Instruction Manual For Life

A reminder that faith based religion is not merely about community. If it were then I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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The literalist rural

The literalist rural protestants are the American animists, the lowest common denominator of populism and religion.

If that's what you want to judge the whole enterprise by, well nobody will be able to stop you. But I don't think it is the most informative point of view.

Not About Protestants in Particular

The movie wasn't about any particular religion. That's what the symbolism of the cupboards was about.

They weren't literalists,

They weren't literalists, were they? That weird cabinet that he built was the result of a literalist interpretation, and his parents disapproved. Or am I mistunderstanding the term "literalist?"

More importantly, what's the present tense of the term "been around X's place?" Those wacky Aussies!

Yes, Not Literalists

"That weird cabinet that he built was the result of a literalist interpretation, and his parents disapproved."

Exactly. He was trying to follow the crazy contradictory instructions of the holy book of your typical faith based religion.

He was pointing out to his parents that their religion did allow for more flexibility. Contradictory instructions allows one to pick the good or the bad.

His parents disapproved because they had one fixed interpretation that their particular sect believes in and only one. They reject what other sects have to say.

"More importantly, what's the present tense of the term "been around X's place?" Those wacky Aussies!"

The future tense is, "I'm going around X's place next week."

The present tense is one of the world's great mysteries.

The secular liberal order

The secular liberal order shall form the world anew, rejecting the practices of 500,000 years of human society, obeying only their own joy as master and guide. Their world is beautiful, but ephemeral. See it wilt in Europe, which hurtles towards the future with more abandon than all other places. They have pushed tradition out, only to create a void that is being filled by a more traditional culture.

We reject falsehood, reject superstition, and embrace the rational. And we die, leaving the world to the superstitious.

Restraint, sacrifice, pursuing something other than self-fulfillment, these may be necessary qualities for a sustainable culture. But they are not rational for an individual being. They are not fun. They are not satisfying. The rational culture has not learned how to justify them.

Why marry? Marriage is obsolete. Sex is fun. It is more fun with more people. There need be no other consequences except pleasure. Pregnancy has been controlled, and diseases are being conquered one by one. Why have children? They get in the way of your hobbies, your passion, your calling.

It is not necessary for a society to adhere to tradition to sustain itself. But we haven't figured out a good alternative. It looks possible that European society is going to die by its own prosperity and rationality. The last of their lineage will be Utah Mormons.

Nature is a harsh selector. In the end, we will be religious, only because all other memes will be weeded out.

But is that so bad? What is the value of continuing our culture and civilization? If we can produce one last generation, dwelling at the top of Maslow's pyramid, reveling in perfect freedom, perfect fulfillment, perfect joy, ought we?

I fear that our species is incapable of handling prosperity. We did not evolve in an environment of plenty. It may be that if science cannot conquer death in time, then either prosperity or our species will end.

Our destiny is already written in our biology. We are apes - not gods. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Religion and Atheists

In your other comment you seem to have much disdain for another christian sect when you write:

"The literalist rural protestants are the American animists, the lowest common denominator of populism and religion."

Not sure how your disdain that jibes with your religion primarily as "community" and "social cohesion" claims.

When you wrote, "At one point in my life I was as militant an atheist as Dawkins ever was." To which I replied, "You claim to be[en] an atheist but the question is, "What kind of atheist?" as there are many different types." You never addressed this and I think it is important. How you come to your atheism, what motivates you, is very important. I for example look down upon atheists who have come to their beliefs in this area based on Marxism.

I also think that it is you who fail to comprehend what is going on here. It is primarily the fear of death and greed over the afterlife that is a strong motivator in Christianity. Yes, there are plenty of "believers" who only participate for social reasons but they tend not to be as motivated. They only show up to church on Christmas and Easter. Those who don't buy into it all are just not as motivated to participate and proselytize.

The main reason why Baptists and other fundamentalists groups are so anti-evolution is that it does indeed break that literalist faith they have. Doing so lowers the motivation to participate in all the mumbo-jumbo.

Episcopalians have eviscerated Christian belief to a much greater degree than other groups, and they are suffering the most in terms of dwindling numbers.

I've contemplated similar thoughts as the ones you have expressed here, but I do so from a strong rationalist tradition. I'm married, faithful, have no STDs, and have two very intelligent and happy well adjusted children. I wanted six kids but for reasons out of my control I could only have two.

As a matter of fact I have recognized many of the advantages that religion confers upon the religious and therefore have been working on my own personal religion. I'm not sure I want to roll it out as a public religion, yet or ever. It would be a non-faith based non-foundationalist rational religion.

Many other atheists have had the same thoughts and way back in the 1990's I had collected a bunch of links to internet based rational religions. I was thinking of starting one of my own back in 2000 but I decided against it because I felt I had not yet done enough research.

I had compiled a list of over 40 links to various secular organizations.

As an example that atheists do "get it", look at the site of the "North Texas Church of Freethought"

You were not, if ever you were, the exemplar of a "militant atheist". Militant is a slur used by the religious to tell atheists they don't have a right to express their views. Any atheist who opens their mouth publicly is branded as such.

I replied, "You claim to

I replied, "You claim to be[en] an atheist but the question is, "What kind of atheist?" as there are many different types." You never addressed this and I think it is important

The kind that thinks religion is stupid, evil and guilty of much greater harm than good, a person who once fantasized about crusading against religion as his life's purpose, and who cheered on Dawkins enthusiastically when he began his most recent series of bloviations.

But now I am old and tired. Atheists are boring; their arguments are obvious. Self-righteousness is tacky when worn by people who have so little to add to the conversation.

The lack of intellectual curiosity by modern atheists is stunning. Religion has been part of society for a long time. Heck, pre-human hominids had burial rituals. You would figure that atheists would want to understand religion, if only to better understand the human condition.

But they don't. They don't display any evidence that they socialize with people of different age groups or ideologies. They are blind to their shortcomings, and if they knew of them, they would have no desire to fix them. Why should they be curious about evil? Why should they listen to the other side when they already know that they are right?

The high-profile public atheists and their fans view religion much the same way that Democratic activists viewed the Republican Party under Bush. It is bluntly boring and utterly stupid.

Come on, atheists, show me something new and interesting. Show me that you're capable of learning from those you disagree with and adopting the best pieces of their thoughts. If you want to change society, show me that you're at least somewhat knowledgeable of an institution that has been with society for its entire existence.

I just can't get excited about this video. It is not new or interesting to note that the Christian holy book, written over centuries, is contradictory and convoluted, it is not clever to use condescending pop psychoanalysis to define the motivation of religious practitioners, and it is not pleasant to revel in smug self-righteousness.

Lock me in a room with St. Augustine over Dawkins any day.

Maybe the atheists you link to are more open-minded, self-aware, and interesting. However, I am skeptical about the ability of a "rational religion" to succeed. Half your potential parishioners will have an IQ below 100, and they will need something to believe in. Atheism will never be a mass religion unless it is paired with another transcendent or mystical ideology, such as worship of the state.

I do think we lose a central piece of our culture when we reject a religion, Christianity, that has been part of our society for two millenia.

Bah. It's more a

Bah. It's more a pro-religious tolerance video than anything else. At no point is it mentioned that having these drawers is stupid in the first place,regardless of shape or color.

Stupid?

Did I use the word "stupid"? It is a pro-tolerance video and historically Christianity was one of the most intolerant of religions despite Jacob's blind spot. It's all about cliquish narrow mindedness.

Atheist objections to faith based religions isn't as shallow as Jacob makes it out.

I went to the churches of several different sects as a kid. Lutheran, Methodist, and attended a public school in a Catholic area before religion was kicked out. I remember at a very young age being offended by the ethical arguments being made to justify Christianity. The anti-humanity of it, the irrationality, the intolerance, the double standards, and the unquestioning anti-reason.

Questions like: "What! God punished Adam for eating from the 'Tree of KNOWLEDGE'" Talk about being anti-knowledge.

It wasn't as if these were taught as metaphors to the kids either. They were used to do precisely what you expect, stamp out any semblance of free thinking.

My experience is that Christians of most faiths tend to be bigots about atheists, and other sects.

Hell, I was at the funeral of my mother in law, a Lutheran, at a Lutheran church and when my wife, a Greek orthodox, went to take the communion at the services, my children's god parents gasped audibly in horror, right in the middle of the service.

I've been at several funerals where non-believers were explicitly and verbally chastised in the services, as evil doers. Christian intolerance is definitely not dead.

Did I use the word "stupid"?

Did I use the word "stupid"? It is a pro-tolerance video and historically Christianity was one of the most intolerant of religions despite Jacob's blind spot. It's all about cliquish narrow mindedness.

Ur ? Did you read my comment ?

Read it

Yes I read it. It was only two sentences long. I was responding to this sentence: "At no point is it mentioned that having these drawers is stupid in the first place,regardless of shape or color."

The indentation made it look like you were responding to me. So the question was essentially "Did I [or anyone else] claim that "having these drawers is stupid?"

I wasn't making a statement about stupidity, but intolerance.

Ah, I understand now. I

Ah, I understand now. I meant it *should* have mentionned that the drawers were stupid. Instead, it's a merry pan-religious tale of tolerance and relativism.