Religion vs. Non Religion: The Trilogy: The Rise of the Explanation

Thread One: Indestructibility vs. Destructibility.

Thread Two: I think religious people think themselves indestructible, whereas non religious people think themselves destructible. (Not all, but a fair amount.)

My first thread was closed because I didn’t give enough information on the topic.

My second thread drew similar comments and was closed, also.

If any more of my threads get pulled, I’m gonna be without a suit.

I was brief in both because I just wanted to see what people had to say with little bias from me.

I guess I was trying to paint non religious people into a corner a little bit . . .

I think indestructibility is easy to defend. It’s like a never-give-up-attitude. A never-give-up-attitude is like the whipmaster behind reasoning (that little voice) that says keep going no matter what (into the face of the unknown or hostile conditions): lash after lash after lash! I think this aspect of all peoples’ reasoning is one of the most powerful aspects of a person’s reasoning: never give up!

When I think of the snake aspect of reasoning that all people have, including myself (red Mamba style) who talk about science and the supernatural and show me with my eyes if you want to make me a believer and who like to break everything down to its lowest common denominator . . . I like that aspect of reasoning, too.

But when I think of those two aspects of peoples’ reasoning (and there are many other aspects), I can’t help but think that the whipmaster aspect is much more powerful than the snake aspect, even a poisonous snake, a Mamba, a red Mamba. (I can almost picture the whipmaster snapping his whip, from a distance, and snapping the snake’s head off with very little effort.) To me, a never-die-attitude is paramount. It’s this type of attitude that’s going to drive the horses of uncertainty into the darkest continually-expanding reaches of the unknown and discover new horizons. Certainly not certifiable science.

(It’s funny, a paradox of sorts, that at some point, for certain sciences to push the envelope, some scientist has to take a leap of faith or go with their gut feeling or their guess. Yes? Kind of like that’s the religion of some sciences: You gotta take a leap of faith, like religion, even if the evidence isn’t there to support your belief.)

I’m a religious person. But I appreciate everybody’s points of views, even if they extremely differ from mine. But sometimes, I get the strong impression that a fair amount of non religious people always break it (the whole religion vs. non religion argument) down to reasoning somehow. It’s a question of reasoning to them. Because they can’t put their thumb down on the supernatural, therefore, it can’t be, and therefore, anybody who thinks otherwise has a limited reasoning. But they never talk about the different aspects of reasoning. I was just trying to show that there are many aspects to reasoning. And just because a person thinks they have one aspect of reasoning cornered off, doesn’t mean they have a better reasoning.

I appreciate everybody who commented in the other two threads.

Thanks. . . .

Thanks for your time. . . .

Have a great day. . . .


Oh, it’s certifiable something alright.

Congratulations on taking the plunge and explaining what is on your mind. I don’t think it is focused enough to provoke exactly the debate you are hoping for, but it should spark some debates.

I think you have a common misunderstanding about how science works. There aren’t generally leaps of faith involved. Scientists proceed from observation to a proposed explanation for those observations to a proposed new series of observations that will prove or falsify their proposed explanation. Steps 2 and 3 require some imagination and perhaps intuition, but generally don’t require faith. Someone who is an actual scientist will be along shortly to tell me how badly I misunderstand science. :slight_smile:

Second, and important to no one but me, there are black mambas and green mambas, but no snake called a red mamba. Just a basketball player.

I am a fairly conventional Christian of the liberal variety. I know lots of people who never give up, ranging across the atheist - religious spectrum.

I’m not sure why you’d associate a “never-give-up-attitude” with being religious. There are plenty of religious traditions that encourage acceptance and passivity. After all, why struggle with the trials of this world if everything that happens is God’s will and you’ll be going to a better place when you die?

Red mambas? Whipmasters?? Whipping the heads off snakes??

I hereby apologize to everyone else for asking the OP in his other threads to do more than post without elaborating.

This is the part I understand. But you are wrong. A hypothesis may be developed for any number of reasons, including dreaming it. But it is not a leap of faith. The next step is not proving it is true - it is trying your best to prove that it is not true. If you do that, and fail to falsify your hypothesis, then you have something. If other people similarly fail to prove it is not true, then you really have something. It is the opposite of faith.

I have no idea of what you mean by aspects of reasoning, but if you believe in the supernatural you need to show some evidence for it. if you can’t, then I have no reason to accept it, and I don’t have to do any reasoning at all. Have you honestly tried to falsify your religious beliefs?

Science? Snakes? Dreams? Oh for the love of Benzene!

I’m also a theist and a Christian (though not of the conventional sort), but quite frankly, I couldn’t disagree more strongly with the “never give up attitude”. One of the major things that drove me away from the church in which I was raised was the whole idea of “I know I’m right and there’s nothing you can do to change my mind”. Christianity, as I see it, isn’t supposed to be a faith of hard-headed acceptance; it’s supposed to be a faith on the path of learning, challenging, and changing ideas. Jesus set this path by challenging the conventions of the Pharisees. In fact, in 1 Thess 5:21 it even says “Test all things; hold onto that which is good.” I see this as a call to challenge convention, challenge what we are taught, and only accept it if it holds up to scrutiny.

This is, in fact, where my current faith comes from. I was raised in a fairly strict religious belief, Biblical Literalism, Young-Earth Creationism, fire and brimstone, you name it. I believed it because I was hard-headed, but I never felt that connection with the divine. I was told that that may come with time or it may never come, but it didn’t matter, I just had to believe. And yet I started to drift away nonetheless. Then, one day, a very good friend of mine challenged me on my beliefs, not just in saying what they were, but WHY I believed them, and I had no answer other than “because it’s what I was told to believe”.

Once I started giving it thought, I realized that was why I didn’t have that connection. Once I started exploring the beliefs with which I was raised, when I found an explanation that satisfied me, I started to feel some of the connection to God, and when I couldn’t find an explanation, but the consistency pointed elsewhere and I accepted that, I found greater connection. I’ve since drifted a fair amount away from my roots, I’m not a Biblical Literalist anymore, I see a lot of the beauty in the allegory now, nor am I a Young Earth Creationist anymore, I see the process of growth as both far more elegant and far more befitting the nature of God. My faith is far stronger these days than it ever was when I was the way you describe faith as being.

In fact, that’s the beautiful part, now that I’ve found peace in many of those areas, I have the faith that the parts I still struggle in do have a satisfying explanation. Science, too, is much the same way, that we have greater understanding of the nature of the universe now than we ever have, and yet we know there is still so much more for us to learn, and with time and effort we’ll just keep learning more and more. In that way, I don’t really see how faith and science should be that different, other than that so many let convention get in the way. In fact, I’d argue that dogma is as much the enemy of faith as it is of science.

That has a familiar ring to it.

What “aspects of reasoning” support theism?

Well, there is one leap: an expectation that the universe behaves reasonably. For example, I think (A+B) + C will always equal A + (B+C), and we don’t have to check every example, because there’s a certain kind of consistent sense to the way things work (and I’ll thank everybody not to drag octonions into the conversation because, frankly, it never helps).

Thank you. I do think you have a bit of a debt here. We should all be careful what you wish for.

This. Think of it like so: can’t find your keys? You go looking for them, right? You look on the table by the door. Why? Do you have faith you will find them there? No. You look for them there because it seems like a good idea, and in general you have learned that when you keep looking for things in places that seem like a good idea, you usually find them eventually. Maybe you have tentative faith that hunting for the keys will be successful, or maybe you only have faith that it’s the best approach you can think of based on the latest information, but it’s not that you have faith they are in the first place you’re going to look.

That’s not so much a leap of faith as it is a practical consideration. If the universe doesn’t behave reasonably, then we can’t make predictions about it or understand it no matter what we do. And realistically, if it didn’t behave reasonably life probably couldn’t exist in order to consider the question in the first place; life requires the existence of ordered laws in order to self-organize & function.

Conversely - I do have faith that they will ALWAYS be in the last place I look.

because after that, I quit looking for them

My $0.02.

The OP, like a lot of OPs we’ve had on this exact same topic seems to be taking queues from a Christian or Muslim background.

So, a more interesting debate topic is “why do members of these religions presume to speak for all religions in ‘religion vs non-religion’ debates?”

Certainly, the assumptions implicit in the OP are not universal to all religions, so it’s not especially meaningful to even consider the OP’s question without first addressing this fallacy. Namely, are the qualities the OP attributes to religion and non-religion universal to all religions and all non-religions? Well, clearly no.

If not, how to proceed - limiting “religion” to mean Christianity, Islam, and possibly Judaism and likewise “non-religion” to a specific subset of non-believers? That makes some sense, but it’s a less grandiose debate than I imagine the OP had in mind.

Because, surely, expanding the traits and qualities of religious and non-religious to encompass the entirety of those groups is otherwise meaningless. The only traits all religious people have in common is being religious. There are otherwise too many different creeds and beliefs to give them much of any other common beliefs - including indestructibility of souls.

This is, of course, independent of the OPs erroneous characterization of science, which has its own issues.

. . . some were very interesting.

I was more of trying to get at the issue of how some people think they are smarter than other people because they think they possess a superior reasoning by having it grounded in what they believe is knock-on-wood reality. But never talk about the other aspects of reasoning. One being, never give up.

Bloody Mamba . . .

No offense, but you’re awfully hard to follow.

It seems that you’re arguing that reason and empiricism are not the sole avenues to the Truth. That about right?

Some people are smarter than other people. Some people have better reasoning ability than other people. Some people are stronger and faster also. This should not surprise you.

Unlike other living things, human beings are not limited to living only in the present, and thus they’re concerned about their future and, particularly, their mortality/immortality. My opinion is that people’s religiosity is a survival trait designed by evolution. I think both the society and an individual function best if they believe in immortality. I hold a pragmatic take at both levels, but it is the individual (in my perspective) who benefits best from the idea of immortality. In this respect, peace of mind is superior to truth. Maintaining a general well-being, having lasting relationships, making good life choices, handling ups and downs and growing toward one’s potential cannot be achieved in the absence of peace of mind, and the idea of immortality is usually a prerequisite.

There is arrogance and dogmatism on both sides, with both religious and non-religious people, especially when you deal with militant individuals or when you live in a society where the divide between the religious and the non-religious is politicized. It is arrogant of theists and it can drive an atheist mad when religious people claim that they’re endowed with some kind of superior perception that gives them access to the divine realm, whereas the atheist’s universe is condemned to remain bleak and barren due to his inability to perceive the supernatural. On the other hand, a dogmatic atheist will fail to realize the value of a religious person’s peace of mind, whose benefits I have enumerated above.

But since you are a religious person who believes atheists fail to realize there are more approaches to reasoning than they limitedly think, I have to mention the following. If one uses reasoning with the view to reaching the truth, then reasoning has to (1) observe the rules of logic and (2) employ verifiable data.

Both non-religious and religious people are engaged in reasoning, of course, but (despite the equal unavoidable amount of bias) the former use their reason to find the truth and are more willing to adjust their views when the finds contradict their opinions, whereas the latter use their reason only to justify their beliefs and defend their dogma, which they’re quite unlikely to modify or abandon.

I don’t know about snakes, but, according to the Proverbs of Hell, “The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.” (I suspect the horses of uncertainty do not get on too well with the horses of instruction, though.)

In your opinion, what are those other aspects of reasoning and how does resilience factor into it? What do you mean exactly by “not give up”? Work hard enough, or, wish hard enough?

I’m still trying to work out why the OP thinks his Christian (presumably, maybe Muslim?) background should stand in for all religion. That was never addressed, nor the assumptions about tying non-religion to science.