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 Yule_liquor
Joined: 12/7/2011
Msg: 26
Can culture advance without religion?Page 2 of 39    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39)
@Coma


That's not true at all. Modern society has developed a better sense of morality than the one handed to us by religion.


Hardly, I already gave examples of (modern)societies that have elected to enact their own set of morals apart from those pre-established by religion.


The ideas that we should get rid of slavery and make women equal to men don't come from religion, they come from secular moral philosophy.


Not at all! In the new testament, it clears shows that Jesus empowered women, and up-lifted those debased by the society/culture of that time, which clearly went against the grain of the religious practioners of that time.


Accepting gay and transgendered people is also a recent trend that is diametrically opposed to the morals you find in some of the world's major religions.


This ^ is a generalization that is steeped in ignorance; there are certain christian denominations that fully accept gay pple in their fold and have reconciled them by way of proper scriptural context. I believe one such group are the episcopalians and there are others. There are religions that regard homsexuality as a perversion; which in the strict definition is not entirely wrong as such sex acts were meant to be conducted between heterosexuals; however, that doesn't necessarily translate into dictum that says that the homosexual is to be persecuted. Many times that happens in the absense of scriptural directives, or directives that have been taken out of context!


If' we're creating morals based on person freedom and democratic ideals, I don't see how that's a bad thing.


Only if the "ideals" that you embrace are counter to the ones that I hold dear, and you try to deny mine in favor of yours!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

@Lying Cheat

Let me first preface my response to you by saying that much of your argument (by way of posting scriptural verses indiscriminantly) is fallacious; which shows that you: A) don't know how to formulate based on contextual relevance B)or you are blinded by your own bias!


Here ya go----->as though you think everyone here is that gullible!


What you chose to post is mostly out of context! Let me give some examples


Numbers 31-17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
31-18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
Psalms 137-9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Hosea 13-16 Samaria shall become desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God, they shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.


The common theme in these verses is the violence to be committed on children/infants; but what you failed to acknowledge (either through your ignorance or through your deceit) is that this was all conducted under the specter of (ancient) warfare. Its well known that the (ruthless) custom of ancient warfare involved the killing of children, because that served as a major deterent of one society easily waging war over another; much like nuclear weapons serve as a deterent in this day and age among super-powers.

In order to understand No 21--17; you have to see the context that it was put in. The directives that Moses issued in line 15 were towards the Midlanites (whom they were warring against); and the reason for that directive is stated in line 16; but you deceitfully omitted that to make it look like it was ablatant act of evil. Same goes for all the other verses!


Deuteronomy 22-28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found,
22-29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.


Again, in your deceitfulness, you have done your utmost in thaking this out of context! You disingenuously omitted verse 25 which states:
"if it is in the open fields that a man comes on a betrothed maiden, seizes her and has relations (rapes her) with her; THE MAN ALONE SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH! You shall do nothing to the maiden".

Thus in verse 28, when a man rapes an unbethrothed maiden; the penalty is two-fold 1) he has to pay a substantial amount of money to the relatives as their daughter can longer be considered pure and cannot attract a suitor; and 2) he must also marry her (in order to support her for life) and cannot divorce her! This was appropriate justice considering the culture of that time; since killing the man would serve no pupose as the "maiden' would be doomed to solace and destitution for the rest of her life otherwise!


Google is your friend.


apparently Google isn't much of a friend to you since you don't know how to use the information (assume you are genuine in your response--which I doubt); otherwsie a course in reading & comprehension might do you wonders!


Openly promoting abuse of children would be foolish


Open your own eyes first! It is the responsibility of the government in power to protect its citizens against such assaults perpetrated by whatever group has been accused; as far as it is known, the clergy are not above secular law in western countries! Failure to do so reflects poorly on the laws that govern a particular society and those who are in charge of reporting it/prosecuting it. This is regardless of whether the accused (or perperators) are: clergy; officers of the law; medical practitioners; politicians, etc!


A strong case could also be made that any state that promotes religion is doing so for the express purpose of promoting tyranny.


this is merely your opinion; as in the case of Islam(as an example)where religion is often infused with the government; most of its pple don't view it is a "tyrannical" state; that viewpoint is usually taken by an outside observer!


Just look around the world at places where evangelical type religions become fused with the state.


Please gives us the names of countries whose gov't has evangelicalism fused in?



The ruler of Mysore, India - ..............................
The Goa Inquisition of 1857 (Goa was a Portugese colony in India)...........
The Indian Rebellion of 1857......................................
Most people believe that the Spaniards saved the Maya......................


Mankind (of all faiths) have perverted religion as a pretext to attain their stated goals/aganda. If it wasn't the religious pretext; They would have used something else; guaranteed! (example: presence of weapons of mass destruction as a pretext to invade or attack another country).

In Islam, jews & Christians are considered to be pple of "the book" all worthy of "going to heavan" thus are not catagorized as "infidels" unless there is a political inclination to do so as we see with the extremists nowadays! In Christianity (regardless of the denomination) there is nothing in the new testament that commnds the followers to forcibly convert others! Thus your point above IS POINTLESS!


the sooner the world is free of primitive superstitions and delusions of 'god given' specialness the better.


And the sooner you see another Hitlerian or Marxist-like figure trumpetting a new way of life or utopia, be sure sure to jump on the band-wagon, as I'm sure they'll be leading you to a world of better morality!
 Bukleigh
Joined: 2/24/2012
Msg: 27
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 10:24:36 AM

Cultures that share a common moral doctrine, advance. Social biology suggests that cultures that would not share such common morality, would not survive long enough to make it into the history books.

One can argue the validity of any particular religion, or what their moral imperative may be, which is beside the point. The issue is the cohesion that such a common belief supports.

And it seems that a necessary moral precept is that the good of the culture is more important than the good of the individual.

A culture that attempts to negate religion as a moral foundation must replace it with some other form of indoctrination.

In the US, this would be the constitution and flag, and other such secular institutions that lend themselves to patriotism. The Nazis was a belief in the Furher and the Third Reich. Again, in such cases, sacrifice for the sake of the nation is fundamental.

What is a culture to do that no longer honours religious morality? Can it advance or even sustain itself on secular morality?

Why should I care about anyone else if I don't get anything out of it?


All of that is true enough ... but the premise that religion must be the unifying set of beliefs ... is not a given. Any system of beliefs will do. Again, if the system of beliefs is good or bad, will be defined by the group, hence will necessarily be considered good.

The given is, a unifying set of beliefs MUST exist.

The argument is, what should that set of beliefs be? [religion is NOT a given]

Another given is, several competing set of beliefs MUST also exist.

A cycle of differentiation and convergence in not only inherent but required and preferred.

The totality of religion will certainly not be abandoned, rather just picking out the good parts.

It's the irrational concept of god that is the primary problem. Irrational beliefs lead to irrational actions.

The reality is, god didn't do anything, people did it.

Reducing the argument to its' simplest form.

The question is, how will we survive without our gods?

But ... they didn't do anything ... do they even exist? :-)

We're gonna be fine. ... ... or we're not.

But there is no one to blame.

We're exerting control of our own destiny ... ... we're growing up ... ...

Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
 red_fir
Joined: 11/21/2011
Msg: 28
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 10:42:51 AM

Psalms 137-9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Google may be your friend but a sound bite doesn't provide the context necessary for comprehension, this passage is a warning that Israels errant way have brought them to trial and a warning that their foes would be merciless.
If I Google Lying Cheat will everything I read be attributable to you? And even if you said it, will it all be in context, or will I need to read (and comprehend) all of your essays, to have a clear enough picture to critique you? The Bible, Torah, Koran, the words of the Buddha and the Veda's are not complete in a few words, and to represent them less than fully is misdirection. If you take bites from the Constitution, the Amendments, the U.N. Charter, or any nations state documents as the be all and end all of policy than you'll never run out of controversy. And if you dismiss them all then the only recourse is tyranny (the rule of one) or anarchy (the rule of all)


Openly promoting abuse of children would be foolish. However... facilitating, covering up, blaming victims, and shielding offenders are all activities the Catholic Church involves itself in. Much like any pedophile organisation really...

That would be like state run orphanages, schools, colleges, any of the armed forces.......


A strong case could also be made that any state that promotes religion is doing so for the express purpose of promoting tyranny.
Just look around the world at places where evangelical type religions become fused with the state.
Once 'patriotism' becomes nationalism and fuses with 'god given' righteousness all hell breaks loose.

I agree wholeheartedly both religion and government should stand or fall on their own merit.

But.....non religious outlooks as a source of morality? pfft
.
The only common denominator throughout humanity is greed, and personal convenience, while moral people may develop sans religion they are as rare as snow leopards, off the top of my head I cant think of ONE notable with absolutely NO acquaintance with faith of some kind.
Conversely I can name dozens of despots whom have renounced religion entirely.
Religion is desperately needed by humanity to codify morality, morality has never needed religion for any purpose whatsoever.
But.....codification is necessary because everyone is moral in their own eyes....
Hitler, Stalin, Putin, Bush, Obama, the Queen, Prime Minister Gillard, even you, and I


the sooner the world is free of primitive superstitions and delusions of 'god given' specialness the better.

Horsecrap
This is the path to True Democracy where everyone is equally unimportant and equally meaningless in the eyes of their fellowmen. The only attributes that count will be whom can stockpile the most ammunition or pay the most to eliminate complications... a devils dream.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 29
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 11:05:58 AM

We're exerting control of our own destiny ... ... we're growing up ... ...


I think there is a lot to this. Much more so than we can see because we are the equivalent of young adults that have decided that we know more than our parents.

However, there is also a time after this where you continue growing up and realize why your parents acted like tyrants and that they really were not being tyrants.

This natural space in people to hold religion and beliefs in such a super high degree above self exists and is very powerful. I keep saying "Western Religion" for a reason. Western Religion and Western Governments have developed a type of symbiotic relationship. When Government tries to legislate morality things go horribly wrong. When Religion tries to Legislate at the state things go horribly wrong. Each acknowledge a separation and dance around that separation and continually knock at each other. They are not in direct opposition. This does not exist in Islam!!!!! It really doesn’t.

A simple way to look at how this works:
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."

The ideal and concept of God and Government exists within that human function of belief and from the concept of 'want' as meaning “a lacking”. As long as some level of God exists in that context there will not be a lack of and a need of filling with other Gods, or causes, or governments. Expecting it to remain empty for all isn’t realistic.

From the concept of want as in “desire,” you do not want the lord coming in and taking over. He is a shepherd with a stick and he is not afraid to use it and he will be pissed. You are responsible for yourself. Don’t screw it up.

So we are growing up. As people grow up they also grow rebellious. When people grow rebellious they think they are right. People are rarely right in mass. (haha punny)
 lyingcheat
Joined: 9/13/2009
Msg: 30
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Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 11:09:29 AM
Religious people are, ipso facto, nuts. It's obvious that giving them any influence over the definition of 'morality' will instantly pervert the concept.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 31
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Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 11:19:19 AM

Religious people are, ipso facto, nuts. It's obvious that giving them any influence over the definition of 'morality' will instantly pervert the concept.


You don't have to. And yes they will. But you can't make them disappear. It is done every day. It may even be annoying and irksome and really just piss you off and so what. It may take 20, 50, 75, 100 years... It will happen when it happens and it even takes pissed off people demanding its end as part of it. So... even that has a role. It is the responsibility of Government to not allow either side to win. When a significant amount of the governed population has a religious belief it is really foolish to legislate against them and dismiss them as inept.

It is even worse to dismiss your own population and to allow another to take over and replace what you are so against with something much worse.
 Bukleigh
Joined: 2/24/2012
Msg: 32
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 1:10:17 PM

This natural space in people to hold religion and beliefs in such a super high degree above self exists and is very powerful.


Agreed. It has been cited as a distinctly human trait. It has been cited as most probable reason for our continued existence. OP also eluded that this view is common amongst social biologists and others. Some other species do exhibit some level of this trait as well.

It's a basal need to belong, to share, to be part of something bigger then ourselves.

I see the sum of humanity as being god.

It may have been necessary to project this onto an artificial being or entity, at one point, because the construct was beyond many to understand or comprehend. Or to specifically deflect a prevalent view of self importance.

The concept is quite eloquent in it's simplicity.

Easily expressed by two children cooperating to get to the cookie jar on top of the cupboards.

We all in this together.

OR

It's all about us. :-) [a quite dangerous view, if left unchallenged]
---

Religion seems to have run it's course to continue to fulfill it's purpose, assuming it had one, specifically religious. It's more about control then freedom.

It's being stretched to it's limits in both directions ... just to survive. The final death throes of an idea, are clearly evident.

But many of irs' principles will survive, absorbed. It is after all a construct of people, not gods.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 33
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 1:16:39 PM
A choice is going to have to be made. You may choose to close your eyes and pretend that those crazy Christians have screwed up beliefs about magical unicorns and are the cause of the world’s problems but they coexist with existing laws and government now. Most people that are free to no longer believe in western religion came from it at some point in a recent past. That should mean something in itself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/sharia-law-explained_n_1292452.html



There are certain words that, if people use them in the Arabic language it becomes a dirty word, but if people take the time to understand what Sharia is about, they would not have a problem," said Magid. "When people talk about criminal law in the Quran, none of the Muslims say they want that legal code in America. What we are saying is that in the private life of a Muslim, nobody should impose on them how to conduct a marriage or preside over a funeral. Instead of using the word Sharia, we should use the words 'Muslim values' or 'Islamic values.'"




I see the sum of humanity as being god.

I have thought that many times. Could also be another gap.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 34
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 3:14:03 PM

Psalms 137-9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.



Google may be your friend but a sound bite doesn't provide the context necessary for comprehension, this passage is a warning that Israels errant way have brought them to trial and a warning that their foes would be merciless.


No, the passage is NOT warning that Israel's errant ways have brought them to trial and their foes would be merciless. This passage refers to the Babylonian captivity and specifically repaying the captors for their transgressions.

Psalm 137
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

7 Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

The narrator of the psalm is speaking to the Babylonians. "[. . .] happy is the one who repays you [the "one" would be an Israelite]."

In line 9, the "one" is an Israelite seizing the Babylonian infants and dashing them against the rocks.

It is an eye-for-an-eye situation.


I see the sum of humanity as being god.


The sum of humanity IS god. Humans make gods and goddesses in OUR image and imbue them with traits that depend on culture and time periods. This is why the meek and mild Jesus said not to dash out the brains of infants. It is why Zeus could womanize and not be censured. It is why within my lifetime alone, I have seen mainstream Christianity change, but over the span of centuries, it has changed even more.

Religion exists to control people, but "rules" of religion grew out of sociological needs to insure the perpetuation of the species. Humans are kind yet merciless, bloodthirsty yet magnanimous, generous but greedy--we are carnal creatures who try to makes ourselves appear to be more than our bodies alone. Religion exploits the basic multiplicities of the human psyche/nature, exhorting us to be single faceted yet rationalizing and justifying war and other atrocities when done in the name of a god.

IF humans had never invented god, we would be no kinder and no less cruel, but we would have to face ourselves in a mirror instead of attributing our actions to a deity.

Alas, Babylon: you are us.
 Deathftw
Joined: 2/24/2012
Msg: 35
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 5:12:09 PM
It is highly unlikely, religion will always exist, Marx thought it could happen, he was wrong. People are going to believe what they want to believe irregardless, of what your feelings may be.
 Bloke_up_North
Joined: 12/13/2008
Msg: 36
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 5:49:55 PM

it was common to take wives who were no older that 13 or so..... That was then, and I don't agree with a lot of what went on then.


This is getting down to the crux if the matter. As late as the middle ages in Europe, adult men, usually of means, were taking brides as young as 13 or even less. It was acceptable then but (quite rightly) not acceptable now. Moraly, modern nations have made laws stating an age of consent. The OP is pushing a question on biblical morality in to todays age. It doesn't scan.


As far as why YOU would want to live as a pre-christian Hebrew, that is your business, not mine


If you are pushing biblical religion onto me, that is exactly your business. Not just you but anyone that takes umbrage and tuts at my non religious ways.


not being either Hebrew or Jewish, I don't want to live as a post-christian Hebrew, which would explain why I don't see a real need to follow all 600 plus laws. I am relatively certain that most Jews today don't follow all 600 laws, and for certain, don't even know all 600 laws.


So you don't follow the rules of your religion but you expect atheists to?
 musicfellow38
Joined: 2/17/2011
Msg: 37
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 5:57:54 PM

The sum of humanity IS god. Humans make gods and goddesses in OUR image and imbue them with traits that depend on culture and time periods. This is why the meek and mild Jesus said not to dash out the brains of infants. It is why Zeus could womanize and not be censured. It is why within my lifetime alone, I have seen mainstream Christianity change, but over the span of centuries, it has changed even more.

Religion exists to control people, but "rules" of religion grew out of sociological needs to insure the perpetuation of the species. Humans are kind yet merciless, bloodthirsty yet magnanimous, generous but greedy--we are carnal creatures who try to makes ourselves appear to be more than our bodies alone. Religion exploits the basic multiplicities of the human psyche/nature, exhorting us to be single faceted yet rationalizing and justifying war and other atrocities when done in the name of a god.

IF humans had never invented god, we would be no kinder and no less cruel, but we would have to face ourselves in a mirror instead of attributing our actions to a deity.

Alas, Babylon: you are us.



Well said. Well done!
 Bukleigh
Joined: 2/24/2012
Msg: 38
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/20/2012 6:11:44 PM



I see the sum of humanity as being god.



The sum of humanity IS god. Humans make gods and goddesses in OUR image and imbue them with traits that depend on culture and time periods. This is why the meek and mild Jesus said not to dash out the brains of infants. It is why Zeus could womanize and not be censured. It is why within my lifetime alone, I have seen mainstream Christianity change, but over the span of centuries, it has changed even more.

Religion exists to control people, but "rules" of religion grew out of sociological needs to insure the perpetuation of the species. Humans are kind yet merciless, bloodthirsty yet magnanimous, generous but greedy--we are carnal creatures who try to makes ourselves appear to be more than our bodies alone. Religion exploits the basic multiplicities of the human psyche/nature, exhorting us to be single faceted yet rationalizing and justifying war and other atrocities when done in the name of a god.

IF humans had never invented god, we would be no kinder and no less cruel, but we would have to face ourselves in a mirror instead of attributing our actions to a deity.

------

The sum of humanity IS god.

Yeah, that's not really what I meant. I agree gods are our creation, of course. What I mean is, humanity itself, the sum of us, is what we should hold in high regard. AND certainly, people belonging to a specific religion, do indeed, under the guise, hold themselves in high regard. But that's the problem, it is their group, they hold in high regard ... it's one group saying their more important than another. I'm simply saying ... let's include everyone. AND that the essence of humanity is a quite powerful force.


Religion exists to control people, but "rules" of religion grew out of sociological needs to insure the perpetuation of the species. ... ...


Yep, agree with all that. The few religions I'm aware of all grew out of revolt. Desperate people, needing a solution, willing to follow even questionable leads, in hope. However, once the original problem is conquered, it is very slow to adapt to the changes ... people refusing to release control. But it wasn't to ensure perpetuation of the species ... just their group.


Humans are kind yet merciless, bloodthirsty yet magnanimous, generous but greedy ...


Humans are inherently selfish, self-servicing, there is no such thing as a selfless act. The goal is, to create the scenario(system), whereby, people acting in their own best interest, inherently are acting in the best interest of the group.

As it turns out, left to their own devices, most people end up doing this as they discover it is in their best interest to do so. The problem occurs, when a select group or individual, maneuvers to a position where the actions of the other individuals in the group, or a subset, have limited consensus to them. There are several examples of this ... one is the monetary system. people at the top are completed insulated as you cannot punish or negatively affect them without necessarily affecting the group.

NASH Equilibrium -- is an mathematical expression of this, in many regards.

But at the limits is just the common refrain ... absolute power etc.
 Gwendolyn2010
Joined: 1/22/2006
Msg: 39
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 7:40:27 AM

Humans are inherently selfish, self-servicing, there is no such thing as a selfless act. The goal is, to create the scenario(system), whereby, people acting in their own best interest, inherently are acting in the best interest of the group.


Ah, so you agree with the Christians? That humans are imbued with original sin? If we are ONLY selfish, then we are, indeed, "evil" by the definition of most cultures.

We are inherently selfish, but why is this bad? We are also inherently kind and generous. I am a selfish person, I want what is best for me, yet I am also generous and have performed acts that have brought me no more satisfaction than a feeling of good-will (for lack of a better word).

If someone stopping to change a flat tire for me in the middle of the desert means that person is acting in the best interest of the group, so be it. If ANY kindness that people have shown to me or I have shown to others means that we were merely acting in the best interest of the group, so be it.

Religion claims these acts of kindness for themselves and attribute them to the intervention or existence of a deity; religions blame evil acts on the influence of a devil. Christians attribute evil acts to the before mentioned original sin and the influence of a devil.

If there is no selfless act, it doesn't really matter in the end because kindness exists, and it is an inherent human trait. Empathy is what makes us kind, and empathy means that we can put ourselves in the place of another person and know how that person feels; because we suffer, we do not want others to suffer. The sociopath lacks this ability.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 40
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 2:03:29 PM
^^^ The refusal of the left to deal with this issue is beyond conscience. Instead they attack their own heritage, family, neighbors. They attack Christians and Jews in western culture because it is relatively safe.

The reality of western culture is that it is for the most part secular and moving more secular all the time. Science has not yet reached a stage where it can grapple with problems of morality and ethics yet without spinning into relativism.

That is a reality of western culture only.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 41
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 3:36:37 PM
Thank you to those who have added thoughtfully to this thread. For the others.. I'm sure you're doing your best.

To make sense of the question, and disarm the much of the emotional component, I think it best to approach it from an anthropological perspective, rather than any particular form of theology.

Religion, whether it was created by God, or created by humans, has to components essential to the advancement of a culture.

The first benefit of religi0n is a sense of ought about correct thought and behaviour - morality. The particular understanding of what is right and wrong can be fluid within, and variable between cultures... yet the more common the population shares in its understanding and application of its morality, the more cohesive and organize the culture. It seems that natural selection favours a sense of altruism, at least by the masses, though it is questionable how altruistic the ruling members/classes may be.

The second benefit of religion is a sense of the hereafter, and that what one does on this side of eternity, can influence one's rewards/punishments on the other.

To this point... That religion inculcates a cohesive sense of altruism and a sense that right living (morality) will have eternal reward supports the evolution of a culture.

However, it seems that other necessary ingredient for the evolution of a culture is a group identity and/or idealism. This can be based on religion, although religion is usually invoked to legitimize the idealism.

The question remains, can a culture evolve without religion?

Marxist countries that try to do away with religion fail. And I am concerned that the west, as it becomes increasing secular, may be doomed as well.

I don't think it is because there is an inherent lack of virtuous/moral people in the west...at least for now.

But without a religious base, altruism and morality lose the eternal reward in the hereafter, and become more pragmatic. I will cooperate or work to satisfy your needs, only so far as I can gain from it now. And if I can get away with it.. as in act in purely self interested way even though it is at the blatant expense of the culture ... why should I even care about you at all? Corruption is only bad if you get caught at it.

And can an increasingly self centered culture continue to evolve, or will it collapse within itself... and go the way of Western Roman Empire.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 42
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 4:46:40 PM
But without a religious base, altruism and morality lose the eternal reward in the hereafter, and become more pragmatic. I will cooperate or work to satisfy your needs, only so far as I can gain from it now. And if I can get away with it.. as in act in purely self interested way even though it is at the blatant expense of the culture ... why should I even care about you at all? Corruption is only bad if you get caught at it.


From a person point of view nothing above is really that important and does not matter if religion exists or not.

The problem we run into is that we are too smart for our own good. We all know that it isn't cool to steal, kill, do various things that really suck because I know it’s kind of mean... The problem is when a governing body writes the rules.

When a governing body writes the rules the bases for its authority is how ever it became the authority to start writing rules. If you have a King your fine. The King has authority. If you have your authority as a Monarchy... you have authority. How they got their authority can be from force or many other ways. What we have in America is from the authority of the people. The authority of the people that government is ruled by the people and that people are without question free.

There was no ruler or government to grant that. The ability to declare that people were free was removed from people and placed in the unreachable world of "God". You can't question it. That is the way it is. Shut up and deal.

As long as that remains intact and not up for philosophical debate to reduce the meaning than things can continue as they have been. God is not required as a legislation point. It would even survive the loss of religion. However, what would happen to it with the loss of God. All {people} are created equal, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That base covers just about all of it.

Liberalism alters each of these definitions which is why I do not like it at all.
From all people are ‘created equal’ to ‘all people are equal in life’
From the right to life (not in the abortion sense) to life isn’t all that special
From the right of liberty to ‘the right to serve the community’
From the right of ‘pursuit of happiness’ to ‘the right of ‘interests of the community’

I am sure that a liberal may have different definitions of these things but from their core they are challenging the foundation. The challenge at the heart of it is that original authority. They don’t have to believe in liberty… It is just words on paper.

The founders of the country placed those basic fundamentals out of reach for their time. Regardless of what any of them believed in they didn’t have a reasonable expectation that there would be a legitimate fight against that foundation. It seems stupidly obvious why it was placed out of reach so as long as there was no established religion to screw it up it was safe.
Atheism claims an origin for morality without God. However, there is no claim of origin of freedom. Everything in biology tells us that freedom is not natural. People even have shown that they function better and more organized under authoritarian rule. It keeps the peace. Because of that you can even make the case that freedom is unethical, unmoral, and should be abolished.

That is the danger and the problem. We have no natural reason for freedom that I am aware of other than I really do not want to live in a state of rule. At least I am not aware of any scientific and biological basis of why freedom is the natural unquestionable state of man.... ugggg people.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 43
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:15:47 PM
"We have no natural reason for freedom that I am aware of other than I really do not want to live in a state of rule."

I submit that natural selection favours people who can organize themselves into functioning cohesive cultures. Those who can't, will not survive nor evolve into significant cultures. Therefore, when people give up some of their personal freedom, they gain more than they lose.

One of the differences between conservatives and liberals.. conservatives respect authority and order even at the expense of some personal freedom. liberals resent authority and accountability. (ref. Jonathon Haidt, http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html).

I suppose.. by extrapolation.. that liberals need the stability that conservatives provide lest they descend into chaos.

However, conservatives who abuse their power are just as dangerous who abuse their freedom.

Religion would compel each to mitigate their behaviour according to collective morality.

Without religion, there is no perceived need to mitigate one's greed or irresponsibility.
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 44
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History
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:17:56 PM
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Take special note that inalienable rights are trumped by 'inherent dignity' which pretty much leaves it open to say that if the community dignity is at risk freedom is no longer necessary.

The entire thing reads like a comical version of a "common good' joke read by someone mocking communism.

Human family? I am assuming we mean Gorillas and not cats. Planet of the apes coming soon? BTW it isn't just America you should be concerned with. They want the planet.



•Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Wooooo GATS FOR ALL!!!!!! Now you can keep off of my lawn!


•(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
•(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Now that is some universal welfare. Under what currency?
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 45
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:25:44 PM
Paul

The glory of the Roman Empire continued in the east until 1450 when Constantinople fell due the walls of the city being unable to withstand bombardment from the Turks canons. In the east however, corruption and selfish interest undermined Rome's ability to defend itself.. and the west descending into the dark ages.

To further understand the evolution of Constantinople and the devolution of Rome, one needs to investigate the schism between the Eastern church and the Western Church .. and that is an entirely different concept to explore.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 46
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:30:47 PM
For the sake of consideration... there are no inalienable human rights... humans, for the very sake of being human, have no more rights than an earth worm.

What we call human rights are in fact Civil Rights.

Rights that we, as participants in collective organizations, grant by consensus +/or legislation to each other.

Without such collective organizations, and their moral foundations, based on religious idealism, what we call human rights would be non-existent.
 _TALL_IQ2_
Joined: 2/10/2010
Msg: 47
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:32:28 PM
Without religion, there is no perceived need to mitigate one's greed or irresponsibility.


Oh? Read works by Isaac Asimov, Jacob Bronowski, Arthur C. Clark,
Francis Crick (who I met 25 years ago when he gave a talk at my house then),
James D. Watson, Gene Roddenberry, Carl Sagan, Rod Serling,
Jean-Paul Sartre, E. O. Wilson, Bertrand Russel, and so many more Humanists...


I might as well get what I can for the short time I am here. Me first.. screw the rest of you.

VV There ARE enough people overtly acting that way, that the rest of their "community" usually recognizes them and at some point may limit their freedom and take away some of their ill-gotten gains...
Other people may see that result and are somewhat motivated to stay within the local laws and have more consideration for their fellow man...


Greed prevails.

VVV Just WHO are you trying to convince? You are forgiven, my son, for those things you did in your teens...
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 48
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:40:59 PM
I suppose if I buy into the notion that advancement of humanity is a higher calling worthy of dedicating my life to.. then I may be willing to put the needs of my fellow, community, culture, and humanity above my own.

Fair enough.

But if I believe that I am no more than the random babbling of entropy.. I might as well get what I can for the short time I am here.

Me first.. screw the rest of you.
 lagoda
Joined: 11/20/2009
Msg: 49
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:45:34 PM
The sum of humanity IS god. Humans make gods and goddesses in OUR image and imbue them with traits that depend on culture and time periods. This is why the meek and mild Jesus said not to dash out the brains of infants. It is why Zeus could womanize and not be censured. It is why within my lifetime alone, I have seen mainstream Christianity change, but over the span of centuries, it has changed even more.

Religion exists to control people, but "rules" of religion grew out of sociological needs to insure the perpetuation of the species. Humans are kind yet merciless, bloodthirsty yet magnanimous, generous but greedy--we are carnal creatures who try to makes ourselves appear to be more than our bodies alone. Religion exploits the basic multiplicities of the human psyche/nature, exhorting us to be single faceted yet rationalizing and justifying war and other atrocities when done in the name of a god.

IF humans had never invented god, we would be no kinder and no less cruel, but we would have to face ourselves in a mirror instead of attributing our actions to a deity.

Alas, Babylon: you are us.


I agree. And I do think that culture can advance without religion. However,




Religion exists along with many other superstitions, along with phobias, obsessions, psychotic delusions etc etc but that's no reason to give any of them any air-time.
In terms of cultural advance, the sooner the world is free of primitive superstitions and delusions of 'god given' specialness the better.


That doesn't make it any less true that it exists and trying to exercise it from existence will only have the effect of creating a deeper and more delusional fundamentalism. Some aspect of which always survive. You can't legislate belief out of existence. If left to run its course it will run out on it is own. UK is example of that. It is also an example that as it runs out in its own course if you don't reinforce the balance of what is naturally occurring it will be replaced with another such as Islam.


A natural evolution to a secular culture guided by science sounds ok to me - one that won't reject societal need to attribute value or specialness to humans by virtue of their sentience. It's this specialness attributed to the our place in the animal kingdom hierarchy, that has in large part contributed to our moral development as a species. In that regard also, religion becomes irrelevant other than to provide buildings and groups through which to socialize.

But I certainly see the problem presented by strong atheism as exhibited above, which if I understand correctly, is nihilistic in its intolerance of both theistic and deistic views. To me, the ultimate and potentially dangerous conclusion of nihilism is, well, nothingness. Whether there is immediate cause for concern that some system of organization could generate a movement of sufficient fervor to reach whatever its desired ends may be, I don't know.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 50
Can culture advance without religion?
Posted: 3/22/2012 5:48:12 PM
Greed prevails.

Morality puts the brakes on it. To extend the metaphor.. religion fulfills the role of the mechanic.

Our culture is badly in need of a brake job.

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