align-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcamerachatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-crosscrosseditfacebookglobegoogleimagesinstagramlocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartwitteryahoo

Topic: Is Religion Valid / Legitimate / Valuable?

This topic got the most votes at our October meeting. All members are encouraged to RSVP, but please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. 

We will meet on the second level of the Barnes & Noble store, to the right of the cafe counter area in the back of the store (but not in the cafe itself). You will see a circle of folding chairs (and possibly a folding table) if you walk up to the cafe counter and then look to your right to the back wall of the store.

Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to change your RSVP to provide others with an opportunity to RSVP for this meetup.

I look forward to seeing all of you!

Join or login to comment.

  • David

    Also, I believe that economic circumstances lend themselves to groups of people believing in one thing or another. Unfortunately the trend tends to be that people living in poverty are more likely to believe in faith and religion than those of people that are more affluent. I know this is not always the case. There are plenty of people that most would consider affluent, but still very and strictly religious. However, there are not many people that live in poverty that are not religious. I think it's easier to be affluent and not believe than it is to be poverty stricken and not believe.

    November 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      so I'd like to recommend a book that may open your eyes - The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer. and if you are an atheist, try attend neuro-psychology/neuro-b­iology talk by Dr Sarah Strand of CSU Sacramento. Today we can probe/stimulate the brain and create the perception of images of other beings (god?) or the sensation of being out of body (alien abduction?).

      November 19, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      what is super fascinating is that the out of body trigger can happen randomly during the transition to or out of deep sleep. Hence some alien abduction stories are truthful but virtual. Do we now blur the lines of belief?

      November 19, 2013

  • David

    I personally do not "believe" that religion is necessary at this juncture of human evolution, but that is a personal belief. There are many in the world that utterly depend on the absolution that religion gives them. If anything I think religion limits our ability to accept personal responsibility for our actions, much like corporations allow individuals to get away with mistreating employees, to get away with polluting the environment, to get away with rigging elections, etc etc... I "believe" that as a species we have to evolve beyond our religious ideologies if we are to truly be able to comprehend our place in this vast universe that we know very little about.

    November 17, 2013

    • Lawrence

      Excellent point, Ming. I'll to this part of the discussion that where atheism stops, secular humanism can begin. In terms of charities, it's probably more likely that you'll find them waving a Humanist flag than an Atheist flag, as in http://foundationbeyo...­

      November 19, 2013

    • Lawrence

      ...also, here's another interesting resource to mention: http://www.secularhum...­

      November 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Are atheist believers too?
    I myself am an agnostic that is 99% atheist % 1% don't know.
    I have been to many atheist meetings & it troubles me that the majority of atheists behave in patterns very similar to believers or people of faith - which is simply that they are intolerant of religious people & symbology such as the cross, the bible & prayer while knowing that the vast majority of the religious are good sincere people. Yet this same folks are ok with culture & its symbology which is often mostly religion based. They ignore the fact that every politician knows to end a speech with God bless America; or their career is instantly over. Why the intolerance?

    Is it because they grew up atheist & therefor their fantastic memory mind only knows atheist arguments and hence they are atheist by virtue of believes? rather than reason? If so, then the lady in the last meeting that quipped "atheist simply believe in no god" is correct.

    November 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      yes do agree with you re:tolerance discussion & also did understand your context of atheist perceived threat in the first place. The point I am making is a difficult one.. without further explanation. But all I am saying is that there are 2 types of reasoning - learned vs original. Most of the time it is difficult to distinguish between the 2 as the end result is the same. Sometimes as in the case of some atheist reasoning, they are learned reasoning. The result is the same but the reasoning is not well understood. Hence the disconnect in behavior and I was merely commenting that some atheists behave in patterns similar to theists. Patterns that are also recognized by Michael Shermer in his book The Believing Brain. But this discussion is getting way too far and too fast, so I will tone down.

      November 19, 2013

    • Lawrence

      I have a better understanding of what you mean now. Thanks for the clarification. Besides the topic of tolerance, I see another topic brewing: Learned vs. Original Reasoning. I'll add it to the list to see if folks would like to discuss it sometime :-)

      November 19, 2013

  • David

    Just a side note. I know we kind of touched on this during our meetup about the meaning of life. But how does our meaning of life change as we progressively live to be older and older? How do our views on religion change as we live to be older and older? A day will come sooner or later (probably sooner than we think) where technology will merge with biology and then how we will view both of these very important questions?

    November 18, 2013

  • Warren T.

    This Radiolab show discusses the origins of morality. It is well done, and somewhat relevant to the religion topic and perhaps to the upcoming beliefs topic. http://www.radiolab.org/story/91508-morality It seems to me that while one's religious belief can be a source of morality, mental strength in a crisis, meaning in life, a sense of community, etc. it is not the only potential source. Perhaps my biggest concern about organized religion is that (typically, not always) it actively disparages, and discourages adoption of, alternative sources - even alternative religions. It tends to be closed and self-preserving rather than open, inquisitive, and accepting of new ideas and change. Surely that is limiting, if not debilitating. to humankind. Unless we are incapable of identifying which new ideas are beneficial versus deleterious? Do we need to avoid change in order to be protected from ourselves? I don't think so.

    November 16, 2013

    • Lawrence

      I enjoyed the segment on Radiolab, particularly the part about the behavior of chimps. Looking at morality from an evolutionary perspective brings into focus that morality can be decoupled from religion.

      November 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      after numerous direct discussion with religious people, the reason for religion is simple belief. For those of us schooled in science & require evidence, it is incomprehensible that can people believe easily without evidence. But it is a fact of life - most of us do, it is just a matter of degree. It is the reason why repeated messages or sound bites work - whether it is TV ads or weekly church or the 1Billion spent on the last presidential elections. Scientists do it too (pre-belief or pre-bias) specially in the medical field. Hence the "street light effect" http://discovermagazi...­

      November 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    when the mind can not understand, it believes.. but it does not know it is "believing" & it is so sure it understood. so diff folks have diff beliefs & each is so sure they are right. so is belief at the root of all disagreements in humanity? - regardless whether it is in religion, politics, the economy, health food or just about all aspects of life?

    for how can the conned know that he/she is being conned? otherwise the con would not have happened in the first place

    if the fantastic memory mind can remember all of the complex reasoning it had learned, is it original reasoning or is it remembered reasoning when faced with a problem? since precise conditions of the "same" problem almost never is the same, is remembered reasoning now the most common human error? is the ability to understand the intricate nuances of a difficult problem the real source of massive disagreements? and why? or is it that despite the rhetoric, the vast majority of us simple cannot put aside pre-bias?

    November 17, 2013

  • David

    There is a fiction book that I read about 10 years ago that I think some in the group would like. It's called "Ishmael" by author Daniel Quinn. Some here may have already read it, but if you have not I think even though it's fiction it contemplates a lot of the beliefs that we as a culture have come to "accept" as being a "normal" part of life.

    November 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very impressed at how civil, orderly & nice everyone was... tribute to the tone setting at the beginning. Good job Lawrence.

    We never really got to answer the topic question & I'd like to chime mine - since at least 80% of us believe in some kind of religion or take comfort from teachings of religion specially in times of personal tragedy, religion has got to not only be valid, legitimate & valuable; but necessary in any society. It is also the glue that binds society together - we as a nation is defined by our religion (or by our set of beliefs in communism for example)

    November 15, 2013

  • Warren T.

    Great discussion.

    November 14, 2013

  • JC

    Rhetorical question; If you are a person with Ethics and Morals based on sound Principals; are Religions necessary and/or just serving as an insurance policy?

    November 14, 2013

  • philip

    likes to know what other people think about the religion

    November 13, 2013

  • elizabeth m

    My work schedule is also a little up in the air. If I can't make it, I will rsvp again. Thanks.

    November 4, 2013

    • Lawrence

      Thanks, Elizabeth. I look forward to seeing you if you can make it.

      November 8, 2013

  • David

    I don't quite know my work schedule for the 14th but I will try to be there. If I have to work I will cancel so that someone else can attend. It should be an interesting topic to discuss.

    October 30, 2013

    • Lawrence

      Thanks, David. I hope you can make it.

      October 31, 2013

  • Vivian

    Looking forward to it!

    October 28, 2013

13 went

Our Sponsors

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy