Discuss religion and spirituality topics.
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...morality and the afterlife in order to be "effective"? (Effective in quotes for lack of a more accurate word at the moment.)
Put another way, are beliefs and morality together necessary or can a religion be worth a damn by choosing only one of these? Modern iterations of religion, particularly Christianity it seems to me, focus primarily on beliefs whereas morality is left by the wayside. Churches are worried about what you believe instead of what you do. That isn't to say - obviously - that churches are blatantly advocating lawlessness. I doubt they have any real understanding of the underlying principles for what they preach, so they don't think about this. They don't even realize that morality matters. Modern Christianity can become absurd, especially when it comes to prizing "correct" beliefs over what the evidence and reason have to tell us about the world and the universe. Beliefs such as the flat earth, dinosaurs and humans living at the same time, a literal Garden of Eden and global flood, etc. become the focus for many modern day Bible-thumpers. In focusing only on literal interpretations of these parts of the Bible they throw away the deeper meaning of the stories. If one reads the creation story in Genesis and they think the takeaway is that dinosaurs must have been there and that there was a literal talking serpent, then they're missing the points of the story, which is clearly an allegory. With such an absurd basis for modern Christianity, no wonder we hear so little (rather, nothing) being preached about morality from the pulpits. To the contrary, modern Christianity is especially feminized, gynocentric, and liberal.
After forcing literal interpretations on allegorical stories, there is the issue of beliefs about the afterlife. Modern Christians have a fairly generic version of the afterlife but of course seldom delve into it aside from stating what their beliefs about it are. There are plenty of variations on the base beliefs beliefs about heaven and hell, and this is no wonder because modern Christians do not reason these beliefs out nor have a consistent and logical way of interpreting the Bible.
(Christian beliefs about the afterlife have also changed quite a bit over the centuries. Reincarnation for example used to be a mainstream Christian belief until TPTB in the Byzantine Empire forced it out - all to increase the power of the church. I want to make another thread about this later. It's very important, as it sheds a lot of light on what Christianity was originally about and how controlled it became. It's also significant as it relates to other religions. I'm learning a lot more about this recently and it's extremely important to the big picture.)
Clearly, a belief without morality and reason behind it is inept and shallow. Beliefs in and of themselves don't mean anything if they require the believer to deny the evidence or physical reality or require irrational thinking. If you believe the earth is flat, then your belief is worthless/harmful because physical reality says otherwise. No wonder then that early Christian leaders and philosophers wrote about First Principles - they understood that if you start in error you will end up in error. They were attempting to start with the correct premises. When was the last time you heard of a modern Christian leader or "philosopher" write about First Principles? The best they do is write books that quote the Bible often in order to make arguments, but this is purely an appeal to authority on top of the problem of not starting with a clear, consistent, and reasonable approach to interpreting the Bible.
Now, what if morality/reason is the only focus of the religion? What if the religion is essentially atheistic and dictates proper morality, but has no belief in the afterlife? The problem here is clear: if the universe is purely materialistic and directionless, then there is no real basis for making "correct" choices in one's life. Trying to lead a moral life and lead others to do the same has no point or lasting effect: once you die, you are dead forever and there was no real point to any of it. Your offspring could easily perish before their time, rendering what little time they had anyway as worthless. Likewise, the thugs, elites, and other scum that rule the world are on a time limit as well. Regardless of who outlasts the others, the universe will have the final victory as it dies in a few billion years, taking whatever life remains with it.
If both morality and an afterlife cannot be united within religion, then the religion will be weak on one end.
Beliefs without reason are absurd. Morality without an afterlife is pointless. Both are needed. Reason should be what brings them forth. As I've heard it said before, "God gave you a brain and He expects you to use it!" I think that God is not an insane jokester god as many "fundamentalist" types present (though they present God this way unintentionally due to ignorance) who made the universe in a way contrary to what the evidence tells us, but that this is the error of men who are trying to impose their own conceptions of God above what reason could inform them of God. Before the heliocentric model of the solar system was understood to be most accurate, astronomers were putting circles within circles within circles in their models of the solar system in a desperate attempt to explain how everything was orbiting the earth in their models. They were trying to make all the evidence fit their incorrect conception of it. Once they discarded what was incorrect, they were able to accept a model of the solar system that made sense and it stood explained. That's why we need reason to inform both morality and beliefs - otherwise we are stumbling in the dark, trying to fit God into a box (flat earthers, creationists) or failing to recognize what reason can possibly tell us about God and the afterlife (atheism.)
There is no indication, that anything like a 'God' might exist.
Modern research - about nuclear power, astronomy, medicine etc. - could solve many issues nowadays which were considered to be 'tabu' in the past. All was 'Made by God'.
But even if there is some reason to believe there is a 'God', it is no proof for any afterlife.
About the soul, we do not know if it exists and even if a soul exists, we do not know what will happen with it after death.
Has the soul a form of consciousness and if yes, what consciousness might it be? Those of a newborn child or of a very old senile person not even aware to be 'alive' or an' intelligent soul' which can make decisions?
No faithful believer of any religion could ever answer these questions to me.
I voted 'others', I do not believe in any religion.
Religion needs to make you want to be a part of something outside yourself, allowing teamwork even when it is not in the individuals' apparent best interests. Perhaps in desert communities day to day survival was hard enough and the likelihood that your children would survive was hard enough that you wouldn't need an afterlife motive. But in most societies I would agree that you need some kind of rationale as to why you should care about anything besides yourself.
Given how modern religions depict God, I can't argue with that. I think God has been misunderstood. However, we can't really make progress on this point until we can define what God is. There's no point arguing whether or not something exists without defining it. And as a side point, not being able to define something is not evidence against it. I also can't sufficiently define love, emotions, thoughts, volition, consciousness, and other abstract and immaterial things, though I'm sure we'd agree that those things exist. I'm trying to form an accurate conception of God, based on what reason, evidence, and the wisdom of history has to tell me. Defining God changes depending on how someone approaches the subject, so coming up with a complete and sufficient definition is far from easy. A scientist might conclude that God doesn't exist because God cannot be measured, and in predictable fashion would explain God away in material terms, much like how the scientist would believe that love exists, but only inasmuch as it is explained by chemical reactions. A preacher might assume God is something "supernatural" and is beyond any tangible connection to the universe. The philosopher might assume that God is a force, law, or essence of the universe, and might try to define God metaphysically but not materially or supernaturally. They all may be onto something, but reconciling and tying it all together? I don't know how that could be done.
Perhaps creation is an inherent ability of the universe, and God is something like the will who drives the universe to create. Everything is natural - there would be nothing supernatural since all things that exist are natural by definition. The universe creating and God creating may be one and the same.
Technically true. However, would you agree that if God existed, some form of afterlife would be very likely?
Yes, I think the best we can potentially do is try to discover the best premise and then follow it to its logical conclusion. There are many beliefs about the soul and afterlife, but these are simply beliefs with no kind of substantiation. We'll never know for sure because we can't test it scientifically. This is why philosophers long ago wrote books about such things as "First Principles" - they were attempting to logically form beliefs about these matters, whereas modern people start with a belief (baseless conclusion) and then works towards the evidence.
Based on what I'm trying to learn about the soul and consciousness, I think intelligence (mind) is probably separate from the soul. Defining consciousness as the soul makes more sense to me, though it is extremely difficult for me to separate the mind because I can't fully comprehend how the two could be different.
Everyone's got an opinion, most of them useless. This is why I say reason must inform belief. Otherwise we end up with such silly situations as the - what, 30,000+? - denominations of a single religion called Christianity.
Which reminds me...I'm not entirely sure how define religion either. Atheists are fond of saying that as bald isn't a hair color, atheism isn't a religion. But it's more a case of not making a choice is still a choice.
But wouldn't desert dwellers even wonder if there was more meaning to their existence than to be born in the desert and to spend their lives trying to survive? I think they would need a more profound motivation as anyone else would. That's my guess, but I'm assuming that spiritually all people have the same needs. I could be wrong.
What do you think is the best rationale for caring about others and the greater good?
Where is your evidence that reincarnation was ever a mainstream Christian belief? From the Biblical texts, we can see that early Christians, like many Jews believed in the physical resurrection of the body from the dead. Christ rose, and those who are His will rise as well. This belief shows up in the early creeds and is still the belief of Christians whose beliefs are orthodox on this particular subject.
But it seems like the belief of disembodied bliss in 'heaven' gets a lot more emphasis among some Christians these days. The Bible doesn't delve into the topic of the state of the dead before the resurrection. There are a few comments and hints. But that certainly isn't the emphasis in the New Testament when it comes to the topic of the afterlife.
I've just started looking into it recently. Start by looking up a man named Origen, who was an early Christian theologian. He apparently wrote of the pre-existence of the soul, reincarnation, and the final reconciliation of all beings to God. He probably referred to reincarnation as "the transmigration of the soul" due to his Hellenistic education. There's definitely Platonist influence, which some Christian preachers will try to separate out, but its influence is there. These doctrines became increasingly controversial over the decades and centuries until finally being forced out of Christianity at the Council of Nicea - a cutthroat power play to increase the power of the church over the masses. (Can't sell indulgences and control people if your purpose is to return to earth again and again to learn.)
There may be scriptural support for reincarnation too, or at least there are allusions to reincarnation. I say "may" because I haven't personally looked these verses up in the Bible yet. Here's a link that discusses some of these allusions to reincarnation in the Bible: http://reluctant-messenger.com/origen3.html I want to find original sources - Origen's writings - instead of reading books about him, which I can find. Evidently a lot of his work did not survive, unfortunately.
The Council of Nicea is held up by many Christians as a divinely inspired event that solidified the truth, but it was really just a crude power play to standardize Christian doctrine so that the power of the church and empire would grow. It was not an attempt to come to the truth.
Constantine of the Byzantine empire was corrupt and the Council of Nicea was a way he cut down on disagreement. No surprise to me that psychopaths hijacked Christianity. No wonder then that modern "christianity" is anti-intelligence, psychopathic, and liberal.
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