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dream_weaver

Is there any reason, any religion should still exist?

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Classic Christian rug-pulling, equivocating two uses of the same word. My religious 20-year-old in-law does it all the time. But, he doesn't know anything about Rand's ideas, unlike you. I can't imagine you haven't come across Rand's ideas on reason *vs.* faith, so I'm going to assume you just disagree with her. And I have no interest in discussing that particular disagreement.

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You're nit-picking.

It's like he said "Humans need to eat uncontaminated food", and your response is that "humans can tolerate quite some contamination".

 

Actually my response is that faith, led by reason, gave those early explorers the courage to sail beyond the horizon, where reason alone (delimited only to what is known) would have logically held them back to the safety of known waters.  All I'm saying is you can't know something prior to knowing it, and in that respect faith in yourself to figure it out is a good thing.

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Actually my response is that faith, led by reason, gave those early explorers the courage to sail beyond the horizon, where reason alone (delimited only to what is known) would have logically held them back to the safety of known waters.  All I'm saying is you can't know something prior to knowing it, and in that respect faith in yourself to figure it out is a good thing.

How would you compare your notion of faith to what I mean when I say that I have confidence in my abilities, in unknown situations, to see me through?

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  1. Could you share what those are? 
  2. Yes, of-course! When you have two or more alternatives, it is wise to look at both the rights and the wrongs of each. In the topic Objectivism and Buddhism, there was a reason pointed out that Kids would be more rebellious if it were not for Religion. If there is any truth to that statement wouldn't you rather preach a mix of religious philosophy and Objectivism to your kids. 
  3. I agree. 

P.S. : I personally would rather let my kids be rebellious than preach something that I do not accept. 

 

One that I was considering when I made the response is with regard to Christianity and Judaism, would be the origin(s) of life. While bio-science continues to investigate life's origins, Objectivism is more or less silent on the topic. In Selected Topics in the Philosophy of Science, Harry Binswanger states unequivocally that the evidence for evolution is a fact (disc 3, track 3) - albeit, he does not consider this a matter for philosophers.

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[..]but religion can make you feel better about the answer, or worse depending...

 

Do you enjoy doing math?   Does it give you peace of mind to know that every time you add 1 + 1 you will arrive at 2??  Religion avoids math anxiety by working the problem backwards.  Religion provides the answer (revealed) and then explains how to get there (ritual).

 

How often have you heard a religious person say, "Everthing happens for a reason"?  That statement gains potency when times are hard.  A Creator creates order, and that provides a great deal of comfort in uncertain times.  Do you know why the heretic is so despised?  Because he is the greatest threat to an orderly universe.

 

I enjoy Math. :P It gives me great pleasure to find answers and solve logical questions and puzzles. Of-course, if I am not able to solve I will refer my books. But I will make sure that the answer in the book has a consistent logical solution to the answer. Are all rituals logical ? 

 

The phrase "Everything happens for a Reason" is used in order to console someone who is going throw a rough patch, indicating whatever that is happening will play out in a future event, in a positive way. This has nothing to do with religion.

 

[..]  "Here be dragons" specifically refers to dangerous places that weren't known, therefore requiring early explorers to have faith that their skill as seaman would be sufficient to the task of navigating them beyond the horizon of their knowledge and home again.

 

"To boldly go where no man has gone before (and lived to tell about it)"

It's one thing to assert that reason is supreme, but to carry the argument to the point where faith is irrelavent is amusing given the historical record.  You are talking about human beings, aren't you??

 

 

I would agree that faith has its place for the reason :

  1. that man is not absolutely sure of all situations and all results.
  2. that man does not immediately posses the data and faculty required to calculate probability for real life situations.
  3. that when man says "I will win" even though he knows he is holding a thought against probability, he becomes more efficient and more effective because by having faith n himself, all his thoughts are focused on the objective and thus resulting in increased performance.

Faith in something that can happen; that has a probability is fine. But faith in religion is different; it demands faith in 'God' i.e. either something that has zero probability. 

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How would you compare your notion of faith to what I mean when I say that I have confidence in my abilities, in unknown situations, to see me through?

 

As approximations of the same firm belief.  If you begin with the premise that you can't know something before you know it; that knowing it dismisses the need for faith, then when you reach past the limits of your knowledge are you taking a leap of belief?

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Actually my response is that faith, led by reason, gave those early explorers the courage to sail beyond the horizon, where reason alone (delimited only to what is known) would have logically held them back to the safety of known waters.  All I'm saying is you can't know something prior to knowing it, and in that respect faith in yourself to figure it out is a good thing.

 

From the Galt speech:

Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little that you know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life.

 

What you are calling faith in yourself to figure it out, Rand called trusting your mind to expand your knowledgeRand took terms literally and in that sense you are equivocating.

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As approximations of the same firm belief.  If you begin with the premise that you can't know something before you know it; that knowing it dismisses the need for faith, then when you reach past the limits of your knowledge are you taking a leap of belief?

When I say that I have "confidence in my abilities" to deal with the unknown, I consider my confidence to be rooted in knowledge -- my knowledge of those abilities, and knowledge of experiences I've had with past unknown circumstances.

When I say that I have confidence, or trust, in another person, I am again referring to knowledge that I have of their character or their ability or their skill.

In none of these circumstances would I use the term "faith" to describe what I mean, though I know others might use that word to express what I take to be largely the same sentiment.

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As approximations of the same firm belief.  If you begin with the premise that you can't know something before you know it; that knowing it dismisses the need for faith, then when you reach past the limits of your knowledge are you taking a leap of belief?

 

Debate on faith is not same as discussing religion because - All religions (at-least theistic ones) are based on faith, but all faith is not religion.

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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.

 

<snip>

 

Of course, another definition of religion could produce an entirely different answer.

From one of the references in the OP, John Ridpath was working with this definition from lecture 1 disk 1 track 1 9:25:

A set of mystical views about the supernatural origins of, workings of, and purposes of reality, and what that implies about the living of human life.

 

He later identified what he was looking for was "religion as an answer", and he started thinking about the questions. He came up with these on lecture 1 disk 1 track 2 at 9:38:

What is it?

Where did it come from?

How do I know it?

What should I do?

 

He states that all religions are answers to these questions.

 

Keep in mind, this is a vast oversimplification here. This leaves out the build up to the definition (Galileo's trial), and about 15 minutes of touching base with many things before arriving at these four questions.

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OK, so that we can remain on the same page then, which definition of faith are you using to define something unknown, but presumed to exist?

 

It is faith (an irrational one ?) to presume something as existent but for which there is no evidence. But faith can also be synonymous to trust, belief and conviction

 

I hope you had checked out post # 30.

Edited by Anuj

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While faith and religion do hold hands, Anuj correctly points out that faith is evident in other areas as well. The colloquial usage of faith, as the conviction of or the trusting of one's mind can, and often is seized upon to try to shake convictions and insert a metaphoric crowbar in to try and leverage an element of doubt.

 

Aristotle classified man with the genus animal and the differentia of rational. He identified man as the rational animal.

Miss Rand adhered to this throughout her writings. Questions to the contrary should be teased out in a separate inquiry.

 

Does man appeal to faith in various issues pertinent to his life is self-evident. Should he appeal to faith is a moral question.

 

The question, as I read it was: Is/are there any reason/reasons, any religion(s) should still exist. The current contenders:

  1. God or religion arises whenever there are questions that seem to be unanswerable.
  2. [R]eligion still exists because it is adapting itself to the changes taking place around it.
  3. As StrictlyLogical pointed out in post #2, methods of acquiring beliefs by faith can be taught as readily as methods of acquiring knowledge by reason.
  4. Closely related to point 3, JASKN points out in post #13, (p)ersonally, I think the biggest damage religion inflicts is on how a person thinks. The notion that someone is watching over you at all times has vast implications on inner thought -- problem solving, value choices, assigned importance on different life events, perceived self-efficacy, etc. etc. etc.
Edited by dream_weaver

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The question, as I read it was: Is/are there any reason/reasons, any religion(s) should still exist. The current contenders:...  

Those contenders address why religion arose and why is hangs on.

So, on the original question -- is there any reason for it still to exist -- there has been no rational answer.

 

I suppose this is the wrong place to ask. Objectivist forums see a lot of debates, but atheism is typically uncontroversial among self-declared Objectivists. 

Edited by softwareNerd

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Those contenders address why religion arose and why is hangs on.

So, on the original question -- is there any reason for it still to exist -- there has been no rational answer.

 

I suppose this is the wrong place to ask. Objectivist forums see a lot of debates, but atheism is typically uncontroversial among self-declared Objectivists. 

Gauging from your response, I'm simply asking a circular question. To re-couch, or recast the question, it is altruistic in nature: What does it take for others to grasp such a position?, but selfish, I think, if one presumes to see the 'presumed consequences" too clearly. Catch 22?

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The question, as I read it was: Is/are there any reason/reasons, any religion(s) should still exist. The current contenders:

  1. God or religion arises whenever there are questions that seem to be unanswerable.
  2. [R]eligion still exists because it is adapting itself to the changes taking place around it.
  3. As StrictlyLogical pointed out in post #2, methods of acquiring beliefs by faith can be taught as readily as methods of acquiring knowledge by reason.
  4. Closely related to point 3, JASKN points out in post #13, (p)ersonally, I think the biggest damage religion inflicts is on how a person thinks. The notion that someone is watching over you at all times has vast implications on inner thought -- problem solving, value choices, assigned importance on different life events, perceived self-efficacy, etc. etc. etc. 

 

There were couple of other points that validated the need for religion to some extent :

  1. DA's arguement that children would be more rebellious if it were not for religion. -- I personally think that there is some truth to the statement but only as long as religion remains unreplaced by philosophy.
  2. Repairman pointed out that religion may be the only answer to the reformation of criminal minds. --This may be true and I'm inclined to agree. Yet at the same time, it is worth noting the number of religious criminals out there : ISIS, Al qaeda, Taliban and the likes.

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To re-couch, or recast the question, it is altruistic in nature: What does it take for others to grasp such a position?

People need their lives to have meaning / purpose. For all their altruism and collectivism, religions retain an implicit individualism when they tell the believer to be concerned with his individual soul. They also retain an implicit (and often explicit) support for volition, when they tell the  believer he can do this or that to save his individual soul. People also need an abstract ethical foundation, which at least rationalizes their behavior ("I try my best to do good work, because..." "I try not to lie, because..." etc.). Religion has traditionally filled this role, offering a rationalization. Finally, religion has also filled a social role as local "meetup-group". Adults have a place they can meet others, and socialize a bit, or at least find some friends. Their kids can do the same. Even if they become more deist and secular in their thinking, they still see a social role for a church. [Also, in its social role, religion becomes a useful tool for politics.]

 

Atheism on its own is a simple denial; so it offers none of the above. Instead, an atheist has to be something more than an atheist. He has to choose from various (often contradictory) choices within secular humanism. I doubt these alternate philosophies can replace religion unless they do a decent job on individualism and volition. There's not much chance they'll succeed if they take an attitude that life is essentially meaningless. I think this explains why some westerners, moving away from Christianity, opt for the more atheistic [mostly deistic] forms of Hinduism or Buddhism. [As an aside, the power of religion and the need for meaning can be seen in the westernized Muslim kids who head to Syria to fight and to be heroic, in their minds.]

 

If the past is evidence, religion isn't going away anytime soon. With every generation, a few more people turn agnostic or atheist, but there's no huge flow. Sometimes there are even localized counter-trends where people get still more serious about religion. Selfishly, I don't think one can say it would be good for religion to disappear. Since there will always be a replacement, one has to weigh religion against the alternative that will fill the vacuum. In today's context, I'm happy to have a certain segment of the population believe in religion as a counter-balance to the typical atheist/agnostic/secular-humanist.

Edited by softwareNerd

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"Those contenders address why religion arose and why is hangs on. So, on the original question -- is there any reason for it still to exist -- there has been no rational answer." ~ softwareNerd

 

Translation: There has been an explanation (a reason), but the explanation isn't logical (a reason).

 

It's gratifying to know that mainstream Objectivists aren't above a little classic rug-pulling of their own when it suits their purpose.

 

So if a religious person says, "I have faith in God," the word faith refers to a personal conviction about something that can't be proven. And if that same person says, "I have faith in my pastor," the word then refers to a personal conviction about a person's character that can be proven; the former use being irrational and the latter use being rational by Objectivist standards, correct?

 

The thing is, if the question in this forum is reduced to, "Is religion logical?" is there any point in even discussing it here? But it may also worth considering, "If religion isn't logical, why do people still practice it?" Particularily when there have been so many rational alternatives to religion in the past up to and including Objectivism. Could it be that even a heroic being might look wistfully towards the heavens for a sign of something greater than themselves?

 

*equivocation*

*fallicy*

*error*

*eol*

 

Being a heretic doesn't qualify me to speak for religion any more that being a disident qualifies me to speak for Objectivism. But being a human does qualify me to speak for the necessary freedom of expression to be religious or not to, and to question either view. Perhaps atheism isn't contraversial in this forum, because honestly what's there to discuss?

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Since there will always be a replacement, one has to weigh religion against the alternative that will fill the vacuum. In today's context, I'm happy to have a certain segment of the population believe in religion as a counter-balance to the typical atheist/agnostic/secular-humanist.

To clarify, did you mean "there will always be a replacement" to be included as part of "in today's context"?

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"Those contenders address why religion arose and why is hangs on. So, on the original question -- is there any reason for it still to exist -- there has been no rational answer." ~ softwareNerd

Translation: There has been an explanation (a reason), but the explanation isn't logical (a reason).

It's gratifying to know that mainstream Objectivists aren't above a little classic rug-pulling of their own when it suits their purpose.

How? Logical/rational, tomato/tomato.

The thing is, if the question in this forum is reduced to, "Is religion logical?" is there any point in even discussing it here? But it may also worth considering, "If religion isn't logical, why do people still practice it?" Particularily when there have been so many rational alternatives to religion in the past up to and including Objectivism. Could it be that even a heroic being might look wistfully towards the heavens for a sign of something greater than themselves?

I direct you toward the phenomena of lagging emotions following thought. Why don't you state your arguments explicitly so that we may tear them down? Enough with the pro-religion vagueness. Edited by JASKN

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To clarify, did you mean "there will always be a replacement" to be included as part of "in today's context"?

I meant that -- since man needs to have meaning and purpose and he needs to have some form of philosophy -- something will always serve that function, even among atheists. So, atheists can get rid of religion, but they need a replacement to serve the purposes that religion was previously serving. This would be true beyond today's context.

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So, would you say that religion should disappear at some point, but not until most people are likely to replace it with something better?

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So if a religious person says, "I have faith in God," the word faith refers to a personal conviction about something that can't be proven. And if that same person says, "I have faith in my pastor," the word then refers to a personal conviction about a person's character that can be proven; the former use being irrational and the latter use being rational by Objectivist standards, correct?

 

 

"I have faith in my pastor". Faith here is used in what sense ? Trust ? Like as in you trust your friend or buddy ? Well.. That should be okay. But I doubt you mean that. You are trying to raise your pastor to the level of God. Is he all-powerful and all-knowing ? Is he living up in the sky and watching you every minute of every day. And sends you to heaven if you live as per the ten commandments or to hell if you don't ?

 

What I wrote about faith was not a definition but the limits of how much a man should rely on faith. 

 

"If religion isn't logical, why do people still practice it?"

 

Since it appears to me that you are on the side of religion - I ask you and all others on that side. I question because I don't know and yet I honestly want to; if not logic, does it have any spiritual significance or anything else ? Or is it just fear; just because most men are weak and want God or religion to covertly share their guilt ?

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How? Logical/rational, tomato/tomato.

I direct you toward the phenomena of lagging emotions following thought. Why don't you state your arguments explicitly so that we may tear them down? Enough with the pro-religion vagueness.

 

definition of reason:

1.  a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.

2.  the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.

reason/explanation reason/logic, or to state it explicitly. not all explanations are logical.

 

tear away

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