Author Topic: do you view religion as a 'crutch'?  (Read 589 times)

Asmodean Prime

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do you view religion as a 'crutch'?
« on: July 11, 2006, 03:40:16 AM »
ok, you've probably all heard of religion described as a 'crutch' before, but here's what i think and believe, if you're interested (and i admit it is not my own original invention, but i subscribe to it)

i dont see belief in God as a crutch, but rather as a 'stretcher' - let me explain if i can.
a crutch implies that you have at least one good leg to stand on, and only require partial support to get where you're going, whereas we see Jesus as a stretcher, meaning that without Him, we cant even LIMP into heaven.  we dont have a leg to stand on, because we are all utterly sinful without him, and unable to redeem ourselves, so we must rely on Him totally.
so at least we are willing to admit we have sinned.

this is basically the message that God gives in the bible, and He provided a way for our salvation.

And its a free gift.  so why wouldnt you take advantage of that?

after all, you've nothing to lose.

after researching this for a long time, i've found that it actually makes sense, though you won't see that at first glance, probably.  and it makes at least as much sense as believing that one day soon, you will completely cease forever to exist, with all your knowledge, experiences, relatioinships, etc, just completely ended, as though you were never important at all in the first place, whereas our own mind and spirit tell us that we are far more relevent than that, don;t you agree?

or do you truly see all of your lifes experiences, and those of your children, etc, having no deeper meaning whatsoever?

THAT is what i find hard to grasp about your beliefs

please explain
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Anonymous »

TwistOfCain

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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2006, 03:44:22 AM »
I don't know about having nothing to lose. You lose your freedom. You lose your ability to make your own choices. And what if you're wrong, and it ends up that a completely different god from the one you believe in exists? At least I spent my life using my freedom.

And, you're correct. I don't view my life as having any "deep" meaning, except that which I give it. My life is mine to do with as I will.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by TwistOfCain »
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Court

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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2006, 07:29:13 AM »
I think it's difficult for christians to understand why we want no "deeper" meaning because christianity is such an individualistic religion. All christians should read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, it portrays pretty realistically an ideal non-individualistic society. The point of all our lives is to help the human race as a whole, to sustain and improve upon it. Our goals should not be limited to our lifetimes, but because of religion and our "me me me" society, they are, and it makes us stagnate as a civilization. True development as a race cannot happen if people are constantly looking for "meaning" in their individual live.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Court »
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Big Mac

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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2006, 09:09:29 AM »
I disagree there Court. There's nothing wrong with exploring the inner workings of what makes you tick. However, people tend not to humble themselves to realize we are nothing in the scheme of everything. Not to say we shouldn't care but we should realize our place as human beings. Believing in a God is somewhat dangerous to me. Almost all violence and genocide and racism and sexism comes from religion. Look at the Taliban's treatment of women! What kind of person treats a lady like that and calls themselves a man? Much less a man of God! Then again, I agree that humans in general are selfish creatures and will spite people in order to right a perceived slight.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Big Mac »
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Court

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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 09:22:46 AM »
I respect that. I don't think that people shouldn't seek fulfillment in their own lives, just a society should have long-term goals that reach beyond the individual. There should be a balance between emphasis on the individual and emphasis on the species. Currently, the scale is tipped far too much toward the individual.
I also agree that religion is a dangerous delusion that leads to the degredation of society. It is a stumbling block on the way to greater civilization.
(Have you ever read Herland? It's a fabulous, fabulous book...)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Court »
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Big Mac

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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 09:44:48 AM »
I totally agree. I remember my church (when I was growing up and forced to go) would constantly bash science and such. Funny, they sure didn't have a problem with medicine, which was hindered by the church because back then you couldn't dissect cadavers for the advancement of medicine. Religion has put nearly 2,000 years of hold on science. Galileo, Da Vinci, Michealango, etc. were always threatened and bullied by the church for making the world a better place to live in.

No I don't believe I've read Herland, I might look it up later when Iget back from work.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Big Mac »
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Jassman

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Re: do you view religion as a 'crutch'?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 10:03:55 AM »
onlyme, your metaphor is somewhat interesting but that's as far as its importance goes I think. With the crutch thing, a lot of people see it as an "emotional crutch" to help them cope with losses, implying that these people just have a religion because they can't handle life's harsh realities like death and disease. They see it as mere wishful thinking.

Quote from: "onlyme"
ok, you've probably all heard of religion described as a
after researching this for a long time, i've found that it actually makes sense, though you won't see that at first glance, probably.  and it makes at least as much sense as believing that one day soon, you will completely cease forever to exist, with all your knowledge, experiences, relatioinships, etc, just completely ended, as though you were never important at all in the first place, whereas our own mind and spirit tell us that we are far more relevent than that, don;t you agree?

or do you truly see all of your lifes experiences, and those of your children, etc, having no deeper meaning whatsoever?

THAT is what i find hard to grasp about your beliefs

please explain

Yes, the fact that when we die, we're dead and can never think or smile or laugh again is a hard pill to swallow. But wishing for there to be something more does not make it true that there is something more. We choose to face the facts and not to water-down the concept of death with magical thinking. If you knew that you would eventually cease to exist completely, would you live your life a little differently?

There is no deeper meaning but, as Twist said, we have to find our own meaning. Find something that makes you happy and do that. If your goals are wealth, chase that. If you would like more relationships in your life, go make that happen. The choices are in your hands.

Quote from: "Court"
I respect that. I don't think that people shouldn't seek fulfillment in their own lives, just a society should have long-term goals that reach beyond the individual. There should be a balance between emphasis on the individual and emphasis on the species. Currently, the scale is tipped far too much toward the individual.

If you mean a suggested balance between the individual and the species then I guess I could support that. Otherwise though, I'm going to have to disagree. I value my freedoms and if I had goals that were not compatible with society's goals, I would seek to fulfill my own. What do you think about a person who, say, walks into the rainforest to live a life of solitude focussed on basic survival skills? Surely, he/she is not contributing anything to the human race as a whole. But is it wrong what they are doing? They are merely exercising their freedoms to live the life they want, to add the meaning to their life that they want.

I would like to help the human race in some way, but when my goals are not in line with what society expects of me, then off to achieving my own goals I go.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Jassman »
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Court

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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2006, 10:35:22 AM »
I completely see your point of view, Jassman, because I do believe that everyone should have the freedom to do what they want with their lives, as long as it doesn't hinder the freedoms of others.
However, I think that everyone should do something to give back to the society in which they live. The human species cannot develop otherwise. I don't think everyone should go devote their entire lives to the betterment of man (although, some must and voluntarily do so), but every little bit counts. This doesn't mean everyone should become a scientist or a teacher or a construction worker. But how much better do you think our world would be if every person on the globe (who was able) volunteered for only an hour a week?
What I definitely didn't mean was for everyone to conform to society's goals and expectations. If its expectations of mankind are distorted, though, it is the responsibility of the citizens to fix the expectations. If you don't like how the system is treating you, it's your job to do something about it. If you don't, who will?
I also don't mean we should all contribute to the betterment of just the majority, but the whole.
There is something to be said for individual goals, which I do believe everyone should have (and not all should be aligned with society's), but we can't only emphasize that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Court »
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Court

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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2006, 10:39:44 AM »
Does no one else believe in universal goals and a cooperative society? I honestly didn't think I'd be alone on this one.
I guess I've been reading Civil Disobedience and Utopia novels too often... :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Court »
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Jassman

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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2006, 11:19:38 AM »
Courtney, thanks for elaborating on your original post. I agree that humanity would benefit from more individuals with strongly altruistic motives and interests.

Quote from: "Court"
But how much better do you think our world would be if every person on the globe (who was able) volunteered for only an hour a week?


It would certainly help, but the problem with volunteering is the very definition of the word. It has to be voluntary. Once everyone is putting in their hour a week, as soon as a few people decide that they need their free time, they are looked down upon. When this happens, this volunteering of time is no longer voluntary. People feel obliged to do it every single week whether or not they actually want to.

I don't know. Maybe societal pressure on the individual to help out is a good thing? I guess it's purely speculation at this point.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Jassman »
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Whitney

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Re: do you view religion as a 'crutch'?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2006, 12:24:40 PM »
Quote from: "onlyme"
ok, you've probably all heard of religion described as a 'crutch' before, but here's what i think and believe, if you're interested (and i admit it is not my own original invention, but i subscribe to it)

i dont see belief in God as a crutch, but rather as a 'stretcher' - let me explain if i can.
a crutch implies that you have at least one good leg to stand on, and only require partial support to get where you're going, whereas we see Jesus as a stretcher, meaning that without Him, we cant even LIMP into heaven.  we dont have a leg to stand on, because we are all utterly sinful without him, and unable to redeem ourselves, so we must rely on Him totally.
so at least we are willing to admit we have sinned.

this is basically the message that God gives in the bible, and He provided a way for our salvation.

If the typical use of religion as a crutch was reffering to salvation...then yes, a streatcher would be a beter analogy.  When non-religious people refer to religion as being a crutch they mean an emotional crutch...something to lean on during rough times yet not really necessary if the religious would find other means of healing that limp religions temporarily brace up.  So, that's what it is usually meaning.

It seems to me that most believe in a religion because they were raised that way...it's just how life is for them.  With that sort of person I'm not sure if the crutch analogy applies.  I guess it would depend on how they viewed religion and how they used it.

But, and sorry to use you as an example...but in my view it seems to apply.  You are really afraid of death.  Religion allows you to escape from this fear by believing in heaven and that through accepting god you will be going there instead of just dying.  So, in your case, religioin is a crutch to help you get over a fear of death...but you actually don't get over it...religion just allows you to hobble over that fear by seeing visions of heaven when you think of your future death.

Quote
And its a free gift.  so why wouldnt you take advantage of that?

Well, because I don't believe it is true.  I think some of my responses in other threads explained why.

Quote
after all, you've nothing to lose.

I highly value the truth...and I don't view religion as the truth.  So I'd have my self-respect to loose.

Quote
after researching this for a long time, i've found that it actually makes sense, though you won't see that at first glance, probably.  and it makes at least as much sense as believing that one day soon, you will completely cease forever to exist, with all your knowledge, experiences, relatioinships, etc, just completely ended, as though you were never important at all in the first place, whereas our own mind and spirit tell us that we are far more relevent than that, don;t you agree?

Society tells us that humans are better, special, something more than an intelligent animal...I don't think 'mother culture' is right.   In a way, we do live on in 'spirit' through the memories of our loved ones and other effects our lives had on society.

Quote
or do you truly see all of your lifes experiences, and those of your children, etc, having no deeper meaning whatsoever?


I wouldn't say there is no deeper meaning.  I just don't think there is a reason to look towards the heavens to see the deeper meaning.  Humans are social beings, anything we do in our lives has small to deep effects on society.  I'm a humanist, so doing good for society has deep meaning to me.  Someone else may find deep meaning elsewhere...maybe working to protect wildlife or something like that.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Whitney »

Court

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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2006, 02:21:26 PM »
Quote from: "Jassman"
Courtney, thanks for elaborating on your original post. I agree that humanity would benefit from more individuals with strongly altruistic motives and interests.

Quote from: "Court"
But how much better do you think our world would be if every person on the globe (who was able) volunteered for only an hour a week?

It would certainly help, but the problem with volunteering is the very definition of the word. It has to be voluntary. Once everyone is putting in their hour a week, as soon as a few people decide that they need their free time, they are looked down upon. When this happens, this volunteering of time is no longer voluntary. People feel obliged to do it every single week whether or not they actually want to.

I don't know. Maybe societal pressure on the individual to help out is a good thing? I guess it's purely speculation at this point.


That's a good point and I never thought about it. I don't really believe that purely altruistic acts ever happen, to be honest, so it may be good to have a bit of societal pressure to help out. I'm not sure, really. *shrug*
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Court »
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Asmodean Prime

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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2006, 02:36:20 PM »
court, you wrote
Does no one else believe in universal goals and a cooperative society? I honestly didn't think I'd be alone on this one.
I guess I've been reading Civil Disobedience and Utopia novels too often..

yes, i do, but i also think its a spiritual (whatever that means) problem, as well as a socialogical or other issue.  i think the world is being lulled into a massive, and massively dangerous deception, something we christians have been saying for a long time, for example, the emergence of the new world order, which i honestly believe is designed to totally enslave humanity.  it will soon be time to wake up and smell the coffee, in my opinion.  there is a lot more at stake than people realise.   people are starting to wake up gradually and see something on the horizon.  they just dont know what yet.  in order for us to survive, we have to get together and pool our resources and intellect, so to speak, because we have a common enemy, far more dangerous and insidious than people are as yet willing to acknowledge.  we are all at risk.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Anonymous »

Jassman

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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2006, 02:44:02 PM »
onlyme, do you honestly think that world conditions and human quality of life is getting worse? Every century, humans have had a better quality of life as a whole with each passing century. Disgusting torture methods have severely diminished and more people have food now than ever before. Technology is automating repetitive and injury causing jobs and humans are living longer on average now than in the past.

We are improving. Maybe slower than I would like, but things are actually getting better.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Jassman »
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Asmodean Prime

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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2006, 02:49:46 PM »
jassman, i think we are deluded to think human qualities are improving on history.  hitler did what he did in our parents generation.  look at the barbarity being carried out in iraq. gun crime, violence, robberies, fear all seem to be increasing, security diminishing.  technology i think will prove to be a slave monster eventually rather than a saviour.  ok, we have more money, but we are not more civilized, as a brief study of cambodia, nangking, vietnam and others will show in a truly HORRIFYING fashion.  no, as i said before, i think (and im not alone) that we are being lulled into a false sense of security.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 05:00:00 PM by Anonymous »