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#17539 - 01/03/09 04:53 PM Is religion needed?
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
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Why Religion is a Necessity
It is my contention that humanity, in general, needs religion. Whether they practice some form of a major religion like Christianity or Islam, or lean toward Atheism or Agnostic, all people need religion.


While religion has been described as consisting of "the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto," (Hopfe 5), religion has also been tied to belief systems, morality, and life beyond death. Some view religion as anything that dictates morality.

Atheism, a contradiction of many religions, deals with the one thing we in this culture associate with religion: god, or the lack there of. The belief that there is not a god is as much based on faith as the belief that there is one. This act of faith, of believing in something that can not be proven, and allowing that supposition to guide your actions, is a good description of religion.

Hinduism is based in the faith of reincarnation. There is no proof of another life, or any life after death, and yet they unfailingly believe that they will be reborn, and that karma will set them free from life and death.

By faith the ancient people of many cultures offered up sacrifices to their gods in supplication, with no proof that their prayers were heard.

Modern science has taken up the project of proving faith with scientific experiments on prayer and meditation. Does it help with healing?

Faith healers of many religions have, for centuries, prayed over the sick and dieing in the belief that their prayers will be heard and save or cure them. They cited cases which seemed miraculous, some who rose from the dead, and those on their death-bed who made a miraculous recovery. (Fox-Rose 79-80)

Article-->http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/111541/why_religion_is_a_necessity.html

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Own opinion
While I at average say religion is not very needed within the 21th century, it still has some benefits to other people who are in need to believe in "something" to have a hold on. Of course, many religions have their useless "holy wars" to try to convert people to what they think is "righteousness". (What is right or wrong is worth another topic if some need to feel the urge to define it..). But what about some good things some religions have done? Some religious inspired groups actually have helped people who were in need. What about these people? Can we actually say they are ignorant while actually try to achieve something?
However I know some of the answers some people here will provide I'm still interested if they can give valuable arguments to strengthen their answer.


Edited by Dimitri (01/03/09 04:54 PM)
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#17540 - 01/03/09 05:49 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dimitri]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
 Quote:

The belief that there is not a god is as much based on faith as the belief that there is one. This act of faith, of believing in something that can not be proven, and allowing that supposition to guide your actions, is a good description of religion.

This opinion pisses me off. Always has. It is a patent error in reasoning that is all too common, and reproduced even by those that claim to be intellectuals.

The only reason the word 'Atheism' has any meaning whatsoever is because we live in a society that is heavy on fantasy. Think about this a second. This a word that exists purely to state an opinion that someone DOES NOT hold. Why is there no word for people that don't believe in ghosts or aliens? Aextraterestrialist? Aghostist? Stupid right?

Atheism isn't a religion, a worldview, or even a claim to anything, really. It isn't an 'ism' by any logical reckoning. Some people associate whole epistemic/ontological systems of thought to 'Atheism' but that's ridiculous.

Atheism is saying 'I don't believe in god/s' No more, no less.

And it takes no more faith to say that than it takes faith to state any other patently absurd proposition isn't true. Even the most die hard religious zealot would agree it wouldn't take any measure of 'faith' to say there is no such thing as the flying spaghetti monster. Is there any difference between the FSM and the christian god ontologically speaking? Absolutely not.
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#17541 - 01/03/09 06:28 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dan_Dread]
The Zebu Offline
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Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 1640
Loc: Orlando, FL
Exactly, exactly, exactly.

If a person's belief in a God weighs the same as a person's nonbelief, then my belief that there is an invisible pink unicorn in my closet is just as legitimate as a person's nonbelief in my own wild claim.

Religion, to me, is "any kind of life philosophy that a person defines themselves by and may express through ceremony and ritual", which is why I identify "Satanism" as my "religion". But it is unique among religions in that it is the only one based on internal principles rather than external.

I also agree in Atheism as the "null hypothesis", and that it's ridiculous to assume that there are other schools of thought automatically attached to this term.

Every person is born an Atheist, after all.

Of course, the masses need belief in Gods and Angels and Messiahs because they are too brittle to face the realities of the universe. That's fine by me, so long as they don't try to blow me up because of it.
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#17543 - 01/03/09 06:42 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: The Zebu]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
For the record I also identify Satanism as a religion. My religion.

Jake once made a useful distinction between 'inward facing' and 'outward facing' god belief. They are essentially the same with a few important distinctions;The most important of them being the god 'inside' exists, in a demonstrable fashion. Not like those 'other' gods!

In that, I suppose, I am not really an Atheist. But the word is married to it's cosmological definition, and that is the sense that most understand it. So in that sense, I identify as one.
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#17544 - 01/03/09 08:04 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dan_Dread]
blsk Offline
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Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 298
Loc: salem or
So far I am convinced that the idea of MORE, that being life after death, an unseen caring god, and so on(of course fluctuating depending on the faith), is merely a flaw in our mental capacity, our asset. The same way any other animals assets may be its downfall when not properly applied. We are very social animals and we need comfort. Our mental capacity is great for survival. It has application in every aspect of it. With its complex ability comes many other factors, one being the balancing of emotions. When we experience a great amount of loss or hardship in our physical world, we withdraw. Much like any animal when abused. Our minds(our best defense)start fishing for confidence-boosting comfort as that is when we think best. Mind you making things up is what we do. We are innovative creatures. We take from what we see and come up with neat ideas that would go well with it. We are more complex than we can handle. Was it the progressive developement of free time that caused our minds to begine analyzing self with no current situation to work on?

I wholly agree with you both, Dan and Zebu. Typical to try to make a connection of belief in nothing to a god.
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#17555 - 01/04/09 01:28 AM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: blsk]
daevid777 Offline
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Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 951
Loc: Hell's Pisshole, Texas
In agreement all around...

However, just asking... do any of you perform any "magical style rituals"? And if your answer is yes, how does that fit into the "non-belief"? Merely a type of confidence booster, perhaps, a dramatical enactment of what is already present? This is based on curiousity, how an Atheistic, Suitheistic, (with potential for Polytheism) "religion" negotiates with the "superstitious act of ritual, or ceremony".

Oh, and Dan, I think it would be "Anextraterrestrial", and maybe "Aspiritual", how about "Antizombie" (that fits me, I'm against Zombies, for the most part)... if my Greek is correct...
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#17565 - 01/04/09 12:22 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: daevid777]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
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Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Ritual? Sure, sometimes. It is a method to 'shake things up' in my subconscious, so to speak. As someone with a compatibalist outlook on the whole freewill vs determinism issue, I see much of free will as illusionary. I don't think our conscious mind exerts near as much control over our realities as most like to imagine. I think much, if not most, of what we do is controlled 'behind the scenes' so to speak.

As such, I think it can be very powerful to exert control, or at least learn what we can, from our subconscious. Ritual, for me, has always been an effective way to do that.
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#17585 - 01/04/09 06:45 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dan_Dread]
blsk Offline
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Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 298
Loc: salem or
I have often wondered about that myself. But maybe I am getting caught up in the more trendy description of "ritual." Would I go through a motivational process of thought? Yes, but just to psyc myself up. Get the juices flowing and maybe up my determination. Does that qualify as "ritual?" I have always had the idea of ritual consisting of calling on some invisible being/spirit creature. Other than what I just mentioned, I do nothing to qualify as such.
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#20049 - 02/09/09 09:18 AM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: blsk]
Fallon Offline
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Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 13
Loc: UK, Swindon
tbh, i think all religons cause wars, just look at the one now, thought it's to stop terroism, the people we are at war with now, they want everyone to be muslims.

Years ago, there was the "Holy War" Where the christians went to war with non-christians and it was a mass slaughter.

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#20055 - 02/09/09 01:00 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Fallon]
Ringmaster Offline
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Registered: 04/07/08
Posts: 205
Loc: Salem Oregon
Yes it is true that religion causes war. There is no debating this (in my opinion.) But that is just the nature of thing honestly. People wiping each other out is natural.

I think it is darwinism at its finest, the most stubborn of religions will come out on top. It seems like the best form of population control as well because the morons who can't accept the fact that there is someone who believes different then them seems to be the most blind of fools in my book.

The only thing you can really do with this "issue" is sit back and laugh with delight that the unfit and weak are weeding themselves out.
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#20064 - 02/09/09 06:47 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dan_Dread]
Fabiano Offline
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Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 374
I can understand the materialist view/model. And you raise a good point here Daevid!

For answering your question rituals are not my cup of tea. That's an aspect of zen I liked: the "bareness" of its rituals.

But I could also say I do my own little rituals each time I need it. Each time a brand new ritual, specifically adapted to me and the circumstances of the moment. This could be another view.

But aside rituals, I can deny the ??? experiences I had & I still have. Call them "mystical", "spiritual" or "fucking illusions" experiences as you want, I don't care. But they're real for me!

For coming back on Dan's post about inward vs. outward I would like to point out that :

1. Not all religions have a "God" (zen)
2. Even the all external "God" of the 3 monotheist religions lead the true seeker on this path to an inward movement, an introspection. The inner God is also present in these religions and labeled as the holy spirit, the nature of buddha...

I personally think that every religion has and even needs those two aspects. When I walked on the Xian path, my conception of God changed over the time. From a personal form it became more and more a concept with no form. A concept of "the good".
Being in a system of belief where your God is seen a someone looking at what you're doing will normally lead you to put your life in question, to make your own idea of what is "God" for you. It should lead you to put your life in question and start an inward process.

In Satanism, despite it appear all inward, there is still a need of a symbol of Satan.

I could describe my "mystical" experience in many different ways as I can see people having made the same kind of experiences in all religions and even philosophies, think about "the Meditation" of Marcus Aurelius.

From a Satanist perspective I would say there is "me" and "I", there is "myself" and "my Self". Through meditation or some other esoteric path, you first escape the "everlasting dream of life" where you identify yourself with the stream of your thought. You were lost in your thoughts and driven by your emotions like a puppet hanged to some pieces of string. Now you can look at your thoughts and your emotions...
Later you experience the "contact" with your inner God...
And if it happens you can keep this contact during your day to day activities, you will act differently. You will use your rational thinking when you need it instead of being drawn in your thought flow. Instead of being driven by ideas put in our head by education, school, religion, society... or by feelings underlied by such thoughts, you act accordingly to your own belief, your own definition of the "Right", the "Good", the "What has to be done". You start acting by instinct, like an animal. You just use your rational thinking for solving concrete day to day problems. You don't think about what you should do (as a good father, or a good boss, or a good Xian, or a good Satanist...). You just do it! And your thoughts, your feelings and your body all move together in the same direction.

I quote Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations on that :

 Quote:
... if you hold steadily to this, expecting nothing and avoiding nothing, only seeking in each passing action a conformity with Nature and in each word and utterance fearless truthfulness, then you will live a good life. And from this course no man has the power to hold you back


When you act like this, you really do what you will, what Your God will, what your Self will... And I think it's the only way to act truly morally or ethically !

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#20065 - 02/09/09 07:07 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: daevid777]
Zoid Offline
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Registered: 01/24/09
Posts: 109
Loc: USA - New Jersey
 Originally Posted By: daevid777
However, just asking... do any of you perform any "magical style rituals"? And if your answer is yes, how does that fit into the "non-belief"?


I do magic. I use methods I've developed for myself, very direct and literal rather than symbolic. My intent in these workings is to bring about events that I wish to occur. My Sorceror's Lie (to use a term coined by Carlos Castaneda) is that all consciousness is connected in the collective unconscious.

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#20071 - 02/10/09 06:06 AM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Zoid]
Zoid Offline
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Registered: 01/24/09
Posts: 109
Loc: USA - New Jersey
I'll continue with my thoughts on magic, which fall squarely in the LaVeyan framework, as I have adapted it to myself. I think this answers the question, "Is religion needed?" - a question often asked of Satanists by people who don't understand why atheists would perform rituals or in any manner set foot in the realm of the mythic.

I tend to think in terms of mind and heart. I associate mind mostly with Lesser Magic, and heart mostly with Greater Magic. This isn't absolute, of course. There is bleed-through at the edges.

Lesser Magic is grounded, in my own practice of it, on what I have very recently formulated for my own benefit as the Nine Virtues of the Satanic Mind: attentiveness, discrimination, prudence, cunning, realism, practicality, skepticism, cynicism, and what I call “the executive function,” that which selects from the other eight the one that will be given the most energy at any given moment, and how much energy, and for how long. These virtues are the internal architects of the Satanist's undefiled wisdom, and lead the Satanist to doing what is "right," which means, doing that for which the right time has arrived, or, more succinctly, right timeliness.

Right timeliness is the application of the wisdom contained in a diabolical passage of the Christian bible, a passage that seems to have been fiendishly inserted by a minion of hell. It begins, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Greater magic is grounded, in my own practice of it, on what I have very recently formulated for my own benefit as the Thirteen Virtues of the Satanic Heart: sensuality, fondness, justice, jealousy, largesse, terribleness, majesty, disdain, cold-bloodedness, inscrutability, hate, relentlessness, and rapacity. These virtues are, literally are, the vital existence of the Satanist, and the engine of indulgence.

Greater magic, as I employ it, is the invocation of one or more of the Thirteen Virtues of the Satanic Heart on the mental plane with unbridled intensity so as to successfully send a message through the collective unconscious to the target of the working, which might be oneself, or any other conscious entity, which, as far as I'm concerned, includes any animal, right down to the amoeba. Think an amoeba is useless? Then presumably you haven't experienced dysentery.

In a very general sense, the message sent would be, "Do as I will shall be the whole of the law." This is deification, and the command to serve that which has been deified. What are the attributes of godhood? The Thirteen Virtues of the Satanic Heart. The collective unconscious recognizes these and is responsive to them. The message is transmitted. Events occur that otherwise would not have.

This is how an Atheist practices religion.

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#20093 - 02/10/09 08:40 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: Dan_Dread]
The AntiChris Offline
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Registered: 10/24/08
Posts: 60
Loc: Pennsylvania
 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread


And it takes no more faith to say that than it takes faith to state any other patently absurd proposition isn't true. Even the most die hard religious zealot would agree it wouldn't take any measure of 'faith' to say there is no such thing as the flying spaghetti monster. Is there any difference between the FSM and the christian god ontologically speaking? Absolutely not.
The reason why non-dogmatists still regard it as faith is because of the simple fact that by making a declaration of Atheism, one is making an assertion of a world view/model/paradigm (whatever). These assertions imply that one has a definite "knowing" of how the "true" universe works. In this case the assertion is that the universe definately works without any type of intelligence levels greater than or comparable to human or even other than human. It replaces the word mystical in many cases with "the subconcious" and other psychological terminology which are all still abstract concepts. Atheism "is" an either/or supposition with no room for other interpretations.
The only way one can assert this is if one has faith or omnipresence.


Edited by The AntiChris (02/10/09 09:16 PM)
Edit Reason: clarification
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#20103 - 02/10/09 11:43 PM Re: Is religion needed? [Re: The AntiChris]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
If one refuses any and all decisions based on the fact that one is not 100% sure of both all of the variables and the outcome, one will be rendered immobile.

Indecision is a weakness, quite counterproductive. That is part of why I think 'agnosticism' is shit.

Nobody ever knows everything about anything, however we can know enough to make informed decisions based on the information that IS available. On matters of cosmology, there is no evidence or sound theory that leads to anything resembling the concept of god or gods. The information that IS available leads in an entirely different direction.



Lets not forget that all 'Atheism' means is 'a lack of a belief in god/s', or more specifically, a lack of belief in a personal god;ie one that watches you and cares, on some level, about your well being.

Are you agnostics really so afraid to lack a belief in gods/toothfairies/whatever? Keep a little extra belief around just in case?
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