Can there be an atheistic religion?
June 8, 2018 at 1:07 pm #9615
The philosophy of being a Catholic involves immersing yourself in the ritual. Each day of the year is assigned a meaning for you to ponder and each year represents the life of Christ. Essentially you sacrifice yourself for the Church to save your soul. The next life is paramount; this life is just a path to get there. Being naturally Socratic and agreeing with ole Epicurus…. had me at odds with the Catholic philosophy. For thirty five years it just didn’t feel right. So it was not science that swayed me away from all that. You have the option of just taking the Bible as allegory and go on believing. It was my Philosophy that was key to my eventual atheism. So do you guys agree that if more people were versed in philosophy and explored their own true nature, that there would be less religion poisoning everything?June 8, 2018 at 1:26 pm #9616
I disagree that doing philosophy means studying the work of other philosophers. That’s more like doing geography – absorbing information. I think that doing philosophy means studying source material, some of which may be the work of other philosophers. Then, coming up with one’s own ideas.
It does seem like the Greeks were very good at coming up with methods (Socrates) and world views (e.g. Epicurus, the Stoics). I think that if more people were doing philosophy, versed in what it means to be a philosopher and to do it, then people could at least have their own take on religion and maybe do it more kindly and positively.June 8, 2018 at 2:11 pm #9617
Simon, if you were to study history in college would you read the works of other historians? If not how would you learn about the past? Where would you start looking for source materials?
What source materials do philosophers today have that does not involve knowing about other philosophers works?June 8, 2018 at 2:51 pm #9618
Robert, yes i think there would be less religion and fewer adherents of JP.
It is interesting to note how seemingly illusive is a clear definition of philosophy. I think in common parlance when one uses the word philosophical as an adjective there is a bit of the impractical and contemplative being conveyed or even resignation to one’s fate with equanimity. The opposite might be emotional.
Philosophy as a discipline is as i spitball my own extemporaneous and probably ill-conceived definition is the utilization of reason to arrive at truths which give meaning or have significance beyond the aesthetic understanding or interpretation.June 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm #9619
@regthefronkeyfarmer – in doing moral philosophy, my source materials are pretty much evolution and psychology, with some religious knowledge in there as well. If philosophy means studying other philosophers, what was the source material of the first philosophers?
I think philosophy can be compared to art – anyone can be an artist.
Broadly speaking, since philosophy means “love of knowledge”, I would say that the word covers any investigation into how things are.June 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm #9620
Simon, you were speaking about Philosophy in general but have changed the scope of the debate to moral philosophy. Did you become expert in Evolution and Psychology on your own terms or did you read the works of say Darwin or Alder? Did you ever read any of the works of Kierkegaard or other existentialists or do you contend that you don’t need to read the works or moral philosophers to be a moral philosopher?
What is “religious knowledge”. What is your definition of “knowledge” in the sense that academics or students of philosophy use it?June 8, 2018 at 6:03 pm #9621
Reg, moral philosophy is a form of philosophy, so it counts. Other kinds of philosophy I don’t know much about, apart from some mathematics and logic. In moral philosophy, I think the questions to answer are: 1) what should I do? and 2) why should I do it? I think the short answers are 1) compassion and fairness, and seeking inner peace; 2) for a better life; and because it satisfies universal ethical instincts of right and wrong. Giving detailed nuts-and-bolts justifications for these answers is what moral philosophy consists of in my opinion.
So I will read as many decent sources as I can get my hands on, especially ones that contradict others. I don’t tend to go anywhere near moral philosophers. I was disappointed with “Works of Love” by Kierkegaard, and almost every other moral philosopher, as just rambling bollocks. Spinoza had the right ideas, and Kant’s Categorical Imperative turns out to have some usefulness and validity, and also his conception of the individual has having intrinsic value (but for different reasons than his). I’ve only got a short attention span and patience so I normally want things to be short and snappy, as in mathematics.
So I’ve read maybe 5 sources on cooperative breeding, for example. I need enough information to answer a question without leaving any further questions unanswered or any contradictions with established knowledge. So one doesn’t need to be an expert in evolution or psychology, just to have a good enough understanding of what’s going on, to answer specific questions, which includes a lot of reading around a subject to give a broader picture.
Religious knowledge means, in this case, just material supplied by the religions that forms good advice in the context of the whole big picture, so that can be from Christianity, Islam or Buddhism, for example, ethical constructions (love your neighbour as yourself (compassion and fairness), judge not lest ye be judged (reciprocity, Golden Rule)), information on meditation, and various bits of wisdom that can be picked out. If we abandon all religion as having zero value, we are fools. There’s plenty of good stuff there that can be used.June 8, 2018 at 8:51 pm #9622
Reg, moral philosophy is a form of philosophy, so it counts.
I never said it wasn’t. We were discussing the merits of philosophy in general until you intimated that you were only referring to a branch of it, namely moral philosophy.
So the works of John Stuart Mill, Wittgenstein, Locke and even Descartes are just “rambling bollocks“? You must have read those philosophers works to understand their ideas and reach those subjective conclusions.June 8, 2018 at 9:02 pm #9623
I should have said, those I have read or examined.June 8, 2018 at 10:03 pm #9624June 8, 2018 at 10:13 pm #9625
Thanks, Reg, I will indeed and yes we areJune 8, 2018 at 10:19 pm #9626
@simonpaynton You said “if we abandon all religion as having zero value, we are fools”. What in religion, should we abandon religion altogether, would we not have? Why would we be fools? What would we lose that is otherwise unavailable?
The Golden rule has nothing to do with religion, other than occasionally being co-opted by a religion and then dropped by that same religion as soon as it conflicts with… oh, raping the enemy’s daughters, chopping off body parts, etc.
So why, if I drop all religion, it’s trappings, teachings, etc., would I be a fool?June 9, 2018 at 1:43 am #9628
I disagree that doing philosophy means studying the work of other philosophers.
Just like you can fix a watch without cracking a book. By trial and error. I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to argue philosophical points with someone lacking any background in philosophy because I’ve done it. Generally, they get bitch-slammed.June 9, 2018 at 5:36 am #9629
@strega – I think there’s some stuff there that works, well. So it would be dumb to throw it away.June 9, 2018 at 12:03 pm #9630
I disagree that doing philosophy means studying the work of other philosophers.
Just like you can fix a watch without cracking a book. By trial and error. I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to argue philosophical points with someone lacking any background in philosophy because I’ve done it. Generally, they get bitch-slammed.
Hitchens in a debate said…
“You give me the awful impression, I hate to have to say it, of someone who hasn’t read any of the arguments against your position ever.”
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