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Religion vs Belief


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#31    Sherapy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:13 PM

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

Howdy, Leo

Sheri


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 :).

LOL, Cafeteria everythingist !!! I love it. Heck, I recently loved an idea from an ex anorexic(not eating paper)and thought that is a good idea when one is tempted by pop tart ice cream sandwiches.  I took what had merit and passed on the rest.




#32    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:22 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 22 August 2013 - 02:14 PM, said:

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.

Perhaps, but you can rephrase the way you have said this:  'religions asserting its authority' can also be rephrased as 'adherent accepting/believing the authority'.  In the latter phrasing, I don't see any necessary subsuming of beliefs.  

Let's use an example, and take the concept of incontrovertible dogma.  If I'm understanding what you are saying, if a believer believes in God but does not believe in dogma, but then alters his belief so that he does believe in the absolute truth of dogma, then that believer's beliefs have been subsumed and they are not really their beliefs.  However, if we flip the scenario and have a believer who believes in incontrovertible dogma who then alters his belief so that he does not accept all dogma as true, this is his belief and is independent.  I would say that in both scenarios the beliefs are his, not someone else's, and they are both independent beliefs; the fact that they coincide with dogma does not make the belief any less theirs.

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#33    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:32 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 22 August 2013 - 03:22 PM, said:

I would say that in both scenarios the beliefs are his, not someone else's, and they are both independent beliefs; the fact that they coincide with dogma does not make the belief any less theirs.

While it is a fine distinction I make, and perhaps there is confusion in my own mind regarding the status of 'ownership' of the specific beliefs, the precedence of whoever first espoused those beliefs would  - to my mind - indicate ownership. And thus, the one who takes up that belief (or beliefs), while not stripping away their 'personness', cannot be said to be holding those beliefs as their own.

It is similar to how I would describe intellectual property, but obviously much more emotive and personal than that subject.

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#34    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:08 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 22 August 2013 - 03:32 PM, said:

And thus, the one who takes up that belief (or beliefs), while not stripping away their 'personness', cannot be said to be holding those beliefs as their own.

But then it seems a corollary of this is that the believer who cannot be said to be holding those beliefs as their own must either be holding another 'true' independent belief on the same subject or be entirely agnostic.  If people believes that Jesus is the son of God, then it would seem that no one alive can be said to be holding that belief as their own, which to me just doesn't sound correct.  Does this mean this same believer has a different true belief of 'their own' that perhaps Jesus was just a man?  I don't know to what extent it makes sense to say that someone believes two contradictory things simultaneously, I realize it can happen, but it would be incredibly prevalent given your definition here, as the majority of things that I and I'd guess everyone think are true are not entirely original nor purely of our own independent making.  

Regardless, it seems at some point you are stuck having to assert then what a person 'really' believes.  If someone says that they believe that Jesus is the son of God, you would respond that no, they aren't really holding that belief as their own?  Can't they then respond, well what do I really believe then since this isn't my 'own belief', and most importantly how does Leo know that?  What is the specific criteria or process by which a belief can be rightly called your own then?

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#35    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:19 PM

That is the difference between taking on something as your own, and originating a belief. The first is not true ownership, but only a replacement of what already existed. The second may (almost certainly would, as none of us are a 'blank slate' indefinitely) involve replacement, but does imply ownership.

And if you don't own the belief, can you claim it to be 'yours'. You can claim to believe it, but are allowing someone else's belief to replace your own (unless you were a 'blank slate'), not 'taking ownership' of it. There may be a difference in the quality of replacement between types of belief, and in my argument I isolate religious belief from others due to the encompassing nature of the personal change required to accept that replacement.

Just as you can hold something in your hand, but it not be 'yours', so can you hold something in your mind and it also not be 'yours'.

Edited by Leonardo, 22 August 2013 - 04:21 PM.

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

#36    Liquid Gardens

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:47 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 22 August 2013 - 04:19 PM, said:

That is the difference between taking on something as your own, and originating a belief. The first is not true ownership, but only a replacement of what already existed. The second may (almost certainly would, as none of us are a 'blank slate' indefinitely) involve replacement, but does imply ownership.

Then I think you've made clear where you and I differ:  I don't agree that beliefs are in any meaningful way 'owned' by their originators, the way you are using the word 'owned'.  Some do have originators or authors, but that's not the same as an owner.

Quote

You can claim to believe it, but are allowing someone else's belief to replace your own (unless you were a 'blank slate'), not 'taking ownership' of it.

I'd say that at the exact point at which you replace a previous belief with a new belief, regardless of how you arrived at that new belief, that new belief is your own.  I don't think it makes any sense to say you truly believe something but that its not your own belief, of course it is; I don't know how it could not be without also stating that the person, despite what they say, doesn't actually believe what they say they do.  The scenario you've set up seems to essentially make it so no one has a belief of their own about who Jesus was; the options that he is the son of God, that he is just a human, and that he never existed have all been stated by others centuries/millenia ago.  I'd argue under your methodology here that people have very few beliefs that are actually their own, as someone has probably had the belief before you.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into"
"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" - C. Hitchens
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool" - Richard Feynman

#37    Leonardo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:53 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 22 August 2013 - 04:47 PM, said:

I'd argue under your methodology here that people have very few beliefs that are actually their own, as someone has probably had the belief before you.

That's probably very true, and why I made the critical distinction between belief, and religious belief. For reasons I have explained a couple of times.

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.

#38    Frank Merton

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:57 PM

It seems that hidden deed down none of us want to die, that even reductionist atheists who insist there is nothing after life generally qualify it with something of the sort of, "But I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised."

Well it may not be so pleasant.  The universe doesn't care about us and so as a result the afterlife may be extremely unpleasant.  If mind goes on after the death of the brain and their is no rebirth, then you populate the world with disembodied spirits -- not the "ghosts" of western fantasy but the "hungry ghosts" of Asian legend -- filled with human desire but not able to gratify anything.  Just stuck as mind without physicality, without sensation, without even movement, forever.


#39    Frank Merton

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:00 PM

Beliefs are not good things, as I see it.  We generally are not consciously aware we have them; they are chairs we sit on and move about without being consciously aware of "chair."


#40    Sherapy

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:25 PM

View PostLiquid Gardens, on 22 August 2013 - 04:47 PM, said:

Then I think you've made clear where you and I differ:  I don't agree that beliefs are in any meaningful way 'owned' by their originators, the way you are using the word 'owned'.  Some do have originators or authors, but that's not the same as an owner.



I'd say that at the exact point at which you replace a previous belief with a new belief, regardless of how you arrived at that new belief, that new belief is your own.  I don't think it makes any sense to say you truly believe something but that its not your own belief, of course it is; I don't know how it could not be without also stating that the person, despite what they say, doesn't actually believe what they say they do.  The scenario you've set up seems to essentially make it so no one has a belief of their own about who Jesus was; the options that he is the son of God, that he is just a human, and that he never existed have all been stated by others centuries/millenia ago.  I'd argue under your methodology here that people have very few beliefs that are actually their own, as someone has probably had the belief before you.

I completely agree that there are very few ideas /beliefs that are unique to any of us. Speaking for myself there is nothing original at all in anything that I think or believe.

As 8ty pointed out, we borrow from all kinds of sources, in my case-- I have quite a bit of flexibility in the idea shopping  department ( I do think there is a way to find value in almost any idea, even if its not what to do or be.)


I even doubt that we think outside the box or think for ourselves, "really." I think our claim to fame is some are good at discerning/weeding out ideas, (seeing around corners a bit easier) then the next guy,( or allow for more options), but even then that is a only matter of my opinion.

Edited by Sherapy, 22 August 2013 - 11:26 PM.




#41    Sherapy

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:29 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 22 August 2013 - 08:18 AM, said:

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.



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.


Fair enough, Leo.

To address the second part of your post, For me, I say/add there should be rules, but there doesn't need to be rules for every little thing and perhaps the wisdom is knowing the difference.I have found that often by the time one has been a part of life for a while and are exposed to other ideas and have had some time to experience things for themselves-- this becomes apparent.

I'll add, I have seen many situations that people who struggled with boundaries in their life find religion gives them the structure/discipline they were lacking. I have a friend that was horribly abused/neglected as a child and it was religion(Christianity) that gave her hope-- that there is love in this world. For me, it is not so much the fact-- that one adheres to a religion as much as how one uses it, and I wonder if you would be surprised to learn that in some cases people use/apply religion in productive, positive ways too.

Edited by Sherapy, 23 August 2013 - 06:31 PM.




#42    Arpee

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 06:41 PM

A religion is based on rituals and most likely a book.
Beliefs are based on assumptions about what is actually happening that cannot be proven so far;
and Philosophy is just a perspective - a way of looking at things.

Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the ungrateful and to the evil. - Luke 6:35

#43    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 07:01 PM

I think philosophy is the best way to go to be happy, with music and sport and family and employment all being relevant; religion is to my mind optional although sometimes ritual and generally practices like meditation help.  Of course religions generally are a good way to focus giving, so long as one is sure it is not just so the leaders can live like kings..


#44    Sherapy

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 10:00 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 23 August 2013 - 07:01 PM, said:

I think philosophy is the best way to go to be happy, with music and sport and family and employment all being relevant; religion is to my mind optional although sometimes ritual and generally practices like meditation help.  Of course religions generally are a good way to focus giving, so long as one is sure it is not just so the leaders can live like kings..

I do think Philosophy taken as a whole could contribute to many things that could be of benefit to a persons quality of life.I think that there are quality ideas in the many religions too and i am not opposed to taking from them what has merit and value and leaving what doesn't. In truth-- for me this applies to most ideas. There is great value in what things are not and not what to do also, For ex: Geometry is taught in this manner, to understand what parallel lines are can be achieved in part by understanding what parallel lines are not.

Edited by Sherapy, 23 August 2013 - 10:07 PM.




#45    Frank Merton

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 12:05 AM

Oh yes, there is geometry; one is never fully happy without geometry.





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