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Thread: Religion free will, or conditioned?

  1. #1 Religion free will, or conditioned? 
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I was never forced into religion like many, I am not fanatical about it nor do I inflict it upon those who do not wish for it to be inflicted, however like many things there are those that follow religion simply because they have been told to do so, like you are told you have to work, that you are told you have to do all sorts of things that you are told to do. I prayed for something last night and God helped me in another way. He showed me nothing and I saw everything. We ALL quest to learn and become better, to gain more. But the end result is contentness, so why if you can reach contentness a meek way? There is no meaning to anything. We only are able using science to describe something to the best of our ability, it does its job very well, but still we never know the meaning, because there is none, at all from the caves to today all we do is to survive and so that shall always remain until one day we realise that we cannot fight God, that we must let go.

    I remember when I was a child, I played Sonic and other games because I enjoyed doing so, but I was told that others are better than me, so what I thought, but I was conditioned to be better and then the quest to be better made me angry when I could not complete a level or a certain challenge. I realise now, why chidlren are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and why God does not interfere much down here, because there is no reason, no meaning to doing so. We should live our lives and enjoy ourselves, not be bound by 'you must do this', 'you must do that'. I shall take no part in that anymore, we are all in a trap, a trap to which Lucifer has set that no one can see. Cast from The Garden Of Eden we cannot accept it and survive. It is the one thing that happens to us all and I let go now, that I will die, not because of old age, not because of a car crash, not because of a fall off a cliff, but because I am not being kept alive by God and that is why He does nothing, because there is no need to, we are ALL going to die and there is nothing we can do to stop it, so we try and make a legend for ourselves, reproduce to carry on our legacy, but it is pointless, after all these lives I finally understand, there is no meaning. To anything. This existence is pointless and fruitless and that is ultimatley what everyone must understand. I have and no longer am I greedy, no longer angry, no longer conditioned into doing what humankind has made me. From here on I walk free.

    So this begs the question, is religion just another conditioning way to which people live?

    When we no nothing, we have not eaten from The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good and Evil. That is why children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


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  3. #2 Re: Religion free will, or conditioned? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    So this begs the question, is religion just another conditioning way to which people live?
    It can be used as such and it certainly seems to be the case that it plays such a role in some people's lives and so Scott Peck MD discovered that the best thing for them was to break away from this and free their minds from it.

    But on the other hand, there are also people who go in the opposite direction - converts for whom religion is the greatest and most liberating experience, and so Scott Peck MD also discovered that for some people breaking away from the limitations of skepticism to free their minds from it was the best thing for them.



    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    When we no nothing, we have not eaten from The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good and Evil. That is why children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    I do not believe that authentic knowledge can ever be a bad thing but I do not believe that knowledge can be handed to you on a platter or eaten in a fruit, and therefore I think the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil represents something quite different. I think what it offered was not to be like God in actually having knowledge but instead only to be like God by being in the position to say with authority what is Good and Evil.

    This is the poison fruit that people eat of in organized religion pretending that they can hand the TRUTH to people on a platter telling them what is good and evil and that they must believe or be dammned. The reality however is that this is just manipulation and the real truth or knowledge that one can get is what one learns for oneself. It is the very process of learning a thing that gives it its meaning and so believing something just because it was said to you is to believe in empty words and that is something that I never had any desire to do.


    So in conclusion, let us understand, welcome and celebrate the diversity of man and stop expecting everyone to be just like us. Each human being is a different universe with it own rules and "truths" and it is, in exploring all these different worlds, where all the fun is. I am not saying that there are no absolute truths or that all truth is relative but I am saying that because of the great diversity of ways that people think, a great deal of truth may be effectively relative to where people are at and how they think.


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  4. #3  
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    Well SV,

    Unlike you I was forcefed religion (Roman catholic) until around the age of 13 when I rebelled it did not make any sense then and it still does not, others may have heard the priest communicating with god but I only heard the incoherent ramblings of a man with an IQ of less than 10.

    But I'll be the first to admit, if a/any god showed him/her/self to me and said. "Megabrain, you are wrong I do exist" then I'd believe (after I'd analysed the contents of ashtray to see if I'd been on the wacky baccy)

    SO yeah religion was (IMHO) an attempt to condition people to behave in a prescribed uniform way, as the bible so elequently informs us in so many places that people are just sheep, ("The Lord is my sheepherd") etc etc

    Well I for one am nobody's sheep.
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    sv tell us how you first became aware of religion? parents, school, peers?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Unlike you I was forcefed religion (Roman catholic) until around the age of 13 when I rebelled it did not make any sense then and it still does not, others may have heard the priest communicating with god but I only heard the incoherent ramblings of a man with an IQ of less than 10.
    Tut tut, you don't impress us with your own IQ when you exaggerate to this degree. An IQ below 10 is hardly capable of speech. Let us keep some sense of scale here. The border for mental retardation is below 70, ceasing to be educatable below 50 and ceasing to be trainable below 35.

    It is far more likely, Mr. Megabrain that you were the black sheep because your IQ was abnormally high and that anything below a mere 120 seemed terribly dull to you.
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    Tut tut, you don't impress us with your own IQ when you exaggerate to this degree. An IQ below 10 is hardly capable of speech. Let us keep some sense of scale here. The border for mental retardation is below 70, ceasing to be educatable below 50 and ceasing to be trainable below 35.
    You think he was serious with the 10 figure? :wink:
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Tut tut, you don't impress us with your own IQ when you exaggerate to this degree. An IQ below 10 is hardly capable of speech. Let us keep some sense of scale here. The border for mental retardation is below 70, ceasing to be educatable below 50 and ceasing to be trainable below 35.
    You think he was serious with the 10 figure? :wink:

    yeah, i thought that, it did seem a little high for a priest :wink:
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    Yes I believe that just about everyone is forced into it.
    Consider this, a person who has not been told about the bible or any religion whatsover. Would he come up with his own religion or would he realise that science can answer many more questions.

    Honestly what is religion without it's bible (or corresponding books)? They have nothing else. A truly massive faith (pardon the pun) in one book...

    People should not have to be taught religion, it should be what they believe not a series of very specific beliefs and ideas.
    Thinking of the question is greater than knowing the answer...
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  10. #9 Re: Religion free will, or conditioned? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    So this begs the question, is religion just another conditioning way to which people live?
    It can be. Depends on the religion, the people in the religion that you associate with locally, and your own viewpoints on that religion.

    Religion is such a vast subject with so many groups and organizations, it's almost impossible to simply talk about religion in an overall sense. I've seen a lot of good in religion, and I've also seen a lot of bad. Some of the bad is also unrelated to the religion itself but a byproduct of the time period. Some of the bad is also just a result of the same problems that exist in any large organization (corruption, incompetence, misinterpretations, etc).

    Religion can be very dangerous, though, too. In the right hands, religion can be a powerful and meaningful addition to someone's life. In the wrong hands, it can lead them to just plain stupidity or danger.

    As for conditioning...well, a little conditioning can be good. In a sense, religions have two sides to them. On one side you get all the spiritual stuff. On the other side you get real-world support and advice. If you take the Bible, and cut out all the spiritual parts, it's actually not a half bad guide for life. I mean, it says I should be friendly to people, shouldn't steal, that I should strive for a moral and ethical standard, and that I should better myself as a person. Sounds good to me.

    I think the impact religion will have on a person's life also has to do with how that religion came to them. I was raised with religion. Sunday-school, church each Sunday, dress nice, etc. I'm not religious now, because I don't believe in the "rituals" of standard religion, but I still see the value in it. I've said it before, I may be faithful (?), but certainly not religious. I never experienced any of the bad sides of religion when I was growing up, but I can certainly see how that would effect someone's outlook on religion. I can also see how religion can be so easily tainted by the bad things that happen.
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    Thanks Wolf, that is enlightining . Prepare for verzen and other atheists replying saying all the bad stuff religion does (even though saying such now after you point makes their point irrelevant to your post). Oh well.
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    I agree with most of Wolf's post, except for the part where he is still a believer in something. For me, my transition has been: Grew up going to church and Sunday school (I was even a Sunday school teacher for a year), to having a strong chosen faith in my Christian God, to having faith in my own way towards a God unbound to a religion, to strong agnosticism, to atheism. I still, like I have said before, understand the whole faith thing as well as recognize the potential value of the Bible and religion in general.
    Religion is such a vast subject with so many groups and organizations, it's almost impossible to simply talk about religion in an overall sense.
    As to this, would you agree that some common denominators of religions are: A heaven or exalted state after death that serves as the primary motivator (ideally) for following a religion. Then the particulars of each religion are the means to achieve this goal. These particulars of each religion are edited and adapted to fit the specific environmental requirements of the holders of the religions as prescribed by religious leaders, not necessarily with the knowledge of the bulk of the practitioners of the religion. It seems another common feature of each (major) religion is that this exalted, protected, doubt-free, blissful, avarice-free, benevolent state can only be achieved AFTER death, since nobody has ever been seen achieving this state while still alive. So what is the closest a human has ever been to such a state while still in the land of the living? While the particular human was still in his/her mother’s womb! Then after birth lesser and lesser degrees of such a state is experienced until adulthood, where deep down we all just want to be free again of all the pressures and responsibilities of this world. Can anyone really say that he/she would not welcome the absence of all the pressures, responsibilities, fear, emotional rollercoaster, and all the other negatives of this world? That, to me, is the primary reason for religion. In close second are all the immediate benefits: To peer acceptance, societal harmony, formation of a unit for the dispelling of dangers, etc. IMHO
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    ...IMHO
    What does IMHO mean?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  14. #13  
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    In my humble opinion
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  15. #14  
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    Oh, thanks. :-D.
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    I'm part Irish and my mum was fed catholicism. She was taught in a school run by nuns who were cruel and constantly hissing about sins and pennance etc. They scared the shit out of her and refused to get her children into anything religious, thankfully letting us choose for ourselves.

    I recall the day after i gave birth to my son, in the hospital, this woman went round the ward visiting the other mums, and when she came to me she asked me if i wanted my son to be christened and when i said no, she exclaimed 'but what if something where to happen....' Then she started going on about what happens if you should 'die in sin'
    Needless to say i christened her with the bed pan!

    Organised religion breeds in an atmosphere of fear it seems to me. I've come to the conclusion after swinging from agnostism and atheism, that there is more out there and in here.......but i'll be damned if i'm going to believe in a vengeful and punishing God or subscribe to their headcase religions.

    Each person is unique and our spiritual beliefs should mirror that.
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    WHO is going to damn you? :wink:
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    what's the World Health Organisation got to do with it ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    WHO is going to damn you? :wink:
    Well apparently this wrathful God that a large proportion of the population still seem to believe exists.

    Still i guess it keeps the Priests busy and prevents them from entering full time paedophilia.

    But i guess it all depends on what you believe in, and that boils down to Free Will, which was the purpose of this thread.

    I think Religion is either conditioned from birth and in that case i believe adults who inflict their religious beliefs onto children should be tried for child abuse.
    (Has anyone seen Jesus Camp?)

    Or adults who i would hope should know better turn to religion through distress or fear.

    I prefer to take the existential route and formulate my own beliefs based on reason and experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minxy
    I recall the day after i gave birth to my son, in the hospital, this woman went round the ward visiting the other mums, and when she came to me she asked me if i wanted my son to be christened and when i said no, she exclaimed 'but what if something where to happen....' Then she started going on about what happens if you should 'die in sin'
    Needless to say i christened her with the bed pan!
    People going around with the notion that they can hand out salvation and or TRUTH to others like tickets to a soccer game are victims of a rather odd neurosis I think.



    Quote Originally Posted by Minxy
    i'll be damned if i'm going to believe in a vengeful and punishing God or subscribe to their headcase religions.
    Same here. In fact, I rather like Albert Camus' "Myth of Sissiphus" where he applauds the hero who defies such gods no matter what threats they might hold over our heads, suggesting that it is a moral duty of any person with integrity to defy such gods.



    Quote Originally Posted by Minxy
    Each person is unique and our spiritual beliefs should mirror that.
    Amen to that. Human diversity should be cherished not only as a thing of great beauty like the diversity in the natural world but as a critical part of our salvation. Sometimes it is the crackpot and the social misfit who by tilting at windmills is forging the only path by which mankind can be saved.



    Quote Originally Posted by Minxy
    Organised religion breeds in an atmosphere of fear it seems to me. I've come to the conclusion after swinging from agnostism and atheism, that there is more out there and in here.......but i'll be damned if i'm going to believe in a vengeful and punishing God or subscribe to their headcase religions.
    I don't think it is what religion is really about, but the ideas of organized religion has certainly been a vehicle by which some people have passed their neuroses onto other people like an inheritance of garbage. But without the religious ideas and rational I believe that the neuroses and garbage would still be there in another form, for it seems to me that religion is 99% language in which a variety of things can be said or communicated - both good and bad. Psychology doesn't have all the answer either by a longshot, but we must certainly be wary of those who cloak their mental illness under the camouflage of religion.


    Seven great lies of organized religion (in my view):

    Lie #1: You can escape the consequences of your choices by appeasing some God or gods with some sort of payment.

    Lie #2: There is a huge, distant and unapproachable God demanding worship and expecting that men devote themselves utterly to His greater glory.

    Lie #3: The truth (the answer to all the important questions) is something that WE can give you.

    Lie #4 Women are spiritually inferior and must bow to the authority of men.

    Lie #5 "God is not a God of confusion" and so the diversity of relgions and human ideas is a thing of tragedy and evil.

    Lie #6: Holy Scripture interprets itself, (so let us tell you what it is saying).

    Lie #7: Everything happens according to the plan of God.
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    Seven great lies of organized religion (in my view):

    Lie #1: You can escape the consequences of your choices by appeasing some God or gods with some sort of payment.

    Lie #2: There is a huge, distant and unapproachable God demanding worship and expecting that men devote themselves utterly to His greater glory.

    Lie #3: The truth (the answer to all the important questions) is something that WE can give you.

    Lie #4 Women are spiritually inferior and must bow to the authority of men.

    Lie #5 "God is not a God of confusion" and so the diversity of relgions and human ideas is a thing of tragedy and evil.

    Lie #6: Holy Scripture interprets itself, (so let us tell you what it is saying).

    Lie #7: Everything happens according to the plan of God.
    Hallelujah! A rational human being!

    Good to meet you mitchellmckain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minxy
    Seven great lies of organized religion (in my view):

    Lie #1: You can escape the consequences of your choices by appeasing some God or gods with some sort of payment.

    Lie #2: There is a huge, distant and unapproachable God demanding worship and expecting that men devote themselves utterly to His greater glory.

    Lie #3: The truth (the answer to all the important questions) is something that WE can give you.

    Lie #4 Women are spiritually inferior and must bow to the authority of men.

    Lie #5 "God is not a God of confusion" and so the diversity of relgions and human ideas is a thing of tragedy and evil.

    Lie #6: Holy Scripture interprets itself, (so let us tell you what it is saying).

    Lie #7: Everything happens according to the plan of God.
    Hallelujah! A rational human being!

    Good to meet you mitchellmckain
    Well if you really like this you can find a more complete discussion at:

    http://www.astahost.com/seven-great-...on-t16216.html

    For this came from an evaluation of Perry Marshall's CoffeehouseTheology.com who claimed something similar but who I do not think quite went far enough.
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    You've forgot one thing. Everything "good" is a sin
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviously
    You've forgot one thing. Everything "good" is a sin
    You know now I don't believe, I'm thinking to myself. This is really pointless.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    I agree with most of Wolf's post, except for the part where he is still a believer in something...
    I think what's kept me on the fence so long is that neither side has really given me a firm resolve.

    It seems to me that unless there's something more, life and all existence is worthless. But I'm not sure yet what that "something" is. At the same time, the "nothingness" approach seems too much like giving up.

    I know this sounds extreme (and it really is a bit of an exaggeration) but for me, accepting that there is nothing else but atoms bumping around, is a real downer. I mean, that basically means everything is worthless, and even my greatest joys and experiences are worthless, so I'd rather off myself than continue living a worthless waste.

    I hope that kinda makes sense...

    Seven great lies of organized religion:
    I've always had a beef with these, possibly because it's sheer ignorance to plaster all of "organized religion" with telling these lies. Not all religions preach, teach, or advocate these things, nor do all of the people who claim to be part of those religions. In the end these read more like tabloid statements than cross-the-board...

    Lie #1: You can escape the consequences of your choices by appeasing some God or gods with some sort of payment.
    I never believed that, and from within at least the Christian sect, I've only come across Catholics who buy into that ideal. Even at the best, I would believe that you can ask "forgiveness" from God, but that doesn't mean what you did suddenly goes away, or that it won't come back to haunt you. Instead, it's basically like saying "Woops, I know I screwed up. I'm sorry."

    Lie #2: There is a huge, distant and unapproachable God demanding worship and expecting that men devote themselves utterly to His greater glory.
    Which God is that? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, I was always taught (when in Sunday school and by the religious in my family) that God is with me wherever I go and that he's always there when I need him. Also, Jesus crashes on my couch and has a beer while I watch the superbowl.

    Lie #3: The truth (the answer to all the important questions) is something that WE can give you.
    You have to consider the term "important." They're not talking about "how water boils" or "how you fix a diseased heart."

    And even then, the supposed "truth" is really a subjective amount of support provided for when a person is in question of the "important" things.

    I think the strength of this is entirely based on the religion its coming from. Some religions believe they actually have the answers. Others attempt to help YOU find the answers yourself, so I'm not sure if they can actually confirm that you've found "the truth" that way.

    Lie #4 Women are spiritually inferior and must bow to the authority of men.
    Wow. Which dark-age period did this come from? Sounds like a blast from the Catholic Church and several non-Christian religions.

    Lie #5 "God is not a God of confusion" and so the diversity of relgions and human ideas is a thing of tragedy and evil.
    Taken out of context, but the later part is more based in the desire for people to follow a particular religion or ideal. It's more prevalent in the past than now, at least in non-Catholic Christianity...

    Lie #6: Holy Scripture interprets itself, (so let us tell you what it is saying).
    Ah, we're getting somewhere with this one. This one is a lie, and a truth, so fifty fifty...

    For the former part, scripture can only be taken for what it is: a collection of documents written by people explaining or telling of the particular topic. The fact that they are highly subjective and highly interpretable, means even in their purest form they are anything but "self interpreting."

    For the latter part, the number of people in the world who can actually read "original" holy scripture, is very small. It's like reading Shakespeare. If you don't understand the style of language, the position of the person's time-period, and the disposition of the viewpoints, you'll end up with a lot of mess and misinterpretation.

    After centuries and centuries of "telephone-game" explanation, interpretation, political adjustment, and translator-disposition, it's a wonder anything exists at all.

    Lie #7: Everything happens according to the plan of God.
    Well this I think is actually a universal statement (at last). However, I'm not sure anyone really understands what "the plan" means or entails, how it is actually carried out, what is effects are, how it is seen, or where it's headed. So on one hand it's just stating that "yes, there is a plan to all this" and behind the back it's saying "we hope."

    I just love enumerated lists. Don't you? :P
    Wolf
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    I mean, that basically means everything is worthless, and even my greatest joys and experiences are worthless, so I'd rather off myself than continue living a worthless waste.
    All worthless? What about each other! Think about it. Every little contact you have with every other person has some effect on them. Even when you are gone, you will inevitably leave a part of yourself behind. You will live in others memory. The kind of impact that you have is up to you. You don’t have to be the next Einstein, but you can have a huge impact on someone’s life. Can you remember anyone that has looked up to you? What effect do you think you had on that person’s way of thinking? The people on this planet form part of a huge, interconnected dynamic that changes with every person that form part of it, which is of MUCH greater importance than the kind of false intangible “purpose” derived from the desire to appease a fictional creator with fear as its primary motivator.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    All worthless? What about each other!...
    In the end, though, it doesn't mean anything. It's pointless. Without a relational meaning there's absolutely nothing to or in the interaction of $1.96 worth of chemicals and an evolved communication system whose purpose is perpetuate more chemicals amongst a universe of atoms whose relationship is wholly irrelevant one way or the other.

    If life is nothing more than a sequence of chemical reactions, that's all it ever is. The fact that some of those reactions prove more successful than others, doesn't mean anything either. Society evolved the species. The ability to socialize better, just betters the species. By itself, it's as pointless as pointless can be.

    We're hamsters on a wheel and no one's even watching. We can be as "evil" or as "good" as we want, and it doesn't matter. If we push the button and wipe humanity off the Earth, it doesn't matter. No one cares, there's no lasting effect, and even if there was, that effect would be as meaningful as every single other effect, putting it on a 1:1 ratio.

    In that light, the day-to-day is probably the worst thing there is. The understanding that you're working each day to burn time to make money to go on burning time. That you toil away at meaningless tasks and your only true reward is to keep toiling. And then to look at another and realize that the only reason you're having "feelings" or attractions is to forward a chemical-biological process of creating more lumps of $0.98 to toil some more. Further still, to realize that the only reason you feel happiness or love or joy or accomplishment, is because you've evolved to have those chemical responses. That the sum of your experiences and emotions are nothing more than Pavlov's responses.

    You meet woman, chemical response --> feel happy. Initiate communication functions to induce relational chemical response. --> breed. Chemical response --> accomplishment --> chemical response --> drive. Initiate preservation functions. Chemical response --> security, happiness. --> Death, chemical response --> initiate remorse sensation to stimulate self preservation...

    BLAM.

    ...
    Wolf
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    But that is exactly what you are. A human. Chemical responses or not, they did not come to be over night. If all is just chemicals, then your concept in itself is as meaningless as the rest. Even then, those feelings of uselessness are in fact only a response to this innate need of ours to belong to something. To be, is to be human, nothing else. To be human is to have meaning in each other. Those feelings of love nothing chemicals? They are no less real because of that.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    But that is exactly what you are. A human. Chemical responses or not, they did not come to be over night. If all is just chemicals, then your concept in itself is as meaningless as the rest. Even then, those feelings of uselessness are in fact only a response to this innate need of ours to belong to something. To be, is to be human, nothing else. To be human is to have meaning in each other. Those feelings of love nothing chemicals? They are no less real because of that.
    There still isn't much meaning in the need for socializing or relationship if all it is, is a chemical motivator that we've evolved to have.

    Face it, in that light, we're just globs of goo that have become more advanced than the other globs of goo. The bacteria gets eaten by other bacteria simply because bacteria exist and food is required.
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    At least it’s real! Sure, we are “nothing but” the end result of 3 billion years of random mutations and luck. We react mostly automatically to stimulae and mostly do not know why we do it. But we are capable of contemplating ourselves and the world around us. Imagine, goo thinking about itself! If an asteroid destroyed the earth, the universe will just continue ticking along. But we ARE here, we Do feel, marvel, love, hate, laugh and cry. We are NOT part of some bigger picture, so why feel cheated out of something you never had or could have?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    It seems to me that unless there's something more, life and all existence is worthless.
    any particular reason why ? i'm perfectly ok with the idea that living is the only validator for life : life is worth living just for the sake of being alive

    if life didn't cling to life as it does, we would all be dead by now
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    At least it’s real!
    Is it? What's reality? How do I know we even exist? What is existence without meaning? What is the difference between a true-love relationship and a great life, compared to a single atom of carbon?

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    ...so why feel cheated out of something you never had or could have?
    That's just the point. If there's no meaning, then none of this is anything. Why continue mucking around? What's the purpose or reason to continue on for a few more decades? If you die now, or die at age 100, what's the difference?

    That's why I sit on the fence. Pure belief doesn't answer my questions (yet) and pure atheism is, to me, an abyss.
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    Is it?
    It is to you. I made the case for agnosticism on another thread (the Muslim ladies thing), where I came to the conclusion that your position is the only entirely logical choice. To move either way would require a personal decision.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Seven great lies of organized religion:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    I've always had a beef with these, possibly because it's sheer ignorance to plaster all of "organized religion" with telling these lies. Not all religions preach, teach, or advocate these things, nor do all of the people who claim to be part of those religions. In the end these read more like tabloid statements than cross-the-board...
    But it really isn't plastering anything. It is distinguishing between religion that this about developing a relationship with God and religion that is about the manipulation and control of people. There is no claim here that every religion teaches all of these things, they are simply a warning that if you do see these in your religious organization then you should reconsider.

    When you say that these things are not what your religious experience is about you are basically agreeing with me. These are not what my religious experience is about either.



    Lie #1: You can escape the consequences of your choices by appeasing some God or gods with some sort of payment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    I never believed that, and from within at least the Christian sect, I've only come across Catholics who buy into that ideal. Even at the best, I would believe that you can ask "forgiveness" from God, but that doesn't mean what you did suddenly goes away, or that it won't come back to haunt you. Instead, it's basically like saying "Woops, I know I screwed up. I'm sorry."
    Yes this is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Apostle Paul and the majority of the traditional Christian belief system. But this is what many religions are about and even in the Christian church this is what it can become about, and when that has happened then things have really gotten off track. This is a lie because you cannot appease God and you cannot escape the consequences of your misdeeds, and if you think that this is what Christianity is about then you have missed the boat and are truly just a member of a religion of manipulation.


    Lie #2: There is a huge, distant and unapproachable God demanding worship and expecting that men devote themselves utterly to His greater glory.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Which God is that? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, I was always taught (when in Sunday school and by the religious in my family) that God is with me wherever I go and that he's always there when I need him. Also, Jesus crashes on my couch and has a beer while I watch the superbowl.
    This is not the God that I know either. That is in fact a God that I would consider it my moral duty to defy no matter what the consequences. But some people paint this kind of picture of God and I have to ask such people, is God the kind of person who has to demand worship or is He the kind of person who inspires it. Is God a meglomaniac or a parent? Is God motivated by self-interest or love? All of the former may well serve an organized religion trying to manipulate people, but it is belief in the latter that makes a relationship with God worthwhile.



    Lie #3: The truth (the answer to all the important questions) is something that WE can give you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    You have to consider the term "important." They're not talking about "how water boils" or "how you fix a diseased heart."

    And even then, the supposed "truth" is really a subjective amount of support provided for when a person is in question of the "important" things.

    I think the strength of this is entirely based on the religion its coming from. Some religions believe they actually have the answers. Others attempt to help YOU find the answers yourself, so I'm not sure if they can actually confirm that you've found "the truth" that way.
    This is a lie because real truth is something we that we must discover for ourselves if it is to really mean anything at all. What religions have to offer is not truth but dogma - things to recite in order to keep up the pretense that you have truth, so that you will not bother or dare to look for it yourself.



    Lie #4 Women are spiritually inferior and must bow to the authority of men.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Wow. Which dark-age period did this come from? Sounds like a blast from the Catholic Church and several non-Christian religions.
    Indeed this is an "old" lie in some sense. It is at least a few years old in most Christian churches anyway. But sometimes we forget that it was not that long ago when things were very much different than they are now and it does not do to sit to high on our horse. We look at Islam and Hinduism where this lie holds very great sway and act like we cannot imagine how they could possibly believe such things. It really is an hypocrisy that is veiled by a very thin layer of history.



    Lie #5 "God is not a God of confusion" and so the diversity of relgions and human ideas is a thing of tragedy and evil.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Taken out of context, but the later part is more based in the desire for people to follow a particular religion or ideal. It's more prevalent in the past than now, at least in non-Catholic Christianity...
    Exactly! But I have heard this sort of argument and attitude from Catholics who being so enamored of their own excellent religious organization make their religious experience more about whether you are a member of the correct church (their church) rather than about deeping ones personal relationship with God.



    Lie #6: Holy Scripture interprets itself, (so let us tell you what it is saying).
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Ah, we're getting somewhere with this one. This one is a lie, and a truth, so fifty fifty...

    For the former part, scripture can only be taken for what it is: a collection of documents written by people explaining or telling of the particular topic. The fact that they are highly subjective and highly interpretable, means even in their purest form they are anything but "self interpreting."
    I am not surprised by your reaction because this is a lie that is more prevalent in the Protestant church in a rather bad interpretation of "sola scriptura"

    Although I am a Protestant and very sympathetic with the cause of Protestantism and fundamentalism which protests both the marginalization of scripture and the substitution of the traditions of men for the unaltered word of God, I cannot support the above lie. All this does is hide from ourselves the undeniable effect of tradition upon the way we understand and interpret holy scripture. Therefore the only version of the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura which I supports is as follows: The Bible is the only authority given into the hands of men for the determination of the truth in regards to God, His desire of mankind, and our relationship to Him. But no human being's interpretation of the Bible has any more authority than any other.



    Lie #7: Everything happens according to the plan of God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Well this I think is actually a universal statement (at last). However, I'm not sure anyone really understands what "the plan" means or entails, how it is actually carried out, what is effects are, how it is seen, or where it's headed. So on one hand it's just stating that "yes, there is a plan to all this" and behind the back it's saying "we hope."
    Sure God has a plan for some greater good and according to this plan we must have free will and be reponsible for our lives and each other without Him interfering to rescue us every second from evil and tragedy. But surely we cannot think that every deranged wacko is an instrument of God or that the horrors they commit is God's gift to the victims - THAT is often exactly what the wackos think and I cannot imagine sharing that point of view.

    So why in the world would organized religion want everyone to believe that, "everything happens according to the plan of God"? Well the obvious effect seems to me that if you believe such a thing, then you would not be motivated to make any great effort to change things. In other words, the purpose of this lie is to keep people from rocking the boat and seeking any great change in the world. Its purpose is, like many of the other lies of organized religion, to lull people to sleep and keep them docile.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Wolf wrote:
    It seems to me that unless there's something more, life and all existence is worthless. But I'm not sure yet what that "something" is. At the same time, the "nothingness" approach seems too much like giving up.
    Worthless to whom? I believe your children will say that your life is worthy.

    pure atheism is, to me, an abyss.
    You refuse to believe because it is too scary despite the overwhelming evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But it really isn't plastering anything. It is distinguishing between religion that this about developing a relationship with God and religion that is about the manipulation and control of people. There is no claim here that every religion teaches all of these things, they are simply a warning that if you do see these in your religious organization then you should reconsider.
    Problem is, it doesn't say that, does it? It just says "lies of organized religion." It doesn't say "lies of the following defined religious belief sects."




    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    This is a lie because real truth is something we that we must discover for ourselves if it is to really mean anything at all. What religions have to offer is not truth but dogma - things to recite in order to keep up the pretense that you have truth, so that you will not bother or dare to look for it yourself.
    I think the real answer is in the definition of "truth." It's a subjective term in the phrasing. I do believe that some religious organizations offer a "flavor" of truth, but that their capabilities don't include being able to prove or state anything. Instead, I believe their capabilities extend (or should only extend) to the effort of helping others with the questions that faith-seekers ask.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Indeed this is an "old" lie in some sense. It is at least a few years old in most Christian churches anyway. But sometimes we forget that it was not that long ago when things were very much different than they are now and it does not do to sit to high on our horse. We look at Islam and Hinduism where this lie holds very great sway and act like we cannot imagine how they could possibly believe such things. It really is an hypocrisy that is veiled by a very thin layer of history.
    True. Sufferage (sp) wasn't long ago. But we have to be careful to separate what is religious teaching, and what is social tweaking. What effect has society itself had upon the subject, verses what the religious texts originally stated? There's no doubt a lot of anti-femanine behavors that existed before organized religion, or even before civilization itself. What part did those behaviors and traits play in the "set up" of those behaviors we see in history?



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Exactly! But I have heard this sort of argument and attitude from Catholics who being so enamored of their own excellent religious organization make their religious experience more about whether you are a member of the correct church (their church) rather than about deeping ones personal relationship with God.
    I almost want to say the Church is not as much to blame for this one. Given the massive history of the Catholic Church, it's hold of power that, at least for Western culture was unparalleled for so long, there's bound to be a lot of remnants (both social, political, and secular) of social power-mongering. It would be like turning a country's government into a soda stand, then getting upset every time someone tries to pass a law.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am not surprised by your reaction because this is a lie that is more prevalent in the Protestant church in a rather bad interpretation of "sola scriptura"

    Although I am a Protestant and very sympathetic with the cause of Protestantism and fundamentalism which protests both the marginalization of scripture and the substitution of the traditions of men for the unaltered word of God, I cannot support the above lie. All this does is hide from ourselves the undeniable effect of tradition upon the way we understand and interpret holy scripture. Therefore the only version of the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura which I supports is as follows: The Bible is the only authority given into the hands of men for the determination of the truth in regards to God, His desire of mankind, and our relationship to Him. But no human being's interpretation of the Bible has any more authority than any other.
    I view the subject as kinda like a Boy Scout Handbook. It's full of lessons for life, survival, fun, etc. But it's only a manual. It takes people to transfer and handle that knowledge. In the hands of a good Scoutmaster, it's a powerful tool for helping young boys become well-rounded good citizens who usually don't end up in Darwin-Award books. In the wrong hands, well...we all know what happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    So why in the world would organized religion want everyone to believe that, "everything happens according to the plan of God"?
    Bingo. That's my primary argument against some people's belief that God has his thumb on every single little atom. It not only makes things hugely implausible, but it also makes everything, dare I say, pointless... The whole concept of being good and following your Bible lessons is stupid, because God has control and if you didn't pay attention, it's his fault and he must have wanted you to do that. Dumb dumb dumb. It's just more round-and-round logic that some of the religious community have tried to use.




    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    I believe your children will say that your life is worthy.
    (If I ever have any, :P ) Why? Why should they consider my life worthy? Because my existence allowed them to exist?

    If we go along that same chain of logic, then I am worthy because I allowed them to exist, and my parents are worthy because I was born, and their parents, and so on and so forth, and all the creatures and plants that were eaten, and all the atoms that were consumed to create those creatures and plants, and so on and so forth, till suddenly you realize that that "worthiness" is flat across the entire universe of existence...and thus meaningless.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    pure atheism is, to me, an abyss.
    You refuse to believe because it is too scary despite the overwhelming evidence.
    I'm not sure in what context you're taking this. If you're saying I refuse to be an atheist, well, I'm neither scared nor have I seen any overwhelming evidence. In fact, so far I've challenged a dozen or so times, and not a single person here has brought me any kind of evidence whatsoever.

    If you're saying I refuse to become theist, again, I'm not scared, and again there's a lack of evidence.

    I think it's what they call "one of life's mysteries." The trick is not to keep up at night!
    Wolf
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    How can you get evidance of no belief?
    Infact, how can you get evidance of a belief in the first place?
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    Wolf wrote:
    (If I ever have any, Razz ) Why? Why should they consider my life worthy? Because my existence allowed them to exist?
    I mean to say that word 'worth' or 'worthless' need a receptor: to whom? If I say you are worthless to me, you will not give a damn. So who would you like to prove your worth? Do you need someone to appreciate your worth?

    Our existence are the product of natural process called evolution. We are made for no apparent purpose other than replicating and propagating genetic code. But can we decide our own purpose? If we can, does that make ourselves worthy to ourselves?
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  39. #38 Re: Religion free will, or conditioned? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by svwillmer
    I was never forced into religion like many, I am not fanatical about it nor do I inflict it upon those who do not wish for it to be inflicted, however like many things there are those that follow religion simply because they have been told to do so, like you are told you have to work, that you are told you have to do all sorts of things that you are told to do. I prayed for something last night and God helped me in another way. He showed me nothing and I saw everything. We ALL quest to learn and become better, to gain more. But the end result is contentness, so why if you can reach contentness a meek way? There is no meaning to anything. We only are able using science to describe something to the best of our ability, it does its job very well, but still we never know the meaning, because there is none, at all from the caves to today all we do is to survive and so that shall always remain until one day we realise that we cannot fight God, that we must let go.

    I remember when I was a child, I played Sonic and other games because I enjoyed doing so, but I was told that others are better than me, so what I thought, but I was conditioned to be better and then the quest to be better made me angry when I could not complete a level or a certain challenge. I realise now, why chidlren are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and why God does not interfere much down here, because there is no reason, no meaning to doing so. We should live our lives and enjoy ourselves, not be bound by 'you must do this', 'you must do that'. I shall take no part in that anymore, we are all in a trap, a trap to which Lucifer has set that no one can see. Cast from The Garden Of Eden we cannot accept it and survive. It is the one thing that happens to us all and I let go now, that I will die, not because of old age, not because of a car crash, not because of a fall off a cliff, but because I am not being kept alive by God and that is why He does nothing, because there is no need to, we are ALL going to die and there is nothing we can do to stop it, so we try and make a legend for ourselves, reproduce to carry on our legacy, but it is pointless, after all these lives I finally understand, there is no meaning. To anything. This existence is pointless and fruitless and that is ultimatley what everyone must understand. I have and no longer am I greedy, no longer angry, no longer conditioned into doing what humankind has made me. From here on I walk free.

    So this begs the question, is religion just another conditioning way to which people live?

    When we no nothing, we have not eaten from The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good and Evil. That is why children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    Unfortunately us people are greatly influenced especially when young, into doing and thinking what others believe we should be, but as we get older the ideal is to develop our own beliefs. We can only do that by gaining some ground with experience and time spent contemplating what to believe.
    A belief that you have formed through your own experience and lessons is far more powerful than a belief imposed on you. Which is often why there is alot of conflict in people, when they have been told to believe something because it is good, yet it doesn't feel authentic because it hasn't come from inside you.

    I disagree with your statement that we all quest to learn and become better, in the sense that you mean better and gaining as in more knowledgeable and having beliefs that are for the good of all.
    To be honest i don't think alot of people think this deeply.
    To many, becoming better means having a better car or bigger house or bigger pay packet etc.

    Questing for knowledge and answers doesn't always lead to a contentness it can actually be at times a very painful and frustrating process and feel never-ending. The more you learn the more there is to learn. That's because through it we are learning to form our own beliefs and understanding alone.

    Breaking away from the herd is a lonely pursuit. The collective will disagree with you and say you are wrong, but that is only because you serve an alternative to them and present possibilities they are frightening to contemplate because it may highlight their own lives and beliefs to be defect.

    How can you possibly be 'wrong' if you follow your heart and you formulate beliefs based on your own experience and understanding. It is more likely that they are 'wrong' following outdated beliefs from a book with dubious origins.

    'Wrong' here used for something which doesn't serve-QED

    Many people don't like to do things alone, they want the security of a group, they find making decisions and choices alone scary, the biggest fear they have is being wrong. Not neccessarily doing wrong to others but doing wrong to themselves, making a mistake, missing out and suffering.

    Which is why you get masses led by religion or cultural beliefs.

    Our ancestors gathered in tribes in order to survive. It makes sense for many reasons. Nowadays there is not so much of a need to do that, but people do.

    So yes i think people are conditioned into religion because for many it's the easiest safest route.

    Following your own path is the only way if you disagree with much of societies beliefs, but it aint easy.

    But it's the ultimate path to maturity, true freedom and eventually (i hope) inner peace . Inner peace- not having wars and conflicts within ourselves about what is right and what is wrong and knowing without doubt.

    I guess that is what true faith belief means, a belief in ourselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    I mean to say that word 'worth' or 'worthless' need a receptor: to whom? If I say you are worthless to me, you will not give a damn. So who would you like to prove your worth? Do you need someone to appreciate your worth?
    We're a little bit higher than that right now. I'm discussing the worth, if you will, of worth. Not it's function.

    If your judgment of worth isn't anything more than evolved response patterns trained by experience and associated reference, does it still have a significant value?

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    But can we decide our own purpose? If we can, does that make ourselves worthy to ourselves?
    Now THAT is some brain juice. GJ. Unfortunately it's awfully convenient and you end up back at square one. At any time we can create a belief system that says there is purpose and meaning, but there is a line between when that is science-fiction and when it is reality. Perhaps the act of doing so is just an evolutionary quirk in our psychological design?

    But then again, why do you think we have this desire to find meaning and purpose? What purpose does such a disposition serve? If none, why have it? Is it unavoidable? And if so, is it a negative trait of human psyche? And if so, what impact should that have on society and life as a whole?
    Wolf
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    Minxy your post moved me. However I must state that people who learn own their own and own lessons aren't always going to make life not only for themsevles worse, but others around them. It is inevitable that people will turn to 'the dark side', no matter what they learn. That is the danger. May I ask you a question, in fact all a question. Why do you go to work?
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  42. #41  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Problem is, it doesn't say that, does it? It just says "lies of organized religion." It doesn't say "lies of the following defined religious belief sects."

    I think the real answer is in the definition of "truth." It's a subjective term in the phrasing. I do believe that some religious organizations offer a "flavor" of truth, but that their capabilities don't include being able to prove or state anything. Instead, I believe their capabilities extend (or should only extend) to the effort of helping others with the questions that faith-seekers ask.
    You have to read between the lines. Self-criticism is one of the better western traditions - it is I believe a tradition that fits very well with the Christian sentiment that distrusts the works of man, aiming for a higher ideal that we do not see perfectly realized but can imagine it as a goal.

    After all, what is their in opposition to organized religion? disorganized religion? This is nonsense of course. No what these 7 lies of organized religion represent is a constructive criticism whereby the Christian organization can make their work less about power seeking, manipulation and the works of man than about the works of God -- less about the organization and more about seeking God.



    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    I almost want to say the Church is not as much to blame for this one. Given the massive history of the Catholic Church, it's hold of power that, at least for Western culture was unparalleled for so long, there's bound to be a lot of remnants (both social, political, and secular) of social power-mongering. It would be like turning a country's government into a soda stand, then getting upset every time someone tries to pass a law.
    It is not really about blame. It is, of course, utter nonsense that religion is the source of the evils of the world. The source is bad human habits and in particular the fact that our desires so often exceed our regard for the well being of others. It is true that these seven lies come far more often from the individual who has got it wrong than the official organization. But it must be one of the jobs of the "official organization" to discourage these attitudes because it is the people that non-members see and therefore through these poor representatives what the organization becomes in the the eyes of others. Again the point of this criticism is constructive rather than condemning - to point to higher ideal which we can aim for if we choose.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Wolf wrote:
    We're a little bit higher than that right now. I'm discussing the worth, if you will, of worth. Not it's function.
    I always think worth is a relative term. Diamond is worth to men, but not to fish. It seems you think otherwise. Could you please elaborate more?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The source is bad human habits and in particular the fact that our desires so often exceed our regard for the well being of others.
    More particularly, I think it comes from humanity's innate desire to get away with being bad. There's varying degrees, of course, but in the end, the "wrong" folks have used religion as an excuse to get what they want. All they have to do is interpret the text to say a certain thing, then wave it about and remind people that it's "the word of God."

    That's essentially how the Catholic Church operated for centuries. Re-interpret the scripture to say that you can get away with murder if you pay a certain amount of money to the Church, then reinforce it by saying it came from the Bible and thus is irrefutable.

    It's more of a handbook than a set of laws, and when someone tries to turn it into a set of laws, things fall apart.



    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Wolf wrote:
    We're a little bit higher than that right now. I'm discussing the worth, if you will, of worth. Not it's function.
    I always think worth is a relative term. Diamond is worth to men, but not to fish. It seems you think otherwise. Could you please elaborate more?
    What is worth? Not the function of determining or finding worth, the essence of worth itself. Like, what is love? What is the reason we as intelligent beings have a sense of worth written into our "programming?"

    Two globs of goo are just globs of goo. Even if one is more worthy than the other, it's still just a relational statement between the globs of goo, and means nothing without there being a meaning to that application of term.

    It seems really petty down there, but that's because concepts like worth and love are secondary to the overall meaning.
    Wolf
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    "Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you." Alan Alda
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    Wolf wrote:
    What is worth? Not the function of determining or finding worth, the essence of worth itself. Like, what is love? What is the reason we as intelligent beings have a sense of worth written into our "programming?"
    Love has several meanings. According to Tina Turner, it is just a second-hand emotion.
    I am sure that there is a evolution-wise explanation on why we as intelligent beings have a sense of worth written into our "programming. I still think it is relative to the observer.
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