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What do we replace Religious Ethical teachings with?
Posted: 26 July 2007 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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popeth - 26 July 2007 12:54 PM

Truth Addict - thank you for addressing this, but I’m afraid I disagree with you that we cannot better plan ahread.
Dougsmith - the possibility that the demise of organised religion in certain European countries could hit a tipping point after which their irrelevance could accelerate rapidly, is indeed a viable one, and must be planned for.  But as you say, this is an aside, we are debating something more specific, please see below dotted line.
Narwhol - I don’t see how my approach here is underestimating humanity..

Well, here’s how:  when you say things like “and must be planned for”.  You don’t think we’ll get along just peachy?  What kind of a plan would we stick to.  Now, I know all about SMART targets, but you can’t set them in this case and it would be rather stupid and quite pathetic to try.  We just don’t know that anything at all is going to change as a result of the irrelevance of religions in the developed world (living in the North West of England, I have a pretty clear view of what a society in which religions are pretty much ignored feels like and it ‘s quite nice to be honest) or that we don’t have the resourcefulness to be able to cope if indeed they disappear from public life.  I’m guessing that we do.  And I’m right.

……………………………………………………………………………….

Perhaps a good example to illustrate this would be to consider the branch of Judaism (liberal or humanistic, I forget which) who aren’t terribly bothered whether God exists or not, they just like being Jewish!  I went to a speech delivered by one who is a Prof in Cambridge last year.  If that religion was enmeshed in society in the same way as Christianity is in Britain, then its removal would leave a void with consequences which would need to be sufficiently planned for.

There you go again with your anxious predictions! Says who?  It’s not currently enmeshed in our society and I feel no need for a plan to get over that fact. Why would it be any different if it was enmeshed in society and society slowly lost interest in it? It wouldn’t.  seriously, get help for this complex you have of thinking you can see the future and that it looks really really bleak. You can’t and if you could it probably wouldn’t. 

Another illustrative tool might be to write a list about all the possible ways in which religion interacts with something (or something interacts with religion) to affect society.  Now remove religion.  Tell me there is no void.

No, it just means I can actually go out and do stuf that’s enjoyable on a religious holiday rather than everything being closed.

Finally, remove any preconceptions as to rightfulness, permanence or desirability of the void.

I didn’t have any. I think the only void is the one between the ears of anyone who thinks there is.

Now, tell me there will be no void, and I will disagree with you

Whatever, Trevor.

[ Edited: 26 July 2007 03:02 PM by narwhol ]
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Posted: 26 July 2007 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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Thats quite an interesting reply Narwhol

thank you for your attention

Gareth

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Posted: 26 July 2007 05:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Very polite, but you’re supposed to argue!

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Posted: 26 July 2007 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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I find protracted discussions here almost always repetitious so I usually don’t bother posting.  However, I must comment. LOL

Narwhol, I think popeth’s reply, “Thats quite an interesting reply Narwhol   -  thank you for your attention”  is a very strong argument.  I would translate it as “Your argument is about as useful and meaningful as horse feces, Narwhol, and not worth my time responding to.” 

I may be wrong, and popeth may just be being polite, but I doubt it.

Occam

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Posted: 26 July 2007 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Occam - 26 July 2007 07:02 PM

I find protracted discussions here almost always repetitious so I usually don’t bother posting.  However, I must comment. LOL

Narwhol, I think popeth’s reply, “Thats quite an interesting reply Narwhol   -  thank you for your attention”  is a very strong argument.  I would translate it as “Your argument is about as useful and meaningful as horse feces, Narwhol, and not worth my time responding to.” 

I may be wrong, and popeth may just be being polite, but I doubt it.

Occam

You may well be.  Or, he may be saying that (and that was the distinct impression I got).  Neither makes much difference to me.  He may think my argument is not useful and he is entitled to that opinion.  I, on the other hand don’t think there is a void left by a lack of religion having an influence and I think I am in the strongest postition to argue this point since I live in a society in which it’s not important (and once was) and it really doesn’t appear to have left any kind of a void.  So, it’s not really awfully useful to plan for one; I mean what are you going to do as soon as religion becomes irrelevant to most people’s lives? Duck and cover?  run to the hills as those smart people did when Y2K devastate the world as we knew it and left us in this millenium foresaken hellhole we now inhabit?    And I think I’ve argued that point pretty strongly (as is my prerogative).  Aggresively, even. Instead, I could have just expostulated the argument of the great “wet lettuce” to him and that would have set him straight, but I leave that in reserve for such times as when it’s needed.

[ Edited: 26 July 2007 07:33 PM by narwhol ]
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Posted: 27 July 2007 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I believe quite passionately that Humanism is failing itself and everyone else by not planning adequately for life after relligion.

BHA website tells us that in a poll they had circa 17 million people giving humanist rather than religious answers - and one of the officials signs her emails with a stamp saying “the BHA campaigns on behalf of the Uk’s 17 million Humanists”.  Yet the actual membership of the BHA is only a few thousand.  We’re all so busy being convinced that we are right, that we are not working efficiently to allow millions more to fully break free from the control of religion.

We’ve been given a real gift through the period of Blair & Bush, I’m disappointed we’ve not done more with it.  I don’t know about USA, but we do have some of our philosophers in decidedly ivory towers here.

I stated 2 problems here:  That a void would be apparent upon the demise of religion, and that many people fear what this void might be like.

There’s an awful lot that we can do about that.

If I’m not successful in communicating this, I request that you park it in your subconscious and keep an ear out for the second problem (fear of the void) in the decent, sensible religious people whom we all know.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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popeth,

give some details on how and where we should be “planning adequately for life after relligion.”

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Posted: 27 July 2007 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Truth addict - just to confirm I have seen this, and will answer after I have moved house this weekend.  I seem to be struggling to get my points across, so had better take time with the answer to avoid going down confusing and distracting cul de sacs.

Any contributions from yourself and others on this would be great to see - whether you share my opinion or not (probably not from what I’ve seen so far).

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Posted: 27 July 2007 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Oh don’t let my replies bother you - I’m not even a humanist (I’m an atheist) and if you ask anyone on this site, they will tell you that I have a very sarcastic style in which I argue.  some will also tell you that I make a fair few valid points too that are very difficult to refute or even rebut.  And most will tell you that they really hate it when this last happens.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I have struggled getting my point across with everyone I think Narwhol, not only yourself.  I’ll enjoy coming back to this once am up and running in my new home.  Have a nice weekend.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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popeth -

I think that since you are saying that removing religion form something leaves a void, it is up to you to provide an example.  Otherwise you are asking us to prove a negative.  You have not given an example, nor have you posited any kind of mechanism, other than saying that if something was there, and then it wasn’t, it must have left some empty space.  That works when considering the contents of a fridge, but not in sociology.  In considering society, the absence of something can be a huge benefit - would the absence of racism leave a void? or of violence?  Certainly a Star Trek type of analysis, where human nature includes some mix of barbarism and civilization might argue that violence and hatred are perennial, but I’d like to see an example of a community that complains that its violent crime rate is too low (maybe a subcommunity, like fascists, or people who misread Nietzsche, or psychopaths, or security firm owners, but not a whole community).

I referred in some other post to Quebec - in the 1960’s there was the Quiet Revolution, where the Church lost its hold on education, health care, and politics, and Quebec was transformed from a near-fascist backwater into one of the most liberal and modern societies in the world - removing that malignant tumor left a few scars, but no void.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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popeth - 27 July 2007 03:22 PM

I have struggled getting my point across with everyone I think Narwhol, not only yourself.  I’ll enjoy coming back to this once am up and running in my new home.  Have a nice weekend.

You too, Gareth, hope you settle in okay.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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popeth,

ive already said i favor planning by three main steps: getting educated, organized and active (and in that order!).

the void probably wouldnt happen all at once, if at all. i think if religion were to go away it would be gradual, thus not leaving a void.

by getting educated on how religion operates, the implications, the fallacies, etc we fill the void with a broader understanding. so, we can see that any positive value (and sometimes negative) exist without the religion. we know morals and ethics dont really come from religion, but are used by.

what i disagree with is having a blueprint for change. it never works. the best we can do to make progressive changes is to be prepared and, again, i feel the best way to do that is to, first, get educated, then organized and, finally, get active. join groups, reach out to others, etc.

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Posted: 27 July 2007 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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narwhol - 27 July 2007 03:06 PM

Oh don’t let my replies bother you - I’m not even a humanist (I’m an atheist) and if you ask anyone on this site, they will tell you that I have a very sarcastic style in which I argue.  some will also tell you that I make a fair few valid points too that are very difficult to refute or even rebut.  And most will tell you that they really hate it when this last happens.

I didn’t realize I was a walking contradiction since I’m a humanist and also an atheist.

I had always imagined sarcasm was a sophisticated, ironic, insult.  So, no, narwhol, I hadn’t observed that you have a sarcastic style. I guess I’m in the minority because I’m delighted (I didn’t say, “astounded”) when you happen to make a valid point.

I agree with popeth’s concept.  If we consider what the functions of religion have been throughout the centuries, we see that many of them have been taken over by other disciplines.  Education of the young by the state; explanations of natural phenomena by science; enforcement of ethical behavior by laws; etc.  As I see it religion still offers education and explanation of natural phenomena (like ‘creative design’) that some accept; and ethical behavior (like killing infidels).  The three major positives still offered by religious institutions are:  1)  Offering a community for people who feel alone; 2) Offering charity for people who need support; 3) Ethics and morality (often wrong to some extent) for people who haven’t thought through the need for them and the reasoning on which they are based.

Our schools should be funded adequately and teachers taught effectively so that students can learn a great deal more of the basics of science (so they won’t be as easily hoodwinked by religion), and so they can learn and accept social ethics.  Our governments must be modified so they take care of those who need support, e.g., the physically or mentally handicapped, the ill, the young, the old, etc.  I’m not sure how we can build community (no narwhol, I don’t think state subsidized pubs would quite work), but I’m sure we could come up with ways of doing it.

As these functions are taken over by non-religious disciplines the need people have for religion will fade as will the religions.


Occam

[ Edited: 27 July 2007 07:37 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 27 July 2007 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I didn’t realize I was a walking contradiction since I’m a humanist and also an atheist.

To be honest, Occam, I neither know nor care what you are [n.b.  this will not stop me calling you stuff.].  Either way, I was merely pointing out that I wasn’t a humanist. But, I was an atheist.

I had always imagined sarcasm was a sophisticated, ironic, insult.

So you thought you’d compound two American errors for the price of one, okay fine.  I get you.  And well done for correct use of the word “imagined”.  No, they’re not the same thing - irony and sarcasm - I mean - but yes, I do both and well (ish) spotted.  Sarcasm is a far superior comedic skill. Those who can’t think say it’s the lowest form of wit but a) on what criteria and b) the fact that witty sarcasm is dificult and funny ranks it way above slapstick means that’s a fallacy.

So, no, narwhol, I hadn’t observed that you have a sarcastic style. I guess I’m in the minority because I’m delighted (I didn’t say, “astounded”) when you happen to make a valid point.

Oh come on! You wouldn’t know a valid point if it crawled up your trouser leg and bit your scrote and you know it!

I agree with popeth’s concept.

Popeth, you might as well recant your statement now then.

[quoteIf we consider what the functions of religion have been throughout the centuries…

a) ooh yeah! they’ve been lovely little functions them; throughout the centuries and that. How would we have got on other, of course, than so much better and that than how we got on with religions?  You’d have a point there, Occy baby if reality didn’t disagree with you.  But it does.

Ignoring the whole papragraph of you feeling superior to the “lower intelligence and reasoning skills being unable to be moral (utterly wrong) and moving on to the humanist low self esteem must plan for stuff that will never happen because I am a mong for ever believing it would paragraph:

Our schools should be funded adequately and teachers taught effectively so that students can learn a great deal more of the basics of science (so they won’t be as easily hoodwinked by religion), and so they can learn and accept social ethics.  Our governments must be modified so they take care of those who need support, e.g., the physically or mentally handicapped, the ill, the young, the old, etc.  I’m not sure how we can build community (no narwhol, I don’t think state subsidized pubs would quite work), but I’m sure we could come up with ways of doing it.


let’s live in the reality we’ve got, shall we?  Most teachers do.  A tiny minority are and rather than legislate for them, let’s let groups like the u-tube atheists use their sarcasm (yes, actual sarcasm done really well) pick up on any nonsense that fundies try to slip into schools.  If a court case is needed, get Barbara and her team in to deal with it.  Acknowledge that humans can deal with such things (rather than being humanist about it).  As to supporting people who need help in a sensible way that doesn’t demean the person who needs help with something,  think these days most people do that with the minimum of fuss.  Or at least I quietly and discretely do and I hope everybody else does. So what’s that got to do with a void left by religion (i have never ever believed a single word of religion and am an averagely good person).

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