Reasons to Believe

Marty Hamrick
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Reasons to Believe

On some of the other forum sites, I occasionally posted forums looking for what religionists considered were reasons for belief. The majority of "reasons" were emotionally based. People spoke of an "emptiness" or "meaningless feeling" that they felt could only be assuaged through religion. OK, fine, but that's not a reason, it's a motivation. Sometimes I pressed further, looking for a logical thought pattern, but never got anywhere, oftentimes folks got offended. I even had one forumist tell me, "my faith is not an equation, have a nice day".

Religious faith requires accepting caveats in what is the percieved nature of reality. Religion invovles believeing in something called the"supernatural", that is events, beings and actions that suspend the laws of physics for some devine purpose. Some defend this belief system by infusing philosophy, citing such examples as Kant and other lines of thought that challenge what we percieve as reality , but still at the end of the day we're left right back at Square One. No one has yet provided a logical reason why what we percieve with our senses as reality should be challenged. Right now there is a water glass beside my laptop. I percieve it as "real" because not only can I pick it up, drink water out of it or even smash it against a wall if I wish, but I could ship it anywhere in the world and someone else could experience the water glass the same way I did, therefore the water glass is "real".
Religion requires that one suspend what they percieve as reality to take on a twilight zone world of angels, demons, miracles, afterlives, talking animals and such to fully embrace it. This is the same mechanics the movie industry has used since it's inception. You must suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours in order to enjoy a movie. For two hours you can safely believe that Superman can fly or Captain Kirk is saving the universe from Klingons, but when the credits roll, the picture fades to black and the lights come on, you go back to your mundane world where the laws of physics are never violated. The difference in religion is that there are no ending credits and the believer must still suspend his sense of doubt. This is what religionists call "faith".

Is there a good reason to believe that what we precieve as reality is not right? Is there a good reason to ever believe that gravity can be defied, that animals that possess niether vocal chords or a brain advanced enough for verbal communication can talk or that the dead can rise? Other than an emotional belief that without these things, life would be boring, I see no other motivation. Religionists eschew this line of thought purely on emotional reasons. Not that such is particularly a bad thing, for we all base many decisions on emotional needs and wants with absolutely no thought for logic and reason. We eat food that we know will agravate certain digestive problems, but because they're soooo good, so sometimes we endure the pain and discomfort anyway. I have a good friend that suffers severe gout and I can always tell when he eats shellfish because the next day, he's limping due to his swollen feet. He always just shrugs his shoulders when someone tells him the obvious saying, "but I love shrimp".
It's only when people INSIST that emotional comfort trumps what the laws of physics tell us that I get concerned.Call me obtuse, but I see no difference in what religion tells me is "reality" and the voices in a schizophrenic's head or the visions a person under the influence of a hallucinogen has.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."


harleysportster
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True enough

Victor Stenger- Interview with a Particle Physicist -December 1998 :

 

    People are entitled to their opinions, but when the opinion is in disagreement with the data--and with the facts, when that opinion does not stand up under critical or rational scrutiny, I think that we have a right to point that out. We shouldn't be stepping on anyone's toes when we do that. If they are going to be spouting nonsense, then we should say that--not as a matter of opinion but as a matter of scientific fact. When someone says that science says something and science DOESN'T say something (It doesn't state that !That is a misrepresentation of what science says ! ) Then I think that we can safely say that. If it ruffles some feathers, so what ?

 

    I agree, I see no reason  to grant the Bible any more respect than I would someone using Harry Potter books to attack my position.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


Brian37
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harleysportster wrote:Victor

harleysportster wrote:

Victor Stenger- Interview with a Particle Physicist -December 1998 :

 

    People are entitled to their opinions, but when the opinion is in disagreement with the data--and with the facts, when that opinion does not stand up under critical or rational scrutiny, I think that we have a right to point that out. We shouldn't be stepping on anyone's toes when we do that. If they are going to be spouting nonsense, then we should say that--not as a matter of opinion but as a matter of scientific fact. When someone says that science says something and science DOESN'T say something (It doesn't state that !That is a misrepresentation of what science says ! ) Then I think that we can safely say that. If it ruffles some feathers, so what ?

 

    I agree, I see no reason  to grant the Bible any more respect than I would someone using Harry Potter books to attack my position.

If we didn't step on toes then the Danish cartoonist threatened with death would deserve death. We know damn well, in a civil society, his "toe stepping", while offending Muslims, for example, was not bigoted in the least, but a required criticism of what some of their members irrationally act on.

Otherwise we become a society that sets up taboos. If one is ignorantly hateful, that is one thing to stand up to. But merely saying someone is full of shit on a claim, does not constitute hate of the person themselves.

Quote:
I agree, I see no reason  to grant the Bible any more respect than I would someone using Harry Potter books to attack my position.

Right, and agreed. But this mere quote will be seen by believers as "stepping on toes".

I like to give my counterparts credit for at least one thing. MOST of the time, when you tell them that what you are about to blaspheme is not a personal attack, but a criticism of their claim, they (most of the time) don't take that as "stepping on their toes".

There will always be morons who are not adult enough, and zealots willing to kill and die for their beliefs. But at least in most of the secular world, we should be protecting the right to "step on toes", theirs and ours. And the best either can agree on, is that words do not have to lead to physical violence.

What IS unreasonable, even outside the issue of religion, is to expect others to placate your emotions by force. 6 billion of us will not always say nice things about each other. Instead of anyone insisting on taboos, we should all agree that physical harm is off limits no matter what is said.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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Marty Hamrick
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Stepped on toes and ruffled

Stepped on toes and ruffled feathers are the prices one pays for a society that tolerates free speech.

"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."