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State your religion

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by hyena, Apr 28, 2007.

?

What is your religion?

  1. Agnostic

    12 vote(s)
    18.8%
  2. Atheist

    25 vote(s)
    39.1%
  3. Buddhist

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Christian: catholic, churchgoing

    3 vote(s)
    4.7%
  5. Christian: catholic, non-churchgoing

    4 vote(s)
    6.3%
  6. Christian: reformed, churchgoing

    4 vote(s)
    6.3%
  7. Christian: reformed, non-churchgoing

    3 vote(s)
    4.7%
  8. Hindu

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Jewish

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Muslim

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Satanist, Occultist or similar

    2 vote(s)
    3.1%
  12. Taoist or similar

    5 vote(s)
    7.8%
  13. Neo-Pagan, Wiccan or other Nature-related belief

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  14. I don't know / I'm not sure

    5 vote(s)
    7.8%
  15. Christian: orthodox, churchgoing

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  16. Christian: orthodox, non-churchgoing

    1 vote(s)
    1.6%
  1. Child of Time

    Child of Time Voice of reason

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    As I was the one who asked for an "I don't know/I'm not sure"-option, I think it's pretty obvious how I voted. :p

    I'm born and raised in a lutheran country and I have of course been socialized into that to some extent. As a kid I read a "children's bible" that my grandmother gave me as a birthday present (I have always loved reading, and as I was young and innocent I guess I found those bible stories quite cool in their popularized form) but except for that my upbringing was free from religion, as my parents are atheists (certainly my dad). My parents decided not to baptise me, as they thought that it would be better for me to decide myself whether I wanted to become a 'real' christian when I grew up. I'm very grateful for this, even though it implies that if I would have been struck by lightning when I was reading my children's bible, I would burn in hell as we speak.

    I am grateful for that, because I have only once felt faith (more about this soon), and therefore I don't think I should belong to a church. Some days I really feel that there is no god (and neither any gods), but most of the time I'm reasonable enough to admit that there might be such an entity. What my relationship to this possible deity might be, I do not know.

    The one time that I did feel faith, which was on the bus home from school of all places, the feeling just came to me, for no obvious reason. As this is about five years ago, I don’t remember exactly if I perhaps was pondering about religious questions, but as I remember it, it was totally uncalled for. So how did I react to this feeling? I oppressed it, which sounds terrible now as I think about it. Anyway, I haven’t felt like that since then, and I’m a healthy young man who isn’t baptised nor confirmed, and I have left the Swedish church (until year 2000 Sweden still had a state church and until then all newborns automatically became members of it).
     
  2. kingcarcas

    kingcarcas Member

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    Agnostic, although sometimes i entertain religion, esp. buddhism.
     
  3. La Rocque

    La Rocque I am that I am

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    Religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of woman and coercive toward children.
    Organized religion ought to have a great deal on its conscience as its created an atmosphere of paranoia, fear and psychological imprisonment.
     
  4. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    But the hats are really nice.
     
  5. afz902k

    afz902k In Currents of Cobalt...

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    And don't forget the booze and the bread, if that can be called bread... I tell you, the body of Jesus doesn't taste like in the ol' times no more.

    My apologies if this offends anyone.
     
  6. hyena

    hyena counterclockwise

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    today i really wish i was an atheist, or an agnostic, or a bastard. on the contrary, i am turning into a gryffindor.

    whoever told you life was fair?
     
  7. Xzar

    Xzar Moron in the mosh-pit

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    atheist it is, :)
     
  8. Salamurhaaja

    Salamurhaaja Member

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    Hah, Wikipedia for the win:

    Oh and as for the start of my "belief", I was always taught to think/act
    for myself, not some invisible man in the sky or any other "authority" figure.
    (Bet you couldn't tell that from the way I act ;) )

    When I was around 10 my parents left the Christian church (they never
    went and decided not to bother paying tax to the fuckers) and I never took
    Christianity at school like the "normal" kids, instead I was in an alternative
    class which taught about all religions in a general "here's what you might
    wanna worship if you gave a damn about the afterlife" kinda way.
     
  9. afz902k

    afz902k In Currents of Cobalt...

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    That's great, most of the finns I know have opted for christianity at school like normal kids because their parents promised to give them stuff should they agree to do so...
     
  10. QRV

    QRV historyphobic

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    I'd put the word 'humanity' instead of 'religion' in there. It fits better.
     
  11. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    This is interesting. The second half of the statement is something I strongly disagree with. Is there any apathetic agnostic around here who cares to share his views on why any possible deity "appears unconcerned"? It sounds like a position hard to support, philosophically speaking.

    @QRV: Indeed. Most words would work fine there, in fact. However, La Rocque is quoting without mentioning he's quoting - as he does in more than half of his posts - which is why it seems absolutely futile to discuss the point with him. Let's not kill the messenger: a bowl of soup and a shake of the hand will do.
     
  12. 6 Stringed Fingers

    6 Stringed Fingers EditablePoly 1

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    It may be that the entity which we call God is merely the starting factor of all that was, is and ever will be, much in the same way the first cell divided into live organisms. Because morals/spiruality/philosophy/logic can be regarded as something invented by the humans to justify our way of living, God may be unbound by these man-made laws and notions of perfection. The proof of a perfect god from the notion of the perfect god itself (you can't imagine a perfect God that doesn't exist because existence is a perfection) sounds too much like a word play rather than a concrete evidence, not to mention a bunch of logical holes. So, as a conclusion and a simple definition, God is only the starter of all and nothing more. It is neutral to what happens in the universe and let it run by its own set of rules. The nonexistence of "miracles" may serve as proof of this point of view. After all, the universe is hardly about the little egocentric beings called "humans".

    Also, I voted for "not sure", since I live as I wish while keeping in mind the possibilities of the value of truth in other's opinions. But philosophy seems to be a melting pot of ideas that lead into nowhere: one claims the cube to exist without us looking at it and the other claim that the cube exists only when our fields of view meet it, while the cube sitting quietly in its corner without a single perception of its own existence/nonexistence. So I decide to keep taking things for their face values and see what happens from there.
     
  13. t.a.j.

    t.a.j. :.::

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    The statement is mostly polemic and seems to strongly imply a christianistic idea of god, that is a morally good god. You can then follow the Argument From Evil to the seeming conclusion presented above. On the other hand one could also suppose that whatever god there is, it at the very least does not seem to walk around, rule us all or whatever else right here.

    The basic idea that there should be empirical evidence for anything that is consequential, that is whose existence or non-existence makes a difference in the world, is a very sound one though. And it is also a very difficult to satisfy condition. It might be better to concieve of god in a non-empirical way. But that does imply directly that god is also inconsequential for the world. What is left for god to be meaningful to us, is what's beyond the sphere of empirical evidence, that is "outside of life", meaning before or after death in a kind of spiritual way (which carries it's own, very difficult philosophical problems, most prominent of which is the problem of mind-body interaction, but also the daunting problem that, at the rate at which we find biological correlates for our psychological states, it's becoming increasingly difficult to come up with an intelligeble account of non-physical souls; or to put god pruely in the realm of the imagined or constructed, meaning here something which does not, by itself do anything, but makes people do things because they believe (imagine or construct it). It seems obvious that any god thought of in such a way cannot have attributes which would require it to have a noticeable effect on the world, a god of morality could not punish sinners in the world, nor could he award good deeds, what is left for him is to somehow define the moral standarts, in consequence, believers would hold to the rightness of certain morals. A god of love would only love you and that's it. In consequence you would feel loved. Note that, while for any such states a biological correlate might be found, it would not empirically refute the existence of such a god, because nowhere in the conception does it say that god causes you to hold certain moral values or the feel loved. It is your own pyschological processes that do that.

    It seems to me that such a god-idea is the most plausible and least difficult to uphold. At the very least it is pretty much free of any contradiction. And while nothing can be used to prove the existence of such a god (it is after all, inconsequential), by the same token nothing can be said to disprove it's existence. And while it too involves some weird metaphysics, they much less weird then the ones needed to make sense of how the non-physical should interact with the physical world.

    Anyway, what was meant as a simple answer has turned into a rant. Sorry for that.
    To give a simpel answer: I think the apathetic agnostic is also a lazy agnostic, not thinking things through, but he does point at something important.
     
  14. QRV

    QRV historyphobic

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    The idea of a passive creator god is old. Normally, in almost any mythological imaginery, there's a creator god that once he pulls the world ex nihilo he justs sits in his ass as he sees new gods rise with the discoveries of agriculture and the establishing of the first cities. He's hardly remembered, and only does when the rest of the gods have failed to answer in times of crisis i.e. as in a cataclysm like the slavery of the Jews by Babylon (just where do you think Yahweh came from?)

    But this is different. The idea of a god that has forsaken the world seems too emotional for me. And illogical even. Why would a god just sit in his ass while he watches his own universe go in autopilot? What's the sense in it? Guess we're a bit too fragile and have a hard time getting rid of the "father god" image. We're angry at a God that has let us all here to suffer hell. But it is necessary though. Who knows, maybe we can find a sense in all the suffering. Maybe it is time to grow up and find a different image, one more of a "guide god" rather than a "protector god". A god that allows us to take destiny in our own hands. Seems more appropiate to me.

    @rahvin: you're right. no point in discussing with him.
     
  15. QRV

    QRV historyphobic

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    Faith 101

    Religion is empirical, but subjective. It is a matter of personal revelation which occurs in a realm where reason and logic only play a part of the equation. Therefore it is true for whoever recieves such revelation. However, if you want to find something more "tangible", you might want to check out theories on the collective inconscious and the role that religious symbols and experiences play in the human psyche (understanding by "religious" any kind of numinous experience which involves mythical cathegories).
     
  16. t.a.j.

    t.a.j. :.::

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    Good point, before the beginning of the world is another beyond that is beyond enough to hold a god who is empirically inconsequential. While it may be argued that it is consequential how our universe came about, I would hold it is only important how it turned out to be, or rather, that this original configuration and no other and these laws of nature and no others are how it turned out. How it came to be that way is inconsequential at the very least because causality, from our point of view at least, doesn't reach beyond the beginning. So whatever applied to the "god-before situation", does not apply to us and vice versa.

    Well, I guess the existence of the external world has to be taken on economical reasons. It's just much less of a hassle.
    One point though: is it not concieveable that any kind of interaction prompts existence. That is, why should the perception of beings of our cognitive level be requrired? Would and ant that percieves a piece of rock with it's feelers be sufficient to cause (or at least prompt) that rocks existence? If so, what about another rock striking it? Sunlight? The earth's magnetic field?
    I would consent that anything not interacting with anything can only be said to exist in a most strange and weird way, if at all, but why should, of all things in the whole, wide universe, that, as you said, doesn't seem to have been made for us, or be about us, our perception be the one thing that makes it all be there? And what made us be there then? God's perception? Doesn't god see the rest of the universe? If so, how would the final outcome be any different then just asuming the independent existence of the universe?

    I'm rambling again.. ;)
     
  17. 6 Stringed Fingers

    6 Stringed Fingers EditablePoly 1

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    @QRV: But you have to remember that the thing we call sense do not necessarily reflect the reality. Sure, it wouldn't make sense for God just to sit and watch, but logic breaks down right in front of our eyes, at a subatomic level, that is. Quantum physics is a headbreaker just to read the much much generalized info, plus the new String Theories that are pratically unprovable. So if the same God created such an incoherent structure that is beyond the common sense of us humans, can't we imagine that he has his own beyond-our-understanding-reason to sit down and watch his creation flick here and there? Maybe he just wanted a Conway's Game of Life for himself. And all that is based on the suggestion that God may have a soul or consciousness of his own.
     
  18. t.a.j.

    t.a.j. :.::

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    There is no thing both empirical and sujective. Empirical is that which is open to be percieved by any similiar cognitive process, subjective is that which pertains to only one, specific such process as it pertains to it. So while one epxerience will have both subjective and empirical elements, what is empirical about it is not subjective about it and vice versa.

    And in my account (as little as there is of it), there is room for the religious in the domain of psychology. The very point here is that those religious psychological events require no extra-psychological cause that is again, itself religious. When I believe in the god, who loves me, my feeling loved is caused by my believe and not by the god. If materialistic reductionism is true, I can talk about the biological correlates of those psychological states and still have no problem. If determinism is true, those states are determined effects of the laws of nature plus the original starting state of the universe. It really doesn't matter, since the only things causally active are not "beyond" or mythical or religious in any way.
     
  19. 6 Stringed Fingers

    6 Stringed Fingers EditablePoly 1

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    @t.a.j: Indeed, our limited and objective perception makes it very hard for us to associate what is observed to what is true. Illusions exist. We would feel for the fictional characters, does that define the characters as human beings since we recognize them as so? If we have no way of verify the existence of an object, can we say that object exists? Or what if our means of perception would interact with the object and thus altering its nature, much to the same way of the dead/alive Schrodinger's cat? And if God did give us an hint, that hint is more confusing than helping: should we place free will above all, or is it a test of choosing the right? If God is omnipotent, why didn't he create everyone to be in Heaven, where everyone choose the right on his own free will?

    And this only leads to more questions.
     
  20. rahvin

    rahvin keeper of the flame

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    I'll try to go for a collective answer touching all the points I have something to say about.

    God as some sort of "first-spark only" entity with little or no actual volition is a notion I find quite appealing. As much as I find the existence of God likely, the chances of him thinking and feeling the way we humans understand these concepts seem fairly slim to me. Furthermore, God's direct intervention in worldly business clashes against the laws of physics, nature, common sense, and possibly even Ghana. So: a big yes to the idea of something that started the whole charade and nothing more (as if it wasn't enough).

    However, I still have trouble relating to the "unconcerned" bit. If God created the world without giving it - for lack of a better word - meaning, then concern is not a divine category at all. Mankind feels concern (and rage, fear, worry, love, shame...), and accusing the complex machinery that made him not to feel the same is incongruous: we might as well say that the existence of elephants is an "academic" or "moot" issue because they can't understand algebra so well.
    I see how the objection in the Wikipedia entry was meant to target religions featuring Gods of compassion and empathy. But when you get to the core of Christianity it seems to me that the faction that tries to reason God out wins over the one that preaches giving the ol' guy a hug. Basically, saying that God cares is as childish a notion as saying he doesn't: how can we tell?

    There are other arguments against the opinion quoted. Empirical deduction only takes you halfway there: God appears unconcerned because we cannot tell what his plans involve, but this is still rather subjective. I could content that God cares whenever something good happens to me, although I might also have the kind of personality who believes God cares whenever something horrible happens to me. Attributing qualities to a divinity you can never know empirically is like trying to read a book in the dark, and it's not particularly impressive that you're never proven wrong, since you're never proven right either.

    Personally, I don't think God (if he exists) is involved in any way we can perceive, but just by being that first spark he gave us - whether he wanted to or not and whether he wanted anything or not - the ability to give meaning and interpretation to the world. In fact, the possibility of reason and conscience could be in itself a reflection of God, and all the concern he's ever likely to express or feel, and that people could ever conceive.
     

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