What is your religion?

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What is your religion?

Budhist
1
3%
Christian, Catholic
1
3%
Christian, Protestant
1
3%
Hindu
1
3%
Jewish
0
No votes
Muslim
1
3%
Other
12
38%
None (Atheist)
15
47%
 
Total votes: 32

Thusnelda
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Thusnelda » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:18 pm

Great quote from Roger Ebert in his most recent piece (on Christopher Hitchens' cancer battle):

I was asked at lunch today who or what I worshipped. The question was asked sincerely, and in the same spirit I responded that I worshipped whatever there might be outside knowledge. I worship the void. The mystery. And the ability of our human minds to perceive an unanswerable mystery. To reduce such a thing to simplistic names is an insult to it, and to our intelligence.

Average Joe
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Average Joe » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:01 pm

The paradox of faith. Belief in God requires suspension of logic that is supposedly God-given. How can you know the unknown? I admire people who remain open minded to the possibility that there is much that we do not understand that could be from a higher energy/intelligence/power.

To be fundamental in a faith is much more troubling because it requires a confidence of conviction of what one believes as their faith is truth, despite absolutely no empirical evidence to back it up. There is huge difference between "what I believe is..." and "what I know as truth is..." The mindset of the spiritual insider with true knowledge is dark...and bad.

beenie
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby beenie » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:16 am

Voted "other" since Agnostic isn't there.

I was raised Catholic, went through all the parentally-mandated sacraments (including Confirmation, which, since it usually happens upon a reasonable age of reason is supposedly the Confirmant's choice, but in a large Catholic family, it was a choice that was made for me). I now only half-jokingly refer to myself as a Recovering Catholic. That said, I am also Godmother to one of my cousins, and I accepted that responsibility fully knowing what my responsibilities would be should something have happened to his parents. Thankfully, he's made it to adulthood with immediate family intact and in good health.

I'll be attending a Catholic funeral tomorrow, and just like my Grandmother's Catholic funeral four years ago, I'll participate in Mass out of respect for the family, minus Communion.

wallrock
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby wallrock » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:54 am

You left out us Alvians.
Image
Praise Alvis, he killed for your sins!

Prof. Wagstaff
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:48 pm

beenie wrote:Voted "other" since Agnostic isn't there.

I'm confused by those of you who don't think agnosticism falls under the heading of "None" in this poll. Is it because atheism is in parentheses afterward or because you believe agnosticism (note the lack of a capital) is some sort of religion (or even just a religious belief?) Because unless you qualify it -- "I'm an agnostic theist" -- agnosticism ain't no religion, it's a simple philosophic principle.

Henry Vilas wrote:To the good professor: ...Are you an atheist or an agnostic concerning the possibility of intelligent life somewhere out in the universe?

I'll answer your question, HV, even though you ignored mine -- I'd still like to know if you're agnostic about the existence of Santa Claus and unicorns.

I wouldn't call myself agnostic or atheist about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence (nor do I think Sagan would have.) The assumption that we are not alone in the universe stems from a few basic tenets of scientific philosophy. The Copernican Principle tells us that Earth is not special; it neither occupies a privileged place in the universe nor has any uniquely special properties. No matter where we look (and we can see approximately 15 billion lights years in any direction) the universe looks and behaves the same. The same laws of physics and the same chemical elements are observed everywhere. To posit that we are the only intelligent life in this mind-bogglingly large patch of space defies logic, unless you begin by assuming that human intelligence is somehow unique and/or created with some purpose. Since I reject those notions in favor of the view that human intelligence evolved naturally and that evolution has no goal other than the propagation of genes, it logically follows that there must be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, even if I don't necessarily believe we'll ever contact it. But that doesn't mean we can't, so I don't see how the agnostic label applies (we can know -- and I certainly do care.) And we don't need to know for sure to weigh the available evidence and come to the conclusion that there's only an exceedingly small probability that we're the only intelligent life populating it.

fisticuffs
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:51 pm

Are any of them observing a religious holiday that would get me out of the office this week? I'll take that one.

Madsci
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Madsci » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm

It is the week after Hippie Christmas.

I don't believe in god.

Stebben84
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:36 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'm confused by those of you who don't think agnosticism falls under the heading of "None" in this poll. Is it because atheism is in parentheses afterward or because you believe agnosticism (note the lack of a capital) is some sort of religion (or even just a religious belief?) Because unless you qualify it -- "I'm an agnostic theist" -- agnosticism ain't no religion, it's a simple philosophic principle.


To further the point. Being religious isn't about worshiping a deity, it's more of a way of life. You can be agnostic and be religious. I think we, as a culture, have mutilated that word. Maybe it means something new altogether and we can't use it anymore. I dunno.

Not believing in "a god" doesn't mean you aren't religious. Notice how I didn't say religion. I think having a religion and being religious are two different things. Although, I could have also taking too many philosophy courses and become some crazy liberal on the matter.

rabble
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby rabble » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:47 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote: No matter where we look (and we can see approximately 15 billion lights years in any direction) the universe looks and behaves the same. The same laws of physics and the same chemical elements are observed everywhere. To posit that we are the only intelligent life in this mind-bogglingly large patch of space defies logic, unless you begin by assuming that human intelligence is somehow unique and/or created with some purpose.

I would begin by mentioning Fermi's Paradox. Even though several theories exist to explain it, one has to wonder why, if we can see for 15 billion light years, we haven't noticed anyone else out there. I'd like to think we're not alone out here but dammit, the evidence has begun to suggest we are a fluke and I'm beginning to wonder if we might be a fairly short-lived one.

I would also suggest that while the universe appears to behave the same when viewed from 15 billion light years away, it is just appearance. We don't know. All we know is that light appears to behave the same way.

For millenia, people have posited that x does not exist because no evidence of it was available. But then evidence was found.

fennel
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby fennel » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:53 pm

I think Krishnamurti was supposed to have said,

"To be religious is to be sensitive to reality."

I gather he was a kind of opportunistic but enlightened crackpot, but this has always rung true to me. So you might as well ask, "What are your religions?"

Blessed be the crackpots.

BTW, has anybody seen the documentary, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox?
(No, you don't have to watch it in the bathroom.)
The Doctor strikes me as an endearing crackpot. We could use more.

gargantua
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby gargantua » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:22 pm

I might have chosen Wiccan. I chose atheist because it was the closest available choice.

I was raised Catholic, and Bishop Morlino is a continual reminder of why I'm happy to no longer be Catholic.

ilikebeans
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:55 am

rabble wrote:I would begin by mentioning Fermi's Paradox. Even though several theories exist to explain it, one has to wonder why, if we can see for 15 billion light years, we haven't noticed anyone else out there. I'd like to think we're not alone out here but dammit, the evidence has begun to suggest we are a fluke and I'm beginning to wonder if we might be a fairly short-lived one.

I suspect that if another society 15 billion light years away had our current technology and looked in our direction (15 billion years from now, natch), they might miss our tiny planet so close to our gigantic star. They certainly wouldn't spot the international space station, our tiny satellites, or the space shuttle.

We keep discovering the presence of possible earth-like planets in just our galaxy alone, usually from noticing odd orbits. Considering there are likely more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe, I have to agree that the chances of other societies existing are close to certain.

Then, of course, one wonders what's beyond our known universe. Multiverses? Some giant being playing marbles with them all? Yeah, I know, cliche.

Have to agree, though, that on a galactic time scale, our existence is likely to be no more than a blip. Have to also agree with George Carlin, who said that, given the evidence, if God exists, he's at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn't give a shit.

Ducatista
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Ducatista » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:46 am

green union terrace chair wrote:Your categories are offensively simplistic, but understandable coming from a Catholic.

I was thinking, Hey, where's Atheist, Catholic? when I read your post, which makes you sound simplistic. More comically than offensively, though, so you've got that going for you.

I'm an apathist (don't know, don't much care), but my Catholic upbringing is such a big part of my cultural identity I'm not going to disclaim it.

Agnostic, btw, doesn't mean doesn't care if there's a god. It means doesn't think we can ever know.

Prof. Wagstaff
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:51 am

rabble wrote:I would also suggest that while the universe appears to behave the same when viewed from 15 billion light years away, it is just appearance. We don't know. All we know is that light appears to behave the same way.

We know considerably more than that. Light tells us what the chemical makeup is of the things which it passes through. Observing the universe in all directions at all ages we've found no evidence to suggest that chemistry differs anywhere in the observable universe from how it works in our own neighborhood. That's a pretty strong observation, especially considering there's no theoretical reason why chemistry needs to be the same everywhere. It is completely reasonable to theorize that different pockets of spacetime would have different laws of physics, yet observations have failed to detect any differences.

rabble
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Re: What is your religion?

Postby rabble » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:20 am

ilikebeans wrote:We keep discovering the presence of possible earth-like planets in just our galaxy alone, usually from noticing odd orbits. Considering there are likely more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe, I have to agree that the chances of other societies existing are close to certain.

An article I read a year or two ago said we've also discovered that the presences and orbital patterns of our outer planets, and the moon, act as screens and deflectors for massive meteors. He postulated that our evolution was due not only to a long series of random events on earth, but also because we only got hit by a meteor in millions of years and not every few thousand.

So we're not talking about just the evolution of life but the construction of its solar system in such a fashion that it doesn't blow it all to hell just as it's learning how to use fire. The odds go up. Granted, in an infinite universe they still stay pretty high, assuming our physical laws apply in every part of it.

Then again, maybe they're out there and just don't like meat.


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