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Why is atheism so small in numbers, when clearly many people disagree with religious beliefs that worship a higher being? Especially, when science is factual and rational, which has been very useful and progressive for the world, yet people still put hopes in a fallacy that does not depend on rational argument or factual evidence? Why do people enjoy belonging to something or become so hypnotized by the notion that a miracle will save their unfortunate lives, rather then just doing something about it, in order to make change for themselves? Anyways, I hope I did not offend anyone.
The last sentence of your post made me laugh lol
But I mean, whether you are religious or not, religion as a human practice has been around so long and in so many different societies, it is probably safe to say it is almost biological. It will be a very difficult practice to give up as a species.
I don't think religion is as biological as the idea of society/group is. Given the argument of some people, it feels as if they're in a religion due to the community or family they were raised in or due to fear of going to Hell.
I don't believe in that sort of riff raff though. There's no deity, Jesus, or whatnot. Sadly, it's not just atheism vs. religions, it's science vs. religions.
Most of us are not "atheists" because we don't have the fucks to give. Religion does not play a major part in my life. I still don't care enough to deny the existence of god, let alone align myself in opposition to religion. I celebrate a few major holidays with family, in a strictly secular fashion. No prayers, no temple, no ceremony. I don't give enough fucks to formulate some pseudo-intellectual argument against religion. There is nothing more annoying than a proselytizing atheist. Just as pushy, narrow minded, and long winded as a religious missionary, but twice as sanctimonious. The only thing more annoying than a proselytizing atheist is a proselytizing who invokes science, without any real working scientific knowledge.
I have always said science and religion can coexist like they used to. Religious people whose only source of information is biased towards god and against science are just as annoying because they don't have close to accurate information. I personally find "so we evolved from monkeys" to be very ignorant, as it shows no research or knowledge at all.
Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas provides 5 rational ways in terms of proving God, of course not as evident, but the point remains hat religion uses logic as well, at least tries to prove it's point through it.
I don't think religions should be ridden of, but the mindset of many people need to change. Rather than be diehard religious, they need to be more open minded and consider different views.
Open mindness is an issue of perspective. From what I have experienced people with whom we do not agree are perceived as close and narrow minded while people with whom we agree are perceived as open minded and all that stuff. People's perception of us as open or close minded ends up depending on how much they agree with me to begin with.... Its rare to see someone who perceives himself or people who agree with him as close minded. At least I have never seen that so far. Perhaps that is the part that makes the issue so complicated.... Someone who takes a scientific/logical approach to problems will be invariably seen as close and narrow minded by someone who takes a religious/spiritual approach to the same thing (my point here is not about who is correct, its about the perspective). Maybe to some extent the issue is not of open mindness but rather of simple and basic tolerance.
As was already said, religion and science are not mutually exclusive. The issue here is to keep them separated so as to do both right. The issue here is that when you mix them you are doing both wrong. Nothing properly religious can ever be proven or rejected by science. Nothing properly scientific can ever have religious implications because science does not attempt to answer spiritual questions. You can't proof religion with science because things that are properly religious are not things upon which you can make testable predictions on. Leave things on which you can do proper science to to the scientists and the rest leave it to people's whims. Believing in the afterlife or god and other things which fall in the spiritual area are ultimately unrelated to science and you ability to do science right. What we should take a stance against is against doing religion wrong, against using religion to reject science (you know, stuff like creationism, homeopathy and other stuff which rejects actual objective and scientific knowledge). In the same manner we should take a stance against people who use science to disprove religion (stuff like saying evolution disproves god or the afterlife and such things, its just plain irrational and poor science; unless the religious/spiritual/esoteric point in question is being somehow based on on something measurable or scientific sounding in which case just disprove away....).
You could mix science with religion though, it's not like you're trying to disprove the existence of god or anything. Science to my recollection was never about going against any sort of religious deity, science is about learning about the world around us (and the universe too) and finding ways to improve life. There's no reason for it to clash with religion, but atheists and religious people alike tend to crash both into each other in an attempt to prove their side. Many scientists were religious, no? And many religious people I know trust science and even believe evolution was possible.
I agree, we need to take a stance against atheists who constantly use science to disprove religion and assume that's what science was about as likewise, we need to take a stance against religious people who refuse to prioritize safety and health. The Pope did right by allowing the use of condom and birth control, as well as allowing same-sex marriage. That's the kind of advancement religions need to become better. Religions need to evolve with the times, in my opinion. One thing I can't stand though is when parents refuse to get treatment for their kids and jeopardize them just because of god.
You missed my point a bit. I am not saying you can't be religious and scientific, just the opposite, you can be both. The issue is not mixing them, keeping the boundaries of each clear. My point is that if you are basing your religious beliefs on science (say evolution or the age of the universe) or your science on your religious believes (say, you believe the bible to be a source of any form of scientific knowledge) you are doing science and religion wrong because you are going outside the scope of what each does. Science does not attempt to answer nor cares about spiritual matters. Religion done right does not attempt to answer scientific questions nor cares about scientific matters.
Also, I am pretty sure the pope has not "allowed" any of the things you mention. The current pope has not actually changed anything whatsoever. He hasn't really said much about birth control from what I recall and his attitude towards same sex marriage is not "permissive". What this pope has is simply a different attitude from past popes, not different beliefs. This pope in regards to other popes has simply said that gay people, divorces, transsexuals and other folk should be treated as people, as actual human beings, that we shouldn't focus on judging them for their sexual orientation and whatnot. However the church itself (the pope included) still sees gay marriage and other things pretty much the same as always, a sin. From what I gather the pope wants to make the church and church members more tolerant, more inclusive and make followers not be quick in judging others. Well, he did say the bit about civil unions however that is not in itself allowing marriages within the church. Its a legal thing which serves practical legal purposes. In fact when he said that bit he still said the church is opposed to same sex marriages.
About that last question...the assumption in the question oversimplifies religion...religion offers comfort that the life and hardship spend here is not in vain, so I think if you want to simplify religion, then this is a more appropriate simplification...and it also provides a value system, and by its conservative nature it helps to preserve cultural identity...
Religion itself is not wrong or irational...fundamentalism is wrong, many times the Church is wrong (or Churches), blind faith and superstition is...so that is why it still holds ground in many societies in this world...
PS: I refer mostly to the western world here...I don't really know much about the rest of the world
Last edited by benelori; May 05, 2014 at 03:24 PM.
I didn't miss your point, I said there shouldn't be much of an issue mixing science and religion together. A religious person can be a scientist who believes God created first forms of life, which then evolved into what it is today. From what I read, the main reason why religion and science stopped getting along was because the monarchy and the Church feared losing power (since religious leaders do seem powerhungry and selfish, regardless of any religion), so they made going against the Bible heresy and condemned science.
But what are science and religion done right? Religion is about believing in the deity, no? Maybe I am simplifying it too much, but that's the general gist I get. Science is about discovering the world and improving life. Both can be mixed together.
Really? The news have said he supports same-sex marriage and encourages birth control.
I don't think we are actually disagreeing here, we just have a slightly disparity is semantics or something lol. I think you are referring to the "mixing" as a person being both things, spiritual and scientific. I made the point that a person can be both things without issue but the science and spirituality can't mix. I am not talking about a person's capacity to be both things with but rather the scope in itself of the definition of each. Spirituality, religion, refer to the metaphysical, to god, morals, afterlife and a bunch of other things. Science is not as broad, science refers specifically to the study of the world in the form of testable predictions and models. What I mean by them not being mixable is that by how religion and spirituality are defined things are either religious or scientific and do not get into the territory of the other. By bad science or bad religion I refer to someone using one to make a point in the other (say, creationists using the bible to say the earth is 6000 years old or someone saying evolution disproves the genesis).
I do think science and spirituality can mix, it's happened before. It would not necessarily alter anything as long as the person is open minded and considers any possibility. Or are you talking differently?
Science is is very broad, maybe broader than spirituality, whose limitation can be based on what specific religion you're studying or talking about. Science can be the study of biology, chemistry, marine life, physics, astronomy, and myriads of other stuff, where spirituality would not clash.
But I'm assuming the contrary to your example of bad science or religion, that neither side will bring up religion or science. A good scientist won't say "but the Bible says the Earht is 6000 years old, so how can this sediment be over 1 million years old?" But from what I've read, the Bible was never meant to be taken literally, it was more like lessons to teach. Probably another reason why both sides got along.
As for why atheism is so low in numbers: there are hundreds of religious groups, each people with their beliefs. Different religions have different sets of beliefs, along with society, that makes people either believe or be forced to believe. It's easier to become an open atheist in US than it is in India.