How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Is Religion a Virus of the Mind?   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  ]
 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Is Religion a Virus of the Mind?

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


150 posted 10-10-2007 04:46 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

PS    "...and that there wasn’t in fact several or no elephants to begin with."

That should be  "there weren't" instead of "there wasn't".
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


151 posted 10-10-2007 07:47 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
“Insisting on their true source”

Is that a nice way of saying “death to all infidels”, “lets start a crusade” or “welcome to the inquisition”?


Not at all.  But I didn't think you'd resort to ad hominem quite so early in the discussion.       Pacifism and religious exclusivism are not incompatible, either logically or practically.  


quote:
Of course you can go down the can of worms trail if you like and insist that Allah, Buddha and Zeus are just reflections of the one true god or differing descriptions of the same invisible elephant. But then you’d need to convince me why your particular elephant was any more valid than theirs and that there wasn’t in fact several or no elephants to begin with.


There are many levels on which I can offer you reasons as to why.  First of all, Greek and Roman "gods" were not transcendent but themselves dependents and seated within the natural order.  They were amplified humanity, not the "origin of all things".  So philosophically, Zeus still begs the question of who made him, if not mankind.

Then there's the historical (questions of historical veracity), the existential (questions of human need), the antropological (questions of human nature) ... all of which underscore the truth of God.  There's alot I could go into, if I didn't feel that your request for reasons was given more as a dare.        

quote:
Absolutely no difference whatsoever if you ignore the fact that Dawkin’s idea isn’t contracted by accident or spread surreptitiously from birth whether the recipient wants it or not.


Atheism (and Evolution for that matter) may be just as imposed as religion may be  ... just as indoctrinational, just as militant.  However, you want catch me using those kinds of complaints against it, because as you well know, none of that has much bearing on the question of whether any of it is true or not.  

quote:
Dawkin’s idea is offered and accepted or denied based on evidence – Dawkins meme is a vaccine not a virus.


How can naturalism (or dialectical materialism) be based on evidence, since it is not a statement about particulars but about the whole?  It is a universal and absolute statement, based on presuppositions.  It is a filter through which one may accept or reject certain kinds of evidence according to the tenets of that philosophy, like a religion.  I never deny Christianity's presuppositional commitments, but only insist that it is more consistent with who we are, than the other set.

You may say that Dawkins views of evolution are evidentiary (though the evidence itself is questionable), but not his anti-religious philosophy.  Evolution in and of itself does not preclude the need for a divine maker.  As Chesterton once said; there is little difference between a slow miracle and a fast one.


The question of benefit (using the metaphor of vaccine or virus) is still open.  Is it more becoming or beneficial to believe in God, does it make you more moral?  I would agree with you that Theism (as a mere intellectual belief) may not.  There's more to it.  


more later,

Stephen.  

Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


152 posted 10-10-2007 08:17 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
If life needs to be created by a creator then the life of God needs to be created thus too.  Who created his life?

Not an easy question.  But in simplest terms, finite life was necessarily created, not divine life which is not finite.  Finitude calls for dependence, not eternity.


Stephen  
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


153 posted 10-10-2007 09:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think the problem of your approaches is that you are both "catering" to nonexistance.  Neither you nor Grinch have even proven that any life didn't exist at one point, and yet you are trying to claim or deny "origins" by which seemingly all or most life needed to come into existance. If life wasn't what we are willing to refer with the word "life", why couldn't have existed as something else, that lived up to what we may be willing to refer to with a different word?  In other words, why couldn't life have existed at all times, but just not exactly in the way by which we are still willing to call it "life"?   Does life stop existing just because it evolves into death?  I don't think so.  When life evolves into death it continues to exist as death, but we don't continue to be willing to call it "life" by its extreme difference, therefore we call it "death"  It is immortality in a sense, just not the kind most of us wish for because it involves life continuing not in the same or similar way, but as death itself.  It is one eternal existance, but evolves into two differences where by one we call it "life" and by another we call it "death".  Even though life always exists, it doesn't always live up to the expectations we have in our definition, but instead it may exist as something we hold as the opposite, such as death itself.  Everything always exist, but it doesn't always stay the same either as it is at other places of space or time, or as we describe it.  When something doesn't live up to being the same or doesn't live up to being as we describe, it is not at all because it is not existant, but because it is different.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (10-11-2007 03:10 PM).]

Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


154 posted 10-11-2007 06:48 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Stephen,

quote:
Not at all.  But I didn't think you'd resort to ad hominem quite so early in the discussion. Pacifism and religious exclusivism are not incompatible, either logically or practically.


My statement was aimed at religion as a whole not any particular individual.
If it could be called ad hominem it’s probably closest to a tu quoque ad hominem argument, which as you know is a valid argument. You suggested that the statement made by Dawkins to the effect that the religious do not disbelieve in other peoples gods was incorrect. I merely pointed out that the historical evidence contradicts your assertion, while I agree that believing in one god and being a pacifist is possible, believing in one true god and not disbelieving the existence of other gods is, I believe, impossible.

quote:
There are many levels on which I can offer you reasons as to why.  First of all, Greek and Roman "gods" were not transcendent but themselves dependents and seated within the natural order.  They were amplified humanity, not the "origin of all things".  So philosophically, Zeus still begs the question of who made him, if not mankind.


That’s interesting, Zeus wasn’t a god because he needed a creator, can that argument be applied to Buddah, Allah or even your own god?

quote:
Then there's the historical (questions of historical veracity), the existential (questions of human need), the antropological (questions of human nature) ... all of which underscore the truth of God.  There's alot I could go into, if I didn't feel that your request for reasons was given more as a dare.


It wasn’t a dare Stephen I was simply trying to ascertain whether you believed your god was the one true god and that all other gods were false.      

quote:
Atheism (and Evolution for that matter) may be just as imposed as religion may be  ... just as indoctrinational, just as militant.  However, you want catch me using those kinds of complaints against it, because as you well know, none of that has much bearing on the question of whether any of it is true or not.

Atheism is offered religion is imposed, the truth of either is secondary it is the method of infection that is important. That’s why I was so emphatic in my earlier statement that religion could be deemed a virus of the mind, because infection isn’t normally by choice whereas atheism can be accepted or denied in the same way a vaccine can be accepted or denied.

quote:
You may say that Dawkins views of evolution are evidentiary (though the evidence itself is questionable), but not his anti-religious philosophy.


No, I’d say both were offered with evidence and that the validity of the evidence offered can of course be questioned, tested and amended (unlike religious doctrine).

One piece of evidence offered by Dawkins is the means by which people acquire their religious beliefs; in fact it’s the foundation upon which the virus of the mind suggestion is built.

How do you explain that the vast majority of people who hold religious beliefs just happen to hold the same beliefs as their parents? That religions are geographic in nature and that even today with modern communication and the availability of information it’s unlikely that a person will ‘discover’ the one true religion (yours presumably) and change their religious beliefs?


  
quote:
Evolution in and of itself does not preclude the need for a divine maker.  As Chesterton once said; there is little difference between a slow miracle and a fast one.


Evolution doesn’t preclude the need for little green men either, that doesn’t mean it has to include them just because some people like watching the X files.

Chesterton’s quote with regard to evolution is so far out it’s not even wrong, his smoke and mirror use of the word miracle is designed to lead you to the wrong conclusion. Perhaps I can explain the flaw in his logic.

People, based on their expectations of the event actually happening, classify miracles, this classification it’s based on the level of incredulity regarding the event taking place. There are small miracles for instance, like having a bad fall and not breaking a bone, these are events that are unlikely and fortuitous but still fairly commonplace and so are judged minor miracles.

Next you have medium miracles, these are events that are reasonably rare and fairly incredible, hitting a hole in one at golf could fall into this category, you could reasonably expect to do it once, perhaps twice in your golfing career but it doesn’t happen every day.

The final type of miracles are the events you wouldn’t expect to happen at all, something really incredible, these are true miracles, things like an apple instantaneously appearing out of thin air.

Now supposing I showed you an apple that I’d grown on one of my apple trees and explained all the steps that apple had needed to literally come to fruition, would you class that as a miracle and if so what level? You could argue that the apple was a miracle in and of itself, a fantastic example of the cornucopia offered by nature but would you call it a true miracle?

Chesterton suggests that the miraculous nature of an apple grown on a tree slowly is exactly the same as an apple that appears spontaneously out of thin air. While both apples in and of themselves are fairly miraculous I wouldn’t say that the way they came about was equally miraculous, would you?

Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


155 posted 10-11-2007 08:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Grinch,

Monotheism indeed denies other gods, but  that is because it believes there is only one god, not that there is no god, as atheism.  Therefore, I don't think you may rightly say that monotheism is atheistic.  If you say monotheism is atheistic, then it seems by the same principle you should accept the reverse, that is, that atheism is monotheistic too.  

Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


156 posted 10-13-2007 10:36 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
Monotheism indeed denies other gods, but that is because it believes there is only one god, not that there is no god, as atheism.  Therefore, I don't think you may rightly say that monotheism is atheistic.


Dawkins isn’t suggesting that monotheism is the same as atheism he’s suggesting that the particular tendency of people who hold monotheistic beliefs to deny the existence of other gods is atheistic in nature.

“Your god does not exist”

Sounds to me like an atheistic statement, whether uttered by an atheist a theist or an etymologist.

quote:
If you say monotheism is atheistic, then it seems by the same principle you should accept the reverse, that is, that atheism is monotheistic too.


I don’t so I won’t (see above).

Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


157 posted 10-13-2007 07:56 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Grinch

Let's turn "gods" into "women" for a minute.

If a man avoids all other women because he believes only his lover is a true woman, has a great relationship with her, marries her, and has children, and a long and happy life and love with her, you and Dawkins would say that is like not believing in any and not having a relationship with any woman at all?

Grinch
Member Elite
since 12-31-2005
Posts 2710
Whoville


158 posted 10-13-2007 09:34 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
If a man avoids all other women because he believes only his lover is a true woman, has a great relationship with her, marries her, and has children, and a long and happy life and love with her, you and Dawkins would say that is like not believing in any and not having a relationship with any woman at all?


I’m pretty sure Dawkins, and I’m absolutely sure that I, wouldn’t say anything of the sort but that’s probably due to the fact that your analogy doesn’t resemble in the slightest the atheistic\monotheistic conundrum you’re trying to resolve.

Dawkins does not suggest that the monotheist is atheistic for the same reason I wouldn’t suggest that the man in your analogy doesn’t believe in having a relationship with women. Dawkins suggests that the act of denying other gods is atheistic in nature, you’d have to introduce a similar act to make your analogy truly comparative.

Try this:

If the man said, “I detest married women” he could be labelled as holding anti-marriage views despite the apparent paradox of being married to a women he loves.

Is comparative to:

If the man said, “your god doesn’t exist” he could be labelled as holding atheistic views despite the apparent paradox of being monotheistic.

Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


159 posted 10-13-2007 09:49 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


...the act of denying other gods is atheistic in nature


But that's the point I am focusing on.  Atheism isn't about denying "other gods", it is about denying any and all gods.  It doesn't say "other gods" are nonexistant or false.  It says any and all gods are nonexistant or false.  And that is a big difference, a difference which for the believer would be the likeness to having no woman at all, instead of denying others and having as wife the one he truly believes in.  

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


160 posted 10-13-2007 10:56 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

LOL. The whole quandary here, I think, is an unspoken presumption of atheism.

The conundrum, and the alleged parallels, only exist because the atheist is convinced the monotheist is wrong. If we instead accept the possibility that denying all gods save one true God just might be a valid claim, then the seeming similarities between atheists and monotheists evaporate like so much mist.

The man who insists that two plus two equals four probably shouldn't be confused with the man who insists math doesn't work, even though both would probably agree that two plus two doesn't equal five. Their common ground, in other words, falls far short of making them the same.

We can't yet apply a truth table to religion, but that doesn't mean that a truth table doesn't exist. Eventually, some people will be right, some people will be wrong, and therein will rest the only differentiation that really matters.

(The math analogy may seem a stretch because, after all, no one really claims that mathematics doesn't work; there are no math atheists. It seemed appropriate to me, however, because, if you allow the introduction of paradox (division by zero), there are going to be times when two plus two really does equal five. I sort of like the implication that maybe the atheist and the monotheist are BOTH wrong at least part of the time. )


Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


161 posted 10-14-2007 12:17 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
The man who insists that two plus two equals four probably shouldn't be confused with the man who insists math doesn't work, even though both would probably agree that two plus two doesn't equal five. Their common ground, in other words, falls far short of making them the same.


Brilliant.  What I'll try to say in a few hundred words, Ron says in a few dozen.  


And Essorant too was keen to liken the comparison of atheism and theism to that of misogyny and monogamy.  One man distrusts the face of all women ... the other sees one as the sum and best of all women.  

Stephen  
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


162 posted 10-15-2007 06:18 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
You suggested that the statement made by Dawkins to the effect that the religious do not disbelieve in other peoples gods was incorrect. I merely pointed out that the historical evidence contradicts your assertion, while I agree that believing in one god and being a pacifist is possible, believing in one true god and not disbelieving the existence of other gods is, I believe, impossible.



Grinch, if you'll go back and read my statement, I never said that Dawkin's statement about monotheism was technically incorrect.  I did say that its trivializing conclusion doesn't follow from a proximity of numbers.  That kind of statement is rhetorical and simplistic despite any mathematical accuracy it may hold.  

quote:
That’s interesting, Zeus wasn’t a god because he needed a creator, can that argument be applied to Buddah, Allah or even your own god?


My point was that Zeus as a "god" was quite a different concept than the Judeo-Christian God who is transcendent as well as personal.  A god who is subject to nature rather than its creator and sustainer would indeed beg the question of origin.  A transcendent being, by nature, would not.

Since Buddhism is not a theistic religion, but more of a philosophy, the question of origins would apply to Siddhartha Guatama as it would any other human being.

The question would not apply to Allah or to the Christian God, since both are described as transcendent ... Islam itself (particularly Allah) being a later remaking of Judeo-Christian theology.


quote:
It wasn’t a dare Stephen I was simply trying to ascertain whether you believed your god was the one true god and that all other gods were false.


Yes and no.   or ... Yes but its not that simple.   Even misguided religion contains the expression of a genuine desire for God.  Right attributes often, wrong personage.

quote:
Atheism is offered religion is imposed, the truth of either is secondary it is the method of infection that is important. That’s why I was so emphatic in my earlier statement that religion could be deemed a virus of the mind, because infection isn’t normally by choice whereas atheism can be accepted or denied in the same way a vaccine can be accepted or denied.


I admit religion may be imposed.  It often is.  Some of that imposition crosses over into coercion, while some is proper.  There's nothing wrong with teaching your children what is true authoritatively ... whether it be a matter of religion or otherwise.  Every dogma is subject to a spectrum ranging from outright abuse to parental insistence, to gentle persuasion.  Atheism is no different.  

What I note about your approach (gleaned from Dawkins it seems) is that it lumps everyone religious into the same criminal boat, and sees all the atheists exonerated.  Or to put it in terms of ideology, it makes religious belief out to be inherently oppressive and narrow, and atheism to be instrinsically good, openminded, and unbiased.  It sounds almost like a religious fanaticism, in that it seeks to justify its own ranks and demonize others.  

To take you seriously I would have to understand why you are glossing over the history of atheism (as ideology) in such examples as imposed Marxism or the likes of Madalyn Murray O'Hair, or even "Infidels.org" who teach atheism as dogmatically as any fundamentalist religion.  Remember I am not denying such examples in religion.  I am only pointing out the fallacy of Dawkins arguments. (I also say this lest Brad pipes in, assuming I'm trying to prove Christianity by pointing out that religious faults are no worse than atheist faults ) Sometimes debris has to be moved out of the way before anything more can be established.          
    
quote:
One piece of evidence offered by Dawkins is the means by which people acquire their religious beliefs; in fact it’s the foundation upon which the virus of the mind suggestion is built.

How do you explain that the vast majority of people who hold religious beliefs just happen to hold the same beliefs as their parents?



More erudite thinkers (at least in the areas of philosophy and psychology) than Dawkins have pointed out that the transmission of ideas have nothing to do with whether they are true, good, or evil.  And more than that, the transmission of ideas is very similar accross the board; Dawkins' ideas being no exception.  If the mode of transmission is his point of criticism, then he holds a very poor argument, seeing his own ideas run on the same social and neural tracks.  Has Dawkins never struck you as preachy?  Better check his temp.  


quote:
Chesterton suggests that the miraculous nature of an apple grown on a tree slowly is exactly the same as an apple that appears spontaneously out of thin air. While both apples in and of themselves are fairly miraculous I wouldn’t say that the way they came about was equally miraculous, would you?


No.  But you missed his point.  He was simply trying to express that time does not remove the difficulty or wonder of creation.  The fact that you (a mere varying structure of dumb molecules, by your own worldview) can sit here and debate with me about the nature of the entire universe, and feel that you can know something real beyond your own cerebral cortex, is a wonder that is not lessened by the passing of time.


Stephen.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


163 posted 10-15-2007 09:44 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
a mere varying structure of dumb molecules


I just wanted to clarify that I used "dumb" here not in the insulting sense, but as meaning "silent".  When I reread my post, I felt that it could be taken wrongly.


Stephen  
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


164 posted 10-17-2007 10:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

For anyone who is interested in the relationship between faith and science, (and whether or not they are really at odds) and the subject of this thread ... I found a very recent debate that will prove savory.  Between Richard Dawkins and John Lennox (both men of science) whose conclusions about God are opposite, this debate deals mainly with the subject matter of this thread, albeit more articulately.  Perhaps it may serve to further the discussion here as well.


hope you enjoy.

Part one

Part two

Part three  


Stephen
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


165 posted 10-18-2007 01:06 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Unfortunately the audio on my computer doesn't work
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


166 posted 10-18-2007 01:25 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Yet more motivation to get that fixed!



Stephen
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Is Religion a Virus of the Mind?   [ Page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors