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The Mind is a Terrible Thing

If the human mind can come up with God, it is no wonder it can come up with such lame excuses.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(no subject) - all_askew - Jul. 10th, 2002 07:54 am (UTC) - Expand
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 08:17 am (UTC)
Re: A History of God by Karen Armstrong
It's not some much religion I hate as my amazement for the lies we can come up with !
(no subject) - all_askew - Jul. 10th, 2002 08:22 am (UTC) - Expand
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 08:46 am (UTC)
Re: liar liar
Well, there can be approximations to the moral truth, which people will never agree upon. Right things can happen for the wrong reasons. Today's moral certainties can be tomorrow's outmoded strictures, or, even worse, its crimes. Ironically (or perhaps, dialectically), my experiences in being a near-ideologue (which are past now) have led to me more tolerant of some aspects of religion. In other words, just because a person or group happens to beleive in some non-existent entity doesn't mean their moral foundations are suspect. After all, it was probably better for those people at QWest to follow Isis or a small piece of clip art than the accountants at Arthur Andersen.
(no subject) - all_askew - Jul. 10th, 2002 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 09:53 am (UTC)
You'd PAY to know what you REALLY think
Still, I'm dubious that the idea of basing any system of thought on a falsehood is alright if we get some good out of it. For example, we determined a LOT of valid things in math and physics back when we thought the earth was flat, but we sure did better when we decided to base our models on a physical universe that actually resembles the ACTUAL one.

It's all about successive approximation; theories need to demonstrate results and new theories need to explain more things and explain everything the old theories did. Historically, we have not required the same of politics and religion, but similar forces are at work when people are free to think and explore the possibilities.

The flat earth thing is kind of red herring. Plenty of people believed that the Earth was round way before Copernicus, but since it did not really have an effect on most aspects of daily life, except for long-distance nautical navigation, an entertaining myth could survive unchallenged. I wonder if such myths became more widespread in the Chinese and Arabic worlds as these formerly outward-looking cultures (whicn sent explorers to far-away places) withdrew from the rest of the world.

What might happen to us if we manage to get rid of the "flat earth" concept that is God?

Don't we already know that ? It's anything from Zen to Stalinism to secular humanism to people who misinterpret Nietzche in frightening ways ! My opinion is that any concept of morality requires an "other," to counterbalance the self, so, if you get rid of God (and my motivation for the original post was that humans show a lot of inventive ways of conceptualizing both God and their own lack of responsibility), you need an "other" to balance our egotistical impulses. Even Objectivism requires some kind of mutuality that pretty much has to be accepted as an axiom in order for moral behavior not descend into a violent free-for-all. Other possibilities include duty, the good of society (unfortunately then you have to argue about what that is), pareto-optimal fairness, the state/society "just because," the cult of personality, or the maximization of some other abstract principle — for example, merely making choices is a good in Existentialism. And there's great possibility for the scope of a such a system, from being only solipsistic to requiring that everybody in the world be subject to the same system.

I am pretty sure any group of people larger than a debating club will develop some kind of religion, if not recognizable god, sooner or later. It's not that it's right compared not not developing a religion, it is just that many people can often hold onto moral concepts better if they make the connection in an anthropomorphic way.
marm0t
Jul. 10th, 2002 08:41 am (UTC)
Is this in reference to anything in particular?
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 08:48 am (UTC)
Yes
Hu-Mans !
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 10:05 am (UTC)
And oh yeah
It's one hell of a pithy sound bite ;->.
marm0t
Jul. 10th, 2002 09:06 am (UTC)
[lengthy IM conversation pitting functionalist vs. evangelistic atheist omitted]
rpkrajewski
Jul. 10th, 2002 09:23 am (UTC)
Religion and rational-choice theory
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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