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"The effort to build a sustainable world could advance dramatically if religious people and institutions, on one hand, and environmentalists and advocates of sustainable development, on the other, were to embrace each other's central concerns. But to do so, the longstanding distrust between the two communities would need to be overcome.
The two groups share important interests. Each looks at the world from a moral perspective; Each views nature as having value that surpasses economics; and each opposes excessive consumption. They also have complementary strengths. Advocates of sustainability are strongly rooted in science, and have a concrete vision for sustainability. Religious traditions enjoy a moral authority and broad grassroots presence that puts them in a powerful position to shape the worldviews and lifestyles of billions of people."

Invoking the Spirit
Religion and spirituality in the quest for a sustainable world
Gary Gardner
This is the first little section of an assigned reading in one of my classes.
I felt compelled to share it with you all. I want to hear your opinions. Mine are below, but don't let my opinion sway yours!

 

First off, I'll mention that I'm an agnostic, and atheist if we are considering a conventional idea of God as an entity or deity. I study International Development and Geography (simplified, environmentally sustainable human development is my thing). My first reaction to reading this was to pause and say "Huh, I hadn't thought of that before."
Note: My use of the word 'organized' as it appears below is intentional. I have no problem with theism or believing in a God, although I find it impractical for myself. My issue is with the institution and the brainwashing and hypocrisy that takes place in religion, but not theism - Two different issues. You can believe in God and have no religion.

Then, I began to think critically about it.
For one, I disagree completely that religion believes nature to be more valuable than economics.
Not dis-similarly, most religions oppose excessive consumption (gluttony) on a superficial value but do not heed by this doctrine, particularly on an institutional level.
One has only to consider the millions of dollars poured into the Catholic church - One visit to the Vatican City to see the tonnes upon tonnes of towering pedestals, vast floor tiles or engulfing bath tubs made of cottanello antico (one of the rarest and most valuable stones on earth, much of it was stolen by the Roman Catholics from Egypt and other middle eastern & Mediterranean regions during their rule), and it becomes clear that over-indulgence and environmental exploitation is in fact a staple of most religions. Even the more modest religions such as buddhism have ornate temples saturated with gold and precious stones. All of the major organized religions have this, whether it is Hinduism or Islam or Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism or anything else I am missing. Excessive consumption is a defining feature of organized religion, and in fact it is one of a very long list of reasons I feel that organized religion itself is quite evil.
So there's one thing - Any opposition to gluttony on the part of religion is purely superficial.
The other thing is the statement that religion believes nature to be more valuable than economics. Again, similar evidence as cited above. The mass amount of environmental destruction simply for the sake of having valuable or luxurious goods is very strong evidence that religion values luxury more than nature, and since luxury is a byproduct of economics, the assertion made by the author here can not be true.
That being said,
Human rights has a firm place in my heart, and as much as I value the environment and the scientific method, I also value diversity. Religion leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, and on a moral level I am opposed to it in every regard, but even I have to admit that humankind without religion would be rather monotone. Culture is important, but culture is flexible - American culture today is not what it was in the 1920's, or the 1800's, nor is any other culture. There are world regions that have become largely secular and maintained a strong cultural identity, however - Japan and Korea come to mind as examples. I'm really not sure whether I feel religion should fizzle out and die, or whether it should stay because its one and only value in my eyes (bringing diversity) is valuable enough to merit staying...
One way or another, I can not argue with the fact that religion is here now, and it does have the sort of power to influence and move people in exactly the way that the author is describing. I feel that using this as a tool to inspire sustainable development is promoting sustainability for all of the wrong reasons, but then that brings up a whole other round of debate. Is it still a good deed if it's only being done to avoid punishment or gain something personally? Is the fear of God a good reason to be a good person? Do you need a reason? Does having a reason negate the concept of altruism, and thus, make you not really a good person, but a selfish one? And is the purpose or intention behind the deed even relevant at all, or is the bottom line that good deeds are being done?
BASICALLY,
This one little section really threw my moral compass for a new and interesting loop. It has simultaneously pitted some of my core values against each other while encouraging them to cooperate, with some pretty logical evidence for why exactly they should. I certainly favor the scientific side of things, but the argument for the cooperation of the two is actually pretty compelling if you're looking at it from a "get-shit-done" point of view. It's delicious food for thought, so I thought I would share it with my fellow ponderers.
 

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Environmentalism is a kind of religion, and there is no concrete model of stability. So to act like it is firmly rooted in science is nonsense. There are many different projections on population for example, they change by the month.

Another problem is the universal definition of religion you use. Many religions, such as Islam, Christianity and Buddhism heavily shun monetary gain, but there are others who do not. This question is too vague since religions differ so much.

Nobody is good because it is inherent. People are good because there are consequences otherwise. That is why government has to exist. As one of our founding fathers said, if men were angels, there would be no need for government. That is why anarchy cannot work. The wide range of moralities across the globe is also evidence that there is no universal morality, and it is largely cultural. Just think of how much morality differed even 200 years ago. You could kill a black guy or an Arab in most Western countries and nobody would give a fuck. Morality changes with each generation drastically. Totally culture driven.

Religion is necessary for hope. There is nothing wrong with its organization. It has a great moral base, it provides charity and offers a community to others, and offers a higher purpose. You know why man is the only creature with a God? Because we are the only one who needs one. We need something to aspire to. We need grace. All other animals are beneath us. We are the highest minds of the planet, we know what it is like to look down. We need a place to look up. We have plenty of creatures to look down upon, but none to aspire to be. God is our highest potential. The concept gives us a higher being to become.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@FearAndTrembling

I'll preface this by saying thank you for your response and I value your opinion and your right to have one.
I'm about to disagree with you in every regard and it is absolutely nothing personal - This is just a discussion.
First off, environmentalism is not a religion. Religion concerns the cause of life, of the universe, of mankind. Environmentalism does not seek to address this issue, only to cope and adapt to natural challenges we face on Earth today. It is a set of ideas and "rules to live by", but that does not make it a religion by any stretch of the imagination.

Your first statement, I'm not sure what it is that you are trying to convey.
There are concrete models of stability. Numbers, in fact.
10 parts per million is the maximum allowable level for nitrates as they pertain to human consumption.
Earth's maximum temperatures almost never stray past -40C at the lowest and +40C at the highest - The temperature this planet is at is just right for supporting life, and straying even a small amount from there can have drastic impacts, such as increasing ocean acidity, which literally eats away at calcium-reliant life forms (anything with a shell) and causes mass die-offs of important microorganisms.
A healthy stream has a balanced equation - Qs d50 α QS (where Qs is sediment discharge, D is the particle size, Q is the discharge and S is the slope). There are bifurcation ratios and patterns and mathematical laws that pretty much every environmental system follows. They are quite measurable - There is a very concrete model of stability.

As far as projections go, the variability of projections really has little to do with scientific involvement.
There are a number of external influences that can cause those projections to vary quite drastically.
What kind of bias do the samplers have? Is the sample representative? How small or large is it compared to all others? Is it a liberal or conservative projection? What data are they using to come to that conclusion, and is it really comparable to the data being used by opposing projections?
They all may be scientifically accurate in their own right. It is impossible to know the exact number of people who would be on earth 30 years from now - It's illogical to assume that math or science could ever pin it down so finely. It is possible, however, to get a range of possibilities, which would be the mean of all of the different projections and estimates you speak of.
For the record, science also changes by the month - By the day even. It's still science. It's the art of discovery. Whether it changes or not is irrelevant - Change is the
purpose of science, so if we ceased to adapt our projections or facts according to new information as it becomes available, we would have never gotten as far as we have now, as humans.

Although I agree that government has to exist, there is a bit of a flaw in your argument.
The government came to exist by virtue of humans creating it. Humans only become more peaceful as we advance as civilizations. We may have access to more information, so it seems as though we become more violent, but in actual fact, we are more "good" now than we have ever been, and we get better every day.
Part of this is due to institutions and structures that have been implemented, such as governments, who attempt to keep order. But, the fact that governments ever resulted from humans at all is indication to me that humans are good
independently of government.
It was the goodness in humans that caused us to
create governments and systems to maintain peace and order. People came first - We designed the order that the government was intended to maintain. We wanted peace and order because we have the capacity for empathy - We do not like to feel pain, and we typically feel badly when we learn of others struggles as well, if we are able to relate in any way.
You are right that there is no universal morality, as morality as a concept is a human construct. But, there is empathy, and that exists in humans independently both of government and of religion. It's a survival mechanism - Humans with empathy were better able to cooperate, and humans who cooperated were more successful and capable of carrying on their genetic vehicles. It's natural selection. All humans have it. Good evidence? You wince when you see something painful happen to somebody else - Your mind has caused you to react physically, despite that you were not the subject of the pain.
The boundaries of that empathy are what is variable. And yes, it is culture driven, but as previously stated by both you and I, culture can change, and change in culture usually is a result of exposure to different cultures, and conflict/cooperation between opposing sides.
That's why we are becoming more peaceful - As people from different religions and ethnic backgrounds and countries are forced to cooperate with different people and institutions, tolerance develops. Tolerance and acceptance are the reasons it is no longer socially acceptable to "kill a black guy in most Western countries". Prolonged exposure between these two groups has unveiled similarities and differences. In the end, we are all human, and in the end, we all come to realize this, but it is an ongoing process which humankind is still currently a part of.

Religion is not necessary for hope. I can't say it any other way. Atheists have hope. People who are religious have hope independent of their religious followings, too. People who believe in God but not a religion have hope. I hope that my fellow humans will wake up and realize that they have the power to do something about serious world issues, if they would only try. I hope it's sunny out tomorrow. I hope I get to go to Thailand next year. I hope I will be remembered as a good person. I am not, in any way, religious. To insinuate that religion is necessary for hope is dehumanizing and offensive to anyone who is not involved with religion.
If you're referring to "hope" as in "hope of the afterlife" or "hope of resurrection" or "hope of some other religious fable" then yes, absolutely it is necessary.
But, religious institutions are the only reason that any human has ever felt the need for religion. It's a part of their indoctrination strategy. People feel like they need a God, so they turn to one. It's the same way people see an infomercial and think they need a ShamWow, so they go buy one. They don't need it. Maybe they like it now that they have it, but they never needed it. Religion was invented as a means of mass control - An early form of government.
To me, "God" as it is described in any existing religious text just does not fit in with my value system and it does not logically add up for me. If it does for you, great, idgaf, but respect the fact that a lot of people do not need or want the same things that you do. The fact that you and many others feel like you want (not need) a God does not make it a universal human trait.

As far as the charity that religions provide, coming from an IDST background I can say for absolute certain that religion is only ever destructive. Culturally, more than anything.
Missionary trips are the classic example of that - A bunch of white western males traveling overseas with their evangelical zeal who dedicate their lives to "teaching the savages", which actually just means eradicating their entire culture, previous religion, social customs, and replacing it with their own Christian ones, which they feel for some reason are superior, even though they were almost certainly more brutal, less cooperative and more hierarchical.

Really, the fact that you said all other animals are beneath us makes me fume, but it's only evidence of everything I stated in my original post. Your religious following has led you to believe that you as a human are superior to other life forms. That is literally the opposite of everything that sustainability stands for. You don't know what the life force that is driving you is. Nobody does. Whatever that life force is, it is the same one that brings life to earth worms and poppies and elephants and eagles and diatoms and phytoplankton. As far as inherent value goes, we do nothing good for Earth - We rob it. We destroy it simply by virtue of living on it. If anything, by that standard, we are less valuable to the planet as a functioning ecosystem, because all that we contribute is offset by the massive detrimental impact that we have. Unfortunately, those following organized religion use humans as the baseline for value judgement rather than the planet body that has given us life in the first place, and the only exception to that rule that comes to mind is indigenous American religious followings, where the planet itself is treated as a deity.
So, thank you for making my point for me.
 

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Man, I really hate long posts on message boards. I appreciate the time you put in, but if you can't put your thoughts in a few short paragraphs, you lose me. I'm not gonna sit here and rebut you sentence by sentence, so please clarify and streamline your position. I will simply respond to the points that catch my interest as I skim through that mess....so here we go:

First and foremost, the thing that first catches my eye is your definition and purpose of religion. You say:

Religion concerns the cause of life, of the universe, of mankind. Environmentalism does not seek to address this issue, only to cope and adapt to natural challenges we face on Earth today. It is a set of ideas and "rules to live by", but that does not make it a religion by any stretch of the imagination.
You couldn't be more wrong. The main function of religion is precisely to give purpose to life, not to explain unknown phenomenon. People aren't religious because they need God as an explanation as to why the planets turn, that may have been true along time ago, but it is longer the case. Religion provides purpose to man's existence to the universe. It puts him in a larger framework. Jung has made many observations about religion - none of them bad- but I want to share with you a couple that really sum up to, to me, what god/religion is:

"Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore the equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable--perhaps everything."

^^ God is powerful precisely because it provides meaning to the meaningless. When you see somebody get shot on the news for example, or endure some tragedy, you often see the families/victims interviewed. What do these victims often say? They often mention God, how God is helping them through this, it is God's plan, etc. That is the real purpose of God/religion, to get us through times like that. That kind of meaning makes anything endurable. Jung described God as a "indestructible optimism". And that is God's true role, not to explain how light bounces off walls. Man can survive being ignorant, man cannot survive a meaningless existence. God gives man meaning, it is not just a reaction to ignorance/filling in the gaps.

Jung put it this way:

We regard the personal complexes as compensations for one-sided or faulty attitudes of consciousness; in the same way, myths of a religious nature can be interpreted as a sort of mental therapy for the sufferings and anxieties of mankind in general-hunger, war, disease, old age, death.

If we try to see such a situation with the eyes of the believer, we can perhaps understand how the ordinary man can be liberated from his personal impotence and misery and endowed (at least temporarily) with an almost superhuman quality. Often enough such a conviction will sustain him for a long time and give a certain style to his life.

It is commonly assumed that on some given occasion in prehistoric times, the basic mythological ideas were "invented" by a clever old philosopher or prophet, and ever afterward "believed" by a credulous and uncritical people. It is said that stories told by a power-seeking priesthood are not "true," but merely "wishful thinking." But the very word "invent" is derived from the Latin in venire, and means to "find" and hence to find something by "seeking" it. In the latter case the word itself hints at some foreknowledge of what you are going to find.


Goethe's Faust aptly says: "lm Anfang war die Tat [In the beginning was the deed]." "Deeds" were never invented, they were done; thoughts, on the other hand, are a relatively late discovery of man. First he was moved to deeds by unconscious factors; it was only a long time afterward that he began to reflect upon the causes that had moved him; and it took him a very long time indeed to arrive at the preposterous idea that he must have moved himself his mind being unable to identify any other motivating force than his own.

These inner motives spring from a deep source that is not made by consciousness and is not under its control. The one thing we refuse to admit is that we are dependent upon "powers" that are beyond our control.

It is true, however, that in recent times civilized man has acquired a certain amount of will power, which he can apply where he pleases. He has learned to do his work efficiently without having recourse to chanting and drumming to hypnotize him into the state of doing. He can even dispense with a daily prayer for divine aid. He can carry out what he proposes to do, and he can apparently translate his ideas into action without a hitch, whereas the primitive seems to be hampered at each step by fears, superstitions, and other unseen obstacles to action. The motto "Where there's a will, there's a way" is the superstition of modern man. Yet in order to sustain his creed. contemporary man pays the price in a remarkable lack of introspection. He is blind to the fact that, with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by "powers" that are beyond his control. His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names.

A man likes to believe that he is the master of his soul. But as long as he is unable to control his moods and emotions, or to be conscious of the myriad secret ways in which unconscious factor's insinuate themselves into his arrangements and decisions, he is certainly not his own master.


Jung himself said there is not any psychological problem he has encountered that could not be helped by a religious lifestyle. And why is that? Because people need purpose. Religion offers that. It offers a rallying ideology, a sense of community, of purpose.. the same way environmentalism does..

And you are absolutely absurd and filled with assumptions. I was not raised religious, nor do I believe in God. But animals are beneath us, are a lower form of life, and not something to aspire to. They are slave to their instincts. They are automatons. They have not improved their society on iota in all their time . They don't strive for any improvement, or even know what it is. That's what seperates us.
 
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. I certainly favor the scientific side of things, but the argument for the cooperation of the two is actually pretty compelling if you're looking at it from a "get-shit-done" point of view. It's delicious food for thought, so I thought I would share it with my fellow ponderers.
I'm surprised that the teacher didn't mention that a movement like this already exists, it's called religious naturalism.

Religious naturalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is a worldview/religious narrative which uses religion as an inspiring mythical narrative, but has an understanding of the universe that is based in science.

If you want to get a better perspective I highly recommend the book; Thank God For Evolution by Michael Dowd who is a Christian religious naturalist. He is a great (ENFP) advocate for religious naturalism, and (from what I've read) makes a compelling case for naturalism based religious meta narratives, that promote social cooperation and environmental concern.

Here's a vid of Michael Dowd, and from 1:50 to 7:05 he presents a concise case for religious naturalism.


I'm against traditional religion but if Michael Dowd was a preacher at a local church I'd be there every sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@strangestdude
Today was only the second day of class. We haven't gotten into any kind of the meat of the course yet, but I'm sure movements such as the one you stated will come up. I stumbled across something called "naturalistic pantheism" a while back that I found I identified with quite strongly. I don't feel much need to identify myself with any religious community, however, so I don't think I would pigeon-hole myself by labeling my perspective with such an encompassing... thing. I guess that's another of many reasons I have never felt a connection with religion.
@FearAndTrembling
I do see your point. Though, as I said, religion =/= theism - An individual can believe in God without associating themselves with a religion. Likewise, there are religions that have no designated deity, such as some strains of buddhism.
I understand that religion, although it brings a lot of pain and suffering, also has the potential to make people happy and pull them out of great crisises in their lives. There is no arguing with that - Statistics state quite explicitly that there are higher rates of depression and low life satisfaction among atheists, and it is for exactly that reason. They have no God. There is no meaning or purpose behind their suffering.
To me, I guess, I would rather face what I perceive to be the honest truth than to be happily deceived. To say that suffering has a meaning is to give it an excuse to exist. I would rather do whatever is in my power to eradicate the issues that bring me grief and distress, rather than conceding that they are a part of some divine plan. I don't think they are. And the strength to deal with circumstances that I can not change has to come from my self, from my experiences, my loved ones.
But, to say that humankind is meaningless without God? I can't agree with that. My life has meaning - It is significant to me, and what I do with my time here is of great importance. I cherish my ability to make a difference in the world, and whether or not I am a part of any kind of divine plan is irrelevant. Actually, I feel much better thinking that I have the sovereignty over my own life to create meaning for myself, rather than having some enigmatic, faceless father figure decide it all for me. The whole idea of an anthropomorphic God is very creepy and unrealistic to me.
So, I see what you're saying. But to me, I still don't think that makes God something that people need - I think it's just something that people have invented to use as a crutch for their own emotional frailty, and as a way of alleviating themselves of the guilt of inaction with regards to serious issues that make them upset. How can you ever grow as a person if you are constantly depending on someone for support, even if that is a God? You need to stand on your own two feet. Maybe it means accepting that you are a relatively insignificant drop in a very great ocean. But, why does the idea of your own tininess diminish your appreciation for the entire ocean? As Douglas Adams put it, "Isn't it enough to see that the garden is beautiful without believing that there are fairies at the bottom of it as well?"

With regards to your comments about animals, it's clear that we are not able to effectively communicate on that subject and you are completely misunderstanding the point I was trying to get across (that's what happens when you open your mouth and respond without actually reading first), meanwhile throwing lame and unsubstantiated insults, so I'm not going to bother humoring that statement with a serious response.
 

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I feel like knocking over this shitty post, so here we go:

But, religious institutions are the only reason that any human has ever felt the need for religion. It's a part of their indoctrination strategy. People feel like they need a God, so they turn to one. It's the same way people see an infomercial and think they need a ShamWow, so they go buy one. They don't need it. Maybe they like it now that they have it, but they never needed it. Religion was invented as a means of mass control - An early form of government.
To me, "God" as it is described in any existing religious text just does not fit in with my value system and it does not logically add up for me. If it does for you, great, idgaf, but respect the fact that a lot of people do not need or want the same things that you do. The fact that you and many others feel like you want (not need) a God does not make it a universal human trait.

As far as the charity that religions provide, coming from an IDST background I can say for absolute certainthat religion is only ever destructive. Culturally, more than anything.
Missionary trips are the classic example of that - A bunch of white western males traveling overseas with their evangelical zeal who dedicate their lives to "teaching the savages", which actually just means eradicating their entire culture, previous religion, social customs, and replacing it with their own Christian ones, which they feel for some reason are superior, even though they were almost certainly more brutal, less cooperative and more hierarchical.

Really, the fact that you said all other animals are beneath us makes me fume, but it's only evidence of everything I stated in my original post. Your religious following has led you to believe that you as a human are superior to other life forms. That is literally the opposite of everything that sustainability stands for. You don't know what the life force that is driving you is. Nobody does. Whatever that life force is, it is the same one that brings life to earth worms and poppies and elephants and eagles and diatoms and phytoplankton. As far as inherent value goes, we do nothing good for Earth - We rob it. We destroy it simply by virtue of living on it. If anything, by that standard, we are less valuable to the planet as a functioning ecosystem, because all that we contribute is offset by the massive detrimental impact that we have. Unfortunately, those following organized religion use humans as the baseline for value judgement rather than the planet body that has given us life in the first place, and the only exception to that rule that comes to mind is indigenous American religious followings, where the planet itself is treated as a deity.
So, thank you for making my point for me.
1. Humans invented Gods before religion. Humans had a need for Gods far before it was organized into any hierarchy. Religion/God is a human archetype that arises organically in every part of the world and culture.

As Jung explains:

It seems to have originated outside historical tradition in the long-forgotten psychic sources that, since prehistoric times, have nourished philosophical and religious speculations about life and death.

These elements, as I have previously mentioned, are what Freud called "archaic remnants"-mental forms whose presence cannot be explained by anything in the individual's own life and which seem to be aboriginal, innate, and inherited shapes of the human mind.

These manifestations are what I call the archetypes. They are without known origin; and they reproduce themselves in any time . or in any part of the world-even where transmission by direct descent or "cross fertilization" through migration must be ruled out.
Jung went so far to say that you could erase all religious knowledge and knowledge of God completely from the human memory, and a new one would simply pop up soon enough. So, wrong again, humans did indeed need religion, that is why it was invented, because the service was needed, and why it is popular.

As Jung said earlier:

It is commonly assumed that on some given occasion in prehistoric times, the basic mythological ideas were "invented" by a clever old philosopher or prophet, and ever afterward "believed" by a credulous and uncritical people. It is said that stories told by a power-seeking priesthood are not "true," but merely "wishful thinking." But the very word "invent" is derived from the Latin in venire, and means to "find" and hence to find something by "seeking" it. In the latter case the word itself hints at some foreknowledge of what you are going to find.
Religion simply gives people what they are looking for.

2. I honestly don't care about your alphabet soup designation, as it is nonsense. And religion which you see the world through. This personality designations are new age religion.

3. Religion is always destructive? Spoken like a true fanatic stuck in absolutes. How is the blood drive going on at the church down my street "destructive".

4. Oh yes, the evil white man who disrupted paradise. lol. Did you just like take every college freshman cliche, shake them around in your head, and then vomit them out randomly? The world was Eden, until the snake like white man slithered in and caused the fall. These places knew no war, everybody was equal. etc. fuckin lol. Go live in East Asia, Africa, or any part of the world if you don't like Western Civilization. Oh, I'm sure all the problems of those places you will blame on the white man too.

5. lol at us destroying the Earth. So dramatic you are. We are the best thing to ever happen to this planet. Self-loathing misanthropy is so trite, like most of your other beliefs.
 
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But, religious institutions are the only reason that any human has ever felt the need for religion. It's a part of their indoctrination strategy. People feel like they need a God, so they turn to one. It's the same way people see an infomercial and think they need a ShamWow, so they go buy one. They don't need it.
I am astonished with what arrogance some atheists try to indoctrinate people the same way some religious institutions do. And the funniest part is where they blame those institutions for what they themselves do (as not only the quoted part shows).
 

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@FearAndTrembling
Jung is not the end-all-and-be-all of religious knowledge. Try coming up with your own statements instead of parroting his words.

The nature of religion in and of itself is deceptive - It is willingly believing in an idea that is not based on evidence or critical thought, just as Jung points out in that quote you use. I have a moral opposition to religious belief and I'm just as entitled to it as any believer is, so I'm not sure where all this hostility is coming from, but you're really making yourself come across as quite irrational.
I was trying to get the perspectives and opinions of other INFP's, not start a debate about whether or not religion is good, or whether or not my irreligious belief is valid or not.

2. That sentence didn't make sense. What alphabet soup designation? If you gave me some sort of evidence or logic in favor of your position rather than simply calling me an idiot, this conversation might have actually gone somewhere, but you can't seem to be able to get over your ego enough to form a coherent argument.
3. Religion is destructive because it perpetuates a culture of non-critical thinkers. Religion is illogical - It is a belief based on faith rather than evidence, and people actively protect and staunchly defend their right to believe in something for no reason at all, other than somebody, at some point, told them they should. Society can never hope to advance without critical thinking - It is a lack of critical thinking that causes racism, wars, environmental destruction, overdoses... Critical thinking is imperative to the existence of humans as a species, and religion fosters a culture that blatantly opposes critical thinking. That is why it is always destructive. Look at the bigger picture - Any good done by this blood drive down the street from you does nothing to offset the mass destruction that has occurred at the hands of the church.
4. I never said anything about any of this at all? It's clear you're not even reading my posts.
5. Yeah, you could only possibly be trolling me right now.

@TheTwin
I'm not trying to indoctrinate anyone. You're drawing illusory correlations. Sharing my view and my perspective =/= trying to get other people to hop on my bandwagon.
 

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What a simple excuse. One could argue that the pure act of discussing things might be considered advertisement for ones ideas, but I won't go this way here. ;)

Lets prove your assumption: You say you didn't try to indoctrinate people. Well, I won't accuse you of doing this consciously (this I can not prove) but nonetheless you did do it. You diminished the believe in god (or any other deity in that regard) to pure indoctrination by institutions like the church. You said institutions make you think you need to believe in a god (as advertisers make you need useless gadgets). This is nothing different then saying "If you believe in god [or anything at all] you fell for it like morons fall for stupid advertisement on TV." And since you don't believe in a god (as you stated) you automatically put yourself on a pedestal ("I don't believe in god, therefore I didn't fell for it, therefore I am a bit more clever.").

Or put another way (as this nonsense can be found in other parts of your texts, too): Your assumption that institutions are the cause of the believe in god (as they make you need it) is wrong. Sure they do this. But this is not (as you stated) the only reason people believe in god (or anything other). I wouldn't even count this as one of the top 5 or top 10 reasons to believe in something. And believing it is the only reason deprives people of their own very human nature, for every human needs a reason to live. It is no wonder that suicides are increasing in a world that is getting more and more secular and that deprives people of any good reasons to live (Science says humans are nothing more then biology, neurons, learned behaviour, unconscious drives and whatnot; politics and economy says we are nothing more then the output we give [no output = no worth] and make you believe in the value of money [which in and of itself has no value at all]). Of course you can build "your own" value system without believing in anything (to make it more simple we just neglect that, as Confucianism states - which isn't a religion by the way, religious culture always finds its way into non-believers' minds). If we are lucky "your own" value system is based on a premise that is benefiting for everyone. Lets just briefly look from another angle: Some people reach the peak of human existence and morality, some of which may just have followed their own value system, but almost all describe this experience as enlightenment (religious expression) or as "being one with god" (the psychologist might say "being one with the [transcendental] self").

But I get a bit carried away. I can not see how you did not try to indoctrinate us.

Edit
And to reinstate what I said before: It is quite arrogant to blame someone for something you yourself do.
 

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Much of this discussion seems more like knee-jerking religion than actually addressing the issue of the relationship between religions and sustainable development. I mean one of the founding fathers of the concept of "sustainable development" was overtly religious and was deeply inspired by religious teachings. You could start there. Or addressing the religious principle of stewardship.
 

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Meowmixmuffin said:
I was trying to get the perspectives and opinions of other INFP's, not start a debate about whether or not religion is good, or whether or not my irreligious belief is valid or not.
You asked for it, whether explicitly or not.

3. Religion is destructive because it perpetuates a culture of non-critical thinkers. Religion is illogical - It is a belief based on faith rather than evidence, and people actively protect and staunchly defend their right to believe in something for no reason at all, other than somebody, at some point, told them they should. Society can never hope to advance without critical thinking - It is a lack of critical thinking that causes racism, wars, environmental destruction, overdoses... Critical thinking is imperative to the existence of humans as a species, and religion fosters a culture that blatantly opposes critical thinking.
Why don't you search Wikipedia for a list of important Christian scientists, philosophers, or mathematicians? How about just among Catholic clergy? Jesuits? No matter how you narrow it down, you'll find a rather intimidating list of pioneering scientists and fiercely intelligent thinkers.

Since you apparently weren't aware of it, I should also point out that the modern university is a specifically Catholic invention, and most modern educational systems that we have was pioneered from religious institutions. During the middle ages, the church was more or less the soul bastion of intellectual preservation after the fall of Rome, and nearly all of the records we have of that period were written by monks and clergy, who kept massive libraries. These were the most educated people of the time. They went on to found such universities as Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Paris, which I'm assuming you've heard of. Medicine also made notable advances during this period thanks to the university system. There were functional hospitals in Europe during the 14th century.

The entire notion that the middle ages were a period of cultural and scientific stagnation has, or that they were a regress from the heights of antiquity, has been thoroughly refuted by modern scholarship. If you want a list of books to back that up, I'll happily oblige. The progress of the Renaissance was the fruits of the middle ages. The best artists and brightest minds of this period flourished not only near the seat of the Catholic church's power, but during the heyday of its power.

But the positive influence of religious institutions on modern thinking doesn't end there. The first rationales for human rights, the scientific method, trade, and international law were also more or less theological in their groundwork. The Anglican church alone has produced more great paleontologists from its clergy (both before and after Darwin) than any other religious institution ever has, and probably more than any institution, period.

Any good done by this blood drive down the street from you does nothing to offset the mass destruction that has occurred at the hands of the church.
The Catholic church is more or less the largest non-profit charity in the world. It feeds, clothes, houses, treats, and educates more people than any other organization. It donates millions of dollars annually to charities in third world countries--building schools, orphanages, churches, nursing homes, hospitals, and other buildings that help to make the communities better places. Religiously funded hospitals save the US millions in tax dollars every year, in addition to the people served in these hospitals. These are good things, and they are the legacy of a religion that teaches men to love their neighbors as themselves, and to the love the goodness of the world, because of the god they worship and the example he provided them.

But of course you'll ignore or downplay all of that because it doesn't tie into your anti-religious narrative, in which the net legacy of Christianity apparently consists of nothing except for the crusades, the inquisition, the Gallileo incident, the reign of the Borgia pope, and creationism. This is a dishonest and ultimately faith-based narrative.
 
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It's funny that I came across this thread because my girlfriend and I were chatting yesterday about how much better things would be if all of the religious leaders in the world told their followers to look after the environment.

I'm an agnostic/atheist but was raised Catholic so for the purpose of this argument I'll focus more on Catholicism/Christianity. I think that given their belief system, it's total arrogance for any Christian to not care about the environment. Believers generally believe in God as being the creator of everything and worthy of being respected, loved and worshiped. If God created Earth and everything on it, shouldn't it be respected and passionately defended and looked after? I think it would be a huge slap in the face for God to lovingly create the planet and everything on it just to watch his creations destroy everything that he made. It's a bit like your parents spending years making an amazing birthday present for you, only for you to throw it to the ground and break it. I see so much of the "oh well, God will fix it" attitude from Christians regarding the planet and I just find it so unbelievably entitled and arrogant. I don't believe in God but if I did, I would make sure to respect his other creations. I respect the environment of my own accord but I feel like religion should give people an even stronger reason.
 

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Science isn't a normative field so I don't see where some of you are coming from with "science not giving any reasons to live". Also it tells something when in that case you're basically comparing religion's viability to nothing.
 

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Science isn't a normative field so I don't see where some of you are coming from with "science not giving any reasons to live".
Since my last post somewhat went in that direction I feel like replying.

It isn't the task of science to give life a meaning. Some may still find it does (I think Feynman could be one who believed this), but it isn't its main purpose.
What scientist too often do is reduce everything to "Nothing more then..."

Biologists may tell us how we are nothing more then clever animals.
Neurologists may tell us we are nothing more then what our neurones dictate us (one experiment even concluded we don't have a free will, which I believe is nonsense).
Psychologists may tell us we are nothing more then unconscious urges and drives or just plain learned behaviour.
Everyone may be right in but one concern: We are more then that. We are everything combined and much more.

With science gaining (and therefore taking meaning in life) and religion losing influence in peoples' lives more and more people suffer of noogenic depression (existential crisis) and more and more people are committing suicide.
But to clarify some things: I am not saying we need less science. I am saying scientist (and media who spreads the news) should think before reducing everything to "nothing more then." Also I believe they are exaggerating the importance of their corresponding field of science if they reduce us.
 

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With science gaining (and therefore taking meaning in life) and religion losing influence in peoples' lives more and more people suffer of noogenic depression (existential crisis) and more and more people are committing suicide.
I'm not sure where you're getting the idea of religion decline being a causation to suidice rate rising.

And no, scientists aren't moral leaders, never have been and never will. In that case they'd be practicing anything but science. In this day and age it's starting to be really ridicilous do be despaired from scientific discoveries.
 

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I'm not sure where you're getting the idea of religion decline being a causation to suidice rate rising.

And no, scientists aren't moral leaders, never have been and never will. In that case they'd be practicing anything but science. In this day and age it's starting to be really ridicilous do be despaired from scientific discoveries.
I never said that a decline of religious believe is the cause of more suicides. I said that no one offers a substitute for the place religion formerly took. For some money, fame and prestige are trustworthy to be worshipped (or soccer...). But this are rather meagre substitutions compared to a deeply felt believe.

I also didn't say that scientists are moral leaders. I said science (sometimes) deprives us of meaning.

(Spoiler contains lots of depressing thoughts - may not be suitable for someone who is in danger of committing suicide)
 
Or asked this way: What meaning does life have if there is no god (or afterlife or rebirth or whatnot), no free will (as neuroscience has 'shown' and as biologists do confirm [hormones, brain chemistry,...]) and that we are fated by our unconsciousness or that we are nothing more then a machine programmed by our past behaviours etc. What meaning is there if we are just a little nothing in a vast society that behaves just like sociologist have predicted? On more extreme ends: Why live if we are nothing more then the chemical elements we are mate of or if we are nothing more then quarks and strings? Why live in an almost boundless universe where our little blue pearl is nothing more then one out of billions of billions of other blue pearls that might be out there?


Or for short: Religions are withdrawing and leaving us without meaning, science offers nothing in return (and true it doesn't have to) and often reduces us even more and there are only meagre substitutions like the run for money or fame.

I am also not saying one needs religion for meaning. But those without religion have to find some other form of meaning. And yes some may find meaning in scientific discoveries (ZEN PENCILS - 42. NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: The most astounding fact). And heck yes I can see the beauty in scientific discoveries (even in mathematics!) which is why it angers me even more if some shrink everything (especially us) to the littlest of the tiniest bits of knowledge they just gained. :angry:

*Edit*
A little extra I found on the linked site: http://zenpencils.com/comic/100-carl-sagan-pale-blue-dot/
 
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