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Author Topic: Why are uber-religious people driven to over-sentimentality?  (Read 7358 times)
xXMelancholiaXx
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2010, 08:12:32 PM »

And that brings me to a paradox that's been gnawing at me for quite some time. I'd like to believe that religion only works for people if they truly let go of the logical, and embrace their faith, unencombered by whether it's "logical" or not.
This somewhat reminds of Albert Camus' absurdist quandary. Do we accept that there is no objective meaning to our existence and thus end it? Do we forsake reason and make the leap of faith? Or do we embrace the absurd? For most these existential conundrums are easily remedied by option number two. As far as letting go of logic that's not really the case, since most people are never really "logically" talked into religion. It's an emotional reason to the fear for the unknown, death etc. Actually you'd be surprised to know that hardwiring for religious belief is actually built into the human brain. Pascal Boyer did a very interesting book called Religion Explained in which he gives a very detailed analysis of how basic human cognitive functions actually create the foundation for religious belief.
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010, 08:17:26 PM »

Dude, if I saw definitive proof of God (Like if God was right infront of me and went *poof!* A rabbit from a hat) I would never be out of Church! Seriously, eternal life in paradise? Uh, count me in?

Somehow though, I dun think that's gonna happen.

Denying irrefutable proof is the least logical thing we can do, thus it becomes more insane to not believe in God than to believe in God. I like to think of myself as a rational being.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 08:19:11 PM by Starmongoose » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2010, 08:47:02 PM »

Dude, if I saw definitive proof of God (Like if God was right infront of me and went *poof!* A rabbit from a hat) I would never be out of Church! Seriously, eternal life in paradise? Uh, count me in?

Somehow though, I dun think that's gonna happen.

Denying irrefutable proof is the least logical thing we can do, thus it becomes more insane to not believe in God than to believe in God. I like to think of myself as a rational being.
Same here. I'm very much an Atheist, but if god came down(up? sideways?) and tapped me on the shoulder? I'm so there. I go where the logic leads me. Like I tell my Uber-Christians friends. I would really like to believe in all that stuff. My brain just won't let me.
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2010, 08:49:58 PM »

What I'm suggesting is a separation of logic from internalization. If the belief that no God exists works for you in the midst of a world in which there is irrifutable proof of God's existance, then why not go with it? Isn't the important part about whether it works to secure your view of the world around you, not wether it's rational or not? Now, the moment you then turn around and stand on a pedistal and try to get others to believe your ideas... that completely negates the internalization that I'm talking about.
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xXMelancholiaXx
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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2010, 09:00:41 PM »

Denying irrefutable proof is the least logical thing we can do, thus it becomes more insane to not believe in God than to believe in God. I like to think of myself as a rational being.
Well no matter what the circumstances maybe the burden of proof is always on the person asserting the existence of or truth of something. The problem is ideas such as transparent beings is that its impossible to verify their veracity. All they have to say is "You can't prove that its not true." Of course this leads us right back into the realm of sophistry because most people will take that is a defense their belief when in actuality all they are doing is assuming themselves correct because you can't prove otherwise. It's like saying I have no idea what 8x13 is so I'll just say its 43 and leave it at that because I can't think of anything else.
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« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2010, 09:14:29 PM »

And that's another problem. Science and modern research has actually answered quite a few things that religion innitially saught to answer. Things like the origin of the world, the origin of humans, why things fall when you drop them, why people die when you shoot them in the face (wait... well, maybe we haven't answered that one yet). Sure, when you ask things about the nature of the human soul, or the true origin of all reality, you come up with blanks, but pretty much all of those other big questions have fairly definitive answers.

But... all of this get's back to "burdon of proof". But that only matters if you are setting out to prove something, specifically to others. I believe the faith is about constructing a personal worldview for oneself, not about proving to others that your worldview is correct, or inline with theirs. When you get rid of the burdon of proof, there's nothing wrong with personally believing anything, no matter how outrageous or irrational it is. I would argue that a schizophrenic person isn't crazy because he's seeing things that aren't there, they are crazy because they are externally reacting to them and desperately trying to convince other people that they ARE there.
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xXMelancholiaXx
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« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2010, 09:30:45 PM »

And that's another problem. Science and modern research has actually answered quite a few things that religion innitially saught to answer. Things like the origin of the world, the origin of humans, why things fall when you drop them, why people die when you shoot them in the face (wait... well, maybe we haven't answered that one yet). Sure, when you ask things about the nature of the human soul, or the true origin of all reality, you come up with blanks, but pretty much all of those other big questions have fairly definitive answers.
I think Sam Harris pretty much said it best when he said that Religion is essentially a failed science.

But... all of this get's back to "burdon of proof". But that only matters if you are setting out to prove something, specifically to others. I believe the faith is about constructing a personal worldview for oneself, not about proving to others that your worldview is correct, or inline with theirs. When you get rid of the burdon of proof, there's nothing wrong with personally believing anything, no matter how outrageous or irrational it is. I would argue that a schizophrenic person isn't crazy because he's seeing things that aren't there, they are crazy because they are externally reacting to them and desperately trying to convince other people that they ARE there.
I have no qualms against people establishing their own personal realities but I won't in anyway consider them valid realities that is essentially concurrent with objective reality (IE: verifiable). Of course you could say objective reality can only be measured with respect to accrued human knowledge thus making it possible that things that we can't verify maybe still exist. However, I personally think that ones  worldview should be congruous with what is verifiable and avoid as many uninformed decisions as possible. One should continuously refine their worldview so that they maintain a state of objectivity.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 09:38:13 PM by xXMelancholiaXx » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2010, 09:49:57 PM »

This topic has too much objectivity and not enough poetry. :(

Religion sometimes falls into that part of life under which I file similes, metaphors and analogies. It isn't necessarily accurate (or logically possible) in effect but hey, it works. At least it works for me. I'm leaning towards Prime Mover's internalize/externalize perception.

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« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2010, 10:02:49 PM »

“Recklessness is what makes experimental art beautiful, just as religions are beautiful because of the strong possibility that they are founded on nothing.” --John Ashbery


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« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2010, 10:30:18 PM »

Hey PM? Remember that post in the FFV thread where I was like "this is why I've been avoiding the forums lately?"

Yeah nevermind.

This thread is totally awesome. Thoughtful, level-headed people talking about stuff in a way that, at least marginally, makes sense to all parties, regardless of their faith (or non-faith) persuasion ... very surprising and very rare.

Thanks for helping me smile today.
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Tomara
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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2010, 04:04:21 AM »

Quote
This thread is totally awesome. Thoughtful, level-headed people talking about stuff in a way that, at least marginally, makes sense to all parties, regardless of their faith (or non-faith) persuasion ... very surprising and very rare.

Exactly. I'm not regilious myself and most of my friends and family aren't either, so the topic of religion rarely comes up. When I do talk to someone about religion, the other other party is usually on an end of the spectrum, either a 'regilious people are crazy and should be locked up for their own protection'-athiest or a 'you're going to hell if you don't hate gays' kind of religious person. Or, you know, this type (yeah, I watch ANTM...). It's nice to hear other opinions and theories.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2010, 02:29:00 PM »

Well, I'll admit, I've always personally been a little weary of religious people, but I've always hated myself for that. Some of my close friends are devoutly religious, and my mother became a Christian (though still progressive) when I was in high school. So I decided about 15 years back to put my fears aside, and really try to be open about it. And for the most part, I've found that I have been able to come to terms with other's views. I still can't justify very right-wing Christians, it really made me feel sad and a little weird when I realized one of my good friends was voting for Joe Miller, a really creepy Tea Party candidate, because she agreed with socially conservative values. That's the kind of stuff that's very hard for me to deal with. I really try to seek out religious people who are socially liberal, and open to other ideas. It used to be a very progressive religion, and still is for some people, but up here where I live, more often than not, someone who identifies themselves as Christian is pretty hard core.

My only concern about this thread is that I worry that it's becoming an atheist love-in. I'd like to hear from some religious people, and hear their views on these topics.
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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2010, 06:06:16 PM »

My only concern about this thread is that I worry that it's becoming an atheist love-in. I'd like to hear from some religious people, and hear their views on these topics.

Sure thing.  I could be called "religious."  Even more, I could be called "fundamentalist."  I'm a bit weary of labels but my viewpoint is really summed up in that I believe that man is fallen and Jesus was punished on the cross for the sins of those who accept His sacrifice.  I believe He literally rose from the dead on Sunday morning as evidence of His own deity and I believe the Bible accurately prophesied this and accurately recorded this as it's the Word of God penned by human authors.  This includes rules that are not considered "progressive" such as homosexuality being a damnable, but not a special, sin.  I believe God views all sin (from rape to lust) simply as rebellion that if not laid at the foot of the cross He'll release us into a conscious, eternal place separate from Him.  I'm pretty much as far "right" as you can get (especially in a gamer community such as RPGFan).  I don't say this to sound preachy or offensive but simply to articulate and identify where I'm coming from in the broader spectrum of who is posting in the thread.  If I do come off as such, I apologize right now.  It wasn't in my intention to do so.

So anyways, I would agree with you.  Most "religious" media is hyper-sentimental and lacks any intellectual substance.  Whenever I find real meaty Christian entertainment I flock to it.  So far, most of it's pretty old stuff.  A lot of good Christian art has gone the wayside since its glory days.

Quote from: Prime Mover
Believe in whatever God means to you, and believe that man is somehow special to him and to you. That is faith, and it gets to the heart of what should be important about religion. This whole practice of trying to prove ones faith through the scientific method (or a bastardized version of it), simply exposes the weakness of one's faith.

Pretty postmodern stuff here, I see.  I'll agree with you only so far: Say I hold two closed hands in front of you and tell you there's a penny in one of them. You could passionately insist it's in my left hand and have the blindest faith possible.  Perhaps you have a fear of right hands, hah.  Either way, the very concept of a penny in the left hand "works" for you.  You could even somehow argue the point that the best chance is it lies in my left hand.  You could shout it off the rooftops and go door to door proclaiming the "Left Hand Path."

Now we would both agree that's completely ridiculous because of the stakes.  Why waste your life if it's only for the sake of "being right"? Let's switch around some variables.  I can destroy your faith by opening up my hand and showing you fact.  Perhaps there's no penny at all or a penny in each.  Perhaps (at the risk of grouping myself with the over-sentimental religious types) there's a detonator in my hand that will explode some plastic explosives killing both of us.  Or a blank check that could set you and your family for life.  Ultimately, what if I gave you a list of all possible objects that could be in my hand before I asked you guess.  Now I'm assuming you're a level headed person so you probably wouldn't fall into the earlier scenario with only the penny, but I can guarantee you would be far more concerned with what objectively was hidden in each hand.

I'm not intending for this to be some grand, perfect picture that legitimizes some of the atrocities Christians have committed trying to "spread" the Gospel, far from it.  What I think that should be considered is that not all beliefs (no matter how sincere or innocent) can work out in the end.  You wouldn't tell me that the identity of the hidden object doesn't matter as long as it "works" for the chooser.  It's life or death on the line here, heh!  For people who feel strongly convicted in some way, they simply want others to not fall into what they believe is destruction.  I'll give you there are some arrogant folks out there who simply feel more comfortable in their own faith if it's the majority one but we can't discount those honestly seeking to spread their own faith.

Quote
I'm an atheist, but I'm not afraid of faith. Faith, in it's purist form, is the child-like wonder that we all have that explores the uncertainty of things, and comes up with answers. Deep down, I don't believe in God, that is my faith. I've stopped trying to prove that God doesn't exist, because I don't think that's important to anyone but me. If someone brought diffinitive proof of God to me, I would probably examine it, and go on believing as I do, because it works for me.

What about Scrooge?  IF, somehow, you were shown everything I believe to be true is actually true you wouldn't shift your lifestyle?  I'm not trying to say that because Heaven or Hell might exist that it should be believed in (Pascal's Wager) but that because the possibility does exist the choice of one's faith is the most crucial life decision possible and should not be decided based on how it makes them feel.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2010, 06:09:51 PM by Alexander » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2010, 08:27:54 PM »

*pokes the topic with a 10 foot pole then leaves*
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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2010, 12:27:33 AM »

Quote
tick tract.

Do you mean Chick Tract?
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