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Old 2008-12-26, 09:57   Link #1401
Liddo-kun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaong View Post
Most of the young people in a lot of western european countries are atheistic, and little by little they will become the majority, if they aren't already.
Where did you get your data? Can you show me the poll/website please?
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Old 2008-12-26, 11:52   Link #1402
ganbaru
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Originally Posted by Liddo-kun View Post
Where did you get your data? Can you show me the poll/website please?
I am also curious about you data. For what I read, european's young peoples were going more toward Islam ( partly because of immigration and parent's origins)
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Old 2008-12-26, 12:27   Link #1403
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Originally Posted by ganbaru View Post
I am also curious about you data. For what I read, european's young peoples were going more toward Islam ( partly because of immigration and parent's origins)
Yeah, I remember hearing about that, too. America is supposedly going to be the last bastion of christianity in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
However, we cannot exclude the fact that thinking for yourself in many cases leads to atheism (yeah, the illusion of thinking for oneself, yada yada yada--I'm not saying we actually think by ourselves, I'm just saying we have a wider array of tools with which to interpret the world around us). And I believe thinking for oneself is, in general terms, a good thing.
I am not a number! I am a man!!!
Something like that, right? Individuality is how all things are accomplished.
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Old 2008-12-26, 13:19   Link #1404
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Originally Posted by Xaong View Post
As I read you, I feel you see the persons who believe in a religion as crazy, not free and close minded. You know my grandmother is catholic and never did something wrong to anyone. She was a good mother, and a good grandmother with us even if we don't share the same fervour to the religion. And don't tell me she is a rarity, many atheists are close minded and can't even see that a lot of religious person are nice and not some sort of dangerous missionaries
I don't think that anyone here believes that religious people are crazy or evil, simply by virtue of their being religious. The issue is that the method of manipulation is different from the media and "worldly temptations."

An easy example are the Islamic terrorists of the present. Many of these people are extremely religious. Their religion arguably does not preach the violence and holy warfare that they engage in, but it doesn't matter - some religious leader said that it must be so, and thus the faithful must follow. They believe so strongly that they will be rewarded in the afterlife, or that what they are doing is God's will, that they will undergo suffering (and at the extreme, give up their life in suicide) in order to carry out their tasks. And so that the Muslims don't feel that I'm singling them out, let me remind you that massacres were committed by the Christians during the Church-directed Crusades of the medieval ages, although the level of religious manipulation that occurred there was rather different.

Compare that with current temptations. Money? Fame? Wanting to imitate someone on TV? Any of these could possibly bring someone to kill or to commit suicide. However, I have a hard time believing that people could be manipulated as easily to go to such extremes by a sum of money when compared with the belief that they will experience eternal paradise.

The problem that I have with religion has less to do with religion itself and more to do with the fact that people are sheep-like. So you're a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist - do you know the teachings of your religion? Have you read it over yourself and thought about it, or do you just attend your service and hear a clergyman's spin on it? If your highest religious leader told you tomorrow that God said to do something, would you do it without hesitation? Many do not think about it, and many would obey. There lies the danger.

Your grandmother is probably a wonderful person, but if she has unquestioning faith in the human leaders of her religion and truly believes them to be direct links to God (an all-knowing, benevolent entity) then perhaps she would take even the most ridiculous orders from them. If you truly believe that God said to kill anyone wearing red tomorrow because that meant that they were showing defiance against God then it is very easy to reason away the belief that murder is wrong.

Any non-religious person could also reason away basic ethics and morals, of course. I am not attempting to say that only the religious could have common sense taken over by their faith. The issue is that religion attempts to define your morals and ethics, and that regular humans channel control through religion. Combined with people's lack of will or desire to interpret religion for themselves, that makes for a dangerous situation, one where a person does not need to be mentally ill in order to believe that committing atrocities is justified.
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Old 2008-12-26, 13:54   Link #1405
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Athiest.

I dislike religion because of one and one thign only: Making other people believe in what you believe in.

I know alot of genuinely good religious people, I have no problem with them, but I dislike them parading themselves all high and mighty and worst of all telling me I'm going to burn in hell/ punished in a spiral of fire or other ghastly things which I don't care about but somehow need to reminded of everyday. It gets annoying.

And I don't like the concept of absolute faith = salvation. I don't want to know a high deity that values unquestionable loyalty ore so than logical inquiry. That doesn't seem like an extremely aimable person to me. But really, as long as you keep it to yourself and not doing anything ghastly in the name of whatever, I'm fine with religion.

And hey, religion gives alot of things; most holidays are religiously derived and lots of music.
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Old 2008-12-26, 17:34   Link #1406
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Originally Posted by OtseisRagnarok View Post
Yeah, I remember hearing about that, too. America is supposedly going to be the last bastion of christianity in the world.
And did whoever said that add that the Bible Belt is the last bastion of christianty in the US?

A quick peek at the CIA world factbook shows that France has between 83 and 88% of Catholics. (And 2% Prothestants). Germany has 34% Catholics and 34% Prothestants. UK has 71.6% Christians. Too lazy to look up other countries.

The USA have 78.5% Christians.
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Old 2008-12-26, 17:39   Link #1407
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
And did whoever said that add that the Bible Belt is the last bastion of christianty in the US?

A quick peek at the CIA world factbook shows that France has between 83 and 88% of Catholics. (And 2% Prothestants). Germany has 34% Catholics and 34% Prothestants. UK has 71.6% Christians. Too lazy to look up other countries.

The USA have 78.5% Christians.
I'm just stating what I've heard...
Those percents are by country, right?
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Old 2008-12-26, 17:40   Link #1408
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Yes.

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Old 2008-12-26, 20:04   Link #1409
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Of course, a thread like this becomes a huge thread debating on religion and atheism.

A few things I want to say: First, religion and spirituality I find are great. I'm a spiritual person. A lot of people who are religious are good people. Don't let the bad apples ruin your opinion for all religious and spiritual people. And yes, religious leaders in power can manipulate people. Guess what? Any kind of person in power can manipulate people. Muslims, Christians, atheists, whites, blacks, Asians, you name it. What is going on in the Middle East with militant Muslims is not just about religion; it incorporates socio-political matters, cultural matters, and just straight up corruption and twisted desires from the people in power.

Second, some one on this page said they don't like how some religious people try to make you believe as they do. First, of course not all religious and spiritual people try jamming their convictions down your throat (especially many of the Eastern religions). Secondly, a lot of atheists (but of course not all) are really the same in this regard. Just as we have Bible-thumping bigots in the U.S., we have a number of atheists who are trying to persuade people to their thinking, but instead of their mantras being "Believe" or "Jesus saves" it is things like "Religion is holding us back" or let's say *ahem* "Religion is society's greatest hurdle.

My point being, we have people attached to their beliefs and convictions, whether you look at religious folk or atheists. And then you see them butt heads together. I've learned a lot from Buddhism, a religion I read up on and contemplate. One thing I've come to learn is that most any problem created from people is centered on attachment and desire (as I mentioned). So just as you have Christians in America that get into people's hair, you have plenty of atheists that are being driven by their desires and attachments and are just as guilty of trying to spread and push their own type of thinking and beliefs and a specific agenda.

Truth be told, there are many religious folk that fail to be a good follower of their religion, and there are plenty of atheists that are antagonistic jerks and unfairly biased towards religion and spirituality. And of course, there are many good people who are spiritual and/or religious and there are plenty of good atheists.

Another thing to put on the table: Yes, leaders who are in power who are religious often times mess up and are corrupt, and sometimes it involves their religion. Do you think atheist leaders with prominently atheist societies wouldn't mess up, wouldn't be immoral, and wouldn't be corrupt? Look at how Communist countries turned out. They threw religion out the door and repressed religious practice in their countries. As we all know, Communism worked out great! And most people in those societies were yearning to be able to freely practice religion. Like I said, good people come in many types, including believers and those who are atheists. And anybody can fall to corruption, whether they be religious or atheists.

So, as to the question of the thread, I answered earlier in the post. I'm spiritual, but I don't abide exclusively to any one religion. Spiritual but not religious, as they say. Someone tried to make it sound like most religious and spiritual people don't think for themselves and only atheists people do. I think for myself, thank you very much. I think for myself, and I'm very spiritual and I have strong faith and conviction in the divine, God, and the after life. I was raised Christian and I still appreciate much about the religion today, although I'm not technically a Christian. Some of my beliefs definitely fall in line with that religion, though.

I read up on Eastern religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Jainism, and Shintoism; I have interest in all of them. However, the two Eastern religions which I really incorporate into my thinking the most and apply to my spirituality are Buddhism and Taoism. I benefit from studying and contemplating both of them. There are some metaphysical concepts found in Hinduism I find quite appealing, too. I read up on certain religions often and contemplate and reflect on the nature of reality just about every single day. Science is great to me, but it doesn't have all the answers and doesn't give the whole picture. It is shedding light on many things, but to me, Science is trying to investigate the nature of reality as spirituality is also trying to shed light on the nature of some aspects of reality.
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Old 2008-12-26, 20:26   Link #1410
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Quote:
And yes, religious leaders in power can manipulate people. Guess what? Any kind of person in power can manipulate people.
Oh, of course they can. The thing is, religion as an institution (that is, the only religion that matters) was born precisely to do that. That's my problem with it.
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Old 2008-12-26, 20:35   Link #1411
Urzu 7
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Oh, of course they can. The thing is, religion as an institution (that is, the only religion that matters) was born precisely to do that. That's my problem with it.
I say, all the great religions of the world don't start out like that or with such ambitions. It is just that people (men, in all truth) steer things in that direction...because people can often times be schmucks.
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Old 2008-12-26, 21:27   Link #1412
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No, I believe that's a misconception right there, born from the fact that religion, in particular Christianity, is incredibly influential in our world.

You see, there's no "original sin". There was no time in which things were good and suddenly men, driven by greed, corruption or whatever, changed things around and turned them away from their original purpose. Christianity's mythical creation is so engraved in our social subconscious that we always tend to do these sorts of reasonings, in a lot of ways and in a lot of areas.

We can't really know, but I'm pretty sure religion (just like any other social phenomena in the history of mankind) wasn't born out of an individual idea, but rather as a social convention. And as such, social conventions are always composed by relationships of inequality. You can see it all throughout history. I don't think we need a mystical reason to single out religion and treat it as different.
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Old 2008-12-27, 01:32   Link #1413
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In terms of the "sheep mentality" that has been mentioned, I feel reminded of something I thought up a long time ago.

The idea is that all religion is like a field filled with buried gold, but with landmines mixed in. Some religions have more gold to be found then landmines, others have more landmines then gold. In this analogy there are two kinds of treasure hunters: Those with a metal detector that can tell the difference between the two, and those with a metal detector that can't.

The comparison is that those who think for themselves and can use critical thinking are people with the former detector, and those who blindly follow are the latter. It doesnt matter what your religion is ( or isn't ) , because without a clear way to understand it it doesn't matter if ones religion happens to be a field where there is only one landmine and tons of treasure because if it's all the same to you then you will eventually step on that landmine.

For that reason, I tend to judge ( yes, we all judge ) religions solely on the basis of whether or not they encourage the members to think for themselves or not ( or in terms of the analogy, which type of detector they try to sell to you at the entrance to their treasure field ) . It doesn't matter how much bad and how much good is in a philosophy, because it doesn't really make a lick of difference to people who's heads are too firmly lodged in the sand to be able tell the difference.

BTW I consider myself a "spiritual atheist".

take that to mean what you will.
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Old 2008-12-27, 01:59   Link #1414
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I've always thought of making my own religion, Universalology. Just liked the name, Heh.
Try it, it's a great tool to start a business with almost no start-up capital required.
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Old 2008-12-27, 02:54   Link #1415
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
No, I believe that's a misconception right there, born from the fact that religion, in particular Christianity, is incredibly influential in our world.

You see, there's no "original sin". There was no time in which things were good and suddenly men, driven by greed, corruption or whatever, changed things around and turned them away from their original purpose. Christianity's mythical creation is so engraved in our social subconscious that we always tend to do these sorts of reasonings, in a lot of ways and in a lot of areas.

We can't really know, but I'm pretty sure religion (just like any other social phenomena in the history of mankind) wasn't born out of an individual idea, but rather as a social convention. And as such, social conventions are always composed by relationships of inequality. You can see it all throughout history. I don't think we need a mystical reason to single out religion and treat it as different.
I don't think it started out of malice. Some guy had some knack to heal people. Or to find game. He - and all his tribespeople - genuinely believed spirits were involved. It's not like he tried to con anyone.
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Old 2008-12-27, 07:34   Link #1416
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I didn't say it was "malice". And I didn't say their belief wasn't "genuine", either (even the healer's, using your example). But the thing is, once you have such a relationship of inequality, there's already a person who has an edge over his or her peers. That's what power is about, after all.

As I said before, the idea that people are somehow evil or malicious when it comes to this sort of stuff has roots in religious traditions. I don't see it that way--I just see it as a phenomena which was born precisely to separate people and provide power to a small sector of society. I'm not saying that whoever "invented" (lol) religion did it to do just that.
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Old 2008-12-27, 08:32   Link #1417
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Originally Posted by Liddo-kun View Post
Where did you get your data? Can you show me the poll/website please?
Last year paperwork, comparison between the results in my country and Europe.

You can find some results on the web not so different from the data we had.

http://humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=281&article=0

In 2007

20% of the young american 18-25 years old are atheist, agnostic or nonreligious.
73% of the american believe in "any form of God or any type of supreme being."

As for Europe

62 percent of the Italian believe in a god.
48 percent of Spaniards believe in any form of a supreme being.
41 percent of Germans.
35 percent of Britons.
27 percent of the French.

As for my country

http://www.bjreview.com.cn/headline/...tent_55088.htm

31.4 percent of Chinese aged 16 and above are religious.

Take in account that in Europe and China there are even less believers among the young people than from the previous generations
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Old 2008-12-27, 18:05   Link #1418
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Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
A lot of people who are religious are good people. Don't let the bad apples ruin your opinion for all religious and spiritual people.
You're on the defensive already

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Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
And yes, religious leaders in power can manipulate people. Guess what? Any kind of person in power can manipulate people. Muslims, Christians, atheists, whites, blacks, Asians, you name it. What is going on in the Middle East with militant Muslims is not just about religion; it incorporates socio-political matters, cultural matters, and just straight up corruption and twisted desires from the people in power.
That's not the point that I was making, nor was anyone else in the thread. Of course you can be manipulated by factors outside of religion. People routinely are. The difference is that with religion it's much easier. If you have a strong enough faith, then you don't need to be bribed or otherwise forced to do something. If your religious leader tells you to do something, or if you have a "vision" and believe it to be God telling you to do something directly, you're going to do it (unless you question your faith, which is something that is not often encouraged).

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Originally Posted by Urzu 7 View Post
Truth be told, there are many religious folk that fail to be a good follower of their religion, and there are plenty of atheists that are antagonistic jerks and unfairly biased towards religion and spirituality. And of course, there are many good people who are spiritual and/or religious and there are plenty of good atheists.
No athiest ever started a holy war. (Not yet, anyway - I won't say it's impossible.)

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Another thing to put on the table: Yes, leaders who are in power who are religious often times mess up and are corrupt, and sometimes it involves their religion. Do you think atheist leaders with prominently atheist societies wouldn't mess up, wouldn't be immoral, and wouldn't be corrupt?
That's not the point. Leaders who are religious are potentially quite dangerous. Remember George Bush saying something about how God had told him that it was right to start up a war in the Middle East? Imagine if all of America were deeply religious: Oh, God spoke to our president, therefore it must be true! To the death, then, that we should all start war in the Middle East and kill every infidel who opposes us! Aren't you glad that we have some non-devout (although not necessarily athiest) people in this nation?

That is the danger. Any idiot can have a dream, but it takes a religious idiot to think that it was a dream sent by God and that there was some message in it with an order that overrides all common sense, morals, and ethics. When that religious idiot is in a powerful position, and when the other religious idiots go along with his dream, you're potentially in big trouble.
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Old 2008-12-27, 18:16   Link #1419
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As I said before, the idea that people are somehow evil or malicious when it comes to this sort of stuff has roots in religious traditions. I don't see it that way--I just see it as a phenomena which was born precisely to separate people and provide power to a small sector of society. I'm not saying that whoever "invented" (lol) religion did it to do just that.
If you are talking about the organizations that collect taxes and declare that their followers must go on crusades (which would be the Church in the Dark Age), then I agree with you. However, I think that "religion" is a loaded word, and if you use the above definition as a blanket term, there will be problems. For instance, Christianity did become the cultish, rigid system that reigned throughout the Middle Ages, but it (maybe) started as some well-intended and valuable philosophical teachings of one guy, which just caught on. Do you call these "philosophical teachings" religious? They're obviously not pure philosophy, as they supposed in those who listened to them a belief in the previous religion. But if you call those teachings religious, it suddenly puts it in with such things as mind control, blind belief, lack of freedom, etc, if you see "religion" in such a way.

I think it's better to say that people tend to group up into powerful inequality systems (as you put it), which includes the great religions in the world. The operative words here are "inequality systems," not religion. After all, the ideas of Darwin and then Marx also led people form such groups as well, right? It's not like those two people's ideas were meant for that purpose.

Quote:
No athiest ever started a holy war.
Stalin, Hitler (well he wasn't atheist but just not very religious), and Mao, who were atheists, killed well over a hundred million people. Not all of these people were killed for religious belief, but millions of them were killed precisely because they failed to give them up or were religious.

Quote:
Oh, God spoke to our president, therefore it must be true! To the death, then, that we should all start war in the Middle East and kill every infidel who opposes us! Aren't you glad that we have some non-devout (although not necessarily athiest) people in this nation?
Who said that Bush had a channel to God? Even devout religious people shouldn't trust him, based on their beliefs. Was it said in the Bible that Bush could do w/e he wanted?
Atheists and nonreligious people can be subject to such idiocy as well, just as easily. Look at the ravenous hordes of young people in China, who will instantly yell out to you "Die you anti-China element!!!!" if you even so much as begin to question their government. Last time I checked China has no religious organization within it which operates like Christianity or Islam.

Quote:
Any idiot can have a dream, but it takes a religious idiot to think that it was a dream sent by God and that there was some message in it with an order that overrides all common sense, morals, and ethics.
Hitler and Stalin could do such things just as easily. I think there is no point ion singling out religion.
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Old 2008-12-27, 19:24   Link #1420
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Originally Posted by LeoXiao View Post
Stalin, Hitler (well he wasn't atheist but just not very religious), and Mao, who were atheists, killed well over a hundred million people. Not all of these people were killed for religious belief, but millions of them were killed precisely because they failed to give them up or were religious.
I'm curious to know your reason in including Hitler in that group when you yourself said he isn't an atheist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaong View Post
Last year paperwork, comparison between the results in my country and Europe.

<snip> <snip>
Thank you for the info.

Last edited by Liddo-kun; 2008-12-28 at 04:18.
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