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Old 04-13-2016   #61
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by paeng View Post
The idea of intelligence reminds me of an analogy in Guns, Germs, and Steel, i.e., about the jungle dweller facing difficulties in the city and the city dweller likely not surviving for long in the jungle. Thus, what is considered highly intelligent in one circumstance might not apply in another.
Wouldn't that be confusing general intelligence with acquired skills and their usefulness in different environments, though?

Humanity jumps off skyscraper. Halfway down, it yells triumphantly, "So far, so good!"
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Old 04-13-2016   #62
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by paeng View Post
The idea of intelligence reminds me of an analogy in Guns, Germs, and Steel, i.e., about the jungle dweller facing difficulties in the city and the city dweller likely not surviving for long in the jungle. Thus, what is considered highly intelligent in one circumstance might not apply in another.


Similarly, a characteristic of empathy will be helpful as small communities are formed, and pragmatism if such communities are overwhelmed by combinations of crises. The implication, then, is that the human condition involves a combination of theism and atheism.
I am have enjoyed the work of Jared Diamond for years and watched a number of his videos on Youtube. Not only are his books fascinating, but his life as well.


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies is a 1997 nonfiction book by Jared Diamond. It won the Pulizer Prize for nonfiction . A documentary based on the book was produced by the National Geographic Society and broadcast of PBS in 2005.

Guns, Germs, and Steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-14-2016   #63
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by wingsofwax View Post
Quote Originally Posted by paeng View Post
The idea of intelligence reminds me of an analogy in Guns, Germs, and Steel, i.e., about the jungle dweller facing difficulties in the city and the city dweller likely not surviving for long in the jungle. Thus, what is considered highly intelligent in one circumstance might not apply in another.
Wouldn't that be confusing general intelligence with acquired skills and their usefulness in different environments, though?
I think there are many aspects to intelligence, and that includes skills. Several points are raised in the excerpt shared here:

Jared Diamond on the Root of Inequality and How the Mixed Blessings of Brain Pickings
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Old 1 Week Ago   #64
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Not sure what to think. My wife is a Christian, I consider myself Agnostic. I have many agnostic and/or atheist friends and she has many Christian friends. I don't see a lot of differences. I do see more fear and bigotry in the Christian people. But then again, they are more willing to drop everything and help somebody in a pinch. Also, I've seen more cheating from the Christians. She's had two friends who were actually quite active in her Church in teaching roles who have committed adultery on numerous occasions. I think they are able to give in to their desires, as they can cast their guilt aside by asking forgiveness. It becomes God's problem, not theirs'. I can't think of any of my non-religious friends that have behaved in this way, although I have a small circle of friends. But, if they are like me, cheating, although it sounds fun, is something that we have to forgive ourselves for. And that is much harder to do, in my opinion.I don't think I've really made any points here, just kind of sharing thoughts. To me, every individual is different, you can't see what's in another's heart.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #65
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

The omnipotent Abrahamic God to me is fundamentally evil, for he is megalomaniac and authoritarian. He is the causal root of all the evil we perceive in this world, which is considered a "false duality" in the Torah. Therefore, I do not think believing in Him makes one "better" in any conventional sense.

It would have been better if the West became Gnostic, Mithraist, or Zoroastrian instead.

When a naturalist speaks of what is good or bad, it doesn't mean anything beyond expressing emotions, and likewise, a non-Gnostic Christian or Muslim are simply abiding by the Will of an insane God.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #66
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Believing in a god may bring me greater comfort, but by no means would it make me a better person. As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out, in order to get decent, intelligent people to do horrible things, you must involve religion.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 1 Week Ago   #67
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
Believing in a god may bring me greater comfort, but by no means would it make me a better person. As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out, in order to get decent, intelligent people to do horrible things, you must involve religion.
I honestly don't see how the Abrahamic God brings comfort at all, even in the least. He is megalomaniac and the causal root of all evil.

Also, there's no concept of evil without metaphysical or religious influence. Naturalism precludes moral dualism.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #68
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

I was speaking in general terms and not referring to any one god in particular.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H. P. Lovecraft
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Old 1 Week Ago   #69
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
I was speaking in general terms and not referring to any one god in particular.
The main point I was poorly trying to express is horrible things do not exist in naturalist, physicalist, or process philosophies. Everything becomes neutral, regardless of its harmful or beneficial effects, and one's sentimental response towards them has no bearing on their indifferent, blind intrinsic natures.

This is really at the heart of modern pessimism, hence its growth in popular culture.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #70
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Re: Believing in God makes you a better person

Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
. . . in order to get decent, intelligent people to do horrible things, you must involve religion.
This seems to me tremendously over-simplistic. One could argue that most people's sense of decency probably came about because of the cultural influence of a religion in earlier times. Many of the ethical values we have are derived from our Judeo-Christian history. (See Nietzsche for an explanation of how most people carried on after the so-called "Death of God" as if nothing had really changed when, in fact, the old values that atheists and agnostic continued to adhere to could no longer be justified.)

To what did Hitchens attribute the horrors of the Stalinist reign of terror? Sure, he might have said, following Nietzsche, that Stalinism was a (warped) evolution from Judeo-Christian ethics. But then one could as easily say with regard to those who continue to adhere to Judeo-Christian values such as generosity to the poor and a strong sense of equal justice, "In order to do wonderful things, you must involve religion."

The same can be said of other religio-ethical systems, such as Islam .

This statement demonstrates the shallowness of thinking often engaged in by the "New Atheists."

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