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Thread: Eliminating Religion

  1. #1

    Default Eliminating Religion

    Scientist like Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson actively promote the idea of eliminating religion in order to improve the world. The question "Would eliminating religion improve the world?" on debate.com resulted in 76% of the respondents being in favor of eliminating religion. Amazing, hey?

    My take on this is that these scientists don't fully understand the awesome power of religion. I can't think of any civilization that rose to any level of relative magnificence without the aid of religion. Religion is the unifying structure that forms the platform to support armies, government, business, education, art, and even science itself. Once a civilization becomes king of the hill it has a tendency to start supporting individual beliefs and materialism in favor of a collective belief in an archaic religion that no longer seems necessary. The resulting disintegration is the norm for great civilizations.

    As a civilization evolves it reaches a point where it's spiritual beliefs must also evolve if it is to survive. But this doesn't mean that spiritual beliefs should be eliminated.

    Could elimination of spiritual beliefs be suicide for the western world?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Scientist like Richard Dawkins and E.O. Wilson actively promote the idea of eliminating religion in order to improve the world. The question "Would eliminating religion improve the world?" on debate.com resulted in 76% of the respondents being in favor of eliminating religion. Amazing, hey?

    My take on this is that these scientists don't fully understand the awesome power of religion. I can't think of any civilization that rose to any level of relative magnificence without the aid of religion. Religion is the unifying structure that forms the platform to support armies, government, business, education, art, and even science itself. Once a civilization becomes king of the hill it has a tendency to start supporting individual beliefs and materialism in favor of a collective belief in an archaic religion that no longer seems necessary. The resulting disintegration is the norm for great civilizations.

    As a civilization evolves it reaches a point where it's spiritual beliefs must also evolve if it is to survive. But this doesn't mean that spiritual beliefs should be eliminated.

    Could elimination of spiritual beliefs be suicide for the western world?
    1. E O Wilson does not promote the idea of eradicating religion, quite the opposite in fact. He sees religion as something intrinsic to humanity.
    2. I think they do understand the power of religions, Dawkins, especially recognises how the power of it has been used to commit acts of unspeakable barbarity.
    3. Religion was important, for many in the west, with the exception of the US which seems to be unable to shake off the fanatical devotion to nonsense. The rest of us seem to do well without it.
    4. Is this because of the recent gay marriage ruling? Give an example of how lack of belief has caused the downfall of civilisation, biblical stories don't count, most of it isn't actual history. The Empires of Rome and Greece did not fall due to lack of belief but because of internal power struggles, and weakening of political and military strength. Most of today's civilisations seem to have existed fine for thousands of years, regardless of religion or lack thereof; Europe, Persia (Iran) Arabic, Africa, China, Korea, Japan. Indeed China is thriving despite about 66% of the populace regarding themselves as atheists. When it comes to Europe, Scandinavia whom are majority non-believers seem to be doing just fine. So I'm sorry, but your assertion that lack of religion results in ruin and decay is flat out wrong.

  3. #3

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    I think the religious world view, in every civilization, has been kind of pre-scientific method of cognition, a single step in the integration of mankind in the world. Religions give answers, but the sources of these answers are far beyond the material world. In other hand I see it as eternal opposition between idealism and materialism. No one can prove the intentionality of entity, neither it's eventuality. So it's pointless to say that one point of view is correct and the other is wrong. Attempt to eliminate one of the points is wrong and hardly possible..

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SterlingArcher View Post
    1. E O Wilson does not promote the idea of eradicating religion, quite the opposite in fact. He sees religion as something intrinsic to humanity.
    I found this E.O. Wilson quote in the International Business Times:"So I would say that for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faiths." He seems open to spirituality but does support the idea of eliminating religion. Maybe people don't fully understand his positions but if you google "eliminating religion" his name will be one of the first to appear.


    2. I think they do understand the power of religions, Dawkins, especially recognises how the power of it has been used to commit acts of unspeakable barbarity.
    IMO, many people focus on the undeniable savagery committed in the name of religion while being blind to how this unifying power of religion can also be used to strengthen nations.


    3. Religion was important, for many in the west, with the exception of the US which seems to be unable to shake off the fanatical devotion to nonsense. The rest of us seem to do well without it.
    The U.S. had a common core of religious beliefs as it established itself as one of the world leaders. Recently, with the emphasis on separation of church and state, the U.S. is moving away from religious views as it considers new laws and reconsiders the constitutionality of existing laws. Religious institutions may be declining but are still a major force in western culture in general, not just the U.S. How well we do without it remains to be seen. If you jump out of a plane without a parachute you will do just fine... for a while.


    4. Is this because of the recent gay marriage ruling? Give an example of how lack of belief has caused the downfall of civilisation, biblical stories don't count, most of it isn't actual history.
    That's funny! No, I don't believe great civilizations collapse because of a single-issue ruling.


    The Empires of Rome and Greece did not fall due to lack of belief but because of internal power struggles, and weakening of political and military strength.
    Religious faith can enable a country to survive internal power struggles. Weakening of political and military strength, if not due to physical reasons, is due to lack of unifying beliefs.


    Most of today's civilisations seem to have existed fine for thousands of years, regardless of religion or lack thereof; Europe, Persia (Iran) Arabic, Africa, China, Korea, Japan. Indeed China is thriving despite about 66% of the populace regarding themselves as atheists. When it comes to Europe, Scandinavia whom are majority non-believers seem to be doing just fine. So I'm sorry, but your assertion that lack of religion results in ruin and decay is flat out wrong.
    I'm not a history expert but I would bet most of the countries you mention here had very strong religious-political ties during the times they made significant advances in power over the last few thousand years. Civilizations on the African continent that became world powers did so on the ability of their leaders to use religions to unite people to a common cause.

    I'm not trying to defend the righteousness of religion. It can definitely be brutal. I'm just saying it is powerful and we shouldn't just throw away this power unless we have something to replace it with that has the same power to unite people and hold them together as a nation.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScaredyCat View Post
    I think the religious world view, in every civilization, has been kind of pre-scientific method of cognition, a single step in the integration of mankind in the world. Religions give answers, but the sources of these answers are far beyond the material world. In other hand I see it as eternal opposition between idealism and materialism. No one can prove the intentionality of entity, neither it's eventuality. So it's pointless to say that one point of view is correct and the other is wrong. Attempt to eliminate one of the points is wrong and hardly possible..
    Idealism isn't necessarily a religious viewpoint. It simply posits that reality is a mental construct. Religion rather posits that the world is out there independent of our senses, but that god created it and put us in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    I found this E.O. Wilson quote in the International Business Times:"So I would say that for the sake of human progress, the best thing we could possibly do would be to diminish, to the point of eliminating, religious faiths." He seems open to spirituality but does support the idea of eliminating religion. Maybe people don't fully understand his positions but if you google "eliminating religion" his name will be one of the first to appear.
    IMO, many people focus on the undeniable savagery committed in the name of religion while being blind to how this unifying power of religion can also be used to strengthen nations.
    Oh, I don't doubt its unifying. The problem is when people use that unifying power to commit atrocities. I accept that religion can be positive for people, but it cannot erase the pretty brutal crimes committed in the name of it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    The U.S. had a common core of religious beliefs as it established itself as one of the world leaders. Recently, with the emphasis on separation of church and state the U.S. is moving away from religious views as it considers new laws and reconsiders the constitutionality of existing laws. Religious institutions may be declining but are still a major force in western culture in general, not just the U.S. How well we do without it remains to be seen. If you jump out of a plane without a parachute you will do just fine... for a while.
    The first amendment quite clearly separates church and state. The founding fathers whilst believing in god in the deistic sense where NOT christians. Indeed, perhaps the most trenchant criticism of religion comes from Jefferson.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Religious faith can enable a country to survive internal power struggles. Weakening of political and military strength, if not due to physical reasons, is due to lack of unifying beliefs.
    Not necessarily. The Japanese empire collapsed despite a unified fanatical devotion to the belief that the Emperor was a god. China was picked apart for almost a century in spite of the customs and traditions, such as Confuciusm and Buddhism. Whilst it is true that they eventually rose as new nation under the banner of communism, it was not without a struggle, via Civil War no less. However, communism is not a religion. By the time the Roman Empire fell, its official religion was Christianity.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    I'm not a history expert but I would bet most of the countries you mention here had very strong religious-political ties during the times they made significant advances in power over the last few thousand years.
    I'm not denying that. But religion was useful when we didn't know any better. Now we do. We seem to be doing ok without much religion in Europe. It just doesn't appeal to people, and is becoming fairly irrelevant, except perhaps islamic fundamentalism.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    I'm not trying to defend the righteousness of religion. It can definitely be brutal. I'm just saying it is powerful and we shouldn't just throw away this power...
    Why not? Why shouldn't we throw away such power? Human beings should not be pawns for us to push around and dictate to, and used for whatever ends.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    unless we have something to replace it with that has the same power to unite people and hold them together as a nation.
    You seem to be arguing for some form of nationalism. I don't see why that is necessary in the 21st century. In any case, the US is an immensely nationalistic country already. The military are deified, the constitution is regarded as a holy writ, rather than a set of laws, there is an almost manifest destiny mentality built into the fabric of American society. You have leaders who chant USA USA USA and say uncritically that America is the greatest country in the world, without even having been elsewhere in some cases. America already has a unifying principle.

    I should add that the above should not be seen as an attack on the US, merely an observation that nationalism is pretty prominent.

  6. #6

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    It seems to me that most of the world religions, beyond mystical belief, promote humanising values which can only be good for society ultimately. I'm pretty sure that any of the corruption and inhumane behaviour exercised in the name of religion, is a manifestation of individuals selfish desires for power. I think that people corrupt religion rather than religion corrupting people.....but that also goes for so called dogooders and fundamentalists who can also corrupt the essence of religion.
    I guess in the end it's got little to do with religion or science and plenty to do with people. What we definitely do need is a structured system of positive values....if that comes packaged with some mysticism I dont think it's too bad.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Religion is the unifying structure that forms the platform to support armies, government ... and even science itself.
    These are the three fundamental things that I want religion out of, and scare me to see a part of. I'm sorry, but Crusades? Muslim brotherhood? Inquisition? Earth being the center of the universe?

    Possibly the most useful thing that religion has done scientifically, has been promoting health standards by Jewish laws. But just because scientists have been religious, doesn't attribute religion for being responsible for discoveries. The scientific method is what is responsible, and education structured by discoveries of science.

    This is my opinion on religion. It took a fundamental place in structuring humanity, building societies, sometimes establishing peace, but other times creating war. I think religion is a natural part of the evolution of a species from its Animal behavior, to it's self aware behaviors. If a pack of Dogs became sentient, they would probably start establishing lore, and making stories to give answers and to establish cultural dominance based on supposed divine appointment. At this point, I think religion has run it's course. I imagine that in 300-400 years, religion will be like yoga, a thing people do, and it makes them feel good, but it has no place in politics, and we don't have to worry about fundamentalists committing terrorist acts. I think religion is important for some people to feel like there is purpose in their lives, and it works great for some people to overcome addiction.

    As for me, I'm agnostic-atheist, and the best thing that happened to me was to put away the life goals of the religion I grew up in, and focus on my own life goals. To make the purpose of my life be whatever I want it to be. I can logically explain why I wouldn't become a blood thirsty psychopath like antheophobic people would assume, and I already know, that I don't want to go out and kill people or topple governments, and I'm practically atheist. I would be happy to have a child or two in the distant future, and I'll teach them to respect other people and their things, I'll teach them how to become productive members of society, under the basis that they can either become successful inhabitants of the society that evolved from thousands of years of development, establish their own dominance in that society through intelligence and popular acceptance by service, or they can go live according to their own villainous desires under the threat of a highly militarized government endlessly chasing their tail. Evolutionary speaking, creatures are better at surviving by being part of a pack rather than fighting against a pack. Pack mentality is a natural part of evolutionary course, and it doesn't take religion to create a pack, as seen in wolves. It is more likely that religion is created after a pack is made.

    If religion integrates into government, it can be used to suppress the lower class, and make excuses for starting war based on "God's command" or religious offence.

    This is just all my opinion though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ozbub View Post
    I guess in the end it's got little to do with religion or science and plenty to do with people. What we definitely do need is a structured system of positive values....if that comes packaged with some mysticism I dont think it's too bad.
    I do agree that the number one thing needed is a structured system of positive values. If that mysticism that started it isn't also coupled with political control, racism, sexism, and domineering mentality, then I don't mind the mysticism either.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SterlingArcher View Post
    You seem to be arguing for some form of nationalism. I don't see why that is necessary in the 21st century. In any case, the US is an immensely nationalistic country already. The military are deified, the constitution is regarded as a holy writ, rather than a set of laws, there is an almost manifest destiny mentality built into the fabric of American society. You have leaders who chant USA USA USA and say uncritically that America is the greatest country in the world, without even having been elsewhere in some cases. America already has a unifying principle.
    It's ALWAYS about 'Nationalism' with Drifter. He has a destructive obsession with it. He went so far as to present this supremely racist idea he has that there are too many 'brown people' in the United States and it is a threat to national unity.

    https://www.adisc.org/forum/showthre...t=brown+people

    Drifter's views can basically be summed up as 'National Unity, no matter how many people must be ground up to accomplish it'.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    The U.S. had a common core of religious beliefs as it established itself as one of the world leaders. Recently, with the emphasis on separation of church and state, the U.S. is moving away from religious views as it considers new laws and reconsiders the constitutionality of existing laws. Religious institutions may be declining but are still a major force in western culture in general, not just the U.S.
    It certainly had more Christians than any other religion, but as for how religious the founding of the nation was, is a little more debatable. http://www.heritage.org/research/lec...stian-founding

    So did America have a Christian Founding? History is complicated, and we should always be suspicious of simple answers to difficult questions. As we have seen, there is precious little evidence that the Founders were deists, wanted religion excluded from the public square, or desired the strict separation of church and state. On the other hand, they identified themselves as Christians, were influenced in important ways by Christian ideas, and generally thought it appropriate for civic authorities to encourage Christianity.
    What do these facts mean for Americans who embrace non-Christian faiths or no faith at all? Although the Founders were profoundly influenced by Christianity, they did not design a constitutional order only for fellow believers. They explicitly prohibited religious tests for federal offices, and they were committed to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship God (or not) as their consciences dictate.
    Also, interesting fact, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_we_trust

    "In God We Trust" was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, which was adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782.[1][2] Secularists have expressed objections to its use, and have sought to have the religious reference removed from the currency.[3]
    So in reality, there was a point in time (edit: that is very recent) that still continues through to today where religion has taken a large role in the current us government.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    How well we do without it remains to be seen. If you jump out of a plane without a parachute you will do just fine... for a while.

    Religious faith can enable a country to survive internal power struggles. Weakening of political and military strength, if not due to physical reasons, is due to lack of unifying beliefs.
    Does science count as a parachute? I mean, science did invent the parachute after all, am I wrong? Intellectualism is a belief system, and can be just as unifying. Religion on the other hand can be pulled out of a hat, I mean that literally, I literally grew up in a religion that was pulled out of a hat, no joke. Intellectualism requires evidence, study, and founding beliefs are not so easily established by random people searching for immediate power. In all reality, there is only one form of Intellectualism, because it is a means of scientific thought processing. On the other hand, there are many forms of religion, because they are all driven by cultural laws, and ancient lore.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    I'm not trying to defend the righteousness of religion. It can definitely be brutal. I'm just saying it is powerful and we shouldn't just throw away this power unless we have something to replace it with that has the same power to unite people and hold them together as a nation.
    I'd totally unite under the ideal of manifest destiny to the rest of the universe. Scientifically, the only way humanity will survive is if we learn how to escape this planet and reach out to other ones. If we put all of the hours spent studying scriptures, and turned that towards things like quantum physics, we might be able to escape this planet before it either builds up a poisonous atmosphere, or is engulfed in a red-giant sun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyAshes View Post
    It's ALWAYS about 'Nationalism' with Drifter. He has a destructive obsession with it. He went so far as to present this supremely racist idea he has that there are too many 'brown people' in the United States and it is a threat to national unity.

    https://www.adisc.org/forum/showthre...t=brown+people

    Drifter's views can basically be summed up as 'National Unity, no matter how many people must be ground up to accomplish it'.
    Interesting.... well I don't have a problem with people having having "Nationalism" views, so long as it is pride in their nation, and even Drifter's opinion that religion is essential to the nation, because that is his opinion, even as I have mine. But Drifter, you had better not be racist, as science has clearly taught us, skin pigmentation is a very small part of our genetic code, and there is more in common between each human genetically than there is different. All we have to do to deal with racial differences in our country, is to stop caring about what race somebody is.


    Edit:



    On average, in terms of DNA sequence all humans are 99.5% similar to any other humans.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_genetic_variation
    Last edited by Tyger; 06-Aug-2015 at 23:13.

  10. #10

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    I hate all class of religious extremism and mafias. More than one time I presented my (quite radical) opinions about and I was... bad morked in rep or censored. Ok there, so now comes my 0,02...

    Everebody is free to believe in something - that's OK. But what's not OK is when someone abuse religion to manipulate others and/or searching for economical and social benefits. The worst is intolerance to others who aren't from the same religion - it ends in violent conflicts. For this reason I hate lot of religious organizations...

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