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What if there was no religion?



  • Let Mr.Period be annoying....It's his job.
  • RymRym
    edited June 2006
    "If we were all rational beings we would recognize that the need for pretty things is superfluous. If we were all rational beings we would recognize the uselessness of drugs (outside of medication) and they're accompanying pretty colors."

    I feel that rational beings can still disagree. One may rationally consider the facts about, say, drug use, and then make an informed decision to use them anyway, fully aware of the consequences. Another may choose not to, deciding that the risks outweigh the benefits. Both are rational actors making rational decisions based on factual or scientifically-derived information.

    Rational doesn't mean optimal. It means informed. Rational actors can disagree on morals, ideas, conclusions, aesthetics, etc... The only restriction is on facts: a rational actor cannot disagree with another on fact.

    If such a thing happens, then one of the following is true:
    1. The veracity of the fact is uncertain.
    2. One or more of the actors is uninformed.
    3. One or more of the actors is being deceptive.
    Take a board game with three players. Everyone is acting rationally, but they are still acting in their own self-interest. They all interact with the same known quantity: the game. Despite this known quantity (factual information), they each make different conclusions as to how action should be taken. Player one acts in his own interest, to the possible detriment of player two. Identical information: different decisions.

    Rationality merely means making as informed of a decision as you can and understanding that, in a void of information, your decision may in fact be faulty.

    edit: fixed a typo before Mr. Period got me
    Post edited by Rym on
  • I'm late to this one, though I like discussing religion so I'll throw in my two cents. I think it's interesting how the current religious climate paints people's perceptions. This is especially obvious when it comes to Christianity, since it has been the major Western religious influence for the past 1500 years, about.

    It's true that in our current climate, religion has been used as an influence to maintain influence over people, but this hasn't always been the case. If you look at the history, all religions basically started out by relieving the guilt associated with slaughtering animals for food. The consumption of meat in those days was usually as a sacrifice to some higher power. (See the first 10 books of Leviticus for an example of this.) Also, religion was used as a way of explaining what couldn't be explained otherwise without the invention of science.

    It was only over time that religious instutions grew to become the controling influence it is today. I see it as slightly ironic how people mention Christianity as one of these controlling influences. Jesus (if he actually existed) was a major opponent of religious control over the individual person.

    If you strip away all of the mysticism surrounding Jesus (I'm talking about the water into wine, walking on water, being the son of a god, only being able to get into heaven by believing in his sacrifice, etc.), he wouldn't be too different from the anarchist of today. His basic teaching was to be a good person, live in peace, not make any promises, hold no national identity, and not to fight back if anyone does anything bad to you. In his time, if you did these things, you were considered an atheist.

    It is for these reasons that he was crucified (if he did exist). It is also no accident that all the "Christian" institutions play up the mysticism angle and totally disregard all of Jesus's teachings (if he ever gave them).

    There will always be someone using religion (or anything they can really) to control you, but there are plenty of people that fight against this infuence, if only people would listen.
  • If there was no religion, I suspect the following would happen:
    1. People who fear what awaits them after death will freak out and attempt to make a religion. >_<
    2. Scientific progress will abound due to the lack of irrational resistance given by fundamentalists.
    3. All religious conflicts will be replaced with good ol' fashioned landgrabbing.
    4. I would be a happy gal. XD
  • Interesting observation. People would make up God or some other means to explain themselves away from fear. My personal favourite would be if everyone turned to the force. Maybe that's how it all began?
  • Ugh.

    My Church has pissed me off recently. I'm Catholic. Notice I didn't say "My religion." I'm perfectly happy with my religion. It's the human aspect of the Church and its leader I have issues with right now.

    Part of my argument with this "debate" is that it boils down to everyone claiming everyone else is wrong. I'm happy being Catholic. I believe in God, have prayed, believe that there is an afterlife and that Purgatory is like the waiting room at the doctor's office. Am I telling you that it's the only way? Nope. Are many of you telling me that my way is wrong? Yup. The more some of you rail against religion, the more you sound like religious fundamentalists. You become so adamant about your position that everyone against you is wrong and committing an evil act.

    To compare to another controversial subject, it's like people yelling about gay marriage. They say it affects hetero marriage in some way. Nope. Two dudes getting hitched in no way affects my marriage any more than a hetero couple. My belief in no way affects you. Yours shouldn't affect me.
  • edited July 2007
    You know why religion makes sense to so many people? We're all in this consciousness that our brain outputs, and somehow, most think that it must mean that we have some kind of soul or spirit inside of us. I went to Christian schools for eight years, and this became more apparent to me as time went on. Religion is basically a vice to control large sums of individuals, and get them to live their lives a certain way. The idea of hell is to scare the people into believing it. Without hell, less people would go to church. And the translation of hell in the Bible (NIV/KJ) is wrong. The fire and brimstone idea was mistranslated, or probably just added in. In the real Hebrew text, it's a place of separation from god. Who wouldn't mind that, especially when heaven is constantly worshipping the lord.

    Plus, there are no historical writings, besides the Bible, that talk of Jesus. That's because Jesus is a huge mix of many different characters before him, that most likely didn't exist either. Mary, Moses, Jesus, all were just new names for some fictional figures in the Egyptian religion.

    If you want to see something that explains all of this check out Zeitgeist: Zeitgeist Movie
    Post edited by glimpster on
  • What if there was no religion? What if the atheists got what we've been wanting? Would everybody flip out because there's no afterlife to punish them for their wrongdoings?
    Would no religion also mean no Atheism?
  • Atheism is not a religion. If there were no religion everyone would be atheist by default.
  • Atheism is not a religion. If there were no religion everyone would be atheist by default.
    Not true. As was pointed out earlier, religion is not necessary for belief in a higher power or the supernatural. If there were no religion, there would be billions of people trying to figure things out for themselves.
  • Uhhhh, anybody heard of agnosticism- believing that that there might or might not be a god?
  • Not true. As was pointed out earlier, religion is not necessary for belief in a higher power or the supernatural. If there were no religion, there would be billions of people trying to figure things out for themselves.
    Yeah. I was thinking "irrational belief in one or more deities," but what came out was "religion".
  • My belief in no way affects you. Yours shouldn't affect me.
    If only this were true.

    While I have no doubt the above is true in your case, it is not true in the case of many people claiming to be your spiritual brethren.

    Others' religious beliefs affect many aspects of my life (which is conducted in the USA in my case):
    • I couldn't buy a bottle of champagne on a Sunday morning for the brunch I held last week.
    • I have picked out an object in a store (Pitfall II for my Atari 2600), brought it to the checkout counter, and been turned away because "we can only sell food on Sunday because of the Blue Laws".
    • There is a placard in my kid's elementary school reminding me that "In God We Trust" is the national motto by act of Congress; it's printed on an American flag background, conflating goliness and patriotism.
    • My money reminds me of the national motto every time I pay cash for something.
    • My kid is made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance (which should a suspect ritual in this land), including the part "under God".
    I could go on.

    People's religious beliefs will affect others in many ways, just like their political beliefs, their tastes, and their thoughts on various philisophical and scientific questions. I accept that: it is an unavoidable part of living together in a society, and mostly a force for good in the long run, to the extent that it makes for a vigorous marketplace of ideas.

    The special problem I have with religious beliefs in particular is the silly taboo in our culture (again, I speak of the USA here) against discussing these things. If someone calls themselves "a Conservative" or "a Liberal", I would not be sinning by engaging them in a discussion, and maybe trying to convert them to my point of view. This is "Not Done" with regards to religion. Asking someone about why they believe in God, or what's so special about their particular scriptures, is considered disrespectful.

    This needs to stop. I am not for attacking believers just for sport, but that is not the situation. People in power and their supporters take actions based on their beliefs, that affect me. In that case, I should get to talk about whether their beliefs make any sense. That is fairness and rationality.
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