God and Religion

Wherein we answer, once and for all, the Big Question.


From the LC thread:

RGT is back!

Religion makes claims about the nature of the universe, like its age, and when it does it’s more then fair for science to investigate those religious claims.

Not that I’d agree science has disproved the possibilities of a big G or small g God.

OK let’s say that an ancient religion makes a claim about the age of the universe and science comes along and disproves that claim. What should the implications of that be for that religion and its adherents?

Firstly, your definition of religion is terrible. You stripped out all the woo-woo then complained that someone was attacking the woo-woo parts of religions.

Secondly, which religion or type of religion are you talking about? I’ll assume we’re mainly talking about the Big Three Abrahamic religions, and gladly stipulate that “religions” like Buddhism–parts of which are completely compatible with atheism–don’t make the same claims that most religions make.

While science may not be able to investigate all aspects of every religion, it can surely be used to investigate some aspects of most religions, right?

Most of the religions that have survived to modern times had their beginnings before we had even a vague concept of scientific rigor, so it’s easy to make the trivial point that “Religion isn’t about explaining the world in a rigorous and scientific way.” But this ignores the fact that most religions for thousands of years did try to explain things like cosmogony and human beginnings. They didn’t put forth a scientific thesis with supporting evidence, but they were often presented as Received Knowledge from the One who created it all. Those claims can be examined scientifically today.

That depends. If the ancient religion makes these claims and says the information came from God (oh, and by the way, that same God has also revealed that you shouldn’t be gay or eat shellfish), it should call into question all the rest of the Received Knowledge passed down from this God.

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If the discussion is about religion, I am happy to join as that is a fascinating topic with various legitimate viewpoints.

If the topic is gods existence, or frankly the existence of anything supernatural, then I’m not the least bit interested because there is only one legislate viewpoint. There is literally no other side.

I didn’t really define religion except by saying that it seems to fill various functions and needs for its practitioners and their societies. Part of the that need is people’s search for meaning and spirituality, which is in part filled by the idea of god.

To what end? You can disprove what a religion says about cosmology or the natural world, but what does proving this or that wrong say about the region and its practitioners?

Again, to what end? Certainly we should Do Science, but what does scientific findings contradicting what various religions said about the natural world hundreds or thousands of years ago say about those religions?

Start a young earth museum and hunt fossils?


Think what the implications are should be up to the believers.

This is where you have to specify which religion you’re talking about. If it’s a religion that says every word is directly delivered by God, it says one thing. If it’s a religion that says every word is indirectly inspired by God, it says another (though not that different, IMO). If it’s a religion that says ‘this is a best guess and could be wrong,’ it says another.

did you intend to use that word, or legitimate?

Autocorrect iOS error :grin:

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legislate can be an adjective lol I looked it up.

the standard: of, relating to or blah blah legislation

This is not a tough one. Wherever science and any religion conflict the religion should be ignored. This of course assumes we are talking about materialist claims about the world and not things like ethics. However even when it comes to ethics science is more likely to be providing useful information.

Religion is an existential threat to a society based on Enlightenment principles of reason, science, and humanism. However, as someone who identifies as post-Enlightenment and postmodern, I don’t want a society based solely on those principles.


Any thoughts on the differences in religions and the purposes it serves for settled, centralized states (like Mesopotamia through modern times) and like nomadic, tribal, non-state peoples (prehistoric or just outside state control).

Best religion joke ever.

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I propose we separate and define mysticism as separate from religion, as I think there is a dynamic tension between both throughout human history.

I assert that the Shaman’s ayahuasca journey was beneficial for the tribe while the transition to agrarian culture and property ownership exploited religion to soothe the masses.

I am pretty high right now so hopefully someone can run with this and I’ll see about cleaning it up later.