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Penelope, DWill and Robert Tulip about religious belief. 
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Post Penelope, DWill and Robert Tulip about religious belief.
Hello Penelope, Robert and Will.

I've been wondering for a few days how to redirect the "religious beliefs" discussion from the Heart of Darkness threads without annoying anybody, especially you three, whose input I value so much.

I am not of the opinion that when one discusses somethig, one should stick to the subject at hand 100 % of the time, and send the thought police if anyone strays.

Sometimes one thing leads to another, and a worthwhile discussion emerges .
Telling people "Please discuss this in the religion and belief forum" might stop the impetus of something that started informally.

Since the belief discussion is growing, I find it has become a little distracting at this point and I have started this new thread.

If you want to change the heading of the thread just tell me.

You can also give me feed back about this later: did my interfering stop your discussion in its track for example (I hope not!). :)


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Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:49 am
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Ophelia,

No, that's fine the way you have handled it. Thanks for doing such a good job as the discussion leader. I'd like to stick to HD, too, but sometimes I dart out a bit to the side.

The only other thing I had to say about religious belief right now is to clarify that I don't see belief itself--even belief that we could label as irrational--as a problem any greater than other ideas that we get stuck on and unfortunately try to impose on others (is democarcy one of these?). There does seem to be a line of thought today that untestable religious belief is bad, period. Sam Harris presents an extreme form of this view. Another view is that only when religion becomes an ideology does it become dangerous. But even as ideology, defining a way of thought and life, religion is not always destructive, is it? The Amish have an ideological religion, yet they don't seek to make others accept it; they just try to remain in their own world. We might not approve of their fundamentalism, but it seems okay to me to leave them to their traditional ways.



Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:54 am
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I will say this about religious belief, no matter how harmless it appears on the surface it always remains volatile. People with differing attitudes and temperaments can always use their belief as justification to cause harm to others simply because those others are "different" and a "danger" to their way of life.

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Our history has shown that the blood letting has occurred mostly as a result of religions or other belief-systems, not from the people who reject them.

Beliefs also act as barriers towards further understanding. Even the most productive scientists and philosophers through the ages have held beliefs which prevented them from seeing beyond their discoveries and inventions.

For example, Aristotle believed in a prime mover, a "god" that moves the sun and moon and objects through space. With a belief such as this, one cannot possibly understand the laws of gravitation or inertia. Even Einstein owned beliefs which barred him from understanding the consequences of quantum mechanics. He could not accept pure randomness in subatomic physics, thus he bore his famous belief: "God does not play dice." Regardless, physicists now realize that for quantum mechanics to work, nature not only plays with dice, but randomness serves as a requirement if one wishes to predict with any statistical accuracy.

nobeliefs.com/beliefs.htm


Belief, (especially religious belief) acts as a stumbling block in modern society. Their failed attempts to explain the workings of the world have and continue to hold back progress in both the scientific and social disciplines and when looking at their track records it is hard to see religions as anything but harmful.


Later



Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:05 pm
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Our history has shown that the blood letting has occurred mostly as a result of religions or other belief-systems, not from the people who reject them


I'd like to believe that atheists on the whole are less dangerous... but alas they too can hold beliefs which cost their fellow men dearly, like Stalin or Mao.


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Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:05 pm
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Vlad the Impaler - Atilla the Hun.....Genkis Khan......were not particularly religious!!!!!

If there is such a thing as 'Gaia' we are all responsible and we all need to face the heartlessness that is in all of us and attempt to remedy it.

It takes courage.....honesty....and communication.....it can be attempted...only.

I am religious because I think if it were left to Karma....justice...we would be doomed.....but I believe in God's Grace......

If anyone wants to look up what is the meaning of Grace.....

That is our hope - that is all that was left in Pandora's Box.

Sorry Ophelia - we are off topic again aren't we? This is a 'live' discussion. We all have differing opinions......but we all know that we are discussing something that really matters.....and perhaps that is why 'Heart of Darkness' is a 'classic'.



Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:17 pm
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Penelope, I officially sub-contract this thread to you, Dwill and Robert to discuss belief, in whatever definition you choose, so you can't be off topic here. ;-)


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Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:29 pm
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Penelope wrote:
Vlad the Impaler - Atilla the Hun.....Genkis Khan......were not particularly religious!!!!! If there is such a thing as 'Gaia' we are all responsible and we all need to face the heartlessness that is in all of us and attempt to remedy it. It takes courage.....honesty....and communication.....it can be attempted...only. I am religious because I think if it were left to Karma....justice...we would be doomed.....but I believe in God's Grace...... If anyone wants to look up what is the meaning of Grace..... That is our hope - that is all that was left in Pandora's Box. Sorry Ophelia - we are off topic again aren't we? This is a 'live' discussion. We all have differing opinions......but we all know that we are discussing something that really matters.....and perhaps that is why 'Heart of Darkness' is a 'classic'.


First my little harrumph. (and Bill Gates just put a second r in my harumph as I am using his Word program, quite an imperial parable there somewhere). I don't think the discussion of belief in the Heart of Darkness thread was off-topic. The book is about how the European system of belief enabled the conquest of Africa. And Christianity was a central weapon, using dogma as a mechanism of social control and unification, with false toxic prejudiced pathologies, such as heaven and the virgin birth, informing the outlook to justify the view of others as sub-human. Sure, Conrad does not delve into explicit theology, but it is a major necessary interpretive factor.

I welcome Penelope's invocation of Gaia, as the spirit of our planet really must be the context of world redemption. And grace is part of our karma. Causality produces increasing complexity in a chaotic system such as our planet



Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:21 pm
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Ophelia
I'd like to believe that atheists on the whole are less dangerous... but alas they too can hold beliefs which cost their fellow men dearly, like Stalin or Mao.


True enough... the real problem is the blind devotion to false ideology weather it be religious or not.

However that blind devotion is encouraged in most religions and that makes them more dangerous than other beliefs that are not claimed as divinely inspired. Men can be wrong and argued against... Gods will (if you believe in such a thing) cannot.

Later



Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:02 am
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Robert said:

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And grace is part of our karma.


Well thank you Robert, I really needed to hear that.

Frank said:

Quote:
the real problem is the blind devotion to false ideology weather it be religious or not.

However that blind devotion is encouraged in most religions and that makes them more dangerous than other beliefs that are not claimed as divinely inspired.


No, I don't think it makes them any more dangerous. We are just having discussions in this Country now, about swearing alegiance to the Queen. Well, our queen is very nice and I would swear alegiance to her any day, but there have been monarchs of this Country to whom I would never, ever think of giving my alegiance.

Blind devotion to any system or person is wrong. And you can argue against religions - for instance.....I am a Protestant.......because at some time in our history we protested against the practises of the Roman Catholic Church........So that wasn't blind adherance.

And in fact, if you look at the people who are working to help the socially deprived in the World today......I bet a larger percentage of them are religious than not. I don't believe that all of them agree 100% with their own denomination - but it is their faith that inspires them to care about their fellow man.

I don't agree 100% with the Salvation Army - but they are organised to give practical help - and I know that they do it for the same reasons as I want to do it. And they let me help, they don't insist that I accept all of their dogma.



Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:51 am
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Penelope wrote:
Quote:
And in fact, if you look at the people who are working to help the socially deprived in the World today......I bet a larger percentage of them are religious than not.


If one pursues this line of reasoning, the problem I often think about is:

If you imagine a pair of scales, on which you would put, on one side all the people who have been killed or harmed by people moved by their relious belief, and on the other side, people who have been saved from, let's say starvation, by religious believers who applied the principle of charity, which would be heavier?

I'd say historically the side of harm done in the name of a god would be heavier.


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Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:03 pm
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Penelope
No, I don't think it makes them any more dangerous.


I disagree for the reasons mentioned above and I see little reason to repeat them, but I will add this... Only a religious person could believe that they will be eternally rewarded for murdering another human being.

If this does not make religion a more dangerous belief system I do not know what would.

Quote:
Penelope
Blind devotion to any system or person is wrong.


I totally agree with that...

Quote:
Penelope
And you can argue against religions - for instance.....I am a Protestant.......because at some time in our history we protested against the practices of the Roman Catholic Church........So that wasn't blind adherence.


No, it was a disagreement in the interpretation of scripture which ended up causing murderous clashes between the two factions whose leaders both saw their interpretations as the only correct one and led their followers against the opposing sect.

And while I admit that it is true that people can argue against the church, few ever do, most accept church gospel as fact despite the overwhelming evidence against, at least in this country anyway.

Quote:
Penelope
And in fact, if you look at the people who are working to help the socially deprived in the World today......I bet a larger percentage of them are religious than not.


I would make the same bet but for a different reason... because the planet's population is also overwhelmingly religious.

Of the many religious people I know none of them went to help out when hurricane Katrina hit, but of the few atheists I am in touch with I know of one that volunteered to go... it was me, and we all donated money if we had it to spare.

Quote:
Penelope
But it is their faith that inspires them to care about their fellow man.


I do not think that is true at all... I think that even without religion kind people would still be generous and nasty people would still be poop heads; what religion does offer is the organization to make things happen, people unaffiliated with a church have a much harder time getting their help to the people who need it.

I also think that without religions there would be independent secular organizations that did similar work... I think this because they already exist.

Later



Tue Mar 11, 2008 1:50 pm
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Is there a chance you two could take a look at my blog and leave your comments. I'd be much obliged. Lawrenceindestin



Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:34 pm
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I don't know how I got into this argument.

I am not being an apologist for organised religion.......I don't like it myself.

But I can't live a complete life without some sort of 'God' relationship - I don't insist that every one else does the same though.



Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:37 pm
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Quote:
Penelope
I don't know how I got into this argument.

I am not being an apologist for organized religion.......I don't like it myself.


I know you don't and if it seemed like I was beating up on you I apologize.

Quote:
Penelope
But I can't live a complete life without some sort of 'God' relationship - I don't insist that every one else does the same though.


I respect that... probably more than I let on in these discussions.

Later



Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:31 am
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Quote:
lawrenceindestin
Is there a chance you two could take a look at my blog and leave your comments? I'd be much obliged.


I read your blog and will post my comments there... I will say that I agree with much of what is written there.

Later



Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:36 am
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