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The Religion and Philosophy Thread

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Comments

  • Grond0Grond0 Member, Moderator Posts: 4,868

    Well, I wouldn't be against a religion which was based on demonstrable facts.

    I would say that by definition a religion can't be based on demonstrable facts - a religion is a belief in something supernatural, i.e. something that can't be explained by science as we understand it.

    Referring back to your previous point about risk-taking, you said that people acting logically and rationally still take risks. While I accept that is true of course, your statement seemed to imply that they would also take unreasonable risks - of the sort I would associate with illogical thinking. Can you explain a bit more how logical decision making will still allow you to do something where the reward is not commensurate with the risk?

    Balrog99ThacoBellGrammarsaladmashedtaters
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,149
    edited December 2018

    Balrog99 said:

    Balrog99 said:

    Balrog99 said:

    Balrog99 said:

    Grond0 said:

    That's why I posted the comment about Ramanujan. I think it's almost certain that if he'd had a different upbringing he would have taken a different, and more rational, approach to his maths. It's possible that he would have still equalled or bettered his achievements (here's a quick summary from Wikipedia), but I'm much less certain about that.

    Being logical and rational can tend to limit your horizons. If you know that the chance of succeeding at something is almost nil, then the logical thing for an individual is to not try but instead put your efforts into something more achievable. However, if you take a wider view based on a species as a whole then something that is highly unlikely to benefit an individual becomes worthwhile for the potential wider benefits - that provides an evolutionary basis for the fact that decision making is not entirely rational.

    No, I don't agree with that at all. If the chance of succeeding is very low BUT the payoff is very high then it Makes sense.
    What if the payoff isn't obvious? Irrational people do irrational things, sometimes contributing greatly to humanity. If you've never read the Dune series of books (the Frank Herbert ones) I highly recommend them. Herbert has an interesting perspective on how religion, politics, education and commerce contribute to human society. It even delves into law vs. chaos and mysticism. Very entertaining too...
    Yes, what if it isn't? You mean, if you do something stupid and you get a lucky outcome? Then you got lucky, that doesn't mean doing stupid things is good. @Grond0 brought up the lottery. The fact that some people win an amazing amount of money does not mean it's a good investment.
    It means exactly that! Purely rational ideas and risk-taking do not account for luck. Many inventions and innovations were due to luck. If mankind never takes chances, we'll stifle ourselves and settle for 'safe'. I'm actually very logical and rational but I'm certainly glad that not everybody is, nor would I want everybody else to be like me.
    As I said before, I never said people shouldn't take chances.
    I gather from your general statements that you would remove one of the main reasons that people take chances, though, if you could. That reason specifically would be religion. People do stupid things due to religious beliefs, but some of those things have paid off in the long run. It can be a double-edged sword, to be sure, but I'd rather have religion around until that time in the distant future when all of humanity can be educated. It does serve as a check on some of humankinds' less savory impulses.
    Well, I wouldn't be against a religion which was based on demonstrable facts. People do stupid things in the name of religion, indeed, like fly planes into buildings, and bomb themselves and abortion clinics, and so on. Is there any benefit religion adds which cannot be achieved without? Is there any evidence "it does serve as a check on some of humankinds' less savory impulses"? I think all the data I've seen suggests that as society becomes less religions, people on are better off on average.
    I would argue that is a result of education rather than a lack of religion. I don't think you're going to find an example of a country that has low education rates and low religiosity (is that a word?). I also would argue you'll find a few fruitcakes among atheists and even highly educated people so attributing a few horrific acts solely to religion is a bit simplistic.
    You are correct both religiosity and education rate should accounted for. What's the basis for your argument that religion hasn't an effect, though? And again, is there any benefit religion adds which cannot be achieved without? Is there any evidence "it does serve as a check on some of humankinds' less savory impulses"?

    I didn't attribute horrific acts solely to religion, though.
    Hmmm, any benefits of religion would likely not be empirically provable without knowing people's hearts and motives. I'm kind of brain-dead right now but I'll have to give this some thought and get back to you. Maybe another forum member can help me out here. @ThacoBell might have some insights regarding this...

  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648
    @FinneousPJ If you want to understand religion, you will have to participate in some way. Watching sports on TV does not give you the feeling of what it is like to play. Religion is only understood by participating. You can decide not to explore it and not miss a thing, but if you are earnest about your questions, you will have to discover it yourself.

    Btw, religion, god, all these terms are so loaded that I don't even know if we are talking about the same thing...

    BelgarathMTHmashedtaters
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Grond0 said:

    Well, I wouldn't be against a religion which was based on demonstrable facts.

    I would say that by definition a religion can't be based on demonstrable facts - a religion is a belief in something supernatural, i.e. something that can't be explained by science as we understand it.

    Referring back to your previous point about risk-taking, you said that people acting logically and rationally still take risks. While I accept that is true of course, your statement seemed to imply that they would also take unreasonable risks - of the sort I would associate with illogical thinking. Can you explain a bit more how logical decision making will still allow you to do something where the reward is not commensurate with the risk?
    I never said that.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member, Moderator Posts: 4,868

    Grond0 said:

    Well, I wouldn't be against a religion which was based on demonstrable facts.

    I would say that by definition a religion can't be based on demonstrable facts - a religion is a belief in something supernatural, i.e. something that can't be explained by science as we understand it.

    Referring back to your previous point about risk-taking, you said that people acting logically and rationally still take risks. While I accept that is true of course, your statement seemed to imply that they would also take unreasonable risks - of the sort I would associate with illogical thinking. Can you explain a bit more how logical decision making will still allow you to do something where the reward is not commensurate with the risk?
    I never said that.
    Well in response to @Balrog99 saying:
    "It means exactly that! Purely rational ideas and risk-taking do not account for luck. Many inventions and innovations were due to luck. If mankind never takes chances, we'll stifle ourselves and settle for 'safe'. I'm actually very logical and rational but I'm certainly glad that not everybody is, nor would I want everybody else to be like me."

    You said:
    "As I said before, I never said people shouldn't take chances."

    It seems clear to me that @Balrog99's statement was referring to illogical risks. You've been arguing for taking a logical approach to questions of religion and therefore your response seemed on the face of it to indicate that you felt logical people could take illogical risks. Were you actually supporting @Balrog99's position, i.e. that while you, yourself, prefer a logical approach, you welcome a variety of approaches from others?

    ThacoBellBalrog99mlnevese
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    ThacoBell said:

    @Balrog99 Relgion by default tends to come with a strong sense of community. To the point where people in the same religios group will get along better, and support each other more than communities that are only tied together because of geography.

    A more specific example would be the ethical and charitable rewards. This one obviously depends on which religion you are looking at, so is less universal. I'll use Christianity as an example, as I'm vastly more familiar with it than any other. Charity is written directly into the theology. With churches being expressly commanded to care for others in their community (in general, no one is excluded if the resources are there to reach them). The most common example of this in my area would be food banks, homeless shelters, clothing services, unemployment help, etc. There are about a couple dozen large-ish profile groups within 10 miles of me, all of which are either funded by churches, churches provide the man power to run, churches provide the location to run out of, or all of the above.

    This isn't limited to Christianity of course. There is a sizeable Sikh (sp?) community here that, to my knowledge, doesn't have the larger scale operations (being a much smaller community), but has a better focus on idividuals. They offer weekly meals for anyone who needs food (either on wednesdays or saturdays) and they set up booths at festivals with food and water (again, completely free).

    Right, my point was you can have community and charity without religion. That's why I asked if there is a unique benefit to it. If there isn't, isn't it superfluous? You can give homeless people food WITHOUT preaching about Jesus on the side, and that's actually better.
    Grond0 said:

    Grond0 said:

    Well, I wouldn't be against a religion which was based on demonstrable facts.

    I would say that by definition a religion can't be based on demonstrable facts - a religion is a belief in something supernatural, i.e. something that can't be explained by science as we understand it.

    Referring back to your previous point about risk-taking, you said that people acting logically and rationally still take risks. While I accept that is true of course, your statement seemed to imply that they would also take unreasonable risks - of the sort I would associate with illogical thinking. Can you explain a bit more how logical decision making will still allow you to do something where the reward is not commensurate with the risk?
    I never said that.
    Well in response to @Balrog99 saying:
    "It means exactly that! Purely rational ideas and risk-taking do not account for luck. Many inventions and innovations were due to luck. If mankind never takes chances, we'll stifle ourselves and settle for 'safe'. I'm actually very logical and rational but I'm certainly glad that not everybody is, nor would I want everybody else to be like me."

    You said:Well
    "As I said before, I never said people shouldn't take chances."

    It seems clear to me that @Balrog99's statement was referring to illogical risks. You've been arguing for taking a logical approach to questions of religion and therefore your response seemed on the face of it to indicate that you felt logical people could take illogical risks. Were you actually supporting @Balrog99's position, i.e. that while you, yourself, prefer a logical approach, you welcome a variety of approaches from others?
    That's two things:
    1) What was clear to you in his statement was not clear to me. However, logic can lead to illogical actions when you have insufficient data, wrong assumptions or you're simply using logic wrong.
    2) I'm not telling anyone how to live their life, but I am putting into question whether setting logic and reason aside is ever a good thing. I haven't been convinced yet.

    BelgarathMTH
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    JLee said:

    @FinneousPJ If you want to understand religion, you will have to participate in some way. Watching sports on TV does not give you the feeling of what it is like to play. Religion is only understood by participating. You can decide not to explore it and not miss a thing, but if you are earnest about your questions, you will have to discover it yourself.

    Btw, religion, god, all these terms are so loaded that I don't even know if we are talking about the same thing...

    I was confirmed into the faith as a teen. They never managed to make their case for me to actually believe any of it.

    BelgarathMTHmlnevese
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648

    JLee said:

    If you want to understand religion, you will have to participate in some way. Watching sports on TV does not give you the feeling of what it is like to play. Religion is only understood by participating. You can decide not to explore it and not miss a thing, but if you are earnest about your questions, you will have to discover it yourself.

    I'd say this depends on the circumstances, as mass euphoria is not inherently a good thing either. It's no secret that it's also a popular tool used by modern cults and sects to ensure keeping a tight grasp on their "lost sheeps". Whenever I hear of such instances, I'm reminded of one particular quote of Karl Marx:

    "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

    Honestly, it isn't a pretty thing to personally know people which are ensnared by unhealthy cults. At all.... :disappointed:
    Agreed, hence my last statement: Btw, religion, god, all these terms are so loaded that I don't even know if we are talking about the same thing...

    For me, it is a starting with the basics. What am I? I view religion as an essentially solitary endeavor. You can learn from others, but the practice itself is interior. Not saying that's right, just my own way.

    BelgarathMTH
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648

    JLee said:

    @FinneousPJ If you want to understand religion, you will have to participate in some way. Watching sports on TV does not give you the feeling of what it is like to play. Religion is only understood by participating. You can decide not to explore it and not miss a thing, but if you are earnest about your questions, you will have to discover it yourself.

    Btw, religion, god, all these terms are so loaded that I don't even know if we are talking about the same thing...

    I was confirmed into the faith as a teen. They never managed to make their case for me to actually believe any of it.
    Same here. I put it aside for the next 30 years. It wasn't until I had an unmistakably "religious" event that I looked into it again. I focus on Zen and Tao as the forms that speak best to my experience. Christianity creates more athiests than believers, imo.

    BelgarathMTHmlnevese
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    JLee said:

    JLee said:

    @FinneousPJ If you want to understand religion, you will have to participate in some way. Watching sports on TV does not give you the feeling of what it is like to play. Religion is only understood by participating. You can decide not to explore it and not miss a thing, but if you are earnest about your questions, you will have to discover it yourself.

    Btw, religion, god, all these terms are so loaded that I don't even know if we are talking about the same thing...

    I was confirmed into the faith as a teen. They never managed to make their case for me to actually believe any of it.
    Same here. I put it aside for the next 30 years. It wasn't until I had an unmistakably "religious" event that I looked into it again. I focus on Zen and Tao as the forms that speak best to my experience. Christianity creates more athiests than believers, imo.
    So what's the case for believing in zen and tao?

    What's a religious experience? What was yours? How do you define religion?

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    Not to be obnoxious, but this picture made me feel better than religion ever did.
    image

    FinneousPJmlneveseJLee
  • mlnevesemlnevese Member, Moderator Posts: 9,134
    I used to be a believer. The older I got the less I believed. The last thing I stopped believing was the existance of any kind of afterlife.

    This does not make me enjoy life, my kids or my wife any less.

    Not believing didn't make me a muderer or did anything to my moral compass. I won't go into a long post about why morals do not depend on religion. Making long posts from a phone is something I do not enjoy :)

    FinneousPJJLeemashedtaters
  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648
    edited December 2018
    @FinneousPJ Zen and Tao do not rely upon belief. In fact, belief is an impediment to understanding.

    Briefly, you are born with ordinary consciousness. This consciousness is nondual, there is no barrier between subject and object. Through conditioning by society and your parents you lose this ordinary consciousness and ego arises. The practice is to return to this ordinary consciousness through understanding of the ego (grasping and aversion) and a deep attention to the present moment. Zen and Tao both have profound insights into the workings of the mind. But it is nontheoretical (you must experience, there is no conceptualizing) and illogical. Logic is a mind defense. It is useful in the world, but not in your inner space nor in ultimate reality. Our fundamental being is awareness, a witnessing consciousness. Words, knowledge, the past all interfere with our experience of the only moment there is, now.

    There, I thoroughly botched that, I'm sure, but it is my understanding.

    I cannot really add to anything @BelgarathMTH said in his description of religion. Brilliant!

    As far as my own religious experience (I'll spoiler it so the uninterested are spared the WoT :smiley: )
    It occurred on July 9th, 2017. I call it that because of the way it made me feel. A series of events left me dwelling in the mire of all kinds of negative head spaces. On that day, my mind finally had enough and dropped out through no intention on my part. For the first time I experienced reality with no corresponding ego narrative. I had a two week break from my mental structure and it was wonderful. I just laughed and laughed. I found that everything I wanted, I already was. No wonder I could not find it! I was filled with compassion for all beings, including myself. It really was a trip. Also, I learned all about my conditioned responses and how much freedom of reaction I really have. Just because x happens, does not mean y has to follow. I could go on, but will let it rest there. It was the most authentic experience I have ever had.

    The only instruction I could find that speaks to experiences like that came from the east.

    While the peak experience went away, the results of that event are still with me. I only have two rituals. The first is to spend up to an hour in bed before rising, just resting in as pure a consciousness as I can experience, no conceptualizing, no thoughts, just breathing and being. I find this grounds me throughout the day and gives access to a lot of energy. Second, I try as hard as I can to bring my attention to the present moment. I drift and go away, but always try to bring myself back.


    Finally, Zen and Tao are so helpful in that they are firmly rooted in ordinary life. Ordinary moments are as vast as the universe. There is no need to go anywhere or do anything. Just give as much attention as you can to small things.

    mlneveseBelgarathMTH
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 12,700
    Religion has definitely been a profound boon to people in trying circumstances. Back when I worked at the homeless shelter, faith was a big part of the motivation for getting off the streets and reconnecting with one's family. Putting your life back together isn't so hard when you have God giving you strength.

    JLeeThacoBellmashedtaters
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,564
    @FinneousPJ I'd say that concepts like charity and selflessness wouldn't exist without religion in the first place. Almost all of our moral norms (in any form) can be traced directly back to religion in some form.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    @ThacoBell Or a philosophy. Buddhism is less a religion than a philosophy.

    ThacoBellBelgarathMTH
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,564
    @LadyRhian Depends. I'd personally call Buddhism a religion because of its mystical aspects.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    Zen Buddhism is a philosophy, though.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,564
    So is the Chrisitan doctrine of "Love your neighbor as yourself". Its a philosophy of mutual respect. Every religion has philosophy in it. Heck philosophy is what you get when you remove the supernatural aspects from religion.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    But it doesn't worship the Buddha, Siddartha Gautama.

  • JLeeJLee Member Posts: 648
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,564
    LadyRhian said:

    But it doesn't worship the Buddha, Siddartha Gautama.

    But it is still integrated with supernatural beliefs.

  • LadyRhianLadyRhian Member Posts: 14,694
    Religion is a worship of someone.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,564
    Religion is a belief and following of something supernatural.

    semiticgodBalrog99
  • GrammarsaladGrammarsalad Member Posts: 2,433
    A given religion is defined by the adherents of that religion. If it's about supernatural being(s) for them, then it's about supernatural beings. If it's about realizing ones own inner divinity for them, then that's what it's about. If they emphasize belief, then it's about belief. If they emphasize praxis, then it's about praxis.

    FinneousPJJLee
  • Grond0Grond0 Member, Moderator Posts: 4,868
    I agree with @ThacoBell and the video that @LadyRhian posted - a religion specifically requires a belief in something supernatural. If your system of beliefs doesn't have that, it might be a cult or a philosophy, but I don't think it's a religion.

    Doing a quick Google search, that requirement for a supernatural aspect seems to be pretty universally accepted when defining religion. However, quite a lot of sources say that a religion also needs to include worship and I don't agree with that.

    Balrog99ThacoBell
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    edited December 2018
    ThacoBell said:

    @FinneousPJ I'd say that concepts like charity and selflessness wouldn't exist without religion in the first place. Almost all of our moral norms (in any form) can be traced directly back to religion in some form.

    You can say that, but where is the evidence. I guess I can just say you're wrong.

    mlnevese
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