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Steps to religious disbelief

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by plasmo, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. plasmo

    plasmo IncGamers Member

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    Steps to religious disbelief

    1. Question your own religion. This often occurs at the same time someone starts to question Santa, the Easter Bunny, unicorns, leprechauns, goblins, etc. This step has to happen, but if someone is more intellectually curious about others yet set in their beliefs, it could initially take place after the next step, and of course it happens in different phases. You don't break out of an ingrained worldview overnight.

    2. Learn about all of the other religions. This can be from a high school class, a college class, on your own in a library or the internet, etc. Most of the time a person has to actively pursue this, though; most high schools and colleges don't require a course on world religions. (Maybe this is why so many people claim to believe in religion.) This expands a person's outlook and is probably the major step. It's easy to just go with the flow and believe your thoughts are right, but once you get exposed to other ideas and worldviews, your mind starts to critically analyze them.

    3. Realize other religions might be right. After step 2, a person should realize that all religions play the same cultural function and have similar origins (virgin birth x 1000) and therefore his/her own isn't automatically truth. I think you can do this without disbelieving your own religion completely (like I said, it's a multi-step process), but that should logically follow after some thought.

    4. Realize all religions are unlikely. Logically, if all are equally likely, and all others are wrong (which they have to be as almost all religions are exclusive of others), yours, and all the others, are equally as likely to be wrong. Being a scientifically-minded person, it's hard to say that any are impossible, but the complete lack of evidence or physical evidence that one religion is right is too overwhelming to overcome.

    5. Realize religion is probably harmful. For one, it causes a disbelief in science. It therefore slows scientific progress, which is the ultimate way of improving people's standard of living, from persecuting scientists during the Inquisition to slowing the cure of AIDS in Africa and more recently HPV.

    For two, it creates in and out groups; rather than having humans see each other as one (as science, especially biology and astronomy, tends to do), religion separates people and opposes them to each other. While group opposition is fine for a short-term soccer game on a Sunday afternoon, when it's ingrained into your personality and causes negative feelings towards billions of other humans, it is horrible.

    The main questions to ask to determine the usefulness of religion are (1) Do non-believers do good that religious people do? and (2) Do religious people do bad that non-religious people do? While churches have done good throughout history, mainly through helping the poor, there are many other non-religious organizations and individuals that have done the same. There are many soup kitchens run without church support, and if all religion was gone, a lot of the slack would be taken up civically and individually. Religion merely provides the initial stimulus to bring out the natural kindness of people which could be created in many other ways.

    On the second question, religion takes a lot of flak that it doesn't deserve. From the Crusades to terrorists, if one reads intellectual books on why people did them, it was really never for religious reasons (for example, terrorism is more of gang / military mindset; they want to impress the small group). But religion is one of many parts of why people do wrong, and everything adds up.

    Any intellectually curious person who actually thinks through his or her beliefs, and perhaps pursues those thoughts with reading, should come to same conclusions if they are honest with themselves.

    The single best question to ask is, "How do you know which religion is the correct one?" To have any intellectual credibility, you can't use evidence only internal to that religion (after all, if you can prove Christianity using the Bible, I can prove Hinduism using the Bhagavad Gita), just like you can't say that because 1 + 1 = 2 the entire theory of mathematics is correct.

    What about scientists who become religious after years of non-belief? I'd assume it's primarily an emotional response (after all, one of the many roles of almost all religions is to make you feel like your life is important and that you're part of something bigger). The only intellectual argument I can think of is that after going through all these steps is using a broader Pascal's Wager to decide which religion has the best benefits and worst consequences and believe in that.

    The only reason I think most people believe in a certain religion is that they just haven't sat down and thought it through. I don't know anyone who has that still really believes in it. They might go to church and participate in other religious activities, but they admit that they don't really believe it.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. Lord BBQ

    Lord BBQ IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Agreed, and the whole premise of god is illogical and contradictory.
     
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  3. jakotaco

    jakotaco IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    My thoughts.
     
  4. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    My thought is that your "if you still believe in religion, you haven't given it enough thought" attitude is quite holier-than-thou.

    edit:
    Aren't you doing the same thing here? You've created your own group that now stands contrary to someone else. You don't want everyone to play together, you want everyone to play together with your rules.
     
  5. superdave

    superdave IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    disbelief takes too much effort...can i skip a few of your steps and still disbelieve?
     
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  6. WildBerry

    WildBerry IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Plasmo, is following the steps 1-4, and figuring that they have some valid purposes and intriguing points, and therefore that they are on the same line, other than that you know the proverbial Devil closest to you best in your opinion more of a failure of logic or weakness of character, if it leads one to choose his homegrown religion and trying to beat sense in to the institution from the inside?

    He is also mistaken that the religions are actively creating that split. Most sociologists would agree that the infamous "us-them" split - which is the root cause of prejudice and stereotyping - most people mentally make is pretty inherent, and quite possibly necessary to perceiving world.

    Religions are just offering a venue to that, albeit such venues are greatly used.



     
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  7. llad12

    llad12 IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Why are you here?

    What happens after you die?

    Who lit the fuse for the Big Bang?


    :scratch:


    There are places science does not go. There are questions science can not answer.

    Religions provide answers and comfort to people that seek it. As long as they are tolerant of other views, it doesn't bother me.



     
  8. Hatsepsut

    Hatsepsut Banned

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Nice oxymoron there. Other than that, I can pretty much agree with most of the OP.
     
  9. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane IncGamers Site Pal

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    That was really all it took for me. Once I realized that some deeply held beliefs of the churches I had been to were flawed, it kind of cast doubt on the rest of the beliefs and it snow-balled from there. That's not to say I'm an atheist now; just an agnostic. I don't really know what's out there, if anything, but I'm not willing to discount the possibility entirely.

    (Side Note: Found this video. Thought it was amusing.)



     
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  10. RubenusPontius

    RubenusPontius IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    It would seem that you have a very pessimistic view on religion - an unrealistically pessimistic one if you'd ask me. Why can't you acknowledge the fact that religion gives people a community to belong to - something that is very much needed in a society. Ofcourse, there are other, non-religious communities one can belong to, but why are they inheritly better than the religious ones? I agree with WildBerry that the conservative mindset of some people are not at all inherit to religion, and the 'us vs them' mindset is inherit to any community, be it religious or non-.
    In other words; I find religion to have merits even without the idea of a deity, to me this is just the binding factor - like sports are in a sports community.

    P.s.: science is based on reason. Yet there is no way to prove the physical existence of any such thing. One can see the results of reason (I'm using what we call reason to find that it cannot be physically proven) yet a theist could say that we can se the results of a deity all around us. So the foundation of science is no different from that of religion. Just the degree in which sceptisism is approved, and therefor the amount of gradual shift in ideas, is different. Besides, many scientists totally ignore Kant, and believe that their observations reveal the true nature of objects - although quantumphysics in a way 'proves' Kant's theory, or at least it's compliant with it.
     
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  11. Puck Nutty

    Puck Nutty IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Seriously Plasmo, how are you any different than those dudes that come to your house with Watchtower pamphlets?

    Same ****, different smell.

    Edit: One other thing; why do you care what other people believe? How does that affect you in any way? You're like a dictator except without any actual power.
     
  12. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Religion is a roleplaying club with alot of members built on collective pretending. It's morals and guidelines only apply to people who are members but they bellive that everyone is a member automaticly, and the atheists just are'nt playing by the rules. You need to realise that we are'nt members and even though you spend all day pretending us towards hell. Only you can go there. Not that you actualy will but spending your life thinking that you might is half the trip.


    Science on the other hand applies to everyone because its based on thousands of years of research and observation of what we are. In the real world.

    If you get appendicitis then your religion is faced with a dilema. It's all knowing and all powerful but the religious leaders know that if god can cure disease and wont then people will lose faith. So they make an unpredictable god. One that "helps those that helps themselves" One where if you die due to the appendicitis then it's because you deserve it and if you survive it then it's because god cured you. Allways keeping their backs clear. Ever vague.

    Science recommends surgery for your appendicitis and so cures you but science span all of humanity because it's based upon facts and so it's not a seperate club like religion. Which is what you try to make it out to be.

    [Christian] [Hindu] [Musli] [Budist]

    The religions are all little clubs with rules and regulations but they are just different aspects of humanity and all of their members are bound to the biology and science of the human race. How do you find out something about the human race? You dont ask a priest who dictates and then speaks. You ask a scienist who observes and then speaks. If you want to learn things important to your development and your persona then you dont consult thousand year old scriptures writen to control. You read things that are writen based on observations of our behavior, what cures, heals and hurts us.

    If we all go to the backwards science of the church for an education then the earth would still be considered flat. Foods containing alot of acids would still have been considered poisonous and we would still eat on and drink out of lead containers.

    If there was a god then why did he never tell people anything that human society did'nt already know?

    I mean people spent what? 1600 years? speaking to god. In that time he told them how he created the world. Goes into detail about how he created every animal. But never once did he mention the fact that the earth was shaped like a globe and not a coin. That the earth revolved around the sun. Of all the things that god told man. He never mentioned anything that we later found out to be true. The bible has'nt predicted anything.
     
  13. Widan

    Widan IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    You must have missed the part where religion is based on faith, not empirical evidence, good try though.
     
  14. RubenusPontius

    RubenusPontius IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    It seems to me that many people in this thread confuse religion with theism. They are not the same! Although most religions do have a deity as their moral centre (arguably buddhism is an atheistic religion) it is so much more than the mere believe in said deity. It seems many anti-religionists fail to recognise that.
    That said, I am not a religious person - I might have given the 'wrong' impression in that matter. I used to believe all religions are stupid, and people who follow them are mindless sheep. But I've grown and learned to see that religion does have some merits, although in my opinion that is not to be found in the theistic part of it.

    I certainly hope you don't mean to say that empirical evidence leaves no room for doubt. I kind of adressed that in the part about Kantian philosophy. If you don't know about it and are interested, read up on it - it's not easily explained in a few words.



     
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  15. Johnny

    Johnny Banned

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Faith is when a human asks you to bellive what he says without any proof. The very lack of proof itself being used to control you. So that he can use your faith to further his own goals. If there was a god then you would not appease him by throwing yourself at the mercy of other humans. Or their buildings, teachings and rules. Just because they bellive in the same god as you does not mean you have to serve them in order to serve him. Churches. Priests and Popes are just humans manipulation you through your faith to control you and the rest of your gods followers.



     
  16. chi987

    chi987 IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Sorry, but how is religion related to Santa, etc. Belief in religion is a lot more serious than belief in these other things

    Doesn't this make atheism equally unlikely? If you are atheist, you discredit all religions all at once

    You're being a little harsh. I completely disagree with this. You could argue religion discourages promiscuity and helps prevent the spread of AIDs.

    Most religions cause positive feels towards others, such as love your neighbour and whatnot. If you follow the religion, that is.

    How about all the things people have done to destroy religion such as the persecution of Christians in Japan and banning it in China

    You need to apply the same thought process to atheism and realize that religion has not been discredited by science and it's not so terrible a thing



     
  17. BobCox

    BobCox IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    I believe in Religions, they kill to many to ignore, My Beliefs however, are not the group joining type.
    Although they do include sports on the weekends...

    CalvinBall has been known to cause religious disbelief,
    as has golf.

    I know theres no %&*# God.

    I'm With SD on this one.


     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2008
  18. synx

    synx Diablo: IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Deep down, everyone knows that there is no god. You just have to look deep enough.

    The reason the concept of "god" is soo acceptable to the masses... is because the alternative is terrifying, and humans fear their own mortality more than anything else.

    What happens when you die?

    Are you rewarded for what you've done in life with a seat in heaven?

    Or does your consciousness cease to exist?

    Try to imagine that for a second: An all engulfing blackness. No sights, no sounds, no sensations. You no longer exist.

    That thought scares the **** out of people, and it should.

    Humans NEED to believe that there is something after death. That if they live an honest life, they'll be rewarded with everlasting life after death.

    Even though religion is often used to exploit and control people (scientologists, mormons, and radical branches of all the others), it HELPS billions live their lives blissfully ignorant of their own mortality, and this is necessary.

    Religion is the foundation of society, and it would collapse without it.
     
  19. BobCox

    BobCox IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Conclusion not called for by the argument?

    "Religion is the foundation of society, and it would collapse without it."
     
  20. AeroJonesy

    AeroJonesy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Steps to religious disbelief

    Interesting that you presume to know how everyone else feels.

    "Blissfully ignorant of their own mortality"? That's awfully presumptive.

    As long as we're playing this game, can I say "deep down, you know you're full of it"?



     

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