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Essay talk:Why religion is bullshit

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Hey! I've been planning an essay on this! (Only my title was going to be a tad less confrontational.)--Bobbing up 05:49, 27 January 2008 (EST)

I hope you don't mind but I've added the essay template. Which ironically tells other users not to touch it.--Bobbing up 05:58, 27 January 2008 (EST)
I think there can be more than one essay on the subject. Or you can help with this one, if you like. --Rational Thinker 06:00, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Well you've made a lot of the points that I was going to make. So they'd be pretty similar. But there are some things that I'd like to add (but they'd reinforce the thrust rather than change it) - so shall we make it a collaboration? If you don't like what I add then we can edit it back out and I'll do my own. But I don't that that'll happen.--Bobbing up 06:07, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Why not -- go ahead :-) --Rational Thinker 06:09, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Actually, before I do, do you really want to go with this sentence: Moral decisions are best made by rational thinking. I think it may go a bit further than I would want to go. For instance there could be circumstances where starting wars, stealing or killing people might be the most rational choice - but not necessarily the most moral one.--Bobbing up 06:16, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Well, but if for example one steals things, then he will have no authority to forbid others to steal from him. So while he will have more possession in the short term, this is not true in the long term. Immoral decisions that appear rational usually are irrational if you think through all the consequences. Can you provide a counterexample? --Rational Thinker 06:30, 27 January 2008 (EST)
While it might be reasonable to conclude that if one steals things one could not forbid others from stealing from you, this is clearly not the case. Mafia bosses, for example, whose business are based on criminal activities have no problems forbidding others from stealing from them. Another question is - how long term? It is easy to imagine wealthy families whose fortunes were originally obtained by morally dubious terms and who have yet had to pay a price for selling slaves or weapons or whatever. Their were rational but immoral (at least in today's terms) but the long term has yet to punish them.--Bobbing up 08:19, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Mafiosi have a track record of killing each other for various reasons, so I wouldn't count that as a particularly rational lifestyle. Of course you might just not be caught stealing, but is it rational to live with the constant risk? Then maybe we have somewhat diverging notions of rationality. I mean, you can also survive Russian Roulette, but that doesn't make it a particularly rational pastime, does it? --Rational Thinker 09:13, 27 January 2008 (EST)

While rational decisions may be made on the level of risk involved, I don't think think moral ones should be. Logically, if I had literally zero risk of getting caught robbing a bank then it would be rational to do it. But it would clearly be wrong morally. Please note that I in no way make this point in an effort to support religious morality, but only to point out that suggesting that morality is based on rationality is a dubious philosophy.--Bobbing up 11:40, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Well, if you really want, edit that out, it's not the main point anyway ... I'm still not convinced however: your last example is definitely not a real-life example. And clearly, if you can rob a bank safely, then someone else should be able to do that, too. And if everyone starts robbing banks, the economy breaks down and money becomes worthless, so the robbery was not such a rational thing to do... But as I said, it's not the main point, so you can edit it... though I wonder, if you say that moral is based neither on religion nor on rationality, on what then? --Rational Thinker 12:11, 27 January 2008 (EST)
That is a very good question which we have debated here (somewhere) before. It seems to me that it comes from some sort of nebulous social development. Consider that this site includes deists, theists, agnostics, and atheists. But we all feel that, for example, slavery is wrong. A few hundred years ago we would probably not have thought this as a group. How is it that people of such different philosophical backgrounds would reach such similar conclusions? It would seem remarkably coincidental if we had independently and simultaneously reached this moral conclusion based on our theism, agnosticism atheism or whatever. The logical conclusion is that there is something which influences us independently of these views; and that we then back-reason this conclusion into our existing philosophies. What is it? The only thing that occurs to me is the ongoing moral evolution of society. I must say that I rather don't like even this interpretation very much as it seems to suggest that "evolution" means "better", which isn't necessarily the case either. But it's the best I've got. But OK with that out of the way I'll join in this one.  :-) --Bobbing up 12:51, 27 January 2008 (EST)

OK, I'll leave it for now. :-) --Bobbing up 13:55, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Eh, I don't want to seem like I'm restarting a dead argument, but there is a moral philosophy based purely off "rational decisions". It's called utilitarianism, and it fell out of favor for not insignificant reasons. By the way, technically there is no such thing as a "moral" decision. Morals, strictly speaking, are what you believe in, nothing more. What you mean is ethics, which is how you act on those beliefs, and when those beliefs start to affect others. --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:52, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Well, it was removed from the essay anyway, so perhaps that part of the debate is no longer that relevant here. :-) --Bobbing up 07:06, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Oh, poo. Always spoiling my fun, Bob.  :-) --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:10, 1 February 2008 (EST)
You could always start a debate on it. We don't seem to use that much.--Bobbing up 07:17, 1 February 2008 (EST)
See, that's exactly why I keep you around, Bob. God-like as I am, even I can't think of everything. But I rest assured knowing that you're here to cover me.  :-) --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 07:21, 1 February 2008 (EST)
I'm gratified if you feel that I'm helping both your needs and, apparently, your new-found egomania!!--Bobbing up 07:34, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Sinfest![edit]

Tatsuya Ishida's timing is always impeccable. This time, however, it's almost frighteningly so. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 06:47, 27 January 2008 (EST)

What the... When did Bill Watterson become a weeaboo? DSFARGEG 14:38, 16 March 2009 (EDT)

A response...[edit]

I'm working on an essay that deals with some of the issues raised in this one here Drop by and give me your thoughts...PFoster 13:07, 27 January 2008 (EST)

I hope you develop it. But it doesn't seem to be trying to explicitly refute the points raised here.--Bobbing up 13:20, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Not yet - right now I'm trying to get at what rubs me the wrong way about the spirit of what's going on here.PFoster 13:23, 27 January 2008 (EST)
I might have preferred the title "Why religion is irrational." But the points would have been similar. I look forward to your rebuttal - I always enjoy debate and I'm always prepared to be proven wrong.--Bobbing up 13:32, 27 January 2008 (EST)
With everyone's permission, I will remove the red link from this comment. Would it be ok to remove the red link from the essay itself as well? Researcher 13:37, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

one thought[edit]

I'd like to add that the concept of being "purely rational" is also impossible. And in reality, we all carry a host of irrationalities around in our heads, "believers" or not. Not that that statement contradicts the title assertion, of course. humanUser talk:Human 19:57, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Purely Rationell is not impossible for me! I am purely rationell and scientific! Bow to my big rushional Brain! --Rashunell tinkar 04:37, 28 January 2008 (EST)
Hey! Where is everybody! I must call you bullshit! I'm so rashunull and scientific! BE IN AWE WITH GREAT AWE! YA! YA! YA! --Rashunell tinkar 07:48, 28 January 2008 (EST)
They're either sleeping or at work. Come back later. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 07:54, 28 January 2008 (EST)

category[edit]

You might want to put this in Category:Blasphmeny (probably). Sterilexx 08:25, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Nine! Blashpemy is bullshit! This is hard raciunal SCIENCE, man! We don't censor categorize rayshanal facts here! --Rashunell tinkar 09:25, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Hahahahaha brilliant. Please shoot me now. --Rational Thinker 14:23, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Seconding Bob's suggestion on retitling[edit]

And then go nuts rehashing The God Delusion. Any nice succinct formulations of his arguments should probably find a home here too. --Robledo 15:22, 28 January 2008 (EST)

Morality[edit]

Oh-kay, now. "The various consequences of religion - such as the numerous religious wars raging from early history to the present day - would indicate that that religion is hardly a basis for moral decisions." Come on, Bob. You're a smart guy. You know we live in a complex world. I can't possibly imagine that you would be so reductionist as to believe that 'religious' wars happen just because of religion. Take a look at the causes of the Thirty Years' War, probably the most important one of them, then try to think that one over one more time. And then, of course, there is the question of why the fact that a few people have waged wars on the basis of religion should reflect badly on those uncountable millions of other religious people who arguably have had nothing at all to do with it. Unless you wish to argue that there is some essential thing inherent in religion that makes people more prone to starting wars.

Also: "Wherever moral decisions come from, it is pretty clear that they are not based on religion - as religious interpretations of what is moral typically change with the generations and are not the fixed absolutes which religions claim." This sentence does not seem entirely internally consistent. First you claim that morals are not based on religion. But in the very next sentence, you yourself point out that there are "religious interpretations of what is moral", and that these "change with the generations". Now, given that morals also change with the generations, that would rather seem to indicate that, on the contrary, there is at least some connection between morals and religion. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 08:38, 1 February 2008 (EST)

That part was by Rational Thinker. Check the earliest version in the history. --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 08:43, 1 February 2008 (EST)
I'm not sure which of us wrote that bit but it carries both our names so I'm not going to duck it on that basis. I may even be persuaded to modify it. Let's see.
I accept that it is highly unlikely that any conflict would have any single cause. However I am sure that we would all agree that religion has been an important factor in many conflicts and, in some cases, the most important factor. I may edit the essay to reflect this later.
With regard to AKjeldsen's second point I'll think if over and either justify it or clarify it.--Bobbing up 08:50, 1 February 2008 (EST)
I started *ahem* a debate on these lines. --Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 08:54, 1 February 2008 (EST)
Yes... religion has been an important factor, but there are proximate causes, and then there are ultimate causes, which can often be quite different. In any case, I think it would be more precise to say that that wars break out because of conflicts of interest over important issues, one of which can be religion, rather than those issues themselves. I mean, there are plenty of wars that have started over trade conflicts, but that doesn't mean that trade in itself is a bad thing, does it? --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 09:00, 1 February 2008 (EST)
I agree - but "trade" usually makes no claim to setting moral standards.--Bobbing up 09:11, 1 February 2008 (EST)
One could argue that it does, to a certain extent, with Adam Smith or the 17th century Mercantilists, for instance. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 09:22, 1 February 2008 (EST)
That's why I said "usually".--Bobbing up 09:45, 1 February 2008 (EST)

I suspect that most wars are over economic issues at their root (and the others are caused by leaders' egomania). However, often other issues are papered over them to ignite the passions of the draftees - religion, patriotism, revenge for perceived past wrongs, etc. I think most wars would not have started without some economic impetus. Truly making this case would be beyond the efforts I want to make right now, though. humanUser talk:Human 12:14, 1 February 2008 (EST)

Remove name[edit]

RT: I've removed my name from this one as I'm going to be away for a while. This may also free you up to use your slightly more confrontational writing style. I wish you well with the essay.  :-) --Bobbing up 03:52, 2 February 2008 (EST)

Hmm[edit]

Very conservapedia-esqu... MC 134.226.1.234 12:42, 5 April 2008 (EDT)

Yeah, but it's an essay. It would be even more CP-esque if we were to invade it and start re-writing stuff ... --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום

Penn and Teller[edit]

And when I first saw the title I thought you'd be referencing the Penn and Teller program of the same name - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RV46fsmx6E --Shagie 13:53, 9 June 2008 (EDT)

Changes?[edit]

I'd like for there to be a thesis statement and also changes in many categorical statements.— Unsigned, by: 71.139.35.114 / talk / contribs

No can do. This is an essay and as such is the exclusive property of the author. You're free to write your own in response. I did. TheoryOfPractice 23:47, 5 January 2009 (EST)


Ghastly[edit]

I have just Read this essay (following a link from RWW )and I Think it's Ghastly. I'm Surprised that Nobody has asked for it to be Deleted. Can we at Least put some Template on it to say that it Doesn't Represent RW policy, or that it's non NOMA?--Tolerance 15:12, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

Delete? Why would we do that? And since when is NOMA official policy here? --  Nx/talk  15:16, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
I didn't say that it should be Deleted, only that I'm surprised that Nobody has asked for it to be. It is My Impression that many people here agree that NOMA is the best way to show Religion its due Respect.--Tolerance 15:23, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
Nobody has asked because we don't do that, and my impression was that many people here think religion doesn't deserve any respect. --  Nx/talk  15:27, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
Don't be silly Tolly. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't go far enough. (and NOMA's crap)   .  So, that's the tune they play on their fascist banjos 15:29, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
Hold it there, bub. ;-) I've been following your whole NOMA thing, and i think you (Tollerance) are the only one who has "agreed" this is the best path. I've got 1/2 a phd in that religion thing, and spend lots of time "respecting" it, and personally find this article to be a riot! but it's not my essay, it's not my experience, and i am shocked that you would think someone shoulnd't be able to write his or her opinion on religion in his or her essay. Wanna counter, feel free. But of course you will also face people saying why you are wrong. Nice thing about open debate. If you are wrong, you get trounced. If you are right, you will probably still get trounced. Nothing gets deleted or even "warned" for it being an OPINION piece.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 15:32, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
I agree with Tolerance that NOMA is good, I do not agree with him about what it means. --<choose>

<option>Input The ResistorOutput</option> <option>CoyoteOver 450 pages watched NOT including talk pages</option> <option>The Trickster</option> <option>Acionyx</option> 16:10, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

EC Ok, let's try it another Way. If you won't Template it and Nobody wants to delete it then I am sadly Tasked with the Responsibility of Replying. The best way would be a Side By Side. But I lack the Skills to set one up. In the Spirit of Fair Play could One of the more Technically Minded do this on my Behalf? But in Such a Way that the the Reply Half is an Essay of mine? I may not be Able to start for a Couple of Days though. (But I Will do it.)--Tolerance 15:35, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
For what it's worth, it's an essay. not yours to be messing with. Write your own.  :-)--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 15:40, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
(EC) This is what you need. It's not that complicated. --  Nx/talk  15:41, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
Thanks NX, I'll have a Look. Waiting, that is what I wish to do, but Point by Point.--Tolerance 15:45, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
It looks a Little Daunting. I shall Play with it Later. Thanks Again.--Tolerance 15:48, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
For Christ's Sake, Tolerance, you make your own essay, which offends at least me personally, and have the gall to complain about someone else's. Grow up or piss off.   .  So, that's the tune they play on their fascist banjos 15:50, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
I find it interesting that an ATHEIST is saying Christ. And Toast, if you complain one more time about something offending you personally, I would like to introduce you to my half of your comments on me. Shut up, and go to Guantomano. --<choose>

<option>Input The ResistorOutput</option> <option>CoyoteOver 450 pages watched NOT including talk pages</option> <option>The Trickster</option> <option>Acionyx</option> 16:10, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

Christ is more of a slang word or a swear word for many people CUR. Did I just read your coment suggesting that toast go to Guantanamo Bay?DSFARGEG 14:44, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Well, hELL wouldn't work now, would it? --<choose>

<option>Input The ResistorOutput</option> <option>CoyoteOver 450 pages watched NOT including talk pages</option> <option>The Trickster</option> <option>Acionyx</option> 15:33, 16 March 2009 (EDT)

Hell can be used lightly BECAUSE it isn't a real place. What you said was far more insulting. DSFARGEG 10:01, 19 March 2009 (EDT)
And again, if you do a "side by side" make sure it's separate. Cause I will revert any edits made to an Essay. To me they are like User Pages. I don't even "de-red" them, if they've been touched in the last year by the author.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 15:54, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
Whistles innocently --  Nx/talk  15:58, 14 March 2009 (EDT)
I have no Intention Whatsoever of making Changes to this "essay". I have not expressed any Intention to make changes to this Essay. I have always Respected the Rules of this Site and I am not going to Change Now. Please do not threaten me with the Consequences of something I have no Intention of Doing. --Tolerance 16:06, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

Responding to the first post on this thread, this is an Excellent and Funny Essay. How inToleRant to call it "ghastly", when we didn't even delete your Instructions to Take Over teh RW for teh Lawd essay. ħumanUser talk:Human 18:14, 14 March 2009 (EDT)

Concerned troll is concerned. Neveruse513 15:41, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
I am Preparing a Comprehensive Response to this Essay. I should also like to Congratulate Human on his Improving Spelling and Punctuation. I am Glad to see that my Presence is having Some Effect on him and Others.--Tolerance 18:16, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Someone who caps every other word is giving advice on Spelling and Punc? wierd.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 18:26, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
I'm Afraid that Once Again I seem to have Expressed Myself to you in an Unclear Manner. I Meant no Advice or Criticism, Only Congratulations. My Posts are Always Literal, I am Almost Never Sarcastic.--Tolerance 18:30, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
What tolerance is Saying is that It (sorry, did We know You are a Boy yet?) is glad I have readily Learned How to Use It's (sorry, did We know You are a Boy yet?) version of Capitalization. i Think, anyWay. ħumanUser talk:Human 03:20, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Thank you for Clarifying my Position. Human. Most Kind of you. For your Information I am of the Female Persuasion.--Tolerance 17:00, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

So, Tollyness, as an Aside - Can you explain Your incredibly Peculiar Desire to do Random capilatistion Of words Within Sentences? I'm just curious. DogP 15:50, 18 March 2009 (EDT)

yeah[edit]

I'm gonna have to disagree here. This essay's pretty retarded. "There is no middle ground so agree with me" = lame. No thanks I get enough of that at Cp. Mei 18:32, 16 March 2009 (EDT)

Mei, I don't really think any one is saying that, exactly. In context, we have a category "bullshit", and we put into it all kinds of things like Herbalism, and palm reading, astrology, etc. So the question is (and I do think it can be formatted better, in my opinion), given our category "bullshit", why is Religion not a member of that category? And I'd ask any one here to justify it not being in that category, with this site's definition of what is "bullshit". --Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 18:36, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
bullshit = "the art of deceit through obfuscation." Yeah not buying it. Mei 19:09, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Religion is based on Faith, The other things you Mention claim to be based on evidence, (Though I Must Admit that Some of them require a Measure of Faith as Well.)--Tolerance 20:12, 16 March 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, "religion" is bullshit. End of silly story - it's a bunch of silly stories. Tolerance, I can tolerate you, but I think your perspective is, well, bullshit. [1] ħumanUser talk:Human 03:15, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Hey link is sensible but essay is still retarded. Mei 07:57, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I Agree with You Mei. Will you Join me in Answering the Points One by One in a Side by Side? Or shall we Make One Each?--Tolerance 15:02, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I was going to make a copy to take the piss out of it. "answering the points" = pointless - what points? Mei 20:14, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

I really don't see where the middle ground is...maybe your shit's not just as retarded and unlikely as every other religion ever dreamed up? And what would be the justification? Wanting to find a middle ground when there is no tenable way to do so = lame. Neveruse513 15:06, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

You may be Correct. Who mentioned Middle Ground?--Tolerance 16:58, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Me.
Hey I'm not into the logic I'm just saying that if you believe this you're basically a dick. Are you a dick Neveruse? Mei 20:14, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
So may I put Your Name on the counter essay? Will you Contribute to back up your Points Mei?--Tolerance 15:00, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Believing this doesn't make you a dick. Not believing it makes you a dumbass. Are you a dumbass, Mei? It sure is fun to debate argue with someone who holds no logical standard. Neveruse513 15:06, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
P.S.: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_consequences
So we've established you're a dick. That's safe. Do you wanna try for the star prize too? "someone who holds no logical standard" = stop pissing about logic - the essay basically says "like, religion sucks". Logical response = "congrats you're a dick" and no more. Mei 15:43, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Ok, let's plumb the depths of ur stoopid...Can you at least admit that me being a dick is irrelevant to the validity of the argument at hand? Shine on, you crazy diamond... Neveruse513 15:46, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
"Can you at least admit that me being a dick is irrelevant to the validity of the argument at hand?" = sure! but "argument at hand" = boring clusterfuck. Which part in particular are you butthurt about? Welcome to the Machine. Mei 15:52, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
"sure!" - That's good enough for me. Careful with that axe, Eugene. Neveruse513 15:55, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
I have suggested that Mei Join me in Writing an Essay to Counter these Points One by One. I am sure that it will be Clear who is the "dumbxxx" then!--Tolerance 15:25, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Tolerance, please read the wiki article I have linked to and tell me if you think any of that applies to what Mei or I have reCently said in this thread. Neveruse513 15:29, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Way off. You being a dick isn't an adverse consequence - arguing with smart people is actually hard. Mei 15:37, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
haha...i've still to this day never seen anyone who could admit their own logical fallacies. Keep on going, Mei...you're totally rashunal. Neveruse513 15:39, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
"lol you deny I'm right so you're wrong" = Try harder? Mei 15:45, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
It's simply an observation. Don't hurt yourself. It's a nice day. Go outside. Neveruse513 15:48, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
All right Mei and Tolerance, here is a challenge for you. I have a pen situated at the side of my desk, barely balanced to stay on my desk. Pray to your God for the pen to fall off, it is not that hard, I have a fan going, a few cans and cups around my desk, it is pretty easy for that pen to fall off. Go ahead, you are the believer, not me. Have your "all powerful" God perform one extremly simple act. Your move. ĴαʊΆʃÇä₰ erudite driptrays endanger me... 15:49, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
The fuck? I'm not a believer FTR. I'm a can't-be-bothered. Mei 15:54, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Then I am Confused. To What do you Object so Strenuously in the Essay?--Tolerance 17:56, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
The consequences of believing it. Just try to be logical...regardless of whether or not it's true, why would you want to believe something that's lame? You wouldn't, so don't. Neveruse513 18:54, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
"The consequences of believing it" = Wrong wrong very wrong. And I quote - "There is no middle ground so agree with me" = lame. Mei 18:59, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, I think we've been over this, (and I know you don't do teh logik), but being lame has no bearing on something's veracity. Perhaps if you could enunciate a lucid, logical objection, we would have something to discuss. Neveruse513 19:04, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
(5) Dude there's nothing to object to. & if you really think "There is no middle ground so agree with me" is a sound argument, logic would probably burn your skin or something. Mei 19:17, 18 March 2009 (EDT)

God vs. Religion[edit]

This section is almost nonsense, and I think it should be improved or dropped.

Here it is in whole: It seems to be clear that a God in the sense of a miracle-working, interventionist deity does not exist, as no evidence of his miracle working interventionist activity can be found. In this case absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Obviously it cannot be excluded that some kind of "god" (whatever that is supposed to be) exists outside of our universe. But even if this were the case, it follows from basic scientific principles like the conservation of energy, that such a "god" cannot interact with the physical world in any way. In particular, he cannot write books, nor can he put thoughts (which consist of electric currents in the brain) into people's heads. This shows that, whether or not god exists, religion is wrong.

Part by part: In this case absence of evidence is evidence of absence. No support is given for this statement. This not only directly contradicts common sense, it contradicts a well-known and sound principle.

It follows from basic scientific principles like the conservation of energy, that such a "god" cannot interact with the physical world in any way.

This is an essentially worthless bit of woo. The law of conservation of energy can obviously not have anything to say about God, since God is by his very nature presumed to be supernatural. All that can be emphasized is that there is no natural evidence for God (a reasonable and arguable position); you can't say that a lack of natural evidence condemns an entity that is supernatural. It is already to be assumed that God would be surpassing the limits of conservation of energy as the progenitor of all energy, so the logic of the theistic system is internally consistent (and thus not bullshit in this respect at least).

Needs work.--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 05:54, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

You assume, it seems to me, that the supernatural is a valid concept.   .  So, that's the tune they play on their fascist banjos 06:43, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
If the theist suggestion is that evidence of god's existence consists of miraculous interventions, and if there is in fact no evidence of such miraculous interventions, then the proposed evidence is indeed absent. If such proposed evidence is the main evidence for the existence of god, and if this evidence is absent then one could conclude that God was as absent as the evidence which was presented to support him.--Bobbing up 06:56, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I Agree with Tom Moore. Claiming that there is no evidence for God or Miracles and then Using that Claim to Suggest that God does not Exist is a Clear Violation of Noma.--Tolerance 15:05, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I think you're getting a better feel of noma. Although, it strikes me as strange to see a theist concede that there is no evidence for his god. Neveruse513 15:09, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Actually, I see that you didn't deny evidence for your god. But I bet you're taking it both ways in an unfalsifiable fashion.
  • Find evidence for your god -> "WHOOP, THERE IT IS!!!1"
  • Don't find evidence for your god -> just scream "NOOOOMMMMAAAAA!!!!one!", amirite? Neveruse513 15:16, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
At no time did I say there was no Evidence for God. My Point was about Claiming it.--Tolerance 15:25, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I realized and addressed that. Then I made two bullet points. Please respond to those. Neveruse513 15:27, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
although if there were clear Evidence then there would be little Need for Faith.--Tolerance 15:27, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
If you had evidence for a god, you'd still need a lot of faith to pick which one it is. Neveruse513 15:33, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
True. But if there Were clear Unequivocal Evidence, then it would be Science and not Religion.--Tolerance 16:00, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I think that's parsing a little too far. Neveruse513 16:32, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Why? Science deals in Evidence. Religion deals in Faith. This is THE difference between them. While People may Disagree with many of my Points I would Have thought this is Basic. --Tolerance 16:57, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Cause that's simply too simplistic for religion. One aspect of religion is faith, but that is only one. Religions exist that don't rely on anything outside of the known/seen world. They exist because of ritual, belief about our place in the scheme of things, views on teh roles of men and women, etc. But not views on God or supernatural in any way you would define those terms in a science class. Again, we go back to pantheism. a religion that says NATURE in all its finery is god itself. and this god is NOT any kind of transcendent god. No faith needed for that, it exists as it exists. "all that exists is god". God is the mystry that is the unfolding universe, etc--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 17:06, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
The Problem for me with Defining "God" as "everything that exists" is that it Unsatisfactory because such a God is not Active or Interventionist. He can do Nothing for you, cannot Intervene in the World. Why would one Worship such a Passive God? Nevertheless I accept that that is the Truth as those Societies see it and their God will have a Reality for them.--Tolerance 17:13, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Why does science deal in evidence and religion deals in faith? Your assertion is utterly baseless and seems to be an afterthought...religion deals in faith because there is no evidence. Neveruse513 17:17, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
I Believe you will find I have Made this Point Before.--Tolerance 17:24, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
(EC) "Why would one worship...?" I am no pantheist, but I can hazard a guess. Think of Jonathan Edwards's statement, "There is nothing that keeps wicked men, at any moment, out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God." Similarly, in a pantheist's world-view, there is nothing keeping anyone in existence but the doings of God. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:21, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
That really doesn't sound like a pantheistic worldview. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:27, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Why Should Worship of Nature be Necessary to keep the world in Existence?--Tolerance 17:23, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

EZ edit button[edit]

(UNINDENT) That was a reason why a pantheist might worship — not a reason why a pantheist is obligated to worship. The Edwards quote only applies insofar as it states that "God is keeping you alive." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:29, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Listener. then I still don't Understand your point. You seem to be Saying a Pantheist Might think it was necessary to Pray to keep the world in existence. If he Believed such a thing were True then he would be Totally be Obliged to do it; at Least he would he would if he felt that Staying Alive was a Good Idea. If such a Pantheist didn't believe it were true then he would have absolutely no reason to pray to keep the world in existence. So he's either Obliged or he's not. I don't see any Might.--Tolerance 14:58, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Again, the pantheists would probably not think it necessary to pray or worship because of this; they would just do it because they wanted to, for the same reason you might send a thank-you note to someone who has given you a gift. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 15:16, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Ah I See. In that case it is Eminently Sensible.--Tolerance 15:21, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Tollerance, because "worship" is about the self. about respect and praise. About a place within the world as part of the world. Religion - once you take the boogie man out of it, and once you strip it of "do it my way or die", can be very fulfilling. It's community, it's praise, it's structured and shared reawakening to new ideas and perspectives. Much of this world has no use for a god that is transcendent. But again, your argument's weakness is that for it to work, it has to by *your* definition of god.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 19:32, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
WFG. I have said before that there are many Truths. Many Realities. Many ways to be Right. What is True for one Person may not be True for Another. The fact that I Personally see little Point in Worshipping a God who takes not Part in, and has no Relevance to, the World does not mean that I'm saying that you or Listener should not.
But, WFG, when you Say that "worship is about the self" (and your later points) - are you suggesting that a God is not Necessary for Worship? That Worship For It's Own Sake without any supernatural element is possible? Worship without a God?--Tolerance 14:52, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Since I believe any and all forms of "god" are human inventions, yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. God is a convenience either to help people deal with seemingly "evil" ugly parts of life, help they feel good about death, give them the power to manipulate other people, help them understand why it's not ok to do *anything* they wish to do, etc. And no, god is not at all necessary for worship. Some particular native Americans worship corn, *not* as a diety (though that exists, too), but as teh food source. why? cause if they don't respect and worship it, they might not have any next year.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 16:34, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
Then we are in agreement that Religion is perfectly Sensible, and this Essay is Wrong. thank you.--Tolerance 17:54, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
For the love of a goat, do you like putting words in other people's mouth. I argued for (and maintain) that given *rationalwiki*'s definition of bullshit, Christianity and most religions should be under that category. It is bad form to take people's words and twist them to "support" your position. Grow up, ok?--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 18:04, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
(ec)Tolerance, Godot never said religion is perfectly sensible. You are putting words in her mouth, the same way you put artificial facts in your head. ĴαʊΆʃÇä₰ erudite driptrays endanger me... 18:08, 18 March 2009 (EDT)

Respect[edit]

If religions can make a forceful, rational intelligent case then they would be respected for that. If they are unable to present a forceful, rational intelligent case, then whatever respect they get should be based on their failure to do so.

I'm a hard atheist and as strong a rationalist as they come, and honestly have trouble understanding why you don't think that religion has made a forceful, rational intelligent case. I mean, a close reading of some of the classics of theology and theodicy reveal a deep level of brilliance and careful thought behind the elaborate theories at work. Certainly a Ray Comfort is a joke compared to Aquinas and rightly merits laughter, but that doesn't make the brilliance of Aquinas any less forceful or persuasive. For good reason: an absurd amount of wealth and thought have been devoted to theism.

I hesitate to cast personal speculations out, but this is a private essay: have you read works like Summa Theologica and Mere Christianity? If so, did you really find them as foolish as your contempt makes them sound?--Tom Moorefiat justitia ruat coelum 06:02, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Absolutely Tom. Forceful, Rational and Intelligent. A perfect Description of Religion.--Tolerance 15:07, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Forceful, granted. Rational? Only with in the confines of what they are trying to assert, and based on the premise that god does indeed exist. Nothing rational has every been produced to prove he/she/or it does indeed exist. and as for Intelligent, again it depends on waht you are defending. Are we talking about the ethics of the church, as Aquinas spends much time discussing, the morality of individuals within the christian framework, and how christianity should interpreted within it's own framework? If that's your question, then it's "rational and intelligent". but if you are arguing that Summa Theolgica" really present a valid argument for why god exists, then i think they are not rational as we understand rationality today, since they *start* with the premise that god exists, rather than work to that premise.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 16:05, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

quinquae viae, uno[edit]

The unmoved mover.

   * Some things are moved.
   * Everything that is moving is moved by a mover.
   * An infinite regress of movers is impossible.
   * Therefore, there is an unmoved mover from whom all motion proceeds.
   * This mover is what we call God.

The answer violates it's on logical proscriptions, cause something must move god. This is simply the "i don't get it" out. It's not logic.--Sun mowse.pngEn attendant Godot"«I don't think in any language. I think in images. V.Nabokov» 16:08, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Response[edit]

I would be glad to respond to this essay and attempt to deal with all the points you say haven't been dealt with. Firstly, I'm an agnostoc with a religious upbringing, so although I don't believe in a particular religion I feel that I understand them fairly well and I'm sympathetic towards religion. I don't see religion as being in conflict with the facts but as a possible, if problematic solution. It is clearly dangerous but so are rollercoasters, all that is needed is care.

Anti-intellectual

Is it anti-intellectual to use faith? This is the most common response to this criticism usually with some example to do with crossing a road or something. No-one can be absolutely sure that when crossing a road, they won't die by some unlikely means like cars coming out of nowhere, glue on the road, the road disappearing, them falling over and breaking a leg and various other ridiculous things. So everyone who crosses a road, or makes any other decision doesn't do it with absolute certainty but does it with some degree of faith, say reasonable faith which is different from blind faith, just running across the road with your eyes shut and hoping for the best. The argument usually stops here with the point that for nearly all serious believers it is not an arbitrary decision but one that they have thought about and consider reasonable. The problem is that reasonable faith in the religious sense is much weaker than reasonable faith in the practical sense. If you think about how many times you unsuccesfully cross a road compared with how many times you might choose the wrong religion even after reasonable thought. One thing that you are not going to accept is the use of personal evidence to make a rational decision such as religious experience so you won't accept my argument but here goes anyway. Suppose you are St. Paul on the road to Damascus and you see and hear a vision of Jesus. Is it more rational to assume that it is a true vision or a hallucination if you are not under the influence of drugs or have a history of hallucinations (two things which would have made Paul himself discount the vision)? It depends on what you consider rational to be, on how you already view the world. I'm not suggesting for a moment that it is like this for everyone of course, but being close to religion I hear lots of stories that are hard to explain. On a personal level, if you judge the probability to be more than 50% is that an irrational decision?

Anti-scientific

Clearly some religions are anti-scientific because they are in blatant contradiction with the facts, most obviously creation myths, so I won't waste any time with those. So I will say that the idea of god is not in contradiction with science, since by definition god is supernatural and hence beyond the reach of science. For particular cases, most obviously Jesus, but there are others like Mohammed and Buddah, these are cleary historical figures and hence these religions are open to scientific scrutiny. However, these figures have been looked at by historians for many years with no decisive negative consensus so I would have to say that they are not anti-scientific, since they don't claim things we know to be untrue. Now you make the point that all religions must rely on faith, which I agree with, but that makes them unscientific not anti-scientific. They are not making scientific claims, since they are about the supernatural, but they are not making anti-scientific claims either, since they are not about the natural.

Cosmic nonsense

No need really to single out the cosmological argument, there are 5 well known arguments of someone (I don't know who), which are all agreed to be false. This isn't a surprise though is it? If there was a correct argument for god's existence then all rationalwikiers would be theists.

Creation

In it's traditional understanding yes but if god did create everything then he would've created space and time as well. This means, if you like that god exists in some realm that we can best understand as time, but it is not time and beyond our comprehension. Of course there wasn't a timeline already there in which god created the universe at some point. This also answers the old question of what was god doing in the eternity before he created the universe. This is equivalent to the question of what came before the big bang by the way, if you accept the north of the north pole answer then this is basically the same thing.

God vs. religion

Now I would disagree that it is clear that a miracle interventionist god clearly doesn't exist. It is clear that we cannot demonstrate god's exitence through any experiment, we have no scientific or logical evidence for it. So we conclude that if god does exist then he doesn't want his existence to be provable. Therefore, if he wants us to be aware of his existence at all then it must be through personal experience and faith, however subjective that may be. However, this is exactly what most religious people claim. People who calim to be able to prove or disprove god's existence are quickly shown to be wrong but there is a lot of room for the personal experience god. Many people pray and claim to hear god or see visions but of course they cannot reporduce this at will, in a lab for instance. This is consistent with both a theistic and atheistic world view, and I disagree that absence of evidence is evidence of absence for the same reason that many scientific theories have absence of evidence but this is not evidence of absence of a scientific explanation. The evidence may come eventually as it may with god, but with god the evidence will be personal.

Soul

After just having read the rationalwiki article on non-materialist neuroscience, I would probably come to the conclusion that the functioning of the brain is entirely physical which is something I've always believed anyway. It has always been assumed that there is something supernatural floating around with the body, but this is not necessary for religious belief. If we accept the theory that the "soul" is completely deterimned by the neurons and synapses of the brain (and other stuff I don't know about), then there is no difference between a human soul and a computer program loaded with the same data. In the same way that there is no difference between of Word file and a pdf with the same text. All that is important is the information stored there. So at the moment of death, all of one's physical body is redundant and there is no spiritual soul as such but all the information is still there, so a simple copy and paste job on god's part can move one on to the next life.

NOMA

I've already made it clear where I think religion can and can't be investigated with science. On the points about god and the soul. To assume that something unknown in nature, outside the universe, can have no effect on the universe due to basic scientific concepts such as conservation of energy puts an amazing amount of faith in our understanding. I respect this faith of course but for fairness I should point out that we have no idea about what it outside the universe and how it can enact with matter, any definite claim to the contrary is unsubstantiated, hence a statement of faith.

Obviously the scientific method should be used to deduce all knowledge about the natural world but just because it may be your main passion don't expect everyone else to care about it as much. The fact is that there are other kinds of knowledge important to the human race and they are more subjective than scientific knowledge but not less valuable. Of course, value here depends on who you ask, but I guess that's what separates science students from art students.

Morality

Well for me this is the main difficulty in religion. I don't believe that absolute morals exist because it doesn't make sense to me that something could exist to make a moral absolute. However, it is clear that while everyone may have their own moral code, no-one can stick to it perfectly, only god can stick to his moral code perfectly and perhaps in this sense god's morals are more absolute than man's. This still leaves the practical problem of deciding which morals god supports. This is in general another faith issue and is decided through personal experience. In a sense, we start with a set of morals and choose a god that fits. Although this is not absolute, it is the same in a way as anyone else choosing a set of morals.

Now there are many people, not just fundamentalists, who believe most of things in the bible without much thought or question. This is the fault of the people who introduced them to the religion and the person themselves for not being open-minded enough. In general religions try to discuss morality and help people come to their own conclusions as much as they preach to them. The idea that religious people are mostly closed minded is false. Religious people love discussions and debates and hold many of them, they encourage people who disagree to voice their opinions, in my experience at least.

The point about religion causing warfare is and old one and I think unfair, there are the standard responses like, it was the people at fault and not the teaching or more childish responses like mentioning Hitler and Stalin. These are unnecessary, the problem is not with religion but with humans themselves. Humans are naturally social creatures, we form groups and we attack other groups, religions are some of these groups but so are race, gender, orientation or even football team or favourite music. Just listen to a song on youtube and most likely there will be a violent aregumet simply about different tastes in music. Perhaps religion bares most of this blame since religious people shouldn't be fighting, but it is unfair, and probably incorrect, to say that religion is a direct cause of war in general.

Morals do evovle but I think religious people would deny that it is with society. Religious morals have always evolved. The story of religion is one of progressive revelaion of god's nature and morals and there is no religious reason to assume this won't always happen.

Respect

Religions that haven't been proven false like creationism and sun-worship perhaps deserve the benefit of the doubt, with the admittion that no-one really knows any better. As religions are ideologies they deserve as much respect as one. I would respect someone's opinion, but want the right to disagree and argue. Many religions are more than this though, they are also cultural, which means they do deserve more respect even than ideologies in general. Also, for many people, religion is their whole life and you simply respect this because you don't want to deliberatly offend people for no reason. You don't have to do this, it is common courtesy.

I would be glad to respond to this essay and attempt to deal with all the points you say haven't been dealt with. Firstly, I'm an agnostoc with a religious upbringing, so although I don't believe in a particular religion I feel that I understand them fairly well and I'm sympathetic towards religion. I don't see religion as being in conflict with the facts but as a possible, if problematic solution. It is clearly dangerous but so are rollercoasters, all that is needed is care.

Previous unsigned comment: 04:03, 8 April 2009 User_talk:82.30.93.140.

I'm not the author of the essay, but I wanted to reply to some of the points in this section. Feel free to move my reply or delete it if it interfere's with the author's ability to reply to the comment.
Anti-intellectual
It depends on how one arrives at the probability. If Paul believed it to be greater than 50%, on account of his having no obvious medical justification for a hallucination, then he's employing faulty reasoning. Paul could just as easily attribute his hallucination to demonic trickery or aliens putting on a light show in order to influence the course of Christianity. It seems highly unlikely that Yahweh would exist, let alone arrange a personal chat with Paul or anyone for that matter. There are far more plausible explanations for his vision, but it's understandable that we struggle to evaluate these personal experiences. This is why divine revelation is necessarily a personal matter. I can't tell you how great barbecue sauce tastes, since you need to try it for yourself. It would be anti-intellectual of me to claim to now be the authority on the inherent superiority of barbecue sauce, simply because I'm personally convinced that it's great.
Anti-scientific
You're correct in saying that faith is unscientific, as opposed to anti-scientific, but it's wrong to say that religions are not making scientific claims. Wouldn't claiming divine intercession be a measurable claim? Although science may not be able to peek back-stage, it could certainly watch the show and analyze the results. The problem with postulating supernatural influences is that it should invalidate science. How could we establish that water boils at a specific temperature if a god was perpetually fiddling at the controls of the universe? It would be like trying to count polystyrene balls in a room full of fans being activated at random intervals.
God vs. religion
This sounds like Russell's teapot. Granted we can't disprove the existence of God of Russell's teapot, but we certainly don't have to accord either any serious level of consideration until there's evidence to suggest otherwise. It's fine for people to speculate as to what's really out there, but I think we need to see such speculation in an appropriate context.
NOMA
NOMA is a very one-way deal. Science quite correctly avoids the supernatural, but religion frequently makes claims to supernatural intervention in to our world. If a Christian claims that prayer is effective, then it's perfectly acceptable for science to measure the effects of prayer in the naturalistic world. One the other hand, a claim to the existence of a deistic (or otherwise non-interventionalist supernatural phenomena) is completely out of bounds to science.
Morality
I kind of agree with your suggestion that people choose their morals before they choose a god. This seems a good way of explaining how people worship the same God while coming-up with remarkably interpretations of his wishes and the order of importance. If some are to believed, the creator of the universe spends the bulk of his time agonising over the sex lives of the apes he created on a tiny planet in a tiny solar system within a tiny galaxy in a massive universe.
Some religious people do indeed enjoy debates, but in my experience it all too often comes down to scriptural quotes and "Because God says so!" If you ask a theist to explain why they don't go around killing their neighbors, they might offer two replies:
  • God doesn't want us to commit murder
  • Murder is wrong because it's the taking of a life. I want to be alive, and the best way to achieve that goal is to live in a society in which people do not randomly kill each other.
Most theists will cite God as the authority on this, but they know as well that they themselves do not wish to live in a society in which they and their loved ones could be killed at any time. We protect others because it's the best way to protect ourselves. I'm truly troubled by fundies claiming that the only reason we don't kill each other is because of God's laws and morals. I recall an atheist commentator expressing the hope that these people never lose faith, since they appear to be lunatics whose urge to kill is checked only by the hypothetical chain that secures them to the wall.
I agree that religion is not specifically the cause of warfare, since the same could be said of nationalism. We are territorial animals, and we'll find many reasons for fighting. Some religions exacerbate the problem by dehumanizing the "enemy", calling for their submission, or by providing divine edict to justify terrible actions. It's probably more accurate to say that religion, like ideology, can lead to war. Some religions promote peace. The core problem is that actions are being taken for entirely irrational reasons. I'd much prefer a pragmatic world in which we avoid killing each other out of self-interest to one in which civility relies on a fairytale.
Respect
Religions deserve not a jot of respect. We should respect the right of people to hold religious beliefs, and the results of specific actions, but why should we respect any ideology? I've had a few debates with people who have made religion their whole life, and any offense felt on their part was certainly their problem. The common courtesy thing is bullshit, since the same argument could be made to avoid criticism of the white supremacy movement.
For many people, white superiority is their whole life and you simply respect this because you don't want to deliberately offend people for no reason. You don't have to do this, it is common courtesy.
ConcernedresidentAsk me about your mother 12:06, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Religion isnt bullshit[edit]

Religion isn't bullshit, it is a real and practical emotional need, rather poverty caused by our social control systems is the bullshit. And chaos follows poverty, ever wonder why there is a strong correlation of religion and poverty? It has to do with the illusion of survival that religion provides, reduce poverty and reduce the need to cling to religion as a security blanket. — Unsigned, by: 70.109.42.135 / talk / contribs

I agree with all of this except the part where religion isn't bullshit. Fonzie (talk) 20:23, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Bullshit being essential to the human psyche almost reads as intuitively obvious. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 20:27, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Yes, as our IP editor says - religion and poverty tend to be correlated. But is this because poor people look to religion to give them emotional comfort - or it it because, if you think the afterlife will a a lot better and longer then the life you have now, then you have little (or reduced) incentive to improve your lot in this life?--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 10:45, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

people have commited evil due to religion vs commited evil due to atheism[edit]

This seems like apples and oranges to me. Atheism is not an ideology in and of itself. A fairer question would be commuted evil due to religion vs non religious ideologies. I can think of plenty. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:59, 28 March 2015 (UTC)