Author Topic: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion  (Read 5059 times)

SusanDoris

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2015, 06:11:20 AM »
There is not one theologian anywhere, or at any time, who knows, really knows a fact about any god, ever.
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Outrider

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #51 on: November 19, 2015, 09:54:04 AM »
And we are meeting many diseases that we've never seen before, we're faced with ever-more serious famine events, there ae possibly more people living in internal and cross-border refugee camps than has ever been the case before.

We aren't seeing more famine events, we're seeing fewer, and we have more adaptable, more capable, more experienced agencies to deal with them. We have, of course, more than enough capacity to entirely prevent them, so I'm not pretending for a moment that we've done enough yet.

Yes, we have more people living in cross-border refugee camps - that's because we've realised that refugee camps are a good way of dealing with refugees. We have more people in them because we used to be very poor at implementing them.

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Yes people in India are living longer, but that also means that at least as big a proportion are living in poverty than, say, 30 years ago.  Whether they have better access to food and medicine than they did depends on whether they have money to purchase them.

No, it doesn't. We've switched from measuring poverty as an absolute to measuring it relative to the local average income specifically because there are so relatively few people living in absolute poverty now. Simple medicines that didn't even exist thirty years ago are despatched in state-sponsored programmes; simple medicines which weren't available in the third world are now available for a pittance. Some medicines, yes, are still unfortunately more difficult to get a hold of, but the situation is unquestionably better. 

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An increasing number of them don't even have access to regular, let alone permanent electricity or clean water.

Whether the absolute number is growing or shrinking is debatable, but the proportion is decreasing, certainly for clean water.

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Similarly, our poor are growing in numbers because of the decline in high-manpower activities in favour of small companies that employ small numbers.

Our poor are increasing because we've changed the definition of poor. In real terms, the baseline is higher than it ever was. Moving from labour intensive economies has a tendency to increase the proportion of the moderately well off as it introduces the band of skilled workers between owners and labourers. It requires social and legal protections after that to prevent the increased financial power of the elite pushing labour prices back down and compressing the labour market again, and that's not being universally implemented yet, but the advent of social media and instant communication makes it easier for labour movements to organise and co-ordinate to leverage their power in these economies.

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As you say, there is an economic cycle which can have a devastating impact on those whose national economies hit the top of the cycle and begin their way down the other side.

Devastating? It doesn't need to be, we aren't managing it particularly well - we attempt protectionist policies which simply delay the start but not the magnitude, leading to a precipitous rather than gradual decline.

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I'm not suggesting that we haven't improved our conditions but that has often been patchy, in terms of a global 'collective' picture.

It really hasn't, there are very, very few areas of the world where the worst off aren't significantly better off than they used to be. The inequalities, to a degree, are growing as financial power becomes so excessive that it starts to impact on the legal and political frameworks that are supposed to insulate against them, but the whole frame of human experienced has shifted upwards on the 'quality of life' scale.

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Where one part of the global community has experienced improving conditions, another has experienced worsening conditions.

Only relatively - pretty much everyone is better off.

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ippy

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2015, 11:49:35 AM »
In your opinion!

But rather obviously believe they do Rose and can only believe they do, so you nor anyone else can possibly know with any certainty that any one theologian or another is in possession of facts about this god idea, and that's a fact.

ippy

jeremyp

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2015, 12:09:54 PM »
In your opinion!
If you can't even be sure that God exists, you can't know anything about it. And then a lot of people say things like "God is beyond human understanding" so they effectively admit they don't know anything about God.
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Rhiannon

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2015, 01:01:17 PM »
In your opinion!

Theology purports to be the study of the science of God, or the knowledge that we have about God. It's nonsensical as there is no science and no knowledge, only belief. What theology delivers is a set of tools for studying beliefs about God; those are the only facts contained within it, and the conclusions reached with regard to which ideas are correct is dependent on the theological position and beliefs of the theologian.

Leonard James

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #55 on: November 19, 2015, 07:56:56 PM »
In your opinion!

No, it's not merely an opinion, it's a fact. Only belief in gods exists, there is no testable evidence that they do.

Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #56 on: November 19, 2015, 09:04:37 PM »
If there is a methodology, why are there different interpretations of the text.
A methodology will take you inexorably to one presumably correct outcome.

Why is this not so?
This doesn't seem to be the case in some areas of science which has perhaps the most exacting methodology - or economics, or politics, or ..., or ..., BR.
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ippy

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #57 on: November 19, 2015, 09:29:58 PM »
This doesn't seem to be the case in some areas of science which has perhaps the most exacting methodology - or economics, or politics, or ..., or ..., BR.

I often wonder if you'll ever see life as it really is, somehow I doubt it, trouble is it's not just you Hope, unfortunately there's far to many just like you.

I am however convinced that yourself and the others really do believe these things; at lest it's worth having a discussion about most scientific subjects as opposed to discussing theology which compares very well with discussing the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. 

ippy


BashfulAnthony

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #58 on: November 19, 2015, 09:33:08 PM »
I often wonder if you'll ever see life as it really is, somehow I doubt it, trouble is it's not just you Hope, unfortunately there's far to many just like you.

I am however convinced that yourself and the others really do believe these things; at lest it's worth having a discussion about most scientific subjects as opposed to discussing theology which compares very well with discussing the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. 

ippy

Can't see the analogy at all.
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Shaker

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #59 on: November 19, 2015, 09:38:44 PM »
It means a pointless exercise that does nothing to alter reality.

BashfulAnthony

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #60 on: November 19, 2015, 09:44:49 PM »
It means a pointless exercise that does nothing to alter reality.

Thank you, Ippy.  That dismisses all kinds of philosophical discussion as well, then;  as well as much else.
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Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

It is my commandment that you love one another."

Samuel

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #61 on: November 19, 2015, 09:47:31 PM »
Theology purports to be the study of the science of God, or the knowledge that we have about God. It's nonsensical as there is no science and no knowledge, only belief. What theology delivers is a set of tools for studying beliefs about God; those are the only facts contained within it, and the conclusions reached with regard to which ideas are correct is dependent on the theological position and beliefs of the theologian.

Ok, that makes more sense to me. But apart from questions about 'correctness', which I agree are nonsensical, there must be some relevance in understanding concepts of God and religious ideas as an aspect of culture? or as ways people have constructed narratives within which they make sense of their lives?
A lot of people don't believe that the loch ness monster exists. Now, I don't know anything about zooology, biology, geology, herpetology, evolutionary theory, evolutionary biology, marine biology, cryptozoology, palaeontology or archaeology... but I think... what if a dinosaur got into the lake?

Shaker

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #62 on: November 19, 2015, 09:49:24 PM »
Not necessarily, BA. A great deal of philosophy addresses itself to asking questions about real things which we know exist - love, justice, fairness, the good life and so forth, even or especially when some of these things can only be said to exist as concepts within some primate brains. That doesn't make them nonexistent.

Additionally, some philosopher - I forget who for the moment - said that while philosophy may not be in the business of providing answers, its strength is in refining better (i.e. more precise) questions.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 09:51:22 PM by Shaker »

BashfulAnthony

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #63 on: November 19, 2015, 09:54:51 PM »
Not necessarily, BA. A great deal of philosophy addresses itself to asking questions about real things which we know exist - love, justice, fairness, the good life and so forth, even or especially when some of these things can only be said to exist as concepts within some primate brains. That doesn't make them nonexistent.

Additionally, some philosopher - I forget who for the moment - said that while philosophy may not be in the business of providing answers, its strength is in refining better (i.e. more precise) questions.

Still fits in with dear Ippy's "analogy."
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #64 on: November 19, 2015, 09:57:14 PM »
We aren't seeing more famine events, ...
Read my post again, O; I didn't say that we are seeing more famine events, I said we are seeing more-serious famine events.  Linguistically, those two ideas are very different from each other.

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Yes, we have more people living in cross-border refugee camps - that's because we've realised that refugee camps are a good way of dealing with refugees. We have more people in them because we used to be very poor at implementing them.
O, in 2008, the global number of Forcibly Displaced People stood at 42m; by 2010 that had risen to 43.7m; by 2012, to 45.2m: by 2014 the figure had risen to 59.5m (considerably higher than the 1994 figure of 47m) (Figures from UNHCR Global Trend reports)

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No, it doesn't. We've switched from measuring poverty as an absolute to measuring it relative to the local average income specifically because there are so relatively few people living in absolute poverty now.
Is that why we still measure the number of people living on less than a dollar a day? 

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The figures I've seen oiver the last few years always seem to refer to the number of places where clean water is now avialable, as opposed to the number of people who have access to it - remember that in several parts of the world, the smart 'new' bore-hole pump is kept locked by the village elders and only available to be used by those whose social status are acceptable to theose village elders.

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Our poor are increasing because we've changed the definition of poor. In real terms, the baseline is higher than it ever was. Moving from labour intensive economies has a tendency to increase the proportion of the moderately well off as it introduces the band of skilled workers between owners and labourers. It requires social and legal protections after that to prevent the increased financial power of the elite pushing labour prices back down and compressing the labour market again, and that's not being universally implemented yet, but the advent of social media and instant communication makes it easier for labour movements to organise and co-ordinate to leverage their power in these economies.
Our poor are extremely wealthy in global terms, O. 

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It really hasn't, there are very, very few areas of the world where the worst off aren't significantly better off than they used to be.
You clearly haven't lived alongside the poorest, O.  When we worked in Nepal, our monthly stipend was equivalent to about 350 (for a family of 4).  Add housing, education and medical costs (all covered by the agency from the monies we, as a family unit raised) to that and we were on about 700 a month.  During our first 3 years we lived in an area where there were a few professional Nepalese families living and their monthly income was around about 300; in our second 3 year stint we lived in an area that was largely business (the jewellery quarter was 150 yards from the house), and their monthly income was nearer 400. 

These were affluent areas of the town we worked in. Others in the agency lived out in rural areas, and their neighbours' monthly income would struggle to be 30-40, possibly as low as 20.  OK, these folk might be the odd or 2 better off than their parents 40-odd years ago.
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SusanDoris

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #65 on: November 20, 2015, 06:33:43 AM »
I don't like theology much, but IMO,  Christian theology is just exploring what Christianity thinks God is like. Yes a lot of it is based on opinion.

My point though is that I don't accept Susan Doris can make such a wide sweeping claim, without it being her opinion.
Well, for a start, I know there is no way that you can provide a single fact about God/god/s! You might be interested in reading the approx 380 posts on the Ship of Foos thread that I started, not one of which produced such a fact.
Okay, in order to be absolutely correct and precise one must leave a minuscule opening for a possibility that one day a fact will be found, but that is such a vanishingly small gap that it can be disregarded by most.













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Rhiannon

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #66 on: November 20, 2015, 06:41:46 AM »
Ok, that makes more sense to me. But apart from questions about 'correctness', which I agree are nonsensical, there must be some relevance in understanding concepts of God and religious ideas as an aspect of culture? or as ways people have constructed narratives within which they make sense of their lives?

That's more the study of religion, or comparative religion, than theology.

SusanDoris

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #67 on: November 20, 2015, 07:09:04 AM »
Christians believe in God and believe the bible tells them about God.

Muslims believe in God and believe the Quran tells them how to live.

That's a fact!
Two facts actually
Those are facts about people who do the believing, not about any God/god/s.
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Rhiannon

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #68 on: November 20, 2015, 07:26:01 AM »
Exactly.

Nearly Sane

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2015, 08:16:47 AM »
"God doesn't exist", isn't a fact, it's an opinion.

It doesn't change the fact,  that your claim is unsupportable.

"There is not one theologian anywhere, or at any time, who knows, really knows a fact about any god, ever."

That's an unsupportable opinion.

Not really. In the absence of a useable methodology, and despite everything done in over the centuries, there isn't one that allows us to establish facts, it's correct to state the position as Susan does.

Samuel

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2015, 11:14:41 AM »
Those are facts about people who do the believing, not about any God/god/s.

this is where I trip up because I honestly don't see the difference
A lot of people don't believe that the loch ness monster exists. Now, I don't know anything about zooology, biology, geology, herpetology, evolutionary theory, evolutionary biology, marine biology, cryptozoology, palaeontology or archaeology... but I think... what if a dinosaur got into the lake?

Rhiannon

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2015, 11:53:22 AM »
this is where I trip up because I honestly don't see the difference

It's the difference between the study of the nature of God - ie is God eternal, what is God's gender, is God knowable etc - and the study of beliefs about God. When studying theology you begin from the point of view that God exists, even if you are an unbeliever.

Shaker

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2015, 11:53:40 AM »
this is where I trip up because I honestly don't see the difference
Susan is saying that we can amass any number of facts about people who believe in gods, but absolutely nothing whatever about gods themselves - including their existence. There's an unbridgeable gulf between belief in X and X exists. For example, if I give you a hefty dose of PCP there's a good chance that you will believe that you can jump out of a window and fly like a little birdie. That belief is a fact - it is a true statement to say that you hold such a belief. It's also a fact that you won't fly at all (as a number of people have found to their cost). The difference is in the context of beliefs about and facts about.

Samuel

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #73 on: November 20, 2015, 01:02:28 PM »
But gods don't exist anywhere except in the beliefs of people. So when you study people's beliefs about God you are studying god.

I'm not trying to make a point. It's just how I see it. I honestly struggle to get my around the idea that you can separate the two.
A lot of people don't believe that the loch ness monster exists. Now, I don't know anything about zooology, biology, geology, herpetology, evolutionary theory, evolutionary biology, marine biology, cryptozoology, palaeontology or archaeology... but I think... what if a dinosaur got into the lake?

SusanDoris

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #74 on: November 20, 2015, 01:39:54 PM »
But gods don't exist anywhere except in the beliefs of people. So when you study people's beliefs about God you are studying god.

I'm not trying to make a point. It's just how I see it. I honestly struggle to get my around the idea that you can separate the two.
But you have just said there isn't a God to study!
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