A definition of Religion

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A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:25 pm

To be able to discuss religion at all, we need a working definition. Usually, we can do without, since we have a general consensus of what it means. It's only SySy that refuses to acknowledge that consensus, so let's try to define it for him.

Defining "religion" might be as difficult as defining "life". There is no 100% proof definition of "life", yet we know perfectly well what we're talking about, most of the time. For those who want a tighter definition, we can revert to "anything that can procreate with inherited variation" or "anything that can copy itself" or "anything that changes according to its DNA". None are fullproof, but all of them are working definitions for most purposes.

I think we should find a definition that captures 90% of all people that call themselves "religious". The more it covers the better, obviously.

I start with a crude definition that I hope we can improve upon:

1) A religious person believes in a supernatural agent or agents whose approval is to be sought.
2)"A religion is social system of which the participants claim to believe in the same supernatural agent or agents".
(These definitions are based on Daniel Dennett in "Breaking the Spell".)

Would that cover 90%?
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:21 pm

I would say that definition is woefully inadequate. Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism are generally non-theistic religions. They also don't pend upon the "approval" of any agent. Wicca may be theistic but it also does not seek approval. Most of Christianity does not seek approval, a crude definition of grace would be "unmerited favor." This is only off the top of my head. I'd say that covers more like 40% of religion.

I think talking about supernatural agents or favor is entirely the wrong way to go about it. We can't talk about theism because many religions are non-theistic. We can't talk about supernatural agents because that's inessential as well for many religions. We can't talk about favor because most of the world doesn't believe in, or believe they can merit approval.

If I were to offer a definition I am not entirely satisfied with it would be this:

A religion is a cultural-linguistic system which attempts to provide a context in which truths about the world may be articulated. This is generally accomplished by the use of doctrines (founded on Revelation/Enlightenment, possibly from a divine source), stories, and rituals.

However this leaves out many things of importance. Such as prayer, meditation, and in many cases, magic (we need to include shamanistic religions as well). It also doesn't sit right with me that I am forced to not mention a God figure outside of "possibly from a divine source." But I don't see how I can draw a divine comparison between Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

EDIT: And furthermore it's vacuous. All cultural-linguistic systems provide context for meaning. And ritual, doctrine, and stories are not limited to religion. It's hard for me to say what sort of thing religion is when most if not all religions have radically different ends, and means. They all rationalize their existence in distinct and diverse ways. It's far easier to speak of specific religions, as religion in itself does not exist. All we have are different cultural manifestations we've decided to group into "religion" for some reason.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Clint on Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:22 am

SyntheticSylence, you have a warped and simply wrong definition of what "Truth" is. While we're on the subject of defining things. Lets ALSO (for SyntheticSylence sake) do this with "truth".

Definition of Truth:
1. the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.

Therefore, "truth" is not subject to traditions, culture, opinions or authority. People can with their "cultural-linguistic system" attempt to provide a context for truth - but that would be a "Myth". That's all it really is - is an unfactual metaphor in place of the real thing. ...Lets move on!

The Oxford Dictionary meaning of "religion".
noun;
1 the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
2 a particular system of faith and worship.
3 a pursuit or interest followed with devotion.

Other definitions; Reference, Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary

I pretty much would agree with Neils post. I also would agree with the 2nd half of SyntheticSylence's description, not the 1st. What ever description we agree on is more accurate, lets please have it in running in extremely close in parallel with an official dictionary meaning. As it leads to a slippery slope of re-labelling words that already have meanings, in which a certain someone has already done on many occasions in such discussions.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:20 am

SyntheticSylence wrote:We can't talk about theism because many religions are non-theistic. We can't talk about supernatural agents because that's inessential as well for many religions.
In general, on atheist' sites, we consider "religion" to be the opposite of "atheism". Perhaps we should use "theism" instead; feel free to substitute "theism" whenever I use "religion".

A religion is a cultural-linguistic system which attempts to provide a context in which truths about the world may be articulated.
That would be a more accurate description of "science". As you have stated before, science is looking for truth, while religion is looking for Truth with a capital T.

This is generally accomplished by the use of doctrines (founded on Revelation/Enlightenment, possibly from a divine source), stories, and rituals.
Stories and rituals seem to be part of any social structure. A "divine source" translates easy to a "supernatural agent", so that's covered by my definition.

However this leaves out many things of importance. Such as prayer, meditation, and in many cases, magic (we need to include shamanistic religions as well).
These may be part of most religions, but they're also part of non religious social structures. Many atheists practice meditation. They may not pray, but they sing and mumble to themselves. I'd say that "mumbling" becomes "prayer" when it seeks to please a supernatural agent - in line with my definition.

Anyway: As far as I'm concerned: Theism is what we've been discussing for this last week. While my definition covers 90% of "religion", it covers 99% of "theism". Agreed?
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:02 am

Niels,

If atheists like to use "religion" in leu of theism that sort of proves my point about not understanding religion. I agree that religion, while undefined, is something we generally agree on what it entails. It's just notoriously difficult to put into words. But equivocating religion does not help. We are looking for a definition of religion, so we can't use God claims in this discussion.

But your point about my definition more accurately defining science is particularly enlightening. I'm very glad you made this thread because I think this will really get to the heart of the confusion. Defining truth is also notoriously difficult, and a dictionary definition will never satisfy. But my American Oxford says "in accordance with fact or reality." Religion generally does not make claims regarding, say, whether the earth is round or not. But it does make claims about justice, morality, and purpose. It speaks for truths regarding the nature of reality, rather than truths regarding what is factual.

So a brick falls no matter what religion you're in, but in some religions you pray five times a day and some you eat a cookie and drink wine every Sunday. This places the human being in context in the world around them.

I think the understanding that religion entails a deity telling you how things are whether factual or regarding the nature of reality, and these statements are not to be questioned is very faulty. Surely this applies to the fundamentalist wing of religion, and we both are opponents of that. But for the most part religion doesn't do this. I will use the Trinity as an example. There was some vague understanding of the concept in the first and second century, but it is never outrightly stated. The School of Alexandria, under the influence of neoplatonistic philosophy, came to reject the divinity of Christ which created an uproar and a giant controversy in the Church. No God came down from the sky telling them how things are, what they had was their tradition. They had stories, liturgies, and peripheral doctrines which they used to rationally argue for a conclusion. Now most Christians (unless you want to define it as a necessity for being in the Christian faith) believe this. And they will provide source texts and explain why it must be so.

Eucharistic Theology has had a similar evolution, as had doctrines concerning Mary in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. This also explains various branches in Buddhism which are wildly different.

And you are quite right to say stories and rituals are part of any social structure, as are doctrines. This is another reason why I have difficulty with my definition, I just described a political system. However, the distinction is "possibly from a divine source" which is also meaningless. What is divine? And if it's only possibly why does it count? Also, agent implies that a person is acting. Or something that has personhood. So in Taoism this is flat out incorrect. The Tao may be quasi-divine, but it's certainly not theistic and it certainly lacks agency.

And we haven't been discussing theism. You never asked me how "theism" benefited the world. You asked me how "religion" did. And now I'm explaining how that question is intelligible. I was asked how my "faith" squares with science, I never was asked to defend theism. And I will never defend theism because I'm a Christian. I'll defend Christianity. To talk about "theism" would be similarly meaningless because my conception of a God is radically different from Islam, which is radically different from Judaism, which is radically different from Hinduism.

I am also iffy about talking about the "supernatural" as it implies these days that there is the natural, and then there is something outside of the natural. I don't believe that, and it's a western concept that does not apply well to the east. If we were to accept that the supernatural is something that occurs outside of the normal nature of things, then I would agree to a personal belief in the supernatural, but I'm still not sure Buddhists, Taoists, or Confucianists would concur.

Clint,

I've already addressed the most of it, but I think that dictionary definition is (as most the time) also woefully inadequate. How does one worship the Tao? How does one worship the Buddha or Nirvana? And in very different senses do I believe in Jesus Christ or Nirvana. There are also many religions which would have serious problems with the concept of faith and worship. Once again, I bring up Taoism and Buddhism. Confucianism doesn't apply to any of this at all and you'll find it in any Intro to Religion textbook.

And pursuit or interest followed with devotion? That applies to science, and we can all agree that science is not a religion.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:36 am

In general, when people are engaged in serious discussion, they're willing to get the meaning of a word from its context. In my thread "what good did religion bring us?" I explicitly ask for the good of "theology, god or the bible". Not only do I use the word "religion" in the first and most common use stated in the dictionary; I also specify exactly what I mean in my question.

I think you willfully misunderstood the word, and used that misunderstanding to write miles of off-topic rantings. That's not a way to have an honest debate.
If you'd like to add something on topic to that thread, then please give us an example of the good of theology, god or the bible - as I asked.

Something else: If you want to make claims that most Christians do not seek the approval of a supernatural agent, then please supply sources. As far as I know, both Baptism and Catholicism (which are pretty big worldwide) think we should seek the approval of God or face eternal punishment. Perhaps you, or your own small church, has a different doctrine, but don't assume you speak for all other dominations. Let them speak for themselves and add sources.
Like this:
From http://www.catholic.org/prayers/beliefs.php

Catholic Belief
1. To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world. Man must know, love and serve God in a supernatural manner in order to gain happiness of heaven. Man is raised to the supernatural order only by grace, a free gift of God.

and from the baptist perspective: http://sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.asp

The Baptist Faith and Message

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

These two big doctrines do not agree with you, SySy. If you want to prove otherwise, supply sources. I'm getting tired of your assertions without evidence.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:08 pm

I thought we were defining religion? Is this not the topic of the thread? If that's the case, your post is off topic, since I think it's quite clear you have not defined religion and have been using the term wrongly. If you use the term wrongly in a certain context that doesn't mean I should reinterpret the word. Unlike you I can't read minds. It confuses me, and tells me you don't know what you're talking about.

I think we can all be clear that Religion being God, theology, and the Bible is by no means an accurate definition. So your question as posed was not only meaningless (a charge you never bothered to rebut), but contradictory and incoherent.

But if you want to get into Christian doctrine with me:

Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, Para. 1996-1999 wrote:Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.

Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us to the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grae of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He recieves the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church

This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.

The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it.

In Catholicism one does not earn approval, one is approved. One then strives to live up to this approval. As Paul writes:

Romans 5:1-11 NIV wrote:Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The Southern Baptist Convention also holds this, as in the link you provided they say:

Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

There is no seeking of approval, there is the recognition that approval cannot be earned, it is freely granted. One does not obey God because they seek approval in either Catholicism or in the Southern Baptist Convention, one obeys God because one is already approved.

Now, if you were to change it to "seeks to live in obedience with said agent" it would qualify. However I think we are in agreement that definition doesn't apply well enough anyway. But that change would bring you up to maybe 70%?

Though I will confess that some Christians have believed that they should earn God's approval. This was part of the problem in popular religion in the Middle Ages. This is also a concern with Prosperity Theology today.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:20 pm

Imagine: SySy and me sharing a dinner table.

-Me: Could you pass the salt, please?
- SySy: Well, no. Salt is too vague a term to be passed. There's so much salt in the world, and through everything we know... I couldn't define it, let alone pass it.
- Me: In the context of having dinner, you might guess that I want the salt shaker standing in front of you. Could you pass it please?
- SySy: I thought you wanted to discuss salt. You can't simply use the word "salt" wrongly and expect me to understand you.
- Me: Oh, piss off. I'll get it myself.

The Sysy-replies would only be given by a retard, or a joker with the sense of humor of a 4-year old. It's what SySy is doing in this topic, in refusing to understand the word "religion" in a definition that's in the dictionary, is widely used all over the world (as in "the religious right") and is explicitely explained in the context.

@SySy: Either grow a brain or grow up.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:31 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote: I agree that religion, while undefined, is something we generally agree on what it entails. It's just notoriously difficult to put into words. But equivocating religion does not help.

So, this thread is about defining religion, right? You still haven't arrived at a satisfactory definition, and I've already shown the dictionary hasn't. Not that it's impossible, but if one hasn't arrived in 3,000 or so years of human experience I don't trust either of us to get there.

EDIT: Furthermore, do you concede my point regarding Christianity? Or are you just going to leave it there like you do with most of my points? Perhaps you could take it a step farther, and randomly pop up in a friendly thread saying that I don't believe that Christians want to follow God's laws.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Clint on Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:13 pm

haha I do admit I had a chuckle at the dinner table scenario.

Though SySy, I do agree though that you, not always, but most of the time never give a simple answer to a simple question. You've got the worst habit of dancing around every question put forward to you. That after a person finishes reading what ever it is you've just put down, they've completely forgotten what the hell anyone was talking about in the first place.

Complex, confusing and unnecessary philosophical responses that you give every time to such simple questions, on top of the re-defining definitions and re-labeling words, leads both myself and everyone else reading to the only conceivable conclusion you present us with, which is a) You simply are unable answer the question. So you make up garble. ...Or b) You know that if you did provide a reasonable answer to the question proposed, you know exactly where it'd end up - in the demise of your argument, and your outlook proved to be irrational. So you take to playing with words, phrases and spit out pseudo philosophical non-answers. Not always, but I'd say near most of the time.

You do seem like a nice guy, and you seem to have intelligence. But you have to stop lying to yourself. If you can't rationally justify your world view to yourself, you need to re-think things. There's nothing wrong with doing this either - it's a noble thing. It always is noble admitting to these things - everyone does it at some point!

Back on the subject. We have several definitions to religion, all very similar and all pretty much in-line with the dictionary. Neils initial post is anything but "woefully inadequate"! You can't just change dictionary meanings or dub them inadequate or wrong, purely because your philosophical world view or your unorthodox beliefs don't align with it. AskOxford.com is the up to date online oxford dictionary - dictionary.reference.com is also a very well respected dictionary and encyclopedic reference. This should make life a little easier for you. Look up the word "truth" for a good start.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:50 pm

Complex, confusing and unnecessary philosophical responses

Duh!

What, do you think talking about God, or religion is simple!? People have discussed this for thousands of years. There have been many different answers to the problem, many different assumptions made, many different arguments. Thomas Aquinas wrote what comes out to five volumes in english in the Summa Theologica, which was never completed. Karl Barth wrote 31 volumes of his Church Dogmatics, which was never completed.

The Talmud can take up an entire shelf. Commentaries regularly reach enormous sizes. The topic is hard, complex, and requires precision of definitions and arguments. So if you want to take on the subject, you need to use complex and confusing philosophical arguments. It's the nature of the game.

And this is why it's exasperating when I'm given some simplistic dualistic question. Or, some overarching question begging a generalization. None of this is helpful, and none of it serves any purpose. And that's why I was so glad Niels made this thread, because it forces us to confront the vapidity and vagueness of "religion" and think about what various traditions actually entail.

I also think you're a nice guy. And I am thankful that you don't try to misrepresent what I say. You admit that what I say is confusing, and I'm sorry that I have difficulty rephrasing my arguments. But why engage a theological question when theology makes your head spin?

And as regards to the definitions, could you be a little more specific? In what way are my critiques wrong? Religion is not dependent on a God, and it is not synonymous with theism. That strikes Niels' definition straight out, and I've made a few complaints about the dictionary ones. Just because something is in the dictionary doesn't mean it's an adequate definition, why are there specialized dictionaries for different fields? It's not because those fields make up words, it's because they search for more relevant and accurate definitions. And that's not even the Oxford English Dictionary, the gold standard of dictionaries, that's the Oxford Compact Dictionary, a much slimmer book (the OED has 20 volumes, and it's not just because they add new words).

I think attempting a better definition helps us think more clearly about the subject.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  MetaPenguin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:40 am

It seems that the disagreement on giving "religion" a definition stems from difference in one's understanding of religion. (Note to self: Duh!) SySy seems unsatisfied with a simply definition because he does not understand the concept of religion to be simple. If indeed his view of religion is nuanced and complicated, one then would expect his definition to share the same traits.

Perhaps, if we cannot find an acceptable definition, some of the confusion may be adverted if we spoke less of the general concepts and issues of religion and more on the specific concepts and issues of one particular event, idea, or people. This might allow for more time and energy to be spent discussing issues and less discussing the discussing.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:46 am

That would appear to be the best route to go, thanks Metapenguin. It does seem to be useless to talk about "religion" with any precision or certainty. And to reject or affirm religion as a category does every system under its umbrella a disservice.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:51 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:It does seem to be useless to talk about "religion" with any precision or certainty. And to reject or affirm religion as a category does every system under its umbrella a disservice.
Let's be clear on this: We could perfectly use the word "religion" if it wasn't for SySy to have a problem with it. We use it in the sense that it's used in the dictionary, in most speech and all over the internet. I see NO reason to change the lingua franca just because SySy wants to rewrite the language.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:55 pm

Niels,

We could not "perfectly" use the world religion, because we are already quite clear we have no perfect understanding of it. So even if we, in our ignorance, used the word we would not be using it "perfectly." Its use would lead to sloppy thinking, which is what I think we all want to avoid.

I am in no way rewriting anything. You're the one who was rewriting "religion" to mean "theism" which is pretty egregious. I am only pointing out the fact that we don't have a clear understanding of the term.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:08 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:We could not "perfectly" use the world religion, because we are already quite clear we have no perfect understanding of it.
So now the word "perfect" is under discussion, even while I used it in a perfectly normal sentence and a perfectly clear context?

You're being a troll, SySy.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:14 pm

Perfect comes from the latin "perfectus" which means complete. And this understanding seems to continue into our use of the word today:

New Oxford American Dictionary wrote:perfect
adjective |ˈpərfikt|
1 having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be : she strove to be the perfect wife | life certainly isn't perfect at the moment.
• free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless : the equipment was in perfect condition.
• precisely accurate; exact : a perfect circle.
• highly suitable for someone or something; exactly right : Gary was perfect for her—ten years older and with his own career.

I don't believe your previous use of the word "religion" falls into any of these categories. I think to misunderstand the word is to dilute the discourse, and I think that's what's been done.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:29 pm

SyntheticSylence wrote:
I don't believe your previous use of the word "religion" falls into any of these categories.
You should have looked up "perfectly" which translates as "absolutely", which translates as "used for emphasis or to express agreement. (my bold)"

Troll.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:36 pm

This is what my dictionary is saying:

perfectly |ˈpərfik(t)lē|
adverb
in a manner or way that could not be better : the ring fitted perfectly | [as submodifier ] perfectly clean glass bottles.
• [as submodifier ] used for emphasis, esp. in order to assert something that has been challenged or doubted : you know perfectly well I can't stay.

Erm... If that's the sense you meant to use it, then we have no disagreement. I just wasn't aware of that sense. This seems to be saying that it's emphasizing something that was once doubted. But if you just meant to emphasize for the sake of emphasis, I have no qualms. In context it seemed like you were saying that it was all hunky dory and completely accurate.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Niels on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:55 pm

@Pinguin: This post contains strong language. You might want to skip it; it's not directed at you.

@SySy: You have no fucking idea how much I moderate my language to not offend the goddamn Christian wankers that visit atheist boards. It's Christian assholes that want me in jail for liking erotics, for smoking pot and for advocating euthenasia. It's Christian shitheads that want "homosexuality" and "evolution" out of dictionaries.

That's all good and fine, but if you enter an atheist forum and ask us to refrain from using the word "religion", then I have only one thing to say.

Fuck you.

Now, let's make a deal. I'll moderate my language, if you try to speak ENGLISH, for christsake and in the name of the virgin-raping spirit.

Alright?
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:22 pm

Since when have I asked you to refrain from using the word religion? I'm trying to clarify the concept. And I think we've taken a great step in doing that.

And for the record, I don't think you should be in jail for liking erotics, lighting up a few doobies, or advocating euthanasia. I don't think evolution or homosexuality should be taken out of the dictionaries. I also don't hate you. You are obviously an intelligent human being, and I envy your flash skills. And your literacy in multiple languages, including computer. I'm having great difficulty learning greek at the moment. And I enjoy these exchanges. If only to get a greater sense of the logic on the other side.

And I won't hold your outburst against you.

However, I am speaking english. I'm being as clear and direct as I possibly can. The problem, I think, is that you are expecting me to hold to certain assumptions that I do not hold to. I am, after all, in an academic environment. I am not reciting arguments out of You Can Lead An Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think. I'm a tad bit postmodern, though I'm growing to hate the term.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Dont_Vote_Palin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:16 pm

First of all, Neils post was fucking epic. The salt analogy, and the last post by Neils was inherently genius. Now lets digress into a discussion of the exact definition of "inherent", its multiple contexts, and why it is too vague and general to be discussed by us simpletons. For fucks sake, the word has been debated for centuries! (Subliminal back-hand of Sysy)

Second of all, Sysy is a troll. He is aware of what he is doing, he understands why he is doing it, and he continues to obstruct the debate process. This guy is similar to a member of the GOP when it comes to obstructing Healthcare reform!

Lastly, Clint did a great job of explaining what you're actually doing, and that is delay, delay, and delay until the original point being debated is completely forgotten about. (Another GOP/healthcare similarity) You dance around the question because you know that the answer is the demise of your argument. This is why the religious get such a bad reputation from a logical debate perspective; the intellectual dishonesty is gargantuan.

I recommend you immigrate into the United States, and run in the Idaho senate for the November 2010 elections. You will fit right in!
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:32 pm

You dance around the question because you know that the answer is the demise of your argument.

No, I question the assumption behind the question. But evidently these assumptions are not to be questioned. Evidently asking for a justification for such questions is considered "trolling." As is asking people to give an account for the definitions behind the words they use, and how they apply to the real world.
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  Dont_Vote_Palin on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:38 pm

[quote="SyntheticSylence"]
No, I question the assumption behind the question. But evidently these assumptions are not to be questioned. Evidently asking for a justification for such questions is considered "trolling." As is asking people to give an account for the definitions behind the words they use, and how they apply to the real world.

Well, just clear up the assumption by ANSWERING THE QUESTION. That's not the problem though, the problem is that you refuse to answer the question because you know what's going to happen. You have probably been engaged in these debates for a while, and you've learned how to skillfully avoid topics that might decimate your arguments. You have been called out.

P.S. TROLL
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Re: A definition of Religion

Post  SyntheticSylence on Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:43 pm

Answering the question doesn't clear up any assumption. As made clear by all of the instances where I, you know, answer the question.

Do you have a definition for religion?
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Re: A definition of Religion

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