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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: Not on the fence on August 05, 2013, 12:32:46 PM

Title: A world without Religion
Post by: Not on the fence 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?
                   
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Nick 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: One Above All 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: jdawg70 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."
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Traveler 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Star Stuff 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: William 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Not on the fence 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: William 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Bereft_of_Faith 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: AverageMoe on August 12, 2013, 05:48:37 AM
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Quesi 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. 
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Nam 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.

-Nam
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: neopagan 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? 
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: ParkingPlaces 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: jdawg70 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: LoriPinkAngel 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."?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Star Stuff 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: jdawg70 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: LoriPinkAngel 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: LoriPinkAngel 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Star Stuff 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.

Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: screwtape 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.



Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Quesi 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. 
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Star Stuff 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Traveler 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.  :)
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: nogodsforme 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
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: shnozzola 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.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Bluecolour 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?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Bluecolour on August 12, 2013, 09:26:08 PM
-snip-
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.

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.

I find it funny putting these two posts together.

Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: neopagan on August 12, 2013, 10:24:28 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."?

 LPA, I see where you are coming from, having myself finally parted ways with faith right after christmas 2012.

 However, it isstill a great time to spend with family, remember the fun times of christmas past, and (without the baggae of faith) know it is better to give than receive. I encourage my kids every year to find ways to give away at christmas... fill toy bins at collection points, put money in the bellringers buckets, make gifts for each other instead of buying. They love it and have always enjoyed putting together samaritan's purse boxes for kids in poor countries ( I know, a jeezus tie in, but it is harmless).

All I mean is to find ways to make it a happy time for you and yours. Life may be kicking you now, but you have your son and you can find small things to celebrate together this xmas.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: William on August 13, 2013, 12:31:31 AM
I find it funny putting these two posts together.

I'm not seeing the joke. Care to explain?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Bereft_of_Faith on August 13, 2013, 01:47:10 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."?

Little late here, but I may be able to offer a bit of hope. 

I chose the screen name 'Bereft of Faith' because when I came here I was suffering from the loss of faith, which I had given up a few years before. 

It does get better.  I went from leaning on faith at every turn, to having it pulled out from under me, hobbling along, to finally walking on my own, and being grateful that there is and never was any need for crutches. 

I feel remarkably lighter, despite my infirmities, because I no longer look to an inscrutable, unreliable, seemingly capricious god to help or save me.  I rely on myself, the expertise of my doctor, the innovations of science, and the help and understanding of my family.  These things are all real, somewhat responsive, and can be rated on their effectiveness, unlike (an imaginary fantasy such as) God. 
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: bertatberts on August 13, 2013, 03:11:26 AM
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.
How so explain! And while doing so, check out the more secular countries of the world where religion isn't dominant and correlate that with the most happy countries. Then rethink what you posted thanks. It is the dumbest I have seen this year.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Hatter23 on August 13, 2013, 08:22:03 AM
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.

Why do you say that as opposed to examples of places Japan or Sweden?

Cold war Russia and North Korea have secular equivancies of religion, complete with the acceptance of dogma before evidence, venerated dead figures, unquestionable leaders.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: ParkingPlaces on August 13, 2013, 09:41:54 AM

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?

You brought up some legitimate points, and I indeed ignored other common reasons for being an a-hole besides religion. But at least I said that without religions we "could take away a lot of excuses", not all excuses. I don't pretend (though I wasn't clear in my post) that all problems would go away with religion gone, but I still contend that it would help removed some of the bullshit from everyday life and remove useless tools that religion provides from our repertoire (prayer, marriage counseling from celibate priests, etc) .

Or it would make us even more delusional, if that is what I am when I say such things.  ;D

P.S. Even though I am an atheist, I don't see the removal of religion as a realistic goal. There is no humane way to do it. One would have to resort ot Stalin or Mao-level methods, which includes replacing religion with some other, even more disastrous, mind-set. Plus a lot more dead bodies. My vote is for opening up our world in such a way that none of us are so caught up in our own philosophies (religious or otherwise) that we're automatically willing to kill those who disagree with us or dispute our claims. That alone would improve the planet a hundred fold.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: nogodsforme on August 13, 2013, 10:44:47 AM
A world without religion would be like cold-war era Russia or present day North Korea.

Why do you say that as opposed to examples of places Japan or Sweden?

Cold war Russia and North Korea have secular equivancies of religion, complete with the acceptance of dogma before evidence, venerated dead figures, unquestionable leaders.

Interesting how the lack of religion is immediately assumed to equal oppressive dictatorships where people are forced to adopt an ideology. Why not instead examine the reality of places where people freely and voluntarily live quite well without religious belief?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Star Stuff on August 13, 2013, 10:48:38 AM
"There was a time when religion ruled the world, it was known as the dark ages."
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: epidemic on August 13, 2013, 01:06:37 PM
Interesting how the lack of religion is immediately assumed to equal oppressive dictatorships where people are forced to adopt an ideology. Why not instead examine the reality of places where people freely and voluntarily live quite well without religious belief?

What society is free from religion?

How do you propose eliminating religion from a society? (by attrition over centuries through education, I say fine to that.)

I know a couple of people who absent religion would revert to being dicks.  Where religion turned their life around.   Now god may not have been involved in these transformations but the former criminal who finds god and decides to perform good works makes up some fraction of society.  How is removing religion good if it on occasion makes some bad people good.?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: neopagan on August 13, 2013, 01:09:20 PM
^^^ well, murder sometimes gets rid of horrible people and sometimes gets rid of wonderful people... we could still live without murder
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: epidemic on August 13, 2013, 01:29:31 PM
^^^ well, murder sometimes gets rid of horrible people and sometimes gets rid of wonderful people... we could still live without murder

True but a majority of people are not murderers,  Most people are not murderers by nature.  Most people I think seek religion because it makes life easier for them?  How would you eliminate murder by edict?  Murder is an action and religion is a thought.   How you gonna eliminate religion?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: neopagan on August 13, 2013, 01:40:51 PM

True but a majority of people are not murderers,  Most people are not murderers by nature.  Most people I think seek religion because it makes life easier for them?  How would you eliminate murder by edict?  Murder is an action and religion is a thought.   How you gonna eliminate religion?

The bible claims anger=murder (no distinction between thought and action in the crazy book), so by the bible rules all are murderers by nature...

I assumed the OP was imagining a world without religion... not a removal of it by fiat (however that could be done).

I'm sure reasons for seeking religion are as varied for individuals as the many interpretations of religion. Some may seek easier life, some promises of blessings or fear of hell, some may just go along with what theywereraised in...
I only hope religion decreases over time, but I took the post to be inspired by the John Lennon tune...
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: bertatberts on August 13, 2013, 02:02:30 PM
Quote from: epidemic
I know a couple of people who absent religion would revert to being dicks.
Really! I find that hard to belief. "'Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion" - Steven Weinberg
Quote from: epidemic
How is removing religion good if it on occasion makes some bad people good.?
Because the bad outweighs the good.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: epidemic on August 13, 2013, 02:09:44 PM
Quote from: epidemic
I know a couple of people who absent religion would revert to being dicks.
Really! I find that hard to belief. "'Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion" - Steven Weinberg
Quote from: epidemic
How is removing religion good if it on occasion makes some bad people good.?
Because the bad outweighs the good.

hey I don't know what is in the guys mind but one in particular who stands out was a thug and hoodlum,  he was arrested several times, an addict and he says when he found god he turned things around.  I have heard the story many times on the news, talk shows and in person twice.  Could they be lying, I don't know but they seemed genuine.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: screwtape on August 13, 2013, 03:43:14 PM
How you gonna eliminate religion?

That's the million dollar question, innit?  As I see it, religion is not the problem.  Yeah, yeah, it is one problem and a pretty effing big one at that.  But the root of it is our horrible, irrational brains.  Those organs were not evolved to think rationally.  They were evolved to find food and reproduce. Our burgeoning rational thought is probably a happy(?) result of early apes having to outsmart each other for dominance and mating priviledges. 

So the only way to get rid or religion is to get rid of magical thinking.  And the only way to do that, really, permanently, is to breed people with better brains, and breed out the idiots.  Since there are no selective pressures for rational thought and plenty for magical thinking, it would require a conscious plan to promote more people with more rational brains.

If there were a cabal of extremely motivated, wealthy and powerful rationalists, it could be done.  But by Cipolla's First and Second Laws of Human Stupidity[1], you are not likely to find enough of them.  And stupid people are unlikely to go along with the plan either because they revel in their own idiocy or because "Hitler".

The human species is doomed.

 

 1. paraphrased: stupid people are everywhere and are equally distributed throughout society.  Thus rational people are rare and also equally distributed.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: bertatberts on August 13, 2013, 04:02:09 PM
hey I don't know what is in the guys mind but one in particular who stands out was a thug and hoodlum,  he was arrested several times, an addict and he says when he found god he turned things around.  I have heard the story many times on the news, talk shows and in person twice.  Could they be lying, I don't know but they seemed genuine.
You're talking about anti-theists and junkies and drunks who had god in there lives from birth, but became anti when life threw them a few curves or they got led astray.

However you worded it as if they were religious, but once they left, they became violent a-holes.
Quote from: you
I know a couple of people who absent religion would revert to being dicks.
Now you are saying they were violent and now they're righteous.
Hence why I said I found it hard to believe, I agree that people who have gone astray can reconnect with they god. But people that leave the violence that is religion, are rarely violent people. As the respect a persons right to live in peace.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: nogodsforme on August 13, 2013, 10:40:31 PM
It could also be that there are people who decide that it is time to stop being d!cks, usually because they have matured and can think better. They want to become settled members of society. Few people become thugs, start taking drugs or join street gangs at age 30, but many want to stop doing those things around that age. And one socially acceptable way to stop being a d!ck is to "find god".

Back in the day, young folks stayed out of gang recruitment by carrying a bible, professing to be sanctified, or belonging to the Nation of Islam. Parole boards look kindly on the inmates who go to bible study. Churches welcome and reward the reformed sinner. Even street gangs and other thugs sometimes allow a fellow member to leave if they get religion.

Some of them probably are quite sincere, while others are playing the game--not exactly lying, but saying what they know people want to hear so they can get out of the thug life.

What I find interesting is that nobody can tell the difference.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Add Homonym on August 14, 2013, 12:23:58 AM
Australia already has no clue about religion. This particular "woman" had been putting stickers on supermarket food items, saying that halal foods supported terrorism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_1SFf8t-ko

I looked up haram, and found that it was the path of sin : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haram

I think the One Nation party has plans to take Australia back to the Eden state, where nobody knew anything.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Traveler on August 14, 2013, 12:56:00 AM
There are two people in my past who are now very fundamentalist religious folks. In both cases, they were drug addicts beforehand. In my opinion, its not quite true that religion fixed them. Rather, its that religion, for them, is a more benign addiction than drugs.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Nam on August 14, 2013, 02:47:07 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."?

Christmas isn't about Jesus or Christianity. Jesus wasn't even born on December 25th[1]. Paganism, as it stands, holds the holiday of "Christmas". From being persecuted Christians celebrated their special days in masque of pagan holidays. What does a tree have to do with Christianity? What do lights on said tree? What do presents? What does Santa Claus or reindeers have to do with Christianity? Absolutely nothing.

Easter is also masqued in the veil of a pagan holiday for a god called Eostre who looked a lot like a bunny who laid eggs. What does that have to do with Christianity? Absolutely nothing.

So...celebrate away.

-Nam
 1. if he actually existed
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Hatter23 on August 14, 2013, 07:29:06 AM
Interesting how the lack of religion is immediately assumed to equal oppressive dictatorships where people are forced to adopt an ideology. Why not instead examine the reality of places where people freely and voluntarily live quite well without religious belief?

What society is free from religion?

How do you propose eliminating religion from a society? (by attrition over centuries through education, I say fine to that.)


Education, yes. Also by not giving it legal status. By treating people's religion as if it was there community theater.

As long as there's a legal definition for a religion, there's going to be discrimination because silly belief X qualifies as okay, but not silly belief Z. Why should X get the housing deduction, lowered utilities, no property tax, the ability to not have to charge sales tax, but not Z? Because X is a wider held delusion. X gets privileges that only are acceptable because somehow X is special and no one can come up with a logical reason why X is special.

That's where reason comes in, as long as X is given a special legal status, you are basically admitting "we care fuck all about what actually makes sense."

You see a theater troop serves the community, and they can get 501C3 status. They don't pay income taxes. Nothing is stopping them from existing. However, if you were to say "I can't work on Fridays because my theater troop thinks it is wrong;" an employer doesn't have to legally comply with that. If you were to say "Hey, my theater troop doesn't tolerate people making fun of how bad they are, I want a law passed to make it illegal to criticize it" you would be laughed at by legislators. If you state "Because of my Theater troops beliefs, I want this dropped from the science curriculum" it wouldn't even be considered. If you whipped your children raw, what your theater troop stated about how it would make them better actors wouldn't be an issue in a court.

I, and many here, have no desire to outlaw theater troops or religion for that matter. Just that your beliefs don't get anything different or special legally speaking because of the shield the word 'religion' gives them.

And while that doesn't quite mean a society without religion, it does mean a society without any undue influence from religion.

Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: LoriPinkAngel on August 14, 2013, 06:22:51 PM
As one who has recently given up on faith I can say I hereby promise not to go out and murder or lie or do any other crimes that I wasn't otherwise inclined to commit despite the people around me who continually piss me off.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Nam on August 16, 2013, 02:14:34 PM
As one who has recently given up on faith I can say I hereby promise not to go out and murder or lie or do any other crimes that I wasn't otherwise inclined to commit despite the people around me who continually piss me off.

Sorry, I couldn't hold it any longer and I really had to go pe...wait, what? Um, nevermind.

-Nam
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Astreja on August 16, 2013, 02:31:07 PM
Easter is also masqued in the veil of a pagan holiday for a god called Eostre who looked a lot like a bunny who laid eggs. What does that have to do with Christianity? Absolutely nothing.

Certainly not *now* -- I have reclaimed My holiday.   ;D

And for the record, I don't look anything like a bunny.  Many years ago, however, My pet hare was roaming around in a farmyard near the Black Sea and was seen coming out of a chicken coop.  It's been trying to live that down ever since.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Hatter23 on August 16, 2013, 03:22:10 PM
Australia already has no clue about religion. This particular "woman" had been putting stickers on supermarket food items, saying that halal foods supported terrorism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_1SFf8t-ko

I looked up haram, and found that it was the path of sin : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haram

I think the One Nation party has plans to take Australia back to the Eden state, where nobody knew anything.

She wants Halal food banned????????????? I take it, then she wants only pork products on the shelves?

Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: screwtape on August 16, 2013, 10:16:24 PM
My pet hare was roaming around ...

Did you ever read The Maxx?
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: Astreja on August 16, 2013, 11:43:50 PM
Did you ever read The Maxx?

First I've heard of it, but I found a description on Wikipedia.  Sounds like an interesting series, and I'll keep an eye out for it.
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: median on August 18, 2013, 11:24:17 AM

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?

I like some of the things you wrote there. The problem is we have much scientific and statistical data which suggests otherwise. Numerous research projects have demonstrated that Atheist/Agnostic (less religious) societies/states/cities, etc are better off socially speaking - showing less crime and more happiness (general sense of well being).[1][2]

Now, whether or not people will still rationalize (at times) or not is, I think, aside from the point. Atheists/agnostics/non-believers tend to be more critically minded - practicing more critical (rational) thinking than religious people do, and basing decisions more upon reason and less upon emotion. This also applies to our decisions to commit crimes, and it is reflected in our prison systems. The numbers are staggering. There are very few atheists/agnostics in prisons in comparison to the religious. Are these numbers absolutely conclusive? No. But I think they do show some significant things regarding societal well being as it correlates to religious belief.


edit - added url tags so footnoted links function
 1. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion)
 2. http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/Zuckerman_on_Atheism.pdf (http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/Zuckerman_on_Atheism.pdf)
Title: Re: A world without Religion
Post by: epidemic on August 19, 2013, 09:02:41 AM
Australia already has no clue about religion. This particular "woman" had been putting stickers on supermarket food items, saying that halal foods supported terrorism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_1SFf8t-ko

I looked up haram, and found that it was the path of sin : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haram

I think the One Nation party has plans to take Australia back to the Eden state, where nobody knew anything.

She wants Halal food banned????????????? I take it, then she wants only pork products on the shelves?

man I love her!  She is awesome!!!  She makes me laugh. 

She would make a great character on TV.