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Avatar Samantha Ai

Skeptics Dilemma

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OK skeptics. What if science proves that the majority of people are always going to create myths and believe in them? Here is your task.

Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

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This is kind of silly because what you are addressing is not skepticism but atheism.

Regardless people do not need religion or any belief shoved on them and many don't want "magic".

Fantasies are nice but they won't help in a crisis so no religion is actually acceptable in my mind, tolerable but not acceptable.

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OK skeptics. What if science proves that the majority of people are always going to create myths and believe in them? Here is your task.

Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

I have always known that, it is how they exalt themselves over others.

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I apologize..I misread the post.

But all religions, no matter how 'benign' they may pass themselves off as being still rely on some manner of coercion or manipulation.

If not by deities then by the threat that if you do not believe this or do that then you'll be punished in some manner or another.

It is never about how your actions affect others and oneself but always about some intangible and esoteric thing.

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Deism would be the least harmful thing without involving wafers and incense.

Heed these words and live a good life or die a heretic!. Religion will always be corrupted/corrupt. It's a power tool for the powerful and a teddy bear for the peasants.

Edited by Sean93
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OK skeptics. What if science proves that the majority of people are always going to create myths and believe in them? Here is your task.

Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

I think I understand what you mean by 'acceptable', at some level no skeptic would find ideas based on myths (assuming that myths are defined as all untrue/unsupported by evidence/etc) 'acceptable' from the standpoint that anyone should believe them, somewhat by definition. But if religion must exist, then I'd like it to have these qualities:

1) No punishment for non-believers (it's fine if the religion states that there are benefits that can only be accrued by believing in it though)

2) No punishment or admonishment of believers for doubting certain aspects of the religion

3) Forbids believers to attempt to alter or create new laws if the reasons for doing so are largely based on tenets of the religion (i.e. don't push to limit rights for gays just because you are trying to impose your ideas of what God disapproves of onto everyone else; that's a purely religious belief).

4) No requirement that believers proselytize.

5) No religious beliefs that are directly contradicted by science.

I'm sure I could think of more, and by the end of it there wouldn't be much of a religion left, but I think those would be an improvement as a start.

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Buddhism is nice and without a lot of dogma. I know a couple of Atheists Buddhists. Belief in a god is optional.

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I will admit that at times Buddhism seems attractive along with Shintoism..it doesn't seem to force adherents to anything.

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Or maybe one could just accept that individual as he/she is? Not denigrate their faith as long as they don't attempt to force it on you? Tolerance works both ways, after all.

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Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

I would say most modern religions are harmless, so you do not need to re-invent the wheel. Or do you know anybody who lies awake at night, fearing terrorism from the Amish, the Bahaiis, the Buddhists, the Jain, or for that matter the believers in the Flying Spaghetti monsters?

There are a couple of aggressive religions with unacceptable political aims out there, and we should not shy away from addressing that, regardless of political correctness.

Content matters. It is pointless to debate "all religions" collectively. They are not the same.

Edited by Zaphod222
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I will admit that at times Buddhism seems attractive along with Shintoism..it doesn't seem to force adherents to anything.

Careful with Shintoism, pal.... that was the religious platform the Japanese emperor used pre and during WW2. You could have found a better example. Take Jainism, if you want to be on the safe path. Jainism is pacifist to a degree that is almost ridiculous. But Shintoism... err, no. Make a visit to Yasukuni Shrine and learn, grasshopper.

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1) No punishment for non-believers (it's fine if the religion states that there are benefits that can only be accrued by believing in it though)

2) No punishment or admonishment of believers for doubting certain aspects of the religion

3) Forbids believers to attempt to alter or create new laws if the reasons for doing so are largely based on tenets of the religion (i.e. don't push to limit rights for gays just because you are trying to impose your ideas of what God disapproves of onto everyone else; that's a purely religious belief).

4) No requirement that believers proselytize.

5) No religious beliefs that are directly contradicted by science.

I'm sure I could think of more, and by the end of it there wouldn't be much of a religion left, but I think those would be an improvement as a start.

Good list, that one. I disagree that at the end there wouldn´t be "much of a religion left". In fact, I think most religions as practised today would pass the list. Christianity would (apart from its nutcase branches). Sikhism would. Bahaism would. Buddhism absolutely would. Scientology would not. Islam would most definitely not.

So yes, your list is a good starting point to assess what should be acceptable for a modern society.

Edited by Zaphod222
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Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

People need magic? Says who?

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This is kind of silly because what you are addressing is not skepticism but atheism.

Regardless people do not need religion or any belief shoved on them and many don't want "magic".

Fantasies are nice but they won't help in a crisis so no religion is actually acceptable in my mind, tolerable but not acceptable.

Toleration is the key to an open mind, so I like the way you think. Also you point out that skepticism can exist with or without atheism. Indeed, one should be skeptical of one's atheism too, as well as all of one's opinions. I like to draw a line between skepticism (always doubting, always questioning, always asking for the evidence) and cynicism (never accepting reasonable evidence when one does not want to accept something, always rejecting).

I don't think anyone wants magic. I pray and meditate and engage in certain rituals, but I think it is too much to expect the universe to be at our beck and call, doing what we want just because we do certain things. These activities are not for magic but for harmony.

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Careful with Shintoism, pal.... that was the religious platform the Japanese emperor used pre and during WW2. You could have found a better example. Take Jainism, if you want to be on the safe path. Jainism is pacifist to a degree that is almost ridiculous. But Shintoism... err, no. Make a visit to Yasukuni Shrine and learn, grasshopper.

All the "sects" of Buddhism are viewed by most Buddhists as equally valid. (I put the word "sects" in ticks because that is misleading. What is meant is just variations. Actual "sects" tend to deny the validity of other beliefs).

This unfortunately must include WWII style Shinto. It was more of a native Japanese traditional belief than "pure" Buddhism, but recognized certain Buddhist ideas and called itself Buddhist, so we accept it as a Buddhist sect. This is so yet we abhor some of the things they did (and largely so does modern Shinto).

Buddhism is largely pacifistic, and teaches it, but it does not demand it. That is to say, the ethical principles of Buddhism are for each person to assess. The teaching provides guidance. Personally, if my nation were at war, I would go to war. This would be my patriotic duty, even if I disagreed with the reasons for the war. Others might take their patriotism differently as requiring them to abstain or even resist.

It is therefore hard for me to judge Japanese of that period, living in the cultural environment they were raised in. It would seem, though, given the prosperity the Japanese now enjoy, that after a period of intense national suffering, they have "paid" for their offenses and it should be seen as water under the bridge.

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This unfortunately must include WWII style Shinto. It was more of a native Japanese traditional belief than "pure" Buddhism, but recognized certain Buddhist ideas and called itself Buddhist, so we accept it as a Buddhist sect. This is so yet we abhor some of the things they did (and largely so does modern Shinto).

This is the first time I have heard anybody describe Shinto as "buddhist sect", and I am pretty sure you would surprise the heck out of both buddhist and shinto priests with that claim.

Here in Japan, they are certainly not viewed as the same. Buddhists have their temples, and Shintoism has its shrines, and the Japanese population happily goes to both them them, but not for a moment thinks it is the same thing. Afaik, Shintoism preceeds Buddhism by a long time (it is native to Japan, while Buddhism was brought here).

.

Edited by Zaphod222
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This is the first time I have heard anybody describe Shinto as "buddhist sect", and I am pretty sure you would surprise the heck out of both buddhist and shinto priests with that claim.

Here in Japan, they are certainly not viewed as the same. Buddhists have their temples, and Shintoism has its shrines, and the Japanese population happily goes to both them them, but not for a moment thinks it is the same thing. Afaik, Shintoism preceeds Buddhism by a long time (it is native to Japan, while Buddhism was brought here).

.

This is good for me to know. Vietnamese war propaganda of course denounces Japan as an entity, and makes no fine distinctions. I am well aware that Shinto preceded Buddhism in Japan, but had pictured the two as merging somewhat, as Taoism and Buddhism did in China (while still plainly maintaining their separate identities).

I would be curious as to what you know of the Buddhist participation in the War and its aftermath if it is okay for you to rehearse such difficult things.

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OK skeptics. What if science proves that the majority of people are always going to create myths and believe in them? Here is your task.

Describe a religion that you would find acceptable, people need the magic and stuff remember, so what is the most benign way you could package it so religion would do the world least harm.

Organised religion by definition opposes free thought and therefore progress. This will always do harm, and in most cases lead to extremism. You don't get extremists without a middle ground.

People are not "always going to believe myths", and there is more than enough magic in the universe without making stuff up.

I do not find any organised religion acceptable.

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Organised religion by definition opposes free thought and therefore progress. This will always do harm, and in most cases lead to extremism. You don't get extremists without a middle ground.

I'm not sure what you mean by "organized" when it comes to religions. To me that implies a hierarchy such as found in some Christian denominations, but most religions are not "organized." Oh to be sure there are associations and clubs and in some groups certain people have certain responsibilities (such as, say, sweeping the temple steps every morning), but this doesn't quite fit the feeling I get in your use of the word "organized."

I also don't see why even the tightest organization should "by definition" oppose free thought and progress. What if the leadership of such an organization favors free thought and progress and even pro-actively encourages it?

People are not "always going to believe myths", and there is more than enough magic in the universe without making stuff up.
People tend to believe what they were indoctrinated as children to believe, although this is becoming less and less the case as people become more and more exposed to alternative thinking. Still, there will always be a large number who never give up the beliefs of childhood. The body gives us too much pleasure and joy when we stick with them.
I do not find any organised religion acceptable.

The religions I tend to like tend to be somewhat disorganized, to be sure, but it seems an organized religion can and some do a lot of good in the world -- such as organizing charities, pushing literacy, organizing against the world's evils, and so on.
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people enjoy stories. all religions have been based on storytelling in one form or another (it least that Im aware of). The ones that provide a moral compass at the same time are ones I will read about and try to learn something from.

But a good story is still a good story. No matter where it comes from wether I believe the story or not. If it is told well it is pleasant to hear.

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I would be curious as to what you know of the Buddhist participation in the War and its aftermath if it is okay for you to rehearse such difficult things.

That is an interesting question, and certainly worth some research. I do not know. The role of Shinto in Japanese militarism is obvious; the imperalist government integrated Shinto teachings and ceremonies into their propaganda, and the emperor himself was seen as Shinto deity. I am not aware that buddhism was used in such a way; for all I know it stayed out of politics.

Maybe the fact that Buddhism is an import made it unsuitable for use in nationalistic ideology? I will try to find someone more knowlegeable about that. (I live in Japan, but I am not Japanese.)

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I espouse the idea that WE DON'T KNOW YET,we should be trying to advance our understanding of the universe,what God actually is,however you want to put it, instead we guess.All religion is guesswork, for there is no way to know for sure if it's the truth or not.

So the "religion" i would create would differ from all the others in the sense that we do not think we have all the answers and try to force it on other people, but to admit that we dont have the answers, and that God/Supreme Being/Deity is something much bigger and unfathomable, than the simplistic views humans have created.

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So the "religion" i would create would differ from all the others in the sense that we do not think we have all the answers and try to force it on other people, but to admit that we dont have the answers, and that God/Supreme Being/Deity is something much bigger and unfathomable, than the simplistic views humans have created.

I think there are a lot of religions around now that would endorse what you say.

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Really?can you name a few? from my experience, in my country/locality, Christians are not inclined to agree with me at all, in fact they get agitated when discuss it.

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I admit, that I've never really had a discussion about it with people from a different religion, say Muslim or Bhuddist.I'm curious how they would react to it.

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