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Old 11-05-2008
 
#1
United States areese87
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Default Why have religion?

Alright, I'll try not to inject to much of myself here, and want to have big open discussion.

I am an agnostic. Why? Because I have no ability in believing in some sort of religion. Now, when I say religion here, I do not mean just a set of "life guidelines," but religions as having a basis in the supernatural, i.e. reincarnation, life after death, Gods, healing the sick with magic hands, etc. I once had an interest in adapting religion, but I lacked the ability to, as it interfered with my thinking process. I ran into the old roadblocks of "Who made God?" "Why does there need to be a God or Gods?" What is the point of extranormal entities? Why do we need them?

For those who are religious and believe in a religion (with supernatural basises (Bases?)), please defend your beliefs. State why you believe and how you can believe.
'
For those who don't? State your opinions as well.

I hope this doesn't turn nasty. Since I've just begun visiting this forum in Blizzforums, I hope this topic hasn't been discussed to death.
 
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Obama has won. The seas of change are flooding the streets- a deluge of possibility, a monsoon of opportunity, a literal tsunami of inspiration. We're talking hope. And the only thing left to do is to put on some swimming trunks, maybe a pair of goggles, and just riiiide the wave...

And a major pox on that bastard Jeph Loeb. Everything you touch dies.
 

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Old 11-05-2008
 
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Throughout history there have been more things that humans have not understood than they have. Regardless, people want an explanation. If there is no immediate discerning explanation, people begin to construct one. This is where the early gods as well as the Greek and Roman gods come from, which are universally considered to be a myth nowadays, but were believed as strongly back in their respective time period as any subsequent gods that people worship today.

So the gods, at root, were a primitive attempt at explaining the world. Instead of being rooted in logic and reasoning, they are entrenched in superstition and tradition.

The more and more we learn about the natural world, the less and less gods explain. The power of gods is inversely proportional to our knowledge of the universe. Neptune no longer controls the storms of the sea. We know they're caused by low-pressure systems, wind, heat, etc. So there goes Neptune. We no longer have Demeter to thank for our harvests. We have petroleum-derived fertilizers and pesticides to keep the food growing and kill the pests that threaten our crops.

I could name off examples all day, but the point is that the more we know about the world, the less we need gods to explain them. Given that gods were and continue to be explanations for what we don't have a full understanding of, it's fair to say that the more we find out about the world, the less influence that gods will have over it. Sure, some people will adhere to their beliefs and reject new discoveries simply out of tradition and cultural indoctrination as we see today with creationists who deny biological evolution, but they will remain in the minority and I expect their numbers to continually diminish as their bronze-age reasoning loses out to the scientific realities of the era.

Gods were first invented by humans as an early explanation for things, and it is something that humankind no longer needs to explain the world. Sure, we're still a long way off from being able to explain everything, but that gives no weight to the gods argument. That is merely a god of the gaps whereby people try to use ignorance as a crawlspace to preserve their belief in gods as an explanation. This method does nothing to help us find the truth and only obfuscates it.

This is why I think it's better to have ideas. An idea is susceptible to change with new information. Beliefs don't work like that. People die and kill over their beliefs, irrespective of their veracity. Beliefs are static and cannot adapt to change or new discovery. At least they're supposed to be that way in theory. In reality, religious beliefs have changed immensely as society as evolved and they manage to do it slowly enough that the majority of adherents never notice it. Many attempt to harmonize their religious beliefs with present-day realities in order to preserve these belief structures and continue the tradition. Gradual incrementalism is the popular method of implementing necessary change in otherwise static belief systems.

People should live their lives more freely instead of locking themselves into specific beliefs. It's always good to be open to change.
 

Last edited by Golgo 13; 11-05-2008 at 10:05 PM.
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"The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin. But if you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit."

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Old 11-05-2008
 
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Beautiful post Golgo. You hit the nail on the head, especially about being open to change. I see no reason for religion. It's funny how many Christians give your explaination for why the Greeks had their gods, but don't see the same thing why their own.

As I've always said, doubt proves one is thinking. Religion's purpose is removing doubt. Do the math.
 
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Obama has won. The seas of change are flooding the streets- a deluge of possibility, a monsoon of opportunity, a literal tsunami of inspiration. We're talking hope. And the only thing left to do is to put on some swimming trunks, maybe a pair of goggles, and just riiiide the wave...

And a major pox on that bastard Jeph Loeb. Everything you touch dies.
 

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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Oh yea, this is one I have been thinking about for a long time.

The way I see it, the superstition, the traditions and religious patterns that emerged from nearly every civilization on the planet independently from one another are the result of a larger constraint with respect to our meta evolution, i.e. the success of societies based on the ideas which flourished within them.

Basically the concept of a god can be directly correlated with our realization of our own mortality and the desire to augment that. Originally it started with language, the passing of stories and life lessons to one another and the realization of the importance to tell old stories to younger generations that would lead them on a path that represented what the previous generations had discovered or wanted to emphasize as important. In this way there was an identity which grew across these societies and brought a layer of consistency to them.

This same consistency(the seeds of the concept of immortality) was also spread by individuals of renown through legends, or stories which emphasized their character as a part of the story. Thereby passing on their character itself so as something to be emulated by the generations which followed. The concept that an entity could represent the values and morals within a society and give further generations something to aspire to was the next level.

Pretty soon it was realized that you could invent(or find) stories where these legendary characters didn't have to exist and could break all of the boundaries in order to inspire individuals even more. So long as people believed in these things they would be inspired by something they could never obtain, nevertheless consistency of thought and the identity of the individual would abound. Anything that could give individuals something to follow and bring validity to the customs and traditions of their culture.

When you think about how these things came to be you realize even more that it exists as a component of our own nature, a web of existence which is more than just a string of events. These attributes exist within us by nature, a layer of consistency in a society can be directly related to the adherence to traditions and culture, both of which dictate how individuals will act and how they will perceive ethical situations.

The Bible is an example(among many) as it is a book about human nature, with proverbs dictating how to act rather than a story book about some far off being and the events that we cannot relate to.

From a theist point of view, it would only make sense that we are destined to be worshipers of some god because it was a god or gods which created us.

From an athiest, if you are truly an athiest who sees everything as the product of evolution you can obviously see the attribute of consistency that results from societies which adhere to these beliefs. Many argue that it is Insanity rather than consistency but history and reason dictate what is true and what is false.

Societies can only go so far following what is substantiated by the universe. Where there are human questions which cannot be answered such as, "Is it ok to commit murder?" or "what is the meaning of life" are left to the wind. These questions don't exist in terms of the universe itself because we are only part of the universe and our nature is inherently random on its terms. Even evolution itself and all of what we perceive as progress are nothing more than particles of matter moving back and forth from the eye of what is absolute.

But we as humans obviously are justified in desiring progress because we are a product of whatever phenomena it is. And so under these terms it's not a question of what are the right answers so much as what is the right approach.
 

"Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art."--
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Religion is the opium of the masses. So it is simple. Religion gets you high.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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I think that ya religion is a creation of man and there need to explain everything. But I think that there is a higher being. I believe in the Theory that every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction in all forms. So by that logic something had to have started the first reaction or else there would be no action to start and nothing would every come to be or happen.

I believe there is something out there that started it all. Not nearly a major impact in our daily lives as most think but he sees us more almost as....an ant farm. Just kinda like that's cool look at what there doing now. More than completely designing everything for everyone. I think that's the best way to explain it and the reaction "it" started forever ago made all that there is to be through action and reaction. It doesn't control the wind and sky and earth science does what was started forever ago does not the higher power.

That is my way of thinking it allows for both science and religion to be true in ways obviously science the bigger part it controling everything. Yay science.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunMan View Post
I think that ya religion is a creation of man and there need to explain everything. But I think that there is a higher being. I believe in the Theory that every reaction has an equal and opposite reaction in all forms. So by that logic something had to have started the first reaction or else there would be no action to start and nothing would every come to be or happen.

I believe there is something out there that started it all. Not nearly a major impact in our daily lives as most think but he sees us more almost as....an ant farm. Just kinda like that's cool look at what there doing now. More than completely designing everything for everyone. I think that's the best way to explain it and the reaction "it" started forever ago made all that there is to be through action and reaction. It doesn't control the wind and sky and earth science does what was started forever ago does not the higher power.

That is my way of thinking it allows for both science and religion to be true in ways obviously science the bigger part it controling everything. Yay science.
OR it could be that the universe has always existed.
 
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I have come curiously close to the end, though
Beneath my self indulgent pitiful hole. Defeated I
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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But then the question still remains: Where did it come from? And why?

No religion (including, ironically enough, no religion) can answer these questions.
 

Last edited by Sean Quixote; 11-06-2008 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reflection View Post
OR it could be that the universe has always existed.
How did it always exsist? What started it it has to have a beginning.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunMan View Post
How did it always exsist? What started it it has to have a beginning.
Why? Why does it have to have a beginning...?
 
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I have come curiously close to the end, though
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Because then it never would exsist. If it never began then it never can be. To say that it just does is just kinda stupid.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Agnostic here.

It's not that it MUST have a beginning, but saying that it has always existed does answer the real question at all. Remember that time is a property of the universe. The real question is about the universes existence in the first place. Why does it exist? Does anything exist other than the universe? As Sean says, Atheism does not answer these questions. The best thing to do is to say that you don't know the answer and that you are open to all things that are possible.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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Um Cajunman, if you say something has to have a beginning, and then say a higher force began it, you run into the problem of how the higher force began. If it was always there, why wasn't the universe always there. Can't have it all.
 
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Obama has won. The seas of change are flooding the streets- a deluge of possibility, a monsoon of opportunity, a literal tsunami of inspiration. We're talking hope. And the only thing left to do is to put on some swimming trunks, maybe a pair of goggles, and just riiiide the wave...

And a major pox on that bastard Jeph Loeb. Everything you touch dies.
 

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Old 11-06-2008
 
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How the universe began is an unexplainable philosophical question that remains no matter which religion you subscribe to. It's the chicken and the egg. But IMHO being agnostic isn't a real position, it's an obligatory acknowledgement: It's a statement of the obvious! Of course one cannot possibly know for sure the origin of the universe (to think otherwise is arrogant), but we CAN speculate, theorize, imagine, believe about it whatever we choose to.

That's what at least I think "faith" should be about, but more often than not "faith" is subverted, distorted, and used to coerce, subdue, and thus control the masses. People for some reason seem to be predisposed to believing that there is a "reason" behind it all, if for no other reason than because it's more comfortable to believe so as opposed to nihilism. Faith isn't the same thing as religion, though. Religious people may have "faith," but theirs is usually based more in the politics of religious leaders and pretending that fairy tales are history than actual philosophy.
 
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Old 11-06-2008
 
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"It's turtles all the way down". Neither science nor religion can explain the prime mover, so your choice would mostly depend on how spiritual you are. For myself, I don't know whether god exists, but I do believe that science is becoming itself a kind of religion, but one without prophets, despite the fact that it's those same 'prophets' (like Mendeleyev and von Stradonitz) responsible for its advancement.
 
 

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