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RE: [humanism-174] Belief Systems

From: Marni H.
Sent on: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 12:21 AM

Excellent debate! Love this group….


I agree that the ancient Egyptians were being rational in their sun worship. It still sort of makes sense even today. After all, if our Sun never was, there would be no Earth, no life (except ‘round other suns), and obviously no Human race. The religions of certain indigenous North Americans may have been fairly rational also- those that worshiped the forces of nature, and possibly those who worshiped their ancestors. Who’s MY creator?  ….My Parents!


Worshiping ANYTHING or ANYONE in a religious way has always seemed sort of creepy to me.


Galileo was persecuted for proving that the Earth revolved around the Sun instead of visa-versa. This defied holy scripture at the time.


Mark T.


From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Maude
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:14 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [humanism-174] Belief Systems


In a message dated 7/16/2007 10:09:39 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [address removed] writes:


Ok, this has got me engaged so I am going to pick it apart (I love debating).

I am not worried
about offending anyone I just want them to think
rationally about their beliefs. Think rationally about
how they came to those beliefs.

This will come up again from me but, rationality is a function of intelligence. Not everyone has the same capacity for rational and deductive reasoning. I believe we must respect those who are not capable of that level of intelligence and understand that there a LOT of people not capable of that level of intelligence. To try to point out where their thinking is irrational would be pointless and meaningless to them.

If they suddenly found
themselves in a deserted island with no holy books -
how would they justify their belief. If you had to
start from scratch with no historical references how
would you build a belief system.

Ah. But this has happened. The early Egyptians worshipped the Sun god. They had no background on gods in general, they simply looked around RATIONALLY and figured that, since the sun made food grow and the sun brought light so one could see during the day and the sun marked a measured timing to things, that gosh, it must be terribly important! Therefore, to them, the sun's importance became a divine thing. and if by happenstance people acted up and the result was that it rained for weeks and the food didn't grow and mosquitos came and the land became useless-well, they made a rational association. They were not really wrong, in their experience, the sun kept them fed, comfortable, and plotted out time so therefore, they worshipped it. That is the belief system they formed and since they had no scientific knowledge about the solar system etc., they were RATIONAL. I think so anyway.

Some beliefs are wrong - for instance  belief that the
Earth is flat.

We can now plainly see that the earth is round because we can go up in space and view it. That is proof positive. It wasn't so long ago that, oh, who was it who was persecuted by the church for claiming the earth could not be flat?...not Galileo was it? He was persecuted but I think for gravity. At that time, there was no scientific PROOF that the earth was not flat. It was simply a theory-thus it was questioned. But now, that same church would hardly try to claim a flat earth. There is, I believe, still something called the "Flat Earth Society" which I guess, is comprised of folk wanting to think the earth is flat. Well, in that case, when we have had more than half a century of clear pictures of said planet showing it to be round, well, these people are simply not very intelligent. To try to point out their irrational belief to them would be futile. If they still believe the earth is flat with the plethora of scientific and plainly visible documentation to the contrary, then these are people who will NEVER be rational in their thinking so why bother? If they somehow gain some kind of happiness from thinking the planet flat, well, then I say, good for them if that is what causes them happiness or purpose.

I'm not saying that we need to preach to the theist.
I'm just saying we need to be able to identify
irrational beliefs and explain why they are
We don't need to argue. If after we explain how there
belief is irrational and they still want to think that
way, then so be it. It would be ethically dishonest to
do otherwise.


I think we do quite well identifying irrational beliefs and explaining how they are irrational but I don't think we need to make a point to tell the irrational thinkers how they are irrational. This doesn't help them. They will still be irrational and it just makes us appear arrogant.


I do however, believe, it would be ethically dishonest not to simply state OUR belief, like, "I don't believe in a god-based system because there is no scientific evidence to support it, there seems to be a history of belief systems developing just to explain what people cannot otherwise explain which makes it irrational, etc......


 I think it is important that we encourage
our fellow man to embrace rational thinking.


Well, you can encourage them, but if they do not have the intellectual capacity for it to begin with, it simply won't matter.




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