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Can there be civility without spirituality? (A Religious Troll Thread, LOL)

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posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:34 PM
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Ok, not really an intentional Troll, but it is a thread about why I believe some sort of spirituality is entirely necessary for a civilized society, and also why I believe people who choose to act in a civilized manner must have some sort of religion, whether they know it or not.

The Conspiracy comes in when people believe they don't have a religion, but they still act in a civilized manner. I believe everyone is indoctrinated into religious belief, even if they don't realize it or admit it. So, I want to explore the nomenclature and logic behind people's actions and beliefs.

My Thesis here is this, “All Morals in modern society are rooted in some religious belief, and without morals, aka religion, a person cannot be civilized or trustworthy.”

Don’t get all sawed off yet, read a little further for some clarifications, and then flame me after fully informed, LOL!

First off, let me define a few terms. I might use religion or spirituality interchangeably. I do not intend the use of “religion” to mean one of the worlds dominant religions such as Christianity or Buddhism. I mean it in the manner that the individual believes in something supernatural and beyond the physical realm. I don’t want to be caught up in semantics. I do not believe a god must be named and personified to be a god. It could be a thread of consciousness connecting people, it could be a universal source of energy and enlightenment, it could be a physical incarnation such as Jesus, it doesn’t matter to me. If someone believes in something beyond a finite physical existence, then, for me, it satisfies the requirement of “religion.”

I have always believed ”Atheism” was the absence of religion, but ATS has proven that theory wrong. Although Atheists do not believe in a supreme “being,” Apparently they can be spiritual and believe in something supernatural; they just don’t believe in any particular popular incarnation of god. I can respect that, and even agree with it. But, it leaves the question of what to call someone completely without spirituality? Some of you may already know, or think you know the answer. I didn’t, so I researched it. Apparently it is not “Agnostic” as I have also been led to believe. Agnostics simply believe that the nature of a god is unknowable. I entirely agree with that sentiment. Agnostic is synonymous with “heretic,” “cynicist,” “secularist,” and other names. The belief that there might be something we don’t understand, but it is unknowable, and indefinable seems to also be synonymous with my own belief, and the broader definition of Atheism. So once again, what do we call someone completely without spirituality? Well, according to some more research on Wiki, there are terms such as “Agnostic Atheist,” “Hard Agnostic,” or “Skepticists,” but they all hinge on being unable to define or “know” a deity. None of the terms rule out the possibility of some supernatural spirituality.

So, to cut to the chase, the strongest version of nomenclature I can find is Gnostic Atheist. This person “knows” there is no God. They don’t subscribe to any possibility there may be a god that is beyond comprehension. For my understanding and clarity, they believe in a Cosmic accident, a pure evolutionary development, and a purely carnal existence. (If someone can point me to a better label for such a person, please let me know.) This is the nomenclature and definition of a person that I believe cannot be civilized, and if such a person believes in this manner, then by logic, I cannot understand how they can live within the laws of man and common human kindness, and so I surmise that either they are mistaken in their own identity, or they are an undiscovered Sociopath.

Now, this may sound harsh, and it is certainly up for debate, and that is the purpose of this thread. I refer back to my original thesis, “All Morals in modern society are rooted in some religious belief, and without morals, aka religion, a person cannot be civilized or trustworthy.” I believe an adaptation of Game Theory and a purely logical perspective on a situation by situation basis can prove that no Gnostic Atheist can logically live within the confines of modern civilized culture and law.

I would like to be proven wrong, or made to understand how a person can logically make a conscious choice, when they fully know there is nothing after death, to limit themselves in the ways society requires. How can they choose to work a mundane or unfulfilling job? How can they choose to be monogamous? How can they choose to put money away for savings or retirement? Some will say they choose to act as part of a community to maximize their own benefit. That is a valid argument, but what about charity? Why would anyone logically give anything away to someone else if they gained no tangible benefit from it? Some will say they do it for their legacy, or to set an example for their family. I disagree, if they truly believe as a Gnostic Atheist, logically speaking alone, it would be a poor example to teach their family to give things away when they could get further ahead by being more stingy and selfish. Following the laws of man will keep them out of trouble, but what about when nobody is watching? With a purely logistical outlook and a gnostic atheist belief, why would you ever choose to be honest? You and your family get further ahead by taking the opportunities that present themselves. There is no logical benefit to being honest when nobody is watching. An animal wouldn’t do it. An animal would steal your food, or your mate the second they thought they could get away with it without repercussions. They have no moral code, they live to consume, breed, and experience as much as possible before they die. Any human that claims they do it for any other reason must be referring to some type of ingrained religious aspect they are unaware of?

So, can a Gnostic Atheist behave using a purely logical decision making paradigm and not live as a Sociopath? If so, HOW? And WHY?

I hope to be enlightened by this thread, ...or... illuminate an involuntary religious undertone to all of humanity if my theory cannot be disproven.

The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

As a disclaimer, I hope this thread can maintain a civil back and forth discussion, and as a Mod, I feel my threads should be held to an even higher level. I hope we don't have to shut down my thread. As always, I won't be modding in any thread where I am participating, but it would be embarrassing to have one of my threads shut down by the other staff, so please keep it civil everyone!

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.


edit on 27-10-2011 by getreadyalready because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:41 PM
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i think its all in the definitions
religion is only an institution. a man made front for spirituality. it plays on what is already inside humans to hook them in.
think about it this way. do i start a milkshake stand because people like water?



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by ShortMemory
 


I think I agree with that, but how do the folks that claim to have no spirituality or no religion whatsoever function in our society?

I believe they do indeed have religion, but they don't realize it.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:49 PM
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Religion basically tells us for every bad action, there is a reaction, or hell to pay basically.

They took the ball and ran in a literal since things such as a man's hand being cut off for stealing a loaf of bread. Soooooooo........

It's just moral fortitude.
edit on 27-10-2011 by supine because: spelling



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by supine
 


I agree. So for those that don't believe in religion or spirituality in any form, then from a logical perspective, they don't believe for every bad action there is a reaction. Therefore, can a person without religion be trusted? Can they be expected to follow our culture's laws and rules when nobody is watching?



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:56 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by supine
 


I agree. So for those that don't believe in religion or spirituality in any form, then from a logical perspective, they don't believe for every bad action there is a reaction. Therefore, can a person without religion be trusted? Can they be expected to follow our culture's laws and rules when nobody is watching?


Oh Lordy, I am not the person to ask about this one! People play like they have found religion, as an excuse, as in the case of my husband that I am estranged from who is now a born again Pentacostal, as an excuse for turning his life around.

LOL, just after he proclaimed his new found faith in Jesus after his baptismal, he had the gall to ask me how long my hair is.....

People who hide behind religion have agendas!

So to answer your question, I would believe in a person who doesn't throw religion at me anytime, over a person who does!
edit on 27-10-2011 by supine because: typo



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 05:59 PM
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I think you should change the word religion to spirituality,(like you offered), there is a difference. I am spiritual, not religious. To me religiousness is a belief system based on a specific writings or teachings. You can argue till the cows come home that those religions formed our morals, but you'll never prove it. I think humans are spiritual entities, and I believe that spirituality was instinct long before religion.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:00 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by ShortMemory
 


I think I agree with that, but how do the folks that claim to have no spirituality or no religion whatsoever function in our society?

I believe they do indeed have religion, but they don't realize it.
Because religion in a sense materialises spirituality in a different way.. We already have it and personally I think it accounts for a lot of human psychology such as things like inspiration, the need to advance and possibly evolve etc.. A lot of people probably don’t see it until religions show them. But instead of helping them develop or use it I see religion as immobilizing it and obviously capitalizing on it. There is a fine line between sitting on pews and mass suicides even tho people won’t admit it.
no one has religion. Religion has them.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:00 PM
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Interesting thoughts. Personally I think that this is not something we can know because of how ingrained religion, belief has been throughout recorded history. Like it or not an atheist is influenced by it. While they may not believe it that part isnt really relevant. I practice no religion and claim no spirituality yet I am a trustworthy person. Well thats the general opinion by those that know me personally in life. My morality, while it may have roots outside of religious influence has been greatly affected just like anyone else due to its presence in society.

So, can we be moral or whatever without it. Sure I really don't see why not. The fact that we are influenced doesnt mean it is a necessary one. Those morals may, and probably would be, different than what is acceptable to most but who is to say it is wrong. I guess my point is basically you have to decide what is truly immoral in order to answer your question. And that particular debate has some fun twists within itself.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:01 PM
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reply to post by supine
 


I agree. There is a huge difference in "organized religion." In my opinion that is a big business and has nothing to do with spirituality.


+3 more 
posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:03 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by ShortMemory
 


...but how do the folks that claim to have no spirituality or no religion whatsoever function in our society?

I believe they do indeed have religion, but they don't realize it.



What an ego driven comment...





To answer your question - morality is a matter of intercourse between and among people, it only exists in relation to others...


Moral standards have differed greatly throughout human history and existed long before Christianity - you can go and find examples of this on your own. Morality is a code of behavior that enables human beings to live and work together for mutual benefit. As such, it is highly dependent on the culture in which it exists - culture is the key word here...


The innate sense of morality most of us have is due to our early history as hunter-gatherers. Regardless of size or courage, most wild animals could take down a human with little effort, so in order to defeat predator animals and catch prey animals to eat, humans would have to cooperate with each other, just as do many animal groups...


Religion didn't get them their next meal, cooperation did, which may have been a contributing factor in the development of today's religions, but it stops there. Morality is nothing more than the lessons learned of our ancestors...


So there...






edit on 27-10-2011 by facelift because: get rid of 'him and her'



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:07 PM
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I don't think you can trust someone with morals because they don't exist. They're as unequipped as the person who has none, they're just human. The reason I don't go around behaving 'immorally' is, whats the point? If I did I would eventually lose the resources to survive comfortably. Even if it is meaningless.

That's what I think, unless I've misinterpreted what your argument is.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:07 PM
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reply to post by facelift
 


It isn't ego-driven, since I defined it above. I believe the morality they have has roots in religion. Without the religious aspect they would not have the morals that they think are their own. Nature does not have morality.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:15 PM
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There is a lot of evidence that society and religion have in fact ruined what your talking about..
I mean look at other animals, do you see monkeys waging war?



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:17 PM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 

I don't see this as a troll thread at all. You are asking valid questions in a respectful way.

I am not going to label myself with any of the terms you use in the OP but I will tell you that I am not a believer.
I am also not a sociopath. lolol At least not yet.
This is a difficult subject for me to put into words so please bear with me for a moment.
I am not a sociopath for the following reason. It's simple, really. I WANT to be a certain kind of person. Not because I fear the consequences. I believe that this is the only life I will experience and I want to do the best that I can. I am who I choose to be. I choose to be a "good" person. It feels good. Lol
It makes me happy to see other people happy. Why wouldn't I want to be decent? Why would I want to be bad or cruel? It feels horrible to make someone else unhappy.

It is also very important to me that my child is a good person and the best way to teach a child is by demonstration. I am happy to report that she is just naturally a compassionate, caring loving human being. I may be a little biased here but I speak the truth.


Anyway...wish I were more articulate, but there you have it.

~Neysa



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:21 PM
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Can someone without religion function in society? Why yes, I function just fine. Yet another religious thread questioning non-belivers (intelligent people's) beliefs. Why is it so hard to believe someone can live an honest, fulfilling life without religion? To me it seems most of these religious anti-atheist threads are just an attempt to reassure the op of their choices and beliefs. If you were never brainwashed into believing what you believe, how would you function in society? You would carry on just fine. Hope this helps you sleep better tonight.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:31 PM
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Take for instance an isolated tribe which had no contact with any sort of outside influence , society or what we call religion . How would you as an observer perceive them ? Then look at us , there might be your answer .



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
reply to post by supine
 


I agree. So for those that don't believe in religion or spirituality in any form, then from a logical perspective, they don't believe for every bad action there is a reaction. Therefore, can a person without religion be trusted? Can they be expected to follow our culture's laws and rules when nobody is watching?


I won't attempt to speak on behalf of all atheists - that gross over-generalization smacks of ignorance - but I can at least answer how I see it:

Of course I can be trusted. Instead of fearing a wagging finger in the sky, I behave:
(1) in ways my parents taught us to behave
(2) in ways which support my ethics and values

In short, I also would like to see someone admirable when I look in the mirror.

So how in the world could I find others just as deserving of respect as I? Because I understand that, despite minor differences in our beliefs and values, those eyes belong to another human being who is very real and complicated.

GetReady - I've come to admire your posts, and often read them simply because you posted them. However, and this may be my bronchitis talking, I'm not really sure whether you (a) sincerely posited this question because its potential answers elude you or (b) you are attempting to open a debate on whether or not religion actually contains sufficient power to inherently make one more moral than another. I'm not fond of either option, so if you wouldn't mind, please clarify your purpose in posing this question.

To clear up further confusion as to how an atheist operates without fearing a reaction to bad things, I simply watch nature. It's beautiful, mysterious, inspiring, provocative and yes, even sometimes, it's unbelievably cruel.

ETA: if all human ethical codes originate in religion, who the heck wrote religious texts?
edit on 10/27/2011 by chasingbrahman because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 


Some of the "morals" religion attempts to teach are vile. Have you ever read Leviticus? And before anyone shouts off about how Leviticus isn't relevant anymore since the New Testament, how do you explain the "God hates Fags" movement and other such hate groups that directly quote Leviticus as if it is relevant!

I would like to point out the spectrum of theistic probability approach to belief, which was laid out by Richard Dawkins in his book, "The God Delusion."

Here is the wiki describing it in more detail

1.Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know."

2. De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. "I don't know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there."

3. Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. "I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God."

4. Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. "God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable."

5. Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical."

6. De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

7. Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.


Dawkins (and myself) claims to be a 6, and he says he can't imagine that many atheists would rate themselves a 7.
Your post seems to revolve around the idea of a Strong atheist who KNOWS there is no god.

I personally don't believe that it is possible for one to know one way or another at this point in life. Knowing or not knowing is based on faith, as there is no fact for the existence of god one way or another.

As far as morals go, it is perfectly normal for a 6 or any other number on that scale to have morals and to have or not have religion. Some religious people even have morals that directly conflict with those that their religious texts lay down.

Morality does not come from religion. I do my best to be a good person because I enjoy it, I like helping others, I like doing right, I despise cheaters, I despise liars. And I don't do it for want of heaven or fear of hell!
edit on 10/27/11 by darkendmetal because: typo

edit on 10/27/11 by darkendmetal because: formating



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 06:48 PM
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I think morality comes from the social contract that people made to live in groups which facilitated survival.

A basic social contract would be against cannibalism within the group: "You don't hit me over the head and eat me, and I won't hit you over the head and eat you".
To make this easier to teach to youngsters they then invented a god around it, say the purple one-eyed god who lives on the mountain said cannibalism is taboo in the group, and anybody who does it will be fed to the crocodiles.

Another common taboo would be against incest between siblings, which facilitated a fairly equal distribution of women to all the men in the group.

So religion is really invented to explain necessary social contracts that develop for survival.
It ultimately facilitates pairing and breeding, around practicalities that are then moralized as religion.

In the Old Testament one still finds a lot of this, and many laws ensure an increase in numbers for the Isrealites, and makes sure they are fruitful and multiply. They can take wives and concubines from other tribes, they can borrow another man's wife or concubine with permission (adultery in the OT means using another man's female property without permission), and if you rape a virgin you should at least marry her and continue until she gets pregnant.
All this hanky-panky was framed as God's law.

Of course religion changes as societies and the means of production change.
So we had the rise of the nuclear family, and eventually secular feminism caused social changes that spread to religion and women can now preach or talk on religious topics (although the NT clearly tells them not to teach and keep quiet).
So we pick and choose morality from religion and scriptures according to social needs.
Social morality dictates what parts of scripture are still moral.
Anyone who burns a witch today will surely go to prison, yet just a few centuries ago it was considered the Biblical and moral thing to do.
So thankfully religion does not dictate morality.




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