Author Topic: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not  (Read 5631 times)

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Online pianodwarf

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2013, 11:57:17 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.

That's certainly fair enough.

When I was nineteen, I was working as a staff member at a private college.  One of the humanities professors there once said that "art[1] can really take the place of religion in your life".  I was too young at the time to understand what he meant... actually, the statement seemed bizarre to me, almost like saying that motorcycles could take the place of artificial sweetener, or something like that.  When I went to college myself a few years later, though (majoring in philosophy, but with lots of other humanities in the mix to make me well-rounded), I came to understand what he meant.
 1. "Art" in the broadest sense of the term, to include not just things like paintings or sculpture, but literature, music, dance, and so on.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2013, 12:01:35 PM »
Trying to compare religion with a database makes no sense, Monolight.  The two aren't the same thing at all, and you really can't make that analogy work in any way, shape, or form.  You see, you're acting like religion is a necessity, when in fact it is only a convenience.  Not even a convenience, actually - simply an assumption of convenience.

And, like it or not, "don't make convenient assumptions" is a perfectly good alternative to making them.  Indeed, it's a far better one, as it doesn't lead people into wasting time and effort on those convenient assumptions that don't lead anywhere.

The problem with your argument here is that you're saying that the religious belief is necessary - not what the belief is about.  It doesn't matter whether the deity they believe in actually exists.  They don't need it to exist in order to fill their needs, they just need to believe in it.  Indeed, it doesn't need to be a deity at all; someone could have an imaginary friend that provided for all of those needs for them, and it would be just as effective as the belief in a deity.  Or they could personify the ideals they want to live by, and use that to provide for all of those needs.  Or they could take someone (or several someones) who actually lived and idealize them in a similar way.

Or they could just say, "these are the ideals I want to live by, and I will use them to help fulfill my non-physical needs".  In a very real sense, this is the most effective solution of all, because you don't have to worry about ideals acting on their own.  You don't have to try to rationalize away bad things that happen despite those ideals, because the ideals can't act on their own.

Offline sun_king

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2013, 12:17:50 PM »
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.

Hardcode it, you don't need a database. It will be cumbersome, but it will work, sad that you evaluated it as "useless".

That being said, why is it relevant to our discussion. In your scenario it is evident that the organized body of information[1] is critical to the system. Again and again, you are leaning on the notion that religion is necessary. Are you not reading any of the posts here, there are a lot of people who DON'T need a religion.

We can have an open discussion that can be continued without resorting to sneaky subtleties. I would request that you refrain from imposing that a religion is mandatory.
 1. Database

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2013, 12:19:25 PM »
What you are saying is that a false sense of security is preferable to none,
Yes and that's the main reason why insurance companies grow so well. People need to feel secure. I am not saying though (and religion doesn't teach this) that you can drive and take turns 200km/h and feel safe because your faith will protect you.

That awesome feeling from the time I read the note to the time I learned of her true intentions? That's religion.
When you learned her true intentions, you are only left with disappointment, because you we wrong (mistaken) and rejected. The difference with religion is that it first of all teaches that misfortune or tragedy may happen to you, and when it happens, you religion will give you strength to cope with it. If tragedy happens, many people come out of it even more religious than before. They find strength anyway and whether it comes from God or from other sources ("what doesn't kill me makes me stronger" -Nietzche) is left to decide to their conscience. Many say religion really helps in difficult times.

Offline sun_king

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2013, 12:44:25 PM »
Yes and that's the main reason why insurance companies grow so well. People need to feel secure. I am not saying though (and religion doesn't teach this) that you can drive and take turns 200km/h and feel safe because your faith will protect you.

Let us talk about taking a turn at 200 km/h. It is done in some forms of automobile racing. The drivers make that turn not on faith, but on awareness of their machines, the environment and a trust in their own skills. This is what the atheist does, we take on life knowing our limitations and our capabilities.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2013, 12:57:45 PM »
I also asked if someone knows any to kindly tell me, so I could consider them.

let's try this approach:

explain what you think religion is.  I would say it is a conservative social mechanism that also defines a people's relationship to one or more gods.  Do you argree?  If not, how would you define it?

Then explain what social aspects of it you would like replaced. It might require more than one thing to completely replace religion.
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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 #35 on: February 12, 2013, 01:17:28 PM »
Again and again, you are leaning on the notion that religion is necessary. Are you not reading any of the posts here, there are a lot of people who DON'T need a religion.
Religion is not necessary for everyone (I didn't mean that). Some people are fine without any form of religion and that's ok. But statistically and historically and perhaps etnographically speaking, majority of cultures have religion and this coutinues though thousands of years. There is margin for all kind of enforcement, pressure, etc, but anyway what's left is really a phenomenon (the volunteer believers). It's a product of evolution, IMO. That's why I think religion must fill important **primary human needs**, otherwise it would not persist till computer age. I think it will be the same in a hundred years, as long as humanity will exist.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2013, 01:22:36 PM »
The problem with your argument here is that you're saying that the religious belief is necessary - not what the belief is about. It doesn't matter whether the deity they believe in actually exists. They don't need it to exist in order to fill their needs, they just need to believe in it.
But that's a rational assumption, isn't it? and rationally speaking, the only one possible, because **so far** there is no way to scientifically confirm that any kind of deity exists. Knowing it's an atheists forum, it's safer to stay rational. Why you think it's a problem?

P.S. But I often think of Christianity, because I know it better than other.

You see, you're acting like religion is a necessity, when in fact it is only a convenience.

Well, everything that's not necessary to survive can be considered just convenience. In that sense, religion would be a very important one. (and in the post above I explained that religion is not a necessity for everyone IMO)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 01:48:26 PM by Monolight »

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2013, 02:07:08 PM »
Monolight, you don't really do yourself or your argument any favors by selectively addressing only a couple sentences of what someone posts and hoping someone doesn't call you out on the rest of it.

It is not rational to assume that religious belief is necessary, let alone that it is the only possible assumption.  Indeed, it is fundamentally irrational to make an assumption like that, especially when you have people pointing out that there are alternatives to it.  I pointed out four alternatives to religious belief that, in my opinion, are much more rational than it.  So the fact that religious belief has persisted for thousands of years only shows that it filled a role in the human psyche, not that it is the only thing that could fill that role.  Much like evolution, the only criteria is that it does so, not that it does so well.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2013, 03:29:36 PM »
That's why I think religion must fill important **primary human needs**, otherwise it would not persist till computer age.

So, how about the supernatural?  Believing supernatural stuff is retarded, yet still with us.  Does that fulfill a **primary human need**?  Or is it just a relic of evolution?

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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 #39 on: February 12, 2013, 06:06:25 PM »
Monolight, you don't really do yourself or your argument any favors by selectively addressing only a couple sentences of what someone posts and hoping someone doesn't call you out on the rest of it.
Feel free to call me out for anything I omitted which was important and not similar to the sentences that I cited. Plus, I usually omit the part I agree with.

I pointed out four alternatives to religious belief that, in my opinion, are much more rational than it.
Four alternatives?? Reply #number please?

So the fact that religious belief has persisted for thousands of years only shows that it filled a role in the human psyche, not that it is the only thing that could fill that role. Much like evolution, the only criteria is that it does so, not that it does so well.
There may be theories that other things could fill the same role as religion, or even better. But the fact is that religion does it. It reminds me of a sports match where some people are saying that the other team (who lost) played really better and they should win, they would surely win if only they (...put something here...). Maybe we'll see next time? ;)

« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 06:12:14 PM by Monolight »

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2013, 09:07:56 PM »
Religion is not necessary for everyone (I didn't mean that). Some people are fine without any form of religion and that's ok. But statistically and historically and perhaps etnographically speaking, majority of cultures have religion and this coutinues though thousands of years. There is margin for all kind of enforcement, pressure, etc, but anyway what's left is really a phenomenon (the volunteer believers). It's a product of evolution, IMO. That's why I think religion must fill important **primary human needs**, otherwise it would not persist till computer age. I think it will be the same in a hundred years, as long as humanity will exist.

You've changed the goalposts, to "volunteer believers", and undermined your original post.

Volunteers believers are the hippies that have taken DMT, which is a purified form of Ayahuasca, which is used in South American ritual. The people consume it and have big galactic visions. They had the visions themselves, so the drug has told them that spirits really do exist. So, you could say they were volunteer believers, who now have the idea that there is something that transcends consciousness, (a) because they think they experienced it (b) because they need life after death, and some point to live.

However, it's not strictly volunteering, if the drug is just a delusion. It's an ancient religious culture which got thrust upon them. It would be volunteering, if there was any truth to it.

You could argue that some religions do not really fill a need, because they are designed primarily to spread effectively, rather than consider a human's evolutionary need. So, there is a "spread" component, and a "need" component in religion. In the case of Ayahuasca, it's a very powerful cultural method of spreading belief, by demonstration. And, it also seems to fulfil the vague artistic "needs", by giving lots of wonder, and no firm dogma.

In the case of Christianity and Islam: these two dogmatic religions seem to be the least spiritually artistic, and are dependent upon state orthodoxy and threats. (Without state backing, they would degenerate badly, into something a bit more artistic.) The Christian ideal is to be celibate, living in a closet, while flagellating yourself, attempting to avoid burning in hell for eternity. You may stare at stained glass windows, as long as they have pictures of cherubs, and a man dying on a stick. Christianity lacks so much spiritual art, that adherents have no real thought as to what could happen in afterlife. While denying themselves in this life, they have no visions of why they would bother going to the next one. Islam is also very vague about why you would want to hang around with rivers of wine, but it is pretty clear about how we should treat women.

You could say that the point of the atheist argument, is to help people who have had religion thrust upon them, by its unartistic spread and threat component, to create more people who have volunteer beliefs.

===============

Another way of looking at it, is that Christianity and Islam have evolved to build empires. If the empire builds, then it does not care how it treats its people. But, in order to build an empire, it must treat people relatively well. However, the way they are being treated is not necessarily what they need to believe evolutionarily as a person. For example, I have no need to believe that I will burn in hell, if I think about my neighbour's wife. It may keep civilization more on track, if I don't think about my neighbour's wife, but it has nothing to do with my personal needs.

===============

In teaching others to think for themselves, it could well fill an evolutionary need, but may also weaken the civilization, and render it vulnerable to another dominating religious culture. This is the problem with atheism: it may be only transitory, before we move into another religious prison.

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2013, 09:36:51 PM »
monolight,is Christianity the same or near the same as it was even 100 years ago,never mind 2000 years ago? Christianity,like most religions "evolve" or die out.

 Can you think of any reason other than SPAG (self projection as God)that anybody would still be a Christian? A Christians perception of God is exactly as the believer views it,a believers view of God is exactly the same as the his/hers God's views.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2013, 12:54:36 AM »
I've had some people tend to jump only on a few sentences of mine recently rather than taking them in context with the post, so I wanted to make that clear from the outset.  If you were only addressing the parts that you disagreed with, that's fine by me.

Four alternatives?? Reply #number please?
The post which I chided you slightly for only quoting part of it.  But basically, they were imaginary friends, personifications of ideals, idealized historical figures, and simply the ideals themselves.  All four of those are ultimately better than religious beliefs in my view, because you don't have to worry about ancient beliefs that might not even be relevant, or having to cherry-pick ancient writings, or having to deal with doctrinal differences.

Quote from: Monolight
There may be theories that other things could fill the same role as religion, or even better. But the fact is that religion does it. It reminds me of a sports match where some people are saying that the other team (who lost) played really better and they should win, they would surely win if only they (...put something here...). Maybe we'll see next time? ;)
By that argument, we should have continued using oil-burned lamps instead of incandescent electrical bulbs.  I mean, they do the job of putting out light, right?  Or horse-drawn carriages instead of automobiles, since they did the job of getting people from place to place faster than they could walk.  Whether or not the alternatives do the job better doesn't matter; the older technologies worked, after all.

To paraphrase a saying, just because we've done something for a long time doesn't mean we should continue to do it just because it's what we've done all that time.  Do you see the point I'm trying to get across?
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 12:59:18 AM by jaimehlers »

Offline penfold

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #43 on: February 13, 2013, 04:10:13 AM »
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?

I think there is a certain amount of truth in this; people do find in religion a way to deal with the absurdity of being. To my mind this is fair enough; William James in Varieties of Religious Experiences makes a compelling case that we should not spend too much time looking to the origin of religious experience; but focus instead on the effects. He makes the point that many people (who he designates as 'sick souls') find the complexity and terror of existence too much. In religious belief and practice this 'sickness' can be overcome and we can be recast as 'healthy-minded'. However what is interesting about James is that he is not dogmatic about this. For him the religious sentiment is merely the 'taking seriously' of life, something he allows even a humanist could achieve. Moreover while James himself did believe in a God he admitted that he may be mistaken and that much of religious experience could be caused by the subconscious. This pragmatic approach to religion is one I have a deal of sympathy with. Especially as it allows us to distinguish between 'good' and 'bad' religion by looking at outcomes: so we applaud the alcoholic whose faith allows him to control his addiction, but we do not the homosexual who uses their faith as a route to self-loathing.

Just as I think all theists should read Hume in order to engage with intelligent atheism, I think all atheists should read James in order to engage with intelligent theism.

Having said that I do think there are many alternatives which are non-religious. Apart form the already mentioned humanism there are many other intellectual traditions which attempt to provide the same solace as religion without the metaphysical baggage: existentialism, philosophical Taoism, Epicurianism, Stoicism, Eudaimonic ethics, to name a few. It is fine to claim that these systems of thought are not for you, I have no issue with that, but it is wrong to discount these rich intellectual traditions as 'not alternatives'.

I think James (and from what I understand of you from your posts) is right to be suspicious of the claim that a bare 'scientism' can be truly satisfying. However I think this charge, often made, that science is somehow life-denying is a bit of a straw man. In my limited experience scientists live just as rich lives as everyone else. Even the most die-hard scientist usually has, at minimum, an aesthetic (thus non-scientific) appreciation of her subject - to quote one example; Dawkins' lyrical eulogies to nature so moved Rowan Williams the Archbishop of Canterbury that he used them for his Christmas Sermon a few years ago. Moreover while science may understand humans (correctly) as mere organisms, there are few scientists, in my experience who do not attach moral and personal weight to the individuals in their own lives.

There are those who use God to make sense of the world and find ways to be 'healthy-minded'; however there are many others who achieve the same goal walking different, non-religious, paths.

Anyhow thanks for the OP and interesting discussion.
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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 #44 on: February 13, 2013, 06:16:48 AM »
If you were only addressing the parts that you disagreed with, that's fine by me.
Apart from this, I also cut block of text and leave the essential part (only to make it shorter, not to manipulate the context, you can check original anyways) in citation or omit text to which for some reason I just have no comment completely.

imaginary friends, personifications of ideals, idealized historical figures, and simply the ideals themselves. All four of those are ultimately better than religious beliefs in my view, because you don't have to worry about ancient beliefs that might not even be relevant, or having to cherry-pick ancient writings, or having to deal with doctrinal differences.
The burden of worrying about doctrinal matters etc is not on common believers, it's on the circle of priests and theologians and is part of the service. I think it's an interesting work. Believers on the other hand just benefit and take advantage of the result of such research, which makes the sacred books more understandable.

Quote from: Monolight
There may be theories that other things could fill the same role as religion, or even better. But the fact is that religion does it. It reminds me of a sports match where some people are saying that the other team (who lost) played really better and they should win, they would surely win if only they (...put something here...). Maybe we'll see next time? ;)
By that argument, we should have continued using oil-burned lamps instead of incandescent electrical bulbs.  I mean, they do the job of putting out light, right?  Or horse-drawn carriages instead of automobiles, since they did the job of getting people from place to place faster than they could walk.  Whether or not the alternatives do the job better doesn't matter; the older technologies worked, after all.
Fresh ideas sparkle all the time as competition for religion. There are all sorts of deviated cults, drugs, modern arts, games, shopping malls, stock exchange, computers, forums, modern psychological treatments (some of which might offer imaginary friends). Think of something that in your opinion could fill the same gap in human mind as religion, but better, and tell me, why it doesn't. Is it forbidden or too difficult, or maybe it just won't work on a large scale? Because, besides of being "better", the alternative(s) would also have to be possible to implement in reality.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2013, 06:28:19 AM »
monolight,is Christianity the same or near the same as it was even 100 years ago,never mind 2000 years ago? Christianity,like most religions "evolve" or die out.
Yes, it evolves. It doesn't look like it's going to die out. If such thing happens, guess what, some other religion will take its place.

Can you think of any reason other than SPAG (self projection as God)that anybody would still be a Christian? A Christians perception of God is exactly as the believer views it,a believers view of God is exactly the same as the his/hers God's views.
In the first post of this thread I linked an article that in my opinion summarizes why people are religious (I am looking for other materials). Which particular religion a person professes is a matter of tradition, accident or conscious choice (maybe SPAG falls into this last category, as a possibility).

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2013, 07:02:39 AM »
You've changed the goalposts, to "volunteer believers", and undermined your original post.
Volunteers believers are the hippies that have taken DMT, which is a purified form of Ayahuasca, which is used in South American ritual. The people consume it and have big galactic visions. They had the visions themselves, so the drug has told them that spirits really do exist. So, you could say they were volunteer believers, who now have the idea that there is something that transcends consciousness, (a) because they think they experienced it (b) because they need life after death, and some point to live.
What?  :o I know at least one exception from this definition. He lives next door, has never taken drugs and is a Christian out of his Free Will (tm)

You could argue that some religions do not really fill a need, because they are designed primarily to spread effectively, rather than consider a human's evolutionary need. So, there is a "spread" component, and a "need" component in religion.
Surely, there is the "spread" component. But the "spread" (or supply) wouldn't develop without the "need" (or demand) part.

The Christian ideal is to be celibate, living in a closet, while flagellating yourself, attempting to avoid burning in hell for eternity.
Isn't the Christial ideal rather a happy family, living in harmony with the local Church teachings?

Christianity lacks so much spiritual art, that adherents have no real thought as to what could happen in afterlife. While denying themselves in this life, they have no visions of why they would bother going to the next one. Islam is also very vague about why you would want to hang around with rivers of wine, but it is pretty clear about how we should treat women.
Plenty of space for individual projection. Everybody is different. But there *is* a lot of religious art, also of paradise, so you have some hints.

You could say that the point of the atheist argument, is to help people who have had religion thrust upon them, by its unartistic spread and threat component, to create more people who have volunteer beliefs.
I don't understand this. What would those beliefs be about?

I have no need to believe that I will burn in hell
How about believing that evil people, who did a lot of harm, will burn in hell? This might appeal to some people.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2013, 09:05:34 AM »
How about believing that evil people, who did a lot of harm, will burn in hell? This might appeal to some people.

what primary need does that fulfill?
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Online pianodwarf

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2013, 09:09:28 AM »
monolight,is Christianity the same or near the same as it was even 100 years ago,never mind 2000 years ago? Christianity,like most religions "evolve" or die out.
Yes, it evolves. It doesn't look like it's going to die out. If such thing happens, guess what, some other religion will take its place.

Says who?  Have you not been keeping up with the news?  In the United States, at least, those who say they have no religion are the fastest-growing "religious" category by far, and membership in all other religions is on the decline -- there is no religion that is showing any growth.  The "nones" are up to nineteen percent of the population in the US now, and by some estimates, we will be in the majority in about thirty or forty years.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2013, 10:04:32 AM »
The burden of worrying about doctrinal matters etc is not on common believers, it's on the circle of priests and theologians and is part of the service. I think it's an interesting work. Believers on the other hand just benefit and take advantage of the result of such research, which makes the sacred books more understandable.
This is a fancy way of saying that believers shouldn't worry about theology and should simply let the ones at the top figure everything out for them.  That type of top-down approach seldom works very well, and it never lasts, especially today.

Fresh ideas sparkle all the time as competition for religion. There are all sorts of deviated cults, drugs, modern arts, games, shopping malls, stock exchange, computers, forums, modern psychological treatments (some of which might offer imaginary friends). Think of something that in your opinion could fill the same gap in human mind as religion, but better, and tell me, why it doesn't. Is it forbidden or too difficult, or maybe it just won't work on a large scale? Because, besides of being "better", the alternative(s) would also have to be possible to implement in reality.
You kind of missed the point.  Virtually every single religion out there is hundreds, if not thousands of years old.  Almost all of them are based on truly ancient beliefs that come straight out of the Bronze Age, if not earlier.  The main reason they've lasted so long is because most religions used pretty vicious threats and harsh actions to keep believers in line and to kill or convert unbelievers.  For example, Inquisitions, witch trials, pogroms, religious warfare, persecution of 'heresy', forcible conversions, threats of damnation, and so on.  Note that this is just from Christian religions - I've no doubt that other religions have their own vicious histories.

You know what's happened in cultures where those kinds of actions are no longer tolerated?  Religious tendencies have tended to falter and fade over time, and being non-religious has started to steadily gain ground.  The only reason that it's taken this long is because atheism was suppressed in every culture.  And even today, there are Christians who would just love to see atheists "get theirs".  For example, Thomas Kratman is a Christian here in the USA, and he's written fictional books which tend to deride and excoriate atheism and atheists (not to mention environmentalists, 'socialists', and others who he disagrees with), and he just loves the "no atheists in foxholes" trope.  In one (Watch on the Rhine), these groups were literally eaten by alien invaders which overran most of the Earth before being stopped.  In another (Caliphate), Muslims overran Europe and executed anyone who professed atheism; and in America, a tyrant came to power after a number of cities were destroyed by terrorist nuclear bombings and did much the same thing there (the main story is an all-out war between the American sphere and the Muslim one; naturally the Muslims started backsliding technologically because of their religious beliefs, while American Protestantism continued to develop and grow).

So no, I don't agree that religion is necessary for the human psyche.  Indeed, the simplest way is to understand that religion springs from the human tendency to assume an actor is responsible for some unexplainable thing that happened, and instead of simply accepting the conclusions that ancient peoples came up with trying to figure out what the actual reasons are and why.

Offline Monolight

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2013, 01:21:36 PM »
How about believing that evil people, who did a lot of harm, will burn in hell? This might appeal to some people.

what primary need does that fulfill?
Justice. It's maybe secondary, not primary.

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2013, 01:28:46 PM »
Monolight, How about believing that normal people, who did no harm, will burn in hell?[1]

Is there justice in that?
 1. Thats what is in store for atheists according to the Christians. Denounce their lord and face eternal barbecue.

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2013, 02:00:04 PM »
Says who?  Have you not been keeping up with the news?  In the United States, at least, those who say they have no religion are the fastest-growing "religious" category by far, and membership in all other religions is on the decline -- there is no religion that is showing any growth.
According to the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States - the "Nones" are indeed the fastest growing group, however, the pace of this growth had its boom between 1990 and 2001 (6%) and has only changed by 1% from 2001 to 2008. Considering we are in computer age now since 90s... And considering a number of scandals afflicting the biggest Catholic church (which coincidentally started showing up in middle 90s).. I think religion keeps strong.

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2013, 02:08:24 PM »
<snip>
I think religion keeps strong.

Come again http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0815/Atheism-on-the-rise-around-the-globe

Only 14 percent of the Chinese say that they are religious. That means almost 1.12 billion people in China dont have a religion, Monolight, thats a big number.

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2013, 02:09:51 PM »
Justice. It's maybe secondary, not primary.

setting aside whether eternal torture is actually just, maybe it's not even a need so much as a want?
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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2013, 02:14:29 PM »
According to the site http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_States - the "Nones" are indeed the fastest growing group, however, the pace of this growth had its boom between 1990 and 2001 (6%) and has only changed by 1% from 2001 to 2008.

I don't know where you got those figures from -- they're not in the Wikipedia article you reference -- but they're not correct.  The "Nones" have been growing quickly and steadily for some years.  The only indication of a slowdown in that growth came in 2012, and even at that, the source for that claim is uncertain.

The most recent available poll information, as I said, is that the "Nones" are currently nineteen percent of the population in the United States, and the number is continuing to grow.  (Admittedly, not all of the "Nones" are atheists, but even so.)  And in Europe, the conversion to secularism is mostly over with.

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Considering we are in computer age now since 90s...

Not sure why you think this is relevant?

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And considering a number of scandals afflicting the biggest Catholic church (which coincidentally started showing up in middle 90s).. I think religion keeps strong.

Yes and no.  Ireland, for example, has traditionally been one of the strongest Catholic strongholds for centuries, as you probably know, but that's changing very quickly.  In 2005, 69% of Irish people described themselves as "religious", but in 2012, that number had plummeted to 47%.  That's quite a drop.
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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 #56 on: February 13, 2013, 02:20:23 PM »
Monolight, How about believing that normal people, who did no harm, will burn in hell?[1]

Is there justice in that?
 1. Thats what is in store for atheists according to the Christians. Denounce their lord and face eternal barbecue.
Depends on the law. And there is also concept of mercy.

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Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2013, 02:40:35 PM »
I don't know where you got those figures from
Citation from that page: The U. S. population continues to show signs of becoming less religious, with one out of every seven Americans failing to indicate a religious identity in 2008.
The "Nones" (no stated religious preference, atheist, or agnostic) continue to grow, though at a much slower pace than in the 1990s, from 8.2% in 1990, to 14.1% in 2001, to 15.0% in 2008."

The most recent available poll information, as I said, is that the "Nones" are currently nineteen percent of the population in the United States
I don't know where you got those figures from

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Considering we are in computer age now since 90s...
Not sure why you think this is relevant?
It's the age of internet - easy and almost infinite access to information and intellectual freedom. This could have more negative influence on religion.

In 2005, 69% of Irish people described themselves as "religious", but in 2012, that number had plummeted to 47%.  That's quite a drop.
I don't know where you got those figures from. I found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland
and it says (Church attendance in the Republic of Ireland) in 2005 34% and in 2009 46%. But anyway, comparing e.g. to 91% in 1973, it's a big drop.