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The essence of religion


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Old 16-03-2006, 16:01   #1
freddie freddie is offline
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The essence of religion

I read an interesting article about religion and faith in general in a highly-published Slovene newspaper and one part caught my eye. Let me try and summon up:

During the Seventh Crusade, led by St. Louis, Yves le Breton reported how he once encountered an old woman who wandered down the street with a dish full of fire in her right hand and a bowl full of water in her left hand. Asked why she carried the two bowls, she answered that with the fire she would burn up Paradise until nothing remained of it, and with the water she would put out the fires of Hell until nothing remained of them: "Because I want no one to do good in order to receive the reward of Paradise, or from fear of Hell; but solely out of love for God." Fundamentalists do what they perceive as good deeds in order to fulfill God's will and to earn salvation; atheists do them simply because it is the right thing to do. Is this also not our most elementary experience of morality? When I do a good deed, I do so not with an eye toward gaining God's favor; I do it because if I did not, I could not look at myself in the mirror. A moral deed is by definition its own reward. David Hume, a believer, made this point in a very poignant way, when he wrote that the only way to show true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God's existence.

See the irony behind this? The most fundamental radical believers are no believers at all. They see religion as something they could eventually profit of (in the afterlife), where an atheist who does good deeds is actually a person of highest moral stature and integrity. He does good because it's the right thing to do not because of a promise of an orgy in paradise.
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freddie | TatySite.net t.E.A.m. [ multyman@hotmail.com ]

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Last edited by freddie; 16-03-2006 at 20:00.
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Old 16-03-2006, 18:11   #2
QueenBee QueenBee is offline
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That's extremely interesting, I never thought of it that way.

I think it might just be in our nature to be selfish. I do think, and *know* that some of those who believe in god have great love for him and not just the aftermath, but the question is where that love stems from (is that even a correct sentance? Anyways...).

I understand how this could be if you were raised a certain religion, maybe in a very religious enviornment. But I wonder what people who later in life found a certain religion (where there is a higher power) think of this.

I know, I suck at explaining things.

All in all, man often does something only if it brings him something aswell, a prize in the form of comfort maybe (the thought of going to heaven after life gives you security) or simply material things. But then again, if you look at it that way, then all we do is selfish. Even if we help somebody cross the street and don't get anything back, we often feel good about ourselves for doing a good deed (=pride).

Although I must say most people who believe in god probably don't think "If I help this lady out, I will go to heaven", maybe it lies within them subconsiously but mostly I do believe they are just helping out a human being (or animal, or whatever).
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Old 16-03-2006, 19:08   #3
Khartoun2004 Khartoun2004 is offline
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Thank you for the summary Freddie. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately. Zen teaches people to get enlightment and then save all beings from suffering. When a person becomes enlightened, they can't enter Niravana until all sentient beings (yes even the insects and most vile of human beings) attain enlightment.

Anyway I'm at work so I'll elborate when I get home later tonight.
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Old 16-03-2006, 21:04   #4
KillaQueen KillaQueen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenBee
All in all, man often does something only if it brings him something aswell, a prize in the form of comfort maybe (the thought of going to heaven after life gives you security) or simply material things. But then again, if you look at it that way, then all we do is selfish. Even if we help somebody cross the street and don't get anything back, we often feel good about ourselves for doing a good deed (=pride).
very well put, sistah. i think absolutely the same and couldn't have said it better myself.
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Old 17-03-2006, 21:41   #5
freddie freddie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenBee
I think it might just be in our nature to be selfish. I do think, and *know* that some of those who believe in god have great love for him and not just the aftermath, but the question is where that love stems from (is that even a correct sentance? Anyways...).
Undoubtedly there are people like that as well. But as a general rule I'd say people don't "do" religion for their great love of God but rather a great love for themselves and their well-being. A great thinker once said: temples are not being built for people worshiping God. Temples are being built for people worshiping themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenBee
All in all, man often does something only if it brings him something aswell, a prize in the form of comfort maybe (the thought of going to heaven after life gives you security) or simply material things. But then again, if you look at it that way, then all we do is selfish. Even if we help somebody cross the street and don't get anything back, we often feel good about ourselves for doing a good deed (=pride).
That's an interesting point. I think of it like this: bad people, who'd have no moral fiber or selflessnes in them would be completely unfamiliar with the whole concept of "feeling good after doing a good deed".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khartoun2004
Thank you for the summary Freddie. I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately. Zen teaches people to get enlightment and then save all beings from suffering. When a person becomes enlightened, they can't enter Niravana until all sentient beings (yes even the insects and most vile of human beings) attain enlightment.
Eventhough I have other ideological issues with Buddhism, I consider the fact it fights for selfless enlightment of everything it's greatest virtue.
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freddie | TatySite.net t.E.A.m. [ multyman@hotmail.com ]

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
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Old 17-03-2006, 21:59   #6
QueenBee QueenBee is offline
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Quote:
I think of it like this: bad people, who'd have no moral fiber or selflessnes in them would be completely unfamiliar with the whole concept of "feeling good after doing a good deed".
They have a name for those people, they're called psychopaths.

I have some more stuff to say on this, but will do that tomorrow instead because I am sort of too tired to be doing some deep thinking right now.
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Old 17-03-2006, 22:19   #7
forre forre is offline
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My score:
You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Religion belongs to the past but as long it serves the the best of humanity, it's good. I'm not religious at all and I have my very clear reasons not to be.
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Old 17-03-2006, 22:54   #8
freddie freddie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenBee
They have a name for those people, they're called psychopaths.
No, no, no. There's another name for them as well. Politicians.

Quote:
Originally Posted by forre
My score:
You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Religion belongs to the past but as long it serves the the best of humanity, it's good. I'm not religious at all and I have my very clear reasons not to be.
So basically you're an agnostic.
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freddie | TatySite.net t.E.A.m. [ multyman@hotmail.com ]

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
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Old 17-03-2006, 23:00   #9
QueenBee QueenBee is offline
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I got the same score as forre, and also:

Cultural Creative 81%
Postmodernist 75%
Idealist 75%
Existentialist 69%
Materialist 56%
Romanticist 44%
Modernist 38%
Fundamentalist 31%

And I don't consider myself to be agnostic, I believe I am an atheist. I don't believe in god. I do think there is more to us than what we are on the outside, we have something more within us (not necessarily like a spirit who goes to heaven after life or anything, but in general something deeper) but I don't consider it to be god. I think we are more than we give ourselves credit for.
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Old 18-04-2006, 05:48   #10
lilacbeguile lilacbeguile is offline
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Where can you do that test thinguie???
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