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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 boatlady on Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:56 pm

Rock
Didn't realise you were Baha'i - a belief system i somehow missed on my journey, but i will amend the lack in the interest of better communication.

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

Post by Shirina on Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:49 pm

No. Omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, incomprehensible power by which existence exists is neither constrainable by ha adama’s limitations nor answerable to ha adama for how he chooses to convey unto ha adama his Word.
Why oh why do people ignore things that simply do not make any sense. What's the point, as an "omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, incomprehensible power," of conveying your word in such a way that it guarantees confusion and misinterpretation? Note the word I highlighted in bold. Yeah - omniscient. With all of that omniscience, one would think that God would have known where this was going and not made it necessary for, say, a wheat farmer in Kansas with a 10th grade education to have to learn Greek to really understand what the Bible says.

This is just one of many instances where God is either incompetent or capricious - it HAS to be one of those two things. The entire cop-out of "God is not answerable to us" or "God is unfathomable" simply doesn't cut the mustard, especially not when it comes to the ONLY book that supposedly allows us to understand what God is all about.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:35 am

Shirina wrote:
No. Omniscient, eternal, omnipresent, incomprehensible power by which existence exists is neither constrainable by ha adama’s limitations nor answerable to ha adama for how he chooses to convey unto ha adama his Word.
Why oh why do people ignore things that simply do not make any sense.

Beats me; I don’t ignore atheism, and atheism does not make any sense.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:40 am


Boatlady,

Among Black folks of my subculture and generation there was a phrase often used to describe clueless White friends who managed to bumble their way into saying certain predictable things: “That’s very ‘white’ of you.” As a concrete example, recently a young friend, thirty-something, Black, college degreed (university to Brits), working in a professional, serving occupation, working on a master’s degree in engineering, was hanging out with “his boyz” (his “mates”) in a local nightspot. An attractive young lady approached him, smiled, and said to him, “You’re handsome for a Black guy.” Now she was trying to compliment him and start a conversation, but she was clueless as to how that sounded to him. My friend, put out, nonetheless gave a courteous reply and moved away from her.

Had I been there, I would have looked her in the eye, smiled, and said, “Why that’s very white of you.” An all too common “white of you” comment was and is “Some of my best friends are Black”, to which I’ve often replied, “Betcha some of your best friends are White, too.”

Now watch this: Some of my best friends are Baha’i. Really!

One friend, a Baha’i when we met our first year in college (university to Brits), asked me if I wanted to meet his girlfriend’s mother. She (girlfriend) had been visiting him all day on campus. My friend is Black, his girlfriend was White, and the idea of staring down the business end of a double barrel 12 gauge as the girlfriend’s mother glared menacingly down the twin barrels at two Black men, one of whom had the audacity to have a crush on her daughter, was not my idea of fun. Imagine my surprise when the mother smiled, shook my hand firmly, and said to me, “I’m so glad to meet Cedric’s friend. He’s such a good Baha’i boy! My daughter is lucky to have met him.”

I was stunned, and I wanted to find out more about this “Baha’i stuff” which had a White mother looking straight past the color of my friend’s skin and straight into the content of his character. That was my introduction to the Baha’i Faith.

I studied Baha’i for three years after that. I was pretty much agnostic at the time, so I had an open mind. Coincidently, studying Baha’i led me to a deep study of Islam, from which Baha’i sprang, and so I know that Baha’is have been brutally persecuted in Persia, the core tribal region of Iran and the birthplace of Baha’u’llah, for a long as there has been a Baha’i Faith.

I chose to become Baha’i after this period of study. Since then, I’ve become, in my words, for want of a better term, a “Judeo-Christian”, and some of my best friends are still Baha’is, including my dear friend from college.

Now watch this: Since the term “Christians” properly refers to those who willingly follow Jesus the Christ’s teachings to the best of their ability, some of the best Christians I know are Baha’is. Now that statement might get me kicked out of a “Christian right” gathering!
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:57 am

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

Post by Shirina on Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:57 pm

Beats me; I don’t ignore atheism, and atheism does not make any sense.
Actually, atheism makes perfect sense. The reason is because we are all "atheistic" in every other way. Religion is an exception, not the rule.

In no other area of our lives do we accept magic and the supernatural as a likely or even plausible explanation. Only through religion do we start expressing things with absolute certainty based on no evidence. In other words, no sane person would run out and buy a Ferari because he had faith that a magical, invisible force just deposited a billion dollars into his bank account. But ... even a rational person might buy that Ferari if he believed God deposited that money even if the bank says otherwise.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:19 pm

Religion is only magic to those who do not believe.

Silly remarks do not change facts.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:57 pm

Removed because it is offensive to my friend.


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:50 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 Shirina on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:04 pm

Religion is only magic to those who do not believe.
Religion is not magic. It is the belief in magic. You can play with the No True Scotsman fallacy all day long, but if you believe in supernatural entities "poofing" the universe into existence, then you believe in magic. Period.

Silly remarks do not change facts.
Denying what magic is doesn't change what magic is.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:15 pm

Who: Incomprehensible, immeasurable power.

This is where you run into trouble, Rock. There doesn't HAVE to be a "who" involved at all. There doesn't even need to be a "why" since that implies specific intent, but I'll let that one go for the moment. Since you already believe in God, the "who" in the equation becomes presupposition and confirmation bias. Scientists, thankfully, aren't looking for a "who" when it comes to puzzling out the Big Bang. They're mostly looking for a "how." If that "how" leads to a "who," then so be it. But to assume the "who" exists simply because the question itself exists is, as I said, confirmation bias.

Atheism posits that all this just happened, as if by magic, which makes no sense whatsoever.
Atheism posits that there is no God. It doesn't make any claims about how the universe came to be.

But ... while you may claim that atheism says the universe just happened "as if by magic," Creationists believe it WAS magic. Iff claiming that atheists believing in "as if by magic" makes no sense whatsoever, then believing it WAS magic makes no sense whatsoever. Essentially you're asserting that atheists and Creationists are saying the same thing - which they are not.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:53 pm

Shirina wrote:
Who: Incomprehensible, immeasurable power.
This is where you run into trouble, Rock. There doesn't HAVE to be a "who" involved at all.

“Who” is necessary in all verbal and written communication. Big Bang’s “who”, which you’ve quoted, is “incomprehensible, immeasurable power.”

Shirina wrote:
Atheism posits that all this just happened, as if by magic
Atheism… doesn't make any claims about how the universe came to be.

Atheism posits (1) that Big Bang is how the universe came to be, and (2) that there is no cognitive component to Big Bang; thus, atheism posits that Big Bang just happened, as if by magic.

When I was a physics student back in the day, although it was starting to slip in the face of Hubble’s evidence of expansion of the universe, Steady State was still the accepted model. Back then, atheism posited (1) that Steady State is how the universe came to be, and (2) that there is no cognitive component to Steady State; thus, atheism posited that Steady State just happened, as if by magic.


Steady State, Big Bang, same same; atheism posits that it just happened, as if by magic.

Shirina wrote:
… Creationists…

Straw man. I speak solely of atheism
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:42 pm

Big Bang does not necessitate a 'who'. Who is not necessary in all verbal or written communication. 'Who' implies an animate being. Who does not enter into the Big Bang. 'What' and 'when' works. 'How' is unknown. 'Where' is still up for grabs.

The theory does not posit that God created the universe. You have extrapolated Genesis 1:1 to = the Big Bang. That's in your head, Rock. There is nothing in the theory to suggest that any 'who' did anything.

Have you ever considered that the mass of the singularity and the immense gravitational force (which are 'whats' not 'whos')was so great and was in itself powerful enough to trigger the big bang? You are anthropomorphising natural forces in the universe. Unless you are suggesting that God is gravity.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Shirina on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:01 pm

“Who” is necessary in all verbal and written communication.
The Big Bang itself is neither written or verbal. The Big Bang didn't write or speak the universe into existence.

Atheism posits (1) that Big Bang is how the universe came to be, and (2) that there is no cognitive component to Big Bang; thus, atheism posits that Big Bang just happened, as if by magic.

It's atheism, not "Big Bangism." Atheism concerns itself with the question of God, not the origin of the universe. While it may be true that most atheists accept the Big Bang as the most likely explanation for the universe, it still doesn't mean that the Big Bang has anything to do with atheism. It would be like saying if the majority of atheists like pizza, then pizza is an atheistic food.

Straw man. I speak solely of atheism

It would only be a strawman argument if I was claiming you believed in something you did not and then argued against the non-existent claim. That wasn't what I was doing - unless you deny that you believe that a supreme being used some kind of supernatural ability to create the universe.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:38 pm


snowyflake wrote:
Big Bang does not necessitate a 'who'. Who is not necessary in all verbal or written communication.

Big Bang describes an action. All descriptions of actions are verbal and/or written communication. “Who” is necessary in all verbal and written communication.

snowyflake wrote:
'Who' implies an animate being.

No it does not. “Who”, in descriptions of action, identifies (a) the actor, that which acts, or (b) the “actee”, that which is acted upon.

snowyflake wrote:
Who does not enter into the Big Bang. 'What' and 'when' works. 'How' is unknown. 'Where' is still up for grabs.

“Who” is the actor, incomprehensible, immeasurable power. You are correct about “what” and “where.” The data set partially answers “how”, which is what scientists study. “Where” is nowhere (“prior to” Big Bang) and everywhere (after Big Bang).

snowyflake wrote:
The theory does not posit that God created the universe.

The theory posits that immeasurable incomprehensible power created the universe, nothing more, nothing less.

snowyflake wrote:
You have extrapolated Genesis 1:1 to = the Big Bang. That's in your head, Rock.

I have extrapolated nothing. I have (1) exposited Big Bang (“w-w-w-w-w-h”), (2) exposited Genesis 1:1 (“w-w-w-w-w-h”), (3) compared the expositions of Big Bang and Genesis 1:1, and (4) shown that the “who-what-when-where” of Big Bang and Genesis 1:1 are identical.

snowyflake wrote:
Have you ever considered that the mass of the singularity and the immense gravitational force (which are 'whats' not 'whos')was so great and was in itself powerful enough to trigger the big bang?

The incomprehensible infinite power necessary to explode existence into existence cannot be attributed to a finite force. Additionally, gravity is a relatively weak force; an electromagnet small enough to hang off of a cable can generate sufficient force to overcome the gravity of a rocky plant eight thousand miles in diameter and easily pull a car up into the air more than ten feet.

snowyflake wrote:
You are anthropomorphising natural forces in the universe. Unless you are suggesting that God is gravity.

Nope. I am briefly expositing the power by which existence exists. Gravity is relatively weak (see above); thus, if I were ever to compare YHVH Elohim to anything (which I never do), gravity would not be that thing.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:55 pm

Shirina wrote:
The Big Bang itself is neither written or verbal. The Big Bang didn't write or speak the universe into existence.

All ideas, including all theories, including Big Bang, are communicated from human to human via written or verbal communication. I came to know of Big Bang through written and verbal communication. How did you come to know of Big Bang?

Shirina wrote:
Atheism posits (1) that Big Bang is how the universe came to be, and (2) that there is no cognitive component to Big Bang; thus, atheism posits that Big Bang just happened, as if by magic.
It's atheism, not "Big Bangism." Atheism concerns itself with the question of God, not the origin of the universe.

As you are an atheist concerned with God, not the origin of the universe, I expect you to remain silent about the origin of the universe. I am an ex-physics student whose fascination with the concepts of physics, including those pertaining to the origin of the universe, remains unabated; thus, most likely I will remain vocal about this subject.

Shirina wrote:
Straw man. I speak solely of atheism
It would only be a strawman argument if I was claiming you believed in something you did not and then argued against the non-existent claim.

It is a straw man. You brought up something of which I don’t speak and then ripped into that of which I do not speak. I ain’t got no dog in that fight.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:43 pm

The incomprehensible infinite power necessary to explode existence into existence cannot be attributed to a finite force. Additionally, gravity is a relatively weak force; an electromagnet small enough to hang off of a cable can generate sufficient force to overcome the gravity of a rocky plant eight thousand miles in diameter and easily pull a car up into the air more than ten feet.

How do we know that the big bang was triggered by incomprehensible infinite power? My understanding of Big Bang is that the name of the theory is a bit of misnomer. It should actually be called the rapid expansion theory but I get that big bang is a sexier name and gives you more bang for your buck.

Perhaps the singularity was inside or alongside another universe that was able to generate enough power to trigger the big bang of our universe. If you are saying that God caused the Big Bang then my question would be what caused God? If there was no existence before Big Bang, how and where did God exist and more importantly..Why?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by snowyflake on Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:44 pm

The incomprehensible infinite power necessary to explode existence into existence cannot be attributed to a finite force.

Why not?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:39 pm

Only a member of the human race could be so arrogant as to dispute the existence of something on the basis that they had not personally witnessed its occurrence.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:42 am

snowyflake wrote:
The incomprehensible infinite power necessary to explode existence into existence cannot be attributed to a finite force.
Why not?

Because finite is measurable, not immeasurable. Because finite is comprehensible, not incomprehensible.
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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 05, 2013 5:55 am

Because finite is measurable, not immeasurable. Because finite is comprehensible, not incomprehensible.

Then my next question would be, how do you know that Big Bang was triggered by incomprehensible, immeasurable power. Maybe the power that triggered it is finite and measurable and we just haven't discovered it yet. When we don't know the answer to that question we can't just simply slot God into the equation.

Only a member of the human race could be so arrogant as to dispute the existence of something on the basis that they had not personally witnessed its occurrence.

How many times has Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy been around to your house, OW? Smile

There is a difference between arrogance and downright stupidity.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:32 am

snowyflake wrote:
Because finite is measurable, not immeasurable. Because finite is comprehensible, not incomprehensible.
Then my next question would be, how do you know that Big Bang was triggered by incomprehensible, immeasurable power.

The universe exploded into existence has at last observation no boundaries; i.e., it is effectively infinite. When one observes effects of power, one can obtain a measure of that power by measuring its effects and backtracking to ascertain what measure of power is necessary to accomplish those effects. It may or may not be a dead-on determination, but it will at least be in the ballpark.

My bicycle, with me perched atop trying to jump off, was hit by a car when I was ten. By the mangled up mess of metal and rubber that my bike had become, it was easy to determine that my bicycle had not been hit by a moped. c=mv, and that “c” is unforgettable.

snowyflake wrote:
Maybe the power that triggered it is finite and measurable and we just haven't discovered it yet. When we don't know the answer to that question we can't just simply slot God into the equation.

When the universe powered into existence by the power behind Big Bang is found to be finite; i.e., its boundaries are discovered and mapped, then perhaps backtracking (see above) can determine the measure of that power’s power. So far, no go on boundaries of the universe.
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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 05, 2013 8:29 am

So, to return to Maslow, rather than this deep discussion of first causes, which is of course interesting, but maybe quite far away from the original point of the thread.

Shirina and Snowyflake have argued that 'religion' is no longer necessary to the achievement of self-actualisation, although it may have once played a part in making it possible for people to move away from the meeting of purely material needs. I'm inclined to go along with that, myself.

What do others think?

What is it that best enables us, as humans, to rise above our material natures, to achieve an intellectual and spiritual life, to establish and abide by ethical laws and standards of behaviour?

Is doing so a desirable thing, or are we better accepting that we are simply the animal that laughs and plans?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:40 pm

Religion is not necessary if eventually you want a free for all, which we are well on the way to acheiving.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by blueturando on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:06 pm

Everyone should be free Polyglide, so a Free for all is the perfect outcome

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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 05, 2013 3:12 pm

What is it that best enables us, as humans, to rise above our material natures, to achieve an intellectual and spiritual life, to establish and abide by ethical laws and standards of behaviour?

Materialism is embedded into Western culture. While most people don't realize it, I don't think, our culture says we can find self-actuailzation through the accumulation of material things and wealth. Bigger houses, fancier cars, bling and jewelry, hot clothes, and a prestigious and successful career. In the West, it's all about wealth acquisition. We have very little respect for wisdom, intellectualism, spiritualism, and anything esoteric. It's all about producing and consuming - those are the two biggest words that define our culture. We are taught that everything MUST come with a price, even life itself.

I was watching a court show the other day, and in one case, a daughter was suing on behalf of her mother a former renter who had been charged $50 a month for a parking spot in front of the apartment. The reason for the case? Because the daughter felt the former renter had been taking advantage of her mother. After all, everyone else was charging $200 per month for a parking place. Now, the whole time I'm thinking to myself, "Did either the daughter or the mother have any use or need of that parking place? No, they did not. So why is it that they simply couldn't be nice, neighborly, and generous by letting the renter park his car there absolutely free? It wasn't costing the landlord a single dime - it was pure profit and greed." And yet, there they were in court because $50 worth of free money every month wasn't enough for them.

A minor example, to be sure, but it sums it up nicely. In America, it is even worse, for even treating the sick and dying comes at an extraordinary cost, and tens of thousands die needlessly in this country because of it. Giving something away is almost anethema to Western culture. While I do understand the concept of commerce, we've taken it so over-the-top that our very self-worths are defined by how much we own and how much we make - NOT necessarily by who we are, how we behave, and how enlightened we may happen to be.

I just thought the court case above was a very good example because it is an example of not only obtaining pure profit by simply exploiting the needs of someone else, but it exemplifies how we always want more. It's never enough. And this has trapped most of us in a never-ending cycle of "produce and consume" - we really don't have time for much else.

How can we change it? In three words - I don't know. I fear it will take a global catastrophe to get us to wake up and see the more important things in life. Oh, I'm not some romanticist who thinks a quaint and rustic agrarian lifestyle, free from luxury and technology, is the way to go. Not at all. I would personally hate that kind of life. But we do need to scale back with things like planned obsolescence and advertizing that almost makes you feel guilty and ashamed for not rushing out to buy the next latest smart phone.
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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 05, 2013 3:27 pm

Religion is not necessary if eventually you want a free for all, which we are well on the way to acheiving.

Nonsense. Religion has attached itself to morality in an attempt to make itself seem indispensible. You can look at any nation in the world at any time in history and you will see that the religiosity of a nation is directly proportional to the brutality of that nation. In other words, the more religion they have, the more brutal they are - both to their own people and to the peoples of other nations. I also don't want to hear any crap about Hitler and Stalin, either, or I'll smack you so hard with history you'll be spitting out names and dates like teeth.

Look at the brutality of the Middle East right now. There was just another bomb a few days ago that killed 38 people. Yeah, they're fighting over religion. Look at the Catholics and Protestans in Europe, a struggle that has raged since King Henry VIII and Martin Luther. But you don't need to just look at slaughter, warfare, and mayhem to see it. Look at America, the most religious industrialized nation on the planet. Yet we're also the only 1st World nation that still carries out the death penalty, the only one without nationalized health care, the only one trotting around the planet invading other nations. We have people shooting up kindergarten classrooms, we have horrible teen pregnancy rates, infant mortality rates, sexually-transmitted disease rates, divorce rates, crime rates, domestic violence rates, on and on and on. When you look at secular nations, you just don't see those kinds of numbers - and there are multiple studies that have documented this and proven to my satisfaction that there is a causal link between religion and a diminished standard of living.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by polyglide on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:52 pm

I can go on to numerous sites and quote from now to doomsday on any subject you choose it does not mean a thing.

What matters is reality which appears to have passed you by.

I talk of one religion only and am not intersested in any other because any that deviate from my own must be wrong as far as I am concerned.

Once mankind decided he new better than the creator he was doomed so far as life of equality was concerned because he became a selfish being.

When reading history it is as well to consider the whole and not part and in particular selected parts.

I have little appreciation for anything you say after the Fact nonsense you quoted.

A fact is that that can be proven as occurred and nothing more in the contex I was involved in.

There is no leaway for possible errors or there would be no proof.

Let me just explain.

There is a body in a field with an arm missing the body has no life in it.

The facts are that the person is dead and that the body has an arm missing,
the theories involved would be how and whyetc;

I know it is so simple as to be beyond your great knowledge.
{obviously selected from others efforts as anyone can do from the internet]

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

Post by polyglide on Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:00 pm

Not to mention you must be able to understand anything you have learned.

I explained very clearly by example that you can learn something and not understand it.

You had no sensible answer.

This indicates to me you are unable unless you can gain the information from the internet to evaluate anything yourself in a sensible and realistic manner.

Another example, you can ask 100 people who know the formula for calculating the area of a circle how that formula was originated and I would wager very few could answer.

They could work out that area but would not understand how the formula was formulated.
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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 05, 2013 4:56 pm

I can go on to numerous sites and quote from now to doomsday on any subject you choose it does not mean a thing.

It doesn't mean a thing to you. Hey, if you want to ignore information and facts, that's your choice. Just remember that the root word of "ignorant" is "ignore."

What matters is reality which appears to have passed you by.

Heh, I think this is the case of the illusion often experienced by a person sitting in a stationary car and watching the car in the neighboring parking spot backing up. The person in the stationary car panicks and reaches for the steering wheel convinced he's drifting forward. Except he's not. He's standing perfectly still - going absolutely nowhere. What's even more fitting is that this illusion is most often experienced by people slouched or lying down on their car seats so that they can't see the other cars or nearby buildings. It's the lack of perspective that creates the illusion. Have fun with it.

I talk of one religion only and am not intersested in any other because any that deviate from my own must be wrong as far as I am concerned.

Your religion isn't any better. If European Christians had had plastique explosives, automatic weapons, and suicide vests a few hundred years ago, Europe then would look like the Middle East today. In fact, it would STILL look like the Middle East if not for the dominance of secular law.

Once mankind decided he new better than the creator he was doomed so far as life of equality was concerned because he became a selfish being.

Almost as selfish as a demented God who threw a hissy over a bite from an apple and, in a fit of anger, cursed tens of billions of people for the sins of their fathers. Yeah ... nice guy. I choose not worship such a nasty entity.

When reading history it is as well to consider the whole and not part and in particular selected parts.

Do you really want to get into a discussion of historiography with me? I may not have a lot of knowledge or talents, but history - that's where I shine.

I have little appreciation for anything you say after the Fact nonsense you quoted.

LOL! Yes I know. You think that because magic came from your God, it wasn't magic. Sure, whatever.

A fact is that that can be proven as occurred and nothing more in the contex I was involved in.

Oh really? Is that a fact? Except you're the one running around claiming God's existence is a FACT - and what's more, you run around claiming your religion is a FACT! And yet, after hundreds of posts, you've yet to even come CLOSE to demonstrating either of those premises to be true. If you could, then you should get ready to receive your Nobel Prize because you'll have solved a debate that has raged for thousands of years. Because we all know we don't need faith to be religious - it's all FACT based, right? Tsk tsk.

The facts are that the person is dead and that the body has an arm missing,
the theories involved would be how and whyetc

Which is precisely why I told you that religious people should be honest and admit that their beliefs are only "theories" as well. But oh no, your beliefs are FACTS even though you admit that we know very little about the origin of the universe. So you see a dead body in a field with a missing arm and write a 1,701 page book explaining who did it, why it was done, how it was done, and a complete history of the victim including miracles, atrocities, and a thousand other things. And then we're supposed to take it on faith (not evidence, not facts) that everything in that book is true. Heh, that's religion for you.

{obviously selected from others efforts as anyone can do from the internet]

Haha! And how many original discoveries have you made, polyglide? How much original, never-before-known pieces of information have you divulged to the world? I'm willing to bet, outside of your own personal story, absolutely NONE! So telling me I gain knowledge from someone else's efforts is just stupid. Yeah, stupid. Because that's where we get 99% of our knowledge. That's how civilization advances as one generation passes its knowledge to the next generation. This is a message board not a class on writing a doctoral thesis. And if you think you're any different, then please show me your published papers with all of that information you did NOT receive from someone else's efforts.

I'll wait right here.

Not to mention you must be able to understand anything you have learned.

Hint: The above statement is NOT a new piece of information, Mr. Holmes.

I explained very clearly by example that you can learn something and not understand it.

And I told you that human beings are fully capable of taking the time to understand it. What you're suggesting is that the things we know are unknowable, that we're really nothing more than parrots going through the motions without any understanding. That's rubbish.

You had no sensible answer.

LOL! Okay let's see if I have this right. You're saying that you can write something in Japanese and it's possible that I could learn how to pronounce the words, even write the words, without understanding what the words actually mean. I agree with you, that is possible. BUT, if I wanted to know what the words meant and wasn't intellectually lazy, I'm perfectly capable of learning Japanese, becoming fluent in the language, and understanding it.

And that's not a sensible answer? This is the point where we all cross into the "WTF Zone." Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen.

This indicates to me you are unable unless you can gain the information from the internet to evaluate anything yourself in a sensible and realistic manner.

Now we're back to stupid. Okay, smartypants, explain to me, using your own example, how you would learn Japanese without being taught Japanese - whether through a teacher or a book (or, *gasp*, the internet)? Perhaps the entire language will be magically revealed to you in a vision? Osmosis, perhaps? Divine revelation? We normal people without direct lines to the divine have to rely on the knowledge of others to learn another language. That may or may not include the internet, by the way.

Another example, you can ask 100 people who know the formula for calculating the area of a circle how that formula was originated and I would wager very few could answer.

And you would probably be right. That doesn't mean NO ONE knows the answer. If I wanted to find out, I would seek out someone who did understand it. Or, maybe if I was a math prodigy (which I'm not), I would waste time trying to figure it out myself. Either way, a lack of understanding is almost always the result of not having been exposed to the information necessary and NOT because the information doesn't exist.

Now, you and I can go back and forth like this as my posts get ever more sarcastic or we can return to a more civil discussion. The choice is yours.











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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 05, 2013 5:19 pm

A more civil discussion would be nice - and I didn't understand a word you said in your last two posts, Polyglide.
Maybe you could explain quite simply how you would distinguish between 'religion' and an intellectual and spiritual life, along with a system of ethics that allows us to transcend the purely material and achieve what I believe Maslow termed 'self-actualisation'?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:24 pm


Snowy,

I apologize for missing this. My bad.

snowyflake wrote:
The incomprehensible infinite power necessary to explode existence into existence cannot be attributed to a finite force. Additionally, gravity is a relatively weak force; an electromagnet small enough to hang off of a cable can generate sufficient force to overcome the gravity of a rocky plant eight thousand miles in diameter and easily pull a car up into the air more than ten feet.
How do we know that the big bang was triggered by incomprehensible infinite power?

You asked that in a subsequent post. I answered it in this post (click here). Let me know if my answer is sufficient to you.

snowyflake wrote:
My understanding of Big Bang is that the name of the theory is a bit of misnomer. It should actually be called the rapid expansion theory but I get that big bang is a sexier name and gives you more bang for your buck.

Actually, all explosions are rapid expansion. If you’ve driven your car from here to there recently, you were propelled by rapid expansions, explosions, in the cylinders of your engine.

snowyflake wrote:
Perhaps the singularity was inside or alongside another universe that was able to generate enough power to trigger the big bang of our universe.

“Perhaps” is the key word here. That’s speculation, which, fueled by wonder, propels ha adama to search the universe for clues as to its origin. Perhaps one day, maybe not on my watch, we’ll be closer to answering your implied questions herein. Until then, we have our wonder, our insatiable curiosity, and our ability to say “perhaps.”

snowyflake wrote:
If you are saying that God caused the Big Bang then my question would be what caused God? If there was no existence before Big Bang, how and where did God exist and more importantly..Why?

Excuse me for a moment. My head hurts, and I must take a Tylenol pill or two.
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:39 pm

boatlady wrote:
… to return to Maslow…

What is it that best enables us, as humans, to rise above our material natures, to achieve an intellectual and spiritual life, to establish and abide by ethical laws and standards of behaviour?

Self-actualization is a compound noun containing a root noun, “actualization”, and an adjective, “self.” That adjective points toward the authority behind and the doer of the action. I cannot mandate for another what she/he must do to self-actualize, and another cannot mandate for me what I must do to self-actualize.

For me, the closer I draw to my Creator and Father through self-chosen adherence to being and doing what Y’shua teaches me to be and do, the more (self)-actualized I become, and I gain rewards which no man gender inclusive can take from me.
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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 05, 2013 9:05 pm

flower Seems a reasonable answer, as it speaks to your personal experience, and there seems no attempt to force anyone else to follow your example.

So,
the closer I draw to my Creator and Father through self-chosen adherence to being and doing what Y’shua teaches me to be and do, the more (self)-actualized I become, and I gain rewards which no man gender inclusive can take from me.
What you seem to be describing is the voluntary and joyful following of an ethical, intellectual and spiritual discipline, taught to you by Y'shua - which I take to be a version of the name Jesus.
I'm assuming that, as the historical Jesus (if he ever existed) has been dead these many years, you follow the teachings of Y'shua by means of reading 'scripture' - a set of writings which you may or may not consider to be 'sacred'.

I pursue self-actualisation through reading and thinking, in much the way you describe - the difference being that my reading is not in 'scripture' but often in history or philosophy, sometimes in poetry and fiction. My reading, like yours, results in insights, and informs my actions in the world, which are aimed (on the whole) at becoming a better, more integrated person, more able to do good in the world.
I pursue my self-actualisation without much reference to 'god' or Jesus, simply because, to me, it appears to be far more practical and ethical to try to behave well towards others, to refrain from hating and aggression, and to avoid doing harm as far as possible.

There seems to be much in common between our notions of self actualisation, and only one major difference i.e. the 'religious' aspect; so I guess my question might be:-
As humans, do we need religion, or do we simply need an intellectual and spiritual discipline, which leads to the development of an ethical sense, and can come from many sources, or do we ALL need 'God'?
If 'God' is required by only some of us in order to inspire the moral and spiritual development required to approach full integration, where might that leave us?
To me, it seems that is the question that leads to much of the religion-inspired hatred and war mongering, and finding an answer might be fairly important to our development as a (human) race. flower
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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 05, 2013 10:19 pm

How easy it seems to justify personally-held beliefs. The rulers during Germany's Third Reich had no difficulty in dissimulating the logical need to eliminate alien influences which were weakening the Aryan ideal.
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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 05, 2013 10:48 pm

Mind you, sometimes I just eat chocolate and play computer games
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by Guest on Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:41 am



Last edited by RockOnBrother on Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:55 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 Guest on Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:06 am


Boatlady,

Y’shua, more often spelled Yeshua, is his given name. The variant spellings are because Y’shua is a trans-vocalization of the Hebrew spelling. If you want to make your westernized head hurt, try reading Hebrew a time or two, right to left, utterly unfamiliar script. I skip the Tylenol, cheat, and go straight to the trans-vocalized renderings, also transliterated into Latin script, you know, “a-b-c-d-e-f-g” in song, read left to right like ‘normal’ folks read, thank you very much!

Y’shua was trans-vocalized and transliterated into Greek, and subsequently transliterated into Romance languages such as Latin and Spanish. “Jesus” seems to come into English directly from Spanish, where its spelling is the same but its pronunciation is different, “hay-soos.” Y’shua also comes into English as “Joshua”, which, from its sound and structure, is much closer to the original Hebrew, although, according to the scholars upon whom I rely, the “J” sound doesn’t exist in Hebrew.

Y’shua died and was resurrected (passive action; Y’shua received resurrection, he did not ‘middle voice’ resurrect himself). He gave instructions to his closet disciples, “Feed my sheep”, “As you go throughout the world, make disciples [unto me] of all nations [ethnicities], baptizing them in the name of [according to the character of] the father, the son, and the holy spirit [one name, ‘Sch’ma Y’srael, Adonai Eluheinu, Adonai echod’], teaching them to observe al things whatsoever I have taught you.” Note the underlined text.

Disciples are willing students committed to making themselves “in the likeness of their teacher”, through participation with/in the teacher, through voluntary adherence to the teacher’s teachings. We call Y’shua “rabbi” far less frequently than did his 1st Century disciples. I suspect that if the world’s population would singularly and collectively abide just by Y’shua’s teachings on the mount, crimes against the vulnerable would not exist, criminal courts would become unnecessary, and wars would cease. Listen to the words of this song:

Bring the Boys Home - Freda Payne
http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/OU0qdbcHmpw

“Can’t you see them marching across the sky, all the soldiers that have died, trying to get home, can’t you see them trying to get home, they’re trying to get home, trying to get home. Cease all fire on the battlefield, enough men have already been wounded and killed”

Can’t type anymore; tears get in the way.


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

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:23 am

.
I suspect that if the world’s population would singularly and collectively abide just by Y’shua’s teachings on the mount, crimes against the vulnerable would not exist, criminal courts would become unnecessary, and wars would cease


I suspect you're right - if everyone belived that it's better to be meek, and a peacemaker, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to be merciful and pure in heart; and if everyone acted on those beliefs, the world would indeed be a better place - those are very ethical rules of conduct, and there is nothing there I would argue with.
When it comes to glorifying my father which is in heaven - then you and I must part company, and I very much hope you will not think badly of me.
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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 06, 2013 12:35 pm

snowyflake wrote:

Only a member of the human race could be so arrogant as to dispute the existence of something on the basis that they had not personally witnessed its occurrence.

How many times has Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy been around to your house, OW? Smile

There is a difference between arrogance and downright stupidity.

I've tried to divine a meaning from the above exchange. Without success. Can anyone assist?
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Re: "People say we need religion, when what they really mean is we need police"

Post by boatlady on Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:14 pm

Sorry, lots of these posts go right over my head - I think it might have come out of the discussion about whether God exists? ( I think Santa Claus et al are just there by extension)
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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 06, 2013 4:40 pm

I've tried to divine a meaning from the above exchange. Without success. Can anyone assist?

I'll be happy to.

You said that it is arrogance to dispute something baed on the fact that the disputer did not personally experience it. Snowy then asked you how often the tooth fairy, Santa, and the Easter Bunny has been to your house.

Snowy is implying that she hasn't witnessed any of those mythical figures personally but, to you apparently, that isn't a good enough reason to dispute their existences. So mayhap you've experienced one of those three legendary characters personally?

In the second part, Snowy says there's a difference between arrogance and abject stupidity. Yeah ... I tend to agree.

Here's an example: It may be arrogant to completely dismiss a claim that someone had a religious experience simply because you never had one. Yet it would be stupid to just accept at face value everything someone tells you. Therefore, while you may accept that someone had a religious experience, it would be stupid (or at least very unwise) to accept without question that it was really God or Jesus or whomever that was speaking to them. It would be a bit ridiculous to believe someone saw Jesus when Jesus looks like he stepped right out of a Catholic painting, all caucasion and wearing the same clothes he is shown wearing on the inside cover of a Bible. Why the hell would Jesus be white? In any event, you have to weigh the facts with the testimony. The more wild the claim, the more stupid you would be for believing it outright.

It's like alien abductions. I don't care if my own mother told me she was abducted, I would need more proof than just her word. I would believe something happened to her, but was it an abduction or a case of sleep paralysis? I would have to square her words with the fact that, despite the millions of people who have claimed to have been abducted, there is not one single photograph or video of an abduction taking place - even from people who claim to be abducted regularly. There are plenty of photos and videos of UFOs, so where are the ones of abductions? Hmmm ... so yeah, arrogance vs. stupidity. It makes perfect sense to me.
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