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Why people believe in religion.
Posted: 15 June 2009 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I was watching a show about Mormons, and at the end of the show somebody said something very profound.  He said that when death is the centre of one’s consciousness, then one turns to religion.

And I imagine that the opposite would be true.  If life is the centre of one’s consciousness, then one would turn away from religion.

He also said that religion creates meaning from meaningless, but I think that if one is able to create meaning from one’s life, then religion itself has no meaning.

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Posted: 16 June 2009 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Airy Spirit - 15 June 2009 09:22 PM

I was watching a show about Mormons, and at the end of the show somebody said something very profound.  He said that when death is the centre of one’s consciousness, then one turns to religion.

And I imagine that the opposite would be true.  If life is the centre of one’s consciousness, then one would turn away from religion.

He also said that religion creates meaning from meaningless, but I think that if one is able to create meaning from one’s life, then religion itself has no meaning.

I think your right.

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Posted: 16 June 2009 10:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I think you’re right.

“Meaning” has different “meanings” for different people. Religion has “meaning”, but only for those who embrace it. I personally think that this life has more value and “meaning” for us if we see it as the only life that we get…..instead of seeing it as just a warm-up for the big eternal party upstairs with Daddy, Junior, and Casper.

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Posted: 17 June 2009 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Airy Spirit - 15 June 2009 09:22 PM

He also said that religion creates meaning from meaningless . . .

Is the feeling that life is meaningless the psychological movement of greed?  “This isn’t enough!  I’ve got to have more!  Who will give me MORE!

Do people believe in religion because it promises them MORE?

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Posted: 17 June 2009 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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If life is the centre of one’s consciousness, then one would turn away from religion.

Unless your Joel Osteen…have you read “Your Best Life Now”? 

It seems that a contemplation of death may lead someone to think about religion or spiritual things, but I don’t see how death is really at the center of all religious people’s consciousness. 

Generally speaking, I would say people “turn to religion” for an endless number of reasons.

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Posted: 17 June 2009 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 June 2009 06:27 PM

It seems that a contemplation of death may lead someone to think about religion or spiritual things, but I don’t see how death is really at the center of all religious people’s consciousness.

“All religious people” is a lot of people.  But if I just look at christianity, what I see is a religion in which the two central events are (1) a birth which somehow did not involve sexual intercourse and (2) a death which did not involve dying.

That seems to me a denial of life in favor of eternally being undead.

If you were never cold, you wouldn’t know what it means to be warm.  If you were never sick, you wouldn’t know what it means to be well.

If you don’t think you are going to die, thereby ceasing to exist, then I don’t see how you can know what it means to be alive.

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Posted: 17 June 2009 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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“All religious people” is a lot of people.  But if I just look at christianity, what I see is a religion in which the two central events are (1) a birth which somehow did not involve sexual intercourse and (2) a death which did not involve dying.

That seems to me a denial of life in favor of eternally being undead.

If you were never cold, you wouldn’t know what it means to be warm.  If you were never sick, you wouldn’t know what it means to be well.

If you don’t think you are going to die, thereby ceasing to exist, then I don’t see how you can know what it means to be alive.

Well…if God exists, then it would seem that the “meaning” behind life would rest in Him, the One that brought it into being.  If He doesn’t, then the “meaning” of life is just as subjective as the diversity of the living creatures and their devices.  The person that creates religious meaning is as justified as the person that creates any other kind.

As a side note, Christianity, by affirming eternal life, does not deny death or life.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 June 2009 06:27 PM

It seems that a contemplation of death may lead someone to think about religion or spiritual things, but I don’t see how death is really at the center of all religious people’s consciousness. 

Generally speaking, I would say people “turn to religion” for an endless number of reasons.

IMHO:
The thought of death looms, it is a constant companion…

Most of those who hold on to religious/spiritual beliefs do so because they flat out refuse to accept the idea that one day they might no longer exist

Religions are nothing more than a diversion from the inevitable.  Faith-based religions act like a placebo effect - helping make folks a little more comfortable while they’re here. 

Most desire to be and are happier deluded.  They are perfectly content following a belief that provides them hope and purpose and comfort that they will live on after death. The possibility of any other outcome is unacceptable and they will go to great lengths to defend their belief in the afterlife

They work hard to convince and reaffirm themselves (and others) that there is indeed some ethereal existence waiting out there for them when they expire.  They make it their mission to indoctrinate young minds and spread their belief.  They gather together in large groups and pray, chant or sing songs and threaten those who don’t accept their “truth” with horrific fates worse than death. 

Most refuse to accept that that they have placed their trust in the manufactured words of men.  That everything they know about their god or gods was formed entirely in the human mind.  They don’t care about inconsistencies, contradictions or errors in their sacred texts (these are mere “technicalities”)- the only thing they tune into with great passion is the promise that they will live on after their earthly death

I think the desire to live on is at the center of most religious people’s consciousness.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 05:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 June 2009 09:25 PM

If He doesn’t, then the “meaning” of life is just as subjective as the diversity of the living creatures and their devices.


And that idea scares you, doesn’t it. If you think that’s how it is, it’s very disconcerting ... if you can even step outside of your standard paradigm to genuinely consider any other.

Generally speaking now, often it seems less than critically minded believers will offer comments like this as arguments (appeals to the consequences). It’s an obvious indication of fear-based thinking.

Byron

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Posted: 18 June 2009 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 17 June 2009 06:27 PM

It seems that a contemplation of death may lead someone to think about religion or spiritual things, but I don’t see how death is really at the center of all religious people’s consciousness.


Read a hymnal lately? Considered the liturgy most Christian churches use at various points in their services?

It’s pretty obvious, when you look at the words and topics of Christian ceremony and ritual, it’s fixated securely on death. It would even be fair to call it a death cult.

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 18 June 2009 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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And that idea scares you, doesn’t it. If you think that’s how it is, it’s very disconcerting ... if you can even step outside of your standard paradigm to genuinely consider any other.

Generally speaking now, often it seems less than critically minded believers will offer comments like this as arguments (appeals to the consequences). It’s an obvious indication of fear-based thinking.

Byron

The implication of this thread is that the non-religious somehow have a better handle on “the meaning of life” than the religious.  Subjectivism doesn’t scare me, I’m just pointing out how obviously contradictory it is for an atheist to claim such a subjective view of life and then talk down to religious folk as if their meaning of life is inferior.  My meaning is my meaning, your meaning is your meaning, I’m OK, you’re OK, right?

In my experience, secular onlookers are intimidated by how comfortable Christians are talking of death and dealing with death.  Death is a large part of people’s lives, from birth until their own death.  It seems to me that religion in general helps people cope with their experiences of death throughout life (family members dying, etc.)  I can personally say that my faith has helped me in this area.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 18 June 2009 11:25 AM

The implication of this thread is that the non-religious somehow have a better handle on “the meaning of life” than the religious.  Subjectivism doesn’t scare me, I’m just pointing out how obviously contradictory it is for an atheist to claim such a subjective view of life and then talk down to religious folk as if their meaning of life is inferior.  My meaning is my meaning, your meaning is your meaning, I’m OK, you’re OK, right?


Like constellations. The thing with constellations though, is that they’re made of real stars with real properties, and constellations are useful for cartographic purposes. That’s the same way the non-theistic view of life can work.

The problem with astrologers is that they infuse bullshit meaning and purpose and even ideology out of constellations, turning it into constellationism. It doesn’t conflict with normal life as much as religion, but the intellectual and epistemic bankruptcy is the same.

You side-stepped the actual point about subjectivism scaring you. The question wasn’t whether the existence of subjectivists scares you, it was that I think the idea that subjectivism has merit implies scary consequences to you—i.e. if it’s true that there’s no external authority to provide your life with meaning, you have insufficient sense of self-worth (or even human worth) to provide any real meaning yourself or to derive it from your species identity.

clayforHim648 - 18 June 2009 11:25 AM

In my experience, secular onlookers are intimidated by how comfortable Christians are talking of death and dealing with death.


That’s not intimidation. That’s seeing through the desperate, profoundly laborious self-deception.

I can understand why you might have a very strong incentive to see it the way you do though.

clayforHim648 - 18 June 2009 11:25 AM

Death is a large part of people’s lives, from birth until their own death.  It seems to me that religion in general helps people cope with their experiences of death throughout life (family members dying, etc.)  I can personally say that my faith has helped me in this area.


I don’t dispute that at all, actually. It may be pure illusion, but just as that sort of self-deception works to produce artificial bravery in combat, it also works in regular daily life. The issue isn’t whether it pacifies fear, it’s whether or not it’s an accurate image of reality.

Interesting how the palliative nature of faith is such a popular refuge for believers when the topic is validity and accuracy/what’s real and true (I frequently point out that religious believers aren’t really interested in what’s real or true because they’re always telling on themselves like this).

Byron

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Posted: 18 June 2009 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Well, we have talked about this before.

Some people feel more comfortable believing that there is an afterlife.

Some people, such as myself, feel more comfortable that there is not. I feel much more secure taking life as it comes to me and not worrying about it after all the cells in my body die.
That, for me is an unneeded/unwanted complication.

And…. it absolutely makes no sense.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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The issue isn’t whether it pacifies fear, it’s whether or not it’s an accurate image of reality.

Certainly…and I will affirm, as always, that the only way to consistently make sense of the world we live in is through the Christian worldview.  This conversation wasn’t really about “reality” though, it was about meaning.  “Meaning”, IMO, has no meaning in the cold hard naturalistic world of most atheists.  Sure, you could create meaning…but the instant you try to impose that meaning on anything else (which atheists and others consistently do), it doesn’t make sense.

An atheist may think that the meaning an astrologer attaches to stars is bullshit, and yet that same atheist has no problem attaching meaning to parenthood and children.  What’s the difference?  Stars are balls of burning gas and children are a collection of cells, tissue, water, and organs.  There is no tool to measure what is or is not bullshit in the atheistic worldview, except what he/she arbitrarily chooses to designate as such.

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Posted: 18 June 2009 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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eudemonia - 18 June 2009 12:30 PM

Well, we have talked about this before.


And we will again ... and again, and again ...

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 03 July 2009 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 18 June 2009 01:51 PM

The issue isn’t whether it pacifies fear, it’s whether or not it’s an accurate image of reality.

Certainly…and I will affirm, as always, that the only way to consistently make sense of the world we live in is through the Christian worldview.  This conversation wasn’t really about “reality” though, it was about meaning.  “Meaning”, IMO, has no meaning in the cold hard naturalistic world of most atheists.  Sure, you could create meaning…but the instant you try to impose that meaning on anything else (which atheists and others consistently do), it doesn’t make sense.

An atheist may think that the meaning an astrologer attaches to stars is bullshit, and yet that same atheist has no problem attaching meaning to parenthood and children.  What’s the difference?  Stars are balls of burning gas and children are a collection of cells, tissue, water, and organs.  There is no tool to measure what is or is not bullshit in the atheistic worldview, except what he/she arbitrarily chooses to designate as such.

 
The simple and impolite answer would be that Reason is a powerful tool, but that does not address your point.

You structure your argument around the precept that atheists are too rigid to understand the meaning of life.  I will grant that I see no need that life should have any meaning.  I see no inherent purpose in life, and no need for any purpose. 

But I have an intellect, a mind, and a body of emotion.  I have empathy and judgement.  These traits allow me to ascribe value to life, whether or not it has any meaning or purpose.  You might say this is the Holy Spirit moving within me, I would say that I am a social primate.

Atheists see the same things that theists see, and feel what theists feel.  You say that we lack religion, and thus have no context within which we can appreciate the wonder of creation.  I say that we are free to wonder. 

Who is being more rigid?

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