Oh, don't compare this to faith in dollar bills or faith in economics. If you are learned about economics then it is patently obvious to you that the whole enterprise is essentially a psychological trick and a veritable house of cards. But no economist would ever truly deny this point. No economist who actually understands every aspect of the subject would ever claim anything opposite the fact that it relies on blind faith in that which is manifestly not reality.
Whereas religious scholars do no such thing - they study their articles of faith, understand them to the same extent, and then turn around and express that their house of cards is a fundamental truth of reality.
It's a fiat currency. So what does that mean for mmalloy's metaphor? Faith is truly a delusion?
Yet I can still go out and buy stuff with that dollar. It works. It's a ridiculous system, but it works because I believe it does and the guy I'm handing the dollar to believes it does.
And religious scholars or Christian scholars? Cause there seems to be a thing where religion = Christianity in this thread. Now, I am not familiar with all religions, but I'm pretty sure at least some of them teach that 'god' is 'everywhere' or that 'god' is 'nature' or even that 'god' is 'science' and other such things and stay away from shit like evolution is bad.
Edited to add: It is also possible to believe in a god and believe in evolution.
Yeah I was actually about to come in here with a wicked burn about that, and here it turns that the recipient of said wicked burn was going to be none other than me. Oh, cruel irony!
And that's essentially what atheists are doing. Abandoning the religious system (and the benefits, in most cases psychological, that go along with it) in favor of a system that acknowledges how things actually work.
I'd argue that if you decided to believe that dollars weren't worth dollars and you weren't going to have anything to do with them (and you lived in America, mind), you'd be making your life really miserable and hard to manage.
I imagine someone who believed in god would make the argument that someone who decided not to believe in god would be doing the same thing.
Since I believe the piece of paper is worth a dollar, and everyone else also believes it, it is. Man, haven't you ever read yourself any Terry Pratchett?
I just ask that you take what I said at face value, and not start building up and projecting what you thought I was "really" implying. I meant what I said.
Unless some tapir around here wants to start proving things, then I believe my statement stands as correct.
Do you think there's a consensus about how much a Zimbabwean dollar should be worth, mmalloy?
*Honestly, as a died in the wool atheist - I would actually say agnostic, as that seems to have fewer implications, but my understanding of the word is that agnostics acknowledge the possibility of some sort of spiritual being(s) and I do not - I just as soon have everybody just stay out of each other's hair. But, anyone arguing that Evangelicals are not hair mussers extraordinaire is just being disingenuous.
And if you abandon religion as atheists have, you likewise lose the benefits, as I said mainly psychological, as a consequence. And theists may argue that you're missing out, but for them to argue that you're ignoring reality or "going based on faith" is kind of absurd.
However, when religion is then extrapolated out to other people who may not share the beliefs, or when religion is used to make factual determinations instead of the scientific method, then I think there is a problem.
Edit: Hah, Sharpe, I was about to say god was basically a placebo pill and that I prefer religious people take literal placebo pill than believe in god because at least the pill is inert. If you claim a pill started talking to you, people would rightfully think you're nuts.
But just because the consequences to not believing in god are small to you or me doesn't mean they're small to someone else is the point--or one of them, there are so many conversations at this point--I'm trying to make here. If you were Amish and decided to not believe in god, that would be huge. HUGE. You'd lose your entire way of life. Your family. Everything you were familiar with. To the religious, god is a very real aspect in their everyday lives if only because they believe it. Just like a dollar is worth a dollar because we believe it.
Belief is a hugely powerful force. Humans, for all that we'd like to believe otherwise, aren't very logical a lot of the time. What sort of proof would it take for an atheist to believe in god? For some religious people, all it takes for them is to look around and see the world since they believe god created it. Or created the atoms that blah blah blah. Some people claim to have been spoken to by the divine. Or to see ghosts (do atheists believe in ghosts?) as proof that the soul lives on.
But ultimately I think religion is a good thing for society. It makes people think. For all that there are religions that would like people NOT to think, that inspires other people to question and challenge and push boundaries. Religion is like active storytelling and by joining up you get to be part of it. And it comes with free inspiration if you're into it enough, which isn't a bad deal for some. We have music and books and poetry and architecture that were inspired by religion. Talented individuals who went ahead and expressed their faith in the best ways they knew how. We had ideas passed around because of religious people who traveled around starting missions or waging wars. Governments, religions, we're always going to have these things and people who don't want either around, because we're curious and we want to explain things and we want, for the most part, to believe we can figure things out and make them 'better' somehow.
Hell, look at the discussion that got prompted from the original question. We've covered a lot of ground since then, even though it turned into the old 'anyone who believes in God is a joke' thread that always happens when religion is brought up at all.
Some people are more rational than others. So? That doesn't make religion good.Belief is a hugely powerful force. Humans, for all that we'd like to believe otherwise, aren't very logical a lot of the time. What sort of proof would it take for an atheist to believe in god? For some religious people, all it takes for them is to look around and see the world since they believe god created it. Or created the atoms that blah blah blah. Some people claim to have been spoken to by the divine. Or to see ghosts (do atheists believe in ghosts?) as proof that the soul lives on.
o.OBut ultimately I think religion is a good thing for society. It makes people think.
So we're always going to have religion, so therefore it must be good. Wow. Why didn't I see that before?Governments, religions, we're always going to have these things and people who don't want either around, because we're curious and we want to explain things and we want, for the most part, to believe we can figure things out and make them 'better' somehow.
This dollar analogy is ridiculous. We see how absolutely untenable the "faith" in the monetary system can be, and to suggest that it's better to ignore all the weak threads holding everything together than to face reality AND MAKE IT BETTER is ignorant. That's your analogy.
More silliness. Millennia of brainwashing for the masses to be afraid of death and require a way to seek comfort to explain away things they don't want to come to terms with. People die. There is no need to explain it away. Instead of honoring where "they are" now, death needs to be accepted and honoring of their life on earth should suffice.Last night I was in a room full of ancient, ancient nuns who were heartbroken that one of their own had died. But they were absolutely and utterly sure that she was in a better place and would be looking out for them from now on. That mitigated a lot of their grief and the stress that would usually have come from it. Rather than being sad for her loss, they were happy that she was 'with god.'
Instead of civilization seeking comfort in the notion that it's OK that nothing happens after you die, we've used the fear of the unknown to push agendas and control. The result is not a net good. There is NOTHING in believing that there is an afterlife, and that it's better than this life, that cannot already be accomplished via secular means.
You know, I love 9 out of the 10 Commandments, and when someone asks me what moral code I would use instead of the 10C, my answer includes half of those commandments and right there they say "OH GOTCHA, THOSE ARE THE COMMANDMENTS!" Well, no shit Sherlock, they're a great universal moral code that have nothing to do with religion whatsoever (except for the one that asks you to give up your life to God).
Well, I admit I'm not arguing the question the thread originally proposed, only that which the thread had devolved into ,namely, is atheism just another faith? Which I think we've dealt with.
I've already put in my two cents on the original topic of the thread, but at the risk of being redundant, I'll repeat my main point here: If we were to remove all religions from society, people would make more. It's part of the human condition, and so if you're talking about whether society is better off without or without religion, you're basically asking if society is better with or without people. And that's, uh, that's a hard one to answer.
As for atheist believing in ghosts, no atheist who got to that place via belief in reason and the scientific method does, as far as I know. I'd like to categorize "true atheism" as not just a non-belief in any specific god, but anything supernatural at all. Fundamentally, in this case, true atheism isn't about religion at all.
This thread makes me hope there is a god and everyone gets into heaven because I want to see Pogo absolutely lose his shit that it shouldn't exist :(
Speaking of which, what do Jews believe about an afterlife? I know the Torah doesn't mention it a whole lot. The traditional concepts of a heaven above and a hell below seem to be mostly later Christian concepts.