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Thought experiment
Posted: 07 April 2011 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Which religions claim you are worm food when you die?  Your physical body yes, but most of them think some kind of spirit survives or is reincarnated.

I was speaking in general terms but if you take some time and do some research, you would be surprised at how many religions either don’t assert an afterlife or have the concept but it’s not central or even very important to their creed.

Did you know that Judiasm was one of those religions which did not have an afterlife and that in some of it’s sects, this persisted up to the 1st Century CE? (The Sadducees were the most notable example of that.)

You are sounding like a skeptic here.

And on a forum promoted by a skeptical organization dedicated to promoting rational skepticism and inhabited in the main by skeptics, you expected what?

Where does this skepticism come from?  From science?

A lack of credible evidence for the existance of gods.

Or maybe some people like Socrates are just born to question everything and have a hard time accepting things even when many people around them have no problem accepting it.  I think people with this natural skepticism have always been in the minority.

So what? Just because a majority find it easier to cop out and “Just believe” doesn’t make it right.

Maybe even without science some people would be naturally critically thinking enough to realize these benefits.  That’s assuming that people would be able to tell the difference between natural and supernatural without science.

1) There is no such thing as the supernatural. If it exists, it’s a part of nature. That would include any god or gods and any phenomenon we don’t understand so we just call it supernatural.

2) A false belief which gives you comfort is still a false belief. A fantasy which makes you feel good is still a fantasy. It’s not real.

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Posted: 08 April 2011 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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brightfut - 06 April 2011 04:58 PM

Oh, I forgot something.  What would be the practical benefit of being an atheist?  When you die you are worm food.  When you have a problem you are on your own.  When you are scared you have no supernatural being to protect you.  People in the modern world can see the benefits to scientific thinking, but if there were no modern world or science then these benefits would not be apparent.

I see your point, but in a non scientific world, there would not be a reasoned and structured religion (pseudo science) either, except perhaps a belief in an “unseen” adversary, when observing thunder, lightning. storms, monsoons, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, and the worm would be your “little brother”.
Thus only the calamities would cause any reflection of “why?”  As long as things were “normal” there would be no reason to invent a comfort crutch.
IMO, this points to a more politically driven structure. Even an ancient “medicine man” had his bag of tricks, including hallucinogenics. But the ancients did speak of “the great spirit”, which is a neutral and secular (pseudo scientific) observation.

IMO, theology started from a growingly “arrogant” human mind, which considers itself to be “blessed” and therefore separate (exempt) from natural law. The wise men in those days saw this potential danger and started writing on morality, which was the blessing as well as the responsibility of humans, “as ordained by God”. Commandments would follow and philosophical moralities as “You reap as you sow”, which actually is a scientific concept (action/reaction, cause/effect).
The problem is spelled out in the bible when god says, “behold they have become like us”.....and the warning, “I shall confound their language”.

Without the ability to think in an abstract manner (speculation, decision making, planning, science) there would only be “the great spirit” i.e. the self experience, with no need for advanced spiritual thought or rituals and the inevitable conflicts between them.

[ Edited: 08 April 2011 01:25 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 08 April 2011 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I think we can take this discussion to a more fundamental step.

First and foremost, we are a very curious species as are many others on Earth.  This curiosity is the fuel that runs the engine that is our ability to reason, remember and communicate.  If we did not have this instinctual, primitive desire to make sense of the world around us, there would be no need for gods, superstition or even the scientific method.  We simply wouldn’t care.  It woud never occur to us to even think about it.  In all likelyhood, we would never have survived as a species.

Luckily for us, we ARE a very curious animal with excellent communicaiton skills which help us pass on to future generations what we have learned.  Ever since our earliest days of recorded history, we have been trying to make sense of our natural world and our place in it.  During the times we used the best explanations that we had available to us.  It’s really not that complicated of a story.

In spite of the deliberate actions of Religious, and Societal factions supressing the pursuit of knowledge that could be conceived as contrary to established beliefs,  we have advanced greatly not only in our scientific discoveries, but refinements in the scientific method itself.  I for one, while typing on this engineering marvel of a laptop computer, am VERY thankful of those who followed their natural curiosity, stuck by their observations, and shared their findings regardless of how they may be accepted at the given time.

Scott

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Imagine being a free-thinking intellectual from Seattle living in the Heart of the Bible Belt.  Where everyone regularly follows the chuch of Fox News.  Receives their sermons from Rush Limbaugh.  Invocation from Glenn Beck.  And Sarah Palin is their Prophet….

IF there’s a Hell…..  I found it.

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Posted: 08 April 2011 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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brightfut - 07 April 2011 06:09 PM

You are sounding like a skeptic here.

Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 07 April 2011 11:23 PM

And on a forum promoted by a skeptical organization dedicated to promoting rational skepticism and inhabited in the main by skeptics, you expected what?

I think you missed my point here.  I was not criticizing you for being a skeptic.  You have benefited by growing up and living in a modern scientific society.  Even though many people where you live are not skeptical, you could still find people who were and learn from them.  As a result of this education, you can see right through irrational arguments that people before science and modern philosophy might(?) have had a hard time analyzing.  Do you think you were born naturally skeptical enough that without training and education you still would have been able to analyze these fallacies?

[ Edited: 08 April 2011 01:40 PM by brightfut ]
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Posted: 08 April 2011 10:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Do you think you were born naturally skeptical enough that without training and education you still would have been able to analyze these fallacies?

Honestly don’t know. It’s possible.

The thing is that with religion, in the end, it’s staunchest promoters know that there’s no evidence to back it up which is in turn, the reason they appeal to faith as if it were some sort of trump card when it’s really a cop-out.

For my own money, I have an impossible time trying to accept the notion that an omnipotant, omnipresent, all loving, all caring deity who can supposedly make or break everything with the wave of a hand, would

a) have a nuerotic obsession with whether or not were married to somebody we’re having sex with,

b) wants 10% of our income (What the hell would a god need money for?) and

c) needs some sort of twisted “Plan” for salvation which makes a soap opera look tame.

It just doesn’t add up, but it’s quite the lucrative racket.

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