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The_Squid

Is everyone in hell?

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You're suggesting that skepticism regarding the Scriptural adherence to history is akin to Holocaust denial?

Seriously?

I wasn't comparing his skeptism to the Holocaust denial...I was comparing what I thought was his denial to Christians being persecuted to Holocaust denial. As shown in my post back to dre, I realized that he wasn't denying that.

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In tough times I seek consolation from family and friends, but I don't pray. I might have as a child but at that time I also believed that ladders, black cats and broken mirrors could effect my luck. If we didn't teach children these superstitions in the first place, people wouldn't turn to them in times of worry.

If that works for you...then great. However, there are 90% of the worlds population that would choose to pray.

As for ladders, black cats and broken mirrors....they were shown to be supersitions as history was able to prove their faulty origins. Relgion is FAR from being proven as a superstition. Very far.....

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The burden of proof lies with the person making the positive claim. For example, there is an undetectable, invisible gummy bear responsible for the creation of the original set of universes. One of which has collapsed and explosively expanded 42 times before forming the one we currently inhabit. Prove otherwise.

Given enough time to indoctrinate we would have people making silent pleas to their gelatin based overlord. Plus, gummy bear candies instead of communion wafers would keep the kiddies coming back for more.

Humanity has disproven an uncountable number of religious claims over the years. This god created to be undetectable and unfalsifiable occupies fewer and fewer gaps every year. Still it can't be disproven, nor proven. Followers are just told to believe without evidence and be proud of it.

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In short, I am saying that the positives you associate with religion are easily achievable without the mythology and the associated immoral baggage...

...I manage to interact with a few large secular groups multiple times each week.

A sample size of 1 does not represent a population of 7,000,000,000.

Why is it that religious pleople are on average more satisfied with their lives than non-religious people? Why don't all non-religious people just do what you do (interact more) and be just as happy as religious people?

The term 'evil baggage' is not at all a straw man. I would call the discrimination, misogyny, repression of knowledge, fear, death and disease spread by religion to be evil. I'm sure you are able to see the evil in denying a child medical care or throwing acid in the face of a law breaker. There is also evil in discriminating against homosexuals and women or letting countless more people contract AIDS through the denial of birth control.

The term evil baggage is not the strawman. You are right there is evil baggage associated with religion - I have never claimed othertwise. The straw-man is in your argument suggesting that people that disagree with your position tolerate this evil baggage.

The flaws in your logic include:

-Assuming that evil baggage is inseparable from religion

-Assuming that a reduction in religion will lead to a reduction in evil. I will use a similar argument as you used regarding benefits of religion: almost all of the evil that you associate with religion is easily acheivable without religion. I will add: some evil acts are more likely to happen, or are more likely to be worse, in a society with less religion.

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I wasn't comparing his skeptism to the Holocaust denial...I was comparing what I thought was his denial to Christians being persecuted to Holocaust denial. As shown in my post back to dre, I realized that he wasn't denying that.

I see, ok.

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The burden of proof lies with the person making the positive claim. For example, there is an undetectable, invisible gummy bear responsible for the creation of the original set of universes. One of which has collapsed and explosively expanded 42 times before forming the one we currently inhabit. Prove otherwise.

Given enough time to indoctrinate we would have people making silent pleas to their gelatin based overlord. Plus, gummy bear candies instead of communion wafers would keep the kiddies coming back for more.

Humanity has disproven an uncountable number of religious claims over the years. This god created to be undetectable and unfalsifiable occupies fewer and fewer gaps every year. Still it can't be disproven, nor proven. Followers are just told to believe without evidence and be proud of it.

You don't think you are trivializing this in the slightest? Religous events have been tied back for thousands of years with many people being persecuted and willing to die for it. Do you honestly think its as simple as deciding to worship a gummy?

Please cite a few examples of humanity disproving an "uncountable" number of religous claims. I trust its not uncountable.

Edited by Accountability Now

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Why is it that religious pleople are on average more satisfied with their lives than non-religious people? Why don't all non-religious people just do what you do (interact more) and be just as happy as religious people?

Not all religious people interact with their congregations. Studies show that the 'satisfaction' attributed to religious people is actually born of the friends and sense of belonging created within their congregation. Religious folk that do not develop many friends in the congregation do not feel satisfied. http://www.livescience.com/9090-religion-people-happier-hint-god.html

The term evil baggage is not the strawman. You are right there is evil baggage associated with religion - I have never claimed othertwise. The straw-man is in your argument suggesting that people that disagree with your position tolerate this evil baggage.

When did not suggest that all religious folk tolerate evil baggage? hint: Never. Though I do believe that religious people, though often unknowingly or unwittingly, support the evil actions of many churches through their membership, attendance and donations.

The flaws in your logic include:

-Assuming that evil baggage is inseparable from religion

-Assuming that a reduction in religion will lead to a reduction in evil. I will use a similar argument as you used regarding benefits of religion: almost all of the evil that you associate with religion is easily acheivable without religion. I will add: some evil acts are more likely to happen, or are more likely to be worse, in a society with less religion.

The baggage may not be inseparable but it has always been a part. I appreciate the fact that most churches cherry pick from the bible and pretend or excuse away much of the bad parts. However, it does show that morality comes from society and that man has the authority to ignore the scriptures as he sees fit. Well at least church leaders that grant themselves the power to do so.

There will always be evil in the world but at least we will be free of divinely commanded evil. The associated freeing of sheep would be an added bonus. Believers are taught to suspend critical thinking and accept what religious leaders tell them on 'faith'. Granting people the power to make their own moral decisions would be a great leap forward.

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Not all religious people interact with their congregations. Studies show that the 'satisfaction' attributed to religious people is actually born of the friends and sense of belonging created within their congregation. Religious folk that do not develop many friends in the congregation do not feel satisfied. http://www.livescience.com/9090-religion-people-happier-hint-god.html

From the link:

"While a higher number of secular close friendships were also associated with life satisfaction, church friendships seem to involve something that lifts satisfaction even more, Lim said."

On average Church goers are hapier because they form more or better relationships. Why do you think that is?

There will always be evil in the world but at least we will be free of divinely commanded evil. The associated freeing of sheep would be an added bonus.

Without religion today, there will be a gap in many people's lives - what would fill this gap? I know that there are many virtuous and happy people with no religious beleifs. That's great but is is a minority; I cannot imagine humanity without religion.

Believers are taught to suspend critical thinking and accept what religious leaders tell them on 'faith'.

Aside from the minority of fundamentalist preachers, religious leader do not ask beleivers to suspend critical thinking. Religious and spiritiual thinking/meditating in fact enhance critical thinking. Religious leaders often ask beleivers to think of others and think critically about how our actions impact others.

Granting people the power to make their own moral decisions would be a great leap forward.

Religious people already have the power to make their own moral decisions, what are you talking about?

By the way, for a non-religious person, you certainly seem to have a lot of faith in humanity.

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From the link:

"While a higher number of secular close friendships were also associated with life satisfaction, church friendships seem to involve something that lifts satisfaction even more, Lim said."

On average Church goers are hapier because they form more or better relationships. Why do you think that is?

Why assume that because one study makes this assertion, that it is an undeniable fact that we now need to grapple with? What was the sample size? How were the questions phrased? What was the study methodology? What are some of the variables that were not controlled for? What population was studied? Have the results been confirmed by other, independent, studies? Is there an underlying hypothesis or theoretical framework that predicts the study results? Did the researchers even attempt to follow the scientific method?

I think those are all much better and more relevant questions than "Why do you think that is"? One needs to be extremely careful when discussing the results of "studies" in the social "sciences". One can find such studies that can back up almost any claim a researcher might care to make.

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People that go to Church have better relationships for the simple reason that they're involved in a community of people that support each other. It has nothing to do with the religion or the belief in a deity. In fact, anyone that is heavily involved in a community or organization of some sort is happier than those who are not. Once you control for community involvement in a statistical model, I suspect that the effect of it being a religious organization versus some other organization is negligible and likely not statistically significant.

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Why assume that because one study makes this assertion, that it is an undeniable fact that we now need to grapple with? What was the sample size? How were the questions phrased? What was the study methodology? What are some of the variables that were not controlled for? What population was studied? Have the results been confirmed by other, independent, studies? Is there an underlying hypothesis or theoretical framework that predicts the study results? Did the researchers even attempt to follow the scientific method?

I think those are all much better and more relevant questions than "Why do you think that is"? One needs to be extremely careful when discussing the results of "studies" in the social "sciences". One can find such studies that can back up almost any claim a researcher might care to make.

As per several of my earlier links, multiple studies have confirmed that religious people are on average happier than non-religious people. It looks like sociologists have accepted this correlation and are researching its reasons.

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People that go to Church have better relationships for the simple reason that they're involved in a community of people that support each other. It has nothing to do with the religion or the belief in a deity. In fact, anyone that is heavily involved in a community or organization of some sort is happier than those who are not. Once you control for community involvement in a statistical model, I suspect that the effect of it being a religious organization versus some other organization is negligible and likely not statistically significant.

That seems to be what that earlier study suggested, it makes sense and I mostly agree. The interesting question is: why are religious people significantly more likely to be involved in a community of people that support each other?

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That seems to be what that earlier study suggested, it makes sense and I mostly agree. The interesting question is: why are religious people significantly more likely to be involved in a community of people that support each other?

People take on the religion of their families for the most part. It's exceedingly rare for someone to join a different religion from their family and if so they only do it later as adults. The point is that they're born into the community. Their parents have people around them helping them raise their children and so on back for generations. It's not as though religious people actively choose to be a part of a community moreso than others. They start life in that community.

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People take on the religion of their families for the most part. It's exceedingly rare for someone to join a different religion from their family and if so they only do it later as adults. The point is that they're born into the community. Their parents have people around them helping them raise their children and so on back for generations. It's not as though religious people actively choose to be a part of a community moreso than others. They start life in that community.

Yes, most people are mostly born into their religion, but throughout life people choose their level of involvement - and it changes over time. Religious people (adults) actively choose to be part of a community as much as non-religious people.

"the study suggested a causal link between religion and life satisfaction: People who had started attending church more often between the 2006 and 2007 surveys became happier."

http://www.livescience.com/9090-religion-people-happier-hint-god.html

I'll go back to my earlier question, phrased differently. Many people such as Bonam, claim that religion is not needed for individuals and society to enjoy the "benefits of religion" such as increased happiness. So if people can just as happy without religion, why aren't they? Why hasn't anything been able to replace religion yet?

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Yes, most people are mostly born into their religion, but throughout life people choose their level of involvement - and it changes over time. Religious people (adults) actively choose to be part of a community as much as non-religious people.

"the study suggested a causal link between religion and life satisfaction: People who had started attending church more often between the 2006 and 2007 surveys became happier."

http://www.livescience.com/9090-religion-people-happier-hint-god.html

I'll go back to my earlier question, phrased differently. Many people such as Bonam, claim that religion is not needed for individuals and society to enjoy the "benefits of religion" such as increased happiness. So if people can just as happy without religion, why aren't they? Why hasn't anything been able to replace religion yet?

I dont believe that study... According to the OECD which looked at a number of different factors the happiest countries in the world are...

Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, US, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, UK.

Most these countries are among the least religious countries in the world. Only 16% of people in Sweden think religion is important. Only 18% in Denmark. Only 20% in Norway. Only 33% in the Netherlands. Only 42% in Canada. Only 32% in Australia. Only 26% in the UK.

So I would turn your question back on you... And ask... Why are the least religious countries the most happy?

Heres the most religious countries...

1. Somaliland.

2. Republic of Congo.

3. Egypt.

4. Sri Lanka.

5. Indonesia.

6. Banglesdesh.

7. Bahrain.

8. Qatar.

9. UAE

10. Tanzania.

Some of the most miserable places on the planet.

It seems pretty clear to me... based on this index of religiosity... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Importance_of_religion_by_country

More religion = more misery.

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Dre's on a roll.

Awesome post.

Even insofar as a "happiness index" is problematic--and I have no doubt it is--that very argument also seriously undermines the "religious folks are happier" theme.

Edited by bleeding heart

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I dont believe that study... According to the OECD which looked at a number of different factors the happiest countries in the world are...

Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, US, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, UK.

Most these countries are among the least religious countries in the world. Only 16% of people in Sweden think religion is important. Only 18% in Denmark. Only 20% in Norway. Only 33% in the Netherlands. Only 42% in Canada. Only 32% in Australia. Only 26% in the UK.

So I would turn your question back on you... And ask... Why are the least religious countries the most happy?

Heres the most religious countries...

1. Somaliland.

2. Republic of Congo.

3. Egypt.

4. Sri Lanka.

5. Indonesia.

6. Banglesdesh.

7. Bahrain.

8. Qatar.

9. UAE

10. Tanzania.

Some of the most miserable places on the planet.

It seems pretty clear to me... based on this index of religiosity... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Importance_of_religion_by_country

More religion = more misery.

No, it's actually: more misery = more religion

The least religious countries are the happiest because they have the highest standard of living (least misery/poverty, highest GDP per capita). If you doubt that religion is the effect of misery not the cause then consider:

-Within each country, religious people are, on average happier.

-What came first in the West - a higher standard of living or less religion?

-It is the same as asking: why do the poorest countries have the greatest fertility rates? It is poverty that leads to larger family sizes not the other way around.

Like red wine, religion has many benefits for society - in moderation.

Edited by carepov

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No, it's actually: more misery = more religion

The least religious countries are the happiest because they have the highest standard of living (least misery/poverty, highest GDP per capita). If you doubt that religion is the effect of misery not the cause then consider:

-Within each country, religious people are, on average happier.

-What came first in the West - a higher standard of living or less religion?

-It is the same as asking: why do the poorest countries have the greatest fertility rates? It is poverty that leads to larger family sizes not the other way around.

Like red wine, religion has many benefits for society - in moderation.

What came first in the West - a higher standard of living or less religion?

Less religion.

Religion started to lose its grip on western society in about the 15th century. After that we saw both a steady moderation of religion itself, and the slow removal of the church as a civil authority. Its hard for me to believe that we have the standard of life we have today if these things had not happened. Most of it we owe to science, and you can read about Galileo if you want to find out how much fun it was to be scientist when the church had its way.

Still you raise a valid point. Does religion cause misery and vice versa... I think both of those things are true in many cases. Religion does seem to flourish in places where misery is rampant but it also plays a direct active role in that misery.

Like red wine, religion has many benefits for society - in moderation.

I think its pretty clear that religion does positive things for some people, as does membership in any other social club.

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Less religion.

Religion started to lose its grip on western society in about the 15th century. After that we saw both a steady moderation of religion itself, and the slow removal of the church as a civil authority. Its hard for me to believe that we have the standard of life we have today if these things had not happened. Most of it we owe to science, and you can read about Galileo if you want to find out how much fun it was to be scientist when the church had its way.

Good points but I will balance them out with counterpoints:

Yes, the influence of religion has been gradually reduced for 500 years as the standards of living has gradually increased, it is not easy to prove which is cause and what is effect. IMO, our standard of living improved first and then the influence of religion fell off a cliff. I am specifically thinking of the period from 1945-1970 and a perfect example is the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

Yes our progress in living standards is due to science and technology. And yes, there are cases where religion has been an obstacle to scientific progress - but:

a.) religion has also been a driving force in scientific progress, think of Michelangelo, Newton and Europe's first universities

b.) religion has not been a significant obstacle to scientific progress for a long time

Please remember that I am not arguing that the level of religion in the days of Galileo was acceptable or beneficial. I am very thankful that the influence of religion has diminished to where is today and thankful for the separation of the church and state. I am saying that today's society is better off with the level of religion we have compared to the hypothetical society where there is no religion.

Religion does seem to flourish in places where misery is rampant but it also plays a direct active role in that misery.

a.) There are countless examples of religious people and groups that alleviate misery throughout the world.

b.) There are barbaric acts taking place in the name of religion

Lets get rid of b.) but keep a.)

I think its pretty clear that religion does positive things for some people, as does membership in any other social club.

So if people can be just as happy without religion, why aren't they joining these social clubs?

Edited by carepov

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Please remember that I am not arguing that the level of religion in the days of Galileo was acceptable or beneficial.

I totally realize that, and definately did not mean to paint your argument as such.

a.) There are countless examples of religious people and groups that alleviate misery throughout the world.

b.) There are barbaric acts taking place in the name of religion

Lets get rid of b.) but keep a.)

I dont favor any action to get rid of religion. I worry about one thing in your post though.... When you say "let's". Who do you mean? Earlier you posted that you believe "society" benefits from religion, so when you say "lets keep A.". What action are you proposing? Religious people are free to try to teach their beliefs to their children, they are free to try to grow their churches, and they are free to try to convert non believers, and STILL society is becoming less religious.

What would you like to see happpen, so that we "keep .a" ?

So if people can be just as happy without religion, why aren't they joining these social clubs?

They are. I play beer-league baseball and hockey for example. I meet lots of great people and have all kinds of fun, and this type of interaction makes you physically and mentally healthier, and happier, I imagine for the same reason belonging to a church community does.

Edited by dre

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I totally realize that, and definately did not mean to paint your argument as such.

Thank you.

I dont favor any action to get rid of religion. I worry about one thing in your post though.... When you say "let's". Who do you mean? Earlier you posted that you believe "society" benefits from religion, so when you say "lets keep A.". What action are you proposing? Religious people are free to try to teach their beliefs to their children, they are free to try to grow their churches, and they are free to try to convert non believers, and STILL society is becoming less religious.

What would you like to see happpen, so that we "keep .a" ?

Several posters on MLW, people I know (including my brother), and some prominent intellectuals, openly mock and ridicule all religious beliefs. I must admit that in the past I too had a prejudice that "religious people are gullible simpletons". The main action that I am proposing is that people stop this way of thinking and their rude mockery of believers. This mockery is counter productive - it adds fuel to the extremists that then claim: "look at secular society - they are attacking our religion".

If secular and religious humanists work more closely together this can only have good results.

They are. I play beer-league baseball and hockey for example. I meet lots of great people and have all kinds of fun, and this type of interaction makes you physically and mentally healthier, and happier, I imagine for the same reason belonging to a church community does.

This is great for you and other non-believers that do the same. But is seems like, on average, religious people interact more/better than non-religious people. Why?

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Or does more misery = more religion?

That would be my thought. If it makes a person's life easier, good on them. Problems only arise when people try and impose their beliefs on others. That can apply to not believers as well.

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This is great for you and other non-believers that do the same. But is seems like, on average, religious people interact more/better than non-religious people. Why?

"Better" seems a little subjective to me, but I wont belabor the point. Maybe its because religious faith is a pretty big thing to have in common.

As far as the whole "happiness" thing goes, I guess in some ways that could make sense. As a non-believer I have to face some pretty ugly truths. My life will last a fraction of a blink of an eye, in a universe thats billions of years old... and then nothing... and my tiny slice of time is already half over. It would be AMAZING to believe that this was just the beginning, and as long as I devoted myself to a religion I would live for all of eternity in in a beautiful, magical place.

What a great thing to believe!. It would be wonderful to think that!. The problem is I just dont!

Theres probably all kinds of stuff I could believe that would make me feel just great! But I just cant do it. Im not wired that way. Im inquisitive, and critical, and curious. I cant take the blue pill even if I know it would make me feel great. I want to know the truth even if it sucks, and if confronting unpleasant truths is going to make my life worse than someone that takes the blue pill, then I guess that just is what it is.

And that is what is replacing religion in the modern world... Intellectual curiousity and a lust for knowledge.

Edited by dre

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What a great thing to believe!. It would be wonderful to think that!. The problem is I just don't .

So what do you believe? We are all alone here destined to be food for worms? Or do you believe in some plan beyond earth?

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