What makes any one religion more valid than another. Of all the cultures that have existed throughout history, all have expressed a belief in something larger than themselves. It has been proven in the scientific community that humans have an innate spirituality. It would better serve mankind to channel this into a Buddhist mentality which views the world  as one in which we are all connected in a spirit within us that we all can feel.I have been an atheist since my mid teens and have only seen religion since then as a detriment to logical thinking, reasoning and just plain questioning. most if not all wars are fought over something as stupid as not being the same sect in the same religion.

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Many Atheists seem to think that Buddhism is OK because it does not require belief in any Gods. However, critically minded free thinkers (what is what we should aim to be) will see it as basically a “woo” lifestyle. Meditation is good for you up to a point but aiming to surrender your “self” is nonsense.  There is also the underlying theme of the Universe existing for our benefit (when it fact it is not aware of us). Like religions, it is all about surrendering yourself. The essence of its “spirituality” is that this life is not important and it is better to abandon the trappings of this Earth to achieve a higher state of being.

I would like to see the scientific papers that suggest that we have an innate spirituality. I seem to be hearing that word a lot recently and I still have no idea what it means.

I do agree Daryl with your overall sentiment that our energies would be put to better use and make for a better world if religious and magical thinking was replaced with logical and reasoned debate.

What Reg said.

...spirituality. I seem to be hearing that word a lot recently and I still have no idea what it means.

I'm lost when it comes to this word, too. In common parlance, it seems to be indistinguishable from intuitive thought and/or positive thinking—both of which are simply aspects of human psychology and are entirely mind-based. So I keep wondering where the "spirit" part is supposed to come in.

A short exchange with one of my religious students:

student: How can you look at the trees and not believe god exists? (yes, that old argument)

me: What about malaria and the more than half a million people it kills every year?

student: Oh, that's just nature.

It would seem that 'spirituality' also only applies to 'nice' things ;-)

Hahaha...I guess I will just quit believing in nature. LOL

What makes any one religion more valid than another.

Nothing.

most if not all wars are fought over something as stupid as not being the same sect in the same religion.

This meme is fascinating to me.  I confess it makes me think atheism is a detriment to logical thinking.

Let's try the list of wars by death toll at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_anthropogenic_disaste...

Quite a few of them are civil wars among people with the same religious upbringing, or are territorial wars between nations with the same religion. 

The causes of war are multivariate, but they generally come down to tribal/ethnic/national/social class groups fighting over control of resources.  Religion comes along to the extent that tribal/ethnic groups competing over resources are of different religions, or to the extent religious groups hold significant resources.

I could not agree more. More killing has been visited upon innocent people more than those who have been killed in religious wars or simply because they were so called heretics unable to express their beliefs

Dr. Bob,

The Spanish Inquisition should at the very least get an honorable mention.

Not even close.  Actual executions over the 300 years of the Spanish Inquisition have been estimated at somewhere around 5,000 or so.  They kept records, so the estimates aren't bad.  Even say estimates are off by a factor of two, that works out to 35 people executed per year.  Less than the rate of executions in the United States over the past 15 years.  Heck, in some years, Texas is just as bad or worse than the Spanish Inquisition average.

The Inquisition of course was just a part of the ethnic cleansing going on following the Spanish reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the Arabs.  As ethnic strife goes it was fairly sedate; there were long periods of tolerance punctuated by periods of repression and violence.  There were pogroms, but nominal converts were sort of protected.  In a lot of ways it was the 15th century equivalent of the modern U.S. immigration problem.  Deportations, prejudice, some becoming citizens but still subject to racial profiling & false accusations, one ethnic group far more likely to be stopped by authorities, and more likely to be executed if tried.

Bad by modern standards.  Awful for those involved.  Nowhere near the 1,000,000+ fatalities of the wars listed.  The whole of the Spanish reconquest wasn't as bad as what we did to Native Americans.

I guess life with religion has been a lovely picnic all these centuries   :) :) :)

I tend to agree that most wars are fought over economic resources such as land, either in defence or acquisition of it. While some wars are religious wars all sides tend to claim that their god is on their side as they slaughter each other..

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