Will religion always be with us?

  • #76
lisab
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Existence cannot be explained in total. "What came before the big bang?", for example. In fact, it is, I believe, the mainstream school of thought that the sole purpose of science is to produce useful models, not to answer the most exotic questions from philosophy and theology. So atheists cannot claim that denial of religious beliefs is a scientific position. All that we can say is that we have no scientific evidence supporting such beliefs.
Just because something cannot be explained, doesn't mean its cause is supernatural.

So how can one simply deny a wealth of human history describing encounters with "others"? How does one reject out of hand what 90% of the world's population beleives to be true in one form or another? How does one ignore the tens of thousands of testimonials found in churches all over the country each Sunday?
90%, 99%, 99.999%...doesn't matter how many people believe something, that's not a good reason for me to believe it. As far as encounters with "others", most cultures indoctrinate their members from an early age that "others" exist, so I'm not at all surprised that people encounter them.

All that is required is a simple leap of faith. Of course atheism is a religion.
I think it's hard for people with strong faith to imagine life with no faith, so they can only interpret atheism as religion. It isn't, though.
 
  • #77
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We need to think what a religion is, since if we use Webster dictionary English, a religion does not require belief in god(s).

But Evo says a religion must have belief in god(s). There is some contradiction here.
I have often heard Buddhism described as religion without god. At least some form of Buddhism. This would agree with Webster.

Let's say I want to have a personal feeling about the universe. I want to relate to it, as I do to the Sea (I love the ocean but I do not attribute a mind to it. I want to be fond of the universe and wonder at it and all. But I do not wish to hear anyone attribute a MIND to the universe. That seems dumb.

The universe is governed by laws of evolution----not biological evolution, physical systems have equations that describe the evolution of a physical system. A lot of this is very basic Freshman physics. Evolution is a very general idea.

You can like evolution and cherish it and respect it and be amazed at what it has been able to produce without attributing a mind to it.

If I want to have a religion, and to satisfy Evo (the esteemed gentlelady's) requirements then I have to say
"Evolution is a mindless God". If I am to have a religion then according to Evo I must have a god. OK for me the important thing is that it not have a mind. No mind at the start, creating. No mind outside watching/interfering. No intrinsic immanent, in-dwelling mind.

I guess I don't like this. Rather have a religion without having to bother constructing a mindless God.
I merely quoted Oxford's dictionary. They gave the 3 definitions I posted. And this was in reference to Ivan saying atheism is a religion. I don't see that it falls into any of those definitions.

noun 1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

2 a particular system of faith and worship.

3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.

Where are you getting all of the "according to Evo" ideas?
 
  • #78
marcus
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Where are you getting all of the "according to Evo" ideas?
Unfortunately I had almost no time and didn't read carefully. I saw:
Ivan: Of course atheism is a religion.
Evo: How can no belief be consider a religion?

I got the impression you were saying that an atheist religion is logically impossible. A contradiction in terms. But I now see that your definition of religion (the Oxford one you quote) allows for someone to be religious without imagining a god or gods.

I think one should try to think what a god-free religion would be like (Andre mentioned humanism, I don't mean that.) The idea of a god is repulsive to me personally, but the idea of religion is attractive. A religion can give people a community and a sense of purpose. And a way of relating to the universe. It responds to real needs that people have. I think religions can give people a genuine community and a genuine sense of purpose, and are not always harmful.

Putting a god idea into a religion makes it possible for individual people to grab excessive authority by identifying themselves with the divine word or the divine will. The whole thing can easily become a manipulative power game.

At this point I don't see that I disagree with you when you say "how can no belief be considered a religion?" I agree that merely not having belief, in and of itself, is not anything much, certainly not a religion! There has to be something more.

I have a hard time imagining what a god-free religion could be like. But I suspect that it is not a logical impossibility. It would probably have to be very simple, like the way I feel about the sea, when we go sailing or go to the beach, or the way I feel about the sun, on a bright morning.
What I mean is I appreciate existence and I acknowledge that existence has its own rules and goes accordingly, and that it has no mind or personality (that would be a projection) but I like it anyway, even though I can't talk to it.

But those are just analogies. You don't want to fall into the trap of revering particulars, like this particular star, the sun. Or this particular type of life. Or this particular planet. Existence is more abstract and general than that.
I don't like Earth-worship any more than I like humanism. The earth and the human species are accidental particulars.

It's late and I'm sleepy. I'm not thinking clearly about this.

Anyway the OP began a thread asking "will humans always have religion" and I suppose the answer is yes, as long as our human nature remains roughly the same as now. But it is possible that at some time humans will have a religion which does not have god(s) but is nevertheless a religion doing for people much of what religion does.

And then the question is, would that situation be stable? Or would random cultural fluctuations disturb it and would religion eventually revert back to being goddy.
Do humans inherently need to project a face on existence? And attribute a mind to it.
(The almost irresistible attraction of the Story. Gods make for good stories.)
 
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  • #79
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A religion can give people a community and a sense of purpose. And a way of relating to the universe. It responds to real needs that people have. I think religions can give people a genuine community and a genuine sense of purpose, and are not always harmful.
Nicely said, Marcos.

It is unfortunate that the next paragraph is also true:
Putting a god idea into a religion makes it possible for individual people to grab excessive authority by identifying themselves with the divine word or the divine will. The whole thing can easily become a manipulative power game.
It is worth wondering if the consequences in the second paragraph are worth the the satisfaction mentioned in the first. :confused:
 
  • #80
qsa
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Is it built into the human brain or merely a cultural phenomenon?
Neither, it is about humans thinking were it all came from, observing and thinking. As we are very close to discovering how our universe works fully, it is going to get even worse. Did some culture in another universe that evolved for billion of years managed to simulate reality in computers and thus created us. I don't think the debate will stop.
 
  • #81
marcus
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As we are very close to discovering how our universe works fully,...
:biggrin:

Have heard something I haven't?

Did some culture in another universe that evolved for billion of years managed to simulate reality in computers and thus create us? ...
:rolleyes:

I don't think the debate will stop.
But Qsa, that is not the topic. Debate is not the same things as religion. We are considering the future course of human religions.

Debate, more often disorganized spontaneous discussion, mythologizing, idle speculation, burping, farting, and story telling will no doubt continue as usual. That is not the same thing as religion. It's not the issue.

Let's focus on the history, nature and future of religion. It's a curious widespread custom, which normally involves fantastic lies. It gives us certain emotional and spiritual vitamins that most of us need. What will happen? I think that is what the OP Snoopie asked about. Will it always be with us, and what might it look like a millennium from now?
Is it constrained by the human genetic makeup? Probably not, more likely constrained by our forms of family and social life, by our experience as social animals (which could change.) Of course even our genetic makeup could change. We could collectively get stupider or smarter, for example, we could diverge into more than one species, in the long run. But I don't want to consider that.

Assuming we don't change biologically and keep on living in cities, what are the different directions in which religion might evolve?
 
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  • #82
qsa
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:biggrin:

Have heard something I haven't?



:rolleyes:



But Qsa, that is not the topic. Debate is not the same things as religion. We are considering the future course of human religions.

Debate, more often disorganized spontaneous discussion, mythologizing, idle speculation, burping, farting, and story telling will no doubt continue as usual. That is not the same thing as religion. It's not the issue.

Let's focus on the history, nature and future of religion. It's a curious widespread custom, which normally involves fantastic lies. It gives us certain emotional and spiritual vitamins that most of us need. What will happen? I think that is what the OP Snoopie asked about. Will it always be with us, and what might it look like a millennium from now?
Is it constrained by the human genetic makeup? Probably not, more likely constrained by our forms of family and social life, by our experience as social animals (which could change.) Of course even our genetic makeup could change. We could collectively get stupider or smarter, for example, we could diverge into more than one species, in the long run. But I don't want to consider that.

Assuming we don't change biologically and keep on living in cities, what are the different directions in which religion might evolve?
Of course, when I said close I did not mean next few years, more like Tegmark’s 50 years prediction, that is very short time in human history scale. I have not read anything from most distinguished scientist that is not optimistic in that sense.
Who would have thought 500 years ago that we would be sending probes to the edge of the solar system, if you have told anybody that at that time you would have been shot(more like burned) on site! You cannot predict technology.

As for religion, you know, humans do not debate for the sake of it, typically it translates into actions, and I guess I was not clear but that is what I meant. Religion does not exist in a vacuum, humans use any tool at their disposal to justify their actions, and the animalistic instinct for survival is alive and well. Animal do not have religion, yet they fight tooth and nail. The communists did not believe in god, but they used that believe to prop up their state (survival again).
My point is that based on our present knowledge that allows some distinguished scientists to speculate that simulation might be possible and hence the status of god becomes also possible. The concept of god has its roots strongly in our ignorance as to how existence came to be, but even if that is solved, then we are again will be haunted by the simulation issue. It is not a psychological issue it is a conceptual issue, in the first place. And the rest follows(as an excuse). Religion just like anything else that exists, you can use it for good or for killing people, electing presidents and million other bad things

Let us say tomorrow a theory is confirmed that no god and no simulation of existence is possible, would humans calm down. I doubt it; they will find something to fight about, and no shortage of excuses,and now no restraint (defintion of religion). If humans are to become true humans, they must get rid of their animalistic instinct, somehow.
 
  • #83
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Do humans inherently need to project a face on existence? And attribute a mind to it.
In my experience, yes. Clever experiments suggest, if not prove, that infants are born with strong preferences to see human faces. There of course are exceptions to the general rule, such as blind or autistic infants. But sighted newborn children will suckle on an electronic nipple sensor at the frequency which produces the mother's face and voice if given the option of selecting that video segment from other stimulations. The loss of face is traumatic since it is strongly associated with the psychological realities of abandonment and death.

A girlfriend once tried to psycho-analyze me with a little game. She asked me to name my three favorite bodies of water. I said the Universe, the heavens, and the Earth. She said those aren't bodies of water. I said the Universe is the ocean in which we swim.

The wordless, mindless, peacefullness of oneness with creation is very likely to be a memory of being inside the womb (this Hebrew God is said to be nameless). The mother's body is the memory of pleasure in the Divine Presence. This likely causes the hope to be returned to heaven, the feeling of oneness in the Divine Presence. The Universe is such a presence too.

The mother's living body is a host that keeps one alive. The heavens and the Earth, the Living Biosphere, are the host which keeps us all alive. The faces of others, the ability to communicate, first with parents, then with other humans, and even with the perception of nature, is innate to the survival and psychology of humanity. The sterile scientist with a rational idea of a random universe is not wrong, but to me, he or she is like a neutered dog compared to Black Elk's Prayer.

Grandfather! Great Spirit! Behold me! A relative I am, a relative to all that is! Give me the eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you! With your power only can I face the winds! -- Black Elk
Seeking faces in nature and developing the mind (self-other communication skill) is in our very nature and conveys a great survival advantage. If one wants to adhere to theories of biological evolution than religion must be seen as an expression of a biological adaptation and the question is, what biological purpose does it evolve to serve? I say it emerges due to the need for a parent as an infant, and in adulthood, the need to integrate the parents' ability into oneself. I also sometimes think life might be better living in a Tepee with Black Elk or Crazy Horse rather than with a society of rational avaricious apes assuming their science is somehow superior to the tribes who after all thrived for millenia with their "primitive" ideas.
 
  • #84
marcus
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... We are considering the future course of human religions.
...
Assuming we don't change biologically and keep on living in cities, what are the different directions in which religion might evolve?
... Religion does not exist in a vacuum, humans use any tool at their disposal to justify their actions, ... Religion just like anything else that exists, you can use it for good or for killing people, ...

Let us say tomorrow a theory is confirmed that no god and no simulation of existence is possible, would humans calm down. I doubt it; they will find something to fight about, ...
It seems to me that you are not thinking about how religion might evolve. You are more focusing on deplorable human behavior that can be sometimes justified by religion, like mass killing, wars, oppression, etc.
That seems kind of like avoiding the main question. Instead of thinking about how religion might evolve you are saying "it doesn't matter how it evolves! However religion evolves people will still kill people etc."

Well that is in some sense irrelevant. I wish you would get your mind off of the secondary stuff religion is sometimes used to justify, stop thinking about horror-stories and whatnot.
Focus on what the OP is asking.

I could use someone to talk with about the future evolution of religion. It's potentially interesting. It is a sociological and psychological thing. It has to do with human nature. What does religion do for people that they need and how can these needs be met and how will religions adapt to fill the niches.

For example here is a question. Religions as we know them involve fantastical made-up stuff. Is this necessary? Could a truthful religion ever evolve? Or is mythologizing an essential feature? Will the survival of the fittest competition between religions, that governs their evolution, always favor religions that promise going to Heaven after death? Will religions with an immortal soul doctrine always out-compete religions without such a doctrine?

I think religion satisfies a strong need for community and purpose (going back to when we were huntergathers living in small communities). Look at how people act about athletics, football teams etc. They constantly revert to tribal behavior. We will probably have something, 500 years from now, that gives us a sense of community and purpose. What could it be like?

Tell me what you think. Must it necessarily have a personal immortality myth? A creator-of-the-universe personality?
 
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  • #85
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I think as long as people continue to not trust their on rational faculties and continue to placed faith in things that don't require applying rationalism, whether it be a deity or a politician, then religion will continue to be around.
 
  • #86
marcus
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I think as long as people continue to not trust their on rational faculties and continue to placed faith in things that don't require applying rationalism, whether it be a deity or a politician, then religion will continue to be around.
But what is it, that will still be around? What is the range of possible variation?

Are you merely offering a tautology? You say "as long as" [people place faith in nonrationally based things like deity] "then religion will continue".

It seems you just defining religion to be [placing faith in nonrational-based things like deity] and then saying, in effect, "as long as religion continues, religion will continue."

If that is all you are saying, it is trivially true but lacks content. What can you say to give it content.

Here's an idea you could try:
Think of a religion by analogy with an animal species. Species evolve to fit niches. What needs do religions meet. What factors contribute to religion's survival and successful expansion? What are some essential functions?

Hosts and parasites co-evolve, and the evolution of each can influence the other. Sometimes the relationship between a society and the religions that infest it can seem beneficial, sometimes harmful. Sometimes a parasite organism can become so dominant and powerful that it controls the behavior of the host. Sometimes a parasite and host are adapted so their mutual effects are neutral or nearly so. Sometimes a parasite can confer a survival advantage.​

Try thinking about it using this (or some other biological analogy of your choice) and see if you come up with some conjectures about possible future of religion.
I'm eager to hear someone else's ideas about this---but want some nontrivial content, some substance to the idea. Not merely a definition, and a statement that is true by definition.
 
  • #87
qsa
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For example here is a question. Religions as we know them involve fantastical made-up stuff. Is this necessary? Could a truthful religion ever evolve? Or is mythologizing an essential feature? Will the survival of the fittest competition between religions, that governs their evolution, always favor religions that promise going to Heaven after death? Will religions with an immortal soul doctrine always out-compete religions without such a doctrine?

I think religion satisfies a strong need for community and purpose (going back to when we were huntergathers living in small communities). Look at how people act about athletics, football teams etc. They constantly revert to tribal behavior. We will probably have something, 500 years from now, that gives us a sense of community and purpose. What could it be like?
Tell me what you think. Must it necessarily have a personal immortality myth? A creator-of-the-universe personality?


As long as the status of the creator-no creator is unknown the majority will opt to take insurance on the existence of a creator, to a varying degrees of commitment. Hence the creator has a plan for us, since we have no idea what we are doing here. Also, since god is immortal, so should we. Because our nature and nature itself are doing great injustice to us, god will put things right if not now then later. religion tried to unify all little communities in a big one with the promise of justice for all now and later, but delivered misery a lot of times. How did Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhism evolve over thousands of years? Did they evolve, I think not much. Why? Because humans are still immature they do not act on the information they have (Kant’s definition) they know they need justice supported by good ethics but they act to obtain the opposite.

If god did not exist, then we have no real purpose and no justice. What can give us purpose and a sense of justice as an alternative to traditional religion? We create religion by asserting the existence of god no matter how improbable, then we decide what such existence mean and entitle, by accepting what the prophet said. Religion evolves based on circumstances. If human societies manage to provide more justice (embracing ethics religiously so to speak) to everyone and allows true enhancement for people to be useful and fulfilled and thus have some kind of a real purpose( and not taken advantage of all the time) then maybe people will be less compelled to take creator concept very seriously. In the process we become god like and take over his perceived functions and control our destiny. So then his existence becomes a mere curiosity. But we have to get rid of you know what or find ourselves in such a rut that changing course is the only way out.
 
  • #88
marcus
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Good, thank you Qsa. You have responded to the question about future evolution of religion by some causal reasoning. I got something from this post. It got me to think something I hadn't thought of.

I would also like to hear from other people---their idea of causal reasoning about future development.

Qsa, you often used the word justice. I had not thought of this before (maybe I simply have not thought a lot about religion and I miss obvious things. Not being a professional sociologist of religion, naturally.) I hadn't thought that one of the functions of religion is to provide an illusion of justice in an unjust world.

Before, I could only think that it provides a sense of community and purpose.
The chance to feel that "we are us" and "we are winning the great battle" or accomplishing the great task we have been chosen to do etc.

Now with Qsa's help we have three functions, three niches to fill, or needs of the heart to satisfy. Community, purpose and justice. What else can anyone think of?
If we get more than 4 or 5 then maybe someone will want to try to rank the relative importance of the various functions?
 
  • #89
qsa
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Qsa, you often used the word justice. I had not thought of this before (maybe I simply have not thought a lot about religion and I miss obvious things. Not being a professional sociologist of religion, naturally.) I hadn't thought that one of the functions of religion is to provide an illusion of justice in an unjust world.

QUOTE]

Thanks marcus

I would add that all great religions started with the imperative of justice.

Judaism started when Moses told the Pharaoh
“Let my people go”

As for Christianity
Why Was Jesus Crucified?
According to those prophesies, the Messiah was a great future leader who would appear during a period of extreme desperation and crisis known as the End Times (or Last Days). Assisted by God, he would overthrow all evil oppressors and set up a perfect kingdom on earth, where all the righteous people could live forever in peace and joy.

And in Islam

The Arabian Peninsula was hell on earth. The powerful just took what they wanted. And when Prophet Mohammad challenged them they went to his uncle (where his tribe was one the most powerful in Mecca) complaining “what is with this guy, he has become a friend with all the slaves and the poor ones and he has befriended us, the cream of Mecca”


When his other uncle tortured his slave that embraced Islam, Prophet Mohammad recited this verse” damn the hands of Abu Lahab, his money well not do him any good, he will burn in hell with flames ...”

Of course, in Arabic it rhymes beautifully

With this idea Islam spread like a fire in a hay stack.
 
  • #90
marcus
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But as long as the rule of law is working, in secular society, it seems to reduce the importance of this "justice" function to the evolution of religion.

It's like religion has been filling these needs----but some can be met by secular society and some cannot be met, or not very effectively.

Religion can condition people to bear pain and suffering, degradation, slavery, and terrible disasters. But with modern medicine, including pain-killers, and some other arrangements one hopes the need for that conditioning can be reduced.

I'm not sure. have to think about it some.

What do you care about as an ultimate purpose? For me, I'd like it if humans could find a few habitable planets and send some robot probes to them to plant the seeds of life. I'd love that. Extending the scope of biological evolution to some other places. Making life in some sense more varied and abundant.

Maybe one of the planets would have an icecovered ocean, and we could plant some algae, and fish, and seals, and polar bears (to eat the seals when they came up at holes in the ice). We wouldn't have to go. Just send a robot craft to basically plant the seeds, hatch the DNA, and whatnot. Difficult but not impossible.

I'd like it if we humans could expand the scope of evolution. Maybe there are other ways.

Maybe there are other purposes you can think of.
 
  • #91
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Re: will religion always be with us?

As long as we cannot explain what reality is, God will be a prime explanation for everything. Then, if we in 500 or 2000 years, somehow manage to explain most or all of it, one will start to wonder why everything is explainable by the "incidental" human mind. For me, hardcore atheism of the sorts that makes bold claims like "Folks, we are telling you, we are accidents", etc. seems like a dead-end, a prematurely shut door to other alleys, a sort of personal war on other ideas, and so i think there will always be different religions around.
 
  • #92
Yes.

Here's a wee vid, moi did, on the origin of the One God concept.

 
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  • #93
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But as long as the rule of law is working, in secular society, it seems to reduce the importance of this "justice" function to the evolution of religion.

It's like religion has been filling these needs----but some can be met by secular society and some cannot be met, or not very effectively.
By what standard is justice measured that allows us to know if rule of law is working or not? It works when we think it does what is right and it is broken when it does what we think is wrong. We imbue principles such as justice with an a priori truth, yet from society to society, and individual to individual we measure them differently. We feel that our perception of justice is not an arbitrary judgement. It creates order out of chaos and allows the formation of civilizations.

I don't believe secular society reduces the importance of the justice function to the evolution of religion. Many religions began as a set of principles and practices to bring order to society. The evolution of religion is the search for an ideal order, and secular society is only one more form of this. It is a distinct animal in its adaptation, but it is not seperate from principles and practices based on a priori truth. It also seeks an ideal order based on its belief. It just does it without the belief that an ideal order arbitrarily judges humanity.

This is from the author Terry Pratchett in his book 'Hogfather'. You might enjoy this.
Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?
Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
Susan: So we can believe the big ones?
Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.
Susan: They're not the same at all.
Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?
 
  • #94
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By what standard is justice measured that allows us to know if rule of law is working or not? It works when we think it does what is right and it is broken when it does what we think is wrong. We imbue principles such as justice with an a priori truth, yet from society to society, and individual to individual we measure them differently. We feel that our perception of justice is not an arbitrary judgement. It creates order out of chaos and allows the formation of civilizations.

I don't believe secular society reduces the importance of the justice function to the evolution of religion. Many religions began as a set of principles and practices to bring order to society. The evolution of religion is the search for an ideal order, and secular society is only one more form of this. It is a distinct animal in its adaptation, but it is not seperate from principles and practices based on a priori truth. It also seeks an ideal order based on its belief. It just does it without the belief that an ideal order arbitrarily judges humanity.

This is from the author Terry Pratchett in his book 'Hogfather'. You might enjoy this.
I think the satire there really misses the point. Sure, justice doesn't "exist" in the same metaphysical sense as atoms. It's the person who thinks they need to who is confused.
I can have principles that I believe are absolute moral truths, (and personally I do.) I know they're not "true" in the same way thermodynamics is true, it's a different metaphysical category. One is an undeniable, externally confirmable, objective truth. The other is a moral truth. It is an external mapping of meaning onto neutral objective processes.

I think this an area where religous types get their metaphysics mixed up. They tend to only have one, indivisible, absolute truth, which has no other descriptive features other then being "the truth" (i.e., objective observation does not have to match up per ce!)
 
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  • #95
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Thanks for the links to Terry Pratchett. I have done some investigation into him and heard some good things ... a shame that now he has some severe health problems.
 
  • #96
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There is actually some literature on the evolutionary origins of religion by people like Boyer, Altran and Dennett, among others, that could be worth reading. In their view, evolution has primed our brains to be seekers of intentionality, even where none exist. Better to err on the side of caution and mistake non-intentional things for intentional things (and at most spend some extra energy) than do the opposite and risk dying, or so the general (slightly caricatured here) argument goes.
This is an interesting post. The assumption seems to be that humans are capable of thinking in terms of non-intentional actions. The question is if you would view actions as unintentional or subconscious, what possibility would their be for exercising creativity, choice, and freedom?

I doubt that religion will ever go away completely, but I do believe that the issues addressed by religion get usurped by other discourses at times, and that these new discourses rely on condemnation of religious language as antiquated in order not to have to compete directly with it.

At this point, my view of biblical theology is that it is a form of psychology mixed with philosophy. The fact that Freud called himself a "godless Jew" and regarded religion as infantile provides some support for the idea that Freud was competing with religion/theology as a means for people to feel better and happier.

From an economic perspective, I think that religion (or at least Christianity) will always be present because of how Christianity regards wealth and power. There is a reason that it is fairly easy to get copies of bible for free whereas the DSM or other psychology books can be quite expensive. Also, (some) Christians spread "the word" for no other reason than they believe that doing so will make the world better and improve their own spiritual well-being.

How many psychologists do you know that help people because they expect it to make the world better or just because it improves their own psychological health? If you do, I would call them "Christian" even if they don't personally subscribe to Christianity. By "Christian," I'm only referring to the missionary spirit and faith in spreading goodness by spreading knowledge.
 

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