Religion thread

Did God create man, or man create God?

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Post by Enigma » Tue Dec 12, 2006 2:42 am

I am also agnostic ( i was teetering/bordering on Atheism, but i have swung back of late after doing some more reading and cogitating )

As for Xmas, well i think its just a time when more people tend to be a little happier than usual which can be a good thing.

Remember KM, YOU can choose your friends! :-> :smt021
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Post by Knightmare » Tue Dec 12, 2006 5:25 pm

Remember KM, YOU can choose your friends! :-> :smt021
But, unfortunately, I can't choose who my family is....lol
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Post by susan » Wed Dec 13, 2006 12:01 am

No we can't choose our families. Our relatives are lumbered on us unfortunately.

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Post by Enigma » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:43 am

susan wrote:No we can't choose our families. Our relatives are lumbered on us unfortunately.
Yes.... sometimes i think about gene theory and you parents, grand parents and relatives etc and really wonder how much DNA etc has to do with the type of person we end up developing into.

For example, i like to think i am totally different to my parents but i wonder if i am more like my grand parents and if DNA is really shaping the kinds of people we are (personality etc).
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Post by Knightmare » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:54 am

Well......

I would have to say that DNA definitely does a lot toward making you who you are.

My Dad left when I was around 10, and even though he was never there after that, I turned out quite a bit like him.

I am FAR more bitter than he is though....lol
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Post by susan » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:32 pm

I think personal experiences, upbringing and cultural pressures go a lot to shaping the kind of people we are. I think genes can play a role but not nearly as much as some might think. I think it might be easier to overcome genetic conditioning than it is to overcome social conditioning, which can be very difficult to change.
I wonder if genes are really the ogres we often paint them to be. What about absent fathers, sadistic teachers, television, religion, comics, and all the other aspects about society that help to shape what and who we are?
I hated my father but he's dead now. So is my mother but I cried a whole lot more when she went.
That's my personal take on it anyway. :smt001

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Post by Enigma » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:20 am

Knightmare wrote:Well......

I would have to say that DNA definitely does a lot toward making you who you are.

My Dad left when I was around 10, and even though he was never there after that, I turned out quite a bit like him.

I am FAR more bitter than he is though....lol
KM, do you mean in terms of appearance or behavior??

I mean do you act and behave and have similar personality traits to your father? or.....
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Post by Knightmare » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:21 am

I look like him....sound like him...just about everything...lol

It made for some pretty rough relations with my mom.
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Post by Enigma » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:27 am

susan wrote:I think personal experiences, upbringing and cultural pressures go a lot to shaping the kind of people we are. I think genes can play a role but not nearly as much as some might think. I think it might be easier to overcome genetic conditioning than it is to overcome social conditioning, which can be very difficult to change.
I wonder if genes are really the ogres we often paint them to be. What about absent fathers, sadistic teachers, television, religion, comics, and all the other aspects about society that help to shape what and who we are?
I hated my father but he's dead now. So is my mother but I cried a whole lot more when she went.
That's my personal take on it anyway. :smt001
I would have to agree that being bombarded by stuff everyday whether from media, parents, teachers etc can definately have some bearing on the person that you turn out to be, but how much?

Humans live for such a short time span (say < 100 years) we dont get to spend that much time (if any) with great grand parents and grand parents etc to see if we are really very similar to a subset of their genes. That is, we would never know.

Why are some people very inquisitive or affectionate and others not? Can these traits be passed on?!

If you have ever read about sexual selection, you will know that even though you are male or female, you will have inherited a subset of both male AND female 'features' in your DNA which will be passed on.... but what about more salient features like emotional behavior like the above?
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Post by Knightmare » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:30 am

Enigma wrote:
susan wrote:I think personal experiences, upbringing and cultural pressures go a lot to shaping the kind of people we are. I think genes can play a role but not nearly as much as some might think. I think it might be easier to overcome genetic conditioning than it is to overcome social conditioning, which can be very difficult to change.
I wonder if genes are really the ogres we often paint them to be. What about absent fathers, sadistic teachers, television, religion, comics, and all the other aspects about society that help to shape what and who we are?
I hated my father but he's dead now. So is my mother but I cried a whole lot more when she went.
That's my personal take on it anyway. :smt001
I would have to agree that being bombarded by stuff everyday whether from media, parents, teachers etc can definately have some bearing on the person that you turn out to be, but how much?

Humans live for such a short time span (say < 100 years) we dont get to spend that much time (if any) with great grand parents and grand parents etc to see if we are really very similar to a subset of their genes. That is, we would never know.

Why are some people very inquisitive or affectionate and others not? Can these traits be passed on?!

If you have ever read about sexual selection, you will know that even though you are male or female, you will have inherited a subset of both male AND female 'features' in your DNA which will be passed on.... but what about more salient features like emotional behavior like the above?
Would that be something like " genetic memory " ?

I recall getting into that in the Myths thread on the Seti forums a while back.

Most people don't think it's likely. I happen to be of the opposite opinion. I think " instinct " in it's basic form is a kind of genetic memory.
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Post by Enigma » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:32 am

susan wrote:I think personal experiences, upbringing and cultural pressures go a lot to shaping the kind of people we are. I think genes can play a role but not nearly as much as some might think. I think it might be easier to overcome genetic conditioning than it is to overcome social conditioning, which can be very difficult to change.
I wonder if genes are really the ogres we often paint them to be. What about absent fathers, sadistic teachers, television, religion, comics, and all the other aspects about society that help to shape what and who we are?
I hated my father but he's dead now. So is my mother but I cried a whole lot more when she went.
That's my personal take on it anyway. :smt001
But Susan, would you say that hate or hate towards someone is a natural part of survival? I mean usually you hate people because they did something to you which jeopardised your survival or the survival of someone you care about.... overall this is a survival trait??

You are not "wired" to hate certain people.
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Post by Knightmare » Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:35 am

I would have to say that " hate " is a learned behaviour or feeling based on experiences.

I hated my father as well until about 2 years ago. I love my mom, but I don't like her all that much either.

I seem to be all fouled up....
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Post by susan » Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:46 am

Enigma wrote:
susan wrote:I think personal experiences, upbringing and cultural pressures go a lot to shaping the kind of people we are. I think genes can play a role but not nearly as much as some might think. I think it might be easier to overcome genetic conditioning than it is to overcome social conditioning, which can be very difficult to change.
I wonder if genes are really the ogres we often paint them to be. What about absent fathers, sadistic teachers, television, religion, comics, and all the other aspects about society that help to shape what and who we are?
I hated my father but he's dead now. So is my mother but I cried a whole lot more when she went.
That's my personal take on it anyway. :smt001
But Susan, would you say that hate or hate towards someone is a natural part of survival? I mean usually you hate people because they did something to you which jeopardised your survival or the survival of someone you care about.... overall this is a survival trait??
You are not "wired" to hate certain people.
I don't think that 'hate' is necessarily a survival mechanism. Aggression certainly is, but that is not the same as hate. Aggression seems to be in our genetic makeup but 'hate' is something we seem to learn - I agree with Knightmare on this - it may well be a learned behaviour.
In fact hatred may be detrimental so someone's survival. You may end up 'hating' the wrong person, someone who has the potential to destroy you, but only your aggression, i.e. the ability to defend yourself or to destroy the aggressor, guarantees your survival. Hate is a useless emotion at best. It plays no part in survival in my opnion, as it is a waste of energy. :smt004

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Post by Enigma » Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:06 pm

Hate doesn't equate to confrontation and or aggression. It can be a mechanism for influencing your behavior which may be avoidance....

Consider if we were 'wired' to not have hate and fear emotions?

Perhaps today it is less a consideration of survival although it still exists. Perhaps 100,000 years ago it may have been a lot different... have we changed that much in terms of basic emotions.
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Post by Enigma » Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:09 pm

Knightmare wrote: Would that be something like " genetic memory " ?

I recall getting into that in the Myths thread on the Seti forums a while back.

Most people don't think it's likely. I happen to be of the opposite opinion. I think " instinct " in it's basic form is a kind of genetic memory.
Well i mean if sexual selection appears to be controlled at a basic level by DNA, why cant other thought processes or behaviors?

The problem is that your ancestors are gone before you can correlate the possibility. We humans tend to think in shot terms anyway (20 years, 50 years) which is a fundamental problem IMO.
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Post by Knightmare » Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:08 pm

Enigma wrote:
Knightmare wrote: Would that be something like " genetic memory " ?

I recall getting into that in the Myths thread on the Seti forums a while back.

Most people don't think it's likely. I happen to be of the opposite opinion. I think " instinct " in it's basic form is a kind of genetic memory.
Well i mean if sexual selection appears to be controlled at a basic level by DNA, why cant other thought processes or behaviors?

The problem is that your ancestors are gone before you can correlate the possibility. We humans tend to think in shot terms anyway (20 years, 50 years) which is a fundamental problem IMO.
It is a fundamental problem. But with our lifespans being as ( relatively ) short as they are, it proves very difficult for us to think in terms longer than our lifespans.
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Post by susan » Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:52 pm

Enigma wrote:Hate doesn't equate to confrontation and or aggression. It can be a mechanism for influencing your behavior which may be avoidance....

Consider if we were 'wired' to not have hate and fear emotions?

Perhaps today it is less a consideration of survival although it still exists. Perhaps 100,000 years ago it may have been a lot different... have we changed that much in terms of basic emotions.
Yes, that's exactly my point. Hate is a useless emotion since it serves no real purpose. But aggression and fear can be useful since they can aid in survival, i.e. self defence, and the fight or flight instinct, but hate achieves nothing that I can think of as useful.
Love and morals on the other hand do. I believe our ancestors developed love, morals and empathy because the first aided in procreation and the second and third helped to bond the group and build teamwork in a hostile environment. Morality and empathy acted as survival mechanisms and so they were selected for: they were not given to us by some supernatural being or God.
But as far as I know, the emotion of hate serves no real purpose. So I am not sure where that has originated from.

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Post by Brian » Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:47 pm

To expand on this issue a bit, I think a "common threat" is what binds groups. This can be seen all the way back to the beginnings of man. Whether its a Sabre-Tooth Tiger , group of Neanderthals over the hill, Communist, or Al-Quiada. We will always have common enemies and leaders to exploit/makup enemies. If thee was nothing to threaten us how much of a society would we have. Would there be any religion to speak of if there was nothing to fear. Face it, we may still be living in those caves if we didn't have fear. I also think at some level fear breeds hatred. :smt017
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Post by Enigma » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:59 am

So you are suggesting that fear promotes development?

However the common thread to a religion is another religion though... kind of psychotic if you ask me!
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Post by Brian » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:18 pm

Actually, I think Fear of death is what promotes religion.
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Post by Dances with Werewolves » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:35 pm

Brian wrote:Actually, I think Fear of death is what promotes religion.
Fear of the unknown has always been a powerful motivator likewise an excuse to rationalization. imho

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Post by Enigma » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:04 am

Brian wrote:Actually, I think Fear of death is what promotes religion.
Combined with a hopeless situation (like poverty and disease) organised religion seems to prosper like a virus IMHO.
Belief gets in the way of learning.

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Post by Enigma » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:08 am

Brian wrote:To expand on this issue a bit, I think a "common threat" is what binds groups. This can be seen all the way back to the beginnings of man. Whether its a Sabre-Tooth Tiger , group of Neanderthals over the hill, Communist, or Al-Quiada. We will always have common enemies and leaders to exploit/makup enemies. If thee was nothing to threaten us how much of a society would we have. Would there be any religion to speak of if there was nothing to fear. Face it, we may still be living in those caves if we didn't have fear. I also think at some level fear breeds hatred. :smt017
IMO the most basic motivator is survival. Everything stems from this...... life at its most basic level is a replicator process (survival) but this concept can be scaled up to the behavior of organisims. IMO this mechanism promotes development and improvement.
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Post by Knightmare » Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:05 pm

Enigma wrote:
Brian wrote:Actually, I think Fear of death is what promotes religion.
Combined with a hopeless situation (like poverty and disease) organised religion seems to prosper like a virus IMHO.

Hmmm.,....how to say this.....

I think that the reason behind this is a basic need within people who are in very bad situations to have something to lean on or look forward to.

Look at it this way....

Let's say that Joe is a dirt poor man in the heart of America. He is very poor, barely able to earn enough of a living to feed and clothe his family. Shelter is a small shack. Things are just terrible for him and his family.

Now here comes a book that contains a lot of promises about how great the afterlife will be, if only he and his family believe in God.

Anything has to be better than what Joe is dealing with now, so he accepts what that book says, and starts believeing in God. Even if things don't get better for he and his family, there is still something to look forward to.

A lot of people speak about the evils of organized religion ( I happen to be one of them ), but Joe isn't a politician, nor is he ever going to be a powerful or wealthy man. If his belief in God helps him to feel not quite so miserable about his life, where is the harm??? Joe won't be going out and starting any wars over his beliefs. He just wants something better for his family. If that means that he goes with promises ( even if they turn out to be empty ones ) from a book, where is the problem if it turns out that he was wrong?? He really isn't going to notice if he WAS wrong, cuz he'll be dead and there won't be anything after that.
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Post by Dances with Werewolves » Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:58 pm

Enigma wrote:
Brian wrote:To expand on this issue a bit, I think a "common threat" is what binds groups. This can be seen all the way back to the beginnings of man. Whether its a Sabre-Tooth Tiger , group of Neanderthals over the hill, Communist, or Al-Quiada. We will always have common enemies and leaders to exploit/makup enemies. If thee was nothing to threaten us how much of a society would we have. Would there be any religion to speak of if there was nothing to fear. Face it, we may still be living in those caves if we didn't have fear. I also think at some level fear breeds hatred. :smt017
IMO the most basic motivator is survival. Everything stems from this...... life at its most basic level is a replicator process (survival) but this concept can be scaled up to the behavior of organisims. IMO this mechanism promotes development and improvement.
Ok, so this explains why I have an recurring desire to shag my neibors wife while at the same time cleaning out his fridge and religion is there to tell me why I shouldn't. Just an example mind you but the point is really a guide on how we should treat others. Religion goes beyond this by rationalizing the mistreatment of others for it's own sake. Most deities of record say if you are not like me then you are dead and organized religion adopts this philosophy to include their adaptations (doctrines), to the truth. If you are not like us you are dead both spiritually and physically and they ordain themselves to carry out the sentence. Hence excommunication, Jihad etc.

Edit:
As for personally making life more bearable I think it is in the interpretation of the teachings and it is a measurable fact that religious people have an aditional coping mechanism to get through the hard times. I think they cited prayer as the chief application of this coping mechanism. Now the question is whether the religion is what is generating the difficulty to begin with.
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Post by susan » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:05 am

I think religious belief in an afterlife is particularly useful for dying children.
If I had a dying child, I would be inclined to tell them there is a heaven to go to, even if I didn't believe it myself. I cannot see where it could possibly do any harm to a terminally ill child to tell them what could be a falsehood, since even if there is nothing after they die, how could they have any sense of being betrayed?
Sometimes though, things seem to be the other way round. Some children who have been near to death report having met dead relatives, or even 'God.'
Whether or not these visions are real, they do seem to provide some comfort for the child as well as for the relatives.
This is where I think religion can be really useful, in the case of terminally ill children.
But I am sure if does provide comfort for adults as well, at least on occasion.

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Post by Enigma » Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:16 am

DWW, maybe she's just really hot and that's a natural human male response. However your ability to control your desires will determine the end result LOL....

Of course control of ones desires is easier said than done....

Getting some great stuff in here folks, some really interesting ideas and feedback!!

Susan, i think you got an interesting point here. Too bad if the child gets there and there isn't a heaven but there is a form of conciousness. For us here on Earth we wouldn't know either way... so perhaps your point is valid.

One thing that i have pondered over the years, is that if the population keeps on growing and we all have souls, where are the soulds coming from (is this what keeps 'god' busy?) OR is there a finite number of souls spreadout across the cosmos and as we take a life form on a particular planet our soul is re-inserted into a new body (say reincarnation)...or.....!?!?!
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Post by Brian » Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:18 pm

I believe your thinking needs to be less linear. If there is an afterlife you would wonder if it wouldn't be too crowded with all the death that has happened over the ages. But, ponder this, maybe we should think dimensionally, one layer upon another. as I watch things like ghost hunters and such I have always wondered where are all the ghost. Surely the places they visit should be crawling with them all over the place, however it seems to be a rare occurrence. Maybe when in the afterlife you are present on a specific dimension according to you energy intensity..
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Post by Enigma » Sat Dec 23, 2006 2:04 am

Perhaps you are right. However if i were to consider where you go to be an alternate dimension....or universe, space is not a problem, aferall space is only a function of this physical universe (length, width, height...). If your soul doesn't have physical dimensions (we can't seem to measure it here and now and this may be why) then it would seem logical that where ever it goes also does not need physical dimensions (therefore space is not an issue).

My question is, where are the souls coming from and going to (if plugged into bodies). Cloning may give some more insight into this.... perhaps. But the ethical implications (cringe)

However your point is interesting. There is also the multiverse theory, whereby when you encounter a ghost, you are actually interacting with another parallel universe.
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Post by susan » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:29 am

Where do souls, if they exist, actually come from? That is an interesting question. The same problem has been picked up on a programme I watched a few days ago, 'The Trouble with Atheism,' (see above).
A certain Professor Schartz, who studies the fossil collection, discovered that certain characteristics within some species seemed to appear out of nowhere. He explained that this was not due to natural selection since selection cannot work on these novelties until they appear. The problem for science is that, although science can explain how these characterstics might evolve, it cannot explain where they come from in the first place.
Yet they exist and can be observed.
The same could be true of souls, assuming they exist. We can't know where they originate from, yet they might exist. Some people say they have seen these 'souls' or 'spirits.' I can relate a very interesting 'true' story from my brother, although that belongs on another thread.
I had to believe him, because he is a very rational and down-to-earth person who questions everything. He is not religious either. My brother is one of life's sceptics, yet he appeared to have had a remarkable experience whilst staying at a hotel.

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Post by Brian » Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:08 pm

"Where do souls, if they exist, actually come from? That is an interesting question. The same problem has been picked up on a programme I watched a few days ago, 'The Trouble with Atheism,' (see above).
A certain Professor Schartz, who studies the fossil collection, discovered that certain characteristics within some species seemed to appear out of nowhere. He explained that this was not due to natural selection since selection cannot work on these novelties until they appear. The problem for science is that, although science can explain how these characterstics might evolve, it cannot explain where they come from in the first place.
Yet they exist and can be observed."

And we are back to where we have started, sort of.... "Alien Visitation" :smt023
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Brian
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Post by Brian » Sat Feb 10, 2007 9:53 am

Well, its been awhile since anyone has visited this thread. So, its final then. We have decided God is not real? Cool by me. Shall we inform the hypocrisy, I mean churches. :smt004 :smt038
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Knightmare
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Post by Knightmare » Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:18 pm

I'm not sure they are going to take it well...lmao
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Brian
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Post by Brian » Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:08 pm

Ah, they will just pray to thier god, feel better and move on. NP
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Post by Thorin » Sun May 20, 2007 4:13 pm

I must admit, that I do believe in God. But I grew up as an atheist and became a Christian later, in my mid-twenties -- so I understand both points of view. Though sometimes I think that atheists seem to be much more missionaries than Christians or other believers :smt017
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