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Faith is not a virtue. It is willful ignorance with a complete disregard for reality. And I am fed up with it. It is harmful and degrading to us as a species, and if we ever want to progress we must be willing to acknowledge that it is holding us back.

To believe something on faith is to believe something without a good reason, because if you had a good reason you wouldn't need faith. If evidence existed those would be facts, not opinions.

I see now that religion corrupts the minds of people everywhere. And they don't know it, because what they have been taught is that religion is above criticism, above questioning. I was once in that place, and believed it was the one and only truth. But simply wanting something to be true does not make it true.

To say that one can be religious and good, that is fine. I don't care if you believe a Jewish dude died as a scapegoat for you, or if the teachings of Buddha can guide you on a path to enlightenment. But keep things secular. In America now the White House has a Bible Study group. Stop this madness. Stop the spread of bigotry, of homophobia, of criminalizing women for abortions, of rampant pedophilia in churches, and a disregard for science.

The earth is not 6-10 thousand years old. Evolution is a fact, the process a scientific theory. The Big Bang happened. The global flood never happened. The Exodus never happened. There were no talking snakes, donkeys, or people who lived in a whale.

Just because a lot of people believe a lie still makes it a lie. Question everything.
Quote:
Stop this madness. Stop the spread of bigotry, of homophobia, of criminalizing women for abortions, of rampant pedophilia in churches, and a disregard for science.

Hell yes. And general sexism, racism and transphobia, too.


The excess of religion and faith is a bad thing, and causes much evil (in the religions' name) in our world - because of human behaviour. That said, so is the opposite excess - but you probably (I hope so, at least) already knew that: your post doesn't seem to be overtly in that area of thinking and language, though it wouldn't take too much to bring it there.

I'll expand on two of your sentences:

Quote:
The global flood never happened.

Hmm. Maybe no "global flood" as such, but the "something generated exceedingly poor weather more than 10K years ago" statement is a factual event backed by scientific evidence, AFAICL from reading and watching stuff over time Smile

Among the things which can have proven impact on the climate, usually in the direction of temporarily worsening it, are volcanoes. For instance:
* the Pinatubo eruption in the summer of 1991 - I'm old enough to remember about it - reduced the flux of solar energy in a measurable way (in the percent range, IIRC), which made the next year slightly colder and more rainy, IIRC;
* the globally poor weather in 1815, which caused poor yields for agriculture, backed by literature, is attributed to the Tambora eruption, but of course, at the time, there was no way to measure a reduction in solar energy flux.

An event of higher magnitude could easily have had higher impact. And it turns out that we know about one such event with massive scale: the Toba supervolcano bursting, in current Indonesia, about 70K years ago IIRC. At some point between 2007 and 2009, I saw a National Geographic Channel documentary about it. The scale of the event was such that noticeable heaps of ashes with the same date and chemical compounds were found in Eastern Africa...
The documentary also said that Yellowstone is the visible portion of an active, growing supervolcano in Northern America; when it bursts (it's growing - some areas of land swole between topological measurements in the 1800s and current measurements), basically all of the current USA, Canada and probably Mexico will be erased...


Plus:
* I remember reading that there are very few unique mitochondrial ARN samples in the global population. While this could be partially attributed to the fact that there are only so many mutations of that ARN which yield a mitochondria that works and feeds the cellular mechanisms with energy (well enough to transmit the mutation to offspring, at least), it was instead attributed to the fact that _some_ relatively recent event decreased the species' count to about 8 women + an unknown number of men. Maybe (I'm not sure anymore) because given the mutation rate and the age of what became the current human species, there should have been more different valid mitochondrial ARN samples by now ?
* the tale of something resembling a "global flood" is just about the only global myth, civilizations which had no contact for thousands of years (until people of European descent reached through the entire planet) have it... That just hints at the fact that whatever happened, happened a relatively long time ago. Toba could have been that event, but we can't know.


Quote:
There were no talking snakes, donkeys

Talking human language directly understandable by human beings through their lips, probably not - or seldom, at least. Sending thoughts that humans beings can interpret (in sentiment, image and audio form), and receiving thoughts from other animals (including human beings)... probably another matter.


About the evolution of civilizations: have you read Jared Diamond's fantastic Germs, Guns and Steel (followed by Collapse), for instance ?
This is quite an emotion filled thread. Has there been some personal event that has bought this issue forward Mateo?
tr1p1ea wrote:
This is quite an emotion filled thread. Has there been some personal event that has bought this issue forward Mateo?

Yes. I woke up one morning and realized billions of people are being lied to. What would you do? How would you react if suddenly everything you had once stood for was actually demonstrably false?

Good people do good things. Anyone can have brilliant ideas, irrespective of religion, anyone can be an incredible person, irrespective of their faith. I am saying the faithful simply haven't actually asked themselves why they believe what they believe.

People believe things because they are told to. Many are brought up from birth this way. It is no one's fault, it is merely what our current culture reflects. But it is wrong. I'm sorry if that conflicts with what you think, but you have no idea how sad it makes me that many of you will be fighting tooth and nail to maintain a belief that isn't even real.

Lionel Debroux, I know that you are an extremely intelligent person. But this is what I am saying religion has done to our minds. Why are you defending this? I'm honestly curious. Seriously. If I told you I can communicate with animals via my mind, would you believe me? I doubt you would. But suddenly if it is another story that is part of the foundation of a core belief written millennium ago, it suddenly becomes truth. It's frightening.

Sure, I accept there probably was a localized flood somewhere, perhaps different floods across multiple time periods in many different parts of the world. Floods are common. They happen all the time, we know why they happen, and we know what in nature causes them. But suddenly if we look at older stories yet again, no longer is it merely another flood, it is a vengeful god who wished to punish the wickedness of his creation.

It's honestly saddening. And I don't know what to do, or what to tell the world.
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Why are you defending this? I'm honestly curious. Seriously. If I told you I can communicate with animals via my mind, would you believe me? I doubt you would.

Years ago, I probably wouldn't have put much belief in that people can have complex mind-based communications with animals. Nowadays, I'm more open to the possibility that this sort of things can, and does, occur. I do not rule out the possibility of using the abilities of such persons - should I ever need, and find, one Smile
That said... because of the state of mind you're displaying here - a significant unwillingness to accept the potential existence of such things - I'd have a hard time believing that yourself can do it. But that's because of how you're displaying your (dis)beliefs - not because of a belief of mine that nobody has ever been able to, is currently able to, or will ever be able to, have "other" kinds of communication with animals and humans, said kinds not being somehow measured or otherwise explained by our current scientific tools and frameworks.

"Other" communication between real twin humans is also both documented and unexplained. Sometimes, a twin instantly feels the other twin's pain, across a distance of hundreds of kilometers, without phone calls or other standard communication means being used. How do they do that ?

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And I don't know what to do, or what to tell the world.

Well, for a start, do not behave like / be a rationalist extremist: these and the religious extremists you're (rightfully) attacking are equally noxious Smile
A distinction has to be made between stuff which really hurts other people, and stuff which doesn't. The first class has to be fought (without draining oneself out), but the second class... are you sure you need to bother ? People could resent you trying to communicate your beliefs and telling how (not)
to behave. You'll spend energy to yield a socially negative outcome... there are more productive and constructive ways to spend your energy.

Don't close your mind in an excessive way to things that you can't explain, or for which no explanation has been found / pursued yet. You'll come off as arrogant, closed-minded and unwilling to see other persons' POV.
I was brought up Catholic, but it pains me to say that organized religion is among the worst things to happen to this world and society. It is the among the biggest sources of blind hate and idolatry, murder, and contradiction that is often selective. And yea, I'll back up every single one of those claims:

You see more people hating on people for religious belief, or on the basis of, than probably almost any other thing, except maybe ethnicity. Criminalizing abortion, same-gender relationships, being of a different religion, etc are just a few on a long list of things that people hate on people for. And it's a contradiction. I can't speak to any other language, but I know that within Judaism and Christianity, we have a commandment... "do not take the name of God in vain". I know many people who believe this references cursing, but this is a faulty and most likely incomplete interpretation. Taking something in vain means disrespecting something. And I'm pretty sure that in a religion that claims to be based on love and acceptance, using the name of your God to hate on another human being is a blatant infraction on that commandment. So is using the name of your God to push your will/agenda on other people. For existance... abortion, same-gender marriage, etc. You do you, let everyone else do them. I mean, it's not difficult.

And then comes the worst part. You try telling any of this to the most devoutly religious and they look at you like you're some hellspawn. I've been judged once or twice as a "bad person" by someone of religion because I choose to use flamboyant language from time to time, on the basis of that commandment above. What has the world come to when people pay more attention to the words you choose to use, who you love and associate with, and ignore how we treat people, how we live our lives? I mean the incarnated God of Christianity took sinners as followers and made them holy people, so what gives? Clearly something's being lost in translation here.

Personally I'm not all against religion. I think that we could do with a bit of reality check though. The point of religion is to set guidelines on how to live. How to treat others. Etc. It's not about ruling a group of sheep with an iron fist, controlling every aspect of their lives, taking money from them, and then condemning them to an afterlife of eternal torment if they don't tie their shoe the way you say they should. But religion has turned from something really quite beautiful into something hateful, spiteful, and to be avoided, and most of the people who are responsible for this are so closed minded that they cannot even see that they've totally lost the meaning of religion.
I can, and I will, accept anything if you provide good evidence for why beliefs are true. I want to hear from others more, so I guess I'll just comment on this:

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Don't close your mind in an excessive way to things that you can't explain, or for which no explanation has been found / pursued yet. You'll come off as arrogant, closed-minded and unwilling to see other persons' POV.

Which is more arrogant: To say "I don't know", or to claim to have the knowledge simply through faith in what one believes? What is so wrong with saying "I don't know"? Why must we fill that with incorrect beliefs, and pseudoscience? Literally everything is possible, but just because it is possible that aliens are controlling our minds, does that mean we should lend it any thought?

Edit: Twins have no demonstrable metaphysical link, and I'm curious why you think that they do?

Edit 2: When someone brings up probability, as I am sure is probable to happen, try to think of something so improbable that it can only happen once a year every million years. In the terms of the known universe, that event will then have happened fourteen thousand times already. Food for thought.
IRC wrote:
<iPhoenix> I'm pretty sure most religions were started because there was a really smart guy (I'm not trying to be sexist, but let's face it. How likely was it that it was a female, looking at the time period?) who wanted to control the world, so he hired some anonymous authors who twisted other stories into a huge text. Making sure that he would maintain control, they came up with stories designed to bind you to his "faith", creating eternal
<iPhoenix> punishment to those "unbelievers", while "rewarding" those who believed.
<MateoC> Yeah that pretty much sums it up, but it wasn't just one guy it was a collection of guys
<iPhoenix> I didn't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist.
<iPhoenix> Razz
<MateoC> Haha
Lionel Debroux wrote:
"Other" communication between real twin humans is also both documented and unexplained. Sometimes, a twin instantly feels the other twin's pain, across a distance of hundreds of kilometers, without phone calls or other standard communication means being used. How do they do that ?

MateoConLechuga wrote:
Edit: Twins have no demonstrable metaphysical link, and I'm curious why you think that they do?


I have a twin and can attest that I don't get spooky ghost feelings when my brother is in pain.
So many other aspects of human life have moved out of the stone age, I don't know why religion hasn't been abandoned. It just doesn't logically make sense to trust people from thousands of years ago, the same people who lived in dirt huts. No one uses stone tools anymore and likewise old fantasies aren't relevant anymore and shouldn't dictate lives or entire cultures.
Although we may not need the stories of old, I'm not sure if it is relevant to say that the ancients weren't smart. They built the pyramids and vast civilizations. But yes, why not use modern knowledge rather than outdated information? Is faith a reliable tool in understanding reality?

In my experience, it seems that faith doesn't lead you to any truth -- it only makes you think it has.
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Yes. I woke up one morning and realized billions of people are being lied to.

I am saying the faithful simply haven't actually asked themselves why they believe what they believe.

People believe things because they are told to. Many are brought up from birth this way. It is no one's fault, it is merely what our current culture reflects. But it is wrong.

It's honestly saddening. And I don't know what to do, or what to tell the world.


I'll start by saying that I am not among the majority in the religious community, I am LDS (Mormon) and so my beliefs are slightly different than most Christians. But this isn't about my individual religion.

Yes. When parents are religious and wish to teach their kids their religion, then their kids are usually brought up from birth knowing the things that their religion says is correct. And yes, this has been going on since the beginning. But while kids necessarily don't ask themselves why they believe what they believe, adults definitely do. They ask these questions, allow them to be torn apart by these questions because they see that the things that they have grown up knowing was true might not actually be true. They ask people how to know that religion is true. Others publish books telling everyone why they should believe what they believe, and others read those books and either are inspired to keep believing, or they disagree with the books. These billions of people that you refer to aren't all mindless children. They develop theologies, prove points, and study the history of it to prove that it is real. There are competitive universities founded around religion, with thousands of students doing nothing but questioning why they believe what they believe. You can say that they are all wrong, you can say that millions of people that have questioned religion since the beginning and choose to stay believes anyway are wrong, but you can't say that we don't ask why we do what we do.

Religion is scary. As a faithful member of a congregation, I fully understand how unstable putting all of my theology eggs in one basket can be, but because I have had experiences that prove to me that my faith is not unfounded, I am perfectly fine with trusting my whole life's purpose to the things that my parents taught me.

I understand that it is easy to say that it is all wrong. And I have those days, those times in my life where I want to throw away everything that has to do with religion. But because of my experiences in the gospel, I always come back to my religion. And there are more factors at play here aside from just the content of the gospel, but the point is that we aren't all just blindly following our parent's teachings. We are blindly following our god's teachings because we trust him.

You can say that that trust is unfounded, that God doesn't exist, but it's just a complete insult to say that we don't question that trust. It's like saying that math is stupid because we are just going through the same procedures that our teachers taught us. That just isn't so, because we are taught how to derive the formulas that we use from higher math principles so that we understand where it all comes from. In religion, we are taught how to trust our faith. It isn't easy, and I understand why so many people choose not to delve into religion. But for us that choose to stick to it, we are going about it in a way that is less stupid than you make it out to be.

(I know my math analogy isn't completely relevant, and I hope that you can see it as a way to understand my point instead of a way to attack the argument).
Thank you for your nice response. I hope that we can all realize that when we question faith, we are questioning the faith itself, not the countless hours someone may have devoted to that faith, and in their personal quest for the truth.

The faith may not be unfounded. If you have a personal experience that cannot simply be explained any other way than if your personal god did it, then that is a justified belief. Belief is justified when someone has a good reason for it, and I can respect that.

There is a key difference though between trust and faith. Trust is formed by the knowledge or experience one has, and the outcomes it has produced in the past. Faith is a position on which anything can be based, without any evidence for, and can lead to a denial of facts and a disregard for reality. And that is ultimately what scares me.
Meh, I really don't agree with you (having just skimmed through the first post). I am not interested in changing your opinion, but to distance myself from this opinion as it could not possibly be further away from mine.

First:
I wouldn't consider myself as an atheist nor do I believe everything most "true" Christians would believe. I am a man of science. Studying for an electronics-engineering bachelor, maybe master.
I would not consider myself a stupid guy nor one that is easily influenced by others.
Religion has it's point as long as it is not used for bad. It can give you hope and it can carry you if things go wrong.

Second:
Religion is not the only truth. But for many, including me, it is part of the truth. I was not raised in a very religious household and I rarely actually attend church. Still, I feel it is an important part of life for me. There is something more than what science can prove. I am totally certain for myself about this.

Third:
The first testament is not one to take by word. That just results in a clash with science. Usually, there is more if you read between the lines. Not everything is just the way it looks at first glance.

Forth:
I have questioned this, and this is my current standpoint on this. This may very well change eventually in one or another direction, but for now, this is my opinion.

Firth (It's on another site for a reason. Skip it if you are not open to some criticism, really!)
https://pastebin.com/mXpe315t
I agree, religion can and does give people hope and something to lean on. But is is better to believe a comfortable lie or a prickly truth? Can one make better conclusions using one or the other?

If there is something more than what science can know, where is this derived from? If there something that we cannot ever know, what is the point to figuring things out at all?

There are many Christians who would disagree and assert that the bible is literal. But in terms of the reasonable population, there is a clash with science, and thus everything basically is reduced down to a metaphor. Does this mean Jesus will also one day become a metaphor, as our knowledge of them time reduces him to this?

I don't think abortion really belongs here, so just ask these to yourself I guess. But in all seriousness, no one is going to make you have an abortion, so why does your faith in what something may become impact the lives of other people? What would a suitable punishment be for a woman who has an abortion?
MateoConLechuga wrote:
I agree, religion can and does give people hope and something to lean on. But is is better to believe a comfortable lie or a prickly truth? Can one make better conclusions using one or the other?

It's also about what happens after you die. Nobody knows. One does rather imagine a pleasant afterlife than just plain void. I do believe that there is more than we know and be able to scientifically prove.

MateoConLechuga wrote:
If there is something more than what science can know, where is this derived from? If there something that we cannot ever know, what is the point to figuring things out at all?

Good point, but I truly believe we will never understand everything. Humans can do and understand amazing things, but there is a lot that goes deeper than what most or all of us can understand.
What does it use to the general public if they will never understand the truth that is discovered?

MateoConLechuga wrote:
There are many Christians who would disagree and assert that the bible is literal. But in terms of the reasonable population, there is a clash with science, and thus everything basically is reduced down to a metaphor. Does this mean Jesus will also one day become a metaphor, as our knowledge of them time reduces him to this?

I don't know if Jesus will become a metaphor. A majority of the bible can't be taken literally but has to be interpreted. Maybe we will eventually see a third testament. I really don't know what the future holds. Will we see a Version 3 where the meaning remains and the content is updated with the science we know? I don't know either.

MateoConLechuga wrote:
I don't think abortion really belongs here, so just ask these to yourself I guess. But in all seriousness, no one is going to make you have an abortion, so why does your faith in what something may become impact the lives of other people? What would a suitable punishment be for a woman who has an abortion?

I think it tangentially belongs here. What happens to the unborn that are killed? Where do they go?
They leave earlier than most of us into the unknown. Who may decide over another person's life?
Up to what point may one decide over another human being in general?
(this is probably going to be really out of order because I am really late to this thread)
I should start off by saying that I am a Roman Catholic, and that I my education from the fifth grade on was done at a Catholic school. I was never taught any pseudoscience, and all of my teachers were evolutionists. The official view of the Catholic faith says that science is outside the scope of its teaching and the Bible's teaching, and that neither science or religion are the entire truth. It's not really important if the Bible is being exactly literal, as it is a book of faith and morals, not a book of science or history. The point of the first part of Genesis isn't that God created the world in exactly 6 days, but that God saw the world as good and that we are created in His image. However, I doubt that Jesus will ever be seen as a metaphor, as Jesus is one-third of the most basic teachings of the faith.
Faith should never try to take the place of science. It shouldn't attempt to give an understanding of reality, and it absolutely should not attempt to deny facts or disregard truths about it.

I agree that blind faith is a negative for society, and that religious people need to question their faith, which ends either in a realization that the faith is incorrect or a strengthening of that faith, both of which are positive effects.

I feel like religion does cause a lot of hate against different groups. I can't really speak for other religions but in Christianity this is ironic because one of the main points of the Gospels is to love one another, even those who seem to you to be sinful. Anything can be misinterpreted if you pick and choose which parts you listen to, and I feel that listening to "you should not do x" and "evangelize others" without paying attention to "don't hate people for what they do" is the reason there is hate based on religion in the world.

Since abortion was mentioned at some point, yes, it is a moral issue. However, unlike other things like gay marriage, which only affects the person who makes the decision, abortion is different, as it depends on your definition of what is human. With abortion, one side believes that a fetus is a human person and as a result needs to have its right to life protected by a ban on abortion. The other side believes that the fetus is part of the woman's body, and as a result, the woman's right to make decisions about her body needs to be protected by making abortion legal. At least in my opinion, it seems rather illogical to have an opinion about whether abortion should be legal without having an opinion about the definition of a person, and immoral to have conflicting opinions for the two. However, if you have that base opinion, it doesn't just apply to you. You can't say that the mother gets to decide whether the fetus is or is not a person. That decision is what should be left to each person, and each person should try as hard as possible to defend the rights that they believe in. (I probably didn't do a good job of presenting that. I need to find a good analogy but because of the nature of the issue it's hard to find one that doesn't appear extreme.)
A question though: Is the Bible actually moral? Do you believe it is moral because you have faith it is, and that's what we are told, or is that faith based on actually reading the bible? In that manner, how do you know what is good and bad when you read the Bible? If you read one passage that says that murder is a crime punishable by death, and a few lines later you read a passage that says being gay is a crime punishable by death, what did you use to decide what was truly right or wrong?

I do think Catholicism is adapting. Religions that do not adapt to science fade away into obscurity, as demonstrated by the Greek and Norse gods of lightening and thunder. But simply because religion is able to adapt does not make it any more true.
MateoConLechuga wrote:
tr1p1ea wrote:
This is quite an emotion filled thread. Has there been some personal event that has bought this issue forward Mateo?

Yes. I woke up one morning and realized billions of people are being lied to. What would you do? How would you react if suddenly everything you had once stood for was actually demonstrably false?

Good people do good things. Anyone can have brilliant ideas, irrespective of religion, anyone can be an incredible person, irrespective of their faith. I am saying the faithful simply haven't actually asked themselves why they believe what they believe.

People believe things because they are told to. Many are brought up from birth this way. It is no one's fault, it is merely what our current culture reflects. But it is wrong. I'm sorry if that conflicts with what you think, but you have no idea how sad it makes me that many of you will be fighting tooth and nail to maintain a belief that isn't even real.

Lionel Debroux, I know that you are an extremely intelligent person. But this is what I am saying religion has done to our minds. Why are you defending this? I'm honestly curious. Seriously. If I told you I can communicate with animals via my mind, would you believe me? I doubt you would. But suddenly if it is another story that is part of the foundation of a core belief written millennium ago, it suddenly becomes truth. It's frightening.

Sure, I accept there probably was a localized flood somewhere, perhaps different floods across multiple time periods in many different parts of the world. Floods are common. They happen all the time, we know why they happen, and we know what in nature causes them. But suddenly if we look at older stories yet again, no longer is it merely another flood, it is a vengeful god who wished to punish the wickedness of his creation.

It's honestly saddening. And I don't know what to do, or what to tell the world.


... So nothing specific, as such, has happened to you to cause this thread?

It is good that you have decided to take a pro-active approach with regards to your beliefs against
faith. Is there anything that you are actively doing to undermine organised religion publicly or is it limited to this thread?
tr1p1ea wrote:
... So nothing specific, as such, has happened to you to cause this thread?

Not really. I just hope that people question everything.

tr1p1ea wrote:
It is good that you have decided to take a pro-active approach with regards to your beliefs against
faith. Is there anything that you are actively doing to undermine organised religion publicly or is it limited to this thread?

I am a part of a Secular Student Organization, and we do many different things through that. Also I've started having a close personal relationship with reality too. Smile
  
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