The God Delusion - Chapter 10

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otseng
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The God Delusion - Chapter 10

Post #1

Post by otseng »

Dawkins states on page 353, "majority of atheists I know disguise their atheism behind a pious facade. They do not believe in anything supernatural themselves, but retain a vague soft spot for irrational beliefs."

From your experience, would you agree with this statement?

McCulloch's question:
Even with all of its flaws, does religion serve a useful and needed purpose in society?

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #31

Post by Confused »

otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:Recall, I work in medicine. The benefits must outweigh the risks. Does religion? IMHO it does not. Despite which side is doing the harm, it is still all done under the guise of religious motivation.
And in my opinion, the benefits of religion outweighs the risks. I had only listed some of the major philanthropic organizations, there are many more such religious organizations.

Also, there are many other benefits beyond being philanthropic in nature:
- Provides hope, forgiveness, meaning
- Offers ways to cope with life's trials
- Provides guidance on how to live life
- Fosters community
- Provides a support network
- Instant identification with others and provides a common ground
- Opportunity to fellowship on a regular basis
- Sharing meals together
- Activities for kids, adults, seniors
- Offers regular teachings and encouragement
- Marital and family counseling
- Marriage ceremonies
- Funeral ceremonies
- Birth ceremonies
- Holidays (Christmas, Easter)
- Inspiration for art, music, literature
I don't dispute that it can provide what you list above, but IMHO, the cost is to high. Considering the death toll in the name of religion, despite who committed it, I don't think the benefits have outweighed the risks, nor do I think the future potential benefits outweigh the future potential risks/negative impacts. Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it. In the grand name of religion, the death toll is to high.

I look at life and see so many wonderful things in it. If God is required for them, then God has asked for a price that goes beyond what we mere humans are capable of paying. How many more must suffer or die because of a myth? When will mankind stop requiring the same childhood protector they envisioned as a youth to protect them from the world (Freud). Instead of wasting precious time and/or resources on it, why not put that time/resources into finding ways to expand mans lifespan while increasing his quality of life as well? If people stop shooting for this "eternal life" they believe exists based on nothing other than a gut feeling and an outdated/rewritten myth, then perhaps death won't seem as comforting to them and they will not be in such a rush to meet it. Maybe then life will have more value.
What we do for ourselves dies with us,
What we do for others and the world remains
and is immortal.

-Albert Pine
Never be bullied into silence.
Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
Accept no one persons definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #32

Post by achilles12604 »

Confused wrote:
otseng wrote:
Confused wrote:Recall, I work in medicine. The benefits must outweigh the risks. Does religion? IMHO it does not. Despite which side is doing the harm, it is still all done under the guise of religious motivation.
And in my opinion, the benefits of religion outweighs the risks. I had only listed some of the major philanthropic organizations, there are many more such religious organizations.

Also, there are many other benefits beyond being philanthropic in nature:
- Provides hope, forgiveness, meaning
- Offers ways to cope with life's trials
- Provides guidance on how to live life
- Fosters community
- Provides a support network
- Instant identification with others and provides a common ground
- Opportunity to fellowship on a regular basis
- Sharing meals together
- Activities for kids, adults, seniors
- Offers regular teachings and encouragement
- Marital and family counseling
- Marriage ceremonies
- Funeral ceremonies
- Birth ceremonies
- Holidays (Christmas, Easter)
- Inspiration for art, music, literature
I don't dispute that it can provide what you list above, but IMHO, the cost is to high. Considering the death toll in the name of religion, despite who committed it, I don't think the benefits have outweighed the risks, nor do I think the future potential benefits outweigh the future potential risks/negative impacts. Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it. In the grand name of religion, the death toll is to high.

I look at life and see so many wonderful things in it. If God is required for them, then God has asked for a price that goes beyond what we mere humans are capable of paying. How many more must suffer or die because of a myth? When will mankind stop requiring the same childhood protector they envisioned as a youth to protect them from the world (Freud). Instead of wasting precious time and/or resources on it, why not put that time/resources into finding ways to expand mans lifespan while increasing his quality of life as well? If people stop shooting for this "eternal life" they believe exists based on nothing other than a gut feeling and an outdated/rewritten myth, then perhaps death won't seem as comforting to them and they will not be in such a rush to meet it. Maybe then life will have more value.
Let’s play the blame game once again. People and their desires against what a religion actually teaches. Since we are mostly debating Christianity, lets use Jesus attributed words as the standard for the religious side.
Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it.
Place the blame - Should the blame for the murders associated with Christianity be placed on the people committing the murders, or should they be placed at the feet of the teachings associated with the religion?

If it is the people, then there must have been an error somewhere, likely by someone pushing their own racist, bigoted, political or otherwise selfish agendas and then using religion as a tool, like anything I mentioned before which all have the potential to cause great harm.

If the fault is with the religion, then there must clearly be some place in the words attributed to Jesus (or even Paul since he did form much of the early church) which directs followers to commit murder.


Confused - Since you brought this particular topic up, please feel free to be the first to place the blame.

Is the fault for the murders the teachings of the religion?

Is the fault for the murders the fault of people's agendas?
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #33

Post by Cathar1950 »

achilles12604 wrote:
Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it.
Place the blame - Should the blame for the murders associated with Christianity be placed on the people committing the murders, or should they be placed at the feet of the teachings associated with the religion?

If it is the people, then there must have been an error somewhere, likely by someone pushing their own racist, bigoted, political or otherwise selfish agendas and then using religion as a tool, like anything I mentioned before which all have the potential to cause great harm.

If the fault is with the religion, then there must clearly be some place in the words attributed to Jesus (or even Paul since he did form much of the early church) which directs followers to commit murder.


Confused - Since you brought this particular topic up, please feel free to be the first to place the blame.

Is the fault for the murders the teachings of the religion?

Is the fault for the murders the fault of people's agendas?
I find something intuitively wrong here.

If there is teaching that humans are fallen sinful creatures worthy of death and hell not not also responsible to the writers? But whatever the teachings their will be interpretation and their always has been.
You can not separate the teaching from the followers. This is making the teachings objective.
You are also assuming you know what the teaching are and want to use your interpretation of the teachings as a standard.
Given the diversity I would think you would be hard pressed to teach us the one "true" teachings.

How many Christians believe that it is the teachings of humanism, liberalism, atheism, secularism and all the other supposed non-Christian teachings make people bad and theirs good?
I do see your apology letting anyone off the hook, including the teachings.

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #34

Post by achilles12604 »

Cathar1950 wrote:
achilles12604 wrote:
Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it.
Place the blame - Should the blame for the murders associated with Christianity be placed on the people committing the murders, or should they be placed at the feet of the teachings associated with the religion?

If it is the people, then there must have been an error somewhere, likely by someone pushing their own racist, bigoted, political or otherwise selfish agendas and then using religion as a tool, like anything I mentioned before which all have the potential to cause great harm.

If the fault is with the religion, then there must clearly be some place in the words attributed to Jesus (or even Paul since he did form much of the early church) which directs followers to commit murder.


Confused - Since you brought this particular topic up, please feel free to be the first to place the blame.

Is the fault for the murders the teachings of the religion?

Is the fault for the murders the fault of people's agendas?
I find something intuitively wrong here.

If there is teaching that humans are fallen sinful creatures worthy of death and hell not not also responsible to the writers? But whatever the teachings their will be interpretation and their always has been.
You can not separate the teaching from the followers. This is making the teachings objective.
You are also assuming you know what the teaching are and want to use your interpretation of the teachings as a standard.
Given the diversity I would think you would be hard pressed to teach us the one "true" teachings.

How many Christians believe that it is the teachings of humanism, liberalism, atheism, secularism and all the other supposed non-Christian teachings make people bad and theirs good?
I do see your apology letting anyone off the hook, including the teachings.
How many of those Christians are close minded to the benifits of humanism? Why are they against liberalism? There are even benefits to secularism in certain cases. And when I read in the news that religious creationists are sending threatening letters to the science department in CU Boulder, I have to wonder why I am not atheist.


I am arguing from MY view point. Not the viewpoint of fundamentalist Christians. therefore, your final paragraph and the culmination of your point, while it may be a valid point in debating others on this forum, is nothing more than a straw man when it comes to debating arguments that I in particular put forth.


I hold people accountable, just as I hold teachings accountable. I created a thread about comparing the Nazi values and Christian values. I noticed that I got almost no direct answers from the non theist crown. I attribute this to the fact that even they realized my point.

The Nazi teaches hatred and racism. Christianity does not. Thus when a follower acts upon the teachings of both with hatred and violence, one is acting in accordance with the teachings. The other is acting directly against the teachings. If the actions and results are the same for both good and evil teachings, then the variable which decides the outcome of violence must not be directly attributed to the teachings but rather to the person.





I find it funny that so many non-theists here deliberately refuse to hold people accountable even though they themselves acknowledge that only people exist, and God does not. I find it much like a child blaming the boogey man for breaking the window in his bedroom.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.

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Post #35

Post by otseng »

QED wrote:
otseng wrote:In the case of sexual abuses, the simple answer is that people do not always do what they know to be right. Also, the Christian doctrine is that we are all sin-prone, even if someone is a priest. Nobody is immune from sinning.

As someone once said, "The flesh of the godliest saint is no more dependable than that of the vilest sinner."
Exactly! Once again the actual behaviour of people is consistent with total finalism, and inconsistent with a firm belief in judgment in some afterlife. One has to wonder if the average non-believers conduct might be better than the average "godly saint" on account of caring more about being judged in this life than the promised next.
If the judgement in heaven was based entirely on behavior on earth, then you have a point. But, at least in Christian theology, entrance to heaven has nothing to do with behavior, but rather belief.

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #36

Post by otseng »

Confused wrote:I don't dispute that it can provide what you list above, but IMHO, the cost is to high. Considering the death toll in the name of religion, despite who committed it, I don't think the benefits have outweighed the risks, nor do I think the future potential benefits outweigh the future potential risks/negative impacts. Think of all who have already died to protect this ideology and those who have died in rejection of it. In the grand name of religion, the death toll is to high.
achilles12604 wrote:Place the blame - Should the blame for the murders associated with Christianity be placed on the people committing the murders, or should they be placed at the feet of the teachings associated with the religion?
achilles12604 is right. We should look at what is causing the harmful acts. Is it because the religious texts command people to do the harmful acts? Or is it because people have gone beyond what the texts say?
How many more must suffer or die because of a myth?
This brings up the fundamental question. Is it a myth or is it the truth? Are Christians delusional or is everybody else delusional? Does a God really exist or is it just a figment of the imagination?

I think these are the main questions that needs answers. And in terms of The God Delusion providing any insight on this, I see it providing none.

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Re: benefits of religion

Post #37

Post by bernee51 »

otseng wrote: achilles12604 is right. We should look at what is causing the harmful acts. Is it because the religious texts command people to do the harmful acts? Or is it because people have gone beyond what the texts say?
Or did they interpret the texts to justify actions they wanted to take or perhaps even 'believed' were justified by the text.

On the basis of interpretation of text crusades and jihads have been justified. Along with subjugation of women, inquisitions, fatwa, and so on.

Who do you blame? Those committing the deeds or the 'looseness' of the alledgedly god inspired texts (of whatever creed) which allowed such interpretation?

otseng wrote:
How many more must suffer or die because of a myth?
This brings up the fundamental question. Is it a myth or is it the truth? Are Christians delusional or is everybody else delusional? Does a God really exist or is it just a figment of the imagination?
You are being too partisan about it. 'Is god a myth?' applies equally to allah, zeus, odin and the f.s.m.

The question being asked is not if christians are delusional but are all who believe that god is anything more than a concept delusional. God is not so much a figment of imagination but the confusing of a concept with an extant being.
otseng wrote: I think these are the main questions that needs answers. And in terms of The God Delusion providing any insight on this, I see it providing none.
I disagree - I see it as stimulating self-enquiry. In that it succeeds - as has been shown in these discussions.

As to whether or not it provides 'insight' into the existence or otherwise of 'god' - experience has shown that very few 'believers' are going to be convinced by the words of others. A change of that magnitiude can only come from critical self analysis.
"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 #38

Post by otseng »

bernee51 wrote:Or did they interpret the texts to justify actions they wanted to take or perhaps even 'believed' were justified by the text.
Certainly those could be the case.
Who do you blame? Those committing the deeds or the 'looseness' of the alledgedly god inspired texts (of whatever creed) which allowed such interpretation?
The "blame" is simply on the fact that whatever has innate power, it can be used for great harm (or good). And people will find a way to use powerful tools for their own purposes.

I'm not sure what you mean by "looseness". I guess what you mean is that religion should dictate every possible action one can take? This would be unfeasible. Even with the tons of rules regarding the IRS, not even the tax professionals can really fully follow them. And even with the mountain of rules, loopholes still exist.
You are being too partisan about it. 'Is god a myth?' applies equally to allah, zeus, odin and the f.s.m.
Certainly.
I disagree - I see it as stimulating self-enquiry. In that it succeeds - as has been shown in these discussions.
Well, I think that Dawkins intent was not simply to provoke self-inquiry. But, his goal is a change of belief.

"If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." (page 5)

And for me, it was the opposite effect. If this book was one of the best books atheists has to offer, then it shows how weak the atheist arguments are.

As one reviewer said on the back dust jacket, "If this book doesn't change the world, we're all screwed." Well, sorry to say, it's not going to change the world.

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Post #39

Post by bernee51 »

otseng wrote:
Who do you blame? Those committing the deeds or the 'looseness' of the alledgedly god inspired texts (of whatever creed) which allowed such interpretation?
The "blame" is simply on the fact that whatever has innate power, it can be used for great harm (or good). And people will find a way to use powerful tools for their own purposes.
This is no ordinary tool - it is the supposed 'word of god'. I cannot understand how any god worthy of that description would allow mere mortals to use and abuse his word.
otseng wrote: I'm not sure what you mean by "looseness". I guess what you mean is that religion should dictate every possible action one can take? This would be unfeasible. Even with the tons of rules regarding the IRS, not even the tax professionals can really fully follow them. And even with the mountain of rules, loopholes still exist.
The IRS is not the 'inspired word of god'. by 'looseness' I mean the fact that this text supreme is so open to interpretation that people, in all honesty on their part, can interpret it in a way that not only justified but condoned the most atrocious crimes against humanity.
otseng wrote: "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." (page 5)
That is what Dawkin's stated but i would suggest he would be fully aware that 'loosing god belief' will be more the result of self reflection than pure dialectic
otseng wrote: And for me, it was the opposite effect. If this book was one of the best books atheists has to offer, then it shows how weak the atheist arguments are.
As a book I would agree with you...Atheist Manifesto, self described as atheology, is a much better book which systematically deconstructs the Abrahamic monotheisms.
otseng wrote: As one reviewer said on the back dust jacket, "If this book doesn't change the world, we're all screwed." Well, sorry to say, it's not going to change the world.
If it changes just one person it changes the world. ;)
"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 #40

Post by otseng »

bernee51 wrote:
otseng wrote: And for me, it was the opposite effect. If this book was one of the best books atheists has to offer, then it shows how weak the atheist arguments are.
As a book I would agree with you...Atheist Manifesto, self described as atheology, is a much better book which systematically deconstructs the Abrahamic monotheisms.
And with that I'll be winding down my debate with the book.

Overall, my take on the book is that it presents a very weak case against theism. There is obviously a disconnect between the strength of the book and the praise given to it by atheists. If it was not written by Dawkins, probably nobody really would've given the book any thought.

As I read through the chapters (often more than once), I found myself constantly asking "what exactly is his point?" The entire book read like 10 chapters of Random Ramblings.

One thing that did surprise me though was that I agreed with Dawkins on several points. Probably the strongest statements that I agreed with are:

"Either he exists or he doesn't. It is a scientific question" (page 48)

"God's existence or non-existence is a scientific fact about the universe, discoverable in principle if not in practice." (page 50)

And I was quite surprised that he would take this position. To my knowledge, I don't know of any other atheist who holds to this.

On a related note, I agree with Dawkins that NOMA is not vaid and that there is an overlap between science and religion.

I also agree with Dawkins that scientists should not use the word "God" metaphorically.

"I wish that physicists would refrain from using the word God in their special metaphorical sense. Deliberately to confuse the two is, in my opinion, an act of intellectual high treason." (page 19)

In summary, any critical thinking person will find the book to be extremely weak. Only those that are easily mislead by hand-waving will be converted to atheism by the book.

This will probably be the last book from Dawkins that I'll ever read. I think I've given him a fair chance by reading The God Delusion and also The Blind Watchmaker. Atheists will need to get together and decide what author is superior to Dawkins for a future book debate.

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