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

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Jul 09 2001 - 02:53:40 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:
> Samantha writes
> > > 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.
> >
> > 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.
> Like I say, because they mean so many things to so many
> different people; communication is impeded.

But the terms also deal with things that science does not deal
with like value systems. What will you do with those? If you
divide out the things you can dispose of and leave the things
you can't you aren't dealing quite with what spirituality and
religion deals with. The conversation gets caught in strawman

> > > 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.
> I meant belief in gods and spirits (of a more literal
> bent). (Sure, when used metaphorically, like "there
> was a spirit of happiness at Extro-5", no claim of
> the existence of any kind of literal spirit is implied,
> but many traditional religions do believe in spirits.)

I believe there exist intelligences in this universe greater
than our own and that some of them are quite concerned with what
happens here. No, I can't prove it but it is what I believe. I
also believe there is more to reality than what science accounts
for and is capable of accounting for. Value questions is one of
the simplest ones to get a handle on. At bottom level we don't
even know just how "material" the universe materialism deals
with actually is. I take the notion that mind is only an
epiphenomenon or outgrowth of certain arrangements of matter to
be a theory that is strongly suggestive but not a proven fact

Beyond that I believe that the concept of God and the dynamics
of religions at their best can empower groups of people to build
and make real a unifying vision that I don't know how to acheive
> > Then why throw this one out? Pandering? Do you not
> > see that we "pander" here all the time to opposite beliefs?
> Um, no. Can you describe what we do to opposing beliefs
> here all the time? ("Pander" literally means to gratify
> someone's weakness or vulgar tastes. I meant to make an
> appearance of agreeing with something we really think to
> be wrong---I'm not sure; I may have used the word incorrectly.)

If that is what you mean then the first use wasn't consistent.
So ok.

> > > 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?
> Sorry---I thought that you were an atheist and a materialist.
> Perhaps even those words are now suspect. Still, despite all
> the foregoing discussion, you haven't indicated what you mean
> by "spirituality" or "religiosity". Now I *am not* asking for
> strict definitions---well have I known since a small child the
> futility of that---I merely would like a couple of examples of
> how you might use some phrases (instead of those words) to get
> the idea across.

I don't like the word "religiosity". That one came from someone
else. It seems to have some denigration built into it. I will
eventually share some of the actuality of what I do with
in my life if you wish. But it is not easy as there has long
been a tension inside of me between various parts of my
spirituality and
science and scientific or perhaps scientistic worldview. To be
honest I am afraid of being shunned from conversations I care
about by people I respect and care about where my views and
practices are too much at odds with what some may believe is
reasonable and respectable. It doesn't feel very safe.

> > 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.
> Neat. But I still have very little sense at all of what
> you're trying to convey when "spirituality" or "religiousity"
> pops up in your sentences.

I am not very sure I wish to try to convey much of what it is to
me here. Partially because my own attempting to find a balance
that fits is a delicate process. Partially because I don't feel
this is a very safe environment for simply sharing much of what
I deal with outside of more common mutual grounds of
interaction. I will have to consider how much I want to say at
this time and get back to you.

Also, there is the matter of the generality of spirituality vs
the specifics of my spirituality. I don't want the generality
of the question and the issues to be lost in the specifics
directly relevant to me.

- samantha

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