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inhumanist
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:22 pm 
 

So you want me to do the legwork for you and find evidence for your claims? This just tells me that you don't actually have evidence at hand and base your claim on your ideology instead. Likewise I could go out on a limb and claim that all these different declarations, while indubitably differing in content, are perfectly or nearly (people make mistakes when using reason after all) perfectly compatible with each other, complement each other and do not, in fact, contradict each other, which would suggest I am right that human rights are not culturally arbitrary (but consistent and identifiable through reason).

InnesI wrote:
that you seem to think of human rights as an "culture independent ethical position" and therefore based on "basic human wishes and needs that are consistent across cultures".

Fixed that for you.

I also changed my wording so it might be clearer now.

InnesI wrote:
With that being said capitalism often tends to strive against the values of human rights. But we should also note that even with their conflict they are both part of modern values in western society that are in many cases valued as new untouchable values. Its human rights and liberal democracy. In some way dependent on each other but also in conflict. Before human rights we had other values that we thought the same of. They to were there for the best of man and then to we liked to try to convert others to our values.

Human rights are different from other values (I actually don't view them as values but as ethical norms which is a subtle difference but needn't be discussed right now) in that they are automatically granted to every human being based simply on their existence as creatures capable of reason. Therefore they have to meet certain standards that cultural norms do not have to meet, simply to be logically sound and in harmony with human nature.
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InnesI
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:19 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:36 pm 
 

inhumanist wrote:
So you want me to do the legwork for you and find evidence for your claims? This just tells me that you don't actually have evidence at hand and base your claim on your ideology instead. Likewise I could go out on a limb and claim that all these different declarations, while indubitably differing in content, are perfectly or nearly (people make mistakes when using reason after all) perfectly compatible with each other, complement each other and do not, in fact, contradict each other, which would suggest I am right that human rights are not culturally arbitrary (but consistent and identifiable through reason).


I never said such a thing nor did I mean it. I provided you with several different examples of human rights which reflect cultural diversities according to where they were formulated (i.e. them not being culturally independent - even if they might claim or strive to be). If you do not accept that as evidence of them being cultural specific I don't know what will. The ones differing most from the others that I gave as examples being the Islamic and the Arabic ones. If you wish to not do much work yourself I suggest just reading the first few passages of each. It should be clear to you then:

http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/loas2005.html
http://www.alhewar.com/ISLAMDECL.html

Quote:
Human rights are different from other values (I actually don't view them as values but as ethical norms which is a subtle difference but needn't be discussed right now) in that they are automatically granted to every human being based simply on their existence as creatures capable of reason. Therefore they have to meet certain standards that cultural norms do not have to meet, simply to be logically sound and in harmony with human nature.


That being one of the main problems of human rights - its dependency on nothing but actually having been born human! But that is beyond this discussion.

And again this is your belief regarding these rights - that they are above or beyond cultural morals, ethics and values in general. Something higher granted to every human being. But then again which of the human rights? Because is not one but many different versions. Oh I'm guessing you refer to the UDHR - because you are part of the western sphere. Am I right?

And remember what you claim to be logically sound and in harmony with human nature others will find contradictory to the same. Historically and culturally. What we regard as logically sound is based in western thinking, culturally specific western values. Ask a traditional Hindu practitioner about hierarchy. Ask a conservative Muslim about societal values. Ask a northern European about abortion. Or go back in time, look at what historical people wrote on logically sound values or ethics or even human nature. I assure you there won't be one clear penetrating idea. It has shifted, shifts today and will always shift depending on your cultural heritage and your current cultural situation.

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Opus
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:37 pm 
 

I believe I'm the only solipsist around.
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Foulchrist
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:19 pm 
 

Well played.

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Zakillah
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:31 pm 
 

InnesI wrote:
But then again which of the human rights? Because is not one but many different versions. Oh I'm guessing you refer to the UDHR - because you are part of the western sphere. Am I right?

It doesnt matter if its western sphere or whatever/wherever/whenever else. Dont kill, dont steal, dont rape, dont be a fuckin asshole should be rules every person should live by.
I know that the world doesnt work that way, but the general rules on "whats good" are not that complicated and not to be dicussed.
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Goatfangs
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:47 pm 
 

The Universe is too small for there to be another me somewhere else that is only slightly different based on different life choices, but too big for there not to be an alien species that every which way resembles a dragon.
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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:34 pm 
 

Goatfangs wrote:
The Universe is too small for there to be another me somewhere else that is only slightly different based on different life choices (...)

You're talking about alternate universes there, Goatfangs.
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dystopia4
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:52 pm 
 

droneriot wrote:
You can see it this way and that way. Yeah, I kind of support the idea of cultural non-interference, but I make exceptions when it comes to things like female genital mutilation. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Maybe it does, but in this case I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I remember a while back where the self-appointed PC police made Justin Trudeau (prominent Canadian politician) apologize for calling the practice barbaric (which it obviously is). I mean there has to be a point where a line is drawn. Sure, we need to recognize that some things we consider unacceptable is part of someone else's culture, but culture isn't an excuse for such savage acts against defenceless children.
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Opus
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:56 pm 
 

dystopia4 wrote:
I remember a while back where the self-appointed PC police made Justin Trudeau (prominent Canadian politician) apologize for calling the practice barbaric (which it obviously is). I mean there has to be a point where a line is drawn. Sure, we need to recognize that some things we consider unacceptable is part of someone else's culture, but culture isn't an excuse for such savage acts against defenceless children.

How in heck did he justify apologizing for that, and how could anyone accept the apology??
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mindshadow
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:45 am 
 

InnesI wrote:
What we regard as logically sound is based in western thinking, culturally specific western values. Ask a traditional Hindu practitioner about hierarchy. Ask a conservative Muslim about societal values. Ask a northern European about abortion. Or go back in time, look at what historical people wrote on logically sound values or ethics or even human nature. I assure you there won't be one clear penetrating idea. It has shifted, shifts today and will always shift depending on your cultural heritage and your current cultural situation.


I think the line is well and truly crossed when an army/faction starts shooting it's own populace (or any unarmed civilians). Then the UN should automatically send troops (but not to observe).

Maybe its time the world decided on what is acceptable, whether cultural or not. The west could start by not taking advantage of low wage earners abroad working in sweat shops.
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Opus
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:17 am 
 

mindshadow wrote:
I think the line is well and truly crossed when an army/faction starts shooting it's own populace (or any unarmed civilians). Then the UN should automatically send troops (but not to observe).

When the populace starts shooting it's own army, what side should the UN then take?
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mindshadow
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:45 pm 
 

[quote="Opus"]
When the populace starts shooting it's own army, what side should the UN then take?[/quote

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yentass
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:00 am 
 

It might sound weird to most, but I believe that the concept of god is, and should be viewed as, separate from religion and religious discussion.
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Expedience
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:45 am 
 

This is only a vague outline of an idea I find plausible, but I'm beginning to think tentatively that all culture is destructive and if we reach some endpoint in knowledge it will be this conclusion. It's in line with what Burroughs said about language being viral and there's also probably some Buddhism in there. That's not to say we should go back to the jungle or become hippies. Possibly we're just a doomed species and can do nothing about it.

The existence of Maya in the general sense is probably my strongest belief. Whether it can be penetrated to reveal some kind of truth I don't know.

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Xlxlx
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:31 pm 
 

yentass wrote:
It might sound weird to most, but I believe that the concept of god is, and should be viewed as, separate from religion and religious discussion.

Would you mind explaining this, Yent? Not to be a jerk or anything, but that really makes no sense.
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Empyreal
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:21 pm 
 

Humanity is a miracle in and of itself. The human journey and experience is a thousand times more enlightening than any spirituality. The fact that there is no afterlife means that our life is that much more precious.
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Napero
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:28 pm 
 

I believe all of the sensible human morals and ethics are the results of evolution. The completely goofy and insane ones are the results of religion.

I also think life does not have a purpose, and seeking one is inherently silly. Giving it a purpose is a more sensible path to take.
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MalignantTyrant
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:10 pm 
 

Empyreal wrote:
Humanity is a miracle in and of itself. The human journey and experience is a thousand times more enlightening than any spirituality. The fact that there is no afterlife means that our life is that much more precious.

Image
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inhumanist
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:11 pm 
 

Napero wrote:
I believe all of the sensible human morals and ethics are the results of evolution. The completely goofy and insane ones are the results of religion.

Are you talking about memetic evolution or biological evolution? Of course any human ideology is the result of both. Biological evolution enables us to have religion and ethics and memetic evolution shapes them. So what exactly do you mean (honest question)?

For me the main difference lies in the fact that religions are the result of historically arbitrary developments. Religion (evolutionarily) serves the ideological unity of society but takes a toll on humanity by being moderately to completely bonkers.

Ethics on the other hand generally follow certain rules of logic and intellectual honesty.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:17 pm 
 

MalignantTyrant wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
Humanity is a miracle in and of itself. The human journey and experience is a thousand times more enlightening than any spirituality. The fact that there is no afterlife means that our life is that much more precious.

Image


Spirituality is all about the human journey. Exoteric interpretations that place an emphasis on an afterlife are just that.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:19 pm 
 

MalignantTyrant wrote:
Empyreal wrote:
Humanity is a miracle in and of itself. The human journey and experience is a thousand times more enlightening than any spirituality. The fact that there is no afterlife means that our life is that much more precious.

Image


Spirituality is all about the human journey. Exoteric interpretations that place an emphasis on an afterlife are just that. I recommend reading Joseph Campbell.

Also there are many different theories about the evolution of religion. Social unity is one, there are others. But yes, religion is just as much a product of evolution as everything else. Saying good morals come from evolution and bad morals come from religion almost sounds willfully ignorant, as they're inseparably intertwined, and also, clearly "good morality" and "bad morality" aren't so easily sectioned off; religion has caused lots of bullshit, lots of bad morality, as has secularism. These are anything but black and white! And I'm not saying this as someone advocating spirituality. In the form that it's most commonly understood and discussed (especially on boards like this one), I don't care much for it either.
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Opus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:42 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
religion has caused lots of bullshit, lots of bad morality, as has secularism.

I'm not arguing with you here, just wondering what you mean. What has been done in the name of secularism specifically?
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:47 pm 
 

Aside from the usual cited examples of Stalin and that sort of stuff, I was speaking more on an individual level than a macro-social level. There are tons of immoral religious people and moral secular people and vice versa.
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Opus
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:08 pm 
 

Nahsil wrote:
There are tons of immoral religious people and moral secular people and vice versa.

That I agree with. I was just getting this picture of 10.000 soldiers on horseback, storming a city and yelling "WE WILL KILL YOU IN THE NAME OF... nothing".
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inhumanist
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:06 am 
 

Implying that secularism causes as much suffering as religion does is completely ridiculous. Religion leads to entire societies being organized with disregard for facts and human needs. Not to mention it being a mighty tool of the powerful to control the masses for their personal goals and gain (see human history).
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yentass
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:29 am 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
yentass wrote:
It might sound weird to most, but I believe that the concept of god is, and should be viewed as, separate from religion and religious discussion.

Would you mind explaining this, Yent? Not to be a jerk or anything, but that really makes no sense.

It basically goes like this - there would never be a fruitful conversation over a subject if the participants aren't on the same page terminology wise, and it just so happens to be that the concept of higher powers is basically the only consistent parallel that could be drawn between the various religions and cultures. Therefore I think it's possible - and even neccessary - to muse about the concept of god (and I do think it's a subject worthy of discussion) without bringing religion into it, otherwise it's a waste of everybody's time by default.
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Necessitarian
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:44 am 
 

One of the things I most strongly believe in as said by Thomas Ligotti: "It's been my feeling for quite some time that the world owes me a living. ... If people are going to reproduce, they should at least set up a system that will provide all material wants of their offspring for the life of the product."

I think that quote is one of my favorite things anyone has ever said. Very true, simple, and pisses on lots of traditional understandings and values of humanity.

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Napero
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:49 am 
 

inhumanist wrote:
Napero wrote:
I believe all of the sensible human morals and ethics are the results of evolution. The completely goofy and insane ones are the results of religion.

Are you talking about memetic evolution or biological evolution? Of course any human ideology is the result of both. Biological evolution enables us to have religion and ethics and memetic evolution shapes them. So what exactly do you mean (honest question)?

For me the main difference lies in the fact that religions are the result of historically arbitrary developments. Religion (evolutionarily) serves the ideological unity of society but takes a toll on humanity by being moderately to completely bonkers.

Ethics on the other hand generally follow certain rules of logic and intellectual honesty.

I believe one of the main strengths of mankind, as a species, is the path of biological evolution that has enabled us to experience extreme memetic evolution, beyond that of any other species on the planet. In other words, our biological evolution has led us to a state where we can have beneficial memetic evolution, for example speech, writing, maths, arts, philosophy and ethics. On the other hand, the same biological adeptness has resulted in bullshit such as religion, misguided political movements and such, and combined with the same biological imperatives, results in materialism and eventually such excesses as runaway capitalism. It's the same mechanism, but applied in the wrong way, and guided by the same principles that served us well for a long time.

The worst memes, such as the major religions, tend to influence other memes and even our basic biological drives, and usually it ends up with the religion regulating the most fundamental things, such as our sexual behaviour and diets, for example. Once the control reaches that far, the memetic evolution that was built on the foundation of biological evolution, has perverted the originally beneficial characteristics to something completely different, and we get the idiotic excesses we see on the news all the time. And make no mistake, those memes take advantage of the biological drives we have, twisting them far enough to make such idiocy as a suicide bombing seem like a logical alternative in extreme cases.

Our greatest strength might well be our greatest weakness.
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Expedience
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:56 am 
 

Necessitarian wrote:
One of the things I most strongly believe in as said by Thomas Ligotti: "It's been my feeling for quite some time that the world owes me a living. ... If people are going to reproduce, they should at least set up a system that will provide all material wants of their offspring for the life of the product."

I think that quote is one of my favorite things anyone has ever said. Very true, simple, and pisses on lots of traditional understandings and values of humanity.


He's right, the world owe us a living - and has supplied it. It's just that humanity has taken it away. Why is a system needed? All the material needs are already provided. I want to eat, there's fruit growing right there on a tree for me. Of course, we've destroyed the ability to live off the land and it's impossible to go back. At the present time it would be better if we didn't try to provide for the offspring, at least then we wouldn't have such a problem with overpopulation. I can't help but feel the old way was better. Can't find anything to eat? You die - problem solved.

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Necessitarian
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:44 am 
 

Expedience wrote:
He's right, the world owe us a living - and has supplied it. It's just that humanity has taken it away. Why is a system needed? All the material needs are already provided. I want to eat, there's fruit growing right there on a tree for me. Of course, we've destroyed the ability to live off the land and it's impossible to go back. At the present time it would be better if we didn't try to provide for the offspring, at least then we wouldn't have such a problem with overpopulation. I can't help but feel the old way was better. Can't find anything to eat? You die - problem solved.

By world he means specifically society, not the whole of the natural world. All the material needs may be fulfilled, but only insofar as is needed to (barely) stay alive. Such life would be as shit as it is now as far as I'm concerned, and it wouldn't offer any effortless enjoyment. I wouldn't be so modest as to say that you're right to bring a child into the world if all it has to do is to fight to find any sort of pleasure in it. So long as most of our lives are spent on doing things you would never in a million years do voluntarily if you had no need to do them (most jobs, most of education, most of everything, really) it cannot be given a positive assessment in my opinion. As long as enjoyment isn't guaranteed by simply existing, it won't be enough to justify reproduction (to me - everyone else can do as they please, and I'm not going to care any more than simply thinking they're wrong). And it doesn't seem existence alone can ever be enough to content anyone. Not as long as we cannot by technological means tinker with our brains to somehow free us from our biological predicament and make us perpetually happy. Luckily most people can fetishise effort and hard work and art and bunch of other stuff as if they were ends in themselves and will for that reason never come to a negative assessment of our quality of life. Good for them, I guess.

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inhumanist
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:34 am 
 

@Napero: I have read about the virus of faith theory in Dawkins' writings, and I do think there is some plausibility to it, but it seems to ignore that there is a concrete advantage of having religion in a certain stage of society's development which I think is the main reason these memes could survive as long as they did: Every moderately sized society from large tribes to small nations in an unenlightened age benefits from being ideologically uniform. Only when they become so large that they cannot avoid exchange with other cultures and or secession/sectarianism religious conflict starts to endanger survival. But until that moment religious traditions have plenty of time to become so ingrained that they keep themselves alive despite being a hazard.

It also seems to be true that at these early, tribal stages, religion is mostly in harmony with the everyday reality of the tribespeople. It is a lot easier to pass on day to day practices that are part of the survival of the tribe through oral tradition if they are connected to divine rules that are not to be questioned, especially when science and written knowledge don't exist. In small tribes disagreements between members on how to correctly hunt mammoths etc. aren't a big problem because they are united by family. In large tribes these ties are weaker and they are more easily divided by disagreements which isn't all that problematic until agriculture begins. As agricultural settlements grow these conflicts become a much bigger problem because taking your family and leaving the tribe isn't an option anymore; you are chained to the land. Religion resolves this problem by providing tradition as dogma and pointing to a higher authority as justification. Daily politics can be decided by the elders (who of course abuse their power for personal gain - but that's a relatively small trade off for stability).

The problem with dogma is that it becomes a harmful relict when the conditions in which it was created no longer exist. That's why the religious caste needs to "interpret divine law" (update dogma). This makes them insanely powerful (and probably powerfully insane) and they themselves become a danger to humanity when society becomes large enough.

tl;dr: Societies need religion to grow beyond single-family tribes because they need a strong unifying factor to do so. Religion is a substitute for family. Without it agricultural societies are very unstable.

Of course all of this only applies to a limited period in human development.
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Last edited by inhumanist on Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:56 am, edited 4 times in total.
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mindshadow
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:41 am 
 

^Yes Religion was very convenient for land owners for managing the work force, nothing motivates like fear.



I believe 13 billion years is a blink in cosmic terms.
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Nahsil
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:21 pm 
 

inhumanist wrote:
Implying that secularism causes as much suffering as religion does is completely ridiculous. Religion leads to entire societies being organized with disregard for facts and human needs. Not to mention it being a mighty tool of the powerful to control the masses for their personal goals and gain (see human history).


Like I said, I wasn't really talking about macro-social stuff, more on an individual level. But just because "immoral secularists" haven't mobilized on a large scale like "immoral religious people" have doesn't mean religion is automatically less capable of being co-morbid with morality or whatever. Widespread secularism is a relatively new phenomenon after all. And you may say that it's not possible for people to rally under the banner of "not believing in a religion," but you guys are pretty strong in your belief that religion is bullshit. It's entirely possible (though I'd never ever say likely) that we could see a pendulum swing in the future and some fringe "secularists" could come to believe that religion needs to be exterminated by any means possible or whatever. Not saying that's likely, but as a thought experiment there's nothing stopping it. There's no impetus for secular people to adopt a certain set of morals (just as there's often no impetus for religious people to FOLLOW UP on their religion's stated morals).

You could probably call me a secular humanist as much as anything else, although I do like a lot of Eastern thought, but not everyone who isn't religious is going to turn to a MORAL form of secularism. Again, I'm not necessarily arguing against a move toward secularism vs religion in the way you guys are framing the issue, I'm in total agreement about the harm of superstitious, reality-contradicting belief systems, but let's not call the opposite of religion the savior either. And I do think certain religions are being underrepresented here and wrongly thrown in with bullshit like Western monotheism. I also don't see a problem with picking apart religious systems and scavenging the good bits. Mindfulness from Buddhism is clearly something worth keeping around*, even if we throw out literal interpretations of karma/reincarnation/etc. And there's nothing unhealthy about the positive, "awe-some" view of universal forces espoused by Taoism. Or even, dare I say it, a non-supernatural interpretation of Jesus Christ.

Basically, coming at this from a psychology angle, I think religion has good bits and can be used for good. I don't advocate religion as a whole, or even any one religion as a whole, because they're obviously full of crap as well, but I think sectioning off "religious thought" as inherently harmful is misguided. What's needed in my mind is the addition of critical thinking, not the subtraction of any and all forms of religious/spiritual thought.

* http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=min ... CDMQgQMwAA
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Last edited by Nahsil on Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Xlxlx
Metal freak

Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:16 pm
Posts: 5435
Location: Argentina
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:21 pm 
 

Xlxlx wrote:
yentass wrote:
It might sound weird to most, but I believe that the concept of god is, and should be viewed as, separate from religion and religious discussion.

Would you mind explaining this, Yent? Not to be a jerk or anything, but that really makes no sense.

yentass wrote:
It basically goes like this - there would never be a fruitful conversation over a subject if the participants aren't on the same page terminology wise, and it just so happens to be that the concept of higher powers is basically the only consistent parallel that could be drawn between the various religions and cultures. Therefore I think it's possible - and even neccessary - to muse about the concept of god (and I do think it's a subject worthy of discussion) without bringing religion into it, otherwise it's a waste of everybody's time by default.

While I somewhat understand what you're talking about, I think that the concept of a god/gods is not independent enough from religion to discuss both things separately, especially if, like me, you believe that gods have been created by men, and not the other way around.
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