FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Religion and selfishness





Xanatos
I got to thinking recently that religion promotes selfishness, narcissism etc. A supreme being is jsut that, supreme. So what does that make us. Well if he talks to us we must be at least somewhat special. Religion elevates humans to a special status in the universe. We are special because God/Sky Fairy/Whatever is willing to talk to us, and in many cases save us. I'm not saying that people wouldn't be selfish without religion, far from it, just wondering what others think about this.
Afaceinthematrix
Many religious people do good things. I've seen Christians help people, start charities, etc. However, I often ask them this question: Why are you doing this? I often get the response, "God wants us to help people, and you need to do these types of things if you want to go to Heaven!" That has always bothered me. To me, that implies that these people don't give a damn about the people they're helping out. They're doing this to get into Heaven? Would they be doing this otherwise? Why in the Hell would God place them in Heaven over other people who help people because they care about the people they're helping?
tocapa
I'm not entirely sure what you're getting at. Are you suggesting that an individual person is selfish for thinking that whatever God(s) he/she believes in might help the person out? Or are you suggesting that humanity as a collective is selfish for thinking that they are unique in the universe in that the potential God(s) would interact with us?
Afaceinthematrix
^^I'm pretty sure that he's referring to the second option there. Human beings, as a whole (since most human beings are theists) must be selfish for thinking that we're so damn important that an almighty deity must have spent his/her time making us. Furthermore, to think that we're special and will have a place in Heaven is just as bad. In reality, we're just animals, apes to be more specific, on a single planet, that are trying to figure out why and how we got here. Given that we're trying to figure out how we got here, we invented a god because we felt that we're so special that we have to have been created by a god. We're just a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and a few other things.
Xanatos
Yes, i am referring to the second option.
deanhills
I see the selfishness in the "name of Christianity" also in trying to manipulate people. For example, by being nice, there would be an offsetting expectation of being recognized as someone special, and so since I am special, you need to appreciate me for it, and help me with what I want you to help me with. In the end it is an ego thing. We call it the "wearing the cross on the arm" brigade where I used to be in South Africa. The appearance of being someone special through doing good deeds, but there is usually always an offsetting dual motive: looking unselfish and generous, and using that to get something in return, along manipulation lines.

Having said that of course, there are truly unselfish Christians. Who genuinely operate from deep convictions, but I have found more Christians who are as in the above paragraph. When they are wearing their faith on their sleeves for all to see, there is an ego motive in it, together with objectives for manipulation too.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
I see the selfishness in the "name of Christianity" also in trying to manipulate people. For example, by being nice, there would be an offsetting expectation of being recognized as someone special, and so since I am special, you need to appreciate me for it, and help me with what I want you to help me with. In the end it is an ego thing. We call it the "wearing the cross on the arm" brigade where I used to be in South Africa. The appearance of being someone special through doing good deeds, but there is usually always an offsetting dual motive: looking unselfish and generous, and using that to get something in return, along manipulation lines.

Having said that of course, there are truly unselfish Christians. Who genuinely operate from deep convictions, but I have found more Christians who are as in the above paragraph. When they are wearing their faith on their sleeves for all to see, there is an ego motive in it, together with objectives for manipulation too.

i think you are missing the point, although i can't really blame you because i think "selfish" is a poor choice of wording. "Arrogant" would be a better choice. "Narcissistic" is close, i guess.

Xanatos is saying that if you believe that a being of such enormous power that it could create universes somehow cares about you - or even humanity at all... that's pretty damned arrogant. He's not talking about how you interact with other humans. He's talking about how you perceive your standing (or the standing of humanity in general) in the eyes of the divine.

Put it this way: you probably realize that the mayor of your municipality doesn't give a rat's ass about your life, right? You're just a single voter in a crowd, and they have bigger issues to worry about. The person in charge of your county/riding/whatever probably cares even less, and the leader of your country probably wouldn't bat an eyelash if you dropped dead right now (as much as these politician types may pretend to care). These people are powerful people, with massive concerns on their plates... and, frankly, you - individually - are just not that important in their view.

Now those people are just pitiful little tribe leaders of a few million bipedal simians... in terms of the galaxy, they are about as important as ants are to you. And in terms of the universe you're far less interesting than individual viruses. And in terms of a being that can create universes... !

Yet virtually all religions claim that somehow we're so special that a being of that immense scale can identify our species - let alone individuals within the species. Rather arrogant, hm?
Xanatos
^^ Thank you for stating this in a more stylish manner than my original post. What you state is exactly the points I was trying to make.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
Yet virtually all religions claim that somehow we're so special that a being of that immense scale can identify our species - let alone individuals within the species. Rather arrogant, hm?


I don't know about arrogant. Maybe there is a reality that has not been discovered yet? We cannot prove there is such a being, nor can we disprove it. We can't fathom the limitations of such a being as it can only be as small as our own perception of ourselves and the Universe around us. We're not on very firm ground here, best we can do is work with some stats and in a few decades we are going to die for sure. Think I would rather borrow the words "probably" and "deluded" from Richard Dawkins. They sort of make room for all eventualities in the kindest of ways.
peaceupnorth
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Many religious people do good things. I've seen Christians help people, start charities, etc. However, I often ask them this question: Why are you doing this? I often get the response, "God wants us to help people, and you need to do these types of things if you want to go to Heaven!" That has always bothered me. To me, that implies that these people don't give a damn about the people they're helping out. They're doing this to get into Heaven?


Sorry, I think you are generalizing a lot. Perhaps some Christians are motivated to help others due to selfish anxieties re Heaven, but there are certainly a lot (the majority in my experience) who help because they have genuine love and compassion for suffering people.
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Would they be doing this otherwise?

Human altruism, I believe, is a universal trait, seen in all walks of life and cultures to some degree. (Violence too, but that's another topic.) Religious people are often actively cultivating this trait, which regardless of any differences in belief I have with them, I believe is a "GOOD THING". And if you look at the teachings of jesus, he actively encouraged people to care for and help one another, not to judge, to help the lowest and the poorest. "Whatever you do unto the least of our brothers, you do to me", washing his disciples feet (including Judas Iscariot's, the man who betrayed him) and instructing them to serve others in the like way... many good teachings and examples, even for people who don't believe in a God.
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Why in the Hell would God place them in Heaven over other people who help people because they care about the people they're helping?

The parable of the good samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 seems to answer your question (when I read it at least). Samaritans were a hated ethnic group, not considered heaven material by the jews. Jesus seems to be very clearly saying that it is the person who gives the most unselfishly that is fulfilling the commandments, regardless of beliefs or religion.

I wish there were more good role models like this in our culture. I mean, for every selfless volunteer there seem to be 1000 selfish people living without much care for the common good.
peaceupnorth
Indi wrote:

Xanatos is saying that if you believe that a being of such enormous power that it could create universes somehow cares about you - or even humanity at all... that's pretty damned arrogant. He's not talking about how you interact with other humans. He's talking about how you perceive your standing (or the standing of humanity in general) in the eyes of the divine.

...

Yet virtually all religions claim that somehow we're so special that a being of that immense scale can identify our species - let alone individuals within the species. Rather arrogant, hm?


Very nicely put... I like the analogy of the politicians....

But isn't the typical teaching something like this: "God is aware and looks after His entire creation down to the smallest atom." "He is aware of the smallest movement of a hair on your head."

This belief doesn't seem very arrogant to me... an omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent being is not showing favoritism if it cares about and arranges for all its creation (or its parts). That's just its nature. If it is present in all things and knowing all things and capable of anything... why not?

Now, if you believe that this supreme being, though unlimited, somehow chose to only speak through a few books or the mouth of one long-dead prophet... that I would label arrogant, presumptuous, and rather silly.

(Please note that this post is not an argument for or against the existence of God, that debate seems beaten to death on these forums. I'm just writing to clairify why belief in God isn't necessarily selfish/arrogant/narcissistic.)

(PS: why do they give this being a gender anyway?)
Bluedoll
Selfishness of God . . . by Bluedoll

Sounds like we are asking for a confirmation that religion is tied to selfishness. Are there any another perspectives on that thinking?

I can say that I do not always link God to religion in that religions (human organizations) are perhaps valuable but could indeed be considered to be selfish in some instances. What religion does to people depends of course on who is leading them.

God as a sky fairy (very funny) could be just an exercise of self indulgence except for one thing.



God = love

and that is a much better perspective to compare any promotions to.



Regardless of power, size, popularity or leadership a person, an organization, a country or the entire world without love is hopeless, pitiful, useless and doomed to destruction. Love on the other hand is the only way to achieve happiness, prosperity and peace.


Can love be selfish? Is it always selfish? No.

That to me is not being arrogant.
loyal
Peace

Xanatos wrote:
I got to thinking recently that religion promotes selfishness,


Religion promote selfishness?
As far I can see, encouraging equality between followers of the same religion at the very least, and equality amongst all humans at the most, is far from promoting selfishness. The same goes for encouraging its followers to give up their materials and encouraging its followers to give to the poor and needy.

Quote:

narcissism etc. A supreme being is jsut that, supreme. So what does that make us. Well if he talks to us we must be at least somewhat special.


I don't that's the only possible conclusion you can draw.
Other conclusions: Or He talks to us, because we're there, and He's there....Or because He's special and blessing us with His communication.
Bikerman
LOL...the notion that religion promotes equality between all humans has got to be a joke...right?

The notion that religion promotes giving to the needy is really rather a red-herring - so does ethical humanism. The religious often say that they give more than atheists to charity. I'd like to see some proper stats on that.
Afaceinthematrix
loyal wrote:
Religion promote selfishness?As far I can see, encouraging equality between followers of the same religion at the very least, and equality amongst all humans at the most, is far from promoting selfishness. The same goes for encouraging its followers to give up their materials and encouraging its followers to give to the poor and needy.


Lmao! "Encouraging equality between followers of the same religion" seems wrong because equality between everyone* should be forced. "Encouraging its followers to give up their materials and encouraging its followers to give to the poor and needy" doesn't fly much because while some religions may encourage that, it hardly ever happens.


*There is an occasional exception. Prisoners should not be exactly equal to free citizens. Free citizens should have the right to do stuff like save up their money and go to an amusement park while a prisoner obviously does not have that right until after he/she has served their debt to society.
Craeft
Dear OP, I think you are confusing "religion" with monotheism. There is a very distinct difference. Not all religions are monotheistic. However, the monotheistic religions are very egocentric in application.

Please understand that not all religions are like this. Also, understand that not all spiritualities are religions.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
Indi wrote:
Yet virtually all religions claim that somehow we're so special that a being of that immense scale can identify our species - let alone individuals within the species. Rather arrogant, hm?


I don't know about arrogant. Maybe there is a reality that has not been discovered yet? We cannot prove there is such a being, nor can we disprove it.

Nothing being discussed here has anything to do with proving or disproving such a being, or any "undiscovered realities".

deanhills wrote:
We can't fathom the limitations of such a being as it can only be as small as our own perception of ourselves and the Universe around us. We're not on very firm ground here, best we can do is work with some stats and in a few decades we are going to die for sure. Think I would rather borrow the words "probably" and "deluded" from Richard Dawkins. They sort of make room for all eventualities in the kindest of ways.

i can't understand what point you think you're making here.

Let's try this again: virtually all religions describe a being of cosmic proportions - a "god" - that, despite their cosmic proportions and powers, seem to care a great deal about us piddly little humans. Believing that we matter that much to something so cosmically huge is arrogant.

Craeft wrote:
Dear OP, I think you are confusing "religion" with monotheism. There is a very distinct difference. Not all religions are monotheistic. However, the monotheistic religions are very egocentric in application.

Xanatos's point applies equally well to religions that are polytheistic and atheistic. It just has to be worded differently to include them.

Anytime you are talking about religion, if you want to include all religions you generally have to write pages of arguments to account for every quirk in every religion. That takes a lot of time and space, which is usually spent on obscure religions that most people aren't familiar with anyway - it's possible to do, but just not worth the effort most of the time.

Extending this argument to polytheistic religions is trivial. Extending it to atheistic religions is harder, but not impossible. Someone should give it a shot.

Craeft wrote:
Please understand that not all religions are like this. Also, understand that not all spiritualities are religions.

This makes no sense at all. "Spiritualities" is a word, but it doesn't mean anything that would make any sense out of what you are saying.

peaceupnorth wrote:
But isn't the typical teaching something like this: "God is aware and looks after His entire creation down to the smallest atom." "He is aware of the smallest movement of a hair on your head."

This belief doesn't seem very arrogant to me... an omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent being is not showing favoritism if it cares about and arranges for all its creation (or its parts). That's just its nature. If it is present in all things and knowing all things and capable of anything... why not?

Now, if you believe that this supreme being, though unlimited, somehow chose to only speak through a few books or the mouth of one long-dead prophet... that I would label arrogant, presumptuous, and rather silly.

(Please note that this post is not an argument for or against the existence of God, that debate seems beaten to death on these forums. I'm just writing to clairify why belief in God isn't necessarily selfish/arrogant/narcissistic.)

Absolutely correct!!! Especially that last bit in brackets.

But you are mixing up words. Xanatos said religion is selfish, not theism (or "belief in God" as you put it). i corrected him on "selfish", suggesting arrogant, but i said nothing about religion because i think it is absolutely the right word in this case.

As you say, theism itself isn't necessarily arrogant... but!!!

Theism ≠ religion, and theistic religion generally (almost always, in fact) has an additional property: not only does the god or gods exist, but we matter to them in some way - even if only in the sense that they "prefer" us to wear robes or something. And that is where the arrogance comes in... not in the theistic part, but in the religious part.

However...

There is an implication of your argument that actually makes things worse for religion than simply being arrogant!

As you say: "... an omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent being is not showing favoritism if it cares about and arranges for all its creation..." True. But the implication of that is that it cares equally for us as it cares about any individual star, speck of dirt or bacteria. If everything is in his sphere of awareness equally, then you can argue that we (individual humans) have as much relevance as a galactic cluster in the grand scheme of things... but the corollary to that is that we also have as much relevance as a flu bug.

And if that is true, why should we care about the god? It's not going to show us favouritism over a rhinovirus, because we are both equal in its eyes. Why bother trying to talk to it? Basically, if it doesn't care any more or less about us than a single mote... why should we care more or less about it than a single mote?

Which, in effect, makes religion utterly pointless. ^_^; So arrogant or irrelevant, either way religion ends up looking not so hot.
Craeft
Quote:
Craeft wrote:
Dear OP, I think you are confusing "religion" with monotheism. There is a very distinct difference. Not all religions are monotheistic. However, the monotheistic religions are very egocentric in application.

Xanatos's point applies equally well to religions that are polytheistic and atheistic. It just has to be worded differently to include them.


Not really. Only the monotheistic religions are the ones who state, "I am right, you are all wrong, and you will all perish for being fools." Name me a polytheistic religion that follows that set of rules. And then name me a monothesitic religion that doesn't.

Quote:

Anytime you are talking about religion, if you want to include all religions you generally have to write pages of arguments to account for every quirk in every religion. That takes a lot of time and space, which is usually spent on obscure religions that most people aren't familiar with anyway - it's possible to do, but just not worth the effort most of the time.

Extending this argument to polytheistic religions is trivial. Extending it to atheistic religions is harder, but not impossible. Someone should give it a shot.


Wait. "Atheistic Religions?" Interesting.

Quote:


Craeft wrote:
Please understand that not all religions are like this. Also, understand that not all spiritualities are religions.

This makes no sense at all. "Spiritualities" is a word, but it doesn't mean anything that would make any sense out of what you are saying.


Umm... actually... it makes a lot of sense and anyone who spent one day studying religions knows this. Spirituality is not religion and vice versa. Religion is the dogmatic practice of and ritualistic methods of the spirituality. Spirituality is the belief of the core to the system. For instance, one can be spiritual without being religious. I would state that any "ecclectics" are spiritual, but not religious. They believe in the deity(ies) and ideals, but not in the religion(s) themselves.


Judging by yoiur responses in your entire post, I feel I would be safe in the assumption that someone has hit a nerve with you and that you think that anyone who doesn't agree with your own beliefs is wrong and therefore attacking your beliefs, thereby, proving the OP's point.



EDIT:
For the record... theism DOES equal religion. That's what it means. And before you even TRY... Atheism is lack thereof. A- is a prefix.
Afaceinthematrix
Craeft wrote:
Not really. Only the monotheistic religions are the ones who state, "I am right, you are all wrong, and you will all perish for being fools." Name me a polytheistic religion that follows that set of rules. And then name me a monothesitic religion that doesn't.


You still missed the point... But... Ancient Greek Polytheism and Zoroastrianism should satisfy your request.

Quote:
Wait. "Atheistic Religions?" Interesting.


Have you ever heard of Buddhism? I don't see what's so interesting about atheistic religions. Atheists don't believe in a god(s). That's pretty much the only requirement for atheism... There's no requirement for a religion to have any deities.

Quote:
EDIT:
For the record... theism DOES equal religion. That's what it means. And before you even TRY... Atheism is lack thereof. A- is a prefix.


Wrong. Theism does not equal religion. I already told you that there is no requirement for a religion to have a deity... and for the record, atheism is not the lack of a religion. Atheist don't believe in a deity. It's so simple. An atheist can have a religion, as long as there is no deity involved...
Indi
Craeft wrote:
Not really. Only the monotheistic religions are the ones who state, "I am right, you are all wrong, and you will all perish for being fools." Name me a polytheistic religion that follows that set of rules. And then name me a monothesitic religion that doesn't.

What does that have to do with this discussion? Please don't tell me i have to explain the arrogance being discussed by Xanatos to you, too. The arrogance Xanatos is referring to is not the arrogance of thinking your religion is right and all other are wrong. It is the arrogance of thinking you matter to the universe at large, or to something powerful enough to create it.

Craeft wrote:
Umm... actually... it makes a lot of sense and anyone who spent one day studying religions knows this. Spirituality is not religion and vice versa. Religion is the dogmatic practice of and ritualistic methods of the spirituality. Spirituality is the belief of the core to the system. For instance, one can be spiritual without being religious. I would state that any "ecclectics" are spiritual, but not religious. They believe in the deity(ies) and ideals, but not in the religion(s) themselves.

Well, it certainly does look like you have spent one day studying religions. ^_^; i, however, have spent several days.

You know the English language works best when everyone doesn't go off defining their own words whenever they feel like it. i know it is popular these days for people who are ashamed of the history of religion, but who want its benefits, to try and claim that they are "not religious, but spiritual". Unfortunately, that's just wordplay that doesn't hold up. Religion is not dogmatic because you say it is, and the real definition of religion doesn't imply dogmatism necessarily. [url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion]Look it up and see[/i]. While you're at it, look up spirituality. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

Craeft wrote:
Judging by yoiur responses in your entire post, I feel I would be safe in the assumption that someone has hit a nerve with you and that you think that anyone who doesn't agree with your own beliefs is wrong and therefore attacking your beliefs, thereby, proving the OP's point.

That is possible, but it is also possible that you are as lousy a psychologist as you are a student of religions. ^_^; i'll let the reader judge.

Craeft wrote:
For the record... theism DOES equal religion. That's what it means. And before you even TRY... Atheism is lack thereof. A- is a prefix.

If theism equals religion, then Buddhism is not a religion. Neither are several dozen other belief systems.
Craeft
Quote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Craeft wrote:
Not really. Only the monotheistic religions are the ones who state, "I am right, you are all wrong, and you will all perish for being fools." Name me a polytheistic religion that follows that set of rules. And then name me a monothesitic religion that doesn't.


You still missed the point... But... Ancient Greek Polytheism and Zoroastrianism should satisfy your request.


Ancient Greeks religion never claimed true righteousness. They defended their faith, but did not claim to be the one true path.
I admit to knowing little of Zoroastrianism other than it was more a philosophy than a religion. A deity wasn't worshipped so much as a prophet was followed. There is a major difference between worshipping a god and following a teacher.

Quote:

Quote:
Wait. "Atheistic Religions?" Interesting.


Have you ever heard of Buddhism? I don't see what's so interesting about atheistic religions. Atheists don't believe in a god(s). That's pretty much the only requirement for atheism... There's no requirement for a religion to have any deities.


I have heard of Buddhism. And I am also aware that it, too, is not a religion, but a philosophy. Ask any Buddhist what god the worship. They follow the teachings of Buddha and state their knowledge that Buddha was a man, not a deity. Their idea of enlightenment is not a religious one, but rather a state reachable here on Earth, as we are now. Again... philosophy, not religion.
And... umm.. yes. There is a requirement for a religion to have deities. That's kinda what constitutes it as a religion.

Quote:

Quote:
EDIT:
For the record... theism DOES equal religion. That's what it means. And before you even TRY... Atheism is lack thereof. A- is a prefix.


Wrong. Theism does not equal religion. I already told you that there is no requirement for a religion to have a deity... and for the record, atheism is not the lack of a religion. Atheist don't believe in a deity. It's so simple. An atheist can have a religion, as long as there is no deity involved...
[/quote]

I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. Theism DOES equal religion, as I stated. And there are requirements for a religion to have deities. Understand that you are mixing up "religion" and "philosophy" again.
An atheist can not have a religion... but they can have a belief.
Craeft
Indi wrote:
Craeft wrote:
Not really. Only the monotheistic religions are the ones who state, "I am right, you are all wrong, and you will all perish for being fools." Name me a polytheistic religion that follows that set of rules. And then name me a monothesitic religion that doesn't.

What does that have to do with this discussion? Please don't tell me i have to explain the arrogance being discussed by Xanatos to you, too. The arrogance Xanatos is referring to is not the arrogance of thinking your religion is right and all other are wrong. It is the arrogance of thinking you matter to the universe at large, or to something powerful enough to create it.

Then perhaps we are debating two sides of "arrogance". However, even with that, that would be like saying that atoms are not important to the overall organism.
Quote:

Craeft wrote:
Umm... actually... it makes a lot of sense and anyone who spent one day studying religions knows this. Spirituality is not religion and vice versa. Religion is the dogmatic practice of and ritualistic methods of the spirituality. Spirituality is the belief of the core to the system. For instance, one can be spiritual without being religious. I would state that any "ecclectics" are spiritual, but not religious. They believe in the deity(ies) and ideals, but not in the religion(s) themselves.

Well, it certainly does look like you have spent one day studying religions. ^_^; i, however, have spent several days.

Well gee... ya got me there. I guess I should have minored in something else.
Quote:

You know the English language works best when everyone doesn't go off defining their own words whenever they feel like it. i know it is popular these days for people who are ashamed of the history of religion, but who want its benefits, to try and claim that they are "not religious, but spiritual". Unfortunately, that's just wordplay that doesn't hold up. Religion is not dogmatic because you say it is, and the real definition of religion doesn't imply dogmatism necessarily. [url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion]Look it up and see[/i]. While you're at it, look up spirituality. It doesn't mean what you think it means.

Interestingly, the first semester of religious studies, they teach you the difference between religion and spirituality. Take a course. You may find it interesting.
To put it into simple terms for you, since that seems to be what you need...
spirituality is the belief, religion is the structure. There is, of course, a bit more to it than that... but maybe you should start there. I wouldn't want you to have a seizure.

Quote:

Craeft wrote:
Judging by yoiur responses in your entire post, I feel I would be safe in the assumption that someone has hit a nerve with you and that you think that anyone who doesn't agree with your own beliefs is wrong and therefore attacking your beliefs, thereby, proving the OP's point.

That is possible, but it is also possible that you are as lousy a psychologist as you are a student of religions. ^_^; i'll let the reader judge.

Fair enough. I can accept that. Then again, I never claimed to be a psychologist. I merely call it how I see it.
Quote:

Craeft wrote:
For the record... theism DOES equal religion. That's what it means. And before you even TRY... Atheism is lack thereof. A- is a prefix.

If theism equals religion, then Buddhism is not a religion. Neither are several dozen other belief systems.


I said that.



EDIT:
I figured since you take dictionary.com as gospel (no pun intended):
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theism?qsrc=2888
Xanatos
At Craeft-

Wow i've missed quite alot in this discussion. Ok, I want to specifically address your point about the pan/poly/multi/whatever theistic religions being somehow different. The point I wanted to make was about how it is arrogant to think that we have a special place in the universe because supreme beings have taken an interest in us. This has been explained many times. Having many Gods or deities doesn't change this fact in any way. Being monotheistic is not a requirement.
Craeft
Xanatos wrote:
At Craeft-

Wow i've missed quite alot in this discussion. Ok, I want to specifically address your point about the pan/poly/multi/whatever theistic religions being somehow different. The point I wanted to make was about how it is arrogant to think that we have a special place in the universe because supreme beings have taken an interest in us. This has been explained many times. Having many Gods or deities doesn't change this fact in any way. Being monotheistic is not a requirement.


Ah. Well, then I guess I would have to say that that isn't a "religion" arrogance as much as human nature. I suppose one might be able to argue the point that if we were created by another being, then there is a good chance of such an interest being held. I am a designer, I hold a keen interest to all my designs... of course, it's usually me going, "Man... I could have made that part better." or "I wish I would have done ____ there." Perhaps that's the same sort of interest some creator has with us.

As for the poly/mono, etc., there are a few polytheistic religions who pretty much (to simplify) think it's rude to bother the gods and that they're probably pissed when we do. So that could, in effect, negate the arrogance of being. But now I see the point and agree to an extent, but have to say that it's more likely human nature that breeds the arrogance and selfishness moreso than the religion followed which, technically, was most likely created by man in the first place so it kinda goes hand in hand.
Afaceinthematrix
Craeft wrote:

Ancient Greeks religion never claimed true righteousness. They defended their faith, but did not claim to be the one true path.
I admit to knowing little of Zoroastrianism other than it was more a philosophy than a religion. A deity wasn't worshipped so much as a prophet was followed. There is a major difference between worshipping a god and following a teacher.


Wrong. You missed the point with the Greek polytheism and Zoroastrianism is a religion. It's a monotheistic religion.

Quote:
I have heard of Buddhism. And I am also aware that it, too, is not a religion, but a philosophy. Ask any Buddhist what god the worship. They follow the teachings of Buddha and state their knowledge that Buddha was a man, not a deity. Their idea of enlightenment is not a religious one, but rather a state reachable here on Earth, as we are now. Again... philosophy, not religion.
And... umm.. yes. There is a requirement for a religion to have deities. That's kinda what constitutes it as a religion.


Quote:
Religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.


Quote:
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. Theism DOES equal religion, as I stated. And there are requirements for a religion to have deities. Understand that you are mixing up "religion" and "philosophy" again.
An atheist can not have a religion... but they can have a belief.


Quote:
Religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion
deanhills
Indi wrote:
Let's try this again: virtually all religions describe a being of cosmic proportions - a "god" - that, despite their cosmic proportions and powers, seem to care a great deal about us piddly little humans. Believing that we matter that much to something so cosmically huge is arrogant.

Perhaps Christians see God much closer and much larger than life than scientists do. Scientists would think measurement and distance, religions would think heart and up close and personal. God would be in the heart of everything and that is pretty much everywhere and not necessarily just up in the sky somewhere.
Indi
Craeft wrote:
Then perhaps we are debating two sides of "arrogance". However, even with that, that would be like saying that atoms are not important to the overall organism.

No, we are not debating "two sides of 'arrogance'". i am discussing the topic of this thread, you are not. The topic of this thread is not the arrogance of one religious group thinking they have the answer and all others are deluded. The topic is whether or not religious beliefs about humankind's privileged place in the cosmos are arrogant.

Craeft wrote:
Quote:
Well, it certainly does look like you have spent one day studying religions. ^_^; i, however, have spent several days.

Well gee... ya got me there. I guess I should have minored in something else.

i don't think that's necessary. Perhaps you should just pay more attention in class. ^_^; If you sincerely believe that religion equals theism, then you can't be that great a religious studies student.

Craeft wrote:
Interestingly, the first semester of religious studies, they teach you the difference between religion and spirituality. Take a course. You may find it interesting.
To put it into simple terms for you, since that seems to be what you need...
spirituality is the belief, religion is the structure. There is, of course, a bit more to it than that... but maybe you should start there. I wouldn't want you to have a seizure.

That is just one way to look at it, and hardly one that is of any academic merit on its own. If you are studying organized religions it makes perfect sense to separate organized religions from non-organized religious beliefs by calling one "religion" and the other "spirituality". If you actually study religious belief as a phenomenon, it makes no sense to separate beliefs of organized religions from other religious beliefs.

Craeft wrote:
Fair enough. I can accept that. Then again, I never claimed to be a psychologist. I merely call it how I see it.

It is wiser to not call it as you see it when you are ignorant. If you actually did know something about psychology, your input might be useful, or at least interesting. But if you are ignorant about psychology, then coming out of nowhere to make insulting statements about my motivations for posting is neither useful nor interesting, and just makes you sound like an ass making an ad hominen attack.

Craeft wrote:
Quote:
If theism equals religion, then Buddhism is not a religion. Neither are several dozen other belief systems.


I said that.

Then can i take it that your religious studies program does not cover Buddhism at all?

Craeft wrote:
EDIT:
I figured since you take dictionary.com as gospel (no pun intended):
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theism?qsrc=2888

You don't figure very well if you figure that simply providing a link to dictionary.com means i take it as gospel.

And what is that link supposed to prove, anyway? i know what the definition of theism is, and it certainly isn't a synonym for religion - and nothing in that dictionary link implies that.

deanhills wrote:
Indi wrote:
Let's try this again: virtually all religions describe a being of cosmic proportions - a "god" - that, despite their cosmic proportions and powers, seem to care a great deal about us piddly little humans. Believing that we matter that much to something so cosmically huge is arrogant.

Perhaps Christians see God much closer and much larger than life than scientists do. Scientists would think measurement and distance, religions would think heart and up close and personal. God would be in the heart of everything and that is pretty much everywhere and not necessarily just up in the sky somewhere.

i find it disappointing that whenever you get backed into a corner, your response is to blame "science" (or, occasionally, atheists) for misunderstanding the situation because religion is blameless. This "us vs. them" mentality is not particularly productive, and it is often simply a non-existent dichotomy.

For example, in this case, "scientists" have nothing to do with anything being discussed here. Even if they were somehow the opposite of (or opposed to) religion - which they're not - this issue is one that is completely internal to religion itself. Religion claims that gods are both cosmically large and powerful and intimately interested in human affairs... not science.

This is not a problem with "scientists" thinking differently to religious people (as if they were a completely different group to religious people, which they're not), this is a problem inherent in the nature of religion. You can't claim to be intimate friends with someone of great importance and power without being accused of name-dropping. That's pretty much what's happening here, more or less.
deanhills
Ad hominen attack. Totally fascinated me. Complete first for me so had to look it up and then landed with an interesting article on it at the shortcut below.
http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html
Would love to hear your view on it as can imagine you were using it after demonstrating that someone tried to counter your argument by attacking you.

Indi wrote:
and just makes you sound like an ass making an ad hominen attack.

So can your response then be described as an ad hominen defence in response to an ad hominen attack? Or could it also be an ad hominen attack in response to an ad hominen attack?
Craeft
Indi:

May I recommend a few moments of quiet reflection and meditation? Consider the calming, blue ocean and a tropical breeze.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
Ad hominen attack. Totally fascinated me. Complete first for me so had to look it up and then landed with an interesting article on it at the shortcut below.
http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html
Would love to hear your view on it as can imagine you were using it after demonstrating that someone tried to counter your argument by attacking you.

Indi wrote:
and just makes you sound like an ass making an ad hominen attack.

So can your response then be described as an ad hominen defence in response to an ad hominen attack? Or could it also be an ad hominen attack in response to an ad hominen attack?

An ad hominem fallacy is telling someone that their argument is wrong because of something wrong with them. Craeft's original post essentially said that my argument was wrong because "someone has hit a nerve with [me]". That is ad hominem, because he was dismissing my argument because of something about me instead of because of something about the argument.

On the other hand, what i did wasn't dismissing his argument, it was merely pointing out he is being an ass. i was not dismissing his argument because he is being an ass, i was just calling him an ass for being an ass. His argument i dealt with separately, point by point.

In short, it is the difference between "your argument is wrong because you are an idiot" and "your argument is wrong, and by the way, you're an idiot". The first is ad hominem. The second is just an insult tacked on to the rebuttal, but not really part of it. There is a difference between giving an argument followed by an insult and giving an argument based on an insult.

(If you specifically want an example from the page you linked, what i did would be "This does not logically follow. And you're an ******.". ^_^ i dealt with all his claims, point-by-point, and then i dealt with his nonsense and rudeness separately. Whereas what Craeft did was "Well, you've never had a good grasp of logic, so this can't be true.". He didn't address my points, he just said i was irate, and that because i was irate this "[proves] the OP's point.")

If you find ad hominem interesting, you can see another blatant one in his last post - note he doesn't respond to a single point i made, he just implies i'm somehow put out of sorts by him and should mellow out. You can also find a whole host of other lame fallacies in Craeft's posts. Here are just a few:

Appeal to authority:
Here he mouths off about minoring in religious studies, as if that justifies his points any better than offering a reference link would. You see he doesn't actually provide any evidence to support his claim. He just says that it is so, and we should trust him that it is so because he's minored in religious studies.

There are certainly some cases when appealing to an authority is a valid strategy. But when some schmuck on the Internet claims something is beyond question because they are an authority... they're usually not. ^_^;

Appeal to ridicule:
Here he tells me i'm wrong, but declines to explain why because he "wouldn't want [me] to have a seizure". Instead of actually providing an argument, he just opts to use ridicule to undermine my argument.

And as with ad hominem, there is a difference between giving an argument followed by making fun of someone and giving an argument based on making fun of someone.

Equivocation:
Over and over (for example, here), he uses equivocation to justify his definitions of religion and spirituality. The word "religion" has multiple meanings, one of which is "a religion" (which is a particular instance of religious beliefs and accompanying practises, dogma and sacred cows), another of which is not a concrete noun but an abstract one referring to "a set of beliefs about the nature of the universe and humankind's place in it, held to primarily by faith" (for example, see here). By carefully picking and choosing which definition he uses and when, he creates the dichotomy of "religion" vs. "spirituality" (which also has multiple definitions)... a dichotomy that doesn't really exist.

For example, a disc and a cylinder are the same thing... circles extended into the third dimension. But both words have other definitions, so i could say that a disc is something you put in a CD drive whereas a cylinder is a container of compressed gas, so they're different. That's what Craeft was doing: religion and spirituality is the same thing, but by picking specific definitions of the two words (actually, just specifically religion), he could pretend they were different.

--------------------------

i may be a ripping ******, but i try to make logical arguments. ^_^
Craeft
Interesting. I was never aware that saying 'something hit a nerve with you' was the same as calling you an idiot. While I do appreciate the enlightenment you've offered in regards to the synonymatic relationship of the two, I will accept your name-calling for what it is and shall look forward to more hole-digging from you.



EDIT:
Is synonymatic a word? If not, it should be. I like it.
peaceupnorth
Indi wrote:

Absolutely correct!!! Especially that last bit in brackets.

But you are mixing up words. Xanatos said religion is selfish, not theism (or "belief in God" as you put it). i corrected him on "selfish", suggesting arrogant, but i said nothing about religion because i think it is absolutely the right word in this case.
Actually, I was responding to what you brought up Indi. The whole politician analogy, all-powerful creator not giving a rat's ass etc. I guess I was thinking of religion to be generally synonymous with a belief in a higher power. But you've corrected me, it's true that religious belief covers much more than theism.

Religion is kind of a vague category, it seems. The dictionary agrees. All the wrangling on this thread over this word is further evidence of this.

Indi wrote:
Theism ≠ religion, and theistic religion generally (almost always, in fact) has an additional property: not only does the god or gods exist, but we matter to them in some way - even if only in the sense that they "prefer" us to wear robes or something. And that is where the arrogance comes in... not in the theistic part, but in the religious part.

In agreement with you there, sort of. Us little bugs thinking it matters one tiny bit whether we wear funny hats or ring bells at a certain time, or pray with these words or those words, in this language or that one... pretty silly. But maybe that's my (our?) arrogance talking, as if I knew "the way things really are." My little bug brain can't make sense of these, at least.
Indi wrote:
There is an implication of your argument that actually makes things worse for religion than simply being arrogant!

As you say: "... an omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent being is not showing favoritism if it cares about and arranges for all its creation..." True. But the implication of that is that it cares equally for us as it cares about any individual star, speck of dirt or bacteria. If everything is in his sphere of awareness equally, then you can argue that we (individual humans) have as much relevance as a galactic cluster in the grand scheme of things... but the corollary to that is that we also have as much relevance as a flu bug.
Hmm OK, I think I get your point. If the supreme Being is "Omnipresent", that means there is nowhere it is not. That means the perfect One is in everything, and everything is in it. So yes, we as individuals are not any more or less perfect than any other part of this being ... the next bit, though:
Indi wrote:
And if that is true, why should we care about the god? It's not going to show us favouritism over a rhinovirus, because we are both equal in its eyes. Why bother trying to talk to it? Basically, if it doesn't care any more or less about us than a single mote... why should we care more or less about it than a single mote?

Which, in effect, makes religion utterly pointless. ^_^; So arrogant or irrelevant, either way religion ends up looking not so hot.
So the general (theistic) doctrine, East or West, is that God, being perfect, needs none of our prayers, praises, rituals etc. How can the highest One be made any higher or lower by some puny nothing's action? These activities are encouraged, however, because they purify and benefit the doers. WE are the limited and silly and pointless ones, and lifting our heads out of the mud and recognizing that there is a higher cause to everything is beneficial. Pettiness, greediness, jealousy, neurosis etc all can be traced to a sense of self importance, and, as you said, this sort of theism when truly practiced leads one to the understanding that everything is both equally important and unimportant. These unpleasant parts of humanness get wiped away in the truly devout believer, which is an attractive proposition to some.

Let's look at it from another point of view: If this all powerful being created everything out of nothing... it must have created all out of itself right? The One made the many things. So it would follow that we are pieces of that great being, because we are made out of it. So, maybe we are like cells of this being. It obviously cares for all its parts... but if a few cells stupidly think themselves as independent units and act as such, they will not be helping themselves or the whole either. So religions are ostensibly rulebooks for teaching cells how to behave and act rightly with a view to the whole. Whether they succeed in this respect is another story.

Now I realize that this is a bit of a digression, but an interesting one, at least... IMHO
peaceupnorth
For the record guys, Buddhism has many flavors. I know personally a number of Buddhists, of the Tibetan inclination. This sect does indeed have gods (they call em "deities.."). They have this nice belief though, that allows for an atheistic perspective, which might be labelled as a sort of Panthiesm. All these great powers/gods/deities are seen as aspects of the higher Self (the Universal Self which is their God).

Their metaphysical beliefs seem pretty well thought out, to me (although there is some "revealed knowledge" mixed in, with the proviso that every soul can see it for themselves, with practise.)

So to generalize and say that "Buddhists are Athiests" is very incorrect. Maybe a lot of Buddhists in the USA and Europe are, but they should not be taken to represent the whole. They are more like exceptions, if somewhat outspoken ones.
Xanatos
peaceupnorth wrote:
So to generalize and say that "Buddhists are Athiests" is very incorrect. Maybe a lot of Buddhists in the USA and Europe are, but they should not be taken to represent the whole. They are more like exceptions, if somewhat outspoken ones.


They are not really the minority. Original Buddhism had no dieties either. It is only the newer versions that do.
deanhills
peaceupnorth wrote:
So to generalize and say that "Buddhists are Athiests" is very incorrect. Maybe a lot of Buddhists in the USA and Europe are, but they should not be taken to represent the whole. They are more like exceptions, if somewhat outspoken ones.

I would tend to agree on instinct (totally unscientific I know Smile). For me there is a great difference between the two. Buddhism has something sacred and peaceful in it and does not seem to have worries about other religions, it has found its own nirvana. Atheism seems to be "bugged" by religion, needing to question it from the position of science all the time. On the one hand it says it is completely outside anything that is religion or "ism", but on the other hand they seem to need to investigate "delusions" all the time. I sometimes wonder what would happen to atheism if there was no religion anymore Shocked
peaceupnorth
Xanatos wrote:

They are not really the minority. Original Buddhism had no dieties either. It is only the newer versions that do.

Thanks for calling me on that, I actually don't know what the "majority" or "minority" of real Buddhists practise. But I'm pretty sure most Chinese and Tibetan flavors have deities. And that counts for a lot of Buddhists. Anyway *off topic...
Indi
Craeft wrote:
Interesting. I was never aware that saying 'something hit a nerve with you' was the same as calling you an idiot.

It isn't. Coincidentally, i didn't say it was. Practise those comprehension skills, hm?

peaceupnorth wrote:
Religion is kind of a vague category, it seems. The dictionary agrees. All the wrangling on this thread over this word is further evidence of this.

Do not assume that wrangling over a definition implies a definition is vague. Lots of people are wrangling fiercely in the US over the age of the Earth. Do you really think the answer to that question is particularly vague? Controversy does not imply that an answer is uncertain.

Actually, that's a good analogy. Because as with the age of the Earth, we don't have an exact answer for the definition of religion. But it's not like we don't have a very good approximation.

Lots of people want to push their own pet definitions of religion for their own purposes - do you know that some people even literally define "religion" as "anything which closely matches my own religion"? That's the actual definition some people use, and they reason they use it should be pretty obvious - they want to make their religion the Platonic ideal for all religion. Other people are more subtle: they carefully massage the definition of "religion" to include all the religions they take somewhat seriously, and reject everything else as cults or just crackpot stuff.

But don't let the confusion sown by people with agendas cloud the issue. The definition of religion is not vague. It is (almost) universally accepted (and only almost because some groups opt to make the definition slightly more or less precise, usually for practical reasons - the definition used in the sociology of religion is necessarily more precise than the definition used for anthropological studies of religion). Check any decent dictionary or textbook on the subject, and you will find the same thing: a religion is any set of beliefs about the nature of the universe and/or humankind's place in it that are held to primarily by faith. Some definitions add more details (for example, "... usually associated with specific practises and rituals..."), but the core is always the same. But don't take my word for it, grab yourself a decent dictionary and see for yourself (but don't forget that religion is a word with multiple definitions that often get interchanged - religion may refer to religious belief (as i have defined it), an institution (an organized religion), or something that nothing to do with actual religion at all (when used allegorically)).

peaceupnorth wrote:
So the general (theistic) doctrine, East or West, is that God, being perfect, needs none of our prayers, praises, rituals etc. How can the highest One be made any higher or lower by some puny nothing's action? These activities are encouraged, however, because they purify and benefit the doers. WE are the limited and silly and pointless ones, and lifting our heads out of the mud and recognizing that there is a higher cause to everything is beneficial.

Are you implying that prayer (and possibly religious devotion in general), while of no import to the deity, may be therapeutic for us? Or in other words, when we reach out to God, even though God doesn't care a squat about is (or cares about us equally with dirt), the act of reaching out benefits us?

Well, if so, that doesn't make religion any less arrogant for claiming that God cares.

peaceupnorth wrote:
Let's look at it from another point of view: If this all powerful being created everything out of nothing... it must have created all out of itself right? The One made the many things. So it would follow that we are pieces of that great being, because we are made out of it. So, maybe we are like cells of this being. It obviously cares for all its parts... but if a few cells stupidly think themselves as independent units and act as such, they will not be helping themselves or the whole either. So religions are ostensibly rulebooks for teaching cells how to behave and act rightly with a view to the whole. Whether they succeed in this respect is another story.

Hm, that's funny... i saw an Internet documentary recently about us all being "cells" in some giant macro-organism.

Well, the problem with this analogy is that if this powerful being is powerful enough to create us all ex nihilo, and if it could motivate us to behave in certain desirable ways (for example, by giving us a guidebook for behaviour), then why would it tolerate any nonsense on our part? Why not just thunder down on us all from on high: "BEHAVE THE WAY I WANT YOU TO OR I WILL WIPE YOU ALL OUT AND REPLACE YOU WITH CELLS THAT ARE BETTER BEHAVED"? It would be a lot easier than trying to manipulate our behaviour with a guidebook, and would eliminate any non-compliance (because non-compliers would be summarily eliminated).

There's also a whole can of philosophical worms that get opened once you start implying that our creator needs us in some way. But that's beyond this thread.
Craeft
Indi wrote:
Craeft wrote:
Interesting. I was never aware that saying 'something hit a nerve with you' was the same as calling you an idiot.

It isn't. Coincidentally, i didn't say it was. Practise those comprehension skills, hm?


Oh?:

Indi wrote:
In short, it is the difference between "your argument is wrong because you are an idiot" and "your argument is wrong, and by the way, you're an idiot". The first is ad hominem. The second is just an insult tacked on to the rebuttal, but not really part of it. There is a difference between giving an argument followed by an insult and giving an argument based on an insult.


Mind you, that excerpt was taken from the same lengthy post you made where you claim to have quoted me but never actually did. You merely typed assumptions and put them in italics and quotes. If you are going to try to debate, you have to use what you're given as opposed to making stuff up to fit your side of it. That's called libel.

As for your signature, please... keep working on it.
tingkagol
I know I shouldn't, but...
craeft wrote:
...something hit a nerve with you.

I think this was poorly judged. This was in direct response to this:
indi wrote:
craeft wrote:
Please understand that not all religions are like this. Also, understand that not all spiritualities are religions.

This makes no sense at all. "Spiritualities" is a word, but it doesn't mean anything that would make any sense out of what you are saying.

If you read through his other posts you'll find he just argues this way (A-la non ad-hominem (thx for the new vocab)), probably unbeknownst to him. He actually struck a nerve with you, not the other way around. Your succeeding posts were then filled with sarcasm and clearly sour, while on the other hand he still manages to make sense. Everything snowballed after that.

I just wanted to point that out, and maybe perhaps people should be more sensitive about each other's feelings around here. Smile
peaceupnorth
Indi wrote:

Are you implying that prayer (and possibly religious devotion in general), while of no import to the deity, may be therapeutic for us? Or in other words, when we reach out to God, even though God doesn't care a squat about is (or cares about us equally with dirt), the act of reaching out benefits us?

Yeah that's the way I always understood it. People's beliefs vary a lot, of course, so I don't speak for everyone. But here we are talking hypothetically about an omnipotent being. So of course, logically, a being such as this needs none of our pious proclamations or other sorts of devotion. And, yes, maybe the analogy of cells in a body isn't the best one to use, since it leads us to think that this being actually needs us for something.

Hmm, I've got another analogy which may be better: God = the Sun, and creation = a bunch of plants. The sun gets nothing from the life that relies on it, and yet every single plant is built from solar energy (directly or indirectly) and cannot live without it. So it is good for plants to reach for the sun, embrace the sun's loving rays etc.
Indi wrote:
Well, if so, that doesn't make religion any less arrogant for claiming that God cares.
It would be indeed arrogant for any one plant to claim it knows the sun's ways. But from our vegetative perspective, the sun is a benevolent, loving power that blesses and loves everyone, bar none, and those who reach for it the most get blessed the most (catch the most rays). It is more a practical teaching, based on the observation that people are happier when they are "looking up." Even a hardened skeptic could see the value in cultivating hope and goodwill among people. Or maybe I'm assuming too much from these hardened skeptics?
deanhills
peaceupnorth wrote:
It would be indeed arrogant for any one plant to claim it knows the sun's ways. But from our vegetative perspective, the sun is a benevolent, loving power that blesses and loves everyone, bar none, and those who reach for it the most get blessed the most (catch the most rays). It is more a practical teaching, based on the observation that people are happier when they are "looking up." Even a hardened skeptic could see the value in cultivating hope and goodwill among people. Or maybe I'm assuming too much from these hardened skeptics?

I agree that prayer benefits people, meditation benefits people too and there is something of similar in it. I also believe that the more people who pray together or meditate together, the stronger the force. Provided it is done with sincerity and pure intent. The more sincere and pure the intention of the group is, the stronger the force as well. Purity being along the lines of total unselfishness and complete humbleness.
JessieF
Craeft wrote:

EDIT:
I figured since you take dictionary.com as gospel (no pun intended):
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/theism?qsrc=2888



I don't see how that page proves your point. Theism does not equal religion. I don't know what books you used in college, but apparently they're outdated.

Theism - the belief in god(s)
Atheism - lack of belief in god(s) (You're saying atheism means the lack of religion, but it does not.)

Since we all seem to be "picking the definition we like best," I'll go with this one:

Quote:
Religion - a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion. - dictionary.com


Haha, it says here Buddhism is a religion! How about that. Also, it does not say that religion = theism!

Craeft wrote:

Well gee... ya got me there. I guess I should have minored in something else.


Maybe you should have. =]
Indi
Craeft wrote:
Indi wrote:
In short, it is the difference between "your argument is wrong because you are an idiot" and "your argument is wrong, and by the way, you're an idiot". The first is ad hominem. The second is just an insult tacked on to the rebuttal, but not really part of it. There is a difference between giving an argument followed by an insult and giving an argument based on an insult.


Mind you, that excerpt was taken from the same lengthy post you made where you claim to have quoted me but never actually did. You merely typed assumptions and put them in italics and quotes. If you are going to try to debate, you have to use what you're given as opposed to making stuff up to fit your side of it. That's called libel.

As for your signature, please... keep working on it.

Actually: ^_^
  1. i did quote you - several times.
  2. But in that passage you quoted, i did not claim to be quoting you, and i was not. i was, in fact, quoting the link deanhills posted. In fact, i wasn't talking either to or about you. i was talking to deanhills about ad hominem fallacies. In that passage you quoted, i was explaining to deanhills the difference between what i said and an actually ad hominem attack was (using the link he posted for examples, because i assume he read and understood it since he posted it). It has nothing to do with you at all. ^_^;
  3. What i typed in italics were not assumptions. Look up the word "assumption" and see. ^_^ What i typed in italics were either emphasized points, paraphrased examples (from deanhills's link), or direct quotes. If you can find a case where i did otherwise, show it.
  4. If i were debating, i would - of course - follow your advice. But i wasn't debating, either with you or anyone else. i was explaining something to deanhills, answering a question he asked me, using both a link he provided and examples in this thread that he pointed out to provide examples for the explanation. You weren't involved at all, except for being an example of what not to do.
  5. And finally... that's not called libel. ^_^; It's called fabrication. It would appear you are as good a lawyer as you are a psychologist. ^_^;
  6. What's wrong with my signature?

i also have to point out that it seems a little disingenuous for you to be telling me how to debate. Over the course of this conversation, you have provided virtually nothing of any intelligence - and certainly nothing that could be construed as good debating. In your first post you made a couple of claims with no sources to back them up, and that are both easily proven wrong by a number of sources... and since then you've done nothing but hurl snarky comments that i'm sure you think are intelligent rebuttals, but really aren't. Meanwhile, i'd ask you to note that even when i take the time to amuse myself by responding to your ignorant responses (what can i say, sometimes it can be fun to fight a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent), i still devote time to furthering the discussion points of this topic (just, not with you ^_^).

peaceupnorth wrote:
Hmm, I've got another analogy which may be better: God = the Sun, and creation = a bunch of plants. The sun gets nothing from the life that relies on it, and yet every single plant is built from solar energy (directly or indirectly) and cannot live without it. So it is good for plants to reach for the sun, embrace the sun's loving rays etc.
Indi wrote:
Well, if so, that doesn't make religion any less arrogant for claiming that God cares.
It would be indeed arrogant for any one plant to claim it knows the sun's ways. But from our vegetative perspective, the sun is a benevolent, loving power that blesses and loves everyone, bar none, and those who reach for it the most get blessed the most (catch the most rays). It is more a practical teaching, based on the observation that people are happier when they are "looking up." Even a hardened skeptic could see the value in cultivating hope and goodwill among people. Or maybe I'm assuming too much from these hardened skeptics?

You are confusing sceptics with defeatist pessimists. A sceptic doubts that which has not been proven. He doesn't dismiss hope and goodwill just for the hell of it. And they're not just fools either. If it can be shown that it does actually benefit benefit people to cultivate goodwill and hope - which it can - then a sceptic would obviously see the value in it. What sceptics doubt is the value of cultivating false hope and conditional goodwill... as religion does.

Take your analogy for example. If it is really true that reaching for the sun is better for the plants than not reaching - which it obviously is - then a sceptic may doubt it at first... but this is something that can easily be shown and is not really something you can rationally doubt given even a little bit of evidence.

That is why your analogy fails: you assume that reaching toward God is beneficial and dismiss sceptics for doubting what you seem to think is obviously true. But consider the sceptic's view. Look around. Are more religious people blissfully happy? Are the people at the Westboro Baptist Church happy? Are the people that bomb abortion clinics, beat up gays, and fly planes into buildings happy? Clearly not. And now look at it a different way: take the top 10 most religious countries and the bottom 10... is the population of the first group significantly happier than the second?

So, basically, now that we've established that reaching out to an omnipotent god is pointless practically in that an omnipotent god simply won't care, the next tactic is to suggest that it doesn't even matter if the god exists at all: simply making the attempt is beneficial. (You can hear similar arguments about prayer, tantric meditation, etc.) But despite your analogy, where making the attempt is provably beneficial and has no costs to it, in real life "reaching toward God" is extremely costly, and despite your shots at sceptics, not all that obviously true.
peaceupnorth
Indi wrote:
You are confusing sceptics with defeatist pessimists.

Yeah, I guess I was. Thank you for clarifying what it means to be a skeptic. True Skepticism, as you have described it, is a very useful stance to take. However, I've met many so called skeptics who do confuse skepticism with narrowness and bigotry. Anyway, we digress...
Indi wrote:

That is why your analogy fails: you assume that reaching toward God is beneficial and dismiss sceptics for doubting what you seem to think is obviously true. But consider the sceptic's view. Look around. Are more religious people blissfully happy? Are the people at the Westboro Baptist Church happy? Are the people that bomb abortion clinics, beat up gays, and fly planes into buildings happy? Clearly not.

Yeah ok I didn't mean to diss skeptics, I don't know what this has to do with the point I was trying to make though. The point was that a belief in God isn't necessarily arrogant.
I tried to make some analogies to explain why this may be. Like I said before, I am NOT getting into the argument of whether God exists or not. I'm reiterating a common teaching, to prove that the belief in a omnipotent entity "caring" isn't a self-centered, arrogant viewpoint.
The point I made about it being a practical teaching was secondary. To restate: saying "God cares" gets people "looking up", believing, and this is (sometimes) beneficial. Even those who aren't usually inclined to agree with any religious belief (ie those who I mis-labeled as hardened skeptics) can agree (wait for it)
Indi wrote:
What sceptics doubt is the value of cultivating false hope and conditional goodwill...

People, especially when things aren't going well, often get desperate and do foolish things. So giving them a hope, even if it is false, will allow them to keep on trucking instead of giving up... and conditional goodwill... that's not what most religions preach, although that may be what many religious people practice, unfortunately.
Anyway, sorry for this digression from the main point. We could probably go on for days about this. Let's stick to the topic, which is a theoretical discussion about the belief in an omnipotent being.

Indi wrote:
So, basically, now that we've established that reaching out to an omnipotent god is pointless practically in that an omnipotent god simply won't care, the next tactic is to suggest that it doesn't even matter if the god exists at all: simply making the attempt is beneficial.
No no, we've not established that reaching out to an omnipotent one is pointless cuz it doesn't care. That's what I've been trying to say with my analogies. Please ignore what I said about skeptics and the like... that was extraneous, I'm interested in your response to my main point.

PS
Indi wrote:

What's wrong with my signature?

I'm not going to say it is wrong... but if you are an eagle... why let a gaggle of flightless birds slow you down? They have nothing to do with your soaring high in the sky.
*anyway, no need to respond to that in this thread... just food for thought. Good night sir! Be well!
Related topics
Ausse Minister Brendan Nelson to Tony Blair:
A debate of religion, science, and more
science vs. religion
islam is...
What Punk Rock realy is?
religion issues
Religion ??
Bad Religion
God a superstition?
religion vs. morals
The Whole "GOD" Thing
Support Danish
Praise the Lord...whoever they may be...
Theory of religion and science
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Philosophy and Religion

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.