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Old 06-14-2011, 01:03 AM
 
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You would be what Daniel Dennett calls the people who “believe in belief”. They have no belief themselves but they think that it is best other people have it.

However although you are right that the people you list THINK they are getting their morals from the bible or their religion, I do not think they really are. People like Dinesh D'Souza do stand up in front of auditoriums and admit they would not even have reason to give an old woman a seat on a bus if it were not for their religion…. but how true is it.

Look for example at Montreal in 1969. I am sure many people there would have claimed morals from god or the bible or some religion too. Yet when the police went on strike people took to the streets in rioting and looting. It calls to mind H.L. Mencken saying "When people say we need more religion, what they really mean is we need more police."

So in short I think you are right that those people THINK they need religion to keep them moral and sane. I doubt it is true myself however. They are just so used to being told that is where their religion came from that they believe it themselves. Murder, rape, thievery and violence would most likely be just as abhorrent to them tomorrow however if they were to divest themselves of their kooky fantasies today.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:42 AM
 
Location: Ohio
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Your baseless premise fails because you make the false assumption that religion or god are necessary for morality to exist.

Morality stems from logic and reason, not some grotesque god-thing.

Using logic and reason, I came to the conclusion that raping and sodomizing a woman is morally wrong.

However, your god says that raping and sodomizing a woman is perfectly acceptable, so long as you marry the woman.

Accordingly, I am morally superior to your god, which means your god is inferior to me, and it begs the question why would would worship an inferior being.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
And now come the reasons for my concern about the belief that the world would be better off without religion. Here are my thoughts which point to the world not being better off without religion.

Religion may increase a given individual's morality somewhat.
Then why are there casinos? Gambling isn't moral. There isn't a week that goes by where there isn't some religious person caught molesting a child, or with drugs or a prostitute or embezzling money.

I would suggest religion increases immorality and crime, because it offers the opportunity for one to "accept the savior and be forgiven."

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Many times, belief that a war is God's will, will coincide with a need for more land, resources, or security. Who's to say that the wars would not still happen, just without the "God's will" behind them?
Nobody said wars will not happen. However, religious wars will not happen and the number of people (in the billions) who have been slaughtered in religious wars far exceeds the number of people who died in wars not related to religion.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Presuming that there will always be some religion, who's to say that the religous minority wouldn't become mistreated second class citizens, perhaps a caste fit only for certain duties.
That sounds like instant karma to me. The religious, with their, um, "superior morality" imprisoned, tortured and murdered the non-religious minorities by the millions, and confiscated their lands and possessions and barred them from society.

If one were ex-communicated, one no longer had the "mark of the beast" and was barred and prohibited from working, owning land or engaging in any trade.

I hope you're not arguing it would be immoral to relegate the religious minority to 2nd Class Citizens, because that would be contrary to what the religious majority did.

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Do some people need religion? Are they born to not feel good without it?
No, people are brainwashed into religion. The only reason christianity is prevalent is because of forced conversions. You either became christian or died.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Are some people so morally inept (and foolish) that they will not remain good people without some type of stated reward and punishment system for the afterlife?
People don't think about the after-life any more than they think about the consequences of their actions and the possibility of prison or execution when committing crimes, so that is immaterial.

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Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
What benefits are there that outweigh the risk that, should a person change from religious to non-religous, they might be less happy?
People who are freed from the confines of religion are happier.

If your god can't even remember how Joseph got to Egypt, then how is going to remember if my deeds are worthy of Heaven or Hell?
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,360 posts, read 2,979,466 times
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This is a response to the post by Mircea, directly above.


Then why are there casinos? Gambling isn't moral. There isn't a week that goes by where there isn't some religious person caught molesting a child, or with drugs or a prostitute or embezzling money.

I would suggest religion increases immorality and crime, because it offers the opportunity for one to "accept the savior and be forgiven."

I think there is no reliable evidence that religion increases or decreases crime rate. There are said to be a lower percentage of atheists in jail than the religious, but there are countless definitions of atheism. Also it takes a certain understanding of science for evolution to make sense. The more educated, wealthier people are more likely to be atheists, I would think. The type of crimes committed by the wealthy (tax evasion and such) are less likely to be caught than those committed by the poor (stealing a car). Also, I think it likely that, rather than religion increasing crime rate, it would be more likely that those likely to commit easily traceable crimes (burglary, assault, and actions committed by the poverty stricken and under-educated) would be likely to be religious. The desperate cling to religion. I would assume that a desperate atheist or agnostic would not necessarily be any more morally rightious than a religious person. He or she could be less.

Also, there is one of the Ten Commandments which I like, that one being something along the lines of thy shal not kill, or thy shal not kill unjustly. This one commandment does not make anyone do anything, it provides a healthy illogical idea that it's cruel to kill one innocent to save a thousand. Captain Kirk woud agree with me. Why would we remember this if not for religion? Note that I'm not saying that the non-religious don't know this. I'm only hypothesizing that it would be best for there to be at least one, not even necessarily sane, religious person per population who some non-religious can look at the morals of, and then decide that they can be more morally rightious than in every way. That is a purpose of religion, as a reminder. Note that religious people did kill unjustly, but, oh well, a good idea is a good idea. I see no reason why our descendants would think it okay to, say, kill fifty police officers just doing their job if they were trying to gun down someone who is falsely accused of being a terrorist, without religion. This single commandment of thy shal not murder, or thy shal not kill helps enforce the belief that the worth of a life cannot be counted by numbers. I think this is healthy, because it is true. People with a lack of religion will know this, for now. They will likely know this in the future, but religion serves as a definite reminder, whereas the nonreligious will only potentially be reminded of this. Religion serves as a way to spread one's ideas about what it means to be a good person without the use of sense. Nobody needs to even read a given holy book to say what it means. The words can be twisted in any direction, for better or for worse. One of the better ways it can be twisted is to enforce rules that don't make sense but are morally rightious over the long run. To be honest, the only one I know is Thy Shal Not Kill. All the others are either not related to morals, or obvious. (I would think we'd retain the knowledge to honor our parents and not to lie). Stealing is not so bad if someone is starving. Perhaps the loss of this commandment could be a benefit as we'd lose the concept of the punishment of the loss of a hand for stealing an apple. As far as marriage goes, we'll remember not to sleep with another's spouse until the term "marriage" no longer exists in our culture, or if it stays, we'll remember not to sleep with another's spouse it's common sense. The part about not coveting a neighbor's posessions is easy to understand without being reminded of it too. The ones relating to idol worship, having no other Gods, misusing God's name, and keeping Sunday holy, to me have nothing to do with morals. I would be fine if they faded away from society's culminative mindset. Worship all the baked potatoes you want. I have heard of sock worship. This sounds disturbing to me, but I would think baked potatoes would be acceptable.


Nobody said wars will not happen. However, religious wars will not happen and the number of people (in the billions) who have been slaughtered in religious wars far exceeds the number of people who died in wars not related to religion.

agreed, completely


That sounds like instant karma to me. The religious, with their, um, "superior morality" imprisoned, tortured and murdered the non-religious minorities by the millions, and confiscated their lands and possessions and barred them from society.

If one were ex-communicated, one no longer had the "mark of the beast" and was barred and prohibited from working, owning land or engaging in any trade.

I hope you're not arguing it would be immoral to relegate the religious minority to 2nd Class Citizens, because that would be contrary to what the religious majority did.

Okay then. Well, I'm about 1/16 Blackfoot Indian. I would like my ancestors' land back. Everybody off. It belongs to the Blackfoot people again. Note that I am not speaking for the Blackfoot people seriously. I have never actually met anyone who considered themselves one of the Blackfoot people, and have literally no idea what any thoughts of any members of the Blackfoot people are.

Also, I have several African American friends. Seeing as many of their ancestors assisted in building so much of this nation against their will, I would think it appropriate that African Americans be the only people eligible for public office in what few former slave states are not returned to the rulerships of their native owners before European colonization. Of course, those societies of Native Americans with warlike ancestors have some surprises in store for them too. Even if the tribes they took land from are already extinct, that doesn't mean they shouldn't get their lands back. We have a moral duty to give ancestral lands back to any extinct tribe which once lived on them. After all, all of the original Native Americans forced from their lands are deceased now, right? Just because someone has long been deceased, that doesn't make wrongs against them go away. I have a new thought. Everyone must leave every land mass. Get out the rafts. Everyone will be living on the ocean from now on. All former Americans should acknowledge their natural ruling caste to justly consist of only people of Native American descent and African American ancestry. Maybe native Hawaiians can stay where they are. Perhaps peoples who have traditionally lived in very small family groups in the cold north can stay where they are too. Small family groups tend not to be warlike, but everybody else in North America has a moral duty to leave the continent.


No, people are brainwashed into religion. The only reason christianity is prevalent is because of forced conversions. You either became christian or died.

During childhood I was briefly a Christian. I never had been to church. I was not brainwashed so much as I had not bothered yet to search for other options. I hadn't had access to the internet, and infrequent access to libraries. Even historically, a lot of people grew up believing Christianity merely because, passively, it was the most logical conclusion they knew.


People don't think about the after-life any more than they think about the consequences of their actions and the possibility of prison or execution when committing crimes, so that is immaterial.

I agree with you almost entirely. However, and I do not know this, but I would think one way to keep the small percentage of society who are sociopaths (cannot feel other's emotions) under control is through religion. They could potentially be convinced that good is merely good, but religion might be a way too. There are also a very small segment of society who cannot feel pain who will not respond to the idea of treating others like they want to be treated. Actually they will, but remember they won't feel it if their leg is broken. Such rare people, who have no fear and feel no pain, can either become the most destructive monsters, or the greatest heroes. Still, in almost all situations I think you are correct.


People who are freed from the confines of religion are happier.

If your god can't even remember how Joseph got to Egypt, then how is going to remember if my deeds are worthy of Heaven or Hell?

[LEFT]Sonnet - To Science by Edgar Allan Poe[/LEFT]
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
To seek a shelter in some happier star?
Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


And (the poem above) is why some people want religion.


Another note, I would think that human nature will not change. The non-religious will be biased against the religious, if not now, then when a lack of religion becomes a culture, when we begin lacking religion do to teachings of our parents. The mind naturally searches for magic. Religion is a natural state, likely imbedded deep into our instincts through evolution, though not necessarily a good thing for society as a whole. I would think we'd flow towards it naturally if not given good evidence for other rationale's. Why else would there have been no ancient atheist civilizations? I suppose they could have been wiped out by more aggressive religious societies, in which the urge for religion would still be within us.

Last edited by Clintone; 06-14-2011 at 09:25 AM..
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I find extreme Atheists as bad as extreme religious people, so it's human nature to find faults in others and then to fight about it. It would be interesting to see a world without religion, for people to have to except consequences for their actions, good or bad, and that they can just go to church to confess and then be forgiven.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masika View Post
I find extreme Atheists as bad as extreme religious people, so it's human nature to find faults in others and then to fight about it. It would be interesting to see a world without religion, for people to have to except consequences for their actions, good or bad, and that they can just go to church to confess and then be forgiven.
One advantage I see in atheism is that many religions encourage blind faith. I think that atheists are usually less likely to be biased than members of those religions which encourage blind faith. I see arguments for the likelyhood of any given religion being true get routinely shot down with ease by atheists. To me, the most valid argument for religion I have heard from the religious tends to be what people feel. The sheer waves of devotion are, to me, evidence. However, many religious persons I know try to argue against evolution logically, using poorly constructed arguments. There is plenty of evidence against evolution, like the several genes which exist in humans and none of their known relatives or ancestors. This has, however, never been used by any religious person I've known. (One hypothesis is that these genes were inserted by bacteria at some point, rather than directly from ancestors)
I know a lot of atheists who yell a lot, but in democracies, atheists are some of the peaceful people in existence. All they do is yell. Some non-religious, I believe, associate the unquestioning argementive style of many religious persons with being un-questioning in the real world. They also look at history, and assume religion to be a kind of virus which makes people innocent and unable to question anything. I see no problem in stating that religion makes no sense, so long as one is not too rude. To me, it doesn't make sense, (at least not any in particular. In all of them collectively, I would think one stands a good likelyhood of being true). But to assume it makes people worse is a silly concept to me. Times were hard in the past. People needed to be harder. If I'm at war with someone, and I could use religion to inspire the population to fight with more fervor to help win that war, I'd probably do it.

However, there have been plenty of genocidal ideas not based upon religion. People have an urge to believe themselves and those like them to be the best. I would think that a mostly atheist world would be a better place to live than a world primarily dominated by one religion, but humanity's innate superiority complex would likely still remain.

I would think the key to the most rational worldwide population possible would be for it to be largely composed of agnostic theists and people who hypothetically question their own beliefs, in addition to the non-religious. The agnostic theists and those who hypothetically question their own beliefs could defend their own beliefs and prove to be just as rational as the non-religious, as many of them prove to be now. Having more groups would also help reduce the dangers of the superiority complex, that superiority complex which has resulted in many many of the world's conflicts.

To have a view of a good, accurate non-religious culture, the culture should arise that way naturally, and it should exist in the poverty stricken and uneducated as well as the wealthy. To associate atheism with communism, I think would not work because that is not necessarily a natural occurrence of atheism. To associate atheists with the positive qualities of the educated and wealthy in democracies, I would think would not work because it takes a certain amount of education for evolution to make sense, and the desperate naturally cling to religion. Positive qualities generally result in atheism rather than atheism resulting in positive qualities, I would guess. I should also note how many charities are funded and organized by religious institutions.

A suitable population to use as an example would need to be mostly non-religious, say, I don't know, 90%? In this way there would be likely to be at least some poverty stricken non-religious persons. It would also have an un-pressuring government, a democracy or very weak socialism. Japan already has a large non-religious percentage, and an-unpressuring government, but still also has lots of religious persons. I'd be interested in seeing changes in Japanese culture, should Japan grow to be largely non-religious.
Again though, the well off nations tend to be non-religious. It would be extremely difficult to show if a lack of religion results in well-off nations. Even if a lack of religion turns out to be better for an earthly society in every way, I still have Edgar Allen Poe's sonnet To Science, as a valid reason for religion. Personally, I would bet that a lack of religion can reduce wars, but I would doubt that it directly reduces crime rate and productivity. I hypothesize that it increases crime rate amongst the poverty stricken, though the poverty stricken in question likely do not call themselves atheists. I believe this merely because so many people have always believed this. Also, some religious persons could likely be stirred to crimes through emotional repression, but the belief that fear of God creates moral rightiousness is widespread. Such widespread beliefs tend to have truth about them.
I would also be very interested in seeing if people do begin to behave better without religion. Perhaps understanding of others, if not a reduction of poverty, could result in better behavior without fear or hope of rewards as an incentive. That would be neat.

I have always liked the idea of confession too. It gives the morally rightious a way to feel better. Good people don't deserve to feel guilty for every little innapropriate thing they do, all the time, particularly when the slimeballs can potentially have no problem breaking every law they can think of, not getting caught, and loving their lives due to ignoring any conscience to the point where it is nearly nonixestent, and therefore not a bother.

Last edited by Clintone; 06-14-2011 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Dallas,Texas
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Put simply, religion and faith are the shackles of anything that even remotely resembles free thought unemcumbered by all the guilt and ignorance that makes up religion and faith in supernatural deities.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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My first response is that your question is pretty much irrelevant to a much more important question: the existence of god. The existence of god is a factual question, and is entirely independent of whether there are any benefits to believing in god.

My first response to why humanity would be better off without religion is that we are better off not believing in false ideas. I suppose there is no harm in children believing in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, but we can probably agree that an entire society of adults who believe in them would not be a good thing. To take a real-life example, consider the experience of the cargo cults, which diverteed productive energies to ritualistic behaviors to propitiate the deities that were expected to deliver materiel to the members. Or look even closer, to the United States, where just recently many people divested themselves of all their belongings and quit their jobs following the mandate of a foolish religious leader.

In every instance, reliance on evidence and critical thinking is superior to religious belief.

I agree with all the posters who reject the idea that religion is necessary to support moral values. In fact, the history appears to be the reverse: people have perpetrated and justified the most abominable practices on the basis of religion, and continue to do so. There is no reason to suppose that this will ever change as long as religion holds sway over the minds of the easily duped.
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