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Posted: 06 June 2005 03:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 121 ]  
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Mark, 

You wrote

I am reminded of Eugene O’Neil’s play ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night.’ Peoples’ illusions become their very existence. Strip them away, and they die.

As you may have read, I am mainly concerned here with the delusions of religious dogmas. What do you think about them?
More important, how do you strip them away without killing anyone?

I Say,

It has been 35 years at least since I read this play and I am not sure I understood exactly most of what O’Neil was trying to say but I think that he was trying to show how tough it is to deal with what life throws at you without some sort of personal rudder.

You have asked a tough question here and I think I am going to kind of duck it by saying that I don’t think it is necessary to strip away religious delusions.  What I think is a better proposal is to set up a purely secular government that, while allowing individuals their personal religious delusions (I think this was the idea the framers of the U. S. Constitution had), will only use scientifically derived and real world supported data to inform public discourse from which to set policy and rules of behavior for its citizens.  I do not think it is necessary to tear individuals away from what they determine to be personally meaningful and worthwhile to achieve this.  Government policy and rules (with no religious bias) would be set for minimal restriction and interference of the government in the personal lives of ALL its citizens (believers and non-believers) and for the same minimal interference of the ALL citizens in each other’s lives.  Forcing change never works.  Getting people to recognize the need to change and allowing them ways to make that change in their own self-interest is, in my opinion, the best way. If this idea survives and thrives along with the secular school system then over time when adolescents go through their period of “finding themselves” and “challenging authority”, in order to form their own world view that will carry them into their future, young people will start to ask themselves; Why is it only in religion that belief is necessary to establish truth?  My hope is that in answering this question they will realize what a fraud religious belief is and dismiss it as irrelevant and then look to other social structures for the human support and comfort that many now get from religion.  Many of us have already done this.  I think that in the U.S. a giant step was taken on this path, established by the framers of the constitution, in the 1960’s and the journey continues today.  I also think that in fits and starts it will continue on and after several hundred years humans will look back to these times as the start of the last hurrah of the religion.  Religion (and the dogma it espouses) is a firmly established social, political and economic power and those that benefit from it will not give up and go quietly.  I think this is why there is such violence and hyperbolic reaction from the religious right (both Christian and Islamic) all over the world today.  Religious leaders and powers have a sense that “the end is near” and recognizing the threat are trying to blunt, delay or end it in any way they can.  To me the tactics are obvious destroy the secular schools (vouchers cut off the money), promote school prayer, deny evolution, display the ten commandments, insist that the U.S. is a Christian nation founded on Christian principle…...  Maybe I am being overly optimistic but I think that given enough time and baring any calamitous natural or man made disaster the days of religious dogma are numbered and all that is left is for those of us that have already transitioned is to tolerate, and endure those who haven’t and hope we can stay out of their line of fire until they come to their senses.

Ray

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Posted: 06 June 2005 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 122 ]  
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Very well put Ray.  I do pray (realizing this is a leap of faith) that you are correct!

Religion (and the dogma it espouses) is a firmly established social, political and economic power and those that benefit from it will not give up and go quietly. I think this is why there is such violence and hyperbolic reaction from the religious right (both Christian and Islamic) all over the world today….

Maybe I am being overly optimistic but I think that given enough time and baring any calamitous natural or man made disaster the days of religious dogma are numbered and all that is left is for those of us that have already transitioned is to tolerate, and endure those who haven’t and hope we can stay out of their line of fire until they come to their senses.

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Posted: 06 June 2005 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 123 ]  
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Ray:

. . . over time when adolescents go through their period of “finding themselves” and “challenging authority”, in order to form their own world view that will carry them into their future, young people will start to ask themselves; Why is it only in religion that belief is necessary to establish truth? My hope is that in answering this question they will realize what a fraud religious belief is and dismiss it as irrelevant and then look to other social structures for the human support and comfort that many now get from religion. . . .

I suspect I’m a bit out of the loop on this, but when I was in high school, I couldn’t find anyone who had any clue as to what was going on. I’m referring to the early 1970’s, northern Midwest U.S. In retrospect, what I was looking for was not only what would make rational sense to me; even more important was how confident the messenger was. That’s how literalistic Christianity came to me. Born-again saints are exuberantly confident. How sad, huh? But maybe teenagers nowadays are intellectually capable of recognizing that belief is not necessary to establish truth. I hope so, for their sake.

Ray:

Maybe I am being overly optimistic but I think that given enough time and baring any calamitous natural or man made disaster the days of religious dogma are numbered and all that is left is for those of us that have already transitioned is to tolerate, and endure those who haven’t and hope we can stay out of their line of fire until they come to their senses.

Someone—I think it was Tom Wolf—recently said on Book-TV (C-SPAN 2) that today’s college students no longer even use “Jesus Christ” or “Goddamn” in their curse nomenclature because their parents had been Deistically-vulgar, and kids need to rebel. Whether or not this is an actual trend, it’s nice to know that the primary job of any healthy teenager is to rebel. They will be our salvation, though I’ll be long gone by the time we’re saved.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 07 June 2005 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 124 ]  
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Homunculus,

You wrote

I suspect I’m a bit out of the loop on this, but when I was in high school, I couldn’t find anyone who had any clue as to what was going on. I’m referring to the early 1970’s, northern Midwest U.S. In retrospect, what I was looking for was not only what would make rational sense to me; even more important was how confident the messenger was. That’s how literalistic Christianity came to me. Born-again saints are exuberantly confident. How sad, huh? But maybe teenagers nowadays are intellectually capable of recognizing that belief is not necessary to establish truth. I hope so, for their sake.

I say,

I think teenagers are and have always been intellectually capable of recognizing that belief is not necessary to establish truth.  I also think it is an essential and therefore naturally evolved part of human nature for the adolescent to be “clueless”.  This is the sort of developmental mechanism that produces an adolescent’s search for themselves.  I think that because they have just recently emerged from childhood it is an adolescent’s first instinct to look to authority for solutions to the dilemma of who they are, how they fit in and what it all means.  Many will find confidence in what “confident messengers” have to say about these things and accept and conform to established paradigms.  Many others will not and will start to think for themselves.  This is how I remember it working when I was an adolescent in the 1960’s.

It takes hard knowledge (derived through science), and a certain minimal amount of experience in the universe to establish a window of opportunity to see through the fog of misconceptions permeating society.  Once an individual experiences the clear view of truth through that window there is no going back.  My great hope is that a good quality secular education system will produce the necessary knowledge base and experiences in children so that when those children reach their pivotal moment in adolescence they will have the largest and clearest window of opportunity possible.

It seems a fact that current leaders (also known as the “confident messengers”) choose and mold future leaders in our society.  The most natural place for current leaders to get their stock of trainable future leaders is from the group of adolecents turned adults that accept and conform to the established paradigms.  This I think is why change is so slow.  The “confident messengers” (because of their vested interest) in the world today are and will continue to fight this vigorously.


Ray

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Posted: 08 June 2005 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 125 ]  
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[quote author=“ray”]Mark, 

You have asked a tough question here and I think I am going to kind of duck it by saying that I don’t think it is necessary to strip away religious delusions. 

Ray

Well, yes, you did duck the question—in this sense.  The essence of Christianity and Islam (and Scientology, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) is to convert new members to their religions.  None of these religions believe in separation of church and state.  As soon as they gain political power, they use it to manipulate the government to push their agendas.  They manipulate the government to affirm that each one is the one true religion. 

Thus, religions pose a fundamental threat to each other and to world peace—not to mention to someone like myself who wants nothing to do with their mumbo-jumbo.  What else can one do but strip away their delusions with science and political action?

Mark Starr

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Posted: 09 June 2005 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 126 ]  
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:idea: What else indeed….. :twisted:

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The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisedom
-William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell”

Life, what is it but a dream?
- Lewis Carroll, “A boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

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