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Where will religion be in 100 years?

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Johnny Neuron
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Where will religion be in 100 years?

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I have to admit, lately I've been scared. No, not about the coming war with Iraq (a given) but with the state of people's minds regarding religious beliefs. Is it just me or is fundamentalist Christianity on the rise in this country? Maybe my mind is just more attuned to seeing the Christian propaganda since I left my religion, I don't know. As much as I hate to say it, I'm starting to look upon religion as a disease. I'm part of another forum where there is a mixture of many differetn belief systems and have engaged in debate with a couple conservative Christians. Frightening is the word I would use to describe the experience. Here we have otherwise intelligent people, one who claims to have "extensive knowledge of physics and astronomy" and yet they take the Bible literally (literally!!). Now that I don't view future history through the distorted "prophetic" lenses of the Bible I find that I care much more about what people are thinking these days and what this means for the future. I don't have any real problem with "liberal" religion, but it's this creationist, conservative, homophobic drivel that is really getting under my skin. Where do you see religion in the next 100 years? It seems that if major revisions to public education are not made to promote critical thinking things might continue to worsen. If the Discovery or Learning channel continues to have a few programs on "Where is Noah's ark" or "Talking with the Dead" we might be in for more trouble. Sometimes I feel science and rationality are a lost cause, qualities that will forever be esoteric. I hope not. B
Kenny Meek

Where will religion be in 100 years?

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The fact that some of the guys with their fingers on the magic doomsday buttons aren't far from brand of theology that you describe is a very scary thing. Ashcroft is all the way, and Dubya's such a stupid oaf pandering to these crazys....I'm going to try to paste my "Fundie" song over in the submissions section. I performed it at my last Secular Humanist meeting to rave reviews. I think it sort of spells it out.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: Where will religion be in 100 years?

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JohnnyQuote:I have to admit, lately I've been scared. No, not about the coming war with Iraq (a given) but with the state of people's minds regarding religious beliefs.I'm with you on this.Quote:Is it just me or is fundamentalist Christianity on the rise in this country?You're only recently out of the clutches of an abusive and oppressive cult, so you are going to experience all sorts of new realizations. I don't think Christianity or faith is on the rise at all, but check out Adherents.com for a great site with statistics that just might answer your question. I think there has been a slow rise in the number of nonbelievers, but I have no statistics to back this up. If you find anything I would love to see it.Quote:As much as I hate to say it, I'm starting to look upon religion as a disease.You hit the nail on the head here. In my opinion, religion will eventually be the downfall of the American Empire and many future empires. I've heard so many arguments for how people should be allowed to believe whatever they want to believe and nobody should attempt to influence them. Bullshit.Does a math teacher sit back passively when a student works a simple problem and comes up with a wrong answer? Of course not...they guide and instruct and teach the student how to think about the problem correctly.One could argue that faith is subjective and math is objective. Once again, bullshit. If there is a deity this deity is an element of objective reality. All aspects of objective reality can be observed or measured in some way. Anything that can be observed or measured should fall under the umbrella of scientific inquiry. If God exists he can be known to exist.With that said, faith is the result of not knowing how to work the problem. I liken faith to an ignorant math student going up to the blackboard, having no idea how to work the equation, and finally, in desperation, jotting down a completely ridiculous nonanswer.Religion is simply organized ignorance.One day one group of deeply religious humans will attempt to rid the world of another group of deeply religious humans. Both groups will feel they are right and they are wiping out a plague by destroying the other group. In all actuality the real plague has afflicted both groups. I fear all of humanity will one day suffer and eventually fall. We will return to the Dark Ages...and the cycle will begin again. Hopefully, there will be enough people left to save our species.Chris
Johnny Neuron
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Re: religion

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Chris,I think we both agree that religion is here to stay. Who knows what the future holds. I hope you don't get the wrong idea, but I feel that humans have an intrinsic need for something more than everyday physical experience. Through evolution our species has developed the need for "spirituality" -- which may or may not incorporate a deity(s) in it's philosophy. This is simply a fact that has emerged through completely natural processes and I believe that we all have it to a certain degree. Studies have conclusively shown that a "spiritual" life can add greatly to the quality of life and longevity (I know these stats are somewhat controversial). Is it possible that it would be better if the human race developed some other form of "spirituality", one based more on reason and science as opposed to dogma and outdated models of the world? I'm struggling to come up with some type of "secular, scientific spirituality" for myself. I think philosophy has replaced what religious beiefs for me; thinking in terms of life as being larger than my own little reality has been therapeutic. Will humans develop this type of thinking for the masses? Should there be some type of "middle ground" between science and religion for the next generation? These are profound questions that I'm still trying to find the answers to. Bradley
muzadi

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I agree with Johnny, myself.From a demographic point of view, what has been happening in the last 30-40 years has been a polarization rather than a rise of one side or another.Fundamentalism of various sorts has been rising dramatically, on the one hand - evangelical and like churches have seen dramatic increases in membership.On the other hand, there has been a similar surge at the other extreme with the decendents of the New Age movement including neo-pagans, Wicca, transcendentalists, and other varieties.In the middle is a majority secular body that is caught in the center and tends to draw in on itself, not wanting to look too closely at either end of the spectrum.Personally, I think that the problem isn't religion, per se, but rather the particular religions - and conceptions of religion - that have evolved today. Religion is generally seen by most people of whatever stripe as something impenetrable by reason and relying upon superstition, but I think this is a simplistic and limited description.The Western world in particular is getting torn apart at the seams, as religion/spirituality/philosophy/ideology is something that humans do need, but most of the current varieties are adamently dogmatic and opposed to scientific reason (which is itself a philosophy-ideology, an identification that troubles a great number of people, I think.)I think, or perhaps I should say, I hope that our conception of religion, spirituality, philosophy and ideology can evolve into something that embraces rationality, denounces dogma, and yet at the same time finds ways to encourage community and help individuals develop a self-identity.I think the beginnings of this can be seen sprouting in a few places to a greater or lesser degree. Heretical Pantheism is one of the ones I personally find increasingly appealing, but there are a lot of other ideas and approaches as well, and I think their numbers will swell, especially if, as I fear, that the next 20 or so years will be very, very bumpy ones for us all.Geoff [email protected] Recordings of the Book of Heresieswww.therecordings.net"Mary said:Inspired truth and revealed truth are not greater than reasoned truths. Intuitive or deductive, what is, is. Rapture and a greater glory cannot be had simply by the application of blind faith, and revelation is a poor substitute for understanding." - The Book of Heresies, 2-20
Timothy Schoonover

Re: religion

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I agree with Muzadi that the problem isn't religion, and I consider myself deeply religious in the sense that religion, at its best, is the dedication to moral and ethical excellence and the promotion of human well-being. Unfortunately, religion in this sense has been high-jacked by various dogmas or creeds has become an end in itself rather than the MEANS.This is why I find humanism so appealing.
Jeremy1952
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Re: Where will religion be in 100 years?

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In my opinion, religion/infection is more than metaphor. I consider it literally true. Because religions are selfish memes, it is small comfort that one is currently harmless; they get better or worse according to what propagates them best, not according to the needs of their hosts (us!) or any ethical or moral consideration. Today's harmless b'hai can be tomorrows muslim lunatic. Look at the Jews of the bible; slashing, burning, killing and raping with the worst of them. For hundreds of years before 1947 nobody thought of Jews as soldiers or threats of any kind. Now the pendulum swings again; everyone acknowledges the military might of Israel, whether approving or not.The bright spot on the horizon is work being done on biological parasites. Killing one's host generally doesn't make much sense from the parasites point of view, and so it appears that over time, diseases become less deadly as parasite and host accommodate one another. Pneumonia sits in over half of all human beings, in the background, doing nothing, because we have lived together for millennia. HIV is a minor annoyance to monkeys, but, because it is new to human kind, devastating to us. We have not had evolutionary time to reach accommodation.It seems to me that the pattern has held pretty well for religion memes. The oldest ones are, by and large, the least harmful. Most Christians have given up out right murder in the name of their god, as have the Jews (I don't want to get into a huge diversion, but let me say, from the Israeli point of view, theirs is not a religious war, nor is it driven by the religion; also, Israelis make up a minority of the worlds Jews. You just don't expect the Brooklyn Hasidim to start shooting people). Young, by cultural standards, Islam is the most destructive and least acclimated: tolerance does not seem to be in their lexicon.Although I would personally like to see religion disappear from humankind, I think it is quite as unlikely as for all infectious diseases of the body to completely disappear. So my realistic hope is that the religions of the world become more pluralistic, less aggressive, and less dangerous; and that the "established" religions act as a buffer against the inevitable new mutations, much in the way that our preponderance of symbiotic bacteria protect us from the rare infectious strain.
muzadi

Re: Where will religion be in 100 years?

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The problem with calling religion a selfish meme (which it of course is) is that *all* memes that last more than a day or two are almost by definition selfish memes.Moreover, religion isn't really the category, it's ideology, of which religion is one subset. Religion will go away when ideology does, and ideology will go away when people go away.Geoff [email protected] Recordings of the Book of Heresieswww.therecordings.net"Giving up the right, surrendering the ability to choose is a choice in and of itself. We may act, or we may not, but regardless of how we attempt to avoid it, we will choose." The Book of Heresies, 3-4
Jeremy1952
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Re: Where will religion be in 100 years?

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muzadiQuote:religion isn't really the category, it's ideology, of which religion is one subset. Religion will go away when ideology does, and ideology will go away when people go away.I must sadly accept your conclusion that religions are not going away, but I disagree with the assertion that religion and ideology are the same thing. Religion is a particular KIND of ideology. We could delve a little into exactly what a religion is; the identifying characteristics (in my opinion) are revelation and deity(s). None the less, I see no reason why we cannot live peacefully with ideologies. The world is full of bacteria; a very small subset of them are infectious germs. We may never get rid of all infectious germs, but it seems a worthwhile goal. Eliminating all bacteria, on the other hand, would simply be ludicrous.
muzadi

Re: Where will religion be in 100 years?

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Jeremy1952 wrote:Quote:I must sadly accept your conclusion that religions are not going away, but I disagree with the assertion that religion and ideology are the same thing. Religion is a particular KIND of ideology. We could delve a little into exactly what a religion is; the identifying characteristics (in my opinion) are revelation and deity(s). None the less, I see no reason why we cannot live peacefully with ideologies. In fact, I did not say that religion and ideology were the same thing, but rather that religion is one kind of ideology, which is what you appear to be arguing anyways. :-)I would have to differ on the identifying characteristics of religion, however. If, as you say, all religions were associated with revelation and deity, I would agree with you that the concept was at best clumsy and at worst problematic. Christianity, and to a lesser extent the other two major monotheisms, rely heavily on the idea of revelation, but Christianity, nor monotheisms, are not the sum total of religion. Deity, too, is problematic, and I have yet to see, say, Christians and Pantheists, to name two examples, get anywhere close to agreeing on anything remotely similar in each's definiton of the word, "God".To define religion, let alone condemn it, we first have to agree on our definitions. I think rather than condemning religion wholesale it would be more productive to condemn those constituent aspects that you (and likely many people, including myself) find unpleasant.To this end, I would put the following things in my sh*t list category of unpleasant aspects that some religions, and many ideologies, exhibit:1. A coersive dogma. "Do this!"2. A rejection of the individual's ability to think. "Why?" "Because it says so in this book!" "So?" "Stop thinking so much!"3. An appeal to the supernatural to explain the natural.4. An insistence upon absolutism. "There is only one truth, one correct answer."Any others?Geoff [email protected] Recordings of the Book of Heresieswww.therecordings.net
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