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Author Topic: Why would anyone be religious?  (Read 3345 times)
They call me PR
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« on: February 24, 2012, 12:47:17 pm »
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No, this is not a rhetorical question.

I consider myself moderately religious or "spiritual", and I see the value of religion for providing communities for people...but what is the basis for this? Is it purely an emotional attachment? Is it some vague  sense of following "tradition"? What void in our "secular" lives is religion filling? I don't really know the answer for myself even, let alone for others. Tongue

Furthermore, why is following any sort of religious dogma even necessary in the 21st century? I'm playing Devil's Advocate here a bit, admittedly, but I'm still curious to hear your thoughts on this.
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 01:14:31 pm »
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some people are religious because they are searching for truth...

...while others don't have a choice about being religious because truth found them and they've been called by God into the truth.  And that calling is more real than anything else in the world to the point that it has defined the very lives of those people.

...and the reason why doctrine is still necessary in the 21st Century is because the eternal consequences of knowing the truth will linger much longer than a mere century.  

Truth matters.
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

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Sibboleth
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 01:17:37 pm »
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I'm quite sure that this thread will be the very definition of edifying.
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 01:31:46 pm »
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I'm quite sure that this thread will be the very definition of edifying.

for those searching for truth, it will be edifying.  for those determined to continue to follow their own will, they will be bothered by the mere proclaiming that there is higher truth.

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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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Nathan
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 01:43:23 pm »
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Socially, religiosity is a way of problematizing or at least lending some much-needed complexity to the privileging of certain ways of looking at reality that when their privilege is unquestioned impose their own, often oppressive, absolute intellectual laws just as much as dictatorial religious bodies in previous eras did (and still do in many places). As such religiosity is perhaps a more useful force in the current zeitgeist than it was previously, not less.

Personally, in my case at least my intellect inclines me to believe in the basic tenets of a theistic worldview; my emotions and inculturation incline me to the institutions and practices of the Christian religion and specific faith in the figure of Jesus; and my will dictates, partly for the social reasons outlined above, that I should be a religious.
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His idea of freedom is - it is a bad thing and should be stopped at all costs.

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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 01:57:07 pm »
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Your religion is a function of your intellect/ emotions and inculturation / and will…?

I'm sure many here will find that edifying...

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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 02:03:54 pm »
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Realpolitik is a real schmuck of a buzzkill for pointing out this punchbowl has been peed in...he couldn't just let us drink it and be happy.
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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Nathan
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 02:12:00 pm »
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Your religion is a function of your intellect/ emotions and inculturation / and will…?

To the extent that those things are my own anyway, yes, but the fact that I have those things and that they work as they do is of course entirely divine in origin and function. There was a time when they worked differently, which was unpleasant for me and for those around me and which cried out for a long time to be changed. The fact that they changed and the fact that they work the way they work now were not all my doing.

Having the operations of grace function upon one does not entail ending up in a position in which Jesus does all of one's thinking and feeling. Of course if I were to hypothetically fall from grace with Him the fact that I have the intellect and emotions and inculturation and will of which my religion is the function would presumably fall likewise, and that fall from grace would be through my own grievous fault, unlike my current state which if it is indeed justified or desirable (it is in any case, obviously, not sufficiently so) is so because of changes on my personality that were not within my control.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2012, 02:16:23 pm by Nathan »Logged

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His idea of freedom is - it is a bad thing and should be stopped at all costs.

Nathan-land.  As much fun as watching paint dry... literally.
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 02:13:05 pm »
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There are many reasons.

I suppose the most prevalent is that children are inclined to believe what their parents tell them, and if their parents are religious there's a good chance they'll keep to the religion of their parents. Compound this with living in a society in which most of the people adhere to that religion, or at least some kind of religion, and the notion isn't necessarily going to pop out as being odd. But that's only one component. I can think of plenty of other reasons:

It can give you a sense of belonging.
It can make you feel like you have a purpose in life or a defined place in the universe.
It can make you feel like you understand reality.
Some people believe they've had a religious experience and are religious because of that.
Some people might just be afraid that it's true and not want to suffer the possible consequences of not being religious.

There are others of course, but ultimately it's just complicated - reasons will vary by individual and likely be a combination of multiple factors that reinforce each other.
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They call me PR
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 03:14:55 pm »
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Whoa, several replies already. Cool.

I guess I'm thinking that religion's offering of some grounding, some rules and guidelines and absolutes to follow, is comforting and helpful in an exceedingly complex, changing world.
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 06:06:03 pm »
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The strongest rational reason I can give for not being a soulless atheist is that if the premise were true, then people would be nothing more than clumps of biochemicals seeking to self-replicate.  That is not an appealing notion, so even if being a theist were delusional, it is a delusion that makes biochemical clumps happier and more likely to self-replicate. As Voltaire put it: «Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer» (“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”).
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 07:16:22 pm »
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So far as I can tell there are no moral absolutes, human beings have no higher purpose in life, and despite their best efforts are creatures mostly inclined to scheme up and then rationalize imperfect theories about the world around them for practical purposes. With our minds we are inclined to fabricate structures of knowledge, symbols, and understanding to substitute for the unknowable, mysteries, and uncertainty. Doing so can compel one to embrace all sorts of flawed perspectives, ignorant attitudes, and ridiculous superstitions. None of us are above such tendencies. It is not my position that I or folks like me are somehow more privy to The Truth than anyone else.

To be quite frank and echo some of the sentiments expressed by the True Federalist, I suspect it would be unhealthy for one to actually try to transcend basic limitations of the human condition. Though I disagree with Voltaire that God needs to be invented people do have a need of sorts to invent one sort of belief system or another. Being religious is no more an objectionable way to cope with some of the troubles of human existence than would be getting wound up in a political ideology, secular philosophy, a set of moral principles, being more narrowly fixated on ones family or career, or finding some other satisfying cause by which one intends to promote their wellbeing.

I do not believe in souls, deities, or an afterlife. I'm hard-pressed to think of many things that deserve being treated by me in a reverent manner. Nonetheless, I pursue truth in as rational and sincere a way as I know how, and have a deep respect for those who do the same even when the conclusions we reach vastly differ. So far as I can tell, there is little good for one to achieve by trying to persuade others to abandon their views unless those ideas compel them to treat others in a way considered immoral, in which case there is a cultural conflict to settle. Even then, I would rather "lose" such a conflict than act ruthlessly to have my vision prevail.
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2012, 09:26:39 pm »
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The strongest rational reason I can give for not being a soulless atheist is that if the premise were true, then people would be nothing more than clumps of biochemicals seeking to self-replicate.  That is not an appealing notion, so even if being a theist were delusional, it is a delusion that makes biochemical clumps happier and more likely to self-replicate. As Voltaire put it: «Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer» (“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”).

As someone who recognizes that I'm likely only a physical being, that recognition in no way makes me in any less happy or less wanting to have kids. If anything the notion that "I" will only exist as long as my physical body holds out makes me value what time I have here on this Earth and witht the people I care about even more, because it becomes infinitely more valuable. One could say that the notion of eternity cheapens every moment you spend with them.
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 12:34:57 am »
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The strongest rational reason I can give for not being a soulless atheist is that if the premise were true, then people would be nothing more than clumps of biochemicals seeking to self-replicate.  That is not an appealing notion, so even if being a theist were delusional, it is a delusion that makes biochemical clumps happier and more likely to self-replicate. As Voltaire put it: «Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer» (“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him”).

As someone who recognizes that I'm likely only a physical being, that recognition in no way makes me in any less happy or less wanting to have kids. If anything the notion that "I" will only exist as long as my physical body holds out makes me value what time I have here on this Earth and with the people I care about even more, because it becomes infinitely more valuable. One could say that the notion of eternity cheapens every moment you spend with them.

If one defines 'soul' as that force that gives a being the ability to make choices that are not predetermined by one's biochemistry, then yes I desire one.

However, the argument I presented does not depend upon a desire for an eternal soul as you have presumed.  Rather it depends upon wanting to be something more than a biochemical android operating under a delusion that I have self-actualization when instead, everything I do is a predestined result of my programming interacting with an environment I merely believe to have some degree of influence upon. 
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 01:13:56 pm »
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Self-confidence. I'm not religious as I don't consider myself to be very important and worth it the universe's time to provide for me for eternity.  People who are religious really believe they should be rewarded for 80 years of sleeping, eating, sh**tting, and whatever minor nonsense they do in between.
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 09:49:00 pm »
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Religion, etymologically, means to bind or join together.  In one sense, religion binds a people together to give them a common meaning. In another, it binds together a person with a sense of meaning. In still another sense, it binds together different sorts of meaning.  Beauty is joined to deep ethical purpose; our physical being is joined to what seems to transcend materiality; the past and future are joined to the present. This may be through ritual, through stories, and/or through a vision of the world
as a meaningful whole. Sometimes it may be a comfort against complexity, but it may also validate complexity as really existing and not just reducible to a social or mechanistic force.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2012, 02:48:09 pm »
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Religion is like a casino. Once you win, you repeat the same strategy to win again and losing streak bets are never repeated.

Jmfcst once won 10000 on the Jesus line and he's gonna stick to that and if he loses his shirt its because he made a mistake in applying the system (or the casino is cheating).  At the same time, Dibble learned from a young age that the highest odds are on the colors and he's going to double down on his losses because there's a 48 percent chance of recovery. 

No use convincing them that the house always wins.
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2012, 03:00:06 pm »
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Religion is like a casino. Once you win, you repeat the same strategy to win again and losing streak bets are never repeated.

Jmfcst once won 10000 on the Jesus line and he's gonna stick to that and if he loses his shirt its because he made a mistake in applying the system (or the casino is cheating).  At the same time, Dibble learned from a young age that the highest odds are on the colors and he's going to double down on his losses because there's a 48 percent chance of recovery. 

No use convincing them that the house always wins.

Out of curiosity, who exactly is the house in this situation?
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2012, 03:03:14 pm »
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Quote
Why would anyone be religious?

Fear
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2012, 03:33:16 pm »
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Religion is like a casino. Once you win, you repeat the same strategy to win again and losing streak bets are never repeated.

Jmfcst once won 10000 on the Jesus line and he's gonna stick to that and if he loses his shirt its because he made a mistake in applying the system (or the casino is cheating).  At the same time, Dibble learned from a young age that the highest odds are on the colors and he's going to double down on his losses because there's a 48 percent chance of recovery. 

No use convincing them that the house always wins.

Out of curiosity, who exactly is the house in this situation?

Something vague that only the Buddhists understand.
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2012, 04:59:30 pm »
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Quote
Why would anyone be religious?

Fear

Of what?
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A shameless agrarian collectivist with no respect for private property or individual rights.

His idea of freedom is - it is a bad thing and should be stopped at all costs.

Nathan-land.  As much fun as watching paint dry... literally.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
jmfcst
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 05:21:44 pm »
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Jmfcst once won 10000 on the Jesus line and he's gonna stick to that and if he loses his shirt its because he made a mistake in applying the system (or the casino is cheating).

interesting...

what is "applying the system", interpreting scripture?

and who is the casino and how would it cheat?
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 05:31:58 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
greenforest32
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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2012, 05:30:24 pm »
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Quote
Why would anyone be religious?

Fear

Of what?

Fear of death (no eternal life) and fear of living in a universe where there is no supreme authority watching over you or imposing order on society.
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Nathan
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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2012, 08:51:03 pm »
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Hah. If you think that religion functions or is supposed to function as a mechanism of assuaging fear and trembling then you really don't understand it.

I can play this game too: You fear accountability and are offended conceptually by eternity. See how easy it is?

[disclaimer: I know perfectly well that atheism doesn't, in fact, normally work this way.]
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 08:54:47 pm by Nathan »Logged

A shameless agrarian collectivist with no respect for private property or individual rights.

His idea of freedom is - it is a bad thing and should be stopped at all costs.

Nathan-land.  As much fun as watching paint dry... literally.
greenforest32
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« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2012, 09:18:00 pm »
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Hah. If you think that religion functions or is supposed to function as a mechanism of assuaging fear and trembling then you really don't understand it.

I can play this game too: You fear accountability and are offended conceptually by eternity. See how easy it is?

[disclaimer: I know perfectly well that atheism doesn't, in fact, normally work this way.]

Not really, no. I would be all for upgrading the human body so we could live forever Tongue

I just make distinctions between what makes me feel good and what is true. Many people conflate them, driven by a need to satisfy some emotion (usually fear).

My parents are the perfect example. When I talk to them about religion or politics, facts are equivalent to opinions. If it doesn't "feel true", it isn't. Religion and conservatism thrive on false equivalency.
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