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Religion = money and control.

A creation of powerful men.

Exactly my point above for why a theist would not be interested in religions.

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Question about how does religion mean money?

I agree that religion was created or at least altered as a means of controlling the minds of many, however most churches are having trouble keeping their doors open because they cannot afford to heat the building.

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Because not all Muslims are equally religious. I am saying something very similar to what you accuse me of here. The less religious one is, the less laws from the Koran he will follow. The more religious one is, the more laws from the Koran he will follow. The "most fundamentalist" of Muslims are the very religious ones that follow the most laws from the Koran. Some laws from the Koran are blatantly violent. I don't think the fundamentalists are misinterpreting the Koran. I think the fundamentalist position, in one way, is more sensible than the one who picks and chooses which rules to follow: if the book is the word of God, how can you possibly pick and choose? You need to reject the whole of it or accept the whole of it. So the fundamentalist accepts the whole and in doing so, there is no way around picking up outdated, wicked, and sometimes violent beliefs.

Where to begin? I have to say, at risk of getting my proverbial knuckles wrapped by other posters again, that your knowledge of Islam is flawed. It is exactly the flawed thinking of the fundamentalists that you are using to argue that Muslims are--must be-- in order to be a true Muslim, violent. That is an argument worthy of GW Bush (now, that's an insult!)

There is no rule that a good Muslim must ACT on every word of the Koran-- and in fact, despite fundamentalist claims to the contrary such action is impossible--except for scizophrenics-- because there are passages of the Koran which are contradictory.

Muslims must follow the 5 Pillars of Islam

1. There is Allah, One true God and Mohammed, PBUH, is his phrophet

2; Daily prayers (salat)--five times per day;

3. fasting during Ramadan;

4. almsgiving (zakāt)-- giving money and food to the poor

(5) Haj the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once

Unlike Catholism for example there is NO statement that one person of group has divine insight into the proper interpretation

Also, a great deal of what we consider Islam comes from Hadith-- the recorded words of the Prophet-- and from Arab tribal customs that were adopted as practice (E.g. nowhere in the Koran does it say that women have to be sheathed from head to foot in black; there is merely a statement that a devout woman should cover her head. This is also the case for devout men).

Also, you are speaking of Islam like it is a unitary monolithic entity. This not the case. While Sunnis are the majority there are many different sects in Islam-- who interpret the code of conduct differently.

How can someone who is arguing that religion subverts free will have the chutzpah to claim that he knows better than the individuals involved how they should practice their religion?!

Here are some stats taken from Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape (2010).

57% of Americans think that one must believe in God to have good values and to be moral.

69% want a President who is guided by "strong religious beliefs."

42% believe that life has existed in its present form since the beginning of the world

21% believe that while life may have evolved, its evolution has been guided by the hand of God.

26% believe in evolution by natural selection.

78% believe that the Bible is the word of God (either literal or "inspired")

79% of American Christians believe Jesus will physically return to earth at some point in the future.

(All from pages 146-150.)

I plan to look this up but I have some questions: do you know where Mr. Harris got his statistics? What was the sample size that the researcher claims represents the entire USA? Were the people polled from all across the USA or was it regionally biased? Was there any attempt to compare attitudes by age or gender etcetera.

You seem to take it, as it were, on faith that these stats represent the truth. I think if you explore the way most research is carried out you will become more sceptical of statistics

It is in the nature of religion to implicate itself in the lives of the non-religious. Therefore we should not tolerate those religious practices that cross this line.

It is in the nature of monotheistic religions to impose themselves on the non-religious.

I actually agree with much of what you say, but you have a tendency to overgeneralize the case.

2) The religious moderates and atheists who feel: "I don't agree with their beliefs but I respect their right to practice their religion, as long as I have the right to have my own beliefs" are protecting the fanatics, supporting the damage they cause to others (like forcing women to live in cloth bags), and keeping the situation at a stalemate.

That is not true. I believe in freedom of speech, but that does not mean that I support racism, religious intolerance or any other ism

Freedom of speech and action are usually superceded by the injuction that your free choice must not harm others.

If religions are banned they will merely go underground and become more fanatical

I think all of us can agree, even you and PMAC, that the extremely religious are capable of terrible things and that society would be best off without such people (e.g. 9/11 bombers). But the religious moderates are the shade in which those fanatics lie, unassailable, because of the widespread belief that religion for religion's sake can not be criticized. That is what I accuse you of doing when you say that religion is a case of .01% make a bad name for the 99.9%.

I am a little confused by this argument. I agree with the statement that the extremely religious can do terrible things. You seem to ignore the fact that the extremely unreligious can also do terrible things. It seems as thought you are saying that without religion we would be living in Utopia. The exact reason religion developed was to develop the group cohesion and trust that allowed modern civilization to develop. I would argue despite all of its faults--and they are legion-- that religion remains a civilizing force in much of the world. Regardless of religion or lack of it (Hilter, Stalin, etc) fanatics are prone to causing immense grief for the world.

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You don't teach him that his life will be empty and meaningless if he cheers for the Leafs.

You don't ?!

The abusive part isn't that you're passing on knowledge you believe to be true, it's that you're stunting their critical thinking abilities because of the nature of this knowledge. To be fair, the word "abusive" is harsh and a controversial choice but I do think it's abusive to teach your children delusional beliefs

You are forgetting that most children have a great many oportunities to overcome parental teachings and that most people to some degree have free will to choose what they will or will not believe

You also have not answered my question as to whether you believe that teaching children about Santa is abuse

Sam Harries cites that females under the Taliban had a 12% literacy rate, 44 year life expectancy, and one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world.

You lump this wonderful stat in with a comment on females not learning to read, but without any context. Afghanistan is one of the poorest contries in the world and has been a state of constant conflict since 1980. The infant mortality rate is very high because of poverty and lack of medical care. Low life expectancy for women goes along with lack of pre-natal care and medical facilities and war... the life expectancy for Afghan men is/was even lower-- these are not traits unique to islamic countries. The Taliban are abominable, but the Russians, USA and Allies have a lot to answer for as well.

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PMAC, on 01 November 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Christianity accepts the validity of the Old Testament though. They can't take the creation myth, the ten commandments, the stories of Genesis and Exodus, and many laws from the Old Testament but throw away everything they don't like as being outdated and irrelevant to Christianity. Either this is the word of God or it is the word of men. You must accept the whole or reject the whole.

Uh, no you don't. That is the fundamental mistake that turns a person of faith into a fundamentalist.

And it's not like the New Testament is an appropriate source of morality in the 21st Century anyway unless you're reducing it to some main themes (which you can do with any book).

That is a point of view, not a fact. And besides nobody but a fundamentalist takes it literality which is (pun intended) their and your fundamental error. If you haven't please see Campbell, Joseph for illumination.

A religious Muslim that beats his wife is doing so believing that the Koran gives him permission to.

But it doesn't. If I believe that God has given me the right to drive 100 miles per hour because I misread a religious tract the police are still going to arrest me.

Your argument again seems to be that people are inherently good while religions are evil. I think that if you eliminate all religion people would invent it again...most in the attempt to control the baser passions of their fellow humans...and a few would seek to exploit it to their own advantage.

The religious deny it because their religion says they have to. Scientists that deny climate change do it on their own terms for their own reasons. There is nothing in science that tells them to oppose climate change. This distinction keeps coming up. Atheists do bad things for personal reasons. The religious do bad things because their religions demand them to do those bad things. The cores of the religions are bad. It can only be expected that they will produce bad behaviour (take those passages from the Old Testament, for example).

I know that you are very good with scripture... show me the passage that says " thou shalt not commit stem cell research". Once again, religion is not inherently evil or stupid people are...it is our nature which we must strive to overcome.

You're comparing the crime of being honest to your child to the crime of being dishonest with your child? Disillusioning your child about Santa Claus (something all Christians do eventually) is hardly cruel. Drilling a delusional, immoral philosophy into their naive minds that might stay with them permanently is on another level.

Once again, I am not discussing a crime at all. And, I do not consider religion to be immoral...it must be that "do onto others" and the meek shall inheirit the Earth that my mother brainwashed me with all of those years ago. Yet, I do not go to Church, give it money or teach my Children to be Catholics, but I do teach them to help others and treat people with respect and dignity. How did that happen? Oh yes, I conquered her mind control with...Shazam! reading and thinking

The faith you're talking about is inductive inference. It's when you assume that the future will replicate the past (e.g. the sun has risen every morning without exception, therefore it is reasonable to assume that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.) David Hume outlined the problem with inductive reasoning (it can't be rationally justified) but it is still far more sensible than religious faith, something else entirely, where people base their faith on little to no evidence.

You actually repeat my point while attempting to dismiss it... very good.

However, you can't actually prove that the religious minded are delusional. You just think that because their beliefs do not fit your rationalist view point

It is easy to justify to the weak minded, disenfrancised or desperate, but suicide bombing as a political tactic/weapon of terror was actually invented/popularized by the Tamil tigers in Sri Lanka. And before we add another religion to your list the Tamils were actually fighting because they were being descriminated against by Buddist ( a philosophy, not a religion).

Nevertheless, my point was not that the Koran cannot be misinterpreted--deliberately, I believe-- but that suicide bombings of the kind we see now are Not sanctioned by the Koran or by mainstream islamic scholars. For my opinion on subject google Billy connoly suicide bombers and watch

First, because you cannot refute my argument you ignore this and then you blend your argument about homophobia, fundamentalist Jews and the Pope to conclude: "In this case you can't blame fundamentalists for being crazies, you have to blame the text itself".

That's a classic. Never in the history of the world has a text been guilty of anything except via the interpertation of the person who is reading it.

Let me try again:

1. One does not have to embrace any text or interpretation of anything as the literal word of God to have valid religious faith.

2. The people who do commit this error of fact and doctrine are generally known as fundamentalists. Although not all fundamentalists are violent, the sheer stupidity of their worldview generally makes them, at best, tiresome

3. People--not books or beliefs-- are naturally savage, domineering and stupid. Religion is one way that evolved--deliberate word choice-- to control our natures and allow us to work together. This of course is why the texts concentrate on exterminating the other and cementing the status of the "chosen People".

4. The Bible and the Koran as written cannot beeffectively applied as a guide to 21C life without interpretation-- that is what makes the fundamentalist error so egregious See Points 1-3.

I think however, that we are doomed to disagree about religion. Thanks for an interesting discussion.

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Question about how does religion mean money?

I agree that religion was created or at least altered as a means of controlling the minds of many, however most churches are having trouble keeping their doors open because they cannot afford to heat the building.

Yeah, churchs in Canada where less and less people are religiously involved.

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Yeah, churchs in Canada where less and less people are religiously involved.

Actually just heard a story from my sister's friend that a church here asked for their financial information to find out how much they make. From that, they would decide how much money they could afford to donate to the church. And it wasn't negotiable, it had to be the amount that the church came up with.

So obviously they didn't join that church.

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PMAC, on 01 November 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

That is not true. I believe in freedom of speech, but that does not mean that I support racism, religious intolerance or any other ism

Freedom of speech and action are usually superceded by the injuction that your free choice must not harm others.

If religions are banned they will merely go underground and become more fanatical

Again, I haven't said that religions should be banned. We should apply pressure to people's religious beliefs until the most dangerous ones become fringe. It is about changing the rules of conversation. If I go on TV and deny the Holocaust, I will instantly be thought of as a crazy, as somebody whose opinion doesn't need to be respected. But if I claim to believe that a piece of bread and some wine is the body and blood of Christ, that's totally respectable. It's the double standard that needs to be eliminated. Or else you are standing up for the freedom of speech that harms others.

I agree with the statement that the extremely religious can do terrible things. You seem to ignore the fact that the extremely unreligious can also do terrible things. It seems as thought you are saying that without religion we would be living in Utopia. The exact reason religion developed was to develop the group cohesion and trust that allowed modern civilization to develop. I would argue despite all of its faults--and they are legion-- that religion remains a civilizing force in much of the world. Regardless of religion or lack of it (Hilter, Stalin, etc) fanatics are prone to causing immense grief for the world.

I have already explained the difference. Atheists are free to do good or evil or their own reasons. Religious people are bound to their doctrines, to a set of beliefs that encourage immoral behaviour. Tell me which parts of the world does religion civilize. Certainly not in the USA, the Muslim world, Russia, any of Europe, South and South Eastern Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, ... I don't know much about South America or Australia. But I would imagine their histories are also full of atrocities justified by delusional religious beliefs. Deluded societies are those most prone to propaganda and government manipulation. Furthermore, even if it were true, which it absolutely is not, that religion civilizes the world, it would say nothing about the truth of the doctrines and about the validity of the metaphysical claims that religions make. I would argue that the propagation of mass delusion is harmful to society even if it gives people false reasons to be moral.

--

I can't answer your questions about the statistics, only that they are published in an academic test. Even if they were slightly off, what would it prove? The religious presence in the United States is undeniable. The exact numbers don't change anything.

How can someone who is arguing that religion subverts free will have the chutzpah to claim that he knows better than the individuals involved how they should practice their religion?!

That is exactly what you're doing if you say that women don't need to be covered from head to toe, that the punishment for apostasy is not death, that Jews don't need to be homophobic (although this last one is a different case because it is blatantly in the text while the other two are results of interpretation). Instead of accusing people of misinterpreting the texts, you should face the reality of the millions of people who interpret these texts in evil ways, of the millions more who would have them killed for not sharing their alternate interpretation. Sure, I can call myself a Muslim and say Allah commands me to promote honest scientific research, to be open-minded, rational, to value reason and evidence over faith, and that there is no afterlife but this wouldn't be Islam. We must confine ourselves to 1) what the doctrines blatantly decree and 2) how they are being widely interpreted.

You lump this wonderful stat in with a comment on females not learning to read, but without any context. Afghanistan is one of the poorest contries in the world and has been a state of constant conflict since 1980. The infant mortality rate is very high because of poverty and lack of medical care. Low life expectancy for women goes along with lack of pre-natal care and medical facilities and war... the life expectancy for Afghan men is/was even lower-- these are not traits unique to islamic countries. The Taliban are abominable, but the Russians, USA and Allies have a lot to answer for as well.

There is a religious connection to the 12% literacy stat. That's why I brought it up. In certain extremist Muslim homes, girls are not permitted to learn to read. There are even cases of girls being beaten or having battery acid thrown in their faces for such a crime. I didn't claim that religion is the sole reason for Afghani society being terrible. I merely connected the abuse theme to another kind of child abuse, deprivation of the child's developing intellect.

That is a point of view, not a fact.

It is a point of view that would be unwise to deny, I think. There are modern books written by more knowledgeable and well-meaning people and none of them claim to be the word of God (see the end of this post).

Your argument again seems to be that people are inherently good while religions are evil. I think that if you eliminate all religion people would invent it again...most in the attempt to control the baser passions of their fellow humans...and a few would seek to exploit it to their own advantage.

Not inherently good. People can be good or evil. Religions are encouragement to do evil.

I know that you are very good with scripture... show me the passage that says " thou shalt not commit stem cell research". Once again, religion is not inherently evil or stupid people are...it is our nature which we must strive to overcome.

They obviously didn't know about stem cells when the books were written but there are passages about the sanctity of life and such that stem cell research and abortion are problematic to.

You actually repeat my point while attempting to dismiss it... very good.

However, you can't actually prove that the religious minded are delusional. You just think that because their beliefs do not fit your rationalist view point

I intentionally repeated it and then I totally defeated it. David Hume's problem of induction has no relation to religious beliefs. The problem with induction has to do with making predictions about the future based on past experience. Religious minds are delusional because they believe in historical and metaphysical truths that there is no evidence for and that are, in fact, impossible and often contradictory. Then they often claim that evidence is unnecessary to prove what is self-evident or that believing in that for which there is no proof is virtuous. They are certain about things that are unfalsifiable and unknowable. There is an enormous difference in somebody that believes in the laws of gravity, which are extremely well-tested, and somebody that believes in the resurrection of Jesus, untestifiable. As Popper tells us, the unfalsifiability of an argument is its weakness, not its strength.

Never in the history of the world has a text been guilty of anything except via the interpertation of the person who is reading it.

Let me try again:

1. One does not have to embrace any text or interpretation of anything as the literal word of God to have valid religious faith.

2. The people who do commit this error of fact and doctrine are generally known as fundamentalists. Although not all fundamentalists are violent, the sheer stupidity of their worldview generally makes them, at best, tiresome

3. People--not books or beliefs-- are naturally savage, domineering and stupid. Religion is one way that evolved--deliberate word choice-- to control our natures and allow us to work together. This of course is why the texts concentrate on exterminating the other and cementing the status of the "chosen People".

4. The Bible and the Koran as written cannot beeffectively applied as a guide to 21C life without interpretation-- that is what makes the fundamentalist error so egregious See Points 1-3.

This, I think, is the source of our disagreement. You say that taking the texts literally is a misinterpretation. I argue that this is false, at least in the Old Testament, the one I know best.

1. Religious faith in what? If you believe that the Bible was man-made than why would you base your morality and worldview on it? If it's man-made, then it has no more value than any other book and it's moral teachings are not particularly important. If it's the word of God, then how can you not accept the whole? Nobody can say "Sorry, God, this law is inconvenient for me but I'll follow this other one that's more to my liking." The stupidity of fundamentalism is that they believe the book is holy. But if you believed the book was holy, then it is natural to follow it. Many of my points apply only to people that take their holy books literally (a vast sum of people). As the Old Testament claims to be written by Moses (copying down the words of God) then it is asking to be understood as the word of God and thus taken literally. If you reject all holy books, then which God are you faithful to? If "faith" simply means belief in a deity removed from any tradition, then this is spirituality more than it is religion.

2. Yes, they are detrimental to society.

3. Religious doctrines and beliefs encourage this behaviour. If the books are taken seriously, they are a clear source of evil. They are meant to be taken seriously.

4. This is true. But there is no reason to adapt a man-made book to modern culture unless you believe it to be holy or privileged in some way. If you do believe it to be holy or privileged, then how can you be arrogant enough to adapt it? See points 1-3.

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Exactly my point above for why a theist would not be interested in religions.

Now I understand.

It reminds me of that quote, I forget where it's from, it goes something like: "Religion is deemed by the uneducated to be necessary, by the educated to be evil, and by those in power to be useful."

A person that believes in God doesn't have to be religious. That's where we need to separate deists, from theists, from spiritual atheists.

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Now I understand.

It reminds me of that quote, I forget where it's from, it goes something like: "Religion is deemed by the uneducated to be necessary, by the educated to be evil, and by those in power to be useful."

A person that believes in God doesn't have to be religious. That's where we need to separate deists, from theists, from spiritual atheists.

yeah that's pretty much the paradox i wanted to illustrate. intersting quote

so believing in God isn't necessarily bounded to being religious and vice-versa. To illustrate that, there are many people identifying themselves with a religion, who perform "key rituals" once or twice a year but the rest of the year could care less about either their religion and/or about God. Now a question to you is: Are those people the ones you call "religious moderate"?

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For Fanpuck since he dislikes talk of politics in the Jets logo thread.

I'm not necessarily looking to start a specific conversation with this thread. It is simply a place to start a conversation that would be too controversial in another section due to its political, philosophical, religious, or generally provocative nature. Also a place (maybe) to move off-topic thread into.

This is not a place to post random offensive comments*.

*Unless they are funny.

Is someone who hates every one equally a racialist?

edit: sorry about that I had a Ali G brain freeze moment there :surrender:

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yeah that's pretty much the paradox i wanted to illustrate. intersting quote

so believing in God isn't necessarily bounded to being religious and vice-versa. To illustrate that, there are many people identifying themselves with a religion, who perform "key rituals" once or twice a year but the rest of the year could care less about either their religion and/or about God. Now a question to you is: Are those people the ones you call "religious moderate"?

Religious moderates can be anybody that believes in a personal God (the kind that interferes in human interactions) but that doesn't take the Bible literally and who doesn't base all their philosophical and moral views on the teachings of their holy book and tradition.

I have no problem with those people you described unless they wave away criticisms of religion, keep the double standards alive, and apologize for atrocities that have purely religious causes. Notice I named religious moderates alongside atheists. It is not their religious belief that is in question, it is that some of them foster the religious fanatics and offer them protection from outside critics. They prevent important issues from being taken as seriously as they should be.

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Quote BTH

Again, I haven't said that religions should be banned. We should apply pressure to people's religious beliefs until the most dangerous ones become fringe. It is about changing the rules of conversation. If I go on TV and deny the Holocaust, I will instantly be thought of as a crazy, as somebody whose opinion doesn't need to be respected. But if I claim to believe that a piece of bread and some wine is the body and blood of Christ, that's totally respectable. It's the double standard that needs to be eliminated. Or else you are standing up for the freedom of speech that harms others.

Actually, that contradicts what you have said in our discussion. My argument is that the moderate view of religion is predominant and the wing-nut extremists need to ostracised-- etcetera. On the other hand, Your argument is, or seems to be, the all religion is inherently evil. BTW, since you have only discussed Judaism, Christianity and Islam we should refer to monotheistic religions.

My last word, is that your view is apparently much more prevalent than I thought. See the National Post link below for an absurd bureaucratic response to an " offensive" religious gathering.

http://life.national...es-for-worship/

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Quote BTH

Again, I haven't said that religions should be banned. We should apply pressure to people's religious beliefs until the most dangerous ones become fringe. It is about changing the rules of conversation. If I go on TV and deny the Holocaust, I will instantly be thought of as a crazy, as somebody whose opinion doesn't need to be respected. But if I claim to believe that a piece of bread and some wine is the body and blood of Christ, that's totally respectable. It's the double standard that needs to be eliminated. Or else you are standing up for the freedom of speech that harms others.

Actually, that contradicts what you have said in our discussion. My argument is that the moderate view of religion is predominant and the wing-nut extremists need to ostracised-- etcetera. On the other hand, Your argument is, or seems to be, the all religion is inherently evil. BTW, since you have only discussed Judaism, Christianity and Islam we should refer to monotheistic religions.

My last word, is that your view is apparently much more prevalent than I thought. See the National Post link below for an absurd bureaucratic response to an " offensive" religious gathering.

http://life.national...es-for-worship/

Early in the thread, sakiqc asked me what I meant by religion and I said that I was specifically speaking of the monotheistic ones.

My argument is that the texts where monotheistic moral values are derived from are bad places to look for moral guidance. I can call myself a Jew, take the Old Testament and say that the one and only thing I get out of it is that we need to live a humble, modest life. That would not automatically make me immoral or irrational. But it would be a pretty weak summary of the moral philosophy the book presents. If the principle themes, teachings, and values of the Old and New Testaments, the Koran, and the Hadith are summarized, as if one was writing a book report on them, then they would present three dangerous worldviews. The propagation of irrational beliefs is also detrimental to society, and the actions committed as a direct result of such beliefs are even more so. According to Harris's stats, which are pretty similar to what you'll find in most sources, over three quarters of American Christians hold some of these irrational beliefs. This shows that religious ideas that are both unnecessary and harmful are mainstream in the USA and that these facts have significant political implications (just consider the possibility of Sarah Palin becoming President of the United States, or that stem cell research is blocked under Francis Collins, Obama's appointment as head of the National Institute of Health). Further, even if you were right, the religious crazies themselves are a legitimate threat for public security, minority or not, and need to be taken seriously. Brushing them off as the rare crazies produced by moral and rational religions prevents this threat from being dealt with. Religions themselves should take responsibility for their nuts and condemn them. A double standard protects these views from being criticized and marginalized in the same way as comparable irrational beliefs and practices would be. Hence, the rules of conversation must be changed. The only contradiction there is is between the views I hold and the views you imagine I hold.

From what that article says, the fine isn't because the meeting was "offensive" it's because it was against the law to hold it in that building. If there really is a law saying that activities related to worship are prohibited in municipal buildings, and then you have a religious meeting involving worship in a municipal building, you should not complain when you get a ticket. Complain that the law exists, not that you got penalized for breaking it.

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Quote BTH

Again, I haven't said that religions should be banned.

You're so soft. I think it should have been, liike 100 years ago.

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Here's a question:

If you don't have religion anymore, from where do you derive your moral set for the uneducated, the disenfranchised, the lost, and the weak? If you look at the human race from an evolutionary standpoint, it's survival of the fittest as the bottom line. BTH, your argument is that we should all know better in this day and age, but be honest here, if you took religion out of the equation, there could very well be a rapid fall into anarchy.

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Here's a question:

If you don't have religion anymore, from where do you derive your moral set for the uneducated, the disenfranchised, the lost, and the weak? If you look at the human race from an evolutionary standpoint, it's survival of the fittest as the bottom line. BTH, your argument is that we should all know better in this day and age, but be honest here, if you took religion out of the equation, there could very well be a rapid fall into anarchy.

I don't need religion to set or regulate my morale guidelines. Why people need it is beyond me.

In my opinion, having "something" (or "somenone") above us to rule or lead the humanity clearly contributed to slow down the rising and evolution of humanity.

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I don't need religion to set or regulate my morale guidelines. Why people need it is beyond me.

In my opinion, having "something" (or "somenone") above us to rule or lead the humanity clearly contributed to slow down the rising and evolution of humanity.

Well, here's the thing:

You ask why people need it, and at one point in my life, I'd agree completely. However, we're not all raised the same way, and even if you abolish religion right now, there are still so many ways of thinking. Sometimes we're so isolated in North America to the greater reality of the world it's a little embarrassing. In some cultures, multiple wives is the norm and 'morally' right. In some cultures, it's multiple husbands. Sometimes theft is a jail-able offence, sometimes you cut off the hand that did the stealing. Some people believe that everyone has the right to live, regardless. Other people believe in eye-for-an-eye.

So what *is* moral? We North Americans (I guess we could go as far as to say "Westerners") like to believe that what we do is moral. Except we're not even consistent ourselves - just look at the differences between Republican and Democrat; where does your moral compass stand on the right to choose? So what gives us the right to impose our morality on others?

You said you don't need religion to set your moral guidelines. Well, what do you need? And is what you believe the same as what everyone should believe?

To the original topic, as much as religion has been a divisive element for the last few millennia, it's also been very useful at getting groups of people to learn a given set of morals - yes, morals that were dictated almost as much by economy as they were by practicality or actual morality.

Here's another question for you: modern Western morality would have us believe that humans are all created equally. But they aren't. There are genetic differences in all of us that benefit or detract from each of us depending on situations. Take the genetic difference called sex. Are women created equally? From a biological standpoint, no they are not. The female of our species is made a different way and does *not* have the same capabilities (or issues) that men have. Should they be treated equally in the modern workplace? I believe so. But there's an argument that can be made that says that women are "made" to take care of the young. Are you 100% convinced that the Western world is correct? We leave our children to daycares and babysitters and we miss out on their youth. Is that morally right?

Please understand, I'm not here to advocate for any position one way or the other, but rather am trying to look at things from a non-Western point of view. I'm not sure I agree with your (or BTH's) statement that religion is bad or that we don't need it for morality.

You talk about the evolution of humanity, well let's consider the Arab world for a moment. Mohammed, as I recall (and I could be wrong with this) was around in about 700AD. If you want to talk about evolution, then isn't it reasonable to consider the possibility that those who follow Mohammed are 700 years behind? Where was Christianity 700 years ago? Now, of course in this day and age when the world is "smaller" and technologically connected, there's going to be massive uprisings as those followers suddenly get a glimpse of what the rest of the world has. This of course is a very imperfect line of reasoning, but I bring it to the fore to at least illustrate a point: that our expectations will probably not be in line with reality.

I wonder if religion is a necessary step in any sentient being's evolution. After becoming aware and before learning the rules of science, the desire to answer questions must exist in any curious being. Would there not always be some kind of system of belief that assists when specific answers cannot be found?

And getting back to morality, I'll leave this post with one final thought. Is it static, or is it, in fact, fluid?

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I don't need religion to set or regulate my morale guidelines. Why people need it is beyond me.

Personally, I don't trust humanity to come up with a reasonable social contract on our own. People, by and large, suck. Left solely to our own devices, I'm quite confident is saying that we would have eradicated ourselves long ago.

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Personally, I don't trust humanity to come up with a reasonable social contract on our own. People, by and large, suck. Left solely to our own devices, I'm quite confident is saying that we would have eradicated ourselves long ago.

We could stand to lose a few people. The Earth is too crowded.

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I think his name is Dave Controversy Sirius.

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Well, here's the thing: You ask why people need it, and at one point in my life, I'd agree completely. However, we're not all raised the same way, and even if you abolish religion right now, there are still so many ways of thinking. Sometimes we're so isolated in North America to the greater reality of the world it's a little embarrassing. In some cultures, multiple wives is the norm and 'morally' right. In some cultures, it's multiple husbands. Sometimes theft is a jail-able offence, sometimes you cut off the hand that did the stealing. Some people believe that everyone has the right to live, regardless. Other people believe in eye-for-an-eye. So what *is* moral? We North Americans (I guess we could go as far as to say "Westerners") like to believe that what we do is moral. Except we're not even consistent ourselves - just look at the differences between Republican and Democrat; where does your moral compass stand on the right to choose? So what gives us the right to impose our morality on others? You said you don't need religion to set your moral guidelines. Well, what do you need? And is what you believe the same as what everyone should believe? To the original topic, as much as religion has been a divisive element for the last few millennia, it's also been very useful at getting groups of people to learn a given set of morals - yes, morals that were dictated almost as much by economy as they were by practicality or actual morality.

* I will respond on the quoted part only. I took out the 2nd part of your post cuz it's way too well written and complex for my english skills and I'ma have to read it a few more times to understand it all.

SPOILER ALERT : You're about to read the most condescending, selfish, barely racist post you've probably ever read. I haven't even started yet and I already apologize.

Well, here's the thing: You ask why people need it, and at one point in my life, I'd agree completely. However, we're not all raised the same way, and even if you abolish religion right now, there are still so many ways of thinking.

I totally agree.

Sometimes we're so isolated in North America to the greater reality of the world it's a little embarrassing. In some cultures, multiple wives is the norm and 'morally' right. In some cultures, it's multiple husbands. //// Sometimes theft is a jail-able offence, sometimes you cut off the hand that did the stealing. Some people believe that everyone has the right to live, regardless. Other people believe in eye-for-an-eye.

This is why, since I was 12-13 or so, I've been trying very hard to keep me informed on local, national AND international news/laws/cultures/etc and especially for the few last years when I started to travel a bit more (USA 2009, Scotland 2010, Costa Rica 2011 and Thaïland 2011, all backpacking travels, no resort "all included") to really see with my own eyes how people do live over there. //// This is where I personaly draw my own line : being harmful (or to hurt) to someone. Or to restrain them.

(oh and before anyone ask, I don't think about foetus as being "someone", but this is for another discussion)

So what *is* moral? We North Americans (I guess we could go as far as to say "Westerners") like to believe that what we do is moral. Except we're not even consistent ourselves - just look at the differences between Republican and Democrat; where does your moral compass stand on the right to choose? So what gives us the right to impose our morality on others?

Probably everyone on Earth believe that what they do is moral, but what I think is moral is pretty simple actually :

Try to help as much as you can

Try to love as much as you can

Try to not depend (or abuse) from the system as much as you can

Try not tu hurt anyone as much as you can

Try, as a society, to improve the quality of life over the time you (we)'ve been here

Personaly, I include Try to procreate to give someone the gift you once received, but I can understand why some would not include it and I repect it.

I think this is what "Westerners" societies are (overall) trying to do, and yes, I think that this is moral.

Do I give myself the right to believe that my guidelines are more moral than what I see in other societies who constantly and publicly steal, rape, hurt, censure, kill, etc in the name of "something above" : YES.

Is this right ? Maybe not. But frankly, I don't care. For example, I prefer to be the one who thinks that bomb-sucicide himself in a crowded supermarket is not a good idea and will not help his "cause". I prefer to be the one who will let his daugher decide if she will get married someday, let alone who she will get married with.

You said you don't need religion to set your moral guidelines. Well, what do you need?

Nothing. I personaly decide what's wrong and what's right. With the help of the ones I love and inspired me to be what I am today. I strongly believe that what they teached me over the time + what I've learned are good human basics to follow.

And is what you believe the same as what everyone should believe?

I do have the pretention to believe that my moral guidelines are better than some others and among the best on this planet.

____________________________________

Now, I do realise that all of this could sound like a nazi speech. But let me say that as much as I think that what I believe is what everyone should believe, my guidelines of moral tell me to respect others and to never impose them my moralities.

For example : I won't start a war or any kind of protesting actions over anti-abortion people cuz I believe that they have the right to be against what I think. Will I go vote against them in a referendum if it has to happen : you bet I will.

I will just let them live their life and hope for them to change their mind over the time.

In fact, this is the key part of my thinking :

DON'T IMPOSE ANYTHING TO ANYONE. Suggest, propose, debate, argue all you want, but don't impose.

And, sadly, this is what religions do. They impose.

I gotta go to work now.

Don't forget to donate some money to Macaskill while he grows a Movember.

Don't just grow the stach, support the stach.

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Here's a question:

If you don't have religion anymore, from where do you derive your moral set for the uneducated, the disenfranchised, the lost, and the weak? If you look at the human race from an evolutionary standpoint, it's survival of the fittest as the bottom line. BTH, your argument is that we should all know better in this day and age, but be honest here, if you took religion out of the equation, there could very well be a rapid fall into anarchy.

Remember, I told you my views on art were changed by Sam Harris (who I've referenced earlier in this thread)?

It's him who answered this question for me. I highly recommend you watch his TEDtalk on Youtube. Of all the TEDtalks I've seen, his is my favourite.

In his book The Moral Landscape, he tries to solve exactly this problem, by arguing that morality (without religion) is not something that is totally up in the air and subjective. Rather, and although he never uses this word, I wish he did, it is intersubjective. It is important to see subjectivity-objectivity not as a binary equation but as a continuum. Hmm.. I don't have much time to type a proper answer right now because I just realized I have to go soon. I'll just explain the basic concepts.

Perceptions and experiences are subjective. Only you see them exactly the way you do.

Empirical facts are intersubjective. We can not know their validity, but everyone seems to see the same thing. (e.g. people have two arms.)

Truths (capital T) are objective. They transcend human perceptions.

Harris points out that a foundation of intersubjective values has never been a problem for us in other fields. Every field is based on intersubjective values. His favourite example is that of medicine. Medicine is based on the values that living is better than being dead, that being comfortable is better than being in physical pain, that not vomiting is better than vomiting. There is nothing inherent in not vomiting that makes it objectively superior to vomiting. But if somebody were to suggest at a health conference that he did not believe not-vomiting was better than vomiting, he would not throw the field into anarchy, he would simply not be invited back to the next conference. Note that this does not mean that there is only one right answer to questions of health. When it comes to nutritious eating, there are several different diets that could be called healthy lifestyles. But that doesn't mean that there aren't facts to be known about nutrition, and that there isn't a difference between edible foods and poison.

Science itself is based on certain values. The value that understanding the universe is good for us as a society. The value of empirical evidence. Etc. If somebody doesn't value evidence, there is no amount of evidence you can possibly show them that will convince them. Yet we do not consider science an arbitrary crossfiring of opinions. And if science is unscientific, then what is scientific?

Harris equates morality with the attempt to maximize well-being. You might call this an arbitrarily stipulated definition, but, what is there that we can want that the word "well-being" doesn't imply? Jeffrey Dahmer's idea of a moral life was to murder boys and ejaculate on their corpses. We can safely confirm that this lifestyle does not maximize well-being. How can you pretend to know so little about human well-being as to say that his view is perfectly legitimate?

And I have a lot more to say but I have to go! Just watch his video!

Well, here's the thing:

You ask why people need it, and at one point in my life, I'd agree completely. However, we're not all raised the same way, and even if you abolish religion right now, there are still so many ways of thinking. Sometimes we're so isolated in North America to the greater reality of the world it's a little embarrassing. In some cultures, multiple wives is the norm and 'morally' right. In some cultures, it's multiple husbands. Sometimes theft is a jail-able offence, sometimes you cut off the hand that did the stealing. Some people believe that everyone has the right to live, regardless. Other people believe in eye-for-an-eye.

So what *is* moral? We North Americans (I guess we could go as far as to say "Westerners") like to believe that what we do is moral. Except we're not even consistent ourselves - just look at the differences between Republican and Democrat; where does your moral compass stand on the right to choose? So what gives us the right to impose our morality on others?

You said you don't need religion to set your moral guidelines. Well, what do you need? And is what you believe the same as what everyone should believe?

To the original topic, as much as religion has been a divisive element for the last few millennia, it's also been very useful at getting groups of people to learn a given set of morals - yes, morals that were dictated almost as much by economy as they were by practicality or actual morality.

I wonder if religion is a necessary step in any sentient being's evolution. After becoming aware and before learning the rules of science, the desire to answer questions must exist in any curious being. Would there not always be some kind of system of belief that assists when specific answers cannot be found?

And getting back to morality, I'll leave this post with one final thought. Is it static, or is it, in fact, fluid?

Personally, I don't trust humanity to come up with a reasonable social contract on our own. People, by and large, suck. Left solely to our own devices, I'm quite confident is saying that we would have eradicated ourselves long ago.

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His favourite example is that of medecine. Medecine is based on the values that living is better than being dead, that being comfortable is better than being in physical pain, that not vomiting is better than not vomiting. There is nothing inherent in not vomiting that makes it objectively superior to not vomiting.

Show of hands, for anyone who is actually still reading this (probably the most interesting, at the moment) thread on the site: how many of you have had a-wayyyyyyy too much to drink and were very, very thankful for vomiting. In fact, you may have even encouraged it. Because after the vomiting, you feel infinitely better. I submit that there are times when vomiting is infinitely superior to not-vomiting, and not just my juvenile example. Eating something you shouldn't have, for instance.

He also suggests that being comfortable is better than being in pain. Have you ever exercised? And no, I'm not talking about taking a walk around your neighbourhood, I mean really give it all you have until you literally hit the wall. That's painful.

Of course, these are exceptions, but it shows that the moral example he has developed is somewhat holey.

As for the life over death thing, I believe there have been countless people over the millennia who have much preferred death to the suffering they're going through. Think of end-stage cancer, as just an example. Is it moral for us to insist that people stay alive during that vicious pain? We put down our beloved pets when the suffering gets too much, but somehow we decide that people who are begging to die to be relieved of pain must suck it up and suffer until they're taken naturally. Where's our morality there?

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Show of hands, for anyone who is actually still reading this (probably the most interesting, at the moment) thread on the site: how many of you have had a-wayyyyyyy too much to drink and were very, very thankful for vomiting. In fact, you may have even encouraged it. Because after the vomiting, you feel infinitely better. I submit that there are times when vomiting is infinitely superior to not-vomiting, and not just my juvenile example. Eating something you shouldn't have, for instance.

He also suggests that being comfortable is better than being in pain. Have you ever exercised? And no, I'm not talking about taking a walk around your neighbourhood, I mean really give it all you have until you literally hit the wall. That's painful.

Of course, these are exceptions, but it shows that the moral example he has developed is somewhat holey.

As for the life over death thing, I believe there have been countless people over the millennia who have much preferred death to the suffering they're going through. Think of end-stage cancer, as just an example. Is it moral for us to insist that people stay alive during that vicious pain? We put down our beloved pets when the suffering gets too much, but somehow we decide that people who are begging to die to be relieved of pain must suck it up and suffer until they're taken naturally. Where's our morality there?

Of course there are exceptions. That doesn't contradict anything. We don't base our medicine on the idea that people prefer projectile vomiting over just going about their lives. That is a simple fact of human well-being. We don't change our understanding of medicine based on the guy that wants to vomit or wants to die. That there are rare exceptions only proves that our moral rules need to provide for exceptions. Harris compares it to a chess game. In chess, it is a very good rule to follow to not lose your queen. But there are certain situations in which losing your queen is the best move you can make. Sometimes it's the only move you can make. That hardly makes the original rule valueless.

I'm almost certain he believes in euthanasia by the way. Or at least, there are people that agree with him that strongly believe in euthanasia.

Nobody is saying that we should develop a mathematical formula to determine what is moral. We will never manage to determine answers for many complex moral dilemmas. The point is that right and wrong answers to these questions exist, just as there is a right and wrong answer to the question of the number of digits in Pi (my example) even if we'll never be able to find the right answer. Once we admit this fact, it is easy to classify certain acts as immoral. Take Dahmer again as the obvious example. Much religious behavior too, like the forcing of women to live in cloth bags or the genital mutilation of girls, is almost equally unlikely to represent a peak on the moral landscape.

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