Author Topic: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not  (Read 4659 times)

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Offline Monolight

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Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not? Because there is no alternative to religion, that's why.

You are trying to apply logic (contradictions, etc) to disprove religion, while the main reason people are religious is not for the pure beauty of logic, but rather for emotions and spirituality. Religion appeals to people because it fulfills their many (sometimes primary) needs.

A brief googling for the subject:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080213195752AA4uQ2a
http://www.seattlepi.com/local/opinion/article/Religion-does-fulfill-primary-need-1209724.php
(let me know if you find better elaboration about "how religion fulfills people's needs", I am interested in this subject)

You think people should wake up and stop believing, because religion is irrational and God is scientifically impossible (according to current state of science). That won't happen, because the benefits religion gives people will compensate for any "contradictions". There are answers for all your "contradictions", some are more, some are less logical, but it doesn't matter, either. Believers will choose to believe these answers, rather than your contradictions, because the only thing atheists can do (regarding religion of course) is negate and abolish. You don't really have any alternative, anything to give people instead of religion. Or have you?

Offline Add Homonym

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A lot of people are tortured by religion.

I do brainless spins on Yahoo Answers, and answer random questions. Yesterday, I ran into a Muslim gay guy, who had tried to be straight, and had thought about committing suicide, but knew he'd burn in hell eternally for that as well. He claimed his personality was falling apart, because anything he did was sending him to burn.

A lot of people seem so torn up about their religion, that they'd be better off with no hope. There are a few who can hold it together, and not take it seriously. I believe that the bulk of x-Christians on this forum reached a point, where they couldn't take the shit any longer. If Christianity didn't have the hell threats, it would probably fine, as well. I had a lot of difficulty dealing with the threats, until I discovered Eastern Religions, and how a bunch of people believed in reincarnation, karma; and it seemed to make sense. But, most of all, it showed me that another large bunch of people had a legitimate and logical way of looking at the problem, that sounded more correct than the insane people who believed that a man rose from the dead, and if you couldn't believe in him, you go to hell.
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Offline screwtape

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...while the main reason people are religious is not for the pure beauty of logic, but rather for emotions and spirituality.

Nope.  people are religious because of psychological and societal reasons.  emotions and spirituality are secondary.  For one, pretty much everyone grows up in a culture with some prevalent religion.  They learn it like they learn the local language and accent.  It is a matter of conformity. Later, religion is a belief they wear, a jersey for the team they root for.

It is complicated.  I'd explain it myself, but I don't feel like it.  Here are some links that help explain. Have at it.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/i4/belief_in_belief/
http://lesswrong.com/lw/i6/professing_and_cheering/
http://lesswrong.com/lw/i7/belief_as_attire/
http://lesswrong.com/lw/m9/aschs_conformity_experiment/

Religion appeals to people because it fulfills their many (sometimes primary) needs.

Maybe, but probably not in the way you think.

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Offline Nick

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As long as they keep their "primary" needs away from me and out of gov then fine let them have at it.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Monolight

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As long as they keep their "primary" needs away from me and out of gov then fine let them have at it.
People who want to make use of you, your money or your gov to meet their "primary needs" will exploit any available channel: political, religious, ideological (racist, sexist), marketing, laws, parential control, social and work position etc. But to such people, no need to tell them of biblical contradictions or try convince that God is illusionary, because they don't care anyway. They would do it in the name of anything. I wasn't talking about "primary needs" which are against other people. But really, is it the majority of the religious people are like this? I don't think so. Might be, I just didn't experience or heard so.

Offline Monolight

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Later, religion is a belief they wear, a jersey for the team they root for.
Some call it tradition. Authority is not far away. Belonging to community. It's very important for many people and religion is a very good way to satisfy these. Take the religion away and what is left? Nationality? - fine, but too big and obligatory. It also has the same flows as religion - can be misused by bad people (racism, wars). Football team? - too aggressive and not for everyone. That's my original question: what alternative is there for religion?

Religion appeals to people because it fulfills their many (sometimes primary) needs.
Maybe, but probably not in the way you think.
I thought the main points from one of the linked site: the need for security, authority, stability, acceptance, purpose, meaning, being good person. Probably even more. Definitely more. Plus the whole spiritual part, which is by definition irreplaceble by anything.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 01:38:01 PM by Monolight »

Offline stuffin

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Because there is no alternative to religion, that's why.

Religion appeals to people because it fulfills their many (sometimes primary) needs.

No religion is an aternative to religion. Just as people have LEARNED to have religion, they could LEARN to not have religion.

Religion appeals to people for many reasons.

One reason is most were nurtured (some say indoctrinated) into the religion as a child and no longer are capable of questioning their religion. Others have been so convinced they will burn in hell if they deny god they just blindly agree to follow their religion. While others are playing it safe (Pascal’s wager) just in case. These are just not honest reasons to believe in religion(s) 

Another reason is people like to have answers to things, religion allows for answers to everything. This really appeals to people because they can stop at "because god wants it that way" and they no longer need to look for an answer.

Also, many people who lack appropriate coping skills, people with addictive behaviors come to mind, can be swayed by religion if they just have faith and believe. While this does benefit people,  it is deceiving in that they are tricking people into believing something that isn’t real.

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Offline Graybeard

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Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not?
It doesn't. But what such a question does, is to cause religious people to think. Most of them, as you will find if you look through this part of the forum, try and rationalise it - we have had hundreds of possible combination of excuses for God's failure in this respect.

However - and this is the point - one or two will go away and think; they will question the existence of gods.

Whatever it is people say a god can do; whatever attribute they say a god has, that is their ignorance; that is what they do not know. Religion is the worship of ignorance.

Why should someone do this? You need not look far - people want answers, certainty, reasons for things - in religion, they have this "God did it." And, in their ignorance and circular reasoning, this proves the existence of God - Who then looks after them.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline screwtape

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Some call it tradition. Authority is not far away. Belonging to community.

That's not what I was getting at.  Read the less wrong links. Or don't.  Either way.

It's very important for many people and religion is a very good way to satisfy these.

Any organized group of people satisfies.  To pick a group that uses systematized irrationality and magical thinking simply because, you know, "tradition", is probably not the best way to go for a better society.

what alternative is there for religion?

Take your pick. Or invent something.

I thought the main points from one of the linked site: the need for security, authority, stability, acceptance, purpose, meaning, being good person. Probably even more. Definitely more.

I do not understand what you are saying.  The links I provided support your claim?  Is that what you are saying?
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Offline sun_king

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Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not? Because there is no alternative to religion, that's why.

I have a question related to the bold text above.

What alternatives have you considered before you made that evaluation. Was that assertion made after a good analysis of at least a few possible alternatives?

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 04:18:40 PM »
I do not understand what you are saying.  The links I provided support your claim?  Is that what you are saying?
Nope, the links in my original post (the first post in this thread)

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 04:38:18 PM »
"Because there is no alternative to religion"
Was that assertion made after a good analysis of at least a few possible alternatives?
Well, no (if you know of some, tell me). But looking at the human history (not only the last 2K) I think religion has its place for a reason. Atheists may say it's bad or illusionary, but it will just be.

Offline sun_king

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 05:04:02 PM »
"Because there is no alternative to religion"
Was that assertion made after a good analysis of at least a few possible alternatives?
Well, no (if you know of some, tell me). But looking at the human history (not only the last 2K) I think religion has its place for a reason. Atheists may say it's bad or illusionary, but it will just be.

You will need to retract that statement since you just admitted that you are not qualified to make such a statement.

You can look up the word Irreligion when you have time and an open mind to spare.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonreligious

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 06:25:22 PM »
Religions evolved from the human need for answers to unexplained phenomena.  So, it's certainly true that religion fills that need, but it doesn't fill it very well, compared to actually trying to understand the real reasons why things happen.  I'd like to liken it to eating sweets versus eating wholesome food.  Sure, the sweets taste good, but they don't really satisfy appetites that well.  Whereas the wholesome food actually makes us healthy, which ultimately makes us happier because it satisfies us better.

The problem, if you'll excuse me continuing to use the analogy, is that we have entire cultures which are built around the idea that candy (religion) is good and wholesome, while wholesome food (science and knowledge) are bad or at least suspect and shouldn't be trusted.  So what atheism does is challenge that idea, by asking if candy (religion) actually does us any good, and whether it's necessary at all.

Offline stuffin

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2013, 07:29:26 PM »
"Because there is no alternative to religion"
Was that assertion made after a good analysis of at least a few possible alternatives?
Well, no (if you know of some, tell me) \. But looking at the human history (not only the last 2K) I think religion has its place for a reason. Atheists may say it's bad or illusionary, but it will just be.

I gave you one you ignored it.

Quote
No religion is an aternative to religion. Just as people have LEARNED to have religion, they could LEARN to not have religion.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2013, 11:30:40 PM »
That's my original question: what alternative is there for religion?
The question of whether or not God exists is far different from what we can get out of believing it does.  Some of us prefer to live our lives with the truth.  If you're not one of them, then so be it.  Accepting the truth can be hard. What you do with it is up to you. 
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2013, 01:51:54 AM »
As long as they keep their "primary" needs away from me and out of gov then fine let them have at it.
People who want to make use of you, your money or your gov to meet their "primary needs" will exploit any available channel: political, religious, ideological (racist, sexist), marketing, laws, parential control, social and work position etc. But to such people, no need to tell them of biblical contradictions or try convince that God is illusionary, because they don't care anyway. They would do it in the name of anything. I wasn't talking about "primary needs" which are against other people. But really, is it the majority of the religious people are like this? I don't think so. Might be, I just didn't experience or heard so.

I long ago accepted that most folks who favor religious belief will not be swayed by rational arguments against it, and such is their ignorant prerogative. The problem with religion is not that people believe in god, its that they believe they know exactly what god wants and seek to impose his 'will' upon everyone else:

Its the Mormon church pouring millions of dollars into the fight against same-sex marriage in CA.
Its the RCC fighting condom use as 'immoral' in AIDS stricken parts of Africa.
Its having "In God We Trust" printed on every piece of US currency.
Its having "Under God" included in the Pledge of Allegiance.
In my state (TN), its making it against the law to buy a bottle of liquor on Sundays when its perfectly legal to do so on any other day.

So you see, websites such as WWGHA would probably not exist if people could just keep their religion to themselves.
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Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2013, 07:48:23 AM »
Another reason is people like to have answers to things, religion allows for answers to everything. This really appeals to people because they can stop at "because God wants it that way" and they no longer need to look for an answer.
People say sometimes "because god wants it that way" when they are helpless. This makes it easier to cope with e.g. tragedy. (btw religion does not give the answer as to why God wanted it this way, so it's not a full answer, just somethig to calm the mind). Another point for religion, then. Does atheism offer any kind of such consolation?

One reason is most were nurtured (some say indoctrinated) into the religion as a child and no longer are capable of questioning their religion. Others have been so convinced they will burn in hell if they deny god they just blindly agree to follow their religion. While others are playing it safe (Pascal’s wager) just in case. These are just not honest reasons to believe in religion(s)
Everybody is in a sense indoctrinated to something as a child, because there are hundreds of rules to follow, cultural, religious, social, medical, political. Some rules are never questioned, because they turn out to be useful in life. Some other are completely broken by adult people. I think people are smart enough to figure that they could abandon their religion if they really wanted and still live and not be tortured in today's world (speaking of Christianity, not sure of other cultures). But they are more comfortable to stay, as a choice, not under compulsion. I don't believe someone may "not be capable" of questioning his religion, I'd say he doesn't see any advantage of questioning it.

As for "playing it safe" and being religious "just in case" - that's another way of saying that religion gives people a sense of security and of being a "good man". You may say they are not honest believers, but anyway, the benefit is theirs. This comes at a price of feeling fear of hell if they don't play as "good men". But the tendency in Church today is to change the meaning of hell into something like "no presence of God" etc, so something less painful, so that fear is also weakening.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2013, 07:54:21 AM »
You will need to retract that statement since you just admitted that you are not qualified to make such a statement.
Reasoning in this way, atheists who were never religious also are not qualified to make statements about religion?

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2013, 07:56:18 AM »
Some of us prefer to live our lives with the truth.
We don't see the truth, we just interpret things.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2013, 08:03:36 AM »
we have entire cultures which are built around the idea that candy (religion) is good and wholesome, while wholesome food (science and knowledge) are bad or at least suspect and shouldn't be trusted.
That was true in the past. But today many religious people are also scientists, or at least watch Discovery on TV and are not ruling out the coexistance of science and God. There also mention evidences of God in science.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2013, 08:11:37 AM »
Some of us prefer to live our lives with the truth.
We don't see the truth, we just interpret things.

Is that statement true, or is it just your interpretation?
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Offline DumpsterFire

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2013, 10:01:01 AM »
People say sometimes "because god wants it that way" when they are helpless. This makes it easier to cope with e.g. tragedy. (btw religion does not give the answer as to why God wanted it this way, so it's not a full answer, just somethig to calm the mind). Another point for religion, then. Does atheism offer any kind of such consolation?
You bring up plenty of valid points as to why people cling to religion, but the assessment of its benefits over atheism is highly subjective, at best. What you are saying is that a false sense of security is preferable to none, and while there are a great many people who share this perspective, I (and likely the vast majority in this forum) do not. Check out the following example:

In Jr. High, the prettiest girl in my school once passed me a note which said she was in love with me and wanted to be my girlfriend. As you can imagine, I was thrilled and elated to learn of her feelings for me, as I had an enormous crush on her, as well. It was truly one of the happiest moments of my life. Unfortunately, I was terribly embarrassed and utterly dejected when she angrily informed me after class that the note was actually intended for the football star who sits behind me.

That awesome feeling from the time I read the note to the time I learned of her true intentions? That's religion.
Quote
As for "playing it safe" and being religious "just in case" - that's another way of saying that religion gives people a sense of security and of being a "good man". You may say they are not honest believers, but anyway, the benefit is theirs. This comes at a price of feeling fear of hell if they don't play as "good men". But the tendency in Church today is to change the meaning of hell into something like "no presence of God" etc, so something less painful, so that fear is also weakening.
The fact that different sects and even each individual so readily adds, omits, and interprets things to fit their own feelings is further evidence that religion is a fallacy. If there truly was a god who cared about such things don't you think the message would be clear and succinct instead of being so easily open to wide interpretation?

Nevertheless, your main point seems to be that there's nothing wrong with people turning to religion to make themselves feel better, and I would agree with that statement in general. But, as I commented previously, religious folks are rarely content to limit their beliefs to some good feelings and coping mechanisms, and instead get all kinds of wacky ideas they then seek to impose on public policy. That is the aspect of religion that must be fiercely opposed.
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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2013, 10:12:20 AM »
That was true in the past. But today many religious people are also scientists, or at least watch Discovery on TV and are not ruling out the coexistance of science and God. There also mention evidences of God in science.
They're in the minority of religious people, because it depends on whether they can make science and their religion coexist inside their heads.  Most religious people can't - they give primacy to their god and anyone who says otherwise must be wrong.  In many cases, anyone who so much as dares to criticize their beliefs is taking their life in their hands.

These aren't just things that happened in the past.  They're things that happen now, today.  People so dead-set on being right no matter whether they actually are that they do horrible things in order to force the issue.  You see, there's a substantial percentage of religious people who's "feel-good" sense of security depends on having as many other people share their belief as possible.  If someone doesn't share it, they must be made to; if someone opposes being made to, then they must be prevented from interfering with efforts to spread the "feel-good".  This ranges anywhere from trying to marginalize them to simply killing them.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2013, 10:34:25 AM »
Nope, the links in my original post (the first post in this thread)

Oh.  Well.  I ignored those.  Yahoo answers is irrelevant.  The other one is an OP-Ed by Kennethe L. Burress, a theologian.  He includes "holiness" as a primary need.  I feel no obligation to accept such silliness as a legitimate argument.

I do not see your links as being particularly supportive.  They seem to be a couple of opinions of random people.  I prefer to have facts from experts.

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Offline sun_king

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2013, 10:58:06 AM »
You will need to retract that statement since you just admitted that you are not qualified to make such a statement.
Reasoning in this way, atheists who were never religious also are not qualified to make statements about religion?

Quite the opposite, we can. Because, unlike you, we have studied religion quite a bit. We have considered the pros and cons of religion before making the statements (you can see that in many of the responses you have got so far from the other members). You, on the other hand, had the audacity to make a claim like "there is no alternative to religion" when you have confessed that you have not considered any viable alternatives.

At this point you know you were wrong to make that statement about alternatives to religion, a retraction would have been the decent thing to do. Admitting you may be wrong is a hard thing for you, so you attempted "you are also wrong". Such a mindset will limit your comprehension, making the other guy "more wrong" does not make you right.

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2013, 11:09:46 AM »
 The statement "you shall have no gods but me" from your god,does this mean there are other gods? or was this just a way for early writers of the Bible to make people switch religions?

 Originally your God was only interested in being a Jewish god,then the clever writers of the NT figured out a way to dupe more people.
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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2013, 11:12:37 AM »
I agree with screwtape - Burres lists several non-physical needs and puts a religious spin on them, but the fact of the matter is that religion isn't necessary for any of them.  Indeed, it subtly undermines them, by making people feel as if they've been met when they really haven't.  For example, it may well be true that someone who believes in a god may feel safety and security in that belief, but it's a false feeling.  If something bad, even tragic happens, their belief does them no good.  Indeed, they have to rationalize why such a thing could happen to them considering the safety and security they felt just before.

The rest of it is pretty much the same thing - all things that religion seems to fill, but that it in fact does not.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2013, 11:36:53 AM »
You, on the other hand, had the audacity to make a claim like "there is no alternative to religion" when you have confessed that you have not considered any viable alternatives.
In order to consider something, you must know it, discover, be aware of. I just can't find any. Besides, I also asked if someone knows any to kindly tell me, so I could consider them.

So far, the only alternative presented to me was the "no religion" alternative. Well, in a strict sense it is an alternative, but in a common sense it's not. It's as if someone asked "What is the alternative to use a database" and someone else answered him "Don't use a database". And another person answered "Use XML". While both are alternatives in a strict meaning, the first one is somewhat useless, while the second one is definitely worth consideration.