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Old 04-11-2010, 11:20 PM   #122
Arcesious's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NE
Posts: 1,876
Current Game: Mass Effect
I have a response to two issues in this thread that I don't think were answered well enough/I want to rephrase in my own way.

First, the god of the gaps argument. This is a common argument, due to lack or understanding or lack of explanation. Just because we don't know everything doesn't mean we need an answer. Why must you have all of your questions answered? Is it better to say, 'god did it', or to say, 'I simply don't know.'? Religious belief is so subjective that saying 'god did it' is a very poor substitute for an answer.

Look for answers to life's questions. If you don't find a completely solid answer, oh well, big deal. You should settle with not knowing for sure, instead of letting the question nag at you so much that you must create a substitute for an answer. (Don't take this sentence the wrong way - a strong sense of doubt and imperative need for answers are good things.)

That's what I think religions are - substitute answers to life's questions and problems. But not good ones. An answer that lacks intellectual integrity. You have the ability to do so - go seek answers, evidence - rationally. Don't settle for anything less than 'I don't know' or 'I know because of facts A, B, and C'. Don't settle for quasi answers. (Directed at those with religious belief or deistic belief) No answer is better than a bad answer.

This leads right into the second thing I want to answer to further - the argument about how some people 'need' belief.

It all comes down to two options - either control your emotions or let them control you. Perhaps I can't understand the minds of those few people with mental disorders who end up clinging to a religious crutch. (Not a universal statement about all people with mental disorders.) I don't understand what its like to be a person like that. But as far as my understanding goes, logic-based thought solves everything. It's certainly resolved solidly every problem I've ever had for the better since I adopted the form of thought.(Though that claim on my part is ultimately irrelevant.)

I understand how scary it can be, the thought of what life would be like without religion. I experienced that fear myself. And I used to let it control me. I let that fear of doubting subject my critical thinking capabilities to confirmation bias and willful ignorance. For a time I tried to avoid thinking about what life would be like without religion. I thought myself a skeptic, but that wasn't true until I really let go of my fear and willful ignorance. (Again though, claims based on my own experiences are ultimately irrelevant. This paragraph is intended to be mostly emphatically persuasive, I admit. Please do not take offense to it.)

I can't put this any other way than to be blunt. If a person can't doubt their religion without their emotions turning them into a basket-case, then they're a coward. Truth benefits people more than willful ignorance.(IMO) I think it is entirely unethical to prevent a person, insane or not, from going outside of their comfort zone and seeking good answers instead of lousy answers.

There's a reason we have psychiatrists. In the short term, breaking out of one's emotional comfort zone if they are insane would be bad if that person wasn't closely supervised. In the long term, it would be better for that person's intellectual well-being.

But I don't think any of you are insane. At least you don't seem to be. You can break out of your comfort zone of thought - as you already have shown that you are doing (at least somewhat) by participating in this thread.

One last thing - try to debunk the arguments in your posts before posting them, and then debunk the arguments you make up to support your old arguments, and so on and so forth. You might find the results quite interesting. Deductive reasoning is a wonderful thing.

I feel I have restated some of the points made already in this thread by Skinwalker (Very interesting post about the Exodus, thanks for making it) and Achilles, but hopefully I've been original enough not to be a complete copy-cat. My posts are more directed at your process of thought, and thus very philosophical in content. I don't intend to make any empirical claims in this post, and please don't mistake it as an ad hominem argument. Take it with as little or as much salt as you like.

To summarize, I'll just say again something I just said: Deductive reasoning is a wonderful thing.

And that's my 2 cents.

Please feed the trolls. XD
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