Is Religion Passe’?

39 thoughts on “Is Religion Passe’?

  1. Hi, Gary, listened to the entire video. 🙂 This is a sincere question/observation. I cannot understand how science and rationality alone can provide an objective base for morality or intrinsic human worth. IMO, this can easily be proven false.

    I’m totally on board with the promotion of humanism, though.

    But, I feel this can be all the more strengthened by Christian faith, not negated by it. And, we can have the proper use of science and reason as well.

    Hey, it’s a win, win situation, IMO. Eating your cake and having it too.

    And, we don’t have to stamp down this inner sense, a knowing most people have that there is indeed something or someone greater than ourselves.

    So, what do you say?

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    1. Abandon your superstitions, Becky. ALL superstitions are dangerous. Superstitions cause intelligent sane people to believe and do things that normally only the mentally disturbed would believe and do.

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        1. Thank you, Becky. I am perfectly aware of what Christian Humanism is. I asked why you consider humanism is strengthened by Christianity.
          Can you please give specific details.

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  2. Gary, I firmly believe that “religious” people who are out there doing crazy and destructive things have underlying mental health problems/vulnerabilities or personality disorders that have become conflated with faith.

    For instance, I don’t think that any sane, healthy and balanced person is heading out to commit murder because they “heard from God.”

    I also think that plenty of the conflicts in the world which seem to be rooted in just “religion”: are even more deeply rooted in a tribal and ethnic rivalry of which religious difference also happens to play a part.

    To my mind, religious faith can be either healthy or destructive depending upon its source and object.

    I also think there are personality types that are more prone to extreme and rigid belief systems. But, this would be true if they happened to be religious or not.

    Christian humanists are not the bad guys, here. Our beliefs are life-giving, not dangerous.

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    1. Your “loving” superstitions give respectable cover for belief in other superstitions, including dangerous and deadly superstitions.

      Abandon all superstitions, Becky. Do it for humankind.

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      1. Gary, I cannot make this connection. Why do we reason so differently in this area? I’m struggling to understand it.

        How does my faith in the intrinsic value and worth of all humans made in the image of God give cover to the Islamic Jihadis? It is the antithesis of this.

        On the other hand, as I’ve said, great evil can be done in the name of science. People can suppose they are behaving rationally when they make plans to detonate the atomic bomb against an enemy for the “greater good.” The leaders of the former Soviet Union thought that the “end justified the means,” when multitudes of people were murdered. This seemed very rational to them. NIhilism can appear rational to some people who are non-theists.

        Some nontheists feel that to suppose humans have greater intrinsic worth than any mammal is considered a form of specism. This is particularly true if the human happens to be disabled in some way. They all feel this is based in science and rational thinking.

        At the very least, instead of focusing on attacking all forms of religious faith as being equally evil, we should be looking for ways to find common ground together and promoting humanism, advocating for human rights.

        Gary, I guess I have to let go of this conversation.

        I”m filled with sorrow. I’m just done.

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        1. No. You are not done, Becky. You will be back, once again pushing belief in your imaginary friend.

          You have been “done” many, many times before. None of us are buying that THIS will be the time that you stop your efforts at evangelism.

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          1. Friend, it seems to me that all forms of authoritarian extremism have the potential to produce bad fruit whether religious or utterly non religious in origin. You have to admit that we have been talking in circles and that it’s probably best to step back from the conversation. I wish you well Gary.

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        2. No,Becky, you were ”done”, the moment you appealed to your god-man for forgiveness because you are such a dreadful, vile sinner.
          I have little doubt we shall see you come creeping back once more, trying to insinuate your apologetic two – step drivel.
          I simply can’t fathom how blind ignorant you are, but then I have to remind myself that you are the epitome of one who is indoctrinated.

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          1. “Creeping”, this doesn’t sound very positive. Neither does blind, ignorant, vile or dreadful. What is wrong Ark? Have I upset or offended you in some way? I certainly don’t have this image of myself as vile, I can tell you that. Ark, I just feel as if we are going around in circles together . What more can be said. Sometimes it’s better to withdraw than to become caught up in endless debate and argumentation that leads to greater division and potential animosity. That’s how I’m feeling right now anyway. Ark, I have nothing personally against you at all, and hope I have never come across as hurtful or disrespectful. If so , you can be certain this was never my deliberate intention. I’ll give you the last word and just listen. Ok?

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            1. According to dogma, all Christians are sinners.
              According to similar dogma, all people are responsible for the supposed death of the character Jesus of Nazareth.
              Which sounds vile to me.
              Of course you haven’t offended me, Becky.
              As frustrating as you usually are your nonsense is often amusing.
              You keep coming back so one can only presume you feel you have something to offer?
              However, if you have any integrity you would be honest enough to acknowledge that you never respond directly to questions asked of you.
              For example: I have asked the same question twice regarding humanism and you have failed/refused to answer.
              You constantly behave in a disingenuous manner and when called out you whine and then say something along the lines of : ”I’ll give you the last word and just listen.”
              And usually in the next post you are back with your simpering silly little comments.

              Yes, you are either ignorant or a fraud … or both.

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            2. Becky: Please give us actual evidence for your beliefs so that we can debate them or please don’t comment. Repeatedly begging us to accept and condone your more liberal version of the Christian superstition is annoying and insulting. You are never going to get our approval so please put up or shut up.

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              1. Gary, the comment to Ark was my last. As you request, I will “shut up.” I have no additional evidence to present beyond which you have already explored and studied. At least, not that I know. You could read some stuff by Dr. Bruce Metzger. He was orthodox in the faith, and arguably one of the greatest NT scholars of the 20th. century. Metzger was Ehrmans mentor at Princeton.
                I stand by my comments, Gary. What I shared was from the heart and I think important to consider.

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  3. Becky, I can’t understand how belief in a god makes morality objective. Just take a look at how different moral beliefs are among the religions that believe in a god. Just take a look at the moral beliefs among the different Christianities and see how different each morality is. How did you objectively conclude which god morality to follow?

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  4. Ark, I left you a link specifically targeting Christian humanism centered in the ethic of Jesus. It was very detailed to my mind, not speaking of just humanism in general. Maybe I missed the boat, but I can’t see how I could have responded with any greater detail or clarity. The ethic and example of Jesus strengthens our commitment to human rights and dignity. But, it’s more detailed than that. Check out the link Ark.

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  5. Ark, aren’t human rights and dignity an essential component of humanism? Jesus was all about teaching love of ones neighbor as well as care for even enemies. He reached out to societal outcasts and elevated the status of women in his time. Many of the early Christian humanists also stressed reason and the importance of science, feeling that a creator designed the universe with rational laws which could be explored and discovered.

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    1. To correct your comment. You have asserted the adoption/integration of Christianity would strength humanism.
      Furthermore, where, specifically, did the biblical character Jesus stress human rights?
      Jesus in his Yahweh form liquidated the entire human population save for one incestuous family. He was also an advocate of slavery, and following Jesus/Yahweh’s example Christians were one of the foremost proponents of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which eventually resulted in the American Civil War causing the greatest amount of American war dead in its history.

      Some of the doctrine espoused by notable Christians – Luther and Chrysostom come to mind – has been the major catalyst for antisemitism throughout the christian era and Luther’s comments in particular played a part in numerous pogroms and of course the Holocaust

      In the name of Christianity its followers were largely responsible for the genocide of Native American Indians – North and South America. – one of, if not the worst genocides in human history.

      And of course there is all the internecine fighting/wars throughout history and of course the Crusades and the Inquisition.

      One could fill an entire volume of the vile things directly attributed to ”championing” Christianity, so perhaps you would like to reconsider and for once in your life exercise some genuine critical thinking.

      Regards
      Ark.

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  6. Ark, how does this fit in with the command of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves as well as the other positive things that I’ve shared? Might there be other personal and cultural forces at work which became conflated with Christian faith? Ark, we are not going to resolve all this on a blog. I notice that there is never a post that does not involve some type of negative comment against the person involved in discussion with you. There is something deeper behind this I’m sure. We are not going to be able to untangle this here. You and I have a vastly different perception of Christian faith, no doubt of that. And, what we define and interpret as sufficient evidence is also very different.

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    1. Again, you simply refuse to address my comment but side step the issues raised.
      Truly you are on of the most disingenuous individuals I have dialogued with on the internet.
      There is a level of arrogance that accompanies your simpering apologetic drivel that leaves me shaking my head in incredulity.

      I’d give you full marks for persistence if it wasn’t for the distinct possibility that you are either doing this simply for a wind up or your are mentally unstable.
      If you consider you are the genuine article, perhaps you’d like to share with us the reason you became a Christian so we can get a handle on how you think?

      Oh, and no, there is nothing ”deeper behind this I’m sure.”
      I merely think religion is nonsense for people who allow themselves to be stupid or worse.

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  7. Ark, I feel strongly that the ethic of Jesus strengthens humanism and many positive examples of this could be shared from the history of the West. Were there abuses? Of course, this reflects flawed human nature. People are also powerfully impacted by self interest and their own culture. For instance, there was a time in history when the perfectly accepted way of obtaining wealth and land was through conquest. This idea, say in the form of Manifest Destiny, sadly became conflated with Christian faith. You asked me about my conversion, Ark. For me, it was a process over time which did not involve trauma, more honest questioning and seeking. All in all fairly uneventful.

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    1. Ark, I feel strongly that the ethic of Jesus strengthens humanism

      As demonstrated by all the ”wonderful” things done in the name of Christianity – as I listed above.

      And remember, Jesus in his Yahweh form was nothing but a genocidal maniac.
      If we also add in the punishment meted out for not believing on your god man then it can definitely be said that Christianity adds nothing to humanism.

      Becky, you are not only a misguided idiot but also a damn liar.

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    2. this reflects flawed human nature

      Flawed human nature? Who says it’s “flawed”? It’s human nature; i.e., Human nature is a bundle of characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting, which humans are said to have naturally. The term is often regarded as capturing what it is to be human, or the essence of humanity. The term is controversial because it is disputed whether or not such an essence exists.

      I’m sorry, Becky, but the ONLY people who believe we are “flawed” are religious individuals like yourself who have been convinced by the contents of a several thousand year old book that a couple of imaginary people who lived in an imaginary garden disobeyed an imaginary entity.

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      1. Nan, no, I”m convinced by my knowledge of human history, by observation of the world all around, and by deeply examining my own heart. I don’t need to look into the Bible.

        But, by flawed, I don’t mean vile or worthless. We are immensely valuable, made in the image and likeness of God. But, yet, flawed at the same time. I feel that it is our destiny to reflect the love of Christ, to be perfected in love. We can make progress in this life, but we can’t do it totally on our own. All in some measure fall short. Am I stressing out over this, no.

        I feel that when people are found in Christ, they become more free, even more, human in a sense. This is really the center of the atonement of Christ. It is about healing and reconciliation.

        The story of Adam and Eve is myth, but it also reflects deep truth that can be apprehended by people today as well as by people of ancient times. The center of the story is that being made in the image and likeness of God we were granted free will. But, at some point in our pre-history, individually and collectively we chose to go our own way rather than God’s way. We became alienated and divided from God and from each other.

        Nan, we don’t have to look past the blogosphere, here. People can be extremely unkind and rejecting toward one another, probably, almost without even being aware of the depth of it.

        And, this is true in my own life. If I examine myself deeply, I can see that even my best motives are mixed.

        Again, does this mean, I feel “worthless” or down on myself? No, not at all. We are all also capable of great goodness and beauty. There is a paradox.

        But, I think when someone has a realistic view of human nature, they become actually wiser, perhaps less likely to blame others for problems and issues which in reality may stem from their own actions. Also, they are able to see the world in a deeper, more complex way, not supposing that for instance, religion, itself is to blame for all the problems and ills in the world.

        That is the Christian story in a nutshell. We are made co-laborers with God to bring healing and reconciliation to the whole creation. The universe reflects deeper meaning and purpose. Science and reason are gifts from God to be used, among other things, to understand the workings of the physical world, to make things better.

        To me, it’s all good, Nan.

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          1. Gary, I feel like I’m never getting off your blog. One response leads to another.

            I don’t think Jesus does physically live in my body in this way. For me, the indwelling of Christ, is a metaphor to describe the reality of God’s presence in our lives. But, it’s not something that can be conceptualized or fully explained in human terms. It is a subjective, intuitive knowing that cannot be proven to another person. How could it be, if they are not acknowledging or experiencing this?

            I know you think this is a cop out, Gary. But, I don’t know any better way to explain this. But, what about you? Once you were a committed Christian believer. Did you ever experience what you felt was the presence of God in your life? How would you have explained this, and then what happened to so very strongly convince you that this was a bunch of BS? Do you truly believe that you were delusional, in the same way as an emotionally disturbed child with an imaginary friend, or something like that?

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              1. Whoa, this is definitely getting above my paygrade.

                Gary, I think Jesus is present with God the Father. This involves the mystery of the reality of God as trinity which no human can fully conceptualize. We understand more through analogy and imperfect metaphor. Where is Jesus’s spirit? I feel in general God is both immanent and transcendent in the creation. “It is in Him that we live and move and have our being.”

                One thing I can tell you is that I don’t have this view of a physical Jesus living inside my literal heart/body.

                But, when you were a Christian how would you answer this question? It’s definitely something to consider more deeply.

                Gary, I just want to say that I know you think I’ve only hung out to evangelize. Sure, that’s part of it. I want to share my perspective and faith. But, it’s more than that. I’m genuinely open to hear other people’s thoughts and ideas and to consider and interact with that. I feel it’s how people draw closer and come to truth together. Sometimes, if I see I’m mistaken, I’ll alter my thinking. For me, this hasn’t led away from Christian faith into atheism, but it’s deepened and helped me to refine my faith.

                I can honestly tell you that I don’t feel threatened or get angry because people disagree with me. I understand how and why people can question and have different perspectives. Like I said before to varying degrees, “We all see through a glass darkly.”

                Anyway, I have appreciated sharing with everyone here, and your patience. I have been banned from a couple of other blogs, and you never did that. Hey, I’ll even miss Ark. 🙂 I will.

                So, I am absolutely out of here, no matter what. 🙂

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                  1. (((Ark)) you know you’re gonna miss me. 🙂 Don’t lie. If my husband and I are ever in your neck of the world, we’ll be sure to drop by. LOL Take care.

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  8. Hi, Joseph, how are you? Gary, I know it doesn’t look like it, but I”m really trying to get off this blog. LOL Ok, I can see your point, Joseph.

    I’m thinking in terms of the Judeo-Christian ethic in general which I think undergirds our thinking in the West, Namely, the intrinsic value and worth of all human life created in the image and likeness of God, the value of the individual, and even the love of one’s neighbor as ourselves. I truly do not feel that it is possible to come to this foundation simply through science and rationality alone.

    To me, right now , this foundation pervades our culture. We don’t always live up to it, but it is our ideal. I don’t know if it will continue to do or be so in generations to come if the philosophical underpinning of it is completely removed .

    How did I come to this moral and ethical foundation? Well, in all fairness, it’s part of my culture. Also, in a nutshell, I became persuaded of the existence of a creator, and of the truth of the apostolic witness of Jesus Christ which further strengthens my conviction.

    My undergraduate major was cultural anthro. focused in comparative religion. I will say that among the major world religions, a great deal of common ground can be found based in morality, but sometimes not.

    Hope this answers your question, Joseph. Time will tell if my concern, and that of others are valid.

    The problem is guys, this and other issues could be debated forever, couldn’t they? Books have been written. In fairness to Gary, I think I need to go.

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    1. Thanks Becky for the attempt. Many cultures outside of the “Western Culture” have some form of the golden rule and value human beings. Christian theologies do not even agree on what it means to be made in the image of god. You still have not shown how Christian ethics is objective considering how Christians can’t agree on what acts are moral and what acts are not. It sounds like you are as subjective as anyone else.

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