Author Topic: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not  (Read 6628 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #87 on: February 15, 2013, 06:57:31 AM »
What about when religion teaches people to despise their own natures such as in the case of self-hating gays?

Many people have natural tendency to hate everything that is different than themselves to some degree, which results in racism, ethnic hatred and all kinds of discrimination, including deviation of sexual orientation. In many religions traditionally homosexualism was considered as condemned.

But based on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_homosexuality#The_Bible_and_homosexuality - this attitude changes today (slowly). Maybe the abundance of gays in current times is a Sign to review the long established interpretation and understanding of the Bible verses about homosexualism. According to this article, there are a few Christian denominations who already did this.

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5263
  • Darwins +601/-19
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #88 on: February 15, 2013, 08:00:34 AM »
It is far, far more likely that the number of gays in modern times is due to the tendency towards openness in Western culture.  When you risk death or at best stigmatization merely by intimating that you might be attracted to the same sex, how likely is it that you'll be willing to act on it, let alone talk about it?

And a Sign predicates something that makes it, and begs several questions.  It gets mangled by Occam's razor, because of the number of assumptions involved.

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12682
  • Darwins +709/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #89 on: February 15, 2013, 08:25:00 AM »
Many people have natural tendency to hate everything that is different than themselves to some degree, which results in ...

And you are saying that is yet another primary need religion satisfies?


homosexualism

It's an -ism now, is it?  are gays homosexualists? 
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline DumpsterFire

  • Graduate
  • ****
  • Posts: 383
  • Darwins +61/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • The Flaming Duck of Death!
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2013, 09:40:08 AM »
It is far, far more likely that the number of gays in modern times is due to the tendency towards openness in Western culture.

Exactly. Its probably safe to assume that the gradual increase in the public's acceptance of gays has plenty to do with the previously mentioned gradual trends away from religion, and this would make perfect sense.

The only real reason gays have been traditionally oppressed is the result of religion telling believers that's the way god wants it. I challenge any believer on this forum to provide a legitimate, secular reason that homosexuality negatively impacts your life. Seriously, can someone please explain exactly how what consenting adults do in private has any effect on you at all?
Providing rednecks with sunblock since 1996.

I once met a man who claimed to be a genius, then boasted that he was a member of "Mesa".

Think for yourself.

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #91 on: February 15, 2013, 11:52:47 AM »
Many people have natural tendency to hate everything that is different than themselves to some degree, which results in ...

And you are saying that is yet another primary need religion satisfies?
That's what you are saying by asking a rethorical question.

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #92 on: February 15, 2013, 12:11:21 PM »
The only real reason gays have been traditionally oppressed is the result of religion telling believers that's the way god wants it.
I don't know..
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_secular_view_of_homosexuality

"In the United States, secular views run from acceptance to the sort of hatred that's born of fear and ignorance."

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5263
  • Darwins +601/-19
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #93 on: February 15, 2013, 12:23:28 PM »
Being secular does not make one knowledgeable, you know.  There are plenty of secular people out there who are probably ignorant as all get out.  The difference, though, is that a secular person will not rationalize that hatred and fear of homosexuals as a command from God, as so many religions do, and seek to enforce it on others who don't agree.

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #94 on: February 15, 2013, 12:33:24 PM »
I think I've come to a realization about the point you're trying to make.  Your argument, at heart, is that religious belief is necessary because if fills needs of the human psyche, and that there are no real alternatives to religious belief to fill those needs. 
Strangely, there is no statement that "religion is necessary" in my original post. I use this term on page 2 only to say that IMO, religion is not necessary for everyone.

Indeed, in the original post I said "there is no alternative to religion". A better depiction of what I meant, with slight shift of the "base needs", is this:

At present, I don't see any viable alternative to religion, practically possible to implement worldwide on a mass scale, that would satisfy some important human spiritual and emotional needs, desires and problems like:
  • knowing the purpose (meaning) of life,
  • reconciling oneself to death and fate,
  • need for emotional security and stability,
  • need for love, acceptance and emotional support,
  • need for established authority and moral guidance.
Religion fulfills all these needs to a degree, depending on believer's committment and individual reaction. It also gives inner joy as a bonus for the truly faithful (and more). These needs are *not* necessarily characteristic to each and every person and also the level of intensity of these needs may vary.
Quote

What this argument boils down to is that we shouldn't seek to change things because the old ways are good enough, and there's no point in discussing alternatives because there are none worth mentioning.  Well, with all due respect, I firmly disagree with that.
I disagree, too - let's discuss an alternative. I may be a bit prejudiced or biased, but there is always point in discussing something.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 12:38:52 PM by Monolight »

Online jaimehlers

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5263
  • Darwins +601/-19
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #95 on: February 15, 2013, 01:58:51 PM »
Strangely, there is no statement that "religion is necessary" in my original post. I use this term on page 2 only to say that IMO, religion is not necessary for everyone.

Indeed, in the original post I said "there is no alternative to religion".
If there is no alternative to religion (to fill those needs), then it is necessary (to fill those needs).  Imagine if I said that we have no alternative to eating, but eating is not necessary.  I would rightly be chided for not making sense.

Quote from: Monolight
A better depiction of what I meant, with slight shift of the "base needs", is this:

At present, I don't see any viable alternative to religion, practically possible to implement worldwide on a mass scale, that would satisfy some important human spiritual and emotional needs, desires and problems like:
So there could be viable alternatives to religion that you just haven't seen.  For example, secular humanism does a pretty good job of fulfilling those needs you mention.

Quote from: Monolight
knowing the purpose (meaning) of life,
According to secular humanism, people must determine the meaning of life for themselves, not depend on something external to hand it down unto us (whether it's God, religion, government, or whatever).

Quote from: Monolight
reconciling oneself to death and fate,
There is no difference between this and the above.  If we must determine the meaning of life for ourselves, then we will must also reconcile ourselves with the eventuality of death.

Quote from: Monolight
need for emotional security and stability,
There is no inherent reason that people need religion to provide security and stability.  Indeed, the secular humanist approach - that we can provide emotional security and stability to each other - is essentially what religion does, but without the religious aspects.

Quote from: Monolight
need for love, acceptance and emotional support,
As I stated just above, we can provide love, acceptance, and support to each other without depending on something to hand it down to us.

Quote from: Monolight
need for established authority and moral guidance.
Again, I see no reason that we cannot have an established authority and moral guidance without religion.  Indeed, secular humanism gives us both without the negative side effects (such as an established authority which claims its mandate from a god, or moral guidance which depends on that same god).

Quote from: Monolight
Religion fulfills all these needs to a degree, depending on believer's committment and individual reaction. It also gives inner joy as a bonus for the truly faithful (and more). These needs are *not* necessarily characteristic to each and every person and also the level of intensity of these needs may vary.
In other words, it depends on what someone is willing to put into it.  So the fundamental aspect of religion is exactly the same as the fundamental aspect of secular humanism - people determine what they get out of it by what they're willing to put into it, and cooperate in order to provide for those needs.  The rest of it (the belief system, the doctrine and dogma, and the god) are extraneous.

Quote from: Monolight
I disagree, too - let's discuss an alternative. I may be a bit prejudiced or biased, but there is always point in discussing something.
Indeed.  Let's discuss secular humanism as an alternative to religious belief, as I've already started doing here.

Offline ParkingPlaces

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 6760
  • Darwins +819/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • If you are religious, you are misconcepted
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #96 on: February 16, 2013, 12:45:03 PM »

At present, I don't see any viable alternative to religion, practically possible to implement worldwide on a mass scale, that would satisfy some important human spiritual and emotional needs, desires and problems like:
  • knowing the purpose (meaning) of life,
An imaginary issue. We are here to continue the species. Or at least try. Everything else is a bonus, if you aren't starving to death or getting shot or squished by a meteorite.
Quote
  • reconciling oneself to death and fate,
Accepting ones death is all one needs to do. Reconciling and using terms like "fate" just complicate the matter.
Quote
  • need for emotional security and stability,

I get this from friends and family. Which is quite adequate.
Quote
  • need for love, acceptance and emotional support,
This isn't automatic. I have to be a lovable, acceptable, emotionally stable person to have this happen. I couldn't very well expect to get those three things if I were an a**hole who had a god.
Quote
  • need for established authority and moral guidance.
I prefer the authority we choose (government) over that which is chosen for us. And apparently I have had quite adequate moral guidance because I am a socially acceptable, unimprisoned, non-robbing, non-raping man who respects others and treats everyone rather nicely.

Quote
Religion fulfills all these needs to a degree, depending on believer's committment and individual reaction. It also gives inner joy as a bonus for the truly faithful (and more). These needs are *not* necessarily characteristic to each and every person and also the level of intensity of these needs may vary.

Other views of the world also fulfill all these needs to a degree, depending on the persons commitment and individual reaction. Genes are also involved. And circumstances. And cooperation from other humans. Yes, though a false process, religion does at time fulfill some of the listed things. But reality does it better. For me.


[/list]
Jesus, the cracker flavored treat!

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12682
  • Darwins +709/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #97 on: February 16, 2013, 10:18:51 PM »
the homosexuality discussion was off topic.  It has been split and moved here:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24500.0.html
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Schizoid

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 135
  • Darwins +10/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #98 on: February 18, 2013, 12:08:46 AM »
The reason that god doesn't heal amputees will always be explained away so things can come out right, nice and tidy.  It's a "heads, god wins", "tails, god wins" situation.  Actually I don't think it occurs to Christians to pray for something that is so completely impossible such as growing a new limb.  Nowadays science and medicine can provide a person with a missing limb an artificial one that works pretty damn well as opposed to not having one at all.  I suppose Christians would give god credit for that in the end.

I work at a homeless shelter that is run by a well known Christian organization (ironic, that) that specializes in that sort of thing.  It occurs to me that we have a couple of guys who work as volunteers in the food pantry who are amputees.  One is about my age since we were in grammar school together in the early 1960s who is missing a lower leg and uses an artificial one to walk.  The other is missing an entire leg and so uses a wheelchair.  I've never heard any suggestion of praying for either of them, nor the fellow with cerebral palsy that uses a motorized chair.  I am sure it will never happen.

I'm betting the answer would be that god has really healed them inasmuch as they are able to get on with their lives, except all of these individuals are on SS disability or SSI.  I have a goddaughter on SSI because of mental illness but she is working and doing well on medications so that probably counts as a healing by god according to Christians.

Interesting how their minds work, or don't.

Offline 12 Monkeys

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4716
  • Darwins +107/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • Dii hau dang ijii
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #99 on: February 18, 2013, 12:42:42 AM »
 Except for the fact that evolution has allowed other species,like lizards to regrow limbs,religious people somehow dismiss this.
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline dloubet

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1409
  • Darwins +83/-1
  • Gender: Male
    • Denisloubet.com
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #100 on: February 19, 2013, 04:03:20 AM »
Why won't god heal amputees need not be a logical argument. Depending on how it's presented, it can serve as an appeal to fairness. It can serve as an emotional appeal to fair-play.

Frankly, since theists don't deal with facts and logic very well, I think emotional appeals might be the way to go. It's the language they understand.
Denis Loubet

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #101 on: February 19, 2013, 07:29:52 AM »
This is a false analogy, as the sense of security insurance companies (legitimate ones, anyway) provide is not false. If I do take a corner at 200 km/h and slide into a ditch, my insurance company will cover the expense of any resulting damages.
Even when we narrow the view to only the legitimate ones. This is what I had in mind: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/science/06tier.html?_r=0
We buy insurance not just for peace of mind or to protect ourselves financially, but because we share the ancient Greeks’ instinct for appeasing the gods.
The same study is also described here: http://www.insweb.com/news-features/why-we-buy.html

Mono, I wouldn't have used this example. I would say the articles conclusions are more of personal opinion. I do not buy insurance to avoid a calamity, I do that to handle the aftermath should there be a calamity.

And you might want to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_FallacyWiki, there may be several of these in your posts.


Insurance industry wouldn't grow so well if they were appealing only to rational behavior and calculations. The article I cited was about people's hopes to avoid misfortune by buying insurance (compared to appeasing the Gods). The hidden message of many insurance ads is directed to this hope or expectation and exploiting it. I googled images for "insurance advertising" and quite easily found many that in my opinion are tricking people to think that buying insurance will help to prevent a misfortune.

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=rokVrTxQc_j1jM:&imgrefurl=http://adpluscommunications.blogspot.com/2010_09_01_archive.html&docid=YgtAeW7J3lyT5M&imgurl=http://noharmadd.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/aic-boot-ad_on-site1.jpg&w=500&h=645&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:10,s:0,i:112&iact=rc&dur=10661&sig=112345435621364324580&page=1&tbnh=174&tbnw=135&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=32&ty=96

This shows a pair of overshoes (belonging to competition) with a label: "[Almost] Waterproof". This is to suggest that their own watershoes will be fully waterproof. Overshoes PREVENT moisturing feet, they do not help anything AFTER you already have somehow moistured the feet.
_____________________________________

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=oLUhN9ZEj53ZWM:&imgrefurl=http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2008/12/16/24-unique-and-creative-advertisements/&docid=kg3tSxZ_ItRK7M&imgurl=http://www.toxel.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/candcads13.jpg&w=450&h=636&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:11,s:0,i:115&iact=rc&dur=542&sig=112345435621364324580&page=1&tbnh=174&tbnw=124&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=59&ty=91

The image shows a house with roof covered with pillows. The slogan says:
gegen hagel kann man sich nur schwer schützen. Aber leicht absichern. Which Google translates as: You can protect yourself against hail difficult. But hedge slightly.

Covering a house roof with pillows is a symbol of PREVENTING disaster to happen, not of dealing with the RESULTS of a disaster.
_____________________________________

http://www.popgive.com/2008/06/clever-life-insurance-advertising.html
The comment says: The meteorite smashed through the glass roof and hit the pavement. Look carefully at the billboard with the advertising, the rough translation is "Think again about accident insurance"
And if you look closely, the woman on the insurance has wings. It's a symbol of an angel.
I have overall impression that this ad appeals to human wish to PREVENT an accident, not about deal with its results (especially because of the angel)
______________________________________

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=K2ByOI-y8dgmMM:&imgrefurl=http://insurance-commercials.blogspot.com/2010/03/co-operators-insurance-print-advert.html&docid=ysgrDDMA-4UoQM&imgurl=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OZw2HyB6Zkw/S7JVW5uxeNI/AAAAAAAAACE/sLNLWjUPzoY/s1600/Aliens-ufo.jpg&w=783&h=1082&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:19,s:0,i:139&iact=rc&dur=739&sig=112345435621364324580&page=2&tbnh=166&tbnw=98&start=19&ndsp=25&tx=41&ty=80

Picture shows a house taken by aliens. The slogan: "The insurance you need for the surprises you don't". This makes sense to PREVENT such accident, because after the house is taken, the family won't probably have the chance to claim the insurance, from space.
______________________________________

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=o2j6NyNHp5PciM:&imgrefurl=http://friis-co.ru/best/advertising-for-insurance/&docid=qxZrZRDQWl2L_M&imgurl=http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs41/i/2009/008/6/e/Insurance_AD_by_DC_Junior.jpg&w=400&h=530&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:21,s:0,i:153&iact=rc&dur=654&sig=112345435621364324580&page=2&tbnh=172&tbnw=116&start=19&ndsp=25&tx=76&ty=89

The image shows a man in a boat in the middle of the ocean and a shark passing by. Slogan: "Got insurance?" It only makes sense to assume that insurance will PREVENT him from being eaten by the shark, not that it will help him to deal with the results of being eaten.
_______________________________________

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=aRLmNz58EUuhEM:&imgrefurl=http://friis-co.ru/best/advertisement-of-insurance-company/&docid=m1-1vjTPfdZm-M&imgurl=http://www.rentguard.co.uk/library/images/media/LHI-ad-baby-Jul07.jpg&w=353&h=500&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:42,s:0,i:216&iact=rc&dur=429&sig=112345435621364324580&page=4&tbnh=180&tbnw=134&start=41&ndsp=15&tx=76&ty=76

A child with an oversized sun hat on his head. Slogan: "Be confident. You're covered". A sun hat PREVENTS harm by sun.
_______________________________________
http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=tvf-hGLmJbkOLM:&imgrefurl=http://ramsaymacfarlane.com/portfolio/kwikfit-insurance-website-design.php&docid=TCb8NIPM_tzMAM&imgurl=http://ramsaymacfarlane.com/portfolio/images/kwikfit-insurance-landingpage.jpg&w=620&h=517&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:45,s:0,i:225&iact=rc&dur=3487&sig=112345435621364324580&page=4&tbnh=180&tbnw=218&start=41&ndsp=15&tx=79&ty=96

Image shows a car. Big slogan: "An insurance that protects you from any dents." Smaller slogan: "Especially to your wallet." The big message is clear.
_______________________________________

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=8Ha1geWXTVvsOM:&imgrefurl=http://1adt.com/from-the-net/creative-allianz-ads/&docid=h2ImlRsLl9csKM&imgurl=http://1adt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Creative-Allianz-Ads-2.jpg&w=990&h=1400&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:65,s:0,i:285&iact=rc&dur=6029&sig=112345435621364324580&page=5&tbnh=201&tbnw=169&start=56&ndsp=15&tx=75&ty=97

Image shows a house connected by a rope to a very big anchor embedded in the ground. Slogan: "nicht jede vorbereitung auf einen sturm schutzt wirklich" meaning: "not every preparation for a storm really protects". This simply suggests that you have to pay big money to protect against big storm. It doesn't show any harm, the house is intact.


_______________________________________
For comparison, here are examples of insurance ads talking about dealing with the EFFECTS of an accident:

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=h5j6su0LBvWX1M:&imgrefurl=http://ashpreetsethi.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-asci-guidelines-likely-for.html&docid=bhTPQVVoOx3OIM&imgurl=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6gDdhYE1Dxk/TdUdg-QnekI/AAAAAAAAAA0/E9wFmlk3b10/s1600/ads.jpg&w=1065&h=1478&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:15,s:0,i:127&iact=rc&dur=605&sig=112345435621364324580&page=1&tbnh=168&tbnw=108&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=32&ty=53

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=LmednAC4C-C5oM:&imgrefurl=http://www.adverbox.com/ads/swiss-national-insurance/&docid=wID5jy4XTJZajM&imgurl=http://www.adverbox.com/media/campaigns/2006/08/swissinsurance1.jpg&w=1200&h=825&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:16,s:0,i:130&iact=rc&dur=2021&sig=112345435621364324580&page=1&tbnh=186&tbnw=271&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=130&ty=93

http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&pws=0&biw=1280&bih=636&tbm=isch&tbnid=4OlbfLD-fM92pM:&imgrefurl=http://friis-co.ru/best/ads-insurance/&docid=diCnqJAi_Wm9wM&imgurl=http://www.halogendesigns.com/images/lee_insurance_visit_thumb_large.jpg&w=800&h=600&ei=q1YjUaLEKaeF4ASIkIBA&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:25,s:0,i:165
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 07:33:13 AM by Monolight »

Offline 12 Monkeys

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4716
  • Darwins +107/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • Dii hau dang ijii
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #102 on: February 20, 2013, 11:08:58 AM »
WTF does this have to do with amputees not being healed?
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Jag

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1913
  • Darwins +198/-7
  • Gender: Female
  • Official WWGHA Harpy, Ex-rosary squad
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #103 on: February 20, 2013, 12:05:34 PM »
To post #101 - OK, marketing is manipulative. This is not new information. People can extrapolate really incorrect ideas about what is being marketed, as a result of the manipulative nature of marketing. This is ALSO not new information - I could almost argue that it's the POINT of marketing.

What's yours?

"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline Tonus

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 195
  • Darwins +28/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
    • Stuff I draw
Re: Why it doesn't matter to religious people whether God heals amputees or not
« Reply #104 on: February 28, 2013, 09:04:54 PM »
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?
Religion is what the slowest gazelle relies on when the lions are out hunting.

I can see where religion provided an evolutionary benefit to communities of humans, by uniting them and justifying a moral double-standard that made it easier to increase their chances of survival.  In that scenario, I see it as a practical extension of racial or nationalist ideology, in that it helps to ease the conscience of those who are tasked with doing things that they consider immoral (particularly if it were done to them).

For example, a chieftain expresses his desire for his community to attack a nearby community.  They are to kill the men and any who are unfit for work, enslave the rest, and take all of the resources that they can transport back.  Appealing to racial or nationalist desires may work, but the most effective way to justify those actions are to have their shaman explain that GOD (or THE GODS) demand such action.  Obedience will be rewarded with rain and protection from illness, but if they refuse to comply they risk the wrath of GOD (or THE GODS).  This provides the necessary moral cover the community needs (sure, it seems awful to murder and enslave people but that’s on GOD/THE GODS, not me!).  Their willingness to slaughter, enslave and pillage in the name of GOD(S) improves their chances of surviving and growing their community.

The shaman and chieftain also experienced an additional benefit from this approach—they earned considerable personal power and the attendant perks (best food at dinnertime, best females for "dessert").  The community made sure that they were well-fed, well-cared for, and well-defended from enemies.  I think that this part of religious development grew and evolved faster than any other, and it has taken surprisingly long for the community to catch on.

In any case, I worry that we may not have an alternative for the niche that religion fills.  At least until we evolve a fair bit more.

Offline kcrady

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1350
  • Darwins +454/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Cephalopod Overlord
    • My blog
Emotional security is as real as physical security, but in the world of emotions (inside brain) instead of physical world.

Sure, it exists as a mental state.  Nobody here is denying that.  However, the mental state of feeling secure (or feeling anxiety) may not correlate with one's actual level of security or lack thereof.  Some people feel absolutely secure in trusting their god to heal their sick child, so no need to trust in the arm of man and call for an ambulance.  Sometimes the child will get get better, sometimes they get a prolonged miserable death.  In both cases, the parent can wrap themselves in the emotional security blanket of their religion and make themselves feel better.  But the main thing that's missing here is the involvement of any actual god.

Quote
As has already been pointed out, when one's luck runs out and something bad happens, the "sense of security" can turn to thorns, as the person starts having to wonder, "Did I do something to make god/the gods mad at me?"

As has already been pointed out, the answer is often "God wanted it this way." Not that "God is mad at you". Religion doesn't say life will be sweet as cherry pie. Part of the role of religion is to prepare people to cope with problems.

Sure.  My point was that religion is at best a two-edged sword.  It can provide a "sense" of security, and it can also provide a "sense" of anxiety.  One thing it doesn't do, is bring an actual god or gods/goddesses into people's lives.  Not in any way distinguishable from imaginary "inside brain" deities anyway.

Here is an article about emotional security: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_security
Religion is mentioned twice in an example situation of death of a loved person. First of all, hoping that the deceased person has gone to 'better place' is not commented as some sick attitude, but rather as a possible healthy reaction, proving one's emotional security. Second, religious devotion is given as one of possible ways to increase one's emotional security.

As I said: just like a security blanket or pacifier.  A security blanket can make a child feel safer, so that they want to drag it around with them everywhere they go.  Heck, it might even provide a little warmth in a pinch.  Yet for some reason, nobody's writing op-ed pieces advocating that everybody ought to start packing a security blanket around.

Quote
As with "security," we are once again not talking about an actual love from an actual being that gets manifested in some way.

God's love was manifested in many ways (many are described in the Bible).

And Darth Vader's evil is manifested in Star Wars movies.  You seem to have missed that I was communicating in the present tense.  The very fact that you bring up the Bible is evidence that on some level you're aware that your god is just a character in a book that lives only "inside brain" and not out in Universe, much less in charge of it.  If Stephen Hawking was my roommate, I wouldn't find myself limited to quoting A Brief History of Time when I wanted to talk about things he said or did.  There would be actual effects in my life.  I wouldn't just have a "sense" of having better access to knowledge about physics than most people, I actually would.

I am pretty sure all of them have already been ridiculed on this forum thoroughly, so you should have the idea. Religious people believe in those manifestations, this love is true for them and not an artificial "sense" of abstract love. You may think it's funny or absurd, but that's YOUR opinion.

Hey, it was the article you cited that talked about all of religion's proposed benefits as an artificial "sense" of (security, love, purpose, etc.) rather than the real thing.  Question: do you believe everbody's spiritual/religious/mystical/paranormal experiences and "manifestations" are true?  If a person claims to be a UFO Contactee, has had one or more extremely vivid experiences of being abducted by little gray aliens, and believes that they're channeling messages from Sirius, do you nod your head and think, 'Well, that's cool.  Guess those folks at SETI can close up shop now'?  Or maybe, 'Well, that's cool.  Their beliefs give them a sense of purpose and meaning as a channel of revelation from a superior society, and give them a sense of security'?  What about all those people who believe in religions other than yours?  Are all religions equally true "inside brain" and fie upon external reality?

Whether it's artificially high, depends on the view. Do people ever complain on too much love? Rarely. More love is usually welcome.

"Intense high" versus "normal": in this respect, it's analogical to art, or to knowledge. Is it bad that art makes you feel "high"? Are you against specialized studies, which absorb brain intellectually more than average? Both of these disciplines hook into some desire or need (for beauty, curiosity) and stimulate it.


Nope, nothing at all wrong with art, philosophy, and science.  At least in their case the artist/musician/philosopher/area of scientific study actually exists.  For that matter, there's nothing wrong with enjoying Tolkien, even though Hobbits don't exist.  If religious people kept their LARP'ing (Live-Action Role Playing) to themselves, I (and probably most if not all of the atheists here) would have no problem with it.  The problem is, religious people, believers in the Abrahamic monotheisms in particular, want to force everybody else to play.  If there was a powerful group of people who claimed that all humans have a "need" that only playing rummy can meet, and they demanded that America be an officially rummy-playing nation, that "We Play Rummy Here" be printed on all our money, that there should be officially-imposed "rummy in schools" etc., I would oppose them too.  I would also point out that the "needs" that can be met by playing rummy can also be met by playing chess, or Texas hold 'em, or video games (as I have pointed to secular alternatives to religion in my previous post).

Religion hooks into need for love.  Experiencing God's love

That would require that a "God" actually show up and do some loving.  Sorry, but "See this book?  It says that God loves people sometimes (when he's not smiting them and condemning them to everlasting torment)" isn't the same thing.

may sometimes get a bit "high" (exaltation). Agape - "a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other" (by wikipedia). It's wrong with experiencing it?

There's nothing wrong with having a high, IMO.  Problems come when you confuse your "high" with external reality, and do things like demand that legislation be based on it, or discriminate against people (e.g. gays, nonbelievers) because your game has a rule that says they're bad, indoctrinate children into your game and do your level best to keep them from getting the opportunity to choose their own game, or decide not to play, tell them they'll be tortured for eternity if they don't play your favorite variant of the Christianity Game, etc..  You want to experience an amazing high?  Try psilocybin mushrooms sometime.  It'll blow the doors off of anything you've ever experienced in church, I guarantee it.  I think it would be awesome if they could be legalized, and sold to adults in grocery stores like beer and cigarettes.  But, I would be opposed to anyone who wanted to force everyone to consume psilocybin mushrooms, or wanted society to treat non-shroomers as second-class citizens, or tried to convince people that they'd suffer forever if they didn't join the Mushroom Temple.

Are you saying that religion does not offer "real human community"? Googling for "Christian communities" shows 269,000,000 results, so at least some of them must be real.

No.  I'm saying that it's the "real human" part that meets the need for community and mutual support.  Religious doctrines aren't necessary.

About the "secular replacement" for the "unreal christian community", e.g. in Sweden. It's true Sweden is viewed as an example of how well a secular community develops. But note also, that it is a very rich country. It's easier to deal very well when you have a lot of money.

Sure.  It's also easier to build megachurches and cathedrals.  What's your point?

Besides, the "secular communities" seem to be missing spirituality. In “The epidemiology of lost meaning: A study in psychology of religion and existential public health in a Swedish context” by Cecilia A. Melder, you can read about it: (  http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:371919/SUMMARY01  )

OK, I've started in on this, but I don't have time right now to read all of it.  A couple things:

Quote
Others have pointed to the importance of developing a trans-cultural instrument,
which could work in different religious cultures and environments.
The instrument focuses on a person’s health and life quality during the a
time period of the last two weeks and measures the spiritual, religious, and
personal beliefs [SRPB] through eight different aspects: spiritual connection,
meaning and purpose in life, experience of awe and wonder, wholeness and
integration
, spiritual strength, inner peace, hope and optimism, and faith.

I've colored the parts of their system that are not exclusive to religion blue.  The others are quite vague.  "Spiritual connection"--to what?  Are they talking about something like channeling the spirit of an Ascended Master from Atlantis, or does this mean having close-knit relationships with "kindred spirits," i.e. other like-minded people?  Could both fall under this category?  "Spiritual strength:" this could mean anything from the ability to bend spoons with your mind, to having the grit and determination to climb the Matterhorn.  "Faith:" a notoriously malleable word.  It can mean everything from an earned trust ("I have faith in you") to being worthy of trust ("A faithful spouse") to rational confidence ("Airline safety records show that it's safer to fly than to drive; therefore, I have faith that this airplane will carry me safely to my destination") to evidence-free belief in something like "The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without sin (Immaculate Conception) and was assumed bodily into Heaven upon her death; also, she comes back every now and then."  Since it's lumped together with hope and optimism in this case, "faith" could be interpreted either way.

Another quote:

Quote
Through a second model DeMarinis has, inspired by David Wulff’s categories
for psychology of religion, constructed a worldview typology model for
how different approaches to meaning-making systems can be understood,
including both literal and symbolic worldview constructions of systems with
or without a transcendent belief foundation (DeMarinis, 2004, p. 163f). In
the Swedish context she found it necessary to add two additional categories
to the original model. One new category includes a mix of different systems
for meaning making, for example being a Christian and also attending Wicca-
ceremonies
;

[emphasis added]

A "meaning-making system" is not necessarily a religion.  As you yourself point out, patriotism can do the trick.  In the second emphasized part, they start trying to grapple with the issue of multiple religions.  So far, as I've read to this point, this article still doesn't get you within a light-year of proving that everybody has a Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts, as your citation in the OP tried to claim.     

We need to design better studies. There is already a lot of evidence accumulating
that religion is somehow related to personal and public health, but
we’re still left with a number of questions about how and why it works (if it
indeed does positively affect health
). We need more studies

Notice how he admits that the effects he's claiming are so subtle that it's still an open question whether they're there or not.  He's right: we need to design better studies.  It's not enough to have some study that seems to show benefits to having some kind of vaguely-defined "spirituality" broad enough to include both Carl Sagan and Fred Phelps, Zen Buddhists and Muslim fundamentalists, and then try to go from that to "See?  Everybody ought to believe in the Bible and go to church."  It's muddled thinking, followed by a giant non sequitur.  You're not even in the neighborhood of making your case until you can show that Christian monks "have it" (a nicely-filled God-shaped hole) and Hindu yogis don't. 

In The Lancet professor Wolfgand Rutz describes the current public health
status in Europe in this way, “During this period of European transition,
societal stress and loss of social cohesion and spiritual values directly affect
patterns of morbidity and mortality“

So why is there so much more societal stress and less social cohesion in highly-religious societies (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Bible Belt of the USA) as measured in indices of social health (crime rates, child mortality, etc.) than in secular societies?

And again, it's false for you. Someone may live or die for ideas (e.g. patriotism) which are meaningless and false to someone else.

And this is exactly my point.  If the articles you cited in your OP were correct, there wouldn't be any of this "it's true for me and false for you" stuff.  We would all have Jesus-shaped holes in our hearts, while the people who worshiped [the right version of] Jesus would be discernibly better off than those that didn't.  Other things, like patriotism, wouldn't do the trick.

This is goal (aim), not purpose (although purpose is a synonim of goal in the dictionary). The purpose that the Seattlepi article is talking about is more like "meaning of life" or "cause of life". In this sense, it would be impossible for human to set the cause of life themselves. According to religion, God set the purpose of life.

First of all, Christianity is not "religion."  It's a religion.  This is one of Christianity's more irritating rhetorical tricks: to just blithely assume that it owns the patent and trademark on something (religion, morality, meaning of life, purpose, etc.) while treating the vast panoply of religions, cultures, philosophies, science, and everything else outside of its own little bubble as unworthy of notice.  Then, once Christians are forced to acknowledge that yes, other religions do exist, and it isn't just "Worship Jesus, or the Devil", without losing an ounce of smug, they say, "Oh, well, Christianity isn't a religion (those are man-made and worthless), it's a relationship, so neener neener!"

And as the article says, humans need to know this *deeper* purpose. Need answer! And religion explains exactly this.

And what's this wondrous "deeper purpose" Christianity offers us?  Oh yeah: kiss the ass of a cosmic monarch forever and ever.  Wow.  That's soooo deep, man!

That's what religion teaches.

Sure, religions have their moral teachings.  Nobody disputes that.  What we dispute is the claim that "religion" (yours, naturally) owns the patent and trademark on morality.  There's such a thing as "ethics," an entire branch of human thought that isn't limited to the pronouncements of some bearded desert nomad's claim to be the voice of a king in the sky.

Quote
The secular alternative to "reconciliation with the ultimate" is to do our best to develop the most accurate understanding we can of reality as it is, take joy in the merely real, and act within reality's parameters.

That's good rational life. Reconciliation with the ultimate is something else. But if you never felt the void she's talking about, it's hard to explain.

Aaaaand, once again, my point exactly.  The "void" you're talking about, and your source in the OP was claiming, is something only Christians ever claim to feel.  Only they claim have a Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts, so it's lucky for them that they found Jesus, I guess.

I also think that the joy she is talking about is not unique to religion. Religion can be the source of inner joy, meditation (and maybe some other techniques) also can. But meditation is difficult and is not for everybody. Drugs on the other hand are destructive and short term.

Depends on which drugs. :)  Shamans have been using psychoactive plants for a looong time, probably going back at least to when the paint on the cave walls at Lascaux was wet.

Quote
Unfortunately, the worst religious violence is that waged by the religious groups themselves, under the authority of their most respected leaders, backed by the teachings of their religious scriptures and/or doctrines. 
Yes. So is secular violence.

Once again: exactly my point.  Your article was claiming that "religion" owned the patent and trademark on morality, and that violence was caused by people straying from their religion and not getting their Jesus-shaped holes filled properly.  My claim was that this was not the case, that religious people are not gliding along on some higher moral plane than the rest of us.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline Monolight

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 106
  • Darwins +2/-1
  • Gender: Female
the mental state of feeling secure (or feeling anxiety) may not correlate with one's actual level of security or lack thereof.  Some people feel absolutely secure in trusting their god to heal their sick child, so no need to trust in the arm of man and call for an ambulance.  Sometimes the child will get get better, sometimes they get a prolonged miserable death.  In both cases, the parent can wrap themselves in the emotional security blanket of their religion and make themselves feel better.
I don't know why you are drawing this example of parents who don't call for ambulance. It is not what (Christian) religion teaches. Or maybe this example is only to show that the gap between felt security and actual situation can be huge - then ok, it can be huge. Similarly when a person undergoes a medical treatment (and sleeps quietly and feels safe) but it turns out that the diagnosis was incorrect and the treatment was ineffective and he lost valuable time. My example is not representative to the overall situation with medicine (at least for the purpose of this discussion), and your example is also not representative to what religion teaches and what majority of religious people do.

IMO, the sense of security religion is meant to provide is not that nothing bad will happen to you. Rather, it's about the "no matter what happens" thing. So, no matter what happens, God loves you, he will give you spiritual strength to cope with it. It doesn't say that faith will protect you from misfortune. It says that being prudent and complementing it with prayer is best way to avoid misfortune. Not calling for ambulance is an example of imprudence.

More on this page: A reason to believe ( http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/12/believe.aspx )
it shows the results of recent research about benefits of religion from scientific point of view. Towards the end they mention secular community as an alternative to religion, with objection that "such societies will still need many of the components of religion, including a belief that we’re all part of the same moral community and, therefore, should make sacrifices that benefit the greater good."

IMO, this sounds nice but is limited to rich society (welfare state), so currently impractical worldwide. "Making sacrifices that benefit the greater good" is hard to achieve, communism as example. Plus, it would "still need many components of religion", probably including a meaning-making system described further towards the bottom of this reply, based on Swedish VVV test, which for the majority of people includes some "higher power" anyway.

Quote
My point was that religion is at best a two-edged sword.  It can provide a "sense" of security, and it can also provide a "sense" of anxiety.
Yes, religion may provide sense of anxiety, especially for sinners. It's meant to. But it also provides hints what to do to change it into something positive. If someone believes in what religion says, it's not extremely hard to conform and get rid of the anxiety. If someone doesn't believe - then why would he be anxious about it?

Note also, that in light of the American Psychological Association article linked above about benefits of religion for human psyche, health and social behavior, your efforts on WWGHA to prove to people that God is illusionary look at best like a two-edged sword, too. Which is one point from my OP.

Quote
One thing it doesn't do, is bring an actual god or gods/goddesses into people's lives.  Not in any way distinguishable from imaginary "inside brain" deities anyway.
You mean that religion cannot bring gods into peoples life because gods don't exist, so we're stuck at this point.

But if we assumed that God does exist, then it may happen in two ways. A person encounters religion and then learns how to find God in his life, asking Holy Spirit for faith. Many succeed, some don't. Or, another way around. First comes the awareness of presence of God (even if the person may not understand it entirely), and then a religion provides meaning to it. Some religions resonate better than others with this personal feeling, so people stick with them.

Quote
Question: do you believe everbody's spiritual/religious/mystical/paranormal experiences and "manifestations" are true?  If a person claims to be a UFO Contactee,
This question begs for answer "no", even without the examples. So, no.

Quote
What about all those people who believe in religions other than yours?  Are all religions equally true "inside brain" and fie upon external reality?
No idea. I am intrigued by the fact that there *are* so many religions and *so many* people are religious, rather than which one is more true than the others. I am agnostic to some degree. By saying in OP that there is no alternative to religion, I meant religion in general, as a spiritual experience or societal phenomenon. But Christianity is the only religion I know, besides brief descriptions of others, so my concrete examples are from this religion.

Quote
If religious people kept their LARP'ing (Live-Action Role Playing) to themselves, I (and probably most if not all of the atheists here) would have no problem with it.  The problem is, religious people, believers in the Abrahamic monotheisms in particular, want to force everybody else to play.
Yes, this is a problem. In a short, my understanding of Christian religion is that believers are responsible for spreading the good news - not by force, physical or psychological, but rather by informing and doing good deeds. There are many Christians who do this, although yes, some denominations understand preaching differently, more actively. But there are also people who exploit religion to support their views or private interests and make others play their game, which is political, economical, psychological or other, underneath. I don't like that, either. In this case religion is just a tool to achieve something non religious, as good as any other tool.

Quote
That would require that a "God" actually show up and do some loving.  Sorry, but "See this book?  It says that God loves people sometimes (when he's not smiting them and condemning them to everlasting torment)" isn't the same thing.
Besides the book, I am sure you must have heard/read also at least some testimonials from people, who describe what God's love means to them (and there are many in the internet, even found on youtube). They describe how they are personally experiencing God's love - and the experiences are rich. For some people God's love is a mystical experience. It's also often perceived and compared to unconditional parent's love - unique and irreplacable by anything else, psilocybin mushrooms included (I think so).

Quote
Problems come when you confuse your "high" with external reality, and do things like demand that legislation be based on it, or discriminate against people (e.g. gays, nonbelievers) because your game has a rule that says they're bad, indoctrinate children into your game and do your level best to keep them from getting the opportunity to choose their own game, or decide not to play, tell them they'll be tortured for eternity if they don't play your favorite variant of the Christianity Game, etc..

People discriminate because they are in the majority and feel powerful. If the other side were the majority (gays, nonbelievers), they would discriminate others, too. Games and rules vary but human nature is as it is. But religion, as well as secular humanism can also be used as a tool against discrimination. Have you tried to think of it this way? Several sites in the internet explain, based on the Bible, why we *shouldn't* discriminate against this and that. Thinking globally, discrimination became disadvantageous for the society as a whole. If it's true, religion will evolve, sooner or later (consider inertia), as it evolved in the past.

Quote
I'm saying that it's the "real human" part that meets the need for community and mutual support.  Religious doctrines aren't necessary.
You may say so, but I can't confirm it. My experience in life so far is generally in favor for strictly Christian communities, or peer groups, as opposed to non-religious or unknown - in terms of acceptance as a person and overall satisfaction, value and quality. It's doubtful that Christians are superior people by nature, or that it was always a coincidence. At some point I started appreciating aspects of this particular religion, together with its doctrines, as something that adds value to the "real human" part of a community.

Quote
First of all, Christianity is not "religion."  It's a religion.  This is one of Christianity's more irritating rhetorical tricks: to just blithely assume that it owns the patent and trademark on something (religion, morality, meaning of life, purpose, etc.) while treating the vast panoply of religions, cultures, philosophies, science, and everything else outside of its own little bubble as unworthy of notice.

That's characteristic of any religion (unless maybe there are syncretic religions, I don't know), including atheism. Oh sorry. it's not a religion..

Quote
Sure, religions have their moral teachings.  Nobody disputes that.  What we dispute is the claim that "religion" (yours, naturally) owns the patent and trademark on morality.  There's such a thing as "ethics," an entire branch of human thought that isn't limited to the pronouncements of some bearded desert nomad's claim to be the voice of a king in the sky.
Does 'ethics' have patent on morality?

And I don't recall myself disputing anything resembling patent on morality, or claiming that "my" religion is morally superior to yours. Where?

Quote
The "void" you're talking about, and your source in the OP was claiming, is something only Christians ever claim to feel.  Only they claim have a Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts, so it's lucky for them that they found Jesus, I guess.
Hmm. Are you sure that only Christians claim to feel the spiritual void? How about Hindu you mentioned earlier? I don't mean Jesus-shaped, but rather God-shaped spiritual void in general. This would be strange if only Christians had it.

The article cited in OP mentions God-shaped void (not Jesus-shaped). So it would mean that only God can fill it, not philosophy or any other earthly value. I found definition of spiritual distress, which may have some description of the void: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_distress
It sounds like illness though and contains only negative aspects, so it is not very precise description what the void could mean.

Quote
Quote
Quote
Unfortunately, the worst religious violence is that waged by the religious groups themselves, under the authority of their most respected leaders, backed by the teachings of their religious scriptures and/or doctrines. 
Yes. So is secular violence.
Once again: exactly my point. Your article was claiming that "religion" owned the patent and trademark on morality, and that violence was caused by people straying from their religion and not getting their Jesus-shaped holes filled properly.  My claim was that this was not the case, that religious people are not gliding along on some higher moral plane than the rest of us.
If this was your point, then ok. I thought that maybe you wanted to say that religion has patent on *immorality* and secular were never as bad with violence as religious. Which I wouldn't agree.

---About the Swedish study

Quote
Quote
Others have pointed to the importance of developing a trans-cultural instrument,
which could work in different religious cultures and environments.
The instrument focuses on a person’s health and life quality during the a
time period of the last two weeks and measures the spiritual, religious, and
personal beliefs [SRPB] through eight different aspects: spiritual connection,
meaning and purpose in life, experience of awe and wonder, wholeness and
integration, spiritual strength, inner peace, hope and optimism, and faith.

"Spiritual connection"--to what?  Are they talking about something like channeling the spirit of an Ascended Master from Atlantis, or does this mean having close-knit relationships with "kindred spirits," i.e. other like-minded people?  Could both fall under this category?

Connection to a spiritual being.
http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/en/622.pdf
WHOQOL-SRPB page 20:  "To what extent does any connection to a spiritual being help you to get through hard times?" and following

Quote
"Spiritual strength:" this could mean anything from the ability to bend spoons with your mind, to having the grit and determination to climb the Matterhorn. (...)
"Faith:" a notoriously malleable word.  It can mean everything (...)

These instructions were given to respondents of WHOQOL-SRPB: "While some of these questions will use words such as spirituality please answer them in terms of your own personal belief system, whether it be religious, spiritual or personal."

From this and overall context of this field-test, it wasn't about bending spoons or having faith in airlines safety.

Quote
Quote
Through a second model DeMarinis has, inspired by David Wulff’s categories
for psychology of religion, constructed a worldview typology model for
how different approaches to meaning-making systems can be understood,
including both literal and symbolic worldview constructions of systems with
or without a transcendent belief foundation (DeMarinis, 2004, p. 163f). In
the Swedish context she found it necessary to add two additional categories
to the original model. One new category includes a mix of different systems
for meaning making, for example being a Christian and also attending Wicca-
ceremonies;
A "meaning-making system" is not necessarily a religion.  As you yourself point out, patriotism can do the trick.  In the second emphasized part, they start trying to grapple with the issue of multiple religions. 

Let's see how Swedish people responded to the VVV test (described also in this study), which explains how they understand meaning-making in their lives:
"Concerning the existential dimension, 72% believed that
spirituality was important or very important. There was a great variety concerning
how people were making meaning in their lives. A slight majority,
51% included a higher dimension, 33% excluded it and 11% didn’t know.
When people responded to what they use as a grounding system for their
meaning-making, they combined a lot of different systems. Almost half,
47%, responded that they used a Christian ground but excluding any higher
power, 62% included a higher power using a combination of different systems
to make meaning in their lives. Only 19% reported a single-tradition
way of making meaning: that they had a non-spiritual/non-religious ground
and didn’t count on any higher power; or that they counted on a higher power
and had a spiritual/religious ground.
"


So, 62% included higher power in their meaning-making system. That's how they understood meaning-making. There is no explanation what exactly was meant by higher power, but according to the last sentence in above quote, having religious/spiritual ground is correlated with *counting on* higher power. So the higher power is probably a deity or supreme being. Something intelligent.

The result of WHOQOL-SRPB test in Sweden (SRPB = spiritual, religious, and personal beliefs):

"when focusing on the health items “How do you feel?” and “How satisfied are you with your health?” the results showed a significant relation to the existential health dimension* (p = .001). The results also showed a significance between the overall ratings of physical, mental, social, and environmental health and the existential health dimension (p = .008)."

The respondents’ answers to two of the four original SRPB items in the WHOQOL-100,
the ones that included health, “To what extent do your personal beliefs** give you the strength to face difficulties?” and “To what extent do your personal beliefs** help you to understand difficulties in life?” had in combination a significant correlation to the item “How do you feel?” (p = .008).


* the existential health dimension is understood as "a person’s ability to create and maintain functional meaning-makings systems". And for definition of meaning-making system vide the VVV test above (it includes "higher power" in 62%).
** questions about personal beliefs "refer to religion, spirituality and any other beliefs you may hold. - from the test instructions

So, from this I understand that in Sweden there is significant correlation between feeling good and having a valid personal meaning-making system, which for 62% of the population includes higher power (probably deity).

By the way, another interesting thing about Sweden and spirituality from the same article:

In many studies, Sweden stands out as a country
with a very high number of members in the Church of Sweden and with
many turning to the church for the baptizing of children, for marriage, and
for funerals. Yet at the same time many of these people do not believe that
the church’s theology can be of use in creating meaning in their lives.


So the society is secular, but at the same time they often participate in religious rituals. Tradition,  religious nostalgia or maybe appeasing gods just in case?

And another interesting, about spirituality in our current post-modern times:
"One trend is that people tend to be more and more interested in aspects
concerning the spiritual dimension of life, and another trend is that people
tend to be less involved in traditional ways of expressing their religiosity, for
example decreasing participation in local church services (..).
These trends have been observed both in Sweden and internationally"


So even if people turn away from church, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't need religion anymore or that they become atheists.

Quote
Quote
We need to design better studies. There is already a lot of evidence accumulating
that religion is somehow related to personal and public health, but
we’re still left with a number of questions about how and why it works (if it
indeed does positively affect health). We need more studies
Notice how he admits that the effects he's claiming are so subtle that it's still an open question whether they're there or not. He's right: we need to design better studies. 

He also mentions there is a lot of evidence. Not only he, but others in the same article. There is also research that explains directly how religious practices affect health in specific cases, for example:
Research Shows How Religious Beliefs Can Protect Psychological Well-being during Stressful Experiences ( http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/08/religious.aspx )
Prayer takes the edge off, a new study suggests ( http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/06/prayer.aspx )

But you know what? I agree, we need better studies and more research. Like in other disputable areas of social life.

Quote
Quote
In The Lancet professor Wolfgand Rutz describes the current public health
status in Europe in this way, “During this period of European transition,
societal stress and loss of social cohesion and spiritual values directly affect
patterns of morbidity and mortality“
So why is there so much more societal stress and less social cohesion in highly-religious societies (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Bible Belt of the USA) as measured in indices of social health (crime rates, child mortality, etc.) than in secular societies?

Maybe because secular societies are rich and offer better health support. I found this whole Lancet article here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(04)16224-7/fulltext
It is about situation in European countries (he explicitly mentions Greenland, Ireland and Eastern Europe) during transition, I think it is not about Sweden particularly.