Will religion fade in the near future?

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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby hamlet » Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:40 am

Jnyusa wrote:
Hamlet wrote:What I did say is that the PERCEPTION of both sides was that "the other side" was out to get them.


You're right, Hamlet. I did misunderstand you and I apologize.

It is very helpful when you state which point I missed instead of just screaming at me and calling me names.


I believed I had, but I apologize if it got missed.

This particular form of miscommunication is a particular sore point for me simply on the basis that I deal with it daily, typically absorbing abuse from people who earn more than six times what I earn yet have the listening skills of a brain damaged gerbil.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:09 am

Here's a good source for religion growth rates. It mainly talks about religion in America but it is still interesting. http://religions.pewforum.org/reports.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby GlassHouse » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:03 am

Oh btw Billobob in case no one has said it yet: Welcome to Manwe!

get used to it.... :P
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:07 am

Yeah, I get what you're saying Glass house. But doesn't the Manwë forum also have to follow the policy for Torc. If anyone has comments on the website I found I would like to have a second opinion on it.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Jnyusa » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:48 pm

Thank you, Hamlet.

billobob, I think that's the same report (Pew Foundation) that Storyteller posted a link to on the first page. Nothing wrong with posting the link twice, though.

Meanwhile, today is SECULAR DAY! (LOL something new). People who are not religious are supposed to be unafraid on this day to say that they are secular.

I am secular, as should be obvious from my posts. But there's an awful lot of mixing and matching that goes on in American families. My family celebrates the Jewish holidays together and my granddaughter will have her bas-mitzvah this year ... but all this takes place in a setting absent any mention of the Jewish god (except on Passover). We have enduring cultural ties to the Jewish People but no beliefs in the supernatural. I found myself wondering today how many avowed atheists deny their children the fun of Christmas trees, and I bet there are hardly any. Even the Moslems whom I know in America have Christmas trees because it's an American cultural thing.

Well, anyway ... there's that.

I'll get back to Storyteller's post when essays are done being corrected.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Storyteller » Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:37 am

Jnyusa wrote:Thank you, Hamlet.

billobob, I think that's the same report (Pew Foundation) that Storyteller posted a link to on the first page. Nothing wrong with posting the link twice, though.

Meanwhile, today is SECULAR DAY! (LOL something new). People who are not religious are supposed to be unafraid on this day to say that they are secular.

So just another normal day, then :)

Gallop screwed up spectacularly with its latest poll, according to which only 63% of world population describing themselves as religious. This is directly contradicted by the previously cited Pew poll and a number of national polls.

In Israel, Gallup found that only 30% identified as religious while 65% identified themselves as "not religious" or "convinced atheists". This does not match the data of the Israeli Bureau of Statistics or the national polls according to which 80% of Israelis affirm belief in God. The explanation, of course, is that binary distinction of religious vs. secular does not adequately describe the existing range of people's religious views.
"...Their aim in war with Germany is nothing more, nothing less than extermination of Hitlerism... There is absolutely no justification for this kind of war. The ideology of Hitlerism, just like any other ideological system, can be accepted or rejected, this is a matter of political views. But everyone grasps, that an ideology can not be exterminated by force, must not be finished off with a war.” - Vyacheslav Molotov, ""On the Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union", 31 October 1939
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Jnyusa » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:31 pm

Storyteller wrote:So just another normal day, then :)


It probably depends on where you live.

Gallop screwed up spectacularly with its latest poll ... <snip> ...The explanation, of course, is that binary distinction of religious vs. secular does not adequately describe the existing range of people's religious views.


I did bother to skim the Gallop poll and Pew Foundation report finally, but only for the US. It's really difficult to design polls that capture attitudes. I have a lot of sympathy for pollsters, but also know to take their results with a grain of salt, whether I like to outcome or not.

From your earlier post:

The immediate result of the rise of rationalist thinking, as I recall from my history books that are so different from yours ... Today, the fashionable tyranny to wish for is that of the experts - if only scientists could govern, and all that...


You know, when we finally got kings to stop saying that they took their power from god, pretty much everyone in the world called this Progress. Your post is the first time I've heard it offered as evidence that Rationalism was committed to monarchism. Wouldn't the French Revolution be a better example of Rationalism run amok?

A scientist dabbling in politics is doing it as a politician, not as a scientist, and science cannot by definition be blamed for such a scientist's action.


Again, I think it must depend on where you live. In the US scientists have a lot of homogeneous influence over the allocation of public resources. The list of institutions is really endless ... just starting with the National Science Foundation and ending, say, with the accrediting bodies that set standards for nearly every college within our universities. Scientists could organize for partisan aims - the mechanisms certainly exist - but when you see them organized vis a vis religion, it is to keep religion out of science texts and classrooms, not to eliminate or curtail religion elsewhere.

There is one signal exception to this, I would think, and it's quite new, and that's the organization of "Brights" which does indeed carry an argument against religion into the churches. You can still though, count on one hand the lecturers who are participating in this campaign, and they have no political arm as of yet. Personally I don't think theirs is a very good idea ... however, to borrow a quip from Henry James, I'm not going to give them a leg up but I'm going to bet on them.

However, examples of a government which was founded on an economic theory with a claim to being scientific - the Communist ones - spent considerable time attempting to exterminate religion.


But not because of Marxian economic theory. The Bolsheviks were not a community of scientists, neither economists nor sociologists. This is exactly the sort of paralogism that makes the great philosophers weep : Communism = an economic theory, Communism = atheism, therefore atheism = an economic theory. This is incorrect reasoning. It is wrong.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Storyteller » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:53 am

Jnyusa wrote:You know, when we finally got kings to stop saying that they took their power from god, pretty much everyone in the world called this Progress. Your post is the first time I've heard it offered as evidence that Rationalism was committed to monarchism.

Not universally so, of course, but many of the leading Enlightenment thinkers were convinced that the most effective way to introduce progress to a society was by order of a despot. The main flaw of absolute monarchy, in their view, was not that it was absolute, but that it was stagnant.

Wouldn't the French Revolution be a better example of Rationalism run amok?

One of the examples, but not necessarily a better one.

Again, I think it must depend on where you live. In the US scientists have a lot of homogeneous influence over the allocation of public resources. The list of institutions is really endless ... just starting with the National Science Foundation and ending, say, with the accrediting bodies that set standards for nearly every college within our universities. Scientists could organize for partisan aims - the mechanisms certainly exist - but when you see them organized vis a vis religion, it is to keep religion out of science texts and classrooms, not to eliminate or curtail religion elsewhere.

Scientists making policy recommendations as experts, or laying down policies as members of government bureaucracy?

But not because of Marxian economic theory. The Bolsheviks were not a community of scientists, neither economists nor sociologists. This is exactly the sort of paralogism that makes the great philosophers weep : Communism = an economic theory, Communism = atheism, therefore atheism = an economic theory. This is incorrect reasoning. It is wrong.

This is not even the reasoning being offered.

"The Bolsheviks were not a community of scientists" is a thin excuse - people setting out to shape a society will never be a community of scientists, because the task reaches far outside of science as an occupation and requires a different set of skills. But it is absurd to argue that the Bolsheviks did not rely on a considerable body of work by prominent economists and sociologists, or that they did not include - and later produce - economists and sociologists of their own. Frankly, reading Karl Marx' "Communist manifesto" leaves one with the impression that the Bolsheviks may have been insufficiently faithful to Marx' recommendations by being insufficiently cruel.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Jnyusa » Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:46 pm

Storyteller, your logic is wrong across the board in this discussion because you're omitting the counterfactuals that allow correlation or causation to be objectively assessed.

(1) are there examples of the same scientific theories being used to achieve different non-tyrannical aims elsewhere?
(2) are there examples of religion supporting less tyrannical aims under the same circumstances?

(Your thesis, if I may remind you of it, is that rationalism has been at least as supportive of despotism as religion has been, as evidenced by its support for enlightened monarchies, and will possibly culminate in a rationalist tyranny by experts.)

Counterfactual: The first country to refashion itself deliberately and almost exclusively on rationalist grounds was the US in the 1700s. Did we retain an enlightened despot as the best way to ensure progress?

Counterfactual: What was religion doing over the same time period? Lobbying for an end to serfdom? Lobbying for ecumenism? Seeking to replace monarchies with democracies?

Arguments have to be evaluated as they relate back to the thesis. When an argument has counterfactuals, you cannot turn it into a new thesis supported by new parochial examples and then claim that by propping up the argument you have proven the original thesis through the side door. Jesuits being thrown out of the Spanish Empire in 1767, or the excommunication of Stroessner, do not prove that rationalism and religion are equally compatible with tyranny, not if there remain all the other regions where rationalism gained traction while the Jesuits stayed, not if religious institutions overwhelmingly supported absolute despots and even genocide everywhere else. There may have been reasons other than rationalism for getting rid of Jesuits, and reasons other than populism for excommunicating Stroessner, and there most certainly were.

Excuse me but this is the kind of argument that we used to hear from our once-resident anti-Semite if you recall. (Brandeis talked to Wilson, and Weitzman talked to Balfour, and Brandeis talked to Weitzman, so Wilson's decision must have been the work of the Jews. There follow attempts to support the thesis by offering evidence that conversations took place between Weitzman and Balfour, which is easy to demonstrate but irrelevant to the thesis.)

Rampaging Bolsheviks had scientific theories and also practiced religious persecution so there must be a pernicious relationship between science and religious persecution. There follow attempts to show that Bolsheviks yearned after scientific justifications for their revolution, which is easy to demonstrate but irrelevant to the thesis.

To whit:
But it is absurd to argue that the Bolsheviks did not rely on a considerable body of work by prominent economists and sociologists, or that they did not include - and later produce - economists and sociologists of their own.


Multiple societies have relied on the work of those same economists and sociologists without banning the established religion. And one can be atheist and/or despise and persecute religions without any empirical backdrop at all. The fact that Bolsheviks persecuted the Russian Orthodox church does not allow conclusions about the attitude of science toward religion; it only allows conclusions about the attitude of Bolsheviks toward religion. There are too many counter-examples for the broader thesis to carry water, and when religious people argue this kind of connection between science and religion they are arguing for insidious influence the way our once-resident anti-Semite used to argue for the insidious influence of the Jews. The only difference is that it is unfashionable today to talk that way about the Jews and an educated person will bridle to hear it. But it is not unfashionable even among the educated to accept such arguments about science and rationalism and secularism. They are nevertheless wrong.

They are equally wrong when used against religion. A list of hideous deeds by religious institutions exists but it does not disprove the truth of any religious belief. The fact that the Catholic hierarchy bent backwards to conceal its pedophiles says nothing about the reasonableness of their opposition to abortion and homosexuality, lends not one grain of evidence to arguments over metaphysics between believers and atheists. There may be other reasons why all institutions try to conceal their sins, and there most certainly are. Catholics feel the unfairness of this kind of argument immediately when they are its victims, just as Jews do. It is much harder to intuit the wrongness of it when we are sympathetic to the underlying hidden premise. But it is nevertheless illogical to say that because a church institution did bad things their religion as a belief system must be wrong or even bad. This is corrupt reasoning.

And I want it rejected on those grounds - that it is corrupt reasoning - and not because we dislike its conclusions in one particular instance. Find a group that shares your hidden premise (anti-Semitism, anti-science, anti-religion, whatever) and you will always get sympathetic nods for this kind of reasoning. The only way to suppress it in all instances is to understand why it is wrong.

If you want a fair example of scientists acting in their role as scientists to convert people away from religion, you can point to the lecture hall phalanx of the Brights, as I mentioned earlier. Impossible to tell at this point whether their exercise will catch on among scientists. It might be the next big thing, in which case everything I've said so far about the relationship of science to religion would change. Or it might go the way of that handful of 19th century assertions that science demands atheism; we hardly remember those guys' names any longer.

Scientists making policy recommendations as experts, or laying down policies as members of government bureaucracy?


Both. The EPA, NIH, NSF or CBO are entrenched government bureaucracies, I would say. The Union of Concerned Scientists is just a group making recommendations.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby hamlet » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:45 am

Jnyusa wrote:You know, when we finally got kings to stop saying that they took their power from god, pretty much everyone in the world called this Progress. Your post is the first time I've heard it offered as evidence that Rationalism was committed to monarchism. Wouldn't the French Revolution be a better example of Rationalism run amok?


I woudln't argue that the French Revolution was "rationalism run amok" at all. It's something that wore the trappings of rationalism, but was really largely motivated by revenge against the upper classes and anybody even vaguely involved with them: essentially a giant spree killing and extended mob riot. That's a bit reductionist, but only a bit really.

We're also making an error here, talking about both Science and Religion as if they were coherent entities in any real sense. Hell, you can't even talk about Christianity almost EVER as if it were a coherent entity since it's been a divided faith almost from its inception which discounts the many other faiths practiced throughout the world. I think that the entire discussion would benefit from being specific about whom we are actually talking about rather than making a broad assertion that religion/religious thought as a whole has been attacking science forever, which is patently false and absurd.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:38 am

I'd say that it is not factions of Christianity who hate science but it is certainChristians as in individuals who hate science. Of course through history Christianity has opposed science at some points like with Galileo and the inquisition.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby hamlet » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:05 pm

Billobob wrote:I'd say that it is not factions of Christianity who hate science but it is certainChristians as in individuals who hate science. Of course through history Christianity has opposed science at some points like with Galileo and the inquisition.


Yeah, except that's wildly incorrect and yet still taught as fact in schools today.

Historically, the Catholic Church has been one of the biggest supporters of Science. Not to mention Galileo didn't get in trouble for what his science said, but what he said it meant, specifically that it disproved the Bible and that the Pope, who disagreed academically, was a complete simpleton: literally. Essentially, the guy got in trouble for being a quarellsome jerk, not because of what the science said.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:30 pm

What I was trying to say was that only certain Christian individuals have hate or opposed science. Sorry if I implied that the Catholic Church was against science.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Faramond » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:23 pm

You know, in baseball has had its own long-running battle between its peculiar versions of science and religion. The science of baseball is advanced statistics. In advanced statistics you attempt to put every baseball play into its true context, to know how it actually contributes to winning or losing.

The religion of baseball is old-fashioned statistics and subjective judgement -- the eye test. The religion of baseball was handed down generation to generation, almost entire unaltered. For hitters, batting average and RBIs and later, in the 1920's, home runs. (Babe Ruth was a transformational prophet.) For pitchers, wins and losses, and maybe ERA for the daring. For fielders, errors and the eye test. For scouting and development of players, the eye test.

The religion of baseball could be capricious and arbitrary and hold men accountable for sins they did not commit. Pitchers with a good ERA ( meaning they didn't allow very many runs, which is their job! ) but with a poor win-loss record "didn't know how to win." Maybe they weren't 'clutch'. That their teammates didn't score enough runs wasn't an allowed excuse!

The battle began more or less in the 1980's and intensified in the late 1990's. It has been fought on the sportspages and in front offices and among fans. At first the science side was a small, mocked group. No front offices were into advanced stats, and few sportswriters, and most fans hadn't even heard of it. But inexorably science has overtaken religion in baseball. Advanced stats work, and they have helped teams with modest financial resources win far more than they otherwise would have. As the importance of sportswriting on the internet increased, so too did advanced stats -- the internet is what really turned the tide against religion in baseball among fans and writers. They had a chance to see something other than the gospel handed down by newspaper writers. Religion in baseball isn't dead, and it will never die, because there is a part of it that advanced stats can't touch. Advanced stats don't replace an artistic appreciation for the game, the beauty of a diving catch in the outfield, a perfect throw to home plate, a swing that launched the ball into the stratosphere, a curveball that sends a batter diving for cover and then drops in for a strike. Advanced stats don't replace the part of the game that is handed down from generation to generation.

But as far as understanding what contributes to winning a baseball game, baseball religion is dying. There are still plenty of holdouts, and there probably will be for awhile, but their numbers aren't increasing. In this case, religion is definitely dwindling.

And I think you can say the same thing about religion as a way of understanding how the universe works. It just can't even compete with science. All it has is a prayer. In that sense religion is definitely dwindling, or should be.

Science says nothing about faith because faith isn't a part of science. But a scientific conclusion could shake someone's faith, depending on what that faith is in. Faith in how the universe mechanically works and the history of the universe is always going to clash with scientific conclusions. But the fault is not with science, here.

But while science says nothing about faith a scientific partisan can say something about faith, and they often do. Often with provocation! Religious partisans are much more vocal about attacking science, at least in the US. The thing is most scientists aren't partisans at all, in the sense of defending science and attacking anti-science things. They're just being scientists. And many science partisans don't attack religion at all, unless it attacks science first. But, of course, some aren't like that.

Too long and too unfocused, I think, so I will end it here.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:39 am

Well I don't think baseball religion is religion in the sense of what we're talking about. But I guess statistics and "baseball religion" represent two different views though maybe not world views
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Jnyusa » Wed Apr 29, 2015 8:55 pm

Hamlet wrote:I wouldn't argue that the French Revolution was "rationalism run amok" at all. It's something that wore the trappings of rationalism ...


In retrospect the French Revolution was not a rationalist event, but it made claims to rationalist motivation at its beginning and I think that was Storyteller's point - that the trappings of rationalism could cover barking madness as conveniently as the trappings of religion could.

I don't disagree with that, either, but you're right, I think, that it is not representative of the historical trend of rationalism.

We're also making an error here, talking about both Science and Religion as if they were coherent entities in any real sense.


That's true that we have not defined our terms very carefully. Where I think one can make a broad generalization is to say that religion and science foster different habits of thought, and this leads to world views that are systematically different. Even if they are not organized into specific entities like the National Science Foundation or the Catholic Church, their members will function as if they were part of a coherent entity because of the shared world view, one group admitting only naturalism and the other admitting supernaturalism as well. It's sort of like saying ... there's no coherent entity composed of Hispanics in America, they are all individuals. But they have enough cultural commonalities that we can generalize across them on many things and distinguish their culture from that of African Americans, Asian Americans, etc.

billobob wrote:I'd say that it is not factions of Christianity who hate science.


Well there are factions, as such, but not all Christians belong to a faction. The guys that run the Creationist museums and preach that fossils were put there by a god to test our faith ... they're fairly called a faction, I would say. But they are not typical of Christians everywhere. They are possibly more infamous than they deserve to be.

Faramond, your post made me smile. And it wasn't easy to make me smile tonight after correcting a hundred essays. :woah:

Sure, in the sense that an institution relies on tradition it is like other institutions that rely on tradition. There's one area of religion that is quite similar to your description of what happened in baseball, and that's the effort to get ancient religious texts scanned into computers so that computer-aided semiotic analysis can be done on them. I recall when this was pretty new (early 1980s) there was a lot of indignant resistance by traditional biblical scholars. But it's been successful at uncovering new things ... don't ask me what sort of new things it uncovers! And I think it's a well-accepted pursuit now and colleges that have a religion department which can afford the technology are keen to specialize.

Just donated to our business college, like, a year ago ... a machine that hooks up to your brain and tells the researcher what part of your brain is activated when you make buying decisions. (I believe that Yale has a whole institute for developing this technology.) If the tech becomes more affordable and there are enough people trained to use it, we'll hardly need people like me to develop demand curves any longer. We'll just point to some grid marker on a map of the brain and say, "There! That's you in a new Chevrolet!"

Funny thing is, when my colleagues and I went to the meeting to hear this new machinery described, I know the look on my face was exactly the same as the look on the faces of my acquaintances from long ago who were biblical scholars at a certain university when a new director was appointed to redirect the energy of their department toward loading the Bible into a computer. :Q Here, have a nice piece of fruit while we discuss your impending extinction.

Everyone's education and training and world view becomes obsolete eventually. We just have to roll with it.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:59 am

I'm currently reading 'Going Clear; Hollywood, Scientology, and the Prison of Belief' (HBO produced a documentary based on the book). Talk about an eye-opening look into religion, or what can pass as religion and how religions can start and grow. It's fascinating in a horrific way. It's also scary how malleable our minds are and how easily they can be hijacked, especially in the name of religion.

I was raised Catholic and was very much a practicing Catholic throughout most of my life. I have come to see most organized Religion as manipulative and controlling although feel most religions appeal to (and utilize) good and caring people. Due to various circumstances I had an awakening of sorts 10+ years ago and I am now secular, although my complete 'conversion' to secularism took awhile. Deprogramming, if you will. I look at how I was raised to believe with new eyes and, although I am/was in no way physically abused or coerced into staying 'religious' in the way Scientologists in the book have been, it's not been an easy road. Relatives, neighbors, friends, apply pressure or cut you out of their lives, even though I am in no way outspoken about it and for the most part I'm sort of a 'closet' secularist, with the exception that they know I no longer attend church. Most people probably assume I'm a Christian (as is expected in Midwestern Small Town USA) and I generally don't go out of my way to comment one way or another.

Jnyusa, your earlier comments regarding traditions interest me. I definitely feel the loss of tradition and celebration. It doesn't mean the same thing to us anymore and we wish we had something to replace it. We're working on it. We still celebrate 'Christmas' although we have taken to celebrating 'Solstice' with the trappings of Christmas, which ironically take the celebration back to its roots, but I am looking to incorporate other meaningful traditions into our lives. I feel they are important as rites of passage and as celebrating the change in seasons and the bringing together of family. Perhaps it is this loss that prevents (some) religion from fading. Especially in smaller towns there is nothing to replace the sense of community and celebration.

As for the Creationism museum in Kentucky, we have neighbors who helped build that and they have been a thorn in my side for years They are one of the reasons I began to question what religion was all about and finally eschewed religion altogether. They are very outspoken Young earth creationists who at one point took over our local public school board & tried to get funding for their church via a 'charter school' which was pretty much a group of home-schoolers where none of the teachers would have had a teaching degree. It didn't work. In any case, my neighbor sponsors a booth at the State and county fairs 'proving' that dinosaurs & man lived together on Earth in the less than 5,000-6,000 years that she believes the Earth to be. Anyone who believes differently is going to hell. Of course.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:09 pm

I understand that some practicers of religion may be extremely overcontrolling but I think you are generalizing. I see from you r post that you r experience with religion led you to believe that all religions are that way. Christianity and many other religions simply seek to either give people a good reason to be ethical, to explain the universe, to give people a purpose,etc. Most religions aren't just people trying to control others.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:07 pm

I understand that some practicers of religion may be extremely overcontrolling but I think you are generalizing.


Maybe. Maybe not.
To be clear; I don't believe the average person of faith/average church-goer believes in or participates in religion for the sake of power, control, &/or manipulation. I do feel that many religions -the foundations for those religions as well the continuation of those religions- came into being for reasons of control and power and manipulation (some more, some less) and are often political in nature. Some religions arose as a way of making order in a chaotic world. IMO we are seeing an increase in the use of religion as a political tool in the US and elsewhere. I acknowledge that sometimes great good comes from those who follow religions in good faith and that there are a great many wonderful people who do good works on behalf of their beliefs, but it is not a given and religion seems equally capable of leading others into corruption &/or the justification of hate & violence.


I don't wish to pick on any one faith or church, but the Catholic church is a large institution which has been around a long time, and the one I am most familiar with, therefore it has more in the way of examples. The Vatican is considered to be quite corrupt (Frontline documentary). I believe the current Pope to be a good man who wishes it were otherwise, but honest people at his level aren't usually long for this world. The pedophile scandal is another prime example of men using the goodwill of others for power, control, and manipulation. This happens in other settings-teachers come to mind-but it's much more insidious in the guise of religion. The history of the church is rife with such abuses. Charging for absolution/indulgences, the Inquisition. Many church leaders throughout history have been a stumbling block to science, especially in the understanding of our Universe.. and why? Because it threatens their faith.. or their power? Many who practice Islam are very peaceable people, but others use that same faith to justify all sorts of outrage, murder, & mayhem--even some at the highest levels. The KKK considers themselves to be a Christian organization and they use faith to justify the things they do. What I am saying is that a great many people use religion to their own ends and it often isn't loving or peaceful. These are not rare and isolated incidents.


While I am far (very far) from any level of expertise, I've done my share of reading/studying various religions and religious practices.. from ancient religions to modern. From mainstream to cult (and THAT'S a loaded word!) Many claims are made, and I always find it interesting just how much has been borrowed from earlier religions while the newest religion claims to be the ultimate or 'one true faith'. As if the new faith was 'one-upping' the old.

Do I think religion will fade in the future? In some ways I wish it would. I think good people would continue to do good works regardless and corrupt people will be corrupt regardless, however, religion is so easily used by the corrupt (or even the well meaning but misguided) because people feel that their very salvation is at stake or that their religious leaders should not be questioned. The book I am currently reading, 'Going Clear' is a perfect example of what I mean. There were a great many 'good' people who did/do horrible things for a megalomaniac in the name of Salvation. I don't believe this is a rare and isolated use (misuse) of religion.

From a different standpoint, I don't know if religion will fade unless something else fills it's place because, as I said in my earlier post, it has such a strong cultural component. (edited to add) A cultural component which has been utilized by many churches/faiths to convert/coerce new believers who did not want to give up old celebrations & customs.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Fri May 01, 2015 9:15 am

I do agree that the corrupt often do or try to use religion to subjugate others. But that's why people who have a religion (not just Christianity) have to take what's people say witha grain of salt and a mustard seed of faith (forgive my reference). Religion does not mean people have to blindly follow their leaders, in fact (at least in Christianity I won't pretend to be knowledgable about other religions) adherents to a religion should not base their faith on their leaders but in their faith in their God. So when people blindly follow a leader they are basing they really are basing their "faith" on something tangible not on their religion.

I think you may believe that while adherents to Christianity may be good the leadership of christianityare corrupt. While I won't make the untrue statement that all religious leaders are well meaning or even most are I will say that I have met many good pastors in churches. Also I think we are starting to stray a little to far into the realm of criticizing religions (read the first post) so let's move a little from this topic.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Fri May 01, 2015 1:33 pm

With all due respect Billobob, I think you are perhaps missing my point or perhaps I am not making myself clear. I don't know what you've read about religions.. and by 'religions' I am referring to religion from prehistoric times to the present.. I feel many/most/all(?) religions are flawed/manipulative in nature from their very inception/conception as part of the human condition. I do not believe that most priest/pastors/ministers/religious persons are evil.

If you have the time & inclination, read 'Going Clear; Hollywood, Scientology, and the Prison of Belief' and perhaps you would have a better understanding of what I am trying to convey. I've read other books about the origins of religion(s) and how they began and how they were influenced by earlier religions. They seem to follow a similar pattern -generally speaking. Several other books I've read come to mind but I don't have the titles off hand.. one on the beginnings of Islam, another on Mormonism, (and others). Religions from the get-go generally have the similar components when one looks at the big picture. I am not talking about books written by someone from within a particular faith, the books I'm talking about are written from a journalistic or scholarly point of view, taking into consideration a broader viewpoint than what would likely come from within a particular religion. If one takes a look at how Christianity evolved, for example, and then takes a look at Judaism.. Egyptian beliefs.. and Zoroastrianism.. it makes one wonder.

I could (and may) elaborate, but I think I'll leave it at this for now.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Cerin » Mon May 04, 2015 10:09 am

It would be interesting to know just how upbringing impacts our disposition toward religion as adults. I'm particularly thinking of those people I know who had a religious upbringing and enthusiastically rejected it in adulthood. On the other hand, I was raised by areligious parents and have taken a decidedly religious bent as an adult.

I don't regard as pernicious the, shall we say, osmotic acquisition by children of their parents' religious ideas. It seems only right to me (and I'm assuming well-meaning parents for the purpose of the discussion), since children's view of the world must be shaped by something, that it be shaped by their parents rather than by outside influences. But I think one aspect of a meaningful religious outlook is that it has been embraced with understanding and an exercise of will at some point after childhood. And I tend to think that most adults will have the opportunity to either reject or embrace what they were taught as children.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Mon May 04, 2015 1:11 pm

I'm going to stop commenting since this discussion has exited the extant of my knowledge of religion.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Tue May 05, 2015 12:02 pm

Sorry Billobob, I didn't mean to edge you out! This is a topic I've given a lot of thought.

Cerin, that is an interesting question. I do believe a great many people practice religion primarily because they have grown up with an osmotic acquisition of what is 'true' and expected & accepted in their family & communities and because it gives them a guideline for positive guidance and direction; a sense of belonging and a uniting of the community. Fear of being shamed, shunned, ostracized, or left out of the community is a strong enforcer. I can speak first hand on how hard it is to leave a community and friends. However, the exact opposite can be true, religion can divide a community or family and extreme rigidity to following guidelines of what is right for some doesn't work so well for others.

Regarding your question on religious disposition, I would think that it is more difficult than one might think to rethink years of indoctrination. It wasn't until I was taking classes in (my own) religion as a mature adult in my late 30's/early 40's that I realized I had never objectively reevaluated my faith as an adult or adjusted my thoughts/beliefs. It was a great epiphany. Although I have rejected the dogma and theology in which I was brought up other than as a fascination in regards to history/culture, I feel I have retained the spirit of many the teachings in which I was raised. What I find compelling is that it was the adherence to those teachings which lead me away from my childhood faith. While I feel as if I have held fast to the lessons of my youth, many of those who I know who have remained 'faithful' or 'in the church' (IMO) have shifted. It's not the first time this has occurred, historically speaking, faiths, churches, they are ever evolving.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby Billobob » Tue May 05, 2015 12:55 pm

No you didn't edge me out its just that I'm not super knowledgeable about this topic and I've already told the majority of what I have to contribute. :) Well it seems like this thread is starting to fade away forgive the pun.
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Re: Will religion fade in the near future?

Postby MerriadocBrandybuck » Mon May 18, 2015 8:13 am

Faramond wrote:You know, in baseball has had its own long-running battle between its peculiar versions of science and religion. The science of baseball is advanced statistics. In advanced statistics you attempt to put every baseball play into its true context, to know how it actually contributes to winning or losing.

The religion of baseball is old-fashioned statistics and subjective judgement -- the eye test. The religion of baseball was handed down generation to generation, almost entire unaltered. For hitters, batting average and RBIs and later, in the 1920's, home runs. (Babe Ruth was a transformational prophet.) For pitchers, wins and losses, and maybe ERA for the daring. For fielders, errors and the eye test. For scouting and development of players, the eye test.

The religion of baseball could be capricious and arbitrary and hold men accountable for sins they did not commit. Pitchers with a good ERA ( meaning they didn't allow very many runs, which is their job! ) but with a poor win-loss record "didn't know how to win." Maybe they weren't 'clutch'. That their teammates didn't score enough runs wasn't an allowed excuse!

The battle began more or less in the 1980's and intensified in the late 1990's. It has been fought on the sportspages and in front offices and among fans. At first the science side was a small, mocked group. No front offices were into advanced stats, and few sportswriters, and most fans hadn't even heard of it. But inexorably science has overtaken religion in baseball. Advanced stats work, and they have helped teams with modest financial resources win far more than they otherwise would have. As the importance of sportswriting on the internet increased, so too did advanced stats -- the internet is what really turned the tide against religion in baseball among fans and writers. They had a chance to see something other than the gospel handed down by newspaper writers. Religion in baseball isn't dead, and it will never die, because there is a part of it that advanced stats can't touch. Advanced stats don't replace an artistic appreciation for the game, the beauty of a diving catch in the outfield, a perfect throw to home plate, a swing that launched the ball into the stratosphere, a curveball that sends a batter diving for cover and then drops in for a strike. Advanced stats don't replace the part of the game that is handed down from generation to generation.

But as far as understanding what contributes to winning a baseball game, baseball religion is dying. There are still plenty of holdouts, and there probably will be for awhile, but their numbers aren't increasing. In this case, religion is definitely dwindling.

And I think you can say the same thing about religion as a way of understanding how the universe works. It just can't even compete with science. All it has is a prayer. In that sense religion is definitely dwindling, or should be.

Science says nothing about faith because faith isn't a part of science. But a scientific conclusion could shake someone's faith, depending on what that faith is in. Faith in how the universe mechanically works and the history of the universe is always going to clash with scientific conclusions. But the fault is not with science, here.

But while science says nothing about faith a scientific partisan can say something about faith, and they often do. Often with provocation! Religious partisans are much more vocal about attacking science, at least in the US. The thing is most scientists aren't partisans at all, in the sense of defending science and attacking anti-science things. They're just being scientists. And many science partisans don't attack religion at all, unless it attacks science first. But, of course, some aren't like that.

Too long and too unfocused, I think, so I will end it here.


Too long and unfocused?? I beg to differ! That post about baseball was 1000x more interesting than an actual baseball game!!
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