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Talking Religion...

Discussion in 'Philosophical Musings' started by JimsSweaterVest, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. JimsSweaterVest

    JimsSweaterVest Retired!

    While we anxiously endure the long wait until football starts again, I thought I'd make a thread to put up questions and thoughts on religion, since it is a topic that interests me. Some of my ideas may be unorthodox, but my intent is not to offend. I just like having good arguments and being challenged to think.

    Mods, if this thread is out of place, please tell me and I will move it to the right board. Thanks.

    1. The neuroscientist Sam Harris said in a Caltech lecture, and I'm paraphrasing here: "If you believe that saying a few lines in Latin over your breakfast cereal transforms your Lucky Charms into the body of Julius Ceasar, everyone will think you're crazy. But if you believe doing the same over a wafer on Sunday turns it into the body of Jesus, you're almost certainly completely sane and intelligent, but almost certainly Catholic."

    Is there a cognitive dissonance here? How does one choose to believe one proposition but ridicule the other?

    I myself was raised Catholic, and I'm still trying to answer this one for myself.
  2. JimsSweaterVest

    JimsSweaterVest Retired!

    2. Why do so many Biblical literalists think that evolutionary biology is evil and wage war against it (this is not just a crackpot fringe, as evidenced by the number of anti-evolution bills in several state legislatures aimed at introducing creationism into the science curriculum), but they have no trouble with astronomy and geology which also contradict literalist Biblical interpretations?

    Why does evolutionary biology get singled out?
  3. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    I too was raised catholic. I have also come to the conclusion that Jesus, if he existed, was not G-d. That does not mean that I don't believe in G-d, however, because I do.

    Anyway, while my reasons are several, part of it is sort of what you mention in your post - I was tired of things not being consistent. As the example goes, why is one act insane and the other normal? Over that, however, is that I don't feel the need for any intermediary to G-d. He's always been accessible to me without Jesus' intervention, and I figure he always will be.

    So, it's an interesting question, and one which I anticipate the answer of some of the board's christian thinkers (bgrad, jwin, LVbuckeye, to name a few).... Last time we had a big religion chat... well... we took the next 6 months or so (longer?) off.
  4. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    Been over this one too.... at least a couple times... Here's one.... there are others - do a search for "Evolution" and you'll get a couple. I don't say that (or provide the link) to discourage a new discussion, I'm just pointing to it so that sweatervest can read it if he wants.

    More weird for me is that the Bible speaks in parable, and Jesus does so with great frequency... so... why all the "literal" Or is Jesus actually a gate? John 10:7, 9 (He doesn't say I am LIKE the gate... he says he IS the gate... and it's quite obvious in context that he's certainly speaking in parable and not providing literal truths - at least not as we define literal.) Likewise, it seems the disciples have a difficult time trying to figure Jesus' wisdom (See, eg, John 10:6 - a not to uncommon refrain about the followers being perplexed) and yet to the literalist we're to believe it's meaning is obvious?

    Obviously not. As "True" to the Bible as some literalists try to be, I think they're doing what they accuse others of... picking and choosing what to take literally and what to pass off as something else.

    Or..... in the alternative, here's your savior:

  5. JimsSweaterVest

    JimsSweaterVest Retired!

    Thanks for the link. The point of this post is not to have a debate about evolution versus creationism. There is no debate. Evolution is true, creationism is not science, it makes no testable predictions, does not lead to any research or publications (in real scientific journals), and should not be taught in schools.

    The point of the post was to explore why biology itself is singled out by literalists, but not geology or astronomy.

    As you say, Jesus spoke in parables (or at least he is said to have done so in the Gospels). In Matthew 24, Jesus says:

    "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken..."

    Is Jesus giving an astronomy lesson here? Does he mean to say the moon gives off its own light? Why don't Biblical literalists insist that science classes "teach the controversy," between those who say the moon reflects the sun's light, and those who say it gives off its own?

    I am just taking their arguments to their logical conclusions.
    Buckeyeskickbuttocks likes this.
  6. JimsSweaterVest

    JimsSweaterVest Retired!

    My favorite setting of Psalm 23, "The Lord is my shepherd"

    [ame=]YouTube - Rural England[/ame]
  7. BayBuck

    BayBuck Buckeyes are best

    I'm not sure how you're coming to the conclusion that Jesus in that instance is saying the moon's light is independent of the sun: if the sun is darkened, the moon will certainly not give its light.

    But then, I also don't see any paradox with a literal reading of the Bible which can also accept the nuances of metaphor. Saying something is a bridge does not mean it is literally a steel-and-stone structure over water, just as a gate is not only a "a movable barrier, usually on hinges, closing an opening in a fence, wall, or other enclosure" but also more expansively "any means of access or entrance".
  8. MaxBuck

    MaxBuck 2014 National Champions!

    Am just now reading Prof. Kenneth Miller's excellent book, Only a Theory. I'd recommend it highly to anyone interested in a rigorous discussion of the debate between Intelligent Design and evolution. Also this web page:

    Ken Miller's Evolution Page

    Miller reminds us that, while it is true that evolution is "only a theory," the same is true of gravity.
  9. Buckeyeskickbuttocks

    Buckeyeskickbuttocks Z --> Z^2 + c Staff Member

    Metaphors are perfectly fine tools in language to convey an idea. What they're not, however, is "literal." At some point, in your "literal" translation of the Bible you have to decide "Was that a metaphor?" Now, I'm not saying they are difficult to spot, necessarily.... but.. what if you make a mistake? Seems to me, if we are to credit the idea of damnation, the consequences could be quite severe. Considering the stakes, it begs the question - why not just come out and say it directly? "You want in to heaven? Then you'd better do what I say!"

    Science, for example - it says "an object at rest stays at rest unless it is acted upon by some other force" It does not say "Objects at rest are as a lazy man who has no desire but one, who when this interest is peaked begins to act and move but not before"

    Both remarks, the basic and the metaphoric, tell us something about the law of motion... one is a lot more clear than the other.
  10. Taosman

    Taosman Flatten the Curve

    "Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."
    Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel?s Philosophy of Right

    While some may decry(or be cynical of) my quote of Carl Marx, his point is worth noting. Religious ideology is made a justification for not putting the effort in improvement in the daily condition. How much better would the lives of their family be, if they took the same effort, the same fervor into their daily life?
    I'm not advocating stopping going to church. I am advocating finding a balance between belief and daily needs. You have been given free will.
    Use it for the love of your family.
  11. Taosman

    Taosman Flatten the Curve

    "Religion does not fix the underlying causes of people?s pain and suffering ? instead, it helps them forget why they are suffering and gets them to look forward to an imaginary future when the pain will cease.
    Even worse, this drug is administered by the same oppressors. " Organizations and institutions.
  12. Gatorubet

    Gatorubet Loathing All Things Georgia

    Well, as even a cynical observer could conclude that the concept of reincarnation central to some religions is very much focused in the here and now and in keeping/requiring adherents to act kindly and wisely in their temporal lives, I would disagree with that statement. The same thing with Christianity in the flavors that do not allow for the lifelong rapist murderer shot from the saddle repenting and receiving grace before he hits the ground.

    While the whole works versus faith question to too big for this short post, it is clear that living your life with the Golden Rule as your goal is very much an effort in improvement in the daily condition whether you follow Christ or Buddha. It does not take a rocket scientist to be able to point to the abuse of religion by man to make it an instrument of political power, etc, to criticize the notion of religion, but that criticism is almost exclusively focused on the negative and not the positive of religion. With that mindset, you can criticize sex and food because of actions of rapists and gluttons.

    Marx was certainly concerned (justifiably so) with the nexity of religion and state power, and the influence of religion on daily life and thought, which were in direct competition with his own brand of secular religion.
  13. JimsSweaterVest

    JimsSweaterVest Retired!

    On giving God credit for the US Airways plane landing in the Hudson River:

    [ame=]YouTube - Give God Some More Credit![/ame]
  14. OCBuckWife

    OCBuckWife I am the evil monkey in your closet

    Shouldn't this be on the Politics and Religion forum? I'm still sort of working out which goes where with this Philosophical musings board.
  15. jwinslow

    jwinslow A MAN OF BETRAYED JUSTICE Staff Member Tourney Pick'em Champ

    I'm not Catholic, so perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't think you're changing the wafer whatsoever. It's done in remembrance of him, to remember what he gave to you. If it actually turned into actual flesh (with veins, fat and maybe hair follicles), there would be a lot of vomiting in church.
    They are different, but evolution has a long ways to go to be declared as "true", and currently relies on assumptions/faith as well.

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