Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Seattle, Dec 8, 2016.
Religion is a con.
Pure and simple.
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I don't know if I'd say it's a con. More like a useful tool to moderate the behaviors of those of low impulse control/low IQ. The lower the IQ, the more likely the religion requires all sorts of in-group behaviors and is headed by a authoritarian god reflected in their authoritarian rulers. For example: being required to pray all day and half the night, no alcohol, women hidden away under a tent, raping of non-believers and their enslavement is acceptable, lots of virgins in heaven, etc... etc... whereas, societies with higher IQs (say Asia), the religions are a bit more complex (e.g.: Buddhism or Taoism). Sure, they still have a punishment, but overall, I think the inventors of these belief systems may have had higher purposes in mind, perhaps represented through meditation and empathy via mindfulness to create more mindful societies and better individuals.
I think belief in a God or Gods, at this stage, is much safer for society, compared with the alternative - belief in the State. Strong Atheists, have a strong correlating belief in the use of Governmental agencies, in much the same way the religious seek to utilize religious organizations. Probably for the exact same reasons. The thing is, it seems, societies without religion, fail. Which is why I think we probably should have one, or a few. The form of that religion would be determined by the average IQ of the population. Societies with IQs around 70 can have a simple belief system - worshiping the local big rock for example; IQs of around 85 will require an authoritarian vengeful god - Islam comes to mind. Societies with IQs of 95 - 100 can be a bit more moderate like in contemporary Xtian, Mormon, Zoroastrian beliefs. Societies with IQs of 105 and up can go in for Buddhism, Taoism, perhaps contemporary Judaism.
It should be noted, the IQ of Western nations is actually in decline. Who knows? Maybe we'll be Islamic after all? How ironic.
Not only is religion a con it's the ultimate con.
Most cons offer at least something substantial
ie The Leaning Tower of Pisa is falling. Can I interest you in buying the rubble to sell as souvenir fragments?
Also if the con artist is caught they are normally subjected to punishment.
Religion sells nothing but platitudes with no warranty, no money back and a bunch of followers who participate in their own delusional beliefs.
The church relies on this delusional feedback to strengthen its hold on the mark.
The icing on the cake is once a mark departs for the promised land the church is home and hosed as there is no chance of the mark returning to file a complaint or tell other marks about the scam.
Organisations such as Politicians might be required to at least attempt to even out the highs and lows of society and provide services which are to large for individuals to provide and service alone.
However I see problems in the apparent similar traits in church hierarchy personnel and politicians.
The political system in America does nothing for the supposed seperation of church and state.
Humpty Dumpty once wanted to be a politician but found a higher calling selling used cars.
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When I describe religions as fanatical I am really only describing the Abrahamic worship. The bible appears to be no more than a Jewish, Christian fictional history book about a Jewish Messiah who is the embodiment of all the worlds religious ideas. I believe the bible was written by the ancient rulers to control the beliefs of the people and the Muslims inserted themselves right into the middle of it.
Find spirituality and you have found God's address. Whether or not you have an encounter with God depends as much on what God sees in you. But Knowing God may not be an impossibility with spirituality but also not a guarantee. I believe the Eastern Asian religions have it right when they seek spirituality but they seek spirituality for more down to earth purposes (not to search out God) and this spirituality is also very rewarding.
Religion may be a con to many and they will probably never be open to discovering spiritual awakeness but for many others it's heaven on earth.
I'm not sure what you mean by con? Maybe it depends on what you expect out of your religion? When Japanese toss a coin to their local Shinto God, they don't really believe this is going to result in their doing better on their school's calculus exam. So? Why do they do it? What are they buying for that 100 yen coin? Well, culture for one.
Religion does offer many things substantial - civilization is probably one of them. I wonder, as nihilism sets in (in the west) will we see a break down in social cohesion? Perhaps followed by the rise of religious belief, perhaps a purge or two, and the rebuilding of society around so-called conservative values, with religion acting as a sort of anchor point.
Religions have been in free markets for a long time, they certainly offer something of value - we know this, because people keep buying them. And not all of them are so base as to offer an afterlife with 72 virgins to plough. Buddhist meditation appears to offer exactly what it purports to sell. Christianity offers self-forgiveness (in the form of a god); a lot of people pay psychologists tens of thousands of dollars for the same experience. The Church could be thought of as the poor mans option.
Much of the Abrahamic religions were plagiarized. That said, the Xian belief probably out-competed the other religions because of its focus on self-forgiveness. This appears to be a powerful psychological force. It re-energies the forgiven individual, making him/her a productive force in society. Maybe even more productive than prior. All working towards a more civil society. Let's remember, it was the Christians who ended Slavery (well, to be fair, Asians also ended Slavery, in Japan - but replaced it with feudalism, and life was not all that much better for the serf, if not, worse).
I believe religion is important and can play a vital role in society but the bible (and I'm only really familiar with what the bible claims) was used as an instrument to shut people up, to censor peoples spiritual experiences. Popes sexually exploited their female congregation and made the offspring cardinals in the church as well the popes pocketed as much booty as they could lay their hands on. So what kind of moralities are the bible leaders really setting. Then they outlaw all disbelievers and burn them alive for insinuating they might know a better way. As for slavery, Christianity sold and transported slaves to the america's during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Even into the 20th century blacks were being lynched. So religion in the Holy Roman Empire and continuing into the western lands has been a farce that preaches love but does the exact opposite. Mind you this is now history and people are more enlightened ( no thanks to the church) but I personally believe life is something else! A better religious system. I don't believe self- forgiveness is good morality- fortitude, magnanimity, industry, tolerant, patients and perseverance are some good moral qualities. And I believe Jesus meant for you to forgive your enemies which is noble, a love that endures all. But however I believe that Christians see it your way and forgive themselves of all the harm they have caused.
I checked the dictionary and found 10 entries.
The two below are the relevant ones.
1 : swindle <accused of conningretirees out of their savings>
2 : manipulate 2b
3 : persuade, cajole
Other forms: conned; con·ning
First use: 1896
: something (as a ruse) used deceptively to gain another's confidence; also : a confidence game: swindle
First use: 1901
People keep gambling despite forever losing.
Interesting observation and one I am somewhat in agreement with.
However I am not sure the church would agree.
I see psychologists as treating patients with real and/or imaginary problems (but problems none the less) and giving (hopefully) sound practical real advice.
As to the monetary value of psychologists that's for the patient to decide.
I see churches giving platitudes such as 'there there it will all be better when you're dead'.
May be not as crudely but that's what it boils down to.
As to the monetary value of church that's for the mark to decide.
What I find really really strange is if I go to a psychologists and tell him I talk to a invisible person I get treated with all sorts of test performed on my body and brain and given medication.
If I go to a church member I get encouragement to continue and they join in the delusion.
If you can find a book called 'The Jet Propelled Couch' I recommend it as a great read.
You appear to be of the view religion as a requirement for civilization.
I am of the view civilization could get on quite well without religion.
I'm sure that you are aware cooperation leads to much better outcomes than divisiveness.
Religions tend towards divisiveness as the con artist fight for converts (my imaginary invisible god will beat any other imaginary invisible god).
The range of inducements are from everlasting life to, as you point out, the crass 72 virgins.
Using these definitions, I would suggest religions are not really cons. The reason why I would assert this, is because most religious beliefs are taught to children from their parents, who themselves hold a genuine belief in said superstition. As such, for most people, religion isn't necessarily being used as a deception to gain another confidence. It's a belief structure taught from one believer to the next with no expectation of personal gain. Only a minority of people use this system to con others for personal wealth. And even then, they're using an existent belief system, not inventing a new one: a con (Mormonism and Scientology excepted). The same is true of many institutions belief from research academics to politicians, and etc....
Now, Ole' Saint Nic (in the form of Santa Claus) sure, that's a con job Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Are some religions cons? Sure. At least at the beginning. That said, most are probably sincerely believed (even at inception) and therefor, according to your definitions, are not categorically 'cons'.
That said, as a strong atheist, I am convinced religion's play a sophisticated and useful (even needed) role when separated from a limited government. When forced to compete in a free-market, religions have shown they can go toe-to-toe with the other abstract organizing concepts and come out on top. Just look at how quickly abstractions like 'social justice', 'communism' or 'Uncle Sam', etc... have fallen to the way side. This suggests, one of things long-standing religions provide, is not a con, but is in fact a service: social cohesion. And they do so pretty cheaply.
And, again, as I stated previously, IMO the form of the superstition will be greatly determined by the average IQ of the believer. I'd qualify this by suggesting both organization of belief, and adherent, are modified by the technological and prosperous level of society. I imagine, in a century, many countries will become Islamic, out of necessity. Probably combined with some form of Nation State fascism.
Though, biotechnology could be a game changer.
Not every gamble is a loss. That said, modern day casinos are as much about inducing dopamine addiction as they are about having a fun time gambling.
I used to believe society would be better off without various superstitious beliefs. Maybe it will be, sometime in the future. However, that time is not now (IMO). If anything, I believe the relentless attack on Christianity (I used to be one of these antagonists), has opened to door for more crass belief systems to move in (Islam, Scientology, etc...). Most people didn't stop beliving in supersitions, they just changed which ones they choose to believe - and worse of all, the decrease in religious belief, seems to have been replaced by a stronger belief in the Nation State. I deem the Government to be much more dangerous at this stage in social development relative to the Church. Also, it may be that lower IQ people require a superstitious belief (including an all seeing god that will enact horrid punishments in the afterlife) in order to modify their behaviors. Which is probably one of the, if not the central, reason for their invention across all cultures.
Perhaps I am wrong, but I believe we are witnessing the decline of Western Civilization and I wonder if the loss of the moderating effects that Christianity played within a limited Government Nation State, isn't part of this decline. I should qualify what I mean by decline. I don't mean collapse. But, a slow stead decline in our standard of living, moral outlook, and overall productive capacity relative to what could have had. We will still advance forward on all fronts. Just at a slower pace with the East picking up more and more of the slack, eventually replacing the dominance of Western influence with an Eastern perspective. By East I am referring to Japan, China and Korea. I also expect, Chinese to return to some sort of superstitious belief in the coming decades - in a manner similar to the ex-soviet blocks have.
Lastly, thanks for the book suggestion, I'll take a look. Also, I heard a podcast awhile ago, that suggested something along the lines that the human mind, has not been selected to perceive reality as it is objectively, but only to perceive reality in a manner that favors survival, which happens to be more subjective than objective. I wonder, is it too much to ask most people not to believe in their various superstitions? And will what replace them - be worse?
Agree that might be the case.
But I can teach my children to lead decent honest lives as well teaching my children to play cards as a form of family entertainment.
However if he takes his views on life he can be conned into believing god is responsible for his goodness and god will dish out punishment if he strays.
As I mentioned a unregulated con as you have no right of redress for your money back if you change beliefs.
If he takes his card skills to a casino he can be persuaded he can win even though he is loosing.
Some regulations apply however if you can show you were set up. Rare but it happens.
As you must be aware the celebrations surrounding Christmas were stolen from pagans and annexed by commercialisation.
No one prays at the altar of Saint Nick.
And at least you get gifts from the shops and a good party.
Not sure I would go along with that assessment.
If you have a belief what would cause you to run off and create one based on something you disagree with?
The TV cons don't even bother to think up new religions.
Just quote the established ones. Ask for money to spread the word. Put your hands on the screen for salvation.
Do not understand what you base that view on but I doubt very much that will happen.
I hope atheist organise their own movement and being holding religion to the standard of proof.
Do that and turn the religion organisation into a true charity without the preaching Cowpat.
True but you know the point is the overall con is you (the mug the mark) win in the long term.
My view is all religions are in decline after people work out reality.
Decline in society overall has so many factors contributing it is hard to know where to start.
It really is up for debate.
My main culprit would be the monetary system.
I don't blame anyone but the system (which I take to have evolved not to have been designed) will, by its nature, lead to a horrendous unbalanced society.
Try to design a fair system will lead to crys of foul from those with money, it's a better system from those in the middle (who I suspect will be the major designers), nothing from those at the bottom who will be asked for their opinion but in the main ignored.
The lack of knowledge , by the simple, leads to , maniplulation , by the few .
The system rewards those who excel and work hard. If there is an unbalance in the system, it's because some are often happy with less than are others.
I have a more pragmatic view.
Yes hard work will allow you to make a nice nest egg.
The system becomes skewed when two things happen
The one with the money sells his money to someone else at a higher value than the face value ie he charges interest
The one with less money wants something but had not the financial means to buy hence he borrows money and pays interest ie he pays more than the face value of the item.
When these two situations collide you have money being treated as a commodity.
Hard to believe money was not meant to be treated as a commodity.
But opportunistic greed (lender) and the I wanter (borrower) leads to gazillionsires and paupers.
Capitalism is a bad word , agreed , but true capitalism , the form of integrity , hand shake , honesty ; etc.
Has been lost .
Capitalism in its best form has been lost to greed .
Capitalism ; in its best form ; gives the individual , that individual , the freedom of individual destiny .
But that's the way it works. The person lending you the money is taking a risk. People default on their loans, I've seen it. It's a measured gamble on the part of the lender. Now, I might lend a friend money on the promise that he will pay it back, but would I do the same for a stranger?
Loans make things happen that otherwise would be impossible. My first new vehicle was purchased on borrowed money. I remember the monthly payments to this day-- $102.08. Your right that the system can be manipulated, and there are predatory lenders, but you have to be a cautious consumer.
As long as a person keeps their debt within the limits of their means, it should be a very doable thing. I would like to have a Lexus, and there's probably someone out there who would lend me the money to buy one, but I already know I couldn't afford the payments, so I would never take out the loan.
I don't see anything corrupt about lending money at interest when the interest is reasonable. But there are those who truly are predators or are gaming the system. Part of the financial crisis was brought about by people gaming the system, giving loans to people who couldn't afford them, and then selling that debt to investors.
I think any business venture is a potential gamble. When you are throwing your money at an investment, you are gambling there will be a return on your investment. it's like the markup on any product you buy from a retailer, they're not selling it to you at cost.
I view it like any other business, the only difference is that they are selling money.
Money not not not designed as a commodity.
Designed as a universal means of exchange to overcome the shortcomings of the barter system.
No matter how low the the interest the rich get richer and the poor poorer.
Lower interest just means it takes longer.
Humpty Dumpty has no shortcomings.
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