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04 Oct 2015 16:18 #204489 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion
Seeing how Abrahamic deities in particular also can't handle iron chariots, success is not necessarily an indicator of faithfulness, nor does this have anything to do with the question I posed. I am pointing out the double standard in seeing everything largely harmless to humankind at large or personal as indubitably religious when claimed to be, but anything just as much claimed to be part of the same religion that we happen personally to find disagreeable as necessarily a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the same religion.
So if your text tells you to give thanks for the harvest, and you do just that, that is accurately following it, but if it tells you to rob the neighbor infidel village for their harvest this year, and you do just that, suddenly that is a complete misunderstanding?
Oh, and what, by the way, if you succeeded, rather than lost? Are you saying that God was on the colonists' side when they successfully slaughtered the natives of America or Australia? Certainly, by your standard, since the latter lost, God must not have been in support of their cause... Maybe God was first on Napoleon's side, when he conquered Germany and Italy, but after he had beseiged Moscow God changed his mind and supported the victorious Alexander instead? I take it the citizenry of Hiroshima or Nagasaki didn't have a God-approved cause either, did they?
Make no mistake, a majority of people throughout recorded history, warriors and leaders, civilians and slaves, were genuine believers in one form of religious nonsense or another. That may not have been their motivation all of the time or even most of the time, but if you are saying that defeat is a sign of a lack of divine support, you must make some ugly admissions about the unfortunate...

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04 Oct 2015 19:24 #204524 by Alethea Thompson
Replied by Alethea Thompson on topic On War & Religion

Gisteron wrote: Seeing how Abrahamic deities in particular also can't handle iron chariots, success is not necessarily an indicator of faithfulness, nor does this have anything to do with the question I posed. I am pointing out the double standard in seeing everything largely harmless to humankind at large or personal as indubitably religious when claimed to be, but anything just as much claimed to be part of the same religion that we happen personally to find disagreeable as necessarily a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the same religion.
So if your text tells you to give thanks for the harvest, and you do just that, that is accurately following it, but if it tells you to rob the neighbor infidel village for their harvest this year, and you do just that, suddenly that is a complete misunderstanding?
Oh, and what, by the way, if you succeeded, rather than lost? Are you saying that God was on the colonists' side when they successfully slaughtered the natives of America or Australia? Certainly, by your standard, since the latter lost, God must not have been in support of their cause... Maybe God was first on Napoleon's side, when he conquered Germany and Italy, but after he had beseiged Moscow God changed his mind and supported the victorious Alexander instead? I take it the citizenry of Hiroshima or Nagasaki didn't have a God-approved cause either, did they?
Make no mistake, a majority of people throughout recorded history, warriors and leaders, civilians and slaves, were genuine believers in one form of religious nonsense or another. That may not have been their motivation all of the time or even most of the time, but if you are saying that defeat is a sign of a lack of divine support, you must make some ugly admissions about the unfortunate...


But it has everything to do with what you're asking- because of the thought process religious people have.

Now that said, although I am Christian, I do believe that God does not get involved in all of the affairs of people. Those that are unfortunate are not unfortunate due to God bringing it upon them. God does not always meddle in the affairs of others. But if you are doing something on behalf of a God(dess), because He/She has told you to do so- then it will be sanctioned by them.

I don't believe the story of Job either. He had a lot of bad luck, whoever tells the story is trying to make it look like God sanctioned the bad luck. If Job is a real person in history, I don't believe that God had anything to do with his string of bad luck. If it is a myth told by a storyteller to try and make people feel better about what happens to them- it's clever. But still just a myth about how your faith can keep you alive in God's eyes.

So what do I think of those that got a bad card in life? I think that God has nothing to do with their situation. God didn't put them there, cause and effect of choices (not necessarily the individual on the street's choice, but the choices of everyone around them is to be included in understanding their situations). We are given free will, if you think that God has something to do with everything, you eliminate free will.

The key here isn't JUST success. The point is where is God in it? Either He is in it, or he's not. If you are doing things in His name, and you're not winning- then He doesn't have your back. If you are winning, he MIGHT have your back, or you might just be that good.

It also does not mean that God has anything to do with the people that are overpowering you. He has simply decided to leave it to our own devices, and whoever is the victor is the victor. So you see, I don't believe that America has God's backing either in this. I think He left it to the superior force to win out (survival of the fittest).

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04 Oct 2015 19:43 - 04 Oct 2015 20:21 #204528 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
its impossible to measure all of the kindness and the support and the care that religious people have shown to the world as a result of their religious beliefs - nurses and teachers and coaches and medical organizations and homeless shelters and missionary work and every day people who give a little or give a lot and have been doing so for centuries because their religion or church or temple taughtthem that it was the lords will or the path to enlightenment or just the right way to live

yes it is easy to point to the harm and the violence - its much harder to quantify the goodness

balance

it was religion and religious thought which first asserted that life has any sort of inherent value at all

yes, a lot of evil has been done in the name of religion, and without condoning that i still say that the fact that we regard it as evil at all is because religious reverence informed us that we are capable of and should strive for better

People are complicated.
Last edit: 04 Oct 2015 20:21 by OB1Shinobi.
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05 Oct 2015 14:29 #204594 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion

OB1Shinobi wrote: it was religion and religious thought which first asserted that life has any sort of inherent value at all

This is false. It's actually false on multiple levels, too. First, the genes that do more to preserve their survival survive at a higher rate. That animals evolved to preserve themselves and their kin is a direct result of that and it happened long before the first religion. Also, the assertion that any life has inherent value is false by necessity, since "inherent value" is already something internally inconsistent. Value is an outcome of putting value upon things. It cannot be inherent by definition. Nor does a majority of largely popular religions in our day, and by that I mean religions with any global influence of note, teach that life has inherent value. The value of life they teach is often only as far reaching as the religion's tribe and doesn't extend even as far as to all mankind, and it is also, in most cases, contingent upon either ourselves, a cosmic impersonal justice and morality system, or a countable set of deities. Value and inherency are two incompatible things.

... the fact that we regard [said things] as evil at all is because religious reverence informed us that we are capable of and should strive for better

Religion is not only not the only source of morality, but it is of them all one of the poorest ones at that. It does not take religion to recognize something wrong about burning occupied villages by the dozens, but it does very much take religion to think there is something doomingly horrific about that delicious looking piece of penis skin. And how insulting this is to mankind, while we're at it, how insulting is that to the moral thinkers throughout the ages indeed! Dare ye not speak for the rest of us when you say you wouldn't know any better without religion. We would.

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05 Oct 2015 15:01 - 05 Oct 2015 16:04 #204607 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
genetics does not in any way provide one with a sense that their life or any life has value beyond the immediately obvious, the immediate impulse - as a purely genetic being i may value my own life in the sense that i dont want to feel pain, and i dont want to die, and i may value a mate because i like sex - and i may value association with others because we get more wooly mammoth by working together, and because Urggh tells really funny dirty cave woman jokes and that entertains me, but once we begin to associate a deeper significance to ourselves than pain and sex and food and general entertainment we are entering into the realm of the religious - by definition - and this is where morality becomes JUSTIFIED

religion is the exploration of the ULTIMATE - ultimate reality, ultimate truth, ones ultimate journey as a soul or spiritual being

when we say "my life is valuable because i am intrinsically valuable" we have to justify this - and religion is the original source of this justification

you say that we dont need religion to tell us that its wrong to burn down a dozen villages - but i say that this is exactly what we need - or what we needED, and that until religion came along and told us that it was wrong, it wasnt wrong!

now that religion has informed us that there is a better way, we have the luxury of saying religion is pointless

but it was religious thought that developed human kinds first sense of morality, becauase it was religious thought which first asserted that human life has value beyond the immediate sense of pain and pleasure and delay of death

and ultimately it is religious thought which justifies any morality, because once you assert that there is value in life, beyond what we (or the subjective I) PREFER in the moment, you enter, by definition, the realm of the religious

if you dont agree then please, lets establish exactly WHY it is wrong to burn down a dozen villages

If it benefits me, if it simply entertains me, and i can get away with it, and my life is just as good after burning these village as it was before, maybe even better because the villages smelled bad and they played their music too loud, why shouldnt i do it?

what is WRONG about it?

People are complicated.
Last edit: 05 Oct 2015 16:04 by OB1Shinobi.

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05 Oct 2015 17:28 #204619 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion
Again, intrinsically valuable is already a nonsense term, because value is by definition contingent upon a subject and not a property of the object.
No, religion does nothing to justify morality, it merely asserts it. Just because a religion tells you to behave a certain way doesn't make that way right or any other way wrong, even if their claims about the will of the universe or any gods were true, because even with that will and even with a severely problematic coersive system of explaining why we better give a damn (or else), why anything is the right or good thing as opposed to any other remains unknown. Because God says so is not an explanation. It's a lazy way out of having to explain anything.
And no, both people and other animals have had compassion long before anything like religion existed. It went even so far that leaders would lose the support of their flock in raiding a neighbor. It is not until after religion came along that people began being perfectly fine with some of the most inhumane ideas their sick fringes came up with. It did not become any more wrong with religion telling us so than it was with my mommy telling me so, and our instincts as social animals were what both motivated us to not do horrid things to each other, what motivated our mommies to teach us not to do said horrid things, what made a prohibition of said horrid things part of some religions and what made other religions necessary to do said horrid things anyway.
And also no, you do not need to enter "the realm of the religious" to discuss motivations beyond the immediate and current.

As for your challenge, I could name a number of reasons why it is against my interests to burn down neighbor or even faraway villages. I could also try and argue from emotion, saying that my instincts as an empathic social animal deter me from doing such things, but I feel like behavioural studies of people and animals and moral philosophy has done more to this regard than I could ever do justice, so instead, since it was originally your assertion that we do need religion for questions of this kind and their justification, I shall point the challenge back to you:
Let's say I am a sociopath and a psychopath - a proper savage for all intends and purposes. I was born with no regard for the feeling or well-being of others. Let's say I have no foresight either and so cannot picture the consequences of my actions as they return back to me. Let's say I live at a time before religions were far spread and you are a traveller who was enlightened by a religion in a land beyond the mountains and so you come to my village on a mission to inform me and my tribe of how to live a better life. I am completely gullible on matters of fact and will accept any and all supernatural claims you make at face value, including the existence of deities, their will and your knowledge of their will, the existence of parallel worlds or reincarnations including punishments and rewards for a good lived life irrespective of the criteria.
So in other words, you can use any and all religious doctrines at their full capacity, but you cannot appeal to my compassion or consequences or honour.
Under these conditions, i.e. using religion alone, explain to me why I must not burn a neighbor village for their plentiful harvest or indeed why I must not burn you as an intruder into mine.

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05 Oct 2015 17:31 - 05 Oct 2015 17:52 #204620 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion

Gisteron wrote: Also, the assertion that any life has inherent value is false by necessity, since "inherent value" is already something internally inconsistent. Value is an outcome of putting value upon things. It cannot be inherent by definition. Nor does a majority of largely popular religions in our day, and by that I mean religions with any global influence of note, teach that life has inherent value. The value of life they teach is often only as far reaching as the religion's tribe and doesn't extend even as far as to all mankind, and it is also, in most cases, contingent upon either ourselves, a cosmic impersonal justice and morality system, or a countable set of deities. Value and inherency are two incompatible things.


1- i think i elaborated on this in my response but i wanted to add - did you really not understand the basic point i was expressing? i mean, i do respect that it is important to be as precise with our language as possible, but if we are communicating in a friendly and mutually uplifting way, do you really have to pick every damn thing apart to nth degree?

its very frustrating discussing topics with you because we get sidetracked on minutia for no better reason than that you find an opportunity to be critical and wont let it pass

but maybe that is only my impression and not your intent?

2 - EVERY religion teaches that there is a higher order of existence and that we are a part of that order - that we have a place and a purpose within it - THIS IS OUR VALUE and this is what religion does

----


so you arent going to explain why it is wrong to burn down villages?
and your response to that is "NO YOU DO IT!" ?

well i think i will say that numerous religion systems have explained this far better than i could do

what is this time you speak of "long before religion existed"?

i am talking about RELIGION - the phenomena of religion itself and not just some particular religion, such as taoism or jediism

People are complicated.
Last edit: 05 Oct 2015 17:52 by OB1Shinobi.

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05 Oct 2015 17:57 #204628 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion

OB1Shinobi wrote:

Gisteron wrote: Also, the assertion that any life has inherent value is false by necessity, since "inherent value" is already something internally inconsistent. Value is an outcome of putting value upon things. It cannot be inherent by definition. Nor does a majority of largely popular religions in our day, and by that I mean religions with any global influence of note, teach that life has inherent value. The value of life they teach is often only as far reaching as the religion's tribe and doesn't extend even as far as to all mankind, and it is also, in most cases, contingent upon either ourselves, a cosmic impersonal justice and morality system, or a countable set of deities. Value and inherency are two incompatible things.


1- i think i elaborated on this in my response but i wanted to add - did you really not understand the basic point i was expressing? i mean, i do respect that it is important to be as precise with our language as possible, but if we are communicating in a friendly and mutually uplifting way, do you really have to pick every damn thing apart to nth degree?

its very frustrating discussing topics with you because we get sidetracked on minutia for no better reason than that you find an opportunity to be critical and wont let it pass

but maybe that is only my impression and not your intent?

2 - EVERY religion teaches that there is a higher order of existence and that we are a part of that order - that we have a place and a purpose within it - THIS IS OUR VALUE and this is what religion does

----


so you arent going to explain why it is wrong to burn down villages?
and your response to that is "NO YOU DO IT!" ?

well i think i will say that numerous religion systems have explained this far better than i could do

what is this time you speak of "long before religion existed"?

i am talking about RELIGION - the phenomena of religion itself and not just some particular religion, such as taoism or jediism



www.garvandwane.com/religion/religion1.html

im not sure that we can speak of a time "before religion came along" ?
my understanding is that the best of our modern thinking has determined that religion existed as far back as human beings can be said to be HUMAN BEINGS in the modern sense

People are complicated.

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06 Oct 2015 14:27 #204742 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic On War & Religion
Seeing how I never claimed there was any ultimate justification of morality absent a religion, while you did say that there was ultimate justification with one, I feel no shame in leaving the challenge up to you. Here I am, readily admitting that whatever justification for any moral stance I have is not ultimate. They are much better than anything any religion ever offered, I reckon, but I dare not claim they are ultimate.
Now, I have no idea what that source you linked to is or why it is at all trustworthy, but I am willing to grant that religion has existed for even longer than our species has. Morality in one way or another certainly predates it, as evident by primal forms thereof in various animal families with long past common ancestry. And, while religion might have been as old, it wasn't always universal as evident by the still living Piraha tribe who to this day remain irreligious.
As for the point labeled 2 in your second last post, I am happy to inform you that I never said that religions do teach no value to life. In case you wish not to go back and review what I actually wrote, I shall repeat it again instead: First, I qualified that I was talking only about a major subset of only the influential religions of only the modern day. I said that for the most part, they would only go so far as to assert their own tribe as valuable and not even extend the courtesy to the rest of mankind, let alone the entire biosphere.
But of course it doesn't end there, since you apparently know every religion on the planet. Being the generous chap I am, I grant you that assertion with nothing but a snarky reminder of how incredibly arrogant it sounds. What you do go on to say that "this", as if all religions had the same purpose in mind, was our value. Well, if this is what they choose to identify as their value, that's fine with me, but not any of them get to tell either the rest of them or the rest of mankind how or why to value anything, and so while I am too humble to proclaim what is the value of life or of man or of the universe, without the right to declare it, I'm afraid you are no closer to discovering it either, irrespective of whether you employ even the most abstract sense of religion or not.

Oh, and just before you do (because you always do), don't bother trying to move the goal post this time by redefining religion into something completely vague and mundane again, because this time you are not the OP and we are talking about their meaning this time and not yours.
Since it is then presumptuous of me to think that her definition is closer to mine than it is to yours, I kindly ask her to post her definition, lest the two of us keep talking past each other like we almost always do anyway.

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06 Oct 2015 18:46 - 06 Oct 2015 18:47 #204764 by OB1Shinobi
Replied by OB1Shinobi on topic On War & Religion
about your piraha, who are fascinating, and i thank you for referencing them because i had never heard of the culture before

indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/...ast-or-future-120213
"they have no words for colors or numbers; nor do they even have any memories, art or even stories from their ancestors."

interesting

anomalous even

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people
"they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.[4](pp112,134–142) Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.
...their culture is concerned solely with matters that fall within direct personal experience..
..one of the strongest Pirahã values is no coercion; you simply don't tell other people what to do.."

now, you may regard the piraha as irreligious, but i do not

The Reader’s Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1966:
1. The beliefs, attitudes, emotions, behavior, etc., constituting man’s relationship with the powers and principles of the universe, especially with a deity or deities; also, any particular system of such beliefs, attitudes, etc.

(note that the word "especially" does NOT mean "exclusively")

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, 1971:
7a. a cause, principle, system of tenets held with ardor, devotion, conscientiousness and faith, a value held to be of supreme importance, 7b. a quality, condition, custom, or thing inspiring zealous devotion, conscientious maintenance, and cherishing.

2. An essential part or a practical test of the spiritual life.

3. An object of conscientious devotion or scrupulous care: e.g. His work is a religion to him.

The Oxford English Dictionary, 1971:

[4] Devotion to some principle; a strict fidelity or faithfulness; conscientiousness; pious affection or attachment.


my personal definition:

OB1Shinobi, 2015:
1. what one believes is true about life, existence, the universe, and ones place within it

now, you dont have to recognize this definition if you dont want to - i am OK with living in my own little bubble while the rest of the world goes on and believes whatever it believes - my bubble is shiny and its full of pretty colors, and the walls are USUALLY thick enough to keep us floating

but imo this is the best/most functional definition of religion that youll ever encounter, and it is consistent with established academic articulation

and anyway, academia itself makes no bones about admitting the difficulty of a solid definition for the word religion

(probably because atheists refuse to allow for a definition that would include them as being religious - heaven forbid they be lumped into the same category as those superstitious and ignorant hillbillies with their bibles and their goat blood - but thats just my conjecture)

whatever morality you ascribe to any animal - which i can allow that they may have morality although this is debated among researchers - this morality cannot be demonstrated to be founded on anything more than immediate self interest - if you give a dozen rhesus monkies kingdoms and armies that are capable of burning down a dozen villages you would probably find that some of them do exactly that

you might even come to the conclusion that someone needs to teach these monkeys about jesus so that they stop burning down peoples villages

or teach them about ahimsa, or karma, or the noble 8 fold path, or whatever other religious doctrine might work to keep them in check

but the point behind this is that any morality which does not appeal to a higher power or a supreme or ultimate reality will be negotiable in relation to individual power and personal consequence

that is to say, if we attain supremacy and can escape the consequence, the morality is no longer necessary

but religion presents a morality which is inescapable

i would not want to be a fat rhesus monkey surrounded by angry electric shock monkeys that all know i was the one who frazzled their hair, UNLESS I WAS THE KING RHESUS AND MY ARMY COULD KICK ALL THE OTHER MONKEYS ASSES

at that point it wouldnt matter

(heres a link for those interested in hungry monkeys and birds that beat their wives
www.livescience.com/24802-animals-have-morals-book.html )

now i want to make sure that i am clear here - i understand full well that a person may be loyal to some moral or ethical code or idea without ascribing to any particular religion, and yes compassion is something a person may feel without any religious upbringing, the position that i take is that religion was the first organized and codified moral authority - religion presented a morality which was beyond personal temperment or achievement or power

one that says "this is RIGHT and this is WRONG and these lines are drawn by reality itself, which no human can overcome"

the king or chief was just as bound by the morality of the religion as everyone else (theoretically)

going back to:

jesus said "love your neighbor as the self"

if your hypothetical villager were a christian and knew that jesus told him to break bread with sinners and to love his neighbor and never to cast the first stone, and he had the interpretation that i choose to use in order to answer your question, then he would be obligated not to kill me

OB1Shinobi wrote: establish exactly WHY it is wrong to burn down a dozen villages

If it benefits me, if it simply entertains me, and i can get away with it, and my life is just as good after burning these village as it was before, maybe even better because the villages smelled bad and they played their music too loud, why shouldnt i do it?

what is WRONG about it?


can you do this without appealing to an ultimate reality or authority?


lastly - if i seem arrogant, it is because i am :-/
in truth i assume myself to be much smarter and more capable and better informed than i ought, and i am aware of this and make conscious effort to curb it, but it still manifests and causes me trouble by turning off people whose ideas and input i enjoy - and even in the case of offending those whose input i DONT enjoy, when i see that i have done it because my mouth (or fingers) is/are faster than my brain, i always regret it

i am really not here to battle, with you or anyone else, though it may not always seem the case

all i say for myself on this note is that i am making conscious effort to control the way that i present myself and speak to others
it doesnt always work, and for that i apologize

People are complicated.
Last edit: 06 Oct 2015 18:47 by OB1Shinobi.

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