Atheism plus religion

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Atheism plus religion

Post by Dreamweaver » 11 Sep 2019, 19:44

Here is an atheist promoting the study of religion. He makes sense to me.
Philosopher Dan Dennett calls for religion -- all religion -- to be taught in schools, so we can understand its nature as a natural phenomenon. Then he takes on The Purpose-Driven Life, disputing its claim that, to be moral, one must deny evolution.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTepA-WV_oE
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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Perrorist » 11 Sep 2019, 21:10

I watched only a few minutes of this, so my question may have been answered, but is it a natural phenomenon or just an attempt to make sense of the world through lack of knowledge?

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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Warrigal » 12 Sep 2019, 13:49

I'm listening as I post this. He sounds like a learned, and may I say, wise speaker.
If he is criticising Rick Warren then he has my automatic attention.

In a very rudimentary way NSW schools already teach comparative religion in the GRE section of the curriculum. It is incorporated into the Human Studies section of the curriculum. This is different to the SRE section which is what is generally referred to as Scripture, and is taught by visiting teachers. GRE is taught by the regular classroom teacher and is compulsory. SRE is opt out.

When I taught at the Catholic junior high school Religious Studies was a full subject requiring 3 or four lessons per week, roughly one half a day per week. It was entirely Christian in focus with an overlay of catholic history, tradition and doctrine. It was compulsory for all students regardless of their personal religious faith or denomination. When the girls were in Year 10 they were exposed to 'other denominations' and 'other non Christian faiths'. This was done by visiting other places of worship e.g. The Great Synagogue of Sydney (and holocaust museum), my local Uniting Church building and a Salvation Army Citadel. Here they heard from speakers involved with that place and had a written assignment of complete. The kids were encouraged to ask all the questions that they liked. For other groups - Islam, Buddhism and other protestant denominations - speakers were invited into the school to address the girls.

A significant amount of time was devoted to this valuable exercise but I cannot see this being replicated in public schools.

I did something similar with some of my Sunday School students. I asked them what they would like to learn and they answered 'other religions'. So were took an historic perspective and looked at Abraham, Moses, Judaism, the defeat by the Romans and the beginning of the diaspora. We studies Josephus' account of the siege of Jerusalem in English translation. Then we turned to Christianity and looked at the early missionary activities of Paul and others. The hot issues of the time were forbidden foods and circumcision of males. As an exercise we went for yum cha on Sunday morning and they tried some chicken feet to understand how hard it must have been for conservative Jews to eat foods they encountered as missionaries. Surprisingly they did not find it hard at all. We also went to the Great Synagogue and the strictness of the Sabbath rules were understood when they realised that it was forbidden to play musical instruments during Sabbath worship.

Last we looked at the rise of Islam. We learned about the life of Mohummud, his wives, battles and how the Koran was delivered. We also studied the Christian Crusades, who started them, what happened as the crusaders passed through Europe and Asia Minor on the way to the Holy Land. Last, we looked at the religious obligations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity and compared the traditions.

As you can imagine, this kind of treatment requires interest from the students and I happened to have a small class of very intelligent boys. Two were minister's sons and one was from a quite religious and musical family. You cannot do all of this as a compulsory exercise in public school. That is why GRE is a very tiny corner of the overall curriculum.
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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Dreamweaver » 12 Sep 2019, 16:39

He commences by considering cows, how they are part of nature, how they have evolved, how humans have influenced that evolution from the now extinct aurochs over thousands of years. They have had a big impact on human culture. And humans have been redesigning their religions in the same way over thousands of years, which has influenced evolving cultures all over the world.

He goes back to the brilliance of natural selection (not intelligent design) - sheep themselves were not clever to increase their genetic fitness by becoming domesticated. Humans have worked with these natural processes to have huge effects, and have multiplied so greatly that we now influence the whole world, and this is through culture.

He considers religion a natural phenomenon which should be studied. He believes democracy depends on an informed citizenship. Misinformed consent is worth nothing. He feels it indefensible that some religions are so determined to preserve the 'purity' of their faith that they insist their children be kept in ignorance of other religions.

More, but I won't add more 'spoilers'!
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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by mavisbramston » 12 Sep 2019, 18:54

Wonderfully interesting

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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Perrorist » 12 Sep 2019, 20:45

Very.

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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by mavisbramston » 13 Sep 2019, 09:30

Sometimes I read posts on silver peers and I honestly have nothing to add but like folks to know ai read it. This is one of the very few sites and forums where I read respectful decent posts. I dont always agree but have not encountered the bigoted aggression of other forums.

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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Warrigal » 13 Sep 2019, 09:57

We are not usually aggressive with people in face to face discussions. I would walk away before I would resort to nastiness.

I try to carry the same calmness to my online interactions. Early on I was tempted a couple of times to make snide or sarcastic remarks. For that I punished myself with a 2 week suspension. That was enough to remind me to stay nice, no matter the provocation.
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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by Dreamweaver » 01 Jan 2020, 10:35

Perrorist wrote:
11 Sep 2019, 21:10
I watched only a few minutes of this, so my question may have been answered, but is it a natural phenomenon or just an attempt to make sense of the world through lack of knowledge?
It is natural to wonder about life and death, make what sense we can of it. Evolution is natural. Natural selection is largely responsible, depending on the environment. But more and more it is influenced by humans, their effect on the animals' environment, often for humans' benefit which means the animals' short term benefit, but ultimately for ours. Our understanding of evolution also evolves, as does our understanding of religion. It is a natural process. So I guess your question of either/or can be answered as 'both'.

He is responding to pastor Rick Warren's book, "A Purpose Driven Life.' He praises it for achieving such aims as bringing purpose to the lives of millions, and for updating outmoded understanding of scripture. He is less impressed with opinions presented such as
" If there were no God, and everything was a result of random chance, there would be no purpose to your life. It all starts with God.”
And unimpressed that despite Warren's support for non-literalism he quotes some very unscientific passages from scripture.

Dennett also quotes Paul MacCready
Suddenly, we humans - a recently arrived species, no longer subject to the checks and balances inherent in nature - have grown in population, technology and intelligence to a position of terrible power
Agree with Dennett or not, this is an interesting presentation. I would like to see a response from a scientifically knowledgeable person who had further (other) opinions.
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Re: Atheism plus religion

Post by grandduke » 01 Jan 2020, 20:50

I have nothing to do with religion for it has been the cause of more wars muder and mayhem
over the centuries, i can still remember as a 5 year old having to sing onward christian soldiers
march as before with the cross of Jesus going on before that is indoctrination of young minds

But then again religion is important to many millions of people they derive some kind of comfort
from it the bible is the most read book in history however it was written by men with their own
self interest at heart it is established fact that the teaching of Jesus were corupted by the early church fathers
because he offered salvation, nay nay i have managed my life quite well even with its failures but thats life you
take the good with the bad.
So to wrap up this conversation my belief goes beyond religion we all evolved from the same source, we are spirit
in our true sence not the vessel we occupy on earth God has nothing to do with Mankind why would it we are eternal beings
and when we have developed to a Crist level we shall return to our source only then we will have an identity.

The greatest gift we were given was free will and the right to choose at every moment how we live our lives however be
mindful of Kamic law for it is this that will determine the quality of the life you lead......we write our own script how good
is that and for those that do not believe that well thats alright to because it will catch up with you anyway cackle cackle
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”
George Bernard Shaw

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