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Old 05-31-2011, 02:19 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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Originally Posted by Dusty Rhodes
Quote:
I'll agree that humans need a society, I do not agree that religion has to be a part of it. Mythology, can be amusing, but, it is not necessary.
Yes, well, fact is that before society was even conceived religion was necessary in order for different tribes to cooperate and live together.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:54 AM
 
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I see absolutely no evidence to support that claim above. However even if it was so, this is talking about the distant pre history past. This thread is about whether the world would be better without religion now and in the future. So it would seem the point above is both unsubstantiated AND irrelevant.

That said it is worth noting that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplefool View Post
The other thing that has to be is a difference in opinion. Therefore no matter what the social group is it will be at odds with other groups.
... differing opinion is of course an issue and likely always will be. The point is that the best way to form and run a society is to use the best weapon we have against the problem of differing opinion.... Discourse.

The issue with religion, and one of the reasons I think the world would be better off without it, is that it is not only naturally divisive, but it is a conversation stopper.

If I am discussing my opinion on how society should be we can do studies, tests, experiments and discuss real world facts. We can discuss and falsify and test each others facts and claims and ideas. Conversation is possible. As long as conversation is possible there is hope.

However if someone enters the conversation and says "My idea X is right because my god tells me so" then conversation ends because that person thus far is entirely unable to even provide a scrap of evidence that the entity in question exists... let alone that his opinion of what that entities opinion is accurate or even relevant.

Anything that causes discourse to break down is dangerous in my opinion and hence I think this is another reason the world would be better off without religion. Open discourse and the free exchange of ideas is the strongest and most important tool our species has.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:36 AM
 
Location: The Netherlands
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Originally Posted by Nozzferrahhtoo
Quote:
This thread is about whether the world would be better without religion now and in the future. So it would seem the point above is both unsubstantiated AND irrelevant.
In that case give me your definition of religion.
Personally I see no difference between religion and economics (read: the use of money).
Both act on having faith.
Heck, the use of money eventually leads to having credit which essentially is spending money you don't even have.
If that ain't proof of having faith then I don't know what is.

The moment people don't have any faith in their banks (read: stop trusting banks) the (global) economy will fall.

So I guess humanity needs religion as much as it needs money (global economy).
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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I notice you did not give any evidence for the claim I just said was unsubstantiated, choosing instead to go off on a tangent. This is about as useful to me as your ability to use the QUOTE function correctly on this forum.

There is massive difference between religion and economics for the very reasons I just gave in the rest of my post. With economics we can actually have a conversation. We can discuss the trends, the facts, the figures, the very real human set exchange rates and interest rates. We can have real discussions about the effects of changing those rates and much much more. There is a world of conversation out there available to us, and anyone who makes a claim can back up their claims with facts, figures and graphs.

The is why I contrast it to religion. When someone walks into a room and says “My god says we have to do X” there is no conversation possible. The god appears to exist entirely in the head of the person espousing it. They can not even establish the existence of that god, let alone that their claim to know that gods opinion is valid or even accurate. Nor have they established that we should even care what the opinion of a seemingly invisible disinterested entity even is.

So yes there is a difference… the difference is the effect each subject you listed has on our ability as a species…. In a society… to engage in discourse and the free exchange and substantiation of ideas. One very much allows it. The other very much curtails it.

And as I have said on many posts on this forum, there are few things more dangerous in a society… especially one capable of such destruction as we are… than causing a break down in discourse. As such I think the world would very much benefit from a lack of religion.

As for my definition of religion, I have many. But in the context of THIS post I would simply define religion as the practice of not only thinking there is a god... but thinking you know what it wants of us... and then endeavoring to pander to those requirements.

Using money is the opposite of faith. I can not even imagine how you came to such a conclusion as to call it faith. Your definition of faith must be one that is so dilute as to be meaningless. The use of money is a social construction to which we intentionally subscribe when we agree to be part of a society with other people.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
I wouldn't be surprised if mankind would've been extinct without religion.
It simply is impossible for the 1st people to survive individually.

I'm no expert, but I doubt the family structure is capable of growing beyond a tribe, which means that it is too small to even support the smallest of nation.
I see no reason for humankind becoming extinct without living in large nations. The Eskimos have seemed to do a fine job. I see little reason for nations to not have formed without religion, although I agree that it would have likely taken much longer. Deep down, the belly drives the human being. Someone would have realized eventually, that the larger the group is, the stronger each individual becomes. The difference would be that, rather than referring to themselves as a religion, they might merely use a name to seperate themselves from people outside their group.

exe: "We are the Chokras. We are wiser than you primitives" (because in small groups, everyone has to be skilled at everything, but large groups allow specialization, and when someone spends their life at one thing, they will not only become a master at it, they will likely find ways to improve it)

I would guess these cultural differences could be mistaken for biological differences, as cultural differences frequently are. Cultural differences could likely take the place of religion in a religionless world, should culture and biology be confused. Culture could be used to band a group together, as it frequently has been used, to create bonds between nation members, and distance members of the nation from outsiders.

Then again, Neanderthals lived out a long, long existence in relatively small extended family groups. Their burials were far simpler than those of Homo sapiens, though they had as large as, or perhaps even larger brains than our own. (although they might have been slightly smaller too. I forget). I would propose that simpler burials meant they were less likely to have organized religions, or at least not as complicated of organized religions as Homo sapiens living at the same time. Perhaps religion is the only thing that can begin nations? Then again, Neanderthals were not nomadic. It would make little sense for them to exist in large groups. They would use up the resources too quickly in the lands they perpetually remained in. I would doubt if the cold lands they lived in would be as good for crop production as warmer climates. I know they ate mostly meat. It might have merely been that they didn't form nations because they wouldn't have had enough to eat had they done so.

The thing is, such a person who might otherwise attempt to bind a group with culture and name, would likely realize it would be more efficient to use a religion. I'm guessing that religion would have formed unless human psychology was very different than it is now. Notable characteristics of the human mind - 1. an ability to empathize with others and essentially feel their pain 2. self awareness 3. the ability to think about things that haven't happened yet. This seems like a perfect recipe for religion and a belief in the afterlife to me.

Last edited by Clintone; 05-31-2011 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:36 AM
 
16,104 posts, read 17,912,079 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
Originally Posted by Dusty Rhodes Yes, well, fact is that before society was even conceived religion was necessary in order for different tribes to cooperate and live together.
You have some reference for this? Religion seems to me to have divided tribes rather than promoting cooperation.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
The only way for man to never have had any religion is to have been created a solitary creature instead of a herd animal.
The thing is that if this was the case man would've been too busy with simply surviving and there would have been no reason to find a tool which made it possible for large groups to cooperate and coexist peacefully.
And without a functioning society man never would have the time to reflect on his life and surroundings which eventually led to the invention of agriculture which paved the way for science & technology.

For better or worse religion facilitated the forming of bonds between various individuals who are not family related.
So religion made cooperation between very large groups of individuals possible which insured man's survival.

Too bad man is now in danger of wiping out the entire human race because of religion & technology.
agreed, pretty much.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:03 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D View Post
The only way for man to never have had any religion is to have been created a solitary creature instead of a herd animal.
You're essentially saying that to be a herd animal, you need religion. Because without religion, herds could not have formed. There are tons of animals who live in complex social environments with complex social interactions, e.g. ants, bees, gorillas, chimpanzees, bats, lions, penguins, killer whales, and many, many others. Many of them display altruistic behavior towards others in the "herd". So do all these animals also have religion?

Group behavior is nothing more than an evolutionary survival tactic. Members who were genetically disposed to being cooperative survived in greater numbers than those who were more solitary (due to either being able to survive stronger predators or being more efficient at hunting). The cooperative members thus became the norm. There was nothing religious about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricky D
The only way for man to never have had any religion is to have been created a solitary creature instead of a herd animal.
The thing is that if this was the case man would've been too busy with simply surviving and there would have been no reason to find a tool which made it possible for large groups to cooperate and coexist peacefully.
Make up your mind:
- You say that if humans were solitary animals, then no religion would have arisen.
- But since they were "created" as herd animals, then religion became necessary.
- But if they were "created" ("evolved" would be the right word here) as herd animals, then why wouldn't they automatically herd together, since that's the definition of a herd animal? Herd animals, by their very nature, would herd together without needing religion.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:03 PM
 
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What evidence is there that the world would be better off without religion?

Religious people.................
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,369 posts, read 2,981,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
You're essentially saying that to be a herd animal, you need religion. Because without religion, herds could not have formed. There are tons of animals who live in complex social environments with complex social interactions, e.g. ants, bees, gorillas, chimpanzees, bats, lions, penguins, killer whales, and many, many others. Many of them display altruistic behavior towards others in the "herd". So do all these animals also have religion?

Group behavior is nothing more than an evolutionary survival tactic. Members who were genetically disposed to being cooperative survived in greater numbers than those who were more solitary (due to either being able to survive stronger predators or being more efficient at hunting). The cooperative members thus became the norm. There was nothing religious about it.

Make up your mind:
- You say that if humans were solitary animals, then no religion would have arisen.
- But since they were "created" as herd animals, then religion became necessary.
- But if they were "created" ("evolved" would be the right word here) as herd animals, then why wouldn't they automatically herd together, since that's the definition of a herd animal? Herd animals, by their very nature, would herd together without needing religion.
I disagree that Tricky D was saying that all herd animals need religion. He wrote essentially that the only way not to have religion was for mankind to not be a herd animal.

Religion is based off principles which seem illogical to many, but most go along with them because most go along with them. Without humankind being a herd animal, humans might very well still believe in an afterlife due to personal wonder at death, but they'd have no reason to stick to one particular religion. They might believe in some type of God, but they'd have no reason to believe God was necessarily true, not knowing, or not paying attention to other humans who believed in God. The exception would be if God actually spoke to that human being.

Religion ties intelligent herd animals together so long as they also have an imagination and self awareness so as to imagine what could happen after death and fear it. Religion can create bonds. It would be highly evolutionarily advantageous for a group of humans to have religion, it bonding them cohesively on a large scale more easily than nationality or race. (Another race isn't necessarily bad. Someone who is against an individual's God is usually seen that way). Likewise, religion creates the impression among people of a similar faith that they're all going to the same place after death, so they might as well get along now, creating an extended family of sorts. I would suspect that, because a nation of 500 humans is so much stronger than an extended family of 50 humans, religion would be an almost inevietable evolutionary course.

Although I think humankind could also avoid religion had we lost the ability to imagine or lost our abilities at essentially feeling one another's feelings. Losing the herd animal characteristics of humans would, I would think, also delete organized religion, should we stay individualists. Note that human beings are among the most social beings on earth, if not the most, so in such a case, I am not sure we could be called human anymore.

Well, I kind of just BS'd that whole thing. I don't know what causes religion, but I do have suspicions.
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