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Old 10-06-2017, 04:41 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

Echo of the Past
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Texas, USA
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Originally Posted by Shaman View Post
Continuing on from earlier: just as all religions are not equally-harmful at all times, there are differences between and within religions. So by comparison there would always be particular sects that generally promoted a more ethical life than other theists. A radical Jain is not someone that civilization need worry about at this time, for example. Or, as you say, Quakers (or from my own personal experience in a mild rural Anglican denomination) generally encourage people to be socially-responsible citizens. I don't actually know enough about Methodism, except that I am not that keen on the writings of John Wesley (from what little I have read by him), so I have to defer to your judgment on them.

But all religions are similar in one respect in that they share the fundamental mistake of making supernatural claims about the nature of reality. The idea that any one contemporary religion was true -especially one that someone happened to be born into- honestly seems as unlikely to be true as discovering that Zeus is the one true god. People can save themselves so much personal grief and stress after dismissing the supernatural - look at how widespread the fear of ghosts is and how scared people can get from that belief about the world. And the idea of an afterlife has been used to terrorize people for thousands of years; that an eternity of punishment or bliss awaits us all for finite deeds here. I seriously believe that to live your life under the assumption that the universe has been sorted so we -foolish apes that we are- might escape death, is to not appreciate that our lives really do have an expiration date. And so its the duty of each of us to live as ethical and enjoyable lives as we can in the time that we have upon this rock.

By this point my feelings on religion could probably fairly described as some brand of hardcore materialism - but I would politely disagree with your characterization (C9H20) of my beliefs being militant. On principle I am generally anti-theism, but these are dialectical discussions about the nature of the world. I am not cutting anyone's head off or badgering sick people for deathbed conversions, so me saying that I find the evidence presented thus far for gods and prophets to be less than persuasive isn't that radical, as far as I see it. And again -I was fairly active in my local church community growing up- so I don't mean to deprive people of sources of comfort in their life. Its just that, more often than not, I have come to find the ethical and intellectual claims of most religions to be harmful or untrue.
Your two considerations are 1) truth and 2) stress.

Stress isn't a factor. You state people can "save themselves so much personal grief" by not worrying about an afterlife, but you acknowledge at the end that religion is often "sources of comfort". Like all things in life, there is a balance of comfort vs. stress that has little bearing on truth.

As for truth itself? I'm not ready to dismiss the supernatural. I've heard and seen too much myself to will it away, so I personally would have trouble believing an explanation of reality that doesn't account for anything supernatural.
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