Lee Corbin wrote,
> Two claims are implicit here; one is that whatever
> these terms refer to, they ought to be replaced by
> terms that do not derive from traditional religious
> beliefs. I find this very persuasive for a variety
> of reasons, chief among them that it would prevent
> simple miscommunication. (I am opposed to the camp
> that says that we can "heal" rifts between science
> and religion---or any other substantive struggles---
> by being mealy-mouthed in an effort to deceive or
> to mollify.)
In further support of your cogent comments, let me add that we need to
_resolve_ the differences between science and religion. By that I mean we need
to come to final resolution as to what is accurate and correct versus what is
inaccurate and incorrect with regard to the differences between the two. I
feel that resolution rather than reconciliation will defuse the conflict, and
I feel that way because I have no doubt which side will prevail if honesty and
pancritical rationalism are judiciously applied.
> The second claim is that traditional religious beliefs
> are false, and therefore need to be debunked. Few on
> this list with argue with that.
Yes, I like this list, and feel comfortable here, because of that. I also like
to inload as much of the convivial cachet of cognitive competence as I can
manage. Thanks to everyone who contributes.
> But we are not short of other words that more clearly describe
> the breaking of moral maxims, certainly not in English anyway.
> So one cannot help but suspect that people who wish to use the
> word "sin" in a serious way have something more on their plate.
I'll say they do! They aren't satisfied with pointing out that someone has
made a mistake. Oh, no! It has to be much worse than a mere mistake. For
sinning, you will burn in hell for all eternity! Now, I ask you, what kind of
sadistic rat bastard makes up crap like that to scare little children?
> I don't really know what it could be, unless, as I said before
> to pander to people with traditional religious beliefs. Please
> tell me what it is.
Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that requiring folks to believe idiotic
religious dogma gives the organized fanatics the upper hand. It immediately
tosses out reason and replaces it with obedience. Talk about robots! We
already have 'em. But they're not autonomous robots, they're robots enslaved
to religiosity and dependent on its authority.
> I'm not sure what this means, except possibly to allege that
> J.R. wants to thoroughly disapprove of something.
I'd say _disprove_, rather than "disapprove" in the case of religiosity.
Disproving it vindicates ignoring it, and/or deriding it.
> Yes, it
> is for sure true that spirituality has many levels of meaning.
> That's one of the reasons that the term is inherently confusing.
> Now among people whose beliefs are very similar, and so where
> little or no confusion is liable to occur, use of the term is
> quite warranted, of course. But here, where we would like to
> determine (I hope) just what substance lies behind use of the
> term, I for one want to understand what drives atheists and
> materialists to ever use it.
I've learned to recognize the use of this term as a way of soft-peddling the
real and underlying religious beliefs of people who want to insinuate their
views by way of proselytizing. Whenever I see this word, it sends up a red
flag to warn me that ulterior agendas and hidden motives are in the
> That sounds quite admirable, but contains a claim that is very
> close to an accusation. It firstly claims that there is some
> substance to being "honestly spiritual" or "honestly religious"
> even though accepting everything that we learn through science.
It may indicate something more devious. I used to work with a "Mormon" who
didn't actually believe the nonsense taught by that particular brand of
theistic demagogy, but he wanted others to think that he did, and more to the
point, he wanted others to believe in Mormonism! Imagine the advantage that
would give him if he could pull this off. It's a way of manipulating others so
that everyone is disarmed of their reason except for the manipulator, who
privately considers believers weak-minded.
> This still needs to be explicated. The hidden pronouncement is
> that atheists/materialists who denigrate religious beliefs (and
> hence, easily, "religiosity") are perhaps somewhat crippled
> morally, or at least lead impoverished lives of some description.
Or the hidden motive may be to make others _feel_ morally diminished.
> Now we total-atheists/materialists---who claim that "spirituality"
> and "religiousity" do not describe us well---should be treated
> as adults who are quite capable of owning up to actual shortcomings;
> but it is incumbent upon those who think that we are lacking
> something to be very explicit. If you're right, we can handle it.
I'd add that their position is that unbelievers should be dealt with more
severely, since, as the Conquistadors have demonstrated, unbelivers have no
"souls." This justifies their double standard and provides them with a
tribalistic bond, plus allowing them to exploit, rob, and murder unbelievers.
> Now I've argued with a very close friend for literally decades
> about this issue of religiousity. He claims, as several here
> have, to be spiritual. He is not as ready as J. R. Malloy or
> myself (or Robert Ingersoll) to speak up about the falseness
> of traditional religous beliefs. A number of famous people
> have claimed to be "religious", where I just cannot see the
> applicability of the term---so this is a familiar conundrum.
It's a favorite ploy of sociopaths to pretend religious belief.
Remember Rasputin? A pope in wolve's clothing.
> Okay, so this discussion has gone on ever since Darwin, at least,
> I suspect. Perhaps there is not only a gene for religiousity,
> but a separate gene that causes one to find the terms "religious"
> and "spiritual" appealing, and causes one to wish very strongly
> to apply them to oneself regardless of one's actual beliefs?
Sure, one can compare it to initiation into a club or tribe. Doesn't matter if
you truly believe in the silly mythology of the group, you learn it to become
a member in good standing. That might help to explain why scientific
associations are relatively loosely structured (compared to political
organizations and organized religions) and more akin to labor unions in their
> I'm being only half-serious, of course, but it indicates my
> desperation here to find out what is going on. My friend came
> to admit that he and I did not differ substantially in either
> our experiences or our beliefs. So after all that time, I still
> came away perplexed as to why atheists/materialists sometimes
> employ those terms to describe themselves. Perhaps one of the
> people who so do use the terms could think long and carefully
> and help us understand why.
That's a superb suggestion, and it carries a little catch-22. By confessing
the _reasons_ for describing themselves as "spiritual" (instead of as true
believers in religiosity) they'd unmask themselves, and guess what... they'd
effectively be admitting that it's just a ruse. So don't expect any takers.
Useless hypotheses, etc.:
consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, CYC, and ELIZA
Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
(Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)
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