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  1. #41
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Religion on the other hand does not belong in the realm of science. For it's not falsifiable. You either accept it on believe or you don't. Therefore the two are completely separate. On the issue on creationism and evolution... Scientists have a problem with creationism not because they don't care about religion. Rather they don't believe in the values behind creationism. The fundamental justification behind it is mote.
    True but this does not mean that in certain areas of thought science and religion overlap. Even though science is about falsifyability and religion about faith.
    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  2. #42
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrdsister View Post
    I disagree how can religion be transcendent* when it is fundamentally a human construct created to give us thinking apes some kind of purpose or meaning to life? Beyond our biological function to perpetuate the human species?

    transcendent
    A adjective
    1 transcendent, unknowable
    beyond and outside the ordinary range of human experience or understanding; "philosophers...often explicitly reject the notion of any transcendent reality beyond thought...and claim to be concerned only with thought itself..."- W.P.Alston; "the unknowable
    Religion itself is not transcedental... the supposible fundamental source of "true religion", namely god, is. Whether god or any other higher-power beings exists or not is beyond the scope of our understanding.

    Question for you, why are us "thinking ape" so concern about the purpose of life? Why aren't we satisfied that the biological function of all living things is to perpetuate our genes? It's really this strange need that drives religious believes.

  3. #43
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Religion itself is not transcedental... the supposible fundamental source of "true religion", namely god, is. Whether god or any other higher-power beings exists or not is beyond the scope of our understanding.

    Question for you, why are us "thinking ape" so concern about the purpose of life? Why aren't we satisfied that the biological function of all living things is to perpetuate our genes? It's really this strange need that drives religious believes.
    Indeed I wonder myself why it is not enough to create more life... for we are part of a huge creative/destructive process *the universe*.

    Why can we not accept that it is *magic* to be able to create more life, why do we need another purpose? Is not creating life a noble and amazing thing?

    Why do we need *the supernatural* when the natural is pretty darn amazing already!

    Any thoughts?
    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  4. #44
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrdsister View Post
    True but this does not mean that in certain areas of thought science and religion overlap. Even though science is about falsifyability and religion about faith.
    Certain areas of thought... namely the origins of life? True... the I think the problem most people are hung up on is the very fixed view of what "religious text" means. Just what exactly do we know about intelligent design? The design of the form? or the substance? or both? Who came up with the theory of intelligent design anyhow? Creationism stems from religion yes, but is that what true religion is about? Highly doubtful...

  5. #45
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Certain areas of thought... namely the origins of life? True... the I think the problem most people are hung up on is the very fixed view of what "religious text" means. Just what exactly do we know about intelligent design? The design of the form? or the substance? or both? Who came up with the theory of intelligent design anyhow? Creationism stems from religion yes, but is that what true religion is about? Highly doubtful...
    Religion.

    A religion is a set of beliefs and practices generally held by a community, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

    So what is *true religion*?
    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  6. #46
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrdsister View Post
    Indeed I wonder myself why it is not enough to create more life... for we are part of a huge creative/destructive process *the universe*.

    Why can we not accept that it is *magic* to be able to create more life, why do we need another purpose? Is not creating life a noble and amazing thing?

    Why do we need *the supernatural* when the natural is pretty darn amazing already!

    Any thoughts?
    Hmmm I have a very cynical idea... egotism in people? That we need to be special? Be different from the "lower life forms" (I truly dislike that term)? The universe has to evolve around us? That we have to be superior to everything else? As amazing the natural world is, the only way we can justify why we are better is by bringing in the supernatural. =/

    Ehhhhh what is true religion. Go ask SW... much too complex for me to handle.

  7. #47
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Hmmm I have a very cynical idea... egotism in people? That we need to be special? Be different from the "lower life forms" (I truly dislike that term)? The universe has to evolve around us? That we have to be superior to everything else? As amazing the natural world is, the only way we can justify why we are better is by bringing in the supernatural. =/

    Ehhhhh what is true religion. Go ask SW... much too complex for me to handle.
    Yes I too think it might have something to do with us wanting to feel as though we have some kind of *higher* purpose than the more *lowly* animals.

    Definitely a kind of narcissism/egotism thing going on.

    I find that the idea of god *watching* each individual on earth also highly narcissitic.
    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  8. #48
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyrdsister View Post

    So what is *true religion*?
    This is an essay where I answer exactly that question

    Please read in full, it is also around 2500 words.

    What is Religion?

    Religion is a significant entity of one?s worldview. Very frequently it is the worldview in itself. The prevalent religious traditions of the present day like Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism purport to be Worldviews in themselves. In other words they furnish their disciples with enough instructions and general information necessary in order for one to erect a philosophy of life based solely on their teachings. A very crude example of a worldview would emphasize a dichotomy between nature and culture. Ergo, nature is an aspect of Earthly elements that have not been influenced by man and thus do not depend on the human race for their existence, and culture represents man-made phenomena, or entities that strongly depend on man for their existence or those that are completely man-made. Religion falls within the second category, it is part of culture.

    One of the main reasons why people across the globe embrace religious beliefs is because they furnish man with a perspective that posits purposefulness and meaning of human existence. Many scholars of philosophy and theology have concerned themselves with the question of life?s meaning, yet very few were able to come up with a cogent answer, and thus when faced with the disastrous consequences of rationalism, or reason without faith which robbed them out of the possibility of living a meaningful existence, many were forced to turn to religious beliefs, whereas this move may have been intellectually unwarranted. Whilst most philosophers maintain that there is no one true philosophy and a savant must be very flexible about ideas that he chooses to accept and those he rejects, and be prepared to build his own philosophy based on what he has observed in perspectives of others, while it is ill-advised for him to fully embrace one ideology because this would lead to intellectual dishonesty. With religions, quite the opposite is true, all the prevalent contemporary religious traditions maintain that their disciples must accept only their teachings as the truth, and reject the beliefs of other theologians.

    Abrahamic faiths like Islam and Christianity tackle the question of life?s meaning head on with the assertion that regardless of what will be discovered by science in this world, existence of mankind has and has always had meaning and purpose. This also outlines the challenge posed by the evolutionist philosophies that maintain that the existence of mankind abounded due to chance and life in itself is an arbitrary succession of events. This may contravene the conventional interpretations of the Koran and the Bible because they maintain that man was made by God for a specific purpose, however, the notion that life has meaning and purpose may be consistent with evolutionism. One could equally argue that man was not born with a purpose, nor is there an innate tendency to seek out God implanted in his head, yet at the same time, he could find God within the universe and then give himself meaning to life, and discover what it truly means to be alive. As Soren Kierkegaard, a famous 19th century apologist for religious existentialism notes in Sickness Unto Death that one who does not know God, does not have a self, and thus in order to have true life, one must build a relationship with God.

    Kierkegaard also insisted on the subjectivity of the truth. He did not maintain that objectivity does not exist, but the truth that he was referring to was in the same context as the truth that Jesus had in mind when he said that it will set one free. S.K, insists that true spirituality is internally rooted and can not be elaborated upon like a philosophical phenomenon, and thus faith can not be refuted because it does not attempt to prove a point. In a similar fashion one can claim that religious faith is a subjective phenomenon, not an objective and therefore can not be re-affirmed and or refuted by science. For this reason it can still purport to be able to give meaning to life because it appeals to passion, intuition and personal experience not to objective phenomena. Another salient trait of all religions is the endeavor to help its disciples find identity. Christianity, for instance gives its followers a perspective where all believers identify themselves in terms of their relationship with God and thus this facilitates their quest for personal identity because they all can regard themselves as Christians, or followers of Christ for the same cause.

    The need to belong is profound among human passions and religions do very well to sate it. One can easily find a community to be a part of by identifying with other members of society through religious beliefs. Many religions maintain, and Christianity is one of them that the final end to all activities in faith could only be reached through an individual journey, however, that also man is not a solitary animal and it is important to establish meaningful relationships with other individuals, and thus one has a duty to God, self and the community, and this furthermore outlines the communitarian aspect of religious institutions. Religion also helps one shape an ethical framework and a general philosophy on life. A significant percentage of the world?s population have a difficult time accomplishing this without relying on religions. Once more the significance of the pursuit of personal identity in connection to religion is outlined, an individual needs a coherent philosophy of life in order to feel like his existence has meaning, and many religious institutions can accomplish the task of providing that for him.

    The concept of worship and the idea of sacredness can be thought of as a hallmark of institutional religion. This concept is important because the notion of sacredness accomplishes the religious task of assigning a purpose to one?s life, which can significantly increase one?s overall level of satisfaction with life, and this remains to be one of the most prominent virtues of religions.

    With these factors outlined, it should be noted that religions are social institutions that purport to answer the basic questions of existence and give one guidance on how his or her life must be lived. They accomplish this by providing a coherent worldview/ideology, build an argument in favor of life having meaning and purpose by the virtue of embracing certain tents of a given religion and they cater to the basic human needs that include: the will to belong and the will to find personal identity. The former is sated when one identifies with other believers in a group and relates to them on the grounds of having similar worldviews, and his identity is shaped through the tasks and obligations that one deals with as a member of a religious faith. For these reasons people embrace religious beliefs and such are the impacts it has on the affairs of the world.

    One may ask, what exactly is a religion? Could it just be a utility for people to discover meaning in their lives? That is a vague definition and hardly seems sufficient. Could it just be a philosophy on life? Then, one shall inquire what is the difference between a religion and a philosophy? One difference between philosophy and religion is that the former does not appeal to tradition or authority in order to justify its doctrines. This means that all philosophical ideas can be criticized and if necessary, refuted. Religions stand immune from criticisms. Some religions insist that everything in their Holy Text is sacred and undeniable, and therefore immune to criticisms. Thus, what is written in the scripture is accepted as fact even if it does not make sense.

    According to this perspective, if we run into a statement in the Bible/Koran/Torah that is implausible, one of the two must be true: there is something wrong with our reasoning, or reason is not a reliable guide to truth. Thus, revelation is superior to reason, yet in philosophy it is the other way around. Not all forms of religion insist that all of their teachings must be accepted as incontrovertible. It is possible to have a religion where only some axioms need to be indubitable in order to instantiate faith, as proposed by a famous 20th century religious Existentialist Paul Tillich.

    In essence those axioms or whatever is accepted as infallible is justified by appeal to authority. E.g, the Koran was written by God?s prophet, therefore because God was involved in writing of the book, it necessarily is truthful even if it is counter-intuitive and contrary to reason. Thus, God(prophet, messiah.. etc) does not need to provide an argument to prove that He is right, his authority by the nature of itself attests to it. Philosophically such claims do not hold any weight. This is called a fallacy of an appeal to authority, and in itself such arguments are almost entirely arbitrary.

    In essence religion is an organized system of values that are either in themselves incontrovertible, or hinge on maxims that are indubitable. Religions propound a philosophy on life which is almost exclusively value-centered. However, values is not all that religions are concerned about. In order to defend the veracity of their ethical teachings, they may insist on certain historical events being accepted as true. For example, Christian Protestant religions not only assert that the code of ethics and Christian values can be modeled after the thoughts and actions of Jesus Christ, but they also insist on the truth of God?s existence and the resurrection of Christ. God?s existence, Christ?s divinity, the basic outline of how the world works, and attempts at the ultimate questions of philosophy (meaning/purpose of life, do I survive the death of my body?, do I have a self? Is there a God? If there is, Can God love me?) salvation through Jesus and some ethical maxims is what constitutes the crux of many Christian religions.

    In essence a worldview must have INDUBITABLE axioms in regards to ethics, cosmology, and fundamental questions of philosophy. In order for a conceptual framework to be considered religious it must hinge on incontrovertible axioms. IE, Scholars of Christian religion can speculate in regards to how the physical world works (cosmology), but they must stay loyal to the axioms laid down in the scripture, if they do not do this, their ideas will become philosophies, instead of strictly religious architectonics.

    After we have established a framework for what worldviews can be considered religious and what should be considered non-religious, we are now in the position to hold many ideologies to this standard.

    If we look at a conventional religion like Christianity, we may ask is it qualified to be a religion? Our first question is: does it lay down ethical maxims? It does. Does it attempt to answer the basic questions of philosophy? Yes, it asserts the existence of God and Creationism, and that God gave man purpose to life and existence has meaning, and that people have eternal souls, and thus they have a self (whereas a rival religion like Buddhism believes in neither souls nor self). Does it attempt to deal with the phenomenon of cosmology? Yes the Bible maintains that Earth is round and that it was created by God and that Adam and Eve initially lived in an area close to Middle-East, and it gives somewhat aphoristically the basic insights into how the physical world works. Are these principles incontrovertible? Yes, history has condemned aberrations from them as heretic.

    Can an individual refuse to subscribe to any conventional religion or spiritual orthodoxy and still be religious, thus have a religion of his own? What did Albert Einstein mean when he said ?I believe in Spinoza?s God, that is my religion?. If we hold his claim to that standard, we should ask the same questions as we did for Christianity. Does his worldview address the basic philosophical questions? What is the meaning of life? According to Spinoza?s philosophy salvation through intense philosophical contemplation is possible, this is what he calls the intellectual love of God, and this will free us from the bond to the physical world, and gives us the true intellectual and spiritual freedom that Spinoza speaks of. Does it address cosmology? Yes, Einstein?s Spinozian philosophy maintains necessitarian determinism. Ergo, if we had omniscience and we could see atoms that dwell within our desk, we would be able to know where these same atoms will be in 15 years. The Real World consists of a pantheistic God who manifests himself in all Good things, and thus what is not good is not God and incidentally an illusion. Learning to love God on an intellectual love will free us from the bond of the flesh and emotion, yet God can not love us back. System of Ethics? Spinoza?s philosophy insists on deep contemplation and much like the Buddhist line of thought on being at peace with the environment. This worldview can be considered religious because it deals with the basic questions of philosophy, cosmology and propounds a set of maxims, all of which are (according to Einstein?s religious philosophy) founded on axioms that are incontrovertible.

    Can one be a religious atheist? A glaring example of this would be Neo-Marxism. Does Marxism tackle the basic philosophical questions? There is no God. Materialism is dogmatically accepted as true. According to the way human nature is designed, it is possible to achieve Utopia on Earth. Cosmology? Dialectical Materialism and thus class struggle is entailed from that. Meaning and Purpose in life? Marx was a materialist. Thus this means that the Communist Utopia according to him, was meant to happen all along, and therefore this is the meaning and purpose of life, for the workers to unite. System of Ethics? Marx did not enjoy preaching and condemned many of those who did as sycophants. However, the basic tenets of communist welfare insist on altruism and the necessity to help the poor. This is analogous to Christian theologies who do not have arduous ethical ramifications but still maintain that the basic ethics of Christ were: love thy God and love thy neighbor.

    In effect religions incite a great deal of strife because by and large they appeal to tradition and authority for justification of their assertions, not reason. They tackle some of the most important questions in life and profess to have the answers to them , and that the answers must be accepted only on authority. Rival authorities can not be refuted by reason because religions deem revelation (authority) superior to reason, and thus a violent or a dismissive attitude towards the rival religions end up being the only options available. Needless to say, they have proclivities to stir up a great deal of controversy.

  9. #49
    Senior Member wyrdsister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post

    Ehhhhh what is true religion. Go ask SW... much too complex for me to handle.
    OK then why use that term if you can't describe it?

    /me is perplexed.
    Wyrd is a concept in Anglo-Saxon and Nordic culture roughly corresponding to fate. It is ancestral to Modern English weird, which has acquired a very different meaning.

  10. #50
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Certain areas of thought... namely the origins of life? True... the I think the problem most people are hung up on is the very fixed view of what "religious text" means. Just what exactly do we know about intelligent design? The design of the form? or the substance? or both? Who came up with the theory of intelligent design anyhow? Creationism stems from religion yes, but is that what true religion is about? Highly doubtful...
    If we take Kant's transcendental idealism in perspective we will arrive at a conclusion that even if there is a cosmic purpose, we are unable to grasp it, as whatever design we may see would be only within our perceptions and not in the real world. This is true because we can not grasp the noumena.

    For the most qualified refutation of the design argument see Hume's Natural History of Religion. Very short, only about 120 pages and written with exceptional clarity.

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