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"If I was to support a religion.."

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Fri 23/04/10 at 15:27
Regular
Posts: 5,848
It would be Einsteinian Deism

Pretty apt description of our actual knowledge of God, and how I'd express any feelings of the metaphysical I've ever experienced (admittedly, not many. I think "that's beautiful" not "God be praised")

Take a look anyway!
Sat 24/04/10 at 21:38
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
In other words, if you think 1.20 was bad for a litre of petrol, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Sat 24/04/10 at 16:51
Staff Moderator
"Mr Dean"
Posts: 170
The thing is though, that was a dept that wasn't picked up by choice, it was to fund a war that needed to be fought to stop a mad man taking over the world and turning it into his 'ideal race'.

A serious chunk of the dept we are in at the moment is because of the situation with the banks and their prerogative to spend lost of money then charge it to the tax payer. I really can't understand why the government allowed the banks to do this in the first place.
Sat 24/04/10 at 12:44
Regular
Posts: 9,995
dean5 wrote:
, in worlds of dept,

The country has always been in serious debt, and always will be. We only paid off the debt for WW2 about 5 years ago.
Sat 24/04/10 at 12:30
Staff Moderator
"Mr Dean"
Posts: 170
> This is one of the things that concerns me most in relation to
> politics; young voters jumping on the bandwagon and voting for
> the Lib Dems simply because it's a "change", rather
> than because they've read their manifesto or made any sort of
> informed decision whatsoever

This made me laugh as I don't see that any party has any hope of bringing anything to this country at the moment. The country is on it's knees and falling apart, in worlds of dept, massively over populated, pound losing it's value, prisons full. As far as I can see, Labour have done all they can as it stands other then tagging us all which is what they plan to bring in... no thanks. Then conservatives policys, make people marry? Pay of the massive debt that has been forced upon us quicker by paying less taxes? Give people incentives to attempt to start a business in the current economic crisis?

Only god can save us now.. :p (maybe in the form of Clegg)

> I think religion is worth talking about. I think it's something
> which affects everybody. Look at the amount of people who
> celebrate christmas, and how it has been incorporated into our
> society, yet I'll bet a noteworthy number haven't got a strong
> faith. It becomes a mockery really.

This is what I love about religion and also how I believe it came about. People need a purpose, something to live for, to guide you through life and also something to ease the fear of death.

Religion brings people together, even if it is just to prey, then gives you rules to live by which come to make a better environment, for example the 10 commandments. Makes you think of the wonderful afterlife or rebirth in some occasions if you do 'good'.

It's just so promising and easy to accept, especially as there is nothing to go against it.. And some things even back it up, imagine if you did eat a sacred beast then got tapeworm... the gods are punishing you. All sounds great to me except for the part where there's so many things that disprove a lot of religious teachings.

Still, I like to celebrate Christian festivals, not because of the father, the son and the holy spirit but because I enjoy them and it's tradition and not worth changing because of the good it brings and the enjoyment that people get out of it.

In my opinion, people should believe in whatever they want to and should be aloud to celebrate it in whatever way they wish providing that they are not causing grief to other and that they do not oppose others when they want to do the same thing.
Sat 24/04/10 at 00:03
Regular
Posts: 5,848
I believe we've got this country to the stage where we have such equality that we don't need to intervene to judge a person's religion or attempt to disprove it

However, in countries such as Islamic states like Iran and Pakistan, if religion is being used to control and subjugate - then really still needs to be called into question, even if it's not Christianity or religion in this country
Fri 23/04/10 at 23:40
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
Eddie Izzard does a good sketch on something similar. "You've died on easter, the biggest pagan holiday! Your death is going to be remembered at a different time every year, and it will be decided by the position of the moon! What a great first day for our new religion!" To wrap things up, Religion is a choice at the end of the day. You either accept it or reject it. But it's wrong to try and judge or convert others in my opinion. Leave each group to it. If I'm wrong, or any other group is, it should be my, or their, mistake. I honestly don't think human's have a right to intervene with how religion is going to affect people.
Fri 23/04/10 at 23:29
Regular
Posts: 5,848
Sonic Chris wrote:
> I can understood alot of your thoughts. I chose to take RE
> A-Level, because, although these faiths aren't mine, it's
> absolutely fascinating. The likes of Bentham, Mills, Kierkegaard,
> etc. really get me going. I have not read any of their books, but
> I do know abit from applying their morals to ethical issues.

I took RS at A level as well, only got a B in the end (A at AS, 6 marks off in A2...) thanks to Hume and his theory of resurrection... But I would agree, the issues presented there are both interesting and useful. There's smaller theories that are very important to the debate of religion vs atheism as a whole that would be missed if you simply read the works of the "important" theist thinkers and philosophers

> Religion is a great way to get through times of pain. I may not
> believe it myself, but if an idea helps people through their
> hardest times, what I believe doesn't matter, the person should
> be allowed to deal with it how they like.

Exactly. Religion as a faith construct - as a way of seeing the sheer horror humanity faces in atrocities, natural and man made disasters, and being able to overcome it because you have a deep, heart-felt belief in something greater than yourself, of humanity, of the world, is the most powerful element of religion. This is the power of religion to unite, rather than the power of religion as something to be wielded by the state; there is a history of the abuse of religion, people using their posts of power to subjugate the "non-believers" etc, right throughout time. More wars, after all, have started on the grounds of religion than anything else

In the same way there are criteria for a "just war" there are criteria for a "holy war", which I'm sure you'll cover at some point in your A level. If nothing else, it shows the historical power and importance of religion as a tool, used to gain and wield power. Arguably the ultimate power, channelling the power of a being greater than the world itself, claiming to be the voice of God, the chosen one etc - from Popes to Kings

> I know alot of Atheists
> in my year. I say Atheists, when really they're just teenagers
> rebelling against the faith that is essential to my particular
> school. They have not contemplated or thought about what their
> own beliefs are, they're simply, dare I say, "following the
> flock", as teenagers will do.

This is one of the things that concerns me most in relation to politics; young voters jumping on the bandwagon and voting for the Lib Dems simply because it's a "change", rather than because they've read their manifesto or made any sort of informed decision whatsoever

> I think religion is worth talking about. I think it's something
> which affects everybody. Look at the amount of people who
> celebrate christmas, and how it has been incorporated into our
> society, yet I'll bet a noteworthy number haven't got a strong
> faith. It becomes a mockery really.

Technically Christmas (well, December 25th) is also an ancient Pagan festival of the winter solstice (Yule). Likewise, it was also the Pagan festival of the birth of Sol Invictus. Many elements of Christmas also result from ancient Pagan tradition - such as the incorporation of the Christmas tree, resulting from the Church wishing to appease Pagans (when Christianity was still on the rise) which was an adaption of ancient Pagan tree worship, which used the boughs of evergreen trees.
Fri 23/04/10 at 23:10
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
I can understood alot of your thoughts. I chose to take RE A-Level, because, although these faiths aren't mine, it's absolutely fascinating. The likes of Bentham, Mills, Kierkegaard, etc. really get me going. I have not read any of their books, but I do know abit from applying their morals to ethical issues. Religion is a great way to get through times of pain. I may not believe it myself, but if an idea helps people through their hardest times, what I believe doesn't matter, the person should be allowed to deal with it how they like. I know alot of Atheists in my year. I say Atheists, when really they're just teenagers rebelling against the faith that is essential to my particular school. They have not contemplated or thought about what their own beliefs are, they're simply, dare I say, "following the flock", as teenagers will do.

I think religion is worth talking about. I think it's something which affects everybody. Look at the amount of people who celebrate christmas, and how it has been incorporated into our society, yet I'll bet a noteworthy number haven't got a strong faith. It becomes a mockery really.
Fri 23/04/10 at 22:58
Regular
Posts: 5,848
Sonic Chris wrote:
> Agnostic Atheists have a sort of faith, but it perhaps
> hasn't been revealed to them is how I like to look at it. In
> other words, if this god wants me, he's going to have to give me
> a nudge or something.

I like this!

> I cannot agree with mainstream atheism, if I can call it that,
> as I do not like a belief which discounts other people's thoughts
> and beliefs.

That's people trying to force their atheism onto you. It's still a personal belief, as much as agnosticism.

The point to remember is that people are feeding you their beliefs on both ends of the spectrum - whether it's the Theist end quoting the Bible and urging you to turn towards God, or the Atheist side arguing that there can be no such notion as God

This doesn't mean all Atheists want to bring you over to their side of the debate any more than all Theists want you to follow the path of religion

From my experience, Atheists will challenge you in terms of questioning your beliefs and why - trying to lead you down a debate that involves science, but does not necessarily question the nature of Theism. For the most part, Atheists are at least respectful enough to say "but it can't be true" etc to someone who genuinely has a belief in God, while Theists who try to question your beliefs tend to be more aggressive in denying your views and arguing for the existence of God.

> And the moment when I knew I wasn't a christian was when I went
> onto a Christian chat forum. I was asking for advice about
> keeping faith and my doubts about God. Sadly, I felt as though
> they were trying to prove me wrong and prove that there is a god,
> instead of actually listening to me. There are many other factors
> as to why I left Christianity, but that was the exact moment I
> felt it was all wrong.

All religion/faith/lack of belief in theism is essentially just that though - questioning others to the point they turn away from their side and come onto yours

Obviously it's not just about that - I'm an Atheist after reading the Bible, the Koran, the Torah as well as the Origin of Species, various philosophical works from Christian theologians (Aquinas, Paley, Descartes, Kierkegaard) and philosophers with no religious beliefs (Kant, Sartre, Nietzsche) as well as the ancient philosophers with rudimentary concepts of "the gods" (Aristotle, Plato). It's fair to say I've read up on the debate an extensive amount. In the same vein, I may not have read the actual works themselves, but I'm familiar with the work of Scientists trying to prove or disprove Evolution (since Darwin proposed it in the Origin of Species)

It just annoys me that so many people are completely closed off to any alternative without first looking at both sides. They are indoctrinated by blind faith, or simply have decided that there is no God, with weak reasons supporting either argument that essentially rely on the key argument for each with none of their own understanding. Such as a theist arguing for design theory and the Creation theory to prove there's God with no knowledge of anything on the other side as it's false, or the atheist who knows Evolution exists, so there's no possible way religion can

I believe in faith as a construct to help humans through suffering etc. And I believe that religion resulted from primitive man's desire to appease the Sun. This was compounded in Zeitgeist (despite being sketchily researched), but I had the view before then anyway.

I think the most powerful argument in favour of Atheism, is that there is actually no proof for religion, other than what is essentially a story book for each faith, dating back several thousand years. There has been nothing new uncovered to support religion in that time - it's all new interpretations of those texts, philosophers interpretations of those texts and trying to argue for "divine order" within the world

. If you're a progressive theist who can incorporate science within your argument, I'm all for it. If you're a theist, such as the Evangelical sect of the Church, who essentially deny science altogether, then you're a fool. In the same way that an Atheist who hasn't bothered to research his opinion to substantiate it with anything more than "the books clearly aren't true, science disproves religion" etc is also just as much of an idiot.
Fri 23/04/10 at 22:08
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
Well I'm 17, so I'm extremely young :P Doesn't necessarily discount my thoughts on religion though. I feel as though I've been fed God through a straw since I was about 5 years old. I went along with it up until 1 or 2 years ago because it was the norm. But being able to think for myself, I used to pray in school and sing the hymns out of habit rather than belief. The reason why I think Agnostic Atheism is great is that unlike most religions, they do not discount anybodys beliefs. It's not a belief that you follow with others really, it's more personal. If you don't feel there is a god, it's your own choice, and nobody can say otherwise. But it's not discounting wether god actually exists. I can understand how this can be seen negatively, as the whole point of Christianity and other religions is that you have faith. Agnostic Atheists have a sort of faith, but it perhaps hasn't been revealed to them is how I like to look at it. In other words, if this god wants me, he's going to have to give me a nudge or something.

I cannot agree with mainstream atheism, if I can call it that, as I do not like a belief which discounts other people's thoughts and beliefs.

And the moment when I knew I wasn't a christian was when I went onto a Christian chat forum. I was asking for advice about keeping faith and my doubts about God. Sadly, I felt as though they were trying to prove me wrong and prove that there is a god, instead of actually listening to me. There are many other factors as to why I left Christianity, but that was the exact moment I felt it was all wrong.

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