Atheism 2.0 23 replies

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Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#1 2 years ago

Right or not, this guy expresses eloquently a lot of my own feelings. Thoughts?




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#2 2 years ago

Hm. Watched only about half of the video, couldn't listen to more as the man seems to ramble a bit. But it sounds a lot like the guy works with the premise that atheism automatically excludes you from a bunch of nice things that religion has nothing to do with. A more verbose version of "you can't be moral without religion".

Religion played a big part in most cultures, so of course you are going to find lots of nice and bad things that are somehow associated with it. But you don't need religion for ethics, spirituality or a classical education. Just as you don't need religion to be an ignorant, evil person.

What he said at the beginning is especially bad. He basically advocates patchwork-religions, where you pick the stuff you enjoy. The value of religious teachings is its dogmatic nature which forces you to learn about a wide variety of situations. If you let people pick what they like you can end up with flat empty shells or with fanatical delusions.




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#3 2 years ago
MrFancypantsIf you let people pick what they like you can end up with flat empty shells or with fanatical delusions.

*cough* yeah...because who does that? Heh heh... :lookaround:


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Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#4 2 years ago

Hmm, here's a summary of what I got out of it. I'll try not to repeat the speaker verbatim.

With religion comes a lot of lifestyle, culture, structure, and community that you just don't see outside of religion. This is not to say that you cannot have these things outside of religion, but they sort of fit nicely into the constructs of religious dogma. Example: close-knit communities. They exist elsewhere but are more rare due to no central theme tying everyone together. Another example:  lots of world aid organizations are religious, and they have a nice supply of volunteers because a lot of churches constantly bring up these organizations and the need to go volunteer. There are plenty of nonreligious world and community aid organizations, but not as many. And I don't hear about them as often because they aren't really advertised in my local community.

I'm not sure so much about the cultural and ritualistic part of his talk, as both of these need to have purpose to exist, but some of these rituals, like singing songs once a week have the effect of relieving a lot of stress and re-focusing your energy on what you think is important. I know because I was a regular church-goer from birth to about 1-2 years ago. Also, getting together with like-minded people to talk about what you think is most important in life regularly has a similar effect. 

Basically, religion and the whole structure built up around it has a lot of good and a lot of bad. If what some believe about the origins of Christianity is true, it may have evolved over several thousand years or more. I suspect that the people who carried on the evolution process knew a thing or two about how people think and work so while we shouldn't just blindly take from it what feels good, I think some practical value can be obtained from studying it and taking from it what is probably good.

MrFancypants  it sounds a lot like the guy works with the premise that atheism automatically excludes you from a bunch of nice things that religion has nothing to do with. A more verbose version of "you can't be moral without religion". [/quote] Exclusion from a bunch of "nice things" because there really isn't a convenient alternative structure set up for those "nice things". Like when you leave a big company to work for a startup, you're sacrificing a lot of things. And I think he was emphasizing that with religion, you're constantly bombarded with the messages of that religion's version of morality whereas in secular society you just don't get that.

MrFancypants Religion played a big part in most cultures, so of course you are going to find lots of nice and bad things that are somehow associated with it. But you don't need religion for ethics, spirituality or a classical education. Just as you don't need religion to be an ignorant, evil person.

No, but again there are some big, organized structures built around religion that just seem to work.

[quote=MrFancypants] What he said at the beginning is especially bad. He basically advocates patchwork-religions, where you pick the stuff you enjoy. The value of religious teachings is its dogmatic nature which forces you to learn about a wide variety of situations. If you let people pick what they like you can end up with flat empty shells or with fanatical delusions.

More or less, except the result wouldn't be religion, it would be a lifestyle. The alternative is to do what I'm doing right now, and that is to leave the discussion of morality to a very occasional conversation and late night searches on the web. Thinking for yourself is important, but a structured way of figuring it out would be advantageous IMO.




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#5 2 years ago
Superfluous Curmudgeon  There are plenty of nonreligious world and community aid organizations, but not as many. And I don't hear about them as often because they aren't really advertised in my local community.

Yes, but those organizations don't proselytize or do it because a book tells them to; they do it for its own sake and don't request you rescind your beliefs or change them as an added bonus to your received charity.

As Christopher Hitchens once said, "Organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah all do a great deal of good in the community.  It's nothing compared to the harm that they do, but it is true they do a lot of charity work."


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Serio VIP Member

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#6 2 years ago

Adrian ŢepeşYes, but those organizations don't proselytize or do it because a book tells them to; they do it for its own sake and don't request you rescind your beliefs or change them as an added bonus to your received charity.

As Christopher Hitchens once said, Organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah all do a great deal of good in the community. It's nothing compared to the harm that they do, but it is true they do a lot of charity work.

Yeah, comparing Hamas and Hezbollah to the Red Cross, British Samaritans or the Salvation Army isn't totally fair. None of them require you to change your beliefs or lack thereof, nor do they proselytize.

As always, people are too afraid of religion to understand anything about what's being said. They jump to the gun, proclaiming terror of the faith and screaming about prosecution. This guy isn't talking about making people religious; he's talking about the absolute opposite. Instead of dismissing everything religion has, we should learn from it. We should look at the way sermons are handled, and apply that to lectures. Why? Because right now, lectures are a terrible way to learn.

People are dropping out of universities, ending up on the streets, generally fucking up their lives in remarkable ways. They need some form of guidance.




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#7 2 years ago
Serio Yeah, comparing Hamas and Hezbollah to the Red Cross, British Samaritans or the Salvation Army isn't totally fair. None of them require you to change your beliefs or lack thereof, nor do they proselytize.

Maybe not totally fair, but the groups I knew growing up in the church were based mainly on getting people to accept Jesus and hand out Bibles.  Some of them even handed out those stupid $100 bill tracts.  But even those that don't you can argue whether or not they do it out of decency or because of borrowed beliefs.

It's not like I think all religious work is evil, but intent matters a lot to me, though I suppose at the end of the day a meal's a meal.  No, not everything religion has is bad, and there are certain aspects of the literature that are important if for no other reason that academic study in the same way as literature and anthropology, so it shouldn't be discarded completely.  However, I still have my reservations.


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



Superfluous Curmudgeon VIP Member

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#8 2 years ago

So yes, a big reason for religious good-doing is motivated by a sense of obligation to God. There is a constant sense of pressure to go out and do these things that you have to agree are good, but aren't necessarily motivated for reasons that we would call good and pure.

But let's consider the proposed alternative. You live in a society and community that pressures you to give some of your time and money to help others in a direct way. But that pressure doesn't come from the perspective of religion, but rather it comes from being a societal norm, or from a widespread idea that that is what you need to do to be a healthy, happy human.  And you'd be constantly reminded of your obligation by friends and the media. Is that alternative a good alternative? Ultimately you'd still be doing good for selfish reasons but maybe that is ok. I would wager that even doing good deeds in the name of God would be good, albeit selfish, if said religion were true.

I think we can all mostly agree that the "right" reason for helping someone is to actually help them; to see that person genuinely be better off than if you did nothing. But even this is rooted in some selfishness - gratifying your inner desire to see someone else be helped. But you need to make the distinction between what kind of selfish is "good" and what kind is "bad" and that is an entire philosophical discussion in itself.

So basically, my point boils down this: If our ultimate goal is the most well-being for all people, and if well-being can be increased by people truly helping people, then it follows that we should do whatever we can to do that. If current secular culture isn't facilitating that very well, maybe it's time to change secular culture. Psychological research has made leaps and bounds in recent years, but a practical application of that knowledge is required for it to become useful. Coincidentally, some religious constructs are very good at motivating people to action and there is independent research that backs up the sort of methods employed as being effective. A big difficulty in science is making it practical. If religion is already doing it, maybe emulating it (replacing flawed motivations with better motivations) would not be such a bad thing.




Zipacna

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#9 2 years ago

The problem I have with what he is proposing is that he suggests that there should be some set of morals that everyone simply accepts as objectively good. And you're back to objective morality. And those who disagree are not part of the group. He stresses the importance of constant repetition. But what good does it do to repeat a Platonic or Stoic moral canon if you're an Epicurean? As soon as you simply define a set of ideas as the only right and good one, you have thrown out the central point of the atheist movement - free and critical thinking. That is why this idea causes me to recoil in horror. A hard collectivism centred around an objective morality is the very worst religion has ever introduced.

And sooner or later, as much as you may want to deny it, those who do not adhere to the canon are ostracised, bullied and, in the end, silenced. Religions have shown this countless times. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, what currently calls itself feminism / the "social justice" movement / "atheism plus", and also the Pagan religions, even those North of the Alps, although they are among the most tolerant, non-invasive religions you can find throughout history.


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NeoRanger

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#10 2 years ago

His analysis is interesting, but his proposition makes me uncomfortable. What he suggests can be misconstrued and twisted; the reason why we receive information in college/university, outside the obvious practical reasons, is that we are supposed to judge ourselves what this information means and how we will utilize it. I watched the video yesterday and I don't remember his exact words, but his focus on 'sermons', especially this late into someone's life, is in itself akin to baseless moralizing and completely antithetical to critical thought.

A focus on community is a preferable alternative. The good things religion does is usually not out of fear of the divine, but because community through certain hardships bands together to offer and provide for itself and often others.