Is Religion defunct in this modern day and age?

 

The three Abrahamic religions started up way back in the dawn of time – in a time of medieval ignorance.

Judaism has its roots 3000 years ago.

Christianity 2000 years ago.

Islam 1500 years ago.

They originated in nomadic tribes of Arabs in a small area of the Middle East renowned for its many sects and religious fanatics.

They all claim that ‘God’ spoke to their originator when they were alone in a cave, up a mountain or in the wilderness – with no witnesses.

None of the originators wrote anything down.

The writings in the holy books were either accumulated from the prevailing genesis stories or myths or written down generations later from accounts passed down by word of mouth. Yet the adherents claim they are the exact word of God (despite the inconsistencies, obvious social context pertaining to that Arab culture, ambiguities and contradictions).

These holy words have been used as excuses to wage war, destroy the environment, justify all manner of obnoxious behaviour – including torture, misogyny, slavery and murder, and used to persecute whole races and vilify anyone who does not believe the same set of words.

These religions claim all manner of strange things from paradise/heaven, angels, cherubs, Satan/devil and Djinns to Hell – without a shred of evidence for any of it.

They used to say that the world was flat, that the sky was a black dome with holes in letting the light of God to shine through, that hell was under the ground, all plants and animals were created, that the universe was created for human beings, and that the earth was the centre of the universe. As our knowledge grew these notions were modified or abandoned. Religion moved the goalposts. They used to burn people for thinking differently.

I can see that religion is a comfort to many. The bereaved like to think of their loved ones safe somewhere nice after they die. People find death hard to face. There is comfort. The church provides a psychological prop for the needy. There are good things done. People like to believe in a caring God in the face of a world of atrocities and evil. The man rescued from the mine thanks God for his rescue (not the rescuers) while his tens of colleagues who perished had prayers unanswered. It is perverse. What did the perished do wrong? Where is there a shred of evidence that prayer worked? Or that there was a God who cared?

People need support and comfort in times of need. But can’t this support be better carried out by trained social workers, therapists, psychiatrists, counsellors and friends?

Nowadays if a man was to come into town claiming God had spoken to him he would likely not receive a good hearing and nobody would write his ramblings down.

Isn’t it time we left these outdated religions, and superstition, back in the medieval Dark Ages they were spawned in and moved on?

Isn’t religion defunct in these enlightened days?

Now spirituality – that is different.

Comments

Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 23, 2017 - 8:31pm
I get to be the first, if I am lucky.  First of all humans since being hunters and gathers had a GOD.  Ask the first few question GOD is the only answer humans have ever came up with.  Why can I think and all the animals around me do not?  How as all of the things around me come to be?  With all our science the answer today is not much better then that of the hunter and gather.  Their stories and our stories are really base all on projection into the unknown and telling yourself you figured the unknown out.  But the unknown in reality is unknown.
 
The next consideration is that humans are no different today as those hunters and gathers.  and the God man created fall into two camps.  The Master Mind human solution.  Communism, monarchs, Popes, Elected leader are all placing a master mind or group of master mine in charge that makes absolute or nearly absolute decisions.  This is by far the chose societies have made.  For some reason man is drawn toward this solution.  
 
The second is a natural God that has given us natural laws or that our religions determines as God's laws.   This may seem to be far fetched, but if you examine societies and religions within societies.   There is an astounding similarity in their list of natural laws.  The Roman Cicero said that "right conduct" is natures law.  "True law is right reason in agreement with nature, it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. (Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p 133.)   European enlightenment product a group of believers in natural law that the founders of America read and followed.  But Franklin also added the same belief from the Indian 6 nation group.  Early Judaism created the Ten Commandments as a natural law.   The Saxons brought this to England which is the foundation of their government.  
Leroy Added Jun 23, 2017 - 8:42pm
The internet has taken its toll on Christianity.  It seems to have been a boon to Islam.  Even though Judaism has influence beyond its numbers, it is still a minor religion today.
Jeff Jackson Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:10pm
Thomas is pretty much on the money with the geocentric universe and natural laws. Unfortunately, religion has historically been the leader of nations and of the people of nations, no matter how illogical the religion may have been. I'm not fond of what the Catholic church did, but I never deliver lectures to students about the atrocities, all I do is encourage them to read European history and draw their own conclusions.
I believe that the Catholic church has been shunned by the Europeans for the most part (I've read that they have great big churches that are mostly empty on Sundays) because the Europeans understand what happened and are not interested in participating with or funding the perpetrator of such atrocities.One statement that I make all the time, taken from our constitution says"congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Our founding fathers saw what religion had done to Europe, and concluded, wisely, that they wanted no part of that. We are seeing a resurgence of a particular religion and zealots who are convinced that religion-based government is the way to go. I'll leave it to you to figure out what religion that is. In my opinion, the zealots are about three-hundred years behind in the progress of humanity. They are unaware of or maybe they just reject the lessons of history that the United States, and later the Europeans so deftly interpreted. As Aldous Huxley said: "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
 
Leroy Added Jun 23, 2017 - 9:25pm
I lived in France for a while.  What I was told was that if you were a member of the church, you had money removed from your paycheck to support the church.  That was the reason given to me why there were so few people in the church.  Tight bastards.  I've heard similar rumblings from Germans.  Whether true or not, I don't believe it is because of the shame from past atrocities.  Indeed, there is little to be ashamed of.  The Crusades were retaliation for hundreds of years of unchecked, Muslim aggression.  It is not to say the church hasn't been shameful, only that it is no worse than any other.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 23, 2017 - 10:16pm
Jeff J., actually from my study the founders actually believe morals are taught by religion and our nation could not exist with out honorable and moral people that is taught by religion and the communities formed around them.  Nature's laws can be replace by nature's morals and nature's honor.   Many religions existed in the colonies and personally one may be better then another but all achieve the function needed for the Federal government in the Constitution.  
 
Islam which was not present on our shores from the comments of Thomas Jefferson that had a koran suggest that it would not be accepted.  We know and so did Jefferson that Islam is a government in practise more then a religion so would be an invader.  The foundation of Islam before it became a master mind style government is natural law from Abraham and Moses.  
Jenifer Frost Added Jun 23, 2017 - 10:52pm
I don't believe that religion is outdated. Concepts in morality have no expiration date. And that is what religion is really about, that and understanding God. I personally am no fan of the Abrahamic religions because of their bigotry towards women and children and others, but at least their core concepts like Christ and the Ten Commandments are sound (they should be, they were "borrowed"  from the much older Kemetian faith). But one certainly doesn't go to religion for science or scientific ideas, anymore than one goes to science to understand God. Each has their place. So it is kind of silly to critique religion for scientific inaccuracies, especially when many of the inaccurate things mentioned were either parables not meant to be taken literally or basic explanations for early humans who were too primitive to understand the real way the universe functions. Overall I would say IMO the oldest religions are the most valid. Although the younger ones may have merit, especially if they pass on ancient truth. 
John G Added Jun 23, 2017 - 11:32pm
The Crusades were retaliation for hundreds of years of unchecked, Muslim aggression.
The problem with these anti-religion pieces is that it gives the bigots and the 'clash of civilisations' true believers like Leroy a platform to spew their hatred and their falsehoods.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:28am
Thomas - good to hear from you. Yes it is a universal product of humanity to believe in a god, gods or the supernatural. When faced with unknowable questions our brains resort to coming up with answers. Humanity has intelligence and we are great problem solvers. So questions such as where does the universe come from? What happens after death? are unknowable and we have come up with an answer that conveniently fulfils the psychological need. It ticks the box. We create a God.
I do not have answers to the beginning of the universe. We can follow it back to a Big Bang but what then? Did anything exist before? Are we part of a polyverse? Who knows.
As for death - well I can see that it is nice to imagine some afterlife - very comforting - but I see no evidence and when you stop and look at it - the heaven/paradise concept, meeting up with loved ones, Karma, Heaven and hell where the good get rewarded and the bad punished - it all sounds puerile to me.
I also see absolutely no evidence of a caring god who intervenes or has created all this. As a biologist the human body is riddled with design faults that would be easily rectified if it had been designed and was not the imperfect product of evolution.
Consciousness is a wonder. I do not know why you consider animals unintelligent? I have lived with them closely most of my life and am impressed by their intelligence. Humans are not above them, apart; we are part of their realm.
My contention is that the old way of explaining these unknowns is primitive and defunct. We need to wonder more.
Freud said religion was a mass psychosis. I agree with him. It's a delusion.
You cannot explain unknowns by creating other unknowns.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:32am
Leroy - all religions are minority religions.
Islam is maybe going through a phase that probably has its roots in indoctrination of children, overpopulation and the recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Nigeria - which has stirred up extremism. It will die back when stability is reached. Desperate people turn to religion.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:37am
Jeff I agree. Teach History in the morning so we don't make the same mistakes in the afternoon.
Islam needs an enlightenment.
We also need to separate religion from the State, as you suggest.
I respect people's right to believe what they want even though I am an antitheist. I believe all religions have an overall  negative affect on people.
Religion should be a personal experience and not an imposed one. Imposition is tyranny. That is why I am so opposed to religion being imposed on children. Brainwashing children is, in my book, child abuse.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:42am
Leroy - there is much to be ashamed of in the Christian church - ranging from present day systematic child abuse, through witch burnings, atrocities committed in crusades, inquisitions and systematic torture, pogroms and persecution of Jews. The list goes on. Not that that is much worse than those attributed to Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. Religion is tainted with blood, torture, slavery and cruelty. Indian partition, Burma, the Holocaust - we don't have to look far.
So much for peace, love, tolerance and respect. History doesn't show too much of that.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:44am
Thomas - I do not believe we need religion, and the fear it induces, to teach morals. The UN charter of Human Rights is a far better document than any religious treatise. I believe Mankind is well capable of constructing a set of moral 'laws' to instruct our population without resorting to superstitious belief.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:51am
Jennifer - I do not believe religion is about morals at all. I think it about power - and always has been from the time of the first Shaman.
I do not believe it is wrong to criticise religion for incorrect scientific beliefs when people were tortured and burnt at the stake for believing the Earth orbited the Sun.
There is a lot of validity given to 'ancient truths'. What are these? Our ancestors were largely ignorant, uneducated and knew nothing of the universe, the mind or psychology. We've come a long way in a short while. I do not believe we have much to learn from our distant, primitive ancestors.
We can certainly teach morals without needing religion.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:53am
John G - I don't see any hatred being spewed here yet. Indeed, I am grateful for a rational debate at last. We might not agree but we are all willing to discuss and put our views. That is intelligence at work and I am grateful for it. I welcome it. After recent experiences it is a breath of fresh air.
Jenifer Frost Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:55am
I do not believe someone who is too ignorant to even spell my name correctly is to be taken seriously. Good bye 
Jenifer Frost Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:57am
Incidentally dumbass, my people were never guilty of the things you talk about. Maybe learn some history before pretending to be an expert on such things when you clearly are not. Dumbass 
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:51am
Oh I was wrong - abuse starts again. I am sorry I spelt your name wrong Jenifer but the things I talk of are well documented. I have studied my History, thanks. Which atrocities do you take exception to? I do not see it as a sign of intelligence to resort to rudeness. Are you telling me that the burnings, torture, pogroms, holocaust, crusades, inquisitions, paedophilia and such never happened?
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:14am
Autumn - where has this gone?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:00am
Opher
 
Voilà - back it is LOL I don't have much to comment, only a simple "Yes" to your title question.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:06am
Thomas
 
Why can I think and all the animals around me do not?
 
Who says that ? We don't know, that's all. Our arrogance says they can't. Is a Dolphin, an Elephant or a Raven unable to think since they have memories, can solve mathematical problems or have a social life ? They can't EXPESS themselves the way we can, I say.
 
I had a 200lb wild pig as a house guardian when I lived in Mexico. And he beat any dog by lengths on cleverness :-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:06am
EXPRESS sorry LOL
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:09am
BTW: Sorry. When I see Thomas I can't resist ;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:11am
Jenifer
 
We can certainly teach morals without needing religion
 
I agree with Opher on that one. BTW: My name was misspelled hundreds of times here...Fiedli or Friedly or whatever. Probably that's why most people simply call me Stone or SEF ;-)
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:12am
That was very strange. It disappeared completely!!
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:12am
SEF - I thought you might agree.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:16am
SEF/Thomas - I too have had very intelligent pets and, as a biologist, know of animals, such as blue whales, who have larger brains and probably comparable intelligence (but different).
We were not the only species of humans on this planet. Neanderthals had a bigger brain capacity than ours. All other species of humans died out. Though it can be argued through DNA studies that we are little more than the third species of chimpanzee. We share 99% of our genes with them.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:39am
Oper SEF etc.  I only pointed out that human response.  I did not judge the truth of it or the accuracy.  I only pointed out that this is the solution of homosapien that occurs in their societies.  
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:47am
I appreciate your comments Thomas.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:16am
Thomas
 
I only pointed out that this is the solution of homosapien that occurs in their societies.  
 
Sorry but I don't understand this one.
 
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:19am
Opher
 
We were not the only species of humans on this planet. Neanderthals had a bigger brain capacity than ours. All other species of humans died out. Though it can be argued through DNA studies that we are little more than the third species of chimpanzee. We share 99% of our genes with them.
 
Spot on. We still have Neanderthal DNA in us - except Africans, actually. And brain size is not the only criteria. What some birds are capable of with their small brains (in comparison to their body size) is amazing.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:21am
BTW: Some argue that we wiped the Neanderthals out. Maybe due to their larger brain they were more empathic and peaceful than we are. Who knows ;-)
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:28am
BTW2
 
Very good article, forgot to say. I agree to a 100% with it. What is remarkable is that in so-called "primitive" societies (what they are definitively NOT) "religion" was not fixed onto a guy in the sky but was more a philosophy that fully included nature. They did and do not draw a line between Homo and nature as monotheistic religions do.
 
Take native US "indians" (when do they stop that Columbus-was-the-first fairytale ?? India LOL), African tribes, Inuits, South American indios or Abos - they all identify themselves fully with nature.
 
We don't. Except maybe some of us Atheists ;-)
Dino Manalis Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:29am
Religion is thriving, because science and money have limitations.  Religion gives people hope and endurance and teaches them good values!
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:32am
Dino
 
Religion gives people hope and endurance and teaches them good values!
 
In theory. But we should have overcomed that stuff by now and realized that we don't need that brimborium anymore. We ARE capable to look into the mirror and try to be GOOD without having an influencer ;-)
 
Humans always seem to need something telling them the rules from the exterior. As a kid, the parents play that role, for grown ups that don't work anymore. Then god passes by LOL
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:48am
SEF - yes intelligence is still not fully understood. Some animals with small brains appear remarkably intelligent. What insects can do with miniscule ganglia is remarkable too.
I think we need a lot more research on this.
John Minehan Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:48am
"Islam needs an enlightenment."
 
Correct.  You often hear it needs a "Reformation," but it has had several, beginning long before the Protestant Reformation, if you mean a return to the text and fundamentals of the faith.
 
Current events in the Dar-al-Islam may be somewhat analogous to the 30 Years' War.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:50am
SEF - Yes again - when we were nomadic we had an affinity with nature and the religions of those people reflected that. It is sad that it has been lost from the Abrahamic tradition. That lack of affinity has resulted in animals being treated abominably. Whatever we believe it is time we put that right. We should be defenders of nature.
rudy u martinka Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:51am
Is religion a threat to the USA is the problem we should be addressing in my opinion.
Check out my post titled 
King Solomon, Time to Outlaw a Religious Practise? Post Six
 
Regards and goodwill blogging.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:54am
Dino - religion is certainly not thriving in Europe; it is dying a death. Surely we don't need fanciful ideas of some supernatural entity in order to have values? I'm an atheist and an antitheist but I have a good moral code that I practice.
Giving hope is good. Giving comfort is good. But I believe there are better ways of doing that.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:58am
John - Hopefully what will emerge is a clear split between the secular State and religion. Islam needs to become more tolerant and less dogmatic.
The enlightenment in Christianity led to great progress. Progress in the Islamic world has been stifled.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 8:59am
Rudy - Christianity is a threat to the USA in my opinion. It fixes minds back in medieval times and prevents intelligent thinking.
wsucram15 Added Jun 24, 2017 - 9:29am
Opher, you might have a point.  However, there are far less "stringent" forms of Christianity now in practice and I do not mean televangelism.  I have tried to explain to SEF, but its hard to explain a good hamburger to a vegetarian.  There is a difference..although I dont like hamburger so thats a bad analogy. 
I for example, enjoy the energy and ample singing at a Baptist church..but could never be a Baptist.  My BF parents are strict Baptists and all the children despise the religion.
But I have been to Baptist churches for example, far less strict than the one his parents attend.
The same goes with any religion, even Catholics, which I dont care for.
I believe people need spirituality, and to some that means organized religion, they are unable to separate the two.  Its ok for them but not for all.
I just figure, I know who I am and how I feel, from there I let the path I am on guide me..its never failed me yet, even in the worst of times.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 9:42am
wsucram15 - thanks for commenting. I'm sure that people need spirituality. For me that is a connection to nature, fellow humans and the universe. Those are good relationships to have. The warmth of fellowship. But religion to me is all manmade and about power and tribalism. I have no time for it. I think it is bad thinking from medieval times that has been superseded. Science offer much better answers. Yet I feel the spirituality in sharing a meal, watching a sunset and trees and rocks, the sea and lakes.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:11pm
Morals can be taught outside of religion, but in the time of the founders this was where society taught morals. The founders also know not everyone went to a church but religion set the rules for the society so even those not part of the religion learned the rules as Cicero said above.  Cicero was assassinated shortly before Cesar.
 
I  started by saying humans society if structured around two camps: master mind solutions and natural law solution.  Communism and socialism teach that the master mind defines the rules of morality the rules of society.  So obviously they reject someone else teaching different society rules.  There can only be one.   So in the USA and Europe that have governments that are democratic socialist (no such thing can exist for long, combining democracy with socialism) or socialism which is the dominant approach.  Thus these government work at destroying religion or any opposing moral foundation.
The Master Mind human solution.
 
Animals do think and have language, but that has been a recent discovery.  We do not know they understand death and feel loss.  But we do not understand their language enough to know if they understand or have a GOD.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:21pm
I don't think they need to work at destroying religion; it is withering on the vine in Europe. The churches are empty. We have reached a point where we don't need religion.
I do not believe that the moral instructions of religions greatly differs from those created secularly.
The reason religion is dying is that people do not believe in God, heaven, hell, priests and churches. They see that the priests don't believe it - or else so many of them wouldn't abuse children and risk going to hell. They obviously don't believe in hell. People have woken up to the idea that religion is manmade and a product of medieval times.
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:41pm
Opher if the churches are empty they are destroyed.  They building are historical sight to visit and look at the painting and architecture.
 
Do people not believe in God.  Now that is a question.  God is in the DNA of humans so a thinking man can reject it but it is not gone just dormant.   God has appeared in every society of man as I said from the days of hunting and gathering.  It will appear again.
Tamara Wilhite Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:44pm
When you're officially atheist, the religious impulse gets directed into other things.
For Social Justice Warriors, social justice as an ideology is invested with religious levels of devotion. Those who question the faith are evil deniers to be silenced, assaulted; criticism of one member is an attack on all and to be punished with weaponization of poverty (get them fired and rendered unemployable) and shaming akin to the Scarlet Letter and threats of violence with increasingly actual violence.
 
This Week in Stupid (24/04/2016) - Social Justice is a Cult Edition!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN0oKIMlHyI
 
For environmentalists, Mother Earth becomes the subject of worship. It is complete with heaven of a world where only the believers rule, hell if we don't do everything they say, indulgences in the form of donations to appropriate groups to offset your sins.

Crichton: Environmentalism is a religion
http://principia-scientific.org/crichton-environmentalism-religion/
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:44pm
The cathedrals have become tourist attractions. They are now sites of great architecture and art. Religion is minor.
Spirituality is what it is about - not religion. Religions come and go.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 12:52pm
Tamara I'm an atheist and an environmentalist. I direct my energies into creativity. It does not have to be negative. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking social justice or protecting the environment. One does not have to make a religion out of it.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 1:38pm
Opher
 
I'm an atheist and an antitheist but I have a good moral code that I practice.
 
We're exactly on the same wavelength. Here in northern and central Europe religion is indeed not a subject for most people anymore - churches are visited by old people or some Sunday hypocrits (in villages) which would be sneered at if they wouldn't go to church. IF they believe nor not is another question.
 
We don't need to worship anything. We need to realize that we have an own mind which should the fuck be able to understand that we shouldn't harm others and keep our base of existence clean !
 
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 1:40pm
SEF - Amen.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 1:41pm
BTW: Here it's no problem to point out you're atheist. And even if it would be, I'd just give them the finger when they attack me :-)
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 2:43pm
Cheers SEF. They are a sad bunch.
wsucram15 Added Jun 24, 2017 - 4:55pm
Opher..
I cant fault anyone for their religion, I just cant. Sometimes it helps people and perhaps its what they need. I can go to a church and enjoy the fellowship and the people ( I like to study people) but organized religion has not been my thing since I was 15.  whatever makes people happy..
 
But spirituality is kinda my thing, I have a pretty open mind so I include many of my experiences into what I consider to be my spiritual being. People being a part of that because you cannot be you..without them..good or bad.   Being in nature is amazing, especially as a photographer you catch things many dont see, because you look for angles and light all the time.
But I like the feeling of my freedom the most, knowing that I have always been alright and had what I needed, that provided me with a good life and I am grateful for that.
John G Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:11pm
I'm an atheist but I can't abide the Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris's of this world.
Capitalism represents the worlds' most real and present danger. 
wsucram15 Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:14pm
Agreed..
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:15pm
Capitalism represents the worlds' most real and present danger
 
Sure does. Especially the neoliberal ultracapitalism. It's not even an -ism. It's just GREED. These people should be killed for what they stand for.
Peter Corey Added Jun 24, 2017 - 5:46pm
>These holy words have been used as excuses to wage war, destroy the environment, justify all manner of obnoxious behaviour – including torture, misogyny, slavery and murder, and used to persecute whole races and vilify anyone who does not believe the same set of words. These religions claim all manner of strange things from paradise/heaven, angels, cherubs, Satan/devil and Djinns to Hell – without a shred of evidence for any of it.
 
 
Lots of things have been used as excuses to wage war, destroy the environment, justify all manner of obnoxious behavior including torture, misogyny, slavery, and murder; not just religion. Secular reason itself has been used as justification for such things (e.g., the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror); the presumed "inevitable Laws of History" have been used for such things (e.g., the Russian Revolution).
 
And if we compared such behavior when incited by secular ideas (Marxism, Sorelism, Sombartism, Rationalism) to the same behavior when incited by religious ideas — using an objective measure of comparison such as "the approximate number killed and maimed" — secularism proves itself to have been far worse than anything religion was able to do. The secular wars and revolutions in the 20th century alone —  WWI, WWII, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution, the Cuban revolution, the Korean war, Vietnam, and aftermaths such as the infamous Killing Fields of Cambodia — slaughtered well over 100 million people; far more than all the religious wars in the past combined.
 
>They used to say that the world was flat,
 
Actually, no they didn't. That the world was a sphere was known and accepted as fact long ago in antiquity. It was only in the 20th century that groups such as the "Flat Earth Society" formed. Whether members sincerely believe the world is flat, or whether they're only pretending for the sake of attention, is anyone's guess.
 
Do a little homework before posting something foolish. You're in need of an education.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:30pm
wsucram15 - I don't blame anyone for being religious. That's up to them. I just find it absurd. It is so transparently manmade and power based. I would like to see the end of all of them. The trouble they cause.
Spirituality is something else. It is not of that power trip. It is of nature.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:32pm
John G - I like Dawkins he talks sense and as a biologist I can relate to what he says.
I agree with you that capitalism is a scourge that is destroying the world for greed.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:33pm
SEF - sure thing. Capitalist greed and selfishness stinks.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:35pm
Corey - as usual talking out of your rectum.
Peter Corey Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:35pm
H/T: Tamara.
 
Crichton was quite right: Environmentalism is nothing but a secular religion ("Nature" or "Eco-System" or "Only One Planet Earth" replaces the traditional idea of God). 
 
We can get a clearer idea of the typical environmentalist's psychology and motivation by reading this great classic work on such zealots: "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer.
 
Download PDF at link.
 
Enjoy!
John G Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:36pm
Dawkins is no more than a professional islamophobe playing a part in promoting the entirely manufactured 'clash of civilisations' for western geopolitical interests.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:55pm
Joh G - Dawkins is a great biologist. The Selfish Gene was a great advance in DNA thinking.
opher goodwin Added Jun 24, 2017 - 6:57pm
Corey - you uncaring twat. You're so selfish that it doesn't matter to you if the living creatures on this planet get fried - just as long as you get your share. All your posturing is an attempt to justify your own selfish greed. You are disgusting.
John G Added Jun 24, 2017 - 7:04pm
There is something wrong in the mental wiring of 'libertarians'.
William Stockton Added Jun 24, 2017 - 10:28pm
opher,   I had to laugh at your comments.   You slammed Jenifer because she called you some bad names . . . whined to Autumn about it . . . then called Corey a twat.  So hilarious!
 
Religions are nothing but an extension of moral turpitude.  You practice a religion too whether you care to admit it or not.  You just admitted it by castigating Peter when he blasphemed your god (nature).
See, you have your own beliefs and moral fundamentals.  It's not based on fact or science but an imposition onto others of your moral beliefs and conduct.  It is your faith.  Complete with quilting and damning others who don't hold your standards.
 
So funny that people, who can so much in the world, can't even see themselves.
Billy Roper Added Jun 24, 2017 - 11:16pm
Cosmologically speaking, I think that even if religion cannot answer every question, even those mysteries which remain so are comforted somewhat, and life made more meaningful, through the purpose given through faith.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:38am
>Dawkins is a great biologist.
 
Wrong. He's a hack. He lies a lot, too.
 
>The Selfish Gene was a great advance in DNA thinking.
 
Actually, it's a silly reductionist hypothesis that most biologists and evolutionary researchers reject; but in any case, Dawkins merely popularized an idea that had already been around for at least ten years before 1976 when he published The Selfish Gene
 
See, e.g., Adaptation and Natural Selection (1966) by George C. Williams.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:41am
>You're so selfish that it doesn't matter to you if the living creatures on this planet get fried
 
Frying is too greasy. I prefer pan-seared.
 
In any case, gopher, mankind is the most important living creature on this planet, and as you never tire of nattering to everyone here, his numbers have vastly increased — thanks to capitalism, science, and technology. 
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 3:35am
Much nonsensical extinction hysteria was fanned by the writings of biologist Edward O. Wilson, who asserted in 1991 — citing no empirical evidence at all — that human activity is eliminating 100,000 species a year. Then in 1992, in a book called The Diversity of Life, he "corrected" his original number somewhat — down to 27,000 species a year (but again, citing no empirical evidence for extinctions).
 
Wilson wasn't pulling his numbers out of a hat but he wasn't getting them from observation either. They were mathematically derived numbers — speculative numbers, somewhat like those of old Thomas Malthus — based on his theory of "Island Biogeography", which correlates species extinction with tropical forest destruction. The basic assumption was that the greater the tropical forest destruction, the higher the rate of extinction. Wilson used something he called the "Species-Area" equation to derive his numbers, an equation that looked like this:
 
S = CAz
 
 
S = the number of species;
A = the area;
C and z = "constants", depending on the type of species in question, its location, and other factors specific to a given species used in the equation.
 
Nice. Neat. Concise. And wrong.
 
It's an elegant theory undercut by one inconvenient fact: IN FACT, biologists whose job it is to observe species populations observe no such thing. Factually, therefore, Wilson's equation is irrelevant, and his assertions regarding extinction are just plain wrong.
 
As just one example: the island of Puerto Rico has a documented loss of forestation of about 98%, yet there are more bird species on the deforested island now than there were previously . . . not to mention the fact that much of forest has simply grown back. 
 
Commenting on the equation above is Ariel Lugo, a native of Puerto Rico who earned his Ph.D in plant ecology at U. of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), taught botany for a decade in Florida, and has been the director of the The International Institute of Tropical Forestry (a division of the U.S. Forest Service) in San Juan since 1980:
 
"The first uncertainty is that we don’t know how many species there are. The margin of error is enormous: depending on who you talk to there is anywhere between 5 million and 100 million species, but science has described only a million species. How can you predict how many species are lost if you don’t know how many species you’re dealing with?”
 
The second problem is that Wilson's equation — abused by him and others to speculate on the number of species that "ought" to become extinct as forests are razed — was originally intended to show a simple correlation between island size and species diversity; i.e., the bigger the area of an island, generally the greater the number of species that inhabit it. However, while cutting down forests might cause species to leave the island for other environments, that in no way means those species have become extinct; it only means they relocated. Says Lugo:
 
“The presence or absence of a species in a particular area is one thing, whereas wiping out the genome of that species is another thing altogether – wiping out the seed, wiping out the mechanisms for hibernation, wiping out its dispersal, wiping out the management of the species. That’s a completely different biology.
 
And what is the relationship between deforestation and species loss to begin with? Do we understand that? Do we know that when you deforest an acre, you lose x proportion of species, to extinction? Well, I’m afraid that nobody knows that. There is not one study that can claim to have understood the relationship between deforestation and species lost to extinction.
 
And so if you’re an objective scientist, you cannot put a number to the rate of species lost. But I believe we’re exaggerating the numbers."
 
* * *
 
Quite so. I'll simply point out that Señor Lugo's phrase, "objective scientist" is simply a polite way of saying, "intellectually honest researcher."
 
https://www.wired.com/1997/02/the-doomslayer-2/
 
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 3:56am
John G - there sure is. They have a sadistic streak. They are not happy unless they are trying to create pain and misery.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:03am
William - I think there is a big difference here. I am quite happy to retaliate when obnoxious people make obnoxious remarks (and Peter has been doing that for some time - you only caught the end of it).
Going running to Autumn? No. I commiserated with another contributor over the extreme nastiness and poor level of debate put forward by a group of ill-informed right-wingers.
Nature is not my god. I do not worship it. I have an affinity for animals and don't like to see them treated so cruelly and annihilated. Is that how you get round it William? By pretending the destruction isn't taking place? Everything is fine?
Perhaps you should look at the stats?
John G Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:03am
OG. They suffer from 'other man's wallet syndrome'.
Corey is capable only of cutting and pasting nonsense from the wacky fruitloops at the Mises instititute.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:05am
Corey - so in your world there isn't a problem. We can go on butchering with impunity.
Sad sad sad.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:11am
>Corey - so in your world there isn't a problem.
 
Gopher — so in your world, unless we have Utopia, it means the world is ending and the sky is falling?
 
And of course, since there's no such thing as Utopia and it can never be achieved, in your world, the sky is always falling and the world is always ending. Psychologically, lefties live in a perpetual state of "crisis mode."
John G Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:13am
Corey confirms he is a sociopath. Or maybe even a psychopath.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:15am
Man is not the most important, Corey, just one species out of billions. It is just your arrogance that makes you feel you're more important. It is that same arrogance that is going to be our downfall. Your lack of caring is an attribute that is particularly unpleasant.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:21am
>Man is not the most important, Corey, just one species out of billions.
 
Really? If it came down to a concrete choice in a real crisis scenario, you would sacrifice your wife in order to save your pet dog? Or maybe you'd have to, you know, "mull it over a little while to figure out which one is really more important"?
 
You really are one pathetically evil son-of-a-bitch gopher. 
 
Then again, maybe you're just brain-dead from smoking too much dope. 
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 4:23am
>It is just your arrogance that makes you feel you're more important.
 
And it's just your hatred of yourself and humanity that makes you feel snail-darters are just as important as people.
 
Has your psychiatrist ever told you that you might have a major self-esteem problem?
Patrick Writes Added Jun 25, 2017 - 6:40am
"Is Religion defunct in this modern day and age?"
 
Karl Marx sure thought so. 
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 10:20am
Karl Marx hoped so Patrick.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 10:21am
No Corey - if it was a choice between you and a slug - I'd rescue the slug any day.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 10:22am
I don't need a psychiatrist. Have a chat with yours though - about the delusions.
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 25, 2017 - 10:44am
Interesting questions and thoughts, Opher. I have not read all the comments yet, but here are my thoughts: Our loss of spirituality in general is the reason why we are self-destructing as a species - we have stopped caring about anything, because we don't see the sacred in anything anymore. Christianity used to help us maintain an understanding or the existence of the sacred or of some things being sacred. 
We have no real respect for anything (anymore), whether that may be other species, or the environment or the things that make humans civilised. All we do is consume and promote our egos, as if each one of us is the most important entity on the planet for as long as we are around. It is this subjectivism or solipsism that will be our undoing.
 
Arnold Toynbee believed that civilisation collapse when they lose their spirituality. I think the average person today does not really know what he or she believes in, for example whether they support democracy in reality or not (beyond just the superficial concept of it) or whether they are for or against war - most people don't have a clear position on that, but the majority of people are probably not pacifists.
 
Humans probably need an urgent upgrade if they want to survive as a species. (Perhaps that's what the Mayan were talking about.) A return to true spirituality and a willingness take responsibility and work on ourselves may be a step in the right direction. 
 
 
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 1:02pm
JJ - To be in harmony with nature and feel the wonder and awe of the universe is what life is about. That kinship of friendship and sharing is unbeatable. I think it is all about respect.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:23pm
Opher
 
You might find a soulmate in Ric :-)
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:26pm
Really?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:28pm
Yep.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:29pm
I mean, I like his views a lot. He's what I call a wise man.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:41pm
I'll check out his posts. Thanks.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:52pm
No sweat. When I'm back in Africa he'll be the first to invite. A man with absolutely no prejudice. I sometimes wonder why he's still here.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 25, 2017 - 2:53pm
BTW: Read his books and stories. It's worth it.
opher goodwin Added Jun 25, 2017 - 3:20pm
Sounds good.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 5:53pm
>if it was a choice between you and a slug - I'd rescue the slug
 
I know, you big, clever, lover of humanity. That's why nice guys like me would never put themselves in a position of needing help from a self-hating ideologue like you — someone who would ask a drowning man, "Before I extend a hand to help you, tell me: Whom did you vote for, and how do you feel about single-payer healthcare?" If his answer is not to your liking, you'd simply let him drown.
 
A polite "fuck you" is in order here, I think.
Peter Corey Added Jun 25, 2017 - 8:22pm
>To be in harmony with nature and feel the wonder and awe of the universe is what life is about.
 
That's why you're sitting in front of a personal computer posting to an information network called the Internet: two instances of non-natural, man-made, high tech.
 
And this puts you "in harmony with nature", does it?
 
You have a little problem with hypocrisy, I think.
G Rajagopalan Nair Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:59am
You pose a pertinent question that ought to get people to don thinking hats. The essence of all religions appear to be the same so it is mostly an issue of differently packaged products competing for business, which in this context is winning followers and with it power, in the marketplace. Now it is up to people to choose between being evangelised by any one group under specious promise of having received the best and remaining straitjacketed for rest of their lives, or opting to be discerning enough to shun group affinity and remain wedded to the essence of it all, which is neither dogmatic nor divisive. In prudently exercising such a choice, the understanding dawns that attaining divinity, if at all there is such an exalted level, does not mean subjecting oneself to blind beliefs; it dwells in seeking, in a relentless search for truth by pursuing the path of good as defined by that which does not inflict harm and hurt and sustains equity and equilibrium. The world needs no believers, but only seekers progressing further on the evolutionary scale and enhancing the global order as they journey on...
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:54am
Mr Nair - my thoughts precisely. If there is a universal deity, which I do not believe, or a universal force, which is more of a possibility, then I do not for one fleeting microsecond believe that:
a. he would only appear to one tiny tribe living in the Middle East.
b. demand to be worshipped under pain of everlasting torture
c. expect his followers to don strange clothes
d. expect them to perform certain peculiar rites
e. expect them to observe strange traditions on eating
f. expect fasting and prayer
g. demand that they treat non-believers horribly
h. expect them to accept every word in their holy books without thought
I could go on. It is quite apparent to me that these customs are devised by man. They are there to create distinct tribal lines of demarcation. They are part of an identity power struggle and have nothing to do with any universal spirit.
In my view Spirituality is concerned with connection with the universal harmony of nature and the universe. Religion is a primitive power struggle that is divisive, tribal and pernicious.
We have lost our connection to nature which is why we are trashing the planet.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:56am
Mr Corey I do not spend most of my life in front of a computer. I do a lot of walking and travelling and greatly appreciate the spectacle of nature in all its forms. I do not worship it, as you suggest, but am part of it.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:00am
Oh, and Mr Carey - I do not hate myself. I hate what humanity has done to themselves, the planet and all that lives on it. Our selfish greed, violence, belligerence, racism and tribalism has reduced what could be idyllic to something resembling a battle-ground.
If we only grew up and put aside these childish things, put resources into solving poverty, did away with religion, and moved to a more universal perception of the world, we could have a bright future.
Peter Corey Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:49am
Mr. Gopher:
 
Re-read what I wrote.
 
At no time in my previous post did I state, or suggest, that you spend most of your time in front of a computer, or that you worship nature.
 
You might have an attention-deficit problem.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:02am
Opher
 
Be careful, Corey looks at every detail....
 
He wrote:
 
That's why you're sitting in front of a personal computer posting to an information network called the Internet: two instances of non-natural, man-made, high tech.
 
Then:
 
At no time in my previous post did I state, or suggest, that you spend most of your time in front of a computer
 
In Swiss German we call such people "Tüpflischisser" :-)
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:03am
Corey - I have a problem reading what you write. It is usually either a juvenile set of put-downs more akin to kindergarten or a bunch of stuff gleaned from extremely dubious sources. I struggle to find intelligence.
You said - That's why you're sitting in front of a personal computer posting to an information network called the Internet: two instances of non-natural, man-made, high tech.
 
And this puts you "in harmony with nature", does it?
From which I inferred that you were unable to see that people have any life balance and are able to combine all manner of activities while still retaining a harmony with nature. I thought I'd put you right.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:24am
SEF - I'm not sure what that term means but I can guess. People like Corey have trouble with nuance. There is an autistic streak.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:58am
Opher
 
A Tüpflischisser is someone who looks at every little detail he finds in order to verbally attack the other.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 8:02am
OK. That sums up a lot of his activity. He is definitely a Tupflischisser. I like it.
John Fioravanti Added Jun 26, 2017 - 1:47pm
Opher - At the risk of being attacked by Mr. Corey, I like and agree with most of what you said in your article and your responses to comments made. Today is my third day on this site, and I have to confess that I'm disappointed and offended by the intemperate, ad hominem attacks by some in this forum. I salute people like yourself who can discuss a topic like religion calmly and without resorting to phlegm. We can learn from each other when we feel free to exchange our views in a kind and respectful environment. Thanks for your contributions to my ongoing education.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 1:53pm
John - thank you for that. It seemed to me that a forum such as this should be able to discuss the most controversial ideas without resorting to personal attacks and ideological claptrap. That is what I hoped for. There are a number of intelligent people. We can argue our case even when we passionately do not agree without resorting to unpleasantness. I like to hear what the other side of the argument is and to weight that up. Rarely do I change my views but sometimes I learn a lot and sometimes I find myself modifying my position. It is good for the brain to think. Thanks again.
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 2:27pm
Unfortunately for the Abrahamic religions, Science has made their Gods too small.  Although, the Jewish concept of God is much more pragmatic. 
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 2:53pm
Hi Janie - in what way is the Jewish God pragmatic?
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:02pm
John
 
Welcome here !
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:04pm
I'd echo that John!
John Fioravanti Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:31pm
SEF & Opher - thank you. I've been feeling uncomfortable on this site. I hate it when people ignite my anger when they should be contributing positively so that we can all enjoy a great learning experience. I have decided not to respond to ignorant or malicious comments. I appreciate the way you both put forward your ideas.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:39pm
Thank you John. I wish I had your restraint.
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:41pm
John
 
Thanks. I've had and have my little fights here too, but trolls are still a minority here. If not, I wouldn't be here for 3 years :-)
 
I just give them what they ask for until they're fed up LOL
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:43pm
BTW: Although some say this is a Wild West site, it is far more civilized than for example usmessageboard. I copied one of my articles here and thought I've started an atomic war. What some write there is far out. FB like, so to say.
John Fioravanti Added Jun 26, 2017 - 3:55pm
Opher & SEF - thank you both. My restraint is born of necessity. I'm of Italian and Irish heritage so my temper explosions are legendary. I'm also a crazy Canuck... Nuff said? I'm not an expert on anything and I do not have a Ph.D. degree. I was invited to post here by Autumn and I agreed. I've been blogging for a couple of years and I've not experienced any ill-mannered diatribes from bloggers like I've experienced here in the last two days. I hope you are right about the trolls being a distinct minority - unfortunately, they are awfully loud and long-winded. 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:13pm
John
 
Canuck ? I worked in Calgary in 1980. Boom town back then. At 22 I had a hell of a good time LOL
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:16pm
John
 
they are awfully loud and long-winded. 
 
I don't take that personally, I've got a thick skin. I laugh and give them their shit back - or I simply stop to comment. Rarely I delete comments, almost never. Just to show the rest what nutcases they are LOL
 
Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 4:18pm
BTW: You see, you gotta reply using the same language. Not everybody understands different forms of communication.
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:25pm
Well first of all, Opher,  Judaism believes in science and allows for an evolution of ideas, it allows ideas to grow and life to change. Judaism also believes that there are 7 layers of meaning in the text and are much more philosophical then they are literal.  Also, Judaism does not really believe in a heaven or a hell. 
 
The Hebrew word translated as heaven for Christianity actually means "the world to come" so Jews believe that they are responsible for making this better world...making heaven on earth. 
 
As for hell, well the idea of hell goes back to the Hebrew term Abaddon, which is basically just a large fiery pit where the dead where burned if they didn't qualify for a more dignified burial, like criminals.
 
Also, the word Satan, translated as the devil for Christianity, is actually a title and not the name of a single entity. Its "a Satan".  As in the story of Job, he is an adversary for God, he is actually sent by God to test mans faith.   
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:43pm
John - I'm part Irish too! It comes out a little when confronted with personal insults I'm afraid. They are vociferous but I don't think their pugnaciousness should dictate the game, do you? This forum should be one for intelligent reasoning, not insults.
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:44pm
Janie - thanks for those illustrations.
John Minehan Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:46pm
Yesterday was Eid al-Fitr and in Latham, NY. 
 
On Route 9, the Colonie police had to stop traffic to allow the faithful ("Eid Mubarak," to people of that Faith) to get out of the Mosque parking lot  as there were so many.
 
For them, religion is far from a dead letter.
 
For the Satmar Hassidic Community in Kiryas Joel, NY, religion is likewise not a dead issue. 
 
"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat's Cradle

 

 
 
 
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Stone-Eater Friedli Added Jun 26, 2017 - 5:47pm
Janie
 
Interesting. So we see again that people not even scratch the surface before they start to scream.
John Minehan Added Jun 26, 2017 - 6:01pm
"Also, the word Satan, translated as the devil for Christianity, is actually a title and not the name of a single entity. Its "a Satan".  As in the story of Job, he is an adversary for God, he is actually sent by God to test mans faith."
 
The Book of Job predates the Israelites contact with Persian Zoroastrianism and its concept of dualism and the personification of evil called Ahriman.
 
A lot of Zoroastrian elements, which did not permanently root themselves in Judaism, found strong roots among Christians.    
opher goodwin Added Jun 26, 2017 - 6:07pm
Thanks for that John. Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favourite writers. He was a Humanist. I love the quote.
 
Janie Smith Added Jun 26, 2017 - 6:14pm
Agreed, John!  And all of that becomes much more convoluted with the Roman influence. 
 
Many people are surprised to find how little Judaism and Christianity have in common considering they share half of the same book.   But Christianity is not a Hebrew religion, its a Roman religion.
 
The Roman people where notorious for conquering countries and adopting their gods, but usually with their own little twist.  They pretty much just renamed all their old gods with the names of the new gods. 
Peter Corey Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:08pm
>Corey – I have a problem reading what you write.
 
Gopher – I have a problem writing down to your level.
 
Oil and water, I guess.
Jeff Michka Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:15pm
Willy Stockpot notes: I had to laugh at your comments.   You slammed Jenifer because she called you some bad names . . . whined to Autumn about it . . . then called Corey a twat.  So hilarious!-Perfect Priestess JenJen is hot under her hypocritical collar about her conspiracy theory stuff not getting properly believed.  Funny how she thrashes between "perfection" and acting like the Millennial child she clearly is. First it's her "fool of threes" to ensure her articles are responded to "respectfully," yet when someone disagrees or does spell her name just right, she implodes.  I can't believe she actually bothered Autumn with this very small change stuff.
Peter Corey Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:22pm
>I hate what humanity has done to themselves,
 
Such as a doubling of its life expectancy worldwide? You hate the fact that the average human life expectancy worldwide is now 71.5, and you prefer the pre-industrial average life expectancy of 35. Got it.
 
>the planet and all that lives on it.
 
More crops, more forest, more food, more of everything.
 
I think that's what you hate: you hate the fact that mankind is doing a very good job at surviving, and the planet is in better shape because of human activity than it would be without it.
 
You know what the truth is, gopher? You hate a lot of things, and you love announcing that fact to others. It's called virtue signaling.
 
wsucram15 Added Jun 26, 2017 - 7:47pm
Opher, your comment to JJ about spirituality was correct, in my opinion.  But for some reason I cant paste it so its about nature and respect.  But it goes farther than that, you have to be at peace with others and yourself.  I believe it involves mindfulness and a great deal of awareness of things outside your person. 
Religion is a fellowship of believers.  There is nothing wrong with that, as long as the people involved have some spirituality which leads to less anger towards others and a sharing of ideals.  
I dont think I have ever met a truly religious person who wasnt willing to listen to another without judgment.  Not once, but I admit, I dont meet too many truly religious people.
opher goodwin Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:08am
Janie - If it wasn't for Constantine adopting Christianity for political reasons it would have died out. He gave it a validity and boost.
opher goodwin Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:11am
Corey - you live in a dream world - you obviously haven't travelled.
opher goodwin Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:18am
wsucram - thanks for that. I agree with you about being at peace with yourself and others and developing your own empathy and compassion.
I can also see that a fellowship of like-minded people is very satisfying and comforting. I have no problem with that. People can believe what they like. It is the tendency to a. take the extremely dubiously produced texts literally. b. to use them to create division and hatred. c. to indoctrinate children. d. to aggressively evangelise.
Religion is fine as a personal experience. It is when it becomes tribal that it leads to wars, torture and hatred.
I still think we would be better off without it.
Spirituality is fine with me. That does not require any belief in Gods or man-made texts.
opher goodwin Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:33am
Corey - oil and water? Well you're certainly greasy enough. But don't worry. I don't think you're writing down to anyone on this site. They've all seen through your stupid alignment with every pseudo right-wing site on the planet. Everything you paste in is produced by a far-right nutcase. Your assertions are laughable.
The planet is great. Everybody is happy. There is no poverty, pollution or extinctions. The elite are doing a great job. And you think that you are living in reality?
opher goodwin Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:35am
Jeff - it does seem a little of an excessive over-reaction to explode if someone inadvertently spells your name wrong.
wsucram15 Added Jun 27, 2017 - 4:23pm
ok then..we reached an accord..lol
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 27, 2017 - 5:01pm
Opher, just to throw in a couple of ideas. I've been doing some research into Mesoamerican mythology and spirituality and the Mayans believe they have been around for 12000 years (!). That's by their own estimations and through their mythology - no way to verify it though I would imagine. What is interesting is that their creation story had striking resemblances to the Christian creation story - and so does many of their spiritual beliefs that, it would seem, preceded Christianity. 
 
On a different not: I am currently watching a BBC series made in 1969, called "Civilisation" (13 episodes) and the narrator insists that civilisation itself rose up out of barbarism through religion and faith in a higher being or a god or God with a capital G. He makes quite a good case for it overall. So if this is true, then I guess it could mean that should civilisation lose all faith, it could potentially revert back to "barbarism" (whatever that would mean in a modern form or context). I guess the question is, should such a thing happen, would we recognise the "drift"? 
wsucram15 Added Jun 27, 2017 - 7:19pm
Well funny you should mention that, I just asked my Pastor Friend something similar the other day and also a missionary I know.  They both told me even though it was chaos right now, its not time yet.  So perhaps not.
I think everyone has lost their minds..perhaps it has to get worse to "drift" to barbarism?  I think its close though..they dont and are tons more rooted in religion than I ever will be.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 3:37am
wsucram - accord is good. We might not agree with everything each other believes but we can discuss and get along. That's great.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 3:44am
JJ - I find it hard to believe that God was the basis of civilisation. It seems to me that agriculture was the main thing that brought people together in greater numbers and demanded that they work together and so formulate laws.
Regardless of that. It does not presuppose that doing away with religion would send us back to barbarism. We have a firm foundation of law and order that is secular. We have clear man-made structures and morality that is secular. I would argue that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is better than any religious text for setting out a moral code and framework for life. We don't need religion. It's like a kid growing up, putting aside his tricycle and driving a car.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 3:49am
wsucram - I think the chaos and discontent at the moment is brought about by a combination of factors - globalisation robbing people in developed countries of jobs, automation robbing people of jobs, old industries (based on fossil fuels and production) dying the death and robbing people of jobs and a huge disparity of wealth where the bankers and multinationals are creaming it in. People are looking to the government and the government represents big business and not them. They feel nobody cares. So many people have been left behind. It's not to do with religion.
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 28, 2017 - 8:31am
wsucram - Those are interesting responses that you got from the pastor and missionary - it would seem that although "it is not time", they expect it to happen... or they think we are in our way there. 
 
Yes, I think our idea of "barbarism" is a picture in our mind of an undeveloped world without infrastructure and security - and that such harsh external conditions cause barbarism. But, modern barbarism is arguably already here - as you said: we are close. For example there's plenty of online lynching's going on in social media - people losing their jobs because of online mobs going berserk after someone expressed an opinion - and its happening in countries with Freedom of Speech.  Digital barbarism however is not considered barbarism in the real sense (for some reason), but I would say it's barbarism none the less. 
 
Having said that, the people you spoke to would probably know better as one would imagine they would be monitoring such a "drift". 
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 28, 2017 - 8:45am
Opher - good point about agriculture - I agree. I am not sure though that man-made structures of morality that is secular and a firm foundation of law and order that is secular are sufficient to keep us from losing our grip on civilisation. The thing is, how do you benchmark civilisation? And how do you identify when we arrive at barbarism when it is not clearly defined - externally that is. Religious morality and spirituality has very strong internal mechanisms that would automatically instill such internal frameworks for "measuring" the outside world. External secular systems tend to be very relative - and present day moral relativity is an example. For example what is "right" or "wrong" have become relative and subjective - so it could be anything really - free-floating concepts that are only kept in check my laws. The Universal Deceleration of Human Rights is a theoretical concept - but you need people to internally commit and subscribe to it - and countries are not people. The same goes for international law. Many countries including, and perhaps increasingly, first world countries are not paying attention to it - and the UN has become weakened due to that.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 5:15pm
JJ - That is true but where secular moral frameworks score is that they are clear and precise. A lot of religious texts have ambiguous or contradictory statements. You can pick sections of the Bible and Koran to sanction violence, murder, maiming, war, prejudice and slavery. That is what many fanatical groups do - they select the bits they want to reflect their wishes, desires or prejudices. ISIS can justify beheadings, rape of young girls, mass killings and torture. Christianity has done the same with the burning of witches and the inquisition. Presently they use the Bible against gays, women and sex.
John Fioravanti Added Jun 28, 2017 - 6:09pm
Opher - exactly right. I was raised Catholic, studied for the priesthood for 18 months and after decades of trying to bury my impatience with their discriminatory rules and regulations, I jumped ship. I was not tempted to try another religion inside or outside of Christianity because they are all the same in that they are about power and controlling the faithful. The rampant discrimination against women and gays across the board is sickening. I'm happily exploring my spirituality outside of organized religion.
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 28, 2017 - 6:21pm
Good points, Opher! Although secularism can also be used to suppress or limit freedoms. For example in terms of not protecting people's traditional Christian (or other religious) values and practices. For example the concept of gay marriage is basically imposed upon Christians (and other faiths), whether they like it or not. 
John Fioravanti Added Jun 28, 2017 - 6:41pm
JJ - Secular governments which uphold the legality of same-sex marriages are not forcing anything on anyone. Under the secular legislation, gays are recognized as having the same rights and freedoms under the marriage laws as are straights. If persons of any religion opt not to participate in such a marriage, it is their right. The law doesn't prevent the religious groups from discriminating against gays in their own communities - that is still their right. For example, secular laws against gender discrimination do not interfere in the age-old Catholic tradition that forbid the ordination of women. So, I don't see where anything is being forced on anyone by secular laws.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 7:23pm
JJ - I see spirituality as the essence that religion turns into tribal power struggles. It is wonderful to explore spirituality - awe and wonder - in whatever form that takes. With me it is a feeling of awe at the immense wonders of nature and our fleeting presence in it. I'm not sure if that has any supernatural element and I don't much care. I see a harmony and majesty in nature and I feel there is a subliminal connection between living things and humans are part of that. That's enough for me.
I think the treatment of different minority groups or women by religious orders is reprehensible.
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 28, 2017 - 7:24pm
John - I have read about a deeply religious Christian couple in Northern Ireland who refused to supply a wedding cake to a gay couple as it against their religious conscience - they were taken to court for discrimination and lost the case. I believe there was a similar case in Colorado in the U.S. 
 
It would be a mistake, in my view, to consider secularism (or atheism for example) as anything else than a religion. Essentially these are two religions that have opposing views on gay marriage. The secular religious view is given priority in the present, whereas the Christian religious view was given priority in the past. The laws supported the one over the other at different periods of time. Strict secularism though is something relatively new and it would seem that it does not always respect or protect very ancient traditions or values. 
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 7:27pm
JJ - I do not like imposition of any kind. I believe in tolerance. I also believe that religions should grow to accommodate different attitudes to those that prevailed in medieval times. It is surely possible for gays and women to find equal status in religions. They are people of the same value. As with race, these matters surely become about equal rights.
opher goodwin Added Jun 28, 2017 - 7:28pm
John - I hear what you say and I agree with you. Spirituality is a personal connection with the harmony of the universe and oneself. Religion should be fair and inclusive without distinction.
JJ Montagnier Added Jun 28, 2017 - 7:35pm
Opher, agreed. I feel the same about spirituality, but I also sense there's a Higher Force at play. For me spirituality is a connection to the higher force through nature and self-development, but with all the dogma and rules removed, so it's a great replacement for religion. I was brought up in a relatively religious Protestant Christian community and it was just too dogmatic and conservative for me - and also too judgemental, so I stepped away as soon as I left school. However, I do believe that  people who want to practice their religion and be dogmatic about it have the right to do so - and all religions have some or other moral practices or rules that could be interpreted as discriminatory - but in my view - as long as the adherents and practitioners agree to these rules then that's their business. 
Thomas Sutrina Added Jun 28, 2017 - 8:57pm
The goal of socialism is to destroy religion.  The only exception is Islam because they share many beliefs.  Socialism does not recognize past human experience.  So only consider the past that they created no one else.  Thus Hegel, Keynes,  Marx, and Alinsky are acceptable history.  Socialism creates a master mind class that speaks for the people so Democratic Socialism is a democracy.  People exist for society instead of society existing for the people.  This is a major connection between Islam and socialism.
 
Religion believe that as our creator God has created laws.  If your not religious or want to consider all religions then say Natures laws.  They are never changing because only God or the creator can alter them and they as thinking creatures the laws have been revealed to us.  Examine the fundamental laws of all religions or societies and you will find an uncanny similarity.  Master minds want the freedom to change and even delete these natural laws.  
opher goodwin Added Jun 29, 2017 - 3:55am
JJ - I have no real feeling of any higher force. To me that is irrelevant anyway. I just feel a connection to nature and the universe and a wonder at my consciousness that I interpret as spirituality. Awe and wonder is enough for me. Other people can interpret things as they wish.
opher goodwin Added Jun 29, 2017 - 3:58am
Thomas - I do not agree with you one bit. The goal of socialism is to produce a society that is more equal and fair. It has nothing to do with religion. I think you are confusing it with communism.
Regardless of that. I do not believe it is beyond the wit of man to devise a democratic system that is fairer and more just and is an alternative to rampant capitalism which is so divisive, cruel and dangerous.
John G Added Jun 29, 2017 - 7:35pm
>The goal of socialism is to produce a society that is more equal and fair.
 
That's the stated goal. That's not the actual result.
Patrick Writes Added Jun 29, 2017 - 9:24pm
"Is Religion defunct in this modern day and age?"
 
Only if you believe the new religion of the Big Bang and evolution.
 
"Nothing exploded and created everything...it rained on the rocks for millions of years until life spontaneously came forth from a primordial soup...then life decided to grow legs and walk out of the water...and that creature decided to wait for a female to grow legs and walk out of the water too...they they both wanted to walk upright and speak in a few million years so they started growing bigger brains."
opher goodwin Added Jun 30, 2017 - 4:15am
Patrick - Well it seems quite an incredible story - not quite as daft as you put - the alternative is even weirder isn't it? Evolution doesn't work by anything deciding to do something. Mutation and natural selection (well documented) are slow processes.
The alternative -
Some supernatural being comes from nowhere, makes everything - an infinite universe, creates intelligent beings, set up an eternal reward and punishment centre and sits back and watches them fuck everything up.
Yeah that makes sense to me.
As an intelligent person I see a few holes in the creation myth.