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   Author  Topic: Question about a "typically western opinion"...  (Read 794 times)
Royen
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Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« on: 2004-04-05 18:41:30 »
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Johan Royen Larsson
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Re:Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« Reply #1 on: 2004-04-05 19:56:25 »
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As a church (Baptist) attending atheist, I must say that in my experience, our view of civilation is highly dependent upon religion. It was only last week that Pastor Smith said "We are wasting our time attempting to teach the Islamic countries about Democracy as Democracy is a Christian invention and is impossible with the guidance of Jesus". I did not protest of course, but the first thing that came to mind was: "I didn't know the Greeks of 2000 years ago were Christian folk. Nor did I realize that some of the most thriving countries in the world, Japan for instance, were Christian either." It looks to me like the "Christian value of Democracy" is easily transplantable.

As for historical religion - I cannot for the life of me think of a time or place where religion was not a fundamental aspect of civilization - regardless of the religion. People need religion as the animals we are, so we find it. Sure, there was the communist experiment, but aside from China, Communism has failed - and it's secularism has been slowly asurped by the religions that used to be in the same area. I think of religion as a necessity for almost everyone. I would not wish my atheism on anyone except those that would embrace it. It's too much for most people to live with and they are better off simply believing and following the advise of moderate religious leaders whom they trust.

One thing I am sure of is that communal social experiments that lack religion - or for that matter have religion, all fail due to a lack of communication and exchange with other groups. Whether secular or religious, the information that a society collects in their continual exploration of life is vital to the survival of the group. Without a means to collect new information, a small enough population will decline to primitivism without social contact with other groups.

I did not read the book you speak of, but I cannot image a civilization surviving the long haul without the animals that make up that society behaving like the animals they are. And that means that religion will be at the roots of all civilization - if not THE roots of all civilization.

Not a good or bad thing in my opinion, just the reality of our nature.
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Re:Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« Reply #2 on: 2004-04-10 14:20:34 »
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[Durazac15]
As for historical religion - I cannot for the life of me think of a time or place where religion was not a fundamental aspect of civilization - regardless of the religion. People need religion as the animals we are, so we find it.

<snip>

I did not read the book you speak of, but I cannot image a civilization surviving the long haul without the animals that make up that society behaving like the animals they are. And that means that religion will be at the roots of all civilization - if not THE roots of all civilization.


[rhinoceros]
I can see what you mean -- it looks that way throughout history. But there are a lot of places today where religion is not a fundamental aspect of civilization and even more places where religion is used as a pretext.

So, social standards for morality and codes of conduct can work without the need for religion today, and this is no worse than places where religion plays this role.

That said, I don't vindicate destroying someone else's working social network which is based on religion from outside just because I can do without a religion. However, I don't see any reason to avoid rational criticism of non-coherent to me religious beliefs either.

One of our transhumanist celebrities once equated "God" with "spackling paste" in an online text . I find it very smart. Looking at the pattern of how scientific knowledge has been replacing parts of the belief systems of our ancestors previously occupied by God, it seems that people always liked to maintain coherent belief system, with or without spackling paste.

The same argument can be extended to the way religious doctrine builds its stories and its morality dogmas. We can do better today, because we understand somewhat better how it all works.

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Re:Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« Reply #3 on: 2004-04-10 15:06:24 »
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Rhino,

I like the Dave Barry quote in that "online text".....

Walter
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Re:Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« Reply #4 on: 2004-04-11 18:02:26 »
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Well put Rhinoceros,


Quote:
So, social standards for morality and codes of conduct can work without the need for religion today, and this is no worse than places where religion plays this role.

I agree, and certainly hope that as humanity moves forward, a better understanding of human nature leads us to secular governments that assure equality for everyone, while not disturbing the religions that so many people seem to need. Though I suspect that all societies start with a heavy religious background - I do agree societies can develop fair, rational and humane social structures that lack a religious dimension. Like they say, "It takes all kinds"

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Re:Question about a "typically western opinion"...
« Reply #5 on: 2004-04-13 17:16:36 »
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