Re: Debunk All Religiosity Equally (D.A.R.E.) ---> inloading

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jul 08 2001 - 17:55:09 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> "J. R. Molloy" wrote:
> > Sin and spirituality are words which derive their
> > meaning from religiosity. Debunk religiosity, and
> > these terms become irrelevant linguistic artifacts
> > on a par with archaic mythology.
> 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.)

What for? Why should they be replaced unless there is
a tacit assumption that religiosity (is this a word and what
precisely is its meaning?) is utterly false. I do not
grant this assumption. I do consider the concept of 'sin'
as do many religious traditions.

> The second claim is that traditional religious beliefs
> are false, and therefore need to be debunked. Few on
> this list with argue with that.

What exactly is meant? The statement is too broad.
> Samantha retorts
> > You are entitled to your opinions of course but do not be
> > confused that they are any more than that. "Sin" is a concept
> > of some (not all) religions and actually has a more general
> > meaning of having broken one or more moral maxims (of whatever
> > source).
> 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 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.

Then why throw this one out? Pandering? Do you not see that we
"pander" here all the time to opposite beliefs? I personally
have no use for the concept of 'sin' as it implies guilt and
having angered God and all the rest. I don't think religious
stuff actually operates that way. But spirituality and religion
is far broader than such a word that some sects put a lot of
meaning in and others don't.
> > Spirituality has many levels of meaning and mostly seems
> > more fundamental than religions. Of course you are welcome
> > to substitute religiosity if you wish and to make it mean
> > whatever you need it to mean to thoroughly disapprove of it.
> I'm not sure what this means, except possibly to allege that
> J.R. wants to thoroughly disapprove of something. Yes, it
> is for sure true that spirituality has many levels of meaning.

The meaning is pretty obvious. You got it in one.

> 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 am neiter an atheist (although I don't believe in a God
remotely like many theists do) or a materialist (in the
dictionary meaning of the word) so I can't help you. But why
the tacit assumption that only atheists and materialists need be
consulted to understand if spirituality has value? One of the
most profoundly spiritual people I know is utterly atheistic.
Original Buddhism is atheistic.
> > Is it a retreat if one finds oneself to be honestly spiritual
> > and/or religious without for a moment letting go of science
> > and its achievements?
> 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.
> 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.
> 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

There was no such implication. I was rather asserting that it
is quite possible to understand and fully hold science in high
accord and utterly capable of explaining all material phenomenon
and still be spiritual and religious without that being a matter
of intellectual dishonesty as was initially implied.

I do not think atheists or materialists are impoverished. After
all I spent more than a little time in that position myself. I
fully understand it. It is not my home, not where I find my
life most rich and fulfilling, but I certainly don't denigrate
that position at all.
Far from it. As a minister friend once said in a sermon (and
woke a lot of people up) "For most people and the way they hold
their beliefs, becoming an atheist is a huge improvement!" The
point was not that atheism is so terrible or not-as-good but
that atheism requires a deep examination, honesty, integrity and
caring that many non-atheists do not exhibit.

> 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.
> 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.
> 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?

Of course there just aren't enough genes to cover such bogus

- samantha

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