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Mighty AC

Good Books?

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I don't see how they require belief without evidence. Human rights are enforced concepts we see actual evidence of. Your statement is like saying laws wouldn't exist without faith. For example the protections granted to my property are not subject to the beliefs of others; rather, they are enforced by our society.

What about the authors of the UDHR, don't you think that they took a leap of faith?

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What about the authors of the UDHR, don't you think that they took a leap of faith?

I fail to see how stating that all people should have the right to X and be treated equal on the basis of Y requires belief without evidence. These are simply the creation of ideas.

For example: Creating a story or the idea of a Sasquatch, superhero or omnipotent being doesn't require faith. However, believing in the actual existence of Big Foot, Spiderman or God does.

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To tie this back to the OP, here is another idea.


The Bible and Quran are chock-full of morally despicable ideas. Those of us that have read the 'Good Book' can attest that it has as many sick, violent, misogynistic, hateful and sometimes just simply bizarre ideas as it does ethical and useful ones. Evil people aren't twisting the scripture to suit their own purposes though, the passages are just simply evil by today's standards. This is to be expected though. When humans created the texts that became the Bible and Quran we were a primitive, violent, ignorant, tribal species with a very short life span. However, we have advanced on all fronts and our ethical standards are lightyears beyond what they were when these fledgling cults were being created. Like humans did with Thor or Zeus why have we not outgrown these quaint but dangerous ideas created by ancient men?


The answer is faith and indoctrination. We teach children that belief without evidence is an act to be celebrated and part of being a good person.


As we do with the idea of teaching racism, in much of our society, indoctrinating belief in gods, prior to the development of critical thinking, should be considered socially abhorrent. That should, at least, be our goal anyway. We tolerate it when our grandparents use racial slurs, but would condemn it among our peers. The big issue with homosexual rights and equality is non-existent for those under 35; it's primarily only a hangup for the aged and the religious.


We need to stop protecting religious ideas with a social cocoon of respect and start advancing the ethics of "spirituality", by questioning and condemning these very unethical religious texts and the very idea of faith as a virtue. Hopefully, to the point that the word "spiritual" itself becomes an anachronism.

Edited by Mighty AC

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I fail to see how stating that all people should have the right to X and be treated equal on the basis of Y requires belief without evidence. These are simply the creation of ideas.

It's not a matter of faith but a matter of rational self-interest. We are better off living in a society that has human rights, and therefore we create institutions which protect and enforce these rights. Your "rights" ultimately come down to the fact that if they are violated badly enough, there's a chance someone with a gun will come along and stop the violator thereof. Furthermore, the extent to which human rights are enforced, what exactly should be considered a human right, etc, are constantly hot topics of political debate.

To try to equate this with religious faith seems a pretty long stretch to me.

I am not saying that religious faith and the creation/belief/faith of Human Rights are the same thing. They are similar however, part of the same family.

Both involve the acceptance of ideas without evidence.

You have both said that the evidence for the existence of Human Rights is their enforcement. This is not at all what we teach people. The message is that all humans are born with these rights, even if you are born in a part of the world where your rights are violated routinely. There is no evidence that a girl born in a remote rural under-developed country has any real Human Rights. In fact there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Many people choose to believe that this girl has Rights that must be defended.

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To tie this back to the OP, here is another idea.
The Bible and Quran are chock-full of morally despicable ideas. Those of us that have read the 'Good Book' can attest that it has as many sick, violent, misogynistic, hateful and sometimes just simply bizarre ideas as it does ethical and useful ones. Evil people aren't twisting the scripture to suit their own purposes though, the passages are just simply evil by today's standards. This is to be expected though. When humans created the texts that became the Bible and Quran we were a primitive, violent, ignorant, tribal species with a very short life span. However, we have advanced on all fronts and our ethical standards are lightyears beyond what they were when these fledgling cults were being created. Like humans did with Thor or Zeus why have we not outgrown these quaint but dangerous ideas created by ancient men?
The answer is faith and indoctrination. We teach children that belief without evidence is an act to be celebrated and part of being a good person.
As we do with the idea of teaching racism, in much of our society, indoctrinating belief in gods, prior to the development of critical thinking, should be considered socially abhorrent. That should, at least, be our goal anyway. We tolerate it when our grandparents use racial slurs, but would condemn it among our peers. The big issue with homosexual rights and equality is non-existent for those under 35; it's primarily only a hangup for the aged and the religious.
We need to stop protecting religious ideas with a social cocoon of respect and start advancing the ethics of "spirituality", by questioning and condemning these very unethical religious texts and the very idea of faith as a virtue. Hopefully, to the point that the word "spiritual" itself becomes an anachronism.

There are good religious ideas, bad ones and benign ones. They cannot and should not all be painted with the same brush.

IMO, faith, like other virtues such as pride, is only a virtue in moderation. The poison is in the dosage.

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You have both said that the evidence for the existence of Human Rights is their enforcement. This is not at all what we teach people. The message is that all humans are born with these rights, even if you are born in a part of the world where your rights are violated routinely. There is no evidence that a girl born in a remote rural under-developed country has any real Human Rights. In fact there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Many people choose to believe that this girl has Rights that must be defended.

I don't think humans are born with any rights outside of what a society grants them. We can certainly argue that all humans/animals/whatever should have certain rights. Again that is just an idea, not a tangible thing.

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I don't think humans are born with any rights outside of what a society grants them. We can certainly argue that all humans/animals/whatever should have certain rights. Again that is just an idea, not a tangible thing.

Article 1 of the UDHR: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

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Article 1 of the UDHR: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

Again, this is an idea, to strive for. Humans should be considered free and equal in dignity and rights from birth. This only applies to humans lucky enough to live in societies that enforce these ideals. I agree with this goal...but much/most of the world does not. I fail to see why it requires belief without evidence.

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There are good religious ideas, bad ones and benign ones. They cannot and should not all be painted with the same brush.

IMO, faith, like other virtues such as pride, is only a virtue in moderation. The poison is in the dosage.

The same book tells us to love thy neighbour, which is nice, but to also kill said neighbour if they do not believe in God. Sure, the Bible and Quran are just silly ancient stories like those of Zeus and Thor, but it's actually faith that transforms them into something problematic and even dangerous. Once, people believe the moral dictates in the "good books" are divinely mandated, quaint ancient scrawlings become extremely powerful rules.

Another problem is that religious texts being static, as they are, now make the morals within it unchanging. Slavery, misogyny and killing apostates may have been morally acceptable practices in the ancient world, but western societal ethics have progressed well beyond those of ancient Middle Easterners. Immutable moral dictates of today, no matter how good, impede those of tomorrow; and history has shown that tomorrow's moral code is almost always more appealing than yesterday's.

In short, faith is poisonous from the very first drop. It is faith itself that grants these ancient texts the power to impede morality today. Hence, we have adults who believe they are acting morally when they protest funerals, attack equal rights, deny access to birth control, etc. Faith is not a virtue and the indoctrination of children is a practice that we should work hard to eradicate if we are to do our best to improve human well-being and fully advance universal ethics.

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Faith, is not a virtue it's a serious problem. Indoctrinating the idea that belief without evidence is somehow commendable is the root of the problem. The need to cherry pick or make the scripture seem more ethical and relevant than it is, only arises when belief already exists. People would not engage in exercises to make their underlying scripture seem less morally repugnant, if they were not made to believe in the first place. Well, those that have read the Bible anyway. Most Christians haven't, which makes the 'good book' myth possible.

I agree on all points.

Religious teaching and scripture should not be treated as "divine" by anyone. There's zero evidence that any God has ever written one word in any book in the history of earth. Religious scripture and teaching should be treated as moral/ethical philosophies, no different or more valid than ie: utilitarianism or ethical egoism etc. It's much easier to believe in religious dogma than to think for yourself, to ponder moral philosophies for yourself, and consider such frightening possibilities such as ethical nihilism and moral relativism.

When you're religious but begin to selectively pick and choose what scripture to believe and not believe based on your own morals, that's when critical thinking and philosophizing begins. I consider religious moderates smarter than fundamentalists because at least moderates are starting to see the difference between fact and make-believe.

Edited by Moonlight Graham

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The same book tells us to love thy neighbour, which is nice, but to also kill said neighbour if they do not believe in God. Sure, the Bible and Quran are just silly ancient stories like those of Zeus and Thor, but it's actually faith that transforms them into something problematic and even dangerous. Once, people believe the moral dictates in the "good books" are divinely mandated, quaint ancient scrawlings become extremely powerful rules.

Another problem is that religious texts being static, as they are, now make the morals within it unchanging. Slavery, misogyny and killing apostates may have been morally acceptable practices in the ancient world, but western societal ethics have progressed well beyond those of ancient Middle Easterners. Immutable moral dictates of today, no matter how good, impede those of tomorrow; and history has shown that tomorrow's moral code is almost always more appealing than yesterday's.

In short, faith is poisonous from the very first drop. It is faith itself that grants these ancient texts the power to impede morality today. Hence, we have adults who believe they are acting morally when they protest funerals, attack equal rights, deny access to birth control, etc. Faith is not a virtue and the indoctrination of children is a practice that we should work hard to eradicate if we are to do our best to improve human well-being and fully advance universal ethics.

Faith, like almost anything taken to the extreme is dangerous and should be challenged and should not be modeled nor taught to children. I think that we will agree on 95% of the ideas that fall into this category.

Here are some more non-religious examples of faith, what do you think of them?

-Teaching children about Santa, tooth fairy, etc...

-Vegetarians that believe that "killing and consuming flesh is morally wrong"

The Bible is but a small part of Christianity. There are plenty of texts that have clarified and refuted the old Testament. Much more important than the scriptures are the current positions and even more important is the actions and behavior of institutions and individuals. Most people do not have faith that the Bible is the word of God. Most harmful ideas have already been cast aside and are buried along with ancient myths.

Judging an organized religion solely by their ancient texts is similar to judging a country by their original constitution. Sure it is important but more important is what is happening currently.

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1)When you're religious but begin to selectively pick and choose what scripture to believe and not believe based on your own morals, that's when critical thinking and philosophizing begins.

2)I consider religious moderates smarter than fundamentalists because at least moderates are starting to see the difference between fact and make-believe.

1) This is what so-called fundamentalists actually do. They choose to discriminate against LBGTQ because of their own morals. Otherwise, then they would be against lending money, and such other things explicitly prohibited by scripture.

2) Moderates aren't smarter, they just are more empathetic and thoughtful towards people. They too interpret the scriptures their own way, but their way is more caring.

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I believe that mans nature requires him to have answers to his questions (all questions) if he is to achieve peace and happiness. Very often in the process of living this life we are presented with situations for which we have no explanation. Sometimes, the answer can be found in science and some in history and the behaviour of man. When tragic situations occur, then we are desperate for explanations. This is where I envy those who have faith. The pain of losing a loved one can be mitigated by those with faith in their belief that there was a reason for the death.

Those of faith also have less fear of death if they believe that God (or an entity) allowed it to happen for a reason. As one ages and believes in the after life then the diminishing opportunities in life can be enjoyed with less fear of the end.

Man also has limitations on his ability to visualize or comprehend.

We are unable to picture the size of the universe. We have a symbol for infinity and use it in mathematical formulas but have no ability to imagine it or describe it. When people of faith run into these limitations of human understanding they are able to write them off as "It is ..... will" - and go on with the rest of their lives.

I believe that faith is another crutch with which man can use to prop himself up and go forward to the next task. Some require it for a full life, some reject it as a weakness, some use it as a weapon to attack others and yet others blame it for world ills.

My opinion - If it makes your life easier, gives you peace and happiness, then good for you!

Edited by Big Guy

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My opinion - If it makes your life easier, gives you peace and happiness, then good for you!

What about drugs? Does your 'whatever gets ya through the night' approach apply to mind altering substances?

Though, I think unevidential beliefs, that hamper moral advancement cannot be justified by claims of a personal safety blanket...even if it were true.

Edited by Mighty AC

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What about drugs? Does your 'whatever gets ya through the night' approach apply to mind altering substances?

Though, I think unevidential beliefs, that hamper moral advancement cannot be justified by claims of a personal safety blanket...even if it were true.

Thank you for the question. Recently, because of a family situation, I took a great interest in the problem of mental illness in Canada. Anxiety and depression appear to be an increasing disease among our population and I was surprised to learn that about 9% of the Canadian population is taking some form of anti-depressant drugs. I have no problem with these mind altering drugs. I am still ambivalent about the use of artificial mind enhancing or improving chemicals - although those who have used them for that purpose claim the experience well worth the dangers of experimenting with them.

The history of our society has many examples of authors, poets, musicians and other creative individuals producing exceptional work under the influence of mind enhancing drugs and giving the credit to the chemical "accelerants". I do not have an initial base of creativity so have not tried to enhance something I do not have - and therefore depend on anecdotal evidence. I remember when I was young and in school when Timothy Leary was on his lecture circuit. I do know of some individuals who did experiment with LSD, claimed to have seen God and eventually went on to very successful professional careers - some went the other direction.

My personal view is that the use of these chemicals should depend on the age and maturity of the individual. Life is difficult and there is always the temptation to "Turn on, tune in, drop out" or at least to ease the pain of daily challenges and the inevitable failures. If these mind enhancers were too readily available then the youngster would not have the opportunity to face those challenges, deal with them, develop a personality and establish a self-esteem that he/she could pass on to another generation.

Now, for the old folks, I would like to see easily available access to any chemicals that make their lives more enjoyable. From addicting opiates to hallucinogens to other mind enhancing drugs. They do not have a long time to go, have earned the right to pain free happiness and if their experimentation leads to accelerated demise, will save our society some money in pensions and other expenditures.

Unfortunately at this time, the only panacea available for most elderly is their faith. Many Christians believe that enduring pain in this life works as a pre-payment for a better after life. For others, the belief that the afterlife will provide the peace and happiness they seek in this life makes the pains of aging more acceptable. That is the reason why in most Christian religions, suicide precludes your ability at maximum benefits of the after-life. Short cuts are discouraged.

It must be obvious by now that I am jealous of those "of faith" who have a ready explanation for the "unexplainable tragedy" and a buffer when facing the inevitable conclusion of their time on earth.

Edited by Big Guy

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