Insulting Religion

Discussion in 'Religion' started by (Q), Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Brief Review

    Some Brief Notes for Those Who Can't Be Troubled to Look It Up Themselves

    Austin Cline, formerly a Regional Director for the Council for Secular Humanism and Publicity Coordinator for Campus Freethought Alliance, for

    Definitions of religion tend to suffer from one of two problems: they are either too narrow and exclude many belief systems which most agree are religious, or they are too vague and ambiguous, suggesting that just about any and everything is a religion.

    A good example of a narrow definition is the common attempt to define “religion” as “belief in God,” effectively excluding polytheistic religions and atheistic religions while including theists who have no religious belief system. A good example of a vague definition is the tendency to define religion as “worldview” — but how can every worldview qualify as a religion?

    The article is already on the record in this discussion.

    Sociologist Anthony J. Blasi considered the definition of religion for The Encyclopedia of Religion and Society; the article is longer than we might reasonably quote, but just to give you a taste: "The definitional literature can be organized around four approaches: substantive, functional, verstehende , and formal."

    Arie Molendijk, of University of Groningen, noted:

    The concept and definition of religion have occupied the minds of scholars for a long time. The American psychologist James H. Leuba could easily list 48 definitions of religion in an article published in the Monist [over] a century ago. His intention was to show the futility of defining religion. Nevertheless, on another occasion he defined the 'religious sense' as 'thye feeling of unwholeness, of moral imperfection, of sin, to use the technical word, accompanied by the yearning after the peace of unity'. Sometimes it seems inevitable that we should specify precisely what we are talking about. The case of Leuba suggests that we should be suspicious of all universal definitions but, on the other hand, it also suggests that we cannot do without stipulative definitions, in order to demarcate the subject in a particular context. This is not to say that we may simply define religion in any wa we like, or should not discuss the usefulness of particular proposals. One might convincingly argue, for instance, that Salomon Reinach's definition of religion as 'the whole fo scruples which constitute an obstacle for the free exercise of our (human) faculties' is not the best starting point for scholarly research. And Schleiermacher's characterization of religion as 'Sinn und Geschmack fürs Unendliche' [sense and taste for the infinite] is probably not of much help in discussions of the public role of the churches. Debates about religion take place always in a specific context and refer to specific phenomena. This fact calls, according to the editors of this volume, for a pragmatical, contextualized approach to the problem of defining religion.


    And many, of course, look to Émile Durkheim, who, as Molendijk explains,

    had already suggested, for instance, that a religion is not so much the idea of gods and spirits, but should be defined as 'a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden—beliefs and practicces which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them (4).

    And it only gets more complicated from there in Molendijk's telling. To wit, he recounts Talal Asad's criticism of Clifford Geertz, and considers Mircea Eliade's statement that, "The very attempt to define religion, to find some distinctive or possibly unique essence or set of qualities that distinguish the 'religious' from the remainder of human life, is primarily a Western concern" (5).

    Paul Tillich, a Christian existentialist, asserted in 1951 that "God does not exist", and that "to argue that God exists is to deny him" (qtd. in Wikipedia).

    And, in addition to the absence of God in a major religion otherwise known as Buddhism, there is actually a splinter of the Society of Friends (Quakers) wherein people identify as "nontheist Friends"; we might suggest that to them, although it's not quite what John Lennon meant, God is a concept. And since the Order of the Jedi is now recognized, we might note the godlessness of that particular religion.

    And despite invoking the Jedi, I will skip the Dragaeran Halls of Judgment, despite a fascinatingly obscure discussion in the Khaavren Romances about differences between how people regard "gods". Besides, Verra and her Sisters, Barlen, Ordwynnac, and others of that pantheon have not yet made the leap into real-world religions. To the other, I do recommend the Taltos cycle and Khaavren Romances to atheists who like a bit of adventure and don't mind a bit of magic; eventually they will get to empathize with a character in the moment that he realizes his patron goddess is afraid of him.

    The reality is, however, that there isn't much to insisting on deliberately narrow definitions of religion. It is intellectually lazy, at best, to simply complain and expect to be taken seriously according to merits one refuses to demonstrate.

    Given the vast body of scholarly literature considering the definition of religion, it seems arrogant to the point of stupidity to arbitrarily declare it all worthless in order to insist on one's own deliberately limited definition.

    I'm pretty sure we have a word (or many words, at that) to describe people who ignore the scholarly literature in order to insist on their own reality.


    Cline, Austin. "What is Religion?" About. (n.d.) November 19, 2013.

    Blasi, Anthony J. "Definition of Religion". Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. (n.d.) November 19, 2013.

    Molendijk, Arie L. "In Defence of Pragmatism". The Pragmatics of Defining Religion: Contexts, Concepts, and Contests. Ed. by Jan G. Platvoet and Arie L. Molendijk. Leiden, Boston, and Köln: Brill, 1999.
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  3. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    NO....and thank you Q. I want to tell this person that he is going to better place, that life carries on. I dont want to lie or insult who has has more life experience than me. How do i tell them what Q said?

    The only thing that I can think of is to re-enforce their belief system (whatever that may be) and tell them "I love you, I dont have an are going to better place. Dont give up hope". You are not wrong in what you say, but surely, you can see the predicament and where it falls short.
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  5. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    I would like to point out that none of what you've said thus far supports your denial. Keep trying though.

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  7. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Obviously, telling them they are going to a better place would not be telling them the truth. That would imply that death is a better place than life.
  8. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    yeah? Well you dont know that. I want to tell this person that he will see his mother, his sister etc.. That what you see is in this one dimension and there are other dimensions, that this person Q (on the internet) does not know about. And if you dont know,. then you just dont know. Aint no gettin' around it my friend.

    "I see the world through blood shot eyes" a nod to my good friends Corrosion of Conformity.
  9. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    Like I said, let the party begin! Going to a better place to reconnect with long passed loved ones is cause for celebration!! Break out the food, strippers, and alcoholic beverages!!
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    This and That

    Actually, I do owe you an acknowledgment, here, as I sort of missed your assent because it was obscurely coupled with a claim of ignorance.

    As to the others:

    Question to Gmilam: "Out of curiosity, would you be willing to take a one-question pop-quiz?"

    Answer: "Maybe."​

    • Question to Spidergoat (same post): "Same question to you: Would you be willing to take a one-question pop-quiz?"

    Second Question to Spidergoat: "Again ... are you willing to take a one-question pop-quiz? Gmilam won't commit, and you haven't answered", and, "So ... how about that one-question pop-quiz?"

    Question to Sarkus: "I would also ask you the same question I've put to Mr. Nový's defenders: Are you willing to take a one-question pop-quiz?"

    — Clarification from that post:

    Some background on that inquiry, since you haven't read through the thread: This is an effort to get atheists to demonstrate their superior grasp of religion, which has been largely implied in this thread, and in at least one case explicitly proclaimed. As that superior grasp of religion is absent in this thread, I'm trying to find a way to allow those who would hold such a view an explicit opportunity to demonstrate the claim, since the implicit opportunities to show that intellectual power is apparently too subtle in such discussions as these for them to recognize.

    • Once More for Spidergoat (same post): "Want to show your better understanding? Okay. You in for the one-question pop-quiz?"

    Answer: "I have no interest in proving myself to a douchy liberal windbag who doesn't even know what the word bigot means."​

    I'll get that quiz thrown together for you. Sorry to have missed it the first time. I guess I forgot about it when you decided to not address the evidence you asked for.

    Meanwhile, as you suggested: "I can't see them getting scared off by anything you could say."

    So, would you care to speculate at why they were afraid to answer? Or is this one of those times when, presented with the record, we don't hear from you again on the subject?

    You can't understand why an incorrect basis of criticism is relevant to the criticism?

    You can't understand how incomplete isn't complete? No, really, if I piled four tires on your porch and said, "Here's your new car," would you believe that I just gave you a car? Or would you say, "That's not a car, but just four tires piled on my porch"?

    Well, someday you should try arguing about the concepts, instead of making your tantrums about me.

    Why should I give you a reason? Apparently, you already have one.

    You could try to explain why those elements are irrelevant to religion, instead of just taking the easy route of writing off what you don't want to deal with as nothing useful.

    Think of it this way: I might be a communist or communist sympathizer, depending on your definition, but I reject the anti-Semitic wings of communism. I might be a sympathizer to the atheistic outlook, but I reject atheism as a petty excuse for bigotry.

    To wit:

    If that's what's important to you, that's your decision.

    • • •​

    Please provide the detail of that analysis. Or is that too hard for you to accomplish?

    How superstitious. How do you know death isn't a better condition or place than life? Sure, it's a cold box in the ground, but at least you're not worrying about anything.

    You know, that saying? Get all the sleep you need when you're dead?

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    Matt Tarpley, Mary Death, November 11, 2013
  11. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Then you don't know either, and you are insulting the entire human search for knowledge by proliferating the lie of faith.
  12. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member


    Fine, ask me your question.
  13. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    And for all you...who conform???

    Shame on you, shame on YOU. For there is no recovermentm, revel in your complicity. Feel free to correct me where i am wrong.
  14. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

    Spidegoat, you bastard and my good friend. My old friend.

    Read what i posted. Do not give me your canned response. For I....I have had enough of these generic responses... ENOUGH. I'm listening to Deliverance by COC...That's where my head is at.

    Just give me an answer.

    ...or is your answer, "ask me no questions and i'll tell you no lies"?
  15. Sylvester Registered Senior Member


    How dare you?

    You tell me..Young master tell tell me.
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    That most likely wouldn't be telling the truth.

    Actually, our reality currently comprises four dimensions, not one.

    Sorry, but it is YOU who is claiming to know someone will see their mother and sister after they are dead. And, you know that how, exactly?
  17. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    I don't see it anywhere. It does not say that in any of your references. Sorry, T.

    Obviously, we have a very different view of life, yours is worse off then death and mine is not. Sorry, for assuming you actually didn't enjoy life and would much rather be dead. So, why are you still alive?
  18. Balerion Banned Banned

    Again, maybe this makes sense in your head, but out here in the world, nobody has any clue what you're on about.

    My guess would be along the lines of spidergoat's. The fact that you wouldn't simply divulge the "pop quiz" and instead chose to keep asking people if they'd take it struck them--and me--as shady. Knowing your loose affiliation with the truth, and your sincere desire to have the appearance of being correct even when it's obvious you aren't--see your previously-linked Pastafarian thread--I doubt anyone felt like teeing themselves up for a Gotcha moment that of course would have no "gotcha" at all.

    An incorrect basis of criticism? Why, because he hasn't discussed the criteria you arbitrarily set for him? I have to ask again, what's so hard to understand about what he said? Are you going to pretend there's no context here, and that you don't speak the language? When he says, "I reserve the right to insult religion," what do you suppose he means? Are you really unclear on the target of his insults? If you are, then perhaps this exercise in pedantry is excusable. Otherwise, what the hell are you hoping to accomplish here?

    Is that really what you see here? You're honestly confused by the topic? You don't know what he's talking about?

    I mean, wow. I literally laughed out loud. How credulous do you think we are?

    Again, wonderful non-sequitur. Someday you should try staying on topic for an entire post. No, seriously, give it a try.

    Is that how you evade a question?

    Nobody said they were irrelevant to religion. All anybody said was that they were irrelevant to this discussion. That, and they certainly serve no basis for you to accuse Q of not knowing what he's talking about. By your own account, you're the confused one here.

    Again, what does this have to do with anything. It's like you have half of a conversation in your own head, and then act like it's some failing of ours for not knowing what the fuck you're talking about.

    If only it were bigotry, you might have a point.
  19. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Why do you have to tell your friend anything? Just being there is probably enough. I hate it when people point to the extremes of life to excuse lapses of reason, as if we are nothing more than babies. Maybe we are stronger than you think.
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    One problem with trying to avoid insulting religious people when talking about religion is that - in common with so many related areas of public discourse - if you describe or quote it accurately people think you're mudslinging.

    Religion exists for reasons both privately spiritual and publicly social, its benefits should be taken seriously, the arena of life it addresses likewise. But trying to avoid insulting religious people while talking about religion is a hopeless endeavor, at least in the US.
  22. Capracus Valued Senior Member

    Which links to this:
    Which in essence means that when a belief in god becomes integrated into one's attitudes and behaviors it qualifies as religion.
    This is how the article described the above list:
    In this light I would modify my original statement of "if most of these apply" to if a few of these apply.

    So what ignorance are you referring to?
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  23. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member


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