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Is Religion Designed To Hold Us Back?

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posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 06:38 PM
reply to post by MikeHawke

Dear MikeHawke,

Ask around, you'll find many who have trouble understanding my writing. I'm trying to get better, honest.

I believe we're in agreement here. I was saying that morality requires a "should." That "should" comes from God, or the Natural Law, or Conscience. Just by using reason, without a "should," doesn't get anyone to a logical morality. Whenever reason alone says "You must not do X,Y, and Z," the question "Why shouldn't I?" stops the discussion.

really? so murder would be just as good as giving gifts depending on which side your looking at it from? like if a guy dated a girl you loved it would be ok to kill him to take her because you love her right? thats nonsense.
I agree it's nonsense, but it's only nonsense because we have been told by God, or Natural Law that it's nonsense. If people just dreamed up their own morality, they could easily come up with one that says satisfy your desires regardless of the costs. One early branch of hedonism thought that way.

just by stating this your agreeing with the christian mindset without even knowing you are.
I hope I'm agreeing with the Christian mindset. That's been my guide for quite a long time now.

By the way, thanks for the C.S. Lewis quotes. A friend of his is a friend of mine. You might also want to try Peter Kreeft, very similar work, but more modern.

With respect,

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 08:05 PM
Ya Mao hated religion. Killed 70 million. Hittler anyone? Survival of the fittest.
What about Stalin.

Religion is not the problem. People are the problem.

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 08:56 PM
Religion is a tool and is not to blame. It is the people, as they invented it and use it as they see fit. There are people out there in the world who are afraid to walk under ladders or cross a black cat out of fear of bad luck. There is fear and there is ignorance. When the two mix bad things happen.

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 09:03 PM
reply to post by charles1952

Thanks Charles, ill look into Peter Kreeft and see what he's about. These guys are mad smart. I try to go to the smartest people for my answers, wouldn't you agree? Christianity isn't what most people dub it to be,. just look into it a little further. Never let prejudice people with clouded 2nd hand knowledge tell you how to think,. especially when they use the "lack of proof excuse" remember..

“We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our world... Indeed, if we found that we could fully understand it, that very fact would show it was not what it professes to be - the inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from beyond nature, striking down into nature like lightning.” ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

YOU have to make your own decision. the most important thing though, you have to really WANT a personal connection with God and let go of (what people tell themselves) is the "logical" way of thinking that your talking to "some imaginary friend" cause its bull#. man has wondered this same thought for years. But do we have a concrete answer yet? I find nothing wrong with the guidelines of Christianity because they make the most (what we would call) "moral" sense. but.. (again ill refer to C.S. Lewis)

“The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.”

a few others..

“…People are often worried. They are told they ought to love God. They cannot find any such feeling in themselves. What are they to do? The answer is the same as before. Act as if you did. Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’ When you have found the answer, go and do it.”

“And He [God] and you are two things of such a kind that if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble--delightedly humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which has made you restless and unhappy all your life.”

“One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way. An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons--marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, "Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 09:28 PM
reply to post by MikeHawke

Dear MikeHawke,

I'm not worried about questions of "proof." God does not intend to "prove" it to me. He has given me evidence and a mind (such as it is), and asked me what I believe, do I have faith? He certainly proved it to the disciples, and I find that an important piece of evidence.

Religion looks at the questions of the infinite and the spiritual, it's vital to life because nothing else examines those questions. And they've been examined for millenia. Almost every great mind has tackled spiritual questions at some time and we are foolish to ignore what they have learned.

Lewis is one of those men who has stood upon the shoulders of giants. Another convert you might know about is G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton asked the same sorts of questions, but used a much different approach from the logical Lewis.

There have been a lot of Lewis quotes in this thread, possibly enough, but I would like to add a quote which has been the most influential piece of writing in my life, outside of the Bible. It is the goal I try for on ATS,

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.

All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations.

It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilites, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.

With respect,

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 09:32 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

I believe that there has to be beings more powerful than humans. That does not mean, however, that they should be worshiped. Perhaps admired, maybe destroyed.

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 09:43 PM
reply to post by Corporate Providence

I believe that there has to be beings more powerful than humans.
Some of those beings are here on earth (grizzlies and such). Maybe you're right about stronger aliens. May I offer my own opinion? If there are, then they are also God's creatures, and, in a way, our brothers. Whatever path they're on, if we can help them, we should.

That does not mean, however, that they should be worshiped. Perhaps admired, maybe destroyed.
Definitely right, we shouldn't be worshipping them. Destroy them in self-defense? Ok, but will we try to destroy them through fear, or try to make them slaves, or possibly be the snake in their garden of Eden? I'm not sure that we as a people are wise enough to have contact with other races yet.

posted on Nov, 18 2012 @ 10:38 PM
After reading through the posts one more time and after a few in depth conversations I have had on here it has made me reflect on this issue that I brought forth. First let me say I never intended that religion should be abolished that would be oppressive same as forcing religion on someone. I also fully acknowledge that there has been much gained through religion but I wonder if the same could have been accomplished if not more with a simple form of spirituality. As I am typing this laying my thoughts out I am listening to Johnny Cash so I can fully appreciate those who have been inspired even in this day and age by religion.

The premise of my thread where I ask the question of whether or not humanity has been held back or not by religion came to me shortly after seeing a clip from O'Reilly factor where he was complaining about how America as a whole is pulling away from religion and I guess it just stuck in my subconscious and I started thinking about how Texas wants to ban critical thinking as part of the curriculum from schools. I just think some of that reasoning to do so may stem from the drop in religious attendance in society and them wanting to reverse that.

Admittedly that is a jump in logic but I believe critical thinking has been instrumental in those questioning organized religion. I understand that it is Texas and not the entire country but when you consider that much of what winds up in school textbooks is set by a board in Texas it concerns me. I think most of us know Texas is a fairly religious state as a whole. It makes me wonder how much religion has influenced what has and has not been taught over time. I have seen an interview once of some on that board and in my opinion they probably have a bit of a religious agenda. Nothing like in the 1960s to 1980s where there was such an opposition to evolution being taught.

Just as a side note I took a look at some high school textbooks not too long ago and much has changed but most of the new information was already known to many back when I was in high school it just would have been considered taboo at the time. All this just made me wonder about history in general and it led to the inspiration for this thread.

I am very thankful we have separation of church and state in this country but I am not fooling myself because I do see the influence religion still has on our society as a whole. The only real question I think is has that influence been more positive or negative and which will it continue to be.
Writing this I am trying to stay away from creating a logical fallacy in my thinking, slippery slope fallacy is used far too often.

The one thing I know as fact in this world is that I certainly do not know everything so I try to stay open to new ideas. Let me state that I do support spirituality with humanity but it is religion and the dogma that goes with it that I find restricting and or destructive to humanity. In my experiences there have been times when I have felt that there was definitely something more to life than just the physical those times have usually been when I have been closer to nature be it the jungles in Central or South America or diving reefs in the tropics. I have even had a few experiences that some would classify as supernatural which I have confidence that if humankind continues to survive and progress they will one day be explained. On the other end of that spectrum I have had a friend whose life has been destroyed because of dogma in the sense he felt that his actions in battle had doomed his soul to eternity of hell and it took him years to recover. It was only after abandoning his religion that he was able to move on. I have also seen men throw away there lives in pursuit of a holy war with the promise of a reward in the afterlife. I have toured ruins of temples where I was completely in awe of the accomplishments of ancient civilizations I also kept in mind that many of those temples were places of ritual sacrifices.

I think religion is a double edge sword I know it can unite or divide that is where I think philosophy could be a more positive thing. Deity’s in religion show favor and grant privileges which means inevitably others are not. Perhaps it is just in mankind’s nature that we are this way but I hope there is a better way that humanity adopts. In my opinion it will require of us to abandon deities.

Anyway it has been a long day for me and I am glad to see how much interest this thread has gained and I apologize that I haven’t responded to some of you yet. I am still reading through some of the posts at this moment and will do my best to reply in a timely manner but as I said it has been a long day so I will try to reply by tomorrow.

posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 01:01 AM

Originally posted by Grimpachi
Is Religion Designed To Hold Us Back?

Of course.

The intellectual subjugation of the adherent is core component of all religion. For, the free-thinking mind is an anathema to systems of control such as religion.

A simple litmus test:

posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 01:45 AM
It is based on some very commendable concepts .. however it has been manipulated by mankind in order to control others ( for money and power) - hold us back is what it has done as a by product of this. simple as that!

posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 06:47 AM
For fear of being seen as a bigot, I shall rebuke my wording when I said "cough, Islam". I could of used a tad more tact in that situation, given the thread was so young.

What I meant by that is Islam is a political ideology as WELL as a religion and their goal is world domination, as well as the elimination of all Yehudim. Their prophet was 'pressed upon' by an angel (supposedly Gabriel but not possible seeing as he told a lie). Angel Gabriel brought the commandments of Allah (that's a lie).

Muhammed was suicidal after his 'inauguration' and his wife noticed it too. This doesn't happen to a 'spirit filled' individual, ever. It certainly would if you encountered a demonic entity though. Then we look at his action later on in the Koran, which are truly and utterly mind blowingly inhumane and barbaric it beggars belief. Islam is dangerous and people should realise that. At least we, as Christians, are told to render unto Caesar that which is caesars. . . .

posted on Nov, 19 2012 @ 06:59 AM

this discussions always remind me of these charts

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 12:40 AM
reply to post by charles1952

Hey Charles sorry it took so long to respond. It has been a busy few days here.

I think I understand what you are saying and I agree that if wasn’t for teachings from a first source mankind probably would have stayed more barbaric in history but I think mankind has progressed far enough that we do not need to hold onto an idea of all-powerful deity’s that promise reward or retribution in the afterlife to be able to hold onto civility going forward. I believe there will always be those that it will not matter what their beliefs are and they will turn out to be murderers or worse. In some cases I think there have been individuals that because of their beliefs in deities have actually become those murderers. For example if a man thinks that they have committed an offense that is unforgivable in his deity’s eyes that warrants the worst possible punishment after that point there is nothing left to hold them back from doing it again or worse. I have seen someone actually struggle with this. It has actually happened with quite a few soldiers. I haven’t seen them do 180% and turn into mindless killers but those burdens have weighed heavy on them to the point of it putting their own lives in danger. It was mostly attached to dogma in their religion. My point is that it can work both ways when dealing with rules set by a source that is considered all powerful or unquestionable.

I am glad that you brought up American Indians I have found their culture fascinating however they were not exactly what I had in mind because they didn’t really have a civilization. I also agree they were quite brutal to other tribes. I have often wondered why they didn’t build any great cities. They certainly had deities of a sort but I think they referred to them as spirits I do remember reading they believed in a great spirit but I do not think they had dogma attached to it. When writing I had eastern cultures in mind.

When you say religion has not held you back and say it has increased your love for others which I think is great and that is what it should do but again when it comes to dogma in religions think about the protests in our own society against homosexuals. The dogma may not even support those prejudices but it has been part of US history where they certainly exist and the majority of demonstrations against things like that are usually spearheaded by churches. Interracial Marriage went through the same thing and abortion is still a hot topic which I do not want to derail this thread into but I am just stating that it is generally an issue that is stooped in religion.

In a post earlier to someone else they asked for instances where religion has interfered with science and I just gave a few that were off the top of my head. One was human cloning to which they said that it is being pursued somewhere else in the world and the poster didn’t see where that kind of research would be important. That conversation was not really a conversation it was something else altogether so I wasn’t going to feed what I felt was a fire. I feel I can have a decent conversation with you about that though. Cloning when I was growing up was just something you found in science fiction which I am addicted to. (Science fiction) I used to read everything I could get my hands on which has shaped my philosophy on life. With human cloning just think about the possibilities. I am not sure where the research is at this moment but I read somewhere they were able to clone a human ear on a mouse a while back. The implications for myself would be enormous because I was injured several years ago and my eye was damaged. The idea of cloning an entire human raises questions that have moral implications. How it would be done, would they have souls or be self-aware there is a lot to think about on the subject but it could lead to a version of immortality for mankind. Just being able to clone body parts would save countless lives and repair others. Side note: I do remember reading an article where they said they were not far off from being able to clone teeth. Just imagine instead of getting fillings or root canals they would put something on your tooth where you simply grew a new one like how kids lose their teeth when they are young. That is just one possibility that I read in the journal.

I am afraid I went off topic a little there. I just do not know if religion such a good thing for our species anymore. I certainly think the moral teaching that seem to be universal to most religion are a good thing but the whole idea of a deity favoring one group over another is a giant wall placed between humanity. America is such a great country because people have religious freedom and we have people from every teaching here and even those who chose none but there a definitely divisions in our own society because of it. It creates quite a dilemma in my mind. If it wasn’t for separation of church and state this county would be very different but I still see where religions hold quite a bit of sway over our government and with those in it. I find it very disconcerting that we have a congressman that sits on the science board publicly dismissing aspects of science because the bible says something different. There are also people who think the earth is five thousand years old and dinosaurs lived with mankind which is disheartening to say the least.

I think there has to be someway the human race can adopt some kind of philosophy that incorporates the teachings which give us our morality that leaves out the dogma and deities in religion. It would have to be so self-evident when people read or hear it that there would be very little doubt left in people minds that it was the correct path for us. Maybe I am just dreaming this could happen.

BTW one of my favorite books growing up was Stranger in a strange land by Robert A. Heinlein. I wonder have you ever read it.

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 01:08 AM
reply to post by defcon5

There have been a few articles I have read where scientists/archeologists have set out to prove or disprove the bible usually they seem biased and their views skewed. They are trying to shape the evidence to their own beliefs. The flood is interesting I have seen few things on it. We do know that at one time something similar happened and it is found recorded in many different faiths. When trying to fit instances like that to biblical stories they become skewed. I had seen something not too long ago where they investigated whether or not the Arc from the bible was possible. Their findings were not very supportive of the story. Yes there was a flood but the possibility of the arc that is described being built let alone not sinking is my opinion a story and that is all after seeing the results of the endeavor.

I am not really trying to debate whether or not any religion is true or not but whether or not religion is beneficial or not to mankinds progress right now in our history

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 01:50 AM
reply to post by Rezlooper

For me the issue of climate change is pretty simple in that I believe it is happening. The question that many have now is whether or not man has influenced it. For me it would be hard to convince me that mankind has not influenced it based on the evidence. A simple way for me to put it is like this. All the fossil fuel we burn each day is an accumulation of dead carbon plants and animals from millions of years ago. They were what stored the carbon in the atmosphere and they have been buried all his time. By us burning them as fuels we are reintroducing an accumulation of those millions of years back into our environment at such a pace that I don’t think has ever happened before. Take into account how we have destroyed much of the earth’s mechanisms to scrub that carbon out of our atmosphere by clear-cutting or destroying ecosystems and it should be self-evident. I view the earth as a living organism that we are forcing it to smoke 3 packs of no filter cigs a day. I have also looked at the studies of the methane release happening from the permafrost and there are some very scary hypothesis’s of what may happen because of it. We just are not giving the earth enough time between smokes to filter the smoke. (Speaking metaphorically)

About the DNA issue. No I do not see intelligent design. It wasn’t a good argument before when people said it is proof god doesn’t exist and isn’t a good argument now saying it is. I really do not see what is so intelligent about our design. I for one would like eyesight like a hawk, Teeth that came back in when one went bad, be able to heal like when a lizard loses its tail, and many other things. A tail would have come in handy for balance or just hanging around. It would be great for grocery bags or holding your drink. Some people today are still born with tales my father had to have a cyst removed years ago because a hair had grown where a tale would have been the doctors said it is left over from evolution. We know there was at least four different species of humans at one time one we call a hobbit and scientists are pretty sure our species once crossbred with Neanderthals. I would like to know why we are borne with an appendix.

Anyway I am kind of off topic. I am not trying to disprove the existence a deity’s. I just do not think religions are beneficial to humanity. There is a difference between spirituality and religion.

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 04:25 PM
reply to post by Grimpachi

Dear Grimpachi,

Thanks for the discussion, a reasonable "give and take" on a serious subject doesn't happen here everyday. Are you sure we can't meet at the corner pizza place and spend about four hours exploring this subject?
Oh well, I'll try to offer some answers.

I agree with you that as far as religion's teaching goes it has offered us about everything we need in the area of moral behavior. The future might bring on new questions, but basically we know what's good and bad. But even though we've been told, we're not doing very well at learning our lessons. I believe that religion reminds us of those lessons, speaks up when large numbers have forgotten them, and most importantly, passes those lessons from generation to generation.

I shudder at the thought of the Public School system being responsible for teaching right and wrong. They can't even teach arithmetic. Further, how is consistency maintained? Just about anyone on ATS will offer an opinion on how badly mangled the Constituion has been in just the last 200 years. What would we do to moral rules in 2000 years?

I also agree with you that guilt and despair can cause terrible damage. Some day, when your buying the second pitcher of beer, I'll tell you a true story. The problem here, I believe, is a lack of balance. Sure, God is almighty and just, and a terrible guy to have as an enemy. I believe he has the patent on smiting. But, he is also a forgiving and loving God. No matter what a killer, or other sinner, may have done, we can get forgiveness and be welcomed back home, made pure and blameless to Him.

People seem to swing to opposite extremes, going far away from where they should be. There may be a reaction to lawlessness, with people emphasizing the judging God, but then swing the other way saying God loves you, you can do anything you want, believe in Him or not, mock Him or not, it's all good.

On cloning in general, I don't have a particular problem. Truth and science are good things. As you know, it's how we use the science that's sometimes a problem. My position is clone away, it sounds fine to me. BUT. As you probably would guess, I'm not excited about slicing up an embryo to get cells for the procedure. At some time in the process, a fertilized egg is a human, I just draw that line earlier than some.

You're also right that cloning an entire human would pose moral questions. My best guess is that the Church would condemn that, but as far as I know, it hasn't been addressed yet. As I say, I'm guessing.

but the whole idea of a deity favoring one group over another is a giant wall placed between humanity.
Is it possible that people don't know their religions? Maybe they're not being taught by their leaders? Surely, people must remember that Jesus was sent to save everyone, every people. Now, I can see someone saying to another "We're both looking for truth, and this is what my religion has taught me. It looks solid to me and I'd like you to consider it." But it stops there. You may never walk on the same path so there might be some distance between the two of you, but hatred or anger? That's not only crazy, it's wrong.

Every human, I believe, faces an eternal existence. Either good or bad. I take it to be one of my responsibilites to influence those I meet away from hate and toward love, away from lies and toward truth. Their religion doesn't matter, their race doesn't matter, they are brother humans. I don't want to be faced in eternity by someone I had insulted who will say to me "You made me so angry. I was filled with hate toward you. From that day forward the hatred in my heart just kept growing. Now, I'm doomed."

And I agree with you again. Not only elected representatives, but every adult should be aware of the general truths that science has discovered. Now, some of these general truths turn out to be wrong a generation later, but still we should know about them. For me, I don't see significant conflicts between science and religion. They often agree (thinking about archaeology and history as sciences), but it's good to remember they're playing different games on different playing fields.

As for your last paragraph, your "dream." I agree it would be attractive, but it's going to take more than a few hours at the pizza shop to figure out how that would work.

With respect,

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 08:37 PM
I personally think that if people hold too tight to their religions, they become narrow-minded and it holds them back in certain aspects of life. I respect all sorts of religions, but it is important to respect others' beliefs at the same time.

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 08:46 PM
Religions aren't designed. They grew organically alongside human stupidity and credulity.

edit on 20-11-2012 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 11:18 PM
You know, most of you who have been posting here, your right, let's toss world religions and get on to killing based on color creed, social standing, political views, nationality and any other little tidbit that a human can use to justify the harm of others.

Its time most of us wake up and realize that most of what falls out of our mouth was never was borne in our brain, but we merely quote from the brains of others who learned from those who never checked into the facts themselves, who learned from those who had memorized what they paid those who did the research to teach them.

Isn't it time to think by yourself?

posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 10:38 AM
reply to post by winterkill

Isn't it time to think by yourself?

I find this ironic in "ungodly" proportions, considering half the members here speak primarily in Bible quotes.

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