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War and critical thinking… a British perspective
Posted: 21 December 2010 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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garythehuman - 18 December 2010 06:30 PM

I have been reading about religion as a social institution for several years now and the conclusion I have been coming to (at least at this point) is that the theology of any religion is a result of the particular social situation that it arises from.  When we study religion putting theology first, without looking at what caused the particular beliefs, we are going about it backwards.  People may “serve religion” but religions first and foremost serve people.  Conflicts among societies are the most usual cause of religious conflict, not the other way around.

I’m pretty certain religions are created to serve the interests of man. If there is a problem with any religion, it is not the fault of the religion, it is the fault of man.

I’m still wondering where you get the idea of humanity’s potential to one day develop a “theology based upon the scientific method”. I don’t even see how the nature of theology makes such a thing logically possible. That is, unless you define theology differently, as well?

There is today that has not always been true in the past, and may not be in the future, the role may be being transferred in our society.  (Note: I am not an academic, but the both the College I attended and the University I graduated from had many of the intellectual characteristics of a monastery.  Study what we tell you, in the order we say, or get out.  “I am the PHD and you’re not.”) 

I’ve come across the theory that the story of Adam and Eve did not orinate as a story of religion but one of science, the study of the stars. A story played out nightly in the skys. The constellations Bootes (the Heardsman) as Adam, Virgo as Eve, the Serpent(Hydra) at her feet. The immortal tree, the north star always in the sky.  The constellation Persus guarding the tree of life with his sword.  A story to teach about the constellations in the sky being passed down generation to generation to become a religious fable?


Civilizations in the past have had time to sit down and study the world and nature. Probably have made scientific advances as we have now. Still civilizations come and go. We create fictional stories to teach of things. Perhaps a thousand years from now simple survival becomes more important then scientific pursuit. What do you think will survive? Scientific journals or the stories told from generation to generation?

atom becomes Atom? The God of energy…

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Posted: 22 December 2010 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Gnost:

We create fictional stories to teach of things

I agree totally, This is the basis of all mythology, people remeber stories.  People as a whole very seldom remember charts and tables.
And socities cannot exisit without their mythology.

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All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

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Posted: 23 December 2010 10:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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garythehuman - 22 December 2010 11:18 AM

Gnost:

We create fictional stories to teach of things

I agree totally, This is the basis of all mythology, people remeber stories.  People as a whole very seldom remember charts and tables.
And socities cannot exisit without their mythology.

Well, you know, I’m going to stop trying to make moral sense out of the Adam and Eve story. It’s a bad habit. I don’t think there was any moral intent to begin with. It’s just a story.

If someone happens to create a “moral” message out of the story, it’s all on them.

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Posted: 26 December 2010 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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garythehuman - 22 December 2010 11:18 AM


And socities cannot exisit without their mythology.


Interesting remark. Why couldn’t societies exist without mythology? As an adjunct question, are you using the term ‘myth’ in it’s usually defined way or do you just mean ‘stories’?
As a society is made up of individuals and if many of those individuals are atheists then such a society could exist very well without a mythology ( as least, nobody I know has one ). What are the ‘mythologies’ of today?

Folktales , legends and stories are an artifact of our creative processes and what has been mentioned earlier, a way to pass down social mores, assumed history and for entertainment. Although some people choose to believe in some of the characters found in folktales or assume they are part of the corpus of their populations history, more often than not they are just received as pleasing fantasies and/or a caricature of past beliefs.

 

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Mihi, quanto plura recentium seu veterum revolvo, tanto magis ludibria rerum mortalium cunctis in negotiis observantur - Tacitus

” I knew that!” - me

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Posted: 26 December 2010 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Quoting Gnostikosis: 

I’m pretty certain religions are created to serve the interests of man. If there is a problem with any religion, it is not the fault of the religion, it is the fault of man.

  And guns don’t kill people.  People with guns kill people.  Sorry, but that’s silly logic.

Quoting Garythehuman:

And socities cannot exisit without their mythology.

First, one must differentiate between fairytales told for entertainment but not believed and false ideas that are accepted as true.  I’m assuming you meant the second.  While essentially all societies have had false beliefs, there’s nothing to show that they were necessary to the existence of the society.  It seems to me that over the last two millenia the role of myth in societies has decreased significantly.  I believe as we mature as a species we’ll get rid of myths and our societies will be far healthier.

Occam

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Posted: 27 December 2010 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Occam. - 26 December 2010 07:50 PM

Quoting Gnostikosis: 

I’m pretty certain religions are created to serve the interests of man. If there is a problem with any religion, it is not the fault of the religion, it is the fault of man.

  And guns don’t kill people.  People with guns kill people.  Sorry, but that’s silly logic.

Occam

What does guns have to do with anything?

The point is that individuals or groups of individuals had some understanding and intent in mind in determining the doctrine and beliefs of their religion.

The police shoot a man to protect a hostage.
A robber shoots a person to get away with the loot.

Both cases someone got shot and a gun was involved. Do we ever bother to examine the justification of the shooter? Or do we just say guns are bad?

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Posted: 27 December 2010 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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I guess I’m NOT certain that religions were created (just) to serve the interests of man (in general).  I believe religions were created to control the members of the group, and put them under the authority of the religious leaders.  So, while they used it to impose rules of behavior, they also used it to subjugate the people, to have them give in to authority rather than teaching them to think for themselves, and to gain power for the religious leaders. 

I don’t believe that religions were formed by a democratic set of decisions or intent to determine the doctrine and beliefs of their religion.  Their leaders did that, to a good degree for their own self interest.

Occam

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Posted: 28 December 2010 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Occam. - 27 December 2010 07:55 PM

I guess I’m NOT certain that religions were created (just) to serve the interests of man (in general).  I believe religions were created to control the members of the group, and put them under the authority of the religious leaders.  So, while they used it to impose rules of behavior, they also used it to subjugate the people, to have them give in to authority rather than teaching them to think for themselves, and to gain power for the religious leaders. 

I don’t believe that religions were formed by a democratic set of decisions or intent to determine the doctrine and beliefs of their religion.  Their leaders did that, to a good degree for their own self interest.

Occam

I meant the interests of men. “Interest of man” sounds like it’s meant in a beneficial way.

I think one should put the blame, good or bad, on those who created the religion. You may not personally, but blaming religion in general I think misses the fact that this is something of our own creation.

Like our government. I like to blame my troubles on the government however we the people are responsible for the government being what it is.

I don’t know maybe religion and government seems beyond our ability to change but it shouldn’t be that way should it?

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Posted: 28 December 2010 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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I guess the difference I see is that we can’t get along as a society without government so we should work to protect it from those who would misuse it.  I think we could do very well without religion, and I don’t see it as performing a useful function that couldn’t be better performed by education, so I would far more want to get rid of it than trying to choose less predatory or parasitic religous leaders.

Occam

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Posted: 29 December 2010 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Occam. - 28 December 2010 07:14 PM

I guess the difference I see is that we can’t get along as a society without government so we should work to protect it from those who would misuse it.  I think we could do very well without religion, and I don’t see it as performing a useful function that couldn’t be better performed by education, so I would far more want to get rid of it than trying to choose less predatory or parasitic religous leaders.

Occam

What religion provides is hope and comfort. Hope and comfort IMO is a catalyst for survival.

Having said that, perhaps why the secular minded seek a more socialist style of government. They look to government to provide them with hope and comfort.

Religious types neither need nor want the government to provide them with hope and comfort.
Education is fine as long as it doesn’t threaten the source of their hope and comfort.

There is also predatory and parasitic political leaders. I suppose it is the corruptible nature of humans.

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Posted: 29 December 2010 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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There’s alot of good stuff posted here. I hope to see this discussion furthered in the “Why do people *think* they need religion” thread, as it seems more appropriate anyways.

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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

- Bruce Lee -

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Posted: 04 January 2011 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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pelagic - 26 December 2010 06:21 PM
garythehuman - 22 December 2010 11:18 AM


And socities cannot exisit without their mythology.


Interesting remark. Why couldn’t societies exist without mythology? As an adjunct question, are you using the term ‘myth’ in it’s usually defined way or do you just mean ‘stories’?
As a society is made up of individuals and if many of those individuals are atheists then such a society could exist very well without a mythology ( as least, nobody I know has one ). What are the ‘mythologies’ of today?

Folktales , legends and stories are an artifact of our creative processes and what has been mentioned earlier, a way to pass down social mores, assumed history and for entertainment. Although some people choose to believe in some of the characters found in folktales or assume they are part of the corpus of their populations history, more often than not they are just received as pleasing fantasies and/or a caricature of past beliefs.

 

Pelagic

Sorry it took so long to get back to this.

Some myth’s of the US - George Washington and the Appletree,  More seriously the US viewing itself as The City on a Hill to spread “enlightment” to the rest of the world. Also the poor deserve to be that way because they are lazy, don’t want to work and want to live off welfare.

Basically I define myth as stories used to transmit basic beliefs and ethical codes.  Whether you are using a religious text such as the Bible, Koran, the Analects, the Life of Budda, Grimms Fairy Tales, or putting Charelton Heston in the role of Moses you are using a story to make a certain point on how society should be structured and how people should behave within it.  The first reason this is necessary is because no individual human can possibly posess all knowledge.  (we are not omniscent cool grin)  Therefore we have to rely lie on experts based upon our own and societies evaluation of them, and this is based upon the myths any particular society creates.  The second and equally important reason is that myths are used to communicate the accepted standards of any society,  laws may enfoce certain behaviors but what is accepted and unacceptable behavior is decided upon through contervailing myths.

Science is one the basic myths of current modern society.  IMO, this is a good myth because the scientific method provides a system of checks and balances that makes it self-correcting and does not presuppose that the current knowledge is the final answer.  The closer your myths are to reality the more useful they are.

I am still working on this concept so the explanation may still be a bit ragged, but I think recognizing “myth” can be a valuable tool for analizing and understanding various societies.

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