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Why is the un-interactive put in front of the interactive so often?

  1. Sep 1, 2006 #1
    I thought for a few minutes, but I just can't word the topic title right, so I'll say:

    Why do people put the un-seeable world(Religion, God, etc.) in front of the seeable world? Now, I'm not religious, but everything that I see that people do for a belief is actually self-gratifying, but slightly disguised. Donating to a church? You feel happy that you're helping out, or less guilty for something else, or so on. Why is this misconstrued as love for a divine being?

    In short, why do people do such extreme acts for the sake of something that has little proof?

    (If I'm incoherent, tell me. I'll try to get my point across :yuck:)
    (Reading it over, I seem to be asking an impossible to answer question. Hmm.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2006 #2


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    Perhaps because the most important things about life are also intangible? Compassion, altruism, charity, hope, love.

    A people that only believed what it saw, would be empty indeed.
  4. Sep 2, 2006 #3


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    I think what Dave said can be stated with less bias, at least bias in his directions :)

    Most people's lives are not very rich; they do the same thing day after day, see the same people, and have very little imagination. So intangible things, which do not require a lot of input either from sensation or thought, are important to their continuing personal stability.

    And then they want an explanation of life, the universe, and everything that is based on intangibles, not perception or thought. That's what religion does for them.
  5. Sep 2, 2006 #4
    Please pardon me for saying so, but viewing the average person as drab and unimaginative, pushing buttons for food in the Skinner box... hmm... less biased? more like more biased.
  6. Sep 2, 2006 #5


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    It is biased. Biased against biased ideas.
  7. Sep 2, 2006 #6
    It doesn't matter, I'd rather be around happy and accepting people, who don't look for problems in others. It's pretty much impossible to not be biased anyway, if you're not biased toward religion, then you're biased toward non-religion. If you're not biased toward or against religion, then you're biased toward indecisiveness. No matter what a person does, he/she will get pegged with a bias by someone looking for one.

    As far as "little proof" for the beginning post. A single proof is final, evidence is prolly the word you're looking for. There is objective truth and subjective truth. This debate could go on and on into all the details about truth, and proof of it. In short, science aims for objective truth, and an individual can believe in whatever they want. Most people will believe in science, and hence accept all the conclusions it makes as to the truth of our situation. For things that can't be proven, like the existance of God, people can believe it or not, and use what they want to find evidence of it or not, some evidence could be scientific, and some can only be from personal experiance. Something a person experiances is true to them, and is evidence for them to use when they develop their beliefs, and science can't do anything about it. So in someone's opinion, it is true that there is little proof that religions are true, but in someone elses opinion, it is true that there is plenty of proof. Science can't tell us who is right because it doesn't deal with subjective truth.

    There, that should spark much more discussion. I'm tired of writing right now, I'm going for a midnight walk.
  8. Sep 3, 2006 #7


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    Well, i agree. My interpretation is that, like with anything else, there will always be pessimists and there will always be optimists. It's impossible to be realistic in this matter.
  9. Sep 3, 2006 #8


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    :bugeye: Woah woah woah. Just playing Devil's advocate here. I'm a non-believer.
  10. Sep 3, 2006 #9
    For starters, if you have time, read https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=129699".

    I think, in the context of charitable acts, people do things that make them feel better about themselves. It doesn't matter if it's proovable or not. What matters is that person's perspective; what that person deems to be "good" or "bad".

    While religious motivations are common, I do not think this must be the case. Atheists can be generous people too. Everyone, regardless of religious or non-religious bias, has some concept of what is good or bad. This is learned very young by all. Good is having your belly full so the pain of hunger stops. Bad is not getting fed. From such basic concepts we build and add our concepts of what is desirable and what is not.

    Charity is very commonly viewed as a good act. Everyone knows this, so being seen to perform such an act makes many feel better about themselves. A few prefer to do it in secret, so as to feel (in my opinion) the superior satisfaction of generosity for its own sake, not the admiration of others. Either way, one tends to "like oneself" better after such an act.

    I dare say some people have a negative view of charity for a variety of reasons and at a variety of levels. But by and large, I think the majority of us view charity as a positive.

    I don't see a mystery here at all. Everyone is essentially self-serving. All that matters to each individual is how they perceive themselves. All that matters to others is how they perceive the actions of such a person.

    Simple, yes?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  11. Sep 3, 2006 #10
    yes, very simple. Well that solves it. Oh my how the world seems so much more understandable when I think of everything this way. Now that we have the essence of humanity in a box, we can make a perfect society. This is the only reason why there is no perfect society, because nobody has figured out what the essence of being human is, and now that we know, we can make heaven on earth! All we gotta do is persuade everyone else, but it will be easy, because we're speaking the truth.
  12. Sep 3, 2006 #11


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    Sarcasm noted. No need to beat it to death.
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