Should Freedom of Religion include Freedom from Religion?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Goldtop, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    No, it doesn't. Fear might; anger might; mass hysteria might - but those emotional states are not confined to belief; if anything, they're belief-proof.

    All kinds of other institutions - the main one being the nation itself, but private schools and sports clubs and fraternal lodges might also qualify - provide a platform for mandated actions that would be inappropriate, or unlawful, or wrong in civil life.
    But even there, the ones who take part in atrocities are already so inclined; they just need permission to act out their baser drives.
    It's hard to persuade even the most patriotic soldier who is not already inclined to cruelty, to torture a POW or rape an enemy child. (unless, of course, he's been psychologically damaged beforehand... yes, armies do that, systematically and routinely.) It's just as hard to persuade even the most zealous Baptist, who is not inclined to violence, to shoot an abortionist or beat his disobedient child.
    People interpret their religious teaching, as well as their national loyalty, according to their own conscience; they each carry out the same teachings according to their own temperament.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
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  3. Slartibartfast Registered Member

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    How can a rational argument contain a belief in the existence of gods?
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I would expect it possible. But, no; do your own damn homework.
     
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  7. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    I never claimed atheists were a different kind of person. Only that there is no book of evil and absurd rules that is made central to one's life.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It can't. Nor can a rational argument contain a belief that there are no gods.
     
  9. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    There is presently no evidence of gods, therefore it's rational to maintain the worldview that there are no gods. It's not absolute, of course, but few things are. We can be more sure of the lack of gods than most things, since gods are supernatural by definition, and there is no reason to think there is a supernatural.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    There's no evidence of extraterrestrial life - is it therefore rational to maintain a worldview that we are the only planet with life in the universe?
     
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree, by definition all things, physical or metaphysical, are a part of the natural world.
     
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    That is not quite the same, IMO. There is plenty evidence how life can and has evolved from common elements found throughout the universe, just from the earth as an example of a probabilistic evolutionary function.
    Note: bio-chemicals are already formed in cosmic clouds in deep space, they are everywhere!

    Without human assistance, the earth itself has perfomed some 2 trillion, quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillion chemical experiments durings its lifetime, most of them in the area of bio-chemicals, resulting in a high probability of self-replicating bio-chemical polymers, which trough Darwinian evolution morphed into organic life, in its incredible variety as we know it today.

    Organic life is constructed of some 500 different bio-molecules, very ordinary by universal probabilistic standards. The fact that organic life on earth alone seems to afford unlimited expression in variety is another indicator that organic life is not extraordinary in context of universal physical expression.

    There is no reason to assume that organic life is extremely rare, but rather has a high probability of emergence over time. Intelligence (ability to gather sufficient energy for survival) inevitably follows by the evolutionary process at many different physical levels.
    Persistence creates functional perfection.

    OTOH, the concept of a God, a sentient being completely removed from any scientific knowledge of life as we know it, is reason to assume that this would fall in a very low range of probability, if not outright impossibility.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  13. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with all that, and it refutes the claim that lack of evidence demonstrates absence.
    Why? Cellphones operate on principles completely removed from any scientific knowledge we had in the 1700's - but they certainly exist.
     
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    In the case of the army, assigning significant responsibility - "blame" - to the military and its training and its operations in the field is routine and uncontroversial. The process of "giving permission" for such behavior is recognized for its key role. So is the effect of creating an organization visibly and overtly set up to abet, justify, and if necessary conceal such behavior, in attracting and organizing people already predisposed.

    So what's wrong with recognizing that role when played by religion?
    There is evidence of extraterrestrial life - it's not confirming, of course, but most knowledgable people think the discovery of evolution and the basic chemistry involved in life here indicate a very high probability of similar events elsewhere. It now becomes a matter of what would prevent them.
     
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree. But a metaphysical God does not use a cell-phone! We do, are we gods?

    I can conceive of an implacable state of pseudo-intelligent quantum order to the universe. The internet and wireless communication networks are perfect models. But that's not the definition of God. The concept of God has an emotional (wordly) aspect to its definition.

    My main objection is that I cannot conceive of a metaphysical god having experience of the "flesh" and making "emotional" decisions on the process of continued existence.

    Motive is based on "desire" or "movement in the direction of greatest satisfaction".
    And there-in lies the crux. "Desire" v "Necessity<-> Sufficiency"

    And, "who does Big Daddy love?"
     
  16. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

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    It is more meaningful to hypothesize about alien life, since it could be verified empirically at some point.
     
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  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Well, we can start with the most extreme environments on earth to get some baselines and then compare those general conditions to specific type planets.

    Fortunately, the further back you go the simpler it becomes. 2 fundamental "common denominators of all known or possible forms of life on earth and in the universe are Hydrogen and Oxygen, two elements which appeared very early throughout the universe, after the beginning.

    Dr Hazen explains several of these extreme environments on earth, but also notes that chemical reactions already begin in cosmic clouds where ultraviolet rays bombard simple molecules and creates compounds some which are the bio-molecules found on earth as on every other object in spacetime.
    Iron is created by the death of a star, Gold is created in super-novae. Even the most terrible violent cosmic events seem to be necessary conditions for the creation of specific elements or compounds, which may become incorporated in a living structure.

    The stromatolite colonies are witness to the evolution of life on earth. They made the "oxygen".....

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    http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Tree_of_Life/Stromatolites.htm

    A cuttle fish has blue/green blood because the oxygen carrier in its blood is copper, instead of iron as in mammals. It also has three hearts...

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    IMHO, only long term temporal stability after a period of turmoil and chaos on a planet allows life to emerge, with specific adapted survival skills, other than pure resistance to destruction as in "extremophiles"..

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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, but you could make exactly the same argument for gods. "Sure, there's no direct evidence of gods - but so many people believe in them, and there are so many anecdotal experiences where people have felt god, that there's a very high probability god exists."
    As could god, if such a thing is ever detected.
     
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    To someone from the 1700's? We likely are. I can strap on a powered paraglider and fly. I can be cured of cancer and many other diseases. I can talk to someone anywhere on the planet in seconds. Militaries can destroy entire cities in seconds, on a scale that makes the destruction of Sodom look like a mild storm. Many of the things once ascribed to gods we can do today.
    Or perhaps that "state of pseudo-intelligent quantum order" has more intelligence than we imagine. Or perhaps we exist within a framework we cannot sense (yet) and are just a small part of a very large and intelligent over-universe.
    I agree that the odds of any god exactly duplicating (say) the Catholic vision of god are vanishingly small. But the odds that something exists that would fall squarely within today's definition of "god" are far from small (IMO.) A very powerful being that we can't perceive, that can sense our thoughts and prayers and intercede physically in events here on Earth? You could almost describe Amazon that way; surely someone from the 1700's might think of Amazon's drone delivery trials as God. "Alexa, bring me wine" - and wine appears a few hours later out of the sky. How is that not divine and supernatural?

    And that's only the difference that 300 years makes, which is no time at all. Might there be something 300 years more advanced than that out there in the universe? 30,000 years more advanced? 30 million years more advanced? The odds, I think, are not low.
     
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    But we are not talking about extraterrestials, we're talking about an intelligent, motivated extra-universal being.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    That is not evidence of a metaphysical supernatural power. If that were the case then we should be classified as Gods....

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    , at least locally on earth. And we aren't very benign at that.
    I agree, but that would not be a super-natural, nor an intelligent or motivated metaphysical entity as God is commonly defined. "Of the Spirit" leaves for a range of speculation but does the Spirit need to follow the mathematical rules or is it the mathematical rules?

    Actually the entire problem in discussing the definition of God is inherently futile.
    God has no definition which answers to our science. Until someone solves this "of the spirit" concept, we'll be forever stuck in limbo, a logical hell.....

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    I'll stick with the perfectly acceptable scientific term of "Potential" as "That which may become Reality".
    i.e. the universe has the potential for life, as demonstrated by the appearance of life on an average planet named Earth (1 in a trillion

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    ) in stable orbit about a temperate star in a non-remarkable location of the universe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    deleted for duplication
     
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Nothing at all. I have recognized that role - among others, equally negative - of religion. All I'm saying is that religion is not the only way people can be brainwashed or persuaded to do things that would ordinarily not be allowed.
    What I argued against was
    Allows, yes; encourages, often; exhorts, sometimes. But I don't think even the most mesmerizing preacher can make you to act against your nature - unless, of course, they used threats and menaces. Which they sometimes do, but not as much as those other organizations I mentioned. So religion not only has no monopoly on coercion, but far more often relies on persuasion. (Except in theocracies, of course, where state and church are the same power.)
     

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