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The Problem With Religion Debates


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You suppose? Strikes me as rather intellectually dishonest. You know darn well it is exactly a train wreck virtually all of the time and yet you move blithely right along instigating it. 'Epistemologically interesting'? Pphhhh; lipstick on a pig. Other than your apparent amusement, nothing good is coming of this.

I'm posting here as Eclogite, not as a moderator. Indeed, if Greg or other members of staff feel I have overstepped the boundaries I will relinquish my moderator role at once and accept any other action they deem appropriate.


Where the hell do you get off presuming to tell other people what they think? You are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to insist that  Anssi is doing something detrimental with full knowledge of the consequences. It is your opinion it is a train wreck. It is your opinion that Anssi's actions are promoting it. It is your opinion that he is fully aware of it. There is a well known proverbial action you can take with your opinion.


You are, and have been for some time, a rude bastard. 14,000+ posts on the forum entitles you to many things. It does not entitle you to be a prick and lash out at anyone and everyone. If you have some problems in your personal life please keep them there and stop polluting the forum with your angst.


Now, for ****'s sake grow up and start making the kind of contribution you used to make.

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I hope you would agree that many religions do pursue further enlightenment. I cite the Jesuits as an example. And Bhuddism, if you will concede it is a religion, seems to have this as central.

Yes certainly. I don't know much about Jesuits, but Buddhism I have very little problem of. It seems to strongly promote atheism, and discourages unnecessary metaphysical speculation. Almost as if someone realized the ill-effects of generating your political power from the ideas of universal justice.


Also it is worth saying that ancient scientists/philosophers (which basically meant the same thing) were typically running their research enabled by religious institutions. Religious institutions were very much in the business of trying to understand the world.


Obviously problems would arise only if someone's research would imply things, that would threathen the political power of the institution. We all know what happened to Galileo, simply because his research would undermine the concept of God.


Although to be fair, not all the people who opposed Galileo were just evil people in it for political power. Like everone else, they were just acting how they believed good people act. They honestly believed theistic view is the only sensible solution to understand the world. After a lifetime of viewing the world through those goggles, no matter how convincing someone's contrary findings were, they would not get seriously investigated because the quick explanation is those findings must be confused somehow. To them, so many things would not make sense without a deity at all, so why bother thinking about such things?


Still there's no denial that politics were and still are driving the acts of religious institutions. Politics of power and neutrality of science are difficult to match, and that is kind of why scientific method was invented.


Funny thing about religious politics, the story about Moses and the covenant with Yahweh really says it all about that whole issue. All the business about Jealous God, and commandments for not worshipping other Gods, and destroying the objects and places of worship of other Gods, is a reference to the fact that different tribes each had different Gods; each tribe had a God to identify with, which is obviously a mechanism to yield power over groups of people.


Most english translations of the bible have replaced the word Yahweh (or a variant) with simple "LORD", which hides the rather obvious fact that Yahweh was one of the polytheistic Gods. The declaration of Yahweh being the greatest of Gods, is a reference to the power struggles, where either you would join Yahweh-tribe, or be killed as an enemy. "God is on our side" is extremely powerful idea for making good people do bad things, still used today by the leaders of developed countries.


I doubt the originator(s) of the Moses story even intented it as being a story about God giving morals to man per se. Most of the commandments in the covenant were just instructions of worship or cooking, and how to keep slaves and so on. "Don't boil a baby goat in its mother's milk", please...


And even though "don't kill" is in there, Moses would instantly kill a large group of people over worshipping wrong Gods, i.e. identifying with other tribes. So the small print to "don't kill" was "...except if they are your enemies, of course", which is in my opinion just a perfect analogy to the morals most everyone have today.


Wait, what were we talking about again? Oh yeah the politics of religious power.


So it seems plain to me that all the way from the early judaism, the whole deal with Yahweh has to do with unifying tribes under one God for power. Over the history of Judaism and Christianity, of course different groups of people have had slightly different ideas, and those religions have naturally started to branch into hundreds of different sections. And to oppose that there has always been renewed attempts to unify, where the most powerful people from different branches have literally gathered to vote over what people should really believe in. Anyone who identifies with their religion exactly as they've been told, are choosing to believe at something that some priests and politicians simply voted on hundreds of years ago. What was it about sheeps and shepherd again?


And if they couldn't agree upon a vote, well, there's always guns, and plenty of people who are more willing to kill than to think that maybe God is not on their side after all.


But to be fair, it's not just religious people who are not great thinkers. The same kind of "us and them" tribal mentality is occurring all over the world between developed countries all the time. Take what's happening in Ukraine, if you know about the details and even recent history of that whole deal. Both sides of the conflict see the other side as power-hungry monsters with no motivation other than their own vanity, and neither side has got a good idea how the other party sees things and why, and neither side has got any interest of reporting anything that goes against their prejudicious beliefs. For example, both sides knew who shot down MH17 without investigation.


The inability to understand or even to listen to other points of view really is the root of many problems in the world...


In terms of allowing alternative ideas to be aired, this is where Turtle and I seem to deviate. I welcome posts by such as H-bond, not because I have much hope that he can be convinced of his errors, but because it provides an opportunity for lurkers to read the correct explanations of phenomena, presented in a calm, objective manner. I know that's not quite the context you were speaking in, but I think it is pertinent to mention it here.

Yeah I understand.


My thing for welcoming those views is also that I don't believe people are religious because they are somehow intellectually dishonest to themselves (although some people clearly are religious apologists because they believe people can't be trusted without fear of universal morals, which probably has more to do with their mother not picking them up as babies than anything else ;) )


I think their view is just indicative to the way they conceptualize the world, and logically speaking there must always exist a mapping between theistic and atheistic points of view. Understanding that mapping is the same thing as understanding how to communicate these issues. I don't know if you have seen the wonderful youtube series of Evid3nce explaining through his entire deconversion, but it offers pretty good overview about how complex that mapping is.


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