Kendall Boyer

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The philosophical ideology of religion as a tool to better oneself

It has, for a long time, been my belief that religion should be something that reinforces one's personal beliefs rather than something that defines them. Religion as it is today has become a product that is peddled door to door and in front of schools, or even in some businesses, telling people what to believe, and how and when to believe it. This is a travesty, as it makes it nothing more than a joke, and even worse is that we are inflicting it upon our young before they even know the full implications that a belief holds.
Religion should be something one finds for themselves. It is a search for one's inner self, what they believe, based on morals they observe, learn, and deduce of their own volition.
When I was little, living in a Christian community, I asked my mom about her religion. She wouldn't tell me, and instead instructed me that if I wanted a religion, I had to do the research myself and find one that agreed with me. This set me on a path of evolving belief, that changes and grows as I do. And, like my mom, it's not a topic I bring up at the drop of a hat. I hold my beliefs as a personal affair, only to be shared if the topic is brought up.
The idea of religion as it is needs to change and evolve, brought back from being a "product" we try to convince others to buy, but rather something to be cherished, and shared at the correct opportunity.

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    Mar 11 2014: Religion is an artifact of the past before science. When you have no answers, you make up stuff to tell the kids. We call that religion. It is sad in today's world so many people have decided to let weak minded fools tell them what the "truth" really is.

    If there is a god or great spirit it is in me and cannot be shared. Nothing could be more personal. Evangelical religions are an affront to clarity of thought and freedom of belief.

    (and hearing some one preaching at work or at lunch just pisses me off!!!)
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      Mar 11 2014: What an angry little man, you support your faith in science by belittling and insulting things you have a closed mind to. Many scientists also believe in religion or are spiritual, and many religions believe in science. A scientist that believes only his belief could possibly be correct, is as bad as religion that believes only their belief is correct.

      Plus I fail to understand why anyone would discourage a belief in something that has millions of people living civilized.
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        Mar 13 2014: How do you know how tall he is?

        I note how you insert faith..... In regards to science. Suggest there is profound differences between having a reasonable confidence in science which is based on evidence and proven to work and speculative contradictory religious beliefs based on revelation and interpretations of personal experiences.

        we don't need religion to be civilised. It had a role just like monarchies, but we don't need those either now.

        seems reasonable to challenge religious beliefs that we know contradict each other. We know all but one must be false, and there is no compelling evidence to support any of them.

        I support freedom of religion, and speech. But also find it strange that people assert their religious beliefs as being true, when they should know there have been thousands or millions of conflicting religious beliefs based on revelation.

        I support reasonable beliefs, based on evidence and logic. I seek the truth, and it obviously doesn't lie with thousands of conflicting religious beliefs.

        many scientists believe in different religions so many of them must be wrong.

        I guess those not to a particular religion sometimes get frustrated with the fallacious arguments and blindness to the bizarreness of so many different beliefs not backed by any evidence or sound arguments.

        I guess it's just human nature to assume agency, to protect our beliefs even if ridiculous, and be shaped by cultural religious technologies

        A mature approach to science ensures we differentiate between well established elements such as evolution and the more speculative hypotheses. On the whole science seems more reliable than revelation and intuition. It doesn't invent meaning of console, it just points out what's real and we can find meaning within this reality without resorting to this or that god or goddess concept.

        our growing knowledge and understanding seems to indicate religions are human technologies that make less and less sense in my opinion.
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        Mar 13 2014: I find it more efficient to just quote people.
        "A scientist that believes only his belief could possibly be correct, is as bad as religion that believes only their belief is correct."

        sci·en·tist
        a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.

        sci·ence
        the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

        re·li·gion
        the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

        be·lief
        an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

        true
        in accordance with fact or reality.

        fact
        a thing that is indisputably the case.

        I am, of course, assuming that you can connect the dots....
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          Mar 13 2014: As stated in Wikipedia;

          "A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. "

          NOTE: Not one word about “worship” or “God”. For example the religion of Buddhism, that teaches god in unknowable and thus a waste to spend much time thinking about. Hmm? How much time does the atheist-science cultural waste on thinking of ways to disprove god.
        • Mar 13 2014: And since you feel yourself to pontificate upon "science" in such a high-handed fashion, you must be an actual scientist, right, with a professional record, right? You're not just some groupie or cheerleader, right?
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        Mar 13 2014: This is the reason for the simple response of definitions. In context we were speaking of religions that believed in god and more specifically evangelist religions. So really Buddhism is not relevant to the conversation (because it avoids the concept of God). Are you saying that you weren't defending religions that believe in god?

        Finally, not much time at all.
        • Mar 13 2014: And what peer-reviewed professional journals are you published in? That is, after all, how scientists gauge their output in the modern era.
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        Mar 14 2014: Are you getting pissed off at me because I am quoting stuff from the dictionary and reminding you about the context of the conversation? I think that is a silly thing for you to puff your feathers at me for.
        And as for your other comment “you must be an actual scientist, right, with a professional record, right? You're not just some groupie or cheerleader, right?" So I have become a groupie or a cheerleader by quoting the definition of words?
        I have a question for you, what exactly makes you smarter than me? Are you saying that you have some kind of special powers because you have been published? Personally, that seems pretty pompous. Or are you saying that there is some special “professional scientist” text book that makes you know more about science than anyone else.
        Just because you have been published (and I have not) doesn’t mean you are above the context of an argument and the definitions of words.
        As for your use of the "special" word pontificate, do you even know what it means? Because if I am pontificating by telling you the definition of words and also the context of the conversation then doesn't any conversation that has ever occurred include pontificating? And by the way, any quote of a definition would be dogmatic. If you are a scientist wouldn't you know by now that the definitions of words are the basis of any conversation?
        You should really relax because all I was doing was making sure that people knew the words and their implications, if that is really so bad then you shouldn’t be on a site for conversation.
        By the way isn't one of the jobs of a scientist to define things?

        I really hope you don't take offense to my words they are only intellectual.
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          Mar 18 2014: Wow what a surprise! Your hate is so unforgiving you have to go back centuries to make an argument.
          I did state that wrong for there is “currently” over “5-BILLION” religious people in the world, and let’s face it most people killing in the name of religion are really killing for land, gold, power or some other reason.

          Over the centuries millions of people have been killed in the name of justice, does that mean you also hate justice? And how about love people have been killed in the name of love, so should we ban that old fashion notion.
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      Mar 11 2014: I'm not a fan of preaching, either, as I stated. There is nothing wrong with believing something so long as it doesn't overshadow your ability to continue to learn, and that's the point I was trying to make. Too many people use religion as an excuse to remain closed off when it can be just as easily used to expand one's mind.
      • Mar 12 2014: For what it's worth, I don't think that you're preaching. And I'm as anti-religious as they come.

        Interesting idea if I've got it right. To look into the confines of our cultural heritage, wherever it comes from, to better ourselves seems to be the idea. Though you centred the cultural heritage on the religious I think it would work beyond those.
    • Mar 13 2014: Whiggishness serves no good purpose. There is no such thing as inevitable progress--but any actual professional scientist knows this. What journals are you published in? Mine include FASEB Journal, Molecular Psychiatry, Gene, and Cell.
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        Mar 14 2014: So is what you are saying that the "state of progress" is always be equal to or less then the previous "state of progress"?

        And also are you saying that if you are published you understand reality better than anyone else?
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      Mar 17 2014: Hi Jim,
      Since when was science not a religion? It has its high priests and exemplars. It has its rituals. It has its dogmatic beliefs. It has its barriers to entry. It has its credo. It has its special clothing and reward systems. It has its special language. And like religion, it lacks spirituality.
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    Mar 12 2014: Religion has been compartmentalized, there are different sectors and if you don't fit neatly into one of those sectors then are you not religious?? Or are you defined as spiritual?? The biggest problem we face is the inherent need and desire to provide definitions for it all. Who are we to difine anything divine when we're still so utterly clueless about it all and then expect others to follow those definitions and rules because the religion tells them to?
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    Apr 9 2014: Good on your mom.
  • Mar 19 2014: Kendall,

    My father said the same thing to me in the 3rd grade about God and Religion - each man must find their own. I sometimes think though people do not realize what they have chosen as their God/Religion. I was talking to an Institutional investor for State Street and he said he would sell his grandmother for a nickel a share profit (think he was semi-joking).

    In movie, Wall Street, the character gives a famous speech about Greed and how good it is. It sounded almost like a sermon.
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      Mar 25 2014: That's a great point. Often people have much more real and tangible feelings about things not of the spirit world. Just look at Seattle last Feb. Ever see a city celebrate a religion with that much zeal?
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    Mar 18 2014: Today's TED talk is pertinent here. http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_and_rebecca_newberger_goldstein_the_long_reach_of_reason

    I too come down on the side of reason as a primary tool to better myself and others.
  • Mar 18 2014: Every tool is a method. Every method, through dullness of mind, can become a trap. Every trap, through sharpness of mind, can become a method. Are you the master or have you become the servant?

    Who is HE , who seeks to better himself? Find that dude and your methods and philosophies will be irrelevant.

    I think your mom gave good advice. Great day ma man
  • Mar 18 2014: Hi Dear Kendall:)I think alike about religion from your statement of the topic.That's so good to see the topic you offering here to share the ideas of religion with us.

    You know since of internet,China is getting more and more open than ever before,and meanwhile diversities of religions also be allowed personal choice to decide.And there are some of my friends they are Christians.When they shared how they felt their faith on what they believe,I felt happy for them,because I believe they do can learn a lot from what they believe in.

    But many times,some friends tried to invite me to be a Christian.some of their talking I did can listen carefully and learn sth from them,but to be honest,some of them were really not welcome.But anyhow I still liked to thank to them for their faithful believing.

    By my side,I understand religion as a restriction of thinking.Because I think we humanbeing live this planet,we should be all the same,it is so rediculous to divide people into this group and another,it seems we trying to build fence to isolate us each other?
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    Mar 17 2014: Hi Kendall,
    Inasmuch as any religion helps people on their spiritual path of discovery, then that's O.K. Trouble is most religions are full of religiosity rather than spirituality, and that throws seekers off-track.
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    Mar 15 2014: All religions are either equal or equally invalid.

    There are well over 4000 religions in the world. (according to Wikipedia) Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha'i, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Philippine mythology, Rodnoveri, Celtic pagan, Heathenism, Semitic pagan, Wicca, Kemetism, Hellenic pagan, Roman pagan... this constitutes just a fraction of that list. For their members each seemed to be the truth.

    But, there is only one scientific method and we all share it in some way or another. Logically, a scientific discovery would seem to have a great deal more universal merit than any revelation.
  • Mar 14 2014: Religion is a collection of fictional stories. Some would be cool if true. Others would be horrific if true.

    There is no evidence to support any of the super natural or higher reality claims of religion are anything more than fictional stories.

    Any belief in religion is nothing more than self-delusion. This is probably why the deluded need to refresh their delusion so often, and why they want so many others to share their delusion.


    I prefer to believe that which there is evidence to support belief in, then only as strongly as the evidence supports.
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      Mar 17 2014: Hi Darrell,
      Most of science is a collection of fictional stories too, because the history of science is the history of failed theories. Fairy-tales of "how things are supposed to work" are foisted upon the general public as "scientific facts" and then later superseded by another fairy-tale of how things work - and so it goes on. That is the scientific method. (Just another way of looking at it).
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    Mar 13 2014: Maybe it is just me, but personally I’m bored of the science vs religion debate, it is pointless.

    We are all on our own unique paths and have unique lessons to learn, saying we should all have the same beliefs is as bad as saying we should all have the same diet, career, passion, love, education, history, ethnicity, life style, etc.

    My beliefs has change during my life time and it has been events in my life that has change them, and not once has my beliefs been change by someone else views on what I should believe.
  • Mar 13 2014: Religion should be something that forces you to examine your personal beliefs against a higher standard and realize where you fall short. If I am happy and comfortable within a Church, I'm doing something wrong or it's not much of a Church.
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    Mar 13 2014: I guess most religions make conflicting truth claims and teachings that may or may not involve bettering yourself in a secular non dogmatic sense.

    I would just ask why involve religion in bettering yourself at all, if you find religions don't necessarily encourage bettering yourself in the ways you want.

    the problem with most religions I
    is there is some useful insights mixed with a lot of negative positions. Take the bible.Love your neighbour on one page and rules to keep slaves and kill people for working on Saturday on the next.

    do you prefer personal development to be built into some religious framework because you find it appealing invoking some supernatural agency in your development or see yourself as being done supernatural spirit?
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      Mar 13 2014: The purpose of involving religion in the process is the mere fact that religion exists. It's not something that can simply be phased out simply because there are too many people who believe and follow them. There's as much proof that there is one or many gods as there is that there are none.
      Robert Heinlein could have hit the nail on the head with the idea what the universe is the creation of literature, and the fact that someone wrote the bible means that God exists simply because it's written. The events in the Bible could be true for another universe. That would, in turn make us Gods as well. But we don't have a reasonable method for testing this yet.
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        Mar 13 2014: "There's as much proof that there is one or many gods as there is that there are none."
        Are you justifying belief in a god because there is not any proof against it? Isn't that just baseless? Why would you believe in something you do not know anything about, or can even prove?

        Sure religious texts offer some value but why must you follow any religion alone? Why must you conform to some person’s opinion on what god wants, or what god would like you to do?

        I just imagined that an alien named Qaarkinaopblie made the universe from his third arm... Does this mean that Qaarkinaopblie created the universe?

        Something creating something else is not being a god, a god is the thing that existed before things did.

        God
        (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
        u·ni·verse
        all existing matter and space considered as a whole; the cosmos.
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          Mar 13 2014: I like the idea that my life is a story that someone in some other universe is writing, and that the stories I write might be another one. Literary Creationism. I'm fully aware of the fact that the religion I follow is likely false, but I like the ideas held within, and they mesh up with my personal ideologies. If there is no afterlife, it's not like I lose anything. If there is, all the better. Either way, I'm pretty happy with how I live my life, and I do my best to be a source of positivity to my friends and family.
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        Mar 13 2014: Are you saying you choose to belief in something that is likely to be false because it makes you happy?

        Living as if there is an afterlife implies a lesser quality of life then one lived as if there is no after life. Just like if your taking a test and you don't know how long it is, do you make the best of your time or do you just assume that there is more then enough time fro you to do what you need to?

        Don't you have any desire to base you life on truth?
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          Mar 13 2014: What's wrong with being happy? The truth of my life is I developed PTSD before I was 5, which has caused some massive gaps in my memory; I'm highly prone to anxiety attacks, and my best skills in life are my ability to write stories, and come up with ways to make things easier for others. I like to research various things, which ties back into my writing; I like to learn new things and find science fascinating.
          While I consider myself religious, I don't push my religion on others, especially not to the kids I take care of every day.
          As far as testing, I actually enjoy it. Standardized tests in school were fun. I'm part of a science fiction group that tests for advancement in the organization ( http://trmn.org ).
          I believe that science can take humanity to great heights, and I'm all for it's advancement.
          Like I said, the religion I am part of falls in line personal beliefs I developed through life; it does not dictate how I live my life.
          Life gave me lemons, so I set up a lemonade stand with a free drawing with every glass. I see the horrors humanity makes, but aim for the brighter points.
          So, again; what's wrong with wanting a light at the end of my own proverbial tunnel, as I do my best to make sure it harms as few people as humanly possible in the process? If I'm wrong, no one loses, not even me, because I try to be the best person I can be and if I can improve, I try to. If I'm right, and what I do is seen as good, maybe I'll have a good place in the hereafter. If I'm right, but what I do is seen as evil, at least I'll be warm in hell, or have time to myself to think in purgatory/limbo.
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        Mar 13 2014: You can be happy without believing in something that "is likely false" you can also do right in the world without using god as justification. I am glad that you found strength from something so hard, but you never needed something external to do so. Have you ever seen the movie Dumbo, religion is your feather.
        Also the test was an analogy comparing life to a test. Even if you don't always act under the assumption that there is an afterlife (something that dictates how you live your life) you are still doing it and therefore not attaining the full potential of life.
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          Mar 13 2014: You seem to have missed the point that my justification for doing good is simply to do good, because it's the right thing to do. The religious part is an after thought; the end result (afterlife or lack thereof) is just that, and end result. What's important is the journey, not the destination.
          It sounds like you just want to argue that religion as a whole is a terrible thing. If you don't believe what I do, that's just fine, that's part of your journey though life. Telling others that they SHOULDN'T believe in something makes you just as bad at the people who dictate that you SHOULD.
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          Mar 13 2014: Let's put it this way:

          My life is an experiment. The hypothesis is that when I die, there might be something after that (we know energy cannot be destroyed, just transferred, and the human conciousness neuro-electric energy). At the end of this experiment I will have an answer, one way or another. If there's something after, that is a positive outcome for me. If there isn't, then there isn't.
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        Mar 13 2014: Actually I never said you "SHOULDN'T believe in something". I, in fact, told you that there is no benefit from believing in god. You should do right and live your life to the fullest, regardless of your religious beliefs. You said "It has, for a long time, been my belief that religion should be something that reinforces one's personal beliefs rather than something that defines them.” I am saying that it does not reinforce your personal beliefs. If you truly live your life as though there is not afterlife and yet you still believe in an afterlife then that is fine. All I am saying is that you are not maximizing the potential of your life if you live life as though there is an afterlife.

        It seems that you are getting pissed off with logical reasoning, is this because you see truth in it or is it because you can't believe in anything other then what you currently believe in or is it because it is against something you have always believed in?

        In an experiment you must not be bias otherwise it affects the experiment and the outcome.
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          Mar 13 2014: There is always a bias, because there is a preferred outcome, even if you accept whatever outcome may come. We try to find meaning because we have bias. We want an explanation, an answer to out questions. We want a reason. And, as it's my life, of course I'm going to want the best possible outcome.

          How does one maximize to a potential they are unaware of? Pushing the boundaries of ones abilities to try to become better is great. However, I'm just struggling day to day to work around my mental blocks to do what needs to be done. When I gain lead-way in one area, another seems to suffer because my attention was so focussed on the first.

          And, in all honesty, this exchange is rather fun. Thank you.
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        Mar 13 2014: For me personally, my goal is to attain objective truth. Objectivity is difficult because it is something that requires the removal of the self, or to remove the most of the self as possible.

        In order to truly maximize ones potential one must first understand his/her limits and strengths. If at all possible you should maximize your strengths and avoid your weaknesses.
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    Mar 12 2014: I had to find my own beliefs. They were sparked by the fear of hell & purgatory as taught to me by my parents under the guise of the Catholic church. What I felt, and what I was preached seemed as two different worlds. I had to discover the world that I felt and abandon the world that I was preached. Yet the two remained as one. I found new meaning in what the church was teaching. I came to understand what the beliefs were based on and refined my own understanding toward a positive outlook.

    This seems similar to what you are saying. We have to find our own path. The question is how do you foster a personal spiritual journey that isn't disconnected from the world around you? The Unitarian Universalists embrace all faiths but hold to none of them. The result is that you can believe whatever you want to believe. It leads to a do-as-you-please philosophy where you come to justify your point of view. That is what led to slavery being accepted in past times.

    I raise the question because you speak of bettering oneself, and yet I see people using religion to better themselves at others expense. Do you see a way of solving this problem?
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      Mar 12 2014: That's a question of morality, which is an excellent point to discuss, as so many people lump it into religion as a whole.
      We see too often a message of love and acceptance being voiced from the pews, but it stops there. And the fact that it stops is never addressed because of the group mentality. "So long as everyone else does it, I will, too." We're afraid to speak out against the unbalance because we "know" how everyone else in the group will react.
      On top of that, there are too many people set into medieval notions of "This person is worth less than that one because of this, this, and this reasons" and beat that way of thinking into the next generation.
      Pope Francis has already begun a revolution in religious doctrine that frankly should have been instituted ages ago (the notion of being less "Christian/Catholic" and more Christ-like).
      And there are those who don't follow any religion proving that you don't have to believe in something to do the right thing. One is not dependant on the other.
      I've probably wandered from your point and I apologize if I have, but to sum all this up, we need to be able to point out the flaw in the process, and try to fix it. And this isn't the job of just one person, but something we all need to help each other with.
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      Mar 13 2014: I find your post somewhat contradictory.
      First you say that
      "I had to discover the world that I felt and abandon the world that I was preached.”
      Then you say that
      "The Unitarian Universalists embrace all faiths but hold to none of them. The result is that you can believe whatever you want to believe. It leads to a do-as-you-please philosophy where you come to justify your point of view. "
      You said that you disagreed with what your religion taught you and you decided on your own what is right, yet you find it wrong for others to find the flaws in more than one religion and "discover the world" that they feel is right. Are you saying that there is only one true religion, and that is the only religion that you can pick and choose from?
      Then you follow this by saying "That is what led to slavery being accepted in past times." Did you know that all types of Christians participated in slavery?
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        Mar 13 2014: Zman,
        I can see where my post appears contradictory. I came to realize at an early age that religious beliefs were all based on something. My task was to figure out what that something was. But I also saw the "do as I say, not as I do" principle being practiced, which leads to injustice. The laws of nature are universal. Why should religious beliefs not be universal? That doesn't mean that there can only be one religion. But you can't have it both ways. You can't have a religious belief that says it's OK to demoralize others but they don't have the right to do the same to you. And yet I see it happening all the time. What you do unto others, you have given them the right to do the same unto you. If people adopted that principle, many of the world's problems would go away.

        You mentioned slavery in Christianity. That's part of the point I'm trying to make. How could beliefs in a particular religion become so one sided. And yet they did. And then when you let people choose for themselves what is right and wrong, you find that beliefs are not only all over the map, but they become even more one sided. The reason for my previous post is how do you avoid that from happening? If bettering yourself comes at the expense of someone else, that's an ideology that I would oppose.
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          Mar 13 2014: Your still in the "box" that is assuming that religion is a valid source of moral guidance. Religion is a primitive practice which was created as a method for social order and an attempt to give purpose to life. Being that it is based on ignorance and wishful thinking religion cannot rationally be used as a code of ethics (it is also contradictory and in of itself unethical).
          Even if you believe that religion holds truth, it is up to you to find what is personally right from wrong. If you are ignorant regarding ethics then you tend to be less ethical then one who is not as ignorant. If anything the lack of right choices and the abundance of beliefs are due to lack of knowledge and also the fact that people are not willing to believe in something without something fantastical supporting it.
          Doing the right thing should not involve some force (like going to hell) it should be a voluntary action that is based off of thought, facts, experience, and the knowledge that there is a universal benefit to more advanced ethical choices.
          Following a specific Religion (at least most of them) in its essence implies that your views are worth more and are better than other lesser religions. So really, to follow a specific religion is to be higher then others.
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        Mar 13 2014: Zman,
        I have had spiritual experiences that have taken me way out of the "Box" that you think religion fits into. It is not based on ignorance, rather, ignorance has filtered in by those who took it all literally and reduced it to wishful thinking and social control. Religions united people at a time when civilizations were developing and unity was necessary. They adopted laws that were required for social cohesion. Many were written only for their time. That is why only ten were written in stone.

        Drug cartels, human traffickers, crime syndicates are not made up of ignorant people. Their only ideology is survival of their own group or culture. They don't care who they plow under in the process. So intelligence alone is not the answer. There has to be a moral conviction, an empathy for others, which they don't have. Their basis of right and wrong is very one sided.

        I agree that much of modern religions are based on blind faith. That is not how it started out to be. Most of modern religions are based on Eastern philosophy, but they have divorced themselves from it because Eastern philosophy requires you to think for yourself, and modern religious establishments don't want you doing that. Thus the transition from spiritual enlightenment to blind faith.

        Kendall is making the argument for the philosophical ideology of religion as a tool to better oneself. You have presented evidence against religion as an effective ideology. I don't believe that the world would be a better place without religion. I do believe that it can do a better job by aligning with facts rather than old fashion dogma.
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          Mar 13 2014: What I meant by this “box” is not religion itself but more specifically the "ethical" laws, which religion itself requires you to follow. Why is this? Well because the religions creators were attempting to create order and also purpose. And as you said "were written only for their time.” which basically means they are now obsolete.
          Drug cartels do not operate ethically.
          Advanced ethics would obviously include other people, individuality and almost all the other positives you mentioned that were a result of religion.
          I am saying that it is not a tool but it is illusory and also an unnecessary justification to do "right".
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        Mar 13 2014: Zman,
        It is not a tool but is is illusory and also an unnecessary justification to do "right".

        In its current form, I agree. The threat of hellfire and brimstone is what caused me to question it in the first place. I wanted to know how to do what Jesus said "...thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Why can't we create heaven on earth? They argued with me saying that the devil is the master of this world. I argued back and said what can we do about that? They took it out of reality and put it in a realm where we had no control. That's where we parted company.

        What scripture tells me, and what religious leaders tell me are not the same. I see scripture as pointing out danger (the psychological pitfalls) and how to avoid getting caught up in it. Religion tells you that you can go to heaven, but only after you're dead. And in order to get there, you have to do as they say. I have just as much a beef with that as the next guy.

        There's a side to religion that most people don't see. It requires meditation and contemplation. It leads to spiritual guidance. That's the part that I focused on and it has served me well. If religion is to be used as an effective tool to better oneself, it has to go to that level. I know it can be done, but it is a hard sell to those who have become disillusioned with religious ritual and dogmatic claims.
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          Mar 13 2014: Contemplation and meditation are completely separate from religion. Understanding your environment and your self are not religious ether.
  • Mar 12 2014: Religion is a symptom of boredom. It is boring at the top of the food chain.