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"People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

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"People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

The above is a quote from HL Mencken, taken completely out of context purely as a starting point for this thread.

I've been watching the 'religion' themed threads for a while now, and my conclusion is that religion seems to bring out some very nasty traits in many people - the main activity on these threads has been squabbling, sniping, argument by assertion, and puerile point scoring.

This seems par for the course whenever religion is discussed, whether within small groups like this one, or on the wider world stage (I'm thinking Crusades, I'm thinking Jihad, I'm thinking abuse of women in some Muslim cultures, I'm thinking brutalisation of Muslim prisoners in Iraq and in Abu Graib)

Religion so often seems to be the excuse we use for hating, torturing and killing people who are 'different', and it seems that, even in a friendly discussion where little is at stake, religion continues its role as a fomenter of conflict.

Yet, when you look at religious texts, the rhetoric is about God's love, duties to one's neighbours, humane treatment of animals, children and all weaker individuals, sharing wealth and resources, giving to the poor and needy etc etc. I can't see anything wrong with any of that - in fact, I'm completely behind all of it.

Religion is at the core of all civilisation - it seems to have evolved within all cultures as a means of drawing the community together, collecting and preserving knowledge, teaching children, providing 'theatre' in the form of communal ritual observances, providing a sense of safety, through knowledge of the seasons, history of the community etc. In early times, heads of state would often have a priestly role, and might be sacrificed if the harvest was unsatisfactory to placate the gods.

It's clear, at least to me, that we would not be able to live within the social groups we do, and could not have made the material advances we have made, as a race, without the influence of religion in providing the ethical framework within which we can live close to each other without raw self interest undermining any attempt to create a community.
Without communities, we are only ourselves - within communities, we have access to the talents and gifts of others - the whole is definitely much greater than the sum of its parts. Mankind (and womankind) needs to live in communities - no man, as John Donne famously wrote, is an island.

So far then, religion is to be seen as a completely positive thing - religion=communities, communities=people getting access to knowledge and resources they would otherwise lack, and thereby achieving outcomes they could not even dream of alone. Looked at in this way, religion is a completely practical and very desirable thing.

Looking around the wibbly wobbly world for inspiration, I found this series of essays - i'm only posting the link to the first - you can easily find the others if you're interested.
http://theology.co.kr/whitehead/religion/1.html

This is interesting to me because it divides the concept of religion into 4 phases:
Ritual
Emotion
Belief
Rationalism
Seems to me, so far I have talked about the first two phases, and the conclusion here is that there is no problem at all with these two.
Ritual observance brings a community together, channels the emotional energy of community members, provides entertainment, access to knowledge, the foundation for a set of rules about behaviour - in short, a police presence.
I do it all the time with my dogs - 'look over here, here's a biscuit, behave in a certain way and you will have the biscuit'.
Dogs are happy, furniture remains unchewed, the household is a happy one.

When we move on to what the author of the piece would term the 'individual' aspects of religion, I think we start to get into problems, and this may be where the negative aspects of religion arise. Belief and rationalism (forming a personal code of practice based on belief, and attempting to convince others of the validity of this) are where the subjective, 'numinous' elements arise, and where the mischief can also begin.

Some religious figures have evolved what I might want to call benign beliefs - Elizabeth Fry for example, who believed that her God loved everyone, even convicted criminals, and who expressed that belief by working within the prisons of the time to provide the benefits of civilisation to those prisoners so far as she could.

Some religious figures have evolved much less benign beliefs - I might want to cite the priests of the Spanish Inqisition, whose revelation and belief was that God loved only Catholic Christians and that the use of torture and painful death would save the souls of those that fell below this high standard.(Sorry, this is VERY oversimplified, but I hope people get the gist)

In my own journey, I have found it preferable to avoid close connection to any religious movement, because I think once you get into those 'personal' aspects of religious belief and action, you do run the risk of getting involved in beliefs and attitudes that I would find morally repugnant (the belief, for example, that Baptists, Catholics, Muslims - fill in your own denomination - have the direct line to heaven the real gen, the absolute knowledge of right and wrong; and that everyone else is going straight to Hell)

I like having the concept of god - I don't care whether anyone can prove or disprove her/his/its existence. To me the truth is that we are all god's children - we all belong to the same family, we all have the right to live, to grow and to find our own truth.

Between the world's religions and belief systems, there are many more points of similarity than there are differences - we all have a moral compass, we all believe in something - what I would like to see is a proper discussion of our different beliefs, a friendly and sympathetic consideration of the points of view expressed, and a sincere attempt to reach a common understanding.
But, hey, that's just me - carry on squabbling if you like
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:27 pm

Did you ask for an estimate first?

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:48 pm

So am I. But at the moment they are 'super' natural - above that which we understand at the moment. I have no doubt there are many things that are impossible to science, even to human mental and physical experience, at the moment which will open out in the millenia to come.

Supernatural involving humans simply defies evolution, its impossible, go take your primitive myths back to pre-enlightened times.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:03 pm

Yes, many people are both fooled and deluded, you only have to look at those who believe in evolutoin as the origin of life.

Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life you dummy, it is an explanation for the diversity of life, go stand in the corner and take a pointed hat with you.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:19 pm

Please provide a link for this, I feel you have taken poetic licence off planet.

Tosh, Tosh, Tosh ... I'm pleased that you're back and all, but how quickly you forget. I never say anything unless I can back up my words, and you, of all people, trying to call my bluff, well ... all I can say is: "tsk tsk."

For instance:

And the small odds of success, ultimately, can be liberating. I feel like I have the lucky opportunity to fail in all this, simply because I’ve been so fortunate up to now. When I began searching for exoplanets, everybody said I was crazy.

LINK

This is taken directly from Dr. Marcy's own biography:

When we told other astronomers about our search for extrasolar planets, they would often smile politely, look down at their shoes, and change the subject. It was understood that detecting planets was well beyond current technology.

It was understandable, but frustrating, that much of the astrophysics community held doubts about the existence of our planets for several years. Some suspected that the stars were merely pulsating while others supposed that the orbits were mostly face-on, artificially diminishing the Doppler amplitude. We published, and placed on web pages, strong counterarguments to those doubts. But not everyone appreciated the arguments, including a few journalists who relished the open debate.

LINK

This sentiment was repeated on the documentary Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman:

Freeman: "Dr. Geoff Marcy hunts for planets that could sustain alien life. For many years, people thought he might be ... crazy.

Marcy: "When I would tell other scientists that I was hunting for planets around other stars, they would look down at their shoes, embarrassed for me. You might as well been looking for fairies or alien civilizations in the, ah, pyramids."

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:24 pm

Tosh wrote:
So am I. But at the moment they are 'super' natural - above that which we understand at the moment. I have no doubt there are many things that are impossible to science, even to human mental and physical experience, at the moment which will open out in the millenia to come.

Supernatural involving humans simply defies evolution, its impossible, go take your primitive myths back to pre-enlightened times.

Thanks for your polite comment. So you believe evolution is complete? I don't. I have not brought religion into this nor primitive myths.
We simply do not know what man is, or will be capable of, in the future. We have evolved to the extent that certain parts of our bodies are no longer required. Our brains have enlarged as we have evolved, and are capable of things not previously possibly. I'm not talking centuries, but many millenia. What the future will produce who knows.

And didn't say supernatural. I said 'super' natural.

As Shirina pointed out there seems to be a link between identical twins, though we don't understand it. Other things occur which have no logical answer.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by trevorw2539 on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:25 pm

oftenwrong wrote:Did you ask for an estimate first?

No. But I'm still solvent - just. Wink
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:29 pm

It was understandable, but frustrating, that much of the astrophysics community held doubts about the existence of our planets for several years. Some suspected that the stars were merely pulsating while others supposed that the orbits were mostly face-on, artificially diminishing the Doppler amplitude. We published, and placed on web pages, strong counterarguments to those doubts. But not everyone appreciated the arguments, including a few journalists who relished the open debate.

Scientists are SUPPOSED to doubt, no conspiracy,get back to your UFO tales.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:45 pm

Scientists are SUPPOSED to doubt, no conspiracy,get back to your UFO tales.

Here, have a pair of these:



That way you can read my posts in an accurate fashion.

I never once said there was a "conspiracy," I said there is politics. A LOT of politics. That does not equal some nefarious conspiracy of secret cabals - or whatever ridiculousness you're thinking of.

Those who have been around academia like I have knows damn well what I say is the truth. It's one thing to doubt, it's quite another to ridicule.

Doubt leads to further investigation. Ridicule leads to dismissal - which is precisely what you did with my previous post. If you can't offer anything other than a one-line insult as a so-called rebuttal, you've already lost the argument. You must be woefully out of practice.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:18 pm

Which Forum have you just been banned from, Tosh?
(Purely from scientific interest)
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:44 pm

Another four underused words for you all:-
'I may be wrong'

You may be wrong about that, boatlady. Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:57 pm

So am I. But at the moment they are 'super' natural - above that which we understand at the moment. I have no doubt there are many things that are impossible to science, even to human mental and physical experience, at the moment which will open out in the millenia to come.

Sam Harris has written that people experience things that they consider 'supernatural'. I agree that these feelings and emotions are real to the people who experience. However, many people are quick to point to the 'supernatural' explanation without really investigating a reasonable or rational explanation for an event. And once we have told the story, it is very difficult to backpedal even when you realise you might be mistaken. So the story carries more weight with each telling, gets slightly more grandiose and evolves into something that never was. It's not lying as such but it is delusion.

My point is, and always has been, that there are indeed many 'charlatans' and 'tricksters', but there are people who have experiences which can't be explained, at least yet. They are not supernatural beings, just normal people who have 'gifts', for a want of a better word.

I don't believe that because our knowledge of the brain, psychiatry, neuroscience, neuropathology suggests otherwise. I think some people might be more intuitive or empathetic than others but I don't believe there is a 'super' natural explanation for it. Neuroscience and genetics will possibly provide answers for this but I doubt very much that anyone has these 'gifts' in any real fashion. That doesn't mean that I doubt your experiences. I just doubt your interpretation of them.

Take care, Trevor.


Last edited by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:58 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spooling error)
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:06 pm

Which Forum have you just been banned from, Tosh?

News, Tunes and Spoons.....................FASCISTS. Cool
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:09 pm

I'm glad you're back Tosh (and not just because it will annoy the bejesus out of OW. Smile )
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:41 pm

snowyflake wrote:
Another four underused words for you all:-
'I may be wrong'

You may be wrong about that, boatlady. Smile

Indeed I may sunny
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:25 pm

snowyflake wrote:I'm glad you're back Tosh (and not just because it will annoy the bejesus out of OW. Smile )

A posting which is possibly destined to re-emerge at the appropriate time.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:35 pm

I'm glad you're back Tosh (and not just because it will annoy the bejesus out of OW.


You must have the 'gift', OW! Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:02 am

News, Tunes and Spoons.....................FASCISTS.

LOL! I wasn't even invited there. Triple fascists! Evil or Very Mad
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:49 am

Into each life, a little rain must fall.

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:25 am


Thanks for your polite comment.

At your service sir.



So you believe evolution is complete? I don't.

I do not believe I indicated in any shape or form that evolution is complete, so we are in complete agreement and I will post our wedding bands.


I have not brought religion into this nor primitive myths.

Neither did I, Psychic claims( special powers) go back as far as recorded history, unseen agents with intentions come in many forms, just ask Saul of Tarsus, he spoke to a dead guy.


We simply do not know what man is, or will be capable of, in the future. We have evolved to the extent that certain parts of our bodies are no longer required. Our brains have enlarged as we have evolved, and are capable of things not previously possibly. I'm not talking centuries, but many millenia. What the future will produce who knows. And didn't say supernatural. I said 'super' natural.

There is nothing super natural about evolving physical characteristics or atavism or vestigiality, as for evolving mental characteristics, one must understand the actual concept of genetic variation and natural selection to realise our evolutionary limitations. If our species possessed any psychic powers then by now its survival advantage would make it ubiquitous, and its not.

Our consciousness is just that, it is an observer that is conscious of our senses, it is an internal awareness mechanism of neurons and synapses that guesses ( by committee) as best it can based on input and memory. Our mind is notoriously unreliable and susceptible to delusion, illusion and hallucination, and there is plenty of evidence to support this, it cannot physically evolve into a transmitting agent because 1, this would require natural selection and 2, awareness is a deductive mechanism, an internal transmitter based largely on our sub-conscious, you think you are making up your mind but in effect you are simply observing the decision already made. There is no ghost in the machine acting independently of our genetic instructions, our consciousness may be quantum but its receiver and transmitter are limited by their biology.

As Shirina pointed out there seems to be a link between identical twins, though we don't understand it. Other things occur which have no logical answer.

Of course there is a link, they have identical DNA and our consciousness consists of a series of adaptive traits based on our DNA, twin studies simply confirms the mechanistic and deterministic nature of human behaviour and thought, free will is an illusion that disguises the cause and effect mechanism that operates us all.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:29 am

Into each life, a little rain must fall.

I know that you are secretly whistling " You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when times are grey....".
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by stuart torr on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi Tosh, now the op was people say we need religion when what they mean is we really need the police. Now I say because of religion thats when all the arguments and wars start thats when we need the police force and the armies etc. Now the post seems to be talking about being psychic, am I right? or should I say it was when people were last talking on it.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:47 pm

Tosh wrote:
Into each life, a little rain must fall.
I know that you are secretly whistling " You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when times are grey....".
It's not salient to the topic, but I love that song. I always think of The Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond, and it makes me cry like a disgraced televangelist.

Happy times....Smile 
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:49 pm

Tosh wrote:
Thanks for your polite comment.
At your service sir.



So you believe evolution is complete? I don't.
I do not believe I indicated in any shape or form that evolution is complete, so we are in complete agreement and I will post our wedding bands.
Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Wedding banns, sorry to be a sad pedant, but I have an empty shallow life. Unless you were talking about music for the reception of course. Wink 


Last edited by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:05 pm

snowyflake wrote:
Another four underused words for you all:-
'I may be wrong'
You may be wrong about that, boatlady. Smile
The man that has never made a mistake has never made anything.

Heretic
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:11 pm

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote: free will is an illusion that disguises the cause and effect mechanism that operates us all.
Then as shop steward I call for a vote on us all going on unlimited strike.

[Though how many people will now vote when they know the result is already known to at least one interested party]

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:12 pm

Heretic wrote:
snowyflake wrote:
Another four underused words for you all:-
'I may be wrong'
You may be wrong about that, boatlady. Smile
The man that has never made a mistake has never made anything.

Heretic
I forgot about the women. Dam.

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:13 pm

Heretic wrote:
Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote: free will is an illusion that disguises the cause and effect mechanism that operates us all.
Then as shop steward I call for a vote on us all going on unlimited strike.

[Though how many people will now vote when they know the result is already known to at least one interested party]

Heretic
I'm going to have to stop quoting people as that doesn't sound like one of mine either. No 
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:16 pm

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Wedding banns, sorry to be a sad pedant, but I have an empty shallow life. Unless you were talking about music for the reception of course. Wink 
If we all wear little antennae on our heads will that improve the reception?

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:26 pm

Heretic wrote:
Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:Wedding banns, sorry to be a sad pedant, but I have an empty shallow life. Unless you were talking about music for the reception of course. Wink 
If we all wear little antennae on our heads will that improve the reception?

Heretic
Is that not correct? Wedding reception? Have I been both pedantic and careless in the same post? Oh the shame...Embarassed 
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Are you and Tosh picking out curtains, Sheldon? Smile
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:54 pm

I'm just wondering if the Iranians feel doubly blessed by having religious police?

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:11 pm

snowyflake wrote:Are you and Tosh picking out curtains, Sheldon? Smile
Don't mention curtains Mrs Sheldon insisted on new curtains in the front room when we had the house renovated, even though the room was painted the same colour by her choice. headbang I'm over it really....Wink 
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:08 pm

See, this is why I think we need a 'chat' thread
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:13 pm

boatlady wrote:See, this is why I think we need a 'chat' thread
I sort of see where you're coming from but doesn't friendly banter within a message thread reinforce relationships and aid in the ability we have to see value in each others views. A site where things are being dictated too strongly is the very reason some of find ourself here in the first place (that and a recommendation).

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:16 pm

Heretic wrote:
boatlady wrote:See, this is why I think we need a 'chat' thread
I sort of see where you're coming from but doesn't friendly banter within a message thread reinforce relationships and aid in the ability we have to see value in each others views. A site where things are being dictated too strongly is the very reason some of find ourself here in the first place (that and a recommendation).

Heretic
I concur, a little off topic banter doesn't destroy the topic after all. What was the thread topic btw? Embarassed sarcasm 
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:24 pm

But, maybe the topic of the thread is also important?

I started this particular thread because I felt a discussion of ethics, rather than the hair-splitting and contentious discussion of religion that is the norm, might be 'nice' i.e. congenial, instructive and productive of good communication.

The thread was highjacked long ago, and I've largely got over it; however, tuning in tonight and finding a discussion about curtains when I'd rather hoped to find some fresh opinions on the initial topic was maybe a bit disappointing.

I'm not dictating anything, but have been on fora where 'reinforcing relationships' has been valued over maybe saying anything anyone outside of the dominant 'friendship group' might want to hear.

Personally, I'm quite interested in ethics and would like a discussion about how people feel individuals and social groups (including faith groups) should and can interact - if other people would rather talk about something else, that's OK with me - but maybe I do have the right to comment.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:34 pm

boatlady wrote:But, maybe the topic of the thread is also important?
I started this particular thread because I felt a discussion of ethics, rather than the hair-splitting and contentious discussion of religion that is the norm, might be 'nice' i.e. congenial, instructive and productive of good communication.
The thread was highjacked long ago, and I've largely got over it; however, tuning in tonight and finding a discussion about curtains when I'd rather hoped to find some fresh opinions on the initial topic was maybe a bit disappointing.
I'm not dictating anything, but have been on fora where 'reinforcing relationships' has been valued over maybe saying anything anyone might want to hear.
Well in many ways the idea of a supernatural big brother in the sky watching us 24/7 is the ultimate policeman. The problem is there's no evidence for it's existence, and humans have created way too many for this Palestinian carpenter just 2000 years ago to be taken seriously, for me anyway. Personally I think morals and ethics are of necessity complex, and that only works if we constantly evaluate them. If we tie them to ancient religious dogma then how can they ever improve? there will always be people who for whatever reason don't respect the rights of others, and refuse to obey societies laws, it's palpably obvious that religion has not solved that, so why continue the experiment, I feel secular reason, eradication of poverty, and a decent education for all, along with universal human rights, and of course a well organised and well funded police force, observed vigilantly by an independent and objective body, can produce a decent society in which we could all live, love, and thrive, and no, I'm not a hippy.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:37 pm

Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD wrote:What was the thread topic btw?
The topic was whether or not it was ethical to buy curtains for the front room that are the same color as the walls -- especially if Tosh is involved in the selection.


I see boatlady's point - it DOES kind of suck when one of your topics suddenly lights up with new posts, so you rush over to click on thread expecting a friendly but interesting discussion of ethics ... only to find people talking about curtains.

It's like getting underwear for Christmas. Crying or Very sad 

However, as long as the conversation eventually gets back on track, I'm not going to beat anyone over the head for off-topic comments. That's just how people communicate - topics tend to wander all over the place. Maybe having a section of the forum for everyday chit-chat would be a good idea?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Tosh on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:51 pm

Good evening Boatlady, just to help you get over your petted lip.

It's clear, at least to me, that we would not be able to live within the social groups we do, and could not have made the material advances we have made, as a race, without the influence of religion in providing the ethical framework within which we can live close to each other without raw self interest undermining any attempt to create a community.
I do not believe Classical Greek ideas such as ethics and democracy were inspired by religion, who says the world would not have been a better place if we hadn't dumped philosophy for mythology for nearly 2,000 years.

I don't accept we needed religion to create the spirit of humanity or community.

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:57 pm

boatlady wrote:But, maybe the topic of the thread is also important?

I started this particular thread because I felt a discussion of ethics, rather than the hair-splitting and contentious discussion of religion that is the norm, might be 'nice' i.e. congenial, instructive and productive of good communication.

The thread was highjacked long ago, and I've largely got over it; however, tuning in tonight and finding a discussion about curtains when I'd rather hoped to find some fresh opinions on the initial topic was maybe a bit disappointing.
I can understand only too well where you are coming from but sadly that is power for the course and is of course a result of the same people discussing things with each other sometimes for years. I don't know what kind of impact the recent influx from another board has had but I would be surprised if it is negligible. We are well used to each others banter and we know for the most part how each other argue a case. We as a group are bound to upset the status quo and I myself have had to apologise to several people on one occasion.

The truth is that eventually these threads do get back on topic especially when under the watch of moderators such as Shirina and Ivan and sometimes we just need to give it a prod every now and then to see if there's any life there.

boatlady wrote:I'm not dictating anything, but have been on fora where 'reinforcing relationships' has been valued over maybe saying anything anyone outside of the dominant 'friendship group' might want to hear.

Personally, I'm quite interested in ethics and would like a discussion about how people feel individuals and social groups (including faith groups) should and can interact - if other people would rather talk about something else, that's OK with me - but maybe I do have the right to comment.
Oh Yes. You do have the right to comment and to be heard and if people are reasonable or at least well mannered that might generate a route back into the principle topic. People do not mind being shepherded too much if it done gently and in a good humour and from my experience here this group is no exception.

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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:07 pm

Tosh wrote:Good evening Boatlady, just to help you get over your petted lip.

It's clear, at least to me, that we would not be able to live within the social groups we do, and could not have made the material advances we have made, as a race, without the influence of religion in providing the ethical framework within which we can live close to each other without raw self interest undermining any attempt to create a community.
I do not believe Classical Greek ideas such as ethics and democracy were inspired by religion, who says the world would not have been a better place if we hadn't dumped philosophy for mythology for nearly 2,000 years.

I don't accept we needed religion to create the spirit of humanity or community.

I have to agree, I'm always very dubious when theists suggest that atheists have nothing to measure their ethics or morals by. I always find myself having the same thought, "what on earth would these people turn into if they were suddenly stripped of their beliefs" and do they really accept that their belief is the only check on them degenerating into amoral nefarious sociopaths? My reasons for not breaking the law are many and vary I suspect according to the law, murder as opposed to speeding as an example. Now other than speeding my thought process is never to determine whether there is a policeman present to decide whether to break the law. In fact not even for speeding now, as I am 48 years old and make the effort to keep below the speed limit all the time.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

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