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Luke Monahan

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Why for so many is it science or religion with no room inbetween for honest existential consideration?

For many people it is science and nothing else. There is no afterlife, no free will and no greater meaning or morality than the reality we see directly in front of us.

For many other people it is the seemingly unexamined adoption of a religion, a pre-set construction of beliefs, rituals, values and morality. One of many which on its face is equally as likely to be a true representation of reality as any other as well as any other possible but yet unseen constructed set of beliefs in the infinite landscape of thought.

Either of these seems almost as lazy and flawed as the other.

Why is it so uncommon for people to start from the existential beginning (I exist) and work their way up to their own logical conclusions?

Is it because most people don't truly care and just want to live their life?

Why are people so averse to thinking for themselves?

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    Jan 13 2012: I don't think most people are against thinking for themselves, I think this is mostly about whether most people are busy surviving, or whether their curiosity died long time ago. Anyway, we might have started within a family with such and such traditions, and mostly grew up believing with few if any challenges to whatever they way we learned that life is and should be. Reinforcements of beliefs by ceremonies and persuasive argumentation, and forgetting to use the brain and challenge something just because we have already taken it for granted.

    Add to that that in most countries just having enough to eat might be a daily struggle.

    Anyway, curiosity and skepticism seem to die for most of us at some point in our lives. I doubt we really know why. That leaves few who have the time, energy, and guts to take deep looks into what they have grown up believing and taken for granted.

    As for animosities, well, in my case, I detest certain religious groups (and so many other sources of misinformation) because they construct rhetorical devices and propaganda machinery and predate on the lack of education and mental preparedness of the masses. But it is certainly easier for those predators to produce misinformation that it is for educators, such as myself, to produce educational materials. For deception all you have to do is imagine crap. For education you have to investigate and understand the issues. Much more work. Then on the side of the masses, it is much easier for them to buy the crap, which is so much more abundant, than to investigate and invest the mental resources demanded by educational material. In other words, producing and getting an education requires many times more effort than producing and buying bullshit. I call this the theory of social entropy.
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      Jan 16 2012: Hi Gabo,
      I agree with your perception that people may be "busy surviving", and maybe don't have the time or energy to explore information. Or perhaps many people have gotten lazy? They have maybe found their "comfort zone" and will stay in that place that seems comfortable no matter what information is presented? That is my belief...that people become comfortable with what they think/feel is "truth", and they will stay with that belief because it is too frightening or vulnerable to seek more information. When that "comfort zone" is challenged for some people, it becomes necessary for him/her to "prove" their "truth" as s/he has embraced it. I believe that is why there is no room "between" for some people to explore other information. I believe that skepticism and curiosity becomes buried under what we believe to the point where some people will try to protect his/her belifs no matter what information is brought forward. It is frightening and vulnerable to look at the fact that what we have embraced as the "only" turth may not be "truth" at all?I agree that sometimes people's interpretations or teachings of religious dogma create "rhetorical devices" as a way to control people, and in that respect, the mis-information is frustrating. I don't agree that it is easier to "produce misinformation" than it is to produce "educational materials". In my observation, you are choosing to participate in conversations here on TED, with people who are pretty "stuck" in believing that his/her beliefs are "the one and only beliefs". How about joining the conversations where there is a more open, accepting dialogue?
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        Jan 20 2012: "I don't agree that it is easier to "produce misinformation" than it is to produce "educational materials". In my observation, you are choosing to participate in conversations here on TED, with people who are pretty "stuck" in believing that his/her beliefs are "the one and only beliefs". How about joining the conversations where there is a more open, accepting dialogue?"
        A dissension without sufficient backing, followed by an assessment of character, both of which are completely inconsequential. Gabo was astute in pointing out that fabricated, unfounded information is effortless to promulgate--all you need is a good imagination (and a strong will to internalize the guilt you feel towards the fact that you are spewing fallacious disinformation). Many journalists wrestle with this on a daily basis, especially the ones that work for the "gatekeepers" of history (i.e. New York Times, Fox, etc). These journalists must grudgingly accept the fact that their superiors are forcing them to cover only certain stories--the truth must never be revealed, a true American democracy can only exist under the auspices of a misinformed population.
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          Jan 21 2012: Mr. Martinez,

          I must say, I have difficulty understanding your comments. Not because of you, but because, I fear, my vocabulary is lacking.

          This one however, I not only understood, but I agree with.

          It seems that today, anyone can type away and say anything they want on line, hence the danger of accepting something as truth, when in reality it is opinion. I also find that at times TEDsters comment and give opinion, then it is followed by someone assessing their character, how sad.

          In reality, we do not know who exactly is commenting, or what are their credentials to speak with such authority.

          You join a group like TED to discuss different topics and perhaps see something from a different perspective. The best conversations, I find, are the ones that originate after having watched a TED talk.

          Where else, on-line, can one find a place to have conversations which are open, and with accepting dialogue?

          Anyways, reading your comment brought all of the aforementioned to mind, I spewed the ideas out as I thought about them.

          Please continue to comment on this site. I enjoy reading your perspective of things, even though I struggle with the vocabulary.

          Hope I've made some sense. Loved the quote: "a true American democracy can only exist under the auspices of a misinformed population". Is it yours?
          .
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        Jan 22 2012: Yeah, I actually thought it up on the spot. I was feeling particularly glum regarding the current state of affairs. As the clock ticks on, the dream that was once an independent republic free from the yoke of British empire has slowly transmogrified itself into a police state--a regime of terror that has committed unspeakable acts of state sponsored terrorism.
    • Jan 16 2012: ..Pete and Gabo are going at again in the right hand corner.... Pete takes a low blow to the gut.... Gabo is ticked off.... Pete takes an uppercut to the upper chest.... Pete strikes back... a good blow to the shoulder.... Oh no... Pete is on the mat... Gabo has his foot on Pete's throat... Gabos jumping up and down on Petes throat..... The crowd is going wild here folks.... Petes up and on his feet again... delivers a hard blow to Gabs head.... the crowd is still going wild here in the arena folks... Gabo's up against the ropes... oh no... Pete goes down hard...
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        Jan 22 2012: I like it!

        :-)
        • Jan 22 2012: Hi Peter, just being funny ;-) Glad you liked it ! We need to laugh much more often than we do. It's good medicine for the soul and spirit!

          I feel like I fall in the middle of the two polarities that Luke opened on. I am not in either corner of the ring... you might say.

          I have a perspective on life that is without a doubt spiritual. This being said, I get a lot of the evolutionists on my back because they can't swallow that word for some reason or another. ... I think there really afraid of ghosts or something...

          But I can't go along with the creationist either. I think that things are much more complicated than that.... much more complicated...


          You and Gabo can really go at it ! I think Gabo away for the weekend. I tried to engage him in a discussion about something called "Devolution" Have you ever heard of it? It's what I can best describe as the "holding back" of the purely growth forces on individual traits or characteristics of individual species. Furthermore, what one sees as the awakening of "consciousness" in different species has this holding back effect. There is a lot that I don't know about but the little bit that I have read opens a whole new book on the theory of evolution.
          The consciousness that develops in species of animals on the earth works as a polar opposite to the growth forces or life forces that one can see working, for example in the reproduction of the different species. As you might look at certain lower animals in this respect, you could see a fish, that has a very high number or eggs, reflects a lower level of consciousness in that species. Take for example a human being, with usually just one offspring, reflects a higher level of consciousness in that species. This again I repeat is something I know very little about, but it seems very interesting. You wont find much written about it either. Google it if you like. Maybe you can find something out there on the net.
          Got to get to bed here. Catch up tomorrow.
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        Jan 23 2012: Hi Daniel.

        I have come across devolution, but in a different context to yours.
        Gabo believes that we are "evolving" ie our dna blueprint is getting more sophisticated as time passes. Consequently we are getting smarter & healthier.
        I believe we are "devolving" ie our dna blueprint was perfect at the start but is being damaged by copying. Consequently we are getting dumber & sicker.

        Of course there are more of us now, we are well organised, & we have learned through experience how to combat illness. This is a poor substitute for not getting ill in the first place.

        Awaking of consciousness sounds very trendy, but what does it mean ? Each creature has a degree of self-awareness, & we like to think we are top of the league in that respect. I have read that some folks think that the human race has stopped evolving because we are smart enough to dispense with natural selection. I can go along with that because I don't think we evolved (in the species-species sense) in the first place.

        Don't understand the concept of something being much more complex than creation. How can we get something more complex than the work of an infinitely powerful/smart creator ?

        :-)
        • Jan 23 2012: Hello Peter!
          What I mean by devolution I will get back to. It is without a doubt in a different context than what you have heard of before. It relates more to what one might see as a polarity between consciousness and the material. One might look at the way the human being is different than the animals in respect to our bodies being very "non-specialized". The animals are pretty much specialized to perform a few basic functions.. that helps them to survive. While mankind is without much hair on his body to keep him warm, without sharp claws to defend himself or dig after food, not especially a fast runner, no wings for flight, more or less without any "tools" to keep us alive. Except for the one most important with you have surely guessed by now. ... thinking!
          What I put into the word consciousness is again perhaps not the traditional meaning of the word. Self consciousness and its main tool is, the way I see it... thinking. I would say that animals have a very limited degree of self consciousness, at least when comparing it with the human being. Animals have more of a "group" consciousness. This is very evident in a flock of birds or a school of fish. They move as one. Their consciousness is not individualized as the human beings. We have the ability to turn our "view" inward. Inward on our own soul being. Our feelings and emotions become objects of perception. Even our own thoughts can become objects of our own perception. This is what makes the human being free. Or at least "free" to the extent that we strive to "know thyself" .... the famous words, yes! All that we are and what we have become through the course of time can be looked at, observed, studied and eventually changed by our own free will. Now I know there are a lot of people out there that don't like to hear those two words but there is no other creature that can do this. We are free to change our minds and our feelings... with a little inner work of course.
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          Jan 24 2012: Pete,

          I don't believe that our DNA is getting more sophisticated. That would be silly. I do think however, that we continue to evolve. But evolution is not a continuously upgrading spiral. It can go any way. In some environments the evolutionary response is simplification, in other environments it is more complex stuff, in some other environments some gees might degrade, other genes gain new functions. It all depends on the environments. WHat would be an advantage in one environment, might be a disadvantage in another.

          Best,
          --Gabo
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        Jan 23 2012: Hi Daniel

        This is a different perspective certainly. Physically we are non-specialised, but our consciousness can use that to advantage, I think I see your point; our bodies have possibly devolved from a more specialised creature, while simultaneously our mental capacity has increased. Is that how you see it? Where does that put you on the God v science spectrum ?

        :-)
        • Jan 23 2012: Hi Peter,
          No, our bodies are not developed from a more specialized creature. Our bodies are, one could say held back from the specialization. Our bodies could almost be seen to be embryo like... as strange as that may sound. Our physical development is very slow compared with the animals. Many animals are on their feet and ready to roll after just a few minutes. While the human being has a long period where he is totally dependent on the mother/ or parent. So our physical development in general is very slow. Sexual maturity is very slow compared with the animals. These are a few of the factors to look at. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is something important going on here.

          As to your question about God v science. Well, I am for the scientific "method" 100% But the method stops short of the true reality of the spiritual. Science has in a way defined its own limitations by more or less containing its study and research to the purely physical. When the spiritual reality is right in front of their noses. Take the lecture here on "Connectomes" I see science going deeper and deeper into .... what ?... empty space. ..they find all kinds of fancy names for energies and synapses etc.etc. But sooner or later they are going to wake up and say to themselves.. "Hey, there is something going on here we cannot explain, cannot weight, cannot measure... It seems like they are trying to catch a fleeting thought on film or something... or try to find out exactly where in the human brain that memory you had when you rode your first bicycle. It's all so materialistic.
          As to my religious views, well, I'd need a few more characters than I have left here so I wont go into that at the moment.
          Get back to you later! Take care
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        Jan 24 2012: Hi Daniel.

        I understand what you mean by science having it's limits. These are largely self imposed by an insistence on everything being explained by material solutions. I also see a problem with inferences. It is one thing to infer gravity by an apple falling from a tree, but quite another to infer the big bang from red shift & background radiation.
        The whole evolution scenario from stardust to mankind has been inferred from observable natural selection within species to help them adapt. My belief is that god made all the kinds of creatures with sufficient built-in options to cover most eventualities. I guess that would cover your observation that man doesn't follow the more common 'specialist' route.

        :-)
        • Jan 24 2012: Hi again Peter,
          As the theory of evolution relies solely on material evidences for its basis of understanding the human being, it can never get a clear understanding as to the real nature of our being. There are just too many questions left unanswered. Evolutionary theory shoots itself in the foot without taking into account the development of consciousness, especially self-consciousness with its incredible tool of thought. ... I mean, to deny the self-conscious human being, to be consequent, you almost have to deny thinking as well. To deny thinking is thus to shoot oneself in the foot. Every theory, every observation of a phenomena must include the faculty of thinking.
          As we also observe in the animal world but to a much lower degree than we have in the human being. As our thinking develops in each and every one of us... so develops an awakening of the spiritual in man. Thinking IS the "spiritual activity" of man. Although confined and restricted by the physical bondage of our brains and bodies, our true spiritual self is steadily gaining knowledge and insight into the way we have come into being. I think we still have a long way to go though before we, both science and religion can really say that we have a true spiritual essence within us that lies far beyond our imaginations.
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        Jan 25 2012: Hi Daniel.

        I agree with much of what you say. Our spirit cannot be examined by a microscope, so it is out of bounds to the materialist.

        "so develops an awakening of the spiritual in man."
        So what in your opinion is the source of our spiritual side; where did it come from ?

        "Although confined and restricted by the physical bondage of our brains and bodies,..."
        If spirit is non-material, why should it be restricted by a material body ?

        Let's assume that the spirit requires a body/brain in order to function, could the same spirit be transferred to a new body when this one wears out ?

        :-)
        • Jan 25 2012: I sent you an e-mail Peter,
          As Colleen has told us, and many others that have had NDE, .. Jill Bolte Taylor video "A stroke of Genius" .. the transition from the physical bondage to the non-physical or what Coleen calls energy body is like night and day I believe. We are bogged down in the physical... caged... our consciousness is dampened... slow and unclear.
          I believe reincarnation to be a fact, yes.
          We "reincarnate" every morning when we wake up....
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          Jan 25 2012: Hi Daniel,
          I just want to clarify something:>)

          I don't feel, and I have never said that I feel in "physical bondage", nor do I feel "bogged down in the physical...caged...dampened...slow and unclear".

          When we live the life experience mindfully aware on many levels, we are "comfortable in our own skin"...so to speak. I am in physical form for a reason, and to feel bogged down, caged, dampened, slow and unclear would be a waste of energy. For me, the best practice is to realize, accept and appreciate all "parts" of myself because I am HERE...NOW...and that is the most important place for my energy at the moment:>)
        • Jan 25 2012: A response to Colleen and Peter too,
          Didn't mean to misquote or misrepresent you Colleen. I did say "I believe" there. But nice to have you here anyway. Perhaps you can share again with us the feeling that you had while having a NDE? As I recall from Jill Bolte Taylor's sin lecture, she called it .. la la land. A sort of nirvana. I am very curious as to how you experienced your "self" and the world around you while in that state of beingness....
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          Jan 25 2012: Thanks Daniel:>)
          I was/am an energy being....a mass of energy. I think Jill Bolte Taylor and I agree on that:>)And the energy moves through the body and occupies it at the moment:>)

          The topic of this discussion..."Why for so many is it science or religion with no room inbetween for honest existential consideration?"

          As you might have noticed with many of my comments, I see a LOT of room for existential consideration. I am very grounded in this human existence and very aware of the way I AM in this world.

          I was never a very religious person, although I've studied and researched several religions and even practiced some on occasion, I never embraced a particular religious belief. Having been born into a Catholic family, and indoctrinated in that religious belief with 12 years of catholic schooling, I feel that religions often tend to control and limit people and our beliefs.

          Interestingly, I find the scientific aspect of the NDE/OBE fascinating. It is amusing to me that for the first part of my life, I was considered right brain dominant (creative, performing artist, among other creative adventures). After the NDE/OBE I was/am more interested in the science of the experience. Perhaps the left brain got adjusted??? LOL:>)

          Seriously, I think/feel that the NDE/OBE simply expanded the ability to explore the life experience on many different deeper levels of understanding. To do that, it's important NOT to get stuck in either science or spirituality, but rather to see the interconnectedness of everything. Part of the definition of existential is: "concerned with or involving an individual as radically free and responsible"....that's me:>)
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        Jan 25 2012: Hi Daniel.

        Thanks for the e-mail, it helps me to understand. Feel free to e-mail anytime. I like to keep my comments public, in the hope that others may gain from it, even if they don't want to join the rough & tumble. On this site we will take flack unless we tow the company line. I look on it as a good sign, it shows the arguments are weak.

        Your worldview seems to be based on portions of the bible. I have to ask; why not just accept the bible for what it is ? If you trust the parts that you use to build your worldview, then why not the rest ? Surely you must have been taught this by someone ? It's totally new to me.

        :-)
        • Jan 25 2012: Yes, my world view is not of the usual sort, on that I can agree. And yes, I have been studying from a particular source. These ideas are not mine originally no... but I have over time adapted them as my own the best I can. The fact that they are so very different and so far from the traditional way of seeing things is perhaps the main reason that I would like to hold my cards a little close to my chest. They fall in neither category of the creationist nor the evolutionist. Because so many people here on TED are so negative to the whole idea of the spirit, its just as well not to go too deeply into it. But it fit at least very well into just this discussion it seems. Their is more of a middle way. But without taking into account the spiritual nature of man as a starting point in the discussion... or at least a discussion where people are open to the idea, it just seems to end up in argument.
          As for the bible, I find that my interpretations are usually far from the traditional interpretations. Because of this, discussions can again quickly lead to arguments....
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          Jan 25 2012: Hi Peter and Daniel, Both of you are convinced there is a spiritual side to the human existence. And I do think that as well 100% But what does that mean to you to be spiritual? Do you put your spirit as between your ears or is it all over the body?
          Or could it be an entirely different environment? With its own laws and even views?

          This book will give you an overview of what I have accepted as to what it means to be spirit and I'd love to hear your reaction to it.
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/source/TheSpiritualWorld.pdf?attredirects=0
          Much appreciated
        • Jan 26 2012: Hello Adriaan and Peter,
          I have heard of Swedenborg. There was a lot to read there on your link. I will take a closer look at it towards the weekend. It appears to be the general area of thought where I am also coming from but I will confer that after going deeper into what he says.
          The spiritual element of our being, in my understanding, is more connected with consciousness, especially self-consciousness and thinking. While the soul elements are connected with feelings, perceptions of both emotional and physical pleasure and pain, desires, etc. The higher spiritual element in us is the observer, the watcher, the thinker What most people don't like about this is that it seems to falsely assume a spiritual element that cannot be "proven" Self-consciousness and thinking are merely "emerging properties" they would argue. But I see these elements as real active principles flowing in and through our entire being. .. not in just the brain or between the ears.
          The spiritual as well as the soul nature of our being are also steadily going through an evolutionary process of extreme proportions. Reincarnation is a reality. We return to the earth continually after a longer pause in the spiritual world.
          But the s. and s. have not "arisen" from the material nor the animal kingdom. They are pre-existent to the material body. We have gradually, over a long "period of times" "incarnated" .or ..fallen. if you will, (garden of eden) more and more deeply into the physical bodies that we have today. The reason that archaeologists and geologist never find traces of our really ancient ancestors is simply because their bodies were too soft to leave behind any physical remains.. What is discovered t is the hardened bone substance that withstand the course of time. The physical bodies of the atlantean times were simply too soft to leave any physical remains. ...and their were even civilizations long before the great flood of Atlantis.... This perhaps sound pretty strange to you..?
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          Jan 26 2012: Dear Daniel,
          Just an observation...with sincere caring and respect for you and your exploration:>)

          Do you ever feel like you complicate thoughts/feelings for yourself? You know I agree with some of what you write, and sometimes it feels contradictory to me. I think/feel it is your attempt to put all the thoughts/feelings in an organized pattern?

          You often seperate things/thoughts/feelings...like....the soul comes from here...consciousness is from there...physical reality is from over there....see what I mean? It appears that the seperations you ponder, are ways for you to identify various elements?

          Then you say...."I see these elements as real active principles flowing in and through our entire being....".
          Flowing through our entire being....this is what I believe, Daniel, and I do not percieve any "elements" as seperate. It seems that with your exploration, you are seperating the "elements", and also recognizing the connectedness of it all? How about letting go of the need to seperate? My life and death experience, shows me that it is with the belief in interconnectedness, that we experience the "inbetween for honest existential consideration". Again...with respect for your exploration:>)
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        Jan 26 2012: Hi Daniel & Adriaan.

        You both have a similar approach. Both belief systems are bible based, but both your founders appear to have designed religions totally at odds with biblical teaching. There are loads of these systems out there, how on earth would one choose ? Two questions for you both.

        1. If you believe that the bible is accurate & truthful, why don't you follow it 100% ?

        2. If you don't believe it 100% then why base your belief on it at all ?

        What do I think about my spirit ?
        It is non-material. The best analogy I heard was with a computer program. Our bodies are built & run on DNA instructions, or computer program. The spirit is like the command sequence, it affects what happens even though it has no material component. It is like knowledge, but it is not a book, only when it is paired with paper & ink does it make sense.
        So we are the essence of our bodies; if I could be transferred to another body, that new body would become me as it's DNA was reprogrammed to my essence. Get it ?
        Now when I trust in my creator, some of His spirit merges with mine, & I am changed. Spiritually I become a new person/ spirit. Ultimately when my body gives out, I need a new home. Time for a major upgrade. All my bugs are eliminated & I get a body that leaves the biggest Mac for dead. My spirit merges with my creator & all my brothers & sisters FOR EVER. That is what I understand from my bible, & it sure puts a smile on my face.

        :-)
        • Jan 26 2012: Colleen and Peter,

          Life IS complicated, there's no way around it. We are and have parts of a whole and not just the whole. To have a working understanding of the human being we must examine the parts. This Colleen helps me a great deal. But as we are all different, we have each our own way down the road of life... I suppose..
          Peter, as I said earlier, there are many ways of interpreting the Bible. My way is as I said very far away from the traditional middle of the road understanding.
          Greetings from Daniel

          ;-) Tit tit.. here I am again Colleen. I couldn't respond to you below your last comment so I did it up here. Thanks Colleen, no offense at all.
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          Jan 26 2012: Daniel,
          In my perception, we can make life less complicated. I agree that we all have our own way down the road of life, which is why I continue to let you know that I respect your exploration, and I answer your questions to the best of my ability. I sincerely hope I did not offend:>)

          Here I am again too Daniel. Thanks for letting me know:>)
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      Jan 17 2012: Gabo :

      How do you explain that some very honest people right on such advices like : ''be good' '' forgive eachother'' ''have patience'' 'they construct rhetorical devices and propaganda machinery and predate on the lack of education and mental preparedness of the masses '? There are some possibilities : either they are hypocrites or they are also idiots/don't think ? but if they don't think they can't construct propaganda machineries , and if they are hypocrites why they are so without no real profit .
      they do that just because they are bad?
      Of course, I put this question about the people who don't have consistent profit from their propaganda.
      I don't know of any religion whose followers are all fool and idiots , don't you think we notice when someone is hypocrite but we still believe in that 'propaganda' , how do you explain this ?

      I agree there are some religions made up only from propaganda , if you talk only about them don't take in consideration my comment .
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        Jan 17 2012: Hey Eduard,

        There is also the honest ones who have not learned that nice sounding is not the same as logical. They buy the propaganda. But sure you know that lots of evangelists do have quite the good living out of deceiving their public. It is not just the propaganda-built religions, the quacks must be there in any religion. No reason why not.

        Actually, I usually gave them the benefit of the doubt precisely because I was expecting them to hold to such things as ''be good' '' forgive eachother'' ''have patience'' But they take little time in disappointing me. It took a while before I decided on their dishonesty. Sure one quack can initiate the lies and propaganda, while others would repeat the propaganda out of ignorance. But the profs, just look at them and you might notice.
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          Jan 20 2012: Hi Gabo:

          Well , giving what you said I understand your atheism .
          Of course there is the honest ones who have not learaned .... and buy the propaganda but there is also honest ones who are logical , who know what they believe and who don't tolerate the propagnada , I try to be one of them and you know why ? because we find something very interesting and good and logical in religion .
          It can't be all who disappointed you/and disappoint usually , why to look at the ones who dissapoint and draw conclusions from it and not at the ones who are honest and logical?
          I think you agree that the proofs we find depend on where you look after them .
          Shortly said : there are religious ,logical and honest people who don't have reasons of any kind to leave what they believe ; what answer do you give to them regarding your atheism ?
          May I guess ? :-that they should have reasons ?
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        Jan 20 2012: Hi Eduard,

        Well, my atheism does not come from the dishonest quacks. While I found that the arguments for gods, when looked carefully enough, had flaws in their logic, that alone was not the motivation, but one among many. Example, finding contradictions between "God" being described as "just" and "good," while those who did not believe in this god would go to hell, despite that such was not a fault of their own, example being born under a different religion. Then noticing that no matter what the religion all believed their god to be the right one. Then that the "answers" to these problems did not make sense either, other than using beautiful rhetoric, such as "Who are we to judge God?" or "They don't go to Hell for not believing, but for their sin!" Regardless that "we" had committed the same sins, only we believed in the right God and thus got salvation, which is an accident of birth, so those would still go to Hell because they did not believe in the right god, and the "answer" was only adding steps in-between before we could reach the very same conclusion. That made "God" unfair and evil. But that's only a bit of many problems I were finding. But it was me alone noticing the problems and how the answers were not answers (there was no such thing as internet).

        Of course, there were many other things besides religion-gods did not make sense. Example, learning how much we anthropomorphize natural phenomena when we don't understand ...

        So, honest people can have reasons for believing, but that does not mean that their reasons make sense. Lots of people never go deeper to notice that "they go to Hell for their sin" does not solve the problem, for example. So, people can be honestly deceived. But in the end, I concluded, all you can have for believing is a god that nobody has understood yet, which you kept believing for no real reason other than having grown up believing that there had to be some god out there. Not very satisfying, so why believe it at all?

        Best!
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          Jan 21 2012: "But in the end, I concluded, all you can have for believing is a god that nobody has understood yet, which you kept believing for no real reason other than having grown up believing that there had to be some god out there. Not very satisfying, so why believe it at all?"
          Certain neurologists have made crucial discoveries regarding the nature of the "religious experience"--experiments like the "god helmet" shed some much needed light upon this issue. To a certain extent, religion seems act in a practical capacity: people need to believe in a fabricated sense of constancy, the thought of death is too problematic for the masses. Religion, and gods gives people the invisible crutch they need in order to live. When scholars begin to look at certain religious dogmas, and certain philosophical schools of thought, intersections can seen. The golden rule is something that is seen both in religious and secular traditions--of course, the intersections are much more numerous. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the average individual has not taken a long hard look at themselves, trying to figure out what the best way to live is; in other words, said individuals simply accept prefabricated cut-outs of ideological belief systems--i.e. an adult keeping the faith their parents taught them.

          Religion, generally speaking, tries to mold believers into moral actors in a society/theocracy. Ethics does the very same thing through a wholly different mechanism (i.e. logical methods, and hypothetical thought experiments like Kant's categorical imperative). Though I use this figure cautiously, Aquinas mentioned that we can go about--roughly speaking--it either by being humble, and pious or by being intellectually inclined. Ultimately, the bookish folk along with the religious folk will agree that their respective paradigms, though fundamentally different, attempt inculcate moralistic modes of thinking within its member bases.
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          Jan 21 2012: There is nothing rethorical if you understand well what the Bible says : to believe means not only to be fully convinced of something but also to practice it .
          the bible is a urge to holiness ; everthing is very simple .

          I knnow there are many problems but i think they all can be solved .

          (I removed my last two comments from obvious reasons.... sorry for inconveniencies ).

          Best.
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          Jan 21 2012: Eduardo :

          Frankly : all you said is just bullshit : 'crucial discoveries' , 'the thought of death is too problematic for the masses ' , really , why is it problematic ? because the masses usually don't think ? they live more like the animals do ? ......... 'religions and gods gives to the people the invisible crutch... '' .
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        Jan 21 2012: Eduard Ghiur,

        I told you, that was but one example of the many things that got me doubting. I did not say that single thing was "my argument." Whether you can rationalize that bit or not, does not matter. I told you, the story is much longer, such as figuring out that we are believing something that looks awfully like mere fantasy. Invent and reinvent the Christian god, and it will still be fantasy (and filled with contradictions from the very root). You seem to have forgotten that I have shown you that this god is a square circle, and that you gave me a thousand nonanswers, like the ones I was talking about above. Being as it is that gods look so awfully like fantasies, reinterpreting "al gusto" will not make this god, nor any other, a reality.

        (Your answer lacks a lot, and assumes too much, but I rather not start a discussion I will not have time to attend for a while.)

        (I don't remember asking why you believe.)
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          Jan 24 2012: Gabo:

          I know there are many things that got you doubting , I didn't intend to let the impression you got so only because of a reason ; about you argument : you presented a problem I tried to solve it .

          I think and I find reasons for which God don't looks 'awfully like a fantasy' . I think I can answer the all contradictions , you are one who unlike many from here see the contradictions and knows more or less to make distinction between an argument and a nonargument ; this is why I try to have a converstation when I spend my time here on TED .

          I know many of my answers were nonanswers .

          My answer was simple (too simple): to believe means to practice while you are mentally convinced of the truth of what you believe (this solve the rethorical problem ) . Everything else I said is a filling .

          (to the similar () : sorry for confusion ).

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