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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I think people who sincerely believe in religion and spirituality do have some problems they'd be better off without. They are essentially investing their confidence in things that won't help them. They're counting on things that will never come, and possibly even going so far as to diminish their investments in real, practical answers so that they can further invest them into useless things. Granted, religious and spiritual people do sometimes seem to have a benefit from the positivity of their beliefs, but that's basically saying they're gaining bliss from ignorance, and that's an approach I've never trusted. I tend to think that eventually your ignorance will open you up to a problem severe enough to shatter all of that and leave you worse off than if you were never ignorant. Some are lucky enough to not have to face that.

    On the other hand, even the whole ignorant bliss thing doesn't always pan out. I've heard from so many people who struggle with their lives, and they ask why God has forsaken them, and it's really a horrible thing to hear. There are people who live in fear of hell. There are people who take their losses as some kind of punishment for inadequacy. A statement that really stands out to me in this regard is that of a chronically sick woman who asked "If I can't believe enough to be healthy, how can I believe enough for salvation?" Think about that.

    This might be straying a bit outside of your question, but I definitely think that it's better for other people when person isn't religious or spiritual, and in the big picture all of us (including them) would benefit as a result of everyone shedding such beliefs.

    That being said, I rarely try to change the minds of religious people. In most cases that it has happened, the issue was pushed by the religious person and not myself. The reason for this is that I simply doubt my ability to change their minds, and the process of trying tends to be turbulent. I think the conflict often ends up being costly for all concerned, but since they rarely ever change their minds, nothing is gained for that cost.

    The amount I care about someone makes me more likely to try. Obviously, since I think it's better to not be religious or spiritual, it's partly compelled by my desire to want something better for someone I care about. There are other factors, though. I try to maintain relationships with people I care about, and the more time I spend with someone or the more personal the level of interaction becomes, the more problematic our different philosophies become, so it just follows that attempts to change their mind will be more likely.
    Its interesting, all those things you mention as being typical of religious thinking, I'm sure they are BTW, and having remedies in atheism, ie you dont feel abandoned by God if you decide there never was a God to abandon you in the first place, self-loathing etc.

    I guess I would suggest consideration of the great many spiritual texts upon these topics, these are spiritual problems and there are spiritual solutions and most of the things which you mention in critically evaluating religious thinking I would say are not religious thinking per se but definitely bad religious thinking. I'm not playing semantics here. There has been a great deal of bad religion and unfortunately the cultural shifts and wars which have followed one upon another since the day of the reformation has succeeded in identifying all religious thinking as homogenous and qualitively similar or even exactly the same.

    The patterns of dependency, blissful ignorance, vain glorious hopes, they've all been soundly critiqued in ancient and modern religious thinking, most of earliest critiques of idolatry and reakoning and reasoning about the non-corporeal nature of God deals with these sorts of problems.

    Unsurprisingly I dont think that the disappearence of religious beliefs would be beneficial to either believers or mankind generally, believers and non-believers alike, but I do think that the disappearence of bad religion would sure be beneficial. Although the same can be said for philosophy and ideology too. My reason for thinking this is that I believe that bad religion is a vehicle and should it disappear it will only be replaced by bad philosophy and bad ideology until such times when that vehicle isnt needed any longer, that vehicle will not be needed when a certain sort of psychological norm has been reached and a certain sort of social character is supported structurally and culturally. Belief or non-belief, provided it is good, ie ethical and reasonable, can serve that end.

  2. #12
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Its interesting, all those things you mention as being typical of religious thinking, I'm sure they are BTW, and having remedies in atheism, ie you dont feel abandoned by God if you decide there never was a God to abandon you in the first place, self-loathing etc.

    I guess I would suggest consideration of the great many spiritual texts upon these topics, these are spiritual problems and there are spiritual solutions and most of the things which you mention in critically evaluating religious thinking I would say are not religious thinking per se but definitely bad religious thinking. I'm not playing semantics here. There has been a great deal of bad religion and unfortunately the cultural shifts and wars which have followed one upon another since the day of the reformation has succeeded in identifying all religious thinking as homogenous and qualitively similar or even exactly the same.

    The patterns of dependency, blissful ignorance, vain glorious hopes, they've all been soundly critiqued in ancient and modern religious thinking, most of earliest critiques of idolatry and reakoning and reasoning about the non-corporeal nature of God deals with these sorts of problems.

    Unsurprisingly I dont think that the disappearence of religious beliefs would be beneficial to either believers or mankind generally, believers and non-believers alike, but I do think that the disappearence of bad religion would sure be beneficial. Although the same can be said for philosophy and ideology too. My reason for thinking this is that I believe that bad religion is a vehicle and should it disappear it will only be replaced by bad philosophy and bad ideology until such times when that vehicle isnt needed any longer, that vehicle will not be needed when a certain sort of psychological norm has been reached and a certain sort of social character is supported structurally and culturally. Belief or non-belief, provided it is good, ie ethical and reasonable, can serve that end.
    I have a difficult time imagining religion that does not have any of the traits you consider a part of bad religion.

    It's sort of like when Republican politicians such as Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio said that they didn't need to change their values, but needed to explain to Americans how their Republican economic values benefit the poor and middle-class, and people of all demographics. It sounded ridiculous to me, because I'm not sure how they could benefit all of those people but keep their kind of economics recognizable and intact.
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    I have agnostic tendencies but...

    - Not unless this belief inhibits them from leading a happy life.

    - No. Everyone takes comfort in something.
    Though I may argue if they bully/keep pestering me.
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

    ENFP. 7w6 – 4w3 – 1w9 sx/so. Aries. Dilettante. Overly anxious optimist.

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