An Opinion on Religion

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An Opinion on Religion

Post  Church1ll on Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:41 am

So this is my opinion on religion. As this is an OPINION, don't act like I'm an ignorant bastard and be like "you don't know what you're talking about!!! God is REAL" because, as stated, this is an OPINION. I don't really know why I actually need to state that, but people are idiots that think an opinion is a fact for some strange reason. Right.

Religion is, in a sense, a series of the greatest stories ever told. Depending on your religion obviously depends on which stories you've heard and actually give a damn about. The reason why I say stories is because that's literally what religion is, a set of stories. What people don't realize is that these stories aren't actually based upon fact. Let's face it: if there really were all these people who could perform miracles like walking on water, healing the sick, parting the seas, etc, you would think these people would be placed in history books. I understand separation of church and state, but for those of you who actually read books outside of what a government run school hands you then you will see. World cultures is probably the only history class you'll ever take where religion is discussed as a solid majority of cultures were founded and defined by religion. Correct me if I'm wrong please...on the cultures being founded bit.

These stories have had such an impact on the world. People took them for fact two thousand years ago, and actually far before that, because very few did not find the whole god business to be ridiculous back then. Now also remember that way back then the idea of physics was in its infancy, chemistry was considered alchemy, and nearly all philosophers were considered insane to some degree. This is where religion really took a major hold. It existed at the time to explain the unexplainable: why are we here, where did we come from, what causes flooding, storms, the rain, snow, etc. The answer was all too simple.

Fast forward to the present day. Major advances in science and technology have led to explanations for nearly everything that was once considered the work of an almighty being. The four questions that haven't been answered or theorized by these major advances are why are we here, when did life begin, what happens to a life after its death, and what created the universe (be it infinite or finite...ok five questions). This is where religion is still relevant in the modern world.

If you took that previous statement as me saying religion is obsolete then you are correct. I believe religion is obsolete. Now, why religion has survived all these years is very simple to understand. When you are born you have no concept of anything. Your mind is a blank page that can have anything and everything written on it. Children, for the most part, will believe anything because they do not know what to be true and false, at least not at an early age. Go back to pre-modern times (as in, before modern science took hold) and you'll have people who truly believe religion as fact. These people tell their children religion is fact, who then grow up and have children and the cycle repeats. Go back to modern times and the idea that religion is fact is still holding strong because children are taught there is an almighty god and that everything in the Bible, Torah, Qu'ran, etc hold true. All that may sound confusing, but think of the phrase "hook 'em while they're young" and you'll get what I'm saying. By the time these children have been able to develop thoughts of their own, many have had the concept of religion programmed into their brains. Few actually take the route of "atheism," which in all honesty is a religion in itself despite claiming to not believe in a god or spiritual figure.

Atheism is actually a strange religion to really grasp because anyone who claims to be an atheist says they aren't religious. Claiming you don't believe in god and having a strong belief that there really is not a god is a religion in itself. There are no stories, not that I can think of at least, to follow like in all other religions. But there is a higher power in atheism, and that higher power is simply science. Believing science is the answer to all questions still means you hold all science as fact. Science is riddled with holes just as all traditional religions are, but science also is founded on the basis of theories. Theories are unproven statements that hold true for a wide variety of cases but have yet to be proven for all cases. This makes atheism in itself a religion as there is still no true answer to all the questions we as human beings ask, only theories that have yet to be disproven. The only arguable theory that really can be disproven is the theory of evolution if only because genetic defects occur naturally and the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is probably the only real reason mammals were able to survive and prosper (probably not entirely true, just guessing on that one and trying to use an example other than genetics). In a sense, atheism might as well just claim to be identical to being agnostic as there is something controlling the aspect of time and creation.

Now, where exactly am I going with all of this? Why claim religion is a series of stories, claim it acts as a sort of device to keep people ignorant, claim science doesn't answer all questions, and essentially contradict myself and confuse you at every turn? The answer is simple, and it is to state that religion is something that can give you hope but it is not something that should be used to answer all questions. All religions are comprised of stories passed down through the ages to help guide the lives of everyone. Some religions are a bit extreme with the whole "hell" issue, but the general idea of living life as a good person is constant throughout with the possible exception of satanism (could be wrong there, you never know). Some choose to accept it as a guide while most choose to accept it as truth. Wars are waged over which religion is the "right" religion, although there really is no correct answer to that as all religions are filled with the same stories utilizing a different setting and protagonist. People are willing to die for their religion. Some people add their own personal beliefs into the religion which becomes widely accepted and ultimately becomes a part of the religion. That is the power of religion.

But belief in a god or gods does not lead to all answers. Science has allowed for the advancement in technology and medicine which as a result has allowed for the survival and advancement of the human race. However, the ignorance of science has also led to a great many advances in the world. Thomas Edison once said that he did not fail to make the incandescent light bulb 999 times, but simply found 999 different ways how not to make a light bulb. That probably isn't the best example in explaining what I mean, but think of many great inventions of the pre-modern world. Most of the inventors did not know exactly what was going to happen or even what they were doing. This means they were inventing without knowledge of science but rather their own instincts. Human understanding is an incredible thing. The ideas of one person can be turned on its head by another. People should not feel sad or angry when proven wrong but instead happy for there is now a new level of understanding in the world. The power of imagination is the almighty being, the higher power, the stories, the discoveries, the advancement. It's all due to ourselves.

We create this world.
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Re: An Opinion on Religion

Post  Gustavus_Adolfus on Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:24 am

I agree, but to some extent.

Religion has its strengths and flaws. Most notably, I would have to say, is that religion is all about morals. You said that kids are blank pages etc, but a little faith and morals never hurt anybody...sometimes its all people have.

I do know you are talking more about those heretics who run around preaching all the time, but you will find that with anything...I'm sure there is someone who believes in Scientology preaching that the end is near.

I believe religion is more of an institution if anything, and for now is acceptable because its strengths do out way its flaws, and besides...who doesn't like hearing the same story told over and over for their entire life?
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Nice

Post  ExoticWhiteMan on Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:29 pm

Damn Matt, that was pretty coherent and extensive, especially for 2:41 in the morning. You're right about satanism, I think; there was an article a few weeks ago about satanists in Russia who ate 4 people. Anyway, religion can actually turn into a great danger for humanity. If you are taught a religion and morals from birth, they're going to heavily impact on your behavior. This would be great if the morals we are taught were rock solid, but they're also full of holes (theory aside here). The most obvious example is Islam. Is it nice by itself, and are many Mulsims nice people? Well, yeah, tons of Muslims would probably argue endlessly over it. The Quran is probably a good source of morality in itself, but ultimately, the interpretation of it can be used to turns the morals into evils. This is just a modern example, but other religions, such as catholicism (europeans killing each other for their beliefs) and hinduism (indians killing christians in india), are guilty of this.

What should be a source of morals and explanation for life-beyond-death etc has been turned into a reason to persecute and kill. Unfortunately, in many areas, religion is just another stereotype, like race, that people use to determine who is a good person and bad person, or even who should be killed/blown to bits. Even in Islam, a minor difference in how an Islamic state's leadership is chosen is enough for death squads and suicide bombers all over the country to spread death and destruction. Regardless of religion, without the moral that respect for others' differences is paramount, people will continue this cycle of mass murder that has gone on endlessly through our whole history. It seems we can't get past the dilemma, as a species, that not everyone is the same.
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Re: An Opinion on Religion

Post  Church1ll on Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:27 pm

And sadly most people stereotype a religion because of a tiny group of people, a tiny fraction of a percent of the entire religion, have done something stupid. Every religion has its stereotypes, the most common ones which thankfully can be quite funny for people with a sense of humor and understanding. But to people who take religion way too seriously (as in, beyond the guidelines of morality...forgot to put that bit in my piece sorry about that) this can, like you said Scott, turn people into monsters. One thing I found very interesting was when I commented on a friend's opinion note on facebook and mentioned how thanks to that tiny fraction of a percent of people of the Islamic faith that decided killing a few thousand people was a great way of achieving salvation our country now claims to not be intimidated by extremists...but nearly everything even remotely offensive towards Islam is followed by an endless stream of apologies and censorship. This was greeted with another comment stating I was ignorant of terrorism as a whole and that I was stating the only terrorists are Muslims. It was then I realized I didn't exactly clarify my statement enough to make it stating that it was only an example, not a representative to the whole. Not once in the statement did it say "anyone who is Islamic is a terrorist" because that statement is for lack of a better term retarded...which somehow led to why the media is responsible for people like me who think any religion different from my own is evil and wrong. Not quite sure how that one came about.

Anyway I'm getting way off topic. I did forget to mention how religion has been pretty damn good at giving people hope...probably a result of being awake until almost 3AM writing the piece. I do think I mentioned religion does provide morals somewhere in there, but I probably worded it awkwardly. My bad.
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Re: An Opinion on Religion

Post  Gustavus_Adolfus on Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:44 pm

its all good, i just wanted to bring out some goodness on the topic Razz


but yes, i have learned first hand that political INSTITUTION have ruined lives and used religion for personal power. However, religion on its own...in its truest forms...are good, its just when people spin beliefs in order to exploit things become bad...or when people do not have open minds to other religions/ideas.
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