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> What Is The Ideal Stance On Religion?, Paging Gene Roddenberry
flyingbuttressman
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 02:41 PM


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Religion (and lack of it) is the source of much conflict in the world, and even on this forum. We have 3-ish categories: Atheists, Agnostics/Sort-Ofs, and Believers.

Atheists think that all religion is bullsh*t
Agnostics think that anything is possible
Believers think they know the truth

Believers aren't really open to changing their stance on religion, so this post is mainly intended to target Atheists and Agnostics/Sort-Ofs. Given your ideal future, how do you see religion being treated in 100 years? Assume that religion still exists, and is practiced by at least a third of the world's population.

I bring up Gene Roddenberry because in his vision of the future, belief in the metaphysical is treated with respect and only challenged when that belief conflicts with the human sentient rights of others. This contrasts with the attitudes of many atheists today, who take every opportunity to criticize and insult religion and the religious. I, myself have been guilty of this on occasion, but this is not how I want the world to work.

This post has been edited by flyingbuttressman on Apr 4 2012, 02:42 PM


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Sinister Utopia
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 06:57 PM


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QUOTE (flyingbuttressman @ Apr 4 2012, 02:41 PM)
Religion (and lack of it) is the source of much conflict in the world, and even on this forum. We have 3-ish categories: Atheists, Agnostics/Sort-Ofs, and Believers.

Atheists think that all religion is bullsh*t
Agnostics think that anything is possible
Believers think they know the truth

Believers aren't really open to changing their stance on religion, so this post is mainly intended to target Atheists and Agnostics/Sort-Ofs. Given your ideal future, how do you see religion being treated in 100 years? Assume that religion still exists, and is practiced by at least a third of the world's population.

I bring up Gene Roddenberry because in his vision of the future, belief in the metaphysical is treated with respect and only challenged when that belief conflicts with the human sentient rights of others. This contrasts with the attitudes of many atheists today, who take every opportunity to criticize and insult religion and the religious. I, myself have been guilty of this on occasion, but this is not how I want the world to work.

I personally don't have any particular issues with 'Metaphysics' which I always thought was a branch of philosophy or something? If you mean 'Supernatural' beliefs then I see no automatic reason to treat these beliefs with any particular respect. I would however resist disrespecting the believer without good reason.

In my experience as both believer and non-believer I've come to realise that criticism and insult are often perhaps unavoidably one and the same thing (to the believer). I see no reason why these beliefs should hold any particular immunity from criticism. I can't see why that needs to change going forward.

I suspect that the best one can realistically hope for 100 years from now is that the religious institutions themselves (as they have done in the past and now) reform away from their many more harmful, divisive and outdated beliefs to at least (as they have done in the past and now) be dragged along behind an evolving more reasoned secular moral framework. Hopefully to the point at which their 'flocks' are too rationally sophisticated to allow them to get away with the kind of 'hocus-pocus' nonsense we've all become accustomed to these days and historically.

An end to the traditional subjugation of women, mutilation of children and generally talking bollocks about science and how the universe works etc would also be welcome positives in the future! laugh.gif


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soundhertz
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 07:05 PM


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Above are two of the finest posters on this forum.
QUOTE
I bring up Gene Roddenberry because in his vision of the future, belief in the metaphysical is treated with respect and only challenged when that belief conflicts with the human sentient rights of others. This contrasts with the attitudes of many atheists today, who take every opportunity to criticize and insult religion and the religious. I, myself have been guilty of this on occasion, but this is not how I want the world to work.
I think Gene is merely extending the Prime Directive from a civilization to the individual. Also, if Gene is allowing for the Q continuum, he is accepting metaphysics, but as physics we do not grasp yet, not something anti-physics. This could be a very interesting thread.


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flyingbuttressman
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 08:20 PM


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QUOTE (soundhertz @ Apr 4 2012, 03:05 PM)
I think Gene is merely extending the Prime Directive from a civilization to the individual. Also, if Gene is allowing for the Q continuum, he is accepting metaphysics, but as physics we do not grasp yet, not something anti-physics. This could be a very interesting thread.

The Prime Directive is a revolutionary idea, especially because it is essentially anti-colonial. I wonder if Gene was thinking of avoiding the mistakes of the European Colonial Empires when he imagined the Federation.

The scientific and philosophical idea behind Star Trek is that science is an eternal process of discovery, with greater and more powerful secrets hidden behind every door. Star Trek embodies futuristic idealism like no other fictional universe does.


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Granouille
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 10:56 PM


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May I be a believer in God as creator, and still maintain that all religions (not philosophies of behaviour) are complete crap?

Many start out as a philosophy of behaviour, then degenerate into a mechanism of control or profit. mad.gif


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flyingbuttressman
Posted: Apr 4 2012, 11:45 PM


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QUOTE (Sinister Utopia @ Apr 4 2012, 02:57 PM)
I personally don't have any particular issues with 'Metaphysics' which I always thought was a branch of philosophy or something? If you mean 'Supernatural' beliefs then I see no automatic reason to treat these beliefs with any particular respect. I would however resist disrespecting the believer without good reason.

"Metaphysical" is often used to denote supernatural traits or beliefs. They mean close to the same thing.
QUOTE
In my experience as both believer and non-believer I've come to realise that criticism and insult are often perhaps unavoidably one and the same thing (to the believer). I see no reason why these beliefs should hold any particular immunity from criticism. I can't see why that needs to change going forward.

A lot of people have trouble with this. It's really easy to go from "you shouldn't be offended by criticism" to "you shouldn't be offended by anything I say." A lot of atheists believe that they need to put up a strong front and actively defend their position. The #1 source of a-holes is groups of people that feel threatened somehow. If you want to live in an idealistic world, act like it's already here.


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AlexG
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 12:27 AM


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I thing that the ideal stance regarding religion is one of running away as fast as possible.


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flyingbuttressman
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 12:41 AM


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As a follow up question, does anyone else find attempted conversion as obnoxious as I do? If someone had tried to convert me to atheism when I was a believer, I probably would have been quite annoyed. I don't see why evangelism is considered to be socially acceptable.


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soundhertz
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 04:49 AM


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QUOTE (investigator)
Is not so for atheist this is different from religion people when "conversion" is spoken, because atheist addresses information where religion people addresses belief?

It's still attempted conversion; that is, trying to change somebody's mind against their own will. It's different if someone comes to you because they are looking to change their mind to something better, implying realization that their current belief is inadequate. It is different if someone, simply by being with you, is motivated to change their belief. But if they are yet content with their belief, and they do not want or are not ready for 'addressing of information', they will not view the atheist with open arms and will view the atheist's information as lacking and inadequate. Both atheists and theists are both passive/live-and-let-live, or aggressive/coercive (missionary). Usually trying to change somebody's mind against their will only serves to anchor them more to their view. We've certainly seen that here, in both scientific and religious subjects.
QUOTE (SU)
If you mean 'Supernatural' beliefs then I see no automatic reason to treat these beliefs with any particular respect. I would however resist disrespecting the believer without good reason.
QUOTE (Invstgtr)
Mind what you do and who do you do it to because they may do same to you too if you think it ok to do that to them.
These are much better courses of action for the non-theist to take. And there are plenty of theists who also abide by these.
QUOTE (fbm)
The Prime Directive is a revolutionary idea, especially because it is essentially anti-colonial. I wonder if Gene was thinking of avoiding the mistakes of the European Colonial Empires when he imagined the Federation.

The scientific and philosophical idea behind Star Trek is that science is an eternal process of discovery, with greater and more powerful secrets hidden behind every door. Star Trek embodies futuristic idealism like no other fictional universe does.
Agree with all of it.

To the original question, I almost sit blank when I try to conceive of just what the technology will be producing in a hundred years. 150 years ago, it took longer to "go talk" to your neighbor a block away than it would take to "talk" to any of the most distant persons from you on the planet today. Science and technology have evolved remarkably. But afa my ideal future, religion's dark cloud would be nonexistent through attrition of unnecessary tenets made meaningless. Could the concept of and belief in Perfect Mind still maintain? Sure. Would we be any closer to ascertaining it? I don't know.


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NymphaeaAlba
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 08:39 AM


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Youíre right, unsolicited advice is never welcomed. Armed with knowledge at your fingertips, borrowed wisdom is dished out in discussion forums, mainly to fulfill our need to be right. I canít speak for all atheist, but they donít need other people's input to validate their position, reality does that.

Iím not out to recruit members. Iíve never posted in a religious forum, or knocked on doors, nor stood outside of a church to hand out pamphlets. I think that most atheists who promote atheism are simply trying to plant a seed of doubt and promote critical thinking. I happened to feel that believing in the supernatural can be harmful, but it doesnít mean that Iím only out to criticize religion. I enjoy discussing the nature of religion within a social science context. I also see nothing wrong with refuting the misconceptions that people have about atheism.

The whole point is to get people to tolerate atheists. We are ostracized simply for what we don't believe. Weíre expected to remain quiet, so as not to offend the so-called normal people. Everyone considers you a zealot if you do not hide or downplay your lack of belief. Even if you just say youíre an atheist they think youíre too out spoken.

In a hundred years, I hope it finds its proper place in mythology because it is nothing more than pseudo-food for the soul.
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"I once ascended to the firmaments. I first went to see Hell and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. As I came closer, I understood their predicament.

"Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so he could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.

"Next I went to visit Heaven. I was surprised to see the same setting I had witnessed in Hell Ė row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to Hell, the people here in Heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously sated from their sumptuous meal.

"As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had his arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented him from bending his elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?

"As I watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! The recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

I suddenly understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other.

I ran back to Hell to share this solution with the poor souls trapped there. I whispered in the ear of one starving man, "You do not have to go hungry. Use your spoon to feed your neighbor, and he will surely return the favor and feed you."

"'You expect me to feed the detestable man sitting across the table?' said the man angrily. 'I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating!'

"I then understood Godís wisdom in choosing who is worthy to go to Heaven and who deserves to go to Hell."

Heaven and hell do not exist but life is such.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_long_spoons


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synthsin75
Posted: Apr 5 2012, 12:59 PM


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I have no problem with any attempted conversion, whether atheist, theist, or what have you. I am versed enough on the source material of most disseminators to either diffuse them quickly, feeding their own material back to them, or have fun asking questions few are prepared to answer.

In the future, comparative religious studies, including atheism, should be mandated as basic curriculum for a "well-rounded" primary/secondary education. For one, there's really not much left to disseminate if everyone is already educated in the basics of all major religions. Secondly, it would naturally create a less contentious understanding among worldviews.

Would this help atheists feel any less put upon by the majority of differing worldviews still acting on their beliefs? I don't know, but no one can reasonably expect anyone to act in a manor divorced from that which most informs their opinion.

The first step I suggest for easing the perceived political problems would be to remove the money from politics. Perhaps then candidates would campaign on their actual platform instead of pandering.


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soundhertz
Posted: Apr 6 2012, 06:33 AM


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Hi Investigator,
I agree with the spirit of your opinion. I do not agree with religion. Presenting rational information with good intent is fine. Teaching children rational information is of course what should be done, instead of having them kneel at darkened altars in guilt before a god who they are told will surely send them to hell at a whim. I bore 7 years of Catholic schooling; my loathing has not been tempered.

But trying to change someone's mind against their will galvanizes them further, with even less chance now of ration and reason ever breaking through. I do not agree with aggressive coercion. I do not agree with missionaries. I have presented information to theists in discussions. I've never tried to tell them they've been in error all their lives, ramming information down their throats - that's being a missionary (not including the drama that has existed here in the past, which is atypical of in-the-flesh discussions, at least for me).

QUOTE


QUOTE (soundhertz @ Apr 5 2012, 04:49 AM)

QUOTE (Investigator)
Mind what you do and who do you do it to because they may do same to you too if you think it ok to do that to them.

(soundhertz)These are much better courses of action for the non-theist to take. And there are plenty of theists who also abide by these.


(Investigator)I disagree sir. Theists start from god and see things so so but not quite objective. Where atheists start from objective and see god as so so and not real. Different ways. Thankyou.


That is a very broad brush stroke there. It implies that there are few theists who adopt a live-and-let-live attitude towards others. It implies that every theist you've ever known lobbied for your soul.

Well, we speak from what our experiences are. In my particular experience of those I know reasonably well, I know more theists than non-theists. Of them all, I know just one that would fit the implication above. The rest are quite live-and-let-live. Not that I haven't been asked to try religion out by some, but it's conversational. I've easily asked them to try living for a day as if the Bible wasn't true for them. And we all laugh. Even spirited debates, never leading into argument, never threatening relationships.
So, although I agree with everything you have said otherwise, we will have to disagree on these particular issues:

1) coercion, against another's will, is detrimental rather than beneficial overall; and
2) there are plenty of theists who do live their lives without intruding their faith on others.

Now, without being sycophantic, I think you are a truly fine addition to this forum. I'm adding this because we can't give feedback anymore, and you're the first poster in a long time that I would want to give positive feedback to.

But don't let that stop the debate - have at it if you disagree with my points! cool.gif
QUOTE (NA)
The whole point is to get people to tolerate atheists. We are ostracized simply for what we don't believe.

And from what I read and saw in the media regarding the atheist conclave in DC a few weeks ago, we are at the bottom of every demographic (I say 'we' because agnostics are included in this by the general public. Remember, saying 'there might be a God; who knows' also condemns to hell). The media reaction was condescending overflowing to denigration. According to Wiki, American's distrust of atheists is higher than their distrust of Muslims. Seems that Christians feel that Allah is better than nothing....
The last thing an atheist needs to be is a missionary. Lobbyist perhaps, but carefully...

This ties in with fbm's original query: where will all this be in a hundred years, according to each's ideal future, but still having 1/3+ people that are theists? I've been pondering this after my last post. So far, this is what I have:

We know that the very gestalt of technology is basically following Moore's Law. I've long championed the 'technocracy' as the inevitable future lattice that will be establishing/supporting government and society, with today's sorry lot of corporate/financial/gov't/military centers undergoing inevitable metamorphoses, some of it into oblivion. Since I am an optimist, and we're talking ideal futures, I see the *main* source of conflict - scarcity - being reduced, also in Moore's Law fashion, by technology. I am extending this reduction of scarcity to affect the entire social structure - tribalism, class warfare, etc. A lexicon of negative social activities would begin fading as life for greater and greater numbers of people doesn't merely get better, it gets good. And eventually, life gets good for all, generally speaking (absolutes are hard to come by).

I believe all this must have a giant impact on religion, for religion itself arises partially out of scarcity, need, fear, and for those of astute deviousness, method to power, which is why Abrahamic faiths, especially Islam, is increasing presently, as the world currently strives with global conundrums of all sorts. But this will change, and dramatically. As the core bastions that support a socially cannibalistic doctrine unravel in both society and religion - like dominoes the consequences of these fall away. The world condition continues to improve not theoretically but tangibly, down to a person. The Abrahamic philosophy is receding from the reality that is forcing it's irrelevance, it's darkened view of a condemned world increasingly more difficult to justify, good and co-equal living is presenting a view not allowed without the events of the Apocalypse, yet here it is. I cannot see how the big three faiths could endure this and not be eventually relegated to a tiny fraction of present size, as attrition follows irrelevance.

However, we are already seeing an evolution of esoteric thought, and not in accord with the Big Three. Religions such as Unitarian are not just a horse of a different color, they're not even a horse anymore.
QUOTE
Built to resemble an ancient cave, the chapel at North Shore Unitarian Church features overhead lights in the pattern of constellations. Reverend Gary James gives his sermons from behind a transplanted boulder that sits on natural soil, which chipmunks have been known to burrow out of. The fused glass windows include depictions of the big bang, evolution and human achievements in architecture and science.

Itís a striking, if unusual, gathering place for a congregation that shares a sense of community, if not a common belief in a single traditional religion.
http://deerfield.patch.com/articles/unitarian-church-welcomes-congregants-of-all-faiths

Because what is already happening, is that people are shedding dogma, and with each molt, 'faith' is becoming less of an adherence to the innumerable shifting figures in religion's complex contradicting chronology, and more of a holding to the simplicity of the stripped bare philosophy: be altruistic and benevolent, contribute to the good of all including self, do these as best as your circumstances allow, strive to broaden your circumstances, love God, self, and neighbors, and the 'kingdom within' will be apprehended.

This sort of theology would not be in conflict with a technological society. It does not present multiple scenes of ancient tribal strife with God taking sides. It does not engender the very conditions that would be primogenitor of ongoing future reruns paid in homage to this history. This theology looks less and less through the rear window, and more and more out of the windshield, and the past is not fixing the present, thus leaving the future alone.

This tangent of theism is becoming more and more legion. It is moving away from Abraham and towards Buddha. By it's very nature, it strives to prevail against nothing save personal human weakness. Were it not for the aspect of Deity in it, atheists would merely see it as a nice way to live, at the least. Yet in this guise, even the aspect of Deity does not blemish a technocracy or tarnish society when Deity is not looked to as either savior or executioner, but rather as a discovery, and for the theists of one hundred years from now, the eventual and final discovery.

An 'ideal' future was asked for including the necessity of being theism in it, and here is my version.


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MjolnirPants
Posted: Apr 7 2012, 05:52 PM


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QUOTE (flyingbuttressman @ Apr 4 2012, 09:41 AM)
This contrasts with the attitudes of many atheists today, who take every opportunity to criticize and insult religion and the religious. I, myself have been guilty of this on occasion, but this is not how I want the world to work.

Just yesterday (several months after announcing to most of the people I know that I'm done trying to remain religious and am an outright atheist) I wished someone a happy Easter as I was preparing to leave work. I was promptly scolded for "forcing [my] religious beliefs on others" and listened patiently for five minutes while the woman I had said this to explained why all religion is bullshit and evil and suggested I read a few popular books by Dawkins and Gould.

Naturally, I then proceeded to -sarcastically and with great melodrama- explain to her for ten minutes how Jesus H. Christ was my personal lord and savior and how all atheists were godless heathens who will burn in hell. I would have gone on further, except I started to feel nauseous and admitted that I was also an atheist and told her to shut the hell up and quit making us look like complete retards every time someone says anything with any religious connotations.

It just seems that no matter how I affiliate myself, I'm always going to be a mоrоn magnet...


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flyingbuttressman
Posted: Apr 7 2012, 07:29 PM


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QUOTE (MjolnirPants @ Apr 7 2012, 01:52 PM)
It just seems that no matter how I affiliate myself, I'm always going to be a mоrоn magnet...

Ha.
It probably doesn't help that atheists like to pat themselves on the back by pulling out statistics on atheist scientists and the like.

It's really easy to go from "this opinion is logical" to "all my opinions are logical."


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Posted: Apr 8 2012, 01:53 PM


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