Thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts so far.
I have never needed to rely on a lie to make me feel better, and I have been in a situation where I did not expect to be alive the next morning.
There was probably a point in my life that I believed in “God” and that probably made me feel good thinking that something more powerful than me was watching out for me. Other than that, I can’t think of a lie that I might have relied on to make me feel better, but I’ll leave open the possibility that I have so perhaps I can identify it and realize my mistake.
Thankfully, I also haven’t been in a situation where I did not expect to be alive the next morning (we are both perhaps a bit fortunate and wise not to be in such situations). Still, Foxy Freedom, not everyone can be or is as fortunate and wise enough to avoid being in bad situations where they might not be alive the next morning.
Religion teaches you to rely on something other than yourself. Even though you are doing the work yourself. Not giving credit to themselves but more reason to trust in their god. Losing god can improve ones self worth.
Yeah I agree. Too often, people confuse having self worth with arrogance. I’ve overheard a few conversations among Christians where they almost expect people to view themselves as worthless in the eyes of their god. It is very emotionally unhealthy for someone to view themselves as worthless, and there is nothing wrong with someone having enough self worth as to be able to help themselves, others and overcome obstacles in life on their own. I think arrogance is a description reserved for people who think they are better in some way or “more equal” than other people.
Although most of the Christians I know or have met seem to buy into the “God helps those who help themselves” slogan. There is probably some hint of irony there.
I've always tended towards "I'll believe it when I see it" rather than depending on positive thinking. I also fit into the nAch (need for achievement) motivational type described by psychologist David McClelland. What this means in practical terms is that I tend towards intrinsic personal goals and extrinsic task motivation, so most of the time it's just Me versus a problem that I see as soluble through natural means.
In this context, I view any crying out for supernatural assistance as just an outburst in a moment of frustration or fatigue. It's not really a motivator at all; it's more of a signal to Myself to back away from a problem and sleep on it, or to start asking friends and business contacts for their input, because I just hit the wall.
I view things in the same way these days. I wonder if the people I’m thinking about would be able to motivate themselves in the way you’re talking about Astreja. I suppose it’s possible or maybe even very possible that they would.
Thanks for the link.
I feel only strong contempt toward Christianity; I don't agree with other religions (excluding the atheist branch of Jainism) but I have no contempt for them.
I agree in regards to Christianity (strong contempt). I’ve never heard of Janism, interesting, I’ll look it up.
Would they find some other source to motivate themselves? Would they have to be helped by others?
I'm just wondering what others think about this subject.
Depends. Probably for the current population, there would be problems.
But then - once you had taken away the persistent and diminishing teaching that "you owe everything to god, you are nothing, everything you do is bad and good comes only from god", I suspect those people might have a whole lot less problem motivating themselves in the first place.
I was thinking the exact same thing. Short term there would be problems, but overall the long term benefits would really be overwhelming.
I don't know if the stories were true or not, but the concept of someone not believing in themselves and thus needing to believe in something more powerful than them in order to resolve a problem in their life is understandable.
Not only understandable but ultimately a wise strategy. As William James said if a creed makes a man happy, then he will almost inevitably adopt it.
This is an aspect of religion - salvation midst the terror of being - that I have no problem with.
For my own part I have an old friend who has struggled his whole life with severe bi-polar and schizophrenia - his Catholicism is a huge part of his identity and, I suspect, has helped keep him from suicide, a sadly common outcome for people with his pathology. Not only do I accept his Catholicism, I applaud it.
His priest, on the other hand, who tells his congregation that homosexuality is a form of 'moral disorder' and tells children that Hell awaits them if they have 'dirty thoughts', him I would gladly kick the sh*t out of.
Life's a complex business, we all do what we can to stay afloat...
Yeah, sometimes I feel this way, I just think to myself that there has to be a better way for these troubled people to find resolution to their problems besides something that is imaginary. Really what we’re ending up with is a bunch of people with problems believing in something which isn’t real, and this sounds pretty dangerous.
"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
I have no room for the argument that religion can be a necessary and useful tool. It is a net negative and a completely uncontrollable monster easily turned ugly. See Stephen Law for thoughts on that.
If religions were practical methods that were revised based on efficacy, I could see it. If the ten commandments were updated to include "thou shall not own people", or "thou shall treat women and men equally" or to omit the part about gays being an abomination, I could see it. But they aren't. They leave the bible as is and just kind of sweep the parts they don't like under the rug. As a result, the bible increasingly has little to do with modern society. And those ugly, anachronistic parts are dragged back out periodically by bigots and lunatics to support regressive ideas, which they call "fundamentalism".
That is probably what got me thinking about this last night, in reference to the good vs evil/bad and discussing necessary evil. I also wondered if religion was a necessary evil. I do have to agree with you that the net negative and completely uncontrollable monster easily turned ugly (fundamentalists) is not worth whatever positives religion might provide.
Thanks for the link.
Yes, the lack of a security blanket would be detrimental to some. The superstitions that may incline some toward more altruism would be lost.
Compared that to the fact the same thing was reasons for wars, executions, discrimination, slavery, second class status for some, impeding scientific progress, murder, and useless expenditures of resources.
Thus to keep religion around would be a classic case of penny wise and pound foolish.
Ha, yes, good point. I usually dream about how much better those wasted resources could be spent. How many people could have homes and be able to sleep in a warm bed in place of all the expensive churches, temples and cathedrals. The donations made to religions every year are staggering, and every time I look at the numbers I shake my head and think to myself “religion has to be the greatest scam in human history”.