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Religion... why?

wyrdsister

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In our age of scientific discovery I would like to pose the question...

Why is religion still relevant in out time?

Obviously in past centuries it was a form of mind control and personality cults. Myths and legends to explain our Earth and the Universe and why we were here and to be good people or we shall rot in hell or be reborn as amoebas... but now in the year 2007, why is religion still relevant?
 

SolitaryWalker

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In our age of scientific discovery I would like to pose the question...

Why is religion still relevant in out time?

Obviously in past centuries it was a form of mind control and personality cults. Myths and legends to explain our Earth and the Universe and why we were here and to be good people or we shall rot in hell or be reborn as amoebas... but now in the year 2007, why is religion still relevant?

Religion's task is to give one meaning in life by answering the biggest questions of cosmology. There are two kinds of religions, those that run on theology and those that run on mythology. Theological religions use reason juxtaposed with the Holy writings to make sense of the world, the other kind just rely on absurd and clumsy fairy tales to satisfy the masses.

All in all I would say that even theological religions are not acceptable, as questions of eschatology need scriptual testimony for legitimation.


Beliefs like that in Christian God can only be accepted on a wild leap of faith and they can only be believed because they talk about things that we can not ascertain of with our reason. Hence, you dont know if God exists or not if there is an afterlife, or whatever, so leave it. And maybe, just to be safe accept Jesus (as Pascal would say) who knows, if he really was right, this would be the best decision you'd ever make. But again, you're not in the position to make assessments on how likely he is to be right or not because he speaks of things that are outside of our grasp.
 

nightning

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Yes we have science... but science can't explain everything. For example it can only look at whether something exists or not, the mechanics how something works. It cannot and will never explain the "why questions". Why are humans the only dominant species on this planet? What's the purpose of life etc. The mind craves explainations for everything... I suppose that's why many people turn to religion.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Yes we have science... but science can't explain everything. For example it can only look at whether something exists or not, the mechanics how something works. It cannot and will never explain the "why questions". Why are humans the only dominant species on this planet? What's the purpose of life etc. The mind craves explainations for everything... I suppose that's why many people turn to religion.


Science deals with what we can inquire into, hence what is within the bounds of reason. Religion claims to give us insight into what science can not grasp.

They cant clash into one another because they are exploring totally different fields.
 

nightning

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Science deals with what we can inquire into, hence what is within the bounds of reason. Religion claims to give us insight into what science can not grasp.

They cant clash into one another because they are exploring totally different fields.

That was what I was trying to say... thank you for rephrasing it ;)
 

ptgatsby

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Science deals with what we can inquire into, hence what is within the bounds of reason. Religion claims to give us insight into what science can not grasp.

How do you feel about the overlap between science and religion, on themes like evolution (where science is exploring topics that religion believe to be their domain) and philosophical concepts like theories of knowledge (which used to be the domain of religion).
 

Totenkindly

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Why is religion still relevant in out time? Obviously in past centuries it was a form of mind control and personality cults. ...

:doh: That's a pretty cynical view of religion.

Plus, lumping all "religion" into one category is difficult, because of the wide variety of belief systems and behaviors stemming from belief systems. Obviously religion has run all over the gamut from sincere to manipulative, from naive to crafty, from domineering to passive, from peaceful to bloodthirsty.

Like others have said, people search for meaning. When they don't have meaning, they lose the will to live.

On the contrary, I think in a postmodern world that offers no inherent meaning, religion is becoming even more important... and I think the growing strength of religion around the globe (and how it's becoming "in vogue" again) attests to this.
 

SolitaryWalker

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How do you feel about the overlap between science and religion, on themes like evolution (where science is exploring topics that religion believe to be their domain) and philosophical concepts like theories of knowledge (which used to be the domain of religion).

Nope science cant go there. It can only describe what happens in this world. The problems of science and philosophy are of understanding this world and Gods are to be left on the outside.

Evolution tells us nothing about eschatology or metaphysics, it can only tell us that perhaps man evolved from apes, but to say that from this it follows that God does not exist, or what our creator may have looked like, or what happens after death would just be mere conjecture. We dont have enough to speculate from what we've gained from either science or philosophy.

Theoretical theology is impossible, Kant has already burried it, as whatever Gods may be are in the noumenal world that we have no access to.
 

wyrdsister

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Science deals with what we can inquire into, hence what is within the bounds of reason. Religion claims to give us insight into what science can not grasp.

They cant clash into one another because they are exploring totally different fields.

I disagree. They aren't always exploring totally different fields, look at Creationism and Darwinism.
 

SolitaryWalker

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:doh: That's a pretty cynical view of religion.

Plus, lumping all "religion" into one category is difficult, because of the wide variety of belief systems and behaviors stemming from belief systems. Obviously religion has run all over the gamut from sincere to manipulative, from naive to crafty, from domineering to passive, from peaceful to bloodthirsty.

Like others have said, people search for meaning. When they don't have meaning, they lose the will to live.

On the contrary, I think in a postmodern world that offers no inherent meaning, religion is becoming even more important... and I think the growing strength of religion around the globe (and how it's becoming "in vogue" again) attests to this.


He is right, religion has nothing to do with spirituality, it is slave to the political ends of whatever powers that be. True religion as you'd like to see it is nothing other than your private meditations with God.
 

SolitaryWalker

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I disagree. They aren't always exploring totally different fields, look at Creationism and Darwinism.


Darwinism does not tell us anything about God, it can only tell us about what happened in this world, God is outside of it.

Creationism is mere mythology, it is an arbitrary claim and Kant has shown why it can not be taken seriously. Again because God is outside of our understanding and we try to fit him into our perceptions.
 

wyrdsister

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Evolution tells us nothing about eschatology or metaphysics, it can only tell us that perhaps man evolved from apes, but to say that from this it follows that God does not exist, or what our creator may have looked like, or what happens after death would just be mere conjecture. We dont have enough to speculate from what we've gained from either science or philosophy.

Indeed, at present we have no way of knowing if god exists or not, therefore why aren't we all agnostic?
 

Totenkindly

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He is right, religion has nothing to do with spirituality, it is slave to the political ends of whatever powers that be. True religion as you'd like to see it is nothing other than your private meditations with God.

Again, over-generalization and thus a rather cynical perspective.

If a religious belief includes ideas about how we should treat each other, then obviously a community aspect is important -- and any organization needs a structure simply so that the group can manage to interact together.

Assuming that a structure/organization is merely a slave to the "powers that be" and assuming the powers that be are necessarily self-centered is an obvious bias... or sloppy thinking.

Since human beings seem to be relational in nature ... not isolated... true spirituality necessarily must encompass some form of group ritual/rules, not to inhibit but to free up.

But can't you find meaning in science?

As a general rule of thumb, science tells me "how" but it does not tell me "why."

In fact, science ruled as part of the Enlightenment 200+ years ago and persisted throughout the Modernist movement (up until maybe the late 60's or early 70's)... and failed, which is why Postmodernism sprang up and supplanted it. It answered the "how," not the "why," and people were looking for more.
 

meshou

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For what little "religion" I do have, I acknowledge human experience is, at the very least, not a thing described fully in science, in the same way botany doesn't describe the actual experience of eating a peach.

I do not believe in the supernatural, although my experience of the world includes experiences I'd call uncanny.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Indeed, at present we have no way of knowing if god exists or not, therefore why aren't we all agnostic?

No we can take a radical leap of faith. You know like with Pascal's wager, where we say that we have no idea if Christianity is true, but we should accept it just in case that it is, because the rewards would be something that we can not afford to miss out on.
 

SolitaryWalker

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Again, over-generalization and thus a rather cynical perspective.

If a religious belief includes ideas about how we should treat each other, then obviously a community aspect is important -- and any organization needs a structure simply so that the group can manage to interact together.

Assuming that a structure/organization is merely a slave to the "powers that be" and assuming the powers that be are necessarily self-centered is an obvious bias... or sloppy thinking.

Since human beings seem to be relational in nature ... not isolated... true spirituality necessarily must encompass some form of group ritual/rules, not to inhibit but to free up.

The task of the community should be no other than GIVING you an environment where you can function best so you could do a better job in your solitary meditations. Nother other than this. True religion has no public aspects.

As for the problem of human ego-centricity, I recommend the reading of Kant's meritorious essay 'What is Enlightenment' where he asserts that true wisdom consists in seeing reality as not in accord to your perception, but in the way you play out in the big picture.

Much like Rick Warren started his Purpose driven life with these words ' it is not about you'.

And the thesis of Critique of Pure reason is that the world that we perceive as fundamental and real is actually a product of our imagination and we are unable to grasp the thing in itself, as this attests to our inherent egocentricity.

This is the famous phenomena/noumena problem
 

wyrdsister

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Again, over-generalization and thus a rather cynical perspective.

If a religious belief includes ideas about how we should treat each other, then obviously a community aspect is important -- and any organization needs a structure simply so that the group can manage to interact together.

But you can treat others with respect and have a moral code without having a religion so why religion?
 

wyrdsister

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No we can take a radical leap of faith. You know like with Pascal's wager, where we say that we have no idea if Christianity is true, but we should accept it just in case that it is, because the rewards would be something that we can not afford to miss out on.

But that is not a rational or logical stance. If god created us, he created us with the propensity for questioning and rational thought.
 

SolitaryWalker

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But you can treat others with respect and have a moral code without having a religion so why religion?


Its not about you. Religion should be about the Universe as a whole, and not what you need.
 
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