Religion Why are there still Christians?

I think Christianity made a mess of the whole trinity dogma. So many different points of contention around the trinity. People need something simple like one god like the Jewish or Muslim God. I mean 100 years after the start of Christianity the Orthodox and the Catholics were arguing about Filioque something completely inconsequential and confusing to anybody except the 10th degree theologians. So many heresies throughout its life. Note to myself: If you are going to invent a religion, make it simple.
I think that the early Christians were exclusively but they had some trouble expanding the flock so they turned to the gentiles and had to invent all the miracles and otherworldly acts like rising from the dead which would attract the polytheistic Greeks and Romans. Notice that NT is written in Greek not in Aramaic or Hebrew.
 
I agree with Tautalus.
I was Catholic, and I was educated in schools of Salesian brothers.
But over time my faith began to decrease, and today I consider myself a deist, since I am not an atheist either. I believe there is "something" that is beyond the scope of our understanding. But I believe that the bond between us and that "something" is absolutely individual, and any attempt by someone to intervene is an attempt to try to dominate us.

I was also raised in a Catholic family and went to Jesuit school. But I started questioning the logic of Catholic teaching heavily from my catechism lessons at the age of six. I refused to do my solemn communion because I was already a deist by age 12 with a deep interest in philosophy. I was precocious in that regard - maybe because my grandfather had a PhD in philosophy, although he died when I was little so I never really had the chance to discuss philosophy with him, but I certainly inherited his philosophical mindset. I never found anybody around my age who was interested in philosophy or could follow discussions on the topic. Even later at university, even though I didn't officially study philosophy (I didn't the point of a degree in philosophy), during my free time I would go to the philosophy faculty and often ended up discussing with the philosophy professor after class instead of trying to talk with people my age.

Throughout secondary school I constantly argued/reasoned with the teacher (often a Jesuit priest) in religion class. My parents were even summoned once to the principal's office because of what I said in religion class. My father couldn't see what was wrong with what I said, so the principal had to exclaim 'Bu this is a Jesuit school! You can't say things like that in a Jesuit school!" Of course nothing happened. They were not going to expel a bright kid just for disagreeing with a teacher about religion. That would have looked really bad for the school.

I only became an Atheist around the age of 18 as I took great care to disprove all possibilities for the existence of what humans call a god. I even wrote a book on the subject when I was 19 although I never published it. I later found that Richard Dawkins wrote excellent books on Atheism, so I never pursued the idea of publishing a book on the subject.

But even considering this "intrusion", I believe that Christianity, which is at the basis of our civilization, gave us something fundamental: free will.
Free will was the small hole that allowed the acceptance of the development of science (although it took a lot to defeat dogmatism) and our current conception of the world. I think that in Islam it would not have been possible (or at least, in the current conception of Islam): God has already determined everything and there is nothing to do but obey.
And furthermore, despite its natural dogmatism, Christianity has been able to adapt, at least partially, to today's world.

Humans have always had free will (if such a thing exists). It is monotheistic and polytheistic religions that insist that this isn't the case and that our fate is decided by God(s). It is true that Islam is more fatalistic than Christianity, but what really gave us free will is philosophy (e.g. the 18th-century Enlightenment).
 
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I was also raised in a Catholic family and went to Jesuit school. But I started questioning the logic of Catholic teaching heavily from my catechism lessons at the age of six. I refused to do my solemn communion because I was already a deist by age 12 with a deep interest in philosophy. I was precocious in that regard - maybe because my grandfather had a PhD in philosophy, although he died when I was little so I never really had the chance to discuss philosophy with him, but I certainly inherited his philosophical mindset. I never found anybody around my age who was interested in philosophy or could follow discussions on the topic. Even later at university, even though I didn't officially study philosophy (I didn't the point of a degree in philosophy), during my free time I would go to the philosophy faculty and often ended up discussing with the philosophy professor after class instead of trying to talk with people my age.

Throughout secondary school I constantly argued/reasoned with the teacher (often a Jesuit priest) in religion class. My parents were even summoned once to the principal's office because of what I said in religion class. My father couldn't see what was wrong with what I said, so the principal had to exclaim 'Bu this is a Jesuit school! You can't say things like that in a Jesuit school!" Of course nothing happened. They were not going to expel a bright kid just for disagreeing with a teacher about religion. That would have looked really bad for the school.

I only became an Atheist around the age of 18 as I took great care to disprove all possibilities for the existence of what humans call a god. I even wrote a book on the subject when I was 19 although I never published it. I later found that Richard Dawkins wrote excellent books on Atheism, so I never pursued the idea of publishing a book on the subject.



Humans have always had free will (if such a thing exists). It is monotheistic and polytheistic religions that insist that this isn't the case and that our fate is decided by God(s). It is true that Islam is more fatalistic than Christianity, but what really gave us free will is philosophy (e.g. the 18th-century Enlightenment).
I agree with the role of philosophy. I was referring to the context of Western civilization, based on Christianity, wich later allowed the recovery of the ancient Greek philosophy and the development of the Enlighment. Christian thought was omnipresent, but new currents of thought still developed.
 
Only people with low IQ or with an agenda actually follow these religions that were set up at a time when people didn't have much knowledge

Christianity is stupid but Islam is the worst religion around and people still care about it, it's hilarious

All you need to consider is, if god existed or was a good god why would he make disabilities, birth defects and living things kill and eat one another
 
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Being an atheist with no sympathies toward any religion, Christianity included, I have to concur with Richard Dawkins that some religions are just much worse than others and Islam is a case in point. But belief in the supernatural and god(s) is generally ridiculous in our times, a problem that has come a long way and shows you that scientific and technological progress does not equal social and cultural progress. The US embraced a philosophy called pragmatism according to which you can have all the scientific discoveries in the world without drawing any philosophical conclusions from them. You can accept evolution, that matter is composed of atoms, that people walked on the Moon and still believe that Jesus turned water into wine. If the great minds of the past followed that kind of schizophrenia, we wouldn't have made any progress at all and would still believe the heavens were divided into layers of spheres. Not only do poverty, diseases, wars and injustices make the questioning of the existence of a god legitimate. All it takes is to have a look at nature. Why would a mercyful, all-loving god invent a parasitic worm called Onchocerca volvulus from which so many children in Africa go blind? What's the divine purpose of bacteria, viruses, mosquitos and billions of other species that make no sense at all except in the context of a natural eco system that warrants no divine explanation? And even here many of these life forms are parasitic and thus only damaging and useless. What's the purpose of the vacuum of space, permeated with deadly radiation? Stars coming into existence only to die after hundreds of millions or a couple billion years without nurturing any form of life in their solar systems. What's the divine purpose of a dead, cold world like Pluto or Neptune? Gods and religions are nothing but fictional reflections and ideologies of human societies. They may have had their purpose in the past when people were ignorant and illiterate and when rulers needed a strong religious ideology to consolidate and justify their power but not in the 21st century.
 
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I return to intervene as an old philosophy graduate, mostly because - after more than a month since it was published - I still haven't understood what the ultimate aim of this thread is (except to slander a faith that has now been reduced to its lowest terms). , and secondly because certain judgments on Christianity seem to me even more dogmatic than what the faithful of this belief have expressed in the past.

Let me start by saying that I am a Christian by baptism and family tradition, but not practicing and with very little or no faith. I have no particular sympathy for the Church, especially for its political interference (I'm from Romagna and anyone who chews a bit of medieval and modern history knows what I'm talking about), and I hate what it has done with regards to fine minds like Giordano Bruno and Galileo.

But be very careful not to throw the baby away with the bathwater.

In the meantime, we should understand what is most annoying about Christianity here: whether it is its precepts/morals or the fact that some Christians "believe" in the scriptures, calling them fools compared to those who follow science.

On morality, it seems to me that the issue is now a non-problem. For a long time now, the West has no longer followed any Christian/biblical morality, and has instead constantly demonstrated amorality - not to say depravity - at all levels. The 10 commandments seem to mirror the current daily behavior of the average Westerner. (Also in this regard, I don't intend to teach anyone anything: I consider myself a textbook sinner in all respects).

Regarding the fact that some persist in reading the Bible and/or believing in it, I would say that among them today almost no one of average education - with the exception of some minority, fanatical or hyper-conservative groups on which constant cherry-picking is applied - does so by approaching it with an absolutely literal interpretation.
Even if memes and the media want us to believe otherwise, I would like to hope that the very secular and casual West will be able to understand once and for all that a text like this (like all religious texts) must be contextualized historically, and read through a tight allegorical exegesis (I point out that it is the Christians themselves who equip themselves with these tools, given that the debate had already arisen in the first centuries of the common era; while in our times it is almost easier to find among the critics of Christianity those who claim to use the Bible in the literal sense). If anyone is interested in these issues, relating to a reasoned biblical interpretation, find some studies by Pierre Grelot.

I believe that very few in the Western world today uncritically adopt the Bible as a scientific text, to recover scientific theories or data. This was a note that could have been addressed to the faithful (and not even all) of a few centuries ago; now it seems to me to arrive gratuitously and quite out of time, with the intention of somewhat artfully creating a fence between faith and science, making the former seem completely obstructive compared to the latter. Be careful about calling Christians idiots or giving poor IQ scores. This boundary between faith and science, as proven by facts, has been much more fluid and permeable than we are willing to admit (just take a look at the list of first-rate scientists who were also religious to disprove such an assumption I doubt they were all indoctrinated idiots. Google it and you will find tasty surprises: here is a first list relating to the Catholic field https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_clergy_scientists ).

But in any case, even if science and faith have stepped on each other's toes for centuries and continue to do so, their respective ultimate contents and objects of study remain largely very different, it never hurts to reiterate this. If some naive Christians have not understood it, even many atheist scientists, conversely, are not joking.

"The Bible teaches how to go to Heaven. Science how heaven works." It's a dated joke attributed to Galileo, who probably heard it in turn from Cardinal Baronio, but it doesn't get old: old but gold.
If we wanted to talk about it in purely philosophical/Aristostelian terms, science is currently able to identify the material and efficient causes of nature and reality (what a reality is "made" of and how it is born/arises). The formal causes (i.e. the profound and original essence, unless the mathematical modeling that the physics of nature does can be equated with finding them) and the final causes (what reality is ultimately used for) escape it. Science and religion generally converge their attention on these points. Why there is being and not nothingness is the ultimate question that has held the human mind in check for millennia, whether we want to use reason or not.

But here too I would like to hope that, after a giant of thought or as Kant was in the end of the 18th century, it was clear both to the faithful and to the most convinced scientists and rationalists, that what escapes a space-time categorization (Soul, World and God, the nodes of both metaphysics and religion), it cannot be the object of rational demonstration and therefore become the object of science.
Therefore, if the believer cannot affirm anything about the existence of metaphysical objects rationally, neither can the iron rationalist. Indeed, I would say that the atheist - if he wanted to be fully honest with himself and not self-contradictory - should exercise prudent skepticism here, and also abstain from judging the existence of God, under penalty of wanting to ascribe to himself a type of demonstration that our epistemological and rational faculties cannot cope.

Now if human rationality has its limits and if Humanity, for millennia, has almost always felt the need for a prop to give a profound meaning to itself and to the world, it is not as if there is much else left outside of religion and of faith. Which is certainly to be criticized and condemned when it is used ideologically, forcibly political and persecutory towards other communities or individuals. But it cannot be suppressed on an intimate and personal level.

You ask yourselves why these anthropological elaborations that smack of myths and fairy tales continue to exist. Let's not beat around the bush too much: no one is happy to imagine themselves transient and thrown randomly into existence. Subconsciously we almost always harbor a hope that our earthly adventure will not end in a memorial stone under which to rot. These are questions that pop into our heads either when we begin to glimpse our end, or when we are in a desperate situation, with which we measure our finiteness. Someone said there are no atheists on a crashing plane.

You ask why people believe (stupidly?) in a presumed and imaginary benevolent and transcendent God, despite the evil that afflicts and weakens the world. I would turn the question around: it is precisely because Humanity experiences evil that it develops a religion, either to find comfort with respect to the pain it feels in the face of misfortunes and injustices, or because it is hoped that these negative events, in the economy of existence , happen according to a superior logic and with a purpose that we cannot understand, but which justifies our suffering (the famous "Providence", which is not just a fantasy or a Christian whim, but something already discussed by the thinkers of Classical times , especially by the Stoics).

Having said this, and regardless of whether one is a believer or not, why do I believe that Christianity should be recognized as having some merits (despite all its limitations, because it is the result of human development)? For at least three points:

  • it has effectively focused on and spread the ethics of reciprocity, that is, love/respect for oneself and others, more than any other system. What we would like done to us, we should do to others (Mt 7, 12). A moral rule already present in other philosophical and cultural systems, even older ones, but no longer expressed only in a negative key, but rather positively and proactively. I believe that even a non-believer can accept what is in fact a cornerstone of normal civil life;

  • it highlighted the distinction/separation between the religious sphere and the temporal sphere with the famous «Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's» (Mt 22, 21; Mk 12,17; Lk 20,25). One could object that the Church has done something completely different in history: correct, but this falls within the aspects to be execrated in which religion is reconverted by its officials to a political instrument and in any case represents a failure to fulfill a precept given by its founder (the mess is caused not by the Christian message as such, but by its lack of and opposite application);

  • as long as we try to consider it intrusive and alien compared to the indigenous European culture, and as much as I myself recognize that it has had some negative or disruptive effects compared to previous civilisations, Christianity has also given a lot, and the connection with this that Europe is as we know it now is inextricable (by the way, this applies to all religions, but here perhaps even more so: religion survives because it often becomes an ethnic marker that distinguishes the identity of those who profess it). At a biblical level there are parts that are universal literary masterpieces (see the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes). But it is mainly to Christianity and its medieval monks that we owe a large part of the preservation of the literary heritage of Antiquity. The biblical-Christian contents are in fact the inspirational ideas for much of medieval and modern European art. A Europe without the skyline of its basilicas and cathedrals, without the Divine Comedy, without the Sistine Chapel, the Last Judgment or Michelangelo's Pietà, without Bach's masses and chorales, would be a rather squalid and insignificant place.

I would therefore urge caution among those who want to get rid of Christianity and eradicate it from the Old Continent. Precisely because you see parallels with the collapse of ancient civilizations, remember that Christianity took over not so much by virtue of its initial cultural and conceptual scope (in the end it is a sort of vulgarised Platonism/Neo-Platonism), but because it found fertile ground there, with a population who no longer found satisfaction in previous cults. For someone it was a good thing, for others a terrible misfortune or an involution.
What is certain is that a void is almost always filled by something else. One thinks of beginning the age of full Reason, then perhaps he will have to deal with something more bigoted than what he has abandoned.
 
On the subject about science as totally opposed to faith, i would like to inform many of the people that mock Catholics (or Christians in general for that matter) for things happened centuries ago, that even a Saint like Saint Pio ( Please don't throw a tantrum at me because i said Saint, it's called like that) , togheter with praying and having an ascetic life ( not to mention being considered as having accomplished at least two miracles-and Church has very strict rules to determine miracles and it is supported by theologists and scientists too) , advised people to go to doctors when hill and was the founder of the Hospital " Casa Sollievo della Speranza" .

As Wikipedia states about that Hospital:

The hospital "Inaugurated on 5 May 1956, the hospital has adopted modern technologies and is often considered as one of the most efficient scientific research hospitals in Europe".

"The research centre is also home to the Genomic and Genetic Disorders Biobank which is part of the Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks[5] and conducts basic and pre-clinical research and clinical trials in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies"
It is first in the world to run non-profit clinical trials. The hospital has established Institute for Stem-cell Biology, Regenerative Medicine and Innovative Therapies (ISBReMIT) that will be the first factory of GMP neural stem cells in Europe for producing bio-drugs and cell-drugs. ISBReMIT has a dedicated area for the start-ups and spin-offs in biotechnology.[6] Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza also houses a large out-patient clinic,[7] a hospital-school for the children suffering from cancer and other genetic disorders,[8] a reception centre which is a hotel complex,[9] and a social-assistance residence for elderly.[10] Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza also owns two agricultural companies-Masseria Calderoso and Posta La Via.[11] It also hosts one spiritual centre, prayer group and a church. In front of Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza there is Sanctuary of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, named after the founder of this hospital and research centre. In 2023, it was featured on the list of World's Best Smart Hospitals 2023.[12]
 
On the subject about science as totally opposed to faith, i would like to inform many of the people that mock Catholics (or Christians in general for that matter) for things happened centuries ago, that even a Saint like Saint Pio ( Please don't throw a tantrum at me because i said Saint, it's called like that) , togheter with praying and having an ascetic life ( not to mention being considered as having accomplished at least two miracles-and Church has very strict rules to determine miracles and it is supported by theologists and scientists too) , advised people to go to doctors when hill and was the founder of the Hospital " Casa Sollievo della Speranza" .

I don't blame (too much) the ignorance of people from past centuries. Education standards used to be much lower and people didn't have access to online encyclopaedia like Wikipedia until about 20 years ago, or even public libraries until the 19th century (in Western countries, or 20th century is most other countries). I myself have a number of saints among my ancestors. Tallying the Wikipedia list of royal saints with my genealogy these include: Alfred of Wessex, David I of Scotland, Malcolm III of Scotland, Leopold III of Austria, Vladimir the Great of Russia, Adela of Normandy, Afonso I of Portugal, Alfonso V of León, Blanche of Castile, Louis IX of France, just to name a few. But I can't blame them for that considering that the Middle Ages was a completely different society - and they didn't decide to become saints; the church decided after their deaths.

They didn't have online forums to discuss their ideas and beliefs. Had they even wanted to debate about religion, medieval society had mostly lost the rational and philosophical approach of the ancient Greeks and their impoverished and benighted society was not conducive to such open-minded and critical debates. That can be excusable. What is inexcusable is to live in a developed country today with access to all human knowledge and still believe in Biblical fairy tales, in a schizophrenic god that gives contradictory instructions, or worse still, not be able to tell right from wrong by oneself on a case by case basis and rely instead of ready-made one-size-fit-all moral precepts that often end up doing more harm than good.
 
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On morality, it seems to me that the issue is now a non-problem. For a long time now, the West has no longer followed any Christian/biblical morality, and has instead constantly demonstrated amorality - not to say depravity - at all levels. The 10 commandments seem to mirror the current daily behavior of the average Westerner. (Also in this regard, I don't intend to teach anyone anything: I consider myself a textbook sinner in all respects).

One of my biggest criticism of Christians, or religious people in general, is that they are hypocrites. They preach one thing and can't even abide to their own preaching. The 10 commandments and the 7 'deadly sins' are just two examples among many. Hardly any Christian in history has led a life in accordance to these rules. Those who did were probably a few particularly austere monks and nuns. At least if you think by yourself and define your own moral values you are more likely to follow them, as it was not artificially imposed on in your childhood without understanding why the rules are the way they are. Humans are bad at following rules they don't understand. That's why it's far more valuable and useful to teach a child ethics and philosophy than religion.

Another sore point is that the Bible and Christian teachings in general are highly contradictory, which leads to schizophrenia in true believers. That's essentially the reason why most Christians opt to believe only in the parts of the dogma that they find useful or attractive, while rejecting the rest or saying that it should not be understood literally, and that everyone can interpret the writings the way they want. :rolleyes:

But once you decide to pick and choose what you like, you end up with spiritual eclecticism. There are plenty of people holding such beliefs who mistakenly call themselves Christian - through sheer ignorance.

Regarding the fact that some persist in reading the Bible and/or believing in it, I would say that among them today almost no one of average education - with the exception of some minority, fanatical or hyper-conservative groups on which constant cherry-picking is applied - does so by approaching it with an absolutely literal interpretation.
Even if memes and the media want us to believe otherwise, I would like to hope that the very secular and casual West will be able to understand once and for all that a text like this (like all religious texts) must be contextualized historically, and read through a tight allegorical exegesis (I point out that it is the Christians themselves who equip themselves with these tools, given that the debate had already arisen in the first centuries of the common era; while in our times it is almost easier to find among the critics of Christianity those who claim to use the Bible in the literal sense). If anyone is interested in these issues, relating to a reasoned biblical interpretation, find some studies by Pierre Grelot.

That sounds exactly like the kind of hypocritical Christian justifications that my secondary school Jesuit religion teachers used.

I believe that very few in the Western world today uncritically adopt the Bible as a scientific text, to recover scientific theories or data. This was a note that could have been addressed to the faithful (and not even all) of a few centuries ago; now it seems to me to arrive gratuitously and quite out of time, with the intention of somewhat artfully creating a fence between faith and science, making the former seem completely obstructive compared to the latter. Be careful about calling Christians idiots or giving poor IQ scores. This boundary between faith and science, as proven by facts, has been much more fluid and permeable than we are willing to admit (just take a look at the list of first-rate scientists who were also religious to disprove such an assumption I doubt they were all indoctrinated idiots. Google it and you will find tasty surprises: here is a first list relating to the Catholic field https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_clergy_scientists ).

There are plenty of scientists who are idiots, but idiots can sometimes also have good ideas or make lucky discoveries. Saying that some Christians are/were scientists doesn't exonerate them. The term scientist itself is vague not very meaningful. Anybody can potentially become a scientist. When you see that in average 40% of young people today are college graduates (up to 68% in South Korea), ad that roughly 20 to 30% of them are science major, that's about 10% of the population among people under 35 who are officially scientists, and maybe 20% in a country like South Korea. That's a wide segment of the general population and no guarantee of being exceptionally intelligent (especially when you consider that not all the brightest minds choose a science major). What's more, not a single person can claim to know and understand everything in modern science, especially in the field of life sciences. Nowadays career scientist are often so specialised that they focus most of their work on some arcane subfield and made only make tiny contributions to the field during their entire career. As most 'scientists' are not evolutionary biologists, many may not have thought much about why the ideas of god or an immortal soul are so preposterous in the context of evolution. (see below)

When I was living in Japan I once discussed with a woman who was a cancer researcher (so a medical doctor with a specialisation in oncology and a career in research). I don't remember how we ended talking about this, but I clearly remember that she believed that blood types influence personality - something that the vast majority of Japanese people believe, and apparently her medical education wasn't enough to make her realise that that 'common knowledge' of the Japanese was completely wrong and unscientific. Worse still, she told me that Japanese people were more likely to carry A blood type because they descended from farmers, while Europeans were more likely to be O because they were hunters! :oops: That was not a 6 year old girl or a slightly retarded person in a mental institution, but a cancer researcher with at least one PhD. Obviously (for people on this forum at least) that's completely false to even think that the Japanese were farming long before agriculture reached Europe. Japan was one of the last places in Eurasia to adopt agriculture. Farming spread across Europe from 6500 to 4000 BCE, while it only reached Japan c. 500 BCE when the Yayoi people set foot in northern Kyushu, and it would take several centuries more before it spread across the archipelago (not until the 17th century for Hokkaido). That's just an example to illustrate that even career scientists with a PhD can be idiots and not have a broad knowledge beyond their very specific field. Mind you, blood types is something that an MD should know about.

But in any case, even if science and faith have stepped on each other's toes for centuries and continue to do so, their respective ultimate contents and objects of study remain largely very different, it never hurts to reiterate this. If some naive Christians have not understood it, even many atheist scientists, conversely, are not joking.

"The Bible teaches how to go to Heaven. Science how heaven works." It's a dated joke attributed to Galileo, who probably heard it in turn from Cardinal Baronio, but it doesn't get old: old but gold.
If we wanted to talk about it in purely philosophical/Aristostelian terms, science is currently able to identify the material and efficient causes of nature and reality (what a reality is "made" of and how it is born/arises). The formal causes (i.e. the profound and original essence, unless the mathematical modeling that the physics of nature does can be equated with finding them) and the final causes (what reality is ultimately used for) escape it. Science and religion generally converge their attention on these points. Why there is being and not nothingness is the ultimate question that has held the human mind in check for millennia, whether we want to use reason or not.

But here too I would like to hope that, after a giant of thought or as Kant was in the end of the 18th century, it was clear both to the faithful and to the most convinced scientists and rationalists, that what escapes a space-time categorization (Soul, World and God, the nodes of both metaphysics and religion), it cannot be the object of rational demonstration and therefore become the object of science.
Therefore, if the believer cannot affirm anything about the existence of metaphysical objects rationally, neither can the iron rationalist. Indeed, I would say that the atheist - if he wanted to be fully honest with himself and not self-contradictory - should exercise prudent skepticism here, and also abstain from judging the existence of God, under penalty of wanting to ascribe to himself a type of demonstration that our epistemological and rational faculties cannot cope.

Your entire premises are wrong.

If you understand how evolution works, there is no way that you could believe in the existence of a soul, let alone an immortal one. That would entail that all life beings have a soul, which is anathema to Christianity and most religions, which always place humans above all other life beings, and traditionally even reject the idea that humans are animals themselves. It is extremely egomaniacal to view humans this way just because one happens to be said human. That's actually a hilariously childish point of view. That is exactly what makes me look down on religions like Christianity or ancient polytheisms. Their god(s) is/are so human-like that it is painfully obvious that they were the creations of puerile narcissistic people who could only conceive of a higher power as someone who resembles them. 😂 The history of art has shown us that this is exactly the way Christians imagine their god - an old bearded guy in the sky inspired from Zeus/Jupiter. Modern Christians now tend to reject this image because it is laughable even to them, so they copied Muslims and now usually claim that god cannot be represented. Nevertheless all the teachings and qualities (character, moral values, knowledge of the world, etc.) of that god are still ridiculously outdated - clearly the work of Bronze Age and Iron Age minds.

Let's go back to the concept of the 'immortal soul'. That was the original selling point of Early Christians, the way they convinced the poor, the ignorant and the dejected to join their cult, thanks to the promise of eternal life in a perfect heaven. (sorry I have to pause a bit to recover from the fit of laughter that this very idea elicits in me 😆). Contrarily to what fundamentalist Christians will tell you, evolution is not a 'belief', but a fact. Usually the same people who claim that always believe that Earth is flat (because dixit the Bible).

Now reflect on this for a bit. Evolution is continuous. Humans didn't suddenly appear in their current form on Earth, and neither were they created to God's image. (wait, is that my image or yours?) Even white skin did not appear until a few millennia ago. Human evolution still continues with every mutation found in every new-born baby. It's not always positive. There is actually no absolute value for positive or negative in evolution. It all depends on the local environment and the conditions during that person, animal, plan or or life being's lifespan. Whatever works survives.

So if there was such a thing as a soul in humans, it would necessarily have been present in their Hominid ancestors too, and in these Hominids' ancestors, the early apes, early primates, early mammals, in reptilians, fish, chordates... and ultimately bacteria. If you accept the existence of the human soul, you must (that is not optional) accept the existence of a similar soul in all life beings.

And what does that entail? Life after death in a sort of spiritual heaven (or hell) for all life beings. What does Christianity say about their place in Heaven? Or are they all going straight to Hell because they aren't human, aren't made to the imagine of God (implying that God is human-like) and aren't capable of reading the Bible and therefore following its precepts? What a grand Almighty God that must be who creates millions of life beings but only grant access to Heaven to some humans (not even all, mind you) while sending the rest of his creations to suffer forever in Hell in that wonderful eternal afterlife He created to watch them suffer and rejoice like a wicked sadist, congratulating Himself (don't forget that God is a sexual being down the evolutionary tree and is therefore a He) on how diabolical and mean He is. Makes for a great book. Oh wait, it's already written and it's a bestseller!
 
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Yeah, I wonder if, according to those beliefs, mosquitos and cockroaches go to heaven? The ridiculous imagination of God being this bearded patriarch appears in various cultures. In the Canaanite pantheon, it was rather El than the warrior/storm god Yahweh, who is now the god of all Abrahamic religions. The concept of a transcendental God whose appearance cannot be fathomed might be a late Hellenistic influence, a period when Greek culture and civilisation was falling apart and descending into irrationalism and superstition. The assimilation of Near Eastern beliefs certainly helped accelerate the downfall of Hellenism but cannot be the main reason, of course. The Middle East was a hothouse of crazy cults, superstition and cultural stagnation as it is today but for different reasons. It is a vast geographical area with relatively little space for agriculture and even that area was faced with recurring droughts, thunderstorms and floods. This is the context in which the Yahweh deity arose. Billions of people believe in that funny deity today.

As the old Greek city states were ceasing to exist, so did traditional existential and intellectual sense of confidence and security. Philosophical, cultural and existential uncertainties were the consequence. Too many, conflicting points of view appeared about the even most basic things. Henri Poincaré said that "to doubt everything and to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; each saves us from thinking." People were willing to believe anything and everything. Scepticism became the dominant fad among philosophers. Its basic principle was that one shouldn't have convictions at all ("Abstain from forging an opinion of your own!"). I believe we live in such times and I say: tertium non datur! Scepticism is the refuge of cowards and opportunists who don't want to risk anything and who want to get along with everyone at the expense of truth and progress. The only progress they are interested in is their own. We don't want to offend anyone because it might be bad for our reputation, social standing, professional career and business interests. For decades, the West has had wonderful business relations with the most vile and backward theocratic tyrannies. We wouldn't want to hurt their religious feelings. Short-time profits outweigh longtime interests like scientific truth and the advancement of mankind. There's a price to pay for that and we're already getting the bill as societies.

The shizophrenic moral compass of Christians and most so-called believers exists in most other spheres of "viewpoints." For a century now, many people have been trying to reconcile such contradictory concepts as religion and evolution. What else will come out of that but shizophrenia? Not only that but a chance for the reactionaries of this world to ban evolution and the free exchange of ideas as soon as they feel strong enough. Obscurantism is back with full confidence. A week ago or so, Tucker Carlson was guest in the Joe Rogan podcast. He starts with claims that there are no UFOs and aliens, which is supposed to make him sound sane, but that there are "ancient technologies" left behind by "spiritual beings" thousands of years ago. It didn't take long before he started denying evolution, claiming there were no fossils. This prompted Bret Weinstein to say in his podcast that he has the feeling we're heading to a new dark age. That's not just a feeling, Bret.

Btw, there is an interesting podcast on the origins of Yahweh from last week:

 
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Continue with the comments.

I am getting a better and better idea of the actual content, purpose and cultural level of this forum
 
Continue with the comments.

I am getting a better and better idea of the actual content, purpose and cultural level of this forum
Please don't be so enigmatic.
Spell it out.
Religion is just a coping mechanism for the masses and a convenient control tool for the ruling elites.
 
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Please don't be so enigmatic.
Spell it out.
Religion is just a coping mechanism for the masses and a convenient control tool for the ruling elites.
No enigma here, Vallicanus.

Beyond the fact that I might find myself agreeing on religion as a means of controlling the masses (although it would be more honest an appreciable to stigmatize its hierarchies and officials, not the faithful), I would like to understand if this thread is still moving in a perimeter of true civil debate.

For now here I am mostly making collection of a congeries of prejudices, biases, livings, and personal exaltations by which a religious creed, with its dogmas in near terminal stage, is being undermined by other dogmas. All seasoned with contemptuous moralistic overtones, or some gradually more explicit spurt of cryptonordicism and scientific superomism.

How right good old Dostoevsky was, “Man cannot live without kneeling before something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists.”

The play is still the same, but with the roles reversed.
 
No enigma here, Vallicanus.

Beyond the fact that I might find myself agreeing on religion as a means of controlling the masses (although it would be more honest an appreciable to stigmatize its hierarchies and officials, not the faithful), I would like to understand if this thread is still moving in a perimeter of true civil debate.

For now here I am mostly making collection of a congeries of prejudices, biases, livings, and personal exaltations by which a religious creed, with its dogmas in near terminal stage, is being undermined by other dogmas. All seasoned with contemptuous moralistic overtones, or some gradually more explicit spurt of cryptonordicism and scientific superomism.

How right good old Dostoevsky was, “Man cannot live without kneeling before something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists.”

The play is still the same, but with the roles reversed.

I've never kneeled before something, I understand your point about having idols but what's that got to do with atheism/god? People can do better than god. There are more important things to deal with than worshiping some storytelling nonsense from 2000 years ago. Priorities should be reducing/stopping crime, birth rate in Europe, providing houses to natives, reducing slaughter of animals etc
 
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No enigma here, Vallicanus.

Beyond the fact that I might find myself agreeing on religion as a means of controlling the masses (although it would be more honest an appreciable to stigmatize its hierarchies and officials, not the faithful), I would like to understand if this thread is still moving in a perimeter of true civil debate.

For now here I am mostly making collection of a congeries of prejudices, biases, livings, and personal exaltations by which a religious creed, with its dogmas in near terminal stage, is being undermined by other dogmas. All seasoned with contemptuous moralistic overtones, or some gradually more explicit spurt of cryptonordicism and scientific superomism.

How right good old Dostoevsky was, “Man cannot live without kneeling before something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists.”

The play is still the same, but with the roles reversed.

I, for one, am not trying to be antagonistic. Disagreements can lead to somewhat heated debates but that's simply part of a healthy dialogue and should be acceptable as long as we are civil and respectful to each other. Your comments are very interesting and I see much value in them, even though I disagree with large parts of them. You shouldn't be so sensitive. Dostoevsky's fatalistic philosophy does not apply here. But there might be some truth in what Karl Popper once said: now that people ceased to believe in God, they believe in everything else. That's greatly exaggerated but it tells you that being atheist doesn't necessarily make you enlightened or smart. For example, I'm not a fan of the so-called New Atheists like Sam Harris etc. Those people are not real intellectuals to me. They're not even aware that some of their positions are more than 2000 years old but they wouldn't know that because they are philosophically and historically uneducated. From a strictly philosophical point of view, much better arguments in favour of atheism and a materialist worldview have been made by the Encyclopédistes or Ludwig Feuerbach. All that was left are new scientific discoveries.

I also take issue with your approach to human history according to which we're leaping from one "vacuum filling" to another. It may be a correct observation of the past but it shouldn't be the future. My hope is that you will stick around and share any views you have. I respect whatever you have to say and find your posts very interesting.
 
No enigma here, Vallicanus.

Beyond the fact that I might find myself agreeing on religion as a means of controlling the masses (although it would be more honest an appreciable to stigmatize its hierarchies and officials, not the faithful), I would like to understand if this thread is still moving in a perimeter of true civil debate.

For now here I am mostly making collection of a congeries of prejudices, biases, livings, and personal exaltations by which a religious creed, with its dogmas in near terminal stage, is being undermined by other dogmas. All seasoned with contemptuous moralistic overtones, or some gradually more explicit spurt of cryptonordicism and scientific superomism.

How right good old Dostoevsky was, “Man cannot live without kneeling before something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists.”

The play is still the same, but with the roles reversed.
No enigma here, Vallicanus.

Beyond the fact that I might find myself agreeing on religion as a means of controlling the masses (although it would be more honest an appreciable to stigmatize its hierarchies and officials, not the faithful), I would like to understand if this thread is still moving in a perimeter of true civil debate.

For now here I am mostly making collection of a congeries of prejudices, biases, livings, and personal exaltations by which a religious creed, with its dogmas in near terminal stage, is being undermined by other dogmas. All seasoned with contemptuous moralistic overtones, or some gradually more explicit spurt of cryptonordicism and scientific superomism.

How right good old Dostoevsky was, “Man cannot live without kneeling before something. If man rejects God, he kneels before an idol. We are all idolaters, not atheists.”

The play is still the same, but with the roles reversed.
What does an "explicit spurt of cryptonordicism" mean?
 
We are all fools ruled by rogues, always have been, always will be.
 
I've never kneeled before something, I understand your point about having idols but what's that got to do with atheism/god? People can do better than god. There are more important things to deal with than worshiping some storytelling nonsense from 2000 years ago. Priorities should be reducing/stopping crime, birth rate in Europe, providing houses to natives, reducing slaughter of animals etc
Taktikat,

right, but those priorities are duly discussed in other threads, while here we are debating the appropriateness/inappropriateness of Christianity's presence in the world today.
As for the fact that you have never kneeled - as an act of faith and towards something not necessarily religious - don't be so sure.
Read what I'm replying to Norbert
 
I, for one, am not trying to be antagonistic. Disagreements can lead to somewhat heated debates but that's simply part of a healthy dialogue and should be acceptable as long as we are civil and respectful to each other. Your comments are very interesting and I see much value in them, even though I disagree with large parts of them. You shouldn't be so sensitive. Dostoevsky's fatalistic philosophy does not apply here. But there might be some truth in what Karl Popper once said: now that people ceased to believe in God, they believe in everything else. That's greatly exaggerated but it tells you that being atheist doesn't necessarily make you enlightened or smart. For example, I'm not a fan of the so-called New Atheists like Sam Harris etc. Those people are not real intellectuals to me. They're not even aware that some of their positions are more than 2000 years old but they wouldn't know that because they are philosophically and historically uneducated. From a strictly philosophical point of view, much better arguments in favour of atheism and a materialist worldview have been made by the Encyclopédistes or Ludwig Feuerbach. All that was left are new scientific discoveries.

I also take issue with your approach to human history according to which we're leaping from one "vacuum filling" to another. It may be a correct observation of the past but it shouldn't be the future. My hope is that you will stick around and share any views you have. I respect whatever you have to say and find your posts very interesting.
Norbert,

thank you for the comment. This is the kind of post I appreciate the most.
What has excited me is the gratuitous generalization that has been made here and there in the Christian world, regarding intellectual and moral abilities... I also read elsewhere in another thread that they have even become dangers to public order (!). Given the due proportions, a large part of Europe should be put in prison, according to some.
I will then reply to those in charge.

You see, I don't have a firm prejudice about atheism at all. You were right to quote Feuerbach who I believe has many merits in his anthropological reduction of religion. Just as I believe that Atheism has superior demonstrative tools (and demonstrated evidence) when faced with a naively creationist point of view, which in fact narrates a legend.
(Although, if we want to be philosophically fussy, proposing and explaining the concept of evolution, as a replacement for that of creation, has something of a sophistic feel to it, because the former does not exhaust the question of meaning of the latter. Evolution - which is a transformation, a mechanism of becoming - implies that there already exists something capable of said transformation. It therefore remains legitimate for me that man can continue to ask himself why there is this something we call "world" "universe"... )

I remain agnostic (perhaps for me it is personally more appropriate than skeptic here), when atheism - even with scientific instruments - aims to demonstrate the non-existence of God (or - on a smaller scale of the Soul, or of any hypothetical other transcenden entity). One of the reasons is the one already mentioned a few posts ago, so I will continue to refer to Kant until my death, who I continue to believe is unsurpassed in this regard.
What cannot be processed by our space-time categories is a candidate to fall into an epistemologically dark and mysterious area for man. In my opinion there is a sin of naivety on the part of the atheist here, since by using tools and procedures suitable for describing or measuring what is immanent, he suddenly wants to make an acrobatic leap and pretends that the same tools work to grasp or discover something transcendent. Obviously then nothing is found, how else could it end? where I come from they say "he's someone who tries to eat broth with a fork" (with the difference that here you don't even know if there is broth).

But there is another small sin of naivety that lurks in the atheist/scientist, and it is much more subtle to grasp. That is to say that he himself cannot exempt himself, in a very last step of his research or the formulation of a theory, from making an act of faith. I'm not saying this, there was Nietzsche himself, who stated that science also rests on a faith, that there is no science 'free of presuppositions' at all (from there he developed some ideas regarding the ethics of science). But I want to discuss it in its plainest and most elementary sense, and let's think about current research in physics. If you think about it, the processes for seeing one's studies affirmed are no longer those of demonstration and empirical verification, where the scientist tinkered with his instrument and felt what he was examining. Currently we rely (a non-random term) on calculations that are "made to fit" by inserting hypothetical or even "invented" terms into the equations (which does not mean found at random, but deduced logically/artificially in order to hold together the puzzle that is recomposing). These are passages in which the scientist is forced to grant himself an exemption from direct sensorial observation of what is immanent.
However, this potentially expands the margin of fallibility, and therefore skepticism - which you criticize as a sort of cowardice - becomes in my opinion more appropriate and healthy than ever, under penalty of the risk of not doing good science, but of falling into scientism. Which is what I instead glimpse in various atheists with the desire to prove believers wrong.

Without forgetting that there would also be fideistic attitudes towards science within the scientific community itself, in particular in those phases of ordinary science that Kuhn spoke of, with the group of gregarious scientists who would never dare of breaking the paradigm in which they carry out their good daily compilation job. That scientific conformism that marginalizes true discoverers and pioneers, as happened with Semmelweis, expelled from the medical community and dying madly, just for having discovered that washed hands saved mothers from deadly infections.
I appreciate science and I hope that it makes progress, but before adopting it as a safe guide to regulate my life and knowledge, I want to understand from which assumptions it started and who is guiding it in turn.
 
Vallicanus,

I'll clarify it better soon
 

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