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RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness' 
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Post RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
You guys...Did you see the video of Dawkins' BBC interview on YOUTUBE? Pretty cool. The interviewer referenced the idea that "if going to church and believing strange things (like there is a 'God' who can hear you down to the last sigh or whimper, etc..) 'makes people happy,' then what in the world is wrong with that?" (paraphrased)

Does going to (any) church make (some) people happy?

I think I've made my points about the harm inherent in group and individual delusion and about what I, and others, think are the root dynamics involved.

But jsut at face value, I have never met a person, who is a church devotee, who seems to be happy. (Yes, just because have not met them does not, of course, mean they do not exist, and, determining what happiness even is, is a whole other subject.)

But, I live in the Southeastern US, where, probably most, people go to some kind of church, and my impression, from talking to many, is that there may be some kind of 'equation', in theory, which would prove the relatonship between church going and UNhappiness. The people I have talked with, might seem to be 'good' or at least contrite about transgressions, which is not the same thing as happy, I think, and that, that, 'goodness' manifests often on Sunday mornings, only, when they want the approval of the minister or sun/school leader, or their church 'friends'...

I call it the 'church persona.'

I heard someone say once "I am at my best when I come here." (church) which could mean several things. I think that people often feel comforted and less guilty (during, after a church service)--because they just got a new fistfull of 'get out of jail free cards': what I think all of the supposed 'forgiveness' translates in to, but that makes them neither 'good' nor happy. They just got a spritual band-aid put on whatever big boo-boo they got or gave someone else, the prior week, or so they perceive. Again childlike, helpless and irresponsible--the big 'daddy' in the sky loves me and will not reject me even though I have been bad, etc..

I think that a huge number, are probably there because they think they are supposed to be there, but don't actually have feelings of liking the experience, sort of like they are taking bad tasting medicine, which they believe will 'work,' or they don't believe most or all of it, and are conforming to a social standard, or they think it makes them seem like they are of good character, or they are there to sell what ever it is they do--a lot of shrinks pick up a ton of business this way (eewww) as well as contractors, lawyers, accountants, whatever, cashing in on the, incredibly, prevalent false belief that BECAUSE someone goes to church, they are honest, or fair, or even good at what they do.


BUT HAPPY? As in a relaxed, confident, self loving, productive, ethical, person, able to think and act for themselves? Uh, no. The people I know who would fit that description, stopped going to church, if they ever went, at age 8 to 11, when their newly sprouted prefrontal brain cells started picking up on the hypocrisy, and cultish environment. Of course I know lots of people who do not go to church and are neither self loving, particulary ethical, nor happy--so, of course, one can also not claim that NOT going to church makes you happy...

It would be interesting to do some surveys/studies on the relationships between these things--but, I think the results would be hopelessy screwed by dishonesty. Who is going to admit, even in perceived total anonymity, that they are actually miserable, or a very far cry from actually happy, while in church, if they they think that 'God' can 'hear' them?





Edited by: halofrisbeechamp at: 3/26/07 9:52 am



Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:56 am
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
I loved this thread and am annoyed as hell right now. I spent quite a bit of time composing a reply and by clicking buttons too quickly I lost the whole thing. ::70




Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:26 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
I became mesmerized by that emoticon bashing it's frontal brain against that brick wall, LOL!

I once saw a drug addict actually do that, repeatedly--what I could not tell was whether it was staged, to manipulate me, the observer/helper, or if he was really inflicting brain damage to an area of tissue which is necessary for reason and self control!--as if oxidative stress damage from other sources, the drugs, rage, poor nutrition, were not enough, he had to add physical trauma to the mix! As he had a gun in his hand at the time, my options for stopping him were impaired to say the least. ;(

As to losing your post, we all get frustrated with ourselves at times. To prevent accidental post loss, I try to remember to paste the whole thing to another place, mail window, usually, before I click on any buttons. I know how that feels--losing a whole, carefully thought out, response to something/one in a blog site. Don't worry. It will come back to you. When it does, I would very much like to read it!




Sun Mar 25, 2007 12:14 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Usually I do copy the post to my clipboard before clicking the Reply button, but this time I didn't. Yes, I'll repost soon.




Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:19 pm
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Post re: happy
BUT HAPPY? As in a relaxed, confident, self loving, productive, ethical, person, able to think and act for themselves?

Is that what happy means? And here I thought ice cream and comic books made me happy.

Seriously, it sounds like someone's stretching the word happy in order to make a general critique of religion. Asking "does religion make some people happy" doesn't have to be the same as "does religion make people better". Saying that religious people aren't happy 90% of the time isn't conclusive evidence that going to church doesn't make them happy. Chances are, there's other stuff going on that makes them unhappy. And it's just possible that going to church and celebrating with other people a belief you have in common might take the edge off of, say, the debt you've encurred paying for medical bills of your child's education. If it doesn't, so be it. But why quibble when other people say it works for them? Why make a blanket statement like, most church-goers probably aren't actually happy?

If a person isn't hurting anyone else, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to watch R-rated movies if it makes them happy. And by the same token, if going to church makes a person happy -- even if that's a private, somewhat selfish happiness, and is only momentary -- what's the big deal? When they start mailing pipe bombs to abortion clinics, or telling total strangers that God hates them for the sexuality, then you've got a problem, but the violent, anti-social church-goers are a minority, even among church-goers. If they enjoy golf, then I'm not going to argue that it doesn't make them happy.




Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:37 pm
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Post Re: re: happy
Mad:

If you want to talk about bastardizing meanings or words and concepts, we should take a look at religion, where "Ethics" has been nicely trimmed to fit a religious mold. Some even assert that there can be no basis of ethics without religion.

I have even heard many adherents state that without god, there can be no love or happiness. So...no...

Quote:
And by the same token, if going to church makes a person happy -- even if that's a private, somewhat selfish happiness, and is only momentary -- what's the big deal?


You do go on to state that the abortion bombers and homosexual bashers are a problem, but that is a strawman here. The term "Hurt" or "Harm" or "Harrassment" are not only limited to phisical assault. The problem with letting these peaceful churchgoers go about their business is that even these benign sheep feel inclined to preach and try to convert others. This is not a persaon joy they are practicing then...it is overt pressure on others to convert to their way of life.

And even if you still want to see that as benign, and the overall actions they utilize in their prosyletizing are physically unobtrusive, there are other side effects from rejecting their entreaties. As Frank has shown with his new neighbor...things will change if it is known that someone is an athiest.

Social ostracism still occurs. That can be said to be even more of a harm than someone getting a beating by ignorant assholes. The former can have more devastating effects than the latter and in the latter, at least we can see the ignorant, mindless sheep for what they are.

Mr. P.


I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George Carlin

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/26/07 10:25 am



Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:33 am
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Post Re: RE: OK. What?
MAD,

You said.

"Seriously, it sounds like someone's stretching the word happy in order to make a general critique of religion. Asking "does religion make some people happy" doesn't have to be the same as "does religion make people better". Saying that religious people aren't happy 90% of the time isn't conclusive evidence that going to church doesn't make them happy. Chances are, there's other stuff going on that makes them unhappy. And it's just possible that going to church and celebrating with other people a belief you have in common might take the edge off of, say, the debt you've encurred paying for medical bills of your child's education. If it doesn't, so be it. But why quibble when other people say it works for them? Why make a blanket statement like, most church-goers probably aren't actually happy?"

Which means that you did not read this.

"Of course I know lots of people who do not go to church and are neither self loving, particularly ethical, nor happy--so, of course, one can also not claim that NOT going to church makes you happy..."

Or this.

"Yes, just because I have not met them does not, of course, mean they do not exist, and, determining what happiness even is, is a whole other subject."

And I guess, wholly misinterpreted, this?


"--a relaxed, confident, self loving, productive, ethical, person, able to think and act for themselves?"

Those are the 'symptoms' of happiness, I was trying to assert--this is my opinion, and BTW, I think ice cream and golf are great, those things are pleasurable to people, but happiness in a global sense? That's (above) how I see it; like when you can see when someone is really physically healthy, the difference between an athlete whose entire physiological state is just revved up with healthiness--all of his organ systems working at heightened capacity, no drugs/alcohol, good nutrients and on and on, vs the guy on the couch, kind of slumped, almost motionless, half drunk and bitching about, well, everything...

I think there is a profound link between physical well being and, global, happiness and that it is visible in body language, and audible in attitude and ideas....So. When I was still part of a church group, I found that, over time, talking to hundreds of different people, it was my impression, that these were not happy people, in general, and, that the environment of the church itself might be actually causing some of that unhappiness. There were a lot of people feeling a lot of pain, that is for sure.

But, I already implied the chicken and the egg. So I am not sure how it is that you think...nevermind.

What do you think a happy person looks like?

Mr. P. You said.

"--Ethics" has been nicely trimmed to fit a religious mold."

Are you implying that you can be unethical and be a happy person?

I suppose if one is a sociopath, that might be true.

BTW, I never said I thought there was no God. I am in to the topic of delusion right now.

Oh. I also think, either of you, that being angry all of the time is bad for your heart--both literally and figuratively.

HFC

Edited by: halofrisbeechamp at: 3/26/07 10:39 am



Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:19 am
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Post Re: RE: OK. What?
halo:

I did not the first caption in your response that you attribute to me. You are mixing my responses and Mad's responses. If anything...I am more in your camp on this.

Mr. P.


I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George Carlin

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 3/26/07 10:26 am



Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:24 am
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Post Re: RE: OK. What?
P., Thanks for pointing that out. See revised text, above.




Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:41 am
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Post Re: RE: OK. What?
Quote:
Halo
Are you implying that you can be unethical and be a happy person?

I think what Mr. P was trying to suggest (not that he needs me to answer for him) was that the church often claims to be the source of ethical behavior when it clearly is not. And that it is entirely possible to live an ethical, productive, happy existence outside the church's restrictive ethical rule set.

So in that sense it is possible to be unethical and happy, it might even be easier.

I can't really speak for Mr. P but that is the way I understood him.

Later




Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:48 am
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Post Re: RE: OK. What?
Right on Frank...and in any event, I was addressing Mad's claims that some people stretch the meanings of words...to me, none do that better than religious folk.

Mr. P.


I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George Carlin

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
D.H.: It is, in other words, crude reductionism. It makes his case airtight no doubt, but it also suffocates any real alternatives. There are real alternatives and I think that matters.

I think the problem here, D.H., is the alternative you speak of, if I am not mistaken, requires belief in--or at least respect of the belief in--a deity. That requires those who do not believe in any kind of interested, world creating, superpower to respect the belief of those that do. And though it may be possible for me to respect just about every other belief that individual may hold, it would not be possible for me to respect that one belief in god. I don't think you will get theists to champion the less indoctrinating, more spiritual religions of the world, if those religions practice belief in the existence of any god. And, really, I don't think you can blame us. It would be hypocritical to respect a belief that I think is patently mistaken. You are welcomed to believe it, I just won't be a part of it, nor will I encourage it.

Edited by: irishrosem at: 3/27/07 12:09 pm



Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:08 am
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
I have to agree with Irishrosem on this one, I can respect the person but not their belief in god.

Now if DH is saying that the alternatives are things such as communal activities, ritual and unification for a cause, that's another story, because I do think that these things are necessary. But these things can and often are accomplished without having to believe in imaginary beings.

Later




Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:21 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Quote:
Halo
In that way, I think Jesus set a really bad example. (Yes. I believe he existed.) Look the guy had some issues.

I am curious as to why you believe that Jesus existed?

Later

Edited by: Frank 013 at: 3/27/07 1:53 pm



Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:48 pm
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Post Re: RE: Dawkins' BBC Interview/church and 'happiness'
Here is an example of the way I think most atheists view religion, as well as the way many religions view each other.

Imagine someone who believed that dragons exist and are a danger in today's day and age. It is simply ridiculous.

But now add the element that they have built up an entire lifestyle based off of the fear that they might be burnt to a crisp or carried off and eaten by a giant scaly flying lizard.

This lifestyle is handicapping and unhealthy in many respects but has offered some good common sense advice for dealing with fire and large animal attacks.

So now do we all have to start believing in dragons to benefit from the few items of good advice offered by this nutty belief system? Of course not.

The whole scenario is based off a false belief that is simply not worthy of respect.

Some of the ideas have some merit but we can use those and dispense with the rest of the crap.

This is no different than the way I see Christianity.

Later




Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:51 pm
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