What is a religion?

Continuing the discussion from This short Assange video could be used for marketing:

[quote=“Al_Kafir, post:24, topic:2534”]
Atheism is neither a religion nor a belief system - the “A” denotes a lack of, therefore a lack of a “Theistic” belief system. Jeeeez… [/quote]

Any word is tied to a belief system. What supports the definition of Atheism? A belief system about what Theism is. To not believe in something means you must believe you understand what it is you don’t believe in, which means Atheism is a belief system. E.g. I don’t believe in dogma, so you could call me an adogmatist, that’s a belief system or part of a belief system. You believe you understand the perspective of a Theist and choose to reject it = Belief system.

Which dictionary? There are dozens of variations many of which appear to fit Atheism, many others raise more questions about definitions such as defining ‘superhuman, supernatural’ etc.

What’s your favourite creation myth? Sientific descriptions are ultimately metaphorical too, black holes, big bangs, strings. Heck every word is a metaphor when you get down to it. There can be more useful metaphores than others for sure, the scientific story is a very useful one. But it’s still a metaphore.

I can’t just pick a good religion because as I’ve tried to illustrate there isn’t necessarily such a thing as “a” religion. People change endlessly. People who call themselves members of one religion can have completely different belief systems from other people who use the same name for their religion. Each person may have their own religion, or there may not even be such a thing. Religion is just an idea. Ideas are just memes.

A good religion. How about the religion that inspired the creation of some amazing music? Or the feedng of the hungry, or the support of those in need, or the development of writing, or any other thing or action you think is a good thing? (hint-it’s not the religion that’s good or bad… it’s the person.

You asking me to pick 1 good religion is like asking me to pick 1 good person. Everyone is a good and bad person.

“Bollocks” - tie that to a belief system…
Let me summarize your argument - Non Belief System = Belief System
You are clearly talking nonsense and whatever dictionary you use will not define a belief system as non-belief in something.
Let me help you out; my belief system is Humanism and I am also a Secularist – a Secular Humanist. Humanism has absolutely nothing to do with Religion, however hard you try to equate the 2.

Ooooo…that’s a hard one…do you mean my very favourite?..lol. Do you honestly think I’d have one?

Seriously…you are making no sense - because scientists name things such as Black holes, then Science is a metaphor…what you smokin dude?
I’m going to have to take a break now, but I will address the rest of your post shortly…cheers
Actually, maybe not…its a bit tedious tbh…its all I ever seem to get into. Nothing against you but I really do only ever seem end up in completely non-productive discussions about religion.

Gladly :smiley:

You believe the notion that any word is tied to a belief system, is a load crap, nonsense, rubbish.

When we’re humble enough we can finally leave. That’s the pattern I see.

…and the story religions want you to believe…the meek shall inherit the Earth etc…now why do you think they would want you to believe that? Whether you are “humble” or not, would appear to have no correlation to one’s life-span and the ulterior motives behind giving such a false promise of an “after-life”, seem obvious.
I must say that the pantomime outfits of the Bishops and the ex-Pope’s red Prada shoes and the like do not strike me as displaying humbleness, rather quite ostentatious. The Opulence of the palaces such as the Vatican high light the hypocrisy.
Can you explain why you think the way you do?

No I can’t. I remember a couple funny comments in the context of Buddhism and Taoism.

Supposedly after the Buddha had taught for 45 years and was coming to the end of his life his students came to him and were beseeching him to write down his way of looking at the world because it might get degraded or contaminated later on etc. But he didn’t want religion and said it doesn’t matter if they wrote it down or got what he said ‘right’ because they were still going to have to experience it for themselves. And it seems just like with Christianity it was 200-300 years after death before stuff was written down- doesn’t seem Christ was all that big on books or manuals either

Later there was the Heart sutra, still attributed to Buddha but its no longer thought to be something he said and it was like: No birth, no death, no being, no non being, no wisdom. That none of these had any reality.
And in Buddhism generally there will be these references to not even the “silver tongue of a Buddha,” being sufficient to describe things because the stuff just won’t translate into intelligible language. But in Buddhism you’re the Buddha so you’d only be talking to yourself anyway. The Buddhist Cannon is larger than the Christian canon but only the tiny dhamapada is attributed to him. Buddhism in general is thought to be a response to what was wrong with religion- it aimed beyond reform, but its reformation was absorbed with the help of Shankara into larger Hinduism.

I think its attributed to the personage Lao Tzu: Those who talk don’t know. Those who know don’t talk.
In Thomas Merton’s Translation of the Chuang Tzu there is a section titled "Duke Hwan and the Wheelwright"
Where Hwan tells the learned (pejorative) prince essentially that you can’t learn it from a book. In Budhism and Taoism generally there is a sense that there is nothing to fix or learn, just a confusion to let go of. And that process could take time or it could be instant.

If even the super sharp tongue of a greatly expanded mentality isn’t sufficient, we are left with humbling experience.

From Western philosophy there is an approach known as Nominalism. As I understand it it disallows natural kinds, so that if one says there is a class like electrons it will insist there is only the single entity (particle/electron) about which nothing can be generalized, no classes. It won’t let us make any of our grand statements or assumptions. Any conceivable difference between objects would block class statements. There would no pebbles, just this one and this one and this one. No class called humans, just that one and this one. That could be applied to causality or books saying the same thing from day to day or moment being in a class called moments with other moments. Its almost like Russel with approximately “If you double the size of everything in the universe over night we might not be able to detect it.”

I understand the sentiment. Can religion ever rise above the worst of the political. Does mysticism? Bad as a sell out politician is a televangelist would seem much worse? Is there a worse politics then one that trades in and feeds off people most personal ideals? A reporter that tries endlessly to stir up slanderous trip would seem saintly in comparison. As we’ve mentioned Voltaire’s “when the last priest is strung up by the entrails of the last king.”

But even if inexpressible or intensely personal its hard to be rid of religious sentiment. Take, John Lennon’s “Imagine” or his “God is a concept by which we measure our pain,” He’s more charitable in other places but I think such sentiments are his starting place.

Ok… Love the Voltaire quote…obviously, plus worth reciting the rest of the relevant parts of John Lennon’s “God”, I think there can be no doubt where he stood…with me…lol


God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain
I’ll say it again
God is a Concept by which
we measure our pain
I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’t believe in Tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in Yoga
I don’t believe in Kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me…and that’s reality

In answer to the OP….this is Religion:

I just have this feeling that stuff is apt to repeat until we are humble enough to let it go. So the after life is this life ad nauseam, there isn’t much choice in it. When you don’t want it anymore you can leave. But it can take a relative while to exhaust these appetites. Try not wanting tit.

I just have this reasoned argument, that it is apt to repeat whilst people continue to ascribe the problem to not being “humble” enough and believe in things like “after-lives” based on “feelings” and Faith…ad nauseam. …as the religions want them to.
Try not wanting it.

Could work. But it would just be one among x number of things to let go of- a step in the right direction. But John Lennon brought up something with regard to the dualistic clinging that a logician might flounce off- Ill try to get to it latter today

I ve asked myself what is real? Answer is love. Love is real. We know this we just get distracted with what isnt real.

I have to disagree really and say that love is just 1 human emotion (and not restricted to humans) - basically, a beautiful feeling intended by nature to help keep species alive……a bit like orgasm is. When you get down to it, the only thing you can really be 100% sure is real is yourself (or your mind)…As Descartes said…”Cogito Ergo Sum”, “I think, therefore I am”.
Science never claims to be 100% “certain” about anything btw….only that results have not been falsified by experiment – there’s always a tiny uncertainty….it’s just a matter of keeping the probabilities in perspective though….a 99.9999 probability is not equivalent to a 0.000001% chance. People tend not to do this in their “teach the controversy” type arguments though.
“Creationists” (now re-branded as “Intelligent Design) use this tactic to heavily lobby the Texas school Board to use books that “Teach the Controversy”. This is used to undermine the idea of Evolution and get kids thinking “religiously.” (Texas is largest buyer of school books I believe and other school boards end up using whatever Texas uses….hence why Texas). There is in fact about as much “controversy” within the scientific community between Evolution and Creationism, as there is between the Biological and “Stork" theories of Human reproduction.

I know I thought well its just so much of a dualistic clinging curiosity. But I dont think so any more. And John Lennon is with me. Love is real, real is love…love is knowing we can be.

lol…artistic poetic language I’d say…lol…he was a musician after all, not an Evolutionary Biologist …plus the “Selfish Gene” by Richard dawkins hadn’t been written back then…I’m sure John would have been an avid reader and would then have re-worded his song…lol…He’s MY guy…get off him!..lol
"Imagine No Religion it’s easy if yoooou tryyy…"

I dont think chemisty is exhaustive and even Richard is a little more mystical these days. Lamarke has had a revival. One of the worst things about religion is people think they they know the truth and are then going to use it on other people.

And yet there is a strange comfort for me in words like “what is real cannot be threatened…what is unreal does not exist…hearin lies the peace…” Saw an article recently where our guy Lennon was quoted on attempts at control failing: manufacturing the dead head.

Ok…I’ll bite…how is RD now “Mystical”.?

This is the core of all my arguments really, personal belief can be based on faith or direct experience etc and if it remains private, then I have no issue. The issue is “organised” religion and the harm it causes - I think advocating this, especially if you see the logical inconsistencies and divisive nature of it …is wilful ignorance, completely un-ethical.and gives legitimacy to the terrorists.
I don’t understand the “dead head” comment btw…or the chemistry is not exhaustive bit,

Richard’s tone has, although I havent gone through it all yet I dont think his tone was the same after the God Delusion. I think he is still ambushing people like Choppra, but I became aware of something different after that argument with Ben Stein in that documentary.

I suspect part of it is the new course on campuses “life in the cosmos,” its sometimes called astrobiology but it brings together 7 or so major science disciplins and asks a lot of the same questions that used to be the domain of philosophy and religion. The academics in the disciplin have bothered to inform themselves about earlier notions likely because the dont want their effort to devolve. But even with such ambition its very humbling. To find life it helps if we can define it, but that isnt easy because the terms regress. Even a working GUT doesnt look like it will tell what energy is. Whats complexity? What is consciuosness? Here consciousness isnt simply epiphenomenon because we want a satisfactory answer to: are we alone? Also attempts to pin life down with thresholds and envelopes keep wiggling around. Pressure, heat. envelope of space-time, in a contemporary LS text even dimension. If they dont fell life is necessarily bound by three or four dimensions would it necessarily be strongly associated with chemistry?

Its on thing to talk about an infinite universe and another to look through the Hubble and find 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe alone. We used to think of stars as compressed gas clouds, now they have a full on anatomy, are they potentially more complicated than a human? So yes we are so tiny and apparently typical and we didnt want to see it, so it could change tone.

If you want to say religion is terror, fine, but terrorists strike me as economic and political purely. Very telling that a rich boogie man like Osama was on the US payroll.

Sorry, you’ve lost me…RD’s tone is more mystical? Has he said anything mystical or not? I don’t know what argument/documentary you’re talking about or what part of it could possibly make RD’s tone more mystical?
You then go on to say what part of the reason is…part of the reason for what? I can’t follow that paragraph anyway or where the definition of life relates to anything - the Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with how life started - it explains how things evolved once it did start.

…I’d say it.

Sorry warren, I’m really not understanding you - do you have any evidence that RD is now more mystical or not?

Why? They are videoing themselves, stating exactly why they are doing it. The Charlie Hebdo terrorists for example clearly stated it was revenge for insulting their “prophet”. Why do you choose to disbelieve words from the horse’s mouth?

lol…just noticed this “deepity”…what does it mean and why does it comfort you?
That which is real is clearly currently being threatened. The first part is clearly wrong, the second part plainly obvious and the third part is meaningless…

Sorry I just cant buy the terror thing, I think its all made up bs just like 911. In ww2 they simply said we will mix your remains with pig entrails and bury you thereby barring you from heaven, and that was enough. Check out some Rumi sifted through Georgia academic Coleman Barks, the best parts of that culture are the furthest thing from fundamentalist.

As for Mr. Dawkins he was the furthest thing from mystical and in my impression he has somehow mellowed. He could before come across as dogmatic. I dont get that now.

Mnufacturing the Dead Head is an article on us government attempts at mind control and how they have back fired.

As for what cannot be threatened, its the truth that cant be threatened. Only the truth is true. Our understanding or our notions of change and not change or the past cant touch it. Science does try to pursue it. My mother once said to me- dont worry about lies, if they lie to you its on them. Reminds me of our relation to the truth.