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  1. #121
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLastMohican View Post
    Note that I said "pretense," not "presence."
    Point taken.

    I meant that both are developped systems of superstition... but you make a good point about the pretense - people can easily believe something like possession because it is protected under the religious umbrella. It's not something seperate that can be researched and refuted.

  2. #122
    Member Airius's Avatar
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    I was mainly referring to the first page where it was quoted,

    ....Surprisingly, while increased church attendance and membership in a conservative denomination has a powerful negative effect on paranormal beliefs, higher education doesn't. Two years ago two professors published another study in Skeptical Inquirer showing that, while less than one-quarter of college freshmen surveyed expressed a general belief in such superstitions as ghosts, psychic healing, haunted houses, demonic possession, clairvoyance and witches, the figure jumped to 31% of college seniors and 34% of graduate students.....

    To believe in ghosts and paranormal events, you have to have a basic belief of spirituality; hence why I don't understand how these same superstitions would be found in Atheists.

  3. #123
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvanTheClown View Post
    Atheists believe that Christianity is a superstition.
    i believe that anything supernatural is superstitious until proven otherwise (by the wiki definition, any supernatural happening or belief without evidence = superstition).

    This isnt a case of just crusading against Christianity. This is a case of special pleading, where the study is making a claim to be an exception, yet provides no relevant reasons as to why Christianity/anyreligion gets a special pass.


    also, i feel that my post on page 11 sums it up perfectly,

    Religion is the walmart of superstition. Of course it pushed all the other gigs in town out of business! who the hell can compete with the biggest superstition of all time?

  4. #124
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    Babylon Candle, don't take this personally, but your arguments have become a complete farce. You're so stuck up on the notion of religion being 100% superstition, that you're ignoring the obviously more fair-minded viewpoints on the issue.

    I already cited St. Thomas Aquinas' distinction between superstition and religion: "Superstition sins by excess of religion, and this differs from the vice of irreligion, which sins by defect. The theological virtue of religion stands midway between the two."

    Now what exactly is your problem is this kind of definition is anybody's guess; other than you have a pathological hatred for religion. Aquinas' definition certainly works for a study like the OP mentions to study the superstitious beliefs of atheists and religious. It doesn't slant the study in favor of either side.

    Your definition of superstition by default gives the upper hand to the atheists, just like a study trying to show that evangelicals are more religious than atheists - duh!

    In fact none of the sources I've cited have argued that religion and superstition are mutually exclusive. In fact Thomas Aquinas above just admitted there is a connection between the two, but they're not the same. One is a proper attitude towards God, another isn't.

    By the same logic, GK Chesterton later noted that a heresy is not an untruth but an exaggerated truth. I also posted Pope Benedict's remarks that a belief in mystery does not mean one can believe in any old nonsense. One has to keep their belief in the mysterious within reasonable bounds - or else you're actually misusing the concept of faith and the mysterious.

    Your response to the Pope's remarks were largely just dismissive, which exposed your lack of knowledge of Catholic teaching and your understanding of what the Pope or anybody else was even arguing.

    I can even cite noted skeptic commentator Joe Nickell, whose done much investigative work debunking claims of miracles and superstitions. Yet even he maintains there's a difference between these claims and religious belief itself.

    You've more than once overtly admitted to not being open to hearing anyother viewpoints. To you, religion is superstition - end of story. You even selectively cite source like Wikipedia to achieve this end, even though wikipedia admits that the relationship between religion and superstions is more complex - and that only in the viewpoints of outsiders can religion in toto be considered superstition.

    So even by your own source's arguments, you represent a rather narrow and extreme position on the issue. If you wish to go that way, so be it.

    I'll let Pope John Paul II summ up my side's argument:
    "Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes."

    So yes, superstition is a erroneous belief in the divine and the mysterious, and must be purged to keep religion pure. And one major way one guards against such erroneous beliefs is the use of reason, which was given to us by God. So faith and reason are both good when used properly.

    You can't even be fair-minded enough to admit that, or at least acknowledge its distinction from more superstitious beliefs? For goodness sakes, I don't take kindly to Joe Nickell's hatchet jobs on many aspects of the Catholic faith, yet I still admit the honesty of his position described above.

    In contra to faith you insist upon reason, yet ironically you insist upon it in an irrational fashion.

    If you're going to maintain that attitude, then frankly there's no point in further discussion. Whatever I present will just be dismissed without serious consideration.

    I bid you good night!

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Believing is not knowing
    Credo ut intelligam.

  6. #126
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    I've noticed this trait in INFJ's... I wonder if it's a good thing or a bad thing, really. You are stubborn as hell and biased unto the point of insanity Why bother discussing a subject at all if you already know exactly what you believe?


    I will give god - and all gods for that matter - the benefit of the doubt. They might exist, but then again they might not. Nobody can be serious and say that christianity and logic are compatible.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  7. #127
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Credo ut intelligam.
    Why is belief in any way important for understanding things? If something makes me fuck up my own life and do irrational things like not have sex before marriage, eat however much i'd like to, gamble or whatever, I'd seriously review it and see if it actually holds any water. If something cannot be proven, it's not credible. Thus all I care for are the real laws of society, and sometimes I don't abide to those either.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

  8. #128
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    You're so stuck up on the notion of religion being 100% superstition, that you're ignoring the obviously more fair-minded viewpoints on the issue.

    I already cited St. Thomas Aquinas' distinction between superstition and religion: "Superstition sins by excess of religion, and this differs from the vice of irreligion, which sins by defect. The theological virtue of religion stands midway between the two."
    i dislike this definition because it makes the assumption that irreligious is a vice. That is a HUGE assumption to make. I dont think anyone is being irrational by questioning a definition that makes the assumptions of the ages. It assumes there is a God. Im not really as militant as you might think. I would never call myself a positive atheist. I cannot, nor will not say, that God cannot or does not exist. My position is that there is currently no worth while evidence and so i have no choice but de facto atheism. I come off as militant atheist only because I get tired of people assuming there is evidence that I just dont see. I actaully believe it or not agree a lot with yourlocaljesus:

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    I will give god - and all gods for that matter - the benefit of the doubt. They might exist, but then again they might not.
    Really I have to emphasize that I am not a positive/strong atheist. just a de facto atheist.

    that a belief in mystery does not mean one can believe in any old nonsense. One has to keep their belief in the mysterious within reasonable bounds - or else you're actually misusing the concept of faith and the mysterious.
    and who is to decide what exactly is reasonable? Part of my central argument is when all the evidence is considered, im not sure that my invisible martian ice cream truck is any less reasonable (and I really dont mean that in a mocking may). Both rely on magic, period. Who is to decide what is reasonable as soon as we allow immaterial things special powers that leave no material evidence behind?


    So yes, superstition is a erroneous belief in the divine and the mysterious, and must be purged to keep religion pure. And one major way one guards against such erroneous beliefs is the use of reason, which was given to us by God. So faith and reason are both good when used properly.
    And who is to decide what is reasonable, erroneous or pure? If the answer is the bible, then im not sure that gets any non believer anywhere. Once the flood gates are open to immaterial things, acting with magic powers, whats to really stop anything from being unreasonable?

    In contra to faith you insist upon reason, yet ironically you insist upon it in an irrational fashion.

    If you're going to maintain that attitude, then frankly there's no point in further discussion. Whatever I present will just be dismissed without serious consideration.

    I bid you good night!
    If you wish to end our discussion, I will afford you that without myself trying to claim "victory". I am well aware how discussions between immovable parties can become down right ridiculous in temperament.

    I get the sense that you think I have this closed mind perspective. I have already heard all of these arguments. Thats why I seem so closed...because I have heard them before.


    I grew up catholic, did sunday school, communion, confession, and a 2 year confirmation program. I have only recently become a de facto atheist. For most of the past year I was going to nondenominational bible study on sundays, went to church fairly often for someone who had to go alone, and was a honest to God, born again believer. I swear to the possibility of any God, I was a believer. I prayed openly, tried to interpret things in my life through God and READ the bible in a studious manner with the assistance of people of faith. To say I am completely uniformed couldn't be farther from the truth. I say this not try to gain sympathy for debates sake. I say it so that you can honestly see that I do not have empty xenophobia of the church.

    I am simply tired of the same arguments that ring empty. My main reasons for leaving:
    - evolution (i know what the catholic position is, but as a non denominational born again, I just could not see how one could believe in original sin and evolution. It makes no sense)
    - confirmation bias. every moment that we ever feel like "god" has listened and made things "good", we forget the times when nothing happend. The moments things go bad, we simply interpret them as punishment or trial. It all seems very much to be confirmation bias... like reading a horoscope.
    - its just impossible to know. even if I had a dream of jesus or heard the voice of God, how would that prove anything? People hallucinate and dream weird stuff.
    -if its impossible to tell either way, why would I side with the side that has the burden of proof?


    Sorry for the length. However, I felt it necessary to lay things out from my own experience so that you may understand where my "stubbornness" comes from....

  9. #129
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    "Theist" and "Atheist" are quite broad categories. I'm wondering if this topic is a comparison of historical, theologically structured monotheistic religions with the New Age mindset. Those are both subsets of "Theist" and "Atheist". The New Age overall is not as structured, although components of it like Astrology have extensively detailed structure. It blends fragments of contrasting religious ideas in an attempt to create cohesion. The result is generally less cohesive than a structured, historical religion, and so might rely on a more fragmented approach to superstitious thinking that isn't as reasoned or justified within the context of its system of belief. I can understand why a person with highly structured theistic beliefs would see the New Age thinking as random and superstitious. Many of the paranormal ideas mentioned in the OP like ghosts and astrology do fill our media. I think people respond to what they are exposed to, and people are not often exposed to rational and critical thinking.

    The New Age is one specific category of atheist quite different in their fundamental mindset from people who are working towards understanding the universe in rationalistic terms found in science and humanism. These subcategories are as different as the Abrahamic theists being categorized with Hinduism or all polytheism. There would be a tendency to note the similarity in terms of believing in higher being(s) that are sentient and can act upon the world, but the fundamental differences would need to be noted as well in order to view the discussion accurately.

    I would say that our society does suffer from a lack of reason and critical thinking overall regardless of what category people are identified in based on belief system. It isn't the "fault" of theism, but is much more complex than that and speaks to human beings basic struggle to think rationally.

    Edit: It would be interesting to study how many systems of ideas people subscribe to at a given time. The superstitions in atheist Russia is an interesting example from the OP because one would need to look at the history of their belief systems and to what extent those beliefs were held in conjunction with both theism and atheism. Sometimes a person will identify as more than one religion. Christianity can be quite different based on how it has fused with indigenous religions. Same is true for Buddhism.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  10. #130

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    Christianity WINS.

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