible characters embody love and kindness etc. The reason is due to being able to observe love and kindness through real people and not being able to observe love and kindness through invisible people.
People who need invisible friends to support them or make them feel good about themselves must be lacking real genuine friends or they lack people who simply tell them what they want to hear so they imagine what they want to hear from their invisible friends because their real friends are too cruel to them when they tell them the truth that their invisible friends don't exist any place except in their imaginations.

Life is filled with opposites and always will be.
The alternative to life is death.
Death is the ultimate end regardless of what humans believe. We all end up in the same place.... the grave.

It's not about where we end up so much as it's about how we get there.

Some people say its not how you get there, but its the end result which counts the most.
What is the end result people want to achieve? To become mentally mature or to die in a state of mental immaturity? To grow up and gain knowledge or to stagnate in childish fantasies?
Obviously not all grow at the same rate and not all achieve maturity in their lifetime. Accepting that all are at different stages in life is part of accepting people as they are.