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Featured Religion a confidence game?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Looncall, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Looncall

    Looncall Well-Known Member

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    What would you think of a business that peddles products that it cannot demonstrate that it can deliver? A scam, right?

    Religions strike me as entirely analogous, peddling afterlives, invisible deities, uninvestigatable swarms of saints, angels, spirits etc. Requests for verification are met with "have faith", "trust me", "the more absurd it is, the more it must be true", etc, all marks of the con artist.

    I suppose that the first prehistoric tribesman who found that he could escape the daily grind of survival by pretending to talk to gods realized quickly that he was onto a good thing (for him). And so it goes on.

    Is there any reason to suppose that religions are not scams?
     
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  2. The Holy Bottom Burp

    The Holy Bottom Burp Active Member
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    Naturally I believe all religions to be entirely man made, no divine intervention required, but to call them a "scam" is harsh (but good click bait for atheists and theists right? ;)).

    Even if they are all sound and fury signifying nothing in terms of theology and doctrine, the paying customer still gets something; comforting beliefs about the afterlife, friendship and community, possibly a way out of dangerous addictions, and so on. Apart from the beliefs about the afterlife you can get all that from the secular world of course, but religion excels at community, accepting the people in this world who might find it hard to fit in socially elsewhere. They have a vested interest in building that community of course, it is a major selling point for people who are lonely, for people who don't find it easy to "fit in" (it might not include LGBT people of course). The secular world can learn a lesson or two about community from religion, I like in the UK where secular community is pretty limited. A slightly sad reflection on modern life.
     
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I think there's a bit of historical truth in describing religions that have clergy as "scams", but only bit of truth. Through out history, there have been clergy who have often exploited their religion as a meal ticket, or means to sex, wealth, and power. That does not mean, however, that religions are exclusively or only scams. They serve many purposes, not just the purposes of corrupt clergy.
     
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  4. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Religions evolved over long periods of time with input from countless sources, they were not created fully formed ex nihilo by 'a bad man'. As such, they lacked the centralised control to be 'scams'.

    The idea that they were developed as a knowingly mendacious fiction by some sinister Machiavellian puppet masters just looking to fleece some gullible marks is a pretty vapid assertion.

    People often make the mistake of projecting the mindset of the modern world back into ancient times, whereas the world was a very different place back then and people didn't have the benefits of a modern eduction

    Anyway, the function of religions in the ancient world was not really connected to them being 'objectively' true, but the social role they played in constructing shared identity and community membership.

    Modern anti-theists seem to have an emotional attachment to these conspiracy theory type narratives regarding the genesis of religions (Religions were created to control the masses is another equally dull and predictable nonsense).
     
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  5. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    Yeah because who wants to "love your neighbor as yourself"...?
     
  6. Looncall

    Looncall Well-Known Member

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    I suppose that the social functions (and political ones) were "grafted" onto the oogity-boogity stuff, or sometimes vice-versa.

    Religion reminds me of chain letter scams: "pass the message on or wind up in hell". Many of the perpetrators are themselves victims: parents teaching children, honestly-believing clergy, etc.

    Once religion becomes institutional, it gets even worse: the institution becomes more important than the people. The book "Small Gods" by Terry Pratchett is a fun treatment of this effect.
     
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  7. Looncall

    Looncall Well-Known Member

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    One can come to that without the oogity-boogity stuff.
     
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  8. Rival

    Rival Noahide Fundamentalist
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    One could also come to the conclusion that there is no god, we are just machines for propogating DNA, and morality is a made up concept, ergo rape is fine because it can lead to reproduction and reproduction is the only purpose. That life has no value because it's just a bunch of cells and that we are all going to die anyway, so why not do whatever we want.

    People can come to all sorts of conclusions.
     
    #8 Rival, Jul 14, 2017
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  9. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    Exactly my point, if its a scam they're only scamming you into something you should be doing anyway. And for those who need a little extra incentive, might appreciate knowing there is a reward in the next life for doing it.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Sure. The are plenty of reasons historically. What we have to do is preserve all that is good and not the bad things, because we really need the good things. Notice that the people who are least susceptible to scams are those who have had logic in their training: Lawyers and Scientists. The reason scam artists are thriving is that the populace has been left vulnerable through ignorance. We need to re-institute logic classes in schools along with requiring good writing, speaking and debate skills. Education has failed at this. To some degree entertainment and religion have attempted to span the gap, but its a wide gap. So scam artists thrive these days. They are in positions of influence in religions, and they make money as psychics. They also appear in politics and are bleeding us all.
     
  11. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    They peddle false hope.
     
  12. PureX

    PureX Well-Known Member

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    There is an overwhelming atheistic bias against religion that disregards both logic and evidence in order to persist. That is that it assumes that man's inhumanity to man is the result of religion rather than the result of human nature being expressed through religion, as it is expressed through politics, through commerce, through philosophy, through bloody conflict, and throughout all of human history, in general. The human inclination to control, exploit, and abuse other humans is not the result of religion, but the result of human nature, which in many instances, religions try to mitigate; though not often successfully.

    But there is no quelling this bias. And no amount of reason or evidence to the contrary will be acceptable to the religion-hating atheists even as they claim to venerate reason and evidence. And even as they claim it to be the reason for their atheism. Hypocrisy, it seems, is also not exclusive to religion.
     
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  13. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    What kind of misrepresentation is this? The fact I am an atheist and believe only in this life means I value life higher than any theist who thinks this life is merely a test to see if one can enter heaven or not. Laughable.
    Knowing that morality is subjective and relative, knowing that existence is meaningless beyond biological imperatives, does not mean one is amoral or without a conscience or social responsibility, such denigration and insult, does not go unnoticed.
     
    #13 Corvus, Jul 14, 2017
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  14. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    Hatred is an emotive response, a truly logical being does not hate, he/she does his/her best to mitigate the harm religions cause.
     
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  15. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Rival seems to be talking about postmodernism and not about you in particular.
     
  16. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    Indeed and I have a law degree from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and a Natural sciences degree from the Open University, I have been thoroughly immunized, I am completely impervious to articles to faith. Education and knowledge reveal the irrationality of faith.
     
    #16 Corvus, Jul 14, 2017
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  17. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    I appreciate that. He is still utterly mistaken. This is the kind of language used by certain theists that does not assist them in any way whatsoever. It in fact creates antipathy and resentment. It gives ammunition to atheists who do actively hate believers.

    Edit: I have put Rival on ignore, that is the logical thing to do I think.
     
    #17 Corvus, Jul 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
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  18. Corvus

    Corvus Feathered eyeball connoisseur

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    What does that mean in English?
     
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  19. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    While popular, that conception of religion is at best one among several other competing ones. Several of the other conceptions are, in a word, saner.

    In any case, even by that understanding of religion that you propose - and I will reluctanctly agree that it can be argued that it is "mainstream" - the actual product is clearly ready answers, motivation and hope, not the actual afterlives and the like.
     
  20. Looncall

    Looncall Well-Known Member

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    Ah, but they are also scamming people into doing things that no decent person should do. Just read the news: bigotry, oppression, terrorism. Religion gives justification for them all.

    A quotation (I forget the source, my bad): good people do good things, bad people do bad things, to get good people to do bad things takes religion. I would add ideologies that operate like religions, like some communist regimes.

    It's a good thing that most folks are more moral than their religions.
     
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