Why We Need Religion

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Mcc1789 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #9800

    Unseen
    Participant

    According to Dr. Stephen T. Asma in his book Why We Need Religion (article with video discussion)

    Basically, there is a lot religion does for people that science cannot (reducing fear of death, providing consolation for a loss, providing cohesiveness to societies, etc.).

    No mention that religion should also be true. That’s rather beside the point, I guess.

    I can’t believe this guy is a professor of philosophy. Graduate of Trump University, perhaps.

    #9804

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think he makes some very reasonable points and is highly credible.  I’m just re-reading “Big Gods – how religion transformed cooperation and conflict” by Ara Norenzayan.  He makes the point that the major religions facilitate prosocial behaviour on a scale too large to manage in personal terms, mainly because it provides a third-party watcher or monitoring function that keeps people in line.  Interestingly, he says that people instinctively attribute a “mind” to their gods or God, the same as we attribute minds to each other; and that God can read our minds.  These large religions began to arise at the same time as the agricultural revolution around 12,000 years ago, coincidentally the start of warfare too.

    #9806

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Large groups manage behaviour through social norms.  But these are easy to cheat if nobody is looking.  Hence, an eye-in-the-sky / ear-in-your-mind who is always checking your behaviour, can get results.

    This scenario is very similar to the classic schizophrenic delusion that one’s thoughts are being broadcast to the whole world, that the TV and newspapers are talking especially to you, and that one is being tested in a battle of good and evil.

    #9807

    _Robert_
    Participant

    -Or how not to grow up…..this guy is all about perpetuating delusions because it feels good. I have to wonder if he is even a believer himself.

    Everything is not gonna be OK. You may get to watch your parents die if you live long enough yourself and then you get to die as well. You are not corporally recomposed “up there” in a special place to join with the billions of other past and future dead homo sapiens who are sorted out based on if they heard and were deluded in life by some hit or miss good news or not.  So let’s try to just be great people while we have the chance, shall we?

    #9808

    Strega
    Moderator

    @unseen That ‘fear of death’ is probably the most duplicitous in terms of the religious solution. When something scares you, you can either come to terms with it, or believe a pretty fairy tale.  The problem with the pretty fairy tale, is that it doesn’t enable the believer to actually come to terms with their fear, and move forward accordingly.

    The question then poses itself.  Do you want a pretty lie, or an ugly truth?  In my mind, the truth is the truth and doesn’t care about making itself popular. I have found so much peace in the knowledge that I shall be extinguished some day not so far away, and that will be that. I will have no regrets, and no distress. Nothing will matter to me.  This makes my single life on earth so much more precious, as I only have this one experience of self.

    So no, I don’t think religion gives us anything but pretty lies, a ton of obligations, and a fear of the Big One judging us adversely, or an unpleasantly joyful opportunity to anticipate the despair and agony of those who we feel are not part of our (self-deceptive) group.

    #9809

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Strega,

    Amen. I think we should take that term back because “well said” doesn’t convey the correct gravity, LOL

    #9811

    Atheism is a more mature position to hold. That is because we atheists are obliged to consider our own mortality face on. When we accept that there are no gods (or believe there are no gods) we are compelled to think about the topic of our own demise and do so without a comfort blanket. We don’t have the childish luxury of believing that we are going to be beamed up to some blissful realm for eternity because we believe that we personally know the Creator of the Universe (or however the process supposedly works). That is just childish and for me it is part of a mind-set that is alien to me, as if it almost belongs to another species. When I hear adults telling me that they believe they will “go to Heaven” I just find it difficult to want to hear any other “opinions” from them about anything else. I almost feel embarrassed for them. I don’t care what others think of me for thinking like that but it is what it is and that is how I feel about them. They are suffering from a delusion.

    Once you figure that much out then why would any other thing religion offers be of any value or not be capable of being replaced by something better?

    #9812

    Davis
    Participant

    I think the fear of death can only be properly approached by those not deluded in a joyous afterlife reuniting with loved ones. It is false comfort. It keeps you from facing the loss of your loved ones with a fake crutch that you’ll see them again. It shifts the need to remember, celebrate and pass on your lost one’s values and memories in this lifetime…in stead of counting down the years until you’ll see them again. Every “afterlife” comes with a terrible cost. The Christian/Jewish/Muslim one demand a horrendous code of ethics and leaves you terrified you might not go to the afterlife you choose. Clearly, you can improve on that kind of “comforting us in the face of death”. The so called “feel good” religions don’t do much better, offering a not so small likelihood that your next life will be as a lesser creature or another human (hopefully not a “lowly woman”) with the possibility of being born in an undeveloped famine struck part of the world. Animist religions offer a multitude of afterlives, some leaving you as a wandering ghost (similar to the Greek afterlife), others as an animal spirit or some vaguely defined life in the sky. While some of the earlier may offer some level of comfort…in reality, the only advantage it has is that there is an answer to what happens with certainty…and that it won’t be eternal oblivion. That is not a plus in my opinion. Focusing on some reincarnation or seeing your loved ones moves the focus of your life slightly or largely towards “post life” rather than “this life”. A focus on the next stage rather than leaving foot prints here on Earth. This is a lot more comfort I believe to anyone who can see the world rationally and at the same time wish to find and plant some meaning into the here and now. This guy is full of shit and I feel sorry for modern philosophers who use appeal to emotion and appeal to the “lesser suffering”and false equivalencies to justify knowledge-corruption and world-view-warping.

    #9813

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I aint got nuthin substantive to add…you have covered it…puke, vomit, retch

    Do we have another as scintillating as Jordan Peterson?

    #9814

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think it’s more scary to think about living on after we die, than just being snuffed out.

    According to Ara Noranzayen (“Big Gods”), those societies with a stronger belief in hell have lower crime rates, and those who emphasise heaven have higher crime rates.

    #9817

    Strega
    Moderator

    @simonpaynton So the stick is more potent than the carrot.  If you’re a donkey. No big surprise then.  Moral:- don’t be a donkey.

    #9820

    jakelafort
    Participant

    If that is true it is probably because those societies have stronger punishments in the here and now…take a piece of gum we cut your hand off…you do not treat my property like that and get away with it…fornicate with the charming guy with the dad bod?…we stone you to death you violator of decency!

    #9821

    Unseen
    Participant

    If that is true it is probably because those societies have stronger punishments in the here and now…take a piece of gum we cut your hand off…you do not treat my property like that and get away with it…fornicate with the charming guy with the dad bod?…we stone you to death you violator of decency!

    “dad bod”?

    #9822

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Yeah Unseen, why not?

    #9831

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    why not uncle bod?

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