Mocking religion

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bob sterman
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by bob sterman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:03 am

shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am
Before that about pets, we have:
“I have never been asked that question before.” He pauses for reflection.
... which encapsulates the "dunno but I'll make something up about it on the spot if you like" attitude to most of what the church thinks nowadays.
It's the emphasis on rigorous standards of evidence that really impresses me - i.e. "we're fond of them" so they must go to heaven.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by shpalman » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:05 am

It's basically "well heaven is all made up so it doesn't matter if I make up a bit more of it, why not".
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:11 am

bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:03 am
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am
Before that about pets, we have:
“I have never been asked that question before.” He pauses for reflection.
... which encapsulates the "dunno but I'll make something up about it on the spot if you like" attitude to most of what the church thinks nowadays.
It's the emphasis on rigorous standards of evidence that really impresses me - i.e. "we're fond of them" so they must go to heaven.
Never mind pets, how are people meant to enjoy heaven if some of their loved ones aren't there because they had become non-believers? I once asked my very religious mum how she'd feel about me not being there (in my more provocative youth) and she said she was praying for me. She also believed her various illnesses were a punishment for something (unspecified) that she'd done. That's a pretty horrible God.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Fishnut » Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:35 am

Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:11 am
bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:03 am
shpalman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:59 am
Before that about pets, we have:


... which encapsulates the "dunno but I'll make something up about it on the spot if you like" attitude to most of what the church thinks nowadays.
It's the emphasis on rigorous standards of evidence that really impresses me - i.e. "we're fond of them" so they must go to heaven.
Never mind pets, how are people meant to enjoy heaven if some of their loved ones aren't there because they had become non-believers? I once asked my very religious mum how she'd feel about me not being there (in my more provocative youth) and she said she was praying for me. She also believed her various illnesses were a punishment for something (unspecified) that she'd done. That's a pretty horrible God.
I was never particularly religious but this was what did it for me. My dad was an atheist and when he died figuring out the details of heaven became much more important than they are to most 12 year olds. I couldn't cope with the idea of him not getting to heaven, or even going to hell, simply because of his beliefs given that his actions spoke of a kind and decent man, and the hand-waving apologia I got from Christians never convinced me.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Grumble » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:01 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:35 am
Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:11 am
bob sterman wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:03 am


It's the emphasis on rigorous standards of evidence that really impresses me - i.e. "we're fond of them" so they must go to heaven.
Never mind pets, how are people meant to enjoy heaven if some of their loved ones aren't there because they had become non-believers? I once asked my very religious mum how she'd feel about me not being there (in my more provocative youth) and she said she was praying for me. She also believed her various illnesses were a punishment for something (unspecified) that she'd done. That's a pretty horrible God.
I was never particularly religious but this was what did it for me. My dad was an atheist and when he died figuring out the details of heaven became much more important than they are to most 12 year olds. I couldn't cope with the idea of him not getting to heaven, or even going to hell, simply because of his beliefs given that his actions spoke of a kind and decent man, and the hand-waving apologia I got from Christians never convinced me.
I had a few moments, no need to recount them all here but one was wondering what happened to all the people who lived before Jesus. The same logic extends to all those before Moses or Zarathustra or whoever.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:14 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am
It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
Yes, nicely put. Thanks for the book recommendation fishnut, I may check that out
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:23 pm

Grumble wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:01 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:35 am
Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:11 am


Never mind pets, how are people meant to enjoy heaven if some of their loved ones aren't there because they had become non-believers? I once asked my very religious mum how she'd feel about me not being there (in my more provocative youth) and she said she was praying for me. She also believed her various illnesses were a punishment for something (unspecified) that she'd done. That's a pretty horrible God.
I was never particularly religious but this was what did it for me. My dad was an atheist and when he died figuring out the details of heaven became much more important than they are to most 12 year olds. I couldn't cope with the idea of him not getting to heaven, or even going to hell, simply because of his beliefs given that his actions spoke of a kind and decent man, and the hand-waving apologia I got from Christians never convinced me.
I had a few moments, no need to recount them all here but one was wondering what happened to all the people who lived before Jesus. The same logic extends to all those before Moses or Zarathustra or whoever.
That's why the early Mediaeval Church came up with the idea of the Harrowing of Hell. On Easter Saturday Jesus popped down there and let out all the souls of the righteous who had died from the beginning of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by lpm » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am
It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
Isn't that a key thing about the humanists club?

They've simply seized the entire christian ethics wholesale. Just copy and paste the whole thing in. And why not? There's no reason why an ethical framework needs to be tied to old stories with fantasy beings and supernatural miracles.

It's a bit odd - by which I mean of course it's completely wrong - to credit a moral framework to an existing religion, even if that religion's predecessors originally invented the ethics centuries ago. It's not just the current church that has descended from these ethical ancestors, I have as well. Why can't I, an atheist, claim equal credit for our ancestors developing these morals?

It simply isn't the case that these are christian ideals. There's no ownership. It's as absurd as claiming the writings of Karl Marx are descended from the Proto-Sinaitic people on the grounds that the Proto-Sinaitics invented the alphabet and our modern writing couldn't exist without it. These are human achievements and all humans get equal right to claim ownership.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by dyqik » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am

It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I'd be interested to know whether and where things like the Golden Rule were around before Jesus preached it, and how many of the other moral ideas of Christianity were around well before even the OT/Jewish scriptures codified them in the form we know them.

I suspect much of the moral ideas of the early church were pretty firmly established in Jewish, Greek and Roman thinking (depending on the relevant writer/apostle in the NT), as well as other societies in the area.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:45 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am

It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I'd be interested to know whether and where things like the Golden Rule were around before Jesus preached it, and how many of the other moral ideas of Christianity were around well before even the OT/Jewish scriptures codified them in the form we know them.

I suspect much of the moral ideas of the early church were pretty firmly established in Jewish, Greek and Roman thinking (depending on the relevant writer/apostle in the NT), as well as other societies in the area.
There's a bit here on Christian and Hellenistic philosophy, more elsewhere that I don't have time to dig out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian ... philosophy

The New Testament was originally written in Greek which shows the extent of Hellenistic influence, especially on St Paul.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:47 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am
It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
Isn't that a key thing about the humanists club?

They've simply seized the entire christian ethics wholesale. Just copy and paste the whole thing in. And why not? There's no reason why an ethical framework needs to be tied to old stories with fantasy beings and supernatural miracles.

It's a bit odd - by which I mean of course it's completely wrong - to credit a moral framework to an existing religion, even if that religion's predecessors originally invented the ethics centuries ago. It's not just the current church that has descended from these ethical ancestors, I have as well. Why can't I, an atheist, claim equal credit for our ancestors developing these morals?

It simply isn't the case that these are christian ideals. There's no ownership. It's as absurd as claiming the writings of Karl Marx are descended from the Proto-Sinaitic people on the grounds that the Proto-Sinaitics invented the alphabet and our modern writing couldn't exist without it. These are human achievements and all humans get equal right to claim ownership.
I don't think anyone here is claiming that the modern Christian church has any ownership of this particular set of moral values, but there's a theme in modern criticisms of the Church that it's also somehow intrinsically at odds with them, which is false, as the historical record demonstrates.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:49 pm

dyqik wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am

It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I'd be interested to know whether and where things like the Golden Rule were around before Jesus preached it, and how many of the other moral ideas of Christianity were around well before even the OT/Jewish scriptures codified them in the form we know them.

I suspect much of the moral ideas of the early church were pretty firmly established in Jewish, Greek and Roman thinking (depending on the relevant writer/apostle in the NT), as well as other societies in the area.
Where is the evidence for this though? If you read specialists on the period you will get a contrary impression. I did anyway.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by lpm » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:59 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:47 pm
lpm wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am
It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
Isn't that a key thing about the humanists club?

They've simply seized the entire christian ethics wholesale. Just copy and paste the whole thing in. And why not? There's no reason why an ethical framework needs to be tied to old stories with fantasy beings and supernatural miracles.

It's a bit odd - by which I mean of course it's completely wrong - to credit a moral framework to an existing religion, even if that religion's predecessors originally invented the ethics centuries ago. It's not just the current church that has descended from these ethical ancestors, I have as well. Why can't I, an atheist, claim equal credit for our ancestors developing these morals?

It simply isn't the case that these are christian ideals. There's no ownership. It's as absurd as claiming the writings of Karl Marx are descended from the Proto-Sinaitic people on the grounds that the Proto-Sinaitics invented the alphabet and our modern writing couldn't exist without it. These are human achievements and all humans get equal right to claim ownership.
I don't think anyone here is claiming that the modern Christian church has any ownership of this particular set of moral values, but there's a theme in modern criticisms of the Church that it's also somehow intrinsically at odds with them, which is false, as the historical record demonstrates.
That doesn't work as an argument. Ideals are ideals. Anyone can claim them. But it's actually living by those ideals or taking action for them that counts, otherwise they're just new year's day resolutions ignored on Jan 2nd. Why can't humanists or anyone else seize those ideals and then slam the original religion for being at odds with them?
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by secret squirrel » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:01 pm

lpm wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:59 pm
That doesn't work as an argument. Ideals are ideals. Anyone can claim them. But it's actually living by those ideals or taking action for them that counts, otherwise they're just new year's day resolutions ignored on Jan 2nd. Why can't humanists or anyone else seize those ideals and then slam the original religion for being at odds with them?
Doesn't work as an argument for what?

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by lpm » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:10 pm

I don't really know what argument you were trying to make.

Nor do I understand Tom Holland on this. He appears to claim "ah ha, that's Christian" for anything and everything, simply because it's built on the heritage we all have in the west. The other day he was claiming same-sex marriage was Christian, even though the church fought against it, because the western concept of marriage we all have in our heads has been formed by Christianity. One of those instances of saying everything and saying nothing simultaneously.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Grumble » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:39 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:23 pm
Grumble wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:01 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:35 am


I was never particularly religious but this was what did it for me. My dad was an atheist and when he died figuring out the details of heaven became much more important than they are to most 12 year olds. I couldn't cope with the idea of him not getting to heaven, or even going to hell, simply because of his beliefs given that his actions spoke of a kind and decent man, and the hand-waving apologia I got from Christians never convinced me.
I had a few moments, no need to recount them all here but one was wondering what happened to all the people who lived before Jesus. The same logic extends to all those before Moses or Zarathustra or whoever.
That's why the early Mediaeval Church came up with the idea of the Harrowing of Hell. On Easter Saturday Jesus popped down there and let out all the souls of the righteous who had died from the beginning of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell
That’s great, but why did they suffer hell in the first place?

One other thing that turned me off religion was some of the more revolting bits of the Old Testament. Mutilation of dead bodies in order to get the girl, for example. If morality comes from an eternal god then presumably that’s good behaviour. I think that was the first crack in the wall, realising that I thought bible stories were immoral.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:20 pm

Grumble wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:39 pm
Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:23 pm
Grumble wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:01 pm


I had a few moments, no need to recount them all here but one was wondering what happened to all the people who lived before Jesus. The same logic extends to all those before Moses or Zarathustra or whoever.
That's why the early Mediaeval Church came up with the idea of the Harrowing of Hell. On Easter Saturday Jesus popped down there and let out all the souls of the righteous who had died from the beginning of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_Hell
That’s great, but why did they suffer hell in the first place?

One other thing that turned me off religion was some of the more revolting bits of the Old Testament. Mutilation of dead bodies in order to get the girl, for example. If morality comes from an eternal god then presumably that’s good behaviour. I think that was the first crack in the wall, realising that I thought bible stories were immoral.
The Old Testament is indeed pretty gory. The mass slaughter of the Amelikites, the conquest of Caanan and the destruction of Jericho, slavery (Deuteronomy 15:17 and Exodus 21:5-6), If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother ... all the men of the city shall stone him with stones, that he die (Deuteronomy 21:18, 21) and those are only the first few examples that come to mind.

And yes, why were the righteous in Hell before Jesus came along? The more you look at the Old Testament, the more petty, spiteful, vindictive, demanding, cruel and inconsistent God appears.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:28 pm

The story is not all too coherent with different places saying different things. Partly it's because the exact doctrine has never been overly important, the idea that a faith is defined by a series of set-in-stone propositions is a fairly recent (reformation) development.

Anyway, in Daniel, the procedure is that when you die you're dead and there is no afterlife until the day of the last judgement at which point the souls of the dead are resurrected and face their fate. So if you died before Jesus (well, Daniel was before Jesus anyway, but you see what I mean), subjectively the next thing you should notice is judgement day. In Revelation it's slightly more convoluted, but not really incompatible with that interpretation afaiu.

I might look up to see what Augustine had to say on this, as he's been rather influential, but on the other hand I don't care about it enough right now
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by plodder » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:28 pm

Chris Preston wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:52 am

Mocking people or their beliefs almost never convinces someone to change their views.

Mockery of ideas may have some use with people who may be toying with ideas, but are not yet convinced of them, but you need to provide real alternative evidence as well. Mockery is used far more often as tribal signalling.
These are really strong statements and it's easy to find examples which show that the reality is far more complex.

For example, Life of Brian skewered the pompous Christian orthodoxy which was really pervasive at the time, and this led to me growing up in the 80's assuming that the country would be atheist before too long. It's swung back, but huge numbers of people changed their opinions.

This po-faced "ridicule is ineffective we must all be logical to persuade the average human" rubbish is satire worthy in itself.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Allo V Psycho » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am


It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I have a notion that our social behaviours, including kindness and malice etc., are derived from our evolutionary history (that of hundreds of thousands of years ago) of surviving in small groups. That the moral standpoint for the positive aspects of human behaviour is basically derived from the Christian Church seems a bit implausible. I mean, the New Testament says some positive things, but there is also some really weird things, and some really mean things, in it too, and I just assumed that was all a reflection of our complex natures, existing long before any churches at all.

I don't credit or blame any religion for humans being loving, savage, honest, dishonest, generous or greedy, but I do think the nature of the religion can impact on the details of expression of these traits. What is it with the Judeo-Christian religions and sex, for instance? And the nature of the hypocrisy of religions is made particularly clear precisely because they themselves lay claim to a higher standard of behaviour, laid it in their own texts. 'Hypocritical' Christian is something I can readily conceptualise, but I don't really know what 'hypocritical atheist' would represent.

Spoiler:

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:39 pm

plodder wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:28 pm
Chris Preston wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:52 am

Mocking people or their beliefs almost never convinces someone to change their views.

Mockery of ideas may have some use with people who may be toying with ideas, but are not yet convinced of them, but you need to provide real alternative evidence as well. Mockery is used far more often as tribal signalling.
These are really strong statements and it's easy to find examples which show that the reality is far more complex.

For example, Life of Brian skewered the pompous Christian orthodoxy which was really pervasive at the time, and this led to me growing up in the 80's assuming that the country would be atheist before too long. It's swung back, but huge numbers of people changed their opinions.

This po-faced "ridicule is ineffective we must all be logical to persuade the average human" rubbish is satire worthy in itself.
Ridicule (or in its more grown-up form, satire) doesn't work on its own. It may undermine some people's beliefs, whether religious, political or other and create a climate of increased questioning but it needs to be backed up with reason and understanding. The political satire of the 50 and 60s was seen as shocking in some quarters because how dare they, even though there had been politically satirical cartoons for a couple of hundred years by then. Perhaps the cartoons were considered less threatening in a time when most people couldn't read or couldn't afford newspapers whereas satire in live performances and on TV/radio were more accessible to the masses.

As Jonathan Swift said in 1721: Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:39 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:20 pm
And yes, why were the righteous in Hell before Jesus came along?
I mean, there's quite a lot of wrongness just in the question, to be honest, not least the lack of a fixed definition of hell even in Jesus' time.
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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Tessa K » Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:41 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am


It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I have a notion that our social behaviours, including kindness and malice etc., are derived from our evolutionary history (that of hundreds of thousands of years ago) of surviving in small groups. That the moral standpoint for the positive aspects of human behaviour is basically derived from the Christian Church seems a bit implausible. I mean, the New Testament says some positive things, but there is also some really weird things, and some really mean things, in it too, and I just assumed that was all a reflection of our complex natures, existing long before any churches at all.

I don't credit or blame any religion for humans being loving, savage, honest, dishonest, generous or greedy, but I do think the nature of the religion can impact on the details of expression of these traits. What is it with the Judeo-Christian religions and sex, for instance? And the nature of the hypocrisy of religions is made particularly clear precisely because they themselves lay claim to a higher standard of behaviour, laid it in their own texts. 'Hypocritical' Christian is something I can readily conceptualise, but I don't really know what 'hypocritical atheist' would represent.

Spoiler:
I've long argued that social animals all have codes of behaviour that make group living possible but this doesn't cut much mustard with believers.

As to hypocritical atheist - I agree. But 'hypocritical humanist' yes indeed. Viz Dawkins.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:05 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am


It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I have a notion that our social behaviours, including kindness and malice etc., are derived from our evolutionary history (that of hundreds of thousands of years ago) of surviving in small groups. That the moral standpoint for the positive aspects of human behaviour is basically derived from the Christian Church seems a bit implausible. I mean, the New Testament says some positive things, but there is also some really weird things, and some really mean things, in it too, and I just assumed that was all a reflection of our complex natures, existing long before any churches at all.

I don't credit or blame any religion for humans being loving, savage, honest, dishonest, generous or greedy, but I do think the nature of the religion can impact on the details of expression of these traits. What is it with the Judeo-Christian religions and sex, for instance? And the nature of the hypocrisy of religions is made particularly clear precisely because they themselves lay claim to a higher standard of behaviour, laid it in their own texts. 'Hypocritical' Christian is something I can readily conceptualise, but I don't really know what 'hypocritical atheist' would represent.

Spoiler:
A counter argument is that members of Western societies, and especially people in the US (and UK) are profoundly psychologically different from the rest of humanity. However, in their blinkered fashion they assume that their weirdness is the natural state of all people.

I haven't read the book but Joseph Henrich argues that this is due to the influence of the Christian church.

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Re: Mocking religion

Post by warumich » Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:08 pm

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:38 pm
secret squirrel wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:46 am


It's interesting how people criticize the Christian church as being intrinsically evil on the basis of a moral standpoint that the Christian church basically invented in the West. Obviously the Church and individual Christians have historically often fallen pretty far short of their lofty ideals, but they are their ideals, and were originally revolutionary.
I have a notion that our social behaviours, including kindness and malice etc., are derived from our evolutionary history (that of hundreds of thousands of years ago) of surviving in small groups. That the moral standpoint for the positive aspects of human behaviour is basically derived from the Christian Church seems a bit implausible. I mean, the New Testament says some positive things, but there is also some really weird things, and some really mean things, in it too, and I just assumed that was all a reflection of our complex natures, existing long before any churches at all.

I don't credit or blame any religion for humans being loving, savage, honest, dishonest, generous or greedy, but I do think the nature of the religion can impact on the details of expression of these traits. What is it with the Judeo-Christian religions and sex, for instance? And the nature of the hypocrisy of religions is made particularly clear precisely because they themselves lay claim to a higher standard of behaviour, laid it in their own texts. 'Hypocritical' Christian is something I can readily conceptualise, but I don't really know what 'hypocritical atheist' would represent.

Spoiler:
At the same time the moral and ethical codes of pre-christian European societies were really weird by our standards, and as has been pointed out, we're so accustomed to our current moral code that it's difficult to fully appreciate this. I think evolutionary history is a bit of a dead end as a justification, though not my special area. But killing off your children when that means you can survive to breed many more in the future is perfectly adaptive behaviour, and I'm sure many animal species do that. Hacking the neighbouring small group to pieces and carrying off their women for forced labour and marriage is also perfectly adaptive behaviour.
I've never had a signature, and it never did me any harm

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