Moving beyond Dawkins etc.


#1

Here is an interesting talk on the next possible step in the current process.

ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html


#2

[quote="Mudgely, post:1, topic:270719"]
Here is an interesting talk on the next possible step in the current process.

ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html

[/quote]

Actually, it's interesting you mention Dawkins, since for all his supposed demagoguery, he's quite happy to admit that he participates in the ritualistic trappings of religion (saying grace, for example) when polite decorum demands it. It doesn't mean anything to him - but he goes along as a matter of simple courtesy.

Sam Harris also promotes something like a similar idea - just that there are real battles to fight in the world, but that organizing a standing atheist army to attack every trivial piece of stupidity that religion proffers is, at best, a waste of time.


#3

I didn't hear a single new idea here. The same kind of naive, insubstantial cultural Christianity that Dawkins himself has spouted. I find it particularly funny that the sources he suggests turning to for morality, instead of the Bible, were mostly Christian (Shakespeare, Jane Austen), people whose morality came from the Bible! And in the case of Plato, at least a theist. That's like saying, "We'll just borrow money from the teller, not the bank." Surely the bank has more to offer than the teller?

He is much more friendly and hospitable than Dawkins' brood, though. I'll give him that.


#4

Dawkins? :yawn:
I think I might go watch some paint dry instead.


#5

A religion for atheists that “incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence” is an admission that atheism is grossly inadequate! :slight_smile:


#6

Well there seems to be a desire for ritual which is not entirely understood. At least part of the brain has been identified. If you light it up with an electrode a Christian will think that Christ is in the room. A Buddhist well have a relevant experience to that tradition. While religion is a product of human invention, obviously, the question being asked is how will we progress spiritually. The Church is probably dying, if you look at attendance numbers and other indicators. Not dead yet with $97 billion in revenue. But there is a need for something more relevant and more spiritual than an out of date multi billion dollar religion profit center which most people can't relate with.


#7

[quote="Mudgely, post:6, topic:270719"]
The Church is probably dying, if you look at attendance numbers and other indicators. Not dead yet with $97 billion in revenue. But there is a need for something more relevant and more spiritual than an out of date multi billion dollar religion profit center which most people can't relate with.

[/quote]

Hey Mudgely, your anti-Catholic propaganda is showing its slip again. :rolleyes:

February 22, 2011. The total number of Catholics worldwide is up 1.3% from last year, bringing the total number to 1.181 billion. source

.


#8

[quote="Mudgely, post:6, topic:270719"]
Well there seems to be a desire for ritual which is not entirely understood. At least part of the brain has been identified. If you light it up with an electrode a Christian will think that Christ is in the room. A Buddhist well have a relevant experience to that tradition. While religion is a product of human invention, obviously, the question being asked is how will we progress spiritually. The Church is probably dying, if you look at attendance numbers and other indicators. Not dead yet with $97 billion in revenue. But there is a need for something more relevant and more spiritual than an out of date multi billion dollar religion profit center which most people can't relate with.

[/quote]

Your assertion that religion is man made is purely subjective and thus not obvious at all.

You claim the Church is dying, yet statistics show Christianity gains 80,000 new adherents every day, while atheism loses 300. Your statements are groundless, and furthermore, demonstrably false.
Sorry. :)


#9

[quote="Mudgely, post:1, topic:270719"]
Here is an interesting talk on the next possible step in the current process.

ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0.html

[/quote]

Rather a brilliant talk - especially in regard to the idea of civil disagreement. Much of the power of political and religious disputes, over the centuries, has been based on the idea that one side or the other is in possession of absolute, irrefutable truth. Surely we have come far enough that we can realise our limitations in this regard.

Yes, it's always going to be a possibility that supernaturalist claims are correct. We don't have, yet, the capacity to verify such claims, but that only allows those who believe to cling to hope. Hope is a good thing, in general, and not something I would actively discourage - however, I do think it is useful to cultivate hope upon readily established premises. If I can feel positive about the fact that my consciousness, my identity, will completely disappear upon my physical death, that actually places me in a stronger position than those who base their hope upon a belief in the eternal persistence of consciousness...


#10

[quote="Sair, post:9, topic:270719"]
Rather a brilliant talk - especially in regard to the idea of civil disagreement. Much of the power of political and religious disputes, over the centuries, has been based on the idea that one side or the other is in possession of absolute, irrefutable truth. Surely we have come far enough that we can realise our limitations in this regard.

Yes, it's always going to be a possibility that supernaturalist claims are correct. We don't have, yet, the capacity to verify such claims, but that only allows those who believe to cling to hope. Hope is a good thing, in general, and not something I would actively discourage - however, I do think it is useful to cultivate hope upon readily established premises. If I can feel positive about the fact that my consciousness, my identity, will completely disappear upon my physical death, that actually places me in a stronger position than those who base their hope upon a belief in the eternal persistence of consciousness...

[/quote]

Just for the fun of it, if we assume you're wrong, your is your position stronger. Better yet, how is your position stronger in the first place?


#11

[quote="prodigalson2011, post:8, topic:270719"]
Your assertion that religion is man made is purely subjective and thus not obvious at all.

[/quote]

Consider the claims of supernatural religions.

Almost all of them place humanity on a pedestal that is not backed up by scientific study. We might be extremely capable and adaptable animals, but we are animals nonetheless, as much subject to the fluctuations of natural forces as any other living entity.

Then look at the characterisation of gods. There is no god conceived by human philosophers or worshippers that does not resemble humans in fundamental ways - in strengths, weaknesses, desires, whims and intentions.

In short, if you think outside of human hubris, it is manifestly obvious that all religions are human creations.

You claim the Church is dying, yet statistics show Christianity gains 80,000 new adherents every day, while atheism loses 300. Your statements are groundless, and furthermore, demonstrably false.
Sorry. :)

Statistics can always be massaged. There is nothing to indicate that, of those supposed 80,000 new adherents, any of them are committed believers who will not fall away at some point. Secondly, atheism is not a focussed collective with a formal system of adherence - certainly not in the way most religious congregations operate - so I would question the solidity of the "300-adherents-per-day" loss...


#12

[quote="prodigalson2011, post:10, topic:270719"]
Just for the fun of it, if we assume you're wrong, your is your position stronger. Better yet, how is your position stronger in the first place?

[/quote]

My position is stronger because it is based upon fewer assumptions that can be put down to wishful thinking...


#13

[quote="Sair, post:9, topic:270719"]
Rather a brilliant talk - especially in regard to the idea of civil disagreement. Much of the power of political and religious disputes, over the centuries, has been based on the idea that one side or the other is in possession of absolute, irrefutable truth. Surely we have come far enough that we can realise our limitations in this regard.

Yes, it's always going to be a possibility that supernaturalist claims are correct. We don't have, yet, the capacity to verify such claims, but that only allows those who believe to cling to hope. Hope is a good thing, in general, and not something I would actively discourage - however, I do think it is useful to cultivate hope upon readily established premises. If I can feel positive about the fact that my consciousness, my identity, will completely disappear upon my physical death, that actually places me in a stronger position than those who base their hope upon a belief in the eternal persistence of consciousness...

[/quote]

You're saying that you think you are in a stronger position to hope because you believe that there is nothing to hope for?


#14

[quote="Sair, post:11, topic:270719"]
Consider the claims of supernatural religions.

Almost all of them place humanity on a pedestal that is not backed up by scientific study. We might be extremely capable and adaptable animals, but we are animals nonetheless, as much subject to the fluctuations of natural forces as any other living entity.

[/quote]

We are indeed animals, however; we clearly have abilities other animals do not....one of which is that we are moral agents.

[quote="Sair, post:11, topic:270719"]

Then look at the characterisation of gods. There is no god conceived by human philosophers or worshippers that does not resemble humans in fundamental ways - in strengths, weaknesses, desires, whims and intentions.

[/quote]

Wow. Quite the premise that can be disproved by just naming one philosopher who does not describe a god to resemble humans in a fundamental way.

God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity has no weaknesses, no desires, and no whims. He is pure act. Having the attributes you mentioned would give God potency, which is not the definition that has been understood since the time of Paul. You're arguing to a strawman. I can name at least one philosopher for you that defined God quite nicely: Aquinas. Dr. Edward Feser is also a noted Philosopher who certainly disagrees with your premise as well. Clearly, a more thorough reading of Christian theology is needed on your part to avoid such obvious blunders.

[quote="Sair, post:11, topic:270719"]

In short, if you think outside of human hubris, it is manifestly obvious that all religions are human creations.

[/quote]

That is clearly your conclusion, but that does not make it true. You do not back up this conclusion with any coherent argument. Oh...except maybe this extremely weak one, which I've already addressed the premise of:

  1. There is no god conceived by human philosophers or worshippers that does not resemble humans in fundamental ways
  2. Therefore, it is manifestly obvious that all religions are human creations.

(1) is clearly false (...which I've demonstrated by mentioning Aquinas...) due to the well documented definitions of the God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by noted Philosophers such as Edward Feser, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, G.W. Leibniz, Samuel Clarke, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Mortimer Adler, William Lane Craig, Richard Swinburne...just to name a few. The conclusion that follows this premise is therefore also false.

It is patently obvious that you have not bothered to keep up to date or even bothered to read any of the above mentioned philosophers. You may be quite happy throwing premises around that are clearly false, but I would hope you would at least get educated next time before doing so.


#15

[quote="ASimon, post:2, topic:270719"]
Ahe's quite happy to admit that he participates in the ritualistic trappings of religion (saying grace, for example) when polite decorum demands it. It doesn't mean anything to him - but he goes along as a matter of simple courtesy.

[/quote]

When I first read this the first thing that came to mind was Christmas and the customs that were previously practices of other religions and ceremonies to other gods that were all swept to December 25th. Then I started to watch the video and saw the presenter already covers this.


#16

[quote="Sair, post:11, topic:270719"]
Consider the claims of supernatural religions.

Almost all of them place humanity on a pedestal that is not backed up by scientific study. We might be extremely capable and adaptable animals, but we are animals nonetheless, as much subject to the fluctuations of natural forces as any other living entity.

[/quote]

A. I am aware of no religion that denies the creatureliness of man. To use your own words, this is actually, "manifestly obvious." And B. science cannot make value judgments. For example, science cannot back up the claim that murder is wrong. These 2 points immediately fall flat.

Then look at the characterisation of gods. There is no god conceived by human philosophers or worshippers that does not resemble humans in fundamental ways - in strengths, weaknesses, desires, whims and intentions.

This shows your complete lack of understanding of the Judeo-Christian God, who has infinite strength, no weakness, no needs outside of Himself, and whose only intentions are for the ultimate good. He is pure perfection, and we are far from it. He is, essentially, unlike us. And in theological terms, it would be more appropriate to say we resemble Him in some very limited ways. Read some Aquinas, then we can debate the nature of God.

In short, if you think outside of human hubris, it is manifestly obvious that all religions are human creations.

Baseless accusations of hubris don't make your case stronger. The only thing that is manifestly obvious is your biased opinion.

Statistics can always be massaged. There is nothing to indicate that, of those supposed 80,000 new adherents, any of them are committed believers who will not fall away at some point. Secondly, atheism is not a focussed collective with a formal system of adherence - certainly not in the way most religious congregations operate - so I would question the solidity of the "300-adherents-per-day" loss...

It's perfectly possible to take a poll to find people who once identified as atheist and no longer do. A cohesive organization is not necessary.

There is also nothing, either, to indicate that these converts will apostasize, so by all rights, your claim gains no traction here.


#17

[quote="ASimon, post:2, topic:270719"]
Actually, it's interesting you mention Dawkins, since for all his supposed demagoguery, he's quite happy to admit that he participates in the ritualistic trappings of religion (saying grace, for example) when polite decorum demands it. It doesn't mean anything to him - but he goes along as a matter of simple courtesy.

Sam Harris also promotes something like a similar idea - just that there are real battles to fight in the world, but that organizing a standing atheist army to attack every trivial piece of stupidity that religion proffers is, at best, a waste of time.

[/quote]

I'm not aware of Mr. Harris making a comment like that. Could you direct me to a source? The Sam Harris I'm familiar with writes articles like this:

secularhumanism.org/index.php?page=harris_27_2&section=library

Peace,
Ed


#18

[quote="Mudgely, post:6, topic:270719"]
Well there seems to be a desire for ritual which is not entirely understood. At least part of the brain has been identified. If you light it up with an electrode a Christian will think that Christ is in the room. A Buddhist well have a relevant experience to that tradition. While religion is a product of human invention, obviously, the question being asked is how will we progress spiritually. The Church is probably dying, if you look at attendance numbers and other indicators. Not dead yet with $97 billion in revenue. But there is a need for something more relevant and more spiritual than an out of date multi billion dollar religion profit center which most people can't relate with.

[/quote]

I'm unfamiliar with a source for your statement that by using an electrode, a Christian, for example, will think that Christ is in the room. I have read at least one study that monitored brain activity during prayer and meditation. There are over one billion Catholics in the world.

catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/02/21/number-of-catholics-in-the-world-grows-by-15m-in-a-year/

I also don't understand what you mean by the word spiritual.

Peace,
Ed


#19

[quote="ThinkingSapien, post:15, topic:270719"]
When I first read this the first thing that came to mind was Christmas and the customs that were previously practices of other religions and ceremonies to other gods that were all swept to December 25th. Then I started to watch the video and saw the presenter already covers this.

[/quote]

And this is actually false.


#20

[quote="ThinkingSapien, post:15, topic:270719"]
When I first read this the first thing that came to mind was Christmas and the customs that were previously practices of other religions and ceremonies to other gods that were all swept to December 25th. Then I started to watch the video and saw the presenter already covers this.

[/quote]

It is a common misconception to think that Christianity adapted pagan beliefs or practices. I invite everyone to read the following from the Catholic Answer library:

catholic.com/tracts/is-catholicism-pagan

Peace,
Ed


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