Why are you Atheist? page 140

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Now, to jump in on the discussion between TheBSG & Ung.

I think it might help to understand that BSG is positioned via (probably?) in some philosophical concept of agency he is using. It might also help to keep in mind this (from the link): “Notably, though, the primacy of social structure vs. individual capacity with regard to persons’ actions is debated within sociology. This debate concerns, at least partly, the level of reflexivity an agent may possess.”

“Agency may either be classified as unconscious, involuntary behavior, or purposeful, goal directed activity (intentional action). An agent typically has some sort of immediate awareness of his physical activity and the goals that the activity is aimed at realizing. In ‘goal directed action’ an agent implements a kind of direct control or guidance over their own behavior.”

This brings me to greatly see Ung’s point that—much like the popular saying: _Guns don’t kill ppl-ppl kill ppl—religion doesn’t kill ppl-ppl kill ppl. We can split hairs on the “agency” of what religion is as it involves the ppl who profess to align themselves w/ the particular ideology of their particular religion. But, in the cold, hard world…a lot of killing wars are done by ppl IN THE NAME OF their religion. This is regardless of whether or not such is the actual reason or just something tossed out in order to gloss over more base purpose.

Like Ung, I find it difficult to separate the person from their religion (regardless of how deeply or capable of manifesting it they are…or aren’t). Yes, religion is (just?) a concept. But, it is a concept HELD BY the person. It is their concept. It is that concept that—whether it is the actual “motivator” or just some falsely & foolishly trumped up notion—that is very often the banner/standard that is at the front of the troops being led into the war.

So, I might actually be somewhere in the middle of you two…I dunno.
But, I think my position probably greatly overlaps you both.
Here goes: “Religion” is the agency that ppl don like some article of clothing in order to convince themselves, the “enemy”, & any onlookers that their cause (war) is somehow justified because it is “Holy”.

Can I bring up the Holy Wars of the Crusades? That was a whole lot of really intense war “in the name of religion”.

 
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Aah, weird circle posting. Look back last post, I added a bunch more since you posted.

Hunger isn’t a thing. Hunger is what you call wanting to eat. Hunger didn’t make you want to eat. You’re taking the name for things and making them things in their own right. Anger doesn’t happen to me, I get angry because I have agency. Even if I didn’t decide to be angry, anger is describing what I feel and isn’t the feeling itself. You’re making this into a discussion about something that it’s not. It isn’t that I’m advocating subjectivity, that sunrises are whatever you make them to be. I don’t even know where you got that. It’s really really really really really simple. If I say “That’s a romantic sunrise,” do you think I mean that the sunrise is romanticizing me, or that I find the sunrise romantic? When you say that religion causes people to do something, are you denying that the exact same sentence is “The ancient beliefs of others causes people today to do things.”

Hunger is a defined concept, same as religion. Typically used to describe sensation, while Religion an outlook. You suggest that hunger is how we describe the desire to eat it, but it has no role in creating a desire to eat. I would have to ask you, what does then? What is the creation of a desire to eat? What makes us want to eat?

I feel subjectivity is very relevant if we’re going to distance the description of a concept from the experience of a concept, as applied to an agent. I would deny that “Religion causes people to do X” is the same as “Ancient beliefs of others cause present people to do X” in that I don’t see Religion and Ancient Beliefs are identical concepts. But I feel like I’m missing something in your question there.

I get what you’re trying to say, even. The belief that you can be absolutely right, or that you can know the universe’s thoughts is demonstrably bad, and always will be bad. That. isn’t. religion. It’s what you call religion. It’s an idea that other people had and convinced other people of. An individual is not religion, they are religious. I don’t know how to get this across to you any clearer. This isn’t my opinion, it’s a misnomer of language.

Well calling it bad would be a value statement, which is getting into slightly different waters. (I mean, sure, I find it bad) But, I feel far more comfortable stating (the adoption of?) religion causes people do to X. Then saying X is bad. I’m not sure what the difference between what I call religion, and what is religion, is relevant to unless it’s some error in my usage or we’re looking at the subjectivity of a concept across individuals as absolute. I also feel religion does not necessarily need other individuals convincing other people, I feel it can spring up quite spontaneously in individuals. Or is an eternal quality of man, omnipresent without outside agency.

I agree that an individual is not religion, they are religious, but I do not see the concurrence of that with denying causality of once concept to another.

We should stop rape doesn’t mean we should stop the idea of rape. You can’t, it exists. You can stop people from raping. Kids playing sometimes gets them hurt. Playing doesn’t hurt kids, kids playing hurts kids. Dogs bark, barks aren’t things we can stop or identify or even measure whether something is or isn’t a bark because it isn’t a thing, it’s a description of a thing.

Doesn’t it mean stop the idea of rape? Or at least, can, sometimes? I might agree with you that one can’t practically, but I think as a description of intentions that it is a pretty accurate statement. What defines what is or is not a thing? Quantification? Why is a bark not a thing? Why can’t we stop, identify, measure, barks? Because barks are a description of noise? Which is a description of movement in the air? Which is a description of what space-time shift? Presence and non presence, of described empirical units, in accordance with described patterns? When do things start becoming things and not our description of them?

EDIT: Catching up to Karma. I feel the example of “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is a most apt distillation. Although I hesitate a little as kill is a personal action. “Cause” is not quite so personified.

Can I bring up the Holy Wars of the Crusades? That was a whole lot of really intense war “in the name of religion”.

Well religion certainly had it’s role to play, but I am not sure I’d say religion caused the crusades. At least not the first, at least not Christianity. I think Religion was the banner flown to organize a central army out of disparate nation states, the means of the war, but not the impetus.

 
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… you’re not doing anything but identifying the very problem I have with our language and your insistence on relying on that problem… I don’t have much else to say. Religion doesn’t actively cause anything. A person being religious is why they do a thing. It’s not changing your opinion or implication about religion’s structure being the reason they make those decisions, but the religion didn’t make those decisions, and the religion was invented by other people. At no point did the religion flower infect us. Memetic theory far more clearly expresses the affect an idea has on an agent, and even awards memes with far more of an affect on our world than even I would give them credit for, but it still clarifies the difference between a program and an idea. Ideas do not program our brains without our brains having first allowed the idea in. The fault is always with the individual, not their chosen ideologies.

 
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i am athiest because god doesnt exist.

 
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Instead of editing I’m going to double post:

Haha, we keep talking past eachother in edits. I think your edit shows you understand my point far more than I thought you did. We don’t disagree, even on the point of humans probably not having much practical will power at all. The concept of agency for me is a lot more like what Karma pointed out. That people’s agency doesn’t mean they’re active, it just means that the information is available to them to make alternative decisions. They know what they’re doing, they can’t play dumb to their own actions.

I think the issue is that I expect definitions and statements to mean what they technically mean, and not their colloquial interpretation. Yeah, religion causes lots of wars. My issue with that is that this statement doesn’t address the actual origin of the war, it cuts out the middle man. I think this very problem with our language affords people the excuses they tell themselves to avoid taking responsibility for their agency.

 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

Aah, weird circle posting. Look back last post, I added a bunch more since you posted.

LOL
And it isn’t at all helped when the needed posts are on the preceding page.
KKK:

Can I bring up the Holy Wars of the Crusades? That was a whole lot of really intense war “in the name of religion”.

Well religion certainly had it’s role to play, but I am not sure I’d say religion caused the crusades. At least not the first, at least not Christianity. I think Religion was the banner flown to organize a central army out of disparate nation states, the means of the war, but not the impetus.

Okay, I’m fairly sure I’m in agreement w/ that. And, it is my understanding that the impetus was given by the Pope in reaction to the (likely unintended “impetus”) shown in bold in the following: “The Crusades were great military expeditions undertaken by the Christian nations of Europe for the purpose of rescuing the holy places of Palestine from the hands of the Mohammedans.

 
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Mohammedans.

Mo. Hom. mae. dens.

If I’ve ever seen that word before I don’t remember it, and I love it.

 
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I don’t see what is problematic perhaps? Would a fair description be… I am applying causality to concepts, which should be reserved for agents?

but it still clarifies the difference between a program and an idea. Ideas do not program our brains without our brains having first allowed the idea in. The fault is always with the individual, not their chosen ideologies.

I disagree. As I do not believe the individual is accountable to himself. The individual did not choose to be who he is, although he may think so. He is a product of his environment, a function of it. In controlling the environment, we control individuals, we control agency. I would say the causal impact of concepts and the environment is of far more bearing then the personal actions of an individual, in so far as they are determinate of the individuals actions. Ideologies do infect, control, and program. We just haven’t fully determined the intricacies of the causality at work.

 
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Double posting is the cool new thing.

I think the issue is that I expect definitions and statements to mean what they technically mean, and not their colloquial interpretation. Yeah, religion causes lots of wars. My issue with that is that this statement doesn’t address the actual origin of the war, it cuts out the middle man. I think this very problem with our language affords people the excuses they tell themselves to avoid taking responsibility for their agency.

Hehe, I’m on two minds in regards to that. I think our language does afford that excuse, and I think the excuse is legitimate – except in instances where people use it? I find the idea of Predeterminism a super dangerous one that should be resisted, even though I ultimately believe it is correct. It provides a fatal excuse, it throws a wrench in the machine – so long as people no longer feel accountable, they will behave in a far different manner and exaggerate their understanding of cause and effect to an oversimplified, convenient justification. It could be said that whether it is true or false has little practical value, but the perception of it is overwhelming.

Karma,

“The Crusades were great military expeditions undertaken by the Christian nations of Europe for the purpose of rescuing the holy places of Palestine from the hands of the Mohammedans.”

I feel that is also a little bit apologetic. The Mohammedans, so called, had seized the holy places of Palestine – and that was used as the popular appeal. But I think far more pressing, more urgent, to the powers that be was the raw land, raw territory they had covered. They had already all but wiped out the Byzantines and were expanding daily. They were a practical threat, the ‘protection of sanctity’ I feel was the only concept with enough international leverage to force a unified body to action. Jerusalem hadn’t been in Europe’s hands for five hundred years. But the losses in Spain, The African Coast, the (near) Middle East, and other immediate borders were far more pressing.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Age_of_Caliphs.png
Picture says it all to my mind. Just bear in mind expansions through Constantinople and Italy. It was the first empire to ever really stand toe to toe with that conception of Europe. Anywho.

 
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I think we’re literally agreeing entirely but disagreeing on our methods of explaining that. I refuse to assign agency to religion even though I do believe that our opinions and values are far more predetermined than our concept of willpower would suggest (Although I think willpower and the concept of choice is poorly defined and these words are so inadequate to describe determinism and “fate” that the whole thing becomes a fairy tale), while you assign the agency to religion for almost the exact same reason. Bizarre.

 
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“Back when the Bible was written, then edited, then rewritten, then rewritten, then re-edited, then translated from dead languages, then re-translated, then edited, then rewritten, then given to kings for them to take their favorite parts, then rewritten, then re-rewritten, then translated again, then given to the pope for him to approve, then rewritten, then edited again, the re-re-re-re-rewritten again…all based on stories that were told orally 30 to 90 years AFTER they happened.. to people who didn’t know how to write… so…” -David Cross

 
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Well it was a pleasure all the same, thank you for the discussion BSG.

As for Slasher’s quote, I question translated from a dead language, or the privilege of kings to edit, or that they were all illiterate. Certainly he can furnish some citations.

 
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Originally posted by Ungeziefer:

Karma,

“The Crusades were great military expeditions undertaken by the Christian nations of Europe for the purpose of rescuing the holy places of Palestine from the hands of the Mohammedans.”

I feel that is also a little bit apologetic. The Mohammedans, so called, had seized the holy places of Palestine – and that was used as the popular appeal. But I think far more pressing, more urgent, to the powers that be was the raw land, raw territory they had covered. They had already all but wiped out the Byzantines and were expanding daily. They were a practical threat, the ‘protection of sanctity’ I feel was the only concept with enough international leverage to force a unified body to action. Jerusalem hadn’t been in Europe’s hands for five hundred years. But the losses in Spain, The African Coast, the (near) Middle East, and other immediate borders were far more pressing.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/20/Age_of_Caliphs.png
Picture says it all to my mind. Just bear in mind expansions through Constantinople and Italy. It was the first empire to ever really stand toe to toe with that conception of Europe. Anywho.

Oh fershur.
I totally agree about what the “fight” was all about,,,
the same thing it (usually) is always about…POWER.
Power in whatever form has value at the moment and/or in a particular location.
Sure, there are those “innocents” that are duped into fighting for a “holy cause”.
But, if one will pull back the curtain….they will usually find the Great Oz is just some mortal pulling strings in order to obtain the most possible w/ the least input. In other words, a damn good business deal.

I probably should have been more clear about my referencing the Crusades.
It was merely to show that wars are usually fought for many reasons,,,,
and usually there is some religious angle to be found….
sometimes it is right on the top and quite easily found.
This is also usually done so that the common “folks” (lol… couldn’t resist) wouldn’t see the nefarious underpinnings that weren’t anywhere near the pristine “outer-coating” they were being handed. Ya know, the way American politics have operated (almost?) from day 1…whether it be about war or about most anything else of a “political nature”.

 
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Quite agree. Also the involvement of religion as a morale booster is all but obligatory, no matter how superficial, and I’d have to cede that as a point of credit to religion. It’s involvement in wars is not always on it’s own impetus.

 
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Im not Atheist. I almost never do something bad to people.

 
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Originally posted by TravianReports:

Im not Atheist. I almost never do something bad to people.

Huh? The only conclusion I can draw from this is you have absolutely no idea what atheism is.

Atheism: The lack of a belief in any supernatural entities or figures.

It has absolutely nothing to do with what kind of person you are. Or even if you’re religious.

 
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The logic behind atheism is much more sound than the logic behind theism/deism/etc.

 
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I am not an Atheist, I do believe in God. However, I see religion as completly pointless.

 
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Originally posted by Chris2Fly:

I am not an Atheist, I do believe in God. However, I see religion as completly pointless.

Chris, ya’re a SBNR and are not alone in this
“Americans are divided over the theological meanings bound up in the recent not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial… Americans can’t decide if gay marriage is a sacred vow or a heinous sin… Americans are increasingly following the path of SBNR (”spiritual but not religious") in their pursuit of the sacred…. Americans still believe in God but they surely do not agree about how to define and understand God…"

I can’t help but wonder if the strong understanding of materialism by the younger generations is what helps them see that many “religions” aren’t putting their money where their mouths are. These spiritual youths aren’t willing to finance huge, expensive buildings instead of their money going to spiritual things they value.

This is heavily reflected by: “American congregations have grown less healthy in the past decade, with fewer people in the pews and aging memberships, according to a new Hartford Seminary study.”

However, a really scary part is how the evangelical part of religion is still strong and wanting to tear down the “Wall of Separation”: “But there are also “pockets of vitality,” including an increase in minority [due to increasing influx of Latinos?] congregations and a surge in election-related activities at evangelical congregations.”

More support for my point on the “decline-of-religion” in America.

 
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