Religion, what's the point?

TheRedFlag

Not feeling himself tonight
Newbie
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
11,799
Location
Noob banning
Seriously.

It's concerning that in the 21st century people still believe in myths.

I'm going to start a bigfoot religion.
 
Seriously.

It's concerning that in the 21st century people still believe in myths.

I'm going to start a bigfoot religion.

It's much more than myths. Doesnt make you more clever or a better person if you think it's all myth, let people have their religion and believe. You might argue about some religions and their opinions though
 
It's much more than myths. Doesnt make you more clever or a better person if you think it's all myth, let people have their religion and believe. You might argue about some religions and their opinions though

fine, let me believe in bigfoot.
 
IMO religion is not intellectually compelling, especially when compared with science, but the history of religion can be fascinating because it has played a large part in human events.
 
IMO religion is not intellectually compelling, especially when compared with science, but the history of religion can be fascinating because it has played a large part in human events.

True, although its role has generally been one of dividing people, resulting in countless wars and the accompanying atrocities.
 
I personally believe religion has helped us achieve great things, including scientific advances, great art and culture. Visit Cordoba in Spain and you'll be amazed at what religion has given the city.

In recent times religions have become far more closed and dogmatic, probably as a result of rising secularism. It's a problem but I think it's more due to the people rather than religion itself.

And I doubt a Preist reading from the Bible is any less useful than a 'scientist' waffaling on about String Theory.
 
I find those running down a religion a tad boring - so you´re not into it fine but leave those that want to indulge alone
 
Many people use religion as a means to live their life. What is wrong with a person living their life how they see fit? Although some do use religion as a means to spread their own opinions and agendas.

There are more concerning things that happen in the 21st century - how a person can act in an uncivilised and disrespectful manner to another human being, whether it be unprovoked, racist or sexist, sometimes using violence and in many cases causing GBH if not death. After so long, why...

Besides all that, do you have to have a bigfoot, lots of hair, live in the jungle, or any other entry level requirements?
 
I find those running down a religion a tad boring - so you´re not into it fine but leave those that want to indulge alone

Well said, some people have to believe in something. Myself I believe in the Caf, and Berba
 
Why do science and religion have to subsitutes? They can co-exist perfectly together.

In fact you could even say in some ways they share the same purpose of trying to discover the truth about our existence. I'm not sure about the Abrahamic faiths but the essence of Hinduism/Buddhism is to attain enlightenment by finding God/the self/life force( whatever you want to call it) so we can discover the truth and experience the universe as a whole which in many ways is what science is all about.
 
I find those running down a religion a tad boring - so you´re not into it fine but leave those that want to indulge alone

I personally believe religion has helped us achieve great things, including scientific advances, great art and culture. Visit Cordoba in Spain and you'll be amazed at what religion has given the city.

In recent times religions have become far more closed and dogmatic, probably as a result of rising secularism. It's a problem but I think it's more due to the people rather than religion itself.

And I doubt a Preist reading from the Bible is any less useful than a 'scientist' waffaling on about String Theory.

Many people use religion as a means to live their life. What is wrong with a person living their life how they see fit? Although some do use religion as a means to spread their own opinions and agendas.

There are more concerning things that happen in the 21st century - how a person can act in an uncivilised and disrespectful manner to another human being, whether it be unprovoked, racist or sexist, sometimes using violence and in many cases causing GBH if not death. After so long, why...

Besides all that, do you have to have a bigfoot, lots of hair, live in the jungle, or any other entry level requirements?

Why do science and religion have to subsitutes? They can co-exist perfectly together.

In fact you could even say in some ways they share the same purpose of trying to discover the truth about our existence. I'm not sure about the Abrahamic faiths but the essence of Hinduism/Buddhism is to attain enlightenment by finding God/the self/life force( whatever you want to call it) so we can discover the truth and experience the universe as a whole which in many ways is what science is all about.

spot on
 
I find those running down a religion a tad boring - so you´re not into it fine but leave those that want to indulge alone

if they left other people alone there wouldn't be a problem at all
 
I personally believe religion has helped us achieve great things, including scientific advances, great art and culture. Visit Cordoba in Spain and you'll be amazed at what religion has given the city.

In recent times religions have become far more closed and dogmatic, probably as a result of rising secularism. It's a problem but I think it's more due to the people rather than religion itself.

And I doubt a Preist reading from the Bible is any less useful than a 'scientist' waffaling on about String Theory.


A most apposite username..
 
I'm not sure about the main religions; they were a fantastic ethical code; now they only seem to seperate us.

I think people have ridiculed the knowledge carried down by the ancient tribes - too swiftly were we swept away with creationism, Muhammed etc - these people might offer some insight into where we are from, why we are here etc. Until they find the missing link between the chimps and ourselves, i'm still inclined to believe that we were put here.

Opinion is polarized now, the intellectuals do meet somewhere in between though. Atheism through scientific reasoning doesn't work, metaphysics doesn't totally work (metaphysics, chaos theory, read up); science can only show us a small reel of tape, time expands way beyond "the big bang", and we clearly aren't the centre of the universe. We just cannot comprehend time, or our own insignificance.

After a couple of thousand years of having religion forced down our throats, dictated to and generally fed, naturally for progressive humans, which we all are, hopefully, it is very easy to break down religious arguments and dismiss the existence of God aka a higher being altogether. Science cannot disprove Gods existence, it can only offer an alternative to religions ridiculous assertions; that the world is less than 12000 years old, it was made in 7 days. Most people know this to be bollocks, even Rowan Williams has hinted at its interpretative meanings.

Hopefully some parts of the Muslim world - what we would call the fundamentalists - start to take religion with a pinch of salt, because unless they do, the west, America particularly; will continue to use it as a tool, a slingshot to the east. They will sell bombs and guns around the world, then come back to these countries, bomb them, and confiscate the arms they originally sold to you. That is another story.
 
I'm not sure about the main religions; they were a fantastic ethical code; now they only seem to seperate us.

I think people have ridiculed the knowledge carried down by the ancient tribes - too swiftly were we swept away with creationism, Muhammed etc - these people might offer some insight into where we are from, why we are here etc. Until they find the missing link between the chimps and ourselves, i'm still inclined to believe that we were put here.

Opinion is polarized now, the intellectuals do meet somewhere in between though. Atheism through scientific reasoning doesn't work, metaphysics doesn't totally work (metaphysics, chaos theory, read up); science can only show us a small reel of tape, time expands way beyond "the big bang", and we clearly aren't the centre of the universe. We just cannot comprehend time, or our own insignificance.

After a couple of thousand years of having religion forced down our throats, dictated to and generally fed, naturally for progressive humans, which we all are, hopefully, it is very easy to break down religious arguments and dismiss the existence of God aka a higher being altogether. Science cannot disprove Gods existence, it can only offer an alternative to religions ridiculous assertions; that the world is less than 12000 years old, it was made in 7 days. Most people know this to be bollocks, even Rowan Williams has hinted at its interpretative meanings.

Hopefully some parts of the Muslim world - what we would call the fundamentalists - start to take religion with a pinch of salt, because unless they do, the west, America particularly; will continue to use it as a tool, a slingshot to the east. They will sell bombs and guns around the world, then come back to these countries, bomb them, and confiscate the arms they originally sold to you. That is another story.

simple fact is, based on fact or not organised religion is used as a cover for people to practice their own predjudices. Choosing to voice/believe/practice the parts they like and ignoring the parts they don't, its usually all so subjective or twisted over time that the founders true intentions are impossible to know and all's we get is evil bastards using them as an excuse to oppress women, homosexuals, minorities, whover they want to really.

I have nothing against a person who believes in the christian god and in no way uses that to negatively affect the lives of others. I do have a problem with the cnuts who blow up abortion clinics or beat up homosexuals or make aid dependant upon them not offering abortions etc.
 
I find those running down a religion a tad boring - so you´re not into it fine but leave those that want to indulge alone

Just like this guy does I guess;

10ckf0o.jpg
 
Just like this guy does I guess;

10ckf0o.jpg

Great point.

It takes a special mind, wit and originality to find and post images of crackpot zealots. If I was as smart, funny and original as you maybe I would post some images of Mao Zedong and claim him as the face of athiesm.

Now wouldn't that be utterly inspired?

And it would not be in anyway tired, hackneyed, worthless or pathetic.

God bless.
 
I believe in God, but those people in the picture are judging other people. If a woman chooses to have an abortion that is her business. I am a sports nut, I talk to my dog, I go to partys, I like rock music,, I spend hours on my computer, I think cannabis is a fantastic plant. So those eejits are talking about me too.
 
Great point.

It takes a special mind, wit and originality to find and post images of crackpot zealots. If I was as smart, funny and original as you maybe I would post some images of Mao Zedong and claim him as the face of athiesm.

Now wouldn't that be utterly inspired?

And it would not be in anyway tired, hackneyed, worthless or pathetic.

God bless.

Why thank you sir! Crackpot zealots have, of course, no bearing whatsoever on the poisonous agendas of Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists. And they in turn never did any harm to anyone as we all know.
 
tell that to the Burmese people

Irony. But we're going up a blind alley. On reflection it wasn't clever of me to post the pic - I just thought it was amusing. Although many people are animated by religion-inspired hatred undoubtedly. Maybe it was a cheap way of making a valid point.

So belay that picture..
 
This will run and run and run....

Anyway, it seems to me that we are in the amazing position where both sides here are completely missing the point, which is some good going.

TheRedFlag; ThatOldRedMagic

Yes. You may think that religion is wrong, and a man made myth. This it probably is. However, your position does very well to avoid the main issue. In fact, thoughtless disbelief often avoid the main issue. That issue is not why we are here, the issue is that we are here at all. That there is something rather than nothing (although nothing again is an interesting term itself open to debate).

It seems to me that this question is the question that affects, well, everything. Also, this question is necessarily theological, as the cause of everything is what people have commonly called god.

Criticising religion does not actually address this question, and so can be countered by the point (as has been made here) that religion is man made and god is separate from it to an extent, at least the question of his/her/its existence is separate from whether religion is true.

All these debates too often focus on religion as opposed to this ultimate question.

Now, before you think I am picking on you:

Escobar;dumbo;topper;WeWonItTwoTimes;Psmith; Im red2;

I disagree with your positions slightly.

Religion, as any man made phenomenon (whether you believe it was influenced/given to us by a higher power, I think that this position is fairly incontrovertable for a theist) should be subject to the same amount of critique and scrutiny as any moral, ethical or political position.

I have no problem whether religion for the individual makes them a better person, gives them a meaning for life etc., but this doesn't mean that we cannot question belief systems as a whole to see their impact on the world, whether it is positive or negative, and mstly whether it is true or not.

Again, this is connected to the main question (why is there anything rather than nothing) but it seems to me that if we are polite and do not criticise religion we end up ignoring this question, which will be to the detriment of us all.

Now, this debate can, and should include the merits and criticisms of any alternatives to religious belief (be it spirituality, moral beliefs whatever). I think that bringing these questions into the open and discussing and debating them is much more healthy than not doing so. Besides, the vast majority of attacks on religion (and indeed atheism or a form of non-belief) aren't actually that well thought out and can be countered quite easily (and yes, that includes 99% of what Professor Dawkins comes out with).

Personally, it seems as though religion is a man made phenomenon, and can be fairly pernicious. As for god, I'm not sure if there is enough evidence to conclude that there is a god. Of course, I would prefer to hear your opinions to the contrary and engage in a debate. Or we could trade insults (but where's the fun in that?) It's a bank holiday, so I'll leave the choice to you :)
 
Finally, something to get stuck into in this thread...

...the issue is that we are here at all. That there is something rather than nothing (although nothing again is an interesting term itself open to debate).

Saying 'why is there something rather than nothing' is essentially meaningless Frosty. 'Why' implies a chain of causation, and 'why is there something' simply means the first link in the chain. It is equivalent to saying what is the prime mover / first cause, and how can this itself not have a cause. You may recognise it: the infinite regress.

It is unanswerable, and maybe even nonsensical, unless we postulate infinite time, and therefore no 'first' anything at all.

It is my belief that the 'why is there something...' phrase is just a relatively recent invention of theologians to try and shift the onus of the infinite regress problem to atheists. It is nothing new, just playing with words. I am surprised you seem to have fallen for it.
 
This will run and run and run....

Anyway, it seems to me that we are in the amazing position where both sides here are completely missing the point, which is some good going.

TheRedFlag; ThatOldRedMagic

Yes. You may think that religion is wrong, and a man made myth. This it probably is. However, your position does very well to avoid the main issue. In fact, thoughtless disbelief often avoid the main issue. That issue is not why we are here, the issue is that we are here at all. That there is something rather than nothing (although nothing again is an interesting term itself open to debate).

It seems to me that this question is the question that affects, well, everything. Also, this question is necessarily theological, as the cause of everything is what people have commonly called god.

Criticising religion does not actually address this question, and so can be countered by the point (as has been made here) that religion is man made and god is separate from it to an extent, at least the question of his/her/its existence is separate from whether religion is true.

All these debates too often focus on religion as opposed to this ultimate question.

Now, before you think I am picking on you:

Escobar;dumbo;topper;WeWonItTwoTimes;Psmith; Im red2;

I disagree with your positions slightly.

Religion, as any man made phenomenon (whether you believe it was influenced/given to us by a higher power, I think that this position is fairly incontrovertable for a theist) should be subject to the same amount of critique and scrutiny as any moral, ethical or political position.

I have no problem whether religion for the individual makes them a better person, gives them a meaning for life etc., but this doesn't mean that we cannot question belief systems as a whole to see their impact on the world, whether it is positive or negative, and mstly whether it is true or not.

Again, this is connected to the main question (why is there anything rather than nothing) but it seems to me that if we are polite and do not criticise religion we end up ignoring this question, which will be to the detriment of us all.

Now, this debate can, and should include the merits and criticisms of any alternatives to religious belief (be it spirituality, moral beliefs whatever). I think that bringing these questions into the open and discussing and debating them is much more healthy than not doing so. Besides, the vast majority of attacks on religion (and indeed atheism or a form of non-belief) aren't actually that well thought out and can be countered quite easily (and yes, that includes 99% of what Professor Dawkins comes out with).

Personally, it seems as though religion is a man made phenomenon, and can be fairly pernicious. As for god, I'm not sure if there is enough evidence to conclude that there is a god. Of course, I would prefer to hear your opinions to the contrary and engage in a debate. Or we could trade insults (but where's the fun in that?) It's a bank holiday, so I'll leave the choice to you :)

if only there were more like you Frosty.

Well for me I'm feel fairly certain there is something else beyond our universe for the exact reasons you state, the question of why there is anything here at all leads to the conclusion that there is something beyond the universe as we are able to perceive it. Now whether this something has a god like entity is obviously unknowable but given the perculiarities of the universe that allow matter to exist, stars and planets to form and life to exist, I'm willing to accept that there was some element of design in the universe. Beyond that, feck knows really, I think the only thing you can do is to live your life by your own set of values and if there is a God to judge me I'm willing to be judged on that basis as I can justify it and am comfortable with that.
 
Well for me I'm feel fairly certain there is something else beyond our universe for the exact reasons you state, the question of why there is anything here at all leads to the conclusion that there is something beyond the universe as we are able to perceive it. Now whether this something has a god like entity is obviously unknowable but given the perculiarities of the universe that allow matter to exist, stars and planets to form and life to exist, I'm willing to accept that there was some element of design in the universe.

Why do you declare knowledge of such things as forever 'unknowable'?
 
Finally, something to get stuck into in this thread...



Saying 'why is there something rather than nothing' is essentially meaningless Frosty. 'Why' implies a chain of causation, and 'why is there something' simply means the first link in the chain. It is equivalent to saying what is the prime mover / first cause, and how can this itself not have a cause. You may recognise it: the infinite regress.

It is unanswerable, and maybe even nonsensical, unless we postulate infinite time, and therefore no 'first' anything at all.

It is my belief that the 'why is there something...' phrase is just a relatively recent invention of theologians to try and shift the onus of the infinite regress problem to atheists. It is nothing new, just playing with words. I am surprised you seem to have fallen for it.

thats really avoiding the question of why the universe exists at all. Trying to take yourself beyond causality and the beginnings of the universe you have to ask the question why does anything exist.

Of course it is unanswerable but that doesn't, or shouldn't stop discussion about it as that is how progress is made
 
Why do you declare knowledge of such things as forever 'unknowable'?

our ability to perceive is limited to the universe which we inhabit, any such being would logically not belong to our universe and so it must be unknowable to us.
 
Finally, something to get stuck into in this thread...



Saying 'why is there something rather than nothing' is essentially meaningless Frosty. 'Why' implies a chain of causation, and 'why is there something' simply means the first link in the chain. It is equivalent to saying what is the prime mover / first cause, and how can this itself not have a cause. You may recognise it: the infinite regress.

It is unanswerable, and maybe even nonsensical, unless we postulate infinite time, and therefore no 'first' anything at all.

It is my belief that the 'why is there something...' phrase is just a relatively recent invention of theologians to try and shift the onus of the infinite regress problem to atheists. It is nothing new, just playing with words. I am surprised you seem to have fallen for it.

Hi Mike, I hope you are well! Thanks for the response.

I must admit from the start that I do agree with you. Believe me, I have not fallen for anything! I am still a non-believer, albeit one that takes wonder in the fact that he is existing at this moment in time. I fully accept though that my wonder and amazement at the world, the universe and life is driven more through the fact that it is beyond my Stone Age primate brain to comprehend than a belief in any supernatural deity. I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing either.

However, the reason I have posed this question is that it always arises and does need an answer. I don't think that such a debate is possible without this question both arising and needing a response. I tried to avoid the question of 'why we are' and tried to focus on the point 'that we are' (although I admit I may have failed!) I did this simply because as you said the question of 'why' implies causation. I think 'that we are' could be answered without the need for a supernatural cause (in fact, from the little I know of cosmology string theory and M-theory are attempting to answer this question as we speak).

But I also think that asking such a question, or at least studiying it, may actually explain the reason behind much belief on this world, and indeed it does date back a long time (you can look at Augustine for a good example).

I quite like Carl Sagan's response to this question. He simply shifted the degree of regress. If we can postulate that god has been around forever, then why cannot we miss a step and say that the universe has existed forever? Equally, if we say god created everything, why can't we go up a step and say that everything created itself? Such a position is logical, as the Big Bang Theory doesn't explain the creation of anything, only space-time's rapid expansion. We still haven't arrived at time=0 (as far as I know, the Planck epoch hasn't been explained) and so it may be logical to say as you do that there is no 'first' anything. It is as good an answer as I have been able to come up with.
 
thats really avoiding the question of why the universe exists at all. Trying to take yourself beyond causality and the beginnings of the universe you have to ask the question why does anything exist.

Of course it is unanswerable but that doesn't, or shouldn't stop discussion about it as that is how progress is made

It's a futile discussion.

We're an alien experiment, PPSSock. Now let's move on from there.
 
thats really avoiding the question of why the universe exists at all. Trying to take yourself beyond causality and the beginnings of the universe you have to ask the question why does anything exist.

Huh? What do you mean 'beyond causality'?

The answer to 'why does X happen?' is 'because of Cause Y'. The answer to any 'why' question, is some cause.

The answer to 'why does anything exist?' is a question of what caused the first 'thing' to happen. That is the cause of the first thing, which caused the second thing and so forth. This problem has been talked about for years without any solution.

I don't know why you mean by 'beyond causality'? Are you talking of uncaused events? By which you would mean totally mathematically random events? Or events which themselves do not have any further effects? By which you mean events which do not cause any future causes?
 
Besides, the vast majority of attacks on religion (and indeed atheism or a form of non-belief) aren't actually that well thought out and can be countered quite easily (and yes, that includes 99% of what Professor Dawkins comes out with).
Personally, it seems as though religion is a man made phenomenon, and can be fairly pernicious. As for god, I'm not sure if there is enough evidence to conclude that there is a god. Of course, I would prefer to hear your opinions to the contrary and engage in a debate. Or we could trade insults (but where's the fun in that?) It's a bank holiday, so I'll leave the choice to you :)

I find it interesting that you aver that 99% of what Dawkins writes on the subject is not well thought-out.
I could not disagree more. I don't think I've ever read a more well thought out polemical tract than 'The God Delusion'. Oh I know it has become trendy to knock it, but I strongly suspect that most of those doing the knocking have never, and do not ever intend to, trouble themselves with actually reading it.

Similarly Christopher Hitchens' 'God is Not Great' and Sam Harris's 'The End of Faith' are cogently argued, thorough-going and well-researched works. Do give them a try. The theist or deist positions are interesting (and were the position of many of the Founding Fathers of the USA, in the wake of the Enlightenment, Thomas Paine and so forth) but they were alive at a time before we were privileged to have the benefit of modern discoveries both in the fields of cosmology and genetics.

I have always thought (as a blunt Yorkshireman) that there is too much metaphysical waffle aired when the existence of god is under discussion. The way I see it is that either there is a sentient, cosmic, powerful non-human agency abroad in the universe or there is not. If there is, who made or created it? It's every bit as tricky a question as 'how do you explain the cause of the big bang then?' and in fact a very great deal more so.

So I strongly believe that there is not. I see no evidence for its existence and neither can the believers adduce a single shred of evidence to support their belief in such a thing. It is, however, extremely easy to show how their faiths arose in terms of culture and history, to say nothing of their very inevitability, arising as they did from a fertile mixture of nascent human curiosity on the one hand and growing awareness of individual mortality on the other - the latter creating an underlying and ultimately intolerable insecurity, probably unique to our species.

So many gods, so many faiths. How conceited to maintain that one's own beliefs are valid and all the rest otherwise, purely because (as the little spoof video clip earlier this thread showed) of an accident of one's birth.

Any competent 'god', especially one claiming to love his creation on the one hand, whist insisting on 'correct' behaviour on the other, would surely have ordained matters so that all were given an equal opportunity to accept or spurn his covenant, and thus embrace or reject his eschatological and soteriological ordinances.

Instead of which we have a mish-mash of what are blatantly obviously man-made superstitions, each proclaiming exclusive access to the correct route to becoming acceptable to 'god', and each in vituperative conflict with the rest. Today, for perhaps the first time, we can actually explain away the first of these two causes of religion which I have adumbrated above - that is to say our great and intolerable curiosity. The second factor, I suspect; that of fear and insecurity, is what blinds us to the truth and makes us 'rather bear those ills we have, than fly to others that we know not of...'

I often think Shakespeare knew or thought more about this subject than he was able explicitly to state!
 
Why do you declare knowledge of such things as forever 'unknowable'?

Quite. You prove what you can and for those things that are not provable by current human thought processes, you leave them as open questions in the hope that someone else in the future will be able to come up with an answer.
 
our ability to perceive is limited to the universe which we inhabit, any such being would logically not belong to our universe and so it must be unknowable to us.

But you want that being (/ force / whatever you want to call it) to have an affect in our universe. By which I mean you want this entity 'not of our universe' to be effecting entities that are in our universe.

Put simply, this means that things would be caused by this 'god' that wouldn't have happened anyway. These changes are in our universe and therefore fall under the remit of science like everything else. If this 'god' figure is to have any effect, it must be interfering in the universe we know. Otherwise, it really is totally outside our universe and therefore, I would argue, it doesn't exist.

The issue of entities 'outside our universe' interfering with our universe throws up a whole load of problems relating to the laws of conservation of mass / energy / momentum. These are the fundamental laws of modern physics upon which all else rests. This 'outside our universe' interfering with our universe would, in effect, falsify these laws and therefore all our scientific knowledge would be incorrect and meaningless.
 
Huh? What do you mean 'beyond causality'?

The answer to 'why does X happen?' is 'because of Cause Y'. The answer to any 'why' question, is some cause.

The answer to 'why does anything exist?' is a question of what caused the first 'thing' to happen. That is the cause of the first thing, which caused the second thing and so forth. This problem has been talked about for years without any solution.

I don't know why you mean by 'beyond causality'? Are you talking of uncaused events? By which you would mean totally mathematically random events? Or events which themselves do not have any further effects? By which you mean events which do not cause any future causes?

causality is to do with time, one event, preceeding another, causes it to happen. Time is a property of the universe though and outside it has no meaning. In that sense, from outside the beginning and end of the universe are the same thing and it isn't a question of one thing causing another but why the universe exists at all.