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RVCA 03-20-2011 03:04 PM

Regarding the future of religion
 
For a large portion of the last two centuries, people have been predicting the demise of religion and the death of the supernatural. As science and technology slowly chip away at the unknown and explain the unexplained, one might conclude that religion is on its way out; that the future will have no room for dogma and superstition.

What do you believe the future has in store for religion? Personally, I'm tempted to believe that all the doomsayers are simplifying the issue when they say that "science is killing religion". While science can increasingly expound truths that traditionally lay within the realm of religion, I do believe that humans, to an extent, are "hardwired" for the supernatural. I'm no anthropologist, but it seems that all major cultures across the globe, at every time in history, believe(d) in some form of the supernatural, be it theism, spirituality, metaphysics, or anything else not directly observable, testable, and replicable.

That being said, I'm tempted to believe there is some kind of benefit, as a society or a culture, evolutionarily speaking, to holding supernatural beliefs. What this benefit is, I have not yet thought hard enough or conducted enough research to articulate and explain, but I am convinced it exists.

In the end, I do not think religion will vanish, or even become a minority trend, at any time in the near future. I think it will continue to exist throughout my lifespan and well after my death.

TockTockTock 03-20-2011 03:09 PM

I think religions involving faith and belief without reason will dwindle in numbers in the centuries to come. "Religions" such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Vedanta Hinduism may last a bit longer than those like Christianity and Islam. The reason for this being that they require more logic (although, to a lesser extent for Vedanta Hinduism). I'll admit, though, I have limited knowledge on the subject of Vedanta Hinduism.

Thom Yorke 03-20-2011 03:10 PM

I can't see religion ever really fading. Sure, a greater percetage of the population will probably become atheist, but I still think it will lay a vital role in many peoples lives. Science doesn't nullify religion.

RVCA 03-20-2011 03:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thom Yorke (Post 1021158)
I can't see religion ever really fading. Sure, a greater percetage of the population will probably become athiest, but I still think it will lay a vital role in many peoples lives. Science doesn't nullify religion.

I think that last point is certainly debatable. If by religion you mean the creed that dogmas espouse, I think people will find it increasingly difficult to believe in in a dogma when part of its creed is exposed as a blatant falsehood. For example, carbon dating has shown us that the Earth is older than the Bible claims it to be. Certainly this revelation has made it more difficult for at least some people to believe in parts of, or all of, the Bible. In other words, science has made it more difficult to believe in Christianity. And in that sense, I think it can be argued that science has negated religion. But that is only a comically small example.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Pat (Post 1021156)
I think religions involving faith and belief without reason will dwindle in numbers in the centuries to come. "Religions" such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Vedanta Hinduism may last a bit longer than those like Christianity and Islam. The reason for this being that they require more logic (although, to a lesser extent for Vedanta Hinduism). I'll admit, though, I have limited knowledge on the subject of Vedanta Hinduism.

I think I agree with what you're getting at. Religions with stronger community ties that rely more on codes of living rather than supernatural creeds will probably outlast their more loosely bound counterparts. And I think this circles back around to my original point about there being an evolutionary benefit to religion; societies that are closely bound by a common supernatural creed and the practices that accommodate this creed are probably more likely to survive as a society and pass on their creed.

Anteater 03-20-2011 03:29 PM

An interesting question. Some people seem to treat science today as though it were a religion in and of itself (almost as if to spite those who adhere to Christianty and the like), so perhaps therein lies the hint of what we'll see a few centuries or millennia down the line.

People, like it or not, are hardwired to believe in something, even if they can't define exactly what that something is with the help of a thesaurus or the words of long-dead thinkers. Atheism is a struggle to bury that kind of thing because it doesn't serve any logical purpose for most people.

However, not even taking into account how little we actually know about the universe and what lies in its depths, things happen here on Earth all the time that can't be explained right away through observation, conventional or accepted scientific methodologies. Take, for example. the inexplicable disappearance of all of Lake Anjikuni's 1200+ Eskimo population back in the 1930. Very strange stuff!

Lake Anjikuni Eskimo Village - Para Is Normal

Personally, unless one of H.P. Lovecraft's various entities shamble out from their outer-dimensional walls and annihilate us (thus rendering our scientific progress as a species negligible), I think people will continue to believe in things beyond the provable and observable as long as there remains some degree of "unknown" beyond there. Whether or not part of that "unknown" for you includes the worship of the divine is up to us (and our descendants) as individuals.

Thom Yorke 03-20-2011 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RVCA (Post 1021166)
I think that last point is certainly debatable. If by religion you mean the creed that dogmas espouse, I think people will find it increasingly difficult to believe in in a dogma when part of its creed is exposed as a blatant falsehood. For example, carbon dating has shown us that the Earth is older than the Bible claims it to be. Certainly this revelation has made it more difficult for at least some people to believe in parts of, or all of, the Bible. In other words, science has made it more difficult to believe in Christianity. And in that sense, I think it can be argued that science has negated religion. But that is only a comically small example.

I was talking about the concept of a "higher power". No matter what science proves, there will always be an argument that "A higher power caused that to happen."

And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.

RVCA 03-20-2011 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thom Yorke (Post 1021171)
I was talking about the concept of a "higher power". No matter what science proves, there will always be an argument that "A higher power caused that to happen."

And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.

That's true, I don't think we will ever be able to explain away things beyond the human realm such as a "higher power" or "the afterlife", and that's another good argument for why religion will probably always exist.

[MERIT] 03-20-2011 03:51 PM

I believe that in the future, there will a convergence of science and religion. It was only until the last hundred years that the two were even viewed seperately. With science making such astounding leaps and bounds in the fields of quantum mechanics, and getting closer to proving theories such as time travel, the Ganesh particle, and utilizing matter and anti-matter to create space crafts that can take us further into space than our mind's could possibly imagine, we will undeoubtedly prove things and come into contact with things that may outright defy many aspects of some religions.

I'm sure most of us believe in atleast the idea of intelligent life in other parts of the universe. More advanced extraterrestrial civilizations may be seen as Gods by some, thus making those who believe in specific Gods and religions question everything that they have been taught.

The Batlord 03-21-2011 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thom Yorke (Post 1021171)
And of course you'll still have people who practice religion out of fear as well. Not everyone is ok with accepting that there is no afterlife.

It's entirely possible that one day technology might advance to the point that humans will only die out of accidents. We might all be cyborgs at some point. How do you think that would affect views on the afterlife?

Ska Lagos Jew Sun Ra 03-21-2011 02:37 PM

Sadly, Religion is around for the long run. It'll just become uncool.

Freebase Dali 03-21-2011 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Batlord (Post 1021828)
It's entirely possible that one day technology might advance to the point that humans will only die out of accidents. We might all be cyborgs at some point. How do you think that would affect views on the afterlife?

If I were a cyborg, I'd believe in a great uploading when I died, to a wonderful server in the sky with unlimited bandwidth and processing power, where my mind was also free to travel wirelessly via cosmic frequencies beyond the visible light spectrum that put 2.4GHZ transmissions to shame. There would be other servers, hosting FPS games with absolutely no lag and outstanding ping times no matter what. Then at the end of a digital eon, Steve Jobs will have been defeated and locked away in a routing loop for all eternity, and we will reclaim the earth with a new version of Windows and various smart-phones.

TockTockTock 03-21-2011 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1021896)
If I were a cyborg, I'd believe in a great uploading when I died, to a wonderful server in the sky with unlimited bandwidth and processing power, where my mind was also free to travel wirelessly via cosmic frequencies beyond the visible light spectrum that put 2.4GHZ transmissions to shame. There would be other servers, hosting FPS games with absolutely no lag and outstanding ping times no matter what. Then at the end of a digital eon, Steve Jobs will have been defeated and locked away in a routing loop for all eternity, and we will reclaim the earth with a new version of Windows and various smart-phones.

This

RVCA 03-21-2011 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1021896)
If I were a cyborg, I'd believe in a great uploading when I died, to a wonderful server in the sky with unlimited bandwidth and processing power, where my mind was also free to travel wirelessly via cosmic frequencies beyond the visible light spectrum that put 2.4GHZ transmissions to shame. There would be other servers, hosting FPS games with absolutely no lag and outstanding ping times no matter what. Then at the end of a digital eon, Steve Jobs will have been defeated and locked away in a routing loop for all eternity, and we will reclaim the earth with a new version of Windows and various smart-phones.

:clap:

The Virgin 03-22-2011 04:32 AM

i don't give a damn. for as long as they legalized same sex marriage, science can rule the world for all i care.

Ska Lagos Jew Sun Ra 03-22-2011 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1021896)
we will reclaim the earth with a new version of Windows

A cyborg wouldn't be that dumb.

s_k 03-22-2011 09:09 AM

Windows 7 of 9?

Freebase Dali 03-22-2011 03:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skaligojurah (Post 1022335)
A cyborg wouldn't be that dumb.

Assuming it was programmed on a Mac platform, it certainly would have been dumbed down.

Ska Lagos Jew Sun Ra 03-22-2011 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1022464)
Assuming it was programmed on a Mac platform, it certainly would have been dumbed down.

A cyborg wouldn't need the excessive bloat of windows, though. I mean, if you think in binary why do you need a user interface?

The perfect cyborg operating system would theoretically just be a strait assembler compiler connecting to this CPU which would have infinite threads. So, they could directly utilize it with the most efficiency humanly possible.

With that said, Cyborgs are eternal. They have lifespans that are theoretically infinite as long as they can be kept maintained. So, they don't fear, or hope for death.

Freebase Dali 03-22-2011 03:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skaligojurah (Post 1022467)
A cyborg wouldn't need the excessive bloat of windows, though. I mean, if you think in binary why do you need a user interface?

The perfect cyborg operating system would theoretically just be a strait assembler compiler connecting to this CPU which would have infinite threads. So, they could directly utilize it with the most efficiency humanly possible.

With that said, Cyborgs are eternal. They have lifespans that are theoretically infinite as long as they can be kept maintained. So, they don't fear, or hope for death.

You ever used Windows Server 2008 Core version? There's no GUI. It's all command line. I'm sure they could integrate something like that into us. It would just be a bitch for memory and storage upgrades! ;)

[MERIT] 03-22-2011 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by s_k (Post 1022346)
Windows 7 of 9?

Your cleverness is not wasted my friend :yeah:

Nice.

The Virgin 03-23-2011 12:29 AM

I don't care about Religion cause it's just an organization. It ain't about faith. I believe in God. People call Him in different names but He'll be here forever within me and within all of us.

Buzzov*en 03-23-2011 01:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Virgin (Post 1022690)
I don't care about Religion cause it's just an organization. It ain't about faith. I believe in God. People call Him in different names but He'll be here forever within me and within all of us.

Not if you do not believe.

The Virgin 03-23-2011 01:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzov*en (Post 1022745)
Not if you do not believe.

It doesn't matter if you do not believe. God believes in all of us and that's the only requirement. He will make some way to bring His children close to him.

s_k 03-23-2011 08:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oojay (Post 1022630)
Your cleverness is not wasted my friend :yeah:

Nice.

Thanks :D
Haha, I had to google if the joke worked.
I usually don't watch sci fi :D.

Howard the Duck 03-23-2011 08:33 AM

my only words are:-

REPENT! REPENT! FOR THE END IS NIGH!

The Virgin 03-23-2011 09:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Il Duce (Post 1022974)
my only words are:-

REPENT! REPENT! FOR THE END IS NIGH!

i don't believe in that either. repentance is not supposed to be a requirement in entering heaven, it's accepting your wrongdoings towards your fellowmen and making sure you ask for forgiveness and do something good in return, it's done so that you can start a whole new life with a positive and clean outlook with the Lord.

Howard the Duck 03-23-2011 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Virgin (Post 1022989)
i don't believe in that either. repentance is not supposed to be a requirement in entering heaven, it's accepting your wrongdoings towards your fellowmen and making sure you ask for forgiveness and do something good in return, it's done so that you can start a whole new life with a positive and clean outlook with the Lord.

nah you need absolution

Buzzov*en 03-23-2011 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Virgin (Post 1022747)
It doesn't matter if you do not believe. God believes in all of us and that's the only requirement. He will make some way to bring His children close to him.

um like giving kids cancer and slaughtering 6 million of his supposed chosen people? Yea there is no god.

TockTockTock 03-23-2011 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzov*en (Post 1023026)
um like giving kids cancer and slaughtering 6 million of his supposed chosen people? Yea there is no god.

I agree. Just one of the many reasons that lead to disproving his existence. I also find it a bit annoying about how mankind made god a he and not a she. I think women are more prone to creating things than men are (we just destroy everything :D). Although... there's an old Taoist saying that goes "Out of destruction comes creation."

Neapolitan 03-23-2011 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzov*en (Post 1023026)
um like giving kids cancer and slaughtering 6 million of his supposed chosen people? Yea there is no god.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Pat (Post 1023027)
I agree. Just one of the many reasons that lead to disproving his existence.

Why use only negative examples to disprove God's existence, why not also use positive examples in life as proof of God existence?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Pat (Post 1023027)
Although... there's an old Taoist saying that goes "Out of destruction comes creation."

Well according to your taoist saying, after you destroy your faith in god shouldn't God create a new faith in you out of the destruction of your old faith?

Freebase Dali 03-23-2011 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzov*en (Post 1023026)
um like giving kids cancer and slaughtering 6 million of his supposed chosen people? Yea there is no god.

Or he's not as cool to hang out with as people seem to think he is.

Janszoon 03-23-2011 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1023097)
Or he's not as cool to hang out with as people seem to think he is.

"Don't you know there ain't no Devil, there's just God when he's drunk." --Tom Waits

Freebase Dali 03-23-2011 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janszoon (Post 1023100)
"Don't you know there ain't no Devil, there's just God when he's drunk." --Tom Waits

Hah!
I can't even imagine going out to the bars with God...
"Hey, puny human... watch this bar trick!"

NOOOOOAAAAHHHaaaaaaaa

Janszoon 03-23-2011 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Freebase Dali (Post 1023101)
Hah!
I can't even imagine going out to the bars with God...
"Hey, puny human... watch this bar trick!"

NOOOOOAAAAHHHaaaaaaaa

Of course you can always mess with him when he's drunk by asking him to do things like make a boulder he can't lift and whatnot.

Freebase Dali 03-23-2011 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Janszoon (Post 1023107)
Of course you can always mess with him when he's drunk by asking him to do things like make a boulder he can't lift and whatnot.

I'd be afraid he would get smart...

Me: "Hey God, I bet you can't make a boulder so heavy, that you can't lift it yourself!"

God: "Yes I can. Here's what I'll do... I'm a loving god, so I'll make a huge boulder, put it in a small cave, so that there's only room above the boulder and the cave ceiling so that you can fit in that space and not be able to move. I'll make it so that you don't require food or water. Then I will cry in agony because I can't bring myself to lift the boulder, because it will kill you. And I love you too much to kill you."

Me: "What about all the other people that die all the time? If you love them, why don't you save them?"

God: "That's another bet that I'm winning."

TockTockTock 03-23-2011 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Neapolitan (Post 1023096)
Why use only negative examples to disprove God's existence, why not also use positive examples in life as proof of God existence?

Well according to your taoist saying, after you destroy your faith in god shouldn't God create a new faith in you out of the destruction of your old faith?

To your first statement:
Please list them.

To your second statement:
That's not exactly what the saying implies. Let me use your example... If my faith in god dies, then a belief of his non-existence is created. It also allows me to create and cultivate other thoughts that were relatively disallowed when I was a believer.

Let me end my comment by saying that I have no problem with others believing in a god. It's just not for me.

[MERIT] 03-23-2011 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Buzzov*en (Post 1023026)
um like giving kids cancer and slaughtering 6 million of his supposed chosen people? Yea there is no god.

Many of the eastern religions believe in reincarnation. They believe that these tragic things in life happen (or are even chose by the individual during their time between lives) in order to teach us lessons for the next life. All good and bad eventually evens out to get us where we need to be. Karma.

Howard the Duck 03-23-2011 08:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oojay (Post 1023531)
Many of the eastern religions believe in reincarnation. They believe that these tragic things in life happen (or are even chose by the individual during their time between lives) in order to teach us lessons for the next life. All good and bad eventually evens out to get us where we need to be. Karma.

what's the point? we don't remember our past lives anyway

i'm more inclined to think that Karma is like that weird Taiwanese movie I saw in my childhood - the people die, end up in the 1st level of Hell (all Taoists go to Hell, btw, unless you attain Godhood), then the Lord of the Underworld will spin a Wheel of Fortune-type thingie and you get reincarnated as what the needle points to - a pig, a butterfly, etc

RVCA 03-23-2011 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oojay (Post 1023531)
Many of the eastern religions believe in reincarnation. They believe that these tragic things in life happen (or are even chose by the individual during their time between lives) in order to teach us lessons for the next life. All good and bad eventually evens out to get us where we need to be. Karma.

I'm actually very interested to hear what these eastern religions have to say about the practical issue of population increase. I mean, the number of "souls" (or whatever other ethereal descriptor they use) in living bodies has exponentially, exponentially increased since the time these traditions were founded. Are these new souls simply tossed into the cycle? Where do they come from? Surely this issue is addressed by the traditions?

RVCA 03-23-2011 09:38 PM

Related, a fascinating article.

BBC News - Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

The paper uses mathematical models to show that if being non-religiously affiliated has a higher perceived utility, which is defined as "a quantity encompassing many factors including the social, economic, political and security benefits derived from membership as well as spiritual or moral consonance with a group", then the number of religious affiliates will decline until there are virtually none left. This has more to do with group psychology and nothing to do with evolutionary arguments but I think those are also important. It will be interesting to see if group utility or evolution prove more powerful.


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