Religion is a Mental Illness

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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:03 am

chang50 wrote: So I am either a liar or deluded?
Your personal beliefs go right to the heart of the matter when you accuse me of being a hypocrite after I have stated my position openly and honestly but you hide yours so I cannot assess it likewise.This is called intellectual honesty and is fundamental to FAIR and EQUAL debate,which you appear reluctant to engage in.A level playing field,is very little to ask for.


-_- all right. consider me an agnostic then. i like the idea of christianity, but i'm not knowledgeable enough to defend a lot of christian beliefs, so i tend to leave christian apologetics to those who are good at it.[/quote]


That didn't hurt did it?
Now we are on an equal footing can you explain why you believe I'm not an agnostic atheist?Like you I can see some good in the idea of Christianity.But I can also see much bad,the idea of redemption appalls me for example,but I am not an antitheist,or even a gnostic atheist.Since you take issue with how I describe my position I can equally see a problem with someone claiming a tendencey to leave Christian apologetics to others then fairly regularly indulging in them.Some might say reading your posts you appear to be a Christian with serious reservations.Would that be fair?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:10 am

john9blue wrote:
waauw wrote:I'm curious. What do you define as criteria for a succesful atheist society?
Also I haven't read your debate so this might sound stupid, but removing or adding religious values is a stupid notion as a whole. Not because religion is important or unimportant, but because many of the values held by many religious people are the same of people who aren't religious. There is no monopoly on any values there(except admiring a deity).


a widespread society without significant religious influence in their culture. has that ever happened?

and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.


Depends on what you mean by significant, but give it time, and many of the Northern and Eastern European countries will bear fewer and fewer religious influence over the generations. They're the forerunners of what I expect most "developed" countries to demographically appear (increasing atheism/humanitarianism without the religion).
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:24 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
john9blue wrote:
waauw wrote:I'm curious. What do you define as criteria for a succesful atheist society?
Also I haven't read your debate so this might sound stupid, but removing or adding religious values is a stupid notion as a whole. Not because religion is important or unimportant, but because many of the values held by many religious people are the same of people who aren't religious. There is no monopoly on any values there(except admiring a deity).


a widespread society without significant religious influence in their culture. has that ever happened?

and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.


Depends on what you mean by significant, but give it time, and many of the Northern and Eastern European countries will bear fewer and fewer religious influence over the generations. They're the forerunners of what I expect most "developed" countries to demographically appear (increasing atheism/humanitarianism without the religion).



Correct,an evolutionary process,the UK of the 50's I was born into was different to the one I left 50 years later,only time will answer John's question.He is right to say it has not happened anywhere yet,probably not even N.Korea,certainly not China or the old Soviet bloc countries.Funny how something essentially noble and worthy like freethinking can be dismissed in such a negative way by someone pretending to know what most of it's practitioner's actually think.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:33 am

NoSurvivors wrote:
Woodruff wrote:
NoSurvivors wrote:85% of the world, not to mention 85.8% of your beloved America, believe in a god of some sort. Don't you think calling 85% of the world "crazy fucks" is a stupid idea?


Perhaps 85% of the world, but definitely not 85% of America, is religious.


Sorry, I forgot. Arrogant Americans like you only give a damn about themselves. :roll:.


Still no source for that ridiculous figure?I could believe at a pinch 85% are religious but theists as well?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby crispybits on Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:54 am

john9blue wrote:
crispybits wrote:You are discounting or forgeting that there are several other ways to influence culture and imbue values. For sure "thou shalt not kill" is a biblical commandment, but we can learn that it is bad to kill someone else through non-religious means also.


i never said religion was the only way to acquire moral values. but it is a popular and effective way.


And going to the gym is a popular and effective way of keeping fit, but if all the people of the world stopped using gyms tomorrow it does not follow that the world would get less fit as a result of this.

Your argument is a good example of the fallacy of the single cause. A causes X. A is decreasing. Therefore X will decrease. It fails to take into account the other variables where B causes X, C causes X, etc etc.

When something is lacking in society from one source, often it will be compensated for by other sources. For example in a state where universal healthcare had been provided by the government, and the government stops providing universal healthcare, more charities may spring up to assist people who cannot pay for healthcare with getting the treatment they need, or more affordable insurance plans may be developed by profit-seeking corporations which would provide for the basic needs of policy holders, or more web based resources may be developed to assist people in diagnosing and treating simple ailments themselves without having to pay for a doctor, etc etc.

So I'll ask again, for the true consequences of a decline in religiosity, can you name any value/values that are exclusively religious and which cannot be imbued by secular means? These are the values that you are on solid ground in arguing would be removed from society by a removal of religion, and if you can think of some good ones then I may change my position that religion causes far more harm than good and should be removed from society completely.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby PLAYER57832 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:53 am

john9blue wrote:
waauw wrote:I'm curious. What do you define as criteria for a succesful atheist society?
Also I haven't read your debate so this might sound stupid, but removing or adding religious values is a stupid notion as a whole. Not because religion is important or unimportant, but because many of the values held by many religious people are the same of people who aren't religious. There is no monopoly on any values there(except admiring a deity).


a widespread society without significant religious influence in their culture. has that ever happened?

and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.

The problem is that any widespread belief eventually becomes a religion.

If you ask about lack of God influence, that might be more possible, but I actually don't know of any society that has not worshipped some God or other. Modern China perhaps comes the closest.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:40 am

john9blue wrote:just because someone says that they're 100% sure doesn't mean that they're 100% sure. people use hyperbole all the time without actually thinking through what they are saying. i think if you pressed most of these "100% sure" people, they would admit that perhaps another religion could POSSIBLY be the right one.


Ah, we've found one area where you are more optimistic about people's reasoning than me.

Most of the 100% people are so terrified from long childhood years of hearing horror stories about hell and the consequences of disbelief that they won't be able to even entertain the question seriously. They will basically refuse to even contemplate the option that they might be wrong at all.
Most people don't even think about stuff like this, much less engage in debate about it. Isn't the old advice something like "don't talk about religion or politics at parties"? There's a reason for that.
If you try to press a 100% person, what's almost certainly gonna happen is not him admitting that he might be wrong, but him immediately extricating himself from that conversation while giving you a look as if you suggested double teaming his mother.

I think I've adequately explained how I view the distinction between gnostic and agnostic. The distinction is between those who are able to admit they might be wrong and those who must delude themselves that they're certainly right. You're, of course, free to use your own definition, but I think both the etymology of the term, as well as practicality favour my definition. (the practicality being that if someone says they're agnostic, by my definition, then they've probably spend some amount of time thinking about the issue and are mature enough to accept they don't hold absolute truth about the nature of reality)

john9blue wrote:i'm not a complete agnostic. i don't really think that's possible. like the 100% guy, i say that i'm agnostic, but the truth is that my guess on whether god exists or not changes a bit year to year based on whatever i read or hear. i can't possibly be 100% undecided when i've already made judgments about different arguments for/against god.


Out of curiosity, gimme a ballpark figure on the existence of the abrahamic god. (for me, it would be way bellow 1%, maybe more around 10^-6 )

john9blue wrote:
Haggis_McMutton wrote:
john9blue wrote:if i have a 99% chance of living eternally in paradise with 72 virgins, and a 1% chance of just ceasing to exist, then you bet i'm going to take those odds, lol.


Yeah, but if you live your life to completion you still have pretty decent chances of getting to heaven. This is just the express ticket variant.


admittedly i'm not an expert on islamic beliefs in the afterlife... but unless those "decent chances" are 99% or more, then it would seem logical for someone who was 99% sure of their religion to be okay with blowing themselves up for islam.


Only if you assign infinitely more value to the afterlife than the real life, I guess.
Still in reality people aren't cold calculating machines like that. In reality the distinction between 100% sure and 99% sure is that the 99% sure guy at least entertains the idea that he might be wrong, and that can be a powerful catalyst. It might lead to further introspection, it might lead to looking for further sources of knowledge outside of the places he usually looks.
Let's remember that people we're freaking the f*ck out about the imagined 1 in a million shot of the LHC creating a black hole. The difference between certainty and uncertainty is a huge one in most people's minds, as most people haven't actually thought about stuff like "every time I go out to the shop I'm taking a chance of getting killed on my way there".

john9blue wrote:
Haggis_McMutton wrote:Oh, and btw, about the effect of atheism on society you sorta just said "I'd be surprised if it's good". Do you base this belief on anything other than a hunch?


haven't we had this discussion? on a theoretical level it doesn't make sense for the removal of religious values to be good for society, and on a practical level we have no evidence yet of a successful atheist society.


Probably, but then we've probably had most discussions that are vaguely related to religion.

Anyway, the practical evidence is that the expressed decline in atheism over the last century or two has, if anything, been correlated with improvements in society. And it has been a big decline (for instance, wikipedia says that in the Czech Republic, 19% of people believe in an actual god, 50% believe in a "spirit or life force" and the rest believe in neither)

The theoretical argument only works if you have a extremely cynical view of not only humanity today, but also humanity's potential. It really only makes sense if you honestly believe that: "well sure, you and I can be good without the threat of hell, but that would never work for the unwahsed masses".
I don't see much evidence to support such a cynical view. As just one piece of evidence, look at how the moral view of slavery has evolved. Why exactly should the religious moral views not undergo a similar evolution? (and btw. this extremely cynical view kinda clashes with the optimistic view you seem to have of people in regard to them admitting their imperfect knowledge)


john9blue wrote:and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.


Y'know, the fact that their values are based on cultural norms doesn't disprove freethinking. It is actually possible to critically consider the cultural norms and decide that many of them are quite good. To be a freethinker you don't necessarily have to reject all society and live as a hermit on some mountain for 10 years while devising your own ideal ethical system.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Woodruff on Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:53 am

chang50 wrote:
john9blue wrote:
chang50 wrote: So I am either a liar or deluded?
Your personal beliefs go right to the heart of the matter when you accuse me of being a hypocrite after I have stated my position openly and honestly but you hide yours so I cannot assess it likewise.This is called intellectual honesty and is fundamental to FAIR and EQUAL debate,which you appear reluctant to engage in.A level playing field,is very little to ask for.


-_- all right. consider me an agnostic then. i like the idea of christianity, but i'm not knowledgeable enough to defend a lot of christian beliefs, so i tend to leave christian apologetics to those who are good at it.


That didn't hurt did it?
Now we are on an equal footing can you explain why you believe I'm not an agnostic atheist?Like you I can see some good in the idea of Christianity.But I can also see much bad,the idea of redemption appalls me for example,but I am not an antitheist,or even a gnostic atheist.Since you take issue with how I describe my position I can equally see a problem with someone claiming a tendencey to leave Christian apologetics to others then fairly regularly indulging in them.Some might say reading your posts you appear to be a Christian with serious reservations.Would that be fair?


Based on his statements, the difference is apparently that he considers you and other atheists to be hypocrites, but he's not. Because...well, because.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:42 am

Haggis_McMutton wrote:
john9blue wrote:
and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.


Y'know, the fact that their values are based on cultural norms doesn't disprove freethinking. It is actually possible to critically consider the cultural norms and decide that many of them are quite good. To be a freethinker you don't necessarily have to reject all society and live as a hermit on some mountain for 10 years while devising your own ideal ethical system.


Which is also one of the worst ways to think about ethics.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby john9blue on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:46 pm

chang50 wrote: Correct,an evolutionary process,the UK of the 50's I was born into was different to the one I left 50 years later,only time will answer John's question.He is right to say it has not happened anywhere yet,probably not even N.Korea,certainly not China or the old Soviet bloc countries.Funny how something essentially noble and worthy like freethinking can be dismissed in such a negative way by someone pretending to know what most of it's practitioner's actually think.


i don't hate freethinking, i just hate people who preach a dogmatic version of atheism under the deceiving banner of "freethought" (not necessarily referring to you here, btw)

i hate them in much the same way that i hate the republican party for taking the "tea party" banner from ron paul supporters and turning it into their own neocon astroturf movement.

crispybits wrote:
john9blue wrote:i never said religion was the only way to acquire moral values. but it is a popular and effective way.


And going to the gym is a popular and effective way of keeping fit, but if all the people of the world stopped using gyms tomorrow it does not follow that the world would get less fit as a result of this.

Your argument is a good example of the fallacy of the single cause. A causes X. A is decreasing. Therefore X will decrease. It fails to take into account the other variables where B causes X, C causes X, etc etc.

When something is lacking in society from one source, often it will be compensated for by other sources. For example in a state where universal healthcare had been provided by the government, and the government stops providing universal healthcare, more charities may spring up to assist people who cannot pay for healthcare with getting the treatment they need, or more affordable insurance plans may be developed by profit-seeking corporations which would provide for the basic needs of policy holders, or more web based resources may be developed to assist people in diagnosing and treating simple ailments themselves without having to pay for a doctor, etc etc.

So I'll ask again, for the true consequences of a decline in religiosity, can you name any value/values that are exclusively religious and which cannot be imbued by secular means? These are the values that you are on solid ground in arguing would be removed from society by a removal of religion, and if you can think of some good ones then I may change my position that religion causes far more harm than good and should be removed from society completely.


i never said any values would be removed from society completely. they would just be less influential.

your fallacy would only apply if i claimed religion to be the sole source of moral values, which i denied in the exact post that you quoted.

oh and yes, if everyone stopped going to the gym then we would all get less fit, on average, as a result.

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Ah, we've found one area where you are more optimistic about people's reasoning than me.

Most of the 100% people are so terrified from long childhood years of hearing horror stories about hell and the consequences of disbelief that they won't be able to even entertain the question seriously. They will basically refuse to even contemplate the option that they might be wrong at all.
Most people don't even think about stuff like this, much less engage in debate about it. Isn't the old advice something like "don't talk about religion or politics at parties"? There's a reason for that.
If you try to press a 100% person, what's almost certainly gonna happen is not him admitting that he might be wrong, but him immediately extricating himself from that conversation while giving you a look as if you suggested double teaming his mother.

I think I've adequately explained how I view the distinction between gnostic and agnostic. The distinction is between those who are able to admit they might be wrong and those who must delude themselves that they're certainly right. You're, of course, free to use your own definition, but I think both the etymology of the term, as well as practicality favour my definition. (the practicality being that if someone says they're agnostic, by my definition, then they've probably spend some amount of time thinking about the issue and are mature enough to accept they don't hold absolute truth about the nature of reality)


some of this may arise from the fact that most christians you've met are intolerant fundamentalists, whereas most christians i've met are open-minded about their religion. i don't know you though, so i can't say for sure.

also, doesn't the fact that more christians are converting to atheism than vice versa indicate that christians are less certain of their worldview than atheists are? keep in mind that being more certain doesn't mean you're more likely to be wrong, it just means that you're less likely to change your views (and statistically, atheists are less likely, compared to christians)

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Out of curiosity, gimme a ballpark figure on the existence of the abrahamic god. (for me, it would be way bellow 1%, maybe more around 10^-6 )


hah, i have no idea. i'd say less than 50%, probably less than 10%. depends on whether you think the abrahamic god has to have all the traits described in the old testament. if so, then i'd say even less. i think you have to give some points to christianity for being so incredibly successful for the past few millennia.

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Only if you assign infinitely more value to the afterlife than the real life, I guess.
Still in reality people aren't cold calculating machines like that. In reality the distinction between 100% sure and 99% sure is that the 99% sure guy at least entertains the idea that he might be wrong, and that can be a powerful catalyst. It might lead to further introspection, it might lead to looking for further sources of knowledge outside of the places he usually looks.
Let's remember that people we're freaking the f*ck out about the imagined 1 in a million shot of the LHC creating a black hole. The difference between certainty and uncertainty is a huge one in most people's minds, as most people haven't actually thought about stuff like "every time I go out to the shop I'm taking a chance of getting killed on my way there".


well (difficult as it is assigning probabilities to people's beliefs) keep in mind that you're 100 times more likely to change the mind of a 90% sure christian than a 99.9% sure christian. and i think you'd consider the 90% guy to be a pretty hardcore christian if you had a discussion with him. even though there are some ridiculously stubborn and brainwashed people out there, i just don't think it's possible for anyone to be 100% sure, because only a sith deals in absolutes.

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Probably, but then we've probably had most discussions that are vaguely related to religion.

Anyway, the practical evidence is that the expressed decline in atheism over the last century or two has, if anything, been correlated with improvements in society. And it has been a big decline (for instance, wikipedia says that in the Czech Republic, 19% of people believe in an actual god, 50% believe in a "spirit or life force" and the rest believe in neither)


specifically which improvements in society? are these improvements more significant than the improvements that have taken place over the past few millennia, when the vast majority of the world was still religious?

Haggis_McMutton wrote:The theoretical argument only works if you have a extremely cynical view of not only humanity today, but also humanity's potential. It really only makes sense if you honestly believe that: "well sure, you and I can be good without the threat of hell, but that would never work for the unwahsed masses".
I don't see much evidence to support such a cynical view. As just one piece of evidence, look at how the moral view of slavery has evolved. Why exactly should the religious moral views not undergo a similar evolution? (and btw. this extremely cynical view kinda clashes with the optimistic view you seem to have of people in regard to them admitting their imperfect knowledge)


well firstly, people's moral views of slavery weren't the backbone of their moral compass. in fact, one could easily interpret some of jesus' teachings as a condemnation of slavery, so it's not difficult to transition a society's views on slavery as long as they keep their basic moral principles and just interpret them a bit differently.

secondly, i wasn't talking about getting people to openly admit imperfect knowledge, i was talking about their privately-held beliefs. if an ultra-devout christian had occasional genuine moments of doubt, then i don't think they would share them with some stranger asking them about their religion.

thirdly, i don't think human nature can change as rapidly as you'd like. we are selfish creatures who form mutually beneficial partnerships and are predisposed to bend our behavior and our beliefs quite far in order to maintain these partnerships. the only way i can see a fully atheist society without a breakdown in civil order is by having an incredibly huge partnership which can apply enough pressure to enough people to function as a moral backbone on its own (e.g. a hugely powerful and influential government), which i'm obviously not a fan of.

Haggis_McMutton wrote:Y'know, the fact that their values are based on cultural norms doesn't disprove freethinking. It is actually possible to critically consider the cultural norms and decide that many of them are quite good. To be a freethinker you don't necessarily have to reject all society and live as a hermit on some mountain for 10 years while devising your own ideal ethical system.


i kinda don't buy this, since i think a lot of our cultural norms don't really make sense. i'm sure you've felt the same way.

chang50 wrote: That didn't hurt did it?
Now we are on an equal footing can you explain why you believe I'm not an agnostic atheist?Like you I can see some good in the idea of Christianity.But I can also see much bad,the idea of redemption appalls me for example,but I am not an antitheist,or even a gnostic atheist.Since you take issue with how I describe my position I can equally see a problem with someone claiming a tendencey to leave Christian apologetics to others then fairly regularly indulging in them.Some might say reading your posts you appear to be a Christian with serious reservations.Would that be fair?


i'm more of a theist apologist then a christian apologist.

and i don't know exactly how agnostic you are about your atheism, but you obviously aren't a complete agnostic since you're willing to go online and try to convince people to reject a belief in god like you have.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:50 pm

No John I engage in online debates for the mental stimulation and the opportunity to learn about subjects I find interesting.Whether anyone changes their view or not based on what I contribute is incidental,and unlikely.Perhaps you are judging me by your standards in this regard?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby danco on Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:56 am

Mental illness. An arugument that would carry more weight if not for the fact that pretty much everything worth having , is the results of the efforts of God fearing people , often those sucesses were achived, at great personal cost, by just regular folks armed only with , faith in God , mostly what they expect in return is not to be insulted. Their quite willing to leave you to whatever creed you have adopted to orient your life with. Perhaps, being so enlightend. as you claim to be you could show them that simple level of respect.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:00 am

danco wrote:Mental illness. An arugument that would carry more weight if not for the fact that pretty much everything worth having , is the results of the efforts of God fearing people[citation needed] , often those sucesses were achived, at great personal cost, by just regular folks armed only with , faith in God[citation needed] , mostly what they expect in return is not to be insulted[citation needed]. Their quite willing to leave you to whatever creed you have adopted to orient your life with[citation needed]. Perhaps, being so enlightend. as you claim to be you could show them that simple level of respect.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:05 am

danco wrote:Mental illness. An arugument that would carry more weight if not for the fact that pretty much everything worth having , is the results of the efforts of God fearing people , often those sucesses were achived, at great personal cost, by just regular folks armed only with , faith in God , mostly what they expect in return is not to be insulted. Their quite willing to leave you to whatever creed you have adopted to orient your life with. Perhaps, being so enlightend. as you claim to be you could show them that simple level of respect.


As Haggis has pointed thats just a list of unsubstantiated and unjustified assumptions..
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eRe: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:13 am

danco wrote:Mental illness. An arugument that would carry more weight if not for the fact that pretty much everything worth having , is the results of the efforts of God fearing people , often those sucesses were achived, at great personal cost, by just regular folks armed only with , faith in God , mostly what they expect in return is not to be insulted. Their quite willing to leave you to whatever creed you have adopted to orient your life with. Perhaps, being so enlightend. as you claim to be you could show them that simple level of respect.


Since when?It's only very recently that my atheism wouldn't have got me murdered in the West,and still easily could in Islamic societies.Btw I do not regard religion as a mental illness,but no idea is worthy of repect per se,what I respect is the right to hold ideas not ideas themselves which should be fair game for debate.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Woodruff on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:05 am

john9blue wrote:
crispybits wrote:And going to the gym is a popular and effective way of keeping fit, but if all the people of the world stopped using gyms tomorrow it does not follow that the world would get less fit as a result of this.


oh and yes, if everyone stopped going to the gym then we would all get less fit, on average, as a result.


Why do you say that? I don't believe that is necessarily true. People who are motivated enough to go to a gym are likely to be motivated enough to work out outside of a gym.

john9blue wrote:and i don't know exactly how agnostic you are about your atheism, but you obviously aren't a complete agnostic since you're willing to go online and try to convince people to reject a belief in god like you have.


There really is no such thing as a "complete agnostic" other than someone who essentially refuses to consider the issue of a God. Aside from that rare individual, agnostic is just a sort of a descriptor.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Woodruff on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:07 am

danco wrote:Mental illness. An arugument that would carry more weight if not for the fact that pretty much everything worth having , is the results of the efforts of God fearing people , often those sucesses were achived, at great personal cost, by just regular folks armed only with , faith in God , mostly what they expect in return is not to be insulted. Their quite willing to leave you to whatever creed you have adopted to orient your life with. Perhaps, being so enlightend. as you claim to be you could show them that simple level of respect.


I'm going to go ahead and disagree with you on these statements. However, aside from that, does that necessarily mean that religion isn't a mental illness (I don't actually hold that it is, by the way)? I mean, someone can be a genius and be mentally ill...in fact, that's not really an unusual combination.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby waauw on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:33 am

PLAYER57832 wrote:
john9blue wrote:
waauw wrote:I'm curious. What do you define as criteria for a succesful atheist society?
Also I haven't read your debate so this might sound stupid, but removing or adding religious values is a stupid notion as a whole. Not because religion is important or unimportant, but because many of the values held by many religious people are the same of people who aren't religious. There is no monopoly on any values there(except admiring a deity).


a widespread society without significant religious influence in their culture. has that ever happened?

and the reason both types of people hold similar values is because most people get almost all of their values from their culture/environment. most nonreligious people (despite pretending to be "freethinkers" or whatever other nonsense) indirectly get some of their values from religion, since religion is probably very influential within their culture, and they get most of their values from their culture like everyone else.

The problem is that any widespread belief eventually becomes a religion.

If you ask about lack of God influence, that might be more possible, but I actually don't know of any society that has not worshipped some God or other. Modern China perhaps comes the closest.


You forget that buddhism, although considered a religion, doesn't actually have a deity.
Also I think you are wrong about every beliefsystem eventualy becoming a religion, but that might be because you have a different definition of the word 'religion'. How do you define it?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby pimpdave on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:15 pm

Simply put, religion is defined thusly: A mental illness.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby john9blue on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:38 pm

chang50 wrote:No John I engage in online debates for the mental stimulation and the opportunity to learn about subjects I find interesting.


if you wanted mental stimulation and an opportunity to learn, then you would just read.

why would you be sharing your thoughts if you didn't want people to consider them?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Woodruff on Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:34 pm

john9blue wrote:
chang50 wrote:No John I engage in online debates for the mental stimulation and the opportunity to learn about subjects I find interesting.


if you wanted mental stimulation and an opportunity to learn, then you would just read.

why would you be sharing your thoughts if you didn't want people to consider them?


Where did you get the idea that he doesn't WANT people to consider them? I suspect he simply doesn't necessarily EXPECT them to.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby chang50 on Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:20 am

john9blue wrote:
chang50 wrote:No John I engage in online debates for the mental stimulation and the opportunity to learn about subjects I find interesting.


if you wanted mental stimulation and an opportunity to learn, then you would just read.

why would you be sharing your thoughts if you didn't want people to consider them?



Sometimes I think we speak a different language when I read your responses.'Cos the only way to get mental stimulation and learn is by reading,right?And yes of course I'm happy if people consider my thoughts but I have very little expectation that I will convince anyone or anything,so that isn't much of a motivation.Maybe I'm motivated by things you just don't understand?
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Haggis_McMutton on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:33 am

john9blue wrote:some of this may arise from the fact that most christians you've met are intolerant fundamentalists, whereas most christians i've met are open-minded about their religion. i don't know you though, so i can't say for sure.


This is possible. Though there's a distinction in my mind between actual fundamentalists and people who are sort of just content with their delusion of certainty and so don't want to think about it and just get on with their lives (I think there's a lot more of this second group)

john9blue wrote:also, doesn't the fact that more christians are converting to atheism than vice versa indicate that christians are less certain of their worldview than atheists are? keep in mind that being more certain doesn't mean you're more likely to be wrong, it just means that you're less likely to change your views (and statistically, atheists are less likely, compared to christians)

I dunno, it seems like a more complex issue. One question would be how many atheists inherited their atheism from their parents. I'm guessing it's a much smaller percentage than for Christians. One could argue that more Christians switch because their belief is something they just inherited, not something they actually critically analysed and chose for themselves.

john9blue wrote:well (difficult as it is assigning probabilities to people's beliefs) keep in mind that you're 100 times more likely to change the mind of a 90% sure christian than a 99.9% sure christian. and i think you'd consider the 90% guy to be a pretty hardcore christian if you had a discussion with him. even though there are some ridiculously stubborn and brainwashed people out there, i just don't think it's possible for anyone to be 100% sure, because only a sith deals in absolutes.


You seem to be trying to devise some kind of objective belief-o-meter and say that according to this objective measure no one can be 100% sure of anything.
What I'm saying is that whatever pseudo-objective evaluation of belief you might come up with is not what matters, what matters is each person's subjective evaluation of their own belief. And according to their subjective evaluations there definitely are a lot of people who think they're certain about their chosen deity. Do you really not believe this is true?

Btw. a 90% believer would seem pretty tolerant to me. We seem to have different evaluations of these things. But saying there's a 1 in 10 chance that you've got it all wrong about some of the most important questions one can ask (and that therefore some percentage of your life is based on bullshit) seems like a pretty humble thing to say to me. I really wish that all the people who think they've figured out fundamental truths @ the nature of reality, the best system of government, social policy and whatever else would be only 90% sure of their views.

john9blue wrote:specifically which improvements in society? are these improvements more significant than the improvements that have taken place over the past few millennia, when the vast majority of the world was still religious?

Slavery? Civil rights? Spread of democracy?
Don't really know enough about history to answer the second one. What were the big advances between, say, 1000 BC and the enlightenment ?
Anyway, I'm not actually claiming that atheism caused an improve in society, just that there's absolutely no evidence of the converse (that atheism hurts society).

john9blue wrote:well firstly, people's moral views of slavery weren't the backbone of their moral compass. in fact, one could easily interpret some of jesus' teachings as a condemnation of slavery, so it's not difficult to transition a society's views on slavery as long as they keep their basic moral principles and just interpret them a bit differently.

secondly, i wasn't talking about getting people to openly admit imperfect knowledge, i was talking about their privately-held beliefs. if an ultra-devout christian had occasional genuine moments of doubt, then i don't think they would share them with some stranger asking them about their religion.

thirdly, i don't think human nature can change as rapidly as you'd like. we are selfish creatures who form mutually beneficial partnerships and are predisposed to bend our behavior and our beliefs quite far in order to maintain these partnerships. the only way i can see a fully atheist society without a breakdown in civil order is by having an incredibly huge partnership which can apply enough pressure to enough people to function as a moral backbone on its own (e.g. a hugely powerful and influential government), which i'm obviously not a fan of.


I don't get this. Based on this logic wouldn't you expect a higher proportion of atheists to be criminals?
Why don't you think cultural and societal norms (+ legal enforcement of a normal non-1984 government) would be enough to keep people from raping and pillaging? Why are those things sufficient to make the atheists of today behave but they wouldn't work for the atheists of the future?

john9blue wrote:
Haggis_McMutton wrote:Y'know, the fact that their values are based on cultural norms doesn't disprove freethinking. It is actually possible to critically consider the cultural norms and decide that many of them are quite good. To be a freethinker you don't necessarily have to reject all society and live as a hermit on some mountain for 10 years while devising your own ideal ethical system.


i kinda don't buy this, since i think a lot of our cultural norms don't really make sense. i'm sure you've felt the same way.
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Well, there's the silly/stupid things here and there, but overall I'd say we're doing pretty well on the theoretical side of the things. Actually applying the norms in practice seems like more of a problematic area for current society, but so it goes I guess.
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Re: Religion is a Mental Illness

Postby Woodruff on Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:10 am

Haggis_McMutton wrote:
john9blue wrote:thirdly, i don't think human nature can change as rapidly as you'd like. we are selfish creatures who form mutually beneficial partnerships and are predisposed to bend our behavior and our beliefs quite far in order to maintain these partnerships. the only way i can see a fully atheist society without a breakdown in civil order is by having an incredibly huge partnership which can apply enough pressure to enough people to function as a moral backbone on its own (e.g. a hugely powerful and influential government), which i'm obviously not a fan of.


I don't get this. Based on this logic wouldn't you expect a higher proportion of atheists to be criminals?


Which is, in fact, quite the opposite.

EDIT: I should clarify...based on prison population, which would be...you know...actual convicted criminals.
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Postby 2dimes on Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:18 am

chang50 wrote:
john9blue wrote:
chang50 wrote:No John I engage in online debates for the mental stimulation and the opportunity to learn about subjects I find interesting.


if you wanted mental stimulation and an opportunity to learn, then you would just read.

why would you be sharing your thoughts if you didn't want people to consider them?



Sometimes I think we speak a different language when I read your responses.'Cos the only way to get mental stimulation and learn is by reading,right?And yes of course I'm happy if people consider my thoughts but I have very little expectation that I will convince anyone or anything,so that isn't much of a motivation.Maybe I'm motivated by things you just don't understand?

Discussion is far more stimulating than reading on it's own or this site like most of the Internet would be the opposite of stimulating.

I rarely wish to express my honest or serious opinion because even whenI have a good or interesting one it's just as likely wrong as right.

Especially in the case of things I think I know about God, there is a lack of hard evidence. This in my opinion is a form of evidence because as unfair as that is, I believe it is part of God accepting Satan's challenge.
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