Religion Voted The New Social Evil

  • Thread starter Moridin
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  • #36
I learned to question everything.

Exactly. And it was when I started to learn to question everything that I started to have trouble with religion(s).
 
  • #37
BobG
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Of course. The problem is you can very easily use religion as a cover for your own evil.

Slavery was defended on the grounds that it was OK in the Bible, not to mention that religious texts are so vague that anybody can interpret it in any way they like.

Your second paragraph implies that slavery was evil. Unfortunately, it was a necessary ingredient in building civilizations to their present state (which some might consider evil, as well). Without slavery, we would still be living in a rather primitive state of civilization. Slavery built the environment in which technological development could make it obsolete. I think it would have been defended on whatever grounds were available regardless of religions.
 
  • #38
siddharth
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Your second paragraph implies that slavery was evil. Unfortunately, it was a necessary ingredient in building civilizations to their present state (which some might consider evil, as well). Without slavery, we would still be living in a rather primitive state of civilization.

Really? Why is that?
 
  • #39
qspeechc
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Has anyone hard of this- Christians say that Christianity is not a religion, it is the truth, a way of life?
Anyway, extremists on either side of the fence are no good.
 
  • #40
Jimmy Snyder
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Your second paragraph implies that slavery was evil. Unfortunately, it was a necessary ingredient in building civilizations to their present state (which some might consider evil, as well). Without slavery, we would still be living in a rather primitive state of civilization. Slavery built the environment in which technological development could make it obsolete. I think it would have been defended on whatever grounds were available regardless of religions.
I doubt this. I think it is slavery that suppressed technological development in the ancient world. The Greeks especially were well disposed to have an industrial revolution of their own. They understood the principles of mechanization. But why should they have bothered with practical applications. Human labor was nearly free. At any rate, they didn't bother.

This purports to be a list of Greek inventions. They surely were also aware of inventions from earlier civilizations.
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Inventions.htm" [Broken]
 
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  • #41
Cyrus
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Likewise, you can be left sick and weak because of your ignorance towards your own body. What do you do? You bring it to the doctor to fix it and they'll tell you what's wrong. Your logic suggests that it might be more rational to learn medicine yourself, so that you would be able to manage your own health (improve your nutrition making you less susceptible to disease - good; performing an appendectomy on yourself - bad).

Likewise, you can be flat broke because of ignorance towards investing, trash the planet's environment because of ignorance towards environmental science, etc. To each it's own domain.

It might well be true that life is nothing more than getting from point A to point B with emotions or thoughts you think you have being nothing more than chemical reactions and that those chemical reactions control your actions rather than any sort of free will.

It certainly is an act of faith to believe your emotions, free will, thoughts about the universe, etc are some phenomenon beyond just chemical reactions. While it's true that a lot of religions go beyond their appropriate domain, they serve a very valuable function within their area of expertise.

Exactly what area are they 'experts' in?
 
  • #42
siddharth
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The HRW released a report today on the lack of human rights of women in Saudi Arabia

http://hrw.org/reports/2008/saudiarabia0408/

I am not generalizing to all religions or different interpretations of the same religion, but here is a clear example where religion acts as a social evil.
 
  • #43
W3pcq
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Slavery built the environment in which technological development could make it obsolete.

Not true. Slavery got some people rich by not having to pay workers. Slavery was not behind any technological development. Without slavery, we would have had a better employment rate, and the majority would have been more prosperous. The industrial revolution was a result of the invention of the internal combustion engine, and the second was the invention of the AC power grid.

In what way are you proposing that slavery made the industrial revolution possible?
 
  • #44
JasonRox
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Not true. Slavery got some people rich by not having to pay workers. Slavery was not behind any technological development. Without slavery, we would have had a better employment rate, and the majority would have been more prosperous. The industrial revolution was a result of the invention of the internal combustion engine, and the second was the invention of the AC power grid.

In what way are you proposing that slavery made the industrial revolution possible?

I'm pretty sure ideas of slavery in American schools are skewed. Slavery being beneficial in anyway is the most absurd thing I've ever heard.
 
  • #45
Adeimantus
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non-revealed vs. revealed religion

In this discussion, should we perhaps make a distinction between religion in general and revealed religion? Although I'm rather alarmed at the excesses of followers of revealed religions, it's hard for me to get worked up about the private, non-dogmatic, sort of mystical faith of men like Freeman Dyson and Martin Gardner. People like that do not hijack airplanes or harass women going into abortion clinics.

Correction: according to Wikipedia, Dyson considers himself a Christian, but it seems evident he is not dogmatic, and therefore not orthodox. It is not clear that he believes in revelation, but I don't know that he doesn't.

At any rate, I think this distinction is helpful in that those who have private, non-dogmatic faith will not feel the need to defend 'faith' in general, just their own personal beliefs. Without the distinction, people tend to talk past each other.

As for those who maintain that their faith gives meaning to their life, or all life in general, I must admit that I wonder how they fail to find sufficient meaning and purpose in a life devoted to exploring the natural world, and the worlds of thought, art, literature, music, and human relationships--a life that has no need of claiming to know what cannot be 'known' in the commonly understood sense. Of course this way of life does not supply a Cosmic Purpose, but who owes you a Cosmic Purpose, anyway? Isn't that asking too much?
 
  • #46
NeoDevin
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What do you do? You bring it to the doctor to fix it and they'll tell you what's wrong. Your logic suggests that it might be more rational to learn medicine yourself, so that you would be able to manage your own health (improve your nutrition making you less susceptible to disease - good; performing an appendectomy on yourself - bad).

The problem with this analogy is that there is a very good reason you `bring in a doctor to fix it'. Because the doctor is in fact qualified. I have at least a limited understanding of why a doctor would be qualified to tell me what's wrong with my health. I have no idea why you would put forth that a priest would be qualified to tell me what's wrong with my happiness.

What precisely is the `area of expertise' of religion about which you speak? I presume that (based on JasonRox's post which you quote) this includes individual happiness. If You're not including that, please clarify. If you are including that, please explain why this should be so, as I can see no real reason why a priest (or similar, depending on the religion) should be at all qualified to tell a person how to live a more fulfilling/happier life. That would seem better the domain of psychologists/psychiatrists.
 
  • #47
W3pcq
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I think religions' expertise is in providing comfort. People are uncomfortable with the unknown. People are also uncomfortable with the idea that their beliefs are wrong. Joining a group provides comfort in being correct in your views because others support you in that belief. The same thing happens with non-religious aspects. The same is true of popular culture, style, fashion, etc. If you join a group of people who all think they are cool, who act and dress and think a certain way, then you model that and feel cool too. At its' chore we are easily exploited by our insecurity, and religion provides people with security and comfort.
 
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  • #48
Cyrus
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I think religions' expertise is in providing comfort. People are uncomfortable with the unknown. People are also uncomfortable with the idea that their beliefs are wrong. Joining a group provides comfort in being correct in your views because others support you in that belief. The same thing happens with non-religious aspects. The same is true of popular culture, style, fashion, etc. If you join a group of people who all think they are cool, who act and dress and think a certain way, then you model that and feel cool too. At its' chore we are easily exploited by our insecurity, and religion provides people with security and comfort.

Thats still not an expertise in anything, which is what I am getting at. We have experts for comfort, their called medical doctors.
 
  • #49
BobG
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I doubt this. I think it is slavery that suppressed technological development in the ancient world. The Greeks especially were well disposed to have an industrial revolution of their own. They understood the principles of mechanization. But why should they have bothered with practical applications. Human labor was nearly free. At any rate, they didn't bother.

This purports to be a list of Greek inventions. They surely were also aware of inventions from earlier civilizations.
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Inventions.htm" [Broken]

Of those that disagreed with the idea that slavery benefited mankind, yours is at least well thought out. There's obviously a counter current running against progress simply because people generally work as hard as they have to, but aren't enthusiastic about working harder.

It requires leisure to have the time to learn the knowledge already known to a culture, plus the time to develop and create new ideas. Leisure develops gradually, just as most things have.

Domesticating animals creates a little leisure for a lot of humans. The labor of animals is substituted for the labor of humans.

Private property and enslaving captives creates a lot of leisure (and prosperity) for a few that can spread that leisure out as they desire. Some of those gaining a lifetime of leisure spend their whole life learning, teaching, and developing new stuff that please the property owner that provided the academics their life of leisure.

Leisure from working is what also gives a person time to devoting their life to doing nothing but trading objects created by other people's labors. Trade was the main method of spreading knowledge between cultures prior to the printing press and the industrial revolution. (Trade even more so than kings or religions attempting to spread their influence over a greater area).

And, yes, the industrial revolution spread leisure to even more people. Lots of people have nothing but leisure time, which they spend designing new products to be bought by other members of the leisure class, since those furthest removed from physical labor always seem to have the most property, money, and other resources. Other people have so much leisure time that they do nothing all day except keep track of how much money the richest of the leisure class are earning. Other people have so much leisure that they spend their time teaching other folks how to join the leisure class.

Slavery is a little like the debate over the disparity of income in capitalism, except a lot more extreme. It eventually raised the lifestyle of everyone (even if only raised the lifestyle of a few immediately), but the road to progress wasn't very fair to the folks at the bottom of the totem pole - especially since any benefits to their kind were likely to come centuries after their own life ended.
 
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  • #50
W3pcq
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Thats still not an expertise in anything, which is what I am getting at. We have experts for comfort, their called medical doctors.

Maybe you mean drug dealers?
 
  • #51
BobG
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Maybe you mean drug dealers?

:rofl::rofl::rofl: You beat me to it.

If you believe there is no part of you separate from chemical reactions in the brain/body, etc, then living a happier, more fulfilling life would be within the domain of psychiatrists since they can alter your chemical balance.

Psychologists tell us a lot about human behavior in general, but I don't think they are as effective at helping an individual person achieve a little balance in their life as a preist.
 
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  • #52
W3pcq
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Of those that disagreed with the idea that slavery benefited mankind, yours is at least well thought out. There's obviously a counter current running against progress simply because people generally work as hard as they have to, but aren't enthusiastic about working harder.

It requires leisure to have the time to learn the knowledge already known to a culture, plus the time to develop and create new ideas. Leisure develops gradually, just as most things have.

Domesticating animals creates a little leisure for a lot of humans.

Private property and enslaving captives creates a lot of leisure (and prosperity) for a few that can spread that leisure out as they desire. Some of those gaining a lifetime of leisure spend their whole life learning, teaching, and developing new stuff that please the property owner that provided the academics their life of leisure.

Leisure from working is what also gives a person time to devoting their life to doing nothing but trading objects created by other people's labors. Trade was the main method of spreading knowledge between cultures prior to the printing press and the industrial revolution. (Trade even more so than kings or religions attempting to spread their influence over a greater area).

And, yes, the industrial revolution spread leisure to even more people. Lots of people have nothing but leisure time, which they spend designing new products to be bought by other members of the leisure class, since those furthest removed from physical labor always seem to have the most property, money, and other resources. Other people have so much leisure time that they do nothing all day except keep track of how much money the richest of the leisure class are earning. Other people have so much leisure that they spend their time teaching other folks how to join the leisure class.

Slavery is a little like the debate over the disparity of income in capitalism, except a lot more extreme. It eventually raised the lifestyle of everyone (even if only raised the lifestyle of a few immediately), but the road to progress wasn't very fair to the folks at the bottom of the totem pole - especially since any benefits to their kind were likely to come centuries after their own life ended.

Slavery is is a little like the worst aspects of capitalism which is not perfect, and in it's similar aspects it is not linked to general prosperity. The aspects of capitalism that are good for our future are not liken to slavery. Slavery is like a monopoly, and it is only good for few. The people who gain from it don't have a change in leisure activity anyways. The long term results of slavery are a divided and mixed up world. It results in ethnic strife, wars, divided nations and violent and destructive revolutions.
 
  • #53
NeoDevin
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If you believe there is no part of you separate from chemical reactions in the brain/body, etc, then living a happier, more fulfilling life would be within the domain of psychiatrists since they can alter your chemical balance.
Do you believe there is more than the chemical reactions of the brain/body? If so, can you put forth any evidence for this proposition. Even if there is more than the chemical reactions, this still doesn't explain why you think a priest would be qualified. Your argument seems to be the classic one used by ID proponents, ``if science can't do it, religion can''. Which is simply a logical fallacy.
Psychologists tell us a lot about human behavior in general, but I don't think they are as effective at helping an individual person achieve a little balance in their life as a preist.
Do you have any evidence to support this statement? Does this apply to priests of all religions, or just your particular one? My experience with a few (not all) faiths, has been that the priests (or elders, or whatever) tend to encourage an imbalance in peoples' lives, encourageing people to devote all of their time to their religion, which hardly seems balanced to me.
 
  • #54
BobG
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I have to be honest. I've haven't given a lot of thought as to whether we could have developed to our present state without slavery. Instead, I've just noticed that we didn't develop to our present state without slavery. Seeing as how it's common to civilizations so physically separated from each other that there couldn't be any interaction between the civilizations, it seems like slavery is a key component in the development of civilization.

I'm not enough of an expert in anthropology to say for sure, but I don't think any major civilization developed without slavery.

Unless you want to say that every major pre-industrial civilization also had a religion and that all religions always promote slavery, then there has to be some deeper reasons for slavery than just one or two particular religions.
 
  • #55
Cyrus
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:rofl::rofl::rofl: You beat me to it.

If you believe there is no part of you separate from chemical reactions in the brain/body, etc, then living a happier, more fulfilling life would be within the domain of psychiatrists since they can alter your chemical balance.

Psychologists tell us a lot about human behavior in general, but I don't think they are as effective at helping an individual person achieve a little balance in their life as a preist.

I never said living a more fulfilling life is in the domain of a psychiatrist for your or me, but if someone has a chemical imbalance, then in that case it certainly is.

I don't see how a priest gives one 'balance in life', probably because I do not know what you are defining as 'balance in life'. Additionally, I would like you to tell me what 'expertise' a preist has that a normal counselor can't also say without invoking god.
 
  • #56
BobG
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Do you believe there is more than the chemical reactions of the brain/body? If so, can you put forth any evidence for this proposition. Even if there is more than the chemical reactions, this still doesn't explain why you think a priest would be qualified. Your argument seems to be the classic one used by ID proponents, ``if science can't do it, religion can''. Which is simply a logical fallacy.

Do you have any evidence to support this statement? Does this apply to priests of all religions, or just your particular one? My experience with a few (not all) faiths, has been that the priests (or elders, or whatever) tend to encourage an imbalance in peoples' lives, encourageing people to devote all of their time to their religion, which hardly seems balanced to me.

Personally, my statement would apply to few priests within a religion which I've never joined. I would also avoid a few like the plague.

Then again, any reason I might have for talking to a priest is mainly just to talk out my own problems with someone that wouldn't embarrass me. I don't care for the Crocodile Dundee method of problem solving where you tell Wally, he tells the whole town, and no more problem. I also prefer a more "common sense" approach based on having dealt with the problems of a bunch of people rather than an approach that seems almost faddish (I just don't think that much of psychologists). In other words, a lot just comes down to personal taste.

And as far as why I haven't officially joined, there's always the problem of a core belief or two that would require some hypocrisy and outright lying on my part. That doesn't mean I don't like the church overall.
 
  • #57
JasonRox
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Psychologists tell us a lot about human behavior in general, but I don't think they are as effective at helping an individual person achieve a little balance in their life as a preist.

I hope your joking because this clearly shows how naive you are about Psychology.
 
  • #58
W3pcq
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I never said living a more fulfilling life is in the domain of a psychiatrist for your or me, but if someone has a chemical imbalance, then in that case it certainly is.

I don't see how a priest gives one 'balance in life', probably because I do not know what you are defining as 'balance in life'. Additionally, I would like you to tell me what 'expertise' a preist has that a normal counselor can't also say without invoking god.

One main principle of religion is the acceptance that man does not have the capacity for full understanding of life. I believe this to be be a good lesson which humbles even the most genus mind, for even they a ignorant in the grand scheme of things. Religion then takes it a step further, and says only god is capable of this entire understanding. "God is the all seeing eye" he is the complete and unconfused truth of all things. Whether or not God is real and actively listening to our thoughts, there is a huge grand scheme in the universe that dwarfs us as human beings. This being said, the best we can do is continue to expand our perspectives and try to look outside of our own perspectives to gain a fuller understanding in an attempt to strive closer to "God".
 
  • #59
NeoDevin
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Then again, any reason I might have for talking to a priest is mainly just to talk out my own problems with someone that wouldn't embarrass me. I don't care for the Crocodile Dundee method of problem solving where you tell Wally, he tells the whole town, and no more problem. I also prefer a more "common sense" approach based on having dealt with the problems of a bunch of people rather than an approach that seems almost faddish (I just don't think that much of psychologists). In other words, a lot just comes down to personal taste.

You still haven't provided any reason why a priest would have any qualification whatsoever in this area. You can substitute anyone else who you trust not to tell the whole town in the above paragraph, and it's just as valid. Why priests? Why not a homeless person on the street (he may tell people, but not many will listen)? Or maybe a trusted friend? I seems completely arbitrary that you would talk out your problems with a priest, particularly a priest of a religion to which you do not belong.
 
  • #60
Cyrus
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One main principle of religion is the acceptance that man does not have the capacity for full understanding of life. I believe this to be be a good lesson which humbles even the most genus mind, for even they a ignorant in the grand scheme of things. Religion then takes it a step further, and says only god is capable of this entire understanding. "God is the all seeing eye" he is the complete and unconfused truth of all things. Whether or not God is real and actively listening to our thoughts, there is a huge grand scheme in the universe that dwarfs us as human beings. This being said, the best we can do is continue to expand our perspectives and try to look outside of our own perspectives to gain a fuller understanding in an attempt to strive closer to "God".

errr....what a load of ahem... Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
 
  • #61
BobG
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I hope your joking because this clearly shows how naive you are about Psychology.

Because I think they can tell us a lot about human behavior in general? :rofl:

I have my doubts about a few theories of psychology, even when applied to people overall, but I think most offer some key insights into human behavior.
 
  • #62
JasonRox
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Then again, any reason I might have for talking to a priest is mainly just to talk out my own problems with someone that wouldn't embarrass me.

This has nothing to do with the priest or God at all! It's about the character of the person you're talking to. Psychologists offer that option too.

It's funny how people say so much about Psychology and what it does when it reality they know so little. I would avoid commenting on Psychology until you actually know what it is. It's equivalent as a high school student saying math is stupid based on what he's done so far. Seriously, don't bash something you know nothing about. I never bashed on religion as of yet, I only provided things to think about in a different direction without making my judgements factual.
 
  • #63
JasonRox
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Because I think they can tell us a lot about human behavior in general? :rofl:

I have my doubts about a few theories of psychology, even when applied to people overall, but I think most offer some key insights into human behavior.

They can manipulate human behaviour, control behaviour, create behaviour. It doesn't just tell us about the behaviour.

Seriously, you are taking a very immature approach.
 
  • #64
W3pcq
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I hope your joking because this clearly shows how naive you are about Psychology.

I personally dislike the field of psychology. My reason is that the main application of psychology is exploitation. Psychologist are behind the gross methods of marketing, behind the gross methods of brainwashing, behind methods of deceit etc.

Sure there are the ones who try and help you cope with your life through various methods, many controversial. It wasn't long ago that a common method was to scramble part of your brain, or shock you until you had no personality. Personally I feel as though it is the person not the field that can be trusted. A psychopath can just as easily get a degree in psychology as a good person. In my personal experience, often people who desire to manipulate and control people are generally attracted to the field. And, just as religion, I believe that the understanding of psychology can be used for evil as well as for good.

Sure you could argue that chemical reactions are behind all thought and action, the problem is that no man, is capable of actually even remotely understanding the interworkings of these reactions and how they orchestrate. Even the most recent psychological breakthroughs are barred by our limited understanding.
 
  • #65
lisab
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You still haven't provided any reason why a priest would have any qualification whatsoever in this area. You can substitute anyone else who you trust not to tell the whole town in the above paragraph, and it's just as valid. Why priests? Why not a homeless person on the street (he may tell people, but not many will listen)? Or maybe a trusted friend? I seems completely arbitrary that you would talk out your problems with a priest, particularly a priest of a religion to which you do not belong.

Pastors go to seminary for years to learn how to run a church. They study counseling, teaching, music, etc.

The exact course of study depends on which denomiation they're in, and what they're preparing for.

I'm guessing the concept of confiding in a pastor seems arbitrary to you because you weren't raised in that environment. But for those who were raised that way, it's comforting. Why does this seem to bother you?
 
  • #66
JasonRox
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My reason is that the main application of psychology is exploitation.

Do you have any evidence to back that claim?

That's like saying the main application of Physics is to destroy the world, which the nuclear bomb is an example.

Seriously, the comments on Psychology is totally uncalled for. It's pure ignorance.
 
  • #67
Cyrus
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I personally dislike the field of psychology. My reason is that the main application of psychology is exploitation. Psychologist are behind the gross methods of marketing, behind the gross methods of brainwashing, behind methods of deceit etc.

Sure there are the ones who try and help you cope with your life through various methods, many controversial. It wasn't long ago that a common method was to scramble part of your brain, or shock you until you had no personality. Personally I feel as though it is the person not the field that can be trusted. A psychopath can just as easily get a degree in psychology as a good person. In my personal experience, often people who desire to manipulate and control people are generally attracted to the field. And, just as religion, I believe that the understanding of psychology can be used for evil as well as for good.

Sure you could argue that chemical reactions are behind all thought and action, the problem is that no man, is capable of actually even remotely understanding the interworkings of these reactions and how they orchestrate. Even the most recent psychological breakthroughs are barred by our limited understanding.


I don't know what one has to go through to get a degree in psychology, but my common sense is willing to tell me that a psycopath can't just as easily get a degree as a good person. Whoever a 'good' person is, I don't know.

Your last paragraph is also telling. So, you know for a fact that no man will understand the chemical reactions of the brain? I guess we should stop all neuroscience then? Say in 50 years we do learn about such chemical reactions, where will you conviently place the existence of god then? Some other area of science you have a lack of understanding at that point in time? Current lack of knowledge does not imply the existence of god. This is a very weak argument.

Newton et al used this same logic to rationalize god. He could not solve more than the two body problem of orbital motion, so he said it was god. Then someone came along and mathematically solved it, and it was no longer thanks to God. You are playing the same game here. Esentially, you are pulling the wool over your own eyes.
 
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  • #68
W3pcq
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You still haven't provided any reason why a priest would have any qualification whatsoever in this area. You can substitute anyone else who you trust not to tell the whole town in the above paragraph, and it's just as valid. Why priests? Why not a homeless person on the street (he may tell people, but not many will listen)? Or maybe a trusted friend? I seems completely arbitrary that you would talk out your problems with a priest, particularly a priest of a religion to which you do not belong.

First of all, I never even used the word priest in this entire thread once until now. This issue is not a pick a side and attack issue to me. If you find the roots of most religions, you will find that most are based on a person who was practicing philosophy and wisdom. The very reason for them having so many followers was their ability to use reason and teach wisdom. My belief is that no matter what religion, the job of the priest should be to learn and teach wisdom. Not that that is what most do, but I think that some are dedicated out of love to accomplish that purpose, and some can teach you things that do not rely on faith.
 
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  • #69
JasonRox
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A psychopath can just as easily get a degree in psychology as a good person.

There are many Psychopaths that got degrees in Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, etc...

I don't see your point at all.
 
  • #70
NeoDevin
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Pastors go to seminary for years to learn how to run a church. They study counseling, teaching, music, etc.

The exact course of study depends on which denomiation they're in, and what they're preparing for.

I'm guessing the concept of confiding in a pastor seems arbitrary to you because you weren't raised in that environment. But for those who were raised that way, it's comforting. Why does this seem to bother you?
Not knowing what precisely they study, I can't comment on the validity. I do know that in some denominations, the only requirement to pass the training is a pulse. Perhaps others are different, I don't know, and my intention is not to condemn all pastors and priests as incompetent.

I was referring to BobG in particular with my comment about it being arbitrary. He mentioned that he would talk to a priest because he would be confident that they wouldn't tell the whole town. Thus, that he chooses a priest is completely arbitrary as anyone else he trusts would fill the role just as well.

It doesn't bother me that people choose to confide in their pastor, just seems sensible to suggest that people evaluate the reasons for doing so. ``Because they were raised that way'' seems a pretty weak excise to me. Just so we're clear, I'm not suggesting people not talk to their pastors about their personal problems, I am suggesting that people evaluate the reasons for doing so, and recognize that just because someone is a pastor, does not mean they are qualified to give advice on every aspect of one's life.

If you speak to your pastor about things because it makes you feel more comfortable, then that's excellent. By all means continue. But don't think just because he's a pastor, or because you feel comfortable around him that he's suddenly qualified to give advice about how to feel/think/behave in order to have a more fulfilling/balanced life.
 

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