The Benefits of Religion

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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cerealkiller
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Post by cerealkiller »

soulra wrote:in my opinion Christians do not automatically have morals. Being scared of everlasting torture has nothing to do with morals. Being anxious to please a benevolent deity also does not equate to morals: It means you’re a good dog.


Amen to that! :smt023
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
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pat1167
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Post by pat1167 »

"Religion" is not limited to Christian although that seems to be popular one in this valley.

True, there is no guarantee that Christians have any better values than another non-Christian person on this earth. In fact, some use the religion for personal gain to mislead and fleece followers. Beware the pastor in a $100.00 shirt and a cadilac (or equivalent). The differance is only that one knows what ideals a Christian is "supposed" to be striving for; some do, some don't.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
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Mr Danksworth
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Post by Mr Danksworth »

Check out this highly amusing take on morality...from a young brainwashing victim.
http://possummomma.blogspot.com/2008/01/science.html


I think I found the brilliant scientific minds that Ben Stein was referring to. A friend of ours is hyper, hyper religious and she teaches sixth grade. One of her students turned in a science project that I will re-type for you here. I've changed spelling errors (because, it was too painful to read otherwise). My commentary is in red (sorry, Russell...I'll bold the students words, too).

Project Title: Better Living Through God (Actually, the title is catchy.)
Question: Do unchristians make less moral choices than Christians? (What the hell is an "UnChristian"? And, while the question might be considered valid in a psychosocial or rhetorical manner, it's not the basis of a science project. And, how do you define "less moral"? What are the guidelines for "moral" v "immoral"?)
Hypothesis: The Bible is the perfect guide to life that shows us how to be moral people. Without believing in the Bible you can't know God and he can't guide you and give you rewards for being a good person. I think people who aren't Christian will be less successful. (Are you stunned by the verbal gymnastics, here? I am. Apparently, this kid has never internalized the concept of minimizing variables and giving precise criteria to an experiment. And, how would you measure morality? Success? And, wouldn't you need to first prove the God you speak of and then prove that he gives morality as some sort of prize?)
Experiment: I will interview thirty people and ask them if they are Christian. I will give them the same questions so I have a control sample. I think they are immoral if they score lower than 15.
(This kid doesn't understand the concept of a "control" sample. And, I love the arbitrary point system. How do you know if your subject is lying to you? When you see the questions, you'll note, as I did, that (on some questions) NO ONE is going to admit to the truth because it could be damaging. Oh yeah, and the kid put NAMES on the graph he made. So...I know who has stolen and cheated in our town. Mwa ha ha!)
Questions I will ask. There are 20 points available.
1. Have you ever spoke the name of our Lord in vain?
2. Have you ever killed another human being? (Yeah! Ha! As if some one's going to go, "Oh yeah. Quite a few...")
3. Have you every lied?
4. Have you ever had relations before marriage? (I had plenty of relations before marriage...aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. Oh. Wait. He's talking about sex, isn't he?)
5. Do you go to church every Sunday or once a week?
6. Do you wish you had more stuff? (This kid must be a real killjoy at Christmas.)
7. Do you gossip? (If we tell you about it, it's not gossip anymore.)
8. Do you give to charity?
9. Do you listen to rap or heavy metal music? (I think I need to deduct the entire 20 points from my score for this one..."Damn it feels good to be a gangsta'." What a lame question. What does music have to do with morality?)
10. Have you ever had an abortion or been pro-choice? (Wow!)
11. Have you ever read Harry Potter or Spiderwick Chronicles or the Golden Compass? (How, in any way, would this speak to a person's morality?)
12. Do you see movies with unwholesome content? (Yeah...Jesus Camp.)
13. Do you pray every day?
14. Do you believe that God is the creator of heaven and earth?
15. Are you overweight because you eat too much?
16. Do you take pride in accomplishments other than service to God?
17. Do you put God and Jesus first?
18. Do you view pornography? (Again...like anyone is going to tell a six grader, who will be putting a chart up in a science fair, that, "yes!" they peruse Hustler and Jugs magazine.)
19. Do you practice temperance in every thing you do?
20. Are you quick to anger?

Are you laughing yet?
I will say, though, that the student admitted being surprised by the answers. His hypothesis stated that he believed non-Christians would be sinners more than Christians. But, his "data" showed that no one passed as a moral person.
Conclusion: We are all sinners and need to ask God's forgiveness and repent. Since Christianity shows us how to do that, it would make people more moral if they became Christians.

Yep. This kid needs to call Ben Stein. He's a junior scientist after Ben's heart.

(ETA: For the record, I'm not "tearing apart a sixth grade child". I'm tearing apart his science project because it's NOT A SCIENCE PROJECT. I'm amused (and frightened) that this project is clearly centered around Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort's version of morality. His teacher, a friend of mine, isn't that learned on science projects. And, since she knew my kids had just won school science fairs and were going to county, she asked me to evaluate this child's project for adhearance to the scientific method. To those who ask why she allowed it: she really wanted to see if he could make it a valid project. And, he could've. The tragedy isn't that this kid is a Christian. The tragedy, to me, is that he (and likely his parents) somehow thought an appropriate project for a sixth grader was interviewing people around him about their sins and then setting arbitrary criteria for morality. The project is flawed not because it's based on religion...but, because his conclusion doesn't reflect the hypothesis. If this were truly a science project, then the conclusion should've said something like "Christians are no more moral (by these standards) than "UnChristians"". But, he monkied the conclusion to reflect his bias. That's not how it works. To me, it shows the complete bastardization of mixing the evangelical, creationist agenda with science.)
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zzontar
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Post by zzontar »

So what makes that list THE list to determine if you're moral or not?
They say you can't believe everything they say.
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pat1167
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Post by pat1167 »

zzontar wrote:So what makes that list THE list to determine if you're moral or not?


Some 6th grader with fundamentalist right wing Christian ideas?

I do hope this quote does not mean that you (soulra) paint all of us "Christians" with the same brush. With 9 points, I fail too and am considered quite conservative by my kids and my office. The fundamentalists tend to be the Pharisees of the Christian world; lots of rules, not too much love and forgiveness even for their own people.

There are 7 Catholic sections (under one Pope) and about 1300 Protestant denominations (or more depending on your source) with no consistent leadership. There are many dissimilar beliefs/standards, especially among the protestant denominations which split off from each other due to some difference of opinion along the way.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
Galileo Galilei
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Mr Danksworth
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Post by Mr Danksworth »

It's all still from the same book. I agree that the fundies are one extreme end of the spectrum. The more liberal x-ians cherry pick the good stuff and ignore the rest. +10000 denominations and each one thinks they have the lock on the 'truth(tm)' and are 'true christian(tm)'. Bah!

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zzontar
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Post by zzontar »

So soulra, are you saying you have a lock on the truth?
They say you can't believe everything they say.
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cerealkiller
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Post by cerealkiller »

There is only one truth: the scientific truth. Everything else is speculation, fear and wishful thinking.
Neither soulra, myself or anybody else has a lock on the truth. Truth is revealed by scientific methods. It is altered, adapted and improved all the time. Thousands of scientists are working tirelessly to find the truth. They are not biased by any faith or non faith, they want to be the first ones who make a breakthrough discovery, supporting religion or disproving it is not the agenda.
Religious dogma does not seek the truth. It claims to have it already for thousands of years. It does not adapt or improve. Killing witches and stoning children to death is still in these dogmas, no flexibility there.
The point is if you think you have found the truth already (faith) you are not inspired to look for anything further. This is it for you. All explanations are in the good book, if you look only hard enough. So why bother reading anything that would contradict that faith? Why search for more?
The faithfuls are the ones who claim to have the truth, not the atheists. Carved in stone and printed millions of times, the truth has to be explained with miracles and supernatural powers. Not a shred of scientific evidence ( and please don't mention places and times, that is meaningless), just 'faith' that the claims are actually fact. Atheists are sceptics, we need evidence when incredible claims are made. And we are the first ones that revise our position if new evidence to the contrary comes to light. People of faith are not prepared to do that because it would chisel away on their beliefs and destroy their faith. :124:
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
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zzontar
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Post by zzontar »

cerealkiller wrote:

Truth is revealed by scientific methods. It is altered, adapted and improved all the time.


If it changes, then it wasn't the truth to begin with. I remember scientists said DDT was safe, and there were commercials of the little kid riding his bike through the fog of DDT that the truck was spraying... I could come up with a list a mile long about scientific proof that did a complete 180, so like I said, if it changes, then it wasn't the truth to begin with.
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cerealkiller
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Post by cerealkiller »

Good grief! Science is HUMAN and therefore not perfect. So let’s stop all scientific research because it is all a big fat lie! If we would live according to zzontar, we would still die of the plague and ride donkeys. Everything would have stopped at the discovery of fire and the wheel!
Interestingly enough, people that poopoo science are the ones who rely on it the most. You like your computer? Your car? Medical advances? You/we enjoy these things not because of religion but because of science!
Lets turn back the time; the earth is still flat and the universe evolves around it. And if I don’t agree with that, roast me alive after you pulled out my limbs.
It worked for so long, why change? Why evolve? Why improve? You got all the answers or at least you pretend to, no need for change or revisal.
Sure science made mistakes, we all have. Should we ignore it’s findings and stop all research because of that? According to zzontar yes! Because these scientific discoveries contradict and disprove the faith of many.
So, many theists take all the good and convenient results from scienctific research from electricity to bypass surgery, but denounce anything that contradicts religious claims. Convenient? Yes! Truthful? No!
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
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zzontar
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Post by zzontar »

All I said was if it's the truth, it won't change... if you think otherwise that's your problem.
They say you can't believe everything they say.
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cerealkiller
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Post by cerealkiller »

zzontar wrote:All I said was if it's the truth, it won't change... if you think otherwise that's your problem.


Sure! Let's look at an example of truth: In the 1500's people in Europe died of the plague like flies. It was believed that bloodletting was the only cure. People got even weaker after getting half of their blood sucked out. That was the truth at that time. I think methods have changed somewhat since then and it's still the truth. Truth was the earth is flat and lightening is caused by angry gods. The truth changed with knowledge and always will.
Your statement is wrong.
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
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nolanrh
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Post by nolanrh »

zzontar wrote:cerealkiller wrote:

Truth is revealed by scientific methods. It is altered, adapted and improved all the time.


If it changes, then it wasn't the truth to begin with. I remember scientists said DDT was safe, and there were commercials of the little kid riding his bike through the fog of DDT that the truck was spraying... I could come up with a list a mile long about scientific proof that did a complete 180, so like I said, if it changes, then it wasn't the truth to begin with.


Truths based on science are very rarely considered absolute. They are explanations based on existing empirical data. The more evidence supporting a hypothesis, the more the confidence in its truth. Often down the road evidence arises that proves an hypothesis to be false. Scientific method allows for this and new hypothesis are formed.

As such scientific "truth" is ever evolving based on new evidence, not absolute and forever. It should be read as: "given all observations to date we believe THIS to be true".

It should never be interpreted as, "this is true forever and always".
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Post by ferri »

nolanrh wrote:
Truths based on science are very rarely considered absolute. They are explanations based on existing empirical data. The more evidence supporting a hypothesis, the more the confidence in its truth. Often down the road evidence arises that proves an hypothesis to be false. Scientific method allows for this and new hypothesis are formed.

As such scientific "truth" is ever evolving based on new evidence, not absolute and forever. It should be read as: "given all observations to date we believe THIS to be true".

It should never be interpreted as, "this is true forever and always".


unless it is something Al Gore says. then it's undebatable. lord how i have found that out. :lol:
“Weak people revenge. Strong people forgive. Intelligent people ignore.”
― Albert Einstein
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Mr Danksworth
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Post by Mr Danksworth »

zzontar wrote:So soulra, are you saying you have a lock on the truth?


No I don't. Here's a quote from Robert Ingersoll on the subject of truth...

For many centuries free speech has been an insult to God.
Nothing has been more blasphemous than the expression of honest
thought. For many ages the lips of the wise were sealed. The
torches that truth had lighted, that courage carried and held
aloft, were extinguished with blood.

Truth has always been in favor of free speech has always asked
to be investigated -- has always longed to be known and understood.
Freedom, discussion, honesty, investigation and courage are the
friends and allies of truth. Truth loves the light and the open
field. It appeals to the senses -- to the judgment, the reason, to
all the higher and nobler faculties and powers of the mind. It
seeks to calm the passions, to destroy prejudice and to increase
the volume and intensity of reason's flame.

It does not ask man to cringe or crawl. It does not desire the
worship of the ignorant or the prayers and praises of the
frightened. It says to every human being, "Think for yourself.
Enjoy the freedom of a god, and have the goodness and the courage
to express your honest thought."
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