Author Topic: A world without Religion  (Read 2493 times)

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Offline Not on the fence

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A world without Religion
« on: August 05, 2013, 12:32:46 PM »
So I was having a conversation with a friend. We were talking about the absence of religion in the world, he said that religion is important.                                                                                                              Some of his quotes from converstaion were.
 " Can you imagine a world where people who are completely desperate and/or nuts have nothing to hold on to?" 
"Imagine some person that lives in a dust swept shit hole in the Middle East. There is no water, little food and no future. Now...take away a belief that things will get better in the afterlife.  Now you have someone on suicide watch. It's a very primitive mindset."

My reply but what about all the violence due to religion?

his reply "For as long as there are differences in skin colour, there will always be bloodshed. Religion is a tag we put on it, but it usually boils down to money. Take religion out of the equation and there will be something else to fight over" and "911 was under the guise of religion. Very misguided, as most religious people are, but it happened nonetheless."

Do we really need religion to keep people comforted, and sane? 
I know for myself religion made me feel crazy, always felt bad if I did something that was a "taboo" in gods eyes.  Always felt like i was on a Roller coaster ride.  Without this "your going to hell" threat held over my head I think that things would have been different for me in a better way.

Your thoughts?
                   
"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion"
Steven Weinberg

Offline Nick

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2013, 12:52:59 PM »
I think we see a whole lot more bat shit crazy behavior from the religious side of things than from non believers.  Do you think our embassies being on lock down and the NSA spying program are not a result of religious nuts wanting to kill us?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2013, 12:54:58 PM »
You know, during my high school days, I went to this UN (or some other such organization) "simulation", where we discussed the problems with various countries. Religion was pointed as being one of the major causes of conflict nowadays for every single country. What does that tell you?
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2013, 01:23:05 PM »
his reply "For as long as there are differences in skin colour, there will always be bloodshed. Religion is a tag we put on it, but it usually boils down to money. Take religion out of the equation and there will be something else to fight over" and "911 was under the guise of religion. Very misguided, as most religious people are, but it happened nonetheless."
"There are other contributing factors to problems in the world.  Therefore, we should not attempt to address any of the contributing factors."

That's how I read this person's reply.  My guess is that isn't the argument he's putting forward; he's probably going with religion not being a contributing factor.  You could always ask him, if he took religion out of the equation, in what manner would he go about convincing someone to shove a plane full of people into a building.
Quote
Do we really need religion to keep people comforted, and sane? 
It's been said before, but the 'needing religion' bit can come off as arrogant:
"I don't need the mental/moral crutch of religion.  But some people aren't as good or smart as I am, so they need that crutch."
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 01:34:17 PM by jdawg70 »
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Offline Traveler

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 04:09:40 PM »
Studies continue to show that less religious countries have less crime, less violence, less of, well, most anything bad. In other words, secular countries are safer and better. So there.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 07:25:30 PM »
Studies continue to show that less religious countries have less crime, less violence, less of, well, most anything bad. In other words, secular countries are safer and better.

Very true.

It sounds like your friend doesn't give one whit whether the claims, beliefs and assertions of the various religions are true or not, but rather that they are merely comforting to weak minded and/or emotionally fragile individuals.  I also suggest that those individuals who are weak minded and/or emotionally fragile, get that in part or in whole by the claims, beliefs and assertions of religion in the first place.  They've been inculcated since birth that they are no good, weak, needing forgiveness, redemption and governance from an invisible & imaginary father figure.  Of course they're going to have a tough time when their security blanket is removed.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2013, 07:38:31 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline William

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2013, 07:29:20 PM »
Getting rid of religion would improve the world's economy and decrease poverty and suffering.

Biggest benefit would come from a reduction in military expenditure.
There would be fewer injured soldiers to care for.
Suffering of civilian populations in war zones would be reduced.
With fewer wars the infrastructure built for civilians would last longer.
Refugee problems would diminish - those families would be settled and their societies become productive.

Next biggest economic boost would come from redeploying all clergy types into sales functions in businesses. There they would have a real product to sell ;)
Church assets currently involved in 'worship' could be used for activities that benefit society.
Tax exemptions for religion would end - the money currently donated/collected would go more worthy charities or into the economy.  Poor people would not be guilt-tripped into tithing their hard earned.

Students would stop wasting years studying Theology - except maybe as a lecture or two in History - to ensure we don't repeat mistakes of the past.
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Offline Not on the fence

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2013, 08:13:37 PM »
Just to add my friend is not religious in anyway. I kinda understand what he means.  Religion is mind control, and people use it as a crutch.
"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion"
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Offline William

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 09:04:32 PM »
Religion is mind control, and people use it as a crutch.

But that there is the problem.  Free minds are healthier and less dependent on crutches.  Free minds don't just accept circumstances - they become creative problem solvers.
 
When people help other people in need of assistance or comfort, both the giver and receiver benefit.
When people look to religion for comfort, they receive bullshit and the clergy benefit. It's a scam.
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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2013, 01:21:19 AM »
Religion is soft, warm comfort.  Since the world is not soft or warm, the cold comfort of reality is best.  I would say that this is true, even for the emotionally weak.  I speak as an emotional weakling, and can attest that I am far more capable of facing life's trials without the soft cozy covers of false beliefs.  Since I am no one special, this must be true for many others as well. 

Peoples' belief in 'God' is analogous to small frightened children hiding from monsters beneath their blankets. It may feel safe and effectively ward off imaginary demons, but won't do shit against the real dangers of life.

Offline AverageMoe

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 05:48:37 AM »
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.

Offline Quesi

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 07:29:10 AM »
You know, your friend has a point.

I work with immigrants, refugees and displaced people.  Many are survivors of war, torture, economic marginalization.  Many have watched loved ones die of curable diseases or death squads.  The vast majority find comfort in their various religious beliefs.  And you know what?  When I see survivors who have developed strong survival strategies, I don't have a problem with using a god as a survival strategy.

But let's imagine a world without "shit holes."  Let's imagine a world in which there is not starvation or economic marginalization.  Let's imagine a world in which everyone has access to clean water and nutritious food and shelter from the elements.  Let's imagine a world in which no one's family faces institutionalized persecution because of their race or ethnicity or political perspectives. 

That world would have no need for religion. 

Offline Nam

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 07:51:15 AM »
Though I agree that the world may be better without most religions (the major ones), i have no problem with other religions like Jainism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

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Offline neopagan

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 08:46:46 AM »
at the very least, being rid of the Abrahamic versions of religion would make the world a better place.

Good things are done in the name of religion, but they are nothing the rest of the world (including all the godless) doesn't do for their fellow man anyway.  Look at disasters - people give money and effort but who do you see getting all the credit - god and his minions. As for the bad things done in religion's name... well, god gets the usual pass and it is the individual who gets blamed for being extremist, crazy, full of lust... whatever.

The Abrahamic religions are a mind control scam (a very clever and well done one).. and you only need to ask why control the minds and who benefits? 
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 09:10:24 AM »
But let's imagine a world without "shit holes."  Let's imagine a world in which there is not starvation or economic marginalization.  Let's imagine a world in which everyone has access to clean water and nutritious food and shelter from the elements.  Let's imagine a world in which no one's family faces institutionalized persecution because of their race or ethnicity or political perspectives. 

That world would have no need for religion.

Absolutely right. However, as long as so many of us are going to insist on being a-holes, we'll need religion to justify ourselves. The muslims can look at every death as "gods will" and shrug their shoulders, rich christians can look at the poor and say they have no value because they obviously don't have jesus on their side. Or whatever their mindset is. It doesn't come up enough for me to guess right. I can only go by their actions, which are nil. Well, not nil. Their actions are making it worse.

The casualness of religious justifications does the majority of the harm on this planet, I fear. Or at least such attitudes provide an avenue for the continuation what Quesi so aptly describes as "shit holes". The problem now is that we are creating even more of them. Again, with religious justification.

For instance, while not the same as being forced to be a child soldier in the jungles of Africa, right now 40% of Americans are living on incomes (after being adjusted for inflations) under what the minimum wage provided in 1989. No country can survive such minimal injections into the economy by so many, and no economy can survive having huge amounts of its currency disappearing into off-shore accounts. Which is happening while the religious right worships their other god, the rich.

America is a shit hole in the making. Detroit is just the beginning of a new round of crises. And this is happening with religion as an operational social construct, a "necessary" component, a root cause.

As an atheist, I have no way to justify the slums and the poverty and the insensitivity displayed by believers towards the aptly labeled "misfortunate" ones. It ain't misfortune, folks, it is, among other things, a religiously caused, and religiously justified, disaster.

Yes, I know missionaries and other religious folks go into areas where there are poor people and wars and try to help while converting, in hopes of making the worlds a better place. But their motivation comes from the wrong source, an imagined "wonderful place" where we all get to go when we die, and its boss. The religious are doing their "good" works in the name of a non-existent being whose contributions are nil and whose powers are limited to those which misdirected humans can make up. Those efforts don't count.

If we could take away religion, we could take away a lot of excuses. Maybe then we would be able to look at problems with relevant horror and with sensitivity and with the sense of urgency each should be invoking. Instead of so casually.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 09:43:04 AM by Star Stuff »
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2013, 11:31:18 AM »
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.
Could you go into more detail on your thinking with this one?
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2013, 11:39:49 AM »
I must admit that since I have given up on faith I feel somewhat rudderless and hopeless.  I look at the bins of Christmas decorations in my hallway and want to cry.  Some of those ornaments are treasures and precious memories to me of people who gave them to me or made them for me.  Now what do I do with them?  I am 50 years old and for all of my previous years it has been tradition to put up a tree and decorate and celebrate and my son is 14 and I have always done this with him.  Now do I just say "No present for you, no reason to celebrate."?
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2013, 11:47:25 AM »
I must admit that since I have given up on faith I feel somewhat rudderless and hopeless.  I look at the bins of Christmas decorations in my hallway and want to cry.  Some of those ornaments are treasures and precious memories to me of people who gave them to me or made them for me.  Now what do I do with them?  I am 50 years old and for all of my previous years it has been tradition to put up a tree and decorate and celebrate and my son is 14 and I have always done this with him.  Now do I just say "No present for you, no reason to celebrate."?

So Christmas, and all of the North American add-ons like tinsel, provided you with a rudder and hope in life?
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2013, 11:56:00 AM »
I must admit that since I have given up on faith I feel somewhat rudderless and hopeless.  I look at the bins of Christmas decorations in my hallway and want to cry.  Some of those ornaments are treasures and precious memories to me of people who gave them to me or made them for me.  Now what do I do with them?  I am 50 years old and for all of my previous years it has been tradition to put up a tree and decorate and celebrate and my son is 14 and I have always done this with him.  Now do I just say "No present for you, no reason to celebrate."?
Just because you've given up on faith doesn't mean you have to give up on sentimentality.  I still carry a rosary around with me; my mother had always asked me to keep one on hand.  When I was a believer, I confess it did give me some spiritual connection.  Nowadays, I keep it around because it is a reminder of the primary reason my mom wants me to hold onto a rosary - because she cares about me.  She's wrong about the rosary; objectively, it is nothing more than cheap plastic beads on some string.  But her reasons for me to have a rosary around, while peppered with this whole 'keeping god and Mary close to me' thing, ultimately stem from her desire that I be safe and that she cares about me.  While I don't really need a trinket to remind me of that fact, there is still a deep, psychological, sentimental feeling of closeness with my mom when I know it's with me.

I dropped the faith but kept the sentiment around.

Insofar as Christmas presents are concerned...did you really ever give someone a present because of anything that had to do with faith?  Or was it more of a social gesture of kindness that happen to coincide with a time when many people were, for one reason or another, simply celebrating the idea of being nice to each other?
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Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2013, 12:48:17 PM »

So Christmas, and all of the North American add-ons like tinsel, provided you with a rudder and hope in life?

No, of course not.  But my point is going having faith and traditions to not having them is a big change.  It leaves a hole.  Tinsel and the add-ons were just for fun.  Fun I no longer have a reason to have.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2013, 12:54:12 PM »

Insofar as Christmas presents are concerned...did you really ever give someone a present because of anything that had to do with faith?  Or was it more of a social gesture of kindness that happen to coincide with a time when many people were, for one reason or another, simply celebrating the idea of being nice to each other?

I was one who felt it was important to keep Christ in Christmas.  I suppose I could give presents at that time of year now for no reason but it would seem hypocritical.  This is going to be painful for me.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2013, 12:58:16 PM »
No, of course not.  But my point is, going from having faith and traditions to not having them is a big change.  It leaves a hole.  Tinsel and the add-ons were just for fun.  Fun I no longer have a reason to have.

Yes, but that can be said for just about anything, especially when it involves a social aspect like family & friends getting together during the longest & coldest time of the year. That triggers a lot of primitive "stuff" still residing in the brains of the highly social creature known as homo sapiens.  Don't forget that the Christian "Christmas" was borrowed from pagan origins.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2013, 01:37:33 PM »
No, of course not.  But my point is going having faith and traditions to not having them is a big change.  It leaves a hole.  Tinsel and the add-ons were just for fun.  Fun I no longer have a reason to have.

Wha..?  The reason for fun is the fun itself. 

And why don't you still have traditions?  Having some traditions is kind of important, I think.  That has nothing to do with godbelief.  I see xmas as an opportunity to have at least some time every year set aside and dedicated to spending with my family, relaxing and having great food.  Without it being a national holiday, with days off at work and all that, I might only get around to doing it every few years, which would be a tragedy. 

None of that ceased to be less important to me when I stopped believing in god.  I've been an atheist for most of my adult life and I have not had a xmas where I did not exchange presents.  I had only one xmas where I did not get together with my family.

I like xmas lights and decorations, except the goofy nativity scenes.  I love the smell of pine in the house in winter.  I even like some xmas music.  Sure, I think many of the lyrics are retarded, but there is some good music there. I even say, "Merry effing christmas" and send out holiday cards.

I fricken love xmas.  The only way I see to improve on it would be to add fireworks, which I have done.



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Offline Quesi

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2013, 02:01:02 PM »
Oh Lori.  This is such a difficult time for you on so many levels.

But annual traditions, as well as rites of passage, are really important.  And atheists have not done a very good job at recognizing this, or incorporating it into our lifestyle.

Did you really believe that the baby Jesus was born on December 25?  Or did you kind of understand that it was a myth?  And what did you think that putting decorations on pine trees had to do with the commemoration of the birth of somebody in a region that didn't have pine trees? 

You put up a tree BECAUSE the ornaments are sentimental.  Some were passed down through your family.  Some were hand made.  Some were acquired on vacations or under odd circumstances that merit an annual recognition.  You touch these items once a year, and tell the same stories, and go through your family memories together.   You share family feasts with people you love, because all through human history we have celebrated feasts with those we love. 

Christmas falls just after the winter solstice, and the nights are long and the daylight is so limited and it is so cold and depressing.  And so you celebrate with loved ones, using lights to remind you that the light will return, and evergreens, to remind you that the green plants will return.  As Star Stuff and others have said, this is all ancient pagan stuff anyway.  It draws on something primitive and necessary in us. 

Don't mourn Christmas now.  You have so much on your plate.  This will be a tough year for you for so many reasons.  But there are wonderful Christmas memories that will be created in your future.  Probably not this year.  But in the future.  The first time your son brings a date to the holiday meal.  Surprises from your boyfriend.  Acts of kindness from strangers.  And perhaps acts of kindness that you engage in, when your life stabilizes and your strength returns. 

And years from now, perhaps grandchildren, who will touch each ornament, and hear the stories that go with them, and anticipate the magic of gifts and love and feasts to come. 

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2013, 02:12:00 PM »
Oh Lori.  This is such a difficult time for you on so many levels.



Don't mourn Christmas now.  You have so much on your plate.  This will be a tough year for you for so many reasons.

I guess there are things going on in LPA's life that I'm not aware of.  Sorry if I came off harshly, didn't mean to.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 03:10:08 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline Traveler

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2013, 03:03:12 PM »
You're completely entitled to any feelings you're having at this moment. You're facing major life changes, and you might not want to hear any of this right now. If so, simply file it away for later. You may need time to mourn the changes, and that's perfectly normal.

Like the others, I'm so sorry that your holidays have less meaning for you now. I hope that over time you can come to appreciate that they're good excuses to share with family, and not worry so much about the meanings that different people put on them.

I suppose I've always taken holidays with a grain of salt. A fat man flying around the world in one evening? A rabbit distributing eggs? Spooky ghosts? And all of them harking back to mutiple cultural traditions, all mixed up into a jumble that historically doesn't really make any sense whatsoever.

Jesus was said to have been born in the spring, and very conservative christians refuse to celebrate christmas because of the pagan nature of it. I've always celebrated christmas, but it was never about religion. It was about shared family memories. Call it Solstice, Noel, or simply a Winter Festival if you like. I say "Happy Holidays," knowing that then I'm not excluding anyone.  :)
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 03:10:39 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2013, 04:25:42 PM »
There is enough bad stuff in the world to go around. Everyone should celebrate everything they can. It means whatever you decide it means. I never got to celebrate holidays as a JW kid. And for a while, as an athiest,  I hated all holidays. Now I celebrate Easter, birthdays, Eid, Christmas, Nochebuena, and Halloween. I celebrate everything. :D
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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2013, 05:34:40 PM »
I must admit that since I have given up on faith I feel somewhat rudderless and hopeless.  I look at the bins of Christmas decorations in my hallway and want to cry.  Some of those ornaments are treasures and precious memories to me of people who gave them to me or made them for me.  Now what do I do with them?  I am 50 years old and for all of my previous years it has been tradition to put up a tree and decorate and celebrate and my son is 14 and I have always done this with him.  Now do I just say "No present for you, no reason to celebrate."?

Oh Lori, love is not any less important without a god.
“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline Bluecolour

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Re: A world without Religion
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2013, 09:06:03 PM »

Absolutely right. However, as long as so many of us are going to insist on being a-holes, we'll need religion to justify ourselves. The muslims can look at every death as "gods will" and shrug their shoulders, rich christians can look at the poor and say they have no value because they obviously don't have jesus on their side. Or whatever their mindset is. It doesn't come up enough for me to guess right. I can only go by their actions, which are nil. Well, not nil. Their actions are making it worse.

The casualness of religious justifications does the majority of the harm on this planet, I fear. Or at least such attitudes provide an avenue for the continuation what Quesi so aptly describes as "shit holes". The problem now is that we are creating even more of them. Again, with religious justification.

-snip-

America is a shit hole in the making. Detroit is just the beginning of a new round of crises. And this is happening with religion as an operational social construct, a "necessary" component, a root cause.

As an atheist, I have no way to justify the slums and the poverty and the insensitivity displayed by believers towards the aptly labeled "misfortunate" ones. It ain't misfortune, folks, it is, among other things, a religiously caused, and religiously justified, disaster.

Yes, I know missionaries and other religious folks go into areas where there are poor people and wars and try to help while converting, in hopes of making the worlds a better place. But their motivation comes from the wrong source, an imagined "wonderful place" where we all get to go when we die, and its boss. The religious are doing their "good" works in the name of a non-existent being whose contributions are nil and whose powers are limited to those which misdirected humans can make up. Those efforts don't count.

If we could take away religion, we could take away a lot of excuses. Maybe then we would be able to look at problems with relevant horror and with sensitivity and with the sense of urgency each should be invoking. Instead of so casually.

You're making the mistake of assuming that those a-holes couldn't find alternative reasons to justify their actions in the absence of religious ones, or that taking away religion would even make the task substantially more difficult for them.

I don't know if you've ever spoken to someone who was cheating on their spouse or was having an affair with a married person. A few minutes in that conversation will leave you flabbergasted at the rationalizations that a thoroughly educated man can hold to when he is determined to outwit himself.  The excuses of such a person do not even need to be coherent much less rational. This is because self-justification is a powerful force always in operation within the human mind.

In any event I do not need a logically valid argument to explain why I left my wife and children to pursue a relationship outside my home provided it is not in my plan to ever have to give one. When a person does something immoral fully believing that he will not be caught, he does not bother creating excuses for his actions, he just does them. Naturally, he will only even encounter this need for self-justification when he comes face-to-face with the judgement of his own conscience, much of which ironically will be a direct result of his own socioreligious indoctrinations.

Aside from this you make a perfectly valid point. People have used and still use religion to justify some of the most horrific things that have occured in our past. However, this doesn't change the reality that these people are both capable and willing to use any all methods available to justify their behavior. There are people today that use Darwinism to justify racism.

You're argument is that by removing religion we leave people with less excuses to justify immoral actions, I say that by removing religion you simply give them room to create more excuses by which to justify those immoral actions. With that in mind we do nothing by removing religion and so might as well keep it since [in respect to this] it neither adds nor removes from the real problem.

One other thing. You used yourself as an example of how the absence of a formal religion allowed you to act more ethically. While I cannot speak on the subject of your behavior or the validity of your personal experience, I do question its general applicability. While it feels easy to say that without religion people would be better human beings one must be made to question these assumptions. What are we in effect saying; that the man cheating on his wife would not have be doing so if he was an Atheist, or that the prostitute that he did this with would not be in that situation if she had not been raised Catholic?