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Some reasoning for my non-belief

Discussion in 'Journals' started by Mock Turtle, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    A short analysis (quick and not particularly rigorous) as to why I rejected all religions, and associated gods (mostly), and although I'll no doubt defend the conclusion, I can understand how others will have come to a different one.

    The numbers game: The sheer number of religious beliefs, and the spectrum that exists (with such varying claims), seems to imply a process at work rather than any particular one being 'the truth', that is, reflecting our innate need for meaning all too often, especially regarding the larger issues. And it's perhaps rather obvious that all cannot be true - for example, one cannot have at the same time, no gods, the one God, or multiple gods (unless we all live in separate areas of existence - which doesn't appear to be the case), or have different moral systems all claiming to be 'the way' but which might contradict one another. So the sheer number, and the spectrum - filling out all the possible permutations of what existence, life and death (especially human), might be - tends to go against religions, although one could be true, and of course this is what many do believe - it being their particular religion. On balance of probability though, unless there is good evidence for one particular religion, one could conclude that they are all just as likely, such as not any one of them to be true. Religions also seem to evolve much like many other processes (splitting, competing, and filling needs, for example), so another reason to see them as such.

    The claims and beliefs: One should look at the claims of the various religions, their tenets, beliefs, etc., to judge the likelihood of these being true. One could spend a great deal of one's time (and life) researching any particular religion - no reason really to choose one over another - and yet still not be satisfied as to obtaining any truth appertaining to such, given that the textual materials from which the religions are derived often have no substantial historical authenticity other than from similar religious material. To do this for one religion would probably be enough of an undertaking but to do it for even all the major ones might be a life's work, and not something to be done lightly unless one was a masochist. The obvious problem for most religions is that all the original texts were not written in English, and even if one is fluent in the language, such has changed over the years so as to make it quite problematic to pin down the meanings of some words or texts. What would make one to be tempted by one religious belief over another other than fickle preference?

    The evidence for or against: Given that many of the claims made by most of the various religions do appear to contradict what science has currently shown us - not accepting claims that have not been proven or verified - any religion which has such claims surely has to be devalued in their believability. Perhaps such claims are just carrots to entice one into belief - thinking prayer, miracles, resurrection here, amongst many others. I'm afraid just pointing to life, humanity, or the vastness of existence isn't good enough evidence (for me) as to the existence of any god or creative force, although I do keep my mind open a little bit concerning the latter possibility. I have had a lifetime interest in science, so I'm more inclined to accept scientific findings over any that fail to pass the appropriate tests. Philosophical arguments also don't enthuse me.

    The history of such beliefs: We should also look at the histories of all religions, their origins, behaviours of adherents over time, and look at how religions evolved from the earliest primitive beliefs - like sun-worshipping, multiple gods, or animism, for example. Often religious faiths are based on some messenger or prophet, and the authenticity of such tends to be a given for any who subscribe to the particular religion, but even for Jesus Christ there is no real evidence for his persona being as depicted and accepted by Christianity. Conflict between the religions - commonplace for centuries - might just be a reflection of human behaviour, but it's undeniable that most of the major religions have suffered from such conflicts so as to cause enough misery, as much as any beneficial effects of the religion.

    The effects: We should look at what adherents tend to believe and how they might think and/or behave relative to others - those having a different religion or having no religion. It is reasonable to start with no-religion as a base (since that is what we are born with), where certain expectations (equality?) and freedoms would be seen as hoped for values, and then see how any particular religion fares in granting or not allowing any from this base condition. In this respect, some religions do seem to constrain human existence more than others, although all do to some extent since most also claim the right to dictate morality to adherents, and to others in some cases. One can see examples in how homosexuality or equality are viewed (especially with regards females and/or children), or perhaps how those of another faith or no faith are seen, as being just a few.

    Human uniqueness: There is no doubt that as a propagating species and as one that has developed quite uniquely, humans are the most successful on the planet - few would doubt this. But, unless one has a particular view otherwise (Creationism and such), it is rather obvious that we have evolved from ancestors that many species alive today (the great apes) share so much with, as all forms of life are similarly related if we travel far enough back in time. Many religions seem to place humans at the centre of everything, often with other animals being seen as our property or under our stewardship - and judging by the various religious texts it might be that such just reflected what was expected when these were written. These attitudes (mainly from Christianity and Islam) might be some of the reasons why we tend to treat other creatures so badly (especially when we see them mostly as food), which I find quite repulsive even though I am not a strict vegan or vegetarian, which by rights I should be. But overall I think some religious beliefs have separated us from other animals (we are animals) when this might not have been the case without religions. Destroying their habitat, thus possibly driving them to extinction, would hardly be seen as treating them well.

    A summation: Lastly, one could take into account all these items to get an overall picture as to what religions are all about, their value, and whether one can subscribe to any, if at all. I think that assessing all the religions, how they might have arisen, the arena in which they operate, the various claims, and their effects, gives one a better chance of arriving at a reasonable answer than just looking at one in detail, and possibly accepting or rejecting such. To many, they will seem man-made and projections of human thinking, and as such will be rejected as being of little value when they might not be that useful but could be so harmful. Which is the conclusion I came to. And after a lifetime of not seeing anything to alter such a view, it remains so. All the above is about the truthfulness of any particular religion, not about anything they might contribute to our understanding of human nature or behaviour, which many religions do seem to provide, but then such could have been arrived at without any attached religious belief in all probability.

    Of course all the previous didn't just fly into my head at once, and my views took some time to develop as my knowledge expanded (so as to reinforce initial suspicions) - with such coming from science in general, and also from philosophy, psychology, animal behaviour, neuroscience, anthropology, and no doubt several other areas.
     
    #1 Mock Turtle, Aug 10, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, I ended up differently. Because I started doubting science and philosophy as much as I doubted religion and figured out that I couldn't ground my beliefs only with reason, logic and evidence. So I even doubt the notion of truth most people believe in.
    Ain't it funny?!! We are in the same world apparently, yet even truth has a limit. :)
     
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  3. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    This is all very well, but BJH ?

    OK, it's one o'clock and time for lunch.
     
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  4. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    The one album I have is their best I would propose, and not much on it at all bad, being this one:

     
  5. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    Well I don't have faith as such in science (or philosophy), but as I listed, for me, it all stacks up against religions - so more about accumulation of evidence. But I can understand why people do see things differently.
     
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  6. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    This all seems jolly coherent to me and I pretty much agree with all you've said. You must be right therefore!
     
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  7. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    The video is the Strawbs...?
     
  8. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    First album I think (1969?). :musicnotes:
     
  9. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    My response to the OP was that I rejected the theology and dogma of various religions and looked at the source. I found that the essence of all religions is the same with the same root principles. The internet is full of considerations of this principle both pro and con. For me, all rivers lead to the sea and all religions lead to God (or the Truth if you prefer).

    To me, all the religions are designed to capture the life of the World Teacher, the Avatar, the Christ. They seek to help people honor and love a specific manifestation of the Truth.

    Human being being human beings, the pure life and message gets distorted as limited humans seek to carry forth the message. The messages either get corrupted as they are documented or interpreter distort the message by injecting themselves and their preferences into how the life and message are considered.

    I'll end my sermon :) with the admonition to not be concerned about the "clothing" the message "wears" but to seek the essence and try to live it in daily life. And for atheists, continue to seek the truth because to me the words "Truth" and "God" are synonyms.
     
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  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It's all based on the presumption that we humans should be able to know whether or not God exists, and if so, the nature of God's existence. And having adopted this presumption (based on nothing) you use the fact that we do not know as your evidence that God probably doesn't exist. Yet had you not presumed that if God does exist, we should know all about it, your entire system of justifications would not exist.
     
  11. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    @Mock Turtle

    I used to think much like you but the game flipper for me was paranormal phenomena that flew in the face of my atheistic-materialism. There has to be 'more'. Maybe traditional religions have their flaws and errors but something is indeed going on here. This eventually led me into Eastern Religions, Theosophy and such that made the best sense of things to my logical mind.
     
  12. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    No, it was more about not believing what the religions were offering. I still have some doubts about some divine existence but I can't see a way to approach such without going through some religious process and I simply don't trust any of them (as to knowing any 'truths') - well perhaps Buddhism to some extent but that isn't so much a religion. And I feel no need either - seeing such as just a big unknown.
     
    #12 Mock Turtle, Aug 10, 2020
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  13. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    You'd have to provide me with evidence for such (the paranormal), as I don't tend to believe in such things. And I'm well aware of how our minds can be deceived, knowing a bit about psychology. I've never had any such experiences, but had a few that could be explained.
     
  14. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    Well the paranormal is a vast, vast subject with many hall-ways. If you think all of that is compatible with a materialist outlook then that is your call BUT to me the chance that all that I've heard can be put back inside my old materialist box has reached essentially zero.
     
  15. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    That is also how I think, there has to be more, and that is not only based upon what my my religion has revealed but also on other books I have read. The way I see it it is logically impossible that this life is all there is, but what the next life will be like nobody really knows, except those who have been there.
     
  16. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I am going to agree with the first part of your post but challenge the end. I believe we can know quite a bit about the afterlife from clairvoyant sources and those who have died and spoken through mediums and channels.
     
  17. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    That's fair enough, but for me, such things are in the same category as being visited by aliens and UFO sightings being real. Both are a possibility but the consequences outweigh the likelihood.
     
  18. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    I suppose it's possible to define God into existence.
     
  19. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    You lost me particularly in the last sentence. "consequences' and 'likelihood' are very different considerations.
     
  20. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Asinine, socialist-leaning, puerile filth
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    Well the paranormal would seemingly break some aspect of science and the aliens would just open up a whole bunch of things that hardly seem probable, unless they lived locally. And if that was the case I can't see why they wouldn't be living here on Earth - not such a bad place after all. For the paranormal, and similar related things, one either can believe, not believe, or have an open mind. For me, I haven't come across enough evidence to have the open mind, and I don't accept the word of others just because..
     
    #20 Mock Turtle, Aug 10, 2020
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