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Nareed
Nareed
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October 12th, 2011 at 9:31:16 AM permalink
Every single human group we know about that developed a culture also developed religion. This includes the Hebrews, who developed the religion that eventually evolved into Christianity, the dominant religion of the West. Why Christianity won out is a different matter. For the moment suffice it to say that it was adopted by the most powerful empire in Europe and the Near East at the time.

Anyway, these religions vary tremendously, but also have many thigns in common. Worship of, or begging from, a superior being or beings with powers well beyond human abilities, for example. Also the need of these superior beings for something from us mere mortals, things like worship and sacrifice. We call these beings gods or deities. Some religions have images of their gods, some don't, but all assume the gods themselves exist elsewhere we cannot reach, and their images are mere symbols of them used for worship or begging.

None ever provide any evidence of their god's or gods' existence, of course, claiming such evidence is unattainable to humans, or that no such evidence is required. Or they point to ambiguous "evidence" like the outcome of an event or the existence of plants and animals we can eat.

However, how do you rationally determine that Jehova, the god of the Old and New Testament, is real and Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain is not? Could it be that we get shipped by hurricanes and floods because Tlaloc is upset we haven't sacrificed any people to him and failed to drench his altars in human blood? How can you rationally know there is a Heaven as claimed in teh Bible, raterh than the afterlife descibed in the Book of the Dead? And how do you know which path you ought to follow?

So it's all faith, backed by nothing at all.

It would be interesting to know why people develop religions. I'm guessing the root goes to the certain knowledge we are all going to die someday. alone of all known beings in the world, we know this from an early age. That's one reason, though, and likely not the only one.

So what's more likely? That people invent gods for emotional reasons peculiar to our nature, or that all these deities, gods and spirits are real?

This isn't just an academic question. Religion has traditionally been linked to the exercise of power. Hebrew prophets annointed the kings of Israel, a tradition carried through to European monarchs being crowned by high officials of the Catholic Church. In many Muslim countries religious laws are applied either de jure or de facto.

Worse yet, some religions see themselves as the only true religion. These either try to convert eberyone else, either trhough persuasion or force, and misstreat thos who will not convert to varying degrees. Islam allegedly tolerates other "people of the Book," but even then they are clearly marked as second class citizens, lacking the same rights as Muslims; and that's not the worse: witness the recent slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

Or take the history of Jews in Europe. For centuries the Catholic Church was hostile to Judaism. This hostility got expressed in many forms, from relegating Jews to only certain occupations, to segregating them to ghettoes, to persecution, to mass expulsions, to forcible conversion, to burnings at the stake. Even in periods of relative tolerance, anti-semitism was rampant, and the Church did little or nothing to stop it. In cases like the Inquisition, the Church was the prosecuting agency, imparting torture, death and expulsion and answering to no one. Of course other groups were also mistreated. but Jews were the alrgest such group.

And what was the crime Jews were guilty of? Believing in a different set of myths about the very same god the Christians believed in.

Ultimately this religious difference of opinion led to the Holocaust. I'm not saying the church was behind it. it wasn't. In some of the places were Jews were hit the worst, many brave mebers of the Catholic Church did their best to save such Jews as they could. But the pervasive hatred fo Jews for difering in their believes, at times adied and abetted but always tolerated by the various Christian churches, is what made the Holocaust possible.

So there you are. Six million Jews murdered for absolutely nothing at all. Plus who knows how many Gypsies, too.

All that for nothing, for absolutely no rational reason. For faith, for belief, for whatever reasons the Church founded on the principles of Jesus Christ, the Church that preaches their god's love, came to believe were good reasons.

But that's only the worse that religion has done. there's more.

And that's one big part why I cannot and will not respect religious beliefs. your rigths to such beliefs, yes, within reason and within the limits of decency and legality. And I will oppose anyone who says otherwise. But the beliefs themselves? Look what those beliefs have done.
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DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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October 12th, 2011 at 10:05:31 AM permalink
Nareed -

That was a very well written post. But it leaves me wanting to ask one question:

Do you think it's acceptable to mock someone for their beliefs?
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
Nareed
Nareed
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October 12th, 2011 at 11:52:46 AM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Do you think it's acceptable to mock someone for their beliefs?



Ask again when I'm done.
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DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear
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October 12th, 2011 at 12:05:39 PM permalink
Well THAT'S a bullshit answer.

When will you be done? How will we know?

Sometimes, a person is described as being "done" when they are dead. Is that when you're gonna answer?
Superstitions are silly, childish, irrational rituals, born out of fear of the unknown. But how much does it cost to knock on wood? 😁 Note that the same could be said for Religion. I.E. Religion is nothing more than organized superstition. 🤗
EvenBob
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October 12th, 2011 at 12:10:41 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Nareed -Do you think it's acceptable to mock someone for their beliefs?



We know for a fact you can't mock Nareed for his
beliefs. He'll throw a temper tantrum and block
you forever. Zero tolerance is his policy.
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Face
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Face
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October 12th, 2011 at 12:24:03 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

It would be interesting to know why people develop religions. I'm guessing the root goes to the certain knowledge we are all going to die someday. alone of all known beings in the world, we know this from an early age. That's one reason, though, and likely not the only one.



This. This is the question I'm most curious about. In studying my culture, I've recently went over the Seneca story of creation multiple times. There is no "book", there are no texts, the story is only passed by mouth and has been so for centuries. I find it to be a lovely story, but as with all creation stories, impossible to take literally. One thing that keeps... punching me in the head... something that just stands out as if highlighted, are the similarities.

The "creators" are supernatural beings, guided by a "god" that lives in the sky (angels/God). The main evil antagonists are described as "dragon-like" (serpent) and with breath of fire. They live in "the under" (hell). On the new Earth there are two quasi-humans, "Good Mind" and "Evil Mind" (Christ/Anti-Christ). Good Mind is in tune with his father who lives in the sky, and often looks to him for guidance (Jesus/God). Evil Mind shuns all this and wanders the Earth creating ill (Satan).

These creation stories, for all intents and purposes, were from different worlds. The co-mingling of these two cultures had not yet ever happened. But do you see how bleeding similar they are? What does this mean?

I realise this does not provide an answer. Do these similarities lean towards "there MUST be a god", or do they more point to the possibility that religion is simply a mind process found in all humans? I'm hard pressed to find any proof in this either way, but I did think it was beyond interesting...
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Nareed
Nareed
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October 12th, 2011 at 12:27:44 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

Well THAT'S a bullshit answer.



Such language....

Quote:

When will you be done? How will we know?



When you read "I'm done."
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Nareed
Nareed
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October 12th, 2011 at 1:16:31 PM permalink
Quote: Face

These creation stories, for all intents and purposes, were from different worlds. The co-mingling of these two cultures had not yet ever happened. But do you see how bleeding similar they are? What does this mean?



All over the world, what do you find in the sky? Bright lights, bright colors, gauzy clouds, life-giving water.

And all over the world what do you find in deep caves or what welles up from underground? Mud, hot geysers, lava, ash, stinks of various kinds, brine.
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thecesspit
thecesspit
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October 12th, 2011 at 1:33:08 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Ask again when I'm done.



That's a yes then.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Nareed
Nareed
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October 12th, 2011 at 2:29:16 PM permalink
Ok, let's keep going:

1) Most religious people, and some agnostics, reduce everything realting to god or religion to faith. That's their privilege, but there are limits. See what I said about there being no reason to suppose any kind fo deity exists. Those are reasons, clearly satted. They are not faith. Yet whenever I state them someone invariably says "But it takes as much faith to say there is no god as to believe in God."

Can you see how patronizing and insulting that is? The assumption and implication that reason and judgment do not even enter into the discussion, and anything related to it is faith, whether there is any faith involved or not.

2) The world's two dominant religions continually try to impose their beliefs on others.

This should be self-evident, but it's not. The religions I'm talking about are Christianity and Islam. Fortunately for the rest of us one is divided and the other is divided and largely disorganized. In any case, members of both continually resort to force to tray to make others beahve as they thing they should. You can see this most clearly in america in issues sucha s evolution, same sex marriage, abortion, etc. But you see it elsewhere, too. Mexico City recently codified same sex marriage and adoption by same sex couple into law. The loudest voice crying for the blood of the mayor comes from the Catholic Church, and Mexico has a long-standing tradition of separation of church and state.

As for Muslims, read any conservative blog and look for posts tagged "Dhimmitude" or something liek that. They love to point out when someone else does it, while ignoring the times they do it. But they do manage to colelct good data.

3) Just about all religious people say my life, my body and my self are not mine, but God's, and I must not act in such a way that god doesn't approve. Again, if there's no reason to even suppose a god exists, there is much less reason to accept this demand.

Specifically I can tell you I've faced a lot of hostility, some of it here, from people who have such beliefs. Sometimes their objections are couched differently, but it often comes down to what God said or thought or revealed or implied or something. Fortunately we aren't a large enough group to really matter, and advances have been made regarding acceptance. In the end most people simply will, reasonably, decide that what I do with my body does not matter to them.

I should point out something here, since I've been accused of "forcing" my "beliefs" on others. My feelings about myself are not a belief, they are real. And that goes for every transsexual and transgendered man and woman in the planet. Also, medical studies of cadavers have detected anatomical differences in the brains of transsexual women, and men, that set them apart from "normal" women, and men. In short, an area of the brain is similar in transsexual women and "normal" women, but different from that of "normal" men, and viceversa. That's not a belief, either. Not to mention many more psychological studies.

So, really, enough withe the idiot analogies like "Oh, but what if I feel I'm a vampire trapped in a mortal body?"

Not done yet
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