A "How to" for letting go

General discussion on the subject of religion, losing religion, and having no religion to lose...
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Lausten
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A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Wed Apr 13, 2016 2:47 am

After years of arguing about religion, I have found there are certain dead ends that are unavoidable. There is the classic, "it's a mystery" and of course, "my church does it right". I have taken every challenge when someone says they have the theologian that has it all figured out. There is nothing out there that gets any better than CS Lewis or Paul Tillich, and those guys have the same old logical problems. But, obviously, religion isn't going away, despite its failures. The question I've tried to delve into is, "can anything salvaged?" It would be easy to just pick a few worthy parables and leave it at that, but that's been done, and I don't see much coming from it.

So, without further ado, I started this project, going through the 3 year lectionary, commenting on what is worth keeping, and sometimes saying, that piece has gotta go.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:39 am

My thought is that at some point you "mature" (sic, not meant to disparage) to the point where you have no feelings or needs to confront or deal with other peoples' religious beliefs. comfortable in your own skin. Repsonding honestly without the need to initiate. I think "I'm there." Certainly for Business, for most social situations, for family. maybe its having the internet available that provides as much of a release as I might need. ..... or .... really, shouldn't someone say something?

I very much enjoy the argument that even the devoutly religious are atheists for all the other religions save their own. Atheists just add that last one in as well. Arguing it is obviously a sociological phenomenon draws too many blanks.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Gord » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:52 am

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:46 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:My thought is that at some point you "mature" (sic, not meant to disparage) to the point where you have no feelings or needs to confront or deal with other peoples' religious beliefs. comfortable in your own skin. Repsonding honestly without the need to initiate. I think "I'm there." Certainly for Business, for most social situations, for family. maybe its having the internet available that provides as much of a release as I might need. ..... or .... really, shouldn't someone say something?

I very much enjoy the argument that even the devoutly religious are atheists for all the other religions save their own. Atheists just add that last one in as well. Arguing it is obviously a sociological phenomenon draws too many blanks.

That response would make sense if the site was about trying to convince people to not believe. The sub-heading is, "a sermon helper that doesn't tell you what to believe". It does "respond honestly", it doesn't confront.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:15 pm

Why let go of god? Why not just tell the truth about what god is and just let go of all religions ascribing human qualities to supernatural gods, no matter how well intentioned they may appear to be.

Ask an atheist scientist what science has been able to observe and even measure about reality. S/he ain't gonna' say "nothing" unless s/he's a liar. Scientists don't know the whole truth but they know the truth. (It's true some scientists do (believe they) know things that go beyond the truth.) Human understanding of god requires a minimalist approach because so much of god is unknowable and (most probably) always will be.

Anyways; that's god, impossible to understand in a way that goes against the laws of nature and physics while also more powerful than any concept of a supernatural god clothed in human qualities. God is as real as reality itself, unlimited yet not infinite, neverending yet filled with voids of unknown consequence.

God's a tough concept compared with either atheism or religion based on supernatural laws. More power to people who at least have a clue about how to approach god. Of course ya' don't have to use the term god to begin to understand what unlimited reality consists of, but the term god's at least close enough to get a gut impression of. Simply aw(e)ful(l).

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Austin Harper » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:11 pm

Or, god isn't.
Dum ratio nos ducet, valebimus et multa bene geremus.

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Monster » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:53 pm

toroid wrote:Why let go of god? Why not just tell the truth about what god is and just let go of all religions ascribing human qualities to supernatural gods, no matter how well intentioned they may appear to be.

Ask an atheist scientist what science has been able to observe and even measure about reality. S/he ain't gonna' say "nothing" unless s/he's a liar. Scientists don't know the whole truth but they know the truth. (It's true some scientists do (believe they) know things that go beyond the truth.) Human understanding of god requires a minimalist approach because so much of god is unknowable and (most probably) always will be.

Anyways; that's god, impossible to understand in a way that goes against the laws of nature and physics while also more powerful than any concept of a supernatural god clothed in human qualities. God is as real as reality itself, unlimited yet not infinite, neverending yet filled with voids of unknown consequence.

God's a tough concept compared with either atheism or religion based on supernatural laws. More power to people who at least have a clue about how to approach god. Of course ya' don't have to use the term god to begin to understand what unlimited reality consists of, but the term god's at least close enough to get a gut impression of. Simply aw(e)ful(l).

It looks like you're saying this:

"god" = that which can't be known

I don't see any value in making that statement. The word "god" has too much baggage. If you say "I believe god exists", over 5 billion people will agree with your statement, but you and they will be talking about totally different things.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:05 pm

God can't be known completely, true. However a great deal is known about god and the only thing that can be said with relative certainty is that what and how much is unknown probably will remain so for the foreseeable future.

For me god carries no baggage whatsoever as long as I and anyone else making the same observation states exactly what I did in the post to which you replied. Religions which define god as the author of supernatural fantasies, incapable of being observed much less proven, contain the baggage to which you refer. A good way to contribute toward lightening that load is to state the observational truth repeatedly and engage with those who try to dissuade the dissemination of observational truth.

People (such as yourself apparently) who shy away from observational truth complicate the appreciation of the scientifically observable miracle which has provided at least a glimpse of reality to anyone who chooses to be honest about what is known and observable.

Of course, YMMV!

Just as it provides a miraculous glimpse of itself, reality also provides the capability to either deny everything (at times for political, not spiritual motivations) or construct alternate views, some of which are created from supernatural fantasies of a really powerful superhuman male in the sky.

Monster wrote:
toroid wrote:Why let go of god? Why not just tell the truth about what god is and just let go of all religions ascribing human qualities to supernatural gods, no matter how well intentioned they may appear to be.

Ask an atheist scientist what science has been able to observe and even measure about reality. S/he ain't gonna' say "nothing" unless s/he's a liar. Scientists don't know the whole truth but they know the truth. (It's true some scientists do (believe they) know things that go beyond the truth.) Human understanding of god requires a minimalist approach because so much of god is unknowable and (most probably) always will be.

Anyways; that's god, impossible to understand in a way that goes against the laws of nature and physics while also more powerful than any concept of a supernatural god clothed in human qualities. God is as real as reality itself, unlimited yet not infinite, neverending yet filled with voids of unknown consequence.

God's a tough concept compared with either atheism or religion based on supernatural laws. More power to people who at least have a clue about how to approach god. Of course ya' don't have to use the term god to begin to understand what unlimited reality consists of, but the term god's at least close enough to get a gut impression of. Simply aw(e)ful(l).

It looks like you're saying this:

"god" = that which can't be known

I don't see any value in making that statement. The word "god" has too much baggage. If you say "I believe god exists", over 5 billion people will agree with your statement, but you and they will be talking about totally different things.

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:31 pm

toroid wrote:God can't be known completely, true. However a great deal is known about god and the only thing that can be said with relative certainty is that what and how much is unknown probably will remain so for the foreseeable future.

.... Religions which define god as the author of supernatural fantasies, incapable of being observed much less proven, contain the baggage to which you refer.

As I remember toroid, you are not easy to engage, you tend to fly around the topic. So, I'm cutting your post down to the above.

If you define something as "that which can't be known", forseeable future or not, you're not defining it. I can agree that "God" or "god" is used as a place holder term for the unknown, but then we're just talking "god of the gaps", not interesting; not what is meant by "letting go of God". That implies letting go of traditions and superstitions that are no longer useful. Since those involve things like an ethical basis, most people need to build that up as they are letting go of the old system.

You say in the second phrase I picked out, that religions contain baggage. They are able to carry that baggage by remaining mysterious and if pressed, will say "you can't know god", sometimes it's more direct, like, "you can't question god". Aren't you doing the same thing?
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:52 pm

I stated "can't be known completely". Please don't edit selectively so as to change the meaning completely.

God requires humans to create their own ethical bases or morality if ethical bases are to exist. As observed through scientific observations god itself doesn't promote ethics or morality. ISIS bombers believe what they do is the epitome of ethical behavior. So do people who espouse pacifism. Moral relativism appears to be an accurate description of human ethics.

God isn't "nice". Worshiping god doesn't accomplish anything except provide a worshipper a placebo which may enable some worshippers to feel better. IMHO, such worshippers don't understand the nature of god that science reveals; essentially a view of reality composed of all the laws, both known and hypothesized, of science, nature and physics.

Baggage potentially exists, in varying degrees, with regards to (almost?) all abstract concepts.

It also appears you Lausten and I disagree. Nothing new there and IMHO, once our disagreement is stated, not particularly interesting or worthy of rehashing.
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I'm "pickled tink" to be able to realize that, although there's nothing the realization provides me personally I've learned enough to realize the glimpse of reality science reveals is colloquially a miracle supported by scientific observations.

Atheist activists choose other opinionated terms associated with their generally confrontational, largely political, agendum for concepts very similar. There's plenty of baggage for everybody.

IMHO, it's likely that as time passes the growing number of people who don't think deeply about the increasingly secular transformation society is undergoing, and don't think much about religion, and don't hang out at Forums, will tend toward an informal view of the forces behind nature similar to mine.

(Thanks to Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, my most influential instructors, for their writtings and other contributions enabling me to realize the difference between scientific achievements and dog-and-pony-shows attempting to portray the superiority of science over folklore encompassing the prevailing beliefs of a plurality of humanity.)

Lausten wrote:
toroid wrote:God can't be known completely, true. However a great deal is known about god and the only thing that can be said with relative certainty is that what and how much is unknown probably will remain so for the foreseeable future.

.... Religions which define god as the author of supernatural fantasies, incapable of being observed much less proven, contain the baggage to which you refer.

As I remember toroid, you are not easy to engage, you tend to fly around the topic. So, I'm cutting your post down to the above.

If you define something as "that which can't be known", forseeable future or not, you're not defining it. I can agree that "God" or "god" is used as a place holder term for the unknown, but then we're just talking "god of the gaps", not interesting; not what is meant by "letting go of God". That implies letting go of traditions and superstitions that are no longer useful. Since those involve things like an ethical basis, most people need to build that up as they are letting go of the old system.

You say in the second phrase I picked out, that religions contain baggage. They are able to carry that baggage by remaining mysterious and if pressed, will say "you can't know god", sometimes it's more direct, like, "you can't question god". Aren't you doing the same thing?

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:55 pm

toroid wrote:I stated "can't be known completely". Please don't edit selectively so as to change the meaning completely.

God requires humans to create their own ethical bases or morality if ethical bases are to exist. As observed through scientific observations god itself doesn't promote ethics or morality. ISIS bombers believe what they do is the epitome of ethical behavior. So do people who espouse pacifism. Moral relativism appears to be an accurate description of human ethics.

God isn't "nice". Worshiping god doesn't accomplish anything except provide a worshipper a placebo which may enable some worshippers to feel better. IMHO, such worshippers don't understand the nature of god that science reveals; essentially a view of reality composed of all the laws, both known and hypothesized, of science, nature and physics.


My misquoting didn't really change anything. "completely" or not isn't a critical distinction when it comes to knowing god. You keep alluding to a science, but you don't provide any. I'm guessing your science is something like, "look at tree, it's a miracle" or something. I read the rest but hopefully will forget about it after my next drink.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:56 pm

I'm not a scientist although I read what notable scientist have written.

Is a tree a miracle? I dunno'.

But if a miracle can be defined as that which is a wonder or marvel without being a supernatural event, which my dictionary formalizes when it provides separate entries for various meanings of the word, then why not?

A li'l miracle indeed!

Now to enjoy the spirits of nepenthe...

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:58 am

I have no problem with that definition of miracle. I have a problem with your use of the word "scientific". Maybe if you provide a definition for that, one that is pertinent to this discussion, we can discuss it.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Fri Apr 22, 2016 1:34 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Pllease, if you don't like Wiki, state or post a link to your preferred interpretation of the scientific method.

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:33 pm

That'll work.

Now show me how that applies to what you said,

God isn't "nice". Worshiping god doesn't accomplish anything except provide a worshipper a placebo which may enable some worshippers to feel better. IMHO, such worshippers don't understand the nature of god that science reveals; essentially a view of reality composed of all the laws, both known and hypothesized, of science, nature and physics.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:19 pm

The scientific method has revealed many of the laws of nature and physics through its observations. Everything that exists isn't known, of course, and probably never will be, but it's apparent from what has been revealed that reality is governed by forces as powerful as the mythical supernatural forces of the classical gods.

While praying to the forces governing reality doesn't do anything, some people probably feel better if they do. They don't really understand reality but that's not unusual, in fact it's typical.

God isn't a scientific term but the term does indicate the power and magnitude of the laws in place as well as the probably never to be solved mystery of why there are apparent laws in place instead of nothing.

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:11 pm

I'll give you some credit for sophistication, but you also get many points for obfuscation.

You tell the story as if the first explanation for why anything is here was god or gods. That is possibly the worst myth behind all the myths. The myth that belief in the supernatural was some sort of useful idea that everyone bought into for a million years, and now we're just figuring out it's wrong. It's pretty unlikely that the idea of supernatural beings was around at all 100,000 years ago. Or at least it wasn't popular.

What came first, is the questions, how did that get here, what are those points of light in the sky. Obviously it took something well beyond our powers to create any of it. Of course it's typical to not understand reality, since no one does. What you are not acknowledging is all the people who used the ideas of the supernatural for their own gain, to trick people, to gain power, to say they could predict the future or cure illness. The sincerity of their belief is not the question. The result, regardless of their sincerity, is the interruption of the progress toward the knowledge we now have. Religion isn't the only factor, but it was right there in partnership with the greedy and the power hungry who were also getting in the way of people cooperating and working together and preserving knowledge and passing it on.
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby toroid » Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:04 pm

We disagree most fundamentally.

I don't appreciate your judgements (regarding credits and/or points) but understand such judgements typically come from others with whom a poster engages at Forums. So be it.

Of course, people in charge even at the tribal level took whatever advantage their positions offered to promote their own agendums. IMHO, it would be the height of ignorance to deny it.

The earliest explanations for why anything existed did come from shamans postulating supernatural gods in the earliest tribal cultures. Your judgements of the importance of this myth or any others doesn't mean anything beyond presenting your opinion.

As important as anything learned from scientific observation is that conflict among and between species, for any reason, is essential for evolution through natural selection to take place. Conflict is basic to the process.

Your stated concluding opinion that science must promote "people cooperating and working together and preserving knowledge and passing it on" is wrong. "The progress toward knowledge we now have" stems from the presentation of different ideas and concepts and the conflicts that often take place as a result.

Yours is an elitist opinion stemming from belief in technocratic rule, a popular agendum about 3 generations ago.
Last edited by toroid on Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Lausten » Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:49 pm

How far back do you think Shamans go? The oldest cave paintings are 30,000 years old. There are a few figurines dating back 80,000, but they are not found in all human settlements. So, your evidence actually agrees with what I said. I never said those things weren’t significant to human cultural history.

I don’t think I said science “must” promote anything. And how is promoting cooperation and preserving knowledge an elitist opinion? I never said anything about limiting that to any particular group, or limiting the type of knowledge. Did you think I meant some sort of pure science only? Because I didn’t, I meant things like the knowledge of how to feed each other, or the knowledge of how we are all related .
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Re: A "How to" for letting go

Postby Matthew Ellard » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:10 am

Lausten wrote:How far back do you think Shamans go? The oldest cave paintings are 30,000 years old. There are a few figurines dating back 80,000, but they are not found in all human settlements.


I agree with you. The further you back in time, beyond those dates, the evidence of religious behaviour is really more of the nature of displays of human psychology. The burying of flowers with the dead in Iran 60,000 years ago is simply behavioural equity theory by Neanderthals.

I have no idea why people think early humans, 100 to 30 thousand years ago, had a belief in "modern gods" when the evidence says nothing like that.


At university it was strongly suggested to us, that as humans have an innate tendency to give human characteristics to "things", the activities that result from human behaviour were simply given human characteristics. If this artificial imposed human framework lasts over generations and gets passed down, the artificial imposition of human characteristics becomes even stronger "as more human characteristics" are added each time the story is passed down. Eventually a human Parthenon evolves.

The fun bit is that this human tendency to anthropomorphise "things" became destructive to religion, when monotheism arose. A rational human could not understand why "one god" would make so many conflicting decisions. "God" doesn't make sense "in his decisions", and therefore there must be some other "underlying causes to why things happen" forced upon God, which is the birth of rational science.

In a funny way "God" is a concept invented by humans to start explaining the world and in the modern world this same God, by objectively being irrational, has become a new tool to remove religion from human social behaviour ....because God obviously doesn't make any sense. "God" has become the focal point to allow rational people to argue against irrational religious behaviour.


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