Author Topic: Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)  (Read 11495 times)

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Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2008, 09:07:55 AM »
Quote from: "Apeiron"
To me religion must be supernatural in order to be religion. To me Christians must believe in Jesus' death and its importance in order to be Christians.


There are a lot of Christians who think that, but there are a lot of Christians who believe a lot of crazy things that I know you reject.  Why do you chose to believe them on some things and not on others?

Quote from: "Apeiron"
I think the two of us will always disagree on these definitions. To me religion must be supernatural in order to be religion. To me Christians must believe in Jesus' death and its importance in order to be Christians.

Oh well  :P


Yeah, it really is a semantic argument.  I agree with pretty much everything Dawkins says in principle, but I think he's using the wrong words.

As someone who has been both culturally Christian and scientifically skeptical for as long as I can remember, I have a hard time with people who don't think the two are incompatible...

which is pretty much everyone...

my life is so miserable. :cry:

Offline TurboCramb

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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 09:32:40 AM »
Quote from: "Febo"

I'm not really in favor of "organized" religion; nor do think that believe in anything supernatural should go unchallenged.  I just think that Dawkins is completely misunderstanding or intentionally misrepresenting the potential grandeur of the human experience when he makes argues that the religious views of men like Einstein and Spinoza are ok, so therefore they are not really religious.  It's kind of like if a creationist said, "When I talk about scientists, I don't mean the people who actually understand the scientific method, I only mean people with whom I disagree!"

However, I am still only a few chapters along, so my thoughts may change...


What does religion have to do with the grandeur of the human experience?

I honestly don't care if you enjoy cultural christianity, I see it as the same thing as people who enjoy civil war reenactment.  But what I don't like is when you seem to make these vague references to religion having some inherent value.

I think Dawkins makes a correct argument (although yes, a semantic one) that the opinions of Einstein and Spinoza are not religious.  What is their religious content?  They use god as a metaphor.  The only way it is even "pantheistic" in any sense is that they use the word "god".  Their definition of "god" is so far removed from the common conception of a powerful, supernatural, conscious entity that I think the argument is correct that it would be a mistake to call their opinions religious.  That's where the semantics comes in.
There is no god, and Richard Dawkins is her prophet.

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Offline Apeiron

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Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion (2006)
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 09:41:41 AM »
Quote
There are a lot of Christians who think that, but there are a lot of Christians who believe a lot of crazy things that I know you reject. Why do you chose to believe them on some things and not on others?


Jesus dying to redeem mankind is the central essence of Christianity. It is the definition of the religion's theology. All other things are debatable: for example the importance of belief versus good deeds, the question of whether it is your own choice to find salvation or whether the grace of God is needed, and even the questions of Jesus' divinity and the Trinity are debatable within Christianity.

Deny that Jesus' death redeems mankind of its sins though, and you're outside the religion.

It would be like calling yourself a Muslim without believing Mohammed was a prophet.

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2008, 09:42:15 AM »
Quote from: "TurboCramb"
What does religion have to do with the grandeur of the human experience?


What???  That's like asking what does the visual range of the electromagnetic spectrum have to do with color!

Quote from: "TurboCramb"
I think Dawkins makes a correct argument (although yes, a semantic one) that the opinions of Einstein and Spinoza are not religious.  What is their religious content?  They use god as a metaphor.


Yes, that is religion!  Using God as a Metaphor = Religion!!!

This is why it is a semantic argument.  I don't know if Dawkins does this (still only a few chapters in) but I've know many anti-religious types who define religion in such a way that only an idiot would except it, and then disparage people who disagree with that definition.

Instead a attacking strawman versions of vague concepts like "religion", why can't folks like Dawkins stick to discussing actual falsifiable claims?

You know, like they try to do on the SGU.

Offline TurboCramb

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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2008, 10:11:11 AM »
Quote from: "Febo"
Quote from: "TurboCramb"
What does religion have to do with the grandeur of the human experience?


What???  That's like asking what does the visual range of the electromagnetic spectrum have to do with color!


I'm honestly not following you here.  I really can't think of anything that would link religion to the grandeur of the human experience.  I'm perfectly willing to discuss it if you can give me an example or an idea of what that even means.

Quote from: "Febo"

Quote from: "TurboCramb"
I think Dawkins makes a correct argument (although yes, a semantic one) that the opinions of Einstein and Spinoza are not religious.  What is their religious content?  They use god as a metaphor.


Yes, that is religion!  Using God as a Metaphor = Religion!!!

This is why it is a semantic argument.  I don't know if Dawkins does this (still only a few chapters in) but I've know many anti-religious types who define religion in such a way that only an idiot would except it, and then disparage people who disagree with that definition.

Instead a attacking strawman versions of vague concepts like "religion", why can't folks like Dawkins stick to discussing actual falsifiable claims?

You know, like they try to do on the SGU.


Febo, I've never met a single person who holds to the type of religion that you do.  Do you really think that a significant number of people would define religion as "using god as a metaphor"?

Granted, that's anecdotal, but I'm sure you've seen the large scale surveys of religion in the US that show high levels of belief in what we both agree are things that only idiots would accept.  Like I have said before, I have no problem with your personal preference for christian religious culture.  I'm NOT attacking that.  I really have nothing against you, but I do get irritated sometimes when you blast people for ragging on religion by saying "well MY religion isn't like that".  Attacking mainstream religion isn't a straw man just there are some people who have a version of religion that isn't bad.  

If you want, I'll start adding a caveat every time I say religion "BTW, this doesn't apply to people like Febo."  I just think that it should be understood that when I am attacking the bad things that religion does, that I am not attacking religion that does not do bad things.
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Online Hanes

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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2008, 10:25:49 AM »
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that I am not attacking religion that does not do bad things.
I am, though maybe not Febo's version of religion since it may not require faith.

Feebs, in a survey would you put down that you believe in a supernatural deity?  I mean, assuming there's no "it's just a metaphor" option.

Offline TurboCramb

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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2008, 10:35:39 AM »
Quote from: "Hanes"
Quote
that I am not attacking religion that does not do bad things.
I am, though maybe not Febo's version of religion since it may not require faith.


Eh, I'm certainly very critical of religion, I'm pretty bitter about it after all those years of being decieved.  If everyone was like me, and didn't feel any need for the contemplation of anything "spiritual" (in the emotional/contemplative sense, not the supernatural sense) then I would absolutely argue that religion is totally worthless and should be voluntarily discarded.

But from my experience, there are plenty of people who for some reason enjoy having some type of "spiritual" discussion or experience or something.  I honestly don't understand it.  My wife is like this.  She doesn't believe in anything supernatural, but she still wants to have a feeling of the spiritual, in some sort of naturalistic-human experience type of way that I really don't get.  If that sort of person feels like getting together and contemplating on that feeling, then why should I care?  I don't know that you could call it religion in the sense that the word is used now, but if that's the way people like my wife and Febo want to use the word, then fine.

I just take offense when I am attacking the generally understood definition of religion, and people like Febo act like I am attacking their use of the word.  It's a totally different concept IMO.
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Online Hanes

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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2008, 10:57:25 AM »
I just have issue with faith, which is a large portion of religion (for most people).

Quote
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan's Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985]
ya, true that

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2008, 11:19:27 AM »
Quote from: "Hanes"
Feebs, in a survey would you put down that you believe in a supernatural deity?  I mean, assuming there's no "it's just a metaphor" option.


No, you may not put me down as believing in a supernatural deity; I don't believe in a supernatural deity.

However, my admittedly anecdotal experience is that most average, non-fundamentalist, church-going Christians who do let themselves get put down as believing in a supernatural deity in surveys do actually believe "it's just a metaphor".

Offline stonesean

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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2008, 11:32:19 AM »
Quote from: "Apeiron"
I think the two of us will always disagree on these definitions. To me religion must be supernatural in order to be religion. To me Christians must believe in Jesus' death and its importance in order to be Christians.

Oh well  :P


Aperion, I am reminded of the first religious discussion I had with my (at the time) girlfriend now, wife.

She identifies herself as a Catholic, (though she does not attend mass, go to confession, or even own a bible any more) and I asked her if she believes in transubstantiation and the infallibility of the Pope.

She, of course, said no.

So, I said, "Well, how can you call yourself Catholic then?"

The sparks flew.

I often think the self identification with religion is almost totally cultural in many peoples minds rather than an actual belief in the supernatural.
Well.  There it is.

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2008, 11:41:53 AM »
Quote from: "TurboCramb"
Eh, I'm certainly very critical of religion, I'm pretty bitter about it after all those years of being decieved.


Well, see, there's our problem.  My experience with religion -- Liberal Christianity in my case -- was positive, and never required me to believe in anything supernatural.    

Quote
I just take offense when I am attacking the generally understood definition of religion, and people like Febo act like I am attacking their use of the word.  It's a totally different concept IMO.


When it comes to thoughtful, rational, intelligent adults discussing "religion," the differences really are purely semantic.  What you call religion, I call one really offensive variety of religion that one I know takes seriously.

Offline TurboCramb

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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2008, 11:55:16 AM »
Quote from: "Febo"

Well, see, there's our problem.  My experience with religion -- Liberal Christianity in my case -- was positive, and never required me to believe in anything supernatural.


That's fine.  That's why I don't challenge your opinion on this.  You like it, that's your personal preference.

Quote from: "Febo"

Quote from: "TurboCramb"
I just take offense when I am attacking the generally understood definition of religion, and people like Febo act like I am attacking their use of the word.  It's a totally different concept IMO.


When it comes to thoughtful, rational, intelligent adults discussing "religion," the differences really are purely semantic.  What you call religion, I call one really offensive variety of religion that one I know takes seriously.


It's one variety, but that variety of religion just happens to be vastly larger than your variety as well as being what most people are usually referring to when they use the word "religion."  It's semantics, yes.  The only reason we don't make the distinction between liberal religion which has nothing to do with mainstream religion is because it's a pain to make a caveat every time you use a word.

It's okay though, I'll include a caveat just for you every time I talk about religion.
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Online Hanes

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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2008, 03:08:09 PM »
What is a religion where everyone thinks it's just a metaphor like?  I mean, is there still mass?  Receiving the eucharist?  Confession?  Are sermons all "we should be good people because otherwise we'll go to hell *wink*?"

I'm having a hard time picturing this.

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2008, 03:38:00 PM »
Quote from: "stonesean"
I often think the self identification with religion is almost totally cultural in many peoples minds rather than an actual belief in the supernatural.


Abso-fraggin-lutely, and there's nothing wrong with that!

One of my favorite movie quotes:
Quote
"Just because I stopped believing in God doesn't mean I'm going to stop being a good Catholic!"

Anyone?

Offline Kwisatz Haderach

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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2008, 03:41:27 PM »
Quote from: "Hanes"
What is a religion where everyone thinks it's just a metaphor like?  I mean, is there still mass?  Receiving the eucharist?  Confession?  Are sermons all "we should be good people because otherwise we'll go to hell *wink*?"

I'm having a hard time picturing this.



Yes, there still are all those things.  Except replace the *wink* with a metaphorical interpretation myths being celebrated.

 

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