The God Delusion - Chapter 8

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otseng
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The God Delusion - Chapter 8

Post #1

Post by otseng »

What does Dawkins say is wrong with religion?
Does this claim make religion false?

McCulloch's questions:
Is religion itself bad or just certain instances of religion?
Are non-believers justified in being hostile to religion?

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bernee51
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Post #41

Post by bernee51 »

QED wrote:
bernee51 wrote:
twobitsmedia wrote: In which case, one who claims to be athiest has already considered the ultimates....
What are the 'ultimates' I have supposed to have considered.
I suspect that a non-scientifically minded theist might imagine that things experienced in a human populated, Newtonian, low-temperature, macroscopically scaled world -- such as purpose, cause and effect, time equalling zero etc. would all be ultimate questions with trivially obvious answers.

As I noted earlier, a closer acquaintance with the detailed makeup of the world would probably result in the admission that we don't know even know the ultimate questions, let alone their answers yet.
All those things that you don't know that you don't know?
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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religion is powerful

Post #42

Post by otseng »

From what I can gather in this thread, I think we all can agree that there have been bad things done in the name of religion. But, what I have not seen is that this shows that religion is false or even wrong.

What I do believe is that it shows that religion is powerful. Religion has the power to cause people to do bad things, and it also has the power to cause people to do good things.

For example, fire is powerful. It can cause wildfires and burn down forests and houses. But, it can also warm us and cook our food. Water is powerful. Hurricanes and floods can destroy. But, water also gives life to plants and animals. So, just because fire and water can do bad things, that does not in itself show that fire and water is bad.

Or some other human examples. Politics is powerful. It can cause genocides and wars. But, it can also support a prosperous economy. Sex is powerful. It can be abused and cause pain or it can also be a source of pleasure. Money is powerful. It can cause people to commit murder or it can provide a great deal of possessions. So, just because bad things can happen in politics, sex, or money, that doesn't mean all these things are necessarily bad. It just means that all these things are powerful.

So, though bad things (as well as good things) can be done through religion, what it means is that religion is powerful.

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Post #43

Post by Cathar1950 »

As a friend of mine use to say bad weather is better then no weather.
Or a bad day is better then no day.

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #44

Post by QED »

otseng wrote:From what I can gather in this thread, I think we all can agree that there have been bad things done in the name of religion. But, what I have not seen is that this shows that religion is false or even wrong.
No, and in principle, you can't ever be shown that. And that is where it differs from those other things in a dangerous way. This was the point I was making earlier in this topic. Any arbitrary belief is as good as any other if it goes by the name of a religious belief.
otseng wrote: What I do believe is that it shows that religion is powerful. Religion has the power to cause people to do bad things, and it also has the power to cause people to do good things.
Right, and there is nothing in principle that we can do to question those causes. They are articles of faith among the believers. Naturally just whining about it is no good so stand by for a suggestion...
otseng wrote: For example, fire is powerful. It can cause wildfires and burn down forests and houses. But, it can also warm us and cook our food. Water is powerful. Hurricanes and floods can destroy. But, water also gives life to plants and animals. So, just because fire and water can do bad things, that does not in itself show that fire and water is bad.

Or some other human examples. Politics is powerful. It can cause genocides and wars. But, it can also support a prosperous economy. Sex is powerful. It can be abused and cause pain or it can also be a source of pleasure. Money is powerful. It can cause people to commit murder or it can provide a great deal of possessions. So, just because bad things can happen in politics, sex, or money, that doesn't mean all these things are necessarily bad. It just means that all these things are powerful.

So, though bad things (as well as good things) can be done through religion, what it means is that religion is powerful.
Yes. So is it too powerful for the job it's required to do? I have a 300mm angle grinder - but I wouldn't dream of using to sharpen a drill-bit. The question is could the objective (the good that religion does) be achieved by other means -- ones that are not so readily perverted into arbitrary doctrines that needlessly divide people?

If, as I suspect, the main motive for monotheistic religions like Christianity has always been an attempt to impose a code of conduct on human beings (something that necessitated an authority apparently higher than man) then the framework of democracy might suffice. I don't think for one moment it required God to pen the 10 commandments and I trust man even more today to set out a rational code of conduct with detailed explanations for each ruling. I'm utterly convinced that we're pretending that God has told us how we should conduct ourselves when all along the goodness in the bible is of man's own making. If we were to drop such a pretense, then we would be able to eliminate the arbitrary radicalization of interpretation -- consider the perversion of the Koran for example; so long as it's words are acredited to some absent source, anyone can formulate their own interpretation and pronounce their faith in what they know God has intended by them. If the "scriptures" are clearly attributed to man then men can speak out with authority when perversions are detected.

As for the other traditional roles of religion, we could still permit the possibility of God as creator in a Deist sense and leave room for speculation about meaning, and other existential issues that many feel the need for comforting answers.

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #45

Post by otseng »

QED wrote:
otseng wrote:From what I can gather in this thread, I think we all can agree that there have been bad things done in the name of religion. But, what I have not seen is that this shows that religion is false or even wrong.

No, and in principle, you can't ever be shown that.

To clarify, what can't ever be shown? That bad things done in the name of religion would show religion is false or even wrong? Or simply that religion is false?
So is it too powerful for the job it's required to do?

I wouldn't say that it is too powerful, but it is simply how it is. Is water too powerful for the job it's required to do? Is sex too powerful for the job it's required to do?
If, as I suspect, the main motive for monotheistic religions like Christianity has always been an attempt to impose a code of conduct on human beings (something that necessitated an authority apparently higher than man) then the framework of democracy might suffice.

Well, for Christianity, the purpose is not to provide a code of conduct. So, your suspicion would not apply to Christianity.
As for the other traditional roles of religion, we could still permit the possibility of God as creator in a Deist sense and leave room for speculation about meaning, and other existential issues that many feel the need for comforting answers.

That would be like saying we should also remove all forms of money and use bartering. Though it would remove all the negative aspects of money, it would also remove all the positive aspects of money.

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #46

Post by otseng »

otseng wrote:From what I can gather in this thread, I think we all can agree that there have been bad things done in the name of religion. But, what I have not seen is that this shows that religion is false or even wrong.
In practically any human activity, there can be shown bad aspects of it, especially any activity that has latent power (eg politics, money, sex). But, this does not show that these activities are categorically wrong. And it especially doesn't show that these activities are false, or even delusional.

So, unless it can be shown that bad things done in the name of religion demonstrates that religion is false, I'm going to be resting my case in this chapter.

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #47

Post by bernee51 »

otseng wrote:
otseng wrote:From what I can gather in this thread, I think we all can agree that there have been bad things done in the name of religion. But, what I have not seen is that this shows that religion is false or even wrong.
In practically any human activity, there can be shown bad aspects of it, especially any activity that has latent power (eg politics, money, sex). But, this does not show that these activities are categorically wrong. And it especially doesn't show that these activities are false, or even delusional.

So, unless it can be shown that bad things done in the name of religion demonstrates that religion is false, I'm going to be resting my case in this chapter.
By 'false' I presume you mean not true according to that religions version of 'truth'. Does one religion's claim of 'truth' negate another religion's claim of 'truth'?

Also, for example, a religion may claim it is a 'truth' that it is a 'religion of peace' and it can be shown that the religion has been used to justify or even promote war or other violence, does this mean that the religion, or at least that aspect of it is false?
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #48

Post by otseng »

bernee51 wrote:By 'false' I presume you mean not true according to that religions version of 'truth'. Does one religion's claim of 'truth' negate another religion's claim of 'truth'?
What I'm addressing is Dawkins' assertion that God does not exist. In this chapter, he seems to be arguing that because bad things are done, then the claims of religion are not true. I'm simply saying that this line of argument is not valid.

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Re: religion is powerful

Post #49

Post by bernee51 »

otseng wrote:
bernee51 wrote:By 'false' I presume you mean not true according to that religions version of 'truth'. Does one religion's claim of 'truth' negate another religion's claim of 'truth'?
What I'm addressing is Dawkins' assertion that God does not exist. In this chapter, he seems to be arguing that because bad things are done, then the claims of religion are not true. I'm simply saying that this line of argument is not valid.
Sort of like...

Religion (of any type) claims god is exists.
Religion (of any type) does bad things.
Therefore god does not exist.

Is that what you think Dawkins is arguing in this chapter?
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Post #50

Post by otseng »

I think it's more like:

Religion does bad things.
Therefore religion is wrong.

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