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Offline Cyberia

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What atheists can learn from religion
« on: February 26, 2012, 05:15:54 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/26/opinion/de-botton-religion-atheists/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
It is when we stop believing that religions have been handed down from above or else that they are entirely daft that matters become more interesting.

We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: firstly, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And secondly, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise.

God may be dead, but the urgent issues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions which do not go away when we have been nudged to perceive some scientific inaccuracies in the tale of the seven loaves and fishes.

The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many sides of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.

An interesting read.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 05:17:42 PM »
Nothing that can't be learned from other sources.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 05:41:29 PM »
Nothing that can't be learned from other sources.

Well, I think he means that for thousands of years, religion absorbed the very best artists, sculptors, writers and philosophers into the ruling cast (the clerics etc), and while they produced works to further their religion.....many of those ideas are either entirely secular or are compatible with secularism. 

Although these concepts can be rediscovered and expressed, it's the precise (formerly religous) expression that contains beauty.  For example: The specific story behind "Don't throw the first stone" is beautiful regardless of the falsehood of religion.  The same for "Remove the plank in your eye before complaining about the splinter in anothers"  (I didn't word that one right)

One could paraphrase these stories to get the point across, but there IS beauty in some of the original writing and paraphrasing them in some cases is like paraphrasing Shakespeare.  There may even be genius in some of those old stories simply because the churches "confiscated" other Shakespeares.
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Offline jetson

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 06:24:33 PM »
It's all wonderful and beautiful, until it's wrapped in YHWH's robes.

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 07:17:58 PM »
Don't do things that way.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 07:45:32 PM »
What can atheists learn from the static on an off station AM radio? Not much..
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 10:34:54 PM »
I didn't know that this thread was posting to a link, because I was going to make a huge list of what I as an atheist am learning from religion.

Just for fun, I'll go on and post a couple anyway.

Religion is really teaching me how to hate, even if it is towards theists.

Religion is really teaching me how to discriminate and be intolerant to theists who want nothing more than a Theocratic Dictatorship who want to do nothing more than control anybody and everybody's personal lives, whether it's in the bed or in the bathroom.

Religion is really teaching me how to murder, without actually murdering anybody! Such a fucking wonderful mind-game it plays!

Religion is also teaching me how to commit suicide with the amount of boiling it does to my blood, I'm not sure when I'm going to get a heart attack or not!

Hopefully, once I've calmed down a bit, maybe hopefully I can list even more positive things that religion teaches me everytime it is shoved down my throat.  :)

Online jaimehlers

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 11:41:32 PM »
Some of the responses here illustrate the problem.  You don't have to accept religion as being right to recognize that there are some worthwhile things about it.  The problem with religion is, simply, the tendency believers have to assume it's the answer to everything, and to substitute it for thought.  But if you take anything to that extreme, even things like science, you end up with something that's just as bad in its own right.

Anyway, just to cite one example, Michaelangelo's painting of the Sistene Chapel was unquestionably religious in nature.  Does that make it any less beautiful?  Yes, people can make beautiful things without being religious, but that is not the point.  The point is that being made because of religion doesn't make them ugly.

Offline wright

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 12:23:43 AM »
Some of his generalizations are irritating.

Quote
Unfortunately, recent public discussions on religion have focused obsessively on precisely this issue, with a hardcore group of fanatical believers pitting themselves against an equally small band of fanatical atheists.
--de Botton

Bolds mine. Ah, the "fanatical atheists" card! An actual name or two of these fanatics would have been useful.

Quote
We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: firstly, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And secondly, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise. --de Botton

Is his definition of "not been able to solve with any particular skill" that a 100% nonviolent secular society doesn't exist? What overtly religious society has done better than any modern secular one? By the same token, how do you evaluate the efficacy of religious coping with emotional pain vs. secular?

Quote
Secular society has been unfairly impoverished by the loss of an array of practices and themes which atheists typically find it impossible to live with. We have grown frightened of the word morality. We bridle at the thought of hearing a sermon. We flee from the idea that art should be uplifting or have an ethical mission. We don't go on pilgrimages. We can't build temples. We have no mechanisms for expressing gratitude.
--de Botton

Boy, is this guy speaking for himself. Unfairly impoverished? Frightened of "morality"? "No mechanisms for expressing gratitude"?

Seriously, he comes across as a wanna-be religious apologist too scared to name names and get personal. Like he doesn't get out or even read much outside his little sphere.

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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 01:41:24 PM »
It seems sometimes the atheist community wants to toss baby Jesus out with the bath water (pardon the expression  :P ).  While the main groundwork of religion may be untenable[1], the culture, and dare I say human solidarity[2], that is found within religion is well worth retaining.  Many un-believers enjoy polarizing the debate to the point that both sides are firmly entrenched in their respective ideologies, swatting away belief claims and exposing logical fallacies with all the tact of Lucas's "The Phantom Menace".  I'm sure that many theist feel that everything they believe in is being attacked, not only their god but also their ethics and culture. 

If we can assure Christians here in the states that we're not against their "Christian morals", or their "Gad given" right to congregate in church on Sundays, but rather only their irrational faith in the things unseen, than maybe the atheist movement might not look as sinister as their televangelist would lead them to believe. 

There's nothing wrong with mythology, on the contrary, the world would ring a little more hollow in the absence of Dante's "The Divine Comedy".  Only when mythology crosses the line into reality in the minds of believers is there a problem.   For now, atheist must combat the delusions of the religious, but there will be a time when humanity will read the Bible in the same way we now read the Odyssey or Stephen King.  I eagerly look forward to that day. 
 1. blind faith in baseless assertions
 2. One of the late Hitchens' favorite phrases
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 01:58:17 PM »
one can have solidarity, ethics and culture without religion.  In fact, I don't think there is one single thing that religion is "needed" for. 

one can see lots of solidarity, ethics and culture in teh bible, but it not something I would care to recreate or live among.  And Christain morals aren't just "love thy neighbor" and the "good" stuff.  It also encompasses the glee that they have over hell and the horrors presented in Revelation happening to those who dare not believe in their bogey. 

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Offline screwtape

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 02:08:20 PM »
When he said "...we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts ..." I was hoping for some examples. I was disappointed.  Maybe I'm a narrow minded philistine, but none come to mind that do not involve magical thinking or imaginary friends.

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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 02:18:41 PM »
one can have solidarity, ethics and culture without religion.  In fact, I don't think there is one single thing that religion is "needed" for. 

one can see lots of solidarity, ethics and culture in teh bible, but it not something I would care to recreate or live among.  And Christain morals aren't just "love thy neighbor" and the "good" stuff.  It also encompasses the glee that they have over hell and the horrors presented in Revelation happening to those who dare not believe in their bogey.

Agreed on all points.  I only think there should be a distinction between attacking a Christians' god and attacking a Christians' ethics or culture.  Christian morals are all over the place, they change depending on who or what you're asking[1].  The thing is, what they call "Christian morality" is almost never based on the bible's morality; I know several Christians who believe in heaven but not hell. 

Many of my friends think that being an atheist means living an unethical, immoral, godless life, but as soon as I tell them that it's possible to live moral lives without the need for a celestial dictator, you can see the cogs start to turn.  They begin to think "what if there was no Yahweh, no Jesus?  Would I still want to be a moral person?"  And the answer is:  Yes, of course!
 1. subjective much?
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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 02:25:44 PM »
When he said "...we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts ..." I was hoping for some examples. I was disappointed.  Maybe I'm a narrow minded philistine, but none come to mind that do not involve magical thinking or imaginary friends.

What about community, tradition, or philosophy?  Religion was our worse attempt at these concepts, but it was also our first.  A baby must learn how to crawl before it can walk.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 02:37:12 PM by The Wannabe »
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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 02:36:58 PM »
Many of my friends think that being an atheist means living an unethical, immoral, godless life, but as soon as I tell them that it's possible to live moral lives without the need for a celestial dictator, you can see the cogs start to turn.  They begin to think "what if there was no Yahweh, no Jesus?  Would I still want to be a moral person?"  And the answer is:  Yes, of course!
Why didn't I think of that?

Offline The Gawd

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 02:53:38 PM »
Agreed on all points.  I only think there should be a distinction between attacking a Christians' god and attacking a Christians' ethics or culture.  Christian morals are all over the place, they change depending on who or what you're asking[1].  The thing is, what they call "Christian morality" is almost never based on the bible's morality; I know several Christians who believe in heaven but not hell. 

Many of my friends think that being an atheist means living an unethical, immoral, godless life, but as soon as I tell them that it's possible to live moral lives without the need for a celestial dictator, you can see the cogs start to turn.  They begin to think "what if there was no Yahweh, no Jesus?  Would I still want to be a moral person?"  And the answer is:  Yes, of course!
 1. subjective much?
The "ethics and culture" are problematic too. What's good isnt necessarily Xtian.
Find any thread with a theist on this board, I dont think Ive EVER seen one denounce the murders and rapes, etc demanded by their god. THAT is their ethics and morals. That is their culture. I just dont see the positives.

Art is art. Just because paintings may be religous depictions doesnt make them religous.

Offline velkyn

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2012, 03:03:22 PM »
Agreed on all points.  I only think there should be a distinction between attacking a Christians' god and attacking a Christians' ethics or culture.  Christian morals are all over the place, they change depending on who or what you're asking[1].  The thing is, what they call "Christian morality" is almost never based on the bible's morality; I know several Christians who believe in heaven but not hell. 
 1. subjective much?
I find them to be inseperable.  Their god is claimed to be the sources of their ethics/culture.  I know they change their minds constantly about the ethics but they *always* connect the two, no matter what their bible says. They just claim that their new "truth" is the "real" one.
Quote
Many of my friends think that being an atheist means living an unethical, immoral, godless life, but as soon as I tell them that it's possible to live moral lives without the need for a celestial dictator, you can see the cogs start to turn.  They begin to think "what if there was no Yahweh, no Jesus?  Would I still want to be a moral person?"  And the answer is:  Yes, of course!
I'm glad you can see cogs turning in your friends becuase here on the forum and in "real life", I only see theists keeping up with their lies about how immoral atheists are.   And theists still claiming that their actions are "moral" when I do not agree, for instance Fred Phelps.  I'm sure he thinks he is moral and that is defined by how he thinks his god is.
I only see people who happen to be good, and who happen to be Christians, being still good people despite their religion. 
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2012, 03:20:15 PM »
I'm glad you can see cogs turning in your friends becuase here on the forum and in "real life", I only see theists keeping up with their lies about how immoral atheists are.   And theists still claiming that their actions are "moral" when I do not agree, for instance Fred Phelps.  I'm sure he thinks he is moral and that is defined by how he thinks his god is.
Are these real-life theists people you know personally and communicate with regularly, who you can communicate with effectively?  Or are you talking about seeing theists in the news or the equivalent?

I think The Wannabe is talking about people he knows and who are willing and able to listen to him, not random strangers who he accosts on the street.  He, of course, is the only one who can say for sure.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2012, 03:24:18 PM »

The "ethics and culture" are problematic too. What's good isnt necessarily Xtian.
Find any thread with a theist on this board, I dont think Ive EVER seen one denounce the murders and rapes, etc demanded by their god. THAT is their ethics and morals. That is their culture. I just dont see the positives.

Art is art. Just because paintings may be religous depictions doesnt make them religous.

Ah, so now we come to the crux of it.  There's a bit of a difference between radical, conservative Christianity, and more liberal branches of Christianity.  Most conservative xtians tend to be literalist and absolutist.  They're the crowd that believes that Adam and Eve really existed, really rebelled of their own "free will", and really, really lived for 930 years.  The liberal xtians are much better at cherry picking, they developed their own SPAG instead of merely relying upon the SPAG of bronze age loonies.  Some of the more enlightened theologians have even wrote books calling for a Christianity without the entanglements of a supernatural God.[1]

What's good isnt necessarily Xtian.

But what is good CAN be Christian, just depends on what we define as "good".

 
THAT is their ethics and morals. That is their culture. I just dont see the positives.

You're generalizing here.  There are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity, and some of them have very different ethics and morals in relation to each other.  That's why we should make the distinction between the Bible's morality, the morality of different Christian sects, and an individual Christian's own personal morality, because these very rarely overlap.
 1. Lloyd George Geering's "Christianity without God"
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 03:25:52 PM by The Wannabe »
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Offline Death over Life

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2012, 03:26:29 PM »
If we can assure Christians here in the states that we're not against their "Christian morals", or their "Gad given" right to congregate in church on Sundays, but rather only their irrational faith in the things unseen, than maybe the atheist movement might not look as sinister as their televangelist would lead them to believe. 

Perhaps this is where I should call myself Satanist instead of atheist, because I am against their morals as well as their congregative churches. Hell, I posted a few posts ago in a rant of a church arsoned to the ground. Although I can’t stand that church arson is a huge waste of great resources that could be used for something a bit more valuable, what the symbolism of watching a Christian church burn to the ground, I stand up for and advocate and encourage. Just in case anybody thinks I’m being a pyromaniac, the key word is symbolism.

I still remembered a time when either a spark from a faulty wire or an arson burned down a church in a town a few miles from where I lived. Not only did I see it as good news, but I still have the papers with the pics.

Thing is, we’ve been pandering so much to the Religious Reich, that even once they have done what you have said Wannabe, they are still afraid to open their mouths and express themselves, just like how most of us have to do to keep a job and put food on the table or for the safety of themselves or the family.

Rather than say that atheist or Satanists aren’t sinister, I’d rather say we won’t put a gun up to your head for believing differently.

For me, if I’m against their God, I have to be against their morals and culture, otherwise there is no point to being anti-God.

There's nothing wrong with mythology, on the contrary, the world would ring a little more hollow in the absence of Dante's "The Divine Comedy".  Only when mythology crosses the line into reality in the minds of believers is there a problem.   For now, atheist must combat the delusions of the religious, but there will be a time when humanity will read the Bible in the same way we now read the Odyssey or Stephen King.  I eagerly look forward to that day.

From the way the status of society is going, we may end up seeing this 40-50 years down the road in the USA, and I can’t wait for this to happen. May have lived a shit life, but it’d be far worth it to finally live in peace from religion, even if I will be an old geezer by then

I also want to state that I agree with The Gawd and velkyn.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2012, 03:35:44 PM »


I think The Wannabe is talking about people he knows and who are willing and able to listen to him, not random strangers who he accosts on the street.  He, of course, is the only one who can say for sure.

Yup, I've been having many debates with friends and family alike over these issues.  I actually still routinely go to church to grab some pizza with a buddy of mine after service so that we can discuss and debate the topic.  We can only do this because we have mutual respect for each other.


"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline The Gawd

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2012, 03:52:27 PM »
Ah, so now we come to the crux of it.  There's a bit of a difference between radical, conservative Christianity, and more liberal branches of Christianity.  Most conservative xtians tend to be literalist and absolutist.  They're the crowd that believes that Adam and Eve really existed, really rebelled of their own "free will", and really, really lived for 930 years.  The liberal xtians are much better at cherry picking, they developed their own SPAG instead of merely relying upon the SPAG of bronze age loonies.  Some of the more enlightened theologians have even wrote books calling for a Christianity without the entanglements of a supernatural God.[1]
 1. Lloyd George Geering's "Christianity without God"

I'm sorry, I have no experience with the type of christians youre describing. I have heard they exist but never have come across them. They certainly arent here. Also I dont differenciate between different SPAGs because each is individual in itself, I judge them by what binds them.

You're generalizing here.  There are over 30,000 denominations of Christianity, and some of them have very different ethics and morals in relation to each other.  That's why we should make the distinction between the Bible's morality, the morality of different Christian sects, and an individual Christian's own personal morality, because these very rarely overlap.
nearly 40,000 I believe and they are more similar than different. Most of them, from what I can tell, dont even know the differences. Its the same thing as the thread we have "Xtians who havent read their bible" they simply dont know. And I can tell you from being in a few different church sects I didnt know there were any differences in beliefs until later in life... only style perhaps.

As far as I could tell they all believed in that wretched book literally. It was NEVER preached that Adam and Eve werent real people, Noahs Ark was a hoax, hell wasnt real, etc... unless youre talking about Jehova's Witnesses but the rest of the denominations act like JW's are nuts.

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2012, 04:10:51 PM »
I find them to be inseperable.  Their god is claimed to be the sources of their ethics/culture.  I know they change their minds constantly about the ethics but they *always* connect the two, no matter what their bible says. They just claim that their new "truth" is the "real" one.

Their god is claimed to be the source of their ethics/culture, but he rarely ever is.  If we were dealing with ACTUAL Christians on a daily basis, we'd live in a different america.  There would be no mega churches, the number of homeless people would be exponentially greater, and we'd see way more "wannabe" exorcist running around with their flip cameras documenting what they believe to be the casting out demons from a drunk, crackhead prostitute on the Vegas strip. 

My main point is, most Christians are too rational to believe in the bible's truth claims, they just don't know it yet.[1] 

I'm sure he thinks he is moral and that is defined by how he thinks his god is.
I only see people who happen to be good, and who happen to be Christians, being still good people despite their religion.

Totally, and completely agree.  But, i would again make a distinction between the god of the bible, and the god that resides within a Christian's skull.  They're almost never the same entity.

 1.  or they don't want to admit it due to peer pressure, circumstance, or fear of the unknown
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 04:19:36 PM by The Wannabe »
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Offline The Wannabe

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2012, 04:51:16 PM »

nearly 40,000 I believe and they are more similar than different. Most of them, from what I can tell, dont even know the differences. Its the same thing as the thread we have "Xtians who havent read their bible" they simply dont know. And I can tell you from being in a few different church sects I didnt know there were any differences in beliefs until later in life... only style perhaps.

There are some Xtian denominations that accepts gays and others don't.  Some denominations believe in a literal 7 day creation, others accept evolution and the big bang theory.  One of the few things that most denominations have in common is the doctrine of original sin[1] and the belief in Jesus of Nazareth's resurrection.  If we're talking about the beliefs of individual Christians, belief in the resurrection is likely the only constant, Christian morals are all over the place.  If we point this out to believers, and if they are willing to be honest with themselves, it destroys their belief in absolute morality and also brings their attention to how dated, irrational, and barbaric their bible truly is.
 1. a fucking shameful and horrid doctrine
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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2012, 06:54:28 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/26/opinion/de-botton-religion-atheists/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
It is when we stop believing that religions have been handed down from above or else that they are entirely daft that matters become more interesting.

We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: firstly, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And secondly, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise.

God may be dead, but the urgent issues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions which do not go away when we have been nudged to perceive some scientific inaccuracies in the tale of the seven loaves and fishes.

The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many sides of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.

An interesting read.

Yeah its something that I've been saying for a while now.    Religion serves a purpose, and that is why it will never go away.   There are good aspects to it, so it'd be nice to come up with something similar to it, with all the benefits but with none of the cons (dogma, belief in talking snakes, bloodshed, etc)

Offline Brakeman

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2012, 07:04:26 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/26/opinion/de-botton-religion-atheists/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
It is when we stop believing that religions have been handed down from above or else that they are entirely daft that matters become more interesting.

We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: firstly, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And secondly, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise.

God may be dead, but the urgent issues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions which do not go away when we have been nudged to perceive some scientific inaccuracies in the tale of the seven loaves and fishes.

The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many sides of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.

An interesting read.

Yeah its something that I've been saying for a while now.    Religion serves a purpose, and that is why it will never go away.   There are good aspects to it, so it'd be nice to come up with something similar to it, with all the benefits but with none of the cons (dogma, belief in talking snakes, bloodshed, etc)


Crap! Take away the magic god and it's not religion anymore, just a social club. Take away the lies and hurtful judgments, and there is too little left to be anymore useful than a fluffy greeting card.
It's theists and pseudo - agnostics that just can't admit it's not valuable at all and best replaced with healthy human relationships based on truth, fact, and reason.
It reminds me of women in abusive relationships who tear themselves to pieces to find good in a completely bad relationship.
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2012, 07:04:52 PM »
When looking to morality with respect to religion, I have a lot more respect for religions like Buddhism than for Christianity. And since many Buddhists are atheists, I think that says a lot. ;)
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2012, 07:12:23 PM »
Buddhists are very cool[1]  but still have a lot of incomprehensible mumbo jumbo disguised as ancient wisdom.
 1. my favorite relatives by marriage are midwestern Buddhists :o and I once lived with probably the only Afro-Latin Buddhist family in the world  :?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

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Re: What atheists can learn from religion
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2012, 07:23:19 PM »
http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/26/opinion/de-botton-religion-atheists/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
It is when we stop believing that religions have been handed down from above or else that they are entirely daft that matters become more interesting.

We can then recognize that we invented religions to serve two central needs which continue to this day and which secular society has not been able to solve with any particular skill: firstly, the need to live together in communities in harmony, despite our deeply rooted selfish and violent impulses. And secondly, the need to cope with terrifying degrees of pain which arise from our vulnerability to professional failure, to troubled relationships, to the death of loved ones and to our decay and demise.

God may be dead, but the urgent issues which impelled us to make him up still stir and demand resolutions which do not go away when we have been nudged to perceive some scientific inaccuracies in the tale of the seven loaves and fishes.

The error of modern atheism has been to overlook how many sides of the faiths remain relevant even after their central tenets have been dismissed. Once we cease to feel that we must either prostrate ourselves before them or denigrate them, we are free to discover religions as a repository of occasionally ingenious concepts with which we can try to assuage a few of the most persistent and unattended ills of secular life.

An interesting read.

Yeah its something that I've been saying for a while now.    Religion serves a purpose, and that is why it will never go away.   There are good aspects to it, so it'd be nice to come up with something similar to it, with all the benefits but with none of the cons (dogma, belief in talking snakes, bloodshed, etc)


Crap! Take away the magic god and it's not religion anymore, just a social club. Take away the lies and hurtful judgments, and there is too little left to be anymore useful than a fluffy greeting card.
It's theists and pseudo - agnostics that just can't admit it's not valuable at all and best replaced with healthy human relationships based on truth, fact, and reason.
It reminds me of women in abusive relationships who tear themselves to pieces to find good in a completely bad relationship.

church is a social club.     and social clubs are very valuable.    they are an easy way to make new friends, go on fun adventures, and have a support network.     plus, the pastor of this social club also doubles as a free counselor/therapist.     

you may have had a bad experience growing up with the church, but mine was fairly positive.    there was nothing abusive about it.  the reason i deconverted was not because i hated christians (except the fundies), but because its made up.