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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  06:26:39  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't have such a big problem with faith in general as much as with organised religion. Faith comes in many different forms, and should be personal.

It's religion I have a problem with...

The idea that there is an absolute authority like the Bible, to which you have to submit yourself. But even having faith in the Bible is not so much a problem to me as having a preacher interpreting the Bible. Preachers, Pastors, youth-leaders and other church authoritative persons teach the Bible, and interpret it for the members of the church. By doing so, they are assuming the authority of the Bible, and by doing so, in the end also require the Christian follower to submit.
This is where Christians should at least become skeptical.

Intellectual laziness makes people rely more on their preachers for knowledge, rather than reading the Bible themselves and forming opinions from there. This means that whatever the preacher says goes, and this opens up a big can of worms.

This is the inherent evil of organised religion.
It serves as a rallying focus. People who are open to the absolute authority of the written texts can easily be manipulated to accept concepts that does not originate in said texts.
Then people with ambiguous goals in mind captures those positions of authority, we have a recipe for disaster. In small scale, or in large.

Organised Religion is a tool for the religious leaders, that enables them to control large masses of people.

Not unlike a loaded gun. If you want to kill someone, beating him to death with your fist requires a lot more resolve than just pointing a gun at him and pull the trigger. Consider the tragedy in Columbine. It wasn't until some kids got their hands on firearms that other kids got killed.

Convincing people that God hates fags makes it easy to rationalise gay bashing. Declaring that cartoon-pictures are an affront to Allah makes it easier to create a mob to do such no-no stuff as attacking foreign Embassies.

It's true that not all conflicts originate in religion. Actually, I believe that few do. The conflict in Northern Ireland goes back to when England annexed the area, threw out the people living there and moved their own people in. It was a battle for land and resources. Religion has become used as a rallying cry, Catholic or Protestant, to keep the "ethnic" groups divided. If religion hadn't existed the conflict had probably been between "invaders" and "natives". The artificial wall that organised religion has built, has kept the different groups separate from each other. They have been kept separate when they should have mingled and mixed until the differences were too small to squabble about.

Why it that?
The conflict hasn't benefited the little people, the children on the street. No, the conflict benefits the religious leaders that, thanks to the conflict, retains their faithful followers and the power the faithful place in their leader's hands.

Critical thinking and skepticism undermines the authority of ill-conceived ideas. That's why it is frown upon in religious circles.

Faith can be a good thing.
The evil aspect of religion is that Organised Religion puts the loaded gun in the hands of religious leaders, to do as they please. The history of wars and atrocities where religions are involved tells us that religious leaders should not be trusted.

That's why I think Organised Religion is inherently evil.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  07:16:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used to be a part of "organized religion" and we were taught that we had to think for ourselves. I know that is dangerous because that can have the effect of reverse psychology because I'm sure that a lot of people use that to tell people what to do without overtly telling them. However, I didn't see that in my church. We were taught to pray and make up our own minds. We weren't taught that the Bible was some literal handbook that we had to run our lives by.

I would assume that most "liberal" religions are like that.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  07:30:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
The idea that there is an absolute authority like the Bible, to which you have to submit yourself. But even having faith in the Bible is not so much a problem to me as having a preacher interpreting the Bible. Preachers, Pastors, youth-leaders and other church authoritative persons teach the Bible, and interpret it for the members of the church. By doing so, they are assuming the authority of the Bible, and by doing so, in the end also require the Christian follower to submit.


From here and on, you are no longer talking about religion in general, but instead, fundamentalist Christianity.

Not all religions require you to put absolute authority in it's holy book (if it has one). Not all religions require you to submit to a preacher. In fact many don't.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  07:34:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A few questions, Dr.Mabuse, if I may....

(1) Why pander to the mental/emotional state of mind "faith?" What are you referring to when you speak of "intellectual laziness?" Is there a possible relationship between the two? Why does "faith" get a free ride?

(2) Are all "rallying foc[i]" "inherently evil," or just the ones you don't like? Is it something about the nature of a particular "focus?" Isn't science a "rallying focus?"

(3) Does skepticism have some form of normative content? You speak of it as "undermining the authority of ill-conceived ideas." How does skepticism distinguish between ill-conceived and not-ill-conceived ideas?

(4) Is personal "faith" with no external referents really better than a hive mind with no ability to analyse external referents? Or is it just a matter of isolating the radicals?

(5) "People who are open to the absolute authority of the written texts can easily be manipulated to accept concepts that does not originate in said texts." Now this is interesting. Are you suggesting a flaw in the folks who accept the authority of the text or are you suggesting there might be something about the text itself that is ambiguous and might be interpreted differently by different people?

(6) What do you mean by "inherent evil?" Just asking....

For your amusement....

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
Edited by - dglas on 03/26/2007 07:40:30
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  11:39:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

quote:
The idea that there is an absolute authority like the Bible, to which you have to submit yourself. But even having faith in the Bible is not so much a problem to me as having a preacher interpreting the Bible. Preachers, Pastors, youth-leaders and other church authoritative persons teach the Bible, and interpret it for the members of the church. By doing so, they are assuming the authority of the Bible, and by doing so, in the end also require the Christian follower to submit.


From here and on, you are no longer talking about religion in general, but instead, fundamentalist Christianity.
Not just Christianity, but Islam as well. But I named Christianity, because I have more experience from it.

quote:
Not all religions require you to put absolute authority in it's holy book (if it has one). Not all religions require you to submit to a preacher. In fact many don't.

True if you count religions, giving them all the same weight. However...
Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism represents two thirds of the world population. If you discount "not religious" according to wikipedia, they make up 80% of the religious population. All other religions, especially those that does not demand evangelising quickly gets marginalised.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9680 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  13:20:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dglas

A few questions, Dr.Mabuse, if I may....


Some pretty good questions too. I'll have to ponder upon them a while, since they force me to to re-examine my position about religion.
I'll get back to you on this.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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dglas
Skeptic Friend

Canada
397 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  14:30:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dglas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

quote:
Originally posted by dglas

A few questions, Dr.Mabuse, if I may....


Some pretty good questions too. I'll have to ponder upon them a while, since they force me to to re-examine my position about religion.
I'll get back to you on this.



We have until the world is supposed to end next in ....oh.... approximately 45 seconds....

Or the next time...

Or the next time...

Or the next time...

Or the next time...

...

--------------------------------------------------
- dglas (In the hell of 1000 unresolved subplots...)
--------------------------------------------------
The Presupposition of Intrinsic Evil
+ A Self-Justificatory Framework
= The "Heart of Darkness"
--------------------------------------------------
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  20:55:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seems to me that at the head of every dangerous religious movement there are men (sorry guys but no women come to mind here) who are seeking personal power or wealth or more often, both.


Edited by - beskeptigal on 03/26/2007 20:55:50
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  21:00:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hmmm... so if organized religion is inherently evil, I am participating in social and community circles that are inherently evil (religious Humanism) and I'm also working for an institution that is inherently evil (a Quaker elementary school).

Mab, I think you've confused authoritarian, dogmatic religion with religion in general.

Edited to add: I am also characterized as a religious leader in that I am certified Humanist clergy and the VP of my local Humanist chapter organization. Double wammie evil!

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 03/26/2007 21:02:32
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  03:35:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by beskeptigal

Seems to me that at the head of every dangerous religious movement there are men (sorry guys but no women come to mind here) who are seeking personal power or wealth or more often, both.




Amee Semple MacPherson

Also Mary Baker Eddy, amongst others, but you are correct. Very few women went very far as evangelists, to their credit.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Indeterminacy
New Member

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  06:31:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Indeterminacy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fundamentalism: Quite possibly (in my opinion) one of the most destructive fronts to affect any faith. The written language is a very poor medium of communication. To take the "literal interpretation" of any text is a contradiction unto itself.

Faith/Religion: Paul Tillich defined faith as "the act of having an ultimate concern." That's a very broad and somewhat ambiguous statement, but I tend to agree with him, to a point. What I meant by that is as I "grow in faith," my "ultimate concern" may change, even just slightly. David Deida describes finding one's purpose as moving through concentric circles, closer and closer to the center. He gave a real-world example of that as a person going through various phases of life where there are deeper and deeper levels of self-discovery, all moving closer to a true understanding of one's core being, which he believes leans more towards a spiritual discovery than a worldly. We may never reach the center, but then again, we're not perfect. The idea of faith is to strive towards perfection with the realization that in this life, we'll never reach it. The form of perfection one chooses is the defining faith. Some choose Christianity, others choose Buddhism, Taoism, etc., some create their own beliefs, some choose not to have a faith and live without any regard to supernatural possibilities.

Religion is the practice of the chosen faith, which is something completely different. No religion is perfect, because it's man-made, and man is not perfect. That partly explains why there are literally thousands of different forms of Christianity. The Catholic church's magistrate uses their teachings as a means of control (that's my opinion) while other forms of Christianity are much more liberal in their "requirements." Really, it's the individual's choice of how involved or not they are in the religion. If you look at modern Catholicism, they're much more liberal than they ever were.

The issue of organized religion being evil would boil down to the people, not the institution. A congregation makes a church, not the opposite.

Regarding leaders of organized religions (pastors, teachers, etc), well, you can listen to anyone and be swayed to their way of thinking, so again, it's the individual that chooses to agree or not agree with the pastor, Sunday school teacher, the Pope, the college professor (think of the word "professor" - one who "professes" an idea), David Koresh, Jerry Fallwell, or whoever else.


If I ask the question with the answer to the question I am after, will it dawn on me?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  08:10:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
The idea of faith is to strive towards perfection with the realization that in this life, we'll never reach it. The form of perfection one chooses is the defining faith.
This is further evidence for me that moderate believers are using radically different definitions for common religous words such as "faith", "spirituality", "God", and so on. I personally do not use this definition of faith, but if it were applied to my own life, I suppose one could say that I, too, have faith, and that the form of perfection I have chosen is strong belief in the possibility of mankind eventually solving all of our own ills.

The folk singer Utah Phillips sings a song about this concept where the refrain speaks of building a ship that we may never see sail, but we work on it with hope regardless. In the verses, all sorts of social activists, such as Martin Luther King Jr., are referenced as also having worked on this ship.

quote:
If you look at modern Catholicism, they're much more liberal than they ever were.
True, but they are much less liberal than many other Christian sects, and many of their own renegade congregations have surpassed them in social and moral progress. I have mentioned on this forum before that St. Joe's here in Philly has priests who have ripped up letters from Bishops urging them to oppose same-sex partner benefits. My husband has a gay friend in town who is an active member in that church, and who feels totally comfortable being out and himself around his fellow congregates. It is a real shame that the highest authorities in the church focus more on maintaining the integrity of outdated ideas rather than serving the needs of real people here and now.

quote:
The issue of organized religion being evil would boil down to the people, not the institution. A congregation makes a church, not the opposite.
I agree with this very much so.

quote:
Regarding leaders of organized religions (pastors, teachers, etc), well, you can listen to anyone and be swayed to their way of thinking, so again, it's the individual that chooses to agree or not agree with the pastor
I agree with this too. Nobody in my community listens to me more because I'm a Celebrant. My role as Celebrant is purely to be a public speaker for ceremonies such as wedding and such, and to be a more conspicuous friendly go-to person for new people who want to learn information about Humanism. And when people do ask me about Humanism, one of the first things I tell them is that it is not dogmatic (it has outlined approaches and evolving principles, but not hard and fast rules or obligations), that people discover they are Humanists rather than being converted, and that each individual practices Humanism in their own way.

One of the reasons I promote the UU Church (by going to services occasionally, telling people about it, and with a bumper sticker on my car) and one of the reasons I sought employment with a Quaker school is because I found both of those religions to have almost identical philosophies to Humanism, and what few differences existed, seems insignificant.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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Indeterminacy
New Member

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  08:35:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Indeterminacy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
It is a real shame that the highest authorities in the church focus more on maintaining the integrity of outdated ideas rather than serving the needs of real people here and now.


It's also the area you're in. I'm originally from New Jersey, and most churches up there (Catholic, Protestant, etc.) are very traditional. When I moved to Florida I noticed more contemporary churches with newer, more open ideas.

quote:
One of the reasons I promote the UU Church (by going to services occasionally, telling people about it, and with a bumper sticker on my car) and one of the reasons I sought employment with a Quaker school is because I found both of those religions to have almost identical philosophies to Humanism, and what few differences existed, seems insignificant.


My wife is Southern Baptist, and the church we go to is a mix of traditional and contemporary worship. My being Catholic has never been an issue, and people there have been very open and honest with me, never judging my point of view. Actually, they welcome it. I don't agree with everything, but I'm not ashamed to go there. The people have been very good to us. The music is more fun to play, too

If I ask the question with the answer to the question I am after, will it dawn on me?
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  09:03:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
It's also the area you're in. I'm originally from New Jersey, and most churches up there (Catholic, Protestant, etc.) are very traditional. When I moved to Florida I noticed more contemporary churches with newer, more open ideas.


No, I think you misunderstood me. The area I'm in does have more liberal congregations of Catholics (as well as more liberal Lutherans and Methodists). The priests and congregates at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Philly are welcoming to homosexuals and more focussed on helping people, not pushing the old dogma.

The problem in the Catholic Church is with the highest authorities. The Pope, and those closest in authority to him. I used to have hopes that the Catholic Church would join the ranks of United Methodists and liberal Presbyterians in their concern for humanity, but alas, then "the Rat" became Pope. I don't have much hope for the Catholic Church anymore.

A lot of Catholics departed when Vatican II did not produce the results they so hoped for, such as more leniency on birth control and abortion. I don't pretend to understand the mindset and goals of Benedict and the head honchos around him, but I think they do a great deal of harm with the rules and ideas they push, and I personally am done saying anything positive about the Catholic Church as an institution. I wish the church would listen to the majority of educated congregates in the first world. Alas, they do not believe in democracy when it comes to religion.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 03/27/2007 09:04:13
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  09:17:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd like to add another remark on the evils of the Catholic Church. A good number of their adherents are in the third world. Most of those people are uneducated, and many live in isolation from the rest of the world. We can tout the ideal of individual responsibility all we want, and when we are talking about people in the first world who are literate and have access to free libraries and such, that holds water. But I think that ideal falls short when we're talking about whole communities of people who live by the authority of the church. It's not a matter of simply questioning that authority because not only do they not have access to contrary info, but it can be dangerous to openly question authority in communities where everyone abides by the word of the priest or paster (or in the case of Islam, the caliphs.)

The reality is that the Catholic Church is both hierarchical and authoritarian as an institution. That means that they do not encourage freethought on the part of their adherents. Instead, they promote obedience. Therefore they have one hell of a responsibility to their poor and uneducated or undereducated adherents. To this date, I'm very unimpressed, and often disgusted, by how the church has uses that responsibility. Catholic missionary work is far less focused on helping people than it is on maintaining the faith. It is loyalty for the sake of loyalty, rather than loyalty for the sake of a real and tangible goal.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Indeterminacy
New Member

USA
26 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  10:12:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Indeterminacy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
The problem in the Catholic Church is with the highest authorities.

I agree

quote:
A lot of Catholics departed when Vatican II did not produce the results they so hoped for, such as more leniency on birth control and abortion. I don't pretend to understand the mindset and goals of Benedict and the head honchos around him, but I think they do a great deal of harm with the rules and ideas they push, and I personally am done saying anything positive about the Catholic Church as an institution.


The sad thing is that Benedict is tearing down all the work John Paul II did to bring the Catholic and Protestant churches together. And I agree with you that they should listen to other scholarly thinkers before they make a mandate to their followers.

If I ask the question with the answer to the question I am after, will it dawn on me?
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