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"Religion could be largely gone in a generation"
#36
Quote:

Originally Posted by ElCapitanAmerica View Post
 

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 can't help but think that many (if not most) of the 'big thinkers' of history were alive today, they would be at the very least, quite vocal agnostics if not full blown atheists. The worlds and times they lived in believing in gods was almost a given if not a necessity in order to stay alive.


Now, sure there were most likely people then that chose to not believe....but more often than naught, they usually ended up prematurely dead.




Quote:

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!



With the rare exception, I have found most religious folk I have encountered here in the US to be monstrously ignorant of their chosen faith.



Semi-brief story....I had a humanities professor who was an ex-catholic priest...awesome teacher. Spoke latin, studied at the Vatican for years, new catholic dogma backwards and forwards.


Part of his priestly studies included learning about other world religions...like really delving in deep into them. Early on in the class, I posited a question to him- "How is that after studying all the different 'flavors' of religion around the world, why do you still believe and stay with the catholic 'idea' of god/religion?"


He responded that he was brought up in the religion and quitting it was like divorcing someone you had been married to for decades....it was almost too difficult to even ponder.


But after years of becoming more and more disenchanted with the 'answers' (or lack there of) that his religion was offering, he eventually broke free.  One of the other factors he mentioned in leaving was the undercurrent of misogyny prevalent in the church. He had a woman come to him one time for counseling. She told him that her husband was beating her....the church position at the time (still?) was to try and work it out with him....leaving him/divorce wasn't even to be considered. He ended up helping her get away from her abusive husband and left the church not long after that.




Personally I love the idea of approaching and discussing theology through a historical lens and the mythological stories of ancient times make for awesome reading.  It's when people start trying to dissect and look for 'hidden truth' in these stories....well, that's when my eyes roll back.  Viewing them as metaphor is fine and there are some noble ideas in the stories....but IMO, if they are 'good'  ideas, there isn't a need for religion to prop them up.

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#37
Quote:

Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

While 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.


I just wanted to add this - 'Libertarians'



: )

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#38

Thought this essay, while a but tangential, is interesting:



http://www.theguardian.com/news/2014/nov...fe-in-hell

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#39
Quote:

Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post

While 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.


I didn't see this when you posted this, but don't you wonder why there has been a corresponding increase in anti-vaxxers, self help adherents, that vapor bullshit, people calling themselves "spiritual"? Maybe the organization withers, but religion isn't religion because somebody on high demands that we are. Its a natural instinct, to catalogue the world according to a world view that provides comfort and a false sense of predictitibily. You can lay alot of the worse atrocities of the 20th century to this crazy idea that rationality is the end all and be all of humanity, ignoring the primitive side of our minds, and perverting it and acting on it without recognizing it for what it is.



Its a major beef I have with some sci-fi. Technology changes. The world changes. But people? They are always the same.

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#40
A[quote name="Ali" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3816611"]
I didn't see this when you posted this, but don't you wonder why there has been a corresponding increase in anti-vaxxers, self help adherents, that vapor bullshit, people calling themselves "spiritual"? Maybe the organization withers, but religion isn't religion because somebody on high demands that we are. Its a natural instinct, to catalogue the world according to a world view that provides comfort and a false sense of predictitibily. You can lay alot of the worse atrocities of the 20th century to this crazy idea that rationality is the end all and be all of humanity, ignoring the primitive side of our minds, and perverting it and acting on it without recognizing it for what it is.

Its a major beef I have with some sci-fi. Technology changes. The world changes. But people? They are always the same.
[/quote]

I'm not really understanding where you're disagreeing with me. My point was that the impulse will remain after the specific structure fades away. But that's no argument for the structure as a positive thing in itself.
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#41

What I get out of the piece linked in the OP is this: Krauss is engaging in an absurd flight of fancy regarding the imminent coming of a better world (i.e. one in which religion is "largely" extinct), based on exactly zero evidence-- and indeed in the face of all evidence to the contrary.



That's pretty goddamned funny.



I'm especially tickled by the Millienialist vibe of his timeframe here... Religion won't be gone in two hundred years, or even a hundred, but within a generation.



The Eshacton is aways right around the corner, y'all!

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#42

I think Krauss is pondering the idea that if a child is not indoctrinated into a religion at a very young age, the odds of that person falling into religion later in life goes down considerably.



His comment about marriage equality is spot on....I would argue that most people under 30-40 yrs of age think the people that are pushing for things like the 'Defense of Marriage act' are fucking nuts....mostly fundie xtian nuts, I might add.



Sure, organized religion will never go away...at least not willingly (there's too much money/power involved) but I don't doubt (hope) that it's prominence will be lessened (at least here in the US) as time/society progresses.



Personally, I can only hope that 'religion' ends up becoming recognized for what it truly is, mythology: some interesting stories that ancient people/civilizations used to comprehend their mostly ignorant views of the natural world.

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#43
A[quote name="Slim" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3816952"]The Eshacton is aways right around the corner, y'all![/quote]

We must immanentize the eschaton!
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#44
Quote:

Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post


I'm not really understanding where you're disagreeing with me. My point was that the impulse will remain after the specific structure fades away. But that's no argument for the structure as a positive thing in itself.


I guess I'm saying is that a specific structure is also part of the impulse, authority from on high and all that. It certainly makes life easier to bear with, if you don't want to wrestle with the big questions.



I'm saying this without saying whether its positive or negative. It just is.

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#45

Here's an interesting interview with the author of a new book about Evangelicalism in the US. Some interesting stuff...



It’s The Apocalypse, Stupid: Understanding Christian Opposition to Obamacare, Civil Rights, New Deal and More

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#46

only a generation?...took this pastor a year +/-



:
After Year Of Atheism, Former Pastor: 'I Don't Think God Exists'

At the start of 2014, former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor Ryan Bell made an unusual New Year's resolution: to live for one year without God — this reflecting his own loss of faith. He kept a blog documenting his journey and had a documentary crew following him.

After a year, Bell tells NPR's Arun Rath, "I've looked at the majority of the arguments that I've been able to find for the existence of God, and on the question of God's existence or not, I have to say I don't find there to be a convincing case, in my view.

"I don't think that God exists. I think that makes the most sense of the evidence that I have and my experience. But I don't think that's necessarily the most interesting thing about me."

Today, Bell has a new job at PATH, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless.

"It's, I think, an expression of really the part of me that hasn't changed. I'm still the same person deep down that I was before. I care about justice and equality, and I want to see opportunities spread more evenly in our society," Bell says.

Bell says he still feels like atheism is "an awkward fit," and also feels uncomfortable around his former Christian friends who are adjusting to his new views.

One of his biggest lessons from the year is "that people very much value certainty and knowing and are uncomfortable saying that they don't know."

Now he thinks certainty is a bit overrated.

"I think before, I wanted a closer relationship to God, and today I just want a closer relationship with reality," Bell says.
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#47
A[quote name="Cylon Baby" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3822599"]Here's an interesting interview with the author of a new book about Evangelicalism in the US. Some interesting stuff...

It’s The Apocalypse, Stupid: Understanding Christian Opposition to Obamacare, Civil Rights, New Deal and More

[/quote]


The author's point that belief in an imminent Judgement Day impacts how you structure your own education is an interesting one, but I'd have liked to have seen him go one step further and discuss how it impacts the decisions you make about the education of your own children.

My parents had this fascinating double-think going on. My father bought a fake degree from a shady mail order correspondence school (the University of Phoenix, which has since moved to the Web) in order to keep his career in the U.S. Navy from hitting the same wall that mine, in the Army, later would. My mother didn't get her GED until after they divorced, some time in my 20's. Neither of them knew the first thing about financing, or study habits, or admissions, but once my brother and I brought home our first Iowa standardized tests (around age 9, if memory serves?), they became gripped with an unshakeable certainty that, if they screamed enough every time we brought report cards home, that we would somehow become big successes and finance their retirements for them. There was never a college fund for either of us, and we were supposed to be preparing our souls for death at the same time, because we were a Christian family and the end of the world was coming. Imagining the amount of compartmentalization they must have been doing is what allows me to find all this funny now.

Looking at fundamentalist social activism now and remembering how isolationist and sheltering my parents tried to be, I can imagine the tension in these people who think they've got a mission to save the world, but who want as little to do with what they perceive as the lures and snares of secular society as possible. My heart goes out to these poor parents who think home schooling their children to keep them away from the basic facts of biology and a classroom full of students from all walks of life is going to make their kids anything but developmentally disabled.

I feel for the kids, even more. Every time I hear about another white guy calling for an armed revolution in this country, I wonder about the role religion played in his upbringing. Every time another anti-gay pastor or other congregational authority turns out to have been aggressively sexually harassing younger men, I wonder about how the environment in which he grew up deprived him of the ability to form healthy, consensual same sex relationships. There's more to this than just understanding where these people are coming from. I'm convinced that the development of a civilized society requires that atheism eventually wins in some form.
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#48
A[quote name="VTRan" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3823248"]only a generation?...took this pastor a year +/-[/quote]
Yeah, because some people leaving the faith is definitely a new development and not at all a thing that has happened on a semi-regular basis for the last two-plus millennia or anything.
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#49
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post


Yeah, because some people leaving the faith is definitely a new development and not at all a thing that has happened on a semi-regular basis for the last two-plus millennia or anything.


Oh, no doubt people have been bailing on the whole religion thing off and on....when a former pastor does it publicly, it's a bit of a big deal...especially when he was a 7th day Adventist.


IIRC, those dudes lean toward the 'bible/word of god is infallible' end of the spectrum.

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#50
A[quote name="VTRan" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation#post_3823385"]Oh, no doubt people have been bailing on the whole religion thing off and on....when a former pastor does it publicly, it's a bit of a big deal...[/quote]
No, it really isn't. I've seen it happen more than once in my own lifetime, and that's a mere 29 years and small-scale local-area observation. The notion that it's some unprecedented new thing is just absurd.
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#51

commodorejohn, VTran has an agenda, one might even say a fundamental belief: don't mess with it!

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#52
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cylon Baby View Post
 

commodorejohn, VTran has an agenda, one might even say a fundamental belief: don't mess with it!



C'mon....this is the point where you are supposed to call me 'smug' for finding religions intriguing yet silly....

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#53
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post


No, it really isn't. I've seen it happen more than once in my own lifetime, and that's a mere 29 years and small-scale local-area observation. The notion that it's some unprecedented new thing is just absurd.


Again, 'new'....no it's not 'new'.....but reported on, yeah....that's kinda new.

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#54
A[quote name="VTRan" url="/community/t/152224/religion-could-be-largely-gone-in-a-generation/50#post_3823594"]C'mon....this is the point where you are supposed to call me 'smug' for finding religions intriguing yet silly....[/quote]
No, this is the point where we call you spectacularly ill-informed and/or willfully ignorant for making nonsense arguments that anyone with more than the most basic passing acquaintance with the topic of organized religion and Christianity in particular would know were nonsense...for someone with such strong views on the subject, you don't actually seem to know much about it.
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#55
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post


No, this is the point where we call you spectacularly ill-informed and/or willfully ignorant for making nonsense arguments that anyone with more than the most basic passing acquaintance with the topic of organized religion and Christianity in particular would know were nonsense...for someone with such strong views on the subject, you don't actually seem to know much about it.


Please....do tell, what am I missing?

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#56
AI already told you. You might try re-reading my last couple posts and actually paying attention this time, instead of just repeating "yeah, but this is totally unprecedented in spite of that" over and over.
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#57

Quote:


Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

I already told you. You might try re-reading my last couple posts and actually paying attention this time, instead of just repeating "yeah, but this is totally unprecedented in spite of that" over and over.


??WTF??


Maybe we are talking past each other?



I don't think I ever said this was some sort of huge, earth shattering...revelation (!?).


To me it seems like it is just a well publicized admission from an individual who happened to be deeply entrenched in religion and how he came to terms with leaving it behind.


Props to him for questioning his beliefs....it's not done enough, IMO.



Now....and I could be wrong about this...it would seem that you are the one that is taking this story waaaaay more seriously than I am??

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#58
Anecdotal certainly, but having lived in China for over a year now, it is kind of amazing what a a brutal cultural overthrow can do to a country's spirituality. I know there's strong pockets of religion throughout the country but it is night and day compared to being in the States when it comes to even casual "eh, Christian I guess" type spiritualism. I'm still sort of flabbergasted by the "oh yeah, that" or "Pope what?" reactions whenever the talk turns to Christianity, Buddhism barely gets much more of a reply, and while there's still a fair amount of superstitious practices amongst the older generation (fuck you 7AM fireworks), it seems like every person I've encountered under 40 doesn't have much use for it.
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#59

Listened to this FreshAir/NPR piece earlier this week....



Editor Picks Religions For The First Norton Anthology of World Religions



The anthology includes ancient and contemporary interpretations of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Daoism. Editor Jack Miles discusses primary texts, extremism and death.

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#60



Fuck I love Stephen Fry.

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#61

First off, 'The Big Questions' show on the BBC is pretty darn great. I can only imagine an American version of this devolving into something like the Jerry Springer show....



On that note: "....humanist weddings are “entirely demonic.” "






ETA- Here's one of the 'Big Question' episodes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rd4PcNhq3I">Does evidence undermine religion?

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