the case against the religious and religion

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the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 5:55 pm

I have been against religions and the religious feeling in my life
and I shall now detail why it should be excluded in your life.

but a bit of personal history to tell you where I am coming from.....

my family was not religious, and we didn't go to church, I knew
at a fairly early age, by 4th grade, that I didn't believe in god...
but what was missing, was the why..... why believe or not believe in god?
Here as it is true in most of our lives, the why is very important aspect of life..
why is there existence, instead of non-existence... and the why have
believe in god, instead of why we shouldn't hold believe in god...

the yes and no questions of our lives.... why should we or why shouldn't we,
hold to some position of belief or to no belief?

my own search for god, began in high school and lasted for decades...
one of my favorite authors is NIkos Kazantzakis...who was described
as a "God intoxicated Man"..... I have engaged in some sort of search for
the divine and the religious most of my life....despite my own personal
bias against religion and being religious....

I shall make the argument against religions and the religious beliefs,
and I shall leave it to others to make the argument for the religious beliefs....

among the many arguments against the religious and religious beliefs lies
in the very nature of religious belief....in seeking the god almighty, we forget
and ignore the ground we walk upon... by focusing on god and heaven, we forget
that we still live on planet earth.. we are biological beings who have biological
needs and desires..... when we focus on god and heaven, we neglect that we are
of the body, for the body, by the body.....one might say, what about our soul?
I have often written about the need to better ourselves, to give concern to
our inner needs, but we cannot, cannot make our inner needs, our soul as it were,
to be the primary concern of human existence....and that shall be my first
argument against the religious.... the concern for the soul outweighs the
concern for our bodily needs, both physical, emotional and psychological...
we must hold equally for body and soul....

the religious temptation to the negation of body and the bodily desires,
leads to damaging both soul and body....the religious need to fast, to
engage in bodily negation, has no positive value...it turns the body into
the enemy which the body is not... the "soul" and the body are equal
partners in this existence....we cannot neglect either side of this
equation, we need the body as much as we need the soul....

we must engage with both parts, body and soul, with equal passion
and awareness of their respective needs.....

the religious focus too much on soul, and the secular focus too much
on body.... we need equal focus on both.....

to make point of existence, as the religious do, the primary goal of
existence to get into heaven, is to deny the body its due...
the religious wonder how many angels can dance on a pinhead,
and I ask, why does that matter? The real question is, what can
I do about the millions who suffer from scarcity of food, water, shelter,
the basics which is the right of all, ALL, living beings.
This focus on one's personal soul allow us to neglect or forget the
millions of our fellow human beings who are suffering....

Now one might say, I have no control over those millions who are
without the basics that most in the industrial west take for granted...
what can I do for them?

The problem has been your focus on making the worthless trinkets of
existence, making money, fame, seeking titles, getting material goods like
cars, TV sets, couches.....that focus on the material wealth we have is just
as bad is the focus on reaching heaven at all cost...

balance and moderation in our pursuits is the key to a worthwhile life....

a focus on the religious exclusively or on bodily needs exclusively, takes away from
our balance or the pursuit of moderation....

so this focus on the religious takes away from the balance we need in our
lives....the search for god must exist within the balance we create
in our lives....both bodily and our soul needs must be delt with in
moderation and balance....

the focus on either soul or body takes away from the moderation/
balance we must have to have a real engagement with what it
means to be human....and that real engagement requires
us to have both bodily needs and soul needs to be met equally...........

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby felix dakat » Thu Dec 23, 2021 6:19 pm

You speak in praise of moderation. Was Kropotkin a moderate?
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Thu Dec 23, 2021 6:57 pm

:-k If someone is for moderation, then why would he argue against the religious and religion?

The logical argument would be that they are good in the right proportion.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Bob » Thu Dec 23, 2021 7:28 pm

Peter Kropotkin wrote:I have been against religions and the religious feeling in my life
and I shall now detail why it should be excluded in your life.

but a bit of personal history to tell you where I am coming from.....

my family was not religious, and we didn't go to church, I knew
at a fairly early age, by 4th grade, that I didn't believe in god...
but what was missing, was the why..... why believe or not believe in god?
Here as it is true in most of our lives, the why is very important aspect of life..
why is there existence, instead of non-existence... and the why have
believe in god, instead of why we shouldn't hold believe in god...

the yes and no questions of our lives.... why should we or why shouldn't we,
hold to some position of belief or to no belief?

I had a similar beginning, and I didn’t know anything about God in my 4th grade, nor in my last. I was sent to Sunday school and so on, but that was more about belonging to a social organisation and listening to stories. The question of why didn’t even enter my mind, although, being an outdoors child, I was curious about life in its many appearances, as well as about people around me, who in England of the 1960s-1970s, always seemed to be getting drunk. I tended to shy away, but you can never escape all the time.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:my own search for god, began in high school and lasted for decades...
one of my favorite authors is NIkos Kazantzakis...who was described
as a "God intoxicated Man"..... I have engaged in some sort of search for
the divine and the religious most of my life....despite my own personal
bias against religion and being religious....

Not much detail here considering your search “lasted for decades”. Reading up on Nikos Kazantzakis, I came across this:
As a writer and philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis struggled all his life with existential questions, once spending several months in a monastery in an attempt to attain a closer relationship with God. His relentless quest to understand the nature of life through travel, extensive reading, and constant conversation with a diverse array of compatriots ultimately led Kazantzakis to compose this book of "spiritual exercises" meant to help the reader achieve harmony between the countervailing human impulses toward an immortality-seeking asceticism and toward a more nihilistic and materialist view of death. As with all Kazantzakis’s philosophical works, The Saviors of God sheds light on a mind uniquely suited to a nuanced examination of what it means to be human, and establishes a hopeful vision for a dazzlingly syncretic approach to spiritual life.

Having authored Zorba the Greek (1946), Christ Recrucified (1948), Captain Michalis (1950), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1955), he also spent a lot of time searching and writing. Did you read him in Greek?

“Modern scholarship tends to dismiss the idea that Kazantzakis was being sacrilegious or blasphemous with the content of his novels and beliefs. These scholars argue that, if anything, Kazantzakis was acting in accordance to a long tradition of Christians who publicly struggled with their faith, and grew a stronger and more personal connection to God through their doubt. Moreover, scholars like Darren J. N. Middleton argue that Kazantzakis' interpretation of the Christian faith predated the more modern, personalized interpretation of Christianity that has become popular in the years after Kazantzakis' death.” (Wikipedia)

Peter Kropotkin wrote:I shall make the argument against religions and the religious beliefs,
and I shall leave it to others to make the argument for the religious beliefs....

among the many arguments against the religious and religious beliefs lies
in the very nature of religious belief....in seeking the god almighty, we forget
and ignore the ground we walk upon... by focusing on god and heaven, we forget
that we still live on planet earth.. we are biological beings who have biological
needs and desires..... when we focus on god and heaven, we neglect that we are
of the body, for the body, by the body.....one might say, what about our soul?
I have often written about the need to better ourselves, to give concern to
our inner needs, but we cannot, cannot make our inner needs, our soul as it were,
to be the primary concern of human existence....and that shall be my first
argument against the religious.... the concern for the soul outweighs the
concern for our bodily needs, both physical, emotional and psychological...
we must hold equally for body and soul....

Whilst I understand your position, I don’t think that sophisticated belief, as against superstition, is about God and Heaven, although these obviously figure in the literature of faith. I think that many authors on the subject have made that clear. Primarily there will have been the belief that Jesus was the Messiah who came to end the world and bring on the Kingdom of Heaven, which proved to be false. People lived their lives in these times in preparation of end times, devoting their lives to service amongst each other. It became relatively soon clear that the end wasn’t coming quite yet and 300 years later Christianity took on an authoritative role in the Roman Empire.

Many years before, however, Christians were leaving the towns and cities and building monastic communities, similar to the Buddhist Sangha. It was here that Christianity carried on a way of life that was close to the “Way” of Jesus, and their influence spread. In fact, it was here that Mysticism developed, an understanding that words were but metaphors and symbols for reality, pointing to that which could only be known as what it is not. It was a poetical language that was used, and a devotional life that was led. The stories of the Gospels were acknowledged, but Christ was a sign, a finger pointing beyond himself, but the “beloved” of God. These communities wrote down many things, and relatively recently the Desert Fathers were found to have developed an early psychology, a study of behaviour, that many hadn’t thought possible. (http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/desert.html)

Peter Kropotkin wrote:the religious temptation to the negation of body and the bodily desires,
leads to damaging both soul and body....the religious need to fast, to
engage in bodily negation, has no positive value...it turns the body into
the enemy which the body is not... the "soul" and the body are equal
partners in this existence....we cannot neglect either side of this
equation, we need the body as much as we need the soul....

we must engage with both parts, body and soul, with equal passion
and awareness of their respective needs.....

the religious focus too much on soul, and the secular focus too much
on body.... we need equal focus on both.....

Unfortunately, there have been times in history in which the body was regarded as sinful or corrupt, but it was in no way reduced to Christianity. However, it isn’t correct to include fasting in this lack of respect for the body. This is an age-old medicinal method that is found in many cultures. In fact, in “Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to live to be 100” from Dr Maoshing Ni, fasting is an important aspect. A conclusion he came to was that our lifestyle was reducing our quality of life, and that fasting could help us. He lists numerous (100) ways to review our lives with the intention of living healthier. This isn’t negation but care of the body. However, we need to be disciplined and not give into the cravings of our body.

You will find that the people who most care for their body, soul, and mind are those who subject it to exercise in many forms, including taking it to extremes (within reason), and from time-to-time imposing restrictions that we modern people find unacceptable. Solitude is one of the methods that is often mentioned in many cultures.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:to make point of existence, as the religious do, the primary goal of
existence to get into heaven, is to deny the body its due...
the religious wonder how many angels can dance on a pinhead,
and I ask, why does that matter? The real question is, what can
I do about the millions who suffer from scarcity of food, water, shelter,
the basics which is the right of all, ALL, living beings.
This focus on one's personal soul allow us to neglect or forget the
millions of our fellow human beings who are suffering....

In Christianity there is a famous passage where Jesus points out that it is those who do good out of compassion, and not because of rewards, who are most likely to receive rewards, whereas others who are calculating are pushed to the end of the queue. This is of course a challenge to introspect.

You may find philosophers debating how many angels can dance on a pinhead, but it is of no concern to faith. There is a problem though that you bring up, and it is especially visible in America, where Calvin was very influential. There are many versions of the Reformation, which is one reason why I am critical of it, but it is particularly troublesome when compassion is taken out of its teaching, and the shared responsibility for hunger, thirst, and homelessness is denied. We all know the teaching of Christ anecdotally, in which he commends the care of the needy, including those who may be considered enemies. It is hard for me to understand how this could be ignored by “Christian” nations (especially if they make much of it).

Peter Kropotkin wrote:Now one might say, I have no control over those millions who are
without the basics that most in the industrial west take for granted...
what can I do for them?

The problem has been your focus on making the worthless trinkets of
existence, making money, fame, seeking titles, getting material goods like
cars, TV sets, couches.....that focus on the material wealth we have is just
as bad is the focus on reaching heaven at all cost...

balance and moderation in our pursuits is the key to a worthwhile life....

a focus on the religious exclusively or on bodily needs exclusively, takes away from
our balance or the pursuit of moderation....

I agree with you that we are distracted by the trappings of our lives (also a statement from Jesus, but also of others, such as Buddha), and that there could have been a hundred different ways to combat the problems we have faced. However, the separation of Church and State, commendable in many ways, also gives politicians to turn a blind eye when it suits them. In fact, there are philosophers who have provided many arguments to ignore moral teaching and persuaded “pragmatic” solutions to problems. One method that Presidents, Chancellors and Prime Ministers have developed is sitting things out. In fact Non-Profit-Organisations have been accused of partisan politics as a way to render their concerns irrelevant.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:so this focus on the religious takes away from the balance we need in our
lives....the search for god must exist within the balance we create
in our lives....both bodily and our soul needs must be delt with in
moderation and balance....

the focus on either soul or body takes away from the moderation/
balance we must have to have a real engagement with what it
means to be human....and that real engagement requires
us to have both bodily needs and soul needs to be met equally...........

Kropotkin

I would argue that many spiritual traditions are looking for this balance, rather than preventing it, including Christians. However, religion is not very prominent in European society, even though lip service is paid at time like Christmas and Easter. All the same, there is considerable effort made to assist secular organisations, and include them in the community. The ecumenical movement has reached out to include other confessions and traditions, using the common denominator compassion as their common ground. There are, however, complications when large organisations combine their efforts and generally, we only hear of them when something scandalous occurs.

In Germany, for instance, much is being done by the churches to combat the increasing of depression, and other mental illnesses, with many clinics being from one confession or another. The problem is that the state is turning these institutions into commercial concerns by rule of law. This applies to all social services and restricts the capacity needed to be effective.

I just want to show you that, although I appreciate your arguments, there is a lot being done, albeit funnelled through the political policies of governments who have the power of being law-makers.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 7:30 pm

so another argument against the religious, is the ongoing issue
of the "final days"...in my current reading, "The Icon and the Axe"
by Billington, I am reading about how in Russia, thousands of people held to
the end of the world scenario for several years around 1680 or so....
of course, they were right... as has every single time the masses
became convince that the end of the world was right around the corner....
and this belief has been around for thousands of years...in Jesus times,
there were groups of fanatics who were convince that the world was about to
end and they fled to the dead sea area to wait out the "end of the world"...

and doom and gloom theories has gone on even today, as UR, Observe and gLOOM,
hold to "doom and gloom", more secular end of times scenario's.. but end of times
scenario's nevertheless....

they are holding to secular versions of the religious idea that the world will end
because of some perceived failure of the people because they, the people,
didn't hold to the ''correct'' belief systems.... and thus causing the ''end of the world''....

when the forces of ''doom and gloom'' UR, Observe, gLOOM, proclaim
the end is coming because of ''non-believers'' like ''commies'', socialists,
liberals, democrats, they are simply following the religious playbook
of naming the irreligious and non-believers as being the ''cause''
of this future ''end of the world''.....

of course, for the right wing, the "end" is the loss of the traditional
form of government, which in essence means the loss of
the white man to dictate to all the others, how they are to live....
remember the favored form of existence for the religious
and the right wing is the hierarchical form of government....
of god being in charge, with a white man, for example, the Pope,
being god's emissary on earth... with IQ45 being god on earth....
that is what is being mourned by the right, the loss of being
in one of the "elected" on earth...

to reframe this, the right has mixed and matched the religious arguments
with the political argument... thus making religious arguments for
political idea's.....they don't see a difference between the political
and the religious..... there is no separation between the religious
and the political/the state..... whereas the left do see and hold to
a separation between religions and the state....

you see this all the time... the basic argument against Roe v wade,
isn't a political argument, it is a religious argument...and the right holds
to this as a religious example, not a political example....

and as I see it, part of the failure of the right, lies in its inability to
sort out or separate the religious and the political...

I see the political and the religious as being two distinct and separate
matters,, whereas the right does not....they are one and the same for
the conservative/the right.....

for the right/conservative, they hold to the religious as being an ethical/moral
issue, but I don't see the ethical/moral as being a religious question, like the right,
I see the ethical/moral question as being as being a political/social/ and philosophical
issue....but not a religious question....

which leads us to ethical/moral considerations..... as Nietzsche tried to do,
he tried to create moral/ethical considerations outside of a religious context....
how are we to be moral/ethical beings without any religious context?
what does a secular ethical/moral principle look like?

this is what Nietzsche was trying to work out, a secular ethical/moral principles
that had no religious basis... just as Wittgenstein and Heidegger tried to work
out secular ethical/moral principles...and failed....

part of the failure of the right/conservative is to judge a secular world
by religious principles.... how do we engage with morals/ethics, if we
remove the religious aspects of moral/ethics? What is right and wrong
if we don't have some unifying principles of moral/ethics that don't
involved a religious perspective?

what does it mean to have ethical/moral beliefs if there is no god to
"certify" those ethical/moral beliefs?

what does it mean to hold to ethical/moral beliefs if even philosophers
like Descartes and Kant tried to sneak in faith and god into their philosophies?

the entire history of the philosophical movement called Existentialism,
is based upon the, for and against of various philosophers, for or against
god....from Kierkegaard to Satre, the question of does god exist, loomed
large...in fact, that might be the question of existentialism,
what about god?

in fact, I no longer see a place for the worship of god or of religions,
because of modern world, of science, of technology, of philosophy....

the answers we have gotten from science, technology and philosophy,
make's the answer of god, as being irrelevant.. it doesn't matter if god
exists, given our current technological, scientific world...

I was born hard of hearing, and today, I am, basically deaf..
a religious answer does not help me come to terms with my
deafness... and religious answer does not help me come to terms
with the current reality of the modern world...

or as someone who's name escapes me, once said,

"Of god, I have no need for that hypothesis"

as of this very moment, my mom is in the hospital...
she is 87 and in bad health.... do I need to explain
her presence in the hospital by supernatural means, by
an explanation of god, as to why she is in the hospital?
No, I have no metaphysical need to explain the how or
why she is in the hospital or the how or why she may die,
I can explain that or understand that within scientific
explanations of energy and entropy....

the forces that will end my mom's life, will end my life as well....

I don't need to have any confusion or panic attack over the end of
my mom's life....I have no need for a religious explanation of her end....
and I can be sad... but to have anger or hate or fear? no, no need for
those emotions because my mom's death is part of the entire weave of
existence that all life has....we human beings tend to see ourselves in
isolation of each other and apart from each other..... but the fact is,
the truth of the matter is, I am part of an entire ecological system stemming from
the beginning of time...and going on into the far future... I am a living being..
and we living beings has existed for over a billion years on earth and quite
possible longer than that elsewhere.... and long after I am dead, life
will go on.... and I am simple part of the great chain of existence..
my time is short and fleeting but I can make it of value if I practice
the two maxims of Socrates.... "to know thyself" and the "unexamined
life isn't worth living" I can create my own value and measure by
an examination of who I am and what does my existence mean...
what is my place, both individually and collectively within the cosmos?

I have no need to create god because I can create my own value and meaning
by understanding the who, what, when, how, where and why of my own existence...

I can give my life its own meaning.....if and only if, I lose the religious
questions of existence.... and if I take seriously the question of
existence as being a question of meaning within what it means to be human....
a secular answer to existence, not a religious answer....

the question of religions takes away the answer of existence being about
life and what is the meaning of being human? the religious answers tells
us about god and angels and heaven, but it doesn't tell us what it means
to be human... within a human existence about what it means to
be an ethical/moral human being,.... the religious answers fail to engage
with us about who we are as human beings......and thus we have another reason
to declare against a religious engagement with existence....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 7:44 pm

felix dakat wrote:You speak in praise of moderation. Was Kropotkin a moderate?


K: the historical anarchist known as Peter Kropotkin? Yes, given his position as
anarchist, and he was a scientist also who made several scientific discoveries...
if you read a biography of Kropotkin, say, "Kropotkin" by Martin Miller,
you will find compared to other anarchists, yes, Kropotkin was fairly moderate
and balanced...

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:14 pm

phyllo wrote::-k If someone is for moderation, then why would he argue against the religious and religion?

The logical argument would be that they are good in the right proportion.


K: I would in fact argue that the "religious and religion" feelings and principles,
harm and damage human beings...it isn't about the "right proportion" but about
its removal from human beings altogether.....

think about how human beings go from being born to toddlers to children to teens
to young adults and then fully human......
at each stage of existence, we held certain beliefs, for example, when very
young, we believed in Santa Claus and the Easter bunny... as we grew up,
we lost those beliefs... and now it is time for us, as adults, to
take the next steps of growing up and remove the religious from our lives...
as children, it makes sense to hold in the imaginations of the child, in
Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and god... but today, today we
need to make the next step in what it means to be human
and come to an adult understanding of what it means to be human...

we have no more need of the idea of god or of religions, just as a child outgrows
the need for Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, we need to outgrow the need for
religions and god.....those beliefs had values, as children, but a child who truly
believes in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny is acceptable and even desirable,
but an adult who holds the same beliefs in Santa Claus or the easter bunny,
we have concerns about the mentality of such an adult.....and rightly so.....

one of the things I have learned as I have grown old is my beliefs have changed
to match my age.... I hold age-appropriate beliefs.. the beliefs that I held
when I was 20 or 30, no longer work for me, now that I am 62...
and that is the point... we must change and adapt our beliefs to match
our age and situation..... holding to religious beliefs no longer match who
we are and our current situation....my mother will die, I will die and my daughter
will die... I don't need to have any type of religious beliefs to understand that
or to learn to accept that... it is reality... and I must conform my beliefs to
match the reality of life....not try to change reality to match my beliefs...
as the conservative does....

I can accept life without any type of metaphysical needs to make it
acceptable to me... I see death for what it is... just a part of life....

why try to soften the blow by some engagement with god or heaven or hell
or angels or some fake pretend immortality of the soul.... I can accept my death
without any need to think I need or even want to live forever......
I accept what is, as is....I don't need Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or
god to soften the blow of existence...I know that being born, suffering,
disease, old age and then finally death is simple the price of admission..
the cost of being human....there is no need for a "woe is me" understanding
of the universe....

in other words, I hold that religions allow people to hold a false misunderstanding
of what it means to be human...it isn't death that gives life meaning, it is life
that gives death meaning.... I can accept life on its own terms.. we are born,
we age, we get diseases and then we finally die.. and that is ok...
that is the path of existence....for I can go into that good night on my own
terms... understanding death for what it is, just another step-in existence that
all life must face...and go through...

it is time... we can and must learn to go about our existence without
any false reliance on god, or some false hopes for immortality....

I am ok with dying without a need to hold out hope for immortality....
and I am now just another step along the way from animal to animal-human
to becoming fully human...I hope to reach becoming fully human before I die..
and that might be all we humans can hope for.... and it is ok....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:40 pm

Bob wrote:
Peter Kropotkin wrote:I have been against religions and the religious feeling in my life
and I shall now detail why it should be excluded in your life.

but a bit of personal history to tell you where I am coming from.....

my family was not religious, and we didn't go to church, I knew
at a fairly early age, by 4th grade, that I didn't believe in god...
but what was missing, was the why..... why believe or not believe in god?
Here as it is true in most of our lives, the why is very important aspect of life..
why is there existence, instead of non-existence... and the why have
believe in god, instead of why we shouldn't hold believe in god...

the yes and no questions of our lives.... why should we or why shouldn't we,
hold to some position of belief or to no belief?

I had a similar beginning, and I didn’t know anything about God in my 4th grade, nor in my last. I was sent to Sunday school and so on, but that was more about belonging to a social organisation and listening to stories. The question of why didn’t even enter my mind, although, being an outdoors child, I was curious about life in its many appearances, as well as about people around me, who in England of the 1960s-1970s, always seemed to be getting drunk. I tended to shy away, but you can never escape all the time.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:my own search for god, began in high school and lasted for decades...
one of my favorite authors is NIkos Kazantzakis...who was described
as a "God intoxicated Man"..... I have engaged in some sort of search for
the divine and the religious most of my life....despite my own personal
bias against religion and being religious....

Not much detail here considering your search “lasted for decades”. Reading up on Nikos Kazantzakis, I came across this:
As a writer and philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis struggled all his life with existential questions, once spending several months in a monastery in an attempt to attain a closer relationship with God. His relentless quest to understand the nature of life through travel, extensive reading, and constant conversation with a diverse array of compatriots ultimately led Kazantzakis to compose this book of "spiritual exercises" meant to help the reader achieve harmony between the countervailing human impulses toward an immortality-seeking asceticism and toward a more nihilistic and materialist view of death. As with all Kazantzakis’s philosophical works, The Saviors of God sheds light on a mind uniquely suited to a nuanced examination of what it means to be human, and establishes a hopeful vision for a dazzlingly syncretic approach to spiritual life.

Having authored Zorba the Greek (1946), Christ Recrucified (1948), Captain Michalis (1950), and The Last Temptation of Christ (1955), he also spent a lot of time searching and writing. Did you read him in Greek?

“Modern scholarship tends to dismiss the idea that Kazantzakis was being sacrilegious or blasphemous with the content of his novels and beliefs. These scholars argue that, if anything, Kazantzakis was acting in accordance to a long tradition of Christians who publicly struggled with their faith, and grew a stronger and more personal connection to God through their doubt. Moreover, scholars like Darren J. N. Middleton argue that Kazantzakis' interpretation of the Christian faith predated the more modern, personalized interpretation of Christianity that has become popular in the years after Kazantzakis' death.” (Wikipedia)

Peter Kropotkin wrote:I shall make the argument against religions and the religious beliefs,
and I shall leave it to others to make the argument for the religious beliefs....

among the many arguments against the religious and religious beliefs lies
in the very nature of religious belief....in seeking the god almighty, we forget
and ignore the ground we walk upon... by focusing on god and heaven, we forget
that we still live on planet earth.. we are biological beings who have biological
needs and desires..... when we focus on god and heaven, we neglect that we are
of the body, for the body, by the body.....one might say, what about our soul?
I have often written about the need to better ourselves, to give concern to
our inner needs, but we cannot, cannot make our inner needs, our soul as it were,
to be the primary concern of human existence....and that shall be my first
argument against the religious.... the concern for the soul outweighs the
concern for our bodily needs, both physical, emotional and psychological...
we must hold equally for body and soul....

Whilst I understand your position, I don’t think that sophisticated belief, as against superstition, is about God and Heaven, although these obviously figure in the literature of faith. I think that many authors on the subject have made that clear. Primarily there will have been the belief that Jesus was the Messiah who came to end the world and bring on the Kingdom of Heaven, which proved to be false. People lived their lives in these times in preparation of end times, devoting their lives to service amongst each other. It became relatively soon clear that the end wasn’t coming quite yet and 300 years later Christianity took on an authoritative role in the Roman Empire.

Many years before, however, Christians were leaving the towns and cities and building monastic communities, similar to the Buddhist Sangha. It was here that Christianity carried on a way of life that was close to the “Way” of Jesus, and their influence spread. In fact, it was here that Mysticism developed, an understanding that words were but metaphors and symbols for reality, pointing to that which could only be known as what it is not. It was a poetical language that was used, and a devotional life that was led. The stories of the Gospels were acknowledged, but Christ was a sign, a finger pointing beyond himself, but the “beloved” of God. These communities wrote down many things, and relatively recently the Desert Fathers were found to have developed an early psychology, a study of behaviour, that many hadn’t thought possible. (http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/desert.html)

Peter Kropotkin wrote:the religious temptation to the negation of body and the bodily desires,
leads to damaging both soul and body....the religious need to fast, to
engage in bodily negation, has no positive value...it turns the body into
the enemy which the body is not... the "soul" and the body are equal
partners in this existence....we cannot neglect either side of this
equation, we need the body as much as we need the soul....

we must engage with both parts, body and soul, with equal passion
and awareness of their respective needs.....

the religious focus too much on soul, and the secular focus too much
on body.... we need equal focus on both.....

Unfortunately, there have been times in history in which the body was regarded as sinful or corrupt, but it was in no way reduced to Christianity. However, it isn’t correct to include fasting in this lack of respect for the body. This is an age-old medicinal method that is found in many cultures. In fact, in “Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to live to be 100” from Dr Maoshing Ni, fasting is an important aspect. A conclusion he came to was that our lifestyle was reducing our quality of life, and that fasting could help us. He lists numerous (100) ways to review our lives with the intention of living healthier. This isn’t negation but care of the body. However, we need to be disciplined and not give into the cravings of our body.

You will find that the people who most care for their body, soul, and mind are those who subject it to exercise in many forms, including taking it to extremes (within reason), and from time-to-time imposing restrictions that we modern people find unacceptable. Solitude is one of the methods that is often mentioned in many cultures.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:to make point of existence, as the religious do, the primary goal of
existence to get into heaven, is to deny the body its due...
the religious wonder how many angels can dance on a pinhead,
and I ask, why does that matter? The real question is, what can
I do about the millions who suffer from scarcity of food, water, shelter,
the basics which is the right of all, ALL, living beings.
This focus on one's personal soul allow us to neglect or forget the
millions of our fellow human beings who are suffering....

In Christianity there is a famous passage where Jesus points out that it is those who do good out of compassion, and not because of rewards, who are most likely to receive rewards, whereas others who are calculating are pushed to the end of the queue. This is of course a challenge to introspect.

You may find philosophers debating how many angels can dance on a pinhead, but it is of no concern to faith. There is a problem though that you bring up, and it is especially visible in America, where Calvin was very influential. There are many versions of the Reformation, which is one reason why I am critical of it, but it is particularly troublesome when compassion is taken out of its teaching, and the shared responsibility for hunger, thirst, and homelessness is denied. We all know the teaching of Christ anecdotally, in which he commends the care of the needy, including those who may be considered enemies. It is hard for me to understand how this could be ignored by “Christian” nations (especially if they make much of it).

Peter Kropotkin wrote:Now one might say, I have no control over those millions who are
without the basics that most in the industrial west take for granted...
what can I do for them?

The problem has been your focus on making the worthless trinkets of
existence, making money, fame, seeking titles, getting material goods like
cars, TV sets, couches.....that focus on the material wealth we have is just
as bad is the focus on reaching heaven at all cost...

balance and moderation in our pursuits is the key to a worthwhile life....

a focus on the religious exclusively or on bodily needs exclusively, takes away from
our balance or the pursuit of moderation....

I agree with you that we are distracted by the trappings of our lives (also a statement from Jesus, but also of others, such as Buddha), and that there could have been a hundred different ways to combat the problems we have faced. However, the separation of Church and State, commendable in many ways, also gives politicians to turn a blind eye when it suits them. In fact, there are philosophers who have provided many arguments to ignore moral teaching and persuaded “pragmatic” solutions to problems. One method that Presidents, Chancellors and Prime Ministers have developed is sitting things out. In fact Non-Profit-Organisations have been accused of partisan politics as a way to render their concerns irrelevant.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:so this focus on the religious takes away from the balance we need in our
lives....the search for god must exist within the balance we create
in our lives....both bodily and our soul needs must be delt with in
moderation and balance....

the focus on either soul or body takes away from the moderation/
balance we must have to have a real engagement with what it
means to be human....and that real engagement requires
us to have both bodily needs and soul needs to be met equally...........

Kropotkin

I would argue that many spiritual traditions are looking for this balance, rather than preventing it, including Christians. However, religion is not very prominent in European society, even though lip service is paid at time like Christmas and Easter. All the same, there is considerable effort made to assist secular organisations, and include them in the community. The ecumenical movement has reached out to include other confessions and traditions, using the common denominator compassion as their common ground. There are, however, complications when large organisations combine their efforts and generally, we only hear of them when something scandalous occurs.

In Germany, for instance, much is being done by the churches to combat the increasing of depression, and other mental illnesses, with many clinics being from one confession or another. The problem is that the state is turning these institutions into commercial concerns by rule of law. This applies to all social services and restricts the capacity needed to be effective.

I just want to show you that, although I appreciate your arguments, there is a lot being done, albeit funnelled through the political policies of governments who have the power of being law-makers.


K: I thank you for your thoughtful post.... I will not engage in some point by point, discussion,
but I will have an engagement with some general propositions....

My thought has always been that religions and the religious concerns were
individually bound, not collectively bound... in other words, I hold that
religion was an individual concern, not a collective concern...

the dialogue between man and god is a singular, individual one, not
a collective dialogue...thus I see no need for churches or mass meeting
about what I see as an individual question of one facing god.....

or said another way, I hold that we are individually accountable for who we are,
not within a religious context but within a social, collective concept... a non-religious
understanding of what it means to be human....

I don't want dozens or even hundreds of religious groups, but I do want
there to be 7 billion people having an engagement with god, not as a group,
but individually, we face god individually, not as members of the catholic church
or as a member of any type of church, but as individuals......

my hero here would be Kierkegaard, that we should follow him in
our understanding of what it means to be religious... a task best suited
individually, not collectively....

if I stand with a group and hold my faith to be collective, then
I am saying that my beliefs are social in nature.. and that my beliefs
are best worked out socially, within a social confines, within a church....
with a group of people... but I hold that something as sacred as belief,
isn't social or it isn't best found within a group, but is best found within
the engagement we have as human beings within Socrates maxim,
to know thyself... and holding religious beliefs fall within the maxim
of Knowing thyself....

one of my favorite things to do is to isolate myself... I can go for days
at a time without some engagement with others..... in fact, I don't do
that enough is part of my understanding of who I am...... I need isolation
in the same way most people need to be in groups and be in contact with others.....

as a human being, I am more balanced and centered the more I am isolated from
others..... but given my reality, I will never get enough isolation that I truly need
or want...

in other words, I see the questions of existence is best found within us,
not in some engagement with others, but in some dialogue with ourselves....
alone and in the quiet of our daily existence....

I might be the patron saint of being by oneself... St. Kropotkin...
saint of those who find themselves, blissfully alone...

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby felix dakat » Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:46 pm

" K : I would in fact argue that the "religious and religion" feelings and principles,
harm and damage human beings...it isn't about the "right proportion" but about
its removal from human beings altogether....."

So to you the removal of religion from humanity is moderate. Then I guess like beauty moderation is in the eye of the beholder. How would you recommend religion be removed? Surgery? Re-education camps? Prohibition laws? A police state? Outlawing religious education? Locking down the internet? They've tried a lot of these things in China without success. I guess their methods haven't been Draconian enough. Or wait not draconian, "moderate"!
Last edited by felix dakat on Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Bob » Thu Dec 23, 2021 8:46 pm

Peter Kropotkin wrote:so another argument against the religious, is the ongoing issue
of the "final days"...in my current reading, "The Icon and the Axe"
by Billington, I am reading about how in Russia, thousands of people held to
the end of the world scenario for several years around 1680 or so....
of course, they were right... as has every single time the masses
became convince that the end of the world was right around the corner....
and this belief has been around for thousands of years...in Jesus times,
there were groups of fanatics who were convince that the world was about to
end and they fled to the dead sea area to wait out the "end of the world"...

and doom and gloom theories has gone on even today, as UR, Observe and gLOOM,
hold to "doom and gloom", more secular end of times scenario's.. but end of times
scenario's nevertheless....

they are holding to secular versions of the religious idea that the world will end
because of some perceived failure of the people because they, the people,
didn't hold to the ''correct'' belief systems.... and thus causing the ''end of the world''....

when the forces of ''doom and gloom'' UR, Observe, gLOOM, proclaim
the end is coming because of ''non-believers'' like ''commies'', socialists,
liberals, democrats, they are simply following the religious playbook
of naming the irreligious and non-believers as being the ''cause''
of this future ''end of the world''.....

Having just read the opening pages of that book,

First was a direct sense of beauty, a passion for seeing spiritual truth in concrete forms. The beauty of Constantinople and of its places and forms of worship was responsible for the conversion of Vladimir according to the earliest historical record of the Kievan period.
Billington, James (2010-09-21T23:58:59). The Icon and Axe. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle-Version.

Vladimir was swept away by the beauty of expression that was visible in Constantinople. This is also a creative expression of faith, which points beyond the common, and transcends human experience, just as any art form can do, as well as extreme beauty in nature. The eastern orthodox tradition has embraced the mysticism of existence much more that the western church and brought it into their churches.

But the ideas of the end of the world are not only Christian, I found this on the net that I thought was quite interesting:
“Despite religious origins, most modern apocalyptic thought is secular, and not tied to religious beliefs. Belief in the secular apocalypse arises from the need to make sense of the world around us and to find an assurance of our futures. Even when that future is bleak, it is a concrete belief, rather than uncertainty of what the end will look like. This paper will first define the secular apocalypse as separate from the religious apocalypse. It will then explore the prominent secular apocalyptic beliefs of human caused disasters, and determine why belief in these events arises and persists. Finally, I conclude that the secular apocalypse may inherently be meaningless in its end of humanity, but its structure of belief gives meaning in that it lets humanity continue until that point. At its core, the secular apocalypse is a way to understand the world around us and offers a sense of control and understanding for our fates.” https://www.samanthabonge.com/essays/th ... pocalypse/

This has been around a long time. Popular visions of the apocalypse often deal with world-altering, cataclysmic global events. But an apocalypse can also happen to a group of people. The arrival of Europeans in North America was an apocalypse for Native Americans, as was the experience of slavery for African Americans. How did the landowners in the soviet union see their deportation, or the millions of Chinese who died after deportation? The literary hallmarks of apocalypticism are old—dating back to ancient Mesopotamia—and virtually universal. Zombies are a sign that other forms of gloomy ends can be envisioned.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:of course, for the right wing, the "end" is the loss of the traditional
form of government, which in essence means the loss of
the white man to dictate to all the others, how they are to live....
remember the favored form of existence for the religious
and the right wing is the hierarchical form of government....
of god being in charge, with a white man, for example, the Pope,
being god's emissary on earth... with IQ45 being god on earth....
that is what is being mourned by the right, the loss of being
in one of the "elected" on earth...

to reframe this, the right has mixed and matched the religious arguments
with the political argument... thus making religious arguments for
political idea's.....they don't see a difference between the political
and the religious..... there is no separation between the religious
and the political/the state..... whereas the left do see and hold to
a separation between religions and the state....

This has unfortunately been the way of the past as well. The church took over many positions within the Roman Empire, but many people who were already in the job just gave their vows and carried on, like it goes on anywhere, where there is change. The whites of the day were the Romans, the slaves were the Gauls, the Huns, the Gaelic people of Britain etc. This is the way the world has been since the beginning of large nations.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:you see this all the time... the basic argument against Roe v wade,
isn't a political argument, it is a religious argument...and the right holds
to this as a religious example, not a political example....

and as I see it, part of the failure of the right, lies in its inability to
sort out or separate the religious and the political...

I see the political and the religious as being two distinct and separate
matters,, whereas the right does not....they are one and the same for
the conservative/the right.....

for the right/conservative, they hold to the religious as being an ethical/moral
issue, but I don't see the ethical/moral as being a religious question, like the right,
I see the ethical/moral question as being as being a political/social/ and philosophical
issue....but not a religious question....

I think it is more of a moral question, which I can understand as a husband to a woman who had three miscarriages. I know how she hurt when she heard of women speaking confidently of their right to do with their bodies as they wished. She isn’t religious, but just the thought of a healthy foetus being destroyed was unbearable for her.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:which leads us to ethical/moral considerations..... as Nietzsche tried to do,
he tried to create moral/ethical considerations outside of a religious context....
how are we to be moral/ethical beings without any religious context?
what does a secular ethical/moral principle look like?

this is what Nietzsche was trying to work out, a secular ethical/moral principles
that had no religious basis... just as Wittgenstein and Heidegger tried to work
out secular ethical/moral principles...and failed....

part of the failure of the right/conservative is to judge a secular world
by religious principles.... how do we engage with morals/ethics, if we
remove the religious aspects of moral/ethics? What is right and wrong
if we don't have some unifying principles of moral/ethics that don't
involved a religious perspective?

what does it mean to have ethical/moral beliefs if there is no god to
"certify" those ethical/moral beliefs?

what does it mean to hold to ethical/moral beliefs if even philosophers
like Descartes and Kant tried to sneak in faith and god into their philosophies?

the entire history of the philosophical movement called Existentialism,
is based upon the, for and against of various philosophers, for or against
god....from Kierkegaard to Satre, the question of does god exist, loomed
large...in fact, that might be the question of existentialism,
what about god?

Not being a scholar, but having read a lot, I can’t help wondering whether the “religious aspect” is more about bringing compassion and consideration into arguments. I know that this isn’t how it is formulated, but I sat back and ask myself what it is really about in some arguments. Sometimes it is just dogmatic, but sometimes it is this other aspect of humanity, about how we feel in certain situations. It has often been lacking, especially when exploiting other human beings, it was virtually expelled from thought. That is why people have been degraded to “sub-human” in an attempt to drive compassion out.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:in fact, I no longer see a place for the worship of god or of religions,
because of modern world, of science, of technology, of philosophy....

the answers we have gotten from science, technology and philosophy,
make's the answer of god, as being irrelevant.. it doesn't matter if god
exists, given our current technological, scientific world...

I was born hard of hearing, and today, I am, basically deaf..
a religious answer does not help me come to terms with my
deafness... and religious answer does not help me come to terms
with the current reality of the modern world...

or as someone who's name escapes me, once said,

"Of god, I have no need for that hypothesis"

Of course, if you are looking at the world from a reductionist, mechanistic point of view, one may think this way. If everything is just parts that somehow make up our experience, then it is easy to throw such a hypothesis out, but if everything is organic, and much more complex, interacting with each other on an organic planet, moving in a dance around the sun, then you might develop another view. Perhaps not some of the superstitions that some religious people display, but an awe at the mysteriousness of our existence, and the fact that the potential for such a diversity of life was existent in the components that made up the universe, the galaxies, the stars and the planets, even when it was no more than particles or cosmic dust.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:as of this very moment, my mom is in the hospital...
she is 87 and in bad health.... do I need to explain
her presence in the hospital by supernatural means, by
an explanation of god, as to why she is in the hospital?
No, I have no metaphysical need to explain the how or
why she is in the hospital or the how or why she may die,
I can explain that or understand that within scientific
explanations of energy and entropy....

the forces that will end my mom's life, will end my life as well....

I don't need to have any confusion or panic attack over the end of
my mom's life....I have no need for a religious explanation of her end....
and I can be sad... but to have anger or hate or fear? no, no need for
those emotions because my mom's death is part of the entire weave of
existence that all life has....

I’m sorry to hear that about your Mom, that makes you approximately as old as I am. I am a geriatric nurse and have accompanied many old people to the end, even my mother-in-law. You are right that it is the way of organic life here on earth, but still, it is your Mom. You have a right to any tears you might cry at her death, even if you can rationally explain everything, because there is more than rationality at work in us. The affection that we feel isn’t nothing, even if we try to rationalise it away, and I believe that we need to channel our emotions to become effective in the world. You are always communicating, even when you are unaware of it, and emotions are messages, probably more than words. When we are open about our emotions it bonds us to others, and out of this connection grows a relationship, which bonds us with even more people. I believe that this is visible amongst animals, especially animals which have contacts with human beings. I believe that this is intended, however you want to imagine it.


Peter Kropotkin wrote:we human beings tend to see ourselves in
isolation of each other and apart from each other..... but the fact is,
the truth of the matter is, I am part of an entire ecological system stemming from
the beginning of time...and going on into the far future... I am a living being..
and we living beings has existed for over a billion years on earth and quite
possible longer than that elsewhere.... and long after I am dead, life
will go on.... and I am simple part of the great chain of existence..
my time is short and fleeting but I can make it of value if I practice
the two maxims of Socrates.... "to know thyself" and the "unexamined
life isn't worth living" I can create my own value and measure by
an examination of who I am and what does my existence mean...
what is my place, both individually and collectively within the cosmos?

I have no need to create god because I can create my own value and meaning
by understanding the who, what, when, how, where and why of my own existence...

I can give my life its own meaning.....if and only if, I lose the religious
questions of existence.... and if I take seriously the question of
existence as being a question of meaning within what it means to be human....
a secular answer to existence, not a religious answer....

the question of religions takes away the answer of existence being about
life and what is the meaning of being human? the religious answers tells
us about god and angels and heaven, but it doesn't tell us what it means
to be human... within a human existence about what it means to
be an ethical/moral human being,.... the religious answers fail to engage
with us about who we are as human beings......and thus we have another reason
to declare against a religious engagement with existence....

Kropotkin

If you give yourself meaning, you are behaving religiously. I believe that religion is just that. All the talk about God and everything is only incidental. Finding meaning is religion, and some traditions have one god, others have many, some have none but hint at some “Law” or “Dharma”, something which has authority, and is able to guide them. It may be a moral law, the golden rule, whatever. But what they all really do is point beyond our experience to something that can guide us, especially now that we know just how alone we are in the vastness of space. The more we know about the universe, the more it seems necessary to find a metaphysical grounding of existence, an understanding of how it could come to be. Science is on that path as much as religion, it is just that science uses different methods and different language.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:44 pm

felix dakat wrote:" K : I would in fact argue that the "religious and religion" feelings and principles,
harm and damage human beings...it isn't about the "right proportion" but about
its removal from human beings altogether....."

So to you the removal of religion from humanity is moderate. Then I guess like beauty moderation is in the eye of the beholder. How would you recommend religion be removed? Surgery? Re-education camps? Prohibition laws? A police state? Outlawing religious education? Locking down the internet? They've tried a lot of these things in China without success. I guess their methods haven't been Draconian enough. Or wait not draconian, "moderate"!


K: yep, I hold it to be moderate due to how... if you have read me with any comprehension,
in the past, you will have noticed this...

I hold that from the day of birth, we are indoctrinated into the belief system
of the family, state, society, church, media... thus we are indoctrinated into
beliefs of god, the U.S. being an exceptional country, the superiority of the white
man, among hundreds of possible indoctrinations....which vary from family to family,
to nation from nation, from religion to religion, from culture to culture...
the question of growth comes from our overcoming those indoctrinations...
as I grow older, my growth as a human being has come from my overcoming
my childhood indoctrinations, from my indoctrination into
believing Santa Claus and the Easter bunny to suppose superiority of
whites or the other childhood indoctrinations we get as children...

the path to the removal of these indoctrinations is the path of overcoming....
as Nietzsche put it....and that is by the two maxims of Socrates,
1st, to know thyself and the second is ''the unexamined life isn't worth living"
I overcome my indoctrinations by examining my life and the existence
of being human and by knowing thyself.....

so instead of those violent methods you suggest, I remove
those values by examination and understanding of who I am...
as I have suggested time and time and time again, I have suggested
for everyone to engage in the process of self-examination and
an examination of existence... and that is the method I propose to
the removal of religion...... by each of us examining what it means to be
human...and removing those childhood indoctrinations that hold us back
from becoming human.... fully human....

so there is no need for prisons, or violence or any other violent method
to remove the need for religions... is just takes us time to
overcome our childhood indoctrinations..... and that is the method
I suggest in removing religion and religions....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Thu Dec 23, 2021 10:22 pm

And then there are those who examine their lives and decide that they want God, religion, spirituality. They don't find those things damaging.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Fri Dec 24, 2021 12:17 am

phyllo wrote:And then there are those who examine their lives and decide that they want God, religion, spirituality. They don't find those things damaging.


K: I suspect you are operating under several assumptions....
first, very few actually make the choice for being religious
as you suggest.. as a rational, logical decision...those who have returned
to religion quite often, but not always, as a last choice option.. in other words,
they choose religion from weakness, not from strength.. they are at the
point of existence where they have nowhere else to go.. and I have known
people who have taken this course, (family members) they are at the bottom
and looking for a way to at least break even... and I have known people
that have held beliefs that were damaging to themselves... for example,
holding to hate.. those who follow Hitler, the Nazi's and others who hate
Jews just for being Jewish....antisemitism... and racism and other forms of
hate are harmful to people.. whether they know it or not... holding onto
hate is harmful....and I have done so myself...I finally had to release that hate
to save myself... making a choice doesn't always means one has made the right choice,
it just means that a choice was made, nothing more..

I hold, for a wide variety of reasons, that the choice of religion and god, is
the wrong choice.. very few, if any choose religion or god from strength,
they choose from weakness and that never ends well....
now, do I have any rights or obligation to make them choose differently?

nope... a person's choice is still their choice... regardless of how I feel about it....
mind you, I am a father and I have seen my daughter make the wrong choices
and at most, at most, I can say, I disagree and that is all I can do.. my daughter
made her choices and she was hurt by them, but I never said, I told you so....once
we realize the choices we make are often, not always, but quite often not
the right choice for us...the courage is not to hold the course, but
to admit that we fucked up and change course....but we hold course
due to ego more then courage... to admit I made the wrong choice is hard,
maybe the hardest thing we can do as a human being, but it must
become a possibility for us....

my own life is littered with bad, well frankly pretty terrible choices,
and a few took a few years to escape from... what I lacked then was
the courage to admit I was wrong.. but my ego, my own dam ego stopped
me from escaping some terrible situations.... situations of my own making....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Bob » Fri Dec 24, 2021 5:27 am

Peter Kropotkin wrote:K: I thank you for your thoughtful post.... I will not engage in some point by point, discussion,
but I will have an engagement with some general propositions....

Of course, that is your prerogative.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:My thought has always been that religions and the religious concerns were
individually bound, not collectively bound... in other words, I hold that
religion was an individual concern, not a collective concern...

the dialogue between man and god is a singular, individual one, not
a collective dialogue...thus I see no need for churches or mass meeting
about what I see as an individual question of one facing god.....

or said another way, I hold that we are individually accountable for who we are,
not within a religious context but within a social, collective concept... a non-religious
understanding of what it means to be human....

I believe this is right in one way. Awareness has emerged in individuals, often depending on their surroundings allowing them to step aside, and their ability to be receptive to the ideas that formed in their minds. Of course, the world was a different experience then, the dangers were ever present, and yet there were people who looked up at the sky and were full of awe. When we look into what the ancients in the earliest cultures knew about astronomy, how they incorporated measurements into the megaliths we find from those ages, it completely astounds us, and it becomes clear that something big was going on. This wasn’t just superstition, it was early science, and it produced some amazing structures. But it all began with a very modest understanding in an individual.

As soon as such perceptions were made know to a group, stories were told around campfires, which became ever more complex and sophisticated, but it always relied on single persons delving into a growing field of knowledge, and equally the reaction of individuals receiving this insight. If such insights had remained a secluded perception, mankind wouldn’t have progressed. But I can understand your willingness for religion to remain a personal concern because as soon as a group is involved, and especially when further generations receive what has become a tradition, the bickering starts, and all the niceties of group dynamics take effect. I believe that this is just a necessity of progress, and something we have to put up with, like the inherent dangers of childhood curiosity.

However, religion is about the individual, and his relationship to the emerging meaning in his/her life, and the consequences that grow out of that meaning. It is just sometimes difficult to live alone, and just as difficult to live with people implementing the lifestyle that arises out of the meaning we have perceived. We are a social species, and I am convinced that it is good that way, despite the problems we have with it.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:I don't want dozens or even hundreds of religious groups, but I do want
there to be 7 billion people having an engagement with god, not as a group,
but individually, we face god individually, not as members of the catholic church
or as a member of any type of church, but as individuals......

my hero here would be Kierkegaard, that we should follow him in
our understanding of what it means to be religious... a task best suited
individually, not collectively....

I can understand that, and I have also found that it is difficult to live a life of consequence in a world that is permanently contrary to the wisdom I have found meaningful. Professionally I was overcome by the stipulations of narrow-minded technocrats and had to give up in order to protect my mental health. Politically it is difficult to find policies that would agree completely with my insights. In a small way, one-on-one encounters are better, and more helpful. One religious understanding is that when we want to change the world, we start with ourselves and trust the emergence of insight. Authenticity is of importance here, which is what Luther fought for (even if he was misunderstood), and also what Kierkegaard found missing in the church.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:if I stand with a group and hold my faith to be collective, then
I am saying that my beliefs are social in nature.. and that my beliefs
are best worked out socially, within a social confines, within a church....
with a group of people... but I hold that something as sacred as belief,
isn't social or it isn't best found within a group, but is best found within
the engagement we have as human beings within Socrates maxim,
to know thyself... and holding religious beliefs fall within the maxim
of Knowing thyself....

I agree that “know thyself” is an important place to start, it is only that I have found that others can help me with that, because they have a different perspective. When I walk through town, apart from a few aches in some joints, I still imagine myself to be the same person I was years ago, but when I am confronted by my mirror-image, I realise that I had pushed the changes that age has brought out of my awareness. And even my mirror-image doesn’t tell me everything, I need people for that, who are also mirrors.

And still, the solitary moments are valuable. Sitting on a cushion, letting thoughts go by, not reacting to them, is refreshing and helps us restart in some ways. It helps us sort the garbage and bring it out of our minds. Contemplation in silence, although a discipline, helps us find a direction in our thinking, and by use of various methods, we can find other aspects that we wouldn’t have found in a crowd, or may have lost as soon as we thought of them.

Peter Kropotkin wrote:one of my favorite things to do is to isolate myself... I can go for days
at a time without some engagement with others..... in fact, I don't do
that enough is part of my understanding of who I am...... I need isolation
in the same way most people need to be in groups and be in contact with others.....

as a human being, I am more balanced and centered the more I am isolated from
others..... but given my reality, I will never get enough isolation that I truly need
or want...

in other words, I see the questions of existence is best found within us,
not in some engagement with others, but in some dialogue with ourselves....
alone and in the quiet of our daily existence....

I might be the patron saint of being by oneself... St. Kropotkin...
saint of those who find themselves, blissfully alone...

Kropotkin

I know the feeling, and I also need times of respite, where the strangely monotonous exhilaration of everyday experience is shut out, where the sound of civilisation is reduced to a quiet hum, and I can interact with the birds in the garden or breathe the fresh air of the forest. If you have a hearing disability, this is probably more so. My father was deaf, and I have a tinnitus (like my brothers), which at times of stress could be disturbing, but otherwise just is there. He tended to set himself aside, and I too find it sometimes difficult to engage in a conversation with many people, even with hearing aids.

I read a lot and let myself be guided by coincidence, going to a library and going through the diversity of textbooks on subjects I am not familiar with. Or I look up authors of whom I have heard that they are difficult in some way and locked in my mind I try to understand. I read a lot of what people here on ILP suggest, which has helped me a lot. But I always return to my room and my cushion, so that I can sort my mind again.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
TS Eliot
When you are out of touch with reality you will easily embrace a delusion, and equally put in doubt the most basic elements of existence. If this reminds you of the mindset of the present day materialist science and philosophy establishments, as well as of the loudest voices in the socio-political debate, we should not be particularly surprised, since they show all the signs of attending with the left hemisphere alone. I live in the hope that that may soon change: for without a change we are lost.
McGilchrist, Iain . The Matter With Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (S.562). Perspectiva Press. Kindle-Version.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Fri Dec 24, 2021 11:56 am

K: I suspect you are operating under several assumptions....
first, very few actually make the choice for being religious
as you suggest.. as a rational, logical decision...
This seems to say that there is only one right way for a person to decide if religion is right for him.
...those who have returned
to religion quite often, but not always, as a last choice option.. in other words,
they choose religion from weakness, not from strength.. they are at the
point of existence where they have nowhere else to go.. and I have known
people who have taken this course, (family members) they are at the bottom
and looking for a way to at least break even...
Maybe this is your only experience or maybe it's how you frame what you have seen.
I hold, for a wide variety of reasons, that the choice of religion and god, is
the wrong choice..
I don't say that you haven't made the right decision for yourself. I don't know and I'm not in a position to know.

I don't think that your personal decision is necessarily the right decision for everyone.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Fri Dec 24, 2021 6:51 pm

phyllo wrote:
K: I suspect you are operating under several assumptions....
first, very few actually make the choice for being religious
as you suggest.. as a rational, logical decision...
This seems to say that there is only one right way for a person to decide if religion is right for him.
...those who have returned
to religion quite often, but not always, as a last choice option.. in other words,
they choose religion from weakness, not from strength.. they are at the
point of existence where they have nowhere else to go.. and I have known
people who have taken this course, (family members) they are at the bottom
and looking for a way to at least break even...
Maybe this is your only experience or maybe it's how you frame what you have seen.
I hold, for a wide variety of reasons, that the choice of religion and god, is
the wrong choice..
I don't say that you haven't made the right decision for yourself. I don't know and I'm not in a position to know.

I don't think that your personal decision is necessarily the right decision for everyone.


K: I am old and have meet a lot of people, and I have yet to find one who
came to religion or god from a place of strength..... everyone I have
ever met who has turned religious as done so from a place of weakness....
and they did so in an emotional state, not with reason, or rationality or logic....
the turn to religion and god is an emotional, irrational decision...and most
who turn to religion and god were indoctrinated as children into believing in
religion and god..... it becomes a question of why... why turn to religion or god?
what is the motivation to do so? I hold that people who turn to religion or god,
do so because of a weakness they have.. and they are trying to overcome that
weakness..... in driving home from work, there is a billboard on the side of the road,
and one side says, "Has lust shackled your body?" and the other side says, "Jesus will set
you free of lust"... ......we will ignore how that is possible and focus on
this need to overcome weakness like lust, hate, desire, with a turn to
religions or god....I know several addicted personalities, and I myself
am a borderline addicted personality, the way one overcomes an
destructive addiction, is to replace it with a less destructive addiction....
addicted personalities go from one addiction to another, they really don't
ever get over having an addicted personality, they just change addictions....
so this turn from a addiction of lust to Jesus is to take one addiction and
replace it with another addiction...going from lust to jesus.....

we can explain much of human behavior by understanding this
going from one addiction to another and quite often to another addiction....
not always of course, but most of the time....

in this, we might describe holding to religions and god is simple just
going from one addiction to another.... perhaps....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Fri Dec 24, 2021 11:37 pm

I think that some people can become addicted to religion but most people don't meet the criteria for it to be called an addiction.

Oddly enough, last week I watched Lewis Black describe how he was obsessed (addicted?) with religion as a child.

As for the idea that turning to religion comes from weakness ... well you can say that about practically everything and anything.

Reading philosophy ... you're weak.

Eating and sleeping more than me .. you're weak.

You have more friends than me ... you need friends because you're weak.

Etc, etc, etc. :evilfun:
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sat Dec 25, 2021 4:58 pm

[quote="phyllo"]I think that some people can become addicted to religion but most people don't meet the criteria for it to be called an addiction.

Oddly enough, last week I watched Lewis Black describe how he was obsessed (addicted?) with religion as a child.

As for the idea that turning to religion comes from weakness ... well you can say that about practically everything and anything.

K: the idea that an adult who turns to religion is weak, is not my idea actually,
ask adults who have turned to religion, and they will tell you to a person,
that their "turn" was done at a time of great stress and a great deal of
everything has gone wrong, and they were searching for some way, anyway
they could find to prevent them from hitting bottom or having hit the bottom,
to get something, anything to go right...and in that state of being at the worse
moment in one's life, that is when they turn to religion or god..... and if you ask
people, and they are honest, they will tell you that is how they became religious..

you don't arrive at religions or god, as an adult, from a place of strength...
for most people, most, they are simple returning to the comfort of
the religion of their childhood... not all return to their childhood religion,
but most people... and that process begins in a place of weakness, not strength...

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Sat Dec 25, 2021 5:13 pm

If you have bad vision, then you ought to get glasses.

That doesn't make glasses bad. It doesn't make you weak.

If you're feeling 'overwhelmed', then you ought to get help.

That can be therapy of some sort. It come from various sources.

That doesn't mean that therapy is bad or that you are weak.

It means that you need something to get to a 'better place'. That's not bad.

If religion helps you lead a better life then you ought to pursue it.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sat Dec 25, 2021 6:08 pm

phyllo wrote:If you have bad vision, then you ought to get glasses.

That doesn't make glasses bad. It doesn't make you weak.

If you're feeling 'overwhelmed', then you ought to get help.

That can be therapy of some sort. It come from various sources.

That doesn't mean that therapy is bad or that you are weak.

It means that you need something to get to a 'better place'. That's not bad.

If religion helps you lead a better life then you ought to pursue it.


K: if religion is "therapy" then by all means let us try this, but, with the
understanding that religion and god is nothing more than an attempt to
make us feel better about ourselves.. it has nothing to do with religion
as metaphysics or god as the "original" maker, nope, the point of god
and religion is to make us feel better.. and frankly we have drugs
that do a much better job of making us feel better then religions/god....

if the value of religions/god is to make us feel better about ourselves,
great, but let us admit to this fact... I am going to church to feel better
about myself... as with most American's anyway, the weekly church visit
is really about another social club anyway.... let us go see our friends..
an engagement with god is not on the agenda in any case when the point of
religion/god is to see friends or make us feel better about ourselves....

when I think of religion/god, I think of an engagement with god, a personal
one on one engagement with god... not about making me feel better, because
if one reads the bible with an open mind, not a single person in the bible
reacts to god in this manner... in fact, in reading the bible one take away
is that the people of the bible, Job for example, are not engaged with god
as a means of making one feel better, but the better description is
of "wrestling with god".. in fact, at one point in the bible, they
actually describe the relationship with god, as "wrestling with god",
not as god making one feel better about themselves...

I hold, rather old school I admit, I hold that the relationship with god is
closer to wrestling with god, then using god to make me feel better about myself....

read the bible and see that god doesn't sit around and hold people's hand..
the god of the bible demands, demands us to have a severe relationship
with him... the god of the bible doesn't sit around the campfire and
sing Kumbaya.... he demands that we work for us daily goods or have
you forgotten trials of Job..or the demand of god to Abraham to sacrifice his son,
Isaac.....the god of the bible is a harsh and demanding god.... he is not about
making us feel good about ourselves.. but of our loyalty to god, he demands
that we honor god above all else.. even above our own flesh and blood....

in fact, compare the people of the bible and compare us today to them,
we are weak and soft and pathetic.. for we use religion/god
to make ourselves feel better about ourselves or as a social event to
see our friends......and not about wrestling with god.. as they did
in the bible..... to engage with god as they did in the bible, who
does that anymore? why Kierkegaard did.... and do we hold him
in high regard? nope.... did he start a school of followers? nope....

in other words, until we take the religious as a way of life, we
are simply play acting at being religious.. nothing more....
seeking god isn't a path of life, but an excuse to see our friends once
a week...an social event.... the people of the bible would laugh at
us if they saw how diluted we have made religion and god....

yes, we are weak and soft... because we play act at being religious
instead of actually being religious...being religious as a way of life,
not once a week for an hour, but every hour, every day, every waking moment,
we must hold to religion and worship of god as a way of life....
or we are just pretending... as most religious people pretend to be religious..
or as they play act in being religious....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Sat Dec 25, 2021 10:16 pm

You have a particular view of religion which seems to be based in US fundamentalism.

That's not the only view. It's not even the majority view.
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sun Dec 26, 2021 1:59 am

phyllo wrote:You have a particular view of religion which seems to be based in US fundamentalism.

That's not the only view. It's not even the majority view.


K: the view I take is simple, we ought to take religion seriously or drop it....
religion must be an engagement with god, old school engagement..
as a way of life, not just an hour a week visiting friends, church as a social event,
instead of being what it ought to be, a commitment to god.. as disclosed
by the bible...if we are to be religious, then let us commit to being as is
found in the bible.... people didn't commit to god half ass in the bible....
it was all or nothing.... I say, if we can't commit fully and completely to god,
as a way of life.. then end this sham of pretense that religion matters..
unless it is a 24/7 commitment, it is a sham.. and we must end that pretense....

Kropotkin
Now if only I could get the other "members of the collection of truth"
to put me on ignore, life would be good..

PK
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby felix dakat » Sun Dec 26, 2021 2:52 am

I think you nailed it phyllo! His literalist interpretation of the Bible is the only possibly true one and since based on his knowledge of the Bible it’s not literally true therefore all religion is false. Did I get it right Kropotkin?
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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby Ichthus77 » Sun Dec 26, 2021 4:01 am

phyllo wrote:You have a particular view of religion which seems to be based in US fundamentalism.

That's not the only view. It's not even the majority view.


That’s the only post I read in the entire thread. That said, “The crowd is untruth,” - Kierkegaard
Fall semester ends 12/16/22. Apologies if I do not reply immediately.

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Re: the case against the religious and religion

Postby phyllo » Sun Dec 26, 2021 3:13 pm

“The crowd is untruth,” seems too general to be correct.
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