Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Religion vs Atheists the battle to end all battles

  1. #1

    Default Religion vs Atheists the battle to end all battles

    Discuss the idea that Religion has been essential for Humanity to arrive at it's current point, and where could it take humanity in the future?

    I am going to start this out openly, declaring I am an Atheist

    This isn't a discussion about believing in god, there are plenty of threads on that, take it else where.

    This isn't a place to push your beliefs (or lack there of), again take it elsewhere.

    This isn't some soap box to spout nonsense about God or a place for the scientists to debunk that idea, ... .

    Got it?!

    I am atheist, and while I have no qualms in discussing many of the above for self interest and enlightenment I had a thought, religion although highly controversial has been essential for the human species to progress this far.

    The god thing aside religion has been really important, quintessential in fact.

    Without religion we wouldn't have any thing like the technologies we have today.

    Many of you are now shouting at the screen saying religion has nothing to do with science, you are wrong.

    The earliest astronomers, the people that invented the telescope, the people that came up with the microscope, were all started off by some rich man wanting to understand astrology (that's the zodiac thing) a little better, much of modern science has revolved around the inventions that followed the telescope. Founded by a Religion.

    Ok that was only 400 years ago, maybe there'd have been some other way of creating the microscope however long before the microscope came the ancient Greeks.

    Way before the mathematics they envisioned, for they didn't understand mathematics they saw numbers as adjectives not as entities, you could have two of something, but you couldn't have two, in the same way you can't have a blue, but you could have a blue pen; they had philosophy, something so deeply ingrained into the modern world is it that if you take the first 'real' link on any Wikipedia page, and follow the first links it creates, no matter where you start from you'll always finish at the philosophy page eventually. Even philosophy itself is only 20 steps away from philosophy. So what? I here you say, well philosophy came from, you guessed it, religion. And maths physics and chemistry rely on the logic and scientific method that that philosophy produced.

    Ok so maybe I've proven my point with religion and science, you need religion to give science a start, but that doesn't mean you need religion for Art, cave art appeared long before religion didn't it?

    Well I'm not qualified to answer this one, frankly no-one is, but I imagine that before the putting of stories on walls in paint there were camp fire stories, and songs, and I imagine before there were camp fires there was fire, and where there's fire you find myth and legend and fear, and maybe just maybe something on high to give it to them, could that be a proto-religion of sorts?

    And if that's the case maybe all song and dance, celebration and stories, most of what we consider culture came from the same early start, and with religion to inspire it you get things like the Sistine Chapel, Harry Potter and Avatar.

    Modern religions all seem to be stories that haven't been lost from the racial memory just yet (ignoring the god concept) so back at the dawn of humanity it was the same, their memories fresh and untrained could only store the stories of the past few generations and the most interesting one or two handed down from the generations before. We don't have those stories anymore as they're lost, but I can imagine that we have corruptions of them, Romeo and Juliet, could be a story about two tribes as much as two families in Verona, there are versions of the story across all cultures after all. And with the stories comes the inspired imagery, the music and the dance.

    Maybe I have you convinced that art and music, culture and science, philosophy and story making are born out of religion, and it's well accepted that government rule and warfare are born out of religion and dispute between religions.

    So I ask what else can or should we take from religion and since it has such a power over our lives should we consider what our new religions have become, and how to moderate them so their damaging effects can be limited and their potential maximized.

  2. #2

    Default

    An interesting and well written topic, and I don't really disagree with much of what you've said.

    I do have some objections though. Firstly, it seems fallacious to use the topic 'Religion vs Atheists' as it is extremely problematic to consider religion as a single body when nearly every single religion is diametrically opposed to each other.

    Secondly, I don't understand the term atheists in the context of this heading, when this is, as I understand it, a discussion about the effect of religion on humanity, not whether religious claims are true or false. Atheism is only concerned with the lack of existence of God. Whether a religion has positive or negative effects on society neither proves or disproves the veracity of their beliefs and claims. When you say Religion vs Atheists, you seem to be implying a debate about which group is correct.

    Perhaps you should ask the question, has religion had a positive or negative effect on the world? But again when you use the term religion, you are lumping together people like militantMuslims with say for example, peace loving Amish. Why not look at a specific religion, like Christianity which has basically shaped western civilisation and culture?

  3. #3

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by DylanK View Post
    Discuss the idea that Religion has been essential for Humanity to arrive at it's current point, and where could it take humanity in the future?

    ...
    Without religion we wouldn't have any thing like the technologies we have today.

    Many of you are now shouting at the screen saying religion has nothing to do with science, you are wrong.

    ...

    Maybe I have you convinced that art and music, culture and science, philosophy and story making are born out of religion, and it's well accepted that government rule and warfare are born out of religion and dispute between religions.

    So I ask what else can or should we take from religion and since it has such a power over our lives should we consider what our new religions have become, and how to moderate them so their damaging effects can be limited and their potential maximized.
    I think we have to be clear about what we really mean by "religion" because to me it seems like there's a confusion in what you've written between the modern sense of the word religion and the understanding of people in a pre-Enlightenment era. When I refer to a religion (and I think most contemporary people use it in this sense primarily) a religion is a belief system or an ideology that focuses on moral teachings and is divinely inspired, and therefore carries a weight of supernatural authority.

    You talk about Philosophy and Science originating within Religion, but I think it's more accurate to say that beginning in the 17th century Europeans stopped regarding the philosophy and science they had been doing previously as a religious exercise, and started considering it independently of religion. It's a very recent and localised idea that the supernatural and the natural world are distinct: you can see the this clearly with ancient Greek thinkers, who thought of their Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy, Poetry, Art, Politics ect. as being part of the same framework as their spiritual and supernatural beliefs.
    I don't think art and music, culture and science, philosophy and story making were born out of religion, I think that they were things human beings do anyway, and religions developed out of these activities, powered by the sense of the supernatural and spiritual that is common to all (or nearly all) humans.

    So to rephrase your question based on my understanding, I would put it something like this:

    a) What is the particular contribution that spirituality and a sense of supernatural authority can give to human affairs? and b) do we need to re-integrate religion into our everyday lives in order for it to become truly meaningful again?



    Quote Originally Posted by Coodie View Post
    Secondly, I don't understand the term atheists in the context of this heading, when this is, as I understand it, a discussion about the effect of religion on humanity, not whether religious claims are true or false. Atheism is only concerned with the lack of existence of God. Whether a religion has positive or negative effects on society neither proves or disproves the veracity of their beliefs and claims. When you say Religion vs Atheists, you seem to be implying a debate about which group is correct.
    I agree, it might be better to say "secularism" in this context ?

  4. #4

    Default

    Coodie
    1 I think you miss understood what I was meant religion to represent, the religion that inspired the philosophers is unlikely to be the paganism that inspired the magic of Harry Potter. I'm talking about religion as a driving force of human nature not individual religions with quirks.

    Religion along with the moral code carries the stories and ideas of a society, modern religions in the same sense might include the following of celebrity culture, in Britain our religion includes the legends of King Arthur. A tale that goes hand in hand with the cross over between the Celtic doctrines and Christianity.

    2 I chose the name because I thought it might provoke people to read it, and for once I wanted Atheists to actually take the side of religion, after all it has been a driving force, in my eyes, over the past 6 million years. So the title is there to actually inspire harmony, after all Atheism, is a religion in this context

    3 I think that the Catholic church and it's followers for example has caused more and bloodier war than Jihadi Muslims. Why is one doctrine more pervasive or antagonistic has nothing to do with the topic. Chinese culture invented the firework, without the firework, and the works of predictable combustible solids the Catholic Crusades with their cannon powered weaponry couldn't have existed. The planet is a mash of many beliefs interacting no one religion during the cause of history inspired it all, but religion did inspire a whole lot of it, bits and peices here and there adding up to the great big mess on the face of the earth known as civilization.

    MsClaraRiddle

    I understand that religion has two meanings a religion is like a doctrine, it's choosing Christianity, over Judaism, or more accurately Amish over Presbyterian, but it has the other meaning, the meaning it has when you're at school learning religious education, it's not one doctrine, its the category that doctrines fit into, it's the embodiment of the fact that all these things share something deeper, it tells you that Buddhism and Islam are the same type of thing.

    The supernatural hasn't been invoked in all religions, many worshiped stars as the givers of life, which can be regarded as truth, and a pursuit of that idea has lead to greater understanding. The supernatural, a God of some sort, may be common of most religions but is not a necessary fact of them, atheism, Jedi, Taoism, Buddhism, don't rely on a greater being just an understanding that there is usually more than meets the eye.

    I find it hard to sustain the idea that storytelling, music and art haven't come about as a means to passing on the idea of religion, while it is something we humans are built to do, we have had 6 million years of practice, if it was an intrinsic part of nature more species would do it, there needs to be a higher reason to pass on the myths and legends, even the most intelligent species on the planet, apart from ourselves, don't sit around in zoos telling each other of jungles, forests, or plains from whence they came. Mathematics has been separate since Mesopotamia, and while it is true that Newton, Galileo, Plato and Pythagoras, followed a belief outside of philosophy and science they made efforts to keep them separate, Pythagoras didn't pass on his teachings with a dollop of the odyssey, the church of Pythagorean cool kids [1] was separate from the religious pursuits of time for the most parts, and the only time Newton let his faith influence his work was when he said rainbows and spectra have 7 colours (either 6 or infinite would be correct)

    While I applaud your questions I hope you see the merit in my own with the light I've tried to shine on them. I shall contemplate your questions carefully, for the answers that spring to mind are glib and derogatory and typing them would be a waste on such a beautiful to explore topic.

  5. #5

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by DylanK View Post
    The supernatural hasn't been invoked in all religions, many worshiped stars as the givers of life, which can be regarded as truth, and a pursuit of that idea has lead to greater understanding. The supernatural, a God of some sort, may be common of most religions but is not a necessary fact of them, atheism, Jedi, Taoism, Buddhism, don't rely on a greater being just an understanding that there is usually more than meets the eye.
    I don't know about you, but I regard the belief in re-incarnation as a supernatural belief, and when they said that the sun or the stars were the source of all life, I don't think they meant it quite the same way I do. ;-)



    I find it hard to sustain the idea that storytelling, music and art haven't come about as a means to passing on the idea of religion, while it is something we humans are built to do, we have had 6 million years of practice, if it was an intrinsic part of nature more species would do it, there needs to be a higher reason to pass on the myths and legends, even the most intelligent species on the planet, apart from ourselves, don't sit around in zoos telling each other of jungles, forests, or plains from whence they came. Mathematics has been separate since Mesopotamia, and while it is true that Newton, Galileo, Plato and Pythagoras, followed a belief outside of philosophy and science they made efforts to keep them separate, Pythagoras didn't pass on his teachings with a dollop of the odyssey, the church of Pythagorean cool kids [1] was separate from the religious pursuits of time for the most parts, and the only time Newton let his faith influence his work was when he said rainbows and spectra have 7 colours (either 6 or infinite would be correct)
    Newton may not have consciously let his faith influence his work, but he was also the last of the great alchemists. This is the point; people in the past didn't separate the natural and super-natural, they did a lot of magical thinking without knowing that magic isn't real.

    Why should religion be more intrinsic to who we are as a species than storytelling, music and art? Why isn't the idea of religion being (in part) a product of human creativity just as compelling as creativity coming about in order to greater serve religiosity?

    I don't think it makes sense to take one aspect of humanity and say "this is the essential driving force" and all other aspects of human nature are simply it's servants. If you start writing a History of Religion, you can see all of human history in it, and that may lead you to think that religiosity is paramount, however you can do the same with a history of art, economic history, or science and technology. I think we under-rate how much humans are the political animal (in the proper sense politics) but I would say that what really makes humans Human is all the parts working together. So in answer to the first part of your first question: religion has been essential for humanity to arrive at it's current point, but it's impossible for me to imagine what we'd be like as a species without religiosity. We might kill each other less often, we might have a lesser understanding of science, we wouldn't be US though...



    While I applaud your questions I hope you see the merit in my own with the light I've tried to shine on them. I shall contemplate your questions carefully, for the answers that spring to mind are glib and derogatory and typing them would be a waste on such a beautiful to explore topic.
    Well that's a great way of being rude without doing it

    BTW an article that people who read this thread will probably find interesting:
    Venerating the Kims Just one more religion?

  6. #6

    Default

    I think superstitious beliefs are natural in a species evolved to avoid endangering itself. It is better to be cautious (even for spurious reasons) if, statistically speaking every now and then you manage to identify a "rule" which, if followed, does improve your chances of survival.

    In the absence of any inherited knowledge or rigorous study, it might seem sensible to believe that your actions can determine future events, even if you're not sure why. You might notice that, when you water plants they tend to produce a more bountiful crop (which will improve your survival odds). You might also notice that, after prolonged drought, when you do "the magic rain dance", it rains soon after. That might not actually cause any rain, but it won't prevent it either... and the feeling that you are doing something useful, and which unites the tribe, is probably very good for morale. And since depression can cause withdrawal and reduce survival odds (in harsh times), maybe doing "the magic rain dance" is beneficial, despite being completely arbitrary.

    In a world with very little scientific knowledge, religion has probably done a lot for social harmony in the way that it has united people. Unfortunately, as is human nature, that "unity" can lead to power, which can be directed against others (e.g. Catholic "unity" against heresy and paganism in the middle ages).

    But in a "scientific era" where we can use scientific experiments instead of mysticism, and in a "global era" where we need not have a naturally xenophobic fear of marauding invaders who don't follow "our own" moral codes... I think (personally), that to quote Nietzsche, "God is dead... and we have killed him".

    In other words, religion isn't something that has itself done any good or harm to humans, it's just a natural result of human psychology... for all the good and ill that that entails...

    But I realise that not everyone agrees...

  7. #7

    Default

    Yes reincarnation would be super natural but I don't recall saying otherwise, Buddhists and Taoists believe in enlightenment, and while I don't know much about Jedi, Atheists tend not to be into reincarnation either.

    And it doesn't take a lot of brain power to go, cave dark, no plants in cave, light gives plants, they may have worshiped it like a deity but to some degree there was a fundamental truth about it.

    Magical thinking can mean a lot of things, Gene Roddenberry did magical thinking coming up with mobile phones and laser weaponry when he created star trek, now 40+ years on those things have essentially been created, they may not work exactly as they do in the imagination, but they do work. Magical thinking to me is imagining that which is not yet possible and then having the courage to attempt it, Alchemists may not have been able to turn lead into gold, but way before we discovered the nature of atoms someone had done the reverse with radio activity.

    I didn't say religion was intrinsic to humanity, I said that the others weren't intrinsic to nature. The reason for my thinking that religion if not come first at least pushed creativity to continue is because it's something that you get taught to do, it's not something that come programmed with a child would see it's mother doing something creative hundreds of times before it could walk, and isolated children have been shown not to have those skills.

    Having something bigger than yourselves to impress has been the source of creativity in general, Mozart was paid to compose by kings and lords, child artwork is done for the parent, building the Taj Mahal was done to impress the British, if it's not god then it still for someone.

    The appreciation of creativity in the end must have been the evolutionary force that caused creativity to blossom. I was talking about religion being a driving force, a big one perhaps, but not the only one, economics was sparked significantly after 6 million years ago, and there is nothing to suggest neanderthals had chieftains of their tribes, science and technology come down to creativity though.

    I do think this is truly inspired



    So in answer to the first part of your first question: religion has been essential for humanity to arrive at it's current point, but it's impossible for me to imagine what we'd be like as a species without religiosity. We might kill each other less often, we might have a lesser understanding of science, we wouldn't be US though...
    I don't think I could have said it better either. I think it's enough to just ponder and acknowledge this.

    Hey, I just wanted to be honest I didn't want you to think I'd ignored your questions, yes my first feelings had been because spirituality doesn't effect me, being atheist, why should it affect others, and that I knew to be an illogical path for my brain to follow, so tiredly I hung up my hat for the evening and said I'd think about it. And even on a second attempt I don't understand it. The questions are elegant, they're just as beautiful as the quote above, yet I can't expand, I cannot see the beauty within spirituality. I know it exists, I've seen the wonders that beauty has inspired yet I am lost for words.



    What is the particular contribution that spirituality and a sense of supernatural authority can give to human affairs?
    I have no faith which makes me seemingly blind on how faith inspires creativity. I know it does, I can see the beauty in the Sistine Chapel and the wonder of the pyramids but the inspiration and possibly fear that was the guiding process behind their creation seems lost upon me. As a species I can see the wondrous effect it's bestowed upon us yet I cannot envision how it affects an individual to strive for the outcome.



    do we need to re-integrate religion into our everyday lives in order for it to become truly meaningful again?
    The reintegration of religion seems to be a choice for the individual, but I can see the flaw in the concept, if I make religion my life so it's meaningful to me, I'd have to isolate myself from the naysayers. Meaningful religion is something that we'd need to do as a species to make worth while or it's something that will segregate us. Humanity has slowly been working towards an accepting recognition of the beliefs of others because without that understanding that others can be different it leads to wars and conflict.


    Tiny I think that's profound. *DylanK goes all Zen for an hour or seven* I'll be back

  8. #8

    Default

    I don't think religion had anything to do with science. Even now they always fight. People had studied stuff like the movement of the sun, stars, plants human body and so which started Astronomy & science. Religion just followed and sometimes listen. Some people who studied Science was put in prison due to there Believes and some even put to death. A lot of times they where view in a bad light in a religious eyes. It just took Great thinkers to vision new ideas.

    Do I think Religion is bad. That a hard question. I mean we can take 2 church of the same religion. Two different parts of the world. One could have good intentions while the other one has a bad intentions. Dose it make them all bad? No.

    Yes I am Atheist. The only thing I can suggest for any religious person. read the WHOLE holy book. Not just what the priest preaches to you. Try to understand the whole thing.

    Are Atheist Bad? I think it depends on that person. Same goes with religious faith. The person next do you in a church or mosque could be a mass murder, a child molester or even a terrorist. Dose that make all Atheist all of church people bad? No. Just that person or group of people that did the dirty deed.

  9. #9

    Default



    I am atheist, and while I have no qualms in discussing many of the above for self interest and enlightenment I had a thought, religion although highly controversial has been essential for the human species to progress this far.
    It's an interesting topic. I feel like though, there is something nagging in the back of my mind the entire time I'm reading this. The wording essential feels like it implies that without religion there is no way we wouldn't be where we are today, no chance at all.. and this is where I disagree.

    I'm moving forward that religion means organized religion, though religion is itself somewhat organized just by definition. Now, I'm not disagreeing that some of our progress has been because of religious agendas, I don't agree that religion is essential to this process. It would seem to imply to me that only those with faith ever would have wanted to know more, to figure out the rules of our universe, to create wonders. Though this has been the inspiration, this is not required to inspire. If we had never built our organized religions, I still do believe humanity would have discovered science, mathematics, and there still would be those would create culture. I do believe we are perfectly capable of creating governments, morals, ethics, and even fantasy storytelling without them as well. Religion is in my very strong opinion, not the only thing that would spark inspiration for these. Just because it did, doesn't mean it had to be it. I think it just was what happened, and that given a different set of scenarios it could have happened easily without it.

    This might be nitpicking, you might just be asking if religion helped us.. which I agree with. I just disagree with the concept of it being an essential piece to the puzzle, that our growth could NOT have existed without it.

  10. #10

    Default

    Death - Both proves and disproves the concept of deities at the same time. Best not to fret over such silly things;You'll waste a lifetime wondering what happens after it. That's like drinking poison that only affects certain people and wondering the outcome(Rather bad idea, so don't go eating false morels)

Similar Threads

  1. Atheists
    By Blitzwing in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 954
    Last Post: 20-Jun-2012, 01:10
  2. Epic Rap Battles of History
    By Hex in forum Off-topic
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 21-Oct-2011, 22:54
  3. Battle LA
    By leffykit in forum Off-topic
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 28-Feb-2011, 04:47
  4. Replies: 28
    Last Post: 28-Jan-2008, 05:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
ADISC.org - the Adult Baby / Diaper Lover / Incontinence Support Community.
ADISC.org is designed to be viewed in Firefox, with a resolution of at least 1280 x 1024.