Sunday, April 20, 2014

An Atheists argument in favor of organized religion

A lot of the objection to religion stems from it’s supporting beliefs and it’s flat denials of contrary proof. Claiming that faith is a virtue regardless of fact. There might be some truth in the teachings but I’ve never been able to get past the hypocrisy, so I couldn’t tell you for sure what that truth is or isn't. A requirement of Faith in defense of false teaching which defends lies speaks poorly of the whole piece.

Similarities between religion and government are more than coincidental. The grand design of both is to provide a friction free social framework and brokers a base that supports leaders. A friction free environment is, in my opinion, the best anyone could hope for in the way of a greater community, and to this end religion is peerless. In the ideal religious community, everyone agrees on protocol, which comes together for the purpose of being good and nothing else, and where sanity is assumed. Civic and Governmental Legal frameworks don’t begin to approach the same effect, and are often inimical to it.

Likewise organized Abrahamic religions are too vested in the limited interest of their organizers. In the interest of fairness they are unfair, in the interest of truth they are untruthful. “The God of Man” demands that the world revolve around the interpretation of scriptures. If some catastrophe happens, it’s God sending a message that people are doing something wrong, but the scripture is never wrong. That's preposterous.

There’s a Buddhist view that the world is never out of balance but an individual’s perception can easily be incomplete. It would seem odd that Yahweh religions developed the enlightenment, the steam engine, the Higgs Boson, (WW2) etc., instead of a Buddhist society with the objectivity to see that people are part of the whole instead of the whole. But that detachment allows objective assessment of ones relationship to the world, so it just doesn’t automatically mean enough to get caught up in it’s physics. Vested interests are identified and critically reviewed.

Here’s a wikipedia article about Bhagat Singh, who wrote Why I am an Atheist in 1930 while waiting to be executed.

The common thread among any group, religious or not, is the supporting community’s assurance that the cause is worthwhile (meaning “productive”). Bhagat Singh felt it was productive even though he was condemned because the greater good of his people was served, even though he didn’t believe in God. Some kind of Supporting Community is critical for almost any action. Hygor Piaget Melo, a physicist at the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil said “When comparing any two cities, the one with more people will typically have a lower suicide rate”. source

That kind of assurance doesn’t just pop up. Lenin had the Proletariat, The Pope has Catholics. The Moonshine Economy was strong even before the American revolution and probably before Harappa. However, confidence that assurance exists is mostly taken on faith.

The average person uses faith because it’s shorthand for the actual reasons, which are typically vague, complicated, and filled with other peoples opinions. “Sure Columbus discovered America. The people who were there already, grew up there so they didn’t discover it. (heh)”

The contrary force that destroys faith, and the second part of this equation, is the force that makes leaders selfish.

Say someone has a good idea. People like it and acknowledge the inventor. The inventor steps up the social ladder to being an authority. They ask him about similar situations and extrapolate the original plan to cover it. The authority manipulates all the attention to get things done, finding in the process that it’s easier if people don’t ask hard questions so he discourages dissent and declares some kind of cliche icon to represent the basic idea, such as a slogan, flag, or idol. The inventor steps further up the social ladder to become a leader. Now he appoints department heads, advisors, and commissars.

He might be a modest, self effacing nerd, but he’s placed in a position where he has to defend the social structure that placed him and depends on his leadership. Without his community’s support, he’d be at the mercy of the opposition. Like Mussolini, he’s basically a slave-puppet to the people who support him. He’s a leader but he’s not free. That dissonance produces stress and excess cortisone, so like Dick Cheney, he becomes calloused to shut out the worry, his security blanket is self indulgence. His advisors are basically in the same situation.

So the seeds of destruction are inherent in the structure. They grow from social mimicry. Hipsterism. Assuming someone else’s truth to be a universal truth. There’s probably a lot of truth in philosophy and religion, but it’s usually indistinguishable from the presentation of the speaker.

Simply put: if it's not yours, you won't recognize it so you have to assume it’s truth based on rumor.
Less Simply put: Awareness which is not socially relevant is subjective by default, though it occupies the greater usage of ones mental CPU. Social awareness is built on a learned verbal description of what's important, which limits what we allow ourselves to know to mostly things which we can verbally communicate. Those sources (social conventions) require trusting someone else's experience over our own, and though that process is the backbone of both fundamentalism and primate society, those sources may still be in error. (An irrefutable example is the process that elected George Bush II. Twice!). Other examples: Historical Figures in literature (wikipedia)

That's not saying social conventions are false, we depend on them for group cohesion. Without them what would music or humor be like? The problem is they cause us to believe someone else’s world model without actually going there to find out.

What would the structure look like without evil hipsters?. Or, what would the seeds do without the structure?

A guess might be that a description of the structure are already biased towards those 2 options when there could be many answers. For example they might not be evil seeds but rather flaws in conception, perhaps another design wouldn’t collapse in the manner predicted by every civilization and known organism.

Well, not every one: A kind of single celled jellyfish called a Sea Grape, first shows up in the fossil record 560 million years ago and apparently they don’t die. Instead, since they’re single celled, they split in two and revert to a juvenile stage. At least some of them do if they don’t get fossilized. (actually, their tracks get fossilized but Sea Grapes don't since they're 99.9 percent water) They coexist because they don't compete for resources. Their populations are kept in check by predators and random catastrophe, but not cell obsolescence. That’s probably not what Chairman Mao Zedong envisioned for China’s cultural revolution, but he only had the honor of leadership and self perpetrating seeds of destruction to work with.

A classic human social structure based on possessions and property values that would also go along with the Sea Grape plan seems far fetched, but it’s commonplace as long as individuals interests aren't vested in mortality. In fact, death could qualify as an evolutionary trait which forces creatures to come up with more durable alternatives to themselves: a family, “the meaning of it all”, society, seeding the galaxies, “God” by any other name.

It's sometimes harsh being atheist. a problem with artificial intelligence is that it has no innate concept of "spirit". Like when a wild animal looks at you and you recognize something. It's possible to write some code so AI acts right and maybe nobody will notice, but without a bunch of conflicting hormones, it will never conquer fear. It'll never be gratified to live up to a social ideal, and it'll never see itself reflected in the wild.


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