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Rationalizing faith.

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
There are some breathtaking attempts at justifying faith being floated.

Here is an example, enjoy:

Quote;
''What then is faith? As a first pass, we should understand faith as simple trust. When we trust, there is always some thing (or person) that we trust. This is to say that faith always has an object. That is, one cannot have faith in some nebulous way. There must be some thing or person one has faith in. So this could be a chair one is considering sitting in. Or one could trust an airplane one is waiting to board. Or one may place one’s trust in a person to whom one is about to say “I do” in a wedding ceremony. The object of one’s faith would be the chair or the airplane or the soon-to-be-if-all-goes-well spouse.

Notice that, on this understanding of faith, faith is not, by itself, a set of beliefs, or a proposition, or even a claim. So an immediate problem with the above caricatures of faith is that they do not place faith in the right sort category. Faith cannot be “belief without evidence” since it is not a belief to begin with. It is a state that may involve beliefs or may be caused by beliefs, although it is not itself a belief. Rather, it is a state of trust.

But we don’t have faith in something from a distance. Faith seems to connote the idea that we trust in action. When we genuinely place our faith in an object, we always venture something. If we trust the safety of the airplane, but we never get on board, then we haven’t really placed our faith in the airplane.

Faith requires not trust from a distance but an entrusting ourselves where we venture or risk ourselves and our wellbeing to some thing or person. To truly place our faith in a chair, we must sit down and risk the chair’s collapsing. Or a much better illustration is the risk one takes when one gets married. A healthy marriage requires us to entrust virtually every area of our lives to our spouse and this opens us up to the deepest hurt when there is betrayal. A toxic marriage is of course one in which there is deep distrust and suspicion. But the marriage will also suffer if one merely trusts from a distance. A healthy marriage requires us to jump in with deep and mutual ventured trust.''

''Everyone has faith, in this sense, insofar as they entrust themselves to someone or something.
Again, when we get married, we entrust our feelings, wellbeing, livelihood, possessions, etc., to our spouses. When we fly on an air plane, we entrust ourselves to the aircraft, the pilots, the mechanics who serviced the plane, etc. When we do science, we entrust ourselves to certain methodologies, prior theories and data, and our empirical and mental faculties. There is nothing unique about Christian faith other than the object of that faith.''
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Faith is no longer a belief held without the support of evidence of evidence, it seems,

Faith it appears can be anything the believer wants it to be.....evidence, no evidence, it's all the same, it's all faith. Apparently, faith is the prime principle of the Universe.
 

steve_bank

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Seems to me the Christian obsession with converting the world is more about convincing themselves. If I convert somebody I must be doing something right.

Misery loves company.
 

skepticalbip

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Gotta love that whoever wrote this destroyed their argument in the first couple sentences.

''What then is faith? As a first pass, we should understand faith as simple trust. When we trust, there is always some thing (or person) that we trust. This is to say that faith always has an object. That is, one cannot have faith in some nebulous way. There must be some thing or person one has faith in.

Religious faith is about belief in a nebulous idea, not trust in a person or thing as they claim.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Even online dictionary definitions have shifted to reflect common usage. Faith practically being synonymous with trust and confidence, etc. It's quite odd.
 

steve_bank

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Many words can be contextual.

I have faith a jet I am on will fly, baring failures...based on knowledge of aerodynamics and observng many planes flying.

Theists see observati0nal evidence that reinforces faith, but it is subjective. At least to us skeptics.
 

Keith&Co.

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Many words can be contextual.

I have faith a jet I am on will fly, baring failures...based on knowledge of aerodynamics and observng many planes flying.

Theists see observati0nal evidence that reinforces faith, but it is subjective. At least to us skeptics.

I would call that trust more than faith. There is an estsblished track record, a performance history.
Vaccines, medication, treatment protocols, cars, planes, subs, are the tip of very long spears i can see and test, or at leadt know there has been peer review.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Many words can be contextual.

I have faith a jet I am on will fly, baring failures...based on knowledge of aerodynamics and observng many planes flying.

Theists see observati0nal evidence that reinforces faith, but it is subjective. At least to us skeptics.

One is trust built through objective experience, the number of accidents, falure rate, etc...the other a belief held without the support of evidence: faith.

Trust without evidence becomes an instance of faith.
 

DBT

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From a long time ago:

"Faith is like a piece of blank paper whereon you may write as well one miracle as another." ~ Charles Blount (1654-1693)
 

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Even online dictionary definitions have shifted to reflect common usage. Faith practically being synonymous with trust and confidence, etc. It's quite odd.

Or perhaps the dictionary(ies) are merely reflecting what has been within them for a long time.

Faith is a belief held without the support of evidence of evidence
- paraphrasing Dawkins and others.

Do you have a year(s) in which the aforementioned quote first appeared in a dictionary? I do not know where it first appeared.

If it appeared quite recently then it is hard to justify that the conventional/traditional meaning of the word 'faith' are attempts by theists to change accepted meanings.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
We have a condition where people do believe in the truth of something without the support of evidence. We call that "faith." That condition, that class of belief provides the context for the given definition.
 

abaddon

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There is no "the" meaning, there are TWO meanings. The problem is when people conflate the two different meanings.

Having faith (ie trust) that a chair won't break when you sit on it is completely different from having faith (ie a belief in that is "based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof") that an invisible chair is present in an empty room.

The latter is not trust that existent things will persist.
 

ronburgundy

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They are confusing two completely different meanings of the word, one meaning (the secular, colloquial usage) merely refers to some level of trust or confidence without referring to the basis of that trust. The other meaning is the epistemological meaning often referred to by the Bible and religion dealing with the fact that the trust is not based upon (and thus is impervious to) reasoned thought, empirical evidence, or anything but deference to a religious authority (whether the doctrines, "the word", etc.)

This latter is what the father of Protestantism was referring to when he said "Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God." Anti-reason and anti-intellectualism are foundational to Protestantism, which advocated direct appeal to the authority of the Bible (leading to literalism) and a purely emotional relationship to God, both of which bypassed any need for the centuries of Church controlled (pseudo)scholarship and theology.

But Luther didn't invent that conception of faith as emotional belief against reason. It is central to the Bible itself, with many versus advocating faith as belief without and often against empirical evidence, reason, knowledge, wisdom, and admonishing any who have any of the doubts these things inherently give rise to, while praising the absolute certainty that only unreasoned emotionalism and authoritarianism can produce.

"For we live by faith, not by sight."
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified
"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Note that last one equates faith with "hope" as in being a kind of wishful thinking, and though the second phrase mentions "evidence" the "not seen" makes clear that it not empirical evidence or anything rational though counts as evidence but rather that the desire/hope that it is true is taken as the basis for it being true.


This idea that faith is belief in what the reasoned mind says is impossible is also at the heart of the idea that those who have faith will be able to do things that reasoned thought says is impossible.


“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

The Bible wouldn't spend so much time threatening and promoting harm, damnation, and genocide towards those who doubt or don't believe, if there was any sense that such believe should or could be based in reason, which is the opposite of responding to threat.
And the Bible is wise to take that epistemological stance, b/c it's claims and God's existence never could be rationally based, and modern science has severally eroded even the pseudo-intellectual pretension of reasoned belief (e.g., argument from design).
 

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Point of history:

Even online dictionary definitions have shifted to reflect common usage. Faith practically being synonymous with trust and confidence, etc. It's quite odd.

That's not the change. The idea that faith and trust are separate contexts is the change, a product of the changing philosophical and scholarly trends in European tradition. Faith, in Christian contexts, does and always did mean a personal relationship of loyalty and mutual trust/obedience; it is a translation of the ancient Greek term pistis, which held both meanings, likewise its Latin equivalent fides from which the English term is etymologically derived. They often were used in civil contexts to indicate legal relationships; for instance, a viceroy had the "faith" of his king, and something similar was being implied about Christ and his followers in relation to God, that they were adopted sons of God and therefore had the faith of and in God, a reciprocal relationship of faith and authority. No one predating the Renaissance ever talked or wrote about faith as though it were synonymous with "acceptance of a philosophical proposition". But cultures and priorities change over time. That new definition came to sit alongside the older sense of the word connoting trust and confidence, and both senses have been used (often interchangeably) in religious circles and secular contexts from the end of the Renaissance onward to the present. Four hundred years is a long time, and both definitions are commonly in use in our society at this point.
 

steve_bank

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Back a ways on science as to evolution theist made this argument.

Science can not experimentally prove evolution created humans, therefore it is faith.
Religion can not prove experimentally faith that god exists.
Therefore religion is as valid as science.
 

Politesse

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They are confusing two completely different meanings of the word, one meaning (the secular, colloquial usage) merely refers to some level of trust or confidence without referring to the basis of that trust. The other meaning is the epistemological meaning often referred to by the Bible and religion dealing with the fact that the trust is not based upon (and thus is impervious to) reasoned thought, empirical evidence, or anything but deference to a religious authority (whether the doctrines, "the word", etc.)

This latter is what the father of Protestantism was referring to when he said "Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God." Anti-reason and anti-intellectualism are foundational to Protestantism, which advocated direct appeal to the authority of the Bible (leading to literalism) and a purely emotional relationship to God, both of which bypassed any need for the centuries of Church controlled (pseudo)scholarship and theology.

But Luther didn't invent that conception of faith as emotional belief against reason. It is central to the Bible itself, with many versus advocating faith as belief without and often against empirical evidence, reason, knowledge, wisdom, and admonishing any who have any of the doubts these things inherently give rise to, while praising the absolute certainty that only unreasoned emotionalism and authoritarianism can produce.

"For we live by faith, not by sight."
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified
"But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Not that last one equates faith with "hope" as in being a kind of wishful thinking, and though the second phrase mentions "evidence" the "not seen" makes clear that it not empirical evidence or anything rational though counts as evidence but rather that he desire/hope that it is true is taken as the basis for it being true.


This idea that faith is belief in what the reasoned mind says is impossible is also at the heart of the idea that those who have faith will be able to do things that reasoned thought says is impossible.


“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

The Bible wouldn't spend so much time threatening and promoting harm, damnation, and genocide towards those who doubt or don't believe, if there was any sense that such believe should or could be based in reason, which is the opposite of responding to threat.
And the Bible is wise to take that epistemological stance, b/c it's claims and God's existence never could be rationally based, and modern science has severally eroded even the pseudo-intellectual pretension of reasoned belief (e.g., argument from design).

Tell me, which makes more inherent sense:

1. "If you have enough confidence, you can accomplish anything."
2. "If you have a correct philosophical position based on rejection of evidence, you can accomplish anything."

To put things another way is it necessarily true that your (presumably Protestant) would-be handlers have taught you the most correct and obvious interpretation of the Matthew passage you're quoting? In your opinion, are they normally trustworthy guides to what is or is not true? Do you have faith, let's say, that they aways teach about the Bible in an unbiased fashion?
 

abaddon

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"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Note that last one equates faith with "hope" as in being a kind of wishful thinking, and though the second phrase mentions "evidence" the "not seen" makes clear that it not empirical evidence or anything rational though counts as evidence but rather that the desire/hope that it is true is taken as the basis for it being true.


The sentence structure is "Faith is... the evidence".

So believing-in is itself the evidence for what's believed-in. IOW "it's true because I believe it real hard".

Theists feel God's presence "in their hearts" by staying fervent in their belief till a presence is felt. So they get their evidence of personal experience by striving for their evidence of personal experience. Likewise a person could easily feel a deceased person's ghost in the room with him if he worked at it.

This sort of thinking is the basis of "he didn't pray enough" and other excuses for why a Christian might lose their faith that God/Jesus exists. The believer would have stayed a believer if they'd created the feeling of God more assiduously.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Point of history:

Even online dictionary definitions have shifted to reflect common usage. Faith practically being synonymous with trust and confidence, etc. It's quite odd.

That's not the change. The idea that faith and trust are separate contexts is the change, a product of the changing philosophical and scholarly trends in European tradition. Faith, in Christian contexts, does and always did mean a personal relationship of loyalty and mutual trust/obedience; it is a translation of the ancient Greek term pistis, which held both meanings, likewise its Latin equivalent fides from which the English term is etymologically derived. They often were used in civil contexts to indicate legal relationships; for instance, a viceroy had the "faith" of his king, and something similar was being implied about Christ and his followers in relation to God, that they were adopted sons of God and therefore had the faith of and in God, a reciprocal relationship of faith and authority. No one predating the Renaissance ever talked or wrote about faith as though it were synonymous with "acceptance of a philosophical proposition". But cultures and priorities change over time. That new definition came to sit alongside the older sense of the word connoting trust and confidence, and both senses have been used (often interchangeably) in religious circles and secular contexts from the end of the Renaissance onward to the present. Four hundred years is a long time, and both definitions are commonly in use in our society at this point.

I wasn't disputing that the word 'faith' has been, and still is used in multiple ways, synonymous with trust, confidence, etc, just that this semantic drift creates sufficient ambiguity to allow theists to align and defend their faith, a belief held without the support of evidence, with trust or confidence.....which are not the same, thereby muddying the water.
 

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Back a ways on science as to evolution theist made this argument.

Science can not experimentally prove evolution created humans, therefore it is faith.
Religion can not prove experimentally faith that god exists.
Therefore religion is as valid as science.

Some folks say that religion is as valid as science, but they don't demonstrate as much in their behavior, else they'd pray away illness, disease and injury.

Isn't faith really just hope? Faith is only required because there is serious doubt that a certain belief or claim is true. That's why faith is needed, because of the evidence that causes doubt. If there wasn't so much evidence against, one wouldn't ever need to deal in faith.
 

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Point of history:

Even online dictionary definitions have shifted to reflect common usage. Faith practically being synonymous with trust and confidence, etc. It's quite odd.

That's not the change. The idea that faith and trust are separate contexts is the change, a product of the changing philosophical and scholarly trends in European tradition. Faith, in Christian contexts, does and always did mean a personal relationship of loyalty and mutual trust/obedience; it is a translation of the ancient Greek term pistis, which held both meanings, likewise its Latin equivalent fides from which the English term is etymologically derived. They often were used in civil contexts to indicate legal relationships; for instance, a viceroy had the "faith" of his king, and something similar was being implied about Christ and his followers in relation to God, that they were adopted sons of God and therefore had the faith of and in God, a reciprocal relationship of faith and authority. No one predating the Renaissance ever talked or wrote about faith as though it were synonymous with "acceptance of a philosophical proposition". But cultures and priorities change over time. That new definition came to sit alongside the older sense of the word connoting trust and confidence, and both senses have been used (often interchangeably) in religious circles and secular contexts from the end of the Renaissance onward to the present. Four hundred years is a long time, and both definitions are commonly in use in our society at this point.

I wasn't disputing that the word 'faith' has been, and still is used in multiple ways, synonymous with trust, confidence, etc, just that this semantic drift creates sufficient ambiguity to allow theists to align and defend their faith, a belief held without the support of evidence, with trust or confidence.....which are not the same, thereby muddying the water.

I agree that the water is muddy, just not with your chronology of the concept. The ambiguity was always there, not of recent invention.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Hope may come in different flavours, a reasonably probable expectation at one end of the scale to an unrealistic belief at the other, from hope to faith.
 

Politesse

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Hope may come in different flavours, a reasonably probable expectation at one end of the scale to an unrealistic belief/faith at the other.

Personally, I see religious faith in much the same light, and indeed see hope and faith as rather strongly interlinked concepts. Only zealots, politicians, and atheists have capital invested in a conception of faith as inherently unthinking.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
I wasn't disputing that the word 'faith' has been, and still is used in multiple ways, synonymous with trust, confidence, etc, just that this semantic drift creates sufficient ambiguity to allow theists to align and defend their faith, a belief held without the support of evidence, with trust or confidence.....which are not the same, thereby muddying the water.

I agree that the water is muddy, just not with your chronology of the concept. The ambiguity was always there, not of recent invention.

I didn't give a chronology, the ambiguity has always been there. It just seems like technology, the internet more than anything else, has focused or intensified it in recent times. I could be wrong.
 

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Hope may come in different flavours, a reasonably probable expectation at one end of the scale to an unrealistic belief/faith at the other.

Personally, I see religious faith in much the same light, and indeed see hope and faith as rather strongly interlinked concepts. Only zealots, politicians, and atheists have capital invested in a conception of faith as inherently unthinking.

Hope as the basis of belief is "unthinking". It is believing something is true b/c you hope it is true, which given the two have zero logical relation is irrational. IOW, it is emotional based belief where wishful thinking is treated is interchangable with objective reality. The Bible and Christian theology make numerous references to the idea that faith is not merely hope with the acknowledgement that it might not be actually true, but is hope-based doubtless belief in the actual truth and reality of the idea (to the point of centering one's whole existence around it). It's only dishonest religious apologist that deny the inherent conflict between reasoned thought and faith as Abrahamic religion has always conceived and promoted it.
 

DBT

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Faith is a form of self deception.
Hope may come in different flavours, a reasonably probable expectation at one end of the scale to an unrealistic belief/faith at the other.

Personally, I see religious faith in much the same light, and indeed see hope and faith as rather strongly interlinked concepts. Only zealots, politicians, and atheists have capital invested in a conception of faith as inherently unthinking.

Given degrees of probability for something to be true, or the likelihood of something happening as hoped for, perhaps faith is a less rational form of hope, which is why faith, but not necessarily hope, is defined as a belief held without the support of evidence in that context.
 

Politesse

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The Bible and Christian theology make numerous references to the idea that faith is not merely hope with the acknowledgement that it might not be actually true, but is hope-based doubtless belief in the actual truth and reality of the idea (to the point of centering one's whole existence around it).
Oh? I for one would be interested to see your homework on this.
 

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The Bible and Christian theology make numerous references to the idea that faith is not merely hope with the acknowledgement that it might not be actually true, but is hope-based doubtless belief in the actual truth and reality of the idea (to the point of centering one's whole existence around it).
Oh? I for one would be interested to see your homework on this.
The analysis ronburgundy made is pretty much describing the basis of Pascal's wager, frequently used by evangelical Christians in attempts to convince people to accept the faith.
 

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Religious belief doesn't come in through reason or rational examination. The rationales from the religious are after-the-fact justifications, not reasons, and certainly not the reasons they believe. That all happened in other areas of the brain.
 

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It's just that they shameless substitute false witness to a reality that they subscribe to in order to belong to that group that believes in heaven and life after death.

Fear of mortality and many other shortcomings in life leaves life after death as an awesome opiate which intoxicates us all to some extent.
 

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It's just that they shameless substitute false witness to a reality that they subscribe to in order to belong to that group that believes in heaven and life after death.

Fear of mortality and many other shortcomings in life leaves life after death as an awesome opiate which intoxicates us all to some extent.

And using their brains to justify supernatural belief is just a waste of frontal lobes.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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It's just that they shameless substitute false witness to a reality that they subscribe to in order to belong to that group that believes in heaven and life after death.

Fear of mortality and many other shortcomings in life leaves life after death as an awesome opiate which intoxicates us all to some extent.

And using their brains to justify supernatural belief is just a waste of frontal lobes.

Unnatural belief (pretending) has been selected for so it must have survival value. Maybe the religious flavor only really does have value with regard to the group. It obviously helps people deal with fear, and fear of death is real enough for humans who dwell on it.

At its most basic it's supply and demand, a kind of group therapy. Some people are able to enrich themselves and exploit that fear and prey on those who cognitively have no other way to deal with their condition. That's the unfortunate part.
 

Angry Floof

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It's just that they shameless substitute false witness to a reality that they subscribe to in order to belong to that group that believes in heaven and life after death.

Fear of mortality and many other shortcomings in life leaves life after death as an awesome opiate which intoxicates us all to some extent.

And using their brains to justify supernatural belief is just a waste of frontal lobes.

Unnatural belief (pretending) has been selected for so it must have survival value. Maybe the religious flavor only really does have value with regard to the group. It obviously helps people deal with fear, and fear of death is real enough for humans who dwell on it.

At its most basic it's supply and demand, a kind of group therapy. Some people are able to enrich themselves and exploit that fear and prey on those who cognitively have no other way to deal with their condition. That's the unfortunate part.

Sometimes traits persist simply because they don't kill us or prevent us from mating. Religion would fall under animal brain reflexes, which of course are conducive to survival. It's just lower brain activities with emotionally provoking stories on top.
 

steve_bank

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Animal brain reflexes? A bit on the ignorant side

Religion is one manifestation of a basic human trait. Identifying with a tribe.

We see it in sports. People identify strongly with home pro teams, and will defend them against verbal attack, and take offense when their team is attacked.

Religion serves a useful purpose. In colonial times and today a church was the community center that provided social services of the day. It is a unifying influence. Here in Seattle Mt Zion is an icon for black civil rights and has a number of social programs. Pre pandemic they were open for breakfast every day for all. There is an area Sikh temple that seves weekly meals, a tradition from the main temple in the Punjab India.

There are positives and negatives to religion just like anything else.
 

DBT

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Eternal life in paradise, reunion with loved ones, free of aging and disease, live happily forever and ever, amen, praise the lord, is quite a sell....
 

Angry Floof

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Animal brain reflexes? A bit on the ignorant side

Religion is one manifestation of a basic human trait. Identifying with a tribe.

We see it in sports. People identify strongly with home pro teams, and will defend them against verbal attack, and take offense when their team is attacked.

Religion serves a useful purpose. In colonial times and today a church was the community center that provided social services of the day. It is a unifying influence. Here in Seattle Mt Zion is an icon for black civil rights and has a number of social programs. Pre pandemic they were open for breakfast every day for all. There is an area Sikh temple that seves weekly meals, a tradition from the main temple in the Punjab India.

There are positives and negatives to religion just like anything else.

Tribalism is very animal brain. But I was thinking more along the lines of fear, hijacked by religious fear mongering, beyond just the fear of being kicked out of your tribe, which is also a consistent theme of religious fear.

If there are positives to religion, they are human positives, which can be examined by humans and can be secular in nature. Supernatural beliefs rarely apply to benign religions much less religious ideas that inspire people to be better than hijacked animal brain reflexes and more aware than a blind obedience machines, though there are exceptions, such as Quakers.

Any cultural ideas can be unifying! They don't have to be religious! In fact, I would ask, as I have asked numerous times before of religious believers and apologists, name one good thing in human experience that cannot be had without religion. I've never gotten an answer because there isn't one!

Everything you think is good in religion is good in general culture, just as everything bad in religion is also of human creation. Religion is a human artifact, a human creation, and not the other way around. The religious ideas and practices that inspire people to be better people are also human creations and can be had in a secular society. Just add supernatural beliefs and tribalism and culture becomes religion.

One more point to remember: if all of human history and knowledge were to disappear, religion would probably reappear, but not exactly the same beliefs or stories or concepts. But science, if what remained of humanity in this hypothetical were as curious as we are now, would re-emerge with exactly the same conclusions and constants, as well as the same approach to what is not known. A humanity that can only create religion and not science will not likely last long, as religion doesn't offer knowledge or information about the world we actually live in and must navigate to survive and thrive.
 

Angry Floof

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Eternal life in paradise, reunion with loved ones, free of aging and disease, live happily forever and ever, amen, praise the lord, is quite a sell....

Yep, because no human has ever experienced any of that, least of all the mouthpieces insisting that it's real.
 

Angry Floof

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It's just that they shameless substitute false witness to a reality that they subscribe to in order to belong to that group that believes in heaven and life after death.

Fear of mortality and many other shortcomings in life leaves life after death as an awesome opiate which intoxicates us all to some extent.

And using their brains to justify supernatural belief is just a waste of frontal lobes.

Unnatural belief (pretending) has been selected for so it must have survival value. Maybe the religious flavor only really does have value with regard to the group. It obviously helps people deal with fear, and fear of death is real enough for humans who dwell on it.

At its most basic it's supply and demand, a kind of group therapy. Some people are able to enrich themselves and exploit that fear and prey on those who cognitively have no other way to deal with their condition. That's the unfortunate part.

All of that is possible without religion. Religion doesn't provide either tribalism or collectivism, but can reinforce either, among other things. We already have all those things we need and have needed to survive. The religious stories and beliefs don't matter. Religion is when ignorance hijacks those animal brain responses and then reinforces any number of human tendencies through stories and ideas, including fear and hate mongering.

We are no longer ignorant and there is no longer any excuse to pretend that supernatural beliefs and stories are the source of anything good in human nature or societies.
 

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The last time I looked we are animals, with a thin cultural veneer of isolation from our genetic disposition.

In the day the Grateful Dead was very much a tribal phenomena among its followers-devotees. In many ways pop music has replaced religion, people quote lyrics as theists do scripture, and elevate musicians to a mystical prophet status, as with Bob Dylan.

Repeating I said religion is one manifestation among many.

It is easy to see it on religion if you are secular, much harder to see it in yourself. It requires introspection.
 

Angry Floof

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The last time I looked we are animals, with a thin cultural veneer of isolation from our genetic disposition.

In the day the Grateful Dead was very much a tribal phenomena among its followers-devotees. In many ways pop music has replaced religion, people quote lyrics as theists do scripture, and elevate musicians to a mystical prophet status, as with Bob Dylan.

Repeating I said religion is one manifestation among many.

It is easy to see it on religion if you are secular, much harder to see it in yourself. It requires introspection.

It certainly does, and I'm sure you will be happy to know that authority worship, conform-or-die, might-is-right, exclusivity, punishment of outgroups, discouragement of questioning, etc., etc., all the stuff that makes religion the tribalistic, inhumane poison that it so often is, and truly, deeply is in the U.S. at the moment, are not in my repertoire of responses to the world around me. :)

But, like you suggest in your post, although in a rather different direction, if you don't think like that, how would you recognize any other way of thinking or perceiving the world?

I've already been religious. I've already experienced religious belief (as well as some of the ecstatic sort of experiences that the religious call "God"), and just like when you learn how a trick is done you can no longer be fooled by it, it wouldn't be possible for me to return to religious beliefs beyond those that are based in the natural world.
 

steve_bank

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The last time I looked we are animals, with a thin cultural veneer of isolation from our genetic disposition.

In the day the Grateful Dead was very much a tribal phenomena among its followers-devotees. In many ways pop music has replaced religion, people quote lyrics as theists do scripture, and elevate musicians to a mystical prophet status, as with Bob Dylan.

Repeating I said religion is one manifestation among many.

It is easy to see it on religion if you are secular, much harder to see it in yourself. It requires introspection.

It certainly does, and I'm sure you will be happy to know that authority worship, conform-or-die, might-is-right, exclusivity, punishment of outgroups, discouragement of questioning, etc., etc., all the stuff that makes religion the tribalistic, inhumane poison that it so often is, and truly, deeply is in the U.S. at the moment, are not in my repertoire of responses to the world around me. :)

But, like you suggest in your post, although in an opposing direction, if you don't think like that, how would you recognize any other way of thinking or perceiving the world?

The leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea are all personality cults. The Chines refer to top executive as 'the leader'.

Skilled politicians and clerics can use the understanding if dynamics for good or evil. In pop music and movies there is plenty of self destructive messages. In Clapton's live version of the song Cocaine the crowd is cheering cocaine!!! ciconine!!

There were a number of figures in the 19th and early 2oth centuries. Messmer for one.
 

Angry Floof

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The last time I looked we are animals, with a thin cultural veneer of isolation from our genetic disposition.

In the day the Grateful Dead was very much a tribal phenomena among its followers-devotees. In many ways pop music has replaced religion, people quote lyrics as theists do scripture, and elevate musicians to a mystical prophet status, as with Bob Dylan.

Repeating I said religion is one manifestation among many.

It is easy to see it on religion if you are secular, much harder to see it in yourself. It requires introspection.

It certainly does, and I'm sure you will be happy to know that authority worship, conform-or-die, might-is-right, exclusivity, punishment of outgroups, discouragement of questioning, etc., etc., all the stuff that makes religion the tribalistic, inhumane poison that it so often is, and truly, deeply is in the U.S. at the moment, are not in my repertoire of responses to the world around me. :)

But, like you suggest in your post, although in an opposing direction, if you don't think like that, how would you recognize any other way of thinking or perceiving the world?

The leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea are all personality cults. The Chines refer to top executive as 'the leader'.

Skilled politicians and clerics can use the understanding if dynamics for good or evil. In pop music and movies there is plenty of self destructive messages. In Clapton's live version of the song Cocaine the crowd is cheering cocaine!!! ciconine!!

There were a number of figures in the 19th and early 2oth centuries. Messmer for one.

Just because non-religious ideologies can also contain those poisonous elements doesn't mean religion is good. All ideology, including religion, is created by humans. There is no other possible source. All ideology is going to be based in human experience and behavior. All those elements I mentioned that give rise to fascist religion also apply to those examples you mention. Authority worship, no questioning, punishment/hatred of outgroups, etc. These are the same things we criticize about religion as we do about North Korea. This is just a convenient whataboutism.

There is one difference between religious fascism and the North Korean kind, and that is that people outside of the religion, meaning wider society, are often under the delusion that religion=good and therefore we should not criticize it, and so the dominant religion gets a lot of leeway and excuses for bad behavior. Then some upheaval or national crisis occurs, and all that leeway is taken full advantage of by ideologies that can't exist without fear and ignorance.

Side note: Islam and Christianity are the same dog barking at itself in a mirror.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Religion can be defined as the exploitation of the fear of death for profit. The religious prescription for alleviating this understandable concern is to embrace superstition and ignorance. But getting past a fear of death needn't be stressful or painful, and I suppose that's exactly how religious people feel about their situation when they embrace their group answer. Having a consuming fear of death is a bit of a religious identity and so easily exploitable for the profiteers it seems to me. We likely wouldn't have religion at all were it not for this instinctive predisposition.

I don't know if that dynamic is changing as humans live longer lives. Most of us probably do in fact lead lives of quiet desperation, but that quiet desperation didn't used to last as long as it does now, so we had less time to contemplate death itself. We just struggled and died. Now we struggle and don't die, at least relatively speaking. So maybe these religious faith/death cults, at least in that group sense, are dying, as statistics seem to indicate.
 

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Religion can be defined as the exploitation of the fear of death for profit. The religious prescription for alleviating this understandable concern is to embrace superstition and ignorance. But getting past a fear of death needn't be stressful or painful, and I suppose that's exactly how religious people feel about their situation when they embrace their group answer. Having a consuming fear of death is a bit of a religious identity and so easily exploitable for the profiteers it seems to me. We likely wouldn't have religion at all were it not for this instinctive predisposition.

I don't know if that dynamic is changing as humans live longer lives. Most of us probably do in fact lead lives of quiet desperation, but that quiet desperation didn't used to last as long as it does now, so we had less time to contemplate death itself. We just struggled and died. Now we struggle and don't die, at least relatively speaking. So maybe these religious faith/death cults, at least in that group sense, are dying, as statistics seem to indicate.

I would not say that is a definition it is an aspect pf culture in general. The late comedienne Joan Rivers had so much plastic surgery it was joked her grave had to be declared a toxic waste site.

Billions are spent on supplements, mostly bogus. guaranteed to ward off ageing. There is also the non theist modern mystcsim of life after death. Books and videos.

I am not really invested in being atheist. There are atheists who much like theists profit from the issue. Some atheists quote earthiest authors much like theists do. Atheisms can become an identity beyond a simple rejection of gods.
 

steve_bank

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The leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea are all personality cults. The Chines refer to top executive as 'the leader'.

Skilled politicians and clerics can use the understanding if dynamics for good or evil. In pop music and movies there is plenty of self destructive messages. In Clapton's live version of the song Cocaine the crowd is cheering cocaine!!! ciconine!!

There were a number of figures in the 19th and early 2oth centuries. Messmer for one.

Just because non-religious ideologies can also contain those poisonous elements doesn't mean religion is good. All ideology, including religion, is created by humans. There is no other possible source. All ideology is going to be based in human experience and behavior. All those elements I mentioned that give rise to fascist religion also apply to those examples you mention. Authority worship, no questioning, punishment/hatred of outgroups, etc. These are the same things we criticize about religion as we do about North Korea. This is just a convenient whataboutism.

There is one difference between religious fascism and the North Korean kind, and that is that people outside of the religion, meaning wider society, are often under the delusion that religion=good and therefore we should not criticize it, and so the dominant religion gets a lot of leeway and excuses for bad behavior. Then some upheaval or national crisis occurs, and all that leeway is taken full advantage of by ideologies that can't exist without fear and ignorance.

Side note: Islam and Christianity are the same dog barking at itself in a mirror.

Yet again, my view is religion comprised of real humans who are not perfect has the same dynamics as any other human social group.

The Soviets who were atheist by policy and who tried to forcibly eradicate religion were as brutal and oppressive as any form of religion. For example Saudi Arabia.

If you argue religion is a singular negative among all thing human then I'd say you need to broaden your horizons.

Atheists in the name of atheism can be as intolerant as theists.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Yet again, my view is religion comprised of real humans who are not perfect has the same dynamics as any other human social group.

The Soviets who were atheist by policy and who tried to forcibly eradicate religion were as brutal and oppressive as any form of religion. For example Saudi Arabia.

If you argue religion is a singular negative among all thing human then I'd say you need to broaden your horizons.

Atheists in the name of atheism can be as intolerant as theists.
There's nothing special about humans exploiting other humans. My point earlier was that religious exploitation is an end unto itself. If I have a real fear of death and it stresses me out it's a problem that can be addressed and hopefully solved. Applying woo isn't going to solve this problem or any other problem. No one is saying anything is perfect. Perfection is just another faith myth which is correlated with religion. People of religious faith believe in perfection, just more woo.
 

Angry Floof

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The leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea are all personality cults. The Chines refer to top executive as 'the leader'.

Skilled politicians and clerics can use the understanding if dynamics for good or evil. In pop music and movies there is plenty of self destructive messages. In Clapton's live version of the song Cocaine the crowd is cheering cocaine!!! ciconine!!

There were a number of figures in the 19th and early 2oth centuries. Messmer for one.

Just because non-religious ideologies can also contain those poisonous elements doesn't mean religion is good. All ideology, including religion, is created by humans. There is no other possible source. All ideology is going to be based in human experience and behavior. All those elements I mentioned that give rise to fascist religion also apply to those examples you mention. Authority worship, no questioning, punishment/hatred of outgroups, etc. These are the same things we criticize about religion as we do about North Korea. This is just a convenient whataboutism.

There is one difference between religious fascism and the North Korean kind, and that is that people outside of the religion, meaning wider society, are often under the delusion that religion=good and therefore we should not criticize it, and so the dominant religion gets a lot of leeway and excuses for bad behavior. Then some upheaval or national crisis occurs, and all that leeway is taken full advantage of by ideologies that can't exist without fear and ignorance.

Side note: Islam and Christianity are the same dog barking at itself in a mirror.

Yet again, my view is religion comprised of real humans who are not perfect has the same dynamics as any other human social group.

The Soviets who were atheist by policy and who tried to forcibly eradicate religion were as brutal and oppressive as any form of religion. For example Saudi Arabia.

If you argue religion is a singular negative among all thing human then I'd say you need to broaden your horizons.

Atheists in the name of atheism can be as intolerant as theists.

But atheism doesn't make anyone a bad person. Much of religion actually does go a long way toward making people horrible people who do horrible things.

Lack of belief in god doesn't make someone any more susceptible to cults than anyone else, and very likely less so depending on how they came about their atheism. But a great deal of religion does include elements and teachings that specifically and effectively cultivate some of the worst traits and behaviors in humans and cultivate out the traits and behaviors that can mitigate those all too human faults.

What exactly are you defending here? I've asked you and others this many times and never get an answer. Are you defending your own personal identity group? Is that what makes it so hard to acknowledge that much of religion teaches shit that is bad for us? Shit that helps make us bad people when we believe it and live in an environment where the religion holds sway?

If you do indeed object to those authoritarian regimes and dictatorships you mention, why exactly do you object? Can you specify what kind of thinking and what kind of acts you object to? I don't think you really want to be specific in answering these questions because then you might have to acknowledge them within religion.
 

Rhea

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Animal brain reflexes? A bit on the ignorant side

Religion is one manifestation of a basic human trait. Identifying with a tribe.

We see it in sports. People identify strongly with home pro teams, and will defend them against verbal attack, and take offense when their team is attacked.

I feel like when you use the word “people” here, and you’re talking aboout a minority - perhaps even a small minority - of the population, it doesn’t make a great case for why sports supports religion as a basic human trait... There are SO MANY people who don’t follow sportsball. And so many who do not attend church, even if they call themselves “religious”.
 

steve_bank

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Animal brain reflexes? A bit on the ignorant side

Religion is one manifestation of a basic human trait. Identifying with a tribe.

We see it in sports. People identify strongly with home pro teams, and will defend them against verbal attack, and take offense when their team is attacked.

I feel like when you use the word “people” here, and you’re talking aboout a minority - perhaps even a small minority - of the population, it doesn’t make a great case for why sports supports religion as a basic human trait... There are SO MANY people who don’t follow sportsball. And so many who do not attend church, even if they call themselves “religious”.

To me it is all the same human behavior.

It is about self identity. Back on the previous incarnation of the forum the woman who ran it was in a running dispute with an earthiest on the net. Their are factions and followers within atheisms.

Same old same old.

An observation, 'I dispute irrational religion, therefore I am rational!'. Do you have any problems with the logic?

Is there anything rational about is humans?

Whatever the negatives religion was a way to keep a lid on human impulses. Prividing structure.

The question I always ask atheists, without any real response, if we get rid of religion what do we replace it with?

These days people quote pop music and movie lines as wisdom.
 

steve_bank

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Yet again, my view is religion comprised of real humans who are not perfect has the same dynamics as any other human social group.

The Soviets who were atheist by policy and who tried to forcibly eradicate religion were as brutal and oppressive as any form of religion. For example Saudi Arabia.

If you argue religion is a singular negative among all thing human then I'd say you need to broaden your horizons.

Atheists in the name of atheism can be as intolerant as theists.

But atheism doesn't make anyone a bad person. Much of religion actually does go a long way toward making people horrible people who do horrible things.

Lack of belief in god doesn't make someone any more susceptible to cults than anyone else, and very likely less so depending on how they came about their atheism. But a great deal of religion does include elements and teachings that specifically and effectively cultivate some of the worst traits and behaviors in humans and cultivate out the traits and behaviors that can mitigate those all too human faults.

What exactly are you defending here? I've asked you and others this many times and never get an answer. Are you defending your own personal identity group? Is that what makes it so hard to acknowledge that much of religion teaches shit that is bad for us? Shit that helps make us bad people when we believe it and live in an environment where the religion holds sway?

If you do indeed object to those authoritarian regimes and dictatorships you mention, why exactly do you object? Can you specify what kind of thinking and what kind of acts you object to? I don't think you really want to be specific in answering these questions because then you might have to acknowledge them within religion.

My infinite loop detector light is flashing, the last word is yours.
 
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