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Does Religion have any place in your ideal world?
Yes. 4
No. 9
Only in a neutered non-public form 0
other 1
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Does Religion have any place in your ideal society?
Posted: 06 February 2013 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I usually enjoy the posts, but I seldom laugh out loud.  But you managed it, George.  LOL LOL LOL

Occam

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Posted: 07 February 2013 12:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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garythehuman - 06 February 2013 01:41 PM
George - 06 February 2013 01:39 PM
garythehuman - 06 February 2013 01:32 PM

I’m tired of these polls.

How tired are you?:

• extremely tired
• somehow tired;
• little tired.

cool hmm Sorry went to sleep

tongue laugh tongue rolleye tongue wink

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Posted: 07 February 2013 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Korzybski said one may view ‘religion’ as representing a primitive kind of science and ‘science’ as a modern religion. So I don’t know about “an ideal” society, but there is no place for religion in a modern society.

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Posted: 07 February 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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No.

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Posted: 09 February 2013 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Korzybski was a bright guy, but his main area was the logic of language.  I’m not sure he was really qualified as an expert in defining religion and science.  I could agree if one considered only those who weren’t knowledgeable (insiders) in either field.

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Posted: 12 February 2013 09:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Emphatically, yes. Religion is how we humans orient ourselves within an environment/universe of which we understand only a little. I’m using the classic Latin definition of the term: to look upon all things (re) and bring everything together into a coherent whole (ligare). Seen this way, quite literally, no one can live without religion.

If you define religion as a belief in a supreme being or a fealty to an institution or other external authority on human values, then I give a completely different answer. I decline to accept such a definition because it ignores the broader meaning of the term, and the tremendous promise of this concept of religion. John Lennon captured the idea beautifully in his song “Imagine.” That’s a religious anthem for non-theists. Why is this so hard for us to accept and endorse?

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Posted: 13 February 2013 06:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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One of the major problems I’ve seen that prevents effective communication is when one person insists on using a non-standard definition of a word, often one that has been out of date for many years or one that is based on the original etymology of the word parts.  I just googled for definition of religion.  While there were many following references, this is what showed up first:
re·li·gion
/riˈlijən/Noun
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
It’s not at all hard for me to accept and endorse this, and it means for me, that I have no religion.  I just don’t accept the definition you wish to use, PLaClair.

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Posted: 14 February 2013 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Occam. - 13 February 2013 06:34 PM

One of the major problems I’ve seen that prevents effective communication is when one person insists on using a non-standard definition of a word, often one that has been out of date for many years or one that is based on the original etymology of the word parts.  I just googled for definition of religion.  While there were many following references, this is what showed up first:
re·li·gion
/riˈlijən/Noun
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
It’s not at all hard for me to accept and endorse this, and it means for me, that I have no religion.  I just don’t accept the definition you wish to use, PLaClair.

Occam

I could swear we’ve had this discussion, and that on previous occasions people who are posting on this topic, conflating religion and theism, have previously acknowledged that there is a distinction between the two. Yet here were are again, as though none of those discussions ever happened. I could be wrong but that’s my recollection. Any any event:

It’s not about communication. Each of us knows what the other means.

It’s about taking available opportunities. There are several non-theistic religions, including Ethical Culture, which is explicitly Humanistic. Religion, as I’ve defined it, has a valuable role to play in life and society. In fact, it is essential to both. If the objection is that the broader and more etymologically accurate definition is anachronistic because theism has become so dominant, the answer to that is to insist on taking our place at the table. Doing it your way is giving up, ceding the entire field to the theists, and effectively agreeing that by definition religion implies theism. It’s not true and it’s unproductive, and therefore I decline to do it.

The word “insist” has to be put in context. I do insist on looking at religion in broader perspective but I also acknowledge that many people do not do that. So I don’t insist that religion has to be defined in one way. Few words are. On the contrary, I made it clear that the word can be defined in any of several ways.

For us, however, we have a choice. I am interested in the best strategies for advancing Humanism within cultures and societies, and within the world. Occam, your approach presumes that all religion must be rejected and opposed. Mine recognizes that there are elements in religion that are worth preserving, endorsing and advancing. I suggest that the latter approach is not only more sound intellectually but by far the more effective.

Let’s consider the elements within the proposition. I maintain that by distinguishing between religion one the one hand, and theism and other forms of supernaturalist thought on the other, we can make ourselves seem more reasonable (by being more reasonable and more incisive), more accessible and more open (by not casting our net more broadly than is necessary), and thereby gain a wider and more receptive audience. What does your approach accomplish, except to satisfy some of the people within our ranks that we’ve taken no prisoners?

[ Edited: 14 February 2013 06:03 AM by PLaClair ]
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Posted: 14 February 2013 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I tend to side with PLaClair, IMO the social effects and organizing posibilities of the various religions are the important part.  Theology matters much less when it goes beyiond basic morals and is more of a badge of belonging to the group than anything else.  Belief in the supernatural may be a key point in Western relgions, but not necessarily all such as some schools of Buddism or Confuciusism.

The modern belief in science and rationality is similar to religion in that it provides a worldview to many of us in a manner similar to religion.  However it doesn’t provide the social structure and organization that most religions do.  IMO until it does we will continue to have the conflict between the religious and non-religious.

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Posted: 14 February 2013 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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We’ve had the discussion about word definitions before, but I don’t recall one specifically on “religion”.

Put simply, I have a set of ideas, morals, philosophy that I live by and they do not include the concept of any god/s.  By your definition, everyone has a religion, however, by my definition along with my antipathy for theistic beliefs, I do not have a religion.

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Posted: 14 February 2013 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Occam, it goes without saying that you are free to have any definition you want. However, if you, or anyone, adopts a definition of religion that excludes what some people see as religious, of necessity that narrows your view of the world. In doing that, if you’re using a definition that excludes all definitions of religion that are consistent with scientific naturalism, then obviously religion won’t seem like a viable option for you; but that’s only because you’ve chosen to limit your vision. It has nothing to do with what is available to us as Humanists.

There is a fundamental distinction in the ways you and I are looking at this. You’re looking at what religion means to you. I’m looking at what religion can mean to a scientific naturalist and Humanist. My focus is on advancing Humanism and scientific naturalism as social forces - as movements. I won’t presume to speak for you but it doesn’t seem to me that your focus is in the same place.

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Posted: 14 February 2013 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Well, sports fanaticism certainly seems more like a religion than “advancing Humanism and scientific naturalism as social forces,” although nobody would refer to them as religion. (Hmm, except maybe for this one, “Football as a Religion: The Church of Maradona.” Do watch it if you haven’s see it before. It’s unbelievable!)

So, Paul, would you call sports fanaticism a religion?

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Posted: 14 February 2013 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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George - 14 February 2013 11:51 AM

Well, sports fanaticism certainly seems more like a religion than “advancing Humanism and scientific naturalism as social forces,” although nobody would refer to them as religion. (Hmm, except maybe for this one, “Football as a Religion: The Church of Maradona.” Do watch it if you haven’s see it before. It’s unbelievable!)

So, Paul, would you call sports fanaticism a religion?

I offered two criteria for religion. As you observe, it is unlikely that even the most diehard sports fanatic would think that sport meets them. Such a worldview likely would reflect an underlying pathology, though probably not as destructive a pathology as we see in members of Al Qaeda or the Westboro Baptist Church

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Posted: 15 February 2013 09:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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There are many definitions of “religion”.

Here is a chart found in Jared Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday”

Some proposed Definitions of Religion
1.  Human recognition of superhuman controlling power and especially of a personal God entitled to obedience (Concise Oxford Dictionary)
2.  Any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.
(Webster’s New World Dictionary)
3.  A system of social coherence based upon a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen being, or system of thought considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine or highest truth, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions and rituals associated with such belief or systems of thought. (Wikipedia)
4.  Religion, in the broadest and most general terms possible,  . . . consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.  (William James)
5.  Social systems whose participants avow belief in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought. (Daniel Dennett)
6.  A propitiation or conciliation of superhuman powers which are believed to control nature and man (Sir James Frazer)
7.  A set of symbolic forms and acts which relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence. (Robert Bellah)
8.  A system of beliefs and practices directed toward the “ultimate concern” of a society.  (William Lessa and Evon Vogt)
9.  The belief in superhuman beings and in their power to assist or harm man approaches universal distribution, and this belief-I would insist- is the core variable which ought to be designated by any definition of religion. . . I shall define “religion” as “an institution consisting of culturally patterned interaction with culturally postulated superhuman beings.  (Melford Spiro)
10.  The common element of religion cross-culturally is a belief that the highest good is defined by an unseen order combined with an array of symbols that assist individuals and groups in ordering their lives in harmony with this order and an emotional commitment to achieving that harmony. (William Irons)
11.  A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden-beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them. (Emile Durkheim)
12.  Roughly, religion is (1) a community’s costly and hard to fake commitment (3) to a counterfactual and counterintuitive world of supernatural agents (3) who master people’s existential anxieties, such as death and deception.  (Scott Atran)
13.  A   religion is (1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4)  clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.  (Clifford Geertz)
14. Religion is a social institution that evolved as an integral mechanism of human culture to create and promote myths, to encourage altruism and reciprocal altruism, and to reveal the level of commitment to cooperate and reciprocate among members of the community. (Michael Shermer)
15. A religion we will define as a set of beliefs, practices and institutions which men have evolved in various societies, so far as they can be understood, as responses to those aspects of their life and situation which are believed not in the empirical-instrumental sense to be rationally understandable and/or controllable, and to which they attach a significance which includes some kind of reference to the relevant actions and events to man’s conception of the existence of a “supernatural”  order which is conceived and felt to have a fundamental bearing on man’s position in the universe and the values which give meaning to his fate as an individual and his relationship to his fellows. (Talcott Parsons)

16.  Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.  It is the opium of the people. (Karl Marx)
                              PP 327-8
   

What all these definitions miss IMO, is that relgion was and still is in many places a valuable survival tool, in that it organizies people to work together, as well as the fact that particularly in oral socities it was the means for ingraining valuable information about the physical and social worlds into into indivuals and groups thought patterns.  One of my biggest concerns, even as a non-believer in the supernatural, what if anything is going to replace religion, not just a memory aid but as a basis for social organization.

As for science being today’s relgion, it certainly is the basis for many of our current views on the physical world, but it doesn’t give us much on the social, political and cultural aspects.  It may be much of the resistance to science espically evolution is coming from people who instictively realize the lack in these areas.

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Posted: 15 February 2013 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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17. The attempt of people to find orientation and meaning in a universe that will kill them in the end. Mostly this is done by giving quick but ungrounded answers on people’s questions, given by self proclaimed authorities, but this is not necessary. E.g. humanists find the orientation in enabling good life for all humans (sometimes extended to other animals), without contradicting science.(GdB)

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