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Thread: -EDIT- The meaning in religion. was The meaning of religion?

  1. #1 -EDIT- The meaning in religion. was The meaning of religion? 
    墨子 DaBOB's Avatar
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    Well there are lots of issues around the purpose of religions. By this, I mean what the religions teach. I have heard that some terrorists blame their actions on their religion for example. This is unexceptable to me. I know of know where in which a religion says you should kill or scare people.

    I am asking that all the people out there who have a very good understanding of a religion or more please say what you find is the primary goal of these religions. Why would anyone interpret these goals differently?

    If you think religion sucks then.... well I can't stop you from saying anything. I would just like this to stay on topic. It is not a depate but, an exchange of ideas. Thank you.

    Attention
    This is an important EDIT:

    If you could sum up what any one, or more, religions truly advocates more than anything; what would it be in two words? In other words what is the core of religion, not so much the accessories.


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    Of course, the different religions define their own purpose. But I think we can make some general conclusions from an objective viewpoint.

    In the life of the religious person, a major purpose of religion is to provide identity. This is why people accept the outrageous demands of religion for a lifetime of devotion - because they decide that they want be the person who is described by such a lifestyle.

    In history, whether intentionally or not, religion has provided a means to recognize a common cause between people of different tribes, nationalities and races. In the case of Islam, at least, this was actually an intentional purpose of the religion. In todays world some people foolishly take this commonality of the human species for granted and instead accuse religon of being a cause of division and war. But this is extremely unrealistic. Before the major religions, other humans outside ones own tribal group were considered nothing but a natural resource (in slaves and possessions, if not meat) to be harvested in battle.


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    Religion, in a way, is what helps people cope with their existence. Psychologically, there are quite a LARGE number of reasons why one would want to be religious, and STAY that way, at all costs. As without religion things begin to become rather COMPLEX when you wish to explain them. For example, Karma: In some religions, Karma is defined by your actions. Good actions will attract universally "good" karma while bad actions will have the opposite effect. Thus those who sin (or attract bad karma) are always deserving of their karma and those who do not sin (or do not as much) never suffer and thus always attract good karma. In this way, one can explain easily the massive suffering and how some never suffer at all in a simple manner. I don't believe I have to even bother pointing out the obvious flaws with this, so you can think them up yourself.

    Another thing would be the REASON for existing. In my observations of christian and theistic behavior (mostly christian) I have noticed that christians tend to NEED their god and religion as a purpose for existing. Otherwise, without it, many don't really see any possible purpose and thus there *HAS* to be a god, for without one there is no purpose and thus no reason for existing. Churches also have a tendancy to teach something similar, and this tends to bring on the suggestion that Athiests are blind fools and such who are wandering around in the dark without a purpose, and only live through lies. I can quote many a christian who have said "our purpose in life is to serve god and await his just judgement" when I have confronted them about their reason for existing. I have also seen many state the above, where without god there is no reason for existing.

    One final thing would, of course, be the afterlife. Many people tend to wish to AVOID the possibility of just *DEATH* with nothing afterwards. Nothingness tends to be an insanely frightening thing. So it's only natural that the majority of religions, ancient and new, would believe in an afterlife in which there is both punishment for the wicked who have not received their "just rewards", and rewards for those who have behaved well during their life and thus "blessed" in the afterlife. Of course, there are a few "supernatural" theories as to the afterlife as well that differ from religion. One of the more popular ones is living life on an "astral plane" where you get to choose where you wish to spend your afterlife, or just travel about. This opens up many options including Reincarnation, ghosts, etc. Really there are an unlimited amount of beliefs and suggestions about a possible afterlife, and the subject attracts quite a large number of people to religion. It is also suggested that the main reason some people are religious is because of the prospect of an afterlife.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In history, whether intentionally or not, religion has provided a means to recognize a common cause between people of different tribes, nationalities and races. In the case of Islam, at least, this was actually an intentional purpose of the religion. In todays world some people foolishly take this commonality of the human species for granted and instead accuse religon of being a cause of division and war. But this is extremely unrealistic.
    That may be, but religion has always been a fantastic motivator and justifier for war.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In history, whether intentionally or not, religion has provided a means to recognize a common cause between people of different tribes, nationalities and races. In the case of Islam, at least, this was actually an intentional purpose of the religion. In todays world some people foolishly take this commonality of the human species for granted and instead accuse religon of being a cause of division and war. But this is extremely unrealistic.
    That may be, but religion has always been a fantastic motivator and justifier for war.
    This leads more to the heart of my question. Is there anywhere in a scriptures that can prove religion has any justification or motivation for war. Or is it just the people using it as their excuse?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    This leads more to the heart of my question. Is there anywhere in a scriptures that can prove religion has any justification or motivation for war. Or is it just the people using it as their excuse?
    It seems so. Your question is not exactly properly phrased, in my opinion. It is not important what is written in the scriptures, but how such writing is interpreted b its readers. Many, many people throughout history have used and continue to use such writings as their justification for killing, war, etc. Look at Islam now for just one example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In history, whether intentionally or not, religion has provided a means to recognize a common cause between people of different tribes, nationalities and races. In the case of Islam, at least, this was actually an intentional purpose of the religion. In todays world some people foolishly take this commonality of the human species for granted and instead accuse religon of being a cause of division and war. But this is extremely unrealistic.
    That may be, but religion has always been a fantastic motivator and justifier for war.
    This leads more to the heart of my question. Is there anywhere in a scriptures that can prove religion has any justification or motivation for war. Or is it just the people using it as their excuse?
    Religion has never been the reason, but only the excuse, and an extremely poor excuse at that. The most religious people in a country going to war are often the first casualties, because these religious people invariably speak up against the war. This is the real reason that trumped up religious reasons are manufactured on the eve of war, to counter the expected religious opposition and to vilify and dehumanize the enemy.

    But it is true that creation of commonality by religion does have its limitations. The fact that Constantinople was Christian did not stop it from being sacked in the 4rth Crusade. Indeed, both Muslim and Christian where slaughtered indiscriminantly in the Crusades which were a rampage of greed only thinly disguised as a "holy war." A religious group finds it easier to turn a blind eye, or generate hostility against a nation of some other religion they do not understand, than against a nation that shares its religious beliefs. But the lesson of the holocaust has begun to make people realize the need to stand together or fall seperately. So more an more you will find one religion standing up for the rights of another.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Religion has never been the reason, but only the excuse, and an extremely poor excuse at that. The most religious people in a country going to war are often the first casualties, because these religious people invariably speak up against the war.
    I do not understand your meaning of the word religious. Do you belive that the suicide bombers of Islam are not devout in their religious beliefs?
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    I think Jeremy hit a few good reasons - people need and want there to be a God because they can't cope with the apparent reality that when somebody dies they are truly gone. No heaven, no afterlife, no eternal existance. Gone. It's not just fear of their own demise, it's their loved ones as well.

    A perfect example of this is a comment that was made to me at work. We were talking about ghosts for some reason, and I said that I don't believe in ghosts, spirits, the afterlife, or anything of that nature. I was asked "Have you ever had somebody close to you die?". They meant immediate family - mother, father, sister, brother, child. I haven't. The response was "that's why you don't believe".

    So when somebody dies, your beliefs should change? Reality doesn't change, but maybe your needs do - and what you want and need to be true doesn't seem like a good reason to believe that it IS true. You'd really LIKE your mother to be in heaven, smiling down upon you. You'd really LIKE to think that when your time comes, you can rejoin her in eternal bliss. I'd like that too but there's no reason to think that it's going to happen.

    This is of course only for some people - different people embrace religion for different reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I do not understand your meaning of the word religious. Do you belive that the suicide bombers of Islam are not devout in their religious beliefs?
    I do not understand the suicide bombers and I am not sure that anyone does. I suspect that these are people brainwashed with hatred and religious, ideological, or nationalistic ideas for some end, but what that end is I do not know. It could be hatred or greed or both, since these are the usual motives for murder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    This is of course only for some people - different people embrace religion for different reasons.
    Now that is a very sensible thing to say. I agree emphatically. People embrace religion for very large variety of reasons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I do not understand the suicide bombers and I am not sure that anyone does. I suspect that these are people brainwashed with hatred and religious, ideological, or nationalistic ideas for some end, but what that end is I do not know. It could be hatred or greed or both, since these are the usual motives for murder.
    I would not rule out religion. People often believe that their religion demands that they kill. You seem to be ruling that out, and blaming the believer rather than possibly the nature of the believed.
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    These are all great comments and I don't mind this discusion continuing but, you are not really giving me the answers I was looking for.

    I shall rephrase the question and edit my original though:

    If you could sum up what any one, or more, religions truly advocates more than anything; what would it be in two words? In other words what is the core of religion, not so much the accessories.

    Thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I do not understand the suicide bombers and I am not sure that anyone does. I suspect that these are people brainwashed with hatred and religious, ideological, or nationalistic ideas for some end, but what that end is I do not know. It could be hatred or greed or both, since these are the usual motives for murder.
    I would not rule out religion. People often believe that their religion demands that they kill. You seem to be ruling that out, and blaming the believer rather than possibly the nature of the believed.
    It does indeed happen. There was the Om cult in Japan that put poison gas in the trains and train station. They believed that only members of their cult were really human beings and were motivated to exterminate everyone else as not-human. However, I do not, for one second, believe that the motivation behind suicide bombers in the Middle East is religious. They may want people to believe that, but I do not.
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    I think it may be for religious purpose but, their sorces of religion are flawed. Meaning, they were told or taught that they were defending (or whatever they were doing) their religion. It is sad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    These are all great comments and I don't mind this discusion continuing but, you are not really giving me the answers I was looking for.

    I shall rephrase the question and edit my original though:

    If you could sum up what any one, or more, religions truly advocates more than anything; what would it be in two words? In other words what is the core of religion, not so much the accessories.

    Thanks
    Sorry, I do not agree with doing such a thing. Oversimplification is the work of ideology and prejudice, and certainly the opposite of seeking a fair and objective understanding. So if you are trying to make a point using the Socratic method, you have failed. You had better just make your point so we can criticize it freely.
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    I agree with mitch, it'd be impossible and highly wasteful to sum up a fairly lengthy talk about religion in just two words. Given my input I gave you from my observations, I really COULDN'T sum it up in two words. Why is it you wish it to be summed up into two words anyway? Really it should be much more rewarding for both information purposes and observational purposes to receive LONGER replies so that you can gain a broader view.

    To add on to my earlier psychological observations I shared, I believe I can sum up one word that doesn't need to be drawn out: Fear. Many people tend to FEAR not knowing. It's why religions were created to begin with, because people in ancient times feared not knowing. This is how you get a god for everything down to frogs (egypt) and why people also VICIOUSLY defend their religion even in impossible situations. Deep down, some still feel this fear despite brainwashing as children (Technically, children on ALL sides are brainwashed so ignorantly it's annoying) that tends to build up more a sheer confidence in their "knowing" and belief as opposed to their fear of NOT knowing. On top of many other aspects, this fear STILL exists in some (although thus far in my observations, now days it's minority) and causes some to go above and BEYOND regular religious activity into being completely eccentric about it. This is how you can get "bones were planted by satan" and "everybody is blinded by satan" as well as "everything but the words of god are free from satans binding on this world" where as the more rational theist may attempt to look at it in a less biblically obsessive manner.

    However I have not really been able to define a specific trait, and the above is probably not entirely correct in connecting it with the fear of NOT knowing, so any information you can give on your own observations would be useful. Hence why it'd be MORE useful for people to post LONGER posts as opposed to two words (which sounds more like spam. Not the meaty kind either).
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    in answer to the original question, summed up in one word, "Control"
    no more need be said.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Nevermind then, continue on. I think I may have asked this question in the wrong place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    To add on to my earlier psychological observations I shared, I believe I can sum up one word that doesn't need to be drawn out: Fear.
    That's the same word I would choose. Fear of death, fear of losing their loved ones, fear of the unknown, fear of eternal damnation, fear of being insignificant in the grand scheme of things, fear of not conforming to their family's or society's expectations, fear of not belonging...fear is definitely the one word I'd choose if I had to pick one.
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    You do not seem to understand the question. Religion does not teach fear. You are only saying that people become religious because of fear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    You do not seem to understand the question. Religion does not teach fear. You are only saying that people become religious because of fear.
    I do not know what he is saying. However, I think that fear has often been a driving force in the evolving nature of religion
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    You do not seem to understand the question. Religion does not teach fear. You are only saying that people become religious because of fear.
    Who said religion teaches fear? It's simply a significant reason why people embrace religion. Though I do find it interesting that religious individuals are often quick to say "Think of it this way. If you are right, we both die and are gone, and it doesn't matter what we believed. But what if I'm right - you go to hell and suffer eternally, while I go to heaven."

    Funny how the fear card is often played so early by the religious. We've all heard it before, some of us many times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    To add on to my earlier psychological observations I shared, I believe I can sum up one word that doesn't need to be drawn out: Fear.
    That's the same word I would choose. Fear of death, fear of losing their loved ones, fear of the unknown, fear of eternal damnation, fear of being insignificant in the grand scheme of things, fear of not conforming to their family's or society's expectations, fear of not belonging...fear is definitely the one word I'd choose if I had to pick one.
    Nonsense. Look, I do not deny that fear is a big human motivator, or that many people may in fact be motivated by fear to join a religious group. But this is not the dominant reason for religion. Fear is in fact much more the motivation for many human behaviors other than religion (like murder, racism and war). Sure there have been these hellfire preachers who think they can scare people into religion. But this is just the limitation of their imagination and understanding. But was it fear that made Jesus say take up the cross and follow me? Was it fear that made Christians die in the colleseum rather than renounce Christianity? Was it fear that made missionaries go to a place where they know the last missionaries were slaughtered? All through the history of religion are people who die for what they believe in. The idea that fear is what relgion is about is pure nonsense.

    Hey, maybe fear is the reason for your religious choices (for or aganst) but not mine. Let everyone speak for themselves. Even those reasons which you gave all have their flip side: the hope for eternal life, the love for their family, the love of God, the acceptance of being insignificant in the scheme of things, the courage to go against the choices of ones peers. All of these are reasons for commitment to religion too. The truth is that the reasons for religious participation are greatly varied and are also complex. This flattening of the human reality into simplistic characterizations is height of ignorance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    You do not seem to understand the question. Religion does not teach fear. You are only saying that people become religious because of fear.
    Who said religion teaches fear? It's simply a significant reason why people embrace religion.
    Again you did not understand so I will try to clearify again.

    The question is what do religions teach or advocate and why would people twist these teachings to do "evil" things. People kept saying that people are religious because of fear. This is not an answer to my question. I never said religion teaches fear.

    I am simply trying to keep this thread on track because these religion threads get heated up real fast and take huge tangents that never return to the point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    To add on to my earlier psychological observations I shared, I believe I can sum up one word that doesn't need to be drawn out: Fear.
    That's the same word I would choose. Fear of death, fear of losing their loved ones, fear of the unknown, fear of eternal damnation, fear of being insignificant in the grand scheme of things, fear of not conforming to their family's or society's expectations, fear of not belonging...fear is definitely the one word I'd choose if I had to pick one.
    Nonsense. Look, I do not deny that fear is a big human motivator, or that many people may in fact be motivated by fear to join a religious group. But this is not the dominant reason for religion. Fear is in fact much more the motivation for many human behaviors other than religion (like murder, racism and war). Sure there have been these hellfire preachers who think they can scare people into religion. But this is just the limitation of their imagination and understanding. But was it fear that made Jesus say take up the cross and follow me? Was it fear that made Christians die in the colleseum rather than renounce Christianity? Was it fear that made missionaries go to a place where they know the last missionaries were slaughtered? All through the history of religion are people who die for what they believe in. The idea that fear is what relgion is about is pure nonsense.

    Hey, maybe fear is the reason for your religious choices (for or aganst) but not mine. Let everyone speak for themselves. Even those reasons which you gave all have their flip side: the hope for eternal life, the love for their family, the love of God, the acceptance of being insignificant in the scheme of things, the courage to go against the choices of ones peers. All of these are reasons for commitment to religion too. The truth is that the reasons for religious participation are greatly varied and are also complex. This flattening of the human reality into simplistic characterizations is height of ignorance.
    Well, when forced to choose one reason among countless, that's the one that I believe is most prominent. I am pretty sure I never claimed that fear is the reason that all, or even most people embrace religion. Context!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    [
    Again you did not understand so I will try to clearify again.

    The question is what do religions teach or advocate and why would people twist these teachings to do "evil" things. People kept saying that people are religious because of fear. This is not an answer to my question. I never said religion teaches fear.

    I am simply trying to keep this thread on track because these religion threads get heated up real fast and take huge tangents that never return to the point.
    I understand your question perfectly fine. I just am not interested in discussing it.
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    why do people reply to a post if they aren't interested in discussing it? :? :?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    why do people reply to a post if they aren't interested in discussing it? :? :?
    You seem to have become confused as to what the meaning of is is. I mean, you are confused as to what the meaning of it is.

    He said that he was not interested in discussing the question that you wanted to discuss. He did not say that he had no interest in discussing the reason why he was not interested in discussing the question that you wanted to discuss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Well there are lots of issues around the purpose of religions. By this, I mean what the religions teach.
    lets look at the word teach firstly.

    Teach
    1. To impart knowledge ; (knowledge of the bible ).
    2. To condition to a certain action or frame of mind; (indoctrinate/control/brainwash).
    3. To cause to learn by example or experience;(to kill and harm others).
    4. To advocate or preach: (teach racial and religious intolerance).

    nothing good can be taught by religion.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    I have heard that some terrorists blame their actions on their religion for example. This is unexceptable to me. I know of nowhere in which a religion says you should kill or scare people.
    have you read the bible and or the qu'ran,
    heres a few scriptures from both.
    KJV Genesis 2: And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
    3: And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
    4: Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
    5: And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,
    6: And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
    7: And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
    8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
    9: And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
    10: And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
    11: And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
    12: And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
    13: And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

    Qu'ran
    Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don't kill them.) 2:191-2
    Those who make war with Allah and his messenger will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. That is how they will be treated in this world, and in the next they will have an awful doom. 5:33
    so now you know, and please dont say something so inanely stupid again. I thought you were more intelligent than that.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    I am asking that all the people out there who have a very good understanding of a religion or more please say what you find is the primary goal of these religions. Why would anyone interpret these goals differently?
    as I have said, Control, and they dont interpret this differently it is the main goal.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    If you think religion sucks then.... well I can't stop you from saying anything. I would just like this to stay on topic. It is not a debate but, an exchange of ideas. Thank you.
    religion is a mind virus, that takes control of it's victim, the worst thing is they dont know, their infected.
    the meaning of religion is, Control, it was originally put in place to control the populas, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the person, when the mythmakers started all these religions they had no idea what poison they were spreading.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    why do people reply to a post if they aren't interested in discussing it?
    you did say I quote "It is not a debate" so why are you so shocked if they dont discuss it
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
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    Thank you, this is what I was looking for. Anything else like this would be greatly appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    so now you know, and please dont say something so inanely stupid again. I thought you were more intelligent than that.
    I am sorry, is this directed at me? I didn't realize that I said anything stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    religion is a mind virus, that takes control of it's victim, the worst thing is they dont know, their infected.
    the meaning of religion is, Control, it was originally put in place to control the populas, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the person, when the mythmakers started all these religions they had no idea what poison they were spreading.
    This is interesting. Does this mean that any preacher or high level religious person does not truly believe or is there no one in control anymore. If religion is a type of control who is the controller?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But was it fear that made Jesus say take up the cross and follow me? Was it fear that made Christians die in the colleseum rather than renounce Christianity? Was it fear that made missionaries go to a place where they know the last missionaries were slaughtered? All through the history of religion are people who die for what they believe in. The idea that fear is what relgion is about is pure nonsense.

    Even those reasons which you gave all have their flip side: the hope for eternal life, the love for their family, the love of God, the acceptance of being insignificant in the scheme of things, the courage to go against the choices of ones peers.
    Well, when forced to choose one reason among countless, that's the one that I believe is most prominent. I am pretty sure I never claimed that fear is the reason that all, or even most people embrace religion. Context!
    I am well aware of the context, but I think you are painting a picture to suit yourself. You are obviously not talking about the reason why you participate in religion, so I can only conclude it is the reason you do not participate in religion. I was resisting the ridiculous simplification of reality, but if you insist, the common denominator in the reasons which I outlined above is love not fear. LOVE is obviously the dominant reason for religion. In fact, to be fair I would say that love is the dominant reason for human beings in doing anything, love of family, love of people, love of animals, love of money, etc etc.... That is, people are primarily motivated by the carrot not the stick. Too much of the stick and people start to resist and rebel, to overthrow (or at least circumvent) the tyranny of it (even the tyranny of fear). The stick only works well when it is use to prevent a worse "stick", such as military (for the protection from invaders), and law inforcement (for the protection from the criminally selfish).
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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    the meaning of religion is, Control, it was originally put in place to control the populas, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the person, when the mythmakers started all these religions they had no idea what poison they were spreading.
    "The purpose of atheism is control. It was originally put in place to control the people, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the individual, when the mythmakers started all these atheistic philosophies they had no idea what poison they were spreading." (my version not only makes more sense but it is spelled better and has a better choice of words)

    Actually I think they knew exactly what poison they were spreading. You see religious people are so hard to manipulate and control. They insist on doing things for irrational reasons and standing up for the rights of others when it is no concern or benefit of their own. Fear is an effective tool for manipulating the people and keeping the people in line as long as religion is kept out of the picture. Religious people believe in a life after death, so they think that there are things worth dying for. Religious people insist on being loyal to an invisible deity and His/Her/Its laws in defiance of the civil order and the people in power.

    [Edit note: Always willing to edit in the additional pronouns for God or gods when it is requested]
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    LOVE is obviously the dominant reason for religion. In fact, to be fair I would say that love is the dominant reason for human beings in doing anything,
    I do not agree with this at all. I think that the primary reason for humans to do anything is dependent on the instincts that we possess, and the primary instincts have to do with self-preservation, survival of the species, etc. Love is simply a high order abstraction that you are making, and is far too abstract to be fundamental, in my opinion. Are you saying that people hate each other becase the "love to hate"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Actually I think they knew exactly what poison they were spreading. You see religious people are so hard to manipulate and control. They insist on doing things for irrational reasons and standing up for the rights of others when it is no concern or benefit of their own. Fear is an effective tool for manipulating the people and keeping the people in line as long as religion is kept out of the picture. Religious people believe in a life after death, so they think that there are things worth dying for. Religious people insist on being loyal to an invisible deity and His laws in defiance of the civil order and the people in power.
    The first part of your post was obviously a satire. I am not sure if this second part is as well. I agree with some of it, so I suspect not. However, I am not sure.

    Also, when you speak of an invisible deity, why are you using a masculine pronoun to refer to it? What percentage of invisible deities could possibly be a him? You seem to clearly have a single such invisible deity in mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I do not agree with this at all. I think that the primary reason for humans to do anything is dependent on the instincts that we possess, and the primary instincts have to do with self-preservation, survival of the species, etc. Love is simply a high order abstraction that you are making, and is far too abstract to be fundamental, in my opinion. Are you saying that people hate each other becase the "love to hate"?
    I said dominant reason not only reason. In fact I clearly said that I was indulging in an oversimplification of reality against my preference on your insistence. The generalization to all activities was show that I was not singling religion out.

    Most people do not hate as a lifetime activity. But for those who do, I think the "love to hate" is an apt description. The "love to hate" is a very apt description for the behavior of the KKK, the Nazis and other anti-Semitists. Serial killers and many rapists also indulge in this "love to hate" as well. Oh and what about politics? Can you truthfully say that you do not indulge in a little "love to hate" when it comes to politics. I freely admit that the "love to hate", is a candy that I indulge in when it comes to the Bushes.

    I hope you are not under the illusion that hate and love are opposites. Far from it. They are closely intertwined. Most often the people you love and hate the most are in your own family. In fact, quite often they are completely the same person.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Actually I think they knew exactly what poison they were spreading. You see religious people are so hard to manipulate and control. They insist on doing things for irrational reasons and standing up for the rights of others when it is no concern or benefit of their own. Fear is an effective tool for manipulating the people and keeping the people in line as long as religion is kept out of the picture. Religious people believe in a life after death, so they think that there are things worth dying for. Religious people insist on being loyal to an invisible deity and His laws in defiance of the civil order and the people in power.
    The first part of your post was obviously a satire. I am not sure if this second part is as well. I agree with some of it, so I suspect not. However, I am not sure.
    .
    Yes the first part was intended as satire. I do not believe that either atheism or religion are created as a means of controlling people. But the second was an argument intended to show that the idea of atheism as a means to control people is just as reasonable as the idea of religion as a means to control people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Also, when you speak of an invisible deity, why are you using a masculine pronoun to refer to it? What percentage of invisible deities could possibly be a him? You seem to clearly have a single such invisible deity in mind.
    English convention only, nothing else. Post edited to prove this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Most people do not hate as a lifetime activity. But for those who do, I think the "love to hate" is an apt description. The "love to hate" is a very apt description for the behavior of the KKK, the Nazis and other anti-Semitists. Serial killers and many rapists also indulge in this "love to hate" as well. Oh and what about politics? Can you truthfully say that you do not indulge in a little "love to hate" when it comes to politics. I freely admit that the "love to hate", is a candy that I indulge in when it comes to the Bushes.

    I hope you are not under the illusion that hate and love are opposites. Far from it. They are closely intertwined. Most often the people you love and hate the most are in your own family. In fact, quite often they are completely the same person.
    I do not disagree with anything that you say here. However, my post stands. I consider love to be an extremely high order abstraction, which by your very response here shows itself to be so high order that we cannot possibly even guess well what anyone else means by the term and no two people will have identical meanings for the concept.

    Love is clearly not a reason for religion, in my mind. I doubt that anyone ever starts a religion or comes to believe in a religion because of the search for love. If you said the search for truth, then I might buy it, but not love, whatever that word might mean to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I do not disagree with anything that you say here. However, my post stands. I consider love to be an extremely high order abstraction, which by your very response here shows itself to be so high order that we cannot possibly even guess well what anyone else means by the term and no two people will have identical meanings for the concept.

    Love is clearly not a reason for religion, in my mind. I doubt that anyone ever starts a religion or comes to believe in a religion because of the search for love. If you said the search for truth, then I might buy it, but not love, whatever that word might mean to you.
    But the love which motivates religion is of the very highest order of abstraction. And I consider abstraction to be what seperates man from the animals. The abstract motivation is the most human type of motivation. Some people may not demonstrate being capable of it themselves, but most people can, at least, admire it.

    You are right that the investigation of religion is motivated more by the search for truth than any search for love. But conversion and religious commitment is motivated by that highly abstract love which only religion teaches. And religions are created by this kind of conversion and commitment, whatever the majority of participants may be motivated by.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But the love which motivates religion is of the very highest order of abstraction.
    To me, this makes it so non-understandable that there is not much purpose to discuss it. A concept so abstract that no one can understand it, and no one can understand what each other understands about it, is not a very useful topic of discussion in my mind.

    You are right that the investigation of religion is motivated more by the search for truth than any search for love. But conversion and religious commitment is motivated by that highly abstract love which only religion teaches. And religions are created by this kind of conversion and commitment, whatever the majority of participants may be motivated by.
    This is so abstract that I cannot possibly know what you mean, so I won't try to guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    the meaning of religion is, Control, it was originally put in place to control the populas, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the person, when the mythmakers started all these religions they had no idea what poison they were spreading.
    "The purpose of atheism is control. It was originally put in place to control the people, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the individual, when the mythmakers started all these atheistic philosophies they had no idea what poison they were spreading." (my version not only makes more sense but it is spelled better and has a better choice of words)
    english eloquence defines the man, however, now the statement makes no sense at all, atheism is the natural order of things, it is how we all start , it is man at his very base, and at his highest, it does'nt control, it is the individual, their could never be any mythmakers in regard to atheism, it is what you, me, and everybody else is. it is just some have diversified into religious fantasy.
    a poison cannot be spread with regard to atheism, unless you consider humanity and common sense a virus.

    oh incidently it's spelt, not spelled.

    Compact Oxford English Dictionary

    Verb

    spelt

    past and past participle of SPELL

    and not everybody on these forums have english as there first language, it belittles you more then me to pick fault with grammar.
    and yes I relise I'm guilty of the same crime, but you have egg on your face now, I could not give a damn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    the meaning of religion is, Control, it was originally put in place to control the populas, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the person, when the mythmakers started all these religions they had no idea what poison they were spreading.
    "The purpose of atheism is control. It was originally put in place to control the people, but it is such an infectious virus it now controls the individual, when the mythmakers started all these atheistic philosophies they had no idea what poison they were spreading." (my version not only makes more sense but it is spelled better and has a better choice of words)
    english eloquence defines the man, however, now the statement makes no sense at all, atheism is the natural order of things, it is how we all start , it is man at his very base, and at his highest, it does'nt control, it is the individual, their could never be any mythmakers in regard to atheism, it is what you, me, and everybody else is. it is just some have diversified into religious fantasy.
    Please prove that "atheism is the natural order of things" and I will prove the existence of God and the absolute truth of Christianity. You can begin by proving that God does not exist.

    The evidence points in the opposite direction since man has had religion all throughout history and it is the atheistic philosophies that are recent inventions. Frankly, in my view, this points to an evolutionary (in the more general non-genetic sense of the word) bias against atheism, and suggests that the human community requires religion for long term survival.

    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    a poison cannot be spread with regard to atheism, unless you consider humanity and common sense a virus.
    The real poison is the arrogance of human beings who think they know better and feel the need to force their way of thinking on everyone else. Your atheism qualifies as such a poison because you used the word "posion" to ridicule the beliefs of other people. Your attitude is poison precisely because your statement works equally well with any belief system, which shows that your attitude is pure arrogance and without an ounce of reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    oh incidently it's spelt, not spelled.

    Compact Oxford English Dictionary

    Verb

    spelt

    past and past participle of SPELL
    Actually it is "spelt" or "spelled" according the Webster dictionary (a problem with using an extra compact dictionary) and take it from a native English speaker "spelled" is the more common pronunciation and spelling.

    The comment on spelling was only to underline the fact that I did not take my version any more seriously than your version.

    By the way, what is your native language, if you don't mind saying? I do notice that you live in London.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Please prove that "atheism is the natural order of things" and I will prove the existence of God and the absolute truth of Christianity. You can begin by proving that God does not exist.
    Both of you should have no problem with your proofs. Proofs are easy. The easiest way to prove anything is logic. What you are really asking is to construct a proof that the other will accept. This is possible, but far less probable.

    The evidence points in the opposite direction since man has had religion all throughout history
    I would like you to prove this. (joke) This is not true. This is clearly false. On what basis could you make such speculation, unless you believe that man was created 6,000 years ago? When our species first evolved and began developing language, there could not have been religion, I believe. Religion would have taken time to develop. Furthermore, unless you have an extremely broad defintion for religion, you cannot even demonstrate that all societies necessarily had religion ever.

    and it is the atheistic philosophies that are recent inventions.
    I agree that athiestic philosophy is recent, but not the lack of belief in a god. This had to have been prior, as it took time for early man to be able to formulate the concept of religion (even for those that did).

    Frankly, in my view, this points to an evolutionary bias against atheism, and suggest that the human community requires religion for long term survival.
    Now I wonder what you mean by atheism. Perhaps not what I, an athiest, mean by the word.

    The real poison is the arrogance of human beings who think they know better and feel the need to force their way of thinking on everyone else.
    I could not agree more. In the United States, this seems to me to be 100% the work of theists. Do you disagree? I agree with you that they are very arrogant to demand that non-believers adopt their versions of morality as a matter of law.

    Actually it is "spelt" or "spelled" according the Webster dictionary (a problem with using an extra compact dictionary) and take it from a native English speaker "spelled" is the more common pronunciation and spelling.
    There is no doubt that in the United States spelled is far more prevalent, and that spelt is considered by many to be antiquated, if recognized at all.
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    To answer the original question:

    Speaking of the dominating religions, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the New Age beliefs: these religions advocate "unconditional love".

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    This is getting very interesting to read. I know that any religious activities or philosophies that I seak are not out of fear and I also know that no one is using religion to control me.

    Hmm... I feel bad joining in on this but,

    Spelt is a type of wheat. "Spelled" is used as the past for ther word "spell". In the meanings of writting words, casting spells or being under a spell (fainting spell). Hmm... silly thing to argue about but, tis funny none the less.

    Anyways, continue with your discussion, I feel I am learning quite a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Speaking of the dominating religions, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the New Age beliefs: these religions advocate "unconditional love".
    Ha, ha!!

    You claim that these religions advocate "unconditional love". I suppose that you blame all of the lack of unconditional love on the believers, and exonerate the religions of any blame. I notice that you use the word "dominating" religions. How did these religions get to be so dominant? Certainly not through the advocacy of unconditional love.

    In fact, it is not love that was the primary motivating force for Islam to grow so powerful so quickly at all, but hate and fear, the hate of the conquerors and the fear of the conquered.
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    I am asking that all the people out there who have a very good understanding of a religion or more please say what you find is the primary goal of these religions. Why would anyone interpret these goals differently?
    Well Geezer has certainly answered well along the lines of what I was going to say, perhaps I'll imput some more:

    Religion was born out of ignorance, not to claim that those who advocated religion in ancient days were ignorant, but they had anyhow underdeveloped minds. As their minds evolved their superstions remained.

    The bicameral mentality, were consciousness and subconsciousness communicated via inner voice, these voices of inner consciouness were thought to be the voice of gods. As humans evolved ever complicated societies, the voices became more and more chaotic, untill an invention was made by human kind and tha invention is human consciousness as we know it today.

    However there remain a virus of the old, and that's mysticism. The yearning for the voices of their alter consciounsess were then becoming silent, those who still heard the voices were the "oracles" shamans, witch doctors, and self proclaimed religious divinity. These people were nothing more than schizophrenics.

    You want evidence?

    Well I got evidence, but you got to read the book and make your own conclusions.

    http://www.julianjaynes.org/bicameralmind.php

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godless
    You want evidence?

    Well I got evidence, but you got to read the book and make your own conclusions.
    Julian Jaynes sprang to mind well before I got to your link. I read this book 20 years ago and some friends and I discussed it in depth. I though that it was a great book.
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    Julian Jaynes sprang to mind well before I got to your link. I read this book 20 years ago and some friends and I discussed it in depth. I though that it was a great book.
    Yea ti's one of those books that one reads and hardly ever forgets it.

    I read it about 20 years ago as well.
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    To reply to the unconditional love statement: It's a major fallacy. Many state that their god loves people regardless, belief or not, yet condemn them to death. And many times in the bible, worship of other gods is FORBIDDEN to the highest extent, which means his love is conditional as you HAVE to worship only HIM*. By the same coin, god "loves" us so much he punishes us justly. By slaughtering thousands of people throughout history as opposed to using his omnipotence and omniscience to easily create peaceful solutions.
    It's really a long battle with the Unconditional Love philosophy, as far as I know, neither side has ever gained any headway since both sides can just as easily twist things around to their views. Thus, it fully depends on which you believe sounds more logical.


    *Footnote: Athiests would escape this, since they worship no gods, but some Thiests go by the belief that Athiests worship man. Which is, in some/most cases, inaccurate, but good luck convincing the Thiest that.

    Now for my fear statement, fear is, like love, one of the dominant reasons. it's not really the only reason, and I'm not sure where along the line someone misread it as "Fear is THEE DOMNINANT reason" when it comes to religion. And that "religion makes fear" as this is incorrect, only some aspects in some religions do. Not all and entirely, and most of the time it's not viewed as fear by those in it. Granted, fear is the largest motivator for a great many things, and hell, fear is mostly linked directly to survival instincts and thus could be said to be one of the base emotions humans have. However, fear is regardless one of the dominant reasons for religion being CREATED, and as I stated, it's rarely the sole reason used today to be religious as it was thousands (maybe more like hundreds) of years ago.

    .since the quote function takes more room, I'll use my own quotations. Less work, and the following is from one of mitchellmckains posts.

    >>
    But was it fear that made Jesus say take up the cross and follow me?
    <<
    There are many alternative theories to Jesus. A more "pagan" belief is that the god he believed in found him to be of exceptional ability from birth and gave him knowledge on how to use his ability. This would explain him going off for that extended period of time to sort out his thoughts, but also supports the belief that a buddha has existed in history, since a buddha would be of similar born skill (if said buddha was a buddha from birth or so). However, the philosophies of a Buddha or how to become one I do not agree with, only the science aspects of the human ability. It should be noted that, everybody is born differently, thus the skill would be born into a person differently and at different levels. Unfortunately since this is a pseudoscience type explanation, I don't really expect anybody to take much merit in it. Anyway, the belief according to more pagan views goes that jesus was awakened to his exceptional ability through that knowledge to control his thoughts, energy, etc, at such a level that it allowed him to do numerous "miracles" that would require a vast amount of brain waves to EM field (one scientific theory, EM fields can interact with brainwaves, and according to the UFT, that can change matter, thus brain waves can also interact with EM fields and change them and matter. Mind over matter, in one case. Haha). One of them, being precognition (which is one of the "abilities" that I don't believe there exists a sane scientific theory for. My appologies). I can firmly say that WITHOUT jesus, there would have been *MUCH* more bloodshed in human history. He did his best (according to the psychology of how jesus acted) to prevent it using his exceptional abilities.

    >>
    Was it fear that made Christians die in the colleseum rather than renounce Christianity?
    <<
    technically he died OUTSIDE on a cross or stake (according to some translations). The religion at the time, as well, I don't believe was called christianity. If you do some research about the area where jesus was born, I believe his religion would have been most likely jewish (rather, the jewish religion at that time) or some other heavily-used religion. He did not renounce his beliefs or god.

    Actually, no, judging by his actions, it was probably the best end-result. and again, according to one more "pagan" theory, Gods purpose for jesus had ran out, and he couldn't have him on the earth any longer. Hence God refusing, after jesus's prayers, to allow him to live. The explanation for this of course is he "died for our sins", the philosophical issue is that since god is omnipotent, why must someone die rather than it just being? Jesus could have lived, according to this. Although I'm being FAR too brief, I appologize, but I'm lazy.


    <<
    Was it fear that made missionaries go to a place where they know the last missionaries were slaughtered?
    <<
    That's called faith, determination, and by some just sheer insanity. Love is also included in the explanation, but I really don't see a reason to go on. The rest you can list yourself.


    P.S: The above "explanations" are more of a hypothesis that's continually being refined according to what I've researched so far. Most likely wrong, but I'd rather see it to the end than give it up mid trial. I really would like to AVOID being flamed, so just skip that and go on to philosophical rebuttles or scientific ones, or whatever else you have. Also, since I used a more psuedoscience explanation, I'd like to apologize for placing it in a thread not in that section. XP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Please prove that "atheism is the natural order of things" and I will prove the existence of God and the absolute truth of Christianity. You can begin by proving that God does not exist.
    Both of you should have no problem with your proofs. Proofs are easy. The easiest way to prove anything is logic. What you are really asking is to construct a proof that the other will accept. This is possible, but far less probable.
    No need for such caution. "Impossible" is the right word.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The evidence points in the opposite direction since man has had religion all throughout history
    I would like you to prove this. (joke) This is not true. This is clearly false. On what basis could you make such speculation, unless you believe that man was created 6,000 years ago? When our species first evolved and began developing language, there could not have been religion, I believe. Religion would have taken time to develop. Furthermore, unless you have an extremely broad defintion for religion, you cannot even demonstrate that all societies necessarily had religion ever.
    You should read as carefully as I write. Ever heard of the word "pre-historic"? It means before history. When exactly do you think history begins? It is pointless to talk about the religion of man before history since it would be little more than speculation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    and it is the atheistic philosophies that are recent inventions.
    I agree that athiestic philosophy is recent, but not the lack of belief in a god. This had to have been prior, as it took time for early man to be able to formulate the concept of religion (even for those that did).
    Ah now you are speculating. Are you having fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Frankly, in my view, this points to an evolutionary bias against atheism, and suggests that the human community requires religion for long term survival.
    Now I wonder what you mean by atheism. Perhaps not what I, an athiest, mean by the word.
    Let me rephrase then. "Frankly, in my view, this points to an evolutionary (in the general sense of the term rather than genetic) bias for religion, and suggests that the human community requires religion for long term survival."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The real poison is the arrogance of human beings who think they know better and feel the need to force their way of thinking on everyone else.
    I could not agree more. In the United States, this seems to me to be 100% the work of theists. Do you disagree? I agree with you that they are very arrogant to demand that non-believers adopt their versions of morality as a matter of law.
    Yes but this is a predictable backlash against what the liberals and humanists have been doing for years before, which is a backlash against what the religious did before that and so on and so on. These increasingly radical swings to extremes are scary and dangerous. This country was built on compromise. We must learn to compromise again or this country will shake itself apart. The patriot act is the first sign of the kind of tear, in the rights that protects the individual against the tyrrany of the majority, that can happen in these extremist swings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    In fact, it is not love that was the primary motivating force for Islam to grow so powerful so quickly at all, but hate and fear, the hate of the conquerors and the fear of the conquered.
    Interesting occupation you have to rewrite history. The expansion of Islam was not motivated by hate. That is ridiculous. Its purpose was peace. The same purpose as the expansion of the Roman empire, to create peace through conquest. But whereas the price of admission to the Pax Romana was slavery or taxes (and a Roman governor), in the Islamic Peace the price was conversion to Islam.
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    Again with the squeaky shoes...

    The question is not why people are religious or why religion was started. The question is: What does religion teach?

    As far as I can tell religion does not teach fear. So, why are we still talking about it?
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You should read as carefully as I write. Ever heard of the word "pre-historic"? It means before history. When exactly do you think history begins? It is pointless to talk about the religion of man before history since it would be little more than speculation.
    I am confused by this, as I consider it an error on your part. Pre-history does not at all mean before history, as there is no such thing as before history. The history of mankind is the entire history. When historians speak of pre-history, they mean before recorded history, which means before writing. The phrase "throughout history" that you used cannot be limited to, when, the last couple of thousand years, unless you make that much more explicit.

    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The real poison is the arrogance of human beings who think they know better and feel the need to force their way of thinking on everyone else.
    I could not agree more. In the United States, this seems to me to be 100% the work of theists. Do you disagree? I agree with you that they are very arrogant to demand that non-believers adopt their versions of morality as a matter of law.
    Yes but this is a predictable backlash against what the liberals and humanists have been doing for years before, which is a backlash against what the religious did before that and so on and so on. These increasingly radical swings to extremes are scary and dangerous. This country was built on compromise. We must learn to compromise again or this country will shake itself apart. The patriot act is the first sign of the kind of tear, in the rights that protects the individual against the tyrrany of the majority, that can happen in these extremist swings.
    Whatever the cause, I have never seen the countrty more divided, and I blame the Republicans and the theists as the current primary causes. The Republicans due to the greed for power, and the theists for their desire to force the entire country to adopt their set of morals as the law of the land.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    In fact, it is not love that was the primary motivating force for Islam to grow so powerful so quickly at all, but hate and fear, the hate of the conquerors and the fear of the conquered.
    Interesting occupation you have to rewrite history. The expansion of Islam was not motivated by hate. That is ridiculous. Its purpose was peace. The same purpose as the expansion of the Roman empire, to create peace through conquest. But whereas the price of admission to the Pax Romana was slavery or taxes (and a Roman governor), in the Islamic Peace the price was conversion to Islam.
    I consider it funny that you claim that I am trying to rewrite history, and then you make your statement. You claim that the reason the Muslims killed so many people, and killed anyone who did not convert, was because of their intense desire for peace. I would like to know any evidence you have to support this. There was no impending force of conquest on their door step when they went out seeking war with the Persians and the Byzantines. There was no war when they left their peninsula looking to kill people and force the rest to convert. It sounds sick to me that the desire to kill large numbers of people and force the rest to convert sounds to you like a quest for peace in god. Peoples have never searched for peace through conquest of an empire, but power, riches, and control. It sounds to me like you think that the ultimate peace would be to kill off all but one's own group of people. What a wonderful way to praise god and create peace around the world, by depopulating it completely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You should read as carefully as I write. Ever heard of the word "pre-historic"? It means before history. When exactly do you think history begins? It is pointless to talk about the religion of man before history since it would be little more than speculation.
    I am confused by this, as I consider it an error on your part. Pre-history does not at all mean before history, as there is no such thing as before history.
    Hmmm... you are making things up again. Let me quote.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.thefreedictionary.com/prehistory
    "prehistory"pre·his·to·ry (pr-hst-r)
    n. pl. pre·his·to·ries
    1. History of humankind in the period before recorded history.
    2. The circumstances or developments leading up to or surrounding a situation, event, or development; background: "[He] then told me the curious prehistory of his obsessive interest in the seduction theory" Janet Malcolm.
    You know, your responses here are so illogical and disorganized that I get the impression that you are sputtering. Just accept that you were wrong this time (when you said "This is clearly false."). I does happen occasionally doesn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The history of mankind is the entire history. When historians speak of pre-history, they mean before recorded history, which means before writing. The phrase "throughout history" that you used cannot be limited to, when, the last couple of thousand years, unless you make that much more explicit.
    What else could I mean? That is what the word means.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.answers.com/topic/history
    It was not until the time of the Greeks that historiography, the writing of organic history, emerged. The compilations of the logographoi in the 6th cent. B.C. were organized records.
    So 2600 years. We can go back a little further, for every story of every civilization predating that time also speaks of religion. The point is that there is no historical account or story of a civilization without religion. Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion. Of course this doesn't prove that Cro-magnon man was always religious. As to that, nobody knows. For that there is no evidence one way or another. I am sorry but only the stubborn ideologue could fail to recognize the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The real poison is the arrogance of human beings who think they know better and feel the need to force their way of thinking on everyone else.
    I could not agree more. In the United States, this seems to me to be 100% the work of theists. Do you disagree? I agree with you that they are very arrogant to demand that non-believers adopt their versions of morality as a matter of law.
    Yet the liberals are no different, demanding that the laws be changed to make their morality a matter of law until the freedom of religion is extinguished. They both have this uncompromising self-righteousness that thinks that since they are right, the ends justify the means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Yes but this is a predictable backlash against what the liberals and humanists have been doing for years before, which is a backlash against what the religious did before that and so on and so on. These increasingly radical swings to extremes are scary and dangerous. This country was built on compromise. We must learn to compromise again or this country will shake itself apart. The patriot act is the first sign of the kind of tear, in the rights that protects the individual against the tyrrany of the majority, that can happen in these extremist swings.
    Whatever the cause, I have never seen the countrty more divided, and I blame the Republicans and the theists as the current primary causes. The Republicans due to the greed for power, and the theists for their desire to force the entire country to adopt their set of morals as the law of the land.
    Yes the division and swings to extreme are getting worse each time. That is what I said, but blame yourself. You show the same inability to compromise as the Christian right. With the attitudes expressed in this forum, how could the Christian population of this country think of liberals and atheists as anything but mortal enemies. You call their religion a disease. Simple self preservation seems to require them to reciprocate by calling atheism and liberalism a disease. Neither of you will be satisfied until the other is cured (exterminated).
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Again with the squeaky shoes...

    The question is not why people are religious or why religion was started. The question is: What does religion teach?

    As far as I can tell religion does not teach fear. So, why are we still talking about it?
    The problem is that the only people who say that religion has one unified message are themselves proponents of a religion. So when you insist on people talking about this you sound like you are proseltyzing religion by means of the Socratic method.

    I suppose we could visit a few of these religions that do this and consider their opinions on the matter.

    Bahai: "the primary purpose of God in revealing His will through His Manifestations is to effect a transformation in the spiritual and material life of human society" (http://info.bahai.org/bahaullah-teachings.html)
    "The purpose of religion as revealed from the heaven of God's holy Will is to establish unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world." (http://www.bahai-faith.org/english.html)

    Hari Krishna: "The only goal of religion, according to Vaishnavas, should be to develop love for God." (http://www.atlantaharekrishnas.org/D....aspx?tabid=93)

    The Moonies (I would use their own name for themselves but they keep changing it): The purpose of religion is to reunite man with God, for human life and relationships do not function properly unless God plays a guiding role in it. (paraphrase from my own experience, quotations are difficult in the case of the moonies because Rev. Moon has too much to say on the topic.)

    "Religion is the historical system for salvation which was created and driven by God. ... Until now religious people did not know that the purpose of religion is to prevent the body from continuing to lead the mind. If there had not been a fall, religion would not have been necessary." (http://www.unification.net/1995/950625.html)

    A google of "Rev. Moon" "purpose of religion" will turn up many quotes like this (129 hits). Although to tell the truth a google of "Bahai" "purpose of religion" gets 451 hits, while a google of "Hari Krishna" "purpose of religion" gets only 11 hits.

    Hmmmm... this encouraged me to try what I thought to be less likely searches. But I was surprised.

    google "Latter Day Saints" "purpose of religion" (132 hits)
    That is the purpose of religion -- to provide that social fabric. If I didn't have that, I would be missing something from my life that I would never get back. It is not something I have the ability to construct. It is spontaneously there.

    google "Catholic Church" "purpose of religion" (939 hits)
    the purpose of religion is for man to "fully discover his true self" (http://www.sspx.org/Catholic_FAQs/po...w_religion.htm)

    Cool, huh? This is another reason to add to those I already have for admiration of the Catholic church.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You know, your responses here are so illogical and disorganized that I get the impression that you are sputtering. Just accept that you were wrong this time (when you said "This is clearly false."). I does happen occasionally doesn't it?
    I am quite surprised at you. I did not think that you would stoop to this just accept that you are wrong bullshit. You made a mistake, and now you are asking me to accept that your mistake is mine. You said throughout history, and then you changed it to throughout recorded history. This is a mistake on your part, as you did not say it the first time. Furthermore, it is ridiculous, as you are assuming that before mankind could write he left zero evidence. Ask any anthropologist if there is any evidence of mankind before 2,600 years ago. You speak about illogical, and yet your entire argument is illogical. In addition to being wrong about the ridiculous notion that all of history referring to recorded history only, you are getting rude and trying to blame me for your mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    The history of mankind is the entire history. When historians speak of pre-history, they mean before recorded history, which means before writing. The phrase "throughout history" that you used cannot be limited to, when, the last couple of thousand years, unless you make that much more explicit.
    What else could I mean? That is what the word means.
    I am very surprised that you do not know what the word means.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.answers.com/topic/history
    It was not until the time of the Greeks that historiography, the writing of organic history, emerged. The compilations of the logographoi in the 6th cent. B.C. were organized records.
    So 2600 years. We can go back a little further, for every story of every civilization predating that time also speaks of religion.
    I see. You do not know much about history. That does explain why you say this.

    The point is that there is no historical account or story of a civilization without religion.
    See. You think that there is no evidence in history except for that which was written down in "recorded history". This is not correct, and you contention is not correct, in my opinion.

    Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion.
    Sure. You would go to China and tell them that they all have religion. Perhaps you have an extremely liberal meaning of the word religion.

    Of course this doesn't prove that Cro-magnon man was always religious.
    Wow. Are you suggesting that if we go back more than 2,600 years, before recorded history, or in your opinion before history, we have Cro-magnon man, with little or nothing in between.

    As to that, nobody knows. For that there is no evidence one way or another.
    And you know this based on what?

    I am sorry but only the stubborn ideologue could fail to recognize the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else).
    I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. It is a very stupid statement that everyone in the world but the most stubborn would agree with you about anything. Surely you are smart enough to recognize that.

    I could not agree more. In the United States, this seems to me to be 100% the work of theists. Do you disagree? I agree with you that they are very arrogant to demand that non-believers adopt their versions of morality as a matter of law.
    Yet the liberals are no different, demanding that the laws be changed to make their morality a matter of law until the freedom of religion is extinguished.
    I have no interest in restricting followers of religion. I think that they should practice their morality as they see fit. I have never advocated a law to restrict their freedom to control their own lives. Yet, a great many of them would love to create laws to restrict my behavior in line with their morality.

    They both have this uncompromising self-righteousness that thinks that since they are right, the ends justify the means.
    Perhaps, but it is they, not I, who wants to control the behavior and freedoms of the other.

    Yes the division and swings to extreme are getting worse each time. That is what I said, but blame yourself. You show the same inability to compromise as the Christian right. With the attitudes expressed in this forum, how could the Christian population of this country think of liberals and atheists as anything but mortal enemies.
    There you go. I don't care how religious people behave, but to you this makes us mortal enemies. I don't think of them as mortal enemies.


    You call their religion a disease.
    This is pretty nasty of you, don't you think? You are putting words in my mouth that you did not find in my posts. I never once called any religion a disease. What is wrong with you, trying to put this crap in my mouth?

    Simple self preservation seems to require them to reciprocate by calling atheism and liberalism a disease.
    I see that you not only approve of their tactics, but are showing that you are good at it.

    Neither of you will be satisfied until the other is cured (exterminated).
    What crap. Are you drunk?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    In fact, it is not love that was the primary motivating force for Islam to grow so powerful so quickly at all, but hate and fear, the hate of the conquerors and the fear of the conquered.
    The expansion of Islam was not motivated by hate. That is ridiculous. Its purpose was peace. The same purpose as the expansion of the Roman empire, to create peace through conquest. But whereas the price of admission to the Pax Romana was slavery or taxes (and a Roman governor), in the Islamic Peace the price was conversion to Islam.
    I consider it funny that you claim that I am trying to rewrite history, and then you make your statement. You claim that the reason the Muslims killed so many people, and killed anyone who did not convert, was because of their intense desire for peace. I would like to know any evidence you have to support this. There was no impending force of conquest on their door step when they went out seeking war with the Persians and the Byzantines. There was no war when they left their peninsula looking to kill people and force the rest to convert. It sounds sick to me that the desire to kill large numbers of people and force the rest to convert sounds to you like a quest for peace in god. Peoples have never searched for peace through conquest of an empire, but power, riches, and control. It sounds to me like you think that the ultimate peace would be to kill off all but one's own group of people. What a wonderful way to praise god and create peace around the world, by depopulating it completely.
    Well that was my impression based on my study of the religion at seminary. Frankly I think you have swallowed Christian propoganda against Islam. But lets stop the BS and look up some objective sources.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.american.edu/TED/spice.htm
    The new religion was spread beyond the Arab lands through two primary methods. The first was conquest through war. The second, less violent, approach was that carried along the spice trade routes. This second approach was far preferable within the teachings of the new religion because it allowed for conversion by means other than force; the more violent path is expressly condemned in the Qur'an. This case study then will be a historic look at the spread of Islam using the spice trade as its chief vehicle, as well as a discussion about data surrounding this agricultural trade's impact on the environment.
    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.barkati.net/english/#01
    From the oasis cities of Makkah and Madinah in the Arabian desert, the message of Islam went forth with electrifying speed. Within half a century of the Prophet's death, Islam had spread to three continents. Islam is not, as some imagine in the West, a religion of the sword nor did it spread primarily by means of war. It was only within Arabia, where a crude form of idolatry was rampant, that Islam was propagated by warring against those tribes which did not accept the message of God--whereas Christians and Jews were not forced to convert. Outside of Arabia also the vast lands conquered by the Arab armies in a short period became Muslim not by force of the sword but by the appeal of the new religion. It was faith in One God and emphasis upon His Mercy that brought vast numbers of people into the fold of Islam. The new religion did not coerce people to convert. Many continued to remain Jews and Christians and to this day important communities of the followers of these faiths are found in Muslim lands.
    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.cqpress.com/context/articles/epr_islam.html
    From the end of the effective power of the caliphs in the tenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth, the size of the Muslim world almost doubled. The vehicles for expansion were not conquering armies so much as traveling merchants and itinerant teachers. In Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa, in Central Asia, and in the many different societies in the Indian Ocean basin, a growing number of people came to be included within the world community of Islam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Well that was my impression based on my study of the religion at seminary. Frankly I think you have swallowed Christian propoganda against Islam. But lets stop the BS and look up some objective sources.
    I did not study at seminary, but only studied the history of Islam and the neighboring empires. The Arabs conquered the Persian empire, by war, went into Africa, by war, and fought the Byzantines, with war. I agree that there was some convesion due to the superiority of the religion, but that was not the primary thrust in the first 150 years. Your source says that spreading without source was preferable, but it was force that drove Islam in non-stop war for 150 years.

    However, I see that what you read does support this notion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You said throughout history, and then you changed it to throughout recorded history.
    Well if you insist. No other meaning of the word history occured to me. And considering the context I just do not see that any other meaning of the word makes any sense. How can you argue about the presence of religion in a time of which their is no record of the activities of man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    What else could I mean? That is what the word means.
    I am very surprised that you do not know what the word means.
    Disputes over the meanings of words are quite common in discussions like this. I don't see the point of telling each other that the other doesn't know the meaning of the word. We can just look it up to settle the dispute.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.answers.com/topic/history
    his·to·ry
    n., pl. -ries.

    1. a. A usually chronological record of events, as of the life or development of a people or institution, often including an explanation of or commentary on those events: a history of the Vikings.
    b. A formal written account of related natural phenomena: a history of volcanoes.
    c. A record of a patient's medical background.
    d. An established record or pattern of behavior: an inmate with a history of substance abuse.
    2. The branch of knowledge that records and analyzes past events: “History has a long-range perspective” (Elizabeth Gurley Flynn).

    3. a. The past events relating to a particular thing: The history of their rivalry is full of intrigue.
    b. The aggregate of past events or human affairs: basic tools used throughout history.
    c. An interesting past: a house with history.
    d. Something that belongs to the past: Their troubles are history now.
    e. Slang. One that is no longer worth consideration: Why should we worry about him? He's history!
    4. A drama based on historical events: the histories of Shakespeare.
    I see. You do not know much about history. That does explain why you say this.
    Well I don't see. In particular, I don't see why you say this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You think that there is no evidence in history except for that which was written down in "recorded history". This is not correct, and you contention is not correct, in my opinion.
    What other history is there than recorded history? Your fantasies?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion.
    Sure. You would go to China and tell them that they all have religion. Perhaps you have an extremely liberal meaning of the word religion.
    WOW. Classic case of exception PROVES the rule. We all know why there is so little religion in China right now. And this is RECENT history!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    As to that, nobody knows. For that there is no evidence one way or another.
    And you know this based on what?
    Hmmm.... what was I claiming to know? Do you know anything? Do you know anybody who knows anything? How do they know what they know?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I am sorry but only the stubborn ideologue could fail to recognize the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else).
    I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. It is a very stupid statement that everyone in the world but the most stubborn would agree with you about anything. Surely you are smart enough to recognize that.
    Gosh, let me rephrase that. "The overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else)."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I have no interest in restricting followers of religion. I think that they should practice their morality as they see fit. I have never advocated a law to restrict their freedom to control their own lives. Yet, a great many of them would love to create laws to restrict my behavior in line with their morality.
    Great!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    There you go. I don't care how religious people behave, but to you this makes us mortal enemies. I don't think of them as mortal enemies.
    I did not say that I made anyone a mortal enemy, nor did I say that you made anyone a mortal enemy. I said, "With the attitudes expressed in this forum (calling religion a disease), how could the Christian population of this country think of liberals and atheists as anything but mortal enemies."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You call their religion a disease.
    This is pretty nasty of you, don't you think? You are putting words in my mouth that you did not find in my posts. I never once called any religion a disease. What is wrong with you, trying to put this crap in my mouth?
    I used the collective "you", and I am gratified that your reaction seems to distinguish yourself from geezer and deny that you uphold this statement by him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Simple self preservation seems to require them to reciprocate by calling atheism and liberalism a disease.
    I see that you not only approve of their tactics, but are showing that you are good at it.
    Tut tut... I was quite clear that I did not consider atheism a disease. In fact I explained what I considered to be the true disease.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Neither of you will be satisfied until the other is cured (exterminated).
    What crap. Are you drunk?
    One need not be drunk to indulge in a little hyperbole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Well that was my impression based on my study of the religion at seminary. Frankly I think you have swallowed Christian propoganda against Islam. But lets stop the BS and look up some objective sources.
    I did not study at seminary, but only studied the history of Islam and the neighboring empires. The Arabs conquered the Persian empire, by war, went into Africa, by war, and fought the Byzantines, with war. I agree that there was some convesion due to the superiority of the religion, but that was not the primary thrust in the first 150 years. Your source says that spreading without source was preferable, but it was force that drove Islam in non-stop war for 150 years.

    However, I see that what you read does support this notion.
    But what I was objecting to in your original post was the claim that it was motivated by "hate". Seems to me that such extremism deserves the opposite extreme to argue with it. They did not force them to convert to Islam out of hate but LOVE (to save their souls from eternal damation). Ha ha ha...LOL More seriously, I have no doubt that greed (the most universal motivation for war) played a significant role in the first 150 years that you talk about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You said throughout history, and then you changed it to throughout recorded history.
    Well if you insist. No other meaning of the word history occured to me. And considering the context I just do not see that any other meaning of the word makes any sense. How can you argue about the presence of religion in a time of which their is no record of the activities of man.
    For those of us who have some experience with anthropology, the notion that there was not history before mankind invented writing is not very meaningful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You think that there is no evidence in history except for that which was written down in "recorded history". This is not correct, and you contention is not correct, in my opinion.
    What other history is there than recorded history? Your fantasies?
    I guess that I just have to accept that you believe that history only goes back 2,600 years, and that before that time is pre-recorded history. Somehow, I suppose, pre-recorded HISTORY is not to be considered HISTORY.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion.
    Sure. You would go to China and tell them that they all have religion. Perhaps you have an extremely liberal meaning of the word religion.
    WOW. Classic case of exception PROVES the rule.
    I guess that that is one way to look at it. I consider it more like one exception disproves your gross generalization. Note your statement below:

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion.
    Now you claim that any exception somehow proves your generalization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I am sorry but only the stubborn ideologue could fail to recognize the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else).
    I am sorry, but this is ridiculous. It is a very stupid statement that everyone in the world but the most stubborn would agree with you about anything. Surely you are smart enough to recognize that.
    Gosh, let me rephrase that. "The overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else)."
    You should be a little more precise, and state that the overwhelming evidence that you have decided to subscribe to has convinced you, with your religious prediliction, that this is a valid conclusion. Your objective framing of your subjective argument is confusing you into believing that it is somehow objective.

    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    You call their religion a disease.
    This is pretty nasty of you, don't you think? You are putting words in my mouth that you did not find in my posts. I never once called any religion a disease. What is wrong with you, trying to put this crap in my mouth?
    I used the collective "you", and I am gratified that your reaction seems to distinguish yourself from geezer and deny that you uphold this statement by him.[quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Yes the division and swings to extreme are getting worse each time. That is what I said, but blame yourself. You show the same inability to compromise as the Christian right. ... You call their religion a disease.
    I am not gratified, but mortified. You said you, yourself, and you to me, and somehow I am supposed to believe that you do not mean me even though you said it. As sloppy as I consider it to say you in this case when you do not mean me at all, so you say, I certainly do not recognize "blame yourself" as a common usage of the third person you. Are you suggesting that all 3 of these uses are referring to the third person, or that you switched in midstream and that only those that I agreed with would I have any suspicion were actually directed at me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    For those of us who have some experience with anthropology, the notion that there was not history before mankind invented writing is not very meaningful.

    I guess that I just have to accept that you believe that history only goes back 2,600 years, and that before that time is pre-recorded history. Somehow, I suppose, pre-recorded HISTORY is not to be considered HISTORY.
    Well I am all ears. Perhaps you would like to point out the studies that antropology has made concerning the existence or non-existence of religion before recorded history.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Furthermore every single group of people encountered on the planet have religion.
    Sure. You would go to China and tell them that they all have religion. Perhaps you have an extremely liberal meaning of the word religion.
    WOW. Classic case of exception PROVES the rule.
    I guess that that is one way to look at it. I consider it more like one exception disproves your gross generalization.

    Now you claim that any exception somehow proves your generalization.
    Ah now you grasp at logical flaws like straws forgetting the context of the argument. The context was the argument that atheism is a recent invention. So explain to me how China is a counter-example? Before Buddhism was Taoism and Confusianism, and before that there was a folk religion that accounts for all the gods in Chinese art. Or do you have some arguement that these do not count somehow.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China
    Religion in China has varied widely since the beginning of Chinese history. Temples of many different religions dot China's landscape, including Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religion.

    The study of religion in China is complicated by several factors. Because many Chinese belief systems have concepts of a sacred and sometimes spiritual world yet do not invoke a concept of God, classifying a Chinese belief system as either a religion or a philosophy can be problematic. Although Taoism clearly developed a religious organization with priests, monks and temples, Confucianism remained chiefly an intellectual pursuit.

    The "official" orthodox faith system ascribed to by most dynasties of China until the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty is a worship of "Heaven" as an omnipotent force. This faith system pre-dated the development of Taoism or the introduction of Buddhism and Islam. It has features of a monotheism in that Heaven is seen as an omnipotent entity, endowed with personality but no corporeal form. "Heaven" as a supernatural force was variously referred to as Shang Di (literally Emperor Above) or Huang Tian Shang Di (Sagely Heaven, Emperor Above). Worship of Heaven includes the erection of shrines, the last and greatest being the Altar of Heaven in Beijing, and the offering of prayers. Manifestation of the powers of Heaven include the weather and natural disasters. Especially evil people were believed to be killed by Heaven through lightning, with their crimes inscribed on their (burnt) spines.

    Although it gradually diminished in popular belief after the advent of Buddhism and Taoism, among others, some of its concepts remained in use throughout the pre-modern period. These concepts include the Mandate of Heaven, the Emperor's role as Son of Heaven, and the legitimate overthrow of a dynasty when its "mandate" ended. As a result, the worship of Heaven remained the official cult or religion of Chinese empires. Emperors who favoured Taoism or Buddhism and neglected the worship of Heaven were seen as anomalous. Elements were also incorporated into Chinese folk religion. Execution by lightning, for example, became one of the roles of the thunder gods. The concept of the almighty Heaven remained in popular expressions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Gosh, let me rephrase that. "The overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is no evidence for anything else)."
    You should be a little more precise, and state that the overwhelming evidence that you have decided to subscribe to has convinced you, with your religious prediliction, that this is a valid conclusion. Your objective framing of your subjective argument is confusing you into believing that it is somehow objective.
    Oh, ok. If we change the subject to whether there are any places where there is no religion today, we would have to include China as an example. Also if we try to imagine a history before what is recorded we certainly can imagine a history of early man without religion. But if we stick to the evidence and to the topic of whether atheism is a recent invention then, the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is just no evidence for anything else).

    Or do you have some other evidence in mind?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I am not gratified, but mortified. You said you, yourself, and you to me, and somehow I am supposed to believe that you do not mean me even though you said it. As sloppy as I consider it to say you in this case when you do not mean me at all, so you say, I certainly do not recognize "blame yourself" as a common usage of the third person you. Are you suggesting that all 3 of these uses are referring to the third person, or that you switched in midstream and that only those that I agreed with would I have any suspicion were actually directed at me?
    So you agree with me that religion is not a disease and therefore the current state of affairs is no fault of yours, or do you agree with geezer that religion is a disease, although you did not say it in this thread and therefore I have no justification for attributing this belief to you, even though it is true? It has got to be one or the other, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Speaking of the dominating religions, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the New Age beliefs: these religions advocate "unconditional love".
    Ha, ha!!

    You claim that these religions advocate "unconditional love". I suppose that you blame all of the lack of unconditional love on the believers, and exonerate the religions of any blame. I notice that you use the word "dominating" religions. How did these religions get to be so dominant? Certainly not through the advocacy of unconditional love.

    In fact, it is not love that was the primary motivating force for Islam to grow so powerful so quickly at all, but hate and fear, the hate of the conquerors and the fear of the conquered.
    I apologize. The way I understood the question is: what do world religions advocate? I didn't get DaBoB asking for how the religions spread or their effect on the world.

    You see, the truth of the matter is that these religions do advocate "unconditional love". The ones I named above, they all advocate unconditional love. The fact that disciples of such religions carry out outrageous acts does not negate the fact that these religions have a doctrine of "unconditional love". It only highlites the fact that several people have a warped understanding of the various scriptures.

    The reason I used the term 'dominating' religions is because there are religions and sects which advocate evil. In this light, I was speaking of the 'dominating' religions, as named above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    heres a few scriptures from both.
    KJV Genesis 2: And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
    3: And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
    4: Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
    5: And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you,
    6: And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
    7: And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
    8: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
    9: And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
    10: And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
    11: And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
    12: And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
    13: And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

    Qu'ran
    Kill disbelievers wherever you find them. If they attack you, then kill them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. (But if they desist in their unbelief, then don't kill them.) 2:191-2
    Those who make war with Allah and his messenger will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. That is how they will be treated in this world, and in the next they will have an awful doom. 5:33
    so now you know, and please dont say something so inanely stupid again. I thought you were more intelligent than that.
    Monté this question is mainly towards you but, ofcourse, anyone feel free to comment. What do you think of the above quotes? Especially the Qu'ran. one.
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    This is interesting. I am already acquainted with both these verses having read the Qu'ran and the Bible both extensively.

    The first is simple: the one from the Bible. That was simply a test of faith. Here, God was testing the extent of Abraham's faith in asking him to kill the only son he had. Abraham knew that one way or another if the order was from God, then it would end up well. This however has nothing to do with advocating evil as you can see God asked Abraham not to kill his son.

    The second is slightly more complicated. Read in that context it appears very hostile. I myself was disgusted when I first heard of it. However after further study, when I had read more extensively I understood. That verse does not mean Muslims should walk around killing non-believers. Did Muhammad do that? The answer is definitely no. Muhamad's uncle himself was a non-believer until his death. Muhammad himself had several transactions with non-believers; he sheltered and nourished them. Notice that this text talks of a reward for non believers. This is in the case where a Muslim has firstly been antagonized by a non-believer. Yes, the Qu'ran does advocate revenge.

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    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    For those of us who have some experience with anthropology, the notion that there was not history before mankind invented writing is not very meaningful.

    I guess that I just have to accept that you believe that history only goes back 2,600 years, and that before that time is pre-recorded history. Somehow, I suppose, pre-recorded HISTORY is not to be considered HISTORY.
    Well I am all ears. Perhaps you would like to point out the studies that antropology has made concerning the existence or non-existence of religion before recorded history.
    No problem. Pick up any basic book on anthropology. Examination of burial artifacts and methodology is one example of a method of determining the belief system of the people involved.

    Ah now you grasp at logical flaws like straws forgetting the context of the argument.
    The context is lost when you make gross generalizations. You seem to do that often with me. You make gross generalizations, and then complain that somehow the context limits the grossness of your genertalization beyone what your generalization claimed. To me, your generalization was very clear. If you want to limit your words, I recommend that you do not make such explicitly gross generalizations.

    [quote]
    The context was the argument that atheism is a recent invention. So explain to me how China is a counter-example? Before Buddhism was Taoism and Confusianism, and before that there was a folk religion that accounts for all the gods in Chinese art. Or do you have some arguement that these do not count somehow.
    Buddhism is not relevant, as it is a fairly recent develpment that was borrowed. Daoism and Confucianism were not religious in any sense similar to the western sense. The fold religion and its gods that you mention are not at all gods like in the western sense. Perhaps you are being very liberal in your definition of religion, as I asked before, to claim that every society ever has believed in religion.

    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_China
    Religion in China has varied widely since the beginning of Chinese history. Temples of many different religions dot China's landscape, including Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religion.
    I see. I was correct, then. You have an extremely liberal defintion of religion, which more or less includes everything that is not science. You match Skinwalker in this respect.

    The study of religion in China is complicated by several factors. Because many Chinese belief systems have concepts of a sacred and sometimes spiritual world yet do not invoke a concept of God, classifying a Chinese belief system as either a religion or a philosophy can be problematic. Although Taoism clearly developed a religious organization with priests, monks and temples, Confucianism remained chiefly an intellectual pursuit.
    The Dao is far more than a religious concept. To classify it as a religion is to simplify it.

    Oh, ok. If we change the subject to whether there are any places where there is no religion today, we would have to include China as an example. Also if we try to imagine a history before what is recorded we certainly can imagine a history of early man without religion. But if we stick to the evidence and to the topic of whether atheism is a recent invention then, the overwhelming evidence is that the natural state of man is religious not atheist (there is just no evidence for anything else).
    Are we here again? I disagree. Shall we repeat our arguments?

    I am willing to concede that we do not agree on what constitutes historical evidence, what constitutes religion, or what constitutes atheism. Perhaps we should move on with a different discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    You see, the truth of the matter is that these religions do advocate "unconditional love".
    Since you claim this to be the "truth" of the matter, I would like to know on what basis you know this to be truth. Also, on what basis do you claim to know for a fact that your understanding of these religions is superior to mine or to anyone else, such as the people who you claim have a warped understanding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    You see, the truth of the matter is that these religions do advocate "unconditional love".
    Since you claim this to be the "truth" of the matter, I would like to know on what basis you know this to be truth. Also, on what basis do you claim to know for a fact that your understanding of these religions is superior to mine or to anyone else, such as the people who you claim have a warped understanding.
    I base my knowledge of this truth on cold facts, derived from studying the various religions.

    In the New Testament of the Bible, the final commandment ordained by Jesus Christ was unconditional love: (paraphrasing) Love your God; Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    In the Islamic Gospel, the very Jesus (Arabic: Isa) ordained the same thing.

    Buddhism teaches respect for all living creatures. Staunch Buddhists do not consume anything living; they equally do not believe in harming others. I believe you should be acquainted with these teachings having spent time in China?

    The New Age beliefs equally advocate unconditional love, accpetance and unity.

    I think this is enough to substantiate my argument.

    As for my supposed 'superior knowledge', I don't claim to have that. I believe it is logically evident that if a religion advocates unconditional love but its disciples don't practice it, then they have a warped understanding of the scriptures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    I base my knowledge of this truth on cold facts, derived from studying the various religions.
    I do not think that the facts are as cold as you believe them to be. In the religious scriptures in particular, they are open to incredible amounts of interpretation. There has been tremendous debate and disagreement throughout history. If there were only cold facts, as you describe them, then why would there be so many sects of christianity, for example. I think that this is just another example of a peson, you in this case, believing that your religious interpretation is the one true one, and that anyone who deviates from your belief is in error.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    There has been tremendous debate and disagreement throughout history. If there were only cold facts, as you describe them, then why would there be so many sects of christianity, for example. I think that this is just another example of a peson, you in this case, believing that your religious interpretation is the one true one, and that anyone who deviates from your belief is in error.
    I'm sorry if you interpret what I'm attempting to express as a dogma. However, rest assured that I do not believe that my interpretations are the true ones. I simply study, analyze and draw my own personal conclusions. These are free to criticism and correctment. I can't possibly claim to have absolute knowledge of religion.

    Furthermore, there are various sects of almost all religions. The dominating religions I named all have various sects. However, only so often and in only so many ways do these sects deviate from the original teachings. Your example, Christianity, may have different sects but they all use the same Bible. Equally, I don't believe I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination which does not advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    I'm sorry if you interpret what I'm attempting to express as a dogma.
    This is your interpretation of my words. Is this errant interpretation based on cold hard facts derived from your reading? I did not call your words dogma. I merely claim that there are no such thing as cold facts when it comes to reading a religious book.

    However, rest assured that I do not believe that my interpretations are the true ones. I simply study, analyze and draw my own personal conclusions. These are free to criticism and correctment. I can't possibly claim to have absolute knowledge of religion.
    I am fine with this. However, why did you say that your interpretation of the various scriptures was based on cold facts instead of your studied interpretation?

    Your example, Christianity, may have different sects but they all use the same Bible.
    My point exactly, If there is such disagreement among so many devout people, how can you claim that your interpreation is based on "cold facts"?

    Equally, I don't believe I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination which does not advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.
    I don't believe that I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.

    I have nothing against people who believe in religion. This is particularly true if they do not claim to have a monopoly on truth that is applicable to everyone. I have no problem with any interpretation that you make, as long as you recognize the subjective nature of your opinion. I do not think that anyone can analyze books that have caused such dispute over the millennia and make objective statements about what the only valid interpreation can be in a given instance.
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    Equally, I don't believe I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination which does not advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.
    I don't believe that I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.

    I have nothing against people who believe in religion. This is particularly true if they do not claim to have a monopoly on truth that is applicable to everyone. I have no problem with any interpretation that you make, as long as you recognize the subjective nature of your opinion. I do not think that anyone can analyze books that have caused such dispute over the millennia and make objective statements about what the only valid interpreation can be in a given instance.[/quote]

    Let's not miss the focus of the topic.

    Now, if you do not know any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love" then clearly you are not versed with the Bible. In any case, to enlighten you, the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Greek Orthodox and Jehova's Witness to name a few are examples of denominations which advocate "unconditional love".
    Furthermore, do you honestly think that a book can cause dispute? No friend, but the comportment of people in relation to those books.

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    [quote="Hermes"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Equally, I don't believe I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination which does not advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.
    I don't believe that I'm acquainted with any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love". Please feel free to enlighten me.

    I have nothing against people who believe in religion. This is particularly true if they do not claim to have a monopoly on truth that is applicable to everyone. I have no problem with any interpretation that you make, as long as you recognize the subjective nature of your opinion. I do not think that anyone can analyze books that have caused such dispute over the millennia and make objective statements about what the only valid interpreation can be in a given instance.
    Let's not miss the focus of the topic.

    Now, if you do not know any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love" then clearly you are not versed with the Bible. In any case, to enlighten you, the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Greek Orthodox and Jehova's Witness to name a few are examples of denominations which advocate "unconditional love".
    Furthermore, do you honestly think that a book can cause dispute? No friend, but the comportment of people in relation to those books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Let's not miss the focus of the topic.

    Now, if you do not know any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love" then clearly you are not versed with the Bible.
    I can say the same about you. To me the idea that the bible shows that religion is about unconditional love is clearly not only selective reading, but ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary.

    In any case, to enlighten you, the Roman Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, Quaker, Pentecostal, Greek Orthodox and Jehova's Witness to name a few are examples of denominations which advocate "unconditional love".
    Can you define unconditional love?

    Furthermore, do you honestly think that a book can cause dispute?
    Let me see. Were there large numbers of people killed in disputes over the meaning of various passages? Duh. Do I think that the highly subjective, incomplete, difficult to undertand, and out of date passages in the book could cause dispute among its readers. Duh. I think that my answer to your question is yes.
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  77. #76  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Let's not miss the focus of the topic.

    Now, if you do not know any Christian denomination that does advocate "unconditional love" then clearly you are not versed with the Bible.
    I can say the same about you. To me the idea that the bible shows that religion is about unconditional love is clearly not only selective reading, but ignoring all of the evidence to the contrary.
    Definitions are always selective. A definition of science is not everything that can be said about science. If I refused to be selective I could say that science is about murder. I have a recent experience as an anecdote for this.

    My father lives in New Mexico just over the Mountains from Los Alamos. Now I knew freinds in the physics department at the University of Utah who went down to Los Alamos for research projects. So knowing that Los Alamos was a center for physics research, I thought it would be interesting to visit especially when I learned that their was a science museum there that we could take a look at. So we get their to find a museum completely dedicated to the development of the nuclear bomb and its use in World War II. Jees, I did not even realize that Los Alamos was where they developed the bomb.

    Science has killed a lot of people. It makes it possible for one man to quickly kill lots of people in a short period of time or from a distance with a push of a button. So is that what science is about? facilitating murder and making it easier and more efficient? To really know what science is about, you have to ask the scientist. It is only fair to extend the same courtesy to religion.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  78. #77  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    To really know what science is about, you have to ask the scientist. It is only fair to extend the same courtesy to religion.
    Your story is excellent. For most things, I quite agree. OK. Fine. I recognize that to at least certain followers of religion, religions are about unconditional love. To me, this is a very high level abstraction, and is not very meaningful. However, I will concede that this concept has valid meaning and truth value to some students of religion, on the basis of the claim made to that effect by a couple of people here.

    Is this a satisfactory concession?
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    Religion is used to improve lives. It gives people purpose and direction for there life. It was made up to give hope that there is an afterlife so death is not so daunting. There are different religions so people can have different choices to believe in. Religion is pretty much what people want it to be though.
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  80. #79  
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    Slow down people I can't keep up.

    Thanks for the answer Monte. Thats about all I had time to read.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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    It's not a problem. The idea of religion is to bring some degree of togetherness. This, to a certain extent, is in itself a method of advocating "unconditional love". I was simply trying to answer the question as you had originally posed it.

    ~1~
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  82. #81  
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    religion is about control, control of the masses through fear of consequences of there actions. In the less civilised world of the past it had a reason to exist. i am not religious and feel i don't need religion to control my actions as with most people in reality, we all have in-built morals, taught to us as we grow, and empathy is more important in society than religion can ever be.
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  83. #82  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    The idea of religion is to bring some degree of togetherness. This, to a certain extent, is in itself a method of advocating "unconditional love".
    No it is not. It is one thing to love thy neighbor. It is another thing to love the guy in the next country with a different religion and different motives in war. How can you confuse the two?
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  84. #83  
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    religion is about control, control of the masses through fear of consequences of there actions. In the less civilised world of the past it had a reason to exist. i am not religious and feel i don't need religion to control my actions as with most people in reality, we all have in-built morals, taught to us as we grow, and empathy is more important in society than religion can ever be.
    Wow it seems everyone just wants to say this. Again, the question is not why people are religious.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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  85. #84  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    religion is about control, control of the masses through fear of consequences of there actions. In the less civilised world of the past it had a reason to exist. i am not religious and feel i don't need religion to control my actions as with most people in reality, we all have in-built morals, taught to us as we grow, and empathy is more important in society than religion can ever be.
    Wow it seems everyone just wants to say this. Again, the question is not why people are religious.
    i was just answering, the question asked "the meaning of religion" religion is control and prophit, you never see a poor church, never used to in the past either, theres good money in it.
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  86. #85  
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    And I was just telling you that your bias on religion caused you to interpret the question wrong. Plenty of others have already said what you have said and I have already corrected them.

    I started the post so don't even try to argue the meaning of my words (seeing as how I wrote them). Well, of course you can try but, I will not argue with you.
    Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you'll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself. -Spoon Boy
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