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  1. #81
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    For all the high praise we can throw at the Greeks, plain truth of the matter is they peaked and then were usurped by the Romans. One can entertain ideas of how much better things would be, but idolization of a society that far distant is a dangerous thing to do.
    Tangent, but our image of the Greeks is very limited and highly skewed. Athens wasn't a city filled with philosophical rationalists. They were a tiny handful, probably little more than what you'd find in a hobbyist circle in a modern city. Most people (like anywhere) were superstitious, irrational, conservative, opinionated, fun, jocular, idiosyncratic, irreverent, horny. Y'know? People.

    If Hellenistic Society prevailed maybe it'd turn out terrible. Maybe the Dionysian side would have been the cultural force that prevailed and all learning would be savaged (or maybe the Apollonian would lead to a police state of control and intolerance).

    Anycrap.
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  2. #82
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD! View Post
    Haha. I probably shouldn't laugh, but, well, I just did. Links to these studies if you've got them, please!
    https://encrypted.google.com/search?...ist+trust+poll

    This one has the 6-study abstract: http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/06...ch-as-rapists/
    "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
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  3. #83
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Most people (like anywhere) were superstitious, irrational, conservative, opinionated, fun, jocular, idiosyncratic, irreverent, horny. Y'know? People.


    And this is religion to me, it is just people doing waht people do. They don't understand thigns they make a kind of metaphor about it, a god about it, a moral about it. It has been what we've been doing for millions of years. I think people think of religion as Christianity and Islam and all that, but remember before then we had Pagans and whatever else. We will still hold to that belief no matter what. Now a days we have the religion of the parent where the parent tells you hat is right and wrong and the state does as well a little bit. Its not really much difference to what the church was doing back in the medieval times.

  4. #84
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    Also on that note, Science is being used as a new "religion" you get lots of pseudo scientific belief bullshit about ailments and pains, crystals and homoeopathy. Fake professors trying to sell their idea about the world and real professors doing the same.

  5. #85
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    If you ignore the ecclesiastical teachings and accept religion as another form of control (which is what it is) it's difficult to argue that it hasn't contributed to 'morality'. The thing is that people like to call something 'immoral' because it doesn't conform with their moral code... which is kind of the point since morality is largely relative and subjective, not objective. Trying to argue that religion never made people more moral would require a universally accepted definition of morality, which doesn't exist.
    If you accept that morality is relative and not objective, and that religion is a form of control, then what's the point of religion? We already have a government.

    If you say that religion's only given as lip service to mask the intentions of imperialism, then technically there are no religious wars. However, that also means religion hasn't stopped any wars either.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  6. #86
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    I haven't read The God Delusion, but it's always puzzled me how Dawkins seems unable to fathom how people can hold contradictory beliefs; that the evidence for evolution does not immediately cause Christians to give up the notion of creation, for example.
    I've wondered if that has something to do with his academic background in the natural sciences. I have to imagine Biology is a field in which discoveries can simply be factually true, making previously held knowledge irrelevant. If I remember correctly, in one of the earlier chapters of The God Delusion he talks about a former professor of his who had been lecturing about a certain topic for decades, but was told that he had been wrong. Dawkins joyfully writes that the professor doesn't get angry, but instead thanks the person who corrects him, and moves on. That's a nice story of course, and his point is obvious. But religion, and other human activity, might not be so clear-cut.

    Thanks for posting that link. That University of British Columbia study does indeed seem to focus on America, as I suspected. I doubt you'd find anything near similar numbers in most of Europe.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  7. #87
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    It's not a starting point, it's a fact. For all the high praise we can throw at the Greeks, plain truth of the matter is they peaked and then were usurped by the Romans. One can entertain ideas of how much better things would be, but idolization of a society that far distant is a dangerous thing to do.
    That wasn't my point at all, apologies if I was unclear. What I was trying to say was that the fact that Christianity has been a big part of knowledge and study in the last 2000 years of western history does not mean it is the cause of it. Our knowledge of the world and our moral philosophy do not depend on it to exist and using Greek civilisation as an example was just an attempt to show how easy it is to consider other, possibly better or worse, routes western culture could have taken. With that in mind I don't think we need to give the historical role of Christianity any special consideration, especially not when discussing the role of it in the here and now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    The same way every bishop, priest and parishioner has namedropped him for years for every sort of action. Whoever Jesus was, he's been fingered as the inspiration for a lot of shit.
    Sure, but the actions and ideas of Christians have had to fit (or be shoehorned) into Christian dogma which derives from his teachings. That he did not personally create the Christian church does not mean that Jesus (or the Jesus myth if you prefer) isn't the foundation of the church. I'm just not sure what purpose it serves to remove Jesus from the picture when he has been practically synonymous with the church for most of Christian history. '

    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    Most people (like anywhere) were superstitious, irrational, conservative, opinionated, fun, jocular, idiosyncratic, irreverent, horny. Y'know? People.
    As were the philosophers and sophists of the time. What (at least to me) makes that culture remarkable compared to much of Christian history is that despite having a dogmatic belief system there was room for competing independent thought and viewing the world as it is. Not that it's unique in that in any way, but I can't think of many parallels in western culture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tritagonist View Post
    I've wondered if that has something to do with his academic background in the natural sciences. I have to imagine Biology is a field in which discoveries can simply be factually true, making previously held knowledge irrelevant. If I remember correctly, in one of the earlier chapters of The God Delusion he talks about a former professor of his who had been lecturing about a certain topic for decades, but was told that he had been wrong. Dawkins joyfully writes that the professor doesn't get angry, but instead thanks the person who corrects him, and moves on. That's a nice story of course, and his point is obvious. But religion, and other human activity, might not be so clear-cut.
    That's almost certainly at least part of it. And yes I think that most people are fairly pragmatic with regards to what is actually true when deciding what beliefs to adopt; we'll believe what we feel benefits us and gravitate to ideas we feel are attractive rather than what we have evidence for. I think that's a pretty big weakness in how Dawkins argues with Christians, as well as his dismissal of any positive effects of religion on an individual level simply because religious beliefs are untrue.
    Last edited by Skalpadda; 19-05-2012 at 07:23 PM. Reason: spelling, added stuff

  8. #88
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    Sure, but the actions and ideas of Christians have had to fit (or be shoehorned) into Christian dogma which derives from his teachings. That he did not personally create the Christian church does not mean that Jesus (or the Jesus myth if you prefer) isn't the foundation of the church. I'm just not sure what purpose it serves to remove Jesus from the picture when he has been practically synonymous with the church for most of Christian history.
    About as synonymous as a gecko is with car insurance.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  9. #89
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    @Nalano: An assertion without an argument is useless.

  10. #90
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    @Nalano: An assertion without an argument is useless.
    The dude's little more than a mascot. The texts were codified a century after his death, his provenance was fought over by a long succession of ecclesiastic leaders, and the words attributed to him have been twisted to often have directly contradictory and opposing meanings, as interpreted by those in power. Jesus the underdog became Jesus the king, and people of all affiliations and philosophies have used him to forward their agendas.

    Why? Because what matters isn't the teaching, but the institutional power.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  11. #91
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    @Nalano: An assertion without an argument is useless.
    That reminded me of this: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." -Christopher Hitchens

  12. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobtree View Post
    -Christopher Hitchens
    Since we're on the topic of opinionated blowhards...

  13. #93
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    If you accept that morality is relative and not objective, and that religion is a form of control, then what's the point of religion? We already have a government.
    Religion is effectively government. I mean what better authority is there than a sky-being who can see and know everything and wipe you out in a single instant if you disobey? Not that all religion is like that, but it is just another system of control. Asking what's the point of religion is like asking what's the point of communist parties, or anarchists, or the Friends of Nalano Club. People like their message and submit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    If you say that religion's only given as lip service to mask the intentions of imperialism, then technically there are no religious wars. However, that also means religion hasn't stopped any wars either.
    Never claimed it did stop any wars. I don't see the relevance. I have nothing to back this up (I haven't researched it) but during the time of Christian dominance in Europe, where many Catholic countries submitted to the Pope, didn't the Pope effectively threaten nations with excommunication for fighting with other nations of the same faith? I don't know of any specific examples but if true then arguably religion did stop wars.

    But you can replace "religion" with "government" or "system of control" and get the same result, because it effectively is just a system of control.

  14. #94
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Since we're on the topic of opinionated blowhards...
    Mencken he wasn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Religion is effectively government. I mean what better authority is there than a sky-being who can see and know everything and wipe you out in a single instant if you disobey? Not that all religion is like that, but it is just another system of control. Asking what's the point of religion is like asking what's the point of communist parties, or anarchists, or the Friends of Nalano Club. People like their message and submit.
    And the last thing we need is another form of government - especially one we can't vote on.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Never claimed it did stop any wars. I don't see the relevance. I have nothing to back this up (I haven't researched it) but during the time of Christian dominance in Europe, where many Catholic countries submitted to the Pope, didn't the Pope effectively threaten nations with excommunication for fighting with other nations of the same faith? I don't know of any specific examples but if true then arguably religion did stop wars.
    Sure, popes tried to stop wars within the faith ("Brothers, stop fighting! We already tax all of you, so the more you kill one another, the less we can tax!"), so that all those armies could fight wars without the faith. Consequently, they rubber stamped a lot of wars. But attempting to curtail infighting really just put popes in direct competition with kings, because they were effectively trying to supplant them. They weren't terribly effective. Hell, one pope tried to ban crossbows because they weren't sporting, like longswords. You can guess how well that went.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    But you can replace "religion" with "government" or "system of control" and get the same result, because it effectively is just a system of control.
    Which is what I said earlier. And as a power structure, it's notoriously regressive. To go back to the popes, they attempted to annul the Magna Carta, not because it affected them directly, but because giving the hoy polloy any power meant they might come back and demand more.
    Last edited by Nalano; 20-05-2012 at 09:29 AM.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  15. #95
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    And the last thing we need is another form of government - especially one we can't vote on.
    [...]
    And as a power structure, it's notoriously regressive.
    I never claimed they were particularly good forms of government. You seem to be suggesting that I'm saying that religion is a good thing. All I've said in relation to religion in positive terms is that people should have the freedom to believe whatever nonsense they like provided it doesn't interfere with the rights of others, and that religion undoubtedly contributed to the development of the various moral codes around (though that in itself does not say that all moral codes religion created were 'moral' by your or my standards). In fact I specifically said that we need an entirely secular government.

    But then in saying that, secular governments aren't immune to corruption or violence or anything like that... but nobody's advocating no governments because anarchy clearly never works on a large scale.

  16. #96
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    But then in saying that, secular governments aren't immune to corruption or violence or anything like that... but nobody's advocating no governments because anarchy clearly never works on a large scale.
    True, governments can and often have been institutions of wealth extraction. But the thing is, religions are guaranteed to be such, because they're by their very nature top-down.

    Now, as for the "provided it doesn't interfere with the rights of others" part, that's the problem with Christianity and Islam: If you actually follow the freakin' thing, you're supposed to go off and attempt to convert everybody near you and subvert governments to your will. Shit, the people hated almost as much as invading armies are invading missionaries.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  17. #97
    Network Hub Prester John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    Sure, but the actions and ideas of Christians have had to fit (or be shoehorned) into Christian dogma which derives from his teachings. That he did not personally create the Christian church does not mean that Jesus (or the Jesus myth if you prefer) isn't the foundation of the church. I'm just not sure what purpose it serves to remove Jesus from the picture when he has been practically synonymous with the church for most of Christian history. '
    Most of the worst of Christian Faith comes form the Old Testament. Jesus didn't found the Church, didn't leave any writings. What we have is versions of events written many years after his life (assuming that Jesus even existed) and chosen by the victors of the internal schisms that occured in the early christian church. And the Old Testament. And that ain't family friendly.

  18. #98
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Shit, the people hated almost as much as invading armies are invading missionaries.
    That reminds me of a completely unrelated anecdote, but which I share in case somebody else finds it amusing. When the Portuguese arrived in Japan in 1543, they were soon followed by the Jesuits who started preaching their religion. That seemed to work without too many problems, but the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康, reign 1603-1605) wasn't too fond of Christianity and its Western missionaries, and wanted them out.

    It was decided that Westerners who came to Japan should spit and trample on images of Jesus. Most refused, and were forced to leave. However, the Dutch gladly went along with the Japanese request and were allowed to stay. What the Japanese failed to understand was that there wasn't just one kind of Christianity. The Dutch were of course Christians, but not Catholics, and they were themselves convinced that the images of Jesus were nothing more than Catholic idolatry, and as such, blasphemy.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  19. #99
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Now, as for the "provided it doesn't interfere with the rights of others" part, that's the problem with Christianity and Islam: If you actually follow the freakin' thing, you're supposed to go off and attempt to convert everybody near you and subvert governments to your will. Shit, the people hated almost as much as invading armies are invading missionaries.
    They should have the right to voice their ridiculous concerns, but as I was saying they shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the state or the rights of others. Church doctrine would have to adapt. The church must be subject to the laws of the state. I mean hipster politics and activism is a similar concept but we don't outlaw it.

    Unless... we could outlaw it. For a better tomorrow?

  20. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by zookeeper View Post
    Since we're on the topic of opinionated blowhards...
    It's funny how Dawkins and Hitchens are always accused of being opinionated and arrogant when their opponents are the ones who refuse to change their position in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Because the people making grandiose claims whilst presenting zero evidence and who claim to know the will of the 'divine' for entire world, are not opinionated blowhards at all. That makes perfect sense.

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