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Old 07-06-2003, 07:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The one true religion

Does anyone here honestly believe any of the current religions are the one correct religion, if there even is one.

I myself believe no one religion is 100% correct. It's like the telephone game. The religions have been passed along so much that now none of them are like it originally started. Half the religions in the world were made or changed because of money, taxs, greed, etc...

What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm an athiest so you can probably figure out what my response will be.
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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God is in the details
They are all arguing about the details.

It's all the same thing in the long run,
the rest is all semantics.
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Old 07-06-2003, 08:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A pluralistic response would to be affirm that all religions are equally valid. They all attempt to describe the noumenal Real (reality as it is, as opposed to reality as it appears) which is, by its nature, quite ineffable.
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Old 07-06-2003, 09:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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there is no one right religion... if there was everyone would be it
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Old 07-06-2003, 10:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i don't think there is one true religion, hence i don't subscribed to one (does this make me an athiest? i have my own beliefs)
One thing we can be certain of, and try to keep in mind, is that we all came from the same place (not literally ) and are made of the same substances.
I'd also like to think, that most people subscribed to some sense of rationality and logic. tho i'd like to think that.
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Old 07-06-2003, 10:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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also that we are our own gods as we have the ability to make choices and impose life on ourselves. This is generally an unconscious realisation though.
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Old 07-06-2003, 10:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If there is one "true" religion then it's probably the one that the least number of people on earth follow.

And I think the Romans had it figured out better than anyone else: There's an uncountable and unknowable number of gods and deities cavorting around on this planet at any given time and all you can do is accept it and try to deal with them as you encounter them one by one.
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Old 07-07-2003, 05:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There are many paths to the ONE truth.

Any religion which claims to be the ONLY truth is a cult, and therefore invalid!
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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No.

Personally I don't think any one religion has all the answers.

God is much too big to be constrained by our human conventions IMHO.
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Religion is funny.
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well the run true religion hasn't been formed yet. You see its the one where everyone worships me as the one God and send me money to avoid my wrath. Kind of a holy protection money if you will.
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Old 07-07-2003, 12:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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thank you for the responses. i agree with most all of the posts. it just seems funny to me how 100s of countries fight over the one thing that can't be proven my scientific fact yet.
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Old 07-07-2003, 08:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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re

religions are just cults with alot of people
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This much i know is true...God is real to me and Jesus Christ has proclaimed our reconciliation with that God.
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Old 07-07-2003, 10:57 PM   #16 (permalink)
don't ignore this-->
 
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the point of religion isn't to be right, it's to give people something to believe in. the problem is everyone believes they're right.
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Consider this . . . . . . . every culture, worldwide, has some form of food consisting of meat inside some bread. Tortilla in Mexico, Chapati in India, New York Pastrami on Rhye in Manhattan, crispy duck in pancake in China, Lasagne in Italy . . and they usually have a little sugar sauce in there too.

My point?. . no matter how you dress it up . . humans the world over need protein, carbohydrate, some saturated fat and some sugar . . . . . . .
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I sometimes wish I could get into the whole religion thing, but every time I start to learn about any one faction of any one religion, I find something that I totally disagree with, which sets me on a new path all over again.
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally posted by crow_daw
I sometimes wish I could get into the whole religion thing . . .
But why? Do you feel you are missing something? Or are you just curious? Personally I would advise reading as much as possible, looking at all the facts and then confidently deciding to folow your heart.

I think the only true freedom any of us has is the right to make up our own minds what life is all about.
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:36 AM   #20 (permalink)
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A friend of mine likens the world's religions to a parable about 6 blind men and an elephant.

6 blind men all stumble upon an elephant, and each grabs a different part trying to figure out what it is. One grabs its leg and says "it must be some kind of tree." Another grabs its trunk and says "no, it's a very large snake." A third grabs its ear and says "it's a very large leaf, all rubbery and thin." Another feels its side and says "no, it's some kind of rock, all rough and hard." Etc. etc.

The elephant is the truth of the Universe, and the blind men are the world's religions. Each can grasp a part of the truth and can interpret that part, and it'll get some things right and proceed based on some correct and some incorrect assumptions, but no religion by itself is capable of understanding the essence of the entire truth.
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:19 AM   #21 (permalink)
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To me, all religions are equally correct. This is because I believe that the true purpose of religion is not to explain, but to comfort. One of my friends is a devout Christian, and I know this: whether he is 'right' or not, his life is easier to live, and makes more sense to him, than it otherwise would. When you truly believe, all religions offer that same security, and are therefore equally good.

I, myself, am an atheist, and even in that godless religion, I find the kind of security and strength we see in a religious man.
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:19 AM   #22 (permalink)
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All religions make a virtue our of irrational thinking. This is never healthy. No religion could be considered "true", simply judged on how damaging they are compared to one another.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:41 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally posted by CSflim
All religions make a virtue our of irrational thinking. This is never healthy. No religion could be considered "true", simply judged on how damaging they are compared to one another.
This does suppose that rationality and logic are exclusively best...and viewing the world in those terms can be dangerous. There is, quite simply, more to the universe than what can be rationally known. From the very beginning of our tenure as a species, there have been attempts to tap in to that reality...an area that empirical thought simply cannot understand.

Moreover, it's an unbelievable assumption to claim that all forms of religious consciousness are irrational, and damage the human existance. There is hardly anything, dare i say it, rational about claiming something that you cannot prove.
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Old 07-11-2003, 05:09 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by chavos
This does suppose that rationality and logic are exclusively best...and viewing the world in those terms can be dangerous. There is, quite simply, more to the universe than what can be rationally known. From the very beginning of our tenure as a species, there have been attempts to tap in to that reality...an area that empirical thought simply cannot understand.

Moreover, it's an unbelievable assumption to claim that all forms of religious consciousness are irrational, and damage the human existance. There is hardly anything, dare i say it, rational about claiming something that you cannot prove.
Just to clear up, I didn't mean to say that all religions are damaging, just that some are, and others have a great potential to be. Other times they are the cause of great attrocities. Now, I do understand however, that things done by evil people in the name of a religion does not imply that the religion is evil.

However, i stand by what I said about the irationality of religion. If you were to take a soley rational view of the world, you would have no reason to believe in a god. However, people have a tendancy to "personalise". What I mean by this, is that the place an over-emphasis on their emotions, as if they were the most important thing in the world. They don't want to accept their insignificance in the cosmic scheme of things, so choose to comfort themselves with a God who loves them, or some other sort of unfounded belief.

When this was discussed in my (mandatory) religion cass in secondary school (think, high school) I was debating the debate for atheism as a tiny minority. Eventually I accused someone of believing just for the sake of believing without making any effort to confirm her beliefs, or looking for any evidence to confirm or deny what she believed. Then eventually she came out with the line: "I believe because I believe", and then gave me a look as if she had just crushed me withing her iron claws of irrefutible logic!

Don't try and tell me that that isn't irational.

I will use the same example I used in the
atheism thread. If I were to tell you that I believe in the invisible purple llama that lives under my bed, would you consider me rational? I doubt it.
You then go in and start poking under the bed with sticks and then tell me that you don't feel the llama, so it mustn't be there.
I tell you that the llama is there, I just know it, and that it cannot be poked with sticks, its not a normal llama.
I get lonely at nights sometimes, but then I remember that I am not alone, my pet llama is there to comfort me. I can feel that he is there. He loves me you know.
What is the difference between God and my invisible pet llama?

I will concede that there is definately more to this universe than we already know.
It is also quite likely that there is more to the universe than we can ever experience. Take for instance the possibility of a fourth spacial dimension, one which we can never percieve directly or indirectly.

However, just because there are things that we do not know (or things which we can never know) does not give carte blanche to go ahead and arbitarily make up what-ever stories you feel like, and claim them to be equally valid as any empirical knowledge. Scientists do sometimes allow themsevles to indulge in letting their minds wander, and coming up with various ideas, expainations and events that are less than grounded in reality. sometimes they even get published. They are called science-fiction novels, and some are indeed very entertaining.

I will admit also that pure logic and rational thinking can be dangerous to society. Being completely logical, and rational and egocentric can lead to a sort of hedonistic nihilism, which I feel many people in this world have reached. The problem lies in what is known as the prisoners dillema.
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:45 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Don't try and tell me that that isn't irational.
No, that is pretty clear. But "proving" a rule with one personal experience is similarly hazardous.

Quote:
If you were to take a soley rational view of the world, you would have no reason to believe in a god.
Quite possible. However, is it beyond beleif that there is in fact reality to non-rational things? I don't mean to suggest the paranormal, or things that we simply lack the technology to understand. But what i do suggest is that a deep search for meaning takes place in all cultures, and many of those cite an experience with spiritual energy that is not tangible, but very real.

The point is that we are not soley rational beings. And that using only that part of ourselves to understand the world shuts us off. I would not believe in the literal precense of your llama, nor do i conceptualize God as big guy in the clouds. I would believe you that the llama means something to you...and that the physical reality of the llama has nothing to do with its reality in your mind. In thinking that the llama is there, you've created one in your mind. At very least, God is in the minds of believers...

Quote:
However, just because there are things that we do not know (or things which we can never know) does not give carte blanche to go ahead and arbitarily make up what-ever stories you feel like, and claim them to be equally valid as any empirical knowledge.
Not at all. I would never claim that for instance that the llama is as effective as God. Why? You don't really believe in the llama. The llama doesn't actually help your life...or for you to discover things about you. The llama is a poor god, and a poor god idea becuase it doesn't work. The point of faith tradition is to add, change and retool ideas that help people think about things they can't think about directly.

It's near impossible to think about "the Meaning of Life" straight up. We tell stories, we think of metaphors, use abstactions, and build constructs to feel and think about realities that our words and logic fail to capture. The llama is absurd only because it doesn't work. God is absurd when "He" doesn't work. Infact, the degendering of God is mearly the changing of the guard in the ideas that people use to think. There was never a Holy Wang that has been suddenly snipped...nor a male deity that's offended that people are calling him a girl. Simply a change in how we have spoken in our hearts about that which our words struggle to describe.

Quote:
They are called science-fiction novels, and some are indeed very entertaining.
Again, i would nearly agree. These too, do help people think in ways that can quite appropriately be labeled "god talk." However, few have the depth that religions possess. When i want to think about what happens when humans mess up, i can look at conceptualizations of sin posulated by thousands of communities, scholars...where as devotees of sci-fi or the llama have but the sole creator of that idea. The richness that would allow them to delve in to the mystery of God is simply not there....
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:36 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quite possible. However, is it beyond beleif that there is in fact reality to non-rational things? I don't mean to suggest the paranormal, or things that we simply lack the technology to understand. But what i do suggest is that a deep search for meaning takes place in all cultures, and many of those cite an experience with spiritual energy that is not tangible, but very real.
Trust me, non-rational things are very real. Ever tried to read a book on Quantum mechanics, or relativity? nothing "rational" there. The difference is that these things are REAL. We may not be absolutely able to explain them, but all of our explanations are based in what we can objectively experience, in one way or another.
So called experiences of spiritual energy, simply exist in the mind. They have even located the exact area of the brain that is responsible for "immaculate experiences". They can induce a religious experience in about 75% of people simply by stimulating this region of the brain with electromagnetic waves.

Quote:
[b]The point is that we are not soley rational beings. And that using only that part of ourselves to understand the world shuts us off. I would not believe in the literal precense of your llama, nor do i conceptualize God as big guy in the clouds. I would believe you that the llama means something to you...and that the physical reality of the llama has nothing to do with its reality in your mind. In thinking that the llama is there, you've created one in your mind. At very least, God is in the minds of believers...[b]
I'll let you in on a secret. I don't really believe in the llama. He doesn't exist. He is not what we call REAL. More importantly even if I DID believe in it for some reason, it would in no way make it real. It may conceptually exist in my head, in other words it is a figment of my imagination. I can imagine all sorts of things. But it doesn't make them in any way shape or form, Real, tangible or not.

Quote:
Not at all. I would never claim that for instance that the llama is as effective as God. Why? You don't really believe in the llama. The llama doesn't actually help your life...or for you to discover things about you. The llama is a poor god, and a poor god idea becuase it doesn't work. The point of faith tradition is to add, change and retool ideas that help people think about things they can't think about directly.
Agreed. Religion is there to answer the questions that we can't answer. (Or at least it was?). Anyhow, the point is, that this long development of a series of ideas has no basis in TRUTH. That is, after all, what we are debating about there right? What is REAL, rather than what is believed?

Quote:
It's near impossible to think about "the Meaning of Life" straight up. We tell stories, we think of metaphors, use abstactions, and build constructs to feel and think about realities that our words and logic fail to capture. The llama is absurd only because it doesn't work. God is absurd when "He" doesn't work. Infact, the degendering of God is mearly the changing of the guard in the ideas that people use to think. There was never a Holy Wang that has been suddenly snipped...nor a male deity that's offended that people are calling him a girl. Simply a change in how we have spoken in our hearts about that which our words struggle to describe.
In what way does my llama not work, but your God does? If my llama were to take on a specific purpose, that affected the way I lived my life, would that make him real? I already mentioned about how he comforts me. How about if he made some active contributions towards what I do? How about if I ponder the question, why is the sky blue? How about if I deny the fact that the sky is blue because of the refraction of sunlight? Instead I tell you that my llama paints the sky blue every night, when the sun is switched off and nobody is looking. I have answered my question, using the llama in the place of rationality. Does it make the llama as real as God?

Quote:
Again, i would nearly agree. These too, do help people think in ways that can quite appropriately be labeled "god talk." However, few have the depth that religions possess. When i want to think about what happens when humans mess up, i can look at conceptualizations of sin posulated by thousands of communities, scholars...where as devotees of sci-fi or the llama have but the sole creator of that idea. The richness that would allow them to delve in to the mystery of God is simply not there....
So, by following your line of logic, if a great number of science fiction writers were to come up with a fantastic story which was in itself complete and lacked any plot holes (actually it would appear that this is not even necessary) and it was worked on for many generations, then it could be considered religion, and therefore fact?
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Old 07-12-2003, 12:14 AM   #27 (permalink)
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based on what we can objectively experience
Uh...objectively experience? What makes any experience objective? That more that one person can have it? Religion does that. That it seems very real? Religion's done that from time to time. That it makes sense with other things we sense? Religion does that too!

Given that we are not totally rational beings, why does it make sense to only allow ourselves to experience life with that part of ourselves?

Quote:
So called experiences of spiritual energy, simply exist in the mind
Same with any other human thought or construct, rationalism included.

Quote:
They can induce a religious experience in about 75% of people simply by stimulating this region of the brain with electromagnetic waves.
Ever the skeptic, i do have to ask who "they" are, and where you get this. I'd love to read about it. Assuming it's truth for a moment, i'd like to know how that makes God less real that part of our physical brain can produce an abstract reality. That's what the whole thing does... Part of us is physically wired to understand spiritual things, and can be short circuited? What possible challenge to faith does that present?

Quote:
I don't really believe in the llama. He doesn't exist.
I got that. I was very clear on the fact that you don't believe in him. That's why he doesn't exist. Faith does not start out of nothing....and the llama is not grounded in your experiences.

Quote:
But it doesn't make them in any way shape or form, Real, tangible or not.
Quite confusing to read this. Your thoughts are on a plane of existance that interacts with
"Reality" but are not part of it? How is an idea not real? I don't mean to say that fictional and mythic things are true becuase people believe in them. But when billions of people share ideas on spiritual realities, i say it's as much of a reality as "freedom" or love" are. We can physically describe these things, and can explain away the logic behind them...but that still doesn't change the fact that there is a subjective, non-rational human experience taking place with a reality that is not dependant on outside confirmation.

Quote:
Religion is there to answer the questions that we can't answer.
Not quite what i was saying...it is not there to provide an asnwer, but allow us to think. I don't expect neat answers from my faith...i've choosen to adhere to a complicated religion with contradications, challenges and problems. Wouldn't have it any other way. I happen to be contradictory, challenges and problematic. Many of us are... Religions are ways for people to chew on difficult questions...and that's why substance is important. Shallow, easy answers would never satisfy...

Btw:I'm currently reading the fascinating "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong...i HIGHLY reccomend it. She makes a very informed discussion of God with the light that religions are not about the particular truth value of the statements they make, but more about how they point people to realities that words cannot deal with.

Quote:
I have answered my question, using the llama in the place of rationality.
I don't expect God to tell me why the sky is blue. I don't expect commentary on the how and the what of physical things. Science does a lovely job with that. I turn to non-rational systems when they work. They have taught me about love, patience, trust, and mercy, to name a few.

If your llama really taught you about those things...it too would be a doorway to the reality of God. It's often called animism...and is perhaps the most ancient faith man has held. It's an easy sport to put something mundane in the place of the revered, and i get the point. But my rebuttal is not that you're wrong, but that you're right in a way that you won't like. The llama could work...but it doesn't. We don't worship llamas because they don't tell us about ourselves. We don't believe in cold fusion because we can't get it to work. Efficiacy determines our trust in an idea, both rational and non-rational.

Quote:
then it could be considered religion, and therefore fact?
Fact? The fact is quite unimportant, when you come right down to it. I don't beleive in literal creation in 6 days. I don't have to in order to find meaning in Genesis and what it tells us about our search for our place in the world. Belief does not make objective fact. But it can make a subjective truth. And you don't care for subjective, or non-rational, and that's fine by me. But i've found such things to be a million times better at helping me understand my life and its meaning than rational studies of the mind. Faith does not begin in a vacuum, as your llama example suggests...it begins in experience.
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Old 07-12-2003, 01:25 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Uh...objectively experience? What makes any experience objective? That more that one person can have it? Religion does that. That it seems very real? Religion's done that from time to time. That it makes sense with other things we sense? Religion does that too!
Ok, so you're go me there. I will admit that science does make a single, improvable assumption: Our senses are the result of a stimulus from reality. they may not describe the entirety of reality, but that which we can experience is real. Like any system of knowledge (e.g. mathematics) science lies on a foundation of axioms. (in this case only one)

If you are to take things to such extremes, then there is only one thing that I can know for sure: "I think therefore I am". I can't tell you WHAT I am, or the manner in which I think, I cannot even fully define "me", but essentially, because I am thinking I must exist. With a very slight stretch we can extrapolate this to I sense things therefore something else exists. After that it is up to us to try and explain these things that we experience. That’s what science does. It explains things.

Quote:
Given that we are not totally rational beings, why does it make sense to only allow ourselves to experience life with that part of ourselves?
I'm all for experiencing the irrational. I mean almost everything we do is irrational. As I mentioned in another thread I have a great love of art and music. They don't appeal to my rational self, but rather my emotional self. Similarly I strive after happiness, not for strictly rational reasons, but to pander to my emotional self.
However, when it comes to deciding what is real, and what is not, I don't see how emotion (or whatever you wish to call it) can help. When trying to solve the great mystery we must call upon our intellect, not our feelings. It is our intellect that we use in deciding truth from fiction.

Quote:
Ever the skeptic, i do have to ask who "they" are, and where you get this. I'd love to read about it. Assuming it's truth for a moment, i'd like to know how that makes God less real that part of our physical brain can produce an abstract reality. That's what the whole thing does... Part of us is physically wired to understand spiritual things, and can be short circuited? What possible challenge to faith does that present?
"Ever the skeptic" that’s what I like to hear! Respect! Anyway, at the moment I can't actually remember the names of the team who investigated this, but I do remember that they tried to do it to Richard Dawkins, but unfortunately he was among the 25%. That was unfortunate... I would have loved to have seen Richard Dawkins explain what it was like to have a "religious experience". Richard Dawkins is a biologist and is, like myself, a confirmed atheist. He is well known for not hiding his contempt and disappointment with religion (sometimes in manner which I find disagreeable). Anyway, I will do my best to try and find more specific info for you.

As for what my point of bringing this matter up was. I was trying to show that the claims of people having "felt" spiritual things is not beyond explanation.

Quote:
I got that. I was very clear on the fact that you don't believe in him. That's why he doesn't exist. Faith does not start out of nothing....and the llama is not grounded in your experiences.
If faith doesn't start out of nothing, then where does it start from? My explanation would be that it was used by people to explain all of the things that people couldn't answer. Where did we come from? Well it is obvious that we were created. How does the sun move? Well it is obvious that it is pulled across the sky by a god in a chariot. After it was through explaining the observations made by people, it could then be adapted so as to provide comfort. Well, my creator obviously loves me. And wouldn’t let any harm come to me. And is going to let me live forever.

"I was very clear on the fact that you don't believe in him. That's why he doesn't exist. " - He doesn't exist, because I don't believe in him? But what if I DID believe in him?

Quote:
Quite confusing to read this. Your thoughts are on a plane of existance that interacts with
"Reality" but are not part of it? How is an idea not real? I don't mean to say that fictional and mythic things are true becuase people believe in them. But when billions of people share ideas on spiritual realities, i say it's as much of a reality as "freedom" or love" are. We can physically describe these things, and can explain away the logic behind them...but that still doesn't change the fact that there is a subjective, non-rational human experience taking place with a reality that is not dependant on outside confirmation.
Yeah, sorry that came out a bit messed up. What I meant to say was, that even if I did genuinely believe in my invisible purple llama, it wouldn't make him real. He would not exist in any form, tangible or not.

An idea is not real in the sense that it is purely abstract. An "idea" in simply electrons moving about inside of neurons, (or something similar, no precise ideas yet). But whatever process is responsible for "ideas", it is physical, so these ideas exist... as concepts. Whatever... now we’re just tripping over meanings and semantics. At this stage this particular point is pretty much irrelevant.

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Not quite what i was saying...it is not there to provide an asnwer, but allow us to think. I don't expect neat answers from my faith...i've choosen to adhere to a complicated religion with contradications, challenges and problems. Wouldn't have it any other way. I happen to be contradictory, challenges and problematic. Many of us are... Religions are ways for people to chew on difficult questions...and that's why substance is important. Shallow, easy answers would never satisfy...
It seems to me that you're admitting that religion is self indulgent, pandering to your desires. That may be the case, but I am more concerned about what is real and what is the truth. I would admit that there is nothing satisfying (initially at least) in realising that there is no ultimate point to life.

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Btw:I'm currently reading the fascinating "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong...i HIGHLY reccomend it. She makes a very informed discussion of God with the light that religions are not about the particular truth value of the statements they make, but more about how they point people to realities that words cannot deal with.
I'll definitely check it out. Right now I have a whole heap of books on my immediate "to-do list", but I'll definitely get around to reading it.

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I don't expect God to tell me why the sky is blue. I don't expect commentary on the how and the what of physical things. Science does a lovely job with that. I turn to non-rational systems when they work. They have taught me about love, patience, trust, and mercy, to name a few.

If your llama really taught you about those things...it too would be a doorway to the reality of God. It's often called animism...and is perhaps the most ancient faith man has held. It's an easy sport to put something mundane in the place of the revered, and i get the point. But my rebuttal is not that you're wrong, but that you're right in a way that you won't like. The llama could work...but it doesn't. We don't worship llamas because they don't tell us about ourselves. We don't believe in cold fusion because we can't get it to work. Efficiacy determines our trust in an idea, both rational and non-rational.
I don't see what God tells us about ourselves? The teachings of a religion can certainly offer some good solid advice. I mean there is nothing wrong with the basic Christian idea of "everyone should be nice to everyone else". But the value of the concepts behind them, does not lead to the assumption that God is real.

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Fact? The fact is quite unimportant, when you come right down to it. I don't beleive in literal creation in 6 days. I don't have to in order to find meaning in Genesis and what it tells us about our search for our place in the world. Belief does not make objective fact. But it can make a subjective truth. And you don't care for subjective, or non-rational, and that's fine by me. But i've found such things to be a million times better at helping me understand my life and its meaning than rational studies of the mind. Faith does not begin in a vacuum, as your llama example suggests...it begins in experience.
Well, for me it is ultimately the truth that I am after. When I die, do I simply stop existing? Or am I going to go return to God and go to heaven? Or hell for being a non-believer? Only one can be true. It would certainly make a tangible difference to my life were I to know that I would go to heaven if I worshiped God.

Anyway, I would like to return to my original point, which is this: Religions are based on irrational thinking. You have accepted this. I guess we are in agreement to a certain extent. Faith is the willingness to accept the irrational. You have faith, and I don't. It comes back to the line "I believe because I believe".
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Old 07-12-2003, 02:08 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I think you hit on somethign very true when you say
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That’s what science does. It explains things.
It does...it explains certain kinds of things. Just in the same way that gravity explains a certain interaction that physical masses have, i would say God explains other realities of our existance. Something is real-we expereience it, whether it be falling apples, or what some would call mana, Holy Spirit, or other interactions with God...and when confronted with that reality, we use words and ideas to describe those things. With gravity, we have a theory and a mathematical relation. With God, we have theories, religions, philosophies, etc....

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It is our intellect that we use in deciding truth from fiction.
My intellect has a great deal to do with deciding if there is a big guy up in the sky, something like Santa Claus, who decides people's fates. Claims of physical existance, etc, can be rationally evaluated, and i am very supportive of this. But when evaluting a claim that isn't so straight forward, we cannot be so bound.

It goes like this, in my mind. "Gravity" is a concept we created...it's an idea that describes something it is not real, per se. The interaction that it describes, that particles attract each other is very real. It does not depend on our faith in it, our understanding of it, or anything human at all. Even if we could not sense it or understand it rationally, it would still exist. "God" is a concept we have created. It's a word we made up. But the interactions that it describes...are very real. We do not understand what we are trying to describe, and our sketches and models seem to always fall short, but they are working to tell a truth about a reality.

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I was trying to show that the claims of people having "felt" spiritual things is not beyond explanation.
I don't think religion is dependant on proving that it is totaly shrouded in mystery. Our brains being physically capable of creating religious sentiment does not surprise me. I do not think to try to disprove your five senses by saying that they can be hot wired, and then claim that science and other observations are not reliable because of that.

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But what if I DID believe in him?...He would not exist in any form, tangible or not.
Being the rational person you are, it would probably be because you had been convinced that the Llama had done something. Perhaps you felt the llama reach out to you in time of need, or you had an ephiphany about the nature of your life that you credited to the llama. It would be rather difficult to prove any of this, but i doubt that it would make it less real to you. No, the llama would not be a physical llama. But Purple Llamas and Gods are not meant to be physical beings...they are ideas.

Once you believed in that llama, i think you would use it to begin trying to decribe things that your other vocabulary cannot. Now, i see you making statements i'd consider spiritual in very humanistic, and rational terms. And if that works for you, i think you've got the vocabulary that's right for you. The vocabulary that works for me is to talk about those things in relation to God.

Now, one of those choices may be closer to the reality of what it is we're trying to describe. Just as certain models of gravitation are more accurate than others, and more resemble the reality of particle interactions. But niether of us know this...and i suggest that the rational path is to freely share and discuss ideas, trying not to priviledge our own way of doing things.

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It seems to me that you're admitting that religion is self indulgent, pandering to your desires
Perhaps. I guess it's sort of like asking why mathematics is unreasonably accurate in describing physical phenonmeon. (I once attended a seminar on the topic, and it nearly blew my mind...we use this one kind of tool for darn near everything, and it's amazing that it works so well.) If math also worked to describe religious truths, i doubt there would be many church goers... But it doesn't. And so in the abscense of a clearly definitive model, religions become various theories for humanity to work with.

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the basic Christian idea
The thing is that it isn't just about the Golden rule. I learn about self alientation from reading Paul's epistles, i learn about accepting the care of others when i read about the Annointing at Bethany, i learn about compassion when i read about Jesus calming of the storm...there are innumerable things i've realized about who i am from both my secular philosphical musings, and from my exploration in to the meaning of religious texts and creeds. Both help make me who i am, and this is why i claim that religions are capable of teaching us about ourselves.

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It comes back to the line "I believe because I believe".
In a way, i guess it does. I've come to think that i believe because i have experienced. I would say that you believe in what you do, because of your experience. We choose the words we describe life with because we learned the, or if we're brave becuase we made them up. So it is with faith...

PS: I hope you had as much fun as i have in squaring off, as you've certainly given me a lot to think about.
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:10 PM   #30 (permalink)
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. . Ever the skeptic, i do have to ask who "they" are, and where you get this. I'd love to read about it . . . . . .

I have to agree with CSflim on all counts . . . . chavos, you can read about temporal lobe epilespy here . .
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2865009.stm

. . . totally undermines all notion that any religious 'belief' cn possibly be valid in any way . . . .


I dont think you can take the view that some people are religious and some people are not, that somehow there is an equivalence in the two positions, and that it is just down to 'life experience' and points of view. In my opinion, those who beleive in God are just wrong. Whilst I respect their freedom to beleive in purple Llamas, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and any of the hundreds of Gods that humans have invented for themselves . . . . as a scientific and logical person I would still conclude that they are all wrong, just as I would conclude that the moon is not made of green cheese . . despite my inability to 'prove' it.

It seems to me that this Philosophy part of the Forum is dominated by discussion of religion . . . . . . because it is a heated topic, and feelings are personal and deeply felt. I dont notice any in depth discussions as to who is the prettiest girl on the Titty Board for example . . . . because it really doesnt matter enough to anyone. Religion, however, stirs deep emotions, and in some small way, the heated discussions on here mirror the conflicts in the world which are attributable to religion. And I think therein lies the problem I have with religion . . . . . . it starts off as a gentle debate, a 'philosophical' argument. It is presented to school children as a 'good' and kindly guiding framework, a moral reference for their future adult lives. It is certainly never caled 'indoctrination', and there is the impression that young adults who continue on the path of faith that their parents started them off on, are so doing by their own freewill . . . . and yet, strangely you will find children of Muslim parents also choosing the muslim faith themselves (of their own freewill?), and children of Catholic parents choosing the Catholic faith themselves (of their own freewill?) and the same for Jews and all the others and it seems to me that at the end of the day there is actually very little freewill being exercised.

Freewill is a myth, just look at the advertising industry and consider the things you 'love' to eat . . I bet they are things which are freely available to you locally. If you are in the USA you wont miss a Cadburys Flake . . and if you are in the UK you wont miss a Hershey Bar (or whatever they are called). Ditto for religion. Freewill is a myth . . .we take (and love) what is given to us.

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Old 07-12-2003, 07:32 PM   #31 (permalink)
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totally undermines all notion that any religious 'belief' cn possibly be valid in any way . . . .
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I don't think religion is dependant on proving that it is totaly shrouded in mystery. Our brains being physically capable of creating religious sentiment does not surprise me. I do not think to try to disprove your five senses by saying that they can be hot wired, and then claim that science and other observations are not reliable because of that.
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as a scientific and logical person I would still conclude that they are all wrong, just as I would conclude that the moon is not made of green cheese . . despite my inability to 'prove' it.
You're perfectly welcome do so, but it strikes me as terribly close minded to do so. The moon can be visited and sampled for cheese...but if you don't "visit" the realm of religion, how will you know that it is in fact wrong?

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and it seems to me that at the end of the day there is actually very little freewill being exercised.
I wonder about this assumption. I know very few people who believe exactly like their parents do.

I take no offense at someone choosing to be irreligious...but i do wonder about the implicit disrespect that your post contains. For your talk about the conflicts bred of religion, you don't seem to acknowledge that interfaith dialouge between believers and athiests is just as charged.... Just a thought.
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:04 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Old 07-13-2003, 05:49 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally posted by chavos
. . implicit disrespect that your post contains. For your talk about the conflicts bred of religion, you don't seem to acknowledge that interfaith dialouge between believers and athiests is just as charged.... Just a thought.

No disrespect implied . . . . . my chocice of words may have been clumsy.

Whilst I would agree that dialogue betwen atheist and believers may be 'charged' . . . I am not aware of nations of atheists actually taking to arms and killing in the name of atheism.

And I apologise if my post hinted at disrespect, but I do not believe that all points of view are worthy of equal respect. Whilst individuals are free to live as they choose, that would include my choosing to have no respect for people who beleive the earth is flat for example. Respect is earned, it is not a right . . . . and if you hold a different opinion to the majority, then you cannot demand that your opinion be treated with equal respect to the opinion of the majority. Some things are just correct or incorrect . . and not a matter of opinion. The existance of god is such a question.
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Old 07-13-2003, 05:58 AM   #34 (permalink)
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duckznutz--

read the article and it doesn't prove anything other than 'some people who have religious visions have temporal lobe epilepsy'.
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Old 07-13-2003, 07:04 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally posted by chavos
PS: I hope you had as much fun as i have in squaring off, as you've certainly given me a lot to think about.
Definately! I may disagree with you, but I definately respect your inteliigence. You have obviously put a lot of though into your beliefs, which is more than can be said for most.
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Old 07-13-2003, 12:43 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally posted by asaris
duckznutz--

read the article and it doesn't prove anything other than 'some people who have religious visions have temporal lobe epilepsy'.
Actually, I would take you up on this point. The conclusions that can be drawn from this research are far more profound than that, but I don't blame you for coming to that conclusion. I don't think that this article was particularly well written or inspiring.

The fact is, that one of our best ways of figuring out how the brain works is examining what happens when it doesn't! It is through examining patients with brain disorders that we work out how the healthy brain functions. As an example, our knowledge of how the brain interepts what it sees comes from people with rare disorders, when this function of the brain breaks down.

Similarly, we can learn about normal human "religious feelings" from looking at exceptional circumstances. The most important thing to take from this article is that there is a part of the brain which deals with people's "supernatural feelings". It is only when soemthing goes wrong that this part of the brain starts to malfunction, resulting in "visions" and the like. Even when functioning correctly, this part of the brain is contributing to that feeling, that inherrent "sense" of touching God.

Like I already said, by stimulating this part of the brain, with electromagnetic waves of a particular frequency, we can induce this supernatural feeling.

I have seen the Horizon program that duckznutz's link refers to, God On The Brain. In it, there is a very story, which was reconstucted:
There was this young girl who was unable to sleep in her bedroom at night. She kept saying that someone else was in the room with her, and it was scaring her. Her mother presumed it was just nightmares, but she claimed that she was awake. She couldn't see this person, she just "knew" it was there. She felt it's presence. She was adamnant that she wasn't making it up, or being silly. There was something in her room, and wouldn't let her sleep! She was eventually taken to a doctor, but nothing could be found wrong with her. Strangely, when she was allowed to sleep in her parents rooms, she slept perfectly well. It was as if her room was haunted!
The science team, who had I said previously attempted to induce the religious experience in Richard Dawkins, found out about this, and recognised the symptoms. They said, that perhaps pipes, in her room, carrying electical wires were giving off radiation at just the right frequency. They went in to investigate.
These two scientists, arrive into the little girls room, in a scene reminisent of Ghostbusters, carrying a little handheld meter device. They were wrong with their idea about the pipes, instead they found an old clock radio on the girls bedside table, which was giving off these waves. They removed the clock, and the girls visions went away.
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Old 07-13-2003, 01:47 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Yup.

Gonna have to wait until I kick the bucket to find out if I'm right, though
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