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FredAnyman

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  1. I think that it would be beneficial to first define “religion” and be clear on the meaning before an answer to the question of “Is there any reason, any religion should still exist?” can be found. As a starting point, the definition of religion, per Merriam-Webster, can be: as an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods. Based on this definition with the belief in gods, it may be simple to answer the question by making an argument that gods do not exist and therefore the belief in gods is not rational and since religion stems from a belief in gods, religion is not rational and therefore there is no reason any religion should still exist. However, it has been theorized that religion arose out of a human need to understand the world in which we live. Religion provided, and provides, explanations for those things that humans did and do not understand e.g. thunder is the noise that Thor’s chariot makes as he rides into battle and a person goes to paradise after death if they accept Jesus. If you accept the religious beliefs then you have your understanding thus fulfilling your need and the world became a less confusing and therefore better (maybe) place to live. Based on this, the definition of religion may need to be expanded to something like: religion is the acceptance of something as existing, as true, and/or as correct without the ability to prove and/or explain why or how the something exists, is true, and/or is correct. Or in other words: religion is a faith in something. If this is the case, then it becomes much more difficult to answer the question of whether there is any reason any religion should still exist. If religion provides people with an understanding of the world that they desire/need, then it could be argued that that is a reason that religion should exist. Now some might argue at this point that there is no reason that any religion should exist because science and philosophy can provide an understanding of the world without faith. However, I do not think that this is the case and I think that religion, based on the expanded definition, does and should exist. Based on the expanded definition of religion, faith in anything is a religion and anyone can follow that religion. There does not have to be a deity, or rituals, or places of worship, in order to have faith. All that is required is that one cannot prove or explain an understating of that which they consider to be true and/or correct. The reason I think there is a need for religion is because the bulk of human knowledge, either an individual’s knowledge or the collective knowledge of the human race, is built on steps, that is one piece of knowledge is built upon another or: A leads to B which leads to C which leads to D. I recognize that the accumulation of knowledge is not always linear, e.g. the knowledge of how to build a fire came before the knowledge of the chemical process of fire, but, in general, it appears that knowledge is built on steps. So at this point, it appears that religion, based on the expanded definition, is all around us and many, if not all, people practice religion in one form or another. You may understand and be able to explain everything about D and know that D is true and correct based on your experiences or whatever, but if you do not also understand and cannot explain everything about C, B, and A, then what you have is faith that C, B, and A are correct, and therefore you follow a religion. Now there is not necessarily anything wrong with this. It is possible that due to lack of time, or motivation, or intellectual capacity, or some other reason, you are not able to understand or explain everything about C, B, A. This does not necessarily mean that D is not correct or true, rather it just means that you have, and need, faith in C, B, and A. For example, I know from personal experience that if my car is running properly it will get me down the road, this would be D. I do not know and cannot explain the mechanics and physics and everything else about why my car get me down road, that is C, B, and A. So I have faith that C, B, and A are true and correct therefore follow a religion. So back to the question of is there any reason any religion should still exist. If we accept the expanded definition of religion above, then the answer is yes. Religion needs to exist because you, the individual, with all of the limitations of a human, finite time, finite energy, etc., has and needs to have faith in things and therefore you have religion. Of course, another definition of religion could produce an entirely different answer.
  2. softwareNerd Your theory about people deriving satisfaction from discussing an idea to both clarify the idea to themselves and to communicate the idea to another person and then feeling unsatisfied and unmotivated when communication is thought to not be possible is very interesting and may even be correct. Perhaps asking "what do you mean" enough times does cause others to believe that communication is pointless, causes them to lose motivation, and leads to exasperation. So maybe I should change my approach. But another theory, one that could be supported by an interpretation of the various statements made in the posts of this thread, is that there are people who believe, in some cases believe with a religious-like zeal, that they understand an idea but who only have a superficial understanding of the idea, and when someone challenges and questions the idea, asks for explanations of and support for the idea, and does not accept as true everything that is stated, these people become defensive and look for excuses to discredit the questioner and then ultimately ignore the questioner instead of reexamining and rethinking the idea and their understanding of it. Perhaps asking "what do you mean" enough times is revealing those with only superficial understandings and causes them to lose motivation, and become exasperated, not because communication is pointless, but because they cannot answer the questions asked and do not like having their beliefs questioned. Or maybe there is some other answer; I cannot be certain. Regardless, I have found the exchange on this thread, every post in fact, to be very enlightening.
  3. softwareNerd I will not quote you if you find it troublesome. I write my posts that way because I find the quote function on the site to be clumsy and I write my posts in Word before posting them and I find it easier to retype the quotes. When tadmjones wrote, "May the force be with you, I think I see my exit" and I read it, I instantly came up with an idea as to what was meant. However, this is just my interpretation and may not be what tadmjones intended to convey. At this point I could respond to tadmjones with many statements, and maybe even paragraphs, about how wrong tadmjones is for making that statement, or I could imply that tadmjones must have some kind of mental disorder, or suggest that tadmjones doesn't understand English, or something like that all of which I have experienced on this thread. Or I could just ask what tadmjones meant by the statement. You wonder why I don't share my understanding of the statement and then ask if this is correct. It has been my experience that when I state my understanding and ask if it is correct I receive posts that proceed to explain why the writer believes that I am wrong in my thinking, the conversation goes off on tangents, and I never do find out what was meant by the original statement. While this is not always the case, it has happened enough time for me to prefer simply asking what a statement means. For example, when you made your statement about trolling, an idea about what trolling means and all of its implications came to my mind. But this is just my interpretation and may not be what you intend to convey. Now, should I spend some of these sentences with, similar to what I received in earlier posts, an "explanation" that simply states "You are not right", or should I spend some time writing about how you are not forming the concept of trolling correctly, or understanding English, or something else along those lines? Or should I just ask what you meant? As I stated earlier, I am asking questions and I do not accept answers without explanation as truth. I will continue to ask questions, and question the explanations if the explanations raise more questions, until I understand. Is this so wrong and so offensive to people? If you do not want to answer or, as you say, go in pointless circles, then you are not forced to respond to my posts or even to read them. I am trying to learn and understand, so I will continue to ask questions.
  4. andie holland, I do not understand how anything that you wrote in post #101 is relevant to the discussion of the use of force or to the questions I asked you in post #85. If you could explain, that would be helpful. But I will also ask again the question from post #85, because I am truly interested in your answer. Under one of your forms of morality, morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences, if the law stated that it was legal to enslave a group of people, or exterminate a group of people, then the use of force to either enslave or exterminate is moral because it is codified into law and that which is codified into law is moral? Is this your position?
  5. tadmjones, From post #100, “May the force be with you, I think I see my exit” I do not understand this post. What does a pop culture reference have to do with the discussion at hand and what is your exit and why do you think you see it?
  6. tadmjones, In post #97 you ask, “Why would you characterize the actions of the police in that situation as an initiation of force ?” I characterized the actions of the police in the example as an initiation of force because the police initiated force against the man who stole from me. In my example, the police force the man who stole from me into prison. I am assuming in this example that the man did not want to go to prison but the police used force to bring him there.
  7. tadmjones, In post #94 you state, “In a societal context, force is either moral or immoral. The initiation of force is immoral, not because it could or may be otherwise, but because of the nature of the act, its identity. Force is not simultaneously both at the same time and then becomes one or the other. The concept of ' the use of force' is amoral, specific actions of specific entities can be either moral or immoral when properly identified.” If the initiation of force is immoral because of the nature of the act, then how could the use of retaliatory force be moral, since the use of retaliatory force involves the initiation of force? For example, if a man breaks into my house and steals from me, that would be considered an initiation of force and would be immoral. If the police capture the man who broke into my house and imprison him, then the police have initiated force against the man and since the initiation of force is immoral because of the nature of the act, the act of capturing and imprisoning the man was immoral.
  8. softwareNerd, Why do you believe there is an "epistemological chasm"? And if there is an "epistemological chasm", do you have any ideas how to bridge it?
  9. You stated in post #84, “It seems the problem you are having is equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is, which I believe is the point SN keeps refering to.” I asked you if you were referring to the ‘use of force’ in post #86 In post #87 you stated, “I was speaking to the difference between 'deciding to label' and 'identifying'. I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.” In post #91 you stated, “I misinterptretted your question re #88, no my statement so worded would not make sense. The statement about green makes sense, because of the identity of the color green and the identity of volition.” So does this mean that a statement about identity does not apply to the ‘use of force’? How does this relate to your statement that you think I have a problem equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is?
  10. tadmjones, From post #89, “The phenomenon of 'force' in general? or a specific instance of a moral agent 'using force' in regard me ?” It would be, as stated in post #88, the ‘use of force’. But if you feel the need to be more specific, please do so as I would be interested in reading that as well.
  11. tadmjones, From post #87, “I could identify the color green, but I could not make a normative disctinction between or in reference to it , the color, and its relation to my volition.” So, in the case of the use of force, your statement would be written as, “I could identify the ‘use of force’, but I could not make a normative distinction between, or in reference, to it, the ‘use of force’, and its relation to my volition.”?
  12. tadmjones, From post #84, “It seems the problem you are having is equivocating 'deciding to label' something with identifying what the something is, which I believe is the point SN keeps refering to.” By “what the something is” are you referring to the use of force? Or do you mean that the ‘initiation of force’ is “something” and ‘the use of retaliatory force’ is a separate “something” even though they are both a use of force? Are you implying that once you identify what something is, you can then make a determination as to whether that something is moral or immoral?
  13. andie holland, From post #83, “To this end, i would say that there are, in reality two distinct forms of morality: * morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences. In these cases, it's impossible to discuss morality as if it existed in a vacuum. ** morals that give individuals latitude of behavior, and which no legal reference is necessary” So, to be clear, under one of your forms of morality, morals codified in to law that we must obey, change, or agree to suffer the consequences, if the law stated that it was legal to enslave a group of people, or exterminate a group of people, then the use of force to either enslave or exterminate is moral because it is codified into law and that which is codified into law is moral? But you also wrote, “Next, we all appreciate the distinction between law and morality in so far as thinking people come to realize that certain legal statutes are unfair, therefore immoral.” How can this be? If something is codified into law then it is moral, so how can “thinking people” decide that a codified law (legal statute in your quote) is immoral? The very fact that the law exists demonstrates that it is moral and cannot be immoral.
  14. softwareNerd, From post #81, “I think the primary reason this thread won't go anywhere particular (which does not make it value-less) stems from the inability to breach the "epistemological chasm". Can you be more specific about this "epistemological chasm"?
  15. tadmjones, You wrote in post #78, “I think the discussion has come off the rails because the OP started with the strawman that O'ism considers the use of force as immoral, without the distinction of 'initiation' of force as compared to the use of retalitory force.” No “strawman” was intended when the post was written and it even contains a qualifier, “as it appears to be” to demonstrate that I was not make a definitive statement. If you wish to put the discussion “back on the rails”, then you can offer a clarification to the original post. To anticipate this, I will restate the original post as: “I have a question concerning the difference between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force: If it is, as it appears to be, considered by Objectivism to be immoral to initiate force against someone, then why is it (or is it) moral, or at least not immoral, to use force in a retaliatory manner against someone?” (Before going any further, if you are not satisfied with the restatement, please offer your own) Despite the change of wording, the question still stands. To push the conversation further, I will add: The use of force can be either moral or immoral depending on the label it is given (either initiation or retaliatory), but it is still the use of force. How can something (the use of force in this example) be both moral and immoral? Or, is the something (the use of force in this example) neither moral nor immoral, but it becomes moral or immoral only if someone decides to label that way?
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