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Is our society (or any society) designed for religion?
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Posted 4/10/14 , edited 4/10/14

Sir_jamesalot wrote:

Not just religion.
Everything need to be fool proof so that idiots can live a successful life without needing to learn from their mistakes.

Well, it's too late to learn from a mistake that caused death or permanent damage or the same to third persons. And a society designed for religion is hardly fool proof
Posted 4/10/14 , edited 4/10/14
How about accidents that don't cause death, like the ones that made it necessary to write "do not look directly at laser" and "caution hot"on things?

And magic is always the simplest and quickest explanation to learn.

It's like the stupidest things are only there for those that want an omnipresent invisible friend to take all the danger out with prayer and the world builders have to compensate to maintain the illusion of safety.
It's very possible to lay in bed completely oblivious of the outside world for your whole life and own a self run company to pay for everything you'll ever need to pay others to do everything for you.
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Posted 4/10/14 , edited 4/10/14

Like you, I also did plenty of studying of the issue, but I came to a conclusion contrary to yours and similar to anchore's. Impoverishment and/or disenfranchisement is the main driver of extremism everywhere, and Islamic fundamentalism has been the extremist framing of choice in Muslim countries and communities after other alternatives (socialism, nationalism, Baathism) faltered or have been killed off.

This is a case of me being vague and using different terms interchangably. Sorry.
When I say extremism, I don't just mean big organized groups like Al-Qaeda. I mean fundamentalist views in general. Views that cause even your average joe to discriminate and even persecute/lynch/excecute people for completely arbitrary reasons. That of course is not exclusive to the middle east, but it's especially rampant there.

Islamic scriptures are full of commandments encouraging its followers to treat everyone who doesn't conform to its barbaric, arbitrary dogmas like subhuman garbage. To say that this is not a catalyst towards such brutal behaviour is foolish.
A religion involving such dogmas does not deserve a shred of defense or sympathy. It deserves to be shown nothing but contempt.


So the only citizens that are truly disenfranchised are the ones who don't conform to the religious doctrines and dogmas.

You can hardly say that. "Treatment by fellow citizens" doesn't cover treatment by the state (in most cases, a repressive and corrupt dictatorship), and you also gloss over class.

Alright. But even so, the grounds on which they discriminate against their peers are all found in the islamic scriptures. Without those scriptures, the motivation for discriminating against those who are being discriminated against would be gone.


And even IF that was the case, then that is still no excuse for religious extremism outside of those countries.

I have a lot of problems with this single sentence. Firstly, an explanation is not an excuse: the explanation doesn't excuse any act, and, conversely, an inexcusable act doesn't disprove an explanation. Secondly, the inexcusableness of acts of religious extremism is not geographical: say attempts to drive out religious minorities or cow a moderate majority in Iraq or now Syria aren't any better than say blowing up suburban trains in Madrid. Third, the poverty and disenfranchisement lived by those joining Islamic extremists is not limited to Muslim countries: there are the immigrant communities denied a proper chance of integration, and there is Western support for the dictatorships and Western military interventions.

Once again, it is me being unclear. I have a tendency to use "excuse" and "explanation" interchangably. Sorry.


There's a growing concern regarding islamic extremism in europe.

More like, there is growing hysteria regarding Islamic extremism in Europe. Which doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, but that it is blown out of proportion compared to serious problems, and the reaction to it actually brings more problems.

I understand why you would think this, especially if you're not from these countries yourself, but as a scandinavian citizen, I can assure you, that is not the case. It's an actual, acknowledged problem, even from the liberal muslim community itself. <-- Norway's biggest islamic website, openly endorsing and encouraging fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism.


I judge the merits of something based on its actual effects when put into practice.

I actually agree in general, but I must quibble: the actual effects change over time. Think of liberalism and democracy back in the early 19th century Europe: all it had to show for was the bloodbath of the French Revolution spawning a dictator who engulfed all of Europe in war (Napoleon), and conservatives back then indeed raised the argument that these Enlightement ideals sound good but are a portent of doom in practice..

Yeah. UNLIKE religion, however, liberalism and democracy has evolved immensely since then. And now, religion and traditional dogmas are holding the development and education of the collective world back.
I for one, am not content with that. And I do not think that we should be content with just leaning back and waiting for it to blow over on its own. We simply do not have time for that. Or the patience.


Still, I don't think religion is necessary any more. It might have been in the past, but for those living in societies where science and knowledge is readily available, I believe it has outplayed its purpose.

Did it ever had a (single) purpose? I mean, it could serve the purpose of making the subjects pliant for cynical rulers, but I don't buy the picture that religion was consciously set up for some purposes like organising society or give answers to unanswerable questions. It's more the opposite, very human and very fallible attempts at organising society or explain the unexplained were dogmatised, ascribed to higher powers, became religion. I subscribe to Dawkins's view that religions are memes, that is self-perpetuating ideas, and any trait they have they do because its inclusion ensured better perpetuation at some time (rather than any benefit to humans).

Religion has had many purposes. Primarily as a tool to control the masses. But it has always served as an explanation of reality for the people. Back when they did not have access to proper science. Now, that is not the case. And whatever positive purposes religion might have served have now been replaced with science and enhanced understanding of the human condition. Religion is not needed for anything positive anymore.
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Posted 4/10/14 , edited 4/11/14

ROD_Junior wrote:

What you apply above is more or less the No True Scotsman fallacy (look it up): you dismiss forms of religion that are incompatible with your views or negative as not proper religion. The notion that scripture is metaphorical is your belief, not a scientific fact

Moving beyond that, even if we restrict to metaphorical interpretations of scripture, there is the issue of what moral and spiritual ideas exactly are illustrated. For example, what do you think the story of the last plague against Egypt in the Bible means?

Ooo, darn, that was really not what I intended to say at all. I do think there can be evil religions (and are) and that most religions are incompatible with my beliefs, and that is okay too. Well, evil religions are not okay unless they are gleeful about it, in which case they might get a pass. I do think scripture is metaphorical but that is something that works for me. Mainly it is more interesting that way.

Also, um, I really don't want to spend time actually defending the Bible since I don't know it super well and I'm not a Christian. To me, it's just an interesting document. Most religious documents are interesting and fun to think about.

You are not in the outermost frame. Neither am I. We are both trapped, and I suppose the great challenge of existence is to step outside everything and see with absolute understanding and wisdom.

First, the image you use has a big problem: the things people understand or don't aren't organised hierarchically like the layers of an onion. People can be deluded about entirely separate things. Second, absolute understanding neither necessarily exists nor is certain to be even achievable for mortals: it can be that we can only forever improve our understanding of the world and ourselves.

I wasn't talking about things that people understand. I was talking about systems of understanding. So as one matures one might change one's system of understanding if it is beneficial to him to do so. This is what I meant by the layers I mention. You are absolutely right about things people understand. They are definitely not organized. Also, I was thinking about the idea of enlightenment. You may not believe that is a possibility, and I respect that. I think it is, even if I won't be achieving it.

So they won't tell you if you are going to wreck your car next week, but they might tell you that you are at a point in your life where it would be beneficial to focus on relationships.

How did you establish that Tarot can do that? Specifically, what would be a negative test? (Is there any time in your life when it isn't beneficial to focus on relationships?)

Well, yes, there are times in one's life where it is better to focus on one's self and get some space. The Tarot can also help to identify positive and negative forces in one's life, like perhaps someone's mother created a sense of guilt that might not be noticed but has a negative impact. They can basically draw out things you might not be aware of and give you the opportunity to think about them and consciously include them in decision making. They are not a 100% accurate magic tool. If they were that would be kind of scary.
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Posted 5/19/14 , edited 5/20/14
Probably. Not sure if we are "designed" to keep them forever.
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