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Do you think that religion needs to be wiped out for the continued progress of mankind?

If you could elaborate a little on the reasoning behind your answer that would be very nice. Thank you.

Edit: ok, my initial question I now recognize is too confrontational and also too specific. I would like to explore more fully whether religion is an impediment to human development and why someone would answer yes or no.
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Absolutely not. The question looks to me to be more difficult than it seems however. A more fundamental question that needs answered is this: What is religion? Insofar as religion is Man's quest for meaning and purpose or Man's desire to know his maker, it certainly does not need wiped out. Insofar as religion is the contrivance of Man with the goal of domineering other men, it still should not be wiped out because Man's agency to choose right and wrong for himself is more fundamental and precious than just about anything else. That might be turned around this way however. Insofar as religion is the contrivance of Man with the goal of domineering other men, it will be wiped out as a result of the continued progress of mankind.
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Benjro wrote:
Do you think that religion needs to be wiped out for the continued progress of mankind?

If you could elaborate a little on the reasoning behind your answer that would be very nice. Thank you.

Of course. We all know that this approach worked just so well under the Soviets and under Mao, etc.\\Is this just a troll?
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As a pedantic and arrogant atheist with a sense of superiority over believers, I don't think that religion "needs" to be wiped out: as mankind progresses, religion will naturally fade away, in the same way that it takes no effort from adults to "wipe out" Santa Claus: as they grow up children naturally stop believing in it.
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whac3 wrote:
Benjro wrote:
Do you think that religion needs to be wiped out for the continued progress of mankind?

If you could elaborate a little on the reasoning behind your answer that would be very nice. Thank you.

Of course. We all know that this approach worked just so well under the Soviets and under Mao, etc.\\Is this just a troll?


I'd like to think that trolling really isn't my MO. Most of the New Atheists seem to think this and I'm sure there are others who agree. I'm interested in the argument behind this.

Just as interesting to me are those that think that religion remains an important facet of human life, society, and development. I'm interested in their justification as well.

I do not plan on attacking anybody here though I have little control over others.
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Benjro wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Benjro wrote:
Do you think that religion needs to be wiped out for the continued progress of mankind?

If you could elaborate a little on the reasoning behind your answer that would be very nice. Thank you.

Of course. We all know that this approach worked just so well under the Soviets and under Mao, etc.\\Is this just a troll?


I'd like to think that trolling really isn't my MO. Most of the New Atheists seem to think this and I'm sure there are others who agree. I'm interested in the argument behind this.

Just as interesting to me are those that think that religion remains an important facet of human life, society, and development. I'm interested in their justification as well.

I do not plan on attacking anybody here though I have little control over others.

OK then. Fair enough.

My reasoning why religion oughtn't ne "wiped out" for "progress" is because attacking people for their ideas-- which inevitably this would entail-- is inherently a bad idea. Freedom of ideas is THE most fundamental freedom conceivable; it is freedom over own's own mind.

Now if one asked if religion is an idea people need growpast for "progress" again this is just a form of prejudice of thinking one's ideas are inherently better than other people's ideas.
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AT 22 wrote:
As a pedantic and arrogant atheist with a sense of superiority over believers, I don't think that religion "needs" to be wiped out: as mankind progresses, religion will naturally fade away, in the same way that it takes no effort from adults to "wipe out" Santa Claus: as they grow up children naturally stop believing in it.


Two things here. First, until religion fades out will it be an impediment to humanity in general? Second, if it is an impediment, wouldn't it be appropriate to euthanize it instead of letting it die naturally.

To be clear, I'm in no way saying that one would need to kill individuals to accomplish this. Rather I am referring to the expedited death of the religious idea.
 
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whac3 wrote:
Now if one asked if religion is an idea people need growpast for "progress" again this is just a form of prejudice of thinking one's ideas are inherently better than other people's ideas.


I think this is prejudiced but I'm not sure I'm willing to say that prejudice is a grounds for rejection. I am also prejudiced against pedophiles and holocaust deniers and I think that my prejudice toward them is a good thing.
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Oh Shit!

Here come Dawkins and Hitchins! Damn, now nobody else will be able to get a word in edgewise.
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Benjro wrote:
AT 22 wrote:
As a pedantic and arrogant atheist with a sense of superiority over believers, I don't think that religion "needs" to be wiped out: as mankind progresses, religion will naturally fade away, in the same way that it takes no effort from adults to "wipe out" Santa Claus: as they grow up children naturally stop believing in it.


Two things here. First, until religion fades out will it be an impediment to humanity in general? Second, if it is an impediment, wouldn't it be appropriate to euthanize it instead of letting it die naturally.

To be clear, I'm in no way saying that one would need to kill individuals to accomplish this. Rather I am referring to the expedited death of the religious idea.


I guess that if we take progress to be opposed to religious ideas, we can call religion an impediment. But, no matter the scale of this impediment, forcing its death would be a mistake both morally and "tactically".

Morally, because if mankind is actually better off without religion, then this conclusion will impose itself over time, like the Santa Claus analogy.

Tactically, because whenever an issue is forced by men rather than by nature (here by nature I mean time, mostly), there will always be other men to resist the decision ("who are they to decide?") and perpetuate the ideas.

So trying to kill the idea would be self defeating, or ultimately it would come down to eliminate the people who resist, and mankind can't kill people and at the same time claim progress (back to the "moral" mistake).
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I'll raise your question with a counter-question....


What do you mean by 'progress'?

I, for one, don't see humans 'progressing'. I see change.

To say that certain change is 'progressive' and others, regressive, to my eyes, is just putting on blinders.

Of course, those who don't agree with Religion will feel that its elimination is 'necessary' for progress. Just as believers will feel that religion is essential to the human condition.

But what do you mean by 'progress'?

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
I'll raise your question with a counter-question....


What do you mean by 'progress'?

I, for one, don't see humans 'progressing'. I see change.

To say that certain change is 'progressive' and others, regressive, to my eyes, is just putting on blinders.

Of course, those who don't agree with Religion will feel that its elimination is 'necessary' for progress. Just as believers will feel that religion is essential to the human condition.

But what do you mean by 'progress'?

Darilian


Well, I'm framing the question the way that I've seen it from the New Atheists. I'm not willing to say what progress is or is not at this juncture. That is partly why I'm more interested in why a person holds the opinion they do than just the opinion itself. Part of the question is to understand what one means by progress.

Personally, I'm not sure that progress describes human history but I think framing it as simply change is too neutral and vague and comes off as a bit of a cop out.
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Benjro wrote:
Darilian wrote:
I'll raise your question with a counter-question....


What do you mean by 'progress'?

I, for one, don't see humans 'progressing'. I see change.

To say that certain change is 'progressive' and others, regressive, to my eyes, is just putting on blinders.

Of course, those who don't agree with Religion will feel that its elimination is 'necessary' for progress. Just as believers will feel that religion is essential to the human condition.

But what do you mean by 'progress'?

Darilian


Well, I'm framing the question the way that I've seen it from the New Atheists. I'm not willing to say what progress is or is not at this juncture. That is partly why I'm more interested in why a person holds the opinion they do than just the opinion itself. Part of the question is to understand what one means by progress.

Personally, I'm not sure that progress describes human history but I think framing it as simply change is too neutral and vague and comes off as a bit of a cop out.

How about this-

Is Religion essential to the 'Human Condition'? IE- are we human, in part or in total, because we believe?

Otherwise, I think your previous question is a bit too teleological.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
Benjro wrote:
Darilian wrote:
I'll raise your question with a counter-question....


What do you mean by 'progress'?

I, for one, don't see humans 'progressing'. I see change.

To say that certain change is 'progressive' and others, regressive, to my eyes, is just putting on blinders.

Of course, those who don't agree with Religion will feel that its elimination is 'necessary' for progress. Just as believers will feel that religion is essential to the human condition.

But what do you mean by 'progress'?

Darilian


Well, I'm framing the question the way that I've seen it from the New Atheists. I'm not willing to say what progress is or is not at this juncture. That is partly why I'm more interested in why a person holds the opinion they do than just the opinion itself. Part of the question is to understand what one means by progress.

Personally, I'm not sure that progress describes human history but I think framing it as simply change is too neutral and vague and comes off as a bit of a cop out.

How about this-

Is Religion essential to the 'Human Condition'? IE- are we human, in part or in total, because we believe?

Otherwise, I think your previous question is a bit too teleological.

Darilian


Maybe teleology is the point of the question. Do we have an end...it is interesting because the New Atheists seem to think we do though I'm of the opinion that their world view doesn't really allow for that.

My religious view point is totally teleological and my end is unachievable without religion. So I certainly religion is fundamental to the human condition.

I like it when it get to spar with you Dar and I rarely get to do it. So, I want to probe your question a bit. I'm trapped in a teleological world view so it is hard for me to see essence of being outside of the perfection of that being. How else would you define that which is essential?
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Well, I think that the New Atheists, ala Dawkins and the like, have a coherent ideology. More to the point, I think they have an ideology that has implications that are either very scary- or demonstrate that these guys haven't really thought through everything they say. (ie, they're inconsistent). Which make ME very unpopular with some local 'fans' of New Atheism.... *hehehe*

So lets go to the question of essentialism-

Benjro wrote:
How else would you define that which is essential?


My personal definition is heavily tied into Aristotle and the concept of 'Eudaimonia'- the idea of the 'best' life. I would therefore posit that what would be 'essential' to be human would be those things that allow one to live the 'best' life.

(I'm assuming, given your tagline above your avatar's name, that you are familliar with the concept of Eudaimonia)

Thus, the question would be- Is religion necessary for one to be able to live a 'balanced' life?

To that, I would argue yes....but only if we stretch what we mean by 'religion' to allow for all introspection about the nature of Self, his role within the greather world, and that world's relationship with the realm of 'Ideas' and (possibly) the 'Spirit'.

Thus, I actually believe that 'Science' can serve a similar role as 'Religion', in that it can be tool to help one actually find meaning, purpose and understanding of oneself and the greater world.

Now- this is non-teleological, as I don't think that there is any ONE 'purpose' to life. In this, I flirt with Nietzsche and the idea that one must create the purpose of ones life in order to fully be human. Eudaimonia puts someone in the 'crucible' (the proper mind frame) to be ABLE to do this.

Thus, I end up being more interested in processes, rather than goals- as I feel that point of YOUR life will almost always be different from MINE.

Darilian
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Interesting but I have my doubts that a process can matter if the goal is insignificant (and I can't help but think it is insignificant if it is merely personal).

This Greek mindset is always interesting but frustrating as well. God is whatever you are pursuing. Your system is just polytheistic. However, different gods have different paths to them and the goal is what gives the process significance. There are only certain ways a god can be reached.

So I'm still going to stubbornly insist that our ground of being is focused on perfection, whatever that might be.
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*lol*

Well, if you believe that 'perfection' is the goal, then you're going to think that Religion (or, at least, some rigorous examination of the Spiritual) is going to be essential not just as an end, but also as a means.

Heck, even Plato would agree with that.

But, I'm skeptical that one can have 'objective' knowledge of 'T'ruth. We're limited in our ability to ascertain and measure the world- much less, measure quantitatively how ideas affect reality.

So you're back where you started from, in a circular trap. If you feel that Perfection is the end 'goal' of Humanity, you're going to feel that Religion- some KIND of religion- is necessary (or essential-depending upon how you want to phrase the relationship).

Heck, even Marxism falls into this trap- but instead of God, they have the 'Church of Man'- an extremely doctrinaire approach to the human condition, and how we can overcome it to achieve 'perfection' (or, as they define it, the Emancipation of Mankind).

But while I can see where you're coming from with this definition of Religion=> the quest for 'perfection' (of some sort), I'm not sure I buy it. There are some outliers (Zen Buddhism, for instance) that are more 'process focussed' than 'end focussed' that I think belie your definition.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
But while I can see where you're coming from with this definition of Religion=> the quest for 'perfection' (of some sort), I'm not sure I buy it. There are some outliers (Zen Buddhism, for instance) that are more 'process focussed' than 'end focussed' that I think belie your definition.

Darilian


By perfection here I am actually speaking of telos. By becoming what we are to be we achieve perfection. It is a slightly technical definition, but I think it is the best definition of perfection out there. So even Zen Buddhists are focused on perfection even if the telos is nothing (or at least that is my understanding of Buddhism and I'm happy to be corrected).
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My understanding of Zen was that the 'point' was to become not perfect, but 'empty'- pure potentiality.

Ie, it doesn't make you better person, it allows you become a more EFFECTIVE person.

(Which is also kind of the point of Taoism...but I'll freely admit that there are probably others here who can argue this better than I.)

Anyhoo-
I still don't buy your definition of Religion=>> Teleos.

But as I said earlier, I'm much more interested in means than ends.

Darilian
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Interesting exchange gentlemen. I see shades of truth in both of your statements. To me, religion is wholly about ends (perfection, eternal life, living with Heavenly Father) and means (effectiveness, charity, love, compassion, service, living a Christ like life). There is no separating the two. It is like a cross country walk. The end absolutely matters. It is why you are making any effort at all. In the moment though, the end doesn't matter as much as the means. Put one foot in front of the other and get to the next hill crest. With the focus on the means while staying conscious of the end, the traveler eventually arrives. I think it is a false dichotomy to put the ends and the means in opposition to each other.
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DCAnderson wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Oh Shit!

Here come Dawkins and Hitchins! Damn, now nobody else will be able to get a word in edgewise.


Here comes DWTripp, bellyaching about what people are discussing in threads he has no interest in participating in.


Yeah.. this thread is somewhat beneath me. And I mean that only in the most complementary way to those discussing it. Religion couldn't be "wiped out" even if there was a desire to do so. Oh wait! There is a desire. That's what both Dawkins and Hitchins desire. And they have a following to be sure.

I saw O'Reilly debating Dawkins a couple nights ago. It was interesting.... O''Reilly believing that since science has no answer to how it all began that God is a damned good choice. Dawkins "believing" that since science is cool that it will eventually answer the big Q. Stay tuned.

Also saw Michael Moore debating Hannity a couple days earlier (man, I need to watch more Fox, no wonder they get the ratings!) and it was a hoot. Moore, a Christian... at least according to him... and Hannity a Catholic debating whether or not Moore is worth milllions because of capitalism or whether Jesus was a Commie.

Religion rocks!
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DCAnderson wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
Yeah.. this thread is somewhat beneath me. And I mean that only in the most complementary way to those discussing it. Religion couldn't be "wiped out" even if there was a desire to do so. Oh wait! There is a desire. That's what both Dawkins and Hitchins desire. And they have a following to be sure.


Atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens who are open and passionate about their unbelief are way more awesome than atheists who think that atheism is somehow a "dirty word", and think atheists just "shutting up" and pretending like they don't exist is somehow good.


Yeah, yeah. Those two guys are all kind of smart. But they also have a "belief" that stands in direct contrast to their condemnation of religion. And if you haven't read their books about religion, trust me, they condemn.

They believe that the world would be better without religion. They have no way of knowing that and it's unprovable... but they believe it as deeply as a devout Christian believes Jesus died for sins not yet committed and that redemption is possible only if you accept the Savior.

Neither case has yet been proven and probably never will be. But the knowledgeable Christian (or Muslim) has more integrity in my view as they embrace the concept of belief while the atheist proselytizers deny that belief has any room in their world view.
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Quote:
I think believing that religious belief is bad is a perfectly legitimate stance.


Only if one acknowledges that all they have is "belief" in that stance. Science, which Dawkins and Hitchins are both fond of saying is superior, cannot provide evidence that belief in God is bad or that the world would be better without religion. Yet both have written exactly that. Neither has acknowledged that their stance is as subjective and unprovable as God... and therefore subject to the same weaknesses (in group form) that religion has.


Quote:
It's as legitimate as you thinking that voting for Obama is bad.


If I thought that. Which I don't. In fact, I have more integrity than either Dawkins or Hitchins and I'm not even a scientist... or a religious person. I don't try and impinge upon anyone's views when it comes to religion or atheism and I certainly don't think I have an answer that they don't.

But Dan, I will offer this, just as an observation...

I can think of many good things religion has brought to people and even the entire human race. Forget for a moment (if you will) the same tired old shit about the Crusades or Jihad... think instead about the history of religion and it's positive effects on every aspect of how our race has evolved culturally and scientifically. Not to mention the succor and relief it's brought to millions throughout history. Religion has a long, long, long record of generally doing good despite the terrible things done in "God's Name".

Now. What has organized atheism achieved?
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Well... if you want to dismiss organized atheism as a force then that's your choice. It most certainly is organized and there are people like our two authors who would like to see it even more powerful as a social force.

There are two kinds of atheists... those who just "are" and don't pick fights, and then all the rest. The rest have a chip on their shoulder which is not different than the one they accuse religious outreach groups of having. They are fighting against religion in the "belief" that it needs to be destroyed. Period. Have you read any of the books written over the last ten years or so (not just Dawkins and Hitchins, but they'll do) that advocate aggressively finding ways to bring religion to an end?

Quote:
Think of the football players who thank "God" for their success when it was they themselves who accomplished what they did by training hard and being persistent.


See, this is where Dawkins blows it. He's telling the football player that his "faith" is just chemicals and that his talent isn't a result of anything more exciting than random chance and perhaps being the result of good breeding stock.

I agree in part with Dawkins here. Being 5'10" and all of 150lbs there is no way I could have physically been a pro football player. But I also disagree because Dawkins (and his ilk) deny that something "within" people motivates them in ways that are special. It's easy to see that there are many, many millions more people who have the same genetic gifts that the football player has but somehow they don't end up getting paid to play ball.

Why is that? Why doesn't every human who is the lucky recipient of random genetic selection end up utilizing their gifts? I'm not saying I have the answer. I'm just a good observer and it's easy for me to see that God.. or the girlfriend back home... or love... or some inner need or desire that can't be tested and graphed is at work here and that power or energy gives select people the ability to utilize their gifts above the norm.

A religious person says it's God. An atheist may say it's random. I'm not going to argue against either one for the simple reason that an atheist who excels is obviously not crediting God. So there must be something else unseen at work there.

I like that mystery and I have no desire to unravel it. It's a pleasant subject to me.
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DCAnderson wrote:
DWTripp wrote:
A religious person says it's God. An atheist may say it's random. I'm not going to argue against either one for the simple reason that an atheist who excels is obviously not crediting God. So there must be something else unseen at work there.

I like that mystery and I have no desire to unravel it. It's a pleasant subject to me.


More power to you, but why does it have to be a mystery?


There's no answer to that. It is a mystery. Just like the mystery of how "this" all began. Maybe science will answer that one day. Who knows?

Quote:
By some convergence of upbrining and aptitude a person accomplished something great.


Yup. Could be religion. Might not be. Depends on the person. In either case it's a 'specialness' that hasn't been defined and may never be.

Quote:
I don't think it becomes any less special or fascinating just because there are perfectly rational reasons for it. It's still a great accomplishment.


This is where that "assumptive" chip that atheists have comes into play. To an atheist it's not rational for anyone to attribute anything good to religion. Well, to a proselytizing atheist anyway. They can't help themselves... they must say something about rationality and imply that unless the believer accepts their premise they are irrational.

I see very little that is irrational about religion, faith or belief in a higher power. It's not something I embrace, but it certainly makes all kind of sense to me.

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