TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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If these guys (and others) are right and religion is delaying human progress, how do we move forward?

1.Are the churches too deeply embedded into our nervous systems to ever be able to shut them down?

2.If not, how do we succeed in shutting them down?

3.Where are the scholarships to support the next generation of religion's critics?

4.Where are the communities with positive, shared vision/values to support a more rational, scientific future?


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    Apr 6 2011: Great question,
    Not only is religion a shackle on the human race, it has led human nature to become a gray topic instead of a black and white one.

    In nature humans are animals, animals work together to share, help, and achieve. By believing in absolution we deny thought, we deny progress, we deny true love. Human nature now can consist of evil because we separate ourselves based on what we believe and not what is right. What is right is everyone is equal until proven otherwise.

    The evil of human nature can be seen in murder, rape, taking advantage of others, or anything else you would obviously not want done to you.

    So now we have evil, but the creator is man so thus man can be the corrector. By understanding and thinking about what drives someone to kill or rape we could correct it. However instead we just label it evil and think people are just bad and good. No, people are blank until the environment alters them. Thus if the environment was open, constructive, positive, and accepting how could evil exist?

    Yeah I can easily say organized religion is one of the causes of a lot of evil in the world, however the job now of those who realize it is to simplify this in respect to human nature.

    I tend to use the law of species. We are one species we should not separate but support one another.

    Now with all that said, your question. Teach free thought to children; during childhood is the most fundamental phase in which the mind is developing. Teach them how to think, then teach them facts. Don't teach facts and call that teaching, it is but it is limiting. TRUE education requires free thought from start to end.

    Conformity is a nice way of saying control; a control on the mind, the person, and a nation!

    Teach children or anyone willing to be open minded to think from every angle and not only left or right. Connecting the world together should be a part of everyone's education, is it a part of yours?

    Love + Free Will +Transparency = Freedom
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      Apr 17 2011: Nicholas, sorry to break it to you, but animals do things like murder, rape, stealing, bullying, abuse, deception, and so on all the time.
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        Apr 17 2011: Don't apologize, I agree thus it is apart of nature, 2000 characters isn't a lot of room Erik cut me some slake. If you have a bigger claim than the nature of animals I would enjoy discussing it.

        When I meant by man creating evil was we created the understanding/term/word usage of evil, we labeled those actions as evil which you cannot deny in the masses those things are unacceptable (of course there are those who find amusement in such deeds as well). So, if we understand as a truly acceptable basis of moral codes and what we do not enjoy as a result of nature and even labeled it, I consider humans to be above instinctive needs to "murder, rape, stealing, bullying, abuse, deception and so on" due to our superior intelligence in comparison to the rest of the animal kingdom. Our intelligence is what allowed us to recognize doing these acts to one another as a negative practice. The majority of lists of commandments from Egyptians to now have these things as a law against it (except the Christians who forgot rape, abuse, and deception). Moral coding due to intelligence is where we separate from the rest of the animal kingdom, in my opinion.

        Also grouping, communities, and herds are far more common than "murder, rape, stealing, bullying, abuse, deception and so on" with any type of animal within the same species.
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          Apr 18 2011: Still not with you in thinking that our behavior is unique in some way. By 'evil', don't we mean some variety of 'unacceptable for the group to survive and thrive'? We may differ in degree, but animals have a variety of ways they fight back against such behavior, show group disapproval, punish, and ostracize offenders.

          We should separate the issues of a) whether we need religion in order to teach our children socially appropriate behavior and b) whether we can teach them critical, free thought before we do that. A is the foundation for a good argument, but B runs into problems with the actual process of intellectual development and is better left to other arguments on other days.
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        Apr 18 2011: That I absolutely agree with and I guess I was tip toeing around the same conclusion.

        I feel involving A. we do not need religion at all to teach appropriate behavior but instead installing science as the primary value (science as eliminating the unlikely to make the likely more likely) for dealing with every field of thought.

        If we did that, B. wouldn't be a question or a problem. I believe.
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          May 7 2011: I will fight my religious zealot side for a moment and just say this: The problem with removing the principles of religion and creation from the picture is this...Religion instills in us a reason to protect humanity. Because if all I do is live out my life on earth and then it is over, then what is the point of being good in the first place. Let's just have the best life you can have while you got time. Steal, kill, rape, pillage....do whatever it takes for personal gain until you are out of time. Religion doesn't just offer incentive, but also consequences.

          Now the religious side I suppressed...LOL...Religion for me has instilled in me the very fabric of giving and love toward not just mankind, but also everything that is around me. Instead of looking at the "Laws of Obedience", I feel the joy of loving and sharing encouraged by lessons from Jesus Christ. It is from this instilled understanding that I become a valuable part of society instead of a menace. Without a true reason for living, then all that is left would be selfish ambition

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