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"Religion could be largely gone in a generation"
#1

Go Larry....



Quote:

Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss: Religion could be largely gone in a generation



Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss believes that in a generation religion could disappear. Earlier this year the theoretical physicist, who teamed up with Richard Dawkins to create the documentary “The Unbelievers,” spoke at the Victorian Skeptics Cafe.



There he was asked what he thought about religion being taught in schools; the video of the response was uploaded on Monday to YouTube by user Adam Ford.



“What we need to do is present comparative religion as a bunch of interesting historical anecdotes, and show the silly reasons why they did what they did,” Krauss said on the topic of teaching comparative religion.



“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that,’” Krauss stated.



“This issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you’re a a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is,” he continued.  ”It’s gone. One generation is all it takes.”



“So, I can tell you a generation ago people said there is no way people would allow gay marriage, and slavery — essentially — [gone in] a generation; we got rid of it,” Krauss stated. “Change is always one generation away. So if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”



<cont.>



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#2
AToo ingrained in the way our brains operate. If it were to 'disappear', we'd simply reinvent it.
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#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turingmachine75 View Post

Too ingrained in the way our brains operate. If it were to 'disappear', we'd simply reinvent it.


No, it probably won't ever completely 'go away' but it can be vaccinated against.



hmmm, I can't help but wonder how much crossover their is on the Venn Diagram between anti-vaxxers and religious fundamentalists?

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#4

I somehow doubt this.

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#5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Subotai View Post
 

I somehow doubt this.



As pointed out by LK, people used to doubt that marriage equality would gain wider and wider acceptance and yet here we are today.



I have no doubt that some people thought that they wouldn't see marijuana available for sale -legally- in stores....



Of course, there are those that will continue to think that gay marriage and pot sales will be the downfall of society regardless of the facts and evidence to the contrary....I can't help but think those individuals will occupy a smaller and smaller circle as the world evolves around them.

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#6
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTRan View Post
 


As pointed out by LK, people used to doubt that marriage equality would gain wider and wider acceptance and yet here we are today.



I have no doubt that some people thought that they wouldn't see marijuana available for sale -legally- in stores....



Of course, there are those that will continue to think that gay marriage and pot sales will be the downfall of society regardless of the facts and evidence to the contrary....I can't help but think those individuals will occupy a smaller and smaller circle as the world evolves around them.



I fail to see how this correlates to religious belief disappearing in a generation. What you described is acceptance of new norms, not the disappearance of a faith system.

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#7
Quote:

Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 


I fail to see how this correlates to religious belief disappearing in a generation. What you described is acceptance of new norms, not the disappearance of a faith system.



Widespread  belief (faith) in the existence of a deity used to be considered not just 'the norm' but damn near mandatory.



These days, there are more and more people that are questioning that 'norm' and realizing that, after being exposed to contradictory evidence and alternative viewpoints, makes them stop and say "wait a minute?".



Religion is easily spread by propagating to ignorant minds. If you were to teach critical thinking skills and skepticism to children so that when they are presented with 'religion'....perhaps they would be more willing to raise their hand and 'say that doesn't make sense' and not blindly accept it as fact.


Of course, in many religions, questioning the faith is frowned upon as that will end up exposing the cracks...and then the 'faith' starts losing it's power.



But again, religious belief won't ever completely go away, but it will shrink more and more as time goes on.



NDT Quote :


Does it mean, if you don’t understand something, and the community of physicists don’t understand it, that means God did it? Is that how you want to play this game? Because if it is, here’s a list of things in the past that the physicists at the time didn’t understand [and now we do understand] [...]. If that’s how you want to invoke your evidence for God, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on - so just be ready for that to happen, if that’s how you want to come at the problem.
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#8

He's saying it's going to go away, you're saying less people will believe in it. Not exactly the same.



I have a masters in math/engineering, think I have critical thinking skills covered, and I firmly believe in my faith (and teach it, at Church). I don't think atheist are any smarter or have more critical thinking skills than a believer, at all. Intelligence is not tied to your religious or non-religious beliefs.

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#9
A[QUOTE url="http://www.salon.com/2014/11/04/cosmologist_lawrence_krauss_religion_could_be_largely_gone_in_a_generation/"]“What we need to do is present comparative religion as a bunch of interesting historical anecdotes, and show the silly reasons why they did what they did,” Krauss said on the topic of teaching comparative religion.[/quote]
Yeah, the best way to teach a subject is to be all condescending toward and snidely detached from the whole underlying strata of its material.

Seriously, why do jackoffs like this guy get the spotlight for atheism? I'm not even an atheist and I can point you to a better example in Sir Terry Fucking Pratchett, who might not actually be religious himself, but can write about religion with feeling the compulsion to shit-talk the whole notion of having an explanation for life, the universe, and everything that isn't the one he subscribes to.
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 

He's saying it's going to go away, you're saying less people will believe in it. Not exactly the same.



I have a masters in math/engineering, think I have critical thinking skills covered, and I firmly believe in my faith (and teach it, at Church). I don't think atheist are any smarter or have more critical thinking skills than a believer, at all. Intelligence is not tied to your religious or non-religious beliefs.



Maybe it's me but I am not taking him literally when he says it will completely disappear....



You are correct that intelligence is not tied (necessarily) to believing or not believing in a deity.


I do think that there is a huge amount of willful ignorance involved when it comes to it though.



As someone who is religious and critical thinking skills, how do you reconcile all the contradictions present in your faith (I am assuming we're talking about the bible?)

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#11
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post


Yeah, the best way to teach a subject is to be all condescending toward and snidely detached from the whole underlying strata of its material.

Seriously, why do jackoffs like this guy get the spotlight for atheism? I'm not even an atheist and I can point you to a better example in Sir Terry Fucking Pratchett, who might not actually be religious himself, but can write about religion with feeling the compulsion to shit-talk the whole notion of having an explanation for life, the universe, and everything that isn't the one he subscribes to.


Yeah...those that profess faith are never condescending....

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#12

If religion were to disappear and a lack of god proven and agreed upon, I'll blow the lot of you.

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#13
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTRan View Post
 


Maybe it's me but I am not taking him literally when he says it will completely disappear....




I'm interpreting him as it'll mostly disappear from the world in a generation (let's say that's <50%), I find that very unlikely.



Quote:

You are correct that intelligence is not tied (necessarily) to believing or not believing in a deity.


I do think that there is a huge amount of willful ignorance involved when it comes to it though.



As someone who is religious and critical thinking skills, how do you reconcile all the contradictions present in your faith (I am assuming we're talking about the bible?)



I'm Catholic. I don't interpret the Bible literally (nor does the Church), especially when it comes to explaining scientific facts.


I don't consider myself willfully ignorant, just see the world through the prism of my faith, but I don't try to explain scientific truths with books that were not written for that purpose.



That's why it makes complete sense why father Georges Lemaître was able to write his thesis on the foundation of what we now call the Big Bang, while at the same time pushing back on the Pope for using it as a justification of Genesis (not literally though), gaining the trust and proving some of his peers they were wrong about an eternal universe (including Einstein) all the while still believing in his faith and being a priest.

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#14
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick Nunziata View Post
 

If religion were to disappear and a lack of god proven and agreed upon, I'll blow the lot of you.



If that's what I have to look forward to...."PRAISE JEEBUS!"

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#15

Asshole atheists make us all look bad.



EDIT: Though I do appreciate how profoundly stupid a statement it is. And how arrogant. Cuz cosmologists know so much about psychology.

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#16

Communism and Objectivism, two completely Atheistic, Secular belief systems, devolved into Organized Religions in the lifetimes of their founders.



Hell the Communists took the dead bodies of Lenin, Stalin and Mao, made them into mummies, and put them in glass coffins so people could worship them.



And you British Chewers: why not visit ole Karl Marx's grave in London sometime and see how many flowers and mementos people leave there to this very day.



No way religious belief goes away. One can hope that the more thoughtful, spiritual side will prevail but that takes higher levels of education. In the US, that is in danger.

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#17
AOne may as well opine that language or pattern recognition will largely be gone in a generation.

We badly need another Carl Sagan.
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#18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turingmachine75 View Post

One may as well opine that language or pattern recognition will largely be gone in a generation.

We badly need another Carl Sagan.








We do!

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#19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 


I'm interpreting him as it'll mostly disappear from the world in a generation (let's say that's <50%), I find that very unlikely.



I'm Catholic. I don't interpret the Bible literally (nor does the Church), especially when it comes to explaining scientific facts.


I don't consider myself willfully ignorant, just see the world through the prism of my faith, but I don't try to explain scientific truths with books that were not written for that purpose.



That's why it makes complete sense why father Georges Lemaître was able to write his thesis on the foundation of what we now call the Big Bang, while at the same time pushing back on the Pope for using it as a justification of Genesis (not literally though), gaining the trust and proving some of his peers they were wrong about an eternal universe (including Einstein) all the while still believing in his faith and being a priest.



Just out of curiosity, were you raised by your parents in the catholic faith or did you, as an adult make the conscious decision to become a catholic?

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#20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turingmachine75 View Post

One may as well opine that language or pattern recognition will largely be gone in a generation.

We badly need another Carl Sagan.


While language itself may not be gone in a generation, certain words/phrases will no doubt fall out of usage and linguistic patterns may vry wel chng kyt rdkly.




ETA- FWIW


Quote:

Atheism Rises, Religiosity Declines In America



(RNS) Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll.

The poll, called "The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," found that the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent.


At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent.


The poll was conducted by WIN-Gallup International and is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents. Participants were asked, "Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?"



<cont>



http://www.wingia.com/web/files/news/14/file/14.pdf

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#21

That analogy (with language) is false. You look at every human society, you will see some form of religion, even (as I point out above) ostensibly Atheistic societies. For whatever reason, the religious impulse is hardwired into the human brain.

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#22
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTRan View Post
 


Just out of curiosity, were you raised by your parents in the catholic faith or did you, as an adult make the conscious decision to become a catholic?



I was barely "raised Catholic", I think my parents had a set of confused "Catholic cultural" beliefs but very low Church attendance (maybe 2-4 times a year).



Then I moved to the US without them (teen years), got curious about religion and started answering all the doubts I had (a lot of confusion about what you asked, fundamentalist readings of the Bible, etc).



Ironically my best friend of my 1st year of school in the US was an atheist, in a weird sort of indirect way, he made me more interested in finding out more about it. I also had the unique experience of having a friend that was the son of a pastor, so as a Catholic I learned pretty quick about Protestantism and more specifically fundamentalism. BTW, a lot of US atheist to me, no offense nor saying you, sound like Christian fundamentalist to me.



I would say I made a conscious decision to stick with it and take it seriously between my teens and early college years, to the point I almost ended up in the seminary. My family back home (in Latin America) was actually not very happy with me taking the whole thing seriously (initially), and I received a lot of ridicule and criticism for it.

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#23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

That analogy (with language) is false. You look at every human society, you will see some form of religion, even (as I point out above) ostensibly Atheistic societies. For whatever reason, the religious impulse is hardwired into the human brain.



Given the right type of external input (or lack thereof), the human brain has shown to be quite malleable. The ingrained desire to believe in the supernatural is nowhere near what it was as recently as 40-50 yrs ago....to say nothing of several centuries.



Again, the belief in the supernatural will probably never completely go away, but I could see it becoming more and more marginalized as time goes on....assuming of course the human race doesn't snuff itself out.

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#24
Quote:

Originally Posted by VTRan View Post
 


Given the right type of external input (or lack thereof), the human brain has shown to be quite malleable. The ingrained desire to believe in the supernatural is nowhere near what it was as recently as 40-50 yrs ago....to say nothing of several centuries.



Again, the belief in the supernatural will probably never completely go away, but I could see it becoming more and more marginalized as time goes on....assuming of course the human race doesn't snuff itself out.




The Soviet Union was founded on that exact premise and did it's best to "shape those malleable brains". Turns out people really would rather try to make a good life for themselves vs. live and die for the collective.



The "Belief in the supernatural" is quite alive and well in America thank you. You may live in an "enlightened" enclave on one of the coasts, but even there, religion is quite strong. California, outside of SF and LA, is very Fundamentalist in fact.



Also your use of the phrase "belief in the supernatural" simply points up your own prejudice. It conflates a sincere religious belief with people who follow Astrology or go to UFO conventions or watch real life ghost story shows on tv.

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#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 

BTW, a lot of US atheist to me, no offense nor saying you, sound like Christian fundamentalist to me.




Quoting this for soooo much truth.  Smug atheists can seriously get on my tits.



I consider myself agnostic.  Not because I'm sitting on a fence and if Jesus ever shows up I can do a quick 180.  But because even atheists don't know what happens to conciousness after death any more than religious people do.  They can say they're opinion is based in scientific fact, that no evidence is presented of conciousness living on after death but since there is no way to know what happens they are just as clueless as the rest of us.  And treating people who have spiritual beliefs of the non-fundamental or extremist nature as being somehow "less enlightened" than those who worship at the altar of Dawkins is just being an asshole to my eyes.



Sure, you can say "But religion is responsible for so much pain and suffering in the world." and I will tell you no.  People are responsible for those things.  Religion just provides a convenient excuse to carry out atrocities.  Were religion to just disappear tomorrow those same people would just find another excuse to carry out their base urges.



I have a simple philosophy; as long as nothing you do harms another person in any way I don't care what you believe.  Whatever helps a person cope with the fact that we are a bunch of upjumped apes clinging to a tiny rock hurling through the infinite void.



Maybe when we die we go to heaven or hell.  Maybe we go to sleep till Jehovah calls.  Maybe we get reincarnated.  Maybe we get born again in our own bodies and relive everything again.  Maybe our conciousness is reborn in a parallel universe.  Or maybe our consciousness just blinks out of existence when our brain cells die.



We don't know.  We'll likely never know.  But the universe is too big for us to call anything impossible.

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#26
A[quote name="Cylon Baby" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3799248"]The "Belief in the supernatural" is quite alive and well in America thank you. You may live in an "enlightened" enclave on one of the coasts, but even there, religion is quite strong. California, outside of SF and LA, is very Fundamentalist in fact.[/quote]
To say nothing of the vast majority of the entire rest of the world.

But, y'know, the upper-middle-class coastal US is what really matters.
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#27
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post


The Soviet Union was founded on that exact premise and did it's best to "shape those malleable brains". Turns out people really would rather try to make a good life for themselves vs. live and die for the collective.


Point being that people (especially young people) can be easily 'brainwashed' into believing the most absurd and/or hateful ideas...be it some 'cult of personality' political ideology or antiquated mythology.



Quote:

The "Belief in the supernatural" is quite alive and well in America thank you. You may live in an "enlightened" enclave on one of the coasts, but even there, religion is quite strong. California, outside of SF and LA, is very Fundamentalist in fact.



Also your use of the phrase "belief in the supernatural" simply points up your own prejudice. It conflates a sincere religious belief with people who follow Astrology or go to UFO conventions or watch real life ghost story shows on tv.



Yeah, and people believed that the world was flat for 1000's of years....that didn't make it true.



...let's define 'supernatural'


Quote:

adjective


1.of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.

2.of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.

3.of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.

4.of, pertaining to, or attributed to ghosts, goblins, or other unearthly beings; eerie; occult.


noun


5.a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.

6.behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.

7.direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.


Just because you don't like or are personally offended by the definition, it doesn't make my assertion incorrect.




Personally, I don't see much of a dividing line when it comes to people actually believing in ancient creation stories and those individuals that believe in tarot, bigfoot, xenu, ghosts, UFOs et al.  They all believe in things that swim in irrationality.



Now we don't have the bigfoot believers trying to impose some their Sasquatch theology on society, it's many of the believers in the ancient middle-eastern creation myths that are the ones that feel that they want mold society to fit their worldview so the majority of criticism is going to be directed toward them....which of course they don't like as it makes them confront their own preconceptions....can't have that now can we.

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#28
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

To say nothing of the vast majority of the entire rest of the world.

But, y'know, the upper-middle-class coastal US is what really matters.


Thousands upon thousands of people think what Fox News does is 'good' journalism....this does not make those thousands of people 'right'.

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#29
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTRan View Post


Personally, I don't see much of a dividing line when it comes to people actually believing in ancient creation stories and those individuals that believe in tarot, bigfoot, xenu, ghosts, UFOs et al.  They all believe in things that swim in irrationality.



Now we don't have the bigfoot believers trying to impose some their Sasquatch theology on society, it's many of the believers in the ancient middle-eastern creation myths that are the ones that feel that they want mold society to fit their worldview so the majority of criticism is going to be directed toward them....which of course they don't like as it makes them confront their own preconceptions....can't have that now can we.



I do see a big divide, but I didn't bring it up because I imagine it wouldn't be that big for you. But my wife complains I'm the most skeptical person she knows, most of the priest friends of mine are like that too*. There's this cartoonish belief that if you believe in a higher deity behind the existence of the universe, you're predisposed to being superstitious. That's far from the truth, some of the greatest minds in history can be used as reference to show that's not the case.



You do seem pretty hung up on "creation stories"/creation myths ... I would argue most non fundamentalist in the world (which is almost everybody outside of the US) are not.



* ex: I knew a guy people though was possesed, acted pretty scary with convulsions and everything one time we were at his house. He scared the hell out of us (we were teens). When we brought it up to our priest first thing he suggested was epilepsy, or some other mental health issue, and was kind of annoyed we even assumed it was something else. Demonic possession wasn't even in his realm of possibilities when talking to us ...

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#30
Quote:

Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 


I do see a big divide, but I didn't bring it up because I imagine it wouldn't be that big for you. But my wife complains I'm the most skeptical person she knows, most of the priest friends of mine are like that too. There's this cartoonish belief that if you believe in a higher deity behind the existence of the universe, you're predisposed to being superstitious. That's far from the truth, some of the greatest minds in history can be used as reference to show that's not the case.



You do seem pretty hung up on "creation stories"/creation myths ... I would argue most non fundamentalist in the world (which is almost everybody outside of the US) are not.


Actually, I think the fundies are the ones that ARE hung up on stories more...unhealthily so. I've found that it's the more 'mainstream' religious folk who want to 'just live a good life' that are the ones that are not too worried about all the specifics in their particular theology of choice.


 

I don't have a problem with using the term 'god' as a metaphor for something that is currently beyond our comprehension and doesn't have an apparent 'answer'...but when evidence is presented that rules out the idea that 'god' is the answer, to continue to use 'god' as the answer is not being honest with oneself.

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#31
A[quote name="VTRan" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3799472"]Thousands upon thousands of people think what Fox News does is 'good' journalism....this does not make those thousands of people 'right'.[/quote]
No it doesn't. What it does make them is not "gone," nor yet particularly predisposed to being gone anytime soon.
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#32
Quote:

Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 


I was barely "raised Catholic", I think my parents had a set of confused "Catholic cultural" beliefs but very low Church attendance (maybe 2-4 times a year).



Then I moved to the US without them (teen years), got curious about religion and started answering all the doubts I had (a lot of confusion about what you asked, fundamentalist readings of the Bible, etc).



Ironically my best friend of my 1st year of school in the US was an atheist, in a weird sort of indirect way, he made me more interested in finding out more about it. I also had the unique experience of having a friend that was the son of a pastor, so as a Catholic I learned pretty quick about Protestantism and more specifically fundamentalism. BTW, a lot of US atheist to me, no offense nor saying you, sound like Christian fundamentalist to me.



I would say I made a conscious decision to stick with it and take it seriously between my teens and early college years, to the point I almost ended up in the seminary. My family back home (in Latin America) was actually not very happy with me taking the whole thing seriously (initially), and I received a lot of ridicule and criticism for it.



In the spirit of fair play...



I wasn't raised with any religion at all. The only time I went to church was for a wedding or a funeral. My parents never expressed any sort of religiosity one way or the other.



Most of my friends (or their parents) growing up never expressed any overt religious beliefs.  I did have some cousins that were all about going to church on sundays.....which made me dislike going to their house on sundays as going to church was always considered part of the package.



Honestly, as a kid, I never understood the appeal of religion...it just seemed to be silly. Reading about ancient Greek/Roman mythology just added to my skepticism...if all these people thought that these 'gods' were real but no longer are....well, if these gods aren't considered to be 'real', why should I believe that the xtian god is real?  Maybe the gods are just like the tooth fairy, santa clause, bigfoot, etc....?!



no rain = the gods is angry, time for human sacrifice


just the right amount of rain = god is happy, let up on the sacrifices.


too much rain = damn, the gods are angry again...time for more sacrifices.



Then as I got older I discovered Joseph Campbell and all the religious/mythological ideas fell into place. Religion is/was a way that early peoples dealt with the unknown. Now that we able to view the physical world though the eyes of science and religion has been shown to be incredibly wrong about a great many things, I have to question why anyone would continue to rely on something that has been shown to be wrong time and time again.



Hey, don't get me wrong...religion makes for some great (historical?) fiction...but that's all they are to me, stories that were created in the minds of men/women.  



Strangely enough, I think a lot of my theological worldview has something to do with being exposed to the original Star Trek as a kid. A future where reason and science trumped superstitious beliefs sounded pretty great to me.


 

 

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#33
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

No it doesn't. What it does make them is not "gone," nor yet particularly predisposed to being gone anytime soon.


Yeah....unfortunately.



Ironically, Fox News and fundamentalist religions share much of the same DNA.

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#34

Big influences for me were the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo and the Summa Theologica from Thomas Aquinas. In particular Aquinas appealed to me because of his thesis / antithesis philosophical method, he would ask a question, and raise his objections in the strongest way that he could. Then he set out to propose his thesis and refute each of his objections with it.



I almost found them mathematically delicious, at this point of my life I was studying abstract algebra, and tackling all the methods to do proofs in mathematics (proof by deduction, contradiction, etc). His language and thought process really appealed to me, also echoed the method I would approach some algorithms, or how I thought I would devise an expert system for AI.



BTW, just to clarify, I do believe in some core aspects of my faith that you would find supernatural or even crazy. Mostly the core of our canon, so it's not like I'm Catholic and I have an abstract concept of God, not at all. Even so, that doesn't mean my critical mind is turned off and that we don't question our faith all the time, that's almost a requirement in my view.



I think a lot of atheists, specially in the US have been exposed to a type of religiosity that is very superficial, and are unaware of what is being discussed in more serious circles ... specially academia. I'm talking about the "Q source", the origins of the tale of Genesis (from Babylonian times, including flood stories), etc. They seem to have this idea that religious people either ignore or are not aware of these things, when they're actually probably more discussed by people of faith all the time (and are not new arguments).



The fundamentalism that we see today, is in a way almost alien to even ancient times. Even St. Augustine doubted the literal nature of the creation story in Genesis!

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#35
AWhile I wouldn't want to derail any of the standard 'atheists are assholes/believers are dolts" roundabout, I think the guy's larger point is spot on. Whether he has the timeline right (one generation is a bit much, even among the developed first world cultures) or not, what he was getting about is that there is a tipping point where inertia starts working against the formerly entrenched notion, and we can already observe religious belief declining in a parabolic fashion toward that point.

That's a matter of sociological observation, however, and doesn't necessarily touch upon whether the disappearance of religion would be a good or bad thing. I think it would be good, even if it would not render the whole of humanity immune to cults of personality or otherwise uncritical devotion to a particular ethos (not that I think anyone seriously suggested it would). I mean, the Soviet Union may have indulged some culty tendencies, but it hasn't really shown the staying power of the Catholic Church, has it? And Objectivists may be as fanatical and obnoxious as any religious nut, but I don't think its a coincidence that they haven't had a ton of luck expanding their ranks outside a rather particular socio-economic strata. And that is because their belief system, much as I disagree with it, dictates that they have to engage critics and skeptics on rational terms, without a culturally validated Appeal To Authority as an escape hatch from stickier situations.
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