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   Author  Topic: religion  (Read 16523 times)
Icarus
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Re: religion  
« Reply #75 on: May 3rd, 2007, 3:36pm »
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I agree with rmsgrey, but would also like to expand. (When have I ever been short of words?)
 
If I had met nasty christians, I would not have met real christians at all, and it would have confirmed my beliefs. You should understand that the first effect of meeting these people was that things I had been confident in were shown to be false. In particular, I thought I knew what was going on with christians - what they were, how they acted, why they acted that way. What I found was that my ideas on all three were wrong. This alone is enough to cause me to re-examine my beliefs to figure out why.  
 
Secondly, as I interacted with them, I found them to have love, hope, and peace I didn't find elsewhere - most particularly in myself. That is enough to make me ask why. After watching for awhile, I decided I wanted what they had in my own life. That is when I met God. When God became active in my own life - this is what caused my faith to grow.
 
If I had run into a different group that showed the same properties against my expectations, I would have been attracted to their beliefs. But if I had not experienced God myself, I would not have stayed.
 
By the way, this experience is only anecdotal for you. For me it was personal and real.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #76 on: May 4th, 2007, 3:15am »
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on May 3rd, 2007, 7:25am, rmsgrey wrote:

There's an implicit assumption in that hypothetical (meeting Hindus instead of Christians) that Hindus can be like that group of Christians were.

 
Now, hold it right there, Mister!  Angry
Are you saying that only Christians can be gentle, kind, and loving?
 
'cause let me tell you: I have met numerous groups of people, of both "nasty" and "kind" subset. I found no correlation whatsoever to their religious beliefs (if they even had any).
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Re: religion  
« Reply #77 on: May 4th, 2007, 3:19am »
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Thank you, Icarus, of the explanation. I can surely understand that.
 
Allow me also to apologize, if I didn't explain myself better:
 
on May 3rd, 2007, 3:36pm, Icarus wrote:
By the way, this experience is only anecdotal for you. For me it was personal and real.

 
When I said "anecdotal", I didn't mean "unimportant" or "unreal". I only meant that it was a singular experience, no necessarily related to the general rule (if one exists).
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Re: religion  
« Reply #78 on: May 4th, 2007, 3:58am »
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on May 4th, 2007, 3:15am, BNC wrote:

 
Now, hold it right there, Mister!  Angry
Are you saying that only Christians can be gentle, kind, and loving?
 
'cause let me tell you: I have met numerous groups of people, of both "nasty" and "kind" subset. I found no correlation whatsoever to their religious beliefs (if they even had any).

No.
 
I am saying that it's possible that only followers of the Great Prophet Zarquon fit the "exceptionally kind" subset, in which case it's potentially worth lending additional credence to their beliefs.
 
Personally, my beliefs aren't sufficiently organised to conclude whether that's likely to be the case for followers of Zarquon or for any other form of faith.
 
In my personal experience, the "exceptionally kind" people I've encountered have all been Christian, but the sample size is probably statistically insignificant.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #79 on: May 4th, 2007, 3:47pm »
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on May 4th, 2007, 3:19am, BNC wrote:
When I said "anecdotal", I didn't mean "unimportant" or "unreal". I only meant that it was a singular experience, no necessarily related to the general rule (if one exists).

 
"Anecdotal" indicates 3rd-hand information of particular events. While this was a limited particular event, it was for me a first-hand experience. My point in bringing this up was that I don't expect my descriptions to be in any way convincing to anyone else. Anecdotes are not strong evidence. But for me, it was not anecdotal, which made its impact much stronger.
 
 
And please understand that my faith in Christianity is not based on meeting loving christians. It was these christians that caused me to re-examine my rejection of God. And their example caused me to desire to have in my life what they had in theirs. This led to the birth of my faith. But, it was the subsequent experience I have had of God, his love, and his personal actions in my own life that form the basis of my faith. Without this, the nascent faith the resulted from my experiences with other christians would have "died on the vine".
 
I know that there are good people out there of many faiths. Living where I do, I was far more likely to run into strong committed christians than people of other faiths. Despite the christian majority here, I have known many very good people of other faiths - Islam in particular, but also others. This is why mere "goodness" would not be enough alone to convince me. (I have met many good atheists and agnostics, too. They are fairly common here. However, I have never personally known any I could put in the "very good" category: those who not only behave well towards others, but show a selfless love for other people.)
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Re: religion  
« Reply #80 on: Jun 20th, 2008, 1:24pm »
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We know that correlation does not indicate causation.
 
However, i would like to discuss the possibility of a link between the importance of religion to citizens and their average IQ.
 
Most children do believe in God, but as their intelligence develops they tend to have doubts or reject religion. Similarly, as average IQ in Western societies increased through the 20th century, so did rates of atheism.
 
There is no doubt that there are people who are both religious and intelligent.
 
We don't need to look at individuals, but larger numbers; higher IQ generally speaks to an inquisitive nature.  
 
Religion requires faith without questioning. When the word “why” is discouraged, so is learning.
 
Church attendance (most recent) by country  
 
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/rel_chu_att-religion-church-attendance
 
IQ and the Wealth of Nations Table
 
http://www.isteve.com/IQ_Table.htm
 
By comparing Church attendance and average IQ in the following countries
 
 
Most theistic countries:  
 
Nigeria...89%...67 IQ  
Ireland...80%...93 IQ  
Philippines...68%...86 IQ  
South Africa...56%...72 IQ  
 
Most atheistic countries:  
 
Finland...4%...97 IQ  
Sweden...4%...101 IQ  
Japan...3%...105 IQ  
Russia...2%...96 IQ  
 
 
We see that atheistic nations appear to do better intellectually than the cream of the crop among theistic nations.
 
Take the Russians, they are edging out the Irish people by 3 points.
 
Do you find these stats surprising or is it something you would expect?
 
Has it been your personal experience in life that most of the intelligent people you'vemet tended to range anywhere between religious neutrality and frank atheism, while the moststubborn religionists have generally been slow learners with narrow vistas and limited experience in life?
 
 
 
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Re: religion  
« Reply #81 on: Jun 20th, 2008, 2:26pm »
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Lol.
Like church attendence is a proper measure of religion. (Japan for instance is fairly religious. And freely combine many of them, like having christian weddings and buddhist funerals.) Perhaps you should divide by the number of churches per capita.  
And even if it were a good measure, as you say, correlation doesn't imply causation.
 
And what does an IQ test really say in a case like nigeria, where most people simply haven't gotten the opportunity to develop their IQ-test proficiency like we have in the west?  
You're comparing disparate classes of people here. Why not try instead taking student populations for comparison? Rather then comparing the mostly downtrodden classes with the mostly middle class?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #82 on: Jun 20th, 2008, 4:19pm »
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Thanks, towr, for your input. I think there is a correlation between religiosity and lower IQs.
 
Please take a look at this linked document
 
http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Jesus/Intelligence%20&%20religion.htm
 
it is a good review of several studies of IQ and religiosity, paraphrasedand summarized from Burnham Beckwith's article, "The Effect of Intelligence on Religious Faith," Free Inquiry, Spring 1986:
 
It summarises as follows:
"The consensus here is clear: more intelligent people tend not to believe in religion. And this observation is given added force when you consider that the above studies span a broad range of time,subjects and methodologies, and yet arrive at the same conclusion.
 
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towr
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Re: religion  
« Reply #83 on: Jun 21st, 2008, 3:46am »
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Those studies still do nothing to seperate the variables that may underly the difference. They should check people of different IQ in the same socio-economic circumstances, for example. If poverty is positively correlated with religiosity (which it might be because it is comforting to have something), and poverty is correlated with low IQ, then it will seem like religiosity is inversely correlated with IQ. But what if, on actual inspection, people of different IQ in the same poor circumstances are equally religious? Then they're not in fact correlated.
Doing statistics on different groups without correcting for those differences is simply poor science.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #84 on: Jun 21st, 2008, 9:44pm »
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I think this seeming correlation is best understood keeping in mind that people with a higher IQ/intelligence tend to question their surroundings more than people of lower intelligence. Most religions put great store in faith beyond what senses or logic tells us and so puts it at odds with intelligent people who question in an effort to better understand their environment.  
So ultimately, the intelligent person either discovers reasons to support or deny faith based on their own experiences and logic, whereas someone of lower intelligence is less likely to ever challenge the validity of their beliefs (which may suggests those of higher IQ who still are religious have stronger religious values and find deeper personal satisfaction in them from first testing them than people who never question.)
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Re: religion  
« Reply #85 on: Jun 22nd, 2008, 1:58pm »
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Thank you, Towr and ima1trkpny,
 
My intention is not to offend believers, but to look at statistics, to deepen my understanding of stats.
 
I see one major problem with these kinds of stats: the risk of stereotyping groups of people.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #86 on: Jun 22nd, 2008, 5:58pm »
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on Jun 22nd, 2008, 1:58pm, BenVitale wrote:

My intention is not to offend believers, but to look at statistics, to deepen my understanding of stats.

No offense taken in my case... stereotyping us as thin-skinned? Wink
 
Quote:
I see one major problem with these kinds of stats: the risk of stereotyping groups of people.

Fair enough, but I'm not all that concerned about it... I would be if I perceived the stereotype to be "wrong" (meaning isn't a practically viable assumption in the theoretical simulation). However, in my experience, the more intelligent the person, the more they question things around them. Challenge instructions, question motives, and generally ask "why?" is something that, at least in my experience, tends to be seen in people of higher level intelligence and not so much in people with average to below average intelligence who, again in my experience, are more likely to go along with what is told or presented as fact and never try to find out if it really is.  
I can't tell you why everyone makes the religious choices they do because a lot of factors go into each person and everyone has their own unique reasons for coming up with their world perception, but as I've said, I'll argue at the very least that religiousity and intelligence are correlated and based on my experiences it would appear that often one causes the other. It maybe argued fairly that it is a logical fallacy based on a stereotype, however in my experience the stereotype holds true in most cases so for the purpose of problem solving it is a convenient assumption given that I don't have specific individual people in front of me to analyze. So for now, I hypothesis that intelligence correlates to religiousity for the aforementioned reasons and when I have actual data to work with I will then judge whether or not my assumptions/hypothesis was correct.  Cool (Don't bag on stereotypes... much as that word has a negative connotation it can be a very handy thing and as we've discussed in other threads it is an integral part in human nature regardless of how "open-minded" a person would like to think they are.)
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Re: religion  
« Reply #87 on: May 6th, 2009, 1:10pm »
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Hello,
 
I haven't visited this site for such a long time!
 
My question is:
 
Could anyone suggest an interesting website that would help us understand the origins of religions and why we believe in things we cannot prove
 
I found this website:
 
http://www.patheos.com/
 
Anyone?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #88 on: May 7th, 2009, 7:01am »
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on May 6th, 2009, 1:10pm, BenVitale wrote:
why we believe in things we cannot prove

 
Maybe we could start to ask another question : Why do we feel the need to only believe in things we could only prove ? ( some of us anyway) Whereas faith is believing despite the lack of proofs.  
 
Would christians believe in the divinity of Christ if he didn't perform his many miracles ?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #89 on: May 7th, 2009, 7:42am »
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on May 7th, 2009, 7:01am, JiNbOtAk wrote:
Maybe we could start to ask another question : Why do we feel the need to only believe in things we could only prove ? ( some of us anyway)
Because people crave certainties. Of course many people will settle for false certainties and ban any thought of questioning them, but proofs are nice when you can get them.
 
Quote:
Whereas faith is believing despite the lack of proofs.
Some would disagree with that. Most believers would probably assert that they feel a divine influence in their life. That's evidence, even if it may also be explained in ways other than actual divine influence.
And heck, some would go as far as to claim their faith is proof, and furthermore that any evidence to the contrary is a test and therefor another proof of the validity of their faith.
Some people are silly.
I'm not saying the latter two are correlated, but I believe they may be Wink
 
Quote:
Would christians believe in the divinity of Christ if he didn't perform his many miracles ?
Hey, I didn't believe in his divinity even when I called myself a Christian. His dad, all our dad, was the divine one. Tongue
More to the point, none of the current Christians ever saw those miracles. The story would be the same if it were factual or made up. They believe the story, not the reality behind it, because they cannot know it.  
Now don't get me wrong, this also applies to, say, scientific articles. If you weren't around to do the experiments and interpret the data, then you believe the story of science, and you can't truly claim to know the reality behind it. Any story is only as reliable as combination of its authors and the chain of transmission. But in the case of science both are tested a bit more stringently; and in principle you can replicate experiments yourself (if you have the resources to build the LHC).
 
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Re: religion  
« Reply #90 on: May 7th, 2009, 7:49am »
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on May 6th, 2009, 1:10pm, BenVitale wrote:
My question is:
 
Could anyone suggest an interesting website that would help us understand the origins of religions and why we believe in things we cannot prove
Have you looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_origin_of_religions yet?
 
There's probably some books on it. Actually, I rather suspect Dawkin's "The God Delusion" might have a lot to say on it. But I haven't read it, so it's always possible it has more to say on the ills of religion than its origins.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #91 on: May 7th, 2009, 9:18am »
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on May 7th, 2009, 7:49am, towr wrote:
There's probably some books on it. Actually, I rather suspect Dawkin's "The God Delusion" might have a lot to say on it. But I haven't read it, so it's always possible it has more to say on the ills of religion than its origins.

 
I have read The God Delusion, but all I remember about it is that it used some seriously dodgy debating tactics, so I didn't take in the message because I was too busy holding my nose...
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Re: religion  
« Reply #92 on: May 7th, 2009, 10:01am »
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Maybe Religion Explained might be a better start then, here's a review: http://www.wordtrade.com/society/anthropologyreligion.htm
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Re: religion  
« Reply #93 on: May 7th, 2009, 1:44pm »
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Quote:

Why do we feel the need to only believe in things we could only prove ?  

 
Because they can be false.
 
Some of us have been trained to think mathematically. A theorem is a statement that is true, provable, otherwise it is a conjecture or a hypothesis.
Can we prove that god exist or doesn't exist?
No, I don't think so. For now, it is undecidable.
 
I was looking for a handy, non-partisan website -- a website that offers a comparative study of all religions.
 
I made another search, and I found:
 
http://www.religioustolerance.org/
 
No matter how you describe yourself, you should find your beliefs and practices accurately represented in this website.
 
I've read "The God Delusion," and watched the documentary on religion by Richard Dawkins, entitled “The Root of All Evil."
 
Dawkins angered many believers, and has made many mild atheists and agnostics, like myself, uncomfortable.
 
Such an attack on religion is not the most persuasive way to convert people or talk about religion/faith in a rational way.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Re: religion  
« Reply #94 on: May 14th, 2009, 3:13am »
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on May 7th, 2009, 1:44pm, BenVitale wrote:
Can we prove that god exist or doesn't exist?
No, I don't think so. For now, it is undecidable.

 
Interesting. On that note, what would you consider to be a concrete proof of the existence of god ?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #95 on: May 14th, 2009, 4:04pm »
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on May 14th, 2009, 3:13am, JiNbOtAk wrote:

 
...what would you consider to be a concrete proof of the existence of god ?

 
A "concrete proof" implies physical evidence.
We don't have any.
 
Faith is the foundation of all religions.
Believers have faith, and they argue: if you have faith, proof is not required. If you seek proof, then you will never have faith.
 
Believers have personal feelings or experiences that they feel validate their religious beliefs for them.  
 
These feelings or experiences are subjective and personal, not verifiable, as a scientific experiment would be. So, no evidence, no concrete proof.
 
 
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Re: religion  
« Reply #96 on: May 15th, 2009, 4:56am »
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The question of the existence of God has meaning only after you have defined what God is.
 
It seems however that you can believe in God without having a clear understanding of what is meant by that word.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #97 on: May 15th, 2009, 10:28am »
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Grimbal,
 
I like the definition of "god" that theoretical physicists and mathematicians give.
 
There's the traditional/historical meaning of "God" -- as defined by all religions.
 
And there's the "god" that theoretical physicists and mathematecians talk about:
 
It's really an abstract  principle of order and harmony, a set of mathematical equations.
The "god" they talk about describes the laws of nature.
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Re: religion  
« Reply #98 on: May 15th, 2009, 1:34pm »
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on May 14th, 2009, 3:13am, JiNbOtAk wrote:
On that note, what would you consider to be a concrete proof of the existence of god ?

On that note, what would you consider to be a concrete proof of the existence of dark matter?
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Re: religion  
« Reply #99 on: May 15th, 2009, 1:53pm »
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on May 15th, 2009, 1:34pm, rmsgrey wrote:
On that note, what would you consider to be a concrete proof of the existence of dark matter?
Finding some way to reliably interact with it. And that goes for God too. Given some ('behavioral') definition, it should 'behave' accordingly.
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