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Getting Religion

Nontheists understand that religion is wrong. We discuss religions, rant about them, and fight them. Do we understand them? The goal of here is to learn about religions, how they developed, what they beleive, what makes them tick.

Location: Global
Members: 53
Latest Activity: Mar 15

"Getting Religion" means understanding religions.

 

File:Stonehenge Closeup.jpg

Like the air we breathe, religion is everywhere.  As far back as we have studied, probably to paleolithic times and our Neanderthal relatives, religion is part of the human consciousness, government, family, medicine, and human understanding of nature.

 

Religion dominates politics and governments in most the world in our time and all times in the past.  Many of our families and workplaces and towns are saturated with religion.  The better we understand religion, the better we know our world.

 

Discussions.

Intro to "Getting Religion" - what the group is about.

Paleolithic origins of religion.

Religion in the Neolithic Age.

Hell.

Zoroastrianism.

 

Here is a link that summarizes the 43 biggest religious or religious belief systems, in the world today.  This is the "Big Religion Chart".

 

To me, religions are like science fiction.  I like the worlds of Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek, and X-Files, and I like reading about Zoroastrianism, Aztec cosmology, and Catholic papal  intrigues.

-Sentient Biped 5/29/2013

-www-

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Comment by Daniel W on September 13, 2010 at 10:12pm
Diana, thank you for linking to your blog post. I would not mind at all if you double posted that to here as well. Blog posts usually tend to get buried and forgotten, while discussion group posts and forum posts seem to last longer.

Jo, that's a great description for a type of bias. I bet there's a latin name for it but I don't know it. For us to be true skeptics, we always have to watch for our sources of bias, which it sound like you are doing very well.
Comment by Jo Jerome on September 12, 2010 at 5:46pm
Daniel - Also, the hotter, bigger, more emotional the topic (like religion), the harder it is for any of us to be bias. I see a FB post about the latest stupid thing Sarah Palin said and I too am instantly inclined to believe it. But, I try and force myself to follow the story, source it, verify it through a couple of independent sources, and if I can't, I won't repeat it and will treat it with skepticism.

Similarly, the view on religion that a book is promoting, even if it's the most conventional wisdom out there; I look not just to the message but how that message is being delivered. If someone is using bullying tactics, appeal to authority, and other red flags often used by snake oil salesmen, I don't care if you're trying to convince me that a baseball is spherical; your tactics alone are an alarm that something might not be right here.

Plus, as a budding anthropologist, I am a huge fan of scientific theories with open doors and an even bigger fan of peeking behind the lesser-used doors to see if we haven't missed something.
Comment by Diana Agorio on September 12, 2010 at 2:32pm
My recent blog post is perfect for this group; but, I didn't see an easy way to link it. It describes Noah's flood as a star story: http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/travel-the-stars-with-noah
Comment by Daniel W on September 11, 2010 at 7:23pm
Jo Jerome,
You make sense. That bias that comes from "This agrees with my preconceptions" or even "this supports and extends my preconceptions" is not helpful for anyone. We claim to be skeptics, we should be. Of course, we are only human. To use a nonreligious (mostly) example, if I see a story about how incredibly stupid Sarah Palin is, I'm much more likely to beleive and even celebrate that story. If I see a story that details her incredible skill as a politician and evil genius, Macchiavelian manipulation of the masses and media to her own financial and political gain, I'm more likely to disagree. That's even if the objective evidence is the same. But one of those storys is correct, the other is not, and if we go down the wrong path, de to our bias, then we are only hurting ourselves. (Or is she a stupid vacuous evil genius? life is complicated)
Comment by Jo Jerome on September 11, 2010 at 12:25pm
Let us know what you think of the book Daniel! I'm becoming increasingly interested not just in historicity/origins of Christianity, but the methodologies used to do that research.

On the one side is the Jesus apologetics who depend on biblical inerrancy, presumably because it makes their jobs easier? Then those on the other end of the extreme who come up with the very plausible stories of plagiarism from other religions, but like the Jesus apologetics, I hear a lot about how "This is our truth" without a whole lot of background about how one arrived at that truth.

Other than the implication that it's the easiest hypothesis to work with and/or fits with one's personal preference.
Comment by Daniel W on September 5, 2010 at 10:52pm
Diana's book came in the mail last week - now to actually read it! So much to learn!
Comment by Daniel W on May 4, 2010 at 2:11pm
Mahatma Gandhi
A friendly study of the world's religions is a sacred duty.
Comment by Jo Jerome on April 18, 2010 at 10:50am
The great Daniel has spoken!

Sorry - couldn't resist!
Comment by Daniel W on April 15, 2010 at 6:30pm
I have not been active here lately. That should change now, with new posting to follow.
Comment by Daniel W on February 21, 2010 at 10:22am
Newsweek published an article regarding why it's important for students at Harvard to study religion, even as a secular institution.

I'm not enthusiastic about Ivy League elitism, or academic insularity in general, and I can quibble with some of the author's phrasing, but overall it was relevant to this discussion group. The author is Lisa Miller, Newsweek's religion editor. I don't know what her religious or nonreligious bias may be - she seems to be pretty scrupulous about avoiding disclosure of her own beleif or not, in her biographical statement.
 

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