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I found an interesting video on TED.com today, in which speaker Alain de Botton says that, while we need not agree with religions, we (meaning atheists in general, not specifically objectivists) may want to look into adopting some of their methods. I don't agree with everything that he says, but he made some interesting points. I especially liked what he had to say about art (his view seems rather O'ist). Below I've provided a link to the video (19:21 long), which includes a complete transcript on the webpage.

http://www.ted.com/t...theism_2_0.html

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People need to think for themselves, not have people sermonizing at them (manipulating them emotionally into things they can not be convinced of rationally). He thinks that people are in need of some sort of spiritual leadership and he never really made the case why before he started offering ways to provide it.

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People need to think for themselves

Why not teach that in a church?

Is that an advice not worth giving?

Imagine if instead of two thousand years of Christianity we had two thousand years of religious Objectivism :smartass: .

If we can teach math in school why can't we teach objectivism in church? Why is that such a bad thing?

If you had to chant a thousand times:"Think for yourself!" Maybe one day you would.

Edited by Dániel Boros

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Besides education and emotional advancement there are a lot of advantages to a church set up. Social interactions, business networking, hobbies, spouse searches, etc. Not going to church can be a pretty severe disadvantage to a group of people on net. I don't go obviously, but theoretically I could see myself doing so.

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The community is out there, if you know where to look.

http://www.reasonrally.org/

I really wish I could go, but I don't have a car of my own at this point (and even if I did, gas to DC would be atrocious) and I will never convince my family to go (spiritualists, some more than others).

That Fellowship of Reason looks promising, but I'm pretty far from Georgia. Perhaps if I ever move there... Unfortunately, these kinds of church-like communities (other than actual churches) don't exist in my area (Maine...), so I will have to wait until I live in a more populated part of the country to look for something like this. I think the idea of having a community in which to share ideas and associate is a wonderful thing, but the sad truth is that, traditionally, these kinds of organizations are religious in nature.

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There isn't anything wrong with communities, but I don't like the idea of sermonizing

Why not teach that in a church?

Is that an advice not worth giving?

Imagine if instead of two thousand years of Christianity we had two thousand years of religious Objectivism :smartass: .

If we can teach math in school why can't we teach objectivism in church? Why is that such a bad thing?

If you had to chant a thousand times:"Think for yourself!" Maybe one day you would.

Objectivism is a philosophical doctirne defined by Ayn Rand. Its a good explanation of a lot of things, and most young adults should be exposed to it. However virtue can't be gained from adopting a philsophical doctirne. One has to work to aquire those healthy habits, and hopefully they have done this long before they start asking questions about epistemology. Honesty, Productivity, Inependence, those things need to come from a healthy community, like parents and educators, that the children are exposed to much more often than sunday morning.

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My healthy community tried to make me an altruist and almost succeeded. This is not the World Rand would call healthy,

If we wish to have a change -and many of us do- we shouldn't be picky about morally acceptable methods.

We should learn from Amway...seriously best religion IMHO

When I said religious Objectivism I did not mean Objectivist philosophy, but a religion based on that philosophy.

The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged are based on philosophy but nobody would claim that they are works on philosophy or that they are worthless because they are not.

Think of the tales of Andersen or even the Bible. Stories don't have to be true to be able to convey a moral message.

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I am trying to say that teachers and parents are responsible for being good examples so that children can build concepts and learn healthy habits. The fact that your parents and teacher messed up (to whatever degree) has little to do with my argument.

Art is complicated, but it already exists, and plenty of good ) art is already out there.

I think the role of priests no longer exists because the division labor has out specialized them. Being the first intellectuals and beurecrats in our civilization, they have now been replaced by more specialized individuals who can handle all of that stuff with vastly more detail, efficiency, and rationality. If humanity were reduced to scattered settlements of 1000 people each, I would agree that a priest would be an important part of a community because it might be necessary for one single man to juggle all those roles at once. However we six billion people on our planet, and emulating feuda eral intellectual culture isn't viable.

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I am trying to say that teachers and parents are responsible for being good examples so that children can build concepts and learn healthy habits.

Why should that exclude anything?

Art is complicated, but it already exists, and plenty of good ) art is already out there.

That is an appeal to tradition.

Just because there are plenty of bad religions out there doesn't mean there can't be a good religion.

I think the role of priests no longer exists because the division labor has out specialized them. Being the first intellectuals and beurecrats in our civilization, they have now been replaced by more specialized individuals who can handle all of that stuff with vastly more detail, efficiency, and rationality. If humanity were reduced to scattered settlements of 1000 people each, I would agree that a priest would be an important part of a community because it might be necessary for one single man to juggle all those roles at once. However we six billion people on our planet, and emulating feuda eral intellectual culture isn't viable.

I don't agree that priests were meant to be either intellectuals or bureaucrats. The church functioned and functions mostly independent from state, science and even philosophy. Normal churches did neither of those things. They only spread the gospels.

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"Just because there are plenty of bad religions out there doesn't mean there can't be a good religion."

Define what you mean by "religion" here. If you meant a faith based system of beliefs as typically is meant, then by definition there can't be a good one because faith is never a good thing. If you have a different idea in mind when you use the word that does not involve faith, then how would this differ essentially from a club that met regularly like already exists in a number of places? People go to local Objectivism clubs in many places for things like listening to lectures, discussing reading material, socializing, planning and coordinating activism efforts, sharing advice and inspirational things, et cetera.

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How about faith in reason?

The only way you can prove that faith in reason is irrational is by reason therefore reason is the only thing worthy of worship and have faith in.

There is no sunday objectivist school and the works of objectivism are not easy literature.

Teaching someone the philosophy of objectivism is much harder than teaching someone the morality of objectivism.

All you have to do is make some insightful stories of the philosophy (like the Bible or Plato's Socratic dialogs) and teach people that.

Why do we require everyone to take so much effort to reach such simple conclusions? Isn't that what the intellectuals are for?

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ACK! I had typed up so much to reply to your post but for some reason when I hit the back space button while typing it changed what page I was on and erased it all. :(

Well, trying to sum up what I had been writing . . . It isn't a question of merit. Faith being confident belief in the absence of sufficient evidence and logic is pretty much by definition unmerited belief. Also, faith is basically the exact opposite of reason. The idea of faith in reason starts to get all kinds of contradictory.

Why does it need to be on Sunday? Not even all real religions meet on Sundays. Objectivism is harder than faith, no doubt, but the important thing is to spread correct information, not to just get as much spreading around as you can by using whatever ideas are easy to do so with.

Simpler children's and young adults' literature which has characters acting according to Objectivism without getting explicit about the philosophical reasoning involved is fine for purposes of concretization and inspiration. I just don't see how a religious style setting would be of particular benefit to the literature.

Professional philosophers are good for dealing in details that most of us won't ever need to know anyway. For the basics though of all the major sections of the philosophy and how they tie together and tie back to reality, those kinds of things people need to grasp for use in their daily lives. If they don't know more than just stuff like, "Yay capitalism, boo altruism, don't steal or mooch, reality is really there, pursue my happiness and reason is good," then they may have a hard time figuring out how to apply those ideas to actual specific cases and when they are or are not in the context where these general rules apply. Having to run to a specialist to answer every little thing is highly inefficient and impractical, not to mention basically running your whole life on faith in whatever the specialist says then. This is the whole issue of "philosophy for Rearden" as opposed to "philosophy for Ragnar."

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Why should that exclude anything?

That is an appeal to tradition.

Just because there are plenty of bad religions out there doesn't mean there can't be a good religion.

I don't agree that priests were meant to be either intellectuals or bureaucrats. The church functioned and functions mostly independent from state, science and even philosophy. Normal churches did neither of those things. They only spread the gospels.

1) I have already posted reasons why it should exclude things.

2) Appeal to tradition? Good art will continue to be produced, some of it will be different, what I am saying is that it is already being done. So its not like people are lacking in virtue because of a lack of art.

3) The catholic church was one of the most powerful poltiical organizations in western europe for hundreds of years. The fact that the crusades could happen at all is proof of this. The average priest was most likely to be one of the few people who could read and write. He also had the ablilty to write to his bishop, and communicate (although very slowly) with a community much larger than any small feudal state.

It is also strange to think that the ancient church just "spread the gospel". First it had to organize and write down the bible to do this. In order for this to happen, a ton of people all over the world had to communicate with one another (sometimes secretly) in order to organize a large enough council to debate these issues. If you read about the Council of Trent or Nicea you will understand what I mean.

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The catholic church is one of many churches and the fact that it has gone ballistic over time doesn't prove anything. Governments have that tendency as well and that doesn't prove that their very existence is evil.

As far as I can remember no one had ever started a religion based on reason or based on the worship of reason. Well maybe Pythagoras, but that's debatable...

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1 )

The Roman Catholic Church, in the west, was the only Christian church in most areas for most of history. In the east it was the Orthodox Church, and it also had a monopoly on Religion in eastern europe for most of its history.

My very point was that the Roman Catholic Church operated on a political and intellectual level. I cited the Crusades as an example of how the Roman Catholic Church set itself apart from the common group of evangelists by organizing a war between civilizations on the grounds of aiding a third civilizations (Fight the muslims to help defend Eastern Orthodoc Christians). The ability of the Catholic Church to do this shows that one institutions was essentially performing all the functions of a civilization in europe.

I would argue that while the Roman Catholic Church was instrumental in preserving Western Europe from falling into complete and total pre-roman barbarism, that today we as a civilization have developed more complex and specialized institutions that can replace priests, bishops, and monks.

You have argued that because the Roman Catholic Church had done something that governments sometimes do, this somehow negates my argument. I do not see how this is the case, because it looks to me as though it only supports it.

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1 )

The Roman Catholic Church, in the west, was the only Christian church in most areas for most of history. In the east it was the Orthodox Church, and it also had a monopoly on Religion in eastern europe for most of its history.

My very point was that the Roman Catholic Church operated on a political and intellectual level. I cited the Crusades as an example of how the Roman Catholic Church set itself apart from the common group of evangelists by organizing a war between civilizations on the grounds of aiding a third civilizations (Fight the muslims to help defend Eastern Orthodoc Christians). The ability of the Catholic Church to do this shows that one institutions was essentially performing all the functions of a civilization in europe.

You are concentrating on the Christian Catholic Church too much. I don't think you can derive generalizations from one church.

I would argue that while the Roman Catholic Church was instrumental in preserving Western Europe from falling into complete and total pre-roman barbarism, that today we as a civilization have developed more complex and specialized institutions that can replace priests, bishops, and monks.

You have argued that because the Roman Catholic Church had done something that governments sometimes do, this somehow negates my argument. I do not see how this is the case, because it looks to me as though it only supports it.

No I did not argue for that. All I said that not all churches have to necessarily take specific roles in society just because there was one or a few churches that took that role in the past.

I argued that just because that there was a church that messed up doesn't mean that all churches by definition are messed up.

Same with government. More governments messed up than didn't and yet objectivists still claim that there's a proper role for government that makes it necessary.

Religion is medium by which ideas are spread to the people. A set of rules and traditions that are meant to keep the idea alive and consistent.

That doesn't however exclude the people spreading the message from doing anything anywhere. Why should the members of a church be saints without any kind of faults or self interest?

Religions today don't have the kind of power they did in the past. Try promoting another crusade and you will understand what I mean...

Our phobia over religion is not justified....

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In his podcast, Episode 64, on June 1, 2009, Dr. Peikoff was asked:

03:50: "'Do you see value in having Objectivist churches? By church here I mean an institution that will serve a similar role for Objectivist as traditional churches do for religious adherents in the sense of providing spiritual and emotional fuel to the soul by providing a means to connect in person with others who are also pro-reason.'"

Listen here on Dr. Peikoff's site for his response.

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He's using a straw man...

I am talking about a cat not a duck...

He is assuming that the content of the religion would be the same even if the content was created by objectivists and he drops the idea based on that non existent content.

Religion was defined there without any reference to the supernatural...

Spirituality doesn't necessarily mean supernatural... and even if it did that was not the main point.

Edited by Dániel Boros

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Define "religion." I asked that earlier and it wasn't clearly answered. If you do not reject faith as part of religion, then you never responded to my next post about the problem with faith. If you do reject faith as an element, then how do you differentiate religion from philosophy and are you *sure* that "religion" is really the right word for what you mean?

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