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Is religion good for anything?
Posted: 12 October 2012 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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So, relpacing these institutions is problematic as they are ingrained into the heart off the community and will in all likelihood continue in the future only to trail off when the youth leave them.

Ah! I see. Well, montreal as far as I understand used to be quite religious so I’m sure it must have been the same more or less as far as how the church was influencing the community’s social or political activities. Unfortunately for this conversation, it is something I grew up without. Let alone mega-churches. But I can offer my own thoughts on why the community is not necessarily disapearing, but merely shifting venues.

The internet obviously allows new communities to emerge. Instead of going to church to find people with common interests or create activities, may it be social sports or political support, younger people can do so online easier, more comfortably, and reach out to much more people. They don’t have to move around and meet somewhere just so they can again meet somewhere else, but by doing this online instead or through texting have access to a larger community that fits their preferences, all while getting it done much faster. Politics is my weak point, so I don’t know how it would work online though. But anyways, there is the seperation of age groups as well, but it may be inevitable if older generations won’t give up the church and join the rest, which I don’t think they will. People go where their interests lie, for young people it seems they prefer the emerging online community, may it be through video games or not, over those old-world buildings full of people usually much older than them, people they can’t connect with   tongue laugh . Sounds harsh, but that’s how they see it.  downer

But anyways, that’s for big cities with regular size churches. But for small towns with one mega church, it might be another story altogether… It’s too foreign to me. Maybe someone else here can shed some light as to what a suitable alternative could be, if any. I suppose those who like the mega-church communites will stay, while others will move to the cities where the things I described suit their interests more.

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Posted: 13 October 2012 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I’m going to go with no…

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/asia/teenager-in-hiding-after-blasphemy-accusation-pakistani-police-say.html?ref=world

Take care,

Derek


That issue, while tragic doesn’t address the situation here where legislation prevents hunting down apostates (yet). Unfortunately in the Muslim controlled countries democratic ideals are yet to flourish but cracks are appearing due to Facebook and other Internet connections. When the youth there want to modernize their lives then it will begin to happen, often violently. They’ll have to overcome their own theocracies to accomplish it. As to the Internet here spreading the “good word” to teens, there’s just too much competition with other “forbidden"sites” political, sexual, etc. the old adage “how ya going to keep them down on the farm… Comes into play. Kids are naturally curious and will seek out what their fundamentalist parents don’t want them to see. I’ve seen this play out many times, especially kids who were either home schooled or previously attended a parochial school. If the trend continues, and it surely will with the advent of even more information on the web, the number of “nones” will increase and begin to have an impact on the political scene here and abroad.Meantime, one can only hope.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Initially, the only two good reasons I can attribute to religion are charity (i.e. feeding and helping the homeless and disadvantaged) and creating a sense of “community” amongst its members. I suppose the two aformentioned ideas are more of offshoots of religion and not actual direct benefits of religion. I believe the idea of Jesus only to the extent that he probably was a “good” man who lived a life of charity, but the rest is just man-made, to include all the supernatural stories we read.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Fortunately, we’ve begun to replace religous charity (read - proseltyzing) with Social Security and Welfare, and community with all sorts of other nonreligious groups and clubs (even this forum).

Occam

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Posted: 23 November 2012 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Is religion good for anything?

I quote Christoper Hitchens: “One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think—though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one—that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.”

It was a good explanation of things long ago, when there were no explanations of things. But I dare say we’ve grown out of it…at least some of us.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I think atheism would be even more popular if it had rituals.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I think atheism would be even more popular if it had rituals.

it does. It’s called “Critical thinking.”

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Posted: 23 November 2012 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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dansmith62 - 23 November 2012 07:17 AM

I think atheism would be even more popular if it had rituals.

Damn, Dan.  You have to stop confusing atheism with ethical systems.  Atheism is NOT just an alternate religion.  It’s merely a single statement - there is no god.  If you want to talk about humanism (a diffrent subject from atheism), then you can talk about behavior patterns that can or do exist within it.

Occam

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Posted: 23 November 2012 03:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Most mainstream religions in the US and other developed nations seem to be a double edged sword to me; sure, they contribute greatly to charity, but oftentimes, this is veiled under intolerant views that are not really good for society, from the humanist view.

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Posted: 24 November 2012 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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True, and also an excuse to subtly prosletyze vulnerable people.

Occam

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Posted: 24 November 2012 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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and thereby, often instilling counterproductive fears and superstions.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 23 November 2012 08:45 AM

I think atheism would be even more popular if it had rituals.

it does. It’s called “Critical thinking.”

That’s not a ritual. It’s a human virtue treasured by both atheists and educated believers.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Occam. - 23 November 2012 01:07 PM
dansmith62 - 23 November 2012 07:17 AM

I think atheism would be even more popular if it had rituals.

Damn, Dan.  You have to stop confusing atheism with ethical systems.  Atheism is NOT just an alternate religion.  It’s merely a single statement - there is no god.  If you want to talk about humanism (a diffrent subject from atheism), then you can talk about behavior patterns that can or do exist within it.

Occam

I know this, Occam. So what I was trying to say was that if communities of people who share this statement had rituals, these communities would be more popular. I actually know atheists who enjoy going to church because of the rituals. No joke.

The statement also applies to humanists. So humanism would be even more popular if it had (more) rituals.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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You have a good point, however, questions seem to be: what percent of people enjoy or desire rituals?  And how do you define a ritual as differentiated from, say, an agenda?  I was a member of a church (Unitarian) for about 30 years both because that particular congregation consisted of about 60% atheists, 20% agnostics and the rest deists (the minister was a strong atheist), and although they followed a schedule, the church services had no rituals.  Until recently I was a board member of a local political club, and at each board meeting the president would pass out an agenda which we followed.  I don’t consider that a ritual.

It seems to me that there’s a major difference between following a particular pattern for efficiency and completeness, and mindlessly responding to a minister or priest’s directions. 

From what I’ve seen, organizations which foster community are more successful.  In addition, a strong set of mutually agreed upon objectives helps bind the group together.  Unfortunately, the main objective of humanists seems to be:  Let everyone follow their own path.  By definition, that mitigates against the group having any objective it can work toward.

Occam

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Posted: 26 November 2012 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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dansmith62 - 26 November 2012 10:29 AM

So what I was trying to say was that if communities of people who share this statement had rituals, these communities would be more popular. I actually know atheists who enjoy going to church because of the rituals. No joke.

Yeah, but they go to church because they are cultural Christians, not because they are atheists. I am one, too, especially during Christmas when I still celebrate the birth of Christ. But again, this has nothing to do with my atheism. I have no idea what kind of a ritual an atheist could engage in “in the name of atheism.” Should I wake up on Sundays, get on my knees and whisper over and over “I don’t believe in God”?

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