Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Debating religion


Even though my evolution and religion series ended with Collapse, I had read some things I liked regarding how others see religion and relationship to god and wanted to add them here as a kind of addendum.

The first is a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair. They are arguing whether religion helps mankind or hinders. Here is the link to a transcript of the three parts. There is also a video for those with fast enough systems and high enough usage limits.


What a loss it will be if Hitchens cannot overcome the cancer his body is battling. He is such a great thinker. I can't think of anyone like him and a debate like this, from two well known men, both of whom have really nothing to gain from doing it, is a treat. It was an example of discussing something logically and with faith all at the same time. And doing it without being mean or nasty.

A woman who did lose her battle with cancer was Elizabeth Edwards and I thought the link below was an interesting look at her spiritual beliefs at the end of her life.

We live in a culture where to not push Christianity onto others is suspect especially when it's someone in the public eye as she was. It seems to me she tried to live her life personally privately and responsibly as best she knew it. I don't know what she believed about god at the end but the article writes of a woman who was evolving in her ideas of what was truth. Her life had given her much reason to have been considering it with great depth.

Why Elizabeth Edwards left god out of her last good-bye.

Lighthouse at Yaquina Head, Oregon Coast photo December 2010.

8 comments:

The Old Man Himself said...

Hi Rain . . . The concept of "religion" is interesting to explore. Not "what" it is, but "why" it is. Hitch does a good job.

If we are all accidental and came out of the swamp, WHEN and WHY did we find religion? Was something missing? Did human beings invent it to explain our existence?

Suppose instead that "God spake us into being" all at once as full blown human beings. If we arrived pretty much as we are today, was there a "time of no religion" before the books of the Bible (or other holy knowledge)was collected and used to establish a religion?

And doesn't this spontaneous beginning as complete human beings contradict scientific facts?

I think it does. To me:
(1) It appears that human beings arrived very slowly, as they evolved from a lesser life form.
(2) Eventually as this life form evolved to BECOME human, they began transcribing verbal knowledge - that became their holy books.
(3)It was human beings that interpreted those books and created religions from them.

Christopher Hitchens seems to agree with this chain of thought - while at the same time denying that God had anything to do with it. That's not a new idea, but it is still interesting and makes one think.

Bump . . .

ps. I Pray for Hitch.

Rain said...

Good thoughts, Dixon. I don't deal with whether a god/gods exist. To me it's more about religion and what it has done especially to my own country as it has seemed to have greater weight than any scientific study. We see the damage easily when it's parents denying medical care to a child; but it's more subtle in the choices we make as a people with the idea a big daddy in the sky will fix it all.

I think man wanted religion for the same reason he wants many things-- power. It is a fearful world even today let alone way back and finding some way to be safe, to get protection from outside of ourselves, it makes sense for man to look for it. Just all religions basically fail (as I see it anyway) and in the end damage even our chances to connect with the spirit world, utilize what is there as we settle for safety and the security of someone else telling us what is.

Whether there is a god, well that I don't know but as I have said, I do believe there is. As a deist though I don't believe god gets involved with miracles or tragedies. I do though think there might be things we can do to alter our situation which are looking beyond the physical to something else that works. I will be writing more about this idea in January *s* I consider it to be mystery though and won't be trying to find definitive answers but more explore possibilities.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rain: very nicely written and thoughtful set of articles.

As I have said previously, I remained Agnostic for a long time, having long lost religion and learning about the myriad of fallacies of the various "holy books".

Only in recent years have I been able to completely let go of the deistic god and take comfort in the knowledge gained recently regarding our cosmic origins.

I attend debates and read what theologians say to justify their faith. They will adroitly postulate theories and "evidence". But when you press them and they deviate from their formal positions, they ALL fall back on the acceptance that they really really really want it to be true and hope for their consciousness to live forever. I guess it is easier to fool one's self then to fool other people.

Kay Dennison said...

Interesting -- both your post and the comments!!! I am becoming as I age, less and less enchanted with organized religion. I'm not sure what I'm seeking but finding some sort of understanding of evil in the world and how to shield myself from it. I don't know if that makes sense but it's been that kind of day!

Rain said...

One thing that I feel about God is that whether there is a god or there is not, has nothing to do with whether we live beyond a physical life. There might be a god and we still die when we die. The question of God is about how we live this life and what is truth. It's not about some kind of heavenly reward-- or punishment.

Rain said...

I had the same conversation with a minister in the little church out where I live. He thought people would come to religion out of a desire for an afterlife or fear of some punishment. I said then and still believe, it's not about that. It's about now!

mandt said...

The article on Elizabeth Edwards was moving and consistent with the grace of insight and consciousness that comes with adversity. The take on her 'spirituality' by neo-con ghoul Donald Douglas was very telling about the absolute bankruptcy of the religious right.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

A very thought provoking post, Rain...My feeling about all of this is Do Not Judge---Yet You Be Jugdged, or whatever that quote is. One wonders about the Purity of the Christianity of some people who dare to critisize someone elses beliefs? Is this Christ-like??
Deliver me from all of this, please.

Wishing you and yours the most wonderful Christmas, dear Rain....And an even better New Year!