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Source: (consider it) Thread: Religion stunts your personal growth
SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
[qb] We could easily argue that the topic as originally posted is dismissive of the religious. But let's set that aside.

Let's do, because it isn't. If anything, it is a challenge to religion to become what it can be.

But if religion is unnecessary for morality, as you've said, that why does it need to 'be' anything?

You may mean that it ought to stop making good people do bad things, to coin a phrase, and restrict itself to providing pleasant spiritual thoughts for people who seem to need religion for that sort of thing.

However, it could be argued that more and more people have other outlets for those needs: art, music, sport, physical endeavour, etc.

The kinds of people who are increasingly likely to indulge in religion are perhaps the least likely to keep it strictly in its place, while the market for aesthetic, low key, spiritual but not dogmatic or obtrusive religiosity appears to be fairly limited. Although there will always be a few sophisticated people who'll find it interesting.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
We may not be understanding each other. There is a literature which discusses primate and human evolution with religion being part of the evolutionary processes. I accept evolution, and also accept that human religious behaviour is inevitable because of our evolution.

What I have read suggests religion is possible because our brains evolved enough for it to happen.* Which is the reverse of what you seem to be saying.

*Or, if you prefer, evolved enough to understand

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
But if religion is unnecessary for morality, as you've said, that why does it need to 'be' anything?

Because it is the guide many people use.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Gramps49
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Sorry, no prophet, my last comment was not directed at you. I actually think we are on the same page.

To the comment that religion gives us racism, sexism, homophobia and the like To be sure people have used religion to justify their prejudices, but I look at the Bible, in particular, I see very little reference to race. Jesus was very much a feminist in his day (we have just carried it further). Other than just seven "killer verses" (as I call them), there is practically no reference to same-sex relationships.

The one issue that does stick is the issue of slavery It was a part of the economic system when the Bible was written.

But, over time, Christianity has evolved and changed its views on many social issues.

The American Civil Rights Movement has long used religion in its progress. Religion still speaks to social issues of today.

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SvitlanaV2
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lilBuddha

The problem, as I've implied, is that kinds of religious people of whom you most disapprove wouldn't be interested in a reformed religiosity of the kind you'd like.

You remind me of non-religious folk who admire Quakerism and wish all Christians were Quakers. Unfortunately, people who are already Christians in other churches have their own reasons for not being Quakers. The best people to become Quakers are obviously the ones who say how much they admire the movement!

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
Sorry, no prophet, my last comment was not directed at you. I actually think we are on the same page.

To the comment that religion gives us racism, sexism, homophobia and the like To be sure people have used religion to justify their prejudices, but I look at the Bible, in particular, I see very little reference to race. Jesus was very much a feminist in his day (we have just carried it further). Other than just seven "killer verses" (as I call them), there is practically no reference to same-sex relationships.

The one issue that does stick is the issue of slavery It was a part of the economic system when the Bible was written.

But, over time, Christianity has evolved and changed its views on many social issues.

The American Civil Rights Movement has long used religion in its progress. Religion still speaks to social issues of today.

Yes, I think we are reading from the same page. I am reminded of the following also, which is a quote, from memory, and I don't know from whom:

"Someone said to me that religion causes war and violence, so we should do away with religion. That sounds like false news. I thought war and violence were caused by people wanting power over others so as to take their resources and money, to enrich themselves: something most religions specifically preach against."

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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lilBuddha
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Not certain you read me correctly.
For Christianity, following Jesus' words would lead to personal growth. I'd go as far as to say that without it, there is no spiritual growth.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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spiritual growth ≠ personal growth

There are no such promises.

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
spiritual growth ≠ personal growth

There are no such promises.

[Roll Eyes] If you are not becoming a better person, you are not growing spiritually.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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You name the problem. The de-centring of self as the pivot point of all existence is much more important to my understanding. Living life for others. Being kind. Are you trying to shoehorn religion to some form of human potentialism?

God, as you may (or may not) conceive of a god, doesn't care nearly as much about individuals, their growth as we would like to suppose. We're not so important. But by trying to align ourselves with the totality of things, really take part in life within the world of people and things, and not just regard ourselves as a kind of miraculous creation in ourselves, worthy of growth (or as I've noted of epiphanies in my current sig). Not regarding the rest of the world as a sort of stage and background scenery against which we actualize ourselves.

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Martin60
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So God isn't immanent?

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Love wins

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AndyHB
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

No religion is the default. Religion should improve, but I don't think it does.
I think it can and I think it should. But I also think it difficult.

I'd have to disagree lilBuddha. I do not see religion doing anything, which is why neither Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, nor any of the other religions 'do anything'. Rather, it is the relationship with the deity (and that is the Christian God for me) that does everything. As a Christian, I believe that I should be becoming more Christ-like every day - I accept that on many days I fail, but I'm working on that, with his help.

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
You name the problem. The de-centring of self as the pivot point of all existence is much more important to my understanding. Living life for others. Being kind. Are you trying to shoehorn religion to some form of human potentialism?

God, as you may (or may not) conceive of a god, doesn't care nearly as much about individuals, their growth as we would like to suppose. We're not so important. But by trying to align ourselves with the totality of things, really take part in life within the world of people and things, and not just regard ourselves as a kind of miraculous creation in ourselves, worthy of growth (or as I've noted of epiphanies in my current sig). Not regarding the rest of the world as a sort of stage and background scenery against which we actualize ourselves.

There is some good stuff here. I would say that there is a further development, where aligning myself with the 'totality of things' begins to blur, and there is no distinction. Most religions seem to encode this, and I wonder if it is just a natural process, partly to do with getting older. The foreground and the background begin to blend, and 'actualizing myself' seems laughable, since this already happens in everything.

But I think you are right about overcoming that early narcissism, which most forms of spirituality fall foul of, and why wouldn't they? No egg, no chicken.

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Makepiece
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There is of course a great deal of empirical evidence that religion does lead to personal growth including:

health benefits

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3512217?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Lower crime rates

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0191886996000232

and more secure attachment styles (notably this is particularly the case for people who experienced insecure attachment as a child suggesting 'growth')

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167292183002

[ 20. May 2017, 15:28: Message edited by: Makepiece ]

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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Religion leads to more altrusim.

Canadian Survey: 67 per cent of the religiously committed favoured helping others. For non-believers, 65 per cent chose the pursuit of happiness.

So religion creates less self-centredness.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Religion leads to more altrusim.

Canadian Survey: 67 per cent of the religiously committed favoured helping others. For non-believers, 65 per cent chose the pursuit of happiness.

So religion creates less self-centredness.

Self-reported. Which might vary a bit in practice.
Religion is often cited as being more charitable, but when you factor out giving to one's own church, the numbers tell a different story.
The religious are also less likely to be supportive of LGBT+, not exactly altruistic.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Dave W.
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Religion leads to more altrusim.

Canadian Survey: 67 per cent of the religiously committed favoured helping others. For non-believers, 65 per cent chose the pursuit of happiness.

So religion creates less self-centredness.

Or maybe just more pious self-aggrandizement.
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Moo

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When I used to answer the phones for the Samaritans suicide hot line, almost all my fellow Samaritans were active in their churches.

Moo

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Religion leads to more altrusim.

Canadian Survey: 67 per cent of the religiously committed favoured helping others. For non-believers, 65 per cent chose the pursuit of happiness.

So religion creates less self-centredness.

Self-reported. Which might vary a bit in practice.
Religion is often cited as being more charitable, but when you factor out giving to one's own church, the numbers tell a different story.
The religious are also less likely to be supportive of LGBT+, not exactly altruistic.

You need to define "giving to one's own church." Because it's a very common thing for churches to gather money (giving to one's own church?) that is then handed on to an outside need (famine, malaria initiative, local food pantry, etc. etc. etc.) The money does not stay with the local congregation, nor do any of the congregants benefit from it, unless by chance. The reason for handing it in to a collection at church is that there's less kerfuffle in processing one large donation than a bunch of little ones--plus the church can handle the publicity chores that raise awareness and funnel those individual donations in, rather than leaving the charity to (not) do it themselves.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
You need to define "giving to one's own church." Because it's a very common thing for churches to gather money (giving to one's own church?)

Specific collections designated for charity qualify as just for charity. But general collections in which some funds might pay the utilities, fix the roof, etc are self-giving.
quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
When I used to answer the phones for the Samaritans suicide hot line, almost all my fellow Samaritans were active in their churches.

Moo

I am by no means saying religion does no good. This thread isn't about doing good, per se.
It is about not seeing improvements in the general membership which should be apparent if they are following their founders' messages.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
This thread isn't about doing good, per se.
It is about not seeing improvements in the general membership.

The notion of 'improvements' is interesting. I've heard it said that some religions caught on precisely because they helped converts to live lives that they felt were better. (I don't mean material benefits. Sometimes these were present, but not always. After all, conversion could be very costly in some environments.)

I think the problem you're highlighting in this thread is simply that our secular culture has outgrown religion. The culture has already extracted whatever desirable teachings religion could provide, but no longer has any need for divisive doctrines about the supernatural. Spectators no longer see how the supernatural 'improves' on our personal morality because the starting point is that we can all live decently without the troublesome interference of gods. There's no need to take on a pile of questionable RC or Pentecostal baggage if all you want to be is a nice person.

So the only way that religion can now acceptably 'improve' anyone is by cutting down on the supernatural and developing the social. But denominations that lean in this direction have little popular appeal, since they offer nothing distinctive.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I think the problem you're highlighting in this thread is simply that our secular culture has outgrown religion. The culture has already extracted whatever desirable teachings religion could provide, but no longer has any need for divisive doctrines about the supernatural.

I think it much simpler. The idea of the teachings appeals, but we are very much creatures of belonging. The membership is the important bit. The only action from there is maintaining that membership.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
This thread isn't about doing good, per se.
It is about not seeing improvements in the general membership.

The notion of 'improvements' is interesting. I've heard it said that some religions caught on precisely because they helped converts to live lives that they felt were better. (I don't mean material benefits. Sometimes these were present, but not always. After all, conversion could be very costly in some environments.)

I think the problem you're highlighting in this thread is simply that our secular culture has outgrown religion. The culture has already extracted whatever desirable teachings religion could provide, but no longer has any need for divisive doctrines about the supernatural. Spectators no longer see how the supernatural 'improves' on our personal morality because the starting point is that we can all live decently without the troublesome interference of gods. There's no need to take on a pile of questionable RC or Pentecostal baggage if all you want to be is a nice person.

So the only way that religion can now acceptably 'improve' anyone is by cutting down on the supernatural and developing the social. But denominations that lean in this direction have little popular appeal, since they offer nothing distinctive.

I'm not sure about the supernatural. I was just reading a very moving piece about pop concerts, where young girls go, and the author said that he was surprised at how transcendent it seemed to him.

I suppose the New Age bubble has burst, but I wonder if there are not all kinds of supernatural references in our culture, esp. popular culture. But I guess they are not turned into a canon at all, well, I'm not sure.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-heartbreak-never-grasped-what-big-pop-gigs-for-daughters-eyes

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one City, United, Love MCR!

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SvitlanaV2
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I think it's more the case that things like music and sport can provide euphoric feelings, and they can be accessed without the benefit of religion. I once came across a survey in which some clergymen hoped to show that the experience of clubbing was connected to the spiritual in some way. But the young people they interviewed had no truck with that. They said it was just about having fun.

With regard to our being 'creatures of belonging', that's debatable. The postmodern condition suggests that we might like the idea of belonging, but we mostly choose to live very private, individualistic lives. Religion is most acceptable in our culture as something private; it's when it becomes communal and visible that it seems most undesirable - and perhaps most likely to undermine personal growth and autonomy.

[ 24. May 2017, 18:10: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Aijalon
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The idea of personal growth is tainted by modern Christian views that are overly centric on the individual. This alters the discussion of faith and expression away from community way of life and toward measures of "success" of an individual versus those around them.

In other words, thanks to Western thought and science, which seeks to bowl down everything into its constituent particles, we tend to over analyze ourselves and default into narcissism.

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I'm not a homophone

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Chorister

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I can see that the popular, the successful and the beautiful now see little need for religion, because they are too busy being popular, successful and beautiful, and are having a high old time. But what about those who are never going to be those things - those to whom life has dealt a crap hand. Is there still evidence that the sick and the maimed and the plain unlucky are more likely to find religion incredibly helpful in giving them a fulfilled life in its wider sense?

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Aijalon
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Jesus did not warn us about the end times were to be apocalyptic BEFORE he returns, he warned us that things would be dark as pertaining to faith and hope, and that the cares of the world would carry us away. In other words - yeah a plague of success will be killing the vast majority of people.

He didn't say the meek shall inherit the earth for nothing!

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I'm not a homophone

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