Yeah, give it all the historical, scientific, sociological jargon you like, but the truth is that the real problem people have with accepting religion is the possibility of their personal discomfort. We pick out the elements of history and biology which suit our sense of entitlement to all things pleasurable. The life of self-denial just doesn't sit happily with our desire for material fulfillment. Lets think of some of the people most keen to promote a Godless, permissive lifestyle:
Nietzche; the man who said 'God is dead' believed that humans were divided by merit of birth. He saw himself as being of superior birth along with other people with 'exceptional' brains. His sister later tried and failed to set up a colony of superior human beings. He himself died in syphilitic madness. Needless to say, Hitler was a big fan.
Virginia Woolf; One of the protagonists of the Modernist movement, belonged to a cozy group called the Bloomsbury set, whose members were hugely brainy, godless, promiscuous and suicidal. I could name a bunch of such types who justify a less-then wholesome lifestyle by telling us religion is simply the bastion for the mad, bad and the sad. We believe them because we are intimidated by the privilege of their cleverness and education.
Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis, Philip Roth, Richard Dawkins, Germaine Greer, Iris Murdoch, Gore Vidal, to name one or two....none of these give the impression of a self-giving, self-sacrificing life, so it is to be expected that they would want to turn the idea of morality on its head in order to justify themselves.
There is no denying that there are equally clever people who use the veil of religion to justify their corrupt intentions. The give-away is always the same: self-denial vs self-gratification. Which side are they on? Which side are you on?
I mean, do we really see more clearly than ever before, or is the opposite more likely?
Ha ha of course not! There's alot of anti-religious stuff on here (not that that means much, being so broad) and so I'm making a point. I think the problem alot of people have religion is that it is inconvenient.
I do not agree. Most people have a problem with right wing religion which is trying to gather up every dimwit to its phony cause. The other issue with religion is its blatant misuse for bigotry and phony moralising.
I think every anti-religious poster in these threads has at some time or another spoken out in support of the average person who has some form of religious belief and does not try to indoctrinate kids with it, stuff it down anyone's throat or use it to megaphone their homophobia and horrendous moral values.
recommend1, yes but you're only talking about a minor aspect of world religion; that which exists in the wealthy free world.
Right wing christians trying to push their pseudo science for personal gain is a minor issue ? The UK government is working to exclude the intelligent design nonsense from being infiltrated into British schools by the American Christian right !
Or do you mean that christians in the real world outside of the states are normal ?
Well it might be a big issue in the states, and they may well try to push that nonsense all over the globe, but really it's small beans in regards to the likes of Hinduism and Catholicism.
@recommend1, you make some good points about the pseudo-Christian right in America, but that's not a majority. Alarmingly, it is a rapidly growing minority with a potent power base.
You said, "Right wing christians trying to push their pseudo science for personal gain is a minor issue?" Yes, minor, from a religious standpoint. I shudder to think that the Texas school board might really mess up the textbooks for a sizable portion of the USA. Education in America is already sliding behind the rest of the world. One young man I knew from Thailand was a poor student in Thailand, but excelled easily in Los Angeles high school, because the school and its curriculum sucks! With creationism in schools, it'd become far worse.
The problem with the so-called "creationists" is that they lazily think they have the Bible all figured out while ignoring reality (the subject which science studies). They're living in a delusion.
But so are you, @recommend1. There is much more to the Bible than either you or the creationists know. It takes humility to find answers, even in science.
Do not assume what I know or do not know about the bible, you do not know me.
You are also mistaken - The problem with creationists is not lazy thinking - they are a rapidly growing toxic group that is conciously feeding on ignorance and fear. The orchestrators of this ridiculous nonsense are people with immense power and an agenda to return societies to the dark ages. This is not a minor issue, it is a desease that has its effects in the ease with which the US goes to war that are thinly disguised crusades, the destruction of enlightened education and the general dumbing down of the population.
Not really, most peoples problem with religion is that it is unnecessary.
Also in many ways atheism is less self gratifying than religion because you have to work to find the real answers rather than accept a simple one with no basis.
I think one of the biggest problems that people have with religion is the way it has been used over the centuries to command social control.
Well, that's a criticism of religion, but is it the real reason why people have a problem with it?
Not true and poorly perceived.
Entitlement? Now, that's funny.
Self denial? Try the religious have self-deluded(lied to themselves).
Try people promoting self awareness, increased knowledge and wisdom(truth) about life...was you real meaning right?
I think this is true. Many use religion for power, wealth and control.
cagsil, I'm not talking about the fat, false prophet living on his ranch in Texas. I'm talking about the truly faithful who live in humility around the world. Can we dispute the self-denial of the Dali Lama say, or Mother Theresa?
Really? There are less of those types than there are atheist in the world.
Who said these two people self-denial? And, how did you reach your conclusion?
Pretty much on tee.
Man cannot stand to look in the mirror of religion and see just how disgusting and immoral his "Progress" and "freedom to advance humanity" is.
As a note, it took a lot of twisting on Elizebeth Nietzsche and Bernard Forster's part to wrench Nietzsce's writiings into the propaganda for the NAZI ideology
As with your, "God is Dead", quote... the point was not that God was dead... but that we, Man, had killed him, and even now, then, the blood was still warm and dripping from our hands.
Does this theory call for stop of progress for the advancement of religion?
That depends on what you call progress and advancing humanity, doesn't it.
And I do not care about the advancing religion part... God can take care of his own things... he doesn't need you or I to do it for him.
And I do not care about the advancing religion part... God can take care of his own things... he doesn't need you or I to do it for him.
Then why do you often quote from the bible in an attempt to qualify your arguments?
Great points Lizziebo this statement says it all "The life of self-denial just doesn't sit happily with our desire for material fulfillment."
" the real problem people have with accepting religion is the possibility of their personal discomfort. " I like this , it's so easy to just talk the talk, less easy to walk the walk!
I noticed that a lot of your posts are religious in nature (or perhaps they're just the ones that catch my attention). I have to say that although you pose a few seemingly puzzling questions, they sort of remind me of the question "Where is the forest, I can't see it with all these trees in the way." The idea that religion HAS to be this or HAS to be that in some form or fashion is a bit of a limited mindset. You can't touch one tree (or even just a few) in a forest that you don't like and judge everything by it. You also can't blame an entire religion for the actions of a few who use a religion’s rules for their own personal gain. As a Catholic I can honestly say that, from over 30 years of constant exposure, all religions are a personal journey. While that doesn't mean that you get to make up your own rules as you go, I find that the guidance you receive from Religion is more important than memorizing the rules. Limit your mind and you'll see a bunch of fear-mongering, robe-wearing child molesters. Expand just a little bit and you'll find a group of relatively faithful people doing their best to spread happiness, peace and love as far and wide as they can afford while merely being thankful and appreciative for the gift of life. Life is much like machine in the sense that we can't all be bolts or wheels, that's the beauty. We all have our roles and we all work as part of a whole. We really don't have to think about it as much as enjoy what we are and be thankful that we are here. To keep the reigns pulled in a bit, religion steps in to offer guidance on how to treat ourselves and one another to become as happy as we can manage. Cutting the crap in between will always be up to you.
Vigilantics, thank you fro replying to my rant. Yes I agree with you. It seems to me that the interests people have on this forum fall into two categories: religion and American politics. The stuff in between is either just fluff or is directing itself into one or other camp. When people are discussing politics here, they invariably start to talk about religion anyway. I put it down to the predominantly American users. Europeans aren't so fond of the subject.
I enjoy the ease with which you can debate on here, albeit within the confines of a "yes God exists...no he doesn't" environment, and since I have only a rudimentary knowledge of American politics, religion gets all my attention.
You are quite right, religion is as broad as politics in terms of being THIS or THAT. You couldn't dismiss politics without first stressing which stream of politics you were referring, so why do people do as much with religion?
Religion is there for guidance, yes, but to use the example of academia, the more you know and understand about it, the better you are likely to be at it.
Which of my questions have been puzzling by the way?
Since I've never noticed religion to cause personal discomfort for its adherents, I'd be curious to understand why you brought that up. No one lets religion stand in the way of the things they personally want to do. There is no self denial. Religion is used to bash people who don't agree with the adherents.
I'd have to say your argument is bogus and somewhat offensive.
Emile, aw common, surely not offensive? It is not so much in defense of religion, you'll notice, but a counter-attack. I'm a big fan of Hitchens, for example. He really can argue, but I want to come from a different angle. My angle is, what angle are THEY trying to push and how does it benefit them?
Yes. It is offensive. I have no idea how you can say this is not a defense of religion. You make some bizarre and less than truthful assumptions in order to pose this ' counter attack'
the truth is that the real problem people have with accepting religion is the possibility of their personal discomfort.
This implies that the religious sacrifice for their faith. That's ludicrous. It also implies that those of us who deny religion are hedonistic. So, of course one would take offense.
We pick out the elements of history and biology which suit our sense of entitlement to all things pleasurable. The life of self-denial just doesn't sit happily with our desire for material fulfillment.
Talk about grand standing. You make the religious sound like a bunch of monks. Exactly what do you deny yourself? How are the religious any different from the non religious on this matter?
Lets think of some of the people most keen to promote a Godless, permissive lifestyle: Nietzche; the man who said 'God is dead' believed that humans were divided by merit of birth. He saw himself as being of superior birth along with other people with 'exceptional' brains. His sister later tried and failed to set up a colony of superior human beings. He himself died in syphilitic madness. I could name a bunch of such types who justify a less-then wholesome lifestyle by telling us religion is simply the bastion for the mad, bad and the sad.
I suppose since you chose to lump everyone together with the likes of these, then I can lump all Christians in with the evangelicals. Good to know.
There's no need to be so touchy Emile. I said WE not 'you lot out there'. My problem with religion often comes from a resentment of how much I need to give up to be good. And I also made a point that you can tell a truly religious person from a fake religious person by their self-denial. You can tell a good person full-stop from their good deeds.
But when hedonistic types such as Hitchens, Amis and Greer have such vitriol against religion, I would question their motives.
I don't in any way lump people together.
How much you need to give up to be good? That's a problem. Please enlighten me as to what you don't have, and what you aren't doing; in order to be good. I've always said wild people need a wild religion; but I thought you were catholic. Would you go wild without religion too? What, exactly, do religious people lack in moral fiber that the rest of us don't? I don't need religion to do what I know is right and good. I don't need religion in order to understand when I miss the mark. Is religion a simple admission that you, yourself, will always turn to, and embrace, that which is wrong? Has it occurred to the religious that some of us don't?
Well, according to Christ, you need to give up everything to be good. Kind words and pleasant floral arrangements don't cut the mustard it would seem. There's a fine line between religion and culture. Your morality must be largely due to a cultural altruism. would you agree?
Buddhists seek to completely abandon their ego. Priests and nuns or all faiths are accordingly called to give up personal comfort, including physical contact with others. That's too much for most people.
I wish I could be better. I admire good people.
Wild religion for wild people..yes I would go with that. The single-parent drunk I used to be would be unlikely to attract Islamic types. Catholicism is suited to the massively flawed among us.
Umm, have you read the New Testament? Christ didn't deny the simple pleasures of life. Don't you remember when he said something about they complained against John the Baptist because he didn't drink, but they called Jesus a drunkard because he drank and went to parties? I don't think it's entirely necessary to live a life in complete denial in order to be good. You said it yourself.Love God, Love your neighbor.
No, I have never heard that Jesus was a drunkard. Are you sure about that?
Anyway, I think part of the problem with religious people today is the lack of self-sacrifice, I really do. We have this attitude of 'oh this'll do. God will understand'. When it gets tough we say, "oo I don't know if I want this...I thought it was a God of love. How come I've got to work so hard?'
I didn't say he was a drunkard. I said he said people called him that. Kind of like the religious today. They don't know people, but they simply assume the worst of others.
Ah I see. Well that's very true about judgemental types. I feel sorry for them though. There's enough failure in our own lives to worry about without having to worry about the failures, or perceived failures of others. I hope you don't think that's what I spend my time doing? Judging other people?
I think you've sat in judgment of a large swath of humanity. From the high horse of Christianity.
well, perhaps I have, but I've included myself too with all sincerity, although not (on this occasion) from a Christian standpoint. Is it never ok to say, for example that we, as humans, are not doing enough for the poor and because it would inconvenience us to do so.? It is not true of everyone, but would it be fair to say that it is true of most people? Or would that be grossly judgemental?
Not doing enough is some distance from what you set forth in your opening statements. None of us do enough. Or, is it your argument that Christians do, and the rest of us find it inconvenient? If not, you would appear to be changing your argument.
Emile, I didn't refer to Christianity in my OP. I'm not sure why you keep suggesting I did. My point is very simple. Over the months I have been reading the lists of disagreements that people here have claimed to have with religion, and for the most part, I don't buy them. I genuinely think that the real problem most people have with religion, of any kind, (not you, of course), is the fact that it puts a crimp on suiting ourselves.
I do actually think this and I don't see how there is anything bogus or even outlandish about it. I think it's ridiculous that you should find it offensive.
Since you are a Christian, I assumed you were refering to Christianity. Of course, you did reference a godless lifestyle in your OP; so that knocks Buddhism and Hinduism out of the conversation. (Yes, I know, Hindus have gods but they recognize multiple ones)
So, I was left with three. I didn't think you could possibly be arguing for Islam. There are more compelling reasons for those of us in the west not to embrace that religion, and I've never seen you argue their case.
To be honest, I have also never seen you argue in defense of Judaism either. You have, however, been known to argue for Christianity. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were including Judaism.
I apologize, since I obviously misunderstood your intent.
Emile, looking back at this thread I can see I've been a bit smug and arrogant. Sometimes I like to be provocative but looking now, it does look a bit like I'm lording it over people. Let me apologise instead.
You don't owe anyone an apology. You were, I think, playing the role of that side of the debate. I took offense too easily. I simply get testy when I think Christians are calling the rest of us heathens. I've never seen you do that before. I misread your intent from the get go. You were, as you said, being provocative; but it wasn't you, it was the argument you chose to present.
All things in moderation.
And I have not seen the Jesus was a drunkard line either, Emile.
I didn't say he was a drunkard. He was talking about other people talking about him. Does no one know how to google? Matthew 11: 18-19
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
Sorry, Emile. I didn't think that was what you were referring to. Actually that verse didn't even come to my mind. Sorry. thanx for the googlin.
On the one aspect of personal discomfort. You may never have attended an Orghodox Mass in a Village church in Greece. 3 hours, no chairs, or fancy pews. Very interesting, but, come on where are the chairs? I now understand why the old Greek men all gather at the local coffee house while their wives attend church.
Isn't belief in being created as a the special being of the one true God and being given eternal life self-gratifying? IMHO your argument is the wrong way around.
It should be but it isn't. Having religion doesn't make us richer or better at sport. If it does, we're doing something wrong.
@psycheskinner, the dimension you are missing involves ego vs spirit.
"Self-gratifying" being discussed here is all about the ego pseudo-self, the physical construct which dwells on entitlements (selfishness).
The eternal life of which you spoke is only attained through selflessness (humility). This is the complete opposite.
So, no, to answer your question.
Try to wrap your mind around this. You will only understand LizzieBoo's idea if you fully grok this.
"Love your God with all your heart, soul and mind" and "Love you neighbor as yourself"
Why does anyone need to give anything up to follow these two simple rules?
Greater love has no man, then to lay down his life for his friends. That would be quite a big thing to give up.
Christians don't have a monopoly on selflessness and, seriously, when was the last time you went to the funeral of a Christian that sacrificed their life for their fellow man?
Ofcourse Christians don't hold a monopoly a goodness. But this isn't the point. I'm asking why person who has been near killing himself with the partying, has such a problem with the idea of an all-seeing God. I suggest that self-loathing is involved, stemming from denial. Christopher Hitchens would argue beautifully that I was wrong. It is an ongoing point of debate.
So, call Hitchins. But I find it hard to believe anyone would put time and effort to 'beautifully' argue against this arrogant and shortsighted stand. I doubt anyone near killing themselves from partying are contemplating the question of god.
I'm making a generalisation. That's what you do in a debate. You build your argument on a set of general theories. If religion was a real blast, if it made you feel really good about yourself, do you think people would run it down the way they do?
And the members of the Military do it on a daily basis. They give up their lives to defend the rights of their countries and it's citizens.
One cannot claim to have given up something that they do not possess. I believe that it is the Christian philosophy that says "our lives are not our own but belongs to the one who created us".
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps.
@Double, they need to give up ego -- the source of all selfishness (lust, gluttony, sloth, wrath, etc). One can't follow two masters.
If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you will not lust after the things of this world, including the sense of entitlement to be right, for which ego is so fond.
Even being attached to these Homo sapiens bodies is an act of turning away from God. Living in your current Homo sapiens body, but unattached to it, one can gain spiritual enlightenment (Heaven) prior to physical death. Thus, one attains spiritual consciousness which lasts beyond the bounds of physical life and constitutes the "everlasting life" of which the Nazarene teacher spoke.
One cannot crave fame, pride, worldly possessions and the like and attain this rebirth.
Ego...If that is the case...completely giving up all aspects of ego...Then we have alot of people who are not following the Love your God with all of your heart, soul and mind rule.
Complete lack of Ego could only be achieved in death.
Living will have some ego involved, it a human flaw and cannot be helped, at least not as of yet.
I think the "biggest problem" with people being willing to buy into any religion is the fact that all religions believe/say something different and have their own "rules". A whole lot of people are fairly certain that all those religions cannot be correct in their beliefs, so they write off the idea of paying any attention to what any religion says/does and figure they'll figure out their own set of beliefs/spirituality (or lack of one or both) for themselves.
Throwing in the fact that many religions don't believe in equality for all people (including those of both sexes and all religions), and you've got a whole other bunch of people who don't think such beliefs seem to at all fit with what any God would have in mind when/if He, She, or a blend of both sexes created the whole picture.
I think what appears in a lot of ways to be a move away from belief if in a higher power is often, instead, a move toward believing in something/someone that doesn't exclude x percent of the rest of the people (even creatures) on the Earth. A move away from religion doesn't necessarily always indicate a move away from having belief in a higher power. As for anyone who doesn't believe in a higher power, maybe, at least, they aren't in the business of inflicting their own personal set of rules on everyone else. There really is such a thing as people who are good, kind, and moral because they "have that in them" and not because they fear going to hell.
The rules that different religions have are indeed all different, as is their reasoning. However, all major religions recognise that self-denial is the first step towards personal improvement. That is not to say that we do not have that quality without religion. We do, it's called motherhood.
@lizzieBoo, thank you!
Good show by pinpointing the problem -- self-denial vs self-gratification.
Another way of saying this is humility vs ego, but I think this way of saying it is more all-encompassing. Attachments and consumption are only part of the equation, but a major part.
It seems that ego is the "self" we need to deny (self-denial). Ego hungers for being right. Ego feeds on the entitlement to have things for itself.
Ego is the blindness that keeps us from seeing through spiritual eyes. Ego is the soporific which keeps us mortal and keeps our consciousness confined to these islands called Homo sapiens lifetimes.
Letting go is hard to do. I keep practicing this. By moving to the Philippines from the USA, I gave up a great deal, but it was worth every bit. And yet, I still have so much ego to offload -- so much of myself to deny.
The idea to love God above and beyond all else is questionable at best. It can be downright insane.
To illustrate my point, ask yourselves whether you applaud Abraham's willingness to gut his child because God commanded him to do so. To this day, people celebrate this dedication. I find it abhorrent.
How many of you who trumpet the God above all else line would be willing to do what Abraham was ready to do?
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