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What is religion?
Posted: 29 April 2007 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Faux News

Only if I were a represetnative of CFI. Give me a job and then you can hit me over the head for it. I work for cheap, by the way smile

And no, it’s not, because there is a logical argument to back it up. A) Bill O’Reilly attacks people for daring to ask questions which make him uncomfortable B) Occam has attacked me for asking a question which he finds uncomfortable therefore C) Occam is behaving in the same manner as Bill O’Reilly. QED.

Now, back your argument up that merely asking for the definition of religion constitutes an attack set up.

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Posted: 29 April 2007 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Ah, now that’s the strawman fallacy—putting words in the mouth of the other person then arguing against them rather than against what the person really said.  Read what I said more carefully.  I never said you were setting up an attack.

Occam

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Posted: 29 April 2007 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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“Stop trying to trap people by asking questions designed to allow attacks. Give us YOUR views. ”

That’s what you said.

Listen it’s easier to talk somebody to death when it’s not on an internet chat board, where all I have to do is cut and paste the parts where you’re contradicting yourself.

Look, this whole discussion is pointless, anyway, and I have to go home in a few minutes. Let’s get this thread back to the original question and quit quibbling over which one of us is the bigger a**hole

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Posted: 29 April 2007 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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AlbanyDave,

I did actually give a definition, with qualifications, in my original post. Is that not a useful starting place for you?

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Posted: 30 April 2007 02:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Repeat, please

Well, let’s start by looking at a stripped-down version of your argument, one that eliminates the incivility and boils it down to the neutral language used during critical reasoning. I believe you said that religion is any belief in the supernatural, is that correct?

If so, does that make superstitions, such as the whole Friday the 13th thing a religion, too?

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Posted: 30 April 2007 03:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Troll : a troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding.

This thread is looking a lot like trolling. Trolling is a form of disruptive behavior that is not allowed on this site. NB.

If you are really interested in issues of definition, then let’s start with your own. If your point is that “religion” is hard to define, it is on all fours with all standard everyday concepts, with the exception of mathematical or logical objects. But even they depend on fundamental concepts which are not themselves amenable to further non-circular definitions. (E.g., truth, validity, equivalence).

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Posted: 30 April 2007 04:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Re: Repeat, please

[quote author=“AlbanyDave”]I believe you said that religion is any belief in the supernatural, is that correct?

No, he said, “a system of beliefs in which the supernatural figures prominently and which claims to be both descriptive of reality and proscriptive for how people should behave.”  Do you have a problem with that?

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Posted: 30 April 2007 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Tone it down

No, I’m not trolling. I am just askling for a definiton. It’s impossible to criticize a thing you cannot define clearly. So, let’s define it clearly.

Fear of Friday the 13th assumes a supernatural force (being some mystical thing that happens on this particular day) which figures prominently, claims to be descriptive of reality and proscriptive of how people should behave (ie, you should be careful on this day). Same thing with a belief that breaking a mirror will bring bad luck. The supernatural force (bad luck) features prominently (it happens to anyone who breaks a mirror) claims to be descriptive of reality and proscriptive of how people should behave (people should be careful not to break mirrors). Is this a religion, or do we need a new definition?

“a troll is someone who intentionally posts derogatory or otherwise inflammatory messages about sensitive topics in an established online community such as an online discussion forum to bait users into responding”

Am I baiting you or asking for a definiton? If you cannot define it, just say so, or better yet, say nothing at all. Have I posted anything derogitory? If so, what? For a forum that examines religion (it’s even
called ‘Religion and Secularism’, means that this is not so sensitive a topic that it cannot be discussed here.

I have not attacked any person-just their arguments. That’s called healthy debate, and you’d better get used to it. Dogma, whether it’s religious dogma or the dogma of those who would make secularism into a religion, by hewing to an unquestionable party line, is something I have no respect for.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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It was not clear from your first post whether you were trolling or not. It has become more obvious as a pattern of action. What you have done is to insinuate that nobody here has any idea how to define “religion”, as you have insinuated that nobody in the philosophy forum could define “truth”.

These are inflammatory claims.

They are particularly inflammatory because they are so obviously beside the point. Nobody can define any everyday concepts in a non-circular fashion. How do you define “house”, “car”, “chair”, “poem”, “game”? Nobody can give you precise necessary and sufficient conditions for any of these things. There are none of them that I know that “require no exceptions”, as you put it. But that doesn’t mean we think they don’t exist. It certainly doesn’t mean that we should get such necessary and sufficient conditions “before [we] join discussions” about them.

And as I’m sure you know, there are plenty of working definitions of terms like “religion” that we can easily find to discuss, like HERE for example, if we want to start a productive discussion:

[quote author=“wikipedia”]A religion is a set of beliefs and practices generally held by a community, involving adherence to codified beliefs and rituals and study of ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and mystic experience. The term “religion” refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction.

Again, if you have a particular point to make, make your point rather than baiting other members.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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It was not clear from your first post whether you were trolling or not. It has become more obvious as a pattern of action. What you have done is to insinuate that nobody here has any idea how to define “religion”, as you have insinuated that nobody in the philosophy forum could define “truth”.

So, anyone that asks a question is insinuating something threatening?

Wikipedia is not considered to be the final authority on anything. It’s edited by 14 year olds, is not peer-reviewed by anyone, and carries no credibility. Pick something less specious. Better yet, construct your own argument and show me how capable of reasoned discourse you are. Or does it threaten you that I can challenge your basic assumptions? If so, then you are little better than the religious extremists.

Given that you’re a site administrator, I have to assume that CFI endorses your position, or else you wouldn’t be so willing to post it so openly. I guess this means I’ll have to cancel my magazine subscription then, and the podcast subscription. I don’t watch Faux News for the same reason. Congrats, you’ve just become the very thing you revile.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Let’s tone down the rhetoric, and not take things so personally. An interesting discussion on the important topic of what a religion is doesnt need to devolve in charges of religious extremism, which in a group like this, is a big insult indeed raspberry

Now as for what a religion is:

Whatever else it is, it has a supernatural component.

At the turn of the century, the high court ruled that religion is “faith in god.” But that definition was soon found to be too narrow, since there are religions that dont have concepts of faith and others that dont have concepts of a god (pantheisms and panentheisms, etc.)

Soon after, the consensus definition of religion was a functionalist one: if it looks like a religion, and quacks like a religion, it is a religion. But this definition was found to be too broad—functionalists defined Marxism as a religion, going to baseball games as religious (everyone adheres to certain ritualized elements, the convocation begins with a hymn, there are heights of emotion like in some religious services, etc.)

Another far too broad definition is Paul Tillich’s: that religion and God is the “object of one’s ultimate concern.” But this is also far too broad: it allows that money can be some people’s religion. Or sex. Or any obsession.

A definition that includes everything fails to draw distinctions and loses its effectiveness as a definition.

So the consensus definition of religion now the last 30 or so years among scholars in the field who study it is: whatever elese it is, it has a supernatural component. Thus, Mahayana and Theraveda Buddhism are considered religions (belief in supernatural claims regarding the life of the Buddha, ancestor worship, etc.) but Zen is not, as it is without supernatural belief. That’s why scholars call Zen and certain kinds of confucianism also “Eastern Philosophy”

There are other things they say helps define religion: that it is participatory, at least by the individual, that it is a “communication system,” and that there is an other-worldly component. Etc.

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"Few have the courage of their convictions. Fewer still have the courage for an attack on their convictions." - Nietzsche

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Posted: 30 April 2007 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Voice of Reason is Not Dead After All

You know, I had just erased my profile and canceled my podcast subscription when I thought about logging in so I could delete the email Occam sent me earlier today telling me that he found homosexuals too aggressive, and suggested that a psychiatrist might be able to ‘cure’ me. On a fluke, after deleting the email, I checked in to see the chat board one last time, expecting to be lambasted yet again for having dared to ask for a fundamental definition for religion. Much to my surprise, I found quite the opposite. DJ Groethe, please allow me to apologize for having judged CFI perhaps too quickly. I see there is reason to remain after all.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Good definition, DJ.  You defined it better than I would have.

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Posted: 30 April 2007 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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And I certainly didn’t say that in my e-mail.

Occam

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Posted: 01 May 2007 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Bull

Yes, you did.

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