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Religion vs Belief


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#16    J. K.

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 07:37 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 07:02 PM, said:

I am not at all saying that individual beliefs are "superior or more valid" than religion or religious beliefs. What I am saying is that religion, or religious belief, IS an individual's belief (and ONLY an individual's belief) that has become accepted as their own by the adherents - at the expense of their own personal belief. But why?

...

Therefore anything in our lives, including our individuality, could be ascribed to being part of this grand plan. As the scripture from which this religion derives does not describe religion itself as being part of that plan, but that this deity created beings to be indidivuals and have 'free-will', it is reasonable to conclude that individuality is part of that plan - and religion, which suppresses individuality but promotes conformity - is not. Indeed, the very same scripture has religion being an invention of Man, not God.

I would say that your phrase "at the expense of their own personal belief" is inaccurate, at least part of the time.  Yes, free will allows the ability to choose one's own belief, and that is what I see in churches: people choose to believe what the congregation believes.  There is a type of conformity, but it is a result of like-minded people and like-minded actions.  (I do know that there are charlatans who mislead in order to build their own empire, but not all religious leaders are like that.)

As for the 'invention of Man', keep in mind that some Christians view the relationship (a better word than 'religion') as being established by God.

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#17    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:03 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 07:02 PM, said:

Wonderful reply, thanks.

Thanks!   You also Leonardo.

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Let's break it down a bit...

I am not at all saying that individual beliefs are "superior or more valid" than religion or religious beliefs. What I am saying is that religion, or religious belief, IS an individual's belief (and ONLY an individual's belief) that has become accepted as their own by the adherents - at the expense of their own personal belief. But why?

But that happens with almost all beliefs.  Yes, let's break this part down.  Can't I also say that scientific belief is a belief that has become accepted as their own by the adherents at the expense of their own personal belief?  There just aren't that many subjects on which people arrive at beliefs without any input from other people.  Maybe more pertinently here, I disagree with you on how you phrased the last part of your sentence: it's not at the expense of their own 'personal belief', it's at the expense of their previous or former belief.  You seem to discuss these as if they are separate things, like people have personal beliefs ("Jesus was just a man") and religious beliefs ("Jesus was the son of God") that are separate from each other; I don't think there are that many people like that.  I'd answer your 'But why?' question with the answer I'd give for everyone who changes their belief:  they received further information or re-evaluated their current belief and determined it required adjustment, and they thus arrived at a new/revised belief.  I'm unfortunately not clear why you are singleing out religious beliefs.  I believed by default that time was a constant everywhere; even though I have no personal experience of it, I now believe that it is not because of Einstein and the nature of science.  How is that not also at the expense of my personal belief?  One point that we may differ on in this analysis is that I'm purely speaking of 'belief' regardless of the validity of that belief, as I don't think the comparison you are making between individual and religious belief depends on that.

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Sure, I can understand agreeing with another on points of belief - but the totality of that belief is determined also by an individual's personality and life-experience. To forego that, forego what is real and actual to oneself, for the imagined benefits promised by another's belief? How can anyone make that decision rationally? And if the decision is not made rationally, then what does that say of religion?

But you seem to be presuming what is 'real and actual to oneself' for other people.  People's epistemology are vastly different, I may think cold objective empiricism is the best foundation for a belief and others may prioritize their life experience.  Regardless you seem to be saying that people are believing things merely because of the supposed benefits; I haven't heard anyone really say that.  Again, I think I'm struggling because you seem to talk about people having two beliefs simultaneously.  The reason I've always heard that people have religious beliefs is because they think they are true.  If I'm to take them at their word, a lot of people don't forego what is real to them nor their personality and life experience, on the contrary they find that their religious beliefs perfectly fulfill and realize those.

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"Largely matches" is not good enough, to be frank. As I said, it's fine to have agreement on some points of principle between individual beliefs. Believing a creator deity, for example, and believing that deity is benevolent, or 'controls' access to an afterlife, etc. But past that there are the details of the belief which can only be explained by that individuals specific life-situation. If that is what life (and therefore, presumably, this deity) has led you to, why give that up to subsume yourself in another's belief (and the 'rules' pertaining to that) which is only relevant to, and drawn from, that other's life-situation? It's not your belief.

I'm not sure what specifically we mean by 'life situation'.  I don't know either in what way a person can possibly have a belief and have it not be their belief.  I believe that humans are more closely related to cats, because they are both mammals, than we are related to spiders, but that is just another's belief actually.  I was not the first person to believe that and the reason I believe it is because of the reasons that have been communicated to me by others who do believe it which matches my own personal observations.  So then we should say that this is not my belief?

I think maybe your other sentence may help me understand what you are talking about though.  I think I agree with what I believe (ha!) you are saying concerning deities and spirituality, that essentially it's anyone's guess.  The problem is there are a lot of people who do not believe that, they think there are experts on spirituality/divinity and that we can determine some things definitively.  Frankly, to flip your point around, it is exactly people's life experience that sometimes leads them to religious belief; there is no shortage of people who are willing to testify that they were fairly miserable until they were reborn, the belief that their life 'had led them to' they later determined was not true (to them).  This is pretty much a built-in feature of Christianity, what your non-Christian life has led you to as far as your beliefs is specifically called out as not being true and as being sinful, it is not being enlightened by the divinity of God and it's only by (insert whatever the process is) that one can come to God and alter their belief.

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the "conjecture" that a creator deity - unlimited and with some grand design we are not privy to - desires a world of individuals, that "conjecture" is derived from the very nature this deity is said to express, and from the scripture describing that. As I said, unlimited and has a grand design. Therefore anything in our lives, including our individuality, could be ascribed to being part of this grand plan. As the scripture from which this religion derives does not describe religion itself as being part of that plan, but that this deity created beings to be indidivuals and have 'free-will', it is reasonable to conclude that individuality is part of that plan - and religion, which suppresses individuality but promotes conformity - is not. Indeed, the very same scripture has religion being an invention of Man, not God.

God wants us to have free will so that we can freely choose him, it obviously doesn't really mean anything if God is making us believe.  If you would like to translate that fact to the idea that God wants a world of individuals, that's fair, but the message of scripture absolutely is not, 'believing whatever you want is fine with God'; 100% the opposite.  We can take the logic that since God created beings to be individuals that it's part of the plan both ways; God also apparently made sure there was a Bible which pretty much states that the primary goal of his creation is to glorify Him, so that was part of the plan also.

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#18    Leonardo

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 11:20 PM

View PostJ. K., on 21 August 2013 - 07:37 PM, said:

I would say that your phrase "at the expense of their own personal belief" is inaccurate, at least part of the time.  Yes, free will allows the ability to choose one's own belief, and that is what I see in churches: people choose to believe what the congregation believes.  There is a type of conformity, but it is a result of like-minded people and like-minded actions.  (I do know that there are charlatans who mislead in order to build their own empire, but not all religious leaders are like that.)

As for the 'invention of Man', keep in mind that some Christians view the relationship (a better word than 'religion') as being established by God.

There are people with whom I am like-minded, yet we do not agree on all points of even what we agree upon!

Likewise, we would not, as individuals, necessarily be comfortable with the same rules and restrictions. And this point is exacerbated when we are speaking of rules and restrictions which are alleged to be divine commandments, and thus inviolate at risk of denial of "eternal resurrection". But how many who claim to be followers of a single religion today, actually either abide by, or even agree with, the rules supposedly set forth by someone speaking on behalf of their deity?

But if you don't follow, or agree with, those divine conditions, then why claim yourself as a member of that religion? Or even more to the point, why follow any of that religion's tenet whatsoever? For if even some of it does not tally with your own belief, then what convinces you that ANY of it should be true?

But if the religious adherent who does not necessarily believe a part of that religion's tenet to be true (or relevant) still 'goes along with' that religion, what does that say of that person? That they are naturally meek, or that they feel pressured into conforming for some reason more important than their own individuality?

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

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#19    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 12:00 AM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 21 August 2013 - 11:03 PM, said:

But that happens with almost all beliefs.  Yes, let's break this part down.  Can't I also say that scientific belief is a belief that has become accepted as their own by the adherents at the expense of their own personal belief?

Let me start by stating there is a difference in quality between scientific, and religious, beliefs (qualities such as evidence, demonstrability, reproducibility, etc.) So, using scientific beliefs in an analogy for what happens with religious belief is, imo, flawed.

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There just aren't that many subjects on which people arrive at beliefs without any input from other people.  Maybe more pertinently here, I disagree with you on how you phrased the last part of your sentence: it's not at the expense of their own 'personal belief', it's at the expense of their previous or former belief.

Personal beliefs evolve, and this is an important point that I haven't touched upon. Why I haven't touched upon them is because religious beliefs aren't supposed to evolve. If this belief really derives from the nature of an eternal, unlimited, deity, then such beliefs should not be able to evolve, but should remain constant through cultural, social or personal change. It is a fallacy that increasing cultural or social sophistication can naturally lead to an evolution of religious beliefs - because no matter how much we evolve in that manner, we cannot know any more about divinity than divinity chooses to reveal to us. And this revelation allegedly happened in the distant (to us) past and is non-continuous. If religions change, evolve, it is because human society evolves - not because we know more about God. And those rules which were set down in that distant past, no matter their cultural or social irrelevance or confliction today, should still be being applied - if those who adhere to that religion actually believed it was true.

So, these beliefs that are alleged to be religious, and born of divine inspiration, are not actually religious at all but purely personal beliefs evolved to the point of sophistication relevant to the cultural/social sophistication of the person who held them. And again, why let another's personal, non-empirical, beliefs either be your own, or even be the cause of the evolution of your own beliefs? The only reason is because those beliefs (or the evolution of your own) suit your evolving, personal situation - not because they agree with your actual belief regarding divinity or spirituality.

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But you seem to be presuming what is 'real and actual to oneself' for other people.

No, I'm not. What I am saying is that each of us has a reality, and a set of beliefs, that is drawn from and relevant to our own personal life-situation. And to clarify that particular phrase, a 'life-situation' is the totality of one's life experiences that make that person who they are. So, I am not presuming "what is real and actual for other people", but what is real and actual for me has the same quality as what is real and actual for anyone.

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Again, I think I'm struggling because you seem to talk about people having two beliefs simultaneously.  The reason I've always heard that people have religious beliefs is because they think they are true.  If I'm to take them at their word, a lot of people don't forego what is real to them nor their personality and life experience, on the contrary they find that their religious beliefs perfectly fulfill and realize those.

Religious beliefs are a special case because they generally come packaged with various rules and restrictions. They also demand a specific moral stance and provide guidance on such things as prejudices. Unlike many other 'beliefs' we may refer to, religious beliefs are much more a 'holistic, lifestyle package'. It is this which sets them apart, and why I started this topic because they demand so much more of the person's being to be accommodated.

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Frankly, to flip your point around, it is exactly people's life experience that sometimes leads them to religious belief; there is no shortage of people who are willing to testify that they were fairly miserable until they were reborn, the belief that their life 'had led them to' they later determined was not true (to them).  This is pretty much a built-in feature of Christianity, what your non-Christian life has led you to as far as your beliefs is specifically called out as not being true and as being sinful, it is not being enlightened by the divinity of God and it's only by (insert whatever the process is) that one can come to God and alter their belief.

I fully understand the 'carrot/stick approach' religions take to first gain adherents, and then keep them. My question is why a rational individual would simply fall for such a cheap trick? Even at one's lowest ebb - and I've been pretty low - I cannot comprehend how an individual would allow themself to be subsumed to another's belief simply for an improvisation to their life-situation? For me, what makes me who I am is far more important than the situation I may find myself in, and I can't see why others do not also understand that it is who you are that is the most important thing in your life.



Quote

God wants us to have free will so that we can freely choose him, it obviously doesn't really mean anything if God is making us believe.  If you would like to translate that fact to the idea that God wants a world of individuals, that's fair, but the message of scripture absolutely is not, 'believing whatever you want is fine with God'; 100% the opposite.  We can take the logic that since God created beings to be individuals that it's part of the plan both ways; God also apparently made sure there was a Bible which pretty much states that the primary goal of his creation is to glorify Him, so that was part of the plan also.

Well, that is the logic God uses. To allow us to choose him of our own free-will, God must allow us the free-will to believe what we want. I didn't say God liked it, I said it was what God desired through this grand design.

In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. - Charlie Brown

"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

"talking bull**** is not a victimless crime" - Marina Hyde, author.

#20    J. K.

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:09 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 11:20 PM, said:

Likewise, we would not, as individuals, necessarily be comfortable with the same rules and restrictions. And this point is exacerbated when we are speaking of rules and restrictions which are alleged to be divine commandments, and thus inviolate at risk of denial of "eternal resurrection". But how many who claim to be followers of a single religion today, actually either abide by, or even agree with, the rules supposedly set forth by someone speaking on behalf of their deity?


Keep in mind that we don't think of the rules as being of human origin.  Instead, we consider them to be of divine origin, transcribed by humans.

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But if you don't follow, or agree with, those divine conditions, then why claim yourself as a member of that religion? Or even more to the point, why follow any of that religion's tenet whatsoever? For if even some of it does not tally with your own belief, then what convinces you that ANY of it should be true?
  

What convinces us of its truth is the Spirit of God communicating to us.  (Yes, I know, that's a whole 'nother question for discussion).

Quote

But if the religious adherent who does not necessarily believe a part of that religion's tenet to be true (or relevant) still 'goes along with' that religion, what does that say of that person? That they are naturally meek, or that they feel pressured into conforming for some reason more important than their own individuality?

I would call it a lack of confidence in one's own ability to understand what is being taught.

Edited by J. K., 22 August 2013 - 01:09 AM.

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#21    Sherapy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:17 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 21 August 2013 - 12:05 PM, said:

These two terms are so very often confused, and many people who believe in some form of 'higher consciousness/power' by default fall into a religion.

Here's my take on what these are:

Religion - this is when you accept what another believes, sometimes overriding your own belief, and you therefore allow that other to dictate much of your life pov, from morality to prejudices.

Belief - this is your personal pov on the topic of spirituality. It is not a pov you force upon others, or let dictate how you behave to others with respect their own, personal belief.

I can fully understand why a person holds to a belief, and respect that about them. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why someone would surrender themselves as a person to a religion - and simply become the tool of another. Don't get me wrong, intellectually I know there are various reasons - such as the comfort of being a part of a community, etc - but to give up yourself for that?

Perhaps I am merely selfish and a bit sociopathic in comparison to those who elect to join a religion, but it seems to me that if there was a 'creator', that creator would want us to be who we are - not become a reflection of another.

Hey Leo, I know of people who call themselves Christian, go to church, read the bible, agree with the bible, proselytize the bible, and over ride the teachings in favor of their own personal experience/beliefs.

Of course their are those as you describe too.

  .

I am an Atheist, almost without exception (not counting my mother) according to my Christian friends ( who are abundant)  they insist I am more Christian then they are. The key points that have been spotlighted are my ability/capacity  for "unconditional" and my lifestyle, I do not drink or do drugs etc etc.  Are these the important/must follow bible based Christian teachings? .I would have to answer it depends on who you are talking too. If you were asking me I'd say no!

Edited by Sherapy, 22 August 2013 - 01:22 AM.


#22    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:19 AM

View PostLeonardo, on 22 August 2013 - 12:00 AM, said:

Let me start by stating there is a difference in quality between scientific, and religious, beliefs (qualities such as evidence, demonstrability, reproducibility, etc.) So, using scientific beliefs in an analogy for what happens with religious belief is, imo, flawed.

My analogies to scientific beliefs were only intended to help illustrate what you mean by people 'subsuming' their beliefs to what others' believe, and I don't necessarily see what the differences between these beliefs from a rationality or empirical standpoint have to do with that, but that may well be because I'm not fully understanding your point.  I'll try to use more appropriate analogies.

Quote

Personal beliefs evolve, and this is an important point that I haven't touched upon. Why I haven't touched upon them is because religious beliefs aren't supposed to evolve. If this belief really derives from the nature of an eternal, unlimited, deity, then such beliefs should not be able to evolve, but should remain constant through cultural, social or personal change. It is a fallacy that increasing cultural or social sophistication can naturally lead to an evolution of religious beliefs - because no matter how much we evolve in that manner, we cannot know any more about divinity than divinity chooses to reveal to us. And this revelation allegedly happened in the distant (to us) past and is non-continuous. If religions change, evolve, it is because human society evolves - not because we know more about God. And those rules which were set down in that distant past, no matter their cultural or social irrelevance or confliction today, should still be being applied - if those who adhere to that religion actually believed it was true.

I think it depends on what you mean by religious beliefs; are we talking about the religious beliefs that define a particular denomination or religious beliefs that people hold?  I don't know why you don't think religious beliefs are supposed to evolve, they of course do in both of those senses.  God never said or promised that he's explained everything to anyone, if anything I'd say that Christians are strictly on a need-to-know basis.  This is also inherent, he's supreme and we are not, so we are necessarily limited in our comprehension.  Christians take the core teachings of the Bible as true but it not uncommon for them to shift between denominations because those denominations view other tenets differently and have other values I guess I'd call it.  God didn't promise that the Bible would be perfectly clear to everyone who read it, not even Christians I don't believe, so the differences in viewpoints is again part of the plan to some extent, or more likely a side effect of our sinful nature.  I agree with you that religions change due to pressures from society, I think that's logical and reasonable and has evidence to support it; to Christians, these pressures are simply the lessons of God taught through our lives and through history.  Thankfully some Christians are coming around on the subject of homosexuality; they aren't bashfully bowing their heads that God was wrong on this subject, instead they see how certain Christians have applied, evilly IMO, the teachings of their religion in their treatment of gays and it rightfully repels them and provides clarification on the nature of God and what it means to actually be good.  They are seeing that the way they viewed God was incorrect, which him being defined as beyond us, is entirely expected.

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And again, why let another's personal, non-empirical, beliefs either be your own, or even be the cause of the evolution of your own beliefs? The only reason is because those beliefs (or the evolution of your own) suit your evolving, personal situation - not because they agree with your actual belief regarding divinity or spirituality.

I don't know how you can know that last sentence.  Let me try a better analogy, one that isn't complicated by being different in type.  I believe it was Confucius who originally documented a similar version of the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."), let's say that he actually did.  That statement is non-empirical and subjective and should be closer to religious beliefs; there is no real objective way that the Golden Rule is 'better' than 'screw over others as much as you can'.  So I go through life and hear the Golden Rule and believe that it is a good motto to live by.  Do I and is it valid to call this belief my own?  You ask why let another's personal, non-empirical belief 'be my own'?  Because I agree with them.  Not because of my personal situation, not because of the benefits or risks or drawbacks, because I, using whatever reasoning method I use, believe it to be true.  I don't know why that quite common alternative to what you are suggesting, that somehow people's beliefs are subsumed, is not really being acknowledged as an alternative.  I don't personally agree with the reasoning behind how many people arrive at their belief in God, I don't think it's consistent or valid, but just because I don't agree with their reasoning it does not follow that those people are letting another's beliefs be their own (even though I'm still not sure what that exactly means; if you believe something that is your 'own' belief by definition, no matter how you got there).

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No, I'm not. What I am saying is that each of us has a reality, and a set of beliefs, that is drawn from and relevant to our own personal life-situation. And to clarify that particular phrase, a 'life-situation' is the totality of one's life experiences that make that person who they are.

Then life experiences includes encountering and delving into the idea of God, and in no way needs to be something separate from or in opposition to it.

Quote

Religious beliefs are a special case because they generally come packaged with various rules and restrictions. They also demand a specific moral stance and provide guidance on such things as prejudices. Unlike many other 'beliefs' we may refer to, religious beliefs are much more a 'holistic, lifestyle package'. It is this which sets them apart, and why I started this topic because they demand so much more of the person's being to be accommodated.

But 'demand so much more of a person's being' is really only relevant if the person doesn't actually agree with or want to live according to these rules and restrictions, otherwise it's not really a demand.  What you call accommodation they can call 'the way I want to live', which is no accommodation at all.

Quote

I fully understand the 'carrot/stick approach' religions take to first gain adherents, and then keep them. My question is why a rational individual would simply fall for such a cheap trick? Even at one's lowest ebb - and I've been pretty low - I cannot comprehend how an individual would allow themself to be subsumed to another's belief simply for an improvisation to their life-situation? For me, what makes me who I am is far more important than the situation I may find myself in, and I can't see why others do not also understand that it is who you are that is the most important thing in your life.

They don't view it as being 'subsumed', they view it as changing their belief.  I'm really having trouble understanding specifically the difference between a belief arrived at freely and a belief that is actually another person's and not your own, and again am not really sure how to even define the latter.  What criteria are you using to differentiate them?

Edited by Liquid Gardens, 22 August 2013 - 01:26 AM.

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#23    Sherapy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:28 AM

View PostSherapy, on 22 August 2013 - 01:17 AM, said:

Hey Leo, I know of people who call themselves Christian, go to church, read the bible, agree with the bible, proselytize the bible, and over ride the teachings in favor of their own personal experience/beliefs.

Of course their are those as you describe too.

  .

I am an Atheist, almost without exception (not counting my mother) according to my Christian friends ( who are abundant)  they insist I am more Christian then they are. The key points that have been spotlighted are my ability/capacity  for "unconditional" and my lifestyle, I do not drink or do drugs etc etc.  Are these the important/must follow bible based Christian teachings? .I would have to answer it depends on who you are talking too. If you were asking me I'd say no!


Leo quotes:
"...[Leo Quotes] So, I am not presuming "what is real and actual for other people", but what is real and actual for me has the same quality as what is real and actual for anyone."

Can you clarify this please, thank you.


#24    Sherapy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:48 AM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 22 August 2013 - 01:19 AM, said:

My analogies to scientific beliefs were only intended to help illustrate what you mean by people 'subsuming' their beliefs to what others' believe, and I don't necessarily see what the differences between these beliefs from a rationality or empirical standpoint have to do with that, but that may well be because I'm not fully understanding your point.  I'll try to use more appropriate analogies.



I think it depends on what you mean by religious beliefs; are we talking about the religious beliefs that define a particular denomination or religious beliefs that people hold?  I don't know why you don't think religious beliefs are supposed to evolve, they of course do in both of those senses.  God never said or promised that he's explained everything to anyone, if anything I'd say that Christians are strictly on a need-to-know basis.  This is also inherent, he's supreme and we are not, so we are necessarily limited in our comprehension.  Christians take the core teachings of the Bible as true but it not uncommon for them to shift between denominations because those denominations view other tenets differently and have other values I guess I'd call it.  God didn't promise that the Bible would be perfectly clear to everyone who read it, not even Christians I don't believe, so the differences in viewpoints is again part of the plan to some extent, or more likely a side effect of our sinful nature.  I agree with you that religions change due to pressures from society, I think that's logical and reasonable and has evidence to support it; to Christians, these pressures are simply the lessons of God taught through our lives and through history.  Thankfully some Christians are coming around on the subject of homosexuality; they aren't bashfully bowing their heads that God was wrong on this subject, instead they see how certain Christians have applied, evilly IMO, the teachings of their religion in their treatment of gays and it rightfully repels them and provides clarification on the nature of God and what it means to actually be good.  They are seeing that the way they viewed God was incorrect, which him being defined as beyond us, is entirely expected.



I don't know how you can know that last sentence.  Let me try a better analogy, one that isn't complicated by being different in type.  I believe it was Confucius who originally documented a similar version of the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."), let's say that he actually did.  That statement is non-empirical and subjective and should be closer to religious beliefs; there is no real objective way that the Golden Rule is 'better' than 'screw over others as much as you can'.  So I go through life and hear the Golden Rule and believe that it is a good motto to live by.  Do I and is it valid to call this belief my own?  You ask why let another's personal, non-empirical belief 'be my own'?  Because I agree with them.  Not because of my personal situation, not because of the benefits or risks or drawbacks, because I, using whatever reasoning method I use, believe it to be true.  I don't know why that quite common alternative to what you are suggesting, that somehow people's beliefs are subsumed, is not really being acknowledged as an alternative.  I don't personally agree with the reasoning behind how many people arrive at their belief in God, I don't think it's consistent or valid, but just because I don't agree with their reasoning it does not follow that those people are letting another's beliefs be their own (even though I'm still not sure what that exactly means; if you believe something that is your 'own' belief by definition, no matter how you got there).



Then life experiences includes encountering and delving into the idea of God, and in no way needs to be something separate from or in opposition to it.



But 'demand so much more of a person's being' is really only relevant if the person doesn't actually agree with or want to live according to these rules and restrictions, otherwise it's not really a demand.  What you call accommodation they can call 'the way I want to live', which is no accommodation at all.



They don't view it as being 'subsumed', they view it as changing their belief.  I'm really having trouble understanding specifically the difference between a belief arrived at freely and a belief that is actually another person's and not your own, and again am not really sure how to even define the latter.  What criteria are you using to differentiate them?

I am struggling too, borrowing from your golden rule line of thinking-- I think Leo is saying if I practice/apply ahimsa --a Buddhist belief whilst not Buddhist, or as a Buddhist-- there is a difference. This difference I am inferring is, if I am a practicing Buddhist I am automatically being dictated to and not thinking for myself, if I am not a Buddhist and choose Ahimsa then I am choosing to believe and think for myself.

Edited by Sherapy, 22 August 2013 - 01:51 AM.


#25    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

View PostSherapy, on 22 August 2013 - 01:28 AM, said:

Leo quotes:
"...[Leo Quotes] So, I am not presuming "what is real and actual for other people", but what is real and actual for me has the same quality as what is real and actual for anyone."

Can you clarify this please, thank you.

I am a human being, alike in more ways than different to any other human being on the planet. I experience the world around me as a human being does - as does everyone else. All of us have the same quality of experiencing what is real and actual. While our personal experiences may differ, they differ in composition - not in quality.

It is essential, in my view, to think this way if one is to think of others as people and not objectify them.

View PostSherapy, on 22 August 2013 - 01:48 AM, said:

I am struggling too, borrowing from your golden rule line of thinking-- I think Leo is saying if I practice/apply ahimsa --a Buddhist belief whilst not Buddhist, or as a Buddhist-- there is a difference. This difference I am inferring is, if I am a practicing Buddhist I am automatically being dictated to and not thinking for myself, if I am not a Buddhist and choose Ahimsa then I am choosing to believe and think for myself.

This is a much more succint explanation for my main line of argument, thank you. That a person can choose to believe something, or modify their own belief with another's, without becoming subject to the one who held the belief originally. Religion does not accommodate this, but the 'new' believer is expected to become subject to the authority of that original.

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#26    eight bits

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:25 PM

Howdy, Leo

Sheri

Quote

I am struggling too, ... This difference I am inferring is, if I am a practicing Buddhist I am automatically being dictated to and not thinking for myself, if I am not a Buddhist and choose Ahimsa then I am choosing to believe and think for myself.
I am struggling here, too.

Somebody tells me something I hadn't thought of before, or hadn't thought of that way before, and I think "Well, yes, that makes a lot of sense to me. I think I'll try to put that into practice." How is that not "thinking for myself?"

If I then find out that there is a community who think the same way as I do about that sort of thing, so we socialize, compare notes, maybe even sit in meditation together, how does that change whether or not I was thinking for myself when I first considered the thinking we share?

I am confused about the distinction the thread is trying to tease out. I am OK with the idea that religion usually involves shared beliefs, practices, literary references, etc. (allowing that people do sometimes talk about "their" religion, as differences from what they share with others). But I just don't see how agreeing with somebody discloses whether I'm thinking independently.

I also don't see how I would become subject to a dead person (Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed...) just because I admire some or many of their thoughts. Their thinking is done. I can look at it, take what I think has merit, and pass on the rest. In fact, that's what I do, and from a longer list of thinkers than that, not all of them "religious" (Socrates, for example.)

OMG, I'm a cafeteria everythingist :).

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#27    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:38 PM

View Posteight bits, on 22 August 2013 - 01:25 PM, said:

I also don't see how I would become subject to a dead person (Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Mohammed...) just because I admire some or many of their thoughts. Their thinking is done. I can look at it, take what I think has merit, and pass on the rest. In fact, that's what I do, and from a longer list of thinkers than that, not all of them "religious" (Socrates, for example.)

OMG, I'm a cafeteria everythingist :).

Howdy to you, too, EB.

Well, that's kind of the point I am making when attempting to distinguish between belief and religion. I, too, modify my beliefs if I find something in another's thoughts appealing, or has resonance - but I, too, cannot see how that would make me subject to that thinker's authority.

Yet this is exactly what happens in religion.

Perhaps, as I alluded to, religion is a special case of belief in that it involves a wholesale social/cultural commitment from the adherent, and because the authority it is claimed to devolve from is absolute. But this hits on another point I was attempting to make, that the new adherent has to subsume themselves almost totally into the belief of the one who set down that religion. And being a religion, and so having to assume the new 'rules' one has to follow are absolute in the authority they devolve from, the new adherent has no choice to "discard the rest" - as you or I have the privilege of doing.

If they did opt to "discard the rest", then they could not claim to be adherents of that religion.

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 01:54 PM

Is the distinguishment here different to a Christian who says "Christianity is not a religion but rather a way of life", in an attempt to separate dogma from deeds? According to the dictionary, the first definition of "religion" is a belief in a supernatural creator. Dogma has no place in this. I guess it depends on what part of religion you want to focus on when determining a definition.

What this does show, is that whether Christian or not, in the modern landscape it appears that no one wants to be labelled "religious". It's almost a dirty word, an insult of the most insidious of kinds.

Reminds me of the questionnaire option, "describe your belief in god/s: a- religious, b- more spiritual than religious, c- atheist/agnostic". To be honest, I've no idea what b even means, except that it covers everyone who believes in god but doesn't want to associate with dogma.

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#29    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:14 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 22 August 2013 - 01:54 PM, said:

Is the distinguishment here different to a Christian who says "Christianity is not a religion but rather a way of life", in an attempt to separate dogma from deeds? According to the dictionary, the first definition of "religion" is a belief in a supernatural creator. Dogma has no place in this. I guess it depends on what part of religion you want to focus on when determining a definition.

Well, I wouldn't necessarily accept that belief in a supernatural creator is a necessary part of religion, as there are variants of many religions, and some religions in their entirety, in which there is no belief in a supernatural creator. That very definition sounds to me like it is naturally biased towards the Abrahamic, and other creator-centric, religions.

However, you have hit close to the mark with the allusion to dogma. For a religion to assert it's [divine] authority over an adherent, dogma is necessary. The adherent becomes dogmatic - believing in the incontrovertible truthfulness of the principles and tenet of that religion as set forth by an absolute [divine] authority.

Believing there is a deity is not dogma, but believing that deity has set out rules and codes of behaviour that we must follow or face serious consequences, is.

Edited by Leonardo, 22 August 2013 - 02:15 PM.

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"It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them."  - J. Robert Oppenheimer; Scientific Director; The Manhattan Project

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#30    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:12 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 22 August 2013 - 01:54 PM, said:

What this does show, is that whether Christian or not, in the modern landscape it appears that no one wants to be labelled "religious". It's almost a dirty word, an insult of the most insidious of kinds.

I'm not sure where that is really shown; to me this statement, although I don't think you intended it that way, fits right in with a very old pattern or meme where religious people, or maybe it's just Christians, like to think that their beliefs are radical in some way and/or that they are somehow outside mainstream thinking for lack of a better phrase.  To me what makes that point of view absurd is that in the US and from what I can tell Australia also, the majority of people are self-identifying as religious, which seems odd if it is really an insult.

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