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I Believe in Religion

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posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

See you around.



👣




posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule


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 area of human experience. I think it's because an armchair critic can't investigate it from the comfort of his chair, as you could reading Goethe. It requires commitment and training. 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."

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


For one, I am not against nor do I doubt anyone's mystical experience. What I do doubt is the importance of the mystical experience in states of affairs. Yes, someone can contort their body to an extent that a mystical experience transpires, achieving altered states of consciousness through various means. I do not doubt that at all. But when I ask "What's the point?", I am presented with a hefty list of non-sequiturs—hidden knowledge, union with God, divinity etc.

Second, as I have already intimated, I have taken part in many of these rituals across various cultures in one degree or another, perhaps not extensively, but likely more than any armchair-mystic ever has. I have travelled for the better part of my life, and have sat in the streets, at the base of trees and peaks of mountains more than I have armchairs. Though I think your charge of armchair criticism is apt in most cases, I do not see how it applies to myself. If my travels, experiences and studies do not paint a picture of your liking, I'm afraid you might have to get out of the chair and go paint a different picture than the one I can provide. I suppose sleep-experiences might paint interesting enough imagery for some, and if that is your chosen area of expertise, I grant you the authority on such matters. If and when I require such insight, you'll be the first to know.



posted on Apr, 15 2015 @ 03:55 PM
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What good is all the knowledge in the world if it does not help others ... How does one practically apply one's wisdom to benefit others and their community ... In the end it is the seemingly small things that matter ...

Here is a story to illustrate my point.

A knight bids his elderly Mother farewell as he sets out in search for the "Holy Grail"
With tears in her eyes she watches him ride away
Many years later the Knight returns empty handed ... his Mother now very frail is there to meet him ...

The Knight has a realisation ... This frail old lady had cared for him all of his life ... never protested when he left on his search ... and now many years later here she was with the same love in her eyes ... He had found the Grail ... The Grail is the love you hold for others ... an unconditional love



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 08:49 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

For one, I am not against nor do I doubt anyone's mystical experience. What I do doubt is the importance of the mystical experience in states of affairs.


When you transform people, you transform states of affairs.

The Role of Religious and Mystic Experiences In Human Evolution: A Corollary Hypothesis for NeuroTheology

'The adaptive value of maintaining a portion of our population subject to religious, mystic or spiritual experiences is discussed. An evolutionary mechanism, which may be unique to humans, is posited in which all humans have the neural pathways supporting mystic experiences, but only a small portion of our population experiences them. Those that do will display signs and personality traits that are associated with temporal lobe electrical lability or sensitivity.

These traits motivate behavior that benefits their social group.

The cognitive and affective styles displayed by mystics ensure that multiple perspectives are expressed during collective decision-making processes. The perspectives mystics offer their societies increase the variation within the human “ideational pool”. These perspectives improve their chances for advantageous choices in times of threats or opportunities. Such an adaptation, producing variety in problem-solving skills, might be the source for the exceptionally wide range of personality types found within our species.'


Yes, someone can contort their body to an extent that a mystical experience transpires, achieving altered states of consciousness through various means. I do not doubt that at all. But when I ask "What's the point?", I am presented with a hefty list of non-sequiturs—hidden knowledge, union with God, divinity etc.


Forgive me, but it just doesn't seem like you are keeping up with the relevant scholarship. What was the last book you read about any of this? When did you read it?

You and I see things very differently. Where you see non-sequiturs, I see poetry and metaphor which can be penetrated and internalized; used as a tool. Where you see enemies, I see merely opponents. Where you see empty words on a page, I see symbols of inner fullness.


Second, as I have already intimated, I have taken part in many of these rituals across various cultures in one degree or another, perhaps not extensively, but likely more than any armchair-mystic ever has. I have travelled for the better part of my life, and have sat in the streets, at the base of trees and peaks of mountains more than I have armchairs. Though I think your charge of armchair criticism is apt in most cases, I do not see how it applies to myself.


It must be nice to spend so much of your life traveling and learning. We should all be so lucky.

So, you looked for God in ritual, in streets, under trees, on mountains. And during all that time, no one told you to look inside yourself through contemplative practices?

Where you saw a need to travel outward, I see a need to travel inward. It's as if Clark Kent runs off somewhere to find Superman. Not finding him anywhere, the mild-mannered reporter reports that there is no Superman. Sorry Lois. Well, just take off your glasses and open your shirt Clark. 💪

"Absolutely. I mean, again the phrase, “the “human as two”” is meant as sort of the balancing point because of course the history of religion, the history of these experiences were usually understood to be some kind of God or deity or transcendent world intervening in the life of the person, wherewith these modern mystics, these authors and artists, they’re usually suspicious of those kinds of religious projections. They don’t see these experiences as proving the existence of God, per se, or some Heaven or some Hell.

They see these experiences establishing that the “human as two”, not that the human being is experiencing God but that the human experience of God is actually a human experience of some other aspect of the human being. God is, if you will, a name previous cultures and eras have given to this other part of who we actually are. So this ends up effectively divinizing human beings, but not the social self or the ego, not what I call the “Clark Kent” aspect of who we are but this sort of secret self, the other side of it that peeks through very rarely but fairly consistently throughout human history. So it’s really a way of trying to humanize and bring down the divinity into human experience." -Jeffrey Kripal

👣


edit on 621ThursdayuAmerica/ChicagoApruThursdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 08:54 AM
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Some people need it.
Some people don't.
Some people were given no choice in it.
Some people found choice.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 09:37 AM
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originally posted by: zazzafrazz
Some people need it.
Some people don't.
Some people were given no choice in it.
Some people found choice.


Aaand...

...cue credits.



👣



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 09:57 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule


The cognitive and affective styles displayed by mystics ensure that multiple perspectives are expressed during collective decision-making processes. The perspectives mystics offer their societies increase the variation within the human “ideational pool”. These perspectives improve their chances for advantageous choices in times of threats or opportunities. Such an adaptation, producing variety in problem-solving skills, might be the source for the exceptionally wide range of personality types found within our species.'


Yes I believe there is an evolutionary advantage to religion. But I also believe there is an evolutionary advantage to stupidity.


Forgive me, but it just doesn't seem like you are keeping up with the relevant scholarship. What was the last book you read about any of this? When did you read it?


I do not like reading mystics or about mystics. I’ve tried. The last essay I read on mysticism was probably Mysticism and Logic by Bertrand Russell. Because he is an atheist, you can imagine his definition of mysticism, but he paints it in a good light. I don’t remember when I read it. You’re forgiven.


You and I see things very differently. Where you see non-sequiturs, I see poetry and metaphor which can be penetrated and internalized; used as a tool. Where you see enemies, I see merely opponents. Where you see empty words on a page, I see symbols of inner fullness.


We don’t see things differently, we speak about things differently. We see things exactly the same.


It must be nice to spend so much of your life traveling and learning. We should all be so lucky.


Luck had nothing to do with it, and none of it was easy. But, then again, it must be nice to imagine from an armchair. We should all be so lucky.


So, you looked for God in ritual, in streets, under trees, on mountains. And during all that time, no one told you to look inside yourself through contemplative practices?


Why would I look for God? Have I not made myself clear enough?

I understand your mystical framework might work on some—everyone wants to be superman and possess supernatural powers—but I deal in the real world, friend.

“Searching inward” is an insidious metaphor, which actually involves not searching and going nowhere. Now I spend active time contemplating and thinking, but at no point am I searching inward for some god or superman. People are swindled into these romantic metaphors, believing they’ll achieve some superpower or hidden knowledge with this sort of endeavor. No. I oppose that. I am hostile towards it. Bring me your best mystic and let’s make him race with your average layman. Let’s watch Superman race Clark Kent and see if your metaphors in any way fit the reality of it. Let’s finally give mysticism a sanity check.

What the mystic accomplishes, what he thinks he accomplishes is, on any scale, mediocre at best in comparison to any artist, any inventor, or any thinker.



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 09:59 AM
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originally posted by: BlueMule

Aaand...

...cue credits.



👣





posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 10:02 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule

lol!



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 10:53 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

Yes I believe there is an evolutionary advantage to religion.


Maybe you could remember that the next time you ask yourself, "what's the point".


I do not like reading mystics or about mystics. I’ve tried. The last essay I read on mysticism was probably Mysticism and Logic by Bertrand Russell. Because he is an atheist, you can imagine his definition of mysticism, but he paints it in a good light. I don’t remember when I read it. You’re forgiven.


Oh boo hoo. Poor baby doesn't like reading scholarship about mystics.

Well, that's your choice. But it puts you in the 'willfully ignorant' category. You don't understand mysticism, therefore you don't understand religion. But you like crusading against it. That makes you self-indulgent and irresponsible.

ATS is about denying ignorance, not spreading it or indulging in it.

What exactly do you bring to the table, again? I mean other than your eloquence, charm, and wit.


Why would I look for God? Have I not made myself clear enough?


Newsflash: you're still looking for God. Your strategy for finding it used to be, or include, travel. Now it is taunting temper tantrums on the net.

Both are poor strategies. Neither will help you.

The image of Clark Kent shouting taunts from the rooftop of The Daily Planet, daring Superman to show up.


What the mystic accomplishes, what he thinks he accomplishes is, on any scale, mediocre at best in comparison to any artist, any inventor, or any thinker.


Whenever you say something about mystics or what they say or do or how they do it, remember this. You don't know what the hell you're talking about.

👣


edit on 738ThursdayuAmerica/ChicagoApruThursdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2015 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule



Maybe you could remember that the next time you ask yourself, "what's the point".


I don't ask myself. I ask others. They never answer "there is an evolutionary advantage". Besides, the "what's the point?" remark was in regards to the desire for mystical experiences, the "evolutionary advantage" remark was about religion. Not the same, unfortunately.


Oh boo hoo. Poor baby doesn't like reading scholarship about mystics.

Well, that's your choice. But it puts you in the 'willfully ignorant' category. You don't understand mysticism, therefore you don't understand religion. But you like crusading against it. That makes you self-indulgent and irresponsible.

ATS is about denying ignorance, not spreading it or indulging in it.

What exactly do you bring to the table, again? I mean other than your eloquence, charm, and wit.


It is my choice. My study of religion is more in the area of anthropology, which, ironically, was inspired by Frazier's The Golden Bough, which we probably have in common.

I only bring some writing and arguments to the table. Not a crusade, not a persecution, not even an opposition. If you haven't noticed, the thread is in favour of religion as an emergent cultural artifact. Nothing to fear, good sir. Stop crying.


Newsflash: you're still looking for God. Your strategy for finding it used to be, or include, travel. Now it is taunting temper tantrums on the net.

Both are poor strategies. Neither will help you.

The image of Clark Kent shouting taunts from the rooftop of The Daily Planet, daring Superman to show up.

Whenever you say something about mystics or what they say or do or how they do it, remember this. You don't know what the hell you're talking about.


Ipse dixit galore. Yes, why don't you tell me what I'm looking for, BlueMule. That always seems to work.
edit on 16-4-2015 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 02:28 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
I don't ask myself. I ask others. They never answer "there is an evolutionary advantage". Besides, the "what's the point?" remark was in regards to the desire for mystical experiences, the "evolutionary advantage" remark was about religion. Not the same, unfortunately.


What is the purpose of mystical experiences? Easy. Superpowers




For real though, there is a mystical components to religions. Religions are social expressions of individual spiritual practices and traditions. As social constructs, they can become deformed by culture or politics or things like that. But in the end, at the core of religions, is a personal spiritual practice. Like for mysticism.

And what is the purpose of a mystical experience, be it a religious experience, or a non-religious one? Well it has been said many times by blue mule before.

These experiences are transformative for the individual. The most often in a positive way. Are mystical and religious experiences the only way to change your outlook on life and improve yourself? Nope. But they are a traditional way, and it's why they can be useful for both the individual and societies as a whole.



posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 05:00 AM
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originally posted by: LesMisanthrope

I don't ask myself. I ask others. They never answer "there is an evolutionary advantage".


Be that as it may, you have an answer now which isn't a non-sequitur.


Besides, the "what's the point?" remark was in regards to the desire for mystical experiences, the "evolutionary advantage" remark was about religion. Not the same, unfortunately.


And yet, there is an evolutionary advantage to both. Mysticism evolves religious systems, which aid our survival. Mystical experiences evolve US, as humans.

Out of one side of your mouth, you will claim to acknowledge the evolutionary advantage to religion. Out of the other side of your mouth, you say things like, "If there is one thing that our religious tendencies have done to prohibit the advancement of the human race, it was...". Without those tendencies, you wouldn't be here to whine about them.

So, needless to say, I find the sum of your "arguments" to be inconsistent, unsupportable, arrogant, myopic, self-indulgent.


It is my choice. My study of religion is more in the area of anthropology, which, ironically, was inspired by Frazier's The Golden Bough, which we probably have in common.


I've read it, of course. We have that in common. But I found his ethnocentric contempt disgusting, and I'll wager you didn't. I would hardly call reading him study. I would call it self-indulgent.


I only bring some writing and arguments to the table.


Well we can get that anywhere. People who aspire to heralding religion need to bring a bit more than that. They need to bring a solid understanding of all components of religion and the relationships between them. But you lack that. You don't bring any substance to the table. You bring your ignorance, your contempt, your taunts. And a bit of wit, I'll give you that. Your wit is the only reason I bother with you. You make me laugh. Too bad your wit can't be put to a better use than veiling your ignorance.


Not a crusade, not a persecution, not even an opposition. If you haven't noticed, the thread is in favour of religion as an emergent cultural artifact. Nothing to fear, good sir. Stop crying.


Pfft. The only truth I find in that is that there is nothing to fear. It's one of the few things you've ever said that I agree with.


Ipse dixit galore.


The pot calls the kettle black.


Yes, why don't you tell me what I'm looking for, BlueMule. That always seems to work.


Why shouldn't I? What's good for the goose is good for the gander, right? After all, you presume to tell religious people what they do and why they do it. And heck, you don't even know what you're talking about.

How's that working? Are you a herald of religion yet? Maybe once you're a herald, you can finally force the hand of God to reveal itself to you.

👣


edit on 525Friday000000America/ChicagoApr000000FridayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2015 @ 12:18 AM
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a reply to: LesMisanthrope


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.

I'm glad the thread got to this point. This answers many questions.
Benevolent Heretic responded with:



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.


It is important to me because there is a particular deity that I have a particular hate-on for. This disturbs me greatly because I know objectively that he is merely a fictional character in a group of sacred myths. Yet the rage I feel, and the hatred, provide another reality within which I can be disturbed by him.

When I am isolated from exposure to certain semantics he doesn't exist. I have no rage or hatred. The language that triggers this response can be spoken or written by a devotee of this deity or an atheist, doesn't really matter which.

I feel that in order for me to function normally in human interaction settings, I really need to get a handle on this. Thank you for this thread.

And thank you Benevolent Heretic for continuing to ask for clarification.



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