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Evolution of Religion and Language

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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10 January 2013 14:29
 

Any competent theist would respond that all languages have a word for a tree and that all isolated peoples perceived a cosmos with a god in it. That can point to the rightness of pursuing knowledge of god and an easily assumable righteousness about which people are either equipped or favored by God to get the job right.

If it were that easy, it would over by now.

 
 
The Voice of Reason
 
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The Voice of Reason
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10 January 2013 14:33
 
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2013 01:29 PM

Any competent theist would respond that all languages have a word for a tree and that all isolated peoples perceived a cosmos with a god in it. That can point to the rightness of pursuing knowledge of god and an easily assumable righteousness about which people are either equipped or favored by God to get the job right.

If it were that easy, it would over by now.

Yes, but then the atheist could easily rebut that, if all religions are really just one idea, or one “truth”, then why are they based on a book which is considered the holy word of their (unique and not-same) god? (well, many are based on such books/stories).  And why do those same books say that their “religion” is the “one true” religion and all others are false?

At some point, the theist must then face the idea of surrendering their “religion” (dogma), and simply becoming generally “spiritual”.  Once dogma is removed, this now “spiritual” person has no way to maintain such belief in the supernatural, and their final awakening to atheism is assured.

At least that’s how I see it.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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10 January 2013 14:58
 
The Voice of Reason - 10 January 2013 01:33 PM

At some point, the theist must then face the idea of surrendering their “religion” (dogma), and simply becoming generally “spiritual”.

Many have and the population is nearing a tipping point. A little more generational turnover and something dramatic might happen. Churches will minister to non-dogmatic patrons or become further marginalized by clumsy government programs trying to pick up their slack.

If you want to assume the position that such people must further accept some dogmatic atheism before being “truly free” or “on your side”, that will create more resistance from the thoughtful and delay the tipping point. People who are “spiritual” are our allies in the cause of secularism.

Once dogma is removed, this now “spiritual” person has no way to maintain such belief in the supernatural, and their final awakening to atheism is assured.


There are a number of posters here that may slowly reveal to you why this is not so.

Personally, I would never encourage an “awakening to atheism”.

 
 
The Voice of Reason
 
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10 January 2013 15:05
 
Nhoj Morley - 10 January 2013 01:58 PM

If you want to assume the position that such people must further accept some dogmatic atheism before being “truly free” or “on your side”, that will create more resistance from the thoughtful and delay the tipping point. People who are “spiritual” are our allies in the cause of secularism.
-snip-
Personally, I would never encourage an “awakening to atheism”.

I know what you mean. I have a friend, who I love to no end, but who will do the opposite of whatever you suggest he should do, just because he is innately contrarian.  But, he is also smart enough not to fall for reverse psychology either.

I wish there was some way to “speed up” the end of religion (in a peaceful, rational way).

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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10 January 2013 15:56
 
The Voice of Reason - 10 January 2013 01:33 PM

At some point, the theist must then face the idea of surrendering their “religion” (dogma), and simply becoming generally “spiritual”.  Once dogma is removed, this now “spiritual” person has no way to maintain such belief in the supernatural, and their final awakening to atheism is assured.

At least that’s how I see it.

Excellent.  You have achieved levitation and floated over the minefield, slaying the enemy king with one swipe of the magic sword.

If you had walked over the minefield like other mortals, you would have had to deal with the following problems, among others:

1. One of the holy books might actually be right, or more right than others;
2. Even if the books are wrong, that does not prove the non-existence of God;
3. There is no absolute proof of the non-existence of God, so the fact that most people throughout history have some faith/experience of God might just be evidence that he exists;
4. The development of language shows that most groups have a word for God.  Even if none of them have the perfect concept of God, this is no proof that such a being, in some form, does not exist.
5. Since many people believe in God because they experience the divine, dogma is not necessary to sustain belief.

 
The Voice of Reason
 
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The Voice of Reason
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10 January 2013 16:17
 
Ecurb Noselrub - 10 January 2013 02:56 PM
The Voice of Reason - 10 January 2013 01:33 PM

At some point, the theist must then face the idea of surrendering their “religion” (dogma), and simply becoming generally “spiritual”.  Once dogma is removed, this now “spiritual” person has no way to maintain such belief in the supernatural, and their final awakening to atheism is assured.

At least that’s how I see it.

Excellent.  You have achieved levitation and floated over the minefield, slaying the enemy king with one swipe of the magic sword.

If you had walked over the minefield like other mortals, you would have had to deal with the following problems, among others:

1. One of the holy books might actually be right, or more right than others;
2. Even if the books are wrong, that does not prove the non-existence of God;
3. There is no absolute proof of the non-existence of God, so the fact that most people throughout history have some faith/experience of God might just be evidence that he exists;
4. The development of language shows that most groups have a word for God.  Even if none of them have the perfect concept of God, this is no proof that such a being, in some form, does not exist.
5. Since many people believe in God because they experience the divine, dogma is not necessary to sustain belief.

Here is how I would respond to each of those, as presented.

1. Books are just books.  Believing that a book is actually divine, or of divine origin, requires proof. Otherwise, its just a book of philosophy created by man.
2. Since in science you do not prove the non-existence of anything (you can’t, practically speaking), there is no need to do so for god.  The default state is that god does not exist, unless proof or at least some evidence is presented that one does.
3. People throughout history have eaten mushrooms and saw pink elephants they were sure existed.  No matter how many people experienced it, it is, in no way, shape of form, considered “proof”.
4. Really, same as #2.  But, if you accept that their word for “god” is logically equal to the phrase “something unexplained”, then there is no reason to give any credence to the fact that languages have words for this.
5. There is no evidence that anyone feels anything “divine”.  They might feel “deja vu”, or might feel “amazed at a coincidence” or “wonder at the sheer magnitude of the universe”, but such human feelings are simply the way the brain processes intense thoughts and experiences, and there is nothing divine about them because atheists experience the exact same feelings.

[ Edited: 10 January 2013 16:30 by The Voice of Reason]
 
 
GAD
 
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10 January 2013 16:22
 
The Voice of Reason - 10 January 2013 01:33 PM

At some point, the theist must then face the idea of surrendering their “religion” (dogma), and simply becoming generally “spiritual”.  Once dogma is removed, this now “spiritual” person has no way to maintain such belief in the supernatural, and their final awakening to atheism is assured.

Oh the spiritual” maintain their belief in the supernatural just fine.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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10 January 2013 16:43
 

The fallacies of revealed, interventionist deities are too numerous to list. That’s why faith needs to exist. Because some ideas so profoundly fail the test of reason.

But impersonal god-like beings that take no sides in human squabbles…. I don’t know of many arguments against such things. Except one. No apparent positive evidence.

 
eudemonia
 
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10 January 2013 17:01
 

‘But impersonal god-like beings that take no sides in human squabbles:. I don’t know of many arguments against such things. Except one. No apparent positive evidence.’

And the illogical nature of such a concept. There would be no purpose for a god who didn’t care. Who creates something and then is totally indifferent about it?

 
 
The Voice of Reason
 
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10 January 2013 17:07
 
Brick Bungalow - 10 January 2013 03:43 PM

The fallacies of revealed, interventionist deities are too numerous to list. That’s why faith needs to exist. Because some ideas so profoundly fail the test of reason.

But impersonal god-like beings that take no sides in human squabbles…. I don’t know of many arguments against such things. Except one. No apparent positive evidence.

While I do not have a proper logical argument against gods, I can make a good try at it.

Pick something.  Lets say, unicorns.
Postulate that unicorns are real, and that I can’t prove otherwise.
My only rebuttal would be that there is no proof they are real, but I can’t prove they are not real.  The reason I can’t prove they are not real, is because I lack the ability to search the entire universe for one.  If I could somehow do that, then I could prove they are not real if I searched everywhere and didn’t find one.
This leads me to conclude, logically, that what is real or not real has to be based on what can be analyzed thru evidence, and not thru claim or belief.
Therefore, logically, I can conclude that anything unprovable does not exist, rather than saying “I am not sure.”

Now, I know that fails scientific reasoning in the pure sense.  But for all practical purposes, there is no value in believing in unicorns.  Or dragons.  Or demons.  Or the Tooth Fairy.  Or gods. I would never say “I am agnostic in regards to the existence of unicorns”.  Why, then, do we have to say that when it comes to gods?

I know atheism does not mean “anti-god” or “no god”, it means “non-religious”.  I would say that I am a bit beyond atheist.  I am anti-theist (against religion).  Not due to any emotional investment, but for the same reason I am against fraud.  Fraud is a crime that constitutes just a small part of human suffering.  But that doesn’t mean we can just allow it, right?  If religion was abolished, I know that would not remove all human suffering.  But I am 100% positive it would lessen it somewhat.  Just like I am sure that banning assault weapons will not stop all mass killings, but it will lessen them somewhat.

We (at least in America) have laws that only protect tiny percentages of the population, in specific circumstances.  Yet, we pass those laws just the same.  Because protecting even 1 person, 1 life, is worth it.  If abolishing religion reduces world violence even by as little as 0.000000000001%, then I would work to abolish it.  And I believe that we’d get a far greater return than that.  And I feel there would be no loss of morality as a result.  I am exactly the same as I was when I was young, as far as morality goes.  In fact, I would say I am a bit more moral, because I know there is nothing after life, so its all the more precious to me now then when I believed in an afterlife.

[ Edited: 10 January 2013 17:10 by The Voice of Reason]
 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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10 January 2013 18:07
 
Ecurb Noselrub - 10 January 2013 01:19 PM

I’ve decided to change my name to The Voice of God.  How’s that for humility.

Sorry, BM already has that title.

 
 
santhosh
 
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11 January 2013 17:40
 

.

[ Edited: 21 January 2013 17:06 by santhosh]
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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11 January 2013 17:51
 

You asserted that “for all practical purposes, there is no value in believing in.. gods.”  I would beg to differ on that one too. Much research has been done into the value of faith and the role it plays in mental and physical well-being.

Star,

Agree.  People believe in some god for one or more of three reasons: (l) such a belief is personally reassuring, (2) that belief provides leverage in influencing others, and (3) it is means of blending into a society otherwise hostile to non-belief.  All are quite practical.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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11 January 2013 18:09
 

Its actually an extremely difficult problem. Most current human culture including secular culture relies on sophisticated language and other symbolic concepts. And unless one is a very scrupulous and deliberate naturalist this presupposes a lot of inherited metaphysics. Particularly the qualitative distinctions that most of us are so comfortable with we don’t even acknowledge them. Mostly its shorthand. Allowing us to point and instruct our fellows to more efficiently complete useful tasks.

This is why I don’t usually criticize religion on the level of unsubstantiated claims… because thats too a high a watermark for anyone to bear. Its more about internal contradictions. The violation of its own categories, prescriptions and morals that religious and secular people tend to share. I feel that an intellectually and emotionally honest person will tend to find scriptures and religious histories sufficient reason to disavow religion. On moral grounds. Either that or become an anti-scientific fundamentalist. Whom I actually respect for their consistency.

In fact, if god does exist, its even more important to eliminate religion. The existence of god would mean that truth, goodness and beauty are real attributes of nature and beholden to one another in a concrete way. And that the pursuit of them was the manifest purpose of any sentient being. And what has profaned such qualities more than the hubris of religious authority? (the preceding paragraph is tongue-in-cheek but only slightly)

 
GAD
 
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11 January 2013 20:40
 
stardust91977 - 11 January 2013 04:40 PM

In other words, atheism is a lack of belief, not a declaration of fact about what is possible or impossible in or beyond the universe.

Sorry but no atheism not a “lack of belief” and is fact a declaration of fact that there is not a single iota of evidence that delusions and inventions of the human mind are real.  Nor are you being the person of reason you think you are by claiming that you can not deny that such delusions and inventions of the human mind could be real.

 
 
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