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What is a religion?

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What is a religion?
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MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

I have a few times, also a close relative of mine has.
Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:09 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:
And rules that Buddhists see as beyond challenge are rules against any acts that necessarily increase craving for things like power, pleasure and wealth.


Have you ever been to a Buddhist country and actually met any Buddhists?



I live in Thailand, which is overwhelmingly Buddhist (95% of the population) and frequently rates as the most religious nation on the planet... it's also overtly capitalist in the conspicuous consumerist sense with mega malls in every town, openly caters to all forms of pleasure and entertainment (far more comprehensive than the comparatively prudish West), and its governance both in terms of state and private companies is ardently hierarchical with a culture taught to unquestioningly respect authority.

This is one of the reasons why it's impossible to separate religion from the practice of religion. How many Christians are actually Christ-like or even give a passing attempt to achieve such in their lives?
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:41 pm
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:It doesn't really matter what definition you use, as long as it is at least related to the things that are commonly accepted as a religion and as long as it is not so broad such that it becomes useless, like defining religion in such a way that hobbies and your interests (like being interested in palaeontology) can be considered a religion.

But anything that could count as a religion must be able to bring together different human groups, at least human groups that follow a common religion.
Two (or more) Catholic who have never met can go on crusade together or contribute funds to build a church because they both/all believe in a common god.
Also, however you define religion, would professional sports count as religions or not?

No, I wouldn't. Of course, if you want to artificially define the term "religion" to be so broad then, yes. But I specify my terms to only apply to things that are universally excepted as a religion. Professional ports are not.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:I do the same way that Aron does. Take everything that is pretty much universally accepted as a religion and listing the common characters that are observed among them. Each one characteristics might be found in isolation to something else, like dogmatic beliefs in political ideologies, but it doesn't count as religion until each of these characters are present at the same time.

One thing that is common to them all is that they are all founded on a belief in an order that is not signed or legislated by any flesh-and-blood beings, or even machines, and consist of a code of behavioral ethics founded on that belief.

Which is mostly covered in number 1 and 2 of my definition. Although you could add the qualifier of "not signed or legislated by any beings of the natural world" to the code of ethics.

Myrtonos wrote:And yes, political ideologies do have a lot in common with everything universally accepted as religions:

Yeah, just as I said previously, elements of religion can be found in something that is not religion. What makes something a religion is when these aspects are all found together. A political ideology could be considered a religion, or more appropriately the political party of a religion (as you have various religious parties in practically any country). So these often overlap in some ways, but they are still distinct. Political ideologies specifically apply to how a society should be operating with a proposed set of ideals and policies. Religions are often applied in politics, but it doesn't have to be. There are also secular political parties with their own ideologies. So they aren't mutually inclusive.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:My usage of the word "religion" is:
A doctrine that consisting of:.
1) A dogma of a faith-based belief system, including beliefs of the supernatural (not always including deities), especially a belief in the immortal soul and the after-life, or at the very least, in some aspect of the "self" that survives the death of the physical body in some way.
2) A code of behavioural ethics, including a set of mandatory beliefs. The adherence (or non-adherence) of this very often determines the fate of the immortal "self" after death. (Examples: People who adhere to the christian/islamic doctrine go to heaven while those who don't go to hell. A buddhist's goal in life is to reach Nirvana and break the cycle of death and rebirth. Exceptions include things like "Sheol" which Hebrews believes is the place where everyone goes, regardless of their behaviour or beliefs in life).
3) Folklore and mythology, which are intended for various purposes: Explaining the origin and the state of existence (creation myths), often chronologically followed by a compilation of historical, legendary and/or mythical events; but these don't have to be taken literally (as actual history) and are often only taught to teach morals or life lessons.
4) Associated rituals, traditions and ceremonies: Such as marriage, prayer to and worship of deities (if present), annual celebrations and festivals, etc.
Together, these 4 elements are a major aspect of (or is itself) the world view of religious devotees.

While most religions do include beliefs of the supernatural, note that supernatural means outside of nature. The Buddhist law of karma is not outside of nature.


But buddhists still believe that an element of the "self" survives beyond the death of the body. That's still supernatural and my definition doesn't mean that religions cannot have beliefs about the natural, but they do have at least some supernatural ones, specifically the immortal "self". You can't cherry pick one aspect of a religion that is natural and conclude that there are no supernatural elements to the religion. That's like saying, because Jesus Christ was crucified on wooden cross with iron nails (supposedly of natural origin), therefore christianity is also not supernatural.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:38 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Nesslig20 wrote:No, I wouldn't. Of course, if you want to artificially define the term "religion" to be so broad then, yes. But I specify my terms to only apply to things that are universally excepted as a religion.

So which of those criteria do professional sports not meet?

Nesslig20 wrote:Yeah, just as I said previously, elements of religion can be found in something that is not religion. What makes something a religion is when these aspects are all found together. A political ideology could be considered a religion, or more appropriately the political party of a religion (as you have various religious parties in practically any country). So these often overlap in some ways, but they are still distinct. Political ideologies specifically apply to how a society should be operating with a proposed set of ideals and policies. Religions are often applied in politics, but it doesn't have to be. There are also secular political parties with their own ideologies. So they aren't mutually inclusive.

There are more reasons for considering political ideologies religions. Religions also specify how societies should function (think of Islam's Sharia law), this is in fact the importance of religion, and also the importance of political ideologies. They both give a superhuman legitimacy to the way society should function.

Nesslig20 wrote:But buddhists still believe that an element of the "self" survives beyond the death of the body. That's still supernatural and my definition doesn't mean that religions cannot have beliefs about the natural, but they do have at least some supernatural ones, specifically the immortal "self". You can't cherry pick one aspect of a religion that is natural and conclude that there are no supernatural elements to the religion. That's like saying, because Jesus Christ was crucified on wooden cross with iron nails (supposedly of natural origin), therefore christianity is also not supernatural.

While everything conventionally accepted as a religion may well believe in such an element of "self" it has been possible in the modern age to give a superhuman legitimacy to norms, values, rituals and ceremonies without anything supernatural. Yes, all religions may well have beliefs about the natural and indeed political ideologies only have beliefs about the natural.
Nothing in the texts or Adam Smith, Karl Marx or Simone de Beauvoir says anything about what happens to a capitalist, communist or feminist after they die, and indeed political ideologies don't have any interest in afterlife, but there are still good reasons for counting them as religions. More on that in another thread, maybe someday.
Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:20 am
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:No, I wouldn't. Of course, if you want to artificially define the term "religion" to be so broad then, yes. But I specify my terms to only apply to things that are universally excepted as a religion.

So which of those criteria do professional sports not meet?

My criteria? Pretty much all of them.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:Yeah, just as I said previously, elements of religion can be found in something that is not religion. What makes something a religion is when these aspects are all found together. A political ideology could be considered a religion, or more appropriately the political party of a religion (as you have various religious parties in practically any country). So these often overlap in some ways, but they are still distinct. Political ideologies specifically apply to how a society should be operating with a proposed set of ideals and policies. Religions are often applied in politics, but it doesn't have to be. There are also secular political parties with their own ideologies. So they aren't mutually inclusive.

There are more reasons for considering political ideologies [as] religions. Religions also specify how societies should function (think of Islam's Sharia law), this is in fact the importance of religion, and also the importance of political ideologies. They both give a superhuman legitimacy to the way society should function.


I already said that religions are often applied in politics. You can have religion without politics and vice versa. Pointing out where two categories overlap doesn't mean that they are mutually inclusive. It's like saying that since you have religions that do faith healing, therefore all other medical practices count as a religion too and doctors are simply priests. That is stupid.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:But buddhists still believe that an element of the "self" survives beyond the death of the body. That's still supernatural and my definition doesn't mean that religions cannot have beliefs about the natural, but they do have at least some supernatural ones, specifically the immortal "self". You can't cherry pick one aspect of a religion that is natural and conclude that there are no supernatural elements to the religion. That's like saying, because Jesus Christ was crucified on wooden cross with iron nails (supposedly of natural origin), therefore christianity is also not supernatural.

While everything conventionally accepted as a religion may well believe in such an element of "self" it has been possible in the modern age to give a superhuman legitimacy to norms, values, rituals and ceremonies without anything supernatural.


Sure it is possible to do that without any reference to the supernatural, but that's not a religion if you don't have some supernatural element involved, specially a belief in the immortal "self". That's a trait that is universally shared by all religions.

Myrtonos wrote:Yes, all religions may well have beliefs about the natural and indeed political ideologies only have beliefs about the natural.
Nothing in the texts or Adam Smith, Karl Marx or Simone de Beauvoir says anything about what happens to a capitalist, communist or feminist after they die, and indeed political ideologies don't have any interest in afterlife, but there are still good reasons for counting them as religions.


I don't, and I don't care if you define religion in such a broad way that makes it include all politics. And as I said before, aspects of religion can be found in isolation of each other. It only counts as religion when these are found together, at least how I use the terms which I would argue works. So all political ideologies might share some aspects of religion like a specific doctrine of shared beliefs, but not necessary all other aspects of religion, like the supernatural. And you can have overlap between the two, but that doesn't mean they aren't distinct categories with instances where only one is present but not the other. Secular politics is a good example of politics without an adherence to a religion and you can have religious people who take their religion only in their personal life, without forcing their beliefs onto others via legislation.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:27 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Nesslig20 wrote:My criteria? Pretty much all of them.

But professional sports have their rules, right, rituals and ceremonies.

Nesslig20 wrote:I already said that religions are often applied in politics. You can have religion without politics and vice versa. Pointing out where two categories overlap doesn't mean that they are mutually inclusive. It's like saying that since you have religions that do faith healing, therefore all other medical practices count as a religion too and doctors are simply priests.

I don't know about religion without politics, but if you count political ideologies as religions, then politics does need religion. I'm not saying that the overlap makes them mutually inclusive, but there are good reasons for counting political ideologies as religions.

Nesslig20 wrote:Sure it is possible to do that without any reference to the supernatural, but that's not a religion if you don't have some supernatural element involved, specially a belief in the immortal "self". That's a trait that is universally shared by all religions.

The reason for the definition of religion including being founded on a belief in a superhuman order is not because everything conventionally accepted as a religion is founded on belief in such an order but because this is necessarily so in order for a religion to stabilise social order and bring together

Nesslig20 wrote:I don't, and I don't care if you define religion in such a broad way that makes it include all politics. And as I said before, aspects of religion can be found in isolation of each other. It only counts as religion when these are found together, at least how I use the terms which I would argue works. So all political ideologies might share some aspects of religion like a specific doctrine of shared beliefs, but not necessary all other aspects of religion, like the supernatural. And you can have overlap between the two, but that doesn't mean they aren't distinct categories with instances where only one is present but not the other. Secular politics is a good example of politics without an adherence to a religion and you can have religious people who take their religion only in their personal life, without forcing their beliefs onto others via legislation.

It's actually not enough to "take everything that is pretty much universally accepted as a religion and listing the common characters that are observed among them". The "common features" have changed over time. For example, there was a time when all religions did indeed have gods, this was before Buddhism, Jainsim or Daoism were founded, yes Jainism and Daoism are two other religions without gods. And maybe there even was a time when all religions were polytheistic, as far as I know, all non-Eurasian faiths were/are polytheistic, for example those of sub-saharan Africa, the Americas, Australia and Polynesia.
A better idea is to take everything a religion must have in order to stabilise social order and bring together different human groups and consider this central. Some religions have gods, others don't, and indeed everything conventionally accepted as a religion is founded on belief in a superhuman order, and in some religions, but not all, this order is also supernatural, but political ideologies are also founded on belief in a superhuman order.
Is there anyone else here who does count political ideologies as religions?
Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:20 pm
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:My criteria? Pretty much all of them.

But professional sports have their rules, right, rituals and ceremonies.


Not always. No. For the same reason that playing monopoly (which has rules) is not a religion either.
I keep saying this to you again. You can find some of the aspects of religion in isolation of the other ones in some things such as in some (but not all) professional sport events. The olympic games would be the best example of some professional sport event that is ceremonial in some sense. But it doesn't count as a religion unless these aspects are together.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:I already said that religions are often applied in politics. You can have religion without politics and vice versa. Pointing out where two categories overlap doesn't mean that they are mutually inclusive. It's like saying that since you have religions that do faith healing, therefore all other medical practices count as a religion too and doctors are simply priests.

I don't know about religion without politics, but if you count political ideologies as religions, then politics does need religion. I'm not saying that the overlap makes them mutually inclusive, but there are good reasons for counting political ideologies as religions.


Like what? I mean you have things like secular political branches, which are explicitly non-religious. That example alone would indicate that political ideologies is a subset of religions as you want to claim it.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:Sure it is possible to do that without any reference to the supernatural, but that's not a religion if you don't have some supernatural element involved, specially a belief in the immortal "self". That's a trait that is universally shared by all religions.

The reason for the definition of religion including being founded on a belief in a superhuman order is not because everything conventionally accepted as a religion is founded on belief in such an order but because this is necessarily so in order for a religion to stabilise social order and bring together.


Okay, that still doesn't invalidate my point that all religions make references to the supernatural. Without any reference to the supernatural, you miss a critical aspect of what makes something a religion or not. Well at least how I use the term "religion". As I said before, whether you want to define religion so broadly that it includes professional sports, political ideologies or even playing board games like monopoly. I don't care about such usages.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:I don't, and I don't care if you define religion in such a broad way that makes it include all politics. And as I said before, aspects of religion can be found in isolation of each other. It only counts as religion when these are found together, at least how I use the terms which I would argue works. So all political ideologies might share some aspects of religion like a specific doctrine of shared beliefs, but not necessary all other aspects of religion, like the supernatural. And you can have overlap between the two, but that doesn't mean they aren't distinct categories with instances where only one is present but not the other. Secular politics is a good example of politics without an adherence to a religion and you can have religious people who take their religion only in their personal life, without forcing their beliefs onto others via legislation.

It's actually not enough to "take everything that is pretty much universally accepted as a religion and listing the common characters that are observed among them". The "common features" have changed over time. For example, there was a time when all religions did indeed have gods, this was before Buddhism, Jainsim or Daoism were founded, yes Jainism and Daoism are two other religions without gods. And maybe there even was a time when all religions were polytheistic, as far as I know, all non-Eurasian faiths were/are polytheistic, for example those of sub-saharan Africa, the Americas, Australia and Polynesia.


While it is a good point to point out that we can find later exceptions to a rule that was previously established. For example, we once thought that all mammals gave birth live. Then we discovered the platypus and the echidna (monotremes). We could have said, okay these are not mammals, they are their own group, but what we did was just expand the definition a tiny bit. But this is a moot point. Yeah, at one point, shared features between things we would've considered as a religion were different, but the term "religion" was even used back then. Definitions aren't made a priori. We have to observe some things with common properties and then we decide to define terms that categories them into groups. So the method of observing features that are held by all religions that are universally accepted a such is still a solid way to define a term. Perhaps not ideally, but that's how words work.


Also, some minor points (not really important): Taoism isn't universally accepted as a religion. Some times it is practiced as a religion but other times it is not. It is like political ideologies. Sometimes it is (part of) a religion, sometimes not. So Taoism in general lies within a grey area that is very close to religion, sometimes crossing the line but not always. And there were non-eurasian faiths that were monotheistic, like Akhenaten's Amun-ra.

Myrtonos wrote:A better idea is to take everything a religion must have in order to stabilise social order and bring together different human groups and consider this central.


I find this too broad since that would make pretty much any social interaction a religion. But again, if that is just how you personally use this term, that's entirely up to you. It is simply semantics at this point that goes nowhere. You define religion in such a way such that the Olympic games would count as one, and I tend to restrict my definition to apply to things that are universally accepted as a religion. Each has his own preference.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:11 pm
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Nesslig20 wrote:Not always. No. For the same reason that playing monopoly (which has rules) is not a religion either.
I keep saying this to you again. You can find some of the aspects of religion in isolation of the other ones in some things such as in some (but not all) professional sport events. The olympic games would be the best example of some professional sport event that is ceremonial in some sense. But it doesn't count as a religion unless these aspects are together.

There are no rituals or ceremonies surrounding monopoly. This in fact can't be so because monopoly is not a sport game played by professionals in front of an audience.

Nesslig20 wrote:Like what? I mean you have things like secular political branches, which are explicitly non-religious. That example alone would indicate that political ideologies is a subset of religions as you want to claim it.

I'm not quite sure what this means.

Nesslig20 wrote:Okay, that still doesn't invalidate my point that all religions make references to the supernatural. Without any reference to the supernatural, you miss a critical aspect of what makes something a religion or not. Well at least how I use the term "religion". As I said before, whether you want to define religion so broadly that it includes professional sports, political ideologies or even playing board games like monopoly. I don't care about such usages.

I'm not sure if Buddhism in its pure form actually makes references to the supernatural, I do know many Buddhist sects do.

Nesslig20 wrote:While it is a good point to point out that we can find later exceptions to a rule that was previously established. For example, we once thought that all mammals gave birth live. Then we discovered the platypus and the echidna (monotremes). We could have said, okay these are not mammals, they are their own group, but what we did was just expand the definition a tiny bit. But this is a moot point. Yeah, at one point, shared features between things we would've considered as a religion were different, but the term "religion" was even used back then. Definitions aren't made a priori. We have to observe some things with common properties and then we decide to define terms that categories them into groups. So the method of observing features that are held by all religions that are universally accepted a such is still a solid way to define a term. Perhaps not ideally, but that's how words work.

But no, mammals are a biological class or organism, more closely related to each other than organisms of all other classes. They are also all warm-blooded, all have some hair or fur and all female mammals give milk to their young. It wouldn't make sense to define a mammal as bearing live young, even before monotremes were discovered. It was already sufficient to define a mammal according to other more significant characteristics, like body temperature control, hair/fur, giving milk to young, and genetic relationships.

So once all religions have gods, then there came religions without gods. Similarly, there was a time when all religions considered what happened to a follower after they died. But since the 18th century there have been religions like capitalism, communism and feminism thta have no interest in afterlife, and also promise a better life here rather than after death. I know that these are more widely accepted as an ideology, but it it made sense to expand the definition of religion when creeds like religions but without gods were formed, why not expand it again when the coming of ones that don't have an interest in the afterlife?

Nesslig20 wrote:Also, some minor points (not really important): Taoism isn't universally accepted as a religion. Some times it is practiced as a religion but other times it is not. It is like political ideologies. Sometimes it is (part of) a religion, sometimes not. So Taoism in general lies within a grey area that is very close to religion, sometimes crossing the line but not always. And there were non-eurasian faiths that were monotheistic, like Akhenaten's Amun-ra.

I'm not sure that Buddhism in its pure form is universally accepted as a religion either. And I have never heard of Amun-ra. Yes, Taoism lies in the same grey area as all political ideologies.

Nesslig20 wrote:I find this too broad since that would make pretty much any social interaction a religion. But again, if that is just how you personally use this term, that's entirely up to you. It is simply semantics at this point that goes nowhere. You define religion in such a way such that the Olympic games would count as one, and I tend to restrict my definition to apply to things that are universally accepted as a religion. Each has his own preference.

How could a social interaction be a religion if not founded on any belief in any superhuman order? A religion must necessarily be founded on a belief in a superhuman order with rules and rights derived from it in order to ensure social stability, at least among a larger number of humans than any circle or friends and/or close relatives. It is religions and ideologies that allow co-operation between humans who don't know each other, have never met and aren't even closely related by birth or marriage.

As I said, belief in a common god has everything to do with two or more Catholics who've never met before going on crusade together or co-operating in any other way. They both or all believe in a common God, that was incarnated in human as Jesus and who died for our sins. They also both or all believe in heaven and hell and the law of that God. This also means that the number of Catholics going on crusade together can be greater than the population of any band or even tribe where all members know each other and/or are closely related by means mentioned above.

Two or more Buddhists who've never met can nevertheless combine efforts in peace-keeping because they both or all believe in Karma, the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

Two or more communists who've never met could come together to spread the word of Marx and Lenin because they both or all believe in a common superhuman order of natural and immutable laws that should guide human actions.
Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:02 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

I'm not sure if Buddhism in its pure form actually makes references to the supernatural, I do know many Buddhist sects do.

...

I'm not sure that Buddhism in its pure form is universally accepted as a religion either.


What is this "pure form"?

Typically, this is the kind of argument reserved for religious apologists. There is no "pure form" of anything ideological; it's all interpretation of the received word. There is only what there is, what is practiced, and what is believed by adherents.

Buddhism makes plenty of references to the supernatural, and the preponderance of Buddhists make votive offerings and prayers to various gods - typically from the Hindu pantheon.

As already mentioned, Buddhism is not only clearly a religion, but Thailand - an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation - frequently rates as the most religious nation on the planet. It's only 'not a religion' if one takes the Abrahamic set as being the case model for 'what is a religion?'. Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand, and the monarch must be Buddhist.


How could a social interaction be a religion if not founded on any belief in any superhuman order?


Well, that would be a question you would need to answer because no other people have yet bought into this concept as being a fundamental quality to a religion. You frequently use the word 'must' but that's becoming more of a mantra than anything else because it hasn't been shown to be true, and has been disputed as having much in the way of utility with respect to understand what a religion is.


Two or more Buddhists who've never met can nevertheless combine efforts in peace-keeping because they both or all believe in Karma, the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

Two or more communists who've never met could come together to spread the word of Marx and Lenin because they both or all believe in a common superhuman order of natural and immutable laws that should guide human actions.



And, to call back your previous argument, two or more Manchester United fans who've never met could nevertheless combine efforts to support their team, party drunkenly, or vandalize cars in a neighborhood. Neither need be from Manchester.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:19 am
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:Not always. No. For the same reason that playing monopoly (which has rules) is not a religion either.
I keep saying this to you again. You can find some of the aspects of religion in isolation of the other ones in some things such as in some (but not all) professional sport events. The olympic games would be the best example of some professional sport event that is ceremonial in some sense. But it doesn't count as a religion unless these aspects are together.

There are no rituals or ceremonies surrounding monopoly. This in fact can't be so because monopoly is not a sport game played by professionals in front of an audience.


I didn't say monopoly was a sport. You brought up professional sport as examples you would count as a religion, for reasons that would also make board game as monopoly could count as a religion. There are actually monopoly tournaments that are held annually, so there are "ceremonies" or "rituals" surrounding that game in the same sense that they surround professional sport. Perhaps not to the same extend as sport. The olympics is a world wide event, not many people know about monopoly tournaments obviously, but it is still ceremonial in the same sense. This is the problem I have with your broad definition of religion. It makes professional sport and even (professional) monopoly game a religion.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:Like what? I mean you have things like secular political branches, which are explicitly non-religious. That example alone would indicate that political ideologies is a subset of religions as you want to claim it.

I'm not quite sure what this means.


It means that there are political parties that explicitly reject any influence from any religion. That's what secular means. The secular party of Australia would be one example But of course, you have artificially defined religion in such a broad way such that it is almost impossible to not be religion, because according to your definition that includes monopoly and professional sport, pretty much everyone is quote "religious" in some way, which is probably why you don't understand this nuance.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:Okay, that still doesn't invalidate my point that all religions make references to the supernatural. Without any reference to the supernatural, you miss a critical aspect of what makes something a religion or not. Well at least how I use the term "religion". As I said before, whether you want to define religion so broadly that it includes professional sports, political ideologies or even playing board games like monopoly. I don't care about such usages.

I'm not sure if Buddhism in its pure form actually makes references to the supernatural, I do know many Buddhist sects do.


Sparhafoc pretty much answered this in the same way I would:
What is this "pure form"? Typically, this is the kind of argument reserved for religious apologists. There is no "pure form" of anything ideological; it's all interpretation of the received word. There is only what there is, what is practiced, and what is believed by adherents.Buddhism makes plenty of references to the supernatural, and the preponderance of Buddhists make votive offerings and prayers to various gods - typically from the Hindu pantheon. As already mentioned, Buddhism is not only clearly a religion, but Thailand - an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation - frequently rates as the most religious nation on the planet. It's only 'not a religion' if one takes the Abrahamic set as being the case model for 'what is a religion?'. Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand, and the monarch must be Buddhist.


Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:While it is a good point to point out that we can find later exceptions to a rule that was previously established. For example, we once thought that all mammals gave birth live. Then we discovered the platypus and the echidna (monotremes). We could have said, okay these are not mammals, they are their own group, but what we did was just expand the definition a tiny bit. But this is a moot point. Yeah, at one point, shared features between things we would've considered as a religion were different, but the term "religion" was even used back then. Definitions aren't made a priori. We have to observe some things with common properties and then we decide to define terms that categories them into groups. So the method of observing features that are held by all religions that are universally accepted a such is still a solid way to define a term. Perhaps not ideally, but that's how words work.

But no, mammals are a biological class or organism, more closely related to each other than organisms of all other classes. They are also all warm-blooded, all have some hair or fur and all female mammals give milk to their young. It wouldn't make sense to define a mammal as bearing live young, even before monotremes were discovered. It was already sufficient to define a mammal according to other more significant characteristics, like body temperature control, hair/fur, giving milk to young, and genetic relationships.


Oh boy, systematics, my favourite topic. Eh, no. That's not true at all. When mammals was first defined, it was just about "breasts" for which the mammal class was named. And monotremes don't even have breasts, so even by that single trait definition, the argument doesn't work. At first, they collectively described ALL the characteristics that were known at the time. Egg laying mammals were not known, so all mammals was considered to give birth live and so pretty much anything that laid eggs like birds and reptiles, wasn't considered to be a mammal. Of course, there were other traits that collectively defined mammals, like fur and the trait for which they are named for, but live-birth still USED to be one of the defining characters. So when the platypus was discovered, zoologists didn't know what to make of it. They even thought that the first specimen brought back was a hoax.
[url=The paradoxical platypus]Brian K. Hall[/url] wrote:"Ornithorhynchus greatly puzzled and agitated naturalists of the day. Was it a mammal, as Shaw thought? Did it represent a new group of animals? Could it be a “missing link” between two well-known groups, especially between reptiles and mammals? Did it represent a new class of vertebrates, as the French anatomist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire maintained? Or was it a hoax, as many suspected and as Shaw himself wondered, even as he wrote the initial description? Did the females lay eggs, as birds and many reptiles do? Or did they give birth to live young, as mammals do?"
So after the discovery of monotremes, we either had to do one thing. Make a new group for monotremes, outside the class of mammals. Or expand the definition slightly such that monotremes are now classified within mammals. The latter option was taken. Although currently, there were many more revisions that took fossils into account. Typical mammals traits like fur and mammary glands often can't be observed in fossils, for obvious reasons. So we had to define mammals in terms of skeletal features. Currently, the most used definition that takes both extant and extinct species into account is "synapsids that possess a dentary–squamosal jaw articulation and occlusion between upper and lower molars with a transverse component to the movement - or are descended from them (cladistically)" Mammaries don't even have to be present anymore.

So no, you're completely wrong about this.

Myrtonos wrote:So once all religions have gods, then there came religions without gods.

So once all mammals were egg laying (which used to be the case in the triassic), and then there came mammals that gave birth live.
What's your point?

Myrtonos wrote:Similarly, there was a time when all religions considered what happened to a follower after they died. But since the 18th century there have been religions like capitalism, communism and feminism thta have no interest in afterlife,

I don't consider any of these as religions, for reasons that I don't accept professional sports or monopoly games to be religion. None of these are widely recognised as religions. But again, if you want to define religion in such a broad sense, then practically everything becomes a religion including these things. Sure, don't care about semantics.

Myrtonos wrote:and also promise a better life here rather than after death. I know that these are more widely accepted as an ideology, but it it made sense to expand the definition of religion when creeds like religions but without gods were formed, why not expand it again when the coming of ones that don't have an interest in the afterlife?

You've to draw the line somewhere, as is the case with mammals. We could theoretically expand the definite of mammals such that it includes all synapisids like this one below.
Image
It made sense to expand the definition of mammals when mammals that lay eggs where discovered, why not expand it again such that dimetrodon is a mammal too?
Well, to be fair, it is in essence arbitrary. We come to these definitions mainly on historical conventions rather than a solid foundation of what a word "truly means". So that's why I rather only define my terms in specific context that applies to all examples that are widely accepted as such. Defining "religion" such that it includes economic theories like capitalism, social and equal rights movements like feminism, professional sports and board games, makes it so broad that there practically no line between what is and is not a religion, making the term useless. That's why I tend to draw the lines at a places where it is clear and applicable.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:I find this too broad since that would make pretty much any social interaction a religion. But again, if that is just how you personally use this term, that's entirely up to you. It is simply semantics at this point that goes nowhere. You define religion in such a way such that the Olympic games would count as one, and I tend to restrict my definition to apply to things that are universally accepted as a religion. Each has his own preference.

How could a social interaction be a religion if not founded on any belief in any superhuman order? A religion must necessarily be founded on a belief in a superhuman order with rules and rights derived from it in order to ensure social stability, at least among a larger number of humans than any circle or friends and/or close relatives. It is religions and ideologies that allow co-operation between humans who don't know each other, have never met and aren't even closely related by birth or marriage.


Sparhafoc wrote:Well, that would be a question you would need to answer because no other people have yet bought into this concept as being a fundamental quality to a religion. You frequently use the word 'must' but that's becoming more of a mantra than anything else because it hasn't been shown to be true, and has been disputed as having much in the way of utility with respect to understand what a religion is.

I have nothing more to add to that response.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:49 am
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:What is this "pure form"?

Think of the form actually founded by Buddha.

Sparhafoc wrote:What is this "pure form"?
Typically, this is the kind of argument reserved for religious apologists. There is no "pure form" of anything ideological; it's all interpretation of the received word. There is only what there is, what is practiced, and what is believed by adherents.[/quote]
Well, the pure form of Buddhism is apparently quite rare. See below.

Sparhafoc wrote:Buddhism makes plenty of references to the supernatural, and the preponderance of Buddhists make votive offerings and prayers to various gods - typically from the Hindu pantheon.

Yes, many Buddhist sects even make a reference to gods, myths and legends, the pure form of Buddhism has no gods or anything like it. I have looked up "Buddhism in its pure" in a popular search engine but couldn't find any good resources on it but could find mentions of Buddhism in its pure form. One thing I did find is Secular Buddhism. Also see this.

Sparhafoc wrote:As already mentioned, Buddhism is not only clearly a religion, but Thailand - an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation - frequently rates as the most religious nation on the planet. It's only 'not a religion' if one takes the Abrahamic set as being the case model for 'what is a religion?'. Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand, and the monarch must be Buddhist.

But is it a specific Buddhist sect in Thailand that's followed by the Monarch? Maybe it's not Buddhism in its pure form.

Sparhafoc wrote:Well, that would be a question you would need to answer because no other people have yet bought into this concept as being a fundamental quality to a religion. You frequently use the word 'must' but that's becoming more of a mantra than anything else because it hasn't been shown to be true, and has been disputed as having much in the way of utility with respect to understand what a religion is.

Look, I use it because a religion must be founded on belief in a superhuman order to ensure social stability. Given a superhuman legitimacy to social orders and hierarchies places at least some rules and/or laws of society beyond challenge.

Sparhafoc wrote:And, to call back your previous argument, two or more Manchester United fans who've never met could nevertheless combine efforts to support their team, party drunkenly, or vandalize cars in a neighborhood. Neither need be from Manchester.

Yes but the rules and rights of the sport game are not enough to ensure social stability among fans of even the same team, they must also have a religion or ideology in common.

Nesslig20 wrote:I didn't say monopoly was a sport. You brought up professional sport as examples you would count as a religion, for reasons that would also make board game as monopoly could count as a religion. There are actually monopoly tournaments that are held annually, so there are "ceremonies" or "rituals" surrounding that game in the same sense that they surround professional sport. Perhaps not to the same extend as sport. The olympics is a world wide event, not many people know about monopoly tournaments obviously, but it is still ceremonial in the same sense. This is the problem I have with your broad definition of religion. It makes professional sport and even (professional) monopoly game a religion.

I've never heard of monopoly tournaments. Also, I didn't define religion, I said that any definition of religion must include being founded on a belief in a superhuman order, without including that, professional sports could indeed count as religions.

Nesslig20 wrote:It means that there are political parties that explicitly reject any influence from any religion. That's what secular means. The secular party of Australia would be one example But of course, you have artificially defined religion in such a broad way such that it is almost impossible to not be religion, because according to your definition that includes monopoly and professional sport, pretty much everyone is quote "religious" in some way, which is probably why you don't understand this nuance.

They may reject influence from any theist religion but they don't reject influence from natural-law religions that they don't even consider religions but ideologies.

Nesslig20 wrote:Oh boy, systematics, my favourite topic. Eh, no. That's not true at all. When mammals was first defined, it was just about "breasts" for which the mammal class was named. And monotremes don't even have breasts, so even by that single trait definition, the argument doesn't work. At first, they collectively described ALL the characteristics that were known at the time. Egg laying mammals were not known, so all mammals was considered to give birth live and so pretty much anything that laid eggs like birds and reptiles, wasn't considered to be a mammal. Of course, there were other traits that collectively defined mammals, like fur and the trait for which they are named for, but live-birth still USED to be one of the defining characters. So when the platypus was discovered, zoologists didn't know what to make of it. They even thought that the first specimen brought back was a hoax.
[url=The paradoxical platypus]Brian K. Hall[/url] wrote:"Ornithorhynchus greatly puzzled and agitated naturalists of the day. Was it a mammal, as Shaw thought? Did it represent a new group of animals? Could it be a “missing link” between two well-known groups, especially between reptiles and mammals? Did it represent a new class of vertebrates, as the French anatomist Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire maintained? Or was it a hoax, as many suspected and as Shaw himself wondered, even as he wrote the initial description? Did the females lay eggs, as birds and many reptiles do? Or did they give birth to live young, as mammals do?"
So after the discovery of monotremes, we either had to do one thing. Make a new group for monotremes, outside the class of mammals. Or expand the definition slightly such that monotremes are now classified within mammals. The latter option was taken. Although currently, there were many more revisions that took fossils into account. Typical mammals traits like fur and mammary glands often can't be observed in fossils, for obvious reasons. So we had to define mammals in terms of skeletal features. Currently, the most used definition that takes both extant and extinct species into account is "synapsids that possess a dentary–squamosal jaw articulation and occlusion between upper and lower molars with a transverse component to the movement - or are descended from them (cladistically)" Mammaries don't even have to be present anymore.

First of all, class Mammalia was actually named after the Latin word for milk. And it was thought that all species of class Mammalia bore live young. Monotremes do lay eggs, yes, but they are still clearly part of class mammalia, they are more closely related to other mammals than to any reptiles, for example.
And before the discovery of monotremes, anything that laid eggs wasn't considered a mammal because it had no fur nor hair and because it didn't give milk to young and maybe even because of skeletal features

Nesslig20 wrote:So once all mammals were egg laying (which used to be the case in the triassic), and then there came mammals that gave birth live.
What's your point?

Well, once all religions considered what happened to a follower after they die. Then there came along creeds that are like religions in many ways and even give superhuman legitimacy to norms and values, but have no interest in afterlife. Most just call those creeds ideologies, but Yuval Noah Harrari, in his book Sapiens and in an online course on a the history of humankind, has extended the category of religions to include political ideologies.
Dr. Harrari explains why we need shared legends to enable us to co-operate.

Nesslig20 wrote:I don't consider any of these as religions, for reasons that I don't accept professional sports or monopoly games to be religion. None of these are widely recognised as religions. But again, if you want to define religion in such a broad sense, then practically everything becomes a religion including these things. Sure, don't care about semantics.

Professional sports are not founded on a belief in a superhuman order, and therefore cannot give a superhuman legitimacy to any rules or rights. But capitalism, communism and feminism are founded on belief in a superhuman order, do give superhuman legitimacy to rules and rights and even rituals and ceremonies.

Nesslig20 wrote:You've to draw the line somewhere, as is the case with mammals. We could theoretically expand the definite of mammals such that it includes all synapisids like this one below.
Image
It made sense to expand the definition of mammals when mammals that lay eggs where discovered, why not expand it again such that dimetrodon is a mammal too?

Maybe because the Dimetrodon doesn't even have the skeletal features of mammals, even monotremes and as far as we know, it had no fur and gave no milk.

Nesslig20 wrote:Well, to be fair, it is in essence arbitrary. We come to these definitions mainly on historical conventions rather than a solid foundation of what a word "truly means". So that's why I rather only define my terms in specific context that applies to all examples that are widely accepted as such. Defining "religion" such that it includes economic theories like capitalism, social and equal rights movements like feminism, professional sports and board games, makes it so broad that there practically no line between what is and is not a religion, making the term useless. That's why I tend to draw the lines at a places where it is clear and applicable.

Also, expanding the definition of 'religion' to include professional sports doesn't make sense because they do not give a superhuman legitimacy to any rules, rights, rituals or ceremonies.

A Muslim might claim that one should not steal because Allah forbade it and because the Qur'an says one should not steal, this put laws against stealing beyond challenge as no flesh-and-blood being, or even a machine could (according to Muslim belief), change the law of God. A Buddhist would oppose theft on the basis that one will not achieve happiness by stealing, because a happy thief would violate the law of karma.
Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:32 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:Think of the form actually founded by Buddha.

...

Well, the pure form of Buddhism is apparently quite rare. See below.

...

Yes, many Buddhist sects even make a reference to gods, myths and legends, the pure form of Buddhism has no gods or anything like it. I have looked up "Buddhism in its pure" in a popular search engine but couldn't find any good resources on it but could find mentions of Buddhism in its pure form. One thing I did find is Secular Buddhism. Also see this.

...

But is it a specific Buddhist sect in Thailand that's followed by the Monarch? Maybe it's not Buddhism in its pure form.



Sorry to be difficult here, but you've added no more actual information with all those words.

The notion of a 'pure form' is unintelligible to me. It is the kind of thing you hear a Christian say when they mean their preferred sect's fundamentalist exegesis which is rarely shared with other sects, and really is just an undue confidence in their interpretation of the meaning of a text. It's a statement of faith, and as I don't share that faith, it's not something I can accept without a very clear and compelling reason.

I'd say that rather than 'quite rare', such a concept is in fact a mythological beastie that's never existed. All words are always open to diverse translation and interpretation, and this is greatly modified both when those texts' sources are ancient and with respect to contemporary political and social scenarios.

As for 'actually founded by Buddha'... Buddha didn't leave any texts at all. None of his contemporaries did, either. The first text comes centuries later during the reign of Ashoka - the Buddhist Indian prince. At the very best reading, the Tripitaka is - as with the old testament - an orally handed-down traditional tale that some centuries later was recorded by a particular set of believers, and clearly was sufficiently ambiguous that other schools of thought differing from it would also arise.

The 'specific Buddhist sect' in Thailand is the Theravada school shared by Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Laos, and Cambodia. It uses the Pali Canon which was written something like 5 centuries after the death of Buddha.

As there's no such thing as 'Buddhism in its pure form' it's obviously not that, but Theravada texts are the oldest Buddhist canon.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Well, that would be a question you would need to answer because no other people have yet bought into this concept as being a fundamental quality to a religion. You frequently use the word 'must' but that's becoming more of a mantra than anything else because it hasn't been shown to be true, and has been disputed as having much in the way of utility with respect to understand what a religion is.


Look, I use it because a religion must be founded on belief in a superhuman order to ensure social stability.


"Must" again, and in response to challenging your use of that very word. /scratchy head

Disagree. There's no 'must' here at all. It's your argument, but you seem only to support it by using modal verbs rather than offering any real substantiation or reasoning as to why it is functionally necessary as you say.


Myrtonos wrote: Given a superhuman legitimacy to social orders and hierarchies places at least some rules and/or laws of society beyond challenge.


That's an odd contention. Go back a thousand years and a ruler could have decreed that everyone wear their pants on their head purely on a whim, and that would equally be a law beyond challenge because rulers had nigh on ultimate power over their subjects.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:And, to call back your previous argument, two or more Manchester United fans who've never met could nevertheless combine efforts to support their team, party drunkenly, or vandalize cars in a neighborhood. Neither need be from Manchester.


Yes but the rules and rights of the sport game are not enough to ensure social stability among fans of even the same team, they must also have a religion or ideology in common.



Again 'must' and this time immediately following an example which showed that your previous argumentation was flawed. Of course, there are adequate historical examples of coreligionists failing to attain social stability, and examples of mutual social stability arising from various non-religious sources, so it's clear there's no 'must' here at all.


Myrtonos wrote:Also, I didn't define religion, I said that any definition of religion must include being founded on a belief in a superhuman order, without including that, professional sports could indeed count as religions.


Any definition must include X = defining X.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:24 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

But capitalism, communism and feminism are founded on belief in a superhuman order,...


Please expand.

Perhaps I lack imagination here, but I see no superhuman order foundational to any of them.

They are value-oriented, meaning they are implicitly purely human.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:28 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:First of all, class Mammalia was actually named after the Latin word for milk.



Latin word for milk: lac (as in lactose, lactate)

http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/noun:lac



Latin word for breast/bosom/teat/udder: mamma/mamilla (as in mammaries, mammal)


https://www.etymonline.com/word/mammal# ... ine_v_6760

1826, Englished form of Modern Latin Mammalia (1773), coined 1758 by Linnaeus for the class of mammals, from neuter plural of Late Latin mammalis "of the breast," from Latin mamma "breast," perhaps cognate with mamma.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:35 am
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:I've never heard of monopoly tournaments. Also, I didn't define religion, I said that any definition of religion must include being founded on a belief in a superhuman order, without including that, professional sports could indeed count as religions.

You keep saying "this 'must' be the case" as a mantra and keep ignoring the points being brought up. Also, if you say this "must" be the case for religion, that is making a definition. Perhaps you don't state this explicitly as saying "this is my definition" but you are attributing a necessary condition for what counts as a religion.

Myrtonos wrote:They may reject influence from any theist religion but they don't reject influence from natural-law religions that they don't even consider religions but ideologies.

They reject any influence of any religion, well (to clarify for you) they reject any influence of anything that is accepted as a religion. Whether or not they accept some influence of something that YOU count as a religion like "natural-law religions" whatever that means, is irrelevant. They are still secular.

Myrtonos wrote:First of all, class Mammalia was actually named after the Latin word for milk.
No, its the latin word for "breast", which monotremes don't have. They do secrete milk, but they only sweat milk through modified sweat glands (which basically is what milk glands are, gross I know, evolution is often gross).

Myrtonos wrote:And it was thought that all species of class Mammalia bore live young. Monotremes do lay eggs, yes, but they are still clearly part of class mammalia, they are more closely related to other mammals than to any reptiles, for example. And before the discovery of monotremes, anything that laid eggs wasn't considered a mammal because it had no fur nor hair and because it didn't give milk to young and maybe even because of skeletal features

No, it wasn't clear that monotremes were mammals for the reasons that I have just explained. We had to broaden the definition of mammals to include them (or make-up a different category apart from mammals, but taxonomists choose the former option). And we had to broaden the definition even further that takes extinct species into account. Nowadays, milk secretion isn't even a necessary condition for something to qualify as a mammals. A particular articulation of the jaw is the point were we have drawn the line on, well mostly. There are some who argue that the crown-group of mammals (a more stricter definition) is better, but in either case, you're still wrong about this and you don't seem to get the point.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:So once all mammals were egg laying (which used to be the case in the triassic), and then there came mammals that gave birth live.
What's your point?

Well, once all religions considered what happened to a follower after they die. Then there came along creeds that are like religions in many ways and even give superhuman legitimacy to norms and values, but have no interest in afterlife.

You don't get the analogy. You said that once upon a time, all religions were theistic, but then came religions that didn't include any adherence to any god.
This is analogous to me saying "So once all mammals were egg laying (which used to be the case in the triassic), and then there came mammals that gave birth live."
But this doesn't support your step to make the definition even broader, as in defining religion in such a way that also includes things like capitalism or secular ideologies (which becomes an oxymoron). JUST as the fact that we broaden the definition of mammals doesn't support us to take the next step and consider Dimetrodon as a mammal.
So, to put the analogy in short, what you are doing is defining mammals (religion) such that Dimetrodon (capitalism) counts as one. And you are justifying this next step by pointing out that we have broaden de definition to include monotremes (non-theistic religions) before.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:It made sense to expand the definition of mammals when mammals that lay eggs where discovered, why not expand it again such that dimetrodon is a mammal too?

Maybe because the Dimetrodon doesn't even have the skeletal features of mammals, even monotremes and as far as we know, it had no fur and gave no milk.
Once again, you didn't get the point. This was a rhetorical question that deliberately paralleled your previous question
Myrtonos wrote:...it made sense to expand the definition of religion when creeds like religions but without gods were formed, why not expand it again when the coming of ones that don't have an interest in the afterlife?

So to make the answer to your question, one that parallels your own answer to my rhetorical question.
Maybe because things like capitalism doesn't even have all of the features of religion, even of those without gods and as far aw we know, these things don't make any reference to the after life and anything else that is supernatural
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:35 am
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:Sorry to be difficult here, but you've added no more actual information with all those words.

What words, I linked to two informative pages on secular Buddhism.

The pure form of Buddhism is the form least influenced by any other religion, it appears to be what another source calls secular Buddhism.

Sparhafoc wrote:As for 'actually founded by Buddha'... Buddha didn't leave any texts at all. None of his contemporaries did, either. The first text comes centuries later during the reign of Ashoka - the Buddhist Indian prince. At the very best reading, the Tripitaka is - as with the old testament - an orally handed-down traditional tale that some centuries later was recorded by a particular set of believers, and clearly was sufficiently ambiguous that other schools of thought differing from it would also arise.

I didn't know things like this.

Sparhafoc wrote:"Must" again, and in response to challenging your use of that very word. /scratchy head

So how can there be social stability among even a few thousand people without at least some orders and/or hirachies being put beyond challenge. And the only way to put any such things beyond challenge is to give them a superhuman legitimacy.

For example; If everyone believes in a common god, that god being the highest authority, then there's no room for debate about, say, the virtue of anything that that God thinks is evil. If that God thinks it's evil, then it is not a debatable point that it's evil.

If everyone believes in the law of karma, they can't argue for any craving that leads to suffering.

Sparhafoc wrote:That's an odd contention. Go back a thousand years and a ruler could have decreed that everyone wear their pants on their head purely on a whim, and that would equally be a law beyond challenge because rulers had nigh on ultimate power over their subjects.

This is still a human decreeing that, as long as it has no superhuman legitimacy, which at the time would be a deity decreeing that, it is not beyond challenge, as the ruler could change or abolish the degree at any time, or those who didn't want to wear pants on their head could just move to another kingdom, ruled be a different person who doesn't decree that. Finally, the decree would stop once the ruler who decreed that is replaced, unless that new ruler decrees the same.

Sparhafoc wrote:Again 'must' and this time immediately following an example which showed that your previous argumentation was flawed. Of course, there are adequate historical examples of coreligionists failing to attain social stability, and examples of mutual social stability arising from various non-religious sources, so it's clear there's no 'must' here at all.

Followers of the same religion may well argue over things like interpretations of holy scriptures and different sects interpret them differently. Different sects do fight. Christian sects, for example, fight over interpretations of the bible and what god orders, things like that. But there is still more social stability then there ever could be without any religion or ideology at all.

Sparhafoc wrote:Perhaps I lack imagination here, but I see no superhuman order foundational to any of them.

They are value-oriented, meaning they are implicitly purely human.

Yes, political ideologies are founded on a belief in an order not signed or legislated by and flesh-and-blood beings or, for that matter, any machines.
Communists, as explained, do believe in natural laws that no flesh-and-blood being can ever alter, even machines can't change them. They believe that the "law of nature" that should guide the actions of any flesh-and-blood beings was discovered by people like Karl Marx, Fredrich Engles and Vladimir Lenin.

There there are humanist ideologies (or religions) which are the dominant ones of the world. They can be said to worship humankind itself, not any deities, like gods.

Humanism is founded on a belief that humankind has a unique and sacred nature which is fundamentally different from all other phenomena in the universe, especially things that are inanimate.

A humanist is someone who believes that the nature of humankind is the most important thing in the world. This may sound very abstract and very theoretical, but I'm thinking of writing more about that in another thread.

Nesslig20 wrote:You keep saying "this 'must' be the case" as a mantra and keep ignoring the points being brought up. Also, if you say this "must" be the case for religion, that is making a definition. Perhaps you don't state this explicitly as saying "this is my definition" but you are attributing a necessary condition for what counts as a religion.

Being founded on a belief in a superhuman order is something a religion needs to be to ensure social stability in large groups of humans, see that series by Dr. Harrari where he explains why this is so.

Nesslig20 wrote:They reject any influence of any religion, well (to clarify for you) they reject any influence of anything that is accepted as a religion. Whether or not they accept some influence of something that YOU count as a religion like "natural-law religions" whatever that means, is irrelevant. They are still secular.

Look, if religion includes political ideologies, and they accept influence of political ideologies, the by that definition yes they do accept the influence of some religions, but not ones that are conventionally accepted as such.

Nesslig20 wrote:No, its the latin word for "breast", which monotremes don't have. They do secrete milk, but they only sweat milk through modified sweat glands (which basically is what milk glands are, gross I know, evolution is often gross).

Actually, even most other mammal species don't have breasts, female specimens just have nipples.

Nesslig20 wrote:No, it wasn't clear that monotremes were mammals for the reasons that I have just explained. We had to broaden the definition of mammals to include them (or make-up a different category apart from mammals, but taxonomists choose the former option). And we had to broaden the definition even further that takes extinct species into account. Nowadays, milk secretion isn't even a necessary condition for something to qualify as a mammals. A particular articulation of the jaw is the point were we have drawn the line on, well mostly. There are some who argue that the crown-group of mammals (a more stricter definition) is better, but in either case, you're still wrong about this and you don't seem to get the point.

First of all, I have never heard of a mammal that doesn't secrete milk. Also, monotremes, as I've explained, in addition to what they have in common with other mammals, are also more closely related to other mammals than to any birds or reptiles.

Nesslig20 wrote:Well, once all religions considered what happened to a follower after they die. Then there came along creeds that are like religions in many ways and even give superhuman legitimacy to norms and values, but have no interest in afterlife.

You don't get the analogy. You said that once upon a time, all religions were theistic, but then came religions that didn't include any adherence to any god.
This is analogous to me saying "So once all mammals were egg laying (which used to be the case in the triassic), and then there came mammals that gave birth live."
But this doesn't support your step to make the definition even broader, as in defining religion in such a way that also includes things like capitalism or secular ideologies (which becomes an oxymoron). JUST as the fact that we broaden the definition of mammals doesn't support us to take the next step and consider Dimetrodon as a mammal.
So, to put the analogy in short, what you are doing is defining mammals (religion) such that Dimetrodon (capitalism) counts as one. And you are justifying this next step by pointing out that we have broaden de definition to include monotremes (non-theistic religions) before.[/quote]
It actually isn't me that extended the definition of religion in this way, it's Yuval Noah Harrari, as noted above. This is because they do have everything a religion needs to bring together human groups.

Social orders are not objective realities, they can get very fragile in large societies, religion (political ideologies too) give a superhuman legitimacy to these structures so that they are more stable.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:39 am
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Sorry to be difficult here, but you've added no more actual information with all those words.


What words, I linked to two informative pages on secular Buddhism.


Well, let's be frank: you typed a couple of words into Google search, then copied and pasted a link to 2 articles.

Did you mean to say that something in one of those articles supported something you had previously said? If so, why didn't you quote it? A label alone doesn't actually convey much of an argument. Also, I wasn't aware that a random site on the internet is meant to be authoritative. Have you decided these sites are valid authorities? Or are they just some dude's soapbox?

With regards to their role in supporting your argument, a cursory glance suggested nothing of the sort to me, not least because 'Secular Buddhism' is like 'Secular Christianity' as in, not really Buddhism at all. The clue for that would be in the fact they need to add an additional adjective to show their belief is distinct from just plain old Buddhism.

Do you actually believe these articles to be 'true' in terms of them being 'pure Buddhism' as per your wording?


Myrtonos wrote:The pure form of Buddhism is the form least influenced by any other religion, it appears to be what another source calls secular Buddhism.


And why are we to believe that 'Secular Buddhsim' is the 'pure form of Buddhism' when secularism is a phenomenon 2500 years after the death of Buddha?

As I said, there's not much meat here to your arguments. Can you point to something specific in either of those articles that you found convincing?


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:As for 'actually founded by Buddha'... Buddha didn't leave any texts at all. None of his contemporaries did, either. The first text comes centuries later during the reign of Ashoka - the Buddhist Indian prince. At the very best reading, the Tripitaka is - as with the old testament - an orally handed-down traditional tale that some centuries later was recorded by a particular set of believers, and clearly was sufficiently ambiguous that other schools of thought differing from it would also arise.


I didn't know things like this.


Well, knowing it does make it difficult to understand what you've contended before.


Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:"Must" again, and in response to challenging your use of that very word. /scratchy head


So how can there be social stability among even a few thousand people without at least some orders and/or hirachies being put beyond challenge.


I already gave you one - it's the oldest and simplest: I have the bigger spear, so you do what I say - got it?

That's 'beyond challenge' and appeals to nothing but the most mundane - violence.


Myrtonos wrote:And the only way to put any such things beyond challenge is to give them a superhuman legitimacy.


Manifestly wrong.

Plus, as I've pointed out before; your notion of 'superhuman' here is a bag that catches too much and too little. The fundamental forces are 'superhuman', ergo science is a religion?

As it's not, perhaps you can reflect that your argument is insufficient. There's more going on than you've modeled with your definition/non-definition.


Myrtonos wrote:For example; If everyone believes in a common god, that god being the highest authority, then there's no room for debate about, say, the virtue of anything that that God thinks is evil. If that God thinks it's evil, then it is not a debatable point that it's evil.


And then someone comes along and reinterprets those words to mean something completely different, or social forces cause changes in the perception of particular statements and their consequent interpretation whereby those 'not debatable points' become wholly abandoned.

This is because religions are human affairs, and thus susceptible wholly to human inclination.

Disagree? Show me that most Christians think that mixed fabrics are sinful - Deuteronomy 22:11.

The entire New Testament and Quran put paid to the notion that there are things beyond debate - if your argument was correct, then neither Christianity nor Islam would exist.

Also, your argument's changed dramatically. You've now moved onto a particular agent, and as an agent they can move, change, and evolve over time. Any believer in a god would allow their god to change their mind on a whim, and that contradiction would now be 'good' - so there's no actual 'superhuman system' there at all, just a supernatural agent.


Myrtonos wrote:everyone believes in the law of karma, they can't argue for any craving that leads to suffering.


Yet, manifestly this is untrue as I've already told you. Disbelieve me? Please feel free to ask me to support anything you don't agree with. I'll happily pop outside and take some pictures of the rampant conspicuous consumerism around my area, all of which is engaged in by Buddhists.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:That's an odd contention. Go back a thousand years and a ruler could have decreed that everyone wear their pants on their head purely on a whim, and that would equally be a law beyond challenge because rulers had nigh on ultimate power over their subjects.


This is still a human decreeing that, as long as it has no superhuman legitimacy, which at the time would be a deity decreeing that, it is not beyond challenge, as the ruler could change or abolish the degree at any time, or those who didn't want to wear pants on their head could just move to another kingdom, ruled be a different person who doesn't decree that. Finally, the decree would stop once the ruler who decreed that is replaced, unless that new ruler decrees the same.


You've moved your goalposts. You declared there was no such thing, yet here is an example which shows that there is such a thing; ergo, your initial contention was in error.

The fact that the ruler could change his mind is irrelevant because even among the most ardent religions - the Abrahamic ones - the many forms currently practiced around the world are dramatically different than they were practiced 200 years ago, 500 years ago, 1000 years ago etc.

Also, you're contradicting yourself in another way, because you've already noted that to the religionist, it's their God (magic man) who makes the decrees, so now we're talking about an agent, not about a 'superhuman' system. That God could change their mind too, at least as far as believers are concerned.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Again 'must' and this time immediately following an example which showed that your previous argumentation was flawed. Of course, there are adequate historical examples of coreligionists failing to attain social stability, and examples of mutual social stability arising from various non-religious sources, so it's clear there's no 'must' here at all.


Followers of the same religion may well argue over things like interpretations of holy scriptures and different sects interpret them differently. Different sects do fight. Christian sects, for example, fight over interpretations of the bible and what god orders, things like that. But there is still more social stability then there ever could be without any religion or ideology at all.


Before you claimed that social stability couldn't exist without the ideology, now the argument is 'more'?

Still doesn't make it a religion, though, because all humans across the world are obliged to follow numerous laws, rules, and customs which produce social stability yet aren't deemed to be components of religion.



Myrtonos wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Perhaps I lack imagination here, but I see no superhuman order foundational to any of them.

They are value-oriented, meaning they are implicitly purely human.


Yes, political ideologies are founded on a belief in an order not signed or legislated by and flesh-and-blood beings or, for that matter, any machines.

Communists, as explained, do believe in natural laws that no flesh-and-blood being can ever alter, even machines can't change them. They believe that the "law of nature" that should guide the actions of any flesh-and-blood beings was discovered by people like Karl Marx, Fredrich Engles and Vladimir Lenin.



So you are arguing that chemistry is a religion/ideology?

I refer you back to a previous thread of discussion where you said that the 'laws of nature' were not 'superhuman' as per your paradigm. If 'superhuman system' just means things not caused by humans, then can you explain why/how physics cannot be a religion.

My guess is that your explanation would entail basically what everyone else has said is necessary to define a religion, which might then lead you to understanding the contentions others have made.



Myrtonos wrote:There there are humanist ideologies (or religions) which are the dominant ones of the world. They can be said to worship humankind itself, not any deities, like gods.


Not sure that any non-religionist would consider humanism the 'worship of humankind'. Again, I would only really expect this argument from a fundamentalist attempting to equivocate.


Myrtonos wrote:Humanism is founded on a belief that humankind has a unique and sacred nature which is fundamentally different from all other phenomena in the universe, especially things that are inanimate.


What an odd definition. Can you cite where it says that because it's not on the actual link you gave.


Scanning through other humanist pages, I see nothing that employs any notion of 'sacred'.

https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-hu ... -humanism/

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.
– American Humanist Association

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.



https://humanism.org.uk/humanism/

…a commitment to the perspective, interests and centrality of human persons; a belief in reason and autonomy as foundational aspects of human existence; a belief that reason, scepticism and the scientific method are the only appropriate instruments for discovering truth and structuring the human community; a belief that the foundations for ethics and society are to be found in autonomy and moral equality…

– Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

An appeal to reason in contrast to revelation or religious authority as a means of finding out about the natural world and destiny of man, and also giving a grounding for morality…Humanist ethics is also distinguished by placing the end of moral action in the welfare of humanity rather than in fulfilling the will of God.

– Oxford Companion to Philosophy

Believing that it is possible to live confidently without metaphysical or religious certainty and that all opinions are open to revision and correction, [Humanists] see human flourishing as dependent on open communication, discussion, criticism and unforced consensus.

– Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy

That man should show respect to man, irrespective of class, race or creed is fundamental to the humanist attitude to life. Among the fundamental moral principles, he would count those of freedom, justice, tolerance and happiness…the attitude that people can live an honest, meaningful life without following a formal religious creed.

– Pears Cyclopaedia, 87th edition, 1978

Rejection of religion in favour of the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.

– Collins Concise Dictionary

A non-religious philosophy, based on liberal human values.

– Little Oxford Dictionary



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam_Declaration

The official defining statement of World Humanism is:

Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.
Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.
Humanism supports democracy and human rights. Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government.
Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognizes our dependence and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.
Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-view on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision.
Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognises the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment.
Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our time. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere.

The Amsterdam Declaration explicitly states that Humanism rejects dogma, and imposes no creed upon its adherents.



Are you religious, Myrtonos?


Myrtonos wrote:A humanist is someone who believes that the nature of humankind is the most important thing in the world. This may sound very abstract and very theoretical, but I'm thinking of writing more about that in another thread.


Sorry to be so disagreeable, but I disagree. I've never heard any humanist express that position.


Myrtonos wrote:Being founded on a belief in a superhuman order is something a religion needs to be to ensure social stability in large groups of humans, see that series by Dr. Harrari where he explains why this is so.


You've repeated it again. Please add more clauses explaining why it 'needs' to be or 'must' be. Just saying it a lot isn't very persuasive. If you can't offer any substantiation as to why it must be, is there a possibility that the argument isn't standing up to skeptical inspection because it's flawed?



Myrtonos wrote:Actually, even most other mammal species don't have breasts, female specimens just have nipples.


Probably not good, when you find yourself in a hole, to keep digging.

The term 'breast' doesn't mean boobies, but rather means a mammary gland which is what produces the milk, and factually all female mammals have this gland. It may be larger or smaller between different species, but it's necessarily there as it's what produces the milk.

As a random interesting fact, did you know it is an evolutionary co-opted apocrine sweat gland?




Myrtonos wrote:Social orders are not objective realities, they can get very fragile in large societies, religion (political ideologies too) give a superhuman legitimacy to these structures so that they are more stable.


This is something more agreeable finally!

But of course, it suggests there's a) already a sufficiently stable society with institutions on place in order for the religion to promulgate, and b) requires that the religion predates its legitimization. If you don't believe in YHWH, you don't believe in any claims about how YHWH made this, set that up, or intended something else. Ergo, religion existed independently of the social stability it offers and independently and prior to the purported 'superhuman system' it proposes.

Perhaps that's why I found this one agreeable! Because it's a complete contradiction to your prior claims! :D
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:23 pm
Nesslig20User avatarPosts: 280Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:44 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:You keep saying "this 'must' be the case" as a mantra and keep ignoring the points being brought up. Also, if you say this "must" be the case for religion, that is making a definition. Perhaps you don't state this explicitly as saying "this is my definition" but you are attributing a necessary condition for what counts as a religion.
Being founded on a belief in a superhuman order is something a religion needs to be to ensure social stability in large groups of humans, see that series by Dr. Harrari where he explains why this is so.
The mantra stated again....and again. I don't care from whom it comes from. I don't find your definition (whatever it exactly is) of religion to be very useful that applies to what is and is not considered to be a religion. If you all you want to say is "this is my personal arbitrary usage (or that of someone else)" that's fine and I don't care.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:They reject any influence of any religion, well (to clarify for you) they reject any influence of anything that is accepted as a religion. Whether or not they accept some influence of something that YOU count as a religion like "natural-law religions" whatever that means, is irrelevant. They are still secular.
Look, if religion includes political ideologies, and they accept influence of political ideologies, the by that definition yes they do accept the influence of some religions, but not ones that are conventionally accepted as such.
Sure and if elephants includes all things that are pink, and my laptop is pink, then by that definition yes my laptop is an elephant. If your goal is to make a valid statement (not necessarily a sound one) congratulations.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:No, its the latin word for "breast", which monotremes don't have. They do secrete milk, but they only sweat milk through modified sweat glands (which basically is what milk glands are, gross I know, evolution is often gross).
Actually, even most other mammal species don't have breasts, female specimens just have nipples.
Well of course the people who used that word to apply to the mammals that they knew about didn't think that they all had two pectoral breasts with large amounts of adipose tissues, like that of humans. Perhaps they thought that having nipples counted as "breasts", I don't know for sure and that isn't the point. You said that the word "mammals" meant "milk" or something. It doesn't, that's the point.

Also, FYI, monotremes don't have nipples. They sweat milk.

Myrtonos wrote:
Nesslig20 wrote:No, it wasn't clear that monotremes were mammals for the reasons that I have just explained. We had to broaden the definition of mammals to include them (or make-up a different category apart from mammals, but taxonomists choose the former option). And we had to broaden the definition even further that takes extinct species into account. Nowadays, milk secretion isn't even a necessary condition for something to qualify as a mammals. A particular articulation of the jaw is the point were we have drawn the line on, well mostly. There are some who argue that the crown-group of mammals (a more stricter definition) is better, but in either case, you're still wrong about this and you don't seem to get the point.
First of all, I have never heard of a mammal that doesn't secrete milk.
I explained that in the fossil record, it is very difficult to identify whether a species ever produced milk or not. So systematics now, for convenience sake, defined mammals based on the articulation of the jaw joint, a trait that is much more easier to see in fossils, just so they don't have to bother making difficult inferences on whether it had milk glands or not. We know of some very primitive mammals (by the definition in the previous sentence) and we don't know for sure whether they produced milk. One called "Sinoconodon" is actually inferred to lack the ability to lactate.

Myrtonos wrote:Also, monotremes, as I've explained, in addition to what they have in common with other mammals, are also more closely related to other mammals than to any birds or reptiles.
And I already explained about the fact that we had to broaden the definition of mammals to include monotremes. Yes, monotremes were clearly closer to mammals than to anything to the zoologists that first described it. But it didn't had all the characteristics of the definition of mammals, AT the time. So the definition was broadened such that even egg laying animals could be mammals. And the relatedness is such a moot point. By this reason, dimetrodon is a mammal since it is closer to mammals than to any birds or reptiles. And no dimetrodon isn't a reptile. The definition of reptile has changed too.

Just don't ask about "fish"... you don't want to go there.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:28 pm
SparhafocPosts: 2521Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: What is a religion?

Nesslig20 wrote:Just don't ask about "fish"... you don't want to go there.


:lol:


Lumpers V Splitters round 2379264785216536950163762173
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:52 am
MyrtonosPosts: 73Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:23 am Gender: Male

Post Re: What is a religion?

Sparhafoc wrote:Did you mean to say that something in one of those articles supported something you had previously said? If so, why didn't you quote it? A label alone doesn't actually convey much of an argument. Also, I wasn't aware that a random site on the internet is meant to be authoritative. Have you decided these sites are valid authorities? Or are they just some dude's soapbox?

I didn't think I needed to quote it, and as for that page on secular Buddhism, it's quite long and I don't think I can find anything to quote.

Sparhafoc wrote:With regards to their role in supporting your argument, a cursory glance suggested nothing of the sort to me, not least because 'Secular Buddhism' is like 'Secular Christianity' as in, not really Buddhism at all. The clue for that would be in the fact they need to add an additional adjective to show their belief is distinct from just plain old Buddhism.

"Plain old" Buddhism is more common and better known. The word 'secular' is needed to show that it's not the same as the Buddhism more widely practiced. But indeed the teachings of "secular"

Sparhafoc wrote:Do you actually believe these articles to be 'true' in terms of them being 'pure Buddhism' as per your wording?

Oh yes, one mentions Buddhism in its pure form.

Sparhafoc wrote:And why are we to believe that 'Secular Buddhsim' is the 'pure form of Buddhism' when secularism is a phenomenon 2500 years after the death of Buddha?

It actually depends on what secularism really means. It may have not been called Secular Buddhism, but it seems it did exist.

As I said, there's not much meat here to your arguments. Can you point to something specific in either of those articles that you found convincing?[/quote]
Not really but I have found a better description on one of the sites.

Sparhafoc wrote:Plus, as I've pointed out before; your notion of 'superhuman' here is a bag that catches too much and too little. The fundamental forces are 'superhuman', ergo science is a religion?

I didn't define 'religion' let alone a superhuman order. A superhuman order alone is not a religion, but a religion must be founded on belief in one. Nobody in their right mind would claim it is forbidden to torture, murder or steal simply because it violates any law of science.

Sparhafoc wrote:Also, your argument's changed dramatically. You've now moved onto a particular agent, and as an agent they can move, change, and evolve over time. Any believer in a god would allow their god to change their mind on a whim, and that contradiction would now be 'good' - so there's no actual 'superhuman system' there at all, just a supernatural agent.

Well, okay, let me make myself clearer; Gods, according to theists, have power not only over flesh-and-blood beings (over machines too), they also have powers over nature, they can control the weather, for example. They can reward or punish flesh-and-blood beings even after they die, that is beyond the capabilities of any flesh-and-blood ruler.

There have been numerous cases throughout history of people of chiefdoms revolting against repressive chiefs, by the way, just so you all know, chiefs ruled many non-Eurasian societies before colonisation by European powers. Similarly, people of state societies have revolted against repressive monarchs.

Probably the most famous example of such a revolt is the French revolution, where the people of France revolted against a repressive King, and upon executing their royal family, they were a republican democracy with elections.*

But anyway, humans who believe in a common God cannot revolt against a God, no matter how repressive that God may be.

Sparhafoc wrote:You've moved your goalposts. You declared there was no such thing, yet here is an example which shows that there is such a thing; ergo, your initial contention was in error.

Yes but no human can change a superhuman order.

Sparhafoc wrote:Also, you're contradicting yourself in another way, because you've already noted that to the religionist, it's their God (magic man) who makes the decrees, so now we're talking about an agent, not about a 'superhuman' system. That God could change their mind too, at least as far as believers are concerned.

Yes but that God could conceivable change any natural phenomena, even ones that flesh-and-blood beings can't, Gods can control the weather, perhaps depending on their mood.

Humans of a given society can revolt against a ruler, but believers in a common god can't revolt against that god, that god being all-powerful, which human rulers aren't.

Sparhafoc wrote:Before you claimed that social stability couldn't exist without the ideology, now the argument is 'more'?

What does the part after the comma mean?

Sparhafoc wrote:Still doesn't make it a religion, though, because all humans across the world are obliged to follow numerous laws, rules, and customs which produce social stability yet aren't deemed to be components of religion.

But there has to be a superhuman legitimacy to laws, rules and customs in order for them to be perceived as beyond challenge, and this perception ensures social stability.

Sparhafoc wrote:So you are arguing that chemistry is a religion/ideology?

Chemistry is neither of those, see below.

Sparhafoc wrote:I refer you back to a previous thread of discussion where you said that the 'laws of nature' were not 'superhuman' as per your paradigm. If 'superhuman system' just means things not caused by humans, then can you explain why/how physics cannot be a religion.

I think I have explained why physics is not a religion, and that is because no rules, laws of customs are founded on belief in laws of physics.

Nothing to say on your guess.


Sparhafoc wrote:What an odd definition. Can you cite where it says that because it's not on the actual link you gave.

It's actually mentioned in Sapiens in the chapter called Law of Religion.

Sparhafoc wrote:Scanning through other humanist pages, I see nothing that employs any notion of 'sacred'.

They might not word it like that but that's the belief the really express, but not in those words.

– Concise Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy

An appeal to reason in contrast to revelation or religious authority as a means of finding out about the natural world and destiny of man, and also giving a grounding for morality…Humanist ethics is also distinguished by placing the end of moral action in the welfare of humanity rather than in fulfilling the will of God.

This is the sort of thing meant by worship of humankind as opposed to worship of a deity.

– Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy

That man should show respect to man, irrespective of class, race or creed is fundamental to the humanist attitude to life. Among the fundamental moral principles, he would count those of freedom, justice, tolerance and happiness…the attitude that people can live an honest, meaningful life without following a formal religious creed.

Yes, without following any creed conventionally accepted as "religious". It's not clear what sort of humanism is defined here, but clearly not just any humanism, as we'll see, I want to discuss that in a different thread.

– Pears Cyclopaedia, 87th edition, 1978

Rejection of religion in favour of the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.

I assume this means rejection of theist religions.

– Collins Concise Dictionary

A non-religious philosophy, based on liberal human values.

This is liberal humanism, also known simply as liberalism.

Are you religious, Myrtonos?

Does this have anything to do with it? I am agnostic.

Myrtonos wrote:A humanist is someone who believes that the nature of humankind is the most important thing in the world. This may sound very abstract and very theoretical, but I'm thinking of writing more about that in another thread.


Sorry to be so disagreeable, but I disagree. I've never heard any humanist express that position.

Sparhafoc wrote:You've repeated it again. Please add more clauses explaining why it 'needs' to be or 'must' be. Just saying it a lot isn't very persuasive. If you can't offer any substantiation as to why it must be, is there a possibility that the argument isn't standing up to skeptical inspection because it's flawed?

Do you acknowledge that this isn't me speaking, Dr. Harrari has said this.

Sparhafoc wrote:The term 'breast' doesn't mean boobies, but rather means a mammary gland which is what produces the milk, and factually all female mammals have this gland. It may be larger or smaller between different species, but it's necessarily there as it's what produces the milk.

No, breasts are protruding parts with nipples, such as those of a human female. I've never heard of a mammary gland as a "breast".

Myrtonos wrote:Social orders are not objective realities, they can get very fragile in large societies, religion (political ideologies too) give a superhuman legitimacy to these structures so that they are more stable.


quote="Nesslig20"]Also, FYI, monotremes don't have nipples. They sweat milk.[/quote]
Yes, but at least the give milk as other mammals do.

Nesslig20 wrote:I explained that in the fossil record, it is very difficult to identify whether a species ever produced milk or not. So systematics now, for convenience sake, defined mammals based on the articulation of the jaw joint, a trait that is much more easier to see in fossils, just so they don't have to bother making difficult inferences on whether it had milk glands or not. We know of some very primitive mammals (by the definition in the previous sentence) and we don't know for sure whether they produced milk. One called "Sinoconodon" is actually inferred to lack the ability to lactate.

But surely monotremes are still have mammalian skeletons.

Nesslig20 wrote:And I already explained about the fact that we had to broaden the definition of mammals to include monotremes. Yes, monotremes were clearly closer to mammals than to anything to the zoologists that first described it. But it didn't had all the characteristics of the definition of mammals, AT the time. So the definition was broadened such that even egg laying animals could be mammals. And the relatedness is such a moot point. By this reason, dimetrodon is a mammal since it is closer to mammals than to any birds or reptiles. And no dimetrodon isn't a reptile. The definition of reptile has changed too.

I didn't know the dimotrodon was closer to class Mammalia than to class Aves or class Reptilia.

*A gorilla or chimpanzee band can revolt against their alpha male (this being the leader of band of Gorillas and common Chimpanzees) but then another male band member automatically becomes the alpha male, they cannot declare that all band members will be treated as equals upon the alpha male being overthrown.
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:39 am
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