The New "Religion Vs Science" Thread

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WBraun

climber
Jun 20, 2018 - 05:34pm PT
a personal view that I feel no need to explicate.

Nobody asked you to.

You gave according to your own independent free will .....
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 20, 2018 - 06:50pm PT
Werner, you slay me. :-)

Be nice to these people.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 20, 2018 - 08:20pm PT
Norton, I think I remember this discussion from the first religion vs science thread of years ago. The problem it seems to me is that religion here is being defined too narrowly. I do believe homogeneity and a social safety net lend themselves to happiness for most people (for some it's an utter bore). However, that does not preclude aspects of religion still existing. There's a lot to be said for living near a thousand year old cathedral that took people of your community a couple hundred years to build. If you occasionally go in to sit in the silence, maybe even light a candle, that is a kind of religious act even if you're an atheist. A large part of religion is social identity. Christianity in Scandinavia is part of their national identity whether they believe in it or not. In America, it's different, as we have to ask which Christianity or if Christianity, why not Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism too. That's different,in both good and bad ways.

When I lived in Geneva Switzerland, my land lady asked me one day out of the blue if I was Catholic or Protestant. I wanted to say to her that's none of your business, but instead, since most of native Genevois are Protestant, said noncommitedly, "Most of my ancestors were Protestant. "Oh good, she replied. "Then you can come to my church bake sale because I am Protestant". I was stunned and had to ask, " You mean I couldn't come if I was Catholic?". She in turn was shocked. "You wouldn't come if you were Catholic". "Well", I told her. "in America nobody cares. Christians and Jews go to either Catholic or Protestant bake sales and Buddhists too". I never felt more American than at that moment.

In Japan, the majority of people say they are not religious. Yet if you ask them do they pray at the tombs of their ancestors, do they have a family altar, do they go to a Buddhist or Shinto shrine on New Year's, do they have a talisman from the temple hanging on their car mirror, the answer to all those questions is yes. When you tell them that all those activities are considered religious in America, they are surprised. When I asked, what do you think they are?, the most common answers are "Japanese culture, Japanese tradition, pleasing my parents and my ancestors, or I never thought about it, I just do it".

Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 20, 2018 - 08:34pm PT
madbolter, I don't think the problem is separate magisteriums but the fact that neither religion nor science can refrain from entering the other's domain. We don't need fundamentalists outlawing climate change and the teaching of evolution in school. We also don't need in my opinion, scientists telling the general public as they have maintained on the What is Mind thread, that there is no purpose or meaning to the universe or human life and that there is no human free will. None of those cross-over positions can be substantiated in my view.

That said I don't think the religions of the past 2,000 years, especially the dogmatic ones (read monotheistic) are going to survive in their current forms if at all. Anthropologists have documented that every time there is a major change in subsistence, there are major changes to the politics, family organization and religion as well. I believe we are living in just such a transition now as the social and cultural mores evolved at the beginning of agriculture are breaking down now in the face of our globalized post modern technology.

In trying to envision new magesteriums, science will continue on, but the nature and surely the dogmas of religion will change. Right now all I can see is some sort of ecological or naturalistic way of relating to the universe, one that gives man a heroic role not as the center of God's attention, but in terms of being better than just brute survivalists. I could forsee people trying to be the best humans they could be, not for fear of hell, but because the planet and all life are depending on them. ....or something along those lines.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Jun 20, 2018 - 09:25pm PT
^^^ I'm in basic agreement with most of what you've said and deep agreement with the rest. I think that traditional religions are a disaster-state that are, worse, totally clueless about how irrelevant and intellectually bankrupt they are.

Sadly, both religionism and scientism have a deep-seated intellectual arrogance that is not sustained by the history of either. And I wholeheartedly agree with you on what I take to be your most significant point: Dogmatism is horrendous. We should be quick to say, "I don't know. This is how it seems to me at the moment. What do you think, and why?"

Thank you!
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 21, 2018 - 08:57am PT
Two excellent posts, Jan. Terrific.

I might add that the evolution (development?) of consciousness has also had a part in undermining more traditional *organized* religions. With a greater sense of autonomy and will, modern consciousness seems far more reflexive and questioning, whereas in more primitive tribal cultures (where the individual is not fully individualized, but instead more an appendage of a tribe) one thinks less for him or herself and more to or as a part of the collective.

There are inherent conflicts that any developing consciousness must face. We see it expressed today in postmodern terms (wide spread fragmentation, multiple codings culturally, less of a tendency to subordinate one's will to the collective's) and in stand-offs between ideologies.

I have a teacher that I think is liberated. I’ve asked him what he sees and where he’s gotten to. He’s said that from what he sees, there is no place that he’s finally arrived at. “It [conscious realization] just goes on and on,” he said. (It's little wonder that these people all seem "out of it.")


P.S., MB1. Intellectual arrogance might also show up as “the only proper way to wrestle with issues.” Reason, like everything else, seems to have its limits.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Jun 21, 2018 - 09:42am PT
^^^ I'm distinguishing between a "strident tone" and genuine arrogance that says, in effect, "We have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us [God][Science][Eastern Religion]." Etc.

I totally agree that a "belief" in your method and perhaps even a strident tone can be useful or even necessary. When I'm evaluating posts here, I try to keep that distinction in mind.

Good points. Thanks!
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 21, 2018 - 11:34am PT
In trying to envision new magesteriums, science will continue on, but the nature and surely the dogmas of religion will change. Right now all I can see is some sort of ecological or naturalistic way of relating to the universe, one that gives man a heroic role not as the center of God's attention, but in terms of being better than just brute survivalists. I could forsee people trying to be the best humans they could be, not for fear of hell, but because the planet and all life are depending on them. ....or something along those lines.

We have at least one example, in the most general, comparative way, in which the course of history took a contradictory path to that often proferred in current discussions as to the fate of religion versus science.

The current thinking sees science/technology and its various impacts upon individuals and cultures as imposing an undeniable fait accompli by virtue of its inherent rationality-- leading to a precipitous decline of religious life in all sectors.

Whereas these developments are more or less evident in today's world, let not anti-religionists celebrate prematurely in this apparent lowering of religion into its sarchophacus.

The ancient Greek and Roman tradition produced flowering societies based upon rationality, aesthetic expression, high art, learned academies, ecumenical cultures-- only to see these Pax Romana values discourteously swept before the tides of history; both human and natural.

I am still amazed that a small cult of Christian zealots could arise from poverty ,subjugation, and even slavery to radically transform one of the world's great empires into a quasi- theocratic entity later to become a mere extension of the Roman Church.

An even more improbable series of events led to the precipitous rise of Mohamedism -- a cult of Bedoin trade route theives ,extortionists, and political provocateurs arising within a mere generation to dominate most of the known world.

One could advance the clear explanation that these events, roughly contemporaneous, represented a unique point in history, specifically monotheistic history, never to be repeated again.
If so, it sure has lasted a hell of a long time. The historical arc of the rise of these spiritual traditions resembles dynamically nothing less than an hysterical mainstream news event of our own times-- only extended over the course of generations

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that modern technology has cleared the decks. It is the Roman authority of our times. The new Pax Romana
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 21, 2018 - 02:22pm PT
That's an idea I've not heard before - that modern technology represents a new Pax Romana! I would point out though that it may only be for a certain global strata of people. Don't forget that both Greek and Roman empires were built on slave labor and it was that same strata that overcame the empire with the new religion. One might argue that it would not have happened except that strata became too large compared to those at the top, a good warning perhaps for the present situation. The great unknown it seems to me, is whether the coming civilization will be built on human slaves or their robot counterparts.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Jun 21, 2018 - 02:38pm PT
Roman edge was also through advanced technology (of the day), military and exploitation of resources; same as U.S. And all empires exploit cheap labor.

DMT
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 21, 2018 - 07:11pm PT
I would point out though that it may only be for a certain global strata of people

I meant the presence of technology in and of itself, not an overall standard of living. It is thought that globally there are 5 billion smart phone users. If you have a cell phone you qualify belonging to the new Pax Romana -- despite perhaps having substandard sanitation, or any similar class or regional or political distinction.

One might argue that it would not have happened except that strata became too large compared to

I don't think is was chiefly developments in comparative demographics that determined the demise of Imperial Rome and the ascendancy of the Holy Roman Empire-- but rather, as to the point I was making -- the astounding power of religion at a unique point in history, to wit, the rise of the Muslim hegemony; which could be further argued encountered fewer obstacles overall than Christians had encountered in Rome and occured roughly contemporaneously to the Christian rise in Europe.

The great unknown it seems to me, is whether the coming civilization will be built on human slaves or their robot counterparts.

Students of human history are normally careful not to rule out any possibility, but as things are presently going a trip down the prickly path to widespread human slavery (as contrasted with AI ) is intrinsically frought with way too many substantial difficulties-- from inefficiency to rebellion to cruelty to cost. I'm afraid it is a hands down win for the machines-- they get the job.

But then again we could get hit by an asteroid or nearly wiped out by plague -- in which case the dials go back to zero and no telling what unpredictable social organizations might arise; for the pitifully desperate surviving populations, such as they would be.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 21, 2018 - 07:57pm PT
From a consciousness evolution point of view, people adopt a new religion generally, that has a broader view than the old ones. Both Pharisaical Judaism and Brahmanical Hinduism were religions of priests, rituals, food taboos and tribalism at the time that Jesus and Buddha appeared. Both of those teachers gave a different view, saying that you did not have to be born an Orthodox jew or a high caste Hindu to be accepted into the new community of believers. You could also make a direct connection to the deity without the intermediaries of the priesthood. The words that came out of your mouth were more important than the food that went in.

At the birth of Islam, Arabia was in an anarchic condition with local pagan gods and much tribal fighting. Mecca which was a place of pilgrimage due to the Kaaba stone (a very large meteorite that had fallen from the sky) and also a place of prostitutes, gambling, drunkeness and money lenders. Mohammed felt the Arabs had been left out of a great religion compared to the Judaism and Christianity with which he was familiar. Evidently they felt the same when introduced to Islam as did most of the nomads of the world to which it was introduced.

What all three of these worldwide religions have in common is a brotherhood of believers that crosses racial, national and ethnic lines.

The question now is what further development of religion could likewise expand the worldview of large numbers of people in the information age? To me, it would have to be respect for the diversity of religions on the planet, not just the community of believers that agree with one's own beliefs, and for all life on the planet, but others might have different ideas.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 22, 2018 - 12:44pm PT
So let's say you are religious. You believe that a god (or god's) created the universe. If you are a Christian, you typically use the story in Genesis.

Not much wiggle room in the story of Genesis. Either you believe it, or if you call it allegory, you are an apostate.

What about the Tower of Babel? That story is also in Genesis, and explains why so many different languages are spoken...or something like that.

So God became angry at some men who were building a tower to Heaven. That is what it says in Genesis.

Commercial jet traffic flys as high as 40,000 feet or so. We have been to the moon. Both Voyager spacecraft have now left the solar system and are in interstellar space. They still transmit data, but it is astonishingly faint.

The spacecraft didn't run into Heaven, and we can be fairly sure that the Tower of Babel wasn't 40,000 feet high. The tallest man made structure is now close to a half mile high.

So what do we do with the Tower of Babel story? If you are a Christian literalist, how do you square that one away? What with the Bible being an absolutely truthful story told by God himself.

And that doesn't even go into the differences between the old and new testaments. The new testament barely mentions a Hell. The old Testament is filled with Hell stories, and how to end up there.

Anyone care to explain the Tower of Babel story to me?

It can't be true. The Easter Bunny story holds more water than a man made structure about to breach the floor of paradise.

If you say it is an allegory, then you can also say that the creation story is an allegory. At this point there is absolutely no way to square the evidence around us with a 6 day creation. The Genesis myth goes squarely against physics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, biology, and every other natural science.

Curious people poked around and found to their dismay that the Genesis story cannot be true. No way, no how. It is a lie. Full blown.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Jun 22, 2018 - 03:09pm PT
Anyone care to explain the Tower of Babel story to me?

The Tower of Babel story is, among other things, an etiological myth that explains the source of language. It's mythopoetic language describing the futility of seeking god on a materialistic level and in that sense rings true.

Problem with god's existence is that it seems implied in the material world insofar as consciousness/intelligence exist on a continuum,
and the implication is for an intelligence greater than our own,
and the limits of that intelligence are unknown,
and how much more intelligent than humanity does an entity have to be to be considered a
god?

Atheism seems a jump to a conclusion that doesn't fully appreciate the mystery we find ourselves in.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 22, 2018 - 07:44pm PT
Base104: Either you believe it, or if you call it allegory, you are an apostate.

What kind of logic and reasoning is this?

Your idea of God is an old man in a robe. (What would you know about it?)

WBraun

climber
Jun 22, 2018 - 07:53pm PT
What kind of logic and reasoning is this?

LOL .... the gross materialists are always spouting off so proudly that they have logic and reason for knowledge.

But then their logic and reason go out the door immediately on sh!t they know nothing about yet masquerade themselves as knowledgeable.

They are actually insane ......

because these fools think there is no free will.

If you have no choice then you are a hostage .......
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 23, 2018 - 01:23pm PT
The question now is what further development of religion could likewise expand the worldview of large numbers of people in the information age? To me, it would have to be respect for the diversity of religions on the planet, not just the community of believers that agree with one's own beliefs, and for all life on the planet, but others might have different ideas.

i think there have been many inter-religious ecumenical movements in recent times with the intent of bridging inherent differences; but they usually don't amount to much.

It would be hard for me to envision a religious doctrine taking the central form of anything other than a charismatic leader claiming a direct prophetic authority, and a firm foundational text to detail such authority ( amounting to a sort of operating manual) . Interestingly, religious/spiritual traditions seem to be even more dependent upon foundational texts than to prophetic leaders-- as is the case with far eastern traditions.

Human beings, at least those prone to religious experience, at the end of the day seem to thirst after a more or less linear relationship to a God, accompanied by clear moral dimensions, ritual observance,and, what's more, an undisputed claim to truth forming an indispensable distinction with opposing claims to truth. Relationships with other competing religions can be thought of as more or less non-linear and are therefore absent the necessary dynamics, force, and energy -- rendering such relationships generally unavailable or unwanted to the religious-minded.

In the world of monotheism this seems to be inflexibly true. Major doctrinal changes are rarely introduced outside the dimensions I have mentioned; although they sometimes superficially appear so , as with the various Vatican counsels, or the appearance of a new Pope with a better crease in his robes.

MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 24, 2018 - 07:34am PT
Ward: i think there have been many inter-religious ecumenical movements in recent times with the intent of bridging inherent differences; but they usually don't amount to much. 

Agreed, from the few people I know who are in organizations selling inter-faith conversations. They hold dear the idea of getting people’s intentions aligned. “If we could just talk and understand one another.” Management people (like me) tend to think there is much more needed than “intentions” to get people to play together fruitfully.

. . . those prone to religious experience, . . . thirst after a more or less linear relationship to a God . . . [especially] . . . in the world of monotheism . . . .

This is where I depart from your view.

Although not rampant, there would seem to be a growing tolerance among Christians and many Eastern religious traditions. That tolerance seems to be an expression of multiculturalism and pluralism. “Mono-anything” seems to be giving way to more openness. (Yeah, I know we’re talking minor trends here, but I’d be increasingly hesitant to argue that groups of people of any persuasion are absolutely catholic about anything.)

I’ve seen this in my students. I know that college students at large universities constitute a small (maybe elite) segment of the population.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Jun 24, 2018 - 10:41am PT
Although not rampant, there would seem to be a growing tolerance among Christians and many Eastern religious traditions. That tolerance seems to be an expression of multiculturalism and pluralism. “Mono-anything” seems to be giving way to more openness. (Yeah, I know we’re talking minor trends here, but I’d be increasingly hesitant to argue that groups of people of any persuasion are absolutely catholic about anything.)

Yes, MikeL, largely true, and in some respects you may have been making my point for me. There are some fine distinctions on this subject-- this is sort of why I added the qualifier "...at the end of the day."

As regards your students I would hasten to add that there are generations who have been drilled in multiculturalism ( whatever its arguable merits) by strong elements within society grimly intent upon elevating raw indoctrination and inculcation as a means of fostering the desired and preferred conformity--above the virtues of independent thought and discovery and experience.

Nevertheless there are genuine voices extolling "pluralism" and I join that chorus.

( While keeping my good eye on whatever singularity may emerge within the local vicinity. Remember, today's pluralism is tomorrow's unchallengeable orthodoxy. )
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 24, 2018 - 05:35pm PT
In answer to both base 104 and Ward. There is no hope of changing the mind of a fundamentalist nor of the leaders of various religions. That's why the ecumenical movement hasn't gotten very far. The only place I've seen it work is among contemplatives and meditators. When Catholic monks and nuns get together with Buddhist monks and nuns, they have a common language based on their experiences, not their dogma. The can even joke sometimes about their dogmas.

The planetary tolerance will come from the folks with smart phones and computers, and televisions that show National Geographic and Discovery channels. I've seen a tremendous change in my students over the past 40 some years and it is because of the media and technology, not because of the leaders of religion.

As for base 104's either/ or outlook, I would say you need to spend more time outside of the Bible belt. Northern churches have by and large made their peace with evolution , the Big Bang and Genesis. Only an uninformed fool looking at our vast universe could be sure that Genesis meant seven earth rotations when it says the world was created in six days. Even the Old Testament later on says (Book of Isaiah) that God's ways are not mans ways, including the sense of time. By their literal interpretations, the fundamentalists themselves are actually being blasphemous against the idea of an infinite and eternal God.
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