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5: The fact that religion runs in families.

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From: "The Top 10 Reasons I Don't Believe in God" by Greta Christina

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5: The fact that religion runs in families.

The single strongest factor in determining what religion a person is? It's what religion they were brought up with. By far. Very few people carefully examine all the available religious beliefs -- or even some of those beliefs -- and select the one they think most accurately describes the world. Overwhelmingly, people believe whatever religion they were taught as children.

Now, we don't do this with, for instance, science. We don't hold on to the Steady State theory of the Universe, or geocentrism, or the four bodily humours theory of illness, simply because it's what we were taught as children. We believe whatever scientific understanding is best supported by the best available evidence at the time. And if the evidence changes, our understanding changes. (Unless, of course, it's a scientific understanding that our religion teaches is wrong...)

Even political opinions don't run in families as stubbornly as religion. Witness the opinion polls that show support of same-sex marriage increasing with each new generation. Political beliefs learned from youth can, and do, break down in the face of the reality that people see every day. And scientific theories do this, all the time, on a regular basis.

This is emphatically not the case with religion.

Which leads me to the conclusion that religion is not a perception of a real entity. If it were, people wouldn't just believe whatever religion they were taught as children, simply because it was what they were taught as children. The fact that religion runs so firmly in families strongly suggests that it is not a perception of a real phenomenon. It is a dogma, supported and perpetuated by tradition and social pressure -- and in many cases, by fear and intimidation. Not by reality.

by on Jul. 11, 2012 at 7:40 AM
Replies (21-26):
Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jan. 21, 2013 at 9:57 AM
Quoting Meadowchik:
Quoting Clairwil:
Quoting Meadowchik:

 But there must be some concession from your side that a good, even intellectually brilliant person can spend a lifetime in their religion and spend it well in benefit to mankind.

Certainly.   That's true of any ideology flexible enough to let the believer take their own underlying goodness and sanity (if they have such) and use it to modify or 'interpret' the teachings, or select which ones are important to them.

But that doesn't, in itself, say more of religion than it does of the teaching of Karl Marx (or, indeed, of the example set by Groucho Marx).

 Perhaps not to someone looking for a quantifiable reason to chose one belief system over another.  But to some people, even real searchers, some systems ring a chord, indeed several chords, within them.  

It could be argued that this is what religion has evolved, via competition, to do - ring chords.

The religions that don't ring chords in seekers as strongly as the others competing for their attention will eventually die out.

The religions that do ring chords strongly will grow, then fracture into denominations and interpretations, to create a new generation to compete against each other, and produce yet stronger ringers.

Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Quoting Meadowchik:
Quoting Clairwil:
Quoting Meadowchik:

Even as one who believes in one "true Gospel," I will not discount the true beauty and real truths contained in almost all other the major religions today.  Who's to say that many people don't simply hold on to the good they find and apply it to their lives?

Wouldn't that apply to most sources of moral teaching, whether or not they contain a component of belief in the supernatural?

In other words, you're asking why these people can't just throw out the theism and hold on to the morals, right?

I think what I was trying to say was:

Truth and beauty are not arguments in favour of religion being correct, because they argue just as strongly for the true and beautiful alternative sources of moral teaching.

Therefore this does not negate the argument that religion running in families counts as evidence against religion being true in some supernatural way that, one would predict, OUGHT to make it spread in a way that non-supernatural things don't.


Clairwil
by Group Owner on Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:08 AM
Quoting Meadowchik:
Quoting Clairwil:

Where ever we look, in what ever aspect of religion we look, we see no influence of the supernatural, where logically one ought to expect to see influence, if the supernatural existed.

 Hmm, do those statistical evaluations examine combinations of and singled-out out religions, as well as religiosity of believers?  It sounds like such studies must rely on the assumption that any religious belief, however shallow, deep, or disparate, is equal to any other.

Can you give me an example of a single religion which you feel demonstrates evidence of benign supernatural influence?

Meadowchik
by Christian on Jan. 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM

 Hence, undermining the other post that claims religion does not "improve," eh?

 

It could be argued that this is what religion has evolved, via competition, to do - ring chords.

The religions that don't ring chords in seekers as strongly as the others competing for their attention will eventually die out.

The religions that do ring chords strongly will grow, then fracture into denominations and interpretations, to create a new generation to compete against each other, and produce yet stronger ringers.

 

Meadowchik
by Christian on Jan. 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM

 

Quoting Clairwil:

I think what I was trying to say was:

Truth and beauty are not arguments in favour of religion being correct, because they argue just as strongly for the true and beautiful alternative sources of moral teaching.

They weren't being used as an argument.  The point was that, instead of following the herd-like implications of the OP, people as part of there conformity--wheh it exists--may simply find "enough" goodness where they are, enough to work on for a lifetime.  This does not disprove deity.  Indeed, the similarities in major world religions makes it hard, IMO, to be dismissive of "inherited" religion. 

Consider this: an abstract "cone" representing the truth present in a religion; it can range from being mostly filled with truth and slightly with otherwise to being mostly empty of truth.  However even the kernals of truth, arguably, might be enough for a good person to chew on.  In other words, there's already so much good present in so many religions that it may represent enough for most people to linger with indefinitely, whereas the minority of people search more rigorously for thorough precision. 

I see this OP as not only attempting to devalue theism but also denigrate theists.  I am trying to show that there are some very admirable reasons that good people could stay with their religion, even if it happens to be one I don't agree with.

Therefore this does not negate the argument that religion running in families counts as evidence against religion being true in some supernatural way that, one would predict, OUGHT to make it spread in a way that non-supernatural things don't.

Define "supernatural."

 

 

Meadowchik
by Christian on Jan. 21, 2013 at 11:28 AM

 All the major religions that affirm the principle "love thy neighbor" and a number of other principles suggest elements of benign influence.  As far as "supernatural," I can only speak to my own experience. 

Quoting Clairwil:

Quoting Meadowchik:
Quoting Clairwil:

Where ever we look, in what ever aspect of religion we look, we see no influence of the supernatural, where logically one ought to expect to see influence, if the supernatural existed.

 Hmm, do those statistical evaluations examine combinations of and singled-out out religions, as well as religiosity of believers?  It sounds like such studies must rely on the assumption that any religious belief, however shallow, deep, or disparate, is equal to any other.

Can you give me an example of a single religion which you feel demonstrates evidence of benign supernatural influence?

 

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