My two cents on organized religion and God.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 3:57 PM GMT
    Okay…so normally I don’t dive into the religion pool, but thought I’d put my two cents out there and see what others think.

    Let me first start by saying that as humans we need to have an easy explanation for anything we do not understand. Think about this…before we knew what the sun was, or seasons, stars, planets (almost anything) if we did not understand it, it was a God. Makes it easy too explain, and shuts everybody up.

    Now, once we as thinking and reasoning humans started to figure out what all of these things were, suddenly they were not Gods anymore, but rather just became what we know them as today.

    If one does not support big bang theory, evolution, any of these types of willy-nilly ides…the easiest way to explain everything is…you guessed it…God did it all (end of story…accept it and shut up, and don’t question me, or we will persecute you).

    Organized religion as we know it was created back in a time when let’s face it…we were heathens (quite literally) but the ruling class thought to themselves…look, this type of behavior is not acceptable, and there need to be some laws in which to live by…kind of keep the unwashed masses in check.

    And if you think about the bible it is a collection of stories that have been passed down generation-to-generation….hmmm, think about the telephone game. What was originally said, and what is interpreted and comes out in the end…it sounds a whole lot different right??

    So we are supposed to believe everything we read in this book without question? on faith alone? I don’t know, but my Mamma always said don’t believe everything you read. C’mon we are thinking and reasoning individuals, not sheople (sheep + people)….though this is what is wanted…people who go through life just accept it without question.

    There are a great many things that happen that I do not fully understand…am I going to put a label of God on it?...NO! Am I more spiritual?...perhaps. I will live my life treating others as I would want to be treated. We have come far enough (one would like to think) that we know what is and what is not acceptable behavior, but why do I need the church to tell me what that is?

    I fear that it is mostly used now for propagation of an agenda of fear and hatred…and people use it as a crutch. I just can’t take it anymore…so I put it in God’s hands…

    Anyway…I know I will catch flack for this, but frankly I don’t care…I don’t say I am right, and you are wrong…I just ask that you step back from it…and think about it (it really is okay to question authority).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 4:32 PM GMT
    CapeAnnAthletic said
    (it really is okay to question authority).


    Before this turns into a flame war on whether god actually exists or not let me just say that this is the most important point for mankind to learn in the following times.

    ASK!

    Whether it be the president, a nobel prize-winning physicist, the Pope, or your mom. Whether it's about taxes, the orbital path of Callisto, the historical accuracy of Exodus, or that masturbation will make you blind. Ask.

    It's why the scientific method is so useful. Because its results are never too sacred to be questioned. Never too special to be off-limits to scrutiny. Even the highest authority on one field of science is constantly being challenged by other scientists working on other theories. And more, they experiment. They test. They actually make the effort to prove and disprove their own or other people's ideas. Nothing is ever taken at face value.

    • Define the question
    • Gather information and resources (observe)
    • Form hypothesis
    • Perform experiment and collect data
    • Analyze data
    • Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
    • Publish results
    • Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

    And note that by 'scientific method' I do not simply mean in science. We actually already do it a lot in our daily lives. The act of questioning, proving it yourself, and then applying it IS the scientific method.

    When you use two different brands of fertilizer on your garden to see which works better, you are practicing the scientific method. When you do a background check on a guy you meet online before arranging a date, you are practicing the scientific method. Every time you compare the policies of the current government to the previous one in an effort to see which government is better you are practicing the scientific method.

    It's amazing how even today, there are still questions which we are too afraid and discouraged to ask. Or even if we do ask, we ignore the answers or give up after only the most cursory inspection of the evidence and assert it as true. Never to be asked again.

    Every time a child of a literalist christian family asks 'Is the Bible wrong?'

    The immediate response would be 'SHUSH, Honey! That is blasphemy!' Followed perhaps, by a spanking.

    Every time a citizen of a totalitarian state asks 'Is the government wrong?'

    The immediate response would be disappearance, torture, and death.

    When a "truth" does whatever means necessary to avoid being questioned (even suppression, like witch burnings, excommunication, and the inquisition in organized religion, or military crackdowns, disappearing dissidents, and torture for governments), you begin to realize that it's because the answer does not quite agree with the 'truth'.

    Remember the emperor and his new clothes. Just because everyone else is too afraid to say that he's naked doesn't mean that he isn't naked.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 4:38 PM GMT
    I agree with you guys. Hope you are ready for the Christian/Bibles guys coming. I can already hear their steps coming. I am taking a break debating with those guys so I am getting out of here before they come.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 4:58 PM GMT
    There is this great quote that I think came from comedian Jon Stewart, and it's all I ever say when religion becomes a topic:

    "Religion has the power to comfort and heal a world torn apart..by religion."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 5:16 PM GMT
    Yeow. As an Atheist for 20+ years now, I do not know where to begin.

    First poster- you argument about the bible has been my argument for so long. It is not a first hand account of anything. And even if it were, it is written not by scholars but believers. Believers write with an agenda. The books that were accepted as the bible, a collection of writings, were accepted with social and political goals in mind. Anytime people edit, biases and agendas come into play. They definitely did in the forming of the books of the bible. The mere fact that some books got in and some did not are proof of that. Whether the text was changed? Text always changes. Depends on the editor.

    Third poster- Scientific Method? Wow. Why people argue with that I have no idea. It is the basis of all science. It is the basis of all drug tests. It is the best method man has come up with to discern truth from falsehood.

    That something should not only be able to be demonstrated, but also repeatable, time and time again. That is science. The bible unfortunately does not hold up to science. It is fantasy and mysticism, and it feels good.

    But, it does not hold up to science. Does that mean it is all false? No way. Much is based on true stories. But based on is the key phrase.

    Anyway, as an atheist open to religion, I liked your posts. Religious guys, prove them wrong. But that is also unfair. Religion is faith-based, and faith means there is no proof but no proof is needed, otherwise you would not need faith.

    So, I am an atheist, but I do not discount your faith in things that can not be proved by science. I just personally do not believe.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 6:50 PM GMT
    Two things on this topic:

    If god, with infinite magical powers, truly whipped all of this up, why the hell would he include disease, suffering, war, hate, evil, starvation (and those damn gnats) as part of the deal? I often liken it to the world's greatest chef being asked to prepare the best meal ever--and he purposely mucks up the recipe.

    In response to this, I often hear the "free will" argument, which I think is THE biggest cop-out. God is all-wonderful and perfect, but when he's not, it's our doing, not his. Yes, a life-long cigarette smoker who eventually contracts lung cancer had the free will to smoke or not to smoke....but a child born into poverty or a baby born with birth defects or someone with a random mental illness--there, the 'free will' argument, for me, loses. They had ZERO choice in the matter.

    Everytime I see a kid in a wheelchair or severely handicapped or missing a limb, I think to myself, THAT is why I don't believe in god.

    It's a big fairy tale to help people get through their lives. The earth is NOT 3,000 years old. Dinosaurs REALLY did exist. God did not write the Bible. Hell is NOT in the middle of the earth. He's NOT going to get mad at you if your curse.

    I have no beef with people who need the religion crutch. I don't get it at all, but whatever gets you through the day and weorks for you, fine. Just don't come a-preaching to me, please.

    As Archie Bunker said, "Faith is something you believe that no one in their right mind would believe."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 6:53 PM GMT
    jerzeybum saidAs Archie Bunker said, "Faith is something you believe that no one in their right mind would believe."

    AMEN, brother!
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Aug 05, 2009 7:12 PM GMT
    Although i have much more to say on the topic of gods and religions, i am sure i have said enough in other threads. I think i will just munch on my popcorn this time and watch.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 7:27 PM GMT
    Delivis saidAlthough i have much more to say on the topic of gods and religions, i am sure i have said enough in other threads. I think i will just munch on my popcorn this time and watch.


    Same here
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 7:32 PM GMT
    phemt saidI agree with you guys. Hope you are ready for the Christian/Bibles guys coming. I can already hear their steps coming. I am taking a break debating with those guys so I am getting out of here before they come.


    I'm waiting. Where are they? icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 7:45 PM GMT
    I posit an idea.

    Suppose Jesus or Buddha or any one of a number of people existed. Consider this. Often when someone comes along and solves problems with an ease that seems magical. This person provides not only solutions to specific existing problems as presented but also a way of considering problems that may arise in the future. These abilities may be as simple as good common sense or as complex as those that can only come from the mind of a genius. That person will be revered. As time goes by, that reverence may reach deification due to factors such as the number of people helped by the ideas and methods that were learned and used.

    Unfortunately, that very reverence can be also used by those who seek power and control and use fear and shame to maintain and grow that power. This is the nature of man. As long as there are uneducated people and educated people, there will be power and class struggles and there will be many methods for individuals to fight or succumb to that power.

    It is interesting that often the rules originally defined to help people can become obsolete, irrelevant or co-opted. The artibitrary way that weight is attributed to these rules is often an affect of current social situations (politics, technology, culture).

    (Now, if I worded that correctly, I should have offended most everyone on the site. Sadly, I think I missed the mark though because, save for this run-on sentence alone, I didn't mention the words: theism, atheism, agnosticism, religion or the existence of God.)
  • swimbikerun

    Posts: 2835

    Aug 05, 2009 7:45 PM GMT
    Tapper said
    phemt saidI agree with you guys. Hope you are ready for the Christian/Bibles guys coming. I can already hear their steps coming. I am taking a break debating with those guys so I am getting out of here before they come.


    I'm waiting. Where are they? icon_rolleyes.gif
    Busy praying for divine intervention.
    Let the flame war being.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 7:58 PM GMT
    I am an atheist and I was waterskiing last Sunday with 7 guys just out of church. I dont think we are all that different and I welcomed any discussion but we did not. We just drank a few beers in 99 degree heat and waterskiied.

    I really think we can talk and debate religion civilly. Maybe I am wrong, but I think I can talk to any diest civilly. It is all in the approach and I never start by saying they are wrong but never concede that I am.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 9:02 PM GMT
    bgcat57 saidI posit an idea.

    Suppose Jesus or Buddha or any one of a number of people existed. Consider this. Often when someone comes along and solves problems with an ease that seems magical. This person provides not only solutions to specific existing problems as presented but also a way of considering problems that may arise in the future. These abilities may be as simple as good common sense or as complex as those that can only come from the mind of a genius. That person will be revered. As time goes by, that reverence may reach deification due to factors such as the number of people helped by the ideas and methods that were learned and used.

    Unfortunately, that very reverence can be also used by those who seek power and control and use fear and shame to maintain and grow that power. This is the nature of man. As long as there are uneducated people and educated people, there will be power and class struggles and there will be many methods for individuals to fight or succumb to that power.

    It is interesting that often the rules originally defined to help people can become obsolete, irrelevant or co-opted. The artibitrary way that weight is attributed to these rules is often an affect of current social situations (politics, technology, culture).

    (Now, if I worded that correctly, I should have offended most everyone on the site. Sadly, I think I missed the mark though because, save for this run-on sentence alone, I didn't mention the words: theism, atheism, agnosticism, religion or the existence of God.)


    Science is just as fallible to that, true. A popular scientist's theory can become almost doctrinal and all his detractors maligned as fakes. And yet, this is avoided easier than in religion precisely because of the system of checks and balances embedded in the methodology itself. Any theory, no matter how well accepted can be toppled by new discoveries. Like how Newtonian Physics got displaced by General Relativity which in turn got displaced by Quantum Physics.

    It's far from perfect but it's the closest we have to a self-correcting system when it comes to beliefs. The Scientific Methodology is to Democracy as Doctrinal Religion is to Totalitarianism.

    The reverence itself is often steered away from cults of personalities, but to the actual phenomena itself. A physicist doesn't worship Einstein, he reveres the atom. A biologist doesn't worship Darwin, he is awed at organisms themselves, the ecosystem, the DNA. It becomes impersonal. The allegiance is the observed phenomena not the previous observer as is the case with religions in which prophets, messiahs, saints are worshiped as gods themselves, faultless and divine (though they may deny it).

    Being uneducated itself is often a choice. More and more so because the concepts being discovered by science grow more and more complex that the average layman is hard pressed to keep track of it. Like: If I need to read two, three, four whole books to begin to understand the Theory of Evolution in its entirety why bother? I can just read Genesis and it'll be over much sooner.

    Intellectual laziness. Science hands out the answers and the methods for finding them freely. Yet it's often so complex that the average person will simply give up and grab answers which had much less transparent ways of getting there simply because the answers are easier to understand and like all fantasies are more exciting than the [perceived] drabness of reality.

    Explain the concepts of Pangaea and tectonic plate movements and you can put a whole class to sleep, meanwhile tell a story of an entire continent with an advanced civilization falling into the oceans and disappearing beneath the waves and you'll have their rapt attention. Atlantis is far more glamorous, far more mysterious to speak of in only a few words than Pangaea. In the same way that talking about actual spacecraft construction, trajectories, escape velocities, reentries, etc. is much more boring than simply talking about shiny flying saucers skipping around.

    It's sad when you think about it. Because if you dig deep enough in scientific findings, you'll find a greater sense of wonder than that of all religions or pseudoscience combined. A deep feeling of awe that's almost spiritual. In fact I argue that it IS spiritual. How can gods who command mere armies of men compare to the might of dozens of worlds around other suns, of billions upon billions of stars each of which rival the glory of our own sun, all in billions of galaxies hurtling away from each other in the vast emptiness of space? How can Atlantis compare to the oceans of molten rock beneath our oceans of water that our landmasses float on, all stirred up by the force of Earth's gravity like blood through the human heart? How can the Yetis compare to the excitement of reconstructing extinct civilizations, finding hominid fossils? Dragons with the very real majesty of sauropods, the ferociousness of Deinocheirus? The Philosopher's stone with harnessing the power of a thousand suns in a single atom?
  • TallGWMvballe...

    Posts: 1925

    Aug 05, 2009 9:10 PM GMT
    Here here! You guys have expressed my beliefs and thoughts much better than I can THANK YOU!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 9:25 PM GMT
    Brilliant, Eric!
    (as usual)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:19 AM GMT
    I know there's a recession, but is two cents all you can afford? icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:24 AM GMT
    Nice discussion as far as organized religion goes. But most of you guys keep seeing the question of God thorough the lens of organized religion vs. science.

    For most of us, someone (or a book) told us that God was this and that and we put those ideas in a box with a label reading "What God is". Some of us revere that box and some others delight in kicking the box through the mud. But is just a box of ideas! And different ideas at that depending of what religion or denomination you were taught.

    Yep, the world isn't 3000 years old; and most certainly this universe began with something pretty much like the big bang; and the theory of evolution explains many of what goes on with living beings through time; and many of the things we read about what God did in some books are just not convincing or are plainly full of logical or scientific holes... Perhaps what we have here is convincing arguments that God is not that particular way but not much else.

    And I'm not even jumping into the "Does God exist?" (And what is the nature of that God?!) question yet. My point is: if we are going to have a discussion about God and we agree that certain ideas out there about God don't convince us, let's raise the level of the discussion to other kind of ideas instead of hitting the same old points.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:27 AM GMT


    Sound's like someone is gonna burn in HELL!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:33 AM GMT
    Hillie said

    Sound's like someone is gonna burn in HELL!


    And I've got my BBQ pack already to cook too.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:35 AM GMT
    I find it amazing that nature gave us the ability to see, yet many religus people remain blind to the truth.

    Even the devil believed in Jesus, and so do many evil people.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 2:46 AM GMT
    matey saidI find it amazing that nature gave us the ability to see, yet many religus people remain blind to the truth.

    Even the devil believed in Jesus, and so do many evil people.


    Listen I believe in the purpose of religion to an extent, The ability to give Faith and Hope to someone is a gift if received, However people are brainwashed frm childhood to believe in a faith of their parents choice. In the beginning of time man shared a personal relationship w/ his god praying to receive the richness of life. It was not till later in time that man created houses of the masses aka houses of worship. everyone wants to feel part of something yet sucked in and misguided because your own life clouds your vision and the message that is clear in most every religion is love and acceptance and how many times has someones GOOD INTENTIONS lead to war and violence?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 3:13 AM GMT
    Hillie said
    matey saidI find it amazing that nature gave us the ability to see, yet many religus people remain blind to the truth.

    Even the devil believed in Jesus, and so do many evil people.


    Listen I believe in the purpose of religion to an extent, The ability to give Faith and Hope to someone is a gift if received, However people are brainwashed frm childhood to believe in a faith of their parents choice. In the beginning of time man shared a personal relationship w/ his god praying to receive the richness of life. It was not till later in time that man created houses of the masses aka houses of worship. everyone wants to feel part of something yet sucked in and misguided because your own life clouds your vision and the message that is clear in most every religion is love and acceptance and how many times has someones GOOD INTENTIONS lead to war and violence?


    Yes many religions may send the message of love and acceptance. But it's not unconditional, it is with condisions.

    here in Oz some time ago, and maybe still. There was a gay movment to force the Catholic Church into accepting it's homosexual community, people who had this religion forced onto them by parents, and become brainwashed that it's the one true church on this earth.

    So these people would wear rainbow vest to chuch to state I'm a homosexual, and a catholic too.

    They were forced to sit at the back of the church, and refused the sacrament too.

    So where was the love and acceptance in that?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 3:17 AM GMT

    LOL Phemt! "Hope you are ready for the Christian/Bibles guys coming. I can already hear their steps coming. I am taking a break debating with those guys so I am getting out of here before they come."




    icon_lol.gif
    hehe.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 3:31 AM GMT
    There is no spoon.