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Why would a reasonable person believe in God?

TomC

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Maybe some people just need to have a master. Having a god is having a master and I become a happy slave that obeys my master. It gives my life meaning and purpose and clarity. and I am unable to function otherwise. I can forget about making decisions or being responsible for my actions or having any kind of vision as to what kind of world I desire. I leave that all in the hands of my master. I just have to be obedient and do what pleases my master and all is good. I'm unburdened of life's demands. I'm no different than an infant or a toddler, my master is in control.
I suppose that happens sometimes. But here in Jesustan I almost always see just the opposite. God is a yes man. He's created in the image of the believers. One can believe or do almost anything, and find a Bible verse proving God agrees with you. Then expect the people around you to recognize your authority to speak for God.
Tom
 

Shadowy Man

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Maybe some people just need to have a master. Having a god is having a master and I become a happy slave that obeys my master. It gives my life meaning and purpose and clarity. and I am unable to function otherwise. I can forget about making decisions or being responsible for my actions or having any kind of vision as to what kind of world I desire. I leave that all in the hands of my master. I just have to be obedient and do what pleases my master and all is good. I'm unburdened of life's demands. I'm no different than an infant or a toddler, my master is in control.
Well… now that you put it that way…
 

Unknown Soldier

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Simply calling theists stupid or ignorant is too simple. Sure, we're a dumb-ass species. But we're not that stupid. I refuse to believe that belief in God isn't psychologically useful somehow. I'm talking use. Not a crutch. The belief acting as a tool in order to strengthen the believers life somehow. If not, I can't see how this belief could have possible survived.
Calling theists stupid is like calling a lonely man gullible for believing a pretty women on the internet is in love with him. Theists like lonely men are desperate for hope, and when people are desperate, they act in ways they don't normally act.
Is it the community surrounding religious faith?
Is it the rituals and traditions giving a sense of security?
Is it the fear of eye of God in their supposed Godly police-state keeping them focused on what is important?
Are prayers a way to help the believer formulate goals in their lives?
Does the illusion of Godly love give the believer a genuine feeling of love?
Often, often, often, I suppose, and often. There are reasons many people believe in Gods. I never disputed that fact.
Something else?
If people, men in particular, can use religion to manipulate people, then there are great potential rewards for those men. The rewards include money, political power, and exclusive access to women for sex. That's why many of the Biblical patriarchs were polygamists who so virulently forbade adultery. They wanted to sexually monopolize as many women as they could. And what better way to do it than to posit an "alpha-male God in the sky" who commanded all other men to stay away from those women or suffer terrible punishment?
I'm talking about religion in the bottom up sense.
In that case the sexually monopolized women were consoled by believing that their sexual servitude to their husbands who often had other wives was the will of an all-powerful God.
So what is the benefit from holding this false belief? The actual benefit.
If truth is too objectionable, then ignorance seems blissful by comparison. Belief in Gods can be a way to endure hardship for those who think they cannot endure that hardship any other way.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Often, often, often, I suppose, and often. There are reasons many people believe in Gods. I never disputed that fact.
I think it's more like TomC just said, people believe in themselves and then make their gods to be just like them. You don't find too many believers telling you their god is full of shit or is wrong. Sure, he gets to be awfully damn mysterious but that's about it.
 

TomC

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You don't find too many believers telling you their god is full of shit or is wrong.
They don't say it. They just ignore the teachings they prefer not to notice.

One of the ironic bits of the world I live in is this.

Upscale Christians wake up Sunday morning. They put on their best wool power suits. They get in their late model luxury car. They drive to church.

There at church, they worship the author of the words:
"Store not treasure that moth and rust will devour. Rather, store up treasure in Heaven."

They manage to believe both that God Himself came down from Heaven and said that, and that they are His Followers.

I kinda want to discuss the Parable of "Lazarus and the rich man", but I don't. Or the Parable of "The Sower", but I don't. Jesus doesn't matter to most of the Christians around here. They've got their own God.
Tom
 

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Often, often, often, I suppose, and often. There are reasons many people believe in Gods. I never disputed that fact.
I think it's more like TomC just said, people believe in themselves and then make their gods to be just like them.
I used to know a Christian woman who was racist and said she disapproved of black-white romances. She said that God disapproved of them too. I wonder whose disapproval came first.
You don't find too many believers telling you their god is full of shit or is wrong.
The Vikings saw their God Loki "The Trickster" that way. The Viking Gods were perhaps more human than most Gods.
Sure, he gets to be awfully damn mysterious but that's about it.
If I made up a God who didn't fulfill people's expectations, and those people asked why, then calling it a mystery might help.
 

DrZoidberg

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Simply calling theists stupid or ignorant is too simple. Sure, we're a dumb-ass species. But we're not that stupid. I refuse to believe that belief in God isn't psychologically useful somehow. I'm talking use. Not a crutch. The belief acting as a tool in order to strengthen the believers life somehow. If not, I can't see how this belief could have possible survived.
Calling theists stupid is like calling a lonely man gullible for believing a pretty women on the internet is in love with him. Theists like lonely men are desperate for hope, and when people are desperate, they act in ways they don't normally act.

Thanks for providing an excellent example of atheistic smug arrogance. I don't agree that being theistic is a sign of weakness. The most strident atheists I have known (like my younger self) are also quite emotionally shut off and struggle with being emotionally vulnerable. Something theists tend to be quite good at. So I don't buy it at all.

I think religions tend to be quite good at helping us develop emotionally. The problem is of course that any powerful tool can be a powerful tool for evil as well as good. But just turning our back on the tools developed over mlllenea to help us grow emotionally is just dumb IMHO.

This was the main argument of Alain de Bottons book "Religion for atheists". A book that changed my life for ever. It made me a lot more compassionate towards theists and made me annoyed with arrogant (in their own heads) superior atheists. Atheists who think that the only reason people are theists is because of personality flaws and weaknesses are delusional.

Or as my militantly atheistic yoga teacher friend put it "Yes, I believe in all the bullshit New Age mumbo jumbo while doing yoga, because it helps me get into the right frame of mind. After the session I scrub my brain of all the nonsense"

He demonstrated it on me. We did an experiment where we measured before and after and my range was significantly greater when I allowed myself to believe during the session. What neurologists call "the mind body connection".



Something else?
If people, men in particular, can use religion to manipulate people, then there are great potential rewards for those men. The rewards include money, political power, and exclusive access to women for sex. That's why many of the Biblical patriarchs were polygamists who so virulently forbade adultery. They wanted to sexually monopolize as many women as they could. And what better way to do it than to posit an "alpha-male God in the sky" who commanded all other men to stay away from those women or suffer terrible punishment?

I'm talking about religion in the bottom up sense.
In that case the sexually monopolized women were consoled by believing that their sexual servitude to their husbands who often had other wives was the will of an all-powerful God.

So the meaning of life is to put your penis in as many women as possible? Is that what you are saying? That might be true for a teenager.


So what is the benefit from holding this false belief? The actual benefit.
If truth is too objectionable, then ignorance seems blissful by comparison. Belief in Gods can be a way to endure hardship for those who think they cannot endure that hardship any other way.

Again, more smug atheistic arrogance. I don't buy it at all.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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So the meaning of life is to put your penis in as many women as possible? Is that what you are saying? That might be true for a teenager.
That's likely more true for a teenage brain, a brain which is markedly different from a mature brain. Maybe teenage brains are in fact less reasonable brains than adult brains, at least on average.

And how do we test our concept of "reasonableness" between two such groups of brains? Reasonableness may in fact be a measure of perceived personal safety. Or maybe it's a measure of scientific literacy. I would choose the latter.

But maybe it's just a measure of empathy or the ability to delay gratification with a good smattering of scientific literacy. Could get interesting.
 

Unknown Soldier

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Simply calling theists stupid or ignorant is too simple. Sure, we're a dumb-ass species. But we're not that stupid. I refuse to believe that belief in God isn't psychologically useful somehow. I'm talking use. Not a crutch. The belief acting as a tool in order to strengthen the believers life somehow. If not, I can't see how this belief could have possible survived.
Calling theists stupid is like calling a lonely man gullible for believing a pretty women on the internet is in love with him. Theists like lonely men are desperate for hope, and when people are desperate, they act in ways they don't normally act.

Thanks for providing an excellent example of atheistic smug arrogance.
That was not my intention. I was actually defending theists pointing out that they're not generally stupid but are looking for hope. My defense of theists was evidently not good enough!
I don't agree that being theistic is a sign of weakness.
But we all have weaknesses and seek strength to overcome obstacles. I have known many people who have told me they need their faith in God to get by. I'm just reporting that fact. If you find that fact objectionable, then you should take it up with the people who avow that they need faith in God.
The most strident atheists I have known (like my younger self) are also quite emotionally shut off and struggle with being emotionally vulnerable. Something theists tend to be quite good at. So I don't buy it at all.
Yes, many atheists are troubled emotionally. But that fact isn't very relevant to theists seeking strength in whatever God they believe in.
I think religions tend to be quite good at helping us develop emotionally.
How so?
The problem is of course that any powerful tool can be a powerful tool for evil as well as good. But just turning our back on the tools developed over mlllenea to help us grow emotionally is just dumb IMHO.
I think the following analogy is just as apt as your analogy: Religion is like a deadly weapon which can be used as a powerful tool to do good if a person chooses to do good with it. So we should recognize that some theists have managed to use religion for good.
This was the main argument of Alain de Bottons book "Religion for atheists". A book that changed my life for ever. It made me a lot more compassionate towards theists and made me annoyed with arrogant (in their own heads) superior atheists. Atheists who think that the only reason people are theists is because of personality flaws and weaknesses are delusional.
In the course of objecting to a stereotype of theists you club atheists with a stereotype of your own. How is that an improvement? It appears that your book gave you a very negative outlook on atheists many of whom are not arrogant or cruel.
Or as my militantly atheistic yoga teacher friend put it "Yes, I believe in all the bullshit New Age mumbo jumbo while doing yoga, because it helps me get into the right frame of mind. After the session I scrub my brain of all the nonsense"
So he doesn't like religion. Is he obligated to like it?
Something else?
If people, men in particular, can use religion to manipulate people, then there are great potential rewards for those men. The rewards include money, political power, and exclusive access to women for sex. That's why many of the Biblical patriarchs were polygamists who so virulently forbade adultery. They wanted to sexually monopolize as many women as they could. And what better way to do it than to posit an "alpha-male God in the sky" who commanded all other men to stay away from those women or suffer terrible punishment?

I'm talking about religion in the bottom up sense.
In that case the sexually monopolized women were consoled by believing that their sexual servitude to their husbands who often had other wives was the will of an all-powerful God.

So the meaning of life is to put your penis in as many women as possible? Is that what you are saying?
Uh--no. I just pointed out that religion often facilitates men's efforts to sexually monopolize women. So you're barking up the wrong tree. If you object to that practice, then take it up with the polygamists in the Bible who kept "herds" of women for sex and childbearing.
That might be true for a teenager.
It was evidently true for Yahweh. According to the Bible, God laid down tough laws to protect powerful men's privilege to put their "penis in as many women as possible." We are told that any man or woman who violated that privilege was to be executed. So God was very concerned about what penis went into what vagina. He is like one of those teenagers you mention.
So what is the benefit from holding this false belief? The actual benefit.
If truth is too objectionable, then ignorance seems blissful by comparison. Belief in Gods can be a way to endure hardship for those who think they cannot endure that hardship any other way.

Again, more smug atheistic arrogance. I don't buy it at all.
Again, take it up with the many theists who say they need God to endure hardship. I'm just reporting the facts.

It looks like you painted yourself into a corner criticizing theism when attempting to attack atheism.
 

No Robots

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The need for God is not something everyone has. I was always drawn to the Bible and the figure of Christ, but I came from a militantly atheist family and so there was a strong disincentive to seeking God. My late childhood was full of psychic misery and in adolescence I became a real shit. Early adulthood was a disaster for myself and for the people around me. A total meltdown--psychic, physical, emotional, personal and professional--forced me to seek a solution to the following:
  • Pangs of conscience for bad behavior
  • Desire to coexist peacefully with others
  • Duty to provide meaningful leadership to others
I started a self-help reading programme. Ultimately, I found what I was looking for in the work of renegade thinkers like Spinoza. They taught me the difference between the god of the masses and the god of the philosophers. I am at home and at peace with this.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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TomC

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the difference between the god of the masses and the god of the philosophers
And what do you see that difference to be?
For the masses, God is the infinite magnification of one's egoism. For the philosopher, one's egoism is an infinitesimal expression of God.
That's kinda the problem with this whole conversation.

"God" and "god" are among the least understood terms in the English lexicon. People make up their own characters and meanings every day, based on nothing more important or solid than opinions about the unknown. But people often get very emotionally attached to their own opinions, and respond badly to anyone or anything that interferes with their own personal identity and world view.
Tom
 

Unknown Soldier

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So the meaning of life is to put your penis in as many women as possible? Is that what you are saying? That might be true for a teenager.
That's likely more true for a teenage brain, a brain which is markedly different from a mature brain.
I'm not so sure of that. Many mature men are promiscuous. And promiscuity need not be the sole province of fornicators and adulterers. Polygamy is the marital version of promiscuity only it is often given the stamp of approval by religion.
Maybe teenage brains are in fact less reasonable brains than adult brains, at least on average.
According to 1 Kings 11: 3, Solomon had "seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines." What teenage boy ever had that many sex partners? Even DrZoidbverg balks at that kind of promiscuity only he thinks wrongly that atheism condones sexual license while it is very often religion that gives men the green light to own their own cornucopia of women as sexual outlets.
And how do we test our concept of "reasonableness" between two such groups of brains? Reasonableness may in fact be a measure of perceived personal safety. Or maybe it's a measure of scientific literacy. I would choose the latter.
Sadly, when people get involved with religion what is normally considered reasonable flies out the window.
 

DrZoidberg

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Simply calling theists stupid or ignorant is too simple. Sure, we're a dumb-ass species. But we're not that stupid. I refuse to believe that belief in God isn't psychologically useful somehow. I'm talking use. Not a crutch. The belief acting as a tool in order to strengthen the believers life somehow. If not, I can't see how this belief could have possible survived.
Calling theists stupid is like calling a lonely man gullible for believing a pretty women on the internet is in love with him. Theists like lonely men are desperate for hope, and when people are desperate, they act in ways they don't normally act.

Thanks for providing an excellent example of atheistic smug arrogance.
That was not my intention. I was actually defending theists pointing out that they're not generally stupid but are looking for hope. My defense of theists was evidently not good enough!

No, you're not defending them. What you are is patronizing.


I don't agree that being theistic is a sign of weakness.
But we all have weaknesses and seek strength to overcome obstacles. I have known many people who have told me they need their faith in God to get by. I'm just reporting that fact. If you find that fact objectionable, then you should take it up with the people who avow that they need faith in God.

Translation, they've found God to be a useful tool for them to make life work, and they haven't found any other tool that doesn't require faith in God.


The most strident atheists I have known (like my younger self) are also quite emotionally shut off and struggle with being emotionally vulnerable. Something theists tend to be quite good at. So I don't buy it at all.
Yes, many atheists are troubled emotionally. But that fact isn't very relevant to theists seeking strength in whatever God they believe in.

Everybody is a small lost child at heart, just trying to fool the world they're in control of stuff. That's true for every human who has ever lived and ever will live. Some people are in denial about this (narcissists for example). We're all hurtling full speed into uncertainty. We're playing a game (life) we know we will ultimately lose (death). Life is fundamentally horrific and traumatising.

EVERYBODY IS TROUBLED EMOTIONALLY

We're a social species and we all need tools not to be crushed by the stressors of life.

Christianity teaches us that we're all children at heart and if we just turn off our brains and trust in Gods plan, we can stop worrying. The project of secular liberal education of the Enlightenment was to replace this with facts. If you feel insecure about life we'll give you more facts. Eventually you'll have so many facts that you will figure it all out and you will be empowered feel great about life.

There's nothing wrong with a secular liberal education as such. It's great for helping us be materialy productive members of society. The problem is that it doesn't fix the problem Christian teachings were meant to solve. Secularism isn't an emotionally nourishing replacement for religion. Secular liberal education gives us no tools for this.

All the secular movements after the 1950'ies, I see as exactly this. All of them. It's attempts to replace religion. Everything from rock'n'roll, socialism, techno, hippies, therapy, Scientology, sports, knitting clubs, nationalism, volonteerwork, environmentalism, etc. We all need to feel like we're bigger than something than ourselves. Be part of a group.

The nice thing about Christianity is that they've already figured out the component parts. Like it or not, Christianity is efficient. They've streamlined religion to be the perfect tool for emotional comfort. Instead of attacking it, we're better off trying to copy it with something that has less repugnant moral teachings. But we all need something like this.

I think religions tend to be quite good at helping us develop emotionally.
How so?

Answered above.
The problem is of course that any powerful tool can be a powerful tool for evil as well as good. But just turning our back on the tools developed over mlllenea to help us grow emotionally is just dumb IMHO.
I think the following analogy is just as apt as your analogy: Religion is like a deadly weapon which can be used as a powerful tool to do good if a person chooses to do good with it. So we should recognize that some theists have managed to use religion for good.

Good vs Evil is a Christian concept. It was something that was introduced into western thought from Zoroastrianism via Plato (or perhaps Pythagoras). Before this (yes, even in Judaism) the dichotomy was between order and chaos. Christian philosophy was strongly modelled on Platonism (or rather neoplatonism). It's interesting that even you, being so strongly anti-theist can't help but model your thinking on Christianity.

This was the main argument of Alain de Bottons book "Religion for atheists". A book that changed my life for ever. It made me a lot more compassionate towards theists and made me annoyed with arrogant (in their own heads) superior atheists. Atheists who think that the only reason people are theists is because of personality flaws and weaknesses are delusional.
In the course of objecting to a stereotype of theists you club atheists with a stereotype of your own. How is that an improvement? It appears that your book gave you a very negative outlook on atheists many of whom are not arrogant or cruel.

Atheism is a religion like not-playing-tennis is a sport. I suspect most atheists aren't strident arrogant assholes. It's just that this type of atheists are perhaps more than average attracted to secular discussion boards.

Or as my militantly atheistic yoga teacher friend put it "Yes, I believe in all the bullshit New Age mumbo jumbo while doing yoga, because it helps me get into the right frame of mind. After the session I scrub my brain of all the nonsense"
So he doesn't like religion. Is he obligated to like it?

You're missing the point. He uses the tool of religion to help him in his life. He can separate emotional management from epistemology.

Something else?
If people, men in particular, can use religion to manipulate people, then there are great potential rewards for those men. The rewards include money, political power, and exclusive access to women for sex. That's why many of the Biblical patriarchs were polygamists who so virulently forbade adultery. They wanted to sexually monopolize as many women as they could. And what better way to do it than to posit an "alpha-male God in the sky" who commanded all other men to stay away from those women or suffer terrible punishment?

I'm talking about religion in the bottom up sense.
In that case the sexually monopolized women were consoled by believing that their sexual servitude to their husbands who often had other wives was the will of an all-powerful God.

So the meaning of life is to put your penis in as many women as possible? Is that what you are saying?
Uh--no. I just pointed out that religion often facilitates men's efforts to sexually monopolize women. So you're barking up the wrong tree. If you object to that practice, then take it up with the polygamists in the Bible who kept "herds" of women for sex and childbearing.

What? If this isn't what you meant, then why did you bring it up?

That might be true for a teenager.
It was evidently true for Yahweh. According to the Bible, God laid down tough laws to protect powerful men's privilege to put their "penis in as many women as possible." We are told that any man or woman who violated that privilege was to be executed. So God was very concerned about what penis went into what vagina. He is like one of those teenagers you mention.

The historical books of the Torah/Old Testament is nationalistic/ethnic propaganda. In those books the Jews are just a tribe like any other and their God is just one god among many gods. Those books are written to justify the actions of the (morally dubious) Jewish kings. It's all spin. They're about as factually correct as Putin's current news bulletins.

But more importantly, these books are pagan, and stridently ethnocentric. So they operate on a radically different level than the New Testament. The Jews spread over Judea by ethnic cleansing of the men and children, and the women are taken as concubines and slaves. This was quite normal in the bronze age.

What later became Judaism is Jewish theologians trying to make sense of the contradiction of the Bible saying the Jews was the chosen people (ie the master race) when the Jews kept getting reamed in the ass by their neighbours. Ie, even though they continually get fucked over in the mortal realm, it doesn't matter because they'll still be winners in the future/afterlife.

You're talking as if the Bible is written after the fact, and is a neat story that is supposed to make sense. The Bible is illogical. It's self-contradictory in a multitude of ways.



So what is the benefit from holding this false belief? The actual benefit.
If truth is too objectionable, then ignorance seems blissful by comparison. Belief in Gods can be a way to endure hardship for those who think they cannot endure that hardship any other way.

Again, more smug atheistic arrogance. I don't buy it at all.
Again, take it up with the many theists who say they need God to endure hardship. I'm just reporting the facts.

It looks like you painted yourself into a corner criticizing theism when attempting to attack atheism.

I'm not attacking atheism. I'm an atheist. What I am attacking is the idea that being an atheist is in any way superior, or that atheists have it all figured out. I've most of my life lived and worked in Scandinavia. It's extremely secular and atheistic. How do we endure hardship? Through socialism. When Scandinavia secularised we systematically replaced Christian institutions with socialist ones. I'm not saying this is worse. I'm not saying it's better. Socialism has it's own set of delusions. My point is that even though Scandinavia abandoned theistic religion (Christianity) we replaced it with atheistic religion (socialism). We never did escape religion.

If you have managed to escape religion all that means is that you've replaced the functions of religion with a secular alternative. Or perhaps, alternatively you live your life on Prozac?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I'm not attacking atheism. I'm an atheist. What I am attacking is the idea that being an atheist is in any way superior, or that atheists have it all figured out. I've most of my life lived and worked in Scandinavia. It's extremely secular and atheistic. How do we endure hardship? Through socialism. When Scandinavia secularised we systematically replaced Christian institutions with socialist ones. I'm not saying this is worse. I'm not saying it's better. Socialism has it's own set of delusions. My point is that even though Scandinavia abandoned theistic religion (Christianity) we replaced it with atheistic religion (socialism). We never did escape religion.

If you have managed to escape religion all that means is that you've replaced the functions of religion with a secular alternative. Or perhaps, alternatively you live your life on Prozac?
Socialism is secular religion? That's news to me.

We are all advised to remember that Germany and Nazism were products of christian culture. How does the solution become the problem? The problem ultimately is that humans are emotional creatures, driven by impulse. It is the inability to control those impulses that cause problems, whether christian or something else. Being aware of the problem is important to finding solutions. Christianity is at best pseudo knowledge, a placebo. It doesn't solve anything.
 

DrZoidberg

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I'm not attacking atheism. I'm an atheist. What I am attacking is the idea that being an atheist is in any way superior, or that atheists have it all figured out. I've most of my life lived and worked in Scandinavia. It's extremely secular and atheistic. How do we endure hardship? Through socialism. When Scandinavia secularised we systematically replaced Christian institutions with socialist ones. I'm not saying this is worse. I'm not saying it's better. Socialism has it's own set of delusions. My point is that even though Scandinavia abandoned theistic religion (Christianity) we replaced it with atheistic religion (socialism). We never did escape religion.

If you have managed to escape religion all that means is that you've replaced the functions of religion with a secular alternative. Or perhaps, alternatively you live your life on Prozac?
Socialism is secular religion? That's news to me.

Then I recommend reading up on how Socialism spread over Europe. It was systematically modelled on Christianity. The preacher was replaced by the Socialist agitator. The communist Manifesto replaced the Bible. Socialism was taught in meetings eerily reminicent of mass. The trade union replaced the role of the church. Alms were collected at meetings to help the cause. It was also spread with a zeal directly modelled on evengelical Christianity. Mind you, this happened even when the great minds and thinkers of socialism tried really really hard not to make it so. Karl Marx himself kept arguing against this tendency.

At the start of the 1950'ies almost all Swedes went to church on Sunday. At the end of the 1950'ies almost no Swede went to church. So where did they go? They took part in various popular movements (folkrörelser). Stuff like the scouts, or sports organisations. Yes, just the kinds of things the Nazis were so fond of. And the Soviets and Chinese communists. The difference being that in Sweden there was no pressure from above to join. It happened anyway.

Also... many thinkers have many times pointed out how communism is Christianity in a new suit. It's just as moralistic and obsessed with social control. It just obsesses over slightly different things. But in socialist thought if you are rich you should be shamed for being rich. Which.... incidentally... is lifted right out of the Bible.

I just want to point out, for clarity, that in American public discourse the word "socialism" has taken on a meaning and has connotations that it doesn't have in Europe. Americans seem to equate socialism with USSR. That never happened in Europe. By 1860 socialism had already reshaped the political landscape of Europe, a good half century before the Soviet Union entered European consciousness. And that never changed. Socialism has never been a dirty word in Europe. Like it is in USA.



We are all advised to remember that Germany and Nazism were products of christian culture. How does the solution become the problem? The problem ultimately is that humans are emotional creatures, driven by impulse. It is the inability to control those impulses that cause problems, whether christian or something else. Being aware of the problem is important to finding solutions. Christianity is at best pseudo knowledge, a placebo. It doesn't solve anything.

I disagree. I think Christianity has many deep truths about the human condition. As did the Nazi Völkish movement. What I think you have a problem with is that Christianity spreads false facts. But I'd argue that religion (and emotional management) isn't about facts. I know lots of hippies who work with hippie shit I know is factually incorrect, but going to them helps me calm the fuck down. The techniques are great for stress managment, even when every word out of their dumb New Age mouths is complete nonsense. The only relief my severely depressed scientist sister could get was from a chiropractor. A practitioner who told her things, she was 100% sure was pseudoscientific nonsense.

Something I have realized of late is that the human ability to reason sometimes gets in the way of our ability to feel and connect. Humans have a tendency to slap labels onto things, and once that's done they think they understand the world. But it's only a simple pattern they've identified. All nuance is lost. That's what secular liberal education is 100% about. Spirituality is the other stuff. But because it's non-verbal and intuitive we can't communicate it via text. It will always come across as inane mumbo-jumbo. But whenever you hang out with someone highly spitual I'm sure you've noticed how relaxed and focused they are? How they're able to ignore everything in the world and just focus on you when you are talking? How they can make you feel seen, heard and validated, without really saying much? How they're able to meet you wherever you are, without passing judmgement? No?
 

Unknown Soldier

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No, you're not defending them. What you are is patronizing.
Is what I said about religious people untrue?
Translation, they've found God to be a useful tool for them to make life work, and they haven't found any other tool that doesn't require faith in God.
People use tools because they have limitations. So what's wrong with pointing out that using God as a tool results from a weakness of some kind? You seem to be contradicting yourself by saying God is a tool yet theists are not weak in that respect.
Everybody is a small lost child at heart, just trying to fool the world they're in control of stuff. That's true for every human who has ever lived and ever will live. Some people are in denial about this (narcissists for example). We're all hurtling full speed into uncertainty. We're playing a game (life) we know we will ultimately lose (death). Life is fundamentally horrific and traumatising.

EVERYBODY IS TROUBLED EMOTIONALLY

We're a social species and we all need tools not to be crushed by the stressors of life.
So why point out that religious people have weaknesses after complaining that doing so is "smug and arrogant"? You don't seem to have consistent thinking on this issue.
Christianity teaches us that we're all children at heart and if we just turn off our brains and trust in Gods plan, we can stop worrying. The project of secular liberal education of the Enlightenment was to replace this with facts. If you feel insecure about life we'll give you more facts. Eventually you'll have so many facts that you will figure it all out and you will be empowered feel great about life.

There's nothing wrong with a secular liberal education as such. It's great for helping us be materialy productive members of society. The problem is that it doesn't fix the problem Christian teachings were meant to solve. Secularism isn't an emotionally nourishing replacement for religion. Secular liberal education gives us no tools for this.
That's not a major problem. Those who are atheists can seek other kinds of "emotional nourishment." Besides, doubting the existence of Gods is just critical thinking, and I tend to like critical thinking. There's just something about knowing the truth that appeals to me.
All the secular movements after the 1950'ies, I see as exactly this. All of them. It's attempts to replace religion. Everything from rock'n'roll, socialism, techno, hippies, therapy, Scientology, sports, knitting clubs, nationalism, volonteerwork, environmentalism, etc. We all need to feel like we're bigger than something than ourselves. Be part of a group.
What's wrong with replacing religion with something better? That's just common sense.
The nice thing about Christianity is that they've already figured out the component parts. Like it or not, Christianity is efficient.
I never gave the supposed "efficiency" of Christianity much thought, but getting through life without all that extra religious baggage seems more efficient to me.
They've streamlined religion to be the perfect tool for emotional comfort. Instead of attacking it, we're better off trying to copy it with something that has less repugnant moral teachings. But we all need something like this.
I think a better tool for emotional support starts with telling people to feel good about themselves morally and that they can apply effort to find their own truth. Also, refraining from indoctrinating people that they will burn in hell should work wonders for their emotional health.
It's interesting that even you, being so strongly anti-theist can't help but model your thinking on Christianity.
I'm not anti-theist, and I don't see how I model my thinking on Christian dogma. What good ideas Christianity has have been taken from other philosophies.
Atheism is a religion like not-playing-tennis is a sport. I suspect most atheists aren't strident arrogant assholes.
Just make sure you're not one of them.
It's just that this type of atheists are perhaps more than average attracted to secular discussion boards.
I see that you're an atheist attracted to this forum.
You're missing the point. He uses the tool of religion to help him in his life. He can separate emotional management from epistemology.
Well, that's good!
Uh--no. I just pointed out that religion often facilitates men's efforts to sexually monopolize women. So you're barking up the wrong tree. If you object to that practice, then take it up with the polygamists in the Bible who kept "herds" of women for sex and childbearing.

What? If this isn't what you meant, then why did you bring it up?
I was criticizing religion for making sexual chattel out of women. I have no idea how you got that I was saying that abundant sex is the meaning of life. But come to think of it, that's not necessarily a bad idea.
You're talking as if the Bible is written after the fact, and is a neat story that is supposed to make sense. The Bible is illogical. It's self-contradictory in a multitude of ways.
No, I never meant to say that the Bible is supposed to make sense.
I'm not attacking atheism. I'm an atheist. What I am attacking is the idea that being an atheist is in any way superior, or that atheists have it all figured out. I've most of my life lived and worked in Scandinavia. It's extremely secular and atheistic. How do we endure hardship? Through socialism. When Scandinavia secularised we systematically replaced Christian institutions with socialist ones. I'm not saying this is worse. I'm not saying it's better. Socialism has it's own set of delusions. My point is that even though Scandinavia abandoned theistic religion (Christianity) we replaced it with atheistic religion (socialism). We never did escape religion.
Then we just have a disagreement. For me, at least, atheism has been a true blessing. If you don't like that fact, then too bad.
If you have managed to escape religion all that means is that you've replaced the functions of religion with a secular alternative.
And what's wrong with that? The "secular alternative" works fine for me.
Or perhaps, alternatively you live your life on Prozac?
I see one of those "asshole atheists" is here.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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But whenever you hang out with someone highly spitual I'm sure you've noticed how relaxed and focused they are? How they're able to ignore everything in the world and just focus on you when you are talking? How they can make you feel seen, heard and validated, without really saying much? How they're able to meet you wherever you are, without passing judmgement? No?
To be honest I find religious people to be highly stressed.
 

Unknown Soldier

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Socialism is secular religion? That's news to me.
"Secular religion" is a popular oxymoron used by people who are insecure about the rise of secularism and the decline of religion in modern, developed countries. These attacks on socialism largely result from right-wing conservatives who don't want the wealthy to share their money with the people who need it the most. Socialism is a reality in most modern civilizations because capitalism alone does not adequately provide for everybody.
Christianity is at best pseudo knowledge, a placebo.
That's essentially correct, but Christianity is so much a part of modern western cultures that many people fear its loss not knowing what life would be like without it. The Christian clergy feeds people's paranoia with scary stories about socialism to sway popular sentiment away from a society free of religion.
It doesn't solve anything.
That's mostly true, but some people achieve great wealth and power with religion. Donald Trump didn't sit in church on the morning of his inauguration for nothing. I think it's unlikely that the sermon that day said anything about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
 

Unknown Soldier

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Socialism is secular religion? That's news to me.

Then I recommend reading up on how Socialism spread over Europe. It was systematically modelled on Christianity. The preacher was replaced by the Socialist agitator. The communist Manifesto replaced the Bible. Socialism was taught in meetings eerily reminicent of mass. The trade union replaced the role of the church. Alms were collected at meetings to help the cause. It was also spread with a zeal directly modelled on evengelical Christianity. Mind you, this happened even when the great minds and thinkers of socialism tried really really hard not to make it so. Karl Marx himself kept arguing against this tendency.

At the start of the 1950'ies almost all Swedes went to church on Sunday. At the end of the 1950'ies almost no Swede went to church. So where did they go? They took part in various popular movements (folkrörelser). Stuff like the scouts, or sports organisations. Yes, just the kinds of things the Nazis were so fond of. And the Soviets and Chinese communists. The difference being that in Sweden there was no pressure from above to join. It happened anyway.

Also... many thinkers have many times pointed out how communism is Christianity in a new suit. It's just as moralistic and obsessed with social control. It just obsesses over slightly different things. But in socialist thought if you are rich you should be shamed for being rich. Which.... incidentally... is lifted right out of the Bible.
I think you have it backwards. Religions like Christianity didn't invent charismatic leaders influencing groups of people to follow and support them and engage in rituals. That kind of activity on the part of people is as old as people are. Humans are a social species dominated by "alpha males." We were that way millions of years before religion was invented. It's in our genes. Religion merely coopts our instinctive urge to act in groups following dominant men. So the social impact of socialism you mention isn't copying religion but is actually a return to what we were before we created religion. Our desire to act in groups doesn't need religion, but religion needs our desire to act in groups.
I think Christianity has many deep truths about the human condition.
So do I. So does any thinking person. What truth there is in Christian dogma is truth that all people can discover on their own. Christianity just seeks credit for those truths.

And let's not forget about the "deep" lies of religion.
 
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DrZoidberg

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Socialism is secular religion? That's news to me.

Then I recommend reading up on how Socialism spread over Europe. It was systematically modelled on Christianity. The preacher was replaced by the Socialist agitator. The communist Manifesto replaced the Bible. Socialism was taught in meetings eerily reminicent of mass. The trade union replaced the role of the church. Alms were collected at meetings to help the cause. It was also spread with a zeal directly modelled on evengelical Christianity. Mind you, this happened even when the great minds and thinkers of socialism tried really really hard not to make it so. Karl Marx himself kept arguing against this tendency.

At the start of the 1950'ies almost all Swedes went to church on Sunday. At the end of the 1950'ies almost no Swede went to church. So where did they go? They took part in various popular movements (folkrörelser). Stuff like the scouts, or sports organisations. Yes, just the kinds of things the Nazis were so fond of. And the Soviets and Chinese communists. The difference being that in Sweden there was no pressure from above to join. It happened anyway.

Also... many thinkers have many times pointed out how communism is Christianity in a new suit. It's just as moralistic and obsessed with social control. It just obsesses over slightly different things. But in socialist thought if you are rich you should be shamed for being rich. Which.... incidentally... is lifted right out of the Bible.
I think you have it backwards. Religions like Christianity didn't invent charismatic leaders influencing groups of people to follow and support them and engage in rituals. That kind of activity on the part of people is as old as people are. Humans are a social species dominated by "alpha males." We were that way millions of years before religion was invented. It's in our genes. Religion merely coopts our instinctive urge to act in groups following dominant men. So the social impact of socialism you mention isn't copying religion but is actually a return to what we were before we created religion. Our desire to act in groups doesn't need religion, but religion needs our desire to act in groups.

No, I don't have it backwards. The early socialist movement was extremely closely modelled on Christianity. Socialists in Catholic countries were modelled on the catholic church. Protestant countries on the protestant church and the orthodox socialist movement on the orthodox church. One of the reasons why Soviet socialism was so authoritarian. Since the most authoritarian version of Christianity is the orthodox church.

They were extremely closely modelled on the churches in these countries. You're just alking about of your ass and too lazy to do any research. Me having grown up in a socialist country (Sweden) perhaps know more about this than you? This stuff isn't hard to read up on.

The communist Manifesto was treated with reverence like a holy text. Communist agitators were given respect and authority just as a priest. Much to the consternation to people like Karl Marx and Proudhon. Anarchist agitators had to keep reminding people not to treat them with reverence and respect as if they were prophets of socialism. But that never stopped. In Sweden and Denmark today, we still treat our elected officials with a level respect not found in the anglo-saxon world. No doubt a result of our Lutheran heritage.



I think Christianity has many deep truths about the human condition.
So do I. So does any thinking person. What truth there is in Christian dogma is truth that all people can discover on their own. Christianity just seeks credit for those truths.

And let's not forget about the "deep" lies of religion.

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do. Something everybody should do. Also... incidentally a fundamental aspect of any religion. Yes, people can discover this on their own. But it took me into my 30'ies and me studying religion until I started doing this. Just one example. There's many more things.

Also... don't use Christianity as a template for what all religion is. Christianity is very specific, and also weird. Most religions of the world aren't like Christianity. Westerners have a bad habit of equating Christianity with religion.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
This is obviously quite true but I don't see what religion has to do with it. If I bring in all the woo that is religion it's as if I'm pretending I have super powers. That's the part I don't get, that need for magic, the need to be pretending something is real when it isn't.
 

DrZoidberg

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No, you're not defending them. What you are is patronizing.
Is what I said about religious people untrue?

I think so. Because you imply that atheists don't have these emotional needs. Don't you?

Translation, they've found God to be a useful tool for them to make life work, and they haven't found any other tool that doesn't require faith in God.
People use tools because they have limitations. So what's wrong with pointing out that using God as a tool results from a weakness of some kind? You seem to be contradicting yourself by saying God is a tool yet theists are not weak in that respect.

Are you implying atheists don't have these same weaknesses? If yes, how come we get on without belief in God?

Everybody is a small lost child at heart, just trying to fool the world they're in control of stuff. That's true for every human who has ever lived and ever will live. Some people are in denial about this (narcissists for example). We're all hurtling full speed into uncertainty. We're playing a game (life) we know we will ultimately lose (death). Life is fundamentally horrific and traumatising.

EVERYBODY IS TROUBLED EMOTIONALLY

We're a social species and we all need tools not to be crushed by the stressors of life.
So why point out that religious people have weaknesses after complaining that doing so is "smug and arrogant"? You don't seem to have consistent thinking on this issue.

Again... how come atheists, having the same issues aren't turning to religion? If you say that atheists don't need the same emotional support then I'll maintain that you are smug and arrogant.

Christianity teaches us that we're all children at heart and if we just turn off our brains and trust in Gods plan, we can stop worrying. The project of secular liberal education of the Enlightenment was to replace this with facts. If you feel insecure about life we'll give you more facts. Eventually you'll have so many facts that you will figure it all out and you will be empowered feel great about life.

There's nothing wrong with a secular liberal education as such. It's great for helping us be materialy productive members of society. The problem is that it doesn't fix the problem Christian teachings were meant to solve. Secularism isn't an emotionally nourishing replacement for religion. Secular liberal education gives us no tools for this.
That's not a major problem. Those who are atheists can seek other kinds of "emotional nourishment." Besides, doubting the existence of Gods is just critical thinking, and I tend to like critical thinking. There's just something about knowing the truth that appeals to me.

So what other emotional nourishment do atheists use? I'll maintain that usually atheists have replaced the religious emotional support with nothing. Humans are social and tribal. We need a tribe and shared ritual to be happy. The fact that recreational drugs is a major part of youth culture today is strong evidence that modern secular society is lost in the woods.

All the secular movements after the 1950'ies, I see as exactly this. All of them. It's attempts to replace religion. Everything from rock'n'roll, socialism, techno, hippies, therapy, Scientology, sports, knitting clubs, nationalism, volonteerwork, environmentalism, etc. We all need to feel like we're bigger than something than ourselves. Be part of a group.
What's wrong with replacing religion with something better? That's just common sense.

Nothing is wrong with it. If it is better. What I think is lacking is making it systematic. What religions have going for them is that they're ready made packages of ritual and community. I think that is missing from the secular world today.


The nice thing about Christianity is that they've already figured out the component parts. Like it or not, Christianity is efficient.
I never gave the supposed "efficiency" of Christianity much thought, but getting through life without all that extra religious baggage seems more efficient to me.

That's like saying that a guy with a broken leg is better off without the added weight of a crutch. Whatever works works.

They've streamlined religion to be the perfect tool for emotional comfort. Instead of attacking it, we're better off trying to copy it with something that has less repugnant moral teachings. But we all need something like this.
I think a better tool for emotional support starts with telling people to feel good about themselves morally and that they can apply effort to find their own truth. Also, refraining from indoctrinating people that they will burn in hell should work wonders for their emotional health.

Young people are clueless and need guidance. I don't think telling people to find their own truth is particularly kind.


It's interesting that even you, being so strongly anti-theist can't help but model your thinking on Christianity.
I'm not anti-theist, and I don't see how I model my thinking on Christian dogma. What good ideas Christianity has have been taken from other philosophies.

That particular one came to Zoroastrianism via Plato. Another religion. So much for you not modelling your thinking on religious philosophies.





I'm not attacking atheism. I'm an atheist. What I am attacking is the idea that being an atheist is in any way superior, or that atheists have it all figured out. I've most of my life lived and worked in Scandinavia. It's extremely secular and atheistic. How do we endure hardship? Through socialism. When Scandinavia secularised we systematically replaced Christian institutions with socialist ones. I'm not saying this is worse. I'm not saying it's better. Socialism has it's own set of delusions. My point is that even though Scandinavia abandoned theistic religion (Christianity) we replaced it with atheistic religion (socialism). We never did escape religion.
Then we just have a disagreement. For me, at least, atheism has been a true blessing. If you don't like that fact, then too bad.

That's why I've accused you of being a smug arrogant atheist.

If you have managed to escape religion all that means is that you've replaced the functions of religion with a secular alternative.
And what's wrong with that? The "secular alternative" works fine for me.

There's nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all. I've done the same. But I'm at least aware of what it is I've done. I use meditation and ritual in my life. Much like a religious person. I just don't believe in God.
 

Jarhyn

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I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
This is obviously quite true but I don't see what religion has to do with it. If I bring in all the woo that is religion it's as if I'm pretending I have super powers. That's the part I don't get, that need for magic, the need to be pretending something is real when it isn't.
What people want is the power to "bring the pure product of imagination into reality" to use what is now a rather butchered quote from these forums.

That's what they want, the power to manifest their dreams.

The problem is that religious people want to do that without acknowledging the fact that such  magic requires work.

They want to do something they know how to do well -- fantasize without respect to the rules of reality that they will just get what they want -- rather than something that they find themselves at a loss at how to achieve despite people explaining it over and over again to them: figure out the rules of reality and force all their fantasy to conform to it, so one may identify a series of actions to be taken in space which, if taken, would result in the outcome they want.
 

DrZoidberg

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I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
This is obviously quite true but I don't see what religion has to do with it. If I bring in all the woo that is religion it's as if I'm pretending I have super powers. That's the part I don't get, that need for magic, the need to be pretending something is real when it isn't.

These are packages of ritual and behaviour that are packaged in a way that can appeal to everyone and anyone, even morons. I think smart people have always been able to see through the bullshit. My own theory is that the people who wrote the Bible had no illusions about that they were writing poetic metaphor. And it can be read as both metaphor and concrete. Every religious text I have ever read works fine if read on different levels. They tend to be very cleverly worded.

From doing yoga, if I pretend I have bendy superpowers I will be able to stretch further. Our brain has a way of preventing us from reaching beyond what we previously could. we can use belief in magical powers to hack our body and shift perceived (and false limitations). That's just from my very concrete and measurable experience with doing yoga.

Similarly, the way Buddhism uses gods is interesting. The Devas. Most branches of Buddhism are pretty explicit about that these gods don't exist. The point of worshipping a Deva is to embody it's spirit and be more like the god. So if you are about to go into battle you can pray to Yamantaka and have him posses you to make you a better warrior. Well... it's just brain control. A way to manage emotion. This is similar to what actors do on stage.

So I get it. I think I understand how religions work.
 

bilby

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I'll maintain that usually atheists have replaced the religious emotional support with nothing.
I will strongly disagree. I have always been an atheist, but I nevertheless have strong tribal connections to people with whom I share various interests (this forum is one such tribe, but most lack even the casual connection with religion of being opposed to, or disdainful of, it), and I have various traditions and rituals that mark major events in my life, none of which has any religious component (for example, I celebrate my friends' and family's birthdays with gifts, special food, and activities that are ritualistic).
Humans are social and tribal. We need a tribe and shared ritual to be happy. The fact that recreational drugs is a major part of youth culture today is strong evidence that modern secular society is lost in the woods. that recreational drugs have been a part of human behaviour, including tribal and ritual behaviour, since forever; And that old people have always despaired of the excesses of youth.
FTFY.
 
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Unknown Soldier

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No, I don't have it backwards. The early socialist movement was extremely closely modelled on Christianity. Socialists in Catholic countries were modelled on the catholic church. Protestant countries on the protestant church and the orthodox socialist movement on the orthodox church. One of the reasons why Soviet socialism was so authoritarian. Since the most authoritarian version of Christianity is the orthodox church.

They were extremely closely modelled on the churches in these countries. You're just alking about of your ass and too lazy to do any research. Me having grown up in a socialist country (Sweden) perhaps know more about this than you? This stuff isn't hard to read up on.
Your religion has truly blessed you. I would give anything to go online to insult people like that.
The communist Manifesto was treated with reverence like a holy text. Communist agitators were given respect and authority just as a priest. Much to the consternation to people like Karl Marx and Proudhon. Anarchist agitators had to keep reminding people not to treat them with reverence and respect as if they were prophets of socialism. But that never stopped. In Sweden and Denmark today, we still treat our elected officials with a level respect not found in the anglo-saxon world. No doubt a result of our Lutheran heritage.
Did you read a word of what I posted earlier? Church groups did not invent their ritualistic, male-dominated behavior--that kind of behavior predates the invention of religion. Scientists have observed such behavior in both chimps and gorillas. What religion are they modeling that behavior on?
I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.
Something everybody should do.
I'll pass. Prayer never did my any good.
Also... incidentally a fundamental aspect of any religion. Yes, people can discover this on their own. But it took me into my 30'ies and me studying religion until I started doing this. Just one example. There's many more things.
Is that how you learned to call people names if they disagree with you?
Also... don't use Christianity as a template for what all religion is. Christianity is very specific, and also weird. Most religions of the world aren't like Christianity. Westerners have a bad habit of equating Christianity with religion.
That's correct. Not all religions demand that their followers engage in ritual cannibalism and vampirism.
 

DrZoidberg

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No, I don't have it backwards. The early socialist movement was extremely closely modelled on Christianity. Socialists in Catholic countries were modelled on the catholic church. Protestant countries on the protestant church and the orthodox socialist movement on the orthodox church. One of the reasons why Soviet socialism was so authoritarian. Since the most authoritarian version of Christianity is the orthodox church.

They were extremely closely modelled on the churches in these countries. You're just alking about of your ass and too lazy to do any research. Me having grown up in a socialist country (Sweden) perhaps know more about this than you? This stuff isn't hard to read up on.
Your religion has truly blessed you. I would give anything to go online to insult people like that.
The communist Manifesto was treated with reverence like a holy text. Communist agitators were given respect and authority just as a priest. Much to the consternation to people like Karl Marx and Proudhon. Anarchist agitators had to keep reminding people not to treat them with reverence and respect as if they were prophets of socialism. But that never stopped. In Sweden and Denmark today, we still treat our elected officials with a level respect not found in the anglo-saxon world. No doubt a result of our Lutheran heritage.
Did you read a word of what I posted earlier? Church groups did not invent their ritualistic, male-dominated behavior--that kind of behavior predates the invention of religion. Scientists have observed such behavior in both chimps and gorillas. What religion are they modeling that behavior on?

I read it, and thought it was wrong. The way Christians practice Christianity is quite specific. Early socialists modelled their practice on the church of where they lived.

you're just wrong.

there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.

The true recipient of your prayers is you. Not God.

Something everybody should do.
I'll pass. Prayer never did my any good.
Also... incidentally a fundamental aspect of any religion. Yes, people can discover this on their own. But it took me into my 30'ies and me studying religion until I started doing this. Just one example. There's many more things.
Is that how you learned to call people names if they disagree with you?

So passive aggressive
 

Unknown Soldier

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The way Christians practice Christianity is quite specific. Early socialists modelled their practice on the church of where they lived.

you're just wrong.
Actually, I never denied that some socialists decided to run their organizations in similar ways to churches they may have been familiar with. Why do you think those socialists decided to do so? That's the question you keep dodging. Your view of the similarities between the behavior of socialists and the behavior of religionists is very shallow. To really understand why those similarities exist, then it is prudent to check the scientific evidence regarding human social behavior and religion. I'd strongly recommend reading Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression by Hector A. Garcia. Amazon has this to say about the book:
This book uses evolutionary psychology as a lens to explain religious violence and oppression. The author, a clinical psychologist, examines religious scriptures, rituals, and canon law, highlighting the many ways in which our evolutionary legacy has shaped the development of religion and continues to profoundly influence its expression.
See that? Religion developed from our instinctive behavior rather than our behavior developed from religion. That's why you have it backwards when you claim that the nonreligious are inspired by religion to act the way they do. If we understand our evolutionary past, we see that our instinctive behavior came first, then religion adopted that behavior later on when religion was invented. So the behavior in socialists you see is not truly rooted in religion but in the evolution of human psychology.
there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.
I rarely bother to do that because I don't need to.
The true recipient of your prayers is you. Not God.
OK--I must admit that I sometimes talk to myself, but I never use religion to do so.
 

DrZoidberg

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The way Christians practice Christianity is quite specific. Early socialists modelled their practice on the church of where they lived.

you're just wrong.
Actually, I never denied that some socialists decided to run their organizations in similar ways to churches they may have been familiar with. Why do you think those socialists decided to do so? That's the question you keep dodging. Your view of the similarities between the behavior of socialists and the behavior of religionists is very shallow. To really understand why those similarities exist, then it is prudent to check the scientific evidence regarding human social behavior and religion. I'd strongly recommend reading Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression by Hector A. Garcia. Amazon has this to say about the book:

I haven't dodged anything. You're just making a string of clueless statements. They modelled it on the church because that is what they knew. Which should be obvious to anyone.

My point with bringing it up is because humans seemed unable to ditch God wirhout first replacing the religion with a secular alternative. For European religious development this is pretty clear.

Another example is the French revolution. They switched worshipping God to worshipping religion and "the supreme being". Oh, so very atheist.

This book uses evolutionary psychology as a lens to explain religious violence and oppression. The author, a clinical psychologist, examines religious scriptures, rituals, and canon law, highlighting the many ways in which our evolutionary legacy has shaped the development of religion and continues to profoundly influence its expression.
See that? Religion developed from our instinctive behavior rather than our behavior developed from religion. That's why you have it backwards when you claim that the nonreligious are inspired by religion to act the way they do. If we understand our evolutionary past, we see that our instinctive behavior came first, then religion adopted that behavior later on when religion was invented. So the behavior in socialists you see is not truly rooted in religion but in the evolution of human psychology.

What? You seem utterly confused about what I am saying. I don't understand how you think this comment refutes anything I have said.


there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.
I rarely bother to do that because I don't need to.

This is the kind of thing crazy people say when they insist on not needing a therapist.

The true recipient of your prayers is you. Not God.
OK--I must admit that I sometimes talk to myself, but I never use religion to do so.

Look, religion is just a package of behaviours. You can pick and chose as you wish. That's what I have done. I'm not a fanboy of any specific religion. I like all of them more or less. I see no need to pick a team. I can benefit from religion anyway
 

Elixir

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I like all of them more or less.
I like all of them less.
For every person who seems to have become “better” via religion, I encounter at least ten who use it in ways I see as perverse.
Maybe I just attract the worst of ‘em?
 

Unknown Soldier

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The way Christians practice Christianity is quite specific. Early socialists modelled their practice on the church of where they lived.

you're just wrong.
Actually, I never denied that some socialists decided to run their organizations in similar ways to churches they may have been familiar with. Why do you think those socialists decided to do so? That's the question you keep dodging. Your view of the similarities between the behavior of socialists and the behavior of religionists is very shallow. To really understand why those similarities exist, then it is prudent to check the scientific evidence regarding human social behavior and religion. I'd strongly recommend reading Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression by Hector A. Garcia. Amazon has this to say about the book:

I haven't dodged anything. You're just making a string of clueless statements.
While I'm not sure what you mean by "a string of clueless statements," I can honestly say I made a good faith effort to post a clear, logically sound rebuttal to what you're arguing.
They modelled it on the church because that is what they knew.
Again, I don't really disagree with this claim. I just got done saying so. In fact, I recently viewed a documentary in which it was shown that some socialists did meet weekly to listen to speakers and sing songs. It's possible that some of them decided to do so to compete with Christianity.
Which should be obvious to anyone.
That's a very weak argument because it is hardly obvious that socialists decided to "model the church." To make your case you need to start posting evidence rather than just make assertions. For example, can you document that some socialist leaders stated publicly that they wished to model the church's practices?
My point with bringing it up is because humans seemed unable to ditch God wirhout first replacing the religion with a secular alternative. For European religious development this is pretty clear.
And my point is that that "secular alternative" existed long before religion as we know it existed. Unlike your arguments, this argument of mine is supported by evidence I've posted.
Another example is the French revolution. They switched worshipping God to worshipping religion and "the supreme being".
That doesn't make sense. Isn't God the supreme being?
Oh, so very atheist.
I see you make good use of stereotypes while complaining if others do the same.
This book uses evolutionary psychology as a lens to explain religious violence and oppression. The author, a clinical psychologist, examines religious scriptures, rituals, and canon law, highlighting the many ways in which our evolutionary legacy has shaped the development of religion and continues to profoundly influence its expression.
See that? Religion developed from our instinctive behavior rather than our behavior developed from religion. That's why you have it backwards when you claim that the nonreligious are inspired by religion to act the way they do. If we understand our evolutionary past, we see that our instinctive behavior came first, then religion adopted that behavior later on when religion was invented. So the behavior in socialists you see is not truly rooted in religion but in the evolution of human psychology.

What? You seem utterly confused about what I am saying. I don't understand how you think this comment refutes anything I have said.
If I am confused about what you're saying, then it would help if you adequately explained what you are claiming.
there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.
I rarely bother to do that because I don't need to.

This is the kind of thing crazy people say when they insist on not needing a therapist.
But don't "crazy people" believe they are talking to imaginary beings?
The true recipient of your prayers is you. Not God.
OK--I must admit that I sometimes talk to myself, but I never use religion to do so.

Look, religion is just a package of behaviours.
Religion involves beliefs too, of course.
You can pick and chose as you wish. That's what I have done. I'm not a fanboy of any specific religion. I like all of them more or less. I see no need to pick a team. I can benefit from religion anyway
Can you find a religion that helps you understand the scientific evidence that both religious and nonreligious people act in similar ways because nonreligious people acted that way long before religion came along?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Can you find a religion that helps you understand the scientific evidence that both religious and nonreligious people act in similar ways because nonreligious people acted that way long before religion came along?
I've been waiting for this point to be raised. Apparently people were practicing christianity long before there was christianity. Getting together, singing songs, living communally, practicing socialism. I never realized our prehistoric ancestors were all christians. Boy do I feel dumb.
 

Unknown Soldier

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I like all of them more or less.
I like all of them less.
For every person who seems to have become “better” via religion, I encounter at least ten who use it in ways I see as perverse.
Maybe I just attract the worst of ‘em?
Maybe I do too. I've heard about the health benefits of religion, but I've never noticed that the religious are healthier than the nonreligious. In fact, like you I have seen terrible mental and physical health in the religious. It could just be an exception to the rule...
...or maybe the rule is bunk.
 

AdamWho

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The vast majority of theists don't actually believe in a god. They only believe it is virtuous to believe in a god.

You can see this in their actions and other beliefs; every action, and belief demonstrates that they do not actually believe in a god.

The remaining tiny minority who truly believe in a god might be suffering from a mental problem such as schizophrenia.
 

Unknown Soldier

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The vast majority of theists don't actually believe in a god.
That's possible, but I don't know how anybody can know that most avowed theists are actually atheists.
They only believe it is virtuous to believe in a god.
Yes, it is a common sentiment that belief in a God or following the supposed commandments of a God is virtuous. "Falling away from God" is seen as foolish if not evil. Evidently many people don't trust the ability of people to make good moral decisions independent of religious faith.
You can see this in their actions and other beliefs; every action, and belief demonstrates that they do not actually believe in a god.
I'm not sure if that's true for every action of a theist, but yes, many actions on the part of supposed theists don't make sense if they truly believed in a God. For example, it's no secret that Christian evangelists often get involved in sex and money scandals. If they really believed in the Christian God, then it seems reasonable that they would fear punishment from that God for such transgressions. Yet they transgress nevertheless apparently without fear of divine judgment. One reason they would disregard the possibility of God's retribution is if they don't believe in God. So those corrupt TV evangelists may be closet atheists!
The remaining tiny minority who truly believe in a god might be suffering from a mental problem such as schizophrenia.
I'd call religious faith a delusion. If delusion counts as a mental illness, then religious faith as a delusion is a mental illness.

I've often wondered what religious people would think of an individual who believes he is in telepathic communication with a super-powerful space alien who will soon destroy the earth with death rays from outer space. I suppose they would think the man is crazy and then drive off to church to pray and listen to the pastor as he preaches the impending apocalypse.
 

DrZoidberg

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I like all of them more or less.
I like all of them less.
For every person who seems to have become “better” via religion, I encounter at least ten who use it in ways I see as perverse.
Maybe I just attract the worst of ‘em?
Our society is completely permeated with religion. Everytime we try to leave a religion we just end up replacing it with an equivalent. For example, Swedish Lutheranism was extremely harsh, moralistic and collectivistic. When we secularised our brand of socialism ended up being very harsh, moralistic and collectivistic. It's almost like we didn't change anything but the symbols. It's not completely true. There's many differences between Christian Sweden and socialist Sweden. But mostly... very very similar.

My point with this is that you are going to find a tribe. You are going to find people you admire and who you model your behaviour on. Either you do it within a framework or you do it unconsciously, and just wing it. The problem with doing it on your own and just winging it, is that you're likely to turn to a framework anyway. Religious people at least have a plan on how to live your life. A plan is always more attractive than no plan.

The way Christians practice Christianity is quite specific. Early socialists modelled their practice on the church of where they lived.

you're just wrong.
Actually, I never denied that some socialists decided to run their organizations in similar ways to churches they may have been familiar with. Why do you think those socialists decided to do so? That's the question you keep dodging. Your view of the similarities between the behavior of socialists and the behavior of religionists is very shallow. To really understand why those similarities exist, then it is prudent to check the scientific evidence regarding human social behavior and religion. I'd strongly recommend reading Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression by Hector A. Garcia. Amazon has this to say about the book:

I haven't dodged anything. You're just making a string of clueless statements.
While I'm not sure what you mean by "a string of clueless statements," I can honestly say I made a good faith effort to post a clear, logically sound rebuttal to what you're arguing.

I don't have a problem with your integrity. You seem sincere. My problem with what you are saying is that you are just wrong.

I can explain myself more in detail. You know how Intelligent Design people have a problem with ToE because the chances that life as we know it turning out the way it did, is infinitesimaly small. I have a problem with your arguments on the same grounds. Proponents of ToE will say, it didn't have to turn out this way. Evolution could have taken all manner of forms, the reason it turned out like this is just random chance.

Early socialism (until 1990 or so) was extremely closely modelled on the Christian churches on the countries where it sprung. Or in China, Confutianism, or in Vietnam, Buddhism. Whatever religion was dominant in that country, once Socialism gets going, that's how that countries version of socialist organisation will be modelled.

You have this extremely narrow view on the inevitability of organisations to be organised in highly specific ways, because of male domination. German, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, French, English, Argentinian, South African and American socialism all came from male dominated cultures, yet were extremely different in how they ended up being organised.

Foucault criticised Secular Humanism on the same grounds. He said it's just more Christianity. But with the labels have been switched out. I completely agree. Why? Well, it's a first step towards secularisation. If you grew up in a Christian culture and you leave the church, your brain and your thinking is so steeped in Christianity you litterally can't think in non-Christian terms. The first step to rejecting God is to stay Christian, just to swap the labels around. This is what happened with socialists in Europe in the 19'th century. The Secular Humanist trend was a similar move, just a couple of generations later.



They modelled it on the church because that is what they knew.
Again, I don't really disagree with this claim. I just got done saying so. In fact, I recently viewed a documentary in which it was shown that some socialists did meet weekly to listen to speakers and sing songs. It's possible that some of them decided to do so to compete with Christianity.

I highly doubt this was a conscious choice. I think they did it because it felt great to them and because they felt it made sense, and I think they thought it would be insane to do it any other way. Humans have a tendency to think that whatever they do out of habit is the only normal and natural way to do things. But when we're a couple of generations removed context is removed and we don't understand why doing this was so important to them.



Which should be obvious to anyone.
That's a very weak argument because it is hardly obvious that socialists decided to "model the church." To make your case you need to start posting evidence rather than just make assertions. For example, can you document that some socialist leaders stated publicly that they wished to model the church's practices?

I can try to find stuff. But no. No socialist leader said that. Not that I know of. They said they didn't want to model socialism on the Christian church.... but then they did it anyway. Proudhon explicity said that he didn't want to model socialism on the church, yet he famously toured the continent as an agitator railing against nobility and capitalism in socialist revivalist meetings. What day did he do it...? well... naturally... Sunday. Becuase that's when the workers had a day off. Marx made plenty of jabs against unaware sleepwalking workers who he thought sleepwalked their way into socialism. What do you think "religion is the opium of the masses" is about? He didn't mean that it's addictive. He meant that it made people stop thinking. It annoyed him that socialists were class unaware, and and continued to think like Christians even after becoming socialist.


My point with bringing it up is because humans seemed unable to ditch God wirhout first replacing the religion with a secular alternative. For European religious development this is pretty clear.
And my point is that that "secular alternative" existed long before religion as we know it existed. Unlike your arguments, this argument of mine is supported by evidence I've posted.

You have still failed to explain why socialists in Europe so closely modelled their movements on the Christian church specifically. Your evidence was on an incredibly high level and not applicable to this particular conversation.


Another example is the French revolution. They switched worshipping God to worshipping religion and "the supreme being".
That doesn't make sense. Isn't God the supreme being?

You are correct that it doesn't make sense. But it made sense to Robespierre, and if you disagreed publicly, then guillotine for you. It's an incoherrent position. But it is an example of a early first attempt to secularise a society.





there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?

I think just the ritual of praying, ie take a moment of your day for silent introspection is an extremely valuable thing to do.
Sure. If you value imagining telepathic communication with an invisible man in the sky, then don't let me get in the way.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.
I rarely bother to do that because I don't need to.

This is the kind of thing crazy people say when they insist on not needing a therapist.
But don't "crazy people" believe they are talking to imaginary beings?

Daily meditation is great for everyone. There's a lot of science to back that up. But not everyone does it. Why? Because the effects are so gradual that you won't notice the difference. Same deal with going to the gym regularly.

Sure, not praying won't kill you. So in that sense you don't need it. But it will make your life better


The true recipient of your prayers is you. Not God.
OK--I must admit that I sometimes talk to myself, but I never use religion to do so.

Look, religion is just a package of behaviours.
Religion involves beliefs too, of course.

Nope. That's specific to Christianity and Islam. No other religion (including Judaism) puts any emphasis on belief. When people talk about what your "faith" is they've loaded the deck. For the rest of religion, contemporary and past, religion is an activity. Not a belief. The pagan gods don't care what you believe.



You can pick and chose as you wish. That's what I have done. I'm not a fanboy of any specific religion. I like all of them more or less. I see no need to pick a team. I can benefit from religion anyway
Can you find a religion that helps you understand the scientific evidence that both religious and nonreligious people act in similar ways because nonreligious people acted that way long before religion came along?

I don't think that is what religion is for.
 

Elixir

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The problem with doing it on your own and just winging it, is that you're likely to turn to a framework anyway.
Oh?
I live within the ‘framework’ dictated by infrastructure that provides acces to food shelter and clothing, but no religious framework. At 72 it’s unlikely that I’ll be turning to religion any time soon. I don‘t think I’m alone in that.
 

Unknown Soldier

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I can explain myself more in detail. You know how Intelligent Design people have a problem with ToE because the chances that life as we know it turning out the way it did, is infinitesimaly small. I have a problem with your arguments on the same grounds. Proponents of ToE will say, it didn't have to turn out this way. Evolution could have taken all manner of forms, the reason it turned out like this is just random chance.
That is incorrect. It's a very common misconception that evolution results from chance only. Evolution also depends on natural selection which is to say that the environment weeds out those individuals who do not succeed in reproducing and therefore don't pass their genes down to future generations. Of course, there are some traits some organisms have that make them more likely to reproduce than others. One such trait is strong, harmonious social interaction which helps to enhance the chances of finding a mate. That kind of behavior can be found in many species including hominids. That's where my hypothesis come in. People evolved the habit of regularly gathering in groups acting as a whole by engaging in rituals like singing and showing reverence toward strong dominant males. This behavior eventually became an integral part of religion which later became part of societies.
You have this extremely narrow view on the inevitability of organisations to be organised in highly specific ways, because of male domination. German, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, French, English, Argentinian, South African and American socialism all came from male dominated cultures, yet were extremely different in how they ended up being organised.
Actually, my view is very broad in that general behaviors like singing and worship become part of both secular and religious groups. Yes, the details may differ, but the overall behavior is much the same.
Foucault criticised Secular Humanism on the same grounds. He said it's just more Christianity. But with the labels have been switched out. I completely agree. Why? Well, it's a first step towards secularisation. If you grew up in a Christian culture and you leave the church, your brain and your thinking is so steeped in Christianity you litterally can't think in non-Christian terms. The first step to rejecting God is to stay Christian, just to swap the labels around. This is what happened with socialists in Europe in the 19'th century. The Secular Humanist trend was a similar move, just a couple of generations later.
Do secular humanists believe in a savior figure who can grant them eternal life? Of course not, so secular humanism is not "just more Christianity" although secular humanists, like Christians, do exhibit the behavior I speak of above.


I can try to find stuff. But no. No socialist leader said that. Not that I know of.
Then there was no conscious effort on the part of socialists to "model" any church. The similarities between them and Christians is behavior common to most humans.

You have still failed to explain why socialists in Europe so closely modelled their movements on the Christian church specifically. Your evidence was on an incredibly high level and not applicable to this particular conversation.

I sure did explain it. Several times.


there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?
Male dominated behavior doesn't always look like Christianity, but most often Christianity resembles male dominated behavior.

Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.

While I'm not sure what you mean by "check in with yourself," I think my time is better spent learning.

Sure, not praying won't kill you. So in that sense you don't need it. But it will make your life better

I used to pray. It didn't make my life better.


Nope. That's specific to Christianity and Islam. No other religion (including Judaism) puts any emphasis on belief. When people talk about what your "faith" is they've loaded the deck. For the rest of religion, contemporary and past, religion is an activity. Not a belief. The pagan gods don't care what you believe.
That's not true. Religions are based on beliefs.
 
Last edited:

DrZoidberg

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I can explain myself more in detail. You know how Intelligent Design people have a problem with ToE because the chances that life as we know it turning out the way it did, is infinitesimaly small. I have a problem with your arguments on the same grounds. Proponents of ToE will say, it didn't have to turn out this way. Evolution could have taken all manner of forms, the reason it turned out like this is just random chance.
That is incorrect. It's a very common misconception that evolution results from chance only. Evolution also depends on natural selection which is to say that the environment weeds out those individuals who do not succeed in reproducing and therefore don't pass their genes down to future generations. Of course, there are some traits some organisms have that make them more likely to reproduce than others. One such trait is strong, harmonious social interaction which helps to enhance the chances of finding a mate. That kind of behavior can be found in many species including hominids. That's where my hypothesis come in. People evolved the habit of regularly gathering in groups acting as a whole by engaging in rituals like singing and showing reverence toward strong dominant males. This behavior eventually became an integral part of religion which later became part of societies.

Jesus fucking Christ you tried hard to missunderstand the metaphor.

You have this extremely narrow view on the inevitability of organisations to be organised in highly specific ways, because of male domination. German, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, French, English, Argentinian, South African and American socialism all came from male dominated cultures, yet were extremely different in how they ended up being organised.
Actually, my view is very broad in that general behaviors like singing and worship become part of both secular and religious groups. Yes, the details may differ, but the overall behavior is much the same.

A huge difference between religions is how they are structured and organised. Who has authority, and what they are mandated to do. How subservient they are to the king. In Orthodox Christianity the church is just another wing of the government and acts to support the ruler. In Catholicism, officially, the king is the pope's bitch. This becomes a massive difference in how it shapes society.

What I'm talking about is on a completely different level than you you. Yes, people like to sing and dance together. Yay. Great argument.

Foucault criticised Secular Humanism on the same grounds. He said it's just more Christianity. But with the labels have been switched out. I completely agree. Why? Well, it's a first step towards secularisation. If you grew up in a Christian culture and you leave the church, your brain and your thinking is so steeped in Christianity you litterally can't think in non-Christian terms. The first step to rejecting God is to stay Christian, just to swap the labels around. This is what happened with socialists in Europe in the 19'th century. The Secular Humanist trend was a similar move, just a couple of generations later.
Do secular humanists believe in a savior figure who can grant them eternal life? Of course not, so secular humanism is not "just more Christianity" although secular humanists, like Christians, do exhibit the behavior I speak of above.'

No, but they believe that the dichotomy in society is good vs evil (Christian concept that came from Zoroastrianism via Platonism). And they believe that the meaning of life is to be good. They're highly moralistic. They also believe in progress, and that the goal is to embetter humanity. There's just so much Christianity in secular humanism. The only reason you might miss the blindingly obvious signs is perhaps because you live in a western country and therefor are so used to it that you don't react. Moralism isn't normal or natural for humans. It's not part of Buddhism, paganism or most religions.

I can try to find stuff. But no. No socialist leader said that. Not that I know of.
Then there was no conscious effort on the part of socialists to "model" any church. The similarities between them and Christians is behavior common to most humans.

No, there was a conscious effort NOT to model it on the church. They did it anyway. No. It's preposterous to claim that them making organisations extremely similar to the flavour of Christianity local to them is because that behaviour is common in most humans. It's a bizarre statement IMHO.

You have still failed to explain why socialists in Europe so closely modelled their movements on the Christian church specifically. Your evidence was on an incredibly high level and not applicable to this particular conversation.

I sure did explain it. Several times.

I can't find a hint of it in any of your posts.

there are many ways to express male dominated behaviour. It's silly to say that it will always look like Christianity. As religions go, historically, Christianity is weird. So if your rule held up, why are religions so different?
Male dominated behavior doesn't always look like Christianity, but most often Christianity resembles male dominated behavior.

Stones are heavy. Father is heavy. Therefore father is a stone.


Taking time out of your day to check in with yourself and think about what is the most important for you is a healthy exercise for anyone.

While I'm not sure what you mean by "check in with yourself," I think my time is better spent learning.

It means to stop and pay attention to the thoughts in your head. To explore your feelings, your tensions in your body. I'd argue that is learning.

Sure, not praying won't kill you. So in that sense you don't need it. But it will make your life better

I used to pray. It didn't make my life better.

There's a multitude of ways to meditate/introspect. Perhaps pick one that works for you instead?


Nope. That's specific to Christianity and Islam. No other religion (including Judaism) puts any emphasis on belief. When people talk about what your "faith" is they've loaded the deck. For the rest of religion, contemporary and past, religion is an activity. Not a belief. The pagan gods don't care what you believe.
That's not true. Religions are based on beliefs.


Jews (or the Jewish God) doesn't care what you believe, as long as you do the correct rituals. These details they are super fussy about. But not belief.

It's the same deal for Hindus. As long as you make the correct sacrifices and do your Hindu duty your community is cool. You're free to believe whatever. Just follow the rules. Advaita Hinduists are atheists. They're straight up atheists. Also Hindu.

Buddha doesn't care what you do or believe. The point of being a good Buddhist is that it has an instant pay-off in this life.

The pagan gods both existed and didn't. They were both real and metaphorical. In pagan theology, this was not a problem. Because it was a type of religion without a central authority. If you were a pagan nobody else could tell you that you were doing it wrong. So atheistic pagans and woo pagans could cheerfully worship side by side. Pagans don't care about good vs evil. The cosmic conflict for pagans is order vs chaos (you know... that thing that is written in the Bible, Genesis). If your life was working out you were blessed by god or the universe. Pagans didn't care which. It's just magical thinking elevated to a religion.

Pantheists worship nature. As it is and in accordance to science. Because they like the idea of the sacred for it's own sake.

Confucianism is about the optimal way to organise society for the maximum benefit of the nation. They have a laser focus on outcome in this life.

Zoroastrianism does focus on belief. But not belief in God. Zoroastrianism teaches you to have beliefs beneficial to your community. Because they believe that good thoughts, lead to good words, which leads to good deeds. Not just for you, but for your community. In Zoroastrian cosmology life is the constant struggle between good (Ahura Mazda) and evil (Angra Mainu). But humans aren't passive recipients of the goodness of God. Zoroastrians are the instrument of goodness. Ie, if you're not making a constant effort to improve yourself and your community, life will go badly. This isn't a supernatural belief. Everybody alive realizes the wisdom of this teaching. It's pretty commonsensicle. Or to put it another way, if you reject Zoroastrian beliefs your life will turn to shit. Just like Confutians Zoroastrians have a laser focus on outcome.


What is interesting is how the blending of Judaism and Zoroastrianism led To Christianity (and Islam). Because the two faiths are not compatible. They're two fundamentally different ways of organising thought and life.

Judaism is, follow these incredibly strict rules for life, don't question them and don't think of better ways. If you do this God will see to it that everything will be great. Zoroastrianism is, it's super important what you believe because your beliefs shape the outcomes of your life. These were blended into Christianity as, it's super important that your thoughts are correct because otherwise the thought police will get you. That's a rediculous non-sensicle theology. And you're treating it as the standard definition for all religion. It's not at all. Christianity is a bizarre blend of two non-compatible ethical systems. And if you think all religion is this stupid, then of course you won't have any respect for religion. Don't do that. Lot's in religions are great.

I mean... Satan. The eternal cosmic conflict between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainu makes sense. Ahura Mazda is not omnipotent, and needs the help of humans for it to be defeated. Exactly why doesn't the Christian God just obliterate Satan? It makes no sense. Yes, I know the standard Christian arguments for this. They're all dumb.
 

Unknown Soldier

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I can explain myself more in detail. You know how Intelligent Design people have a problem with ToE because the chances that life as we know it turning out the way it did, is infinitesimaly small. I have a problem with your arguments on the same grounds. Proponents of ToE will say, it didn't have to turn out this way. Evolution could have taken all manner of forms, the reason it turned out like this is just random chance.
That is incorrect. It's a very common misconception that evolution results from chance only. Evolution also depends on natural selection which is to say that the environment weeds out those individuals who do not succeed in reproducing and therefore don't pass their genes down to future generations. Of course, there are some traits some organisms have that make them more likely to reproduce than others. One such trait is strong, harmonious social interaction which helps to enhance the chances of finding a mate. That kind of behavior can be found in many species including hominids. That's where my hypothesis come in. People evolved the habit of regularly gathering in groups acting as a whole by engaging in rituals like singing and showing reverence toward strong dominant males. This behavior eventually became an integral part of religion which later became part of societies.

Jesus fucking Christ you tried hard to missunderstand the metaphor.
What metaphor?
 

lostone

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While I think there is no doubt religion is all too often toxic, aren't some religions less toxic than others? Feel good Christianity, New Age love-em-all, and God-based pantheism, and even some moderate versions of Islam? Those do not seek to oppress women or LGBTs, and thunder fire and brimstone. At worst, aren't those just mild delusions?
 

SLD

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While I think there is no doubt religion is all too often toxic, aren't some religions less toxic than others? Feel good Christianity, New Age love-em-all, and God-based pantheism, and even some moderate versions of Islam? Those do not seek to oppress women or LGBTs, and thunder fire and brimstone. At worst, aren't those just mild delusions?

Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities Can Make You Commit Atrocities. - Donald Trump. (OK, it was Voltaire, but FFvC proved it).​

People who abandon reason for faith, are always a threat to our liberties. Yes, some delusions are milder than others, and all of us have some delusions. Is it ok to support a watered down Fascism? It’s kind of like saying, I think Trump went a bit too far on January 6th, but I do think there was election fraud.

No. If the election was a fraud you should revolt. The Bible is either the word of god or not. (It’s not) If Jesus is god, then you should be shoving it down people’s throats. The alternative is eternal hellfire. Liberal Christians just don’t have the courage of their convictions.

I recall a debate with a cousin of mine who was like that, I couldn’t help but point out that it doesn’t matter whether it makes you feel good, it’s simply not true.
 

Cheerful Charlie

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You don't find too many believers telling you their god is full of shit or is wrong.
They don't say it. They just ignore the teachings they prefer not to notice.

One of the ironic bits of the world I live in is this.

Upscale Christians wake up Sunday morning. They put on their best wool power suits. They get in their late model luxury car. They drive to church.

There at church, they worship the author of the words:
"Store not treasure that moth and rust will devour. Rather, store up treasure in Heaven."

They manage to believe both that God Himself came down from Heaven and said that, and that they are His Followers.

I kinda want to discuss the Parable of "Lazarus and the rich man", but I don't. Or the Parable of "The Sower", but I don't. Jesus doesn't matter to most of the Christians around here. They've got their own God.
Tom

Then they get in their fancy cars and go to a nearby restaurant. Where they make life hell for the waitresses and cooks. They are as a class, well known to be lousy tippers, and loud mouthed complainers.
 

Unknown Soldier

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What I'm talking about is on a completely different level than you you.
I hope so!
Yes, people like to sing and dance together. Yay. Great argument.
You're omitting the science of evolutionary behavior that I cited earlier. I've noticed that when people seek religion, they will often trash science in the process. If it is important to believe that religion invented ritual, then facts contrary to that conclusion must be disregarded.
 

Unknown Soldier

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While I think there is no doubt religion is all too often toxic, aren't some religions less toxic than others? Feel good Christianity, New Age love-em-all, and God-based pantheism, and even some moderate versions of Islam? Those do not seek to oppress women or LGBTs, and thunder fire and brimstone. At worst, aren't those just mild delusions?
The way some people practice their religion can be relatively harmless. Most religious people are good people most of the time. Not all of them are terrorists flying jet planes into buildings. I think that religion doesn't make people bad but that bad people sometimes make religion. Most followers of such "bad people" mean no harm and do no harm. It is only the bad people who use religion to describe and rationalize their evil that cause the trouble.
 
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senor boogie woogie

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I think religion and the belief of God comes from two things...

Mostly the fear of death. What happens if anything after death? Many people fear death even if they deny it. I fear death. I cant imagine myself not existing after existing. All religions provide an answer to what happens after physical death, to either be reincarnated as something else, to going to Heaven (or Hell) or into another state of consciousness. It provides some measure of comfort to those old or terminally ill. This is not the end, I am going somewhere else to start a new life. It is very difficult to grasp the concept of non-existance.

Second, just a belief that there is a Supreme Being who created everything and we humans here need to please the Supreme Being. Harkens to the first paragraph of life after death and going somewhere.

I believe in that something created everything. I dont believe it happened by chance or accident. I keep my views to myself because they are my personal beliefs on the subject and everyone has an opinion. This is why under my name I chose "agnostic" which means to me not believing in a God from faith, but not closing the door on the fact that a being or a host of beings exist or existed who made everything.
 
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