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I Believe in Religion

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posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 05:31 PM
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a reply to: Benevolent Heretic


Religion exists.

an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods


Many organized systems of belief (religions) exist. There's nothing about that to not believe. What atheists don't believe in is a god, not religion.

Do you also have trouble understanding that...

Some people believe in angels. Some don't.
Some believe in aliens. Some don't.
Some believe in an afterlife. Some don't.
Some believe in fairies. Some don't.
Some believe in love. Some don't.

Do any of the above statements perplex you so? And to add to them...

Some believe in a god. Some don't.

What's so hard to understand? It is not necessary that something exists for a person to take the position that it doesn't exist.

Let me put your position to you: Do you believe in Leprechauns? If your answer is no, then you must believe they exist to hold a disbelief in... Silly, huh?


Of course religion exists. I asked what about religion do you believe doesn't exist?

I think it is a lack of tact, or simply a failure to admit or understand, that you do not believe, or lack belief in (whatever way you want to twist it), the stories and promises made by other people. You believe in or lack belief in another's beliefs, not a god. This is easily shown by the fact you were told about god via someone else's organized system of beliefs. Silly, right? What is silly is claiming to lack belief in a God when that is clearly not the case. You lack belief in the validity, veracity, and probability of certain claims. Saying to believe or not believe in something that does not exist is what we tell our children.

To state otherwise is a botch of logic and a denial of evidence on your part. People don't believe or don't lack faith in gods, they believe or lack belief in what they're told—in stories, arguments, fictions, anecdotes, metaphors, promises, and systems of belief.

So no, it's a grammatical convenience, a lie or a stupidity to claim one doesn't believe in Gods, leprachauns and fairies. Grammatically, the statement "I do not believe in god" implies a relationship is had between a subject and an object, when there is absolutely no such object. Rather, tell us the real object of your "lack of belief", tell us the truth, the reality behind your claim, what you really don't believe in without referring to the imagery of your own God-filled imagination.




posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 05:35 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule


What else is it then? You've said, "every God changes and morphs with the language, for our Gods are language, and for that is the only place a God has ever remained. Seek elsewhere and nothing of the sort can be found. Open a book; there they are."

I'm just trying to understand you better. There is a very important component of religion that you neglect, which is contemplative practice of one kind or another. I have yet to see you make a thread about it. Why is that?


Contemplative practice is not a component unique to religion. Prayers, mantras, sufi spinning, recital of scripture, are practices of repetition, not contemplation. They hinder contemplation.



But what is a dream? Are you a skillful dreamer? Do you recall your dreams? Do you dream in vivid color, lucidly, every night? Have you shared a dreamscape with other dreamers, have you contemplated philosophy in a dream, have you seen the future or the past in a dream?


I can lucid dream, but that's about it. I could care less about dreaming, or what people think they accomplish in their dreams. By all means, you can keep that realm. I prefer to sleep when I sleep, and leave my adventuring for when I'm awake. I'll be sure to wake you when your skills are required.



edit on 14-4-2015 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 05:52 PM
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I believed in the "Tooth Fairy" when I was a child ... till I caught my dear Dad putting a silver coin under my pillow when he thought I was asleep ...

The tooth Fairy is real only in that it is a story to tell children ...

All religions as far as I know require a God or Creator or an attained state of being ...
It answers for some the age old questions ... Who or what made the Universe ... Why was it made ... What is my purpose if any for being in it ...

Never destroy another's beliefs unless you have something better to offer them ... as an old lady once said


edit on 14-4-2015 by artistpoet because: Typo

edit on 14-4-2015 by artistpoet because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 05:59 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

Contemplative practice is not a component unique to religion.


Well, neither is literature. But that doesn't stop you from focusing on it.


Prayers, mantras, sufi spinning, recital of scripture, are practices of repetition, not contemplation. They hinder contemplation.


How would you know?


I can lucid dream, but that's about it. I could care less about dreaming, or what people think they accomplish in their dreams. By all means, you can keep that realm. I prefer to sleep when I sleep, and leave my adventuring for when I'm awake. I'll be sure to wake you when your skills are required.


Dream studies and the evidence they produce have a lot to say about consciousness. But it seems like you manage to stay in your comfort zone pretty efficiently. I bet that makes it easy to believe exactly what you want to believe.

👣



posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 06:13 PM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope




Contemplative practice is not a component unique to religion. Prayers, mantras, sufi spinning, recital of scripture, are practices of repetition, not contemplation. They hinder contemplation.


Good point ... I would say that prayer is mumbling wishes to oneself ... mantra is mindless repetition of sound ... Sufi spinning is ultimately a pointless exercise as Rumi (A Sufi) described ...

Contemplation is the quiet consideration of ideas and thoughts



posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 06:47 PM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
I asked what about religion do you believe doesn't exist?


There are a lot of things about religion that I don't believe actually happened. (creation, for example)
There are things from the bible I believe may have happened.
There are stories and things Jesus and others supposedly said that I find important and meaningful.
And there are yet other things I have no belief about one way or another...



I think it is a lack of tact, or simply a failure to admit or understand, that you do not believe, or lack belief in (whatever way you want to twist it), the stories and promises made by other people.


I DON'T believe in many of the stories and promises told me. But that's has nothing to do with atheism. If I didn't answer your question, it's because I'm not clear on what you're asking. If you think I'm being disingenuous, then we have nothing to talk about. I wouldn't engage with you to mess with you.



You believe in or lack belief in another's beliefs, not a god.


It is true that I don't believe some of what others believe. If they believe in a God, that is a belief I don't share. Whether we say "I don't believe in their belief", or "I don't believe in a God, as they do", is just semantics. It's the same thing. God is one of those specific things in religion (it's kind of the central tenet) that I don't believe exists.


What is silly is claiming to lack belief in a God when that is clearly not the case. You lack belief in the validity, veracity, and probability of certain claims.


It's the same thing to me. I don't believe in gods that others DO believe in, nor specifically the biblical God, nor the claims that they exist.



So no, it's a grammatical convenience, a lie or a stupidity to claim one doesn't believe in Gods, leprachauns and fairies.


You are entirely hung up on semantics. To say, "I don't believe what I've been told about leprechauns" (that they exist) is the same as, "I don't believe Leprechauns exist."



Grammatically, the statement "I do not believe in god" implies a relationship is had between a subject and an object, when there is absolutely no such object. Rather, tell us the real object of your "lack of belief", tell us the truth, the reality behind your claim, what you really don't believe in without referring to the imagery of your own God-filled imagination.


I don't believe the religious story of the creator of the universe. Or to use shorthand, "I don't believe in the religious creator". Or even simpler, "I don't believe in God."

I fail to see how they differ. And why it's so important to you...
edit on 4/14/2015 by Benevolent Heretic because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 14 2015 @ 08:22 PM
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originally posted by: Connell

Ooooh look, another proud atheist, totally not a dogmatic, self-important adherent to just another cult ("science"). Right, right, because you believe in science, the absolute incontestable truth that can explain every facet of our being. Right.

There's a term for your religion, it's called dogmatic naturalism. Applying scientific naturalism to the universe in an attempt to explain our existence- an absolute fallacy, and supremely arrogant to boot.

I notice a disturbing trend of anthropocentrism in you moderns, you believe "humanity" is somehow the pinnacle of existence, humans are your sacred entity. Like I said, fallacious and arrogant. I've also noticed the trend these days of quantity and matter as opposed to metaphysical quality and virtue. No surprise anyway, your kind is just the logical product of an utterly vacuous and empty culture of self-indulgent humanism. It will not be this way forever though, in the metaphysical sense, qualitative virtue will eventually reign supreme again. Sadly this world will have to decline a bit further before this happens, and I likely won't live to see the end of it.


Well you certainly kicked the crap out of that strawman you constructed there. Well done.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 02:01 AM
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a reply to: Benevolent Heretic

I did not mean to imply you were being disingenuous. I tend to write for the reader whom I write for, knowing they may appreciate the rhetoric and detail, and often neglect that I am writing towards someone else. Know your audience, they say. Apologies.

Semantics is deeply important when it comes to communicating with others. Without it we are chattering monkeys. Saying I lack belief in a god elicits entirely different imagery than saying I lack belief in a proposition, or a story, or a book. They are entirely different things, both in denotation and connotation.

This is why this is important to me. The charge of atheism, and the idea of the unbeliever, the blasphemer, the infidel etc., the idea that one does not believe in God, is a myth, brought to you by the same minds who invented the witch, the djinn, and the possessed. It is no wonder they lit atheists on fire—the atheist is a straw man, the misrepresentation of someone else’s position, based entirely on the circular assumption that there is a god to not believe in. By assuming this role, the atheist is embodying and breathing life into this myth. He is validating this straw man to the point where it is no longer a misrepresentation of his position, but an accurate description of his position.

One cannot lack what was never there in the first place. We can only believe or have faith in things that exist, namely, propositions of various kinds. In the case of the religious person, it is belief and faith in the stories, the arguments, the anecdotes and the rituals of their chosen religion.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 07:20 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Well, even if I don't adopt your position that it's important to communicate to others the difference between denying someone else's religious beliefs and denying the existence of a central figure of that belief structure, at least I finally understand your stance. (I never have until this thread... why I kept reading and trying to understand, I'm not sure...)

So, I appreciate your willingness to explain and I agree with you, actually. I'm just not convinced of its importance, or that anyone with whom I'm conversing (besides you) would understand and I don't have the interest in delving into it as you have - to explain it. Because they're still going to think I'm a heathen and the "worst" kind of heretic - an atheist. And it's OK if people think of me that way, as part of my personality is that of a rebel.

To say that I'm not an atheist would be a lie, even if I desired to explain the reason I would say that, because of the commonly used definition of the term. Especially considering the way many religious groups are trying (and succeeding) to infiltrate the legal system with religious beliefs. Atheism is growing. And regardless where the term originated or the purpose of the label, it's more socially acceptable to be an atheist today than it was 5 years ago. I hope one day it will be entirely as acceptable to say, "I'm an atheist" as it is to say, "I'm a teacher". So, even if we could convince all atheists to stop using the term, there would be an assumption that they were "believers" of some religious sect, because that's the default. And I don't want people to think something about me that isn't true.

If I were into witchcraft, I wouldn't mind being called a witch. In these modern times, at least I wouldn't be burned at the stake.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 08:07 AM
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originally posted by: artistpoet
Good point ... I would say that prayer is mumbling wishes to oneself ...


As usual with religious and spiritual practices you have different realities clashing; what the vast majority of people do out of tradition or superstition, without really understanding what it's all about, and meaningful activities that are supposed to help you ponder philosophical or metaphysical concepts, or simply installing good habits in you because it's a known fact that most of the time we don't do things in an entirely conscious way but out of habits, reflexes, automatic responses.

Prayer is one of these practices that has two side, a superficial one and a deeper one.

Many people pray to ASK things, hoping a higher power will provide them what they ask without them doing anything.

And yet it seems really contradictory with most spiritual teachings which advocate more for people putting themselves in service of others.

It's because, as with many religious things (like the creation myth in the bible), most people simply get stuck at the superficial, personal, material aspect, just the opposite of what they should do.


Actually many religious texts clearly say prayers are something completely different.

A prayer is a moment where you stop what you do and become more conscious about everything you should be grateful for. A prayer is supposed to be a thank you for the miracle of being alive. A time to think about others too and reflect on how we are not alone and other people are suffering too.

Even the prayer taught by Jesus in the Bible, pater noster, isn't really a selfish request to a God that will solve everything. It's a time for reflection on very important philosophical topics:

A constant reminder that God is One (some kind of pantheistic philosophy), that we are directly related to Him so it's not some kind of detached character viewing humans as meaningless creatures. That it's this pantheistic reality that provides us with everything, that when we hurt others we hurt this God too so we ask Him forgiveness.

It is a very mystical prayer, it is supposed to help understand that beyond the gods created by superstition, there's another transcending reality shared by all good people. That we are all together in this. God is in everything and everything is in God. So as more and more people become aware of this different level of consciousness, a consciousness that extends beyond the limitations of the individual person and starts including others and eventually All, then the "kingdom of God" becomes a tangible reality.

If everyone on earth would acknowledge they are both unique but also a part of something greater, and that it's only through their acts of kindness that they can make the world better for everyone, then the goal of monotheistic religions would be complete. Unfortunately it's a constant struggle because there is always new individual coming into existence, and they too must learn the long way why it's worth it to see this world from a greater perspective, beyond their personal stories.


That is, IMHO and understanding, the meaning of the pater noster. It's definitely not a prayer for selfish requests, it's an invitation to us to become actors in the realization of something greater. A world where everyone treats others the way they would like to be treated.


And yet the vast majority of people pray to ask things. Not to remind themselves that THEY are the ones who should provide.

This is the burden of religions, the other side of the coin, the risk that words of wisdom become twisted, muddied and misinterpreted by selfish, materialistic or political consideration.




A prayer is supposed to be a moment of meditation, gratefulness and exhortation to become better. Unfortunately it's often the opposite that happens. I blame literalism, superstition and the propensity of most to be unable to rise above selfish thoughts despite religions teaching the opposite.
edit on 15-4-2015 by JUhrman because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 08:28 AM
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a reply to: JUhrman

I will not quote your post ... but am in agreement with it's content ... you explain very well

Like you say ... contemplation of the bigger picture leads to a sense of gratitude and even praise
For me it is what the origin of prayer surely is.

I can trace it back to the writings of Hermes/Thoth ... who do look deeply into the nature of the whole ... they conclude by offering up thanks

Yes we are all deeply connected for sure ... I heard a great line about Aliens and what they believe ... just for fun here it is ... Aliens also recognise the same God as we ... they view themselves as part of the whole ... they believe the Universe is the body of God in which we all live ... whether Aliens are real or not it is good philosophy

Yes when we harm another we harm ourselves in Reality is what I believe ... Yes we are all in this together and part of one another



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 08:56 AM
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originally posted by: artistpoet
... they believe the Universe is the body of God in which we all live ...


The is the root idea of all forms of mysticism, and mysticism is present in most if not all religions and spiritual traditions.

Below the surface of the cultural differences, beyond the superstition and tradition, there is a uniting reality that all can share, that allows a Christian monk, a Muslim sufi, a Buddhist lama or an Inuit shaman to speak the same language and to know they are all brothers inside this "body of God" that has so many different names.

When you think about it, it's not even a supernatural concept, many philosophies studied it too. There shouldn't be any claim of supernatural aspects in religions, because it's always the aspects that arose out of superstition, and focusing on them alone always leads to ignoring the core aspect of religions and spiritual/mystery traditions; the introduction to the experience of an expanded vision of reality where all things are like cells in a larger organism; and where they are both necessary as a whole and yet individually dispensable.

This is the divine paradox that should help us always remember to be more grateful and less selfish. Just like we are seeing our body as a whole as something that is dear to us, yet we do not mourn the daily deaths of our cells. Likewise, to "God", we are all loved as a whole and yet in its eyes we are like grains of sand on a beach.

It's not a denial of the ego, it's just putting things in their correct perspective.
edit on 15-4-2015 by JUhrman because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule


But if you want to really understand religion...

We rarely see eye to eye, but I found your post both eloquent and truthful, as well as a conclusive (and damning) rebuttal of the OP.

My salutations, and a star.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: Stormdancer777


What does that mean, and I think I have eaten and cried

I know exactly what this means. It means your world has fallen apart but life must still go on.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 09:38 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax




We rarely see eye to eye, but I found your post both eloquent and truthful, as well as a conclusive (and damning) rebuttal of the OP.

My salutations, and a star.


See? It's not so hard extending an olive branch when there is a common enemy, even if it is slightly passive-aggressive.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 09:42 AM
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a reply to: Benevolent Heretic

Good points. That's fair enough for my liking.


Atheism is growing, but if it grows to how it did into a cultural revolution, as it did under Mao, we will begin to see atrocities, at least in some societies.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 09:50 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule




Well, neither is literature. But that doesn't stop you from focusing on it.


I'm pretty sure I didn't say it was.



Dream studies and the evidence they produce have a lot to say about consciousness. But it seems like you manage to stay in your comfort zone pretty efficiently. I bet that makes it easy to believe exactly what you want to believe.


I advocate any study of dreams. I sleep quite comfortably, BlueMule. It's healthy to sleep well.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 10:08 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Common enemies? Where you see enemies, I see opponents. Enemies not only oppose but cause injury. No one around here has injured me.

Then there are opponents I respect, and opponents I don't. I wish I could count you among the former, but your character flaws prohibit it.

👣


edit on 677WednesdayuAmerica/ChicagoApruWednesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 10:59 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

I'm pretty sure I didn't say it was.


But you couldn't paint your vivid picture of the religious person without literature. The stupid religious people who read an empty word in a book, words which can't be tied to anything via the nominalist string and so forth.

But you seem to paint your picture just fine without the vital component of meditation; altered states of consciousness; mystical experience. That's a very common mistake among the irreligious.

"One problem with atheism as a category of thought, is that it seems more or less synonymous with not being interested in what someone like the Buddha or Jesus may have actually experienced. In fact, many atheists reject such experiences out of hand, as either impossible, or if possible, not worth wanting. Another common mistake is to imagine that such experiences are necessarily equivalent to states of mind with which many of us are already familiar—the feeling of scientific awe, or ordinary states of aesthetic appreciation, artistic inspiration, etc.

As someone who has made his own modest efforts in this area, let me assure you, that when a person goes into solitude and trains himself in meditation for 15 or 18 hours a day, for months or years at a time, in silence, doing nothing else—not talking, not reading, not writing—just making a sustained moment to moment effort to merely observe the contents of consciousness and to not get lost in thought, he experiences things that most scientists and artists are not likely to have experienced, unless they have made precisely the same efforts at introspection. And these experiences have a lot to say about the plasticity of the human mind and about the possibilities of human happiness.

So, apart from just commending these phenomena to your attention, I’d like to point out that, as atheists, our neglect of this area of human experience puts us at a rhetorical disadvantage. Because millions of people have had these experiences, and many millions more have had glimmers of them, and we, as atheists, ignore such phenomena, almost in principle, because of their religious associations—and yet these experiences often constitute the most important and transformative moments in a person’s life. Not recognizing that such experiences are possible or important can make us appear less wise even than our craziest religious opponents." -Sam Harris

So, let me tell you why I think you paint your picture without including an in-depth study of this important area of human experience. I think it's because an armchair critic can't investigate this area from the comfort of his chair; with a book, as you could reading Goethe. It requires commitment and training. It requires you to get your hands dirty, so to speak. That's why Sam goes on to say, "this can take a tremendous amount of work. And it is not work that our culture knows much about [...] to judge the empirical claims of contemplatives, you have to build your own telescope."

But you seem to want to judge the empirical claims of contemplatives without building your own contemplative tools first. You seem to want to judge empirical claims based on your ideology, your preferences, your comfort zone. That, I think, is the root of your intellectual dishonesty.

So you take the safe and easy way out; you reduce it all to something an armchair critic can conveniently manage: books, appearances, language.

Of course, I could be wrong about you. I'm open to that possibility. If so, it falls to you to explain why I'm wrong.

👣


edit on 753Wednesday000000America/ChicagoApr000000WednesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to BlueMule


Where you see enemies, I see opponents.. No one around here has injured me.

Then there are opponents I respect, and opponents I don't. I wish I could count you among the former, but your character etc...

Seconded.

To return to the topic, the thought that religion is quite a good thing for other people (though of course not for oneself, except in a kind of solidarity with the tribe, participatory kind of way, is one that appeals to many atheists. I know I have entertained it. My objection to it is precisely the same as yours as stated above: that is to say, an ethical objection.

I'm tempted to put to you the same questions you asked the OP, but I won't bore you with that. Besides it's more fun guessing the answers. See you around.

edit on 15/4/15 by Astyanax because: it is clear now.




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