City of Scribes

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Re: City of Scribes

Postby falasha » Sat 10 Jul 2010 7:48 pm

The only cultures presently without religion are some Europeans and their descendents. These folk have evolved self-awareness that does not require a deity to manipulate their lives. They congratulate themselves on their superior view of the world and lament the fact that religion still exists. What they don’t understand is that they have simply used the organizational overlay of religion and have appointed themselves as “Lord”. They are Lord of their own economy and do not need to a higher power – THEY are the higher power.

What they don’t understand is that religion is being de-selected because it is no longer useful. It impedes economic progress, it causes stagnation in science and education and is the cause of horrible suffering. Religion is no longer a useful tool to build language, therefore it will soon become extinct. Atheists think their world view is far superior to Theists but it is actually just another strategy used by evolution to delude the human organism into economic competition and survival of offspring.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby Dan_ad_nauseam » Sat 10 Jul 2010 9:14 pm

falasha wrote:
Oh brother, what a blatant strawman.

Is there anyone, anywhere that has evidence of culture without religion? Anyone?


That depends on your definition of religion.

In the Durkheimian sense, nearly every culture has a realm set apart that can be called religious.

If you use a more traditional sense of religion implying the superhuman, there may be cultures that do not have religion.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby linguoboy » Sat 10 Jul 2010 10:26 pm

falasha wrote:The only cultures presently without religion are some Europeans and their descendents.

This will come as a surprise to the estimated 800 million Mainland Chinese who are irreligious, among many others.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby ILuvEire » Fri 16 Jul 2010 10:41 pm

The Pirahã of Brazil are notably athiestic, I hear.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby Pangu » Sat 17 Jul 2010 2:11 am

linguoboy wrote:
falasha wrote:The only cultures presently without religion are some Europeans and their descendents.

This will come as a surprise to the estimated 800 million Mainland Chinese who are irreligious, among many others.

Depends on how you define being religious. Many Chinese worship their ancestors and would occasionally pray to Buddha or Taoist gods. I'd say that's pretty religious.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby linguoboy » Sat 17 Jul 2010 4:45 am

Pangu wrote:
linguoboy wrote:This will come as a surprise to the estimated 800 million Mainland Chinese who are irreligious, among many others.

Depends on how you define being religious. Many Chinese worship their ancestors and would occasionally pray to Buddha or Taoist gods. I'd say that's pretty religious.

How many is "many"? And "ancestor worship" is a pretty misleading term for traditional Confucian rites. (As you know, the Chinese term is 敬祖 and the first character is more accurately translated as "respect" or "esteem". Or do you think that Chinese students actually "worship" their teachers on 敬師日?)
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby Pangu » Sat 17 Jul 2010 4:51 am

linguoboy wrote:How many is "many"? And "ancestor worship" is a pretty misleading term for traditional Confucian rites. (As you know, the Chinese term is 敬祖 and the first character is more accurately translated as "respect" or "esteem". Or do you think that Chinese students actually "worship" their teachers on 敬師日?)

Good question. I don't have any statistics if that's what you're looking for. It's just a general impression. I know what you mean, but respecting ancestors have morphed / twisted into worshipping ancestors over the course of the past few thousand years. Many people expect their ancestors to somehow bless and/or protect them.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby linguoboy » Sat 17 Jul 2010 4:58 am

Pangu wrote:Good question. I don't have any statistics if that's what you're looking for.

It'd be nice. After all, I looked for them before I made my statement.

Pangu wrote: Many people expect their ancestors to somehow bless and/or protect them.

That's as much true of Christians as it is of Confucians, and I wouldn't describe the former as "worshipping" their ancestors either.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby Pangu » Sat 17 Jul 2010 5:17 am

linguoboy wrote:
Pangu wrote:Good question. I don't have any statistics if that's what you're looking for.

It'd be nice. After all, I looked for them before I made my statement.

Would you mind sharing then?

linguoboy wrote:
Pangu wrote: Many people expect their ancestors to somehow bless and/or protect them.

That's as much true of Christians as it is of Confucians, and I wouldn't describe the former as "worshipping" their ancestors either.

Christians expect the Christian God to bless and/or protect them, not their ancestors.

Bottom line is, you claimed that 800 million mainland Chinese are irreligious, which is quite a large number considering how many mainland Chinese worship their ancestors, Buddha and/or Daoist gods.
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Re: City of Scribes

Postby ILuvEire » Sat 17 Jul 2010 9:01 am

Just doing a little googling gives the statistics of 59% (700 million+ people) being irreligious and 8 -14% being athiest (100-180 million). I would say that the "irreligious" description probably describes people who hold some religious beliefs, but aren't committed to any kind of organized religion. Like people in the west, who are dragged by their grandparents to church on Easter and Christmas but otherwise don't follow most Church teachings, but still believe in some kind of God and supernatural.

Actually, that describes a majority of Chinese that I know indeed, they may partake in some kind of 敬祖 (like Linguoboy, I hesitate to call it "ancestor worship") but don't regularly visit a temple or study Confucian or Daoist philosophy. I also know quite a few families of Vietnamese Catholics that practice 敬祖. I don't think it's necessarily religious.

Anyway, that's quite a large and healthy culture that isn't religious. And where do you draw the line between religion and philosophy? We can see obviously that liberalism isn't a religion, and Christianity is a religion, but what about Confucianism, Taoism or Buddhism? Confucianism and Taoism, which most consider religions, were suppressed by rulers who ascribed to legalism, which most consider a political philosophy, because they saw them as differing political ideologies. However it wasn't just about suppressing religious philosophies or anything, mohism was another common political philosophy, which was also suppressed by legalism.

China in particular is very hard to stuff into a religious vs. irreligious box.
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