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Thread: Does Religion Poison Everything?

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    Senior Member Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Does Religion Poison Everything?

    Interesting discussion between Robert Wright and Christopher Hitchens. I thought maybe thread worthy. Maybe not. The extreme position that religion poisons everything is untenable.


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    No Blorg's Avatar
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    "Religion" in the literal sense of the term doesn't encompass the full range of religious thinking. As I said elsewhere, a certain level of "faith" is necessary in order to appreciate life. People can approach a wide range of activities with religiously-tinted devotion, and people who lack that devotion lead miserable lives (I should know-- I'm in the latter category).

    For example, I think that a lot of people view politics, nationality, etc in a way that they (once) view(ed) religion in the literal sense of the term. (ferrus might have said something vaguely related to this in the je suis charlie thread.) The same drive can manifest itself in a million different ways. I think it's still the same underlying drive, though, and I do think that we're all religious in some way or another, whether or not we admit it.

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    just dont think about it mhc's Avatar
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    Just a quick post..

    All too easily is it forgotten that, religion is not an actual thing, and as such maintains no power to be able to accomplish anything. So, in one way it could be said that, religion is a result of the fact that people have forgotten that they themselves are the originators of their own ideas. So in the context of this thread, it could be said then, that people themselves poison everything.
    Just look at the blue sky

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    A willful refusal to entertain doubts is a problematic thing to have as part of a thought process. Religions tend to require something like this, to some extent, and therefore religious traditions are often a source of unconsidered ideas.

    However, I don't see every thought that emerges from the context of a person's religious beliefs as necessarily "poisoned" in this way, nor do I think religious beliefs are the only kind of ideas that can have this problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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    Senior Member Makers's Avatar
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    Religion is inescapable. There is the religion of science, state, and of course, God in many varieties. The one you appeal too is a political position, I'd say.
    "Long live the weeds and the wilderness!"

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    Senior Member Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dot View Post
    "Religion" in the literal sense of the term doesn't encompass the full range of religious thinking. As I said elsewhere, a certain level of "faith" is necessary in order to appreciate life. People can approach a wide range of activities with religiously-tinted devotion, and people who lack that devotion lead miserable lives (I should know-- I'm in the latter category).

    For example, I think that a lot of people view politics, nationality, etc in a way that they (once) view(ed) religion in the literal sense of the term. (ferrus might have said something vaguely related to this in the je suis charlie thread.) The same drive can manifest itself in a million different ways. I think it's still the same underlying drive, though, and I do think that we're all religious in some way or another, whether or not we admit it.
    Religious people do report being happier. Whether that's directly due to faith, or just a benefit owing to the social connections it encourages, that would be an example of a benefit of religion. But yeah not necessarily a unique one. People involved in a group activity with a a shared sense of meaning probably experience a similar happiness boost.

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    Senior Member Linnea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Religious people do report being happier.
    Some religious people report being happier. On the other hand, raising children in a very religious environment can traumatise them for life. In Finland there's a support group for the victims of religions that concentrates on rehabilitating and helping people who have had a traumatic experience in a cult. Some were raised in one and some joined as adults.

    I just read this today: How Religion Can Let Loose Humanity’s Most Violent Impulses

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    Senior Member Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Linnea View Post
    Religion Can Let Loose Humanity’s Most Violent Impulses
    Yep there is no shortage of examples of that poison.

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    Amen P-O's Avatar
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    I agree with a lot of the above opinions. The problem with religion isn't a belief in a god, per se, but the belief that there's a set of ideas that are divinely revealed through a book/prophet and consequently there's no earthly means to challenge them.

    Things like science and the state are accepted to be flawed human endeavors and are therefore open to challenges towards particular conclusions. Even the most narrow minded zealot will acknowledge these things when it comes to earthly ideologies.

    Accepting bad ideas as truth are one thing.... Saying that those bad ideas are immune to challenge is quite another.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

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    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dot View Post
    "Religion" in the literal sense of the term doesn't encompass the full range of religious thinking. As I said elsewhere, a certain level of "faith" is necessary in order to appreciate life. People can approach a wide range of activities with religiously-tinted devotion, and people who lack that devotion lead miserable lives (I should know-- I'm in the latter category).

    For example, I think that a lot of people view politics, nationality, etc in a way that they (once) view(ed) religion in the literal sense of the term. (ferrus might have said something vaguely related to this in the je suis charlie thread.) The same drive can manifest itself in a million different ways. I think it's still the same underlying drive, though, and I do think that we're all religious in some way or another, whether or not we admit it.
    I would agree here. Variations of this conversation have emerged one way or the other.

    For me it comes down to authenticity. Maybe that is my religious devotion. I have had to know and be honest about what I know, and often that has involved stripping away those things I have once held religiously. That's why the study of philosophy and history fascinated me so much. Both offered means, if you were willing to enter it with an open mind, of stripping away the preconceptions that root you to a specific view, by either revealing its contradictions or its murky provenance. Of course others accreted over time. We change our minds much less as we get older.

    The dreamer in me would prefer if possible, that some kind of religious of rationalism develop. This is not a new ideas (indeed something literally of this nature was introduced in the French revolution) - but still, it would be an ideal. Otherwise, I would prefer people largely leave me to my own conclusions, to sketch these things out by myself which is why some kind of political liberalism of opinions is valuable to me. Again, I suppose another religion-esque devotion linked to my drive to understand things from my own mental powers.

    Whilst there are parts of religion that make some - or most - people happy there are other parts that repress them, that make them accede to very bad decisions and that reduce their sense of autonomy. These are things that to me make traditional religions deeply pernicious.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

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