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Major new study from PEW on religion in 2020.

It is amazing to think that basically equivalent numbers of Russians and Poles connect morality to God, that would have seemed a very bizarre situation a couple of decades ago, when Russia was associated with pseudo-lesbian pop duo Tatu while Poles would make the cross when their bus passed a church. Now young Poles would look at people who do that as weirdos while I increasingly notice Orthodox fasting options in cafes and supermarkets so there appears to have been a convergence.

The Catholic Church in Poland was identified with nationalism, which in turn was fueled by its status as a resistance icon against perceived Russian overlordship. So it had no further reason to be held in such high esteem after those factors became inactual. I think much the same thing may be said to have happened in Ireland wrt the Brits, Dawkins et al. killed God there, then they were translated into Polish and repeated the process. Also the various scandals didn’t help. There are surely no HBD reasons for Poles to be more religious than Russians.

The state took an active role in foisting religious identity upon Russians under Putin so the trend was in the opposite direction. It may even be further reinforced due due to geopolitical hostilities with a deChristianized West and Russian perceptions that they are under assault from them.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Christianity, Opinion Poll, Poland, Religion 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Excellent. A similar albeit far less pronounced effect with a higher base exists in Belarus, at least from my anecdotal experience. Catholics and Orthodox are both seeing an increase, atheists and Greco-Catholics are seeing a decrease (their only Church I know of has stopped service, everyone laughing them off as ‘sectantyj’). The only thing I worry about is future sectarian stupidity modelled after the money grabbing scam Churches in Ukraine and and Montenegro.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  3. Malenfant says:

    Unsurprisingly, this maps quite neatly to national IQ and productivity.

    Japan and South Korea would seem to be exceptions — but what “God” means to them is an open question. Only 29% of S.Korea is Christian, and the very vast majority of Japanese are Shinto, Buddhist, or both — with well under 10% of the population professing any sort of monotheistic belief. Corollary: When the Japanese say “God,” they mean the traditions of their ancestors. This likely also applies to the Koreans.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  4. @Malenfant

    The relationship certainly exists, but the outliers are far more interesting than the pattern. There is no obvious HBD reason for why Poland should be one of Europe’s most religious countries, while Czechia should be one of its most atheist ones. The answer to that, most likely, lies in deep history.

    More germanely, while lower IQ leads to more religiosity, there is no reason to think that the converse is true. And, all else equal, an increase in religiosity seems to have positive impacts on both society and national power. So it is something that is in the interests of the state to promote, if not that of individualist libertines.

  5. AP says:

    Russia is still well behind Poland, though the trend is good for Russia and bad for Poland. They may converge in a few more years. I wonder how much of Ukraine’s improvement can be attributed to the loss of diseased Sovok Donbas?

    • Replies: @MichaelIIRex
  6. mal says:

    Hopefully this will help with breeding habits.

  7. utu says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    ” There is no obvious HBD reason…..” for pretty much anything. HBD does not explain anything that is really important.

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
  8. Mr. Hack says:
    @Belarusian Dude

    The only thing I worry about is future sectarian stupidity modelled after the money grabbing scam Churches in Ukraine and and Montenegro.

    These churches seem to have nothing on the ROC and its head, the ex-KGB agent, Kyrill:

    Prior to becoming the patriarch, Kirill, a former KGB agent, was exploiting the church’s tax-free status by importing alcohol and cigarettes and selling them at lower than market value prices. According to Forbes magazine “In 1995, the Nikolo-Ugreshky Monastery, which is directly subordinated to the patriarchate, earned $350 million from the sale of alcohol. The patriarchate’s department of foreign church relations, which Kirill ran, earned $75 million from the sale of tobacco. But the patriarchate reported an annual budget in 1995-1996 of only $2 million.” The antics earned Kirill the moniker of ‘Tobacco Metropolitan.’ In 2006 Kirill’s personal wealth was estimated to be $4 billion, and in 2012 he was seen sporting a $30,000 watch. Initially the church Photoshopped the offending timepiece off his wrist but forgot to remove its reflection from the shiny table he was sitting at.

    https://www.dw.com/en/russian-orthodox-church-tries-to-make-hay/a-18648735

    Didn’t know about this? Now, you’ll have even more reasons not to sleep comfortably at night. 🙂

    • Agree: MichaelIIRex, Ano4
    • Disagree: Denis
    • Replies: @Belarusian Dude
    , @Denis
  9. P. Berg says:

    I don’t think standard takes on the correlation between intelligence and religiosity apply to the very high-end of the cognitive elite. I belonged to a Catholic parish in Cambridge, MA, a few years ago and a good percentage of the parishioners were among what would be considered the high end of cognitive elite, including physicists and mathematicians on the faculties at Harvard and MIT (including the head of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory). Also, mostly converts.

    Relatedly, here are some interesting quotes:

    [MORE]

    Christian Anfinsen, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1972:

    “I think only an idiot can be an atheist. We must admit that there exists an incomprehensible power or force with limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in the first place… Clearly, an all-powerful, all-knowing entity must exist to explain our existence.”

    (H. Margenau and R. Varghese, Cosmos, Bios, Theos, 1997, p. 139)

    Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1932:

    “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

    (Heisenberg, Werner. 1969. “Kein Chaos, aus dem nicht wieder Ordnung wuerde. Drei Atomphysiker diskutieren ueber Positivismus, Metaphysik und Religion.” Die Zeit 24, No. 34,, 29-30.

    William Phillips, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1997:

    “I believe in God. In fact, I believe in a personal God who acts in and interacts with the creation. I believe that the observations about the orderliness of the physical universe, and the apparently exceptional fine-tuning of the conditions of the universe for the development of life suggest that an intelligent Creator is responsible.”

    (from his lecture Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science, delivered at the conference “Science and the Spiritual Quest” (20 April 2002, Paris)

    Nevill Mott, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1977:

    “I believe in God, who can respond to prayers, to whom we can give trust and without whom life on this earth would be without meaning (a tale told by an idiot). I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in many ways and through many men and women, and that for us here in the West the clearest revelation is through Jesus and those that have followed him.”

    (Nevill Mott: Reminiscences and Appreciations, E.A. Davis – editor, London, Taylor & Francis Ltd, 1998, 329)

    Antony Hewish, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1974:

    “I believe in God. It makes no sense to me to assume that the Universe and our existence is just a cosmic accident, that life emerged due to random physical processes in an environment which simply happened to have the right properties.

    As a Christian I begin to comprehend what life is all about through belief in a Creator, some of whose nature was revealed by a man born about 2000 years ago.”

    (Candid Science IV: Conversations with Famous Physicists by Istvan Hargittai, London, Imperial College Press, 2004, 637)

    Arthur Schawlow, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1981:

    “Religion is founded on faith. It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious. For me that means Protestant Christianity, to which I was introduced as a child and which has withstood the tests of a lifetime.”

    (H. Margenau and R. Varghese, Cosmos, Bios, Theos, 1997, pp. 105-106)

    I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    , @Realist
  10. @Mr. Hack

    Your nonsensical crying is QED.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  11. Poles are certainly more religious than Russians, and I’ve heard recent stories from people who have been there that doing the sign of the cross on a bus when passing a church is still a common sight.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Gerard.Gerard
  12. @AP

    Poland has a rapidly ageing population. This will prevent secularisation as older folks are more religious and younger people don’t exist due to low fertility. By 2050 Poland is projected to have a majority of its people over 50. I don’t see how the country can become less religious with so many old people.

    • Replies: @AP
  13. Dmitry says:

    Russia was associated with pseudo-lesbian pop duo Tatu

    Tatu does not mean anything interesting, except in terms of media’s positions – which are based on official positions (which changed in the last decade as reaction, or point of conflict, to the West). Attitudes to sexual minorities of people, were less tolerant 20 years ago, than today. What has changed are rules of what kind of clickbait television wants to promote.

    Tatu was fashionable in the early 2000s, because it was promoted so much by the media, which has done this because the government has not viewed this (pseudo lesbianism) as a controversial form of clickbait. Nowadays, the official ideologies in both Russia and the West, were arguing in different directions about LGBT promotion – where the Western propaganda claims that Russia persecutes sexual minorities, while the Russian propaganda says the West has artificially promoted homosexuality (this latter not a completely inaccurate claim from what I see in Europe with my eyes). Tatu would not be promoted in the media today. That does not relate to reduction in tolerance compared to 20 years ago, but rather a change of permittable clickbait in the media.

    I don’t need to explain that theme of girls kissing was clickbait, not a norm attitudes of people in Russia.

    young Poles would look at people who do that as weirdos while I increasingly notice Orthodox

    Perhaps surveys of Poles are not reliable – but English articles claim around 1/3 of Polish people, claim they go to churches every week.

    For comparison, in Russia 1,2% who self-identify in a survey as believers, say they participate in monthly communion.

    Of course, every year, discussed the official numbers of people counted for Easter and Christmas – e.g. 2,7% across the Russian Federation attend any temple over Easter. Religious symbolism re-entered political and cultural life, but of actual religious life – it is about 2-3% of Russians actually believing enough to stop watching television and attend the services, according to “on the ground” counting of the church.

    It’s not sensible to claim there is a comparable religiosity of the people with Poland, unless you think Polish surveys are inaccurate. It’s possible Poles have wildly inflated their numbers in the survey, but I don’t think so from personal experience: you visit any churches in Western Europe – a large of the proportion of people there are Poles.

    If you go to a church in e.g. London – it will be full of Poles. Polish people I know personally – they are all religious.

    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @JL
  14. Malenfant says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    The real surprise is Germany at 37% — just edging out Poland.

    Unlike Russia, I see no evidence of a trend towards increased religiosity in Germany’s white Christian population. Not in a genuine sense, nor indeed in any sense.

    I would assume that this likely indicates that the Islamic fraction of the population (or at least of the respondants,) is >10%, and possibly >15%.

    …But that doesn’t explain France. So, there might also be some deep history here: The German anomaly may reflect an aversion to amoral secular philosophies. Part of Germany’s WWII baggage, perhaps.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  15. AP says:
    @MichaelIIRex

    Good point. These young people in Poland are probably less religious than their parents were at the same age, but nevertheless one can expect this cohort to become more religious as it gets older and wiser.

    Also, with respect to Russia, the positive numbers are boosted somewhat by the large Muslim minority (across the world Muslims are more religious).

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  16. AP says:
    @MichaelIIRex

    The famous Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov was known for crossing himself, in public, under Bolsheviks, whenever he passed a church.

  17. @Malenfant

    Agree Germany 37% is surprising.

    Alternative hypothesis re Germany vs. France:

    Germany’s Muslim minority is predominantly Turko-Ottoman with strong links to a relatively orderly motherland and a favorable view of traditional Islam in thier identity.

    France’s Muslim minority is predominantly Afro-Maghrebi with weak links to a relatively chaotic motherland and disjointed links to traditional Islam, which when last seen was administered from Istanbul. So France’s “Muslim” population has less cause to identify themselves with Islam as an institution or a theology (unless it is the modern jihadi variety, which promises its adherent a pass above and beyond the good and evil of everyday morals, in a sort of Islamic Nietzscheanism).

    • Agree: Kratoklastes
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    , @Ano4
  18. @AP

    one can expect this cohort to become more religious as it gets older and wiser.

    I too would expect that, but Blinky Bill‘s chart, above, shows mostly the opposite pattern among Americans. But maybe that is just for cohorts immersed in the caustic materialism of the extreme West?

    Or, to be fair, the chart show the growth of the “Religiously Unaffiliated”, so maybe they are more religious, just not in a church-affiliated way?

    • Agree: Blinky Bill
  19. @P. Berg

    I don’t think standard takes on the correlation between intelligence and religiosity apply to the very high-end of the cognitive elite.

    Aristotle, perhaps the absolute pinnacle of cognitive elite, regarded the Unmoved Mover as not just true, but well nigh inevitable, a conclusion I also came to 2350 years after the great man, though I lack all of Aristotle’s other accomplishments.

    • Agree: Rosie, Ano4
  20. Mr. Hack says:
    @Belarusian Dude

    It may indeed be QED, but it’ certainly not nonsensical. Certainly not as funny as your concerns about other Orthodox churches.

  21. Polemos says:

    It seems as though the places on that map that are in the 70s and above are places where there are far more instances of casual violence or amoral indifference towards animals, lower caste humans, or whatever or whomever people consider beneath them.

    I take it that’s part of Malenfant’s point about noting in what way a Korean or a Japanese person will interpret what ‘God’ is, and a lurking question to each of the quotes P. Berg cites in his comment: what is the God we get from drinking science down to “the dregs of all things” and who prays and worships that God in the way we find worship among the non-Nobels, the ignoble and less academically rewarded? (Is there some insecurity in our faith that we’d need to find people much smarter than ourselves who are also close enough to that faith? Is there some superiority in our lack of faith, that we’d need to find ourselves smarter than idiots who pray?)

    Does it matter if the God is impersonal or personal, or whether morality is also impersonal or personal? I mean, I approach things from a different perspective altogether when I think about what it means to be good or to have good morals or good values or what it means to know a god or to know The God or to know fellow gods, but I notice that it’s not often I find people who think that we should treat our chairs or our erasers or numbers or the breath from our lungs with the kind of compassion or kindness or consideration or respect that someone else might think is due to a fellow member, a kin. But they are out there.

    In that sense, a lot of moralities fail the test of a more thorough universality, because somewhere along the way a morality has to hide away where it drew the lines between the self, the other, the Other and the things that “aren’t even on the page.” Whoever talks as though you should not just love your neighbor as yourself, but also love your verbs and your concepts as yourself? Maybe only Wittgenstein, and in that sense, he didn’t say anything about that part at all . . . At any rate, it then makes sense why this kind of discussion becomes about which nation-state and which institutional Orthodoxy works up best the link between morals and the divine, because for many people, God is Power.

    And, for now, Power sits in the machinery commanded by nation-states and the transnational criminal organizations and corporations evolving from them—so those folks still believe.

    Try and imagine a God who is not Power, and then imagine what kind of morality flows from there. Are there any religions or spiritualities today who model that? Even Almost Missouri commenting on the Unmoved Mover as a shared conclusion with “the absolute pinnacle of cognitive elite” implicitly assumes this hidden belief that “God is Power” — can any argument for the existence of such a God work without that? What is the Mover doing, if not motivating all things to continue as they must under its Power to move? And if there is no Power in the universe, aren’t we supposed to then conclude that everything falls back into the formless chaos of the Void? But since we’re here, and we’re conversing, and we’re following our conclusions and those of others in a semi-orderly fashion, then it must be that at the center of all our supposedly conceptual divergences is something someone else calls . . . God. And that’s supposed to give us . . . relief? just as the nation-state was supposed to give us . . . a home?

    Maybe I’ve read too much old Twain?

    • Replies: @Ano4
  22. Dumbo says:

    One way or another, religion will return. Just as patriarchy will return.

    A shame about Italy, but then again, its decrease in religiosity also matches its cultural decline. In the 60s, Italian movies and music were global references and popular worldwide.

    Today they are producers of such trash in music and in movies that would shame Americans.

    France is the same. Just compare, say, Jacques Tati, Truffaut or Louis Malle movies from the 50s and 60s with current “multicultural” trashy productions. And their most popular music is rap.

    I feel sad mostly for young European people. They are growing among cultural excrement and they don’t even know it: it’s all they know. They love rap, graffiti, race-mixing movies etc and think it’s cool. Poor idiots.

    • Agree: Almost Missouri, Ano4
  23. Poles would make the cross when their bus passed a church

    I often see people in London doing this

  24. I have a great respect for Pew, but Japanese and Korean results dont make sense, in Japan monotheists are a small minority and majority of Koreans are not Christians, although there is a large and growing Christian minority. From Confucian point of view there is a cosmic order and heavenly principle Tian 天, maybe Pew asked Japanese and Koreans if they say that belief in Tian is necessary for morals or just belief in higher power? In Buddhism we believe in Dharma, which is the moral law or order of universe, so it could be said that for us moral is like a natural law of reality.

    • Agree: Jatt Arya
  25. @Dmitry

    Attitudes to sexual minorities of people, were less tolerant 20 years ago, than today.

    The polls suggest otherwise: https://www.unz.com/akarlin/poland-will-legalize-gay-marriage-within-10-years/

    What might be legitimate (and I think it would be true) is that homophobes 20 years ago were more extreme in their convictions. In a conversation with a well to-do young man around then he commented they should be exterminated, anybody in his social position making the same comments today would trigger raised eyebrows.

    ***

    Catholic and Orthodox church services are not comparable.

    • Disagree: MichaelIIRex
    • Replies: @AP
    , @Dmitry
  26. @Almost Missouri

    There might be something to do that. In surveys, French Muslims are the most secular, while British Muslims are the most religious, with German Muslims in between.

  27. @AltanBakshi

    Yes, those results are pretty strange.

  28. @utu

    “HBD” is just dogwhistle code for “niggers be dumb”.

    Because racism, is, like, the worst possible sin ever imaginable to an American. They can’t even bear the thought that their thoughts might veer into racist territory, so they invent elaborate newspeak like “HBD” to stop the possible crimethink.

    For the rest of the world there’s no need for “HBD”; if I wanted to say that negroes are stupid I’d just go ahead and do it.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  29. JL says:
    @Dmitry

    Tatu does not mean anything interesting, except in terms of media’s positions – which are based on official positions

    I disagree with this take, Tatu was very much a product of their time and culture, the unbridled freedom and chaos of nineties Russia. There were no official positions because, essentially, “official” didn’t exist, it was just everything goes. This was a time when prepubescent boys were openly prostituting themselves in the underground walkway outside of the Intourist on Tverskaya.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @Dmitry
  30. @AltanBakshi

    From Confucian point of view there is a cosmic order and heavenly principle Tian 天

    ‘天’ is literally a picture of a man with a large head. The original Chinese religion was monotheist and their God (上帝, literally ‘the Lord’) was very much anthropomorphic.

    The Confucianism you mention is a degenerate humanist philosophy that resulted after centuries of degradation and various other social ills.

    It’s like mentioning hippies and ‘flower power’ as a reference point for Western Christianity; totally retarded.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  31. @anonymous coward

    In my understanding its man with line above wich represents the sky, Shangdi was similar to Tengri, it was more antropomorphic but not as strictly as western Zeus or Iuppiter. Also Japan and espcially Korea have been strongly influenced by neo confucianism. So Tian makes more sense in this context

    . Everything can degenerate and cause problems after all even though Buddha or Christ are perfect in their respective religions, their followers are still only men and can be corrupted. So too can Confucianism be corrupted.

    It’s like mentioning hippies and ‘flower power’ as a reference point for Western Christianity; totally retarded.

    What? How?

  32. @Anatoly Karlin

    Thanks. Now you’ve got me wondering how subcon Muslims fit into the theory. Well, to be sure, the UK also has a small but influential undercurrent of affluent and proselytizing Gulf Arabs.

  33. @anonymous coward

    I’d just go ahead and do it.

    OK anonymous coward.

  34. Ano4 says:
    @Almost Missouri

    France’s Muslim minority is predominantly Afro-Maghrebi with weak links to a relatively chaotic motherland and disjointed links to traditional Islam, which when last seen was administered from Istanbul. So France’s “Muslim” population has less cause to identify themselves with Islam as an institution or a theology (unless it is the modern jihadi variety, which promises its adherent a pass above and beyond the good and evil of everyday morals, in a sort of Islamic Nietzscheanism).

    One of the best descriptions of the French Muslim minority that I have seen so far.

    [MORE]

    One of my French Muslim friends once said that the Muslims around him are so ignorant about the basic tenets of their creed, that they hardly qualify as Muslim. The majority of the Beurs and French Black Muslims are in fact rootless products of immigration, (mis)adapted to their new home country in a purely opportunistic way. A (Christian) African Black Sociology student I once knew, who categorized me as a fascist, used to talk about l’intégration opportuniste des immigrants .

    OTOH the ethnic French, les Français de souche, mainly see religion in general as something backward, outdated and risible. Their state religion is la Franc-maçonnerie of the rationalist kind, a proud tradition of les Lumières, which has led to la Révolution française.

    « Je suis tombé par terre,
    C’est la faute à Voltaire,
    Le nez dans le ruisseau,
    C’est la faute à Rousseau. »

    Therefore the numbers we get from France in this survey are still probably very strongly influenced by their Muslim minority. As the share of Muslim population grows in France, the religiosity will increase. Houellebecq had a nice book written about the results one might expect from this evolution.

    • Agree: Guillaume Tell
    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  35. Ano4 says:
    @Polemos

    Try and imagine a God who is not Power, and then imagine what kind of morality flows from there. Are there any religions or spiritualities today who model that?

    Why call it God, why call it anything at all?

    The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
    *
    *
    *
    Many words lead to exhaustion.
    Better to hold fast to your centre.

  36. Ano4 says:
    @JL

    chaos of nineties Russia.

    Agree

    There were no official positions because, essentially, “official” didn’t exist, it was just everything goes.

    Disagree.

    There was an official narrative towards the chaotization (so to speak) of everything Russian and one of its main components was what we called чернуха и порнуха at the time best exemplified by the pages of Moskovsky Komsomolets (a.k.a. Московский Сексомолец).

    It was a quite peculiar chaotic system leading to only decay, degeneration and death. Entropy incarnated as a social process. Its natural consequences were deaths of millions of Russians, the collapse in birthrate and

    prepubescent boys … openly prostituting themselves in the underground walkway outside of the Intourist on Tverskaya.

    This is what this Chaotic Archetype does best. A wise old man in New York once described this Archetype as Ничто которое ничтожит…

    Living in 90ies Russia was an interesting mystical experience. Same as living in the West (especially USA) nowadays…

  37. @Dumbo

    One way or another, religion will return. Just as patriarchy will return.

    Not necessarily. A secular patriarchal culture makes sense from the male perspective because women exist and gods don’t.

    • Agree: Realist, mal
    • Replies: @Dumbo
  38. AP says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    This suggests that attitudes towards homosexuals in the Eastern EU (including Poland) have become less tolerant:

    Poland is outnumbered by Hungary, Bulgaria etc. but this overall result suggests that Poland cannot have become really supportive of homosexuality.

    • Agree: MichaelIIRex
    • Replies: @AP
  39. People who anticipate a resurgence of religiosity in the West have to explain why it collapsed the first time around. When Friedrich Nietzsche announced the “death of god” in the 1880’s, no one had to read and discuss his books, translate them into other languages or write novels, plays, symphonies and operas to dramatize his ideas. Nietzsche’s pronouncement caught on as “meme,” say, because it articulated what many thousands or even millions of thoughtful people already felt. And this happened in Hayekian fashion: spontaneously, organically, across a wide spectrum of society, and without any central planning to encourage the adoption of irreligion, at least not until the Bolshevik regime in Russia made state atheism one of its policies two generations later. The Nietzschean phase in the Western experience suggests that religious belief possesses the human mind less strongly than religious special-pleaders argue.

    • Agree: dfordoom, mal
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @Dmitry
    , @Ano4
    , @EldnahYm
  40. AP says:
    @AP

    Furthermore, according to that study the change is in the fact that educated people in Eastern EU countries have become less tolerant than they were before, essentially they have converged with their less educated countrymen. This suggests that the trend is long-term and won’t be changed by increased educational opportunities.

  41. Dumbo says:
    @advancedatheist

    A secular patriarchal culture

    LOL. Good luck creating that.

    women exist and gods don’t.

    If you say so, who is anyone else to question that…

  42. Mr. Hack says:
    @advancedatheist

    I’m not so sure that millions of Europeans had lost the faith before WWI. More than anything that Nietzsche wrote, I think that it was the mass killings of both WWI and WW2 that had the most dramatic effect on atheism’s appeal for many Europeans.

  43. Dmitry says:
    @JL

    much a product of their time and culture,

    The time of Tatu was so promoted by the media and television was between 2000-2010, and I don’t think people are different now than then.

    Tatu is only mostly – rather than completely – an artificial construction of the media, but in neither case any representative of national consciousness of any historical epoch.

    Moreover, something like “vulgarity” in the media has not changed, but actually has more vulgar clickbait now. Television is more vulgar now than 10-20 years ago.


    Rather the permittability of clickbait on this topic of pseudo lesbianism in television has changed, when until around 2014 it was not something which was an area of contention.*

    By the way are still pseudo lesbian bands promoted in television Russia, but the difference of current media is to imply, such kinds of clickbait, rather than say directly – e.g. Tatu added it to their lyrics

    his was a time when prepubescent boys were openly prostituting themselves

    The main thing in Tatu, aside from their lesbian storyline, were soft, gentle, pseudo-anime aesthetics and Japanese style of Kawai, including the schoolgirl theme.

    They were popular (to the extent it was not just because of promotion) by middle class girls. And the demand for “something like Tatu” is larger now than before.

    A difference now is that the demand for that kind of aesthetics has been outsourced to Japan by such types of soft, middle class youth, which has been possible with the internet.


    *I mean in the old days of 2009, nobody complains about a T-90 at 1:05

    • Thanks: mal
    • Replies: @Ano4
  44. Dmitry says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    polls suggest otherwise

    Polls on social questions follow what is the official discussion in the media. When they answer polls, a large part of people respond with what they read or see on television, is a politically correct position. Answering such polls feels like public, official activity, so normal people want to answer the polls “correctly”.

    That is not to say polls are not useful, but they are tracking more official positions, than anything very interesting. The funniest one in Russia, is the friends/enemies ratings for foreign countries. Turkey can reverse its position from one year to another.

    By the way, it seems clear sexual minorities are living better and with more tolerance now, than 20 years ago. Until then, I assume that might have been able to arrange an appointment for your children to be cured with a psychologist. If you know views on this topic of any old people (in Russia) – including educated demographics – and intolerance of sexual minorities is a most frequent attitude with older people, who are even liberal in other topics.

    Catholic and Orthodox church services are not comparable.

    What is the difference of importance for going to services for Easter. Easter is very important for the church, and that is why they count everyone who passes the door. It’s below 3% in Russia, although varies wildly by region.

    According to English articles in Poland, a third of the country is supposedly the church every Sunday. Perhaps Poland’s data is partly fictitious though. But I can’t believe they could exaggerate numbers to that extent.

    In terms of surveys of questions like “What is importance of God in your life?” Most people in Russia will answer this as relating to a private spiritual question. There is a cultural difference here in the question.

    If you ask a Muslim, in Lebanon or Algeria, then this question is a public, social question. If you ask a Jew in Israel, then this question refers to their clothes, political/social tribe, perhaps even language.

    Even with Christian in America, it’s possible a large part of the Americans are interpreting this as asking about their public religious activities?

    While in Russian, ask someone their relation to God – most people will think you are asking as a private, spiritual and metaphysical question.

    I prefer the attitude in Russian, but it would be very difficult to make such a survey to reliable cross-country, as the question is understood differently in the different cultures.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  45. Dmitry says:
    @advancedatheist

    Friedrich Nietzsche announced the “death of god”

    Nietzsche’s argument, was that nobody has noticed yet that god has died (and we have killed him).

    Nietzsche is saying that a foundation stone, or structurally essential component, of our building or bridge (modern European civilization) had been removed by the late 19th century, but that people tried to continue like nothing has happened. They don’t know they are walking on a bridge without foundations.

    However, the bridge had not collapse yet, and the implications of the death of God has not yet been realized. At the same time, people do not even know this structural component has been removed yet and are walking on unsupported bridge. Of course, the removal of God from the modern worldview, has been irreversible by late 19th century, particularly after Darwin – Nietzsche believes there is no return possible.

    This is how Nietzsche is particularly laughing at English morality, like George Eliot

    G. Eliot. — They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality. That is an English consistency; we do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females à la Eliot. In England one must rehabilitate oneself after every little emancipation from theology by showing in a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic one is. That is the penance they pay there.

    When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God is the truth–it stands and falls with faith in God.

    When the English actually believe that they know “intuitively” what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion: such that the origin of English morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, morality is not yet a problem.

    I bold the important part in the text, that he thinks it is being delayed.

    Of course, if Nietzsche was now in the year 2020, he would say – it’s still the same situation. God has been dead for quite a few generations now, but the implications are being delayed indefinitely.

    But really with 21st century life, we seem to have avoided the question- with a cost of abandoning an ideal of internal consistency in our world views. Probably, it’s the latter ambition of coherent worldview, which is the historically expendable part, and which died in the 19th century.

    21st century people have lost the idea of consistency in their views, and what is lost is more some kind of seriousness.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @Ano4
  46. The idea that Britain is more religious than France is laughable, especially considering France has a higher Muslim population.

    Most native English people are not the slightest bit religious, and are in fact more often than not hostile towards religion, openly Christian people are usually called “God botherers” over here. It’s no coincidence that Richard Dawkins is English, he sums up the typical middle class English attitude towards Christianity/religion generally.

  47. @Dumbo

    I find it shocking how popular rap music is in most of mainland Europe with white youth, it’s probably more popular there than it is with even white British and American youth.

  48. AP says:
    @Dmitry

    A nice and clear description.

  49. Ano4 says:
    @advancedatheist

    People who anticipate a resurgence of religiosity in the West have to explain why it collapsed the first time around.

    Please define religiosity .

    Thanks!

  50. Ano4 says:
    @Dmitry

    21st century people have lost the idea of consistency in their views, and what is lost is more some kind of seriousness

    .

    Absolutely correct.

    IMHO this is what led to postmodernism and will in due time lead to Nietzchean Letzter Mensch. I would argue that a lot of millennials and gen Z already fall squarely in this philosophical category.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  51. Ano4 says:
    @Dmitry

    After t.a.T.U. Yulia Volkova married an Azeri Muslim and concentrated on her family life. She supposedly converted to Islam. Just to suddenly become an Orthodox Christian in 2017 after divorcing her Muslim husband.

    http://m.spletnik.ru/buzz/chronicle/73770-yuliya-volkova-vernulas-iz-islama-v-pravoslavie.html

  52. Realist says:
    @P. Berg

    I don’t think standard takes on the correlation between intelligence and religiosity apply to the very high-end of the cognitive elite.

    There is absolutely no evidence that god exists. Therefore those that believe in god do so as a belief…not as a result of a proof, evidence or other scientific method. Religion is a crutch for the fearful…a source of control for the religious leaders.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  53. @Anatoly Karlin

    The relationship certainly exists, but the outliers are far more interesting than the pattern. There is no obvious HBD reason for why Poland should be one of Europe’s most religious countries, while Czechia should be one of its most atheist ones. The answer to that, most likely, lies in deep history.

    You are the expert, but it is something I think a lot about. I was involved with a Polish Catholic who is now about 80. He said that Poland was considered the mother of God. Like Mary herself. The Poles are married to Catholicism and one of the most popular popes ever was Polish John Paul 2.

    What effect do you think the Renaissance had on religiosity? Russian and Eastern Europe (some parts) missed out on the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. These countries seem behind the secular Western reason, logic, global personage, of non ethnicity Poland is fiercely anti Islamic. No Muslim immigrants allowed. While Russia has Chechnya. Russia had a diverse empire to rule, Poland did not. But you are correct it is deep history.

  54. I think much the same thing may be said to have happened in Ireland wrt the Brits, Dawkins et al. killed God there, then they were translated into Polish and repeated the process.

    I don’t know what to think about this. For me, and I’ve read Dawkins & comp., they are so shallow, false & dumb I couldn’t believe they could influence anyone except some people who already are: a) tired of any religion, b) read books, c) are clueless of a religious phenomenon, d) are emotionally & imaginatively, basically- dwarfs

    Otherwise, this British-American stuff is so moronic that it is absolutely inferior to something as shallow as French 18th C materialism, while atheists as different as Max Stirner, Marx, Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad, Stanislaw Lem, Camus, Freud, Russell, ….. are stratosphere for these clowns.

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @Dmitry
  55. Mr. Hack says:
    @Realist

    I watched a very interesting, star studded WW2 film last night “A Bridge too Far” where the major thrust of the plot was the capture and securement of bridges in the Nijmegen Holland area by Allied forces. Towards the end of the film, is shown the heroic capture of the main bridge into the town, and its leading officer, played by a young Robert Redford, can be heard loudly reciting the “Hail Mary” prayer to help keep the morale up of his soldeirs over and over again as many were killed crossing the river in their valiant drive to secure the bridge. It clearly was inferred that the Allmighty was invollved in their succesful outcome. As some wise man once said : “there are no atheists within foxholes”.

    Redford’s prayers start at about 3:23:

    • Replies: @Realist
  56. Not Raul says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    That’s very interesting.

    I think that, in the long term, France & Germany will do not great but ok; but the UK is screwed.

    Somehow, Germany ended up with better Muslims than the UK. There’s no German Rotherham. And with Merz (hopefully) replacing Merkel, things will never get that bad.

  57. @Ano4

    Therefore the numbers we get from France in this survey are still probably very strongly influenced by their Muslim minority.

    It’s also strongly influenced by an ageing population in the ethic French, who are basically the only active members of the Jeebus-cult.

    Look at the population pyramid for France: the biggest demographic groups are the over-50s – coupled with low TFR for ethnic French and high TFR for Muslim French, this means that the more-secular children of ethnic French are rarer than their own grandparents (who are largely still alive). The over-50s are also where the biggest groups of ethnic-French are located.

    That means that there is a pseudo-bias in measured religiosity that is a demographic artifact: old religious people are becoming a larger share of the increasingly-secular ethnic-French population (who reproduce below replacement and have quite high life expectancies).

    I call it a pseudo-bias because although the measurement might be accurate, it represents a side-effect of a social change (lower fecundity) that generates numbers that inaccurately portray religiosity increasing as if it’s growth in new religious people – when religiosity in ethnic-French is moving in precisely the opposite direction (increased secularism in younger demographics).

    Ethnic French are still the largest single group in France, so that pseudo-bias influences national-level numbers.

    Put simply: once the current 60+ cohort is dead, churches will be even emptier and the supposed ‘increased religiosity’ will be exposed as a statistical mirage.

    As the share of Muslim population grows in France, the religiosity will increase.

    Again, this will be true, but will not reflect an actual social impulse towards religiosity.

    The high TFR of already-observant immigrants results in larger numbers of children being raised as Muslims by observant parents, and counted as Muslims in survey responses – but those children are also increasingly secular as a result of their interactions with broader French society outside of their families.

    A very large amount of the measured ‘religiosity’ in the West is largely due to three things:
    ① ageing populations;
    ② high-TFR immigrants from mostly-Islamic sources;
    ③ people who lie about their religiosity on surveys (i.e., “nominally-religious” people who pay no attention to the tenets of their putative creed… like 95% of American ‘Christians’).

    Most people who claim to be religious, do so in conscious bad faith. It’s easy to tell, because their behaviour is not remotely consistent with the tenets of their putative faith.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
  58. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    Polls on social questions follow what is the official discussion in the media. When they answer polls, a large part of people respond with what they read or see on television, is a politically correct position. Answering such polls feels like public, official activity, so normal people want to answer the polls “correctly”.

    Yep.

  59. Levtraro says:

    One interesting pattern in the map is that in countries that are more developed the people connecting religiosity to mortality are in the minority. Countries with the darker green are the likes of India, Brasil, South Africa, Turkey. In fact religiosity is opposite to morality. The more religious people convince themselves the evil they do is approved by their god thus cancelling evolutionary-driven constraints on behaviour.

    Morality has a natural standing, It has been brought about during the evolution of social and self-aware animals as a component of successful survival and reproduction.

  60. @Anatoly Karlin

    LOL Poland ” religious “? ! It is nothing more than football team support there instead of any actual religiosity. I suspect it’s the same nonsense that gives Brazil and Turkey fake,ludicrously high scores on religion, because my experience of these countries suggests plenty of secularism.

    Hence why over the centuries the term ” Polish saint” has been a complete oxymoron. Hence why since the end of Communism the scale or beauty of church building or renovation in Poland has been nonexistent compared to Russia in the last 20 years.

    Whereas Germany might derive some of its frugality from its Christian heritage, we derive so much of are mentality and culture from it….Poland derives practically nothing from it.

    when Russia was associated with pseudo-lesbian pop duo Tatu

    Popular music by nature isn’t Conservative. Russia is more westernised than Poland , Polish contribution to western culture ,despite plenty of trying, is useless , so it makes sense that the absence of lesbian pop hits is not because of religiosity. It’s because of the same reasons that Polish pop music and films are practically irrelevant in Ukraine despite all the “integration” of the countries in the last 6 years. Russian shows and music of course are still heavily consumed,where allowed.

    Its just like I have never ever seen a Pole on holiday in Spain or Thailand., whereas millions of Russians go every year……it has zero connection to “religiosity ” ….it is just that the Poles are a bunch of losers pretending to be French and pretending to hate Russians all day.

  61. @MichaelIIRex

    If by “religious” you mean human trafficking, exporting violent crime,drugs….then,yes, I would agree that Poland is more religious. If you are talking about actual religiosity then of course russians are more religious you dimwit.

    You ever thought it strange that Poland’s contribution to Socialism/ communism far exceeds it’s contribution to Christianity or western culture?
    Several Polish songs became Soviet anthems,most still regularly performed in Russia today……their church music however is a disaster that has zero positive things going for it. Nothing over the centuries that has been renowned or exported to other Catholic or other Christian churches of musical or spiritual value.

    So much of religiosity translated into beautiful art. Where are the great religious paintings,murals, tapestries ,churches, poems and music done by Poles? Nowhere

    Where are the Polish saints or martyrs? Lol

    Has the large immigration of poles to Germany or UK revived the Catholic Church or priesthood there? No

    Has any pole EVER adopted a Russian or Ukrainian orphan over the years? Never heard of it.

    Any charitable work of an international nature by poland? No. Rich Arab countries at least do plenty of work or invest plenty of money in health charities around the worldon issues that tend to affect muslims.

    Whereas Nicolas II and several other tsars were clearly motivated by God in their decision making,Polish leaders were always bloodthirsty mercenary prostitutes.

    “Religious “? Don’t be dumb

  62. Jake says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    If Poland continues to serve the EU and the Anglo-Zionist Empire, Poland will have gay marriage eventually. Poland also will get to host a couple of million Bantus and more than a couple of million Moslems. Poland also will see a large number of profitable businesses owned by Poles become owned by Jews, the majority of them not even Jews with Polish citizenship.

    That is what the Anglo-Zionist Empire delivers.

    • Disagree: MichaelIIRex
  63. Ano4 says:
    @Kratoklastes

    Most people who claim to be religious, do so in conscious bad faith. It’s easy to tell, because their behaviour is not remotely consistent with the tenets of their putative faith.

    That is one of the reasons I asked the atheist in the comment # 40 to define religiosity. Religiosity, God, Faith, Morality are weasel words. These words mean different things to different people. Therefore this poll about them is very low in useful information. All we learn from this poll is that for some of the people who answered it these weasel words connect in some subjective ways.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  64. Realist says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Towards the end of the film, is shown the heroic capture of the main bridge into the town, and its leading officer, played by a young Robert Redford, can be heard loudly reciting the “Hail Mary” prayer to help keep the morale up of his soldeirs over and over again as many were killed crossing the river in their valiant drive to secure the bridge.

    A perfect example of my point…Religion is a crutch for the fearful…a source of control for the religious leaders. The military officer was using the belief in a god to con the men into doing something stupid.

    As some wise man once said : “there are no atheists within foxholes”.

    Not a wise man at all…just a religious dogmatic.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  65. Mr. Hack says:
    @Realist

    A perfect example of my point…Religion is a crutch for the fearful…a source of control for the religious leaders. The military officer was using the belief in a god to con the men into doing something stupid.

    But there were no religious leaders anywhere near to be seen. Nor were their any military injunctions to pronounce the prayer. The prayer was just an instinctive reaction of one human being to call out in supplication to his Creator for protection, giving solace and spiritual support to others who were also in grave mortal danger, a perfect example of why “there are no atheists within foxholes”.

    • Replies: @Realist
  66. 216 says:

    That the number went up in Germany is interesting.

    Did they poll the East in 1991?

    Or is it the replacement of Germans that is responsible for the number going up?

  67. Realist says:
    @Mr. Hack

    But there were no religious leaders anywhere near to be seen.

    The officer was mouthing religious dogma he had learned from his religious doctrinaire.

    Nor were their any military injunctions to pronounce the prayer. The prayer was just an instinctive reaction of one human being to call out in supplication to his Creator for protection, giving solace and spiritual support to others who were also in grave mortal danger, a perfect example of why “there are no atheists within foxholes”.

    The prayer was a ruse used by the officer to get the soldiers to do something against their better judgement.

    The supplication to his Creator for protection was for naught since many soldiers were slaughtered.

    The phrase there are no atheists within foxholes is a silly unprovable supposition, purporting to prove there is a god…it does no such thing.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  68. Mr. Hack says:
    @Realist

    The officer was mouthing religious dogma he had learned from his religious doctrinaire.

    He probably was. But by the time he was a grown man he was perfectly capable of throwing off any religious beliefs that he had acquired as a child, as I presume even you may have done at some point.

    I did when I was about 12-13 years old, even being an Orthodox altar boy. Throughout my life, even as a child, I’ve had a great curiosity about religious things and remember wondering about things like trying to define what my own consciousness meant. So, on one particularly lovely summer day, gazing out of the front picture window of my home, gazing at the blue sky and white clouds, I rather convincingly came to the conclusion that there indeed “was no God”. I mean, I couldn’t see him anywhere in the sky, sitting or hiding behind any clouds, so there couldn’t really be one. I reasoned, probably much as yourself, the belief in God was probably developed as a way for people to help them understand the meaning of life and all of the complexity that is associated with it.

    This went on for several years, until I was about 17-18. To make a long story short, I was already experiencing what many would call “Dark Night of the Soul” and fortunately found an old bible in my bedroom, started to read it and that started my slow and muanced journey to my belief in God. Although I was baptized into the Orthodoxy, went regularly to church, even had some formal religious education, none of this directly changed my heart until I came to the Lord (with his grace) on my own volition. I would emphasize here, that many with similar backgrounds unfortunately have rejected a belief in God, as even I had for several years of my life.

    The prayer was a con used by the officer to get the soldiers to do something against their better judgement.

    That’s a matter of opinion, I would say that he “helped” his men complete what must have looked like an impossible task to many. In the end they succesfully completed their task and will forever be looked on as real heroes. Why some died while others didn’t is beyond my understanding, as are many things about life and death.

    • Replies: @Realist
  69. Realist says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Why some died while others didn’t is beyond my understanding, as are many things about life and death.

    It’s not beyond my understanding…the outcome was just as it would be if there were no god…which of course is the case.

    Religion is a crutch for the fearful.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  70. That tell us what you really feel about the Polish

  71. Mr. Hack says:
    @Realist

    It’s not beyond my understanding…the outcome was just as it would be if there were no god…which of course is the case.

    You don’t know this. This rag tag bunch of soldiers went up against superior German tanks and soldiers that were well situated and camouflaged and overcame them “miraculously” I would say. And then there was the real clincher for me, where for no logical or explainable reason, the dynamite and the apparatus designed to ignite it to destroy the bridge by the Germans, didn’t go off as it should have. A lucky and fortuitous occurence? You believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want.

    Religion is a crutch for the fearful

    Here’s another time tested adage that you can take to the bank:

    The fear of God, is the begining o Wisdom

    .

    • Replies: @Realist
  72. Denis says:
    @Mr. Hack

    These churches seem to have nothing on the ROC and its head, the ex-KGB agent, Kyrill:

    I respectfully disagree wrt Montenegro. The sectarian church there is a complete sham, with scarcely any followers, and its existence is largely for the purpose of granting a veneer of respectability to the eviction of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the Montenegrin temples, which will presumably be turned into hotels. It is so blatant that I can’t think of any full parallels.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  73. Mr. Hack says:
    @Denis

    Well congratulatons, you may have found one. But it’s indeed difficult to locate such a church where its head, its Patriarch, was involved in business dealings, perhaps even involving money laundering, having to do with the sale of liquor and tobacco? The guy is looked upon as a joke throughout all of Europe.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  74. @Mr. Hack

    Mr. Hack those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Your Schismatic Bart has multiple times blessed Turkish army and its anti-Kurdish operations and even the invasion of Syria. I dont know if Kirill has made money from the sale of liquor and tobacco, if so then he should be removed from his position, but that is small compared to blessing of Turkish Jihadis, which their army practically is, I dont want to link videos that I have seen about Turkish army and its anti-Kurdish operations, you are free to google and I can say that there is very small difference to ISIS, heads are cut, unarmed Kurd women summarily executed and so on. But you probably are so brainwashed that you believe that Russian troops there are not protecting Christians, but just bombing and terrorizing “freedom fighters” in support of evil and tyrannical regime of Al-Assad. So soon you claim that Russian Orthodox Church is as bad with its blessings.

    https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/istanbul-greek-orthodox-patriarch-lends-support-to-turkeys-operation-olive-branch-in-syrias-afrin-126375

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  75. I don’t think Eastern Europeans are perceived as particularly conservative or traditional in Britain. In fact, judging by the popularity of Eastern European cities for stag and hen parties amongst British people, I would argue that Eastern Europe might actually be perceived as more liberal and hedonistic than Britain.

    I don’t think the cheaper alcohol is solely the reason for Eastern European’s popularity, because there are various places in Britain where alcohol is sold a cheaply as in Eastern Europe if not cheaper in some cases, such as at “Wetherspoons”. I think there’s a general perception in Britain that Eastern Europe is a more easygoing place to go with the sole intention of getting ridiculously drunk every night and generally engage in hedonism.

    • Replies: @GoRedWings!
  76. Realist says:
    @Mr. Hack

    You believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want.

    Deal!

    Here’s another time tested adage that you can take to the bank:

    The fear of God, is the begining o Wisdom

    More gobbledygook.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  77. Mr. Hack says:
    @AltanBakshi

    You must have me mixed up with somebody else, for I’m a member of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (an autocephalous Orthodox Church) whose head primate is Metropolitan Epiphanius.

    You have, however, sparked my curiosity as to why the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has decided to officially back President Erdigan in his actions within Syria and Turkey; at the moment I’m not really sure.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  78. Mr. Hack says:
    @Realist

    For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  79. EldnahYm says:
    @advancedatheist

    People who anticipate a resurgence of religiosity in the West have to explain why it collapsed the first time around.

    My best guess is a combination of greater economic prosperity and greater state power led to the decline in religiosity. Economic development seems to make people more liberal, and all else equal, I expect more atheists the more liberal a society is. Meanwhile the roles religious authorities used to have are now entirely carried out by the state.

    Since liberalism is busy eating itself because of its own internal contradictions, I don’t see this state of affairs lasting. Either a new religious synthesis is needed for 21st century man, or society goes backwards and more traditional religion re-emerges.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  80. @Mr. Hack

    Even better, after all the founder of your church has quite a reputation. Your founder was a schismatic who is in schism with his own church now, what a way to start a church! But its always double standards with you. Also Epiphanius got his position from Bart.

    • LOL: Mr. Hack
  81. Mr. Hack says:

    I don’t get involved in discussing all of your Buddhist religious divisions (of which there are many varieties) and taking any sides, why should you do so when it comes to Orthodox quarrels? BTW, Patriarch Bartholomew has written very sensibly about opening a deeper dialogue with Buddhists; why all of your anger towards him?

    http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2009/11/on-india-and-buddhism-ecumenical.html

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  82. Dmitry says:
    @Ano4

    Nietzsche usually seems to envisage such Last Man, as something like “Monsieur Homais” – a kind of Saint-Simonian progressive man, who is egoist, bourgeois, bien-pensant.

    Another one of the components Nietzsche views as essential to the Last Man – is modern nationalism (which matches kind of views that Flaubert’s character satirizes, especially worship of Napoleon); obsession with historical trivia and knowledge; lack of reverence; lack of good taste in art and music.

    I think Nietzsche fails to prophecize one of the main ways we have reacted loss of our possibility of having internal consistency of beliefs, and which his theory of truth had been used partly to justify: that we will adopt the light-hearted attitude that our ideas are all a kind of posing, which we are allowed to consciously adopt according to our self-interest and mood, and do not need to make consistent to all our other beliefs.

    Our attitude nowadays, is more like you can choose and customize your beliefs, and do not need to notice that they might refute your other beliefs – afterall it’s not like you will be living forever in hell if you make a mistake with this.

    One effect of this, in Europe today – ironic situation that “religion” attracts some of the most inconsistent, posers – i.e. precisely because it is one of the most difficult things to make consistent with your other beliefs, it is attracting people with higher tolerance for inconsistency of beliefs.

    True “god-fearing” people who believe they will be morally judged for every action, are rare, but cultural interpretations of religion are still useful as a decorative posing, although this filters for people with a higher tolerance for cognitive dissonance. E.g. often poets, artists, old women, etc.

    One symptom Nietzsche prophecize accurately, is breakdown of barrier between high culture and low (popular) culture. He would argue, this is result of loss of awareness of rank order. I.e. that only by not understanding the greatness of Beethoven, then you can elevate Beatles (or Nietzsche would say in his time, Wagner) – and vice-versa.

    Although how we arrived to this stage, in the 20th century, was with a “Hegelian” kind of historical development, with intermediate step of modernism. Modernism has shot too high, and in the early 20th century culture became more elitist and inaccessible than it had been in the 19th century. Then from as early as late 1930s, there was reverse of modernist elitism: levelling between high and low culture, which is the trend that has continued all the way to 2020.

    I would argue that a lot of millennials and gen Z already fall squarely in this philosophical category.

    If you think about how Dada was in the 1910s-20s. This was funny in its time, to the extent light-footed, attitude of young Dadaist could still juxtapose against the serious attitude of their parents, and was refreshing counter-balance, and could make people look at reality, instead of social conventions.

    But now we are at a stage where we have an ironic, Dadaist cultural attitude. Our parents are also Dadaists. Probably, even to lesser extent, our grandparents, were somewhat Dadaist.

    • Thanks: Ano4
  83. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Outside his area of expertise (zoology), Dawkins is of course, surely extremely superficial, and uninteresting compared to such great thinkers of late 19th century you included like Nietzsche, Marx, et al.

    But perhaps by the second half of the 21st century, we will look at even superficial writers like Dawkins with nostalghia, as they at least still have some “old fashioned” ideals of consistency of beliefs, and want to follow logical implications of their assumptions.

    At least, Dawkins wants to make metaphysics consistent to his professional work in zoology. He still has some of the mentality and ambitions of early 20th century writers. Dawkins does not fall into post-modernism – another way to say this: he still has some ambitions.

    If you look at his Twitter today, his writing style implies he still follows the existence of objective rank order in terms of cultural development.

    For example, you can see he still uses the word “backward”, to describe religion in Sudan.

    “Backward”, implied the opposite as well – “advanced”. So he writes like he believes in an objective rank order of cultures or beliefs: some beliefs are backward, while others are advanced.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  84. Interesting the Ukraine saw a similar increase in religiosity as Russia, despite the lack of state support. But then does Russian state support of OC spill over to the Ukraine? MP is still far and away the church of choice there so perhaps Ukrainians are somehow strongly affected by religious forces emerging in Russia. The Ukraine is a more stressful place to live than Russia so we would expect them to feel a more acute need for God and his mercy.

    The Poland is an interesting case. I *assume* that like America, they have a stealthy population of high fertility Catholic extremists who will gradually replace the westernizing Polish mainstream. Still, presumably Poland will become as gay as America in the near term and it could happen fast as Ireland shows. Especially with Big Bad Wussia going strong for Christ, Poles maybe react going the opposite way hoping Russia will pay attention and invade them or something.

    • Replies: @AP
    , @dfordoom
  85. @Mr. Hack

    Internal Orthodox division is different matter than division between Buddhist or Christian sects. After all the matter is much more political than theological, or do you disagree? Why should I limit my commenting about political matters? By following your logic I could not comment on many important political matters, like on relations between Wahhabis and moderate Sunni Islam, or on Sunni-Shia relations. Also you are free to get involved in discussion of Buddhist religious divisions, like I could stop you, even if I wanted.

    I consider myself a fan of Christianity, especially Orthodox form of it. I see much beauty and wisdom in it, and I believe that path Christians walk is no lesser, or lacking of nobility than the path that Buddhists walk, although our believes are vastly different. It does not mean that I promote syncretism, because mixing our faiths is same as disrespecting founders of our religions. After all both Buddhists and Christians agree that our nature is limited, easily misled, and prone to pride, we both agree that there is something demonic in making oneself as a center of universe, and that there are men who have gained greater insight than us, who we should trust, this shows humility. We both believe that our religions founders were perfect in every way, although if Christians are right then Christ is greater than Buddha, for Christ is perfectly man and perfectly God, when our master is more like perfect Sage who has overcome the wordly existence.

    So whats my problem with Bart? I think he does more bad to Orthodoxy than good, and in these dangerous times when religion is under attack from every direction, can Orthodoxy afford this kind of waste like having a Schism? Should not he move his patriarchy from Turkey where is under pressure and possible manipulation of Erdogan? Shouldn’t Christian priest be there where the flock is? There are some people on this site and many in the West who believe that Christianitys time is over, and there is only slow death left for it. I dont believe so, I believe that there will come time when people lose interest in materialism, that they again start to ask questions like are we not better than animals? Is human life just fulfilling ones desires, is there something more than just promoting ones transient body and looks and so on… But things look pretty bad if Orthodox Christianity is having Schisms in such a dangerous time. Especially when it seems to me that most Westerners who have developed dislike towards Christianity base it on their understanding of Catholic or Protestant theology, with its legalism, purgatories, raptures, predestination and so on and so on. When Orthodox Christianity has more Therapeutic and Mystical outlook on the divine and human matters.

    But now when I think maybe Bartholomew is under a strong pressure, and not an independent actor, like all those patriarchs who were under the Turkish yoke…. So maybe I am too critical, still by looking your history of your Church it seems to me that Christians of old times did not succumb under pressure?

    But I get your point, I try not to comment on this matter in future. By the way you posted that link before? But in this link text is longer if my memory serves me right? Bartholomew writes very well and eloquently in the beginning, although from a Buddhist point of view maybe too emotionally, but our understanding of self is totally different from Vedanta, also Buddhism is not strictly materialist, like in that cart analogy, which he employs, for we believe that mind is its own sense, and is part of the reality like matter, in other words western materialism believes that matter in some configurations(correct configuration?) is the basis for mind, but we believe that mind is as much part of the reality as matter is, although this varies between schools, some even think that mind is the basis for reality, but no school believes that there is only material reality as basis of all and nothing else. But Bart shows much greater understanding of Buddhism than many other Christian clergymen, like St. Nicholas of Japan, so respect for that. At least there has been some progress! Still Orthodox clergymen didnt just condemn it as a demonic falsehood, like Protestants and Catholics of those times did.

    Here is what St. Nicholas of Japan commented on Buddhism: «лучшую из языческих религий, геркулесовы столбы человеческих усилий составить себе религию, руководствуясь теми темными остатками богооткровенных истин, которые сохранились у народов после рассеяния вавилонского»
    http://www.pravoslavie.ru/71760.html

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  86. @AltanBakshi

    “We agree with the Buddhists that “this world,” as the Gospel says, lies in evil. But for Buddhists, the world is nothing more than that.”
    -Bartholomew

    Teaching of all Buddhas is to purify ones mind, then too this fallen and broken reality will be purified and healed, we believe that innermost depth of beings is totally pure. Bartholomew has in this very mistaken view.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Mr. Hack
  87. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    then too this fallen and broken reality will be purified and healed,

    But reality is a dream – how can something that doesn’t exist be purified?

    Teaching of all Buddhas is to purify ones mind,

    A monk once asked Bodhidharna to help pacify his mind. Bodhi asked the monk to produce his mind and he will pacify it.
    The monk said he couldn’t find it. There – I pacified it! Said Bodhi.

    Produce your mind, Altan 🙂

    Sorry, I just could not help messing with you a bit 🙂

    I know I shouldn’t do it, just ignore me lol.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  88. AP says:
    @Boswald Bollocksworth

    MP is still far and away the church of choice there

    No, in Ukraine MP has far fewer believers than OCU. It has more parishes due to having inherited them from Soviet times but these are concentrated in parts of the country where people aren’t very religious.

  89. Mr. Hack says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Perhaps, he just didn’t go far enough in discussing this line of thought? Conversely, perhaps he wasn’t aware of this concept of “purifying of ones mind” as you do? But he does bring up an interesting point of confluence between Buddhism and Christianity:

    For Buddhism, indeed, everything is painful: to be born, inexorably to decline, to suffer so much torment, to be subjected to what one hates, to be separated from what one loves. And what is the reason for this suffering? It is because one never ceases to desire, to be “thirsty,” to “burn.” Desire is born out of ignorance. It believes in the reality, in the importance, of beings and of things. Thus it produces error, lust, and hatred, which are “the three roots of evil.” The “Way of deliverance” corrects our behavior (the moral requirements are extreme––something that the West usually forgets), and, through the practice of meditation, allows us to discern the process of growth and finally to awaken ourselves. To awaken to the unique, ineffable reality is to put out the flames of passion, error, and illusion. It is to become passionless, i.e., to triumph over the passions which constantly and actively toy with us…This type of asceticism, which is monastic, is similar to our own monastic ascesis. Hesychastic spirituality, “the art of arts and science of sciences,”

    You’re very judicious in your interpretation of Christ’s role and meaning for humankind:

    We both believe that our religions founders were perfect in every way, although if Christians are right then Christ is greater than Buddha, for Christ is perfectly man and perfectly God, when our master is more like perfect Sage who has overcome the wordly existence.

    There must be, I detect, something that is holding you back from believing that Christ is indeed “perfectly man and perfectly God” (as I and all Orthodox Christians do), otherwise I think that you’d exchange your current master for the one that would offer you eternal life in perfect communion with God in paradise, instead of settling for a path that only deals with a way to cope with the dark vagaries of earthly existence?

    • Thanks: AP
    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  90. @Dmitry

    So, basically- Dawkins is weak, but the coming tide of triumphant aggressive morons is so insufferable we will weep for him in the future.

    All I can say is:

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  91. @Europe Europa

    I think there’s a general perception in Britain that Eastern Europe is a more easygoing place to go with the sole intention of getting ridiculously drunk every night and generally engage in hedonism.

    This says more about the British than about Eastern Europe. It’s a very conservative, traditional, definitely not-easygoing place, and the only reason people there tolerate the British underclass and its shenanigans is money.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  92. @AaronB

    But reality is a dream – how can something that doesn’t exist be purified?

    AGAIN, there is a difference in existing ultimately and existing conditionally and relatively, in other words conventionally. As you see things change, but they dont disappear, AaronB there is a thin line between annihilationism and eternalism, thats how things do exist in our Dharma.

    But I have been actually waiting for some time that you comment, wonderful I am happy that you replied. For I have been waiting to post you Padmasambhava’s and Tulku Urgyen Rinpoches words on the difference between view and conduct. Urgyen Rinpoche was a great master of Dzögchen, I hope that you will gain some clarity from his teachings. At least he explains these things thousand times better than I, and actually understands them unlike I, a lowly being who has not yet gone on the noble Boddhisattva path, like historically all followers of Chan and Dzögchen.

    STUDENT: It seems that hope and fear are unavoidable for
    practitioners. Those of us on the path fear that we waste a
    lot of time; we hope to spend it wisely and attain
    accomplishment. On the other hand, we are taught that
    when sustaining the view, hope and fear ruins it. How do
    we overcome this hope and fear?
    RINPOCHE: There are two aspects here, the view and the
    conduct. You need to distinguish between them. These are
    two different aspects which you cannot — and should not
    — simply fuse into one. If you lose the view in the
    conduct, it means you are always accepting and rejecting.
    You may incessantly entertain thoughts of something that
    needs to be attained and of something that needs to be left
    behind. That is called losing the view in the conduct.
    On the other hand, if you lose the conduct in the view,
    you think that there is nothing to accept or reject — that
    whatever you do doesn’t matter, and that there is no good
    and no evil. That is an even greater mistake. One’s
    behavior has to be in harmony with worldly values as
    well. However, Dharma mixed with worldly work is not
    the perfect Dharma, I’m sorry to say. Dharma and worldly
    aims are a contradiction, so keep those two things
    separate and distinct in your mind. There is always a little
    unwholesomeness involved in worldly work. Evil deeds are
    an obstacle for the spiritual path. To practice Dharma, you
    need to give up evil deeds. Our body and speech are the
    servants of the mind that is the maker of these deeds.
    Whenever the mind is caught up in the three poisons, our
    actions are evil deeds. We don’t need to burden ourselves
    by creating negative deeds.
    The view should be free of the three poisons. In the mind
    of an ordinary person, there is nothing but the three
    poisons — there is only hope and fear. It’s impossible to
    do worldly activities without hope and fear. You cannot do
    anything in this life without accepting and rejecting.
    Trying to go beyond this becomes a huge problem. So you
    cannot practice the Dharma without hope and fear,
    without accepting and rejecting. This doesn’t mean that
    one has to be like an ordinary person whose view is only
    the three poisons which, by the way, is the definition of an
    ordinary person, and whose behavior is to carry out the
    three poisons. That is not what is meant. The mind-stream
    of an ordinary person is called ‘black diffusion’, which
    means there is nothing other than an unbroken, incessant
    flow of negative thought patterns, throughout day and
    night. For ordinary people, the view is missing. In terms of
    the view, there is nothing to accept or reject. However, if
    one doesn’t accept what is good and reject evil — if one
    doesn’t accept the Dharma or reject mundane aims — one
    simply goes on living a worldly life. In short, you need to
    distinguish between view and conduct. The view is free
    from hope and fear. The conduct is with hope and fear.
    When it comes to training in the view itself, then it’s
    definitely true that hope and fear, accepting and rejecting,
    need to be left behind. There is no equality until one
    leaves behind the impulse to accept and reject. These are
    simply two ways of grasping, and they are both
    conceptual thoughts. To act, to carry out the conduct, you
    must accept and reject; there is no other way. We need to
    practice the Dharma, and we don’t need to create evil
    deeds, although these often occur automatically. Ordinary
    people are under the influence of thinking. The root of
    negative deeds is thinking, thought. The thoughts of a
    sentient being are not spiritual; they are only anger, desire
    and close-mindedness. They are either attracted towards
    an object by desire, set against it through aggression, or
    ignorant of it in terms of dullness. In other words, there is
    nothing but the three poisons.
    You need to give up negative actions. You need to apply
    the Dharma. So, it is impossible to practice the Dharma in
    one’s life without hope and fear, without accepting and
    rejecting. It is only in terms of the view that there is
    nothing to accept or reject through hope or fear. Both hope
    and fear are thoughts. The view is free of these, but the
    conduct is not. The whole purpose of the four mindchangings, for instance, is to accept and reject. Accept
    what should be adopted, which is the path of Dharma.
    Reject what should be left behind, which is the mundane
    patterns of life. In order to become a spiritual practitioner,
    one surely needs to accept and reject, and that is based on
    hope and fear. There is nothing wrong with that. It is in
    the view that there should be no accepting and rejecting.

    Guru Rinpoche(Padmasabhava) said:

    Do not lose the view in the conduct;
    If you lose the view in the conduct, you will never have
    the chance to be liberated.
    Do not lose the conduct in the view.
    If you lose the conduct in the view, you stray into black
    diffusion.

    To lose the conduct in the view means that the view,
    which is emptiness, is superimposed upon all one’s actions.
    One might say, “Good is empty, evil is also empty,
    everything is emptiness, so what does it matter.” Then one
    becomes uncaring and frivolous and doesn’t discriminate
    between help and harm, good and evil. That is called
    losing the conduct in the view. Please be careful to avoid
    this mistake!
    The other extreme is to lose the view in the conduct, to
    only think in terms of good and evil, what is virtuous and
    unvirtuous. Guru Rinpoche also said, “If you lose the view
    in the conduct, you will never have the chance to be
    liberated.” It is through the view that one is liberated. If
    you lose the view in the conduct, you will never have the
    opportunity to be free. If you lose the conduct in the view,
    then you ignore the difference between good and evil. It’s
    very important to keep view and conduct distinct. Please
    discriminate carefully between these two!
    Guru Rinpoche also said, “Though the view should be as
    vast as the sky, keep your conduct as fine as barley flour.”
    Don’t confuse one with the other. When training in the
    view, you can be as unbiased, as impartial, as vast,
    immense, and unlimited as the sky. Your behavior, on the
    other hand, should be as careful as possible in
    discriminating what is beneficial or harmful, what is good
    or evil. One can combine the view and conduct, but don’t
    mix them or lose one in the other. That is very important.
    ‘View like the sky’ means that nothing is held onto in
    any way whatsoever. You are not stuck anywhere at all.
    In other words, there is no discrimination as to what to
    accept and what to reject; no line is drawn separating one
    thing from the other. ‘Conduct as fine as barley flour’
    means that there is good and evil, and one needs to
    differentiate between the two. Give up negative deeds;
    practice the Dharma. In your behavior, in your conduct, it
    is necessary to accept and reject

    http://promienie.net/images/dharma/books/urgyen_as-it-is-vol-2.pdf I very much recommend pages 78-93 to you. I sincerely hope that your nihilistic confusion will end after it, and I hope that you may understand these things perfectly so that you could attain swiftly the state of liberation and liberate all beings, me included, from Samsara! And I mean it, without any hint of irony!
    Here is the first book http://promienie.net/images/dharma/books/urgyen_as-it-is-vol-1.pdf

    • Replies: @AaronB
  93. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Ah, thank you for your kind words Altan, and for these wonderful quotes.

    Shall we look at them a bit more closely?

    On the other hand, if you lose the conduct in the view, you think that there is nothing to accept or reject — that whatever you do doesn’t matter, and that there is no good and no evil. That is an even greater mistake. One’s behavior has to be in harmony with worldly values as
    well.

    It seems to me that here he is saying that if one acts solely according to the correct view, one may come into conflict with society and the social order.

    I agree with this.

    But this is prudential, and he seems to regard the correct view as basically transcending conventional norms.

    However, Dharma mixed with worldly work is not the perfect Dharma, I’m sorry to say. Dharma and worldly aims are a contradiction, so keep those two things separate and distinct in your mind

    .

    Here he seems to be saying that even though one cannot, sadly, live out the true Dharma in society without coming into conflict with it, one should nevertheless keep in mind that true Dharma and social conventions are completely separate things.

    In order to become a spiritual practitioner, one surely needs to accept and reject, and that is based on hope and fear. There is nothing wrong with that. It is in
    the view that there should be no accepting and rejecting
    .

    This is a very familiar pattern in Buddhist literature. A view that boldly rejects conventional norms is then walked back.

    It is my view that this is done for prudential political reasons, and that discerning readers will grasp the true message. One must study the entire corpus of Buddhist writing to understand that. There are many writers who will tell it to you straight – like Huang Po.

    But a message that boldly transcends conventional morality must to some degree wrap itself in plausible deniability to appease political authorities and to disguise itself from the less astute who come to study Dharma because their parents forced them to and not because they have spiritual interests.

    Monasteries would accept monks of different types – many were sent by their parents through no will of their own, others were running from the law or some unpleasant social situation.

    The true Dharma had to be made plain to the spiritually discerning while remaining opaque to the brute.

    Cast not your pearls before swine….

    Below is to me an exemplary juggling act between spiritual truth and political expediency –

    Though the view should be as vast as the sky, keep your conduct as fine as barley flour.” Don’t confuse one with the other. When training in the view, you can be as unbiased, as impartial, as vast, immense, and unlimited as the sky. Your behavior, on the other hand, should be as careful as possible in discriminating what is beneficial or harmful, what is good or evil. One can combine the view and conduct, but don’t mix them or lose one in the other. That is very important. ‘View like the sky’ means that nothing is held onto in
    any way whatsoever. You are not stuck anywhere at all. In other words, there is no discrimination as to what to accept and what to reject; no line is drawn separating one thing from the other. ‘Conduct as fine as barley flour’ means that there is good and evil, and one needs to differentiate between the two. Give up negative deeds;
    practice the Dharma. In your behavior, in your conduct, it is necessary to accept and reject”

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @AltanBakshi
  94. @Mr. Hack

    There must be, I detect, something that is holding you back from believing that Christ is indeed “perfectly man and perfectly God” (as I and all Orthodox Christians do), otherwise I think that you’d exchange your current master for the one that would offer you eternal life in perfect communion with God in paradise, instead of settling for a path that only deals with a way to cope with the dark vagaries of earthly existence?

    I have personal limits for this kind of inter-religious discussion, for if I start arguing about it why I don’t believe in Christ, I end disparaging others religion, comparing is okay, but I don’t like to dissect and criticize openly Christian religion in the presence of Christians(or any others, except very close people). I don’t see it as a constructive way of behaving. I know that you Christians have a very strong impulse to missionarize, which mostly has been good when dealing with actual Pagan religions, like Aztecs etc, but with established religions it is sometimes inconsiderate. But maybe I can try to explain it in simple and friendly manner, Christianity just often makes sense to me, but sometimes not, unlike Buddhism which usually always does, at least after some thinking and hearing a good explanation, if I have enough patience though. Like how Christ can take our sins away? In Buddhism and in life, you need to work to achieve something, I know that you need to work for Theosis, but still it doesn’t happen without Christ.

    This is little nitpicking, in other words friendly banter, but your monasteries are so small nowadays, like if it has one hundred monks its one the largest in the whole Christendom, we have monasteries that have thousands of monks. Most Christians don’t even associate monasticism with Christianity anymore. Although Buddhism and Christianity were the first religions with monks and monasteries. Also just One Holy Book, that’s quite minimalistic? We have thousands of them! Really you could have stopped lot of misery in your history, if couple of patristic writings would’ve been proclaimed as part of the Holy Canon or something during some of your ecclesiastical councils. But maybe insufferable evangelical(not all) Protestants with their “the Bible says this, the Bible says that,” are the God’s or reality’s way to test our patience in hardest way imaginable.

    Actually we Buddhists believe that there is highest God, above other gods, first being of the cycle, with immense powers and perception. Also you Orthodox Christians believed or at least you believed so in Roman times that there are good people among the Pagan philosophers. After all we both believe that there is truth and way to perfect oneself, and that one does not live for oneself, also we both definitely believe in the existence of Devil. Actually its quite odd that both Siddhartha and Jesus were tempted by the Devil. And both achieved victory over the Devil. Greatest difference between them is the way of their death, when our Buddha died of old age(or stomach problems) in the age of 80, Christ died on the cross like you know. Oh I almost forgot, yep your God’s profession, carpenter, really? Quite nice inside joke from the Creator! When our Siddhartha was one of the royal blood, I know that Christ was, but it didnt show in his socio-economic position. Also what the Christ did in his youth? Its not written in the Bible. When Siddhartha practiced riding, horse-archery, swordsmanship while riding, of course, and even beat every one of his Kshatriya warrior aristocrat peers in those arts. Again shows that Shakyas were in all probability descendants of Central Asian Aryans, the Shakas/Sycthians. For it was the custom among the Shakyas that those of the royal blood must prove themselves in those three skills. Even his horse Kanthaka died from sadness after Siddhartha became a wandering mendicant. So there is quite strong horse theme in his early life. Buddha’s and Christ’s life stories are very touching, but also very different. But has any patristic writer or someone reliable said what Christ did in his youth?

    This maybe cheap from me, something like Pascal’s wager, but even if we Buddhists would be wrong, I think that your loving God would not sentence a man to hell, because he had good but misguided intentions, I mean that he tried to be good but didnt believe in Christ in a Christian way. I always understood that Orthodox position is that the Church is the surest way to salvation, but God works in mysterious ways and there is possibility to be saved outside the Church?

    Ah this is better, making (somewhat) friendly comparisons and not trying to persuade other to lose ones faith, makes me happy. If I have offendend in any way then say, so I try my best in not offending people in spiritual matters. Salafis, gay marriage protestants and new age hippies of course can go ************for they are a mockery of religion, a Devil’s plot.

  95. AaronB says:
    @AaronB

    That is very important. ‘View like the sky’ means that nothing is held onto inany way whatsoever. You are not stuck anywhere at all. In other words, there is no discrimination as to what to accept and what to reject; no line is drawn separating one thing from the other.

    This is pretty good as a summary of Buddhism.

    Any effort is a “getting stuck” somewhere, getting hung up on something, a rejecting something and embracing another thing. Even trying not to get stuck!

    It is an absurd predicament – one can only roar with laughter. And maybe, this “you” that finds itself in such an impossible double-bind doesn’t actually exist 🙂 After all, if you reach absurd conclusions then its time to question your premises!

    Maybe there is only the world and its infinite processes. And no “you” separate from these processes. “There is pain, but not one who suffers pain”.

  96. @AaronB

    I give up with you. Truly you are like some one who throws oil into fire. Your conclusions always sound like some mumbo jumbo coming from self made prophet, “plausible deniability, juggling act between…,” oh Gods!

    You have a religion already, its called Thelema and its first law is: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” You seem to follow it quite masterfully.

    What a waste of time….

    • Replies: @AaronB
  97. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Yes 🙂 I am what I am.

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

    .”

    Well, St Paul did say that if you love, you can do as thou wilt.

    But seriously, yes – my belief is a kind of naturalism. Its Taoism, go with the flow naturalism. It’s the Buddhist idea that deep down, everything is perfect already.

    I really do think that all our problems come from our personalities being perverted by social forces.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a social need to control bad behavior – unfortunately we do reach adulthood perverted. But that is purely prudential.

    In some versions of mainstream Christianity, conventional social morality is the Logos – conventional social morality is encoded in the fabric of reality. You will notice that your Buddhist quotes treat morality in a purely expedient fashion – ultimate reality transcends conventional morality, but it may help spiritual practice and social relations to practice morality.

    This is a very different view. In the East, if one no longer felt like playing the social game one just went to live in the woods. And one never thought social convention was the Logos so it was never too oppressive even in society. You were always a little bit free, even if inwardly.

    In the West, if you wanted to escape social moral convention you felt you had no choice but to show that it was wrong – that your morality is really the Logos, not theirs. That’s why the constant social revolutions.

    Anyways, thanks for your exchange. I respect your religion and right to practice it, and I understand my views are unusual and will never have widespread appeal.

    All the best.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  98. Nodwink says:

    The only value that can be obtained from survey questions connecting morality & piety is the number of fundamentalists in each region. For hardcore religionists, disbelief is the worst sin of all; you may as well ask a Muslim if someone can fuck a pig and still be a good person, or some American Baptist if abortion doctors were decent folk.

  99. @AaronB

    I really do think that all our problems come from our personalities being perverted by social forces.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize a social need to control bad behavior – unfortunately we do reach adulthood perverted. But that is purely prudential

    I understand my views are unusual and will never have widespread appeal.

    There is nothing unique or unusual in your views, they are just same shit as Rousseau’s and his ilk, spiced with a little bit Frommian and Freudian trash, you are just basic liberal bitch. For these views are quite common in progressive circles. Now leave me in peace you ghost of confused modernism.

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @Jatt Arya
  100. AaronB says:
    @AltanBakshi

    That is true, there is nothing unique or unusual in my views.

    I am a Romantic – Rousseau however had important differences with my view, as well as similarities, so I wouldn’t take him as my model.

    The best Western exponent of my view was Michel de Montaigne.

    I wouldn’t call it modernism, as its best expression is the most ancient Taoism. My model would be Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu among the ancient Taoists, and certain select masters among Chan, and Dzogchen and Mahamudra among the Tibetans.

    But my view exists in every culture – among the Christian mystics and Jewish Kabbalists and the Muslim Sufis and the European Romantics.

    It is as ancient as Time and has always existed, but has always been opposed to the mainstream and reserved for the minority, while always exerting a stimulating influence on the mainstream – sometimes a strong one, as in Tang China, or in the case of Romantic influence on mainstream Western thought.

    It is the counter culture. It is bohemian. And there has always been enmity between your seed and my seed – between the square respectable bourgeois and the bohemian. Your seed has always tried to crush mine, and we always cheerfully try and broaden your perspective.

    Today, times are very unsympathetic to it, sadly, but that will change.

    Cheers.

  101. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    is weak, but the coming tide of triumphant aggressive

    No I am not saying that.

    Dawkins believes in truth and logical consistency – he is strong, or ambitious, compared to the typical mentality of 21st century people, which we can see in posters in this thread, who discuss different religions like they are trying different shoes.

    However, of course, when you add him to a list of great 19th century or early 20th century writers, then his views will be minor and not explanatory.

    In your list you include real philosophers like Nietzsche and Marx. Then you also have Russell.

    Russell is one of the keys of this story, as he was one of the last “campaigns” of rescuing knowledge, through his foundationalist project in philosophy of mathematics*.

    Then you also include in your list Freud. Freud is a kind of anachronism in his own life, as most of his ideas are elaborations of Nietzsche** and Schopenhauer, but he tried to re-house these theories of Nietzsche/Schopenhauer in early modern correspondence theory of truth.

    So, as everyone says in Freud’s case studies, it is like reading Sherlock Holmes detective stories, where the truth of the situation is in the final episode.

    *Russell had mental crisis in his life, corresponding with the failure of these projects. He was like someone who needed his feet on the bottom of the swimming pool, or would believe he was drowning.

    **For example, Freud’s theory of “superego” – in Nietzeche (I won’t add a chapter number, as people can find it themselves).

    • Replies: @AaronB
  102. AaronB says:
    @Dmitry

    Russell is one of the keys of this story, as he was one of the last “campaigns” of rescuing knowledge, through his foundationalist project in philosophy of mathematics*.

    Russel admitted that he failed at this, and he was terrified at the implications for science.

    In some ways it was the end of the Scientific Age – we are just catching up.

    who discuss different religions like they are trying different shoes.

    This is the way of doing religion in Asia. It used to be said Chinese were Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist all at once.

    There are many Asian sages who it is unclear if they are Buddhist or Taoist.

    Its common in India too. Kabir I believe was a Muslim who practiced Hindu spirituality, and Ramana Maharshi practiced every religion including Christianity and Islam in order to approach God from every angle, while remaining a Hindu.

    Clear and distinct boundaries – and a hard attitude to truth and reality – are culturally confined to the West, and mostly in the modern period.

  103. dfordoom says: • Website
    @EldnahYm

    People who anticipate a resurgence of religiosity in the West have to explain why it collapsed the first time around.

    My best guess is a combination of greater economic prosperity and greater state power led to the decline in religiosity

    The scientific revolution, followed by the Industrial Revolution, followed by huge improvements in public health (driven by clean water supplies and efficient sewerage systems), improvements in medicine, improvements in infant mortality rates, all made religion seem less necessary. Religion became less necessary (and much less convincing) as an explanation for how the world worked, it became less necessary as a crutch, and less necessary as a basis for morality.

    Mass education was another factor. People no longer felt the need for supernatural explanations of the world.

    These changes cannot be undone. The basis for a truly religious society no longer exists.

    The other major change is that political ideologies (liberalism, socialism, etc) emerged which to most people seemed to offer a better more rational basis for morality. And religions offering Pie in the Sky When You Die could no longer compete with political ideologies promising Heaven on Earth.

    There was no conspiracy. Religion simply became much less necessary for most people.

    The conditions required for a genuine religious resurgence simply do not exist.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @EldnahYm
  104. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Boswald Bollocksworth

    Still, presumably Poland will become as gay as America in the near term and it could happen fast as Ireland shows.

    Yes, I agree. The triumph of the Poz in eastern Europe is likely to be swift. Within a single generation it will be all over.

  105. utu says:
    @dfordoom

    “The scientific revolution, followed by the Industrial Revolution” – It was other way around. Inventions and technology drove science.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  106. EldnahYm says:
    @dfordoom

    The average person knows jack all about science or health, so I doubt those are the primary reasons for decline in religiosity(I’m going to bypass any questions about the extent to which society is actually less religious versus society’s religious forms merely changing, but I consider this an open question).

    It is a fact about the material world that for example churches used to settle marriage contracts, conduct charity, dictate many aspects of people’s behavior etc. The state has mostly replaced these roles. Since this is material fact, I would place more emphasis on it than opinions about what sounds to you most convincing, plausible, or necessary. We also have working models of state’s actively suppressing religion, not just in former Communist blocs, but particularly Chinese and Japanese history are interesting in this regard.

    Your post comes across as the glib speculations of a liberal atheist who supposes the average person thinks like he does. I’m not convinced the average person thinks like you do, and I’m not really convinced that the whole point of religion is to dictate morality, offer theories about how the world works, or to serve as crutches for people during moments of weakness.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  107. dfordoom says: • Website
    @utu

    “The scientific revolution, followed by the Industrial Revolution” – It was other way around. Inventions and technology drove science.

    I was referring to the beginnings of the scientific revolution – the work of people like Newton, Kepler, etc, in the 17th century.

    I think you could say that science drove inventions and technology, and those inventions and technology drove further scientific advances. I think you could also say that inventions and technology accelerated the scientific revolution. But the foundations of the idea that the universe was capable of being understood rationally, without any need for God’s intervention, were laid in the 17th century. And I think it’s permissible to suggest that from that moment the fundamentally religious view of the world was doomed.

  108. dfordoom says: • Website
    @EldnahYm

    The average person knows jack all about science or health, so I doubt those are the primary reasons for decline in religiosity

    The average person does know very little about science but he knows enough to know that the world is capable of being explained without the need to bring God into the explanation. I think that’s a pretty crucial point. It makes God an optional extra.

    And the average person in the 19th century and early 20th century was certainly aware of things like falling infant mortality rates and was certainly aware that the threat of deadly infectious diseases was receding.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AaronB
  109. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    The average person does know very little about science but he knows enough to know that the world is capable of being explained without the need to bring God into the explanation. I think that’s a pretty crucial point. It makes God an optional extra.

    What about you explain to us all how the Big Bang started. Also please feel free to explain the Anthropic Principle and do not shy away from explaining why the development of cognitive capabilities increases with evolution, despite there being no need for sentience to transfer genetic information and the thermodynamics being unfavourable to complex structures such as our brains.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  110. For religion to have a future, it must be based religion.
    And there is nothing more based than cult of Saint Joseph Stalin, the most based man than ever lived.

  111. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    What about you explain to us all how the Big Bang started. Also please feel free to explain the Anthropic Principle

    The average person doesn’t give a damn about the Big Bang and has never heard of the Anthropic Principle. You’re talking about stuff that maybe 1% of the population worries about.

    What the average person knows is that science has provided explanations that have allowed the modern world, with all its benefits, to exist. The average person also knows that if we were still relying on religion for those answers we’d be relying on candles for illumination and on open fires for heating. We’d be living in constant fear of crop failures and hunger. Most of our children would die in infancy. Our populations would be regularly devastated by infectious diseases like typhus, cholera and smallpox. Lots of women would die in childbirth. Entertainment would be provided by bear-baiting and public executions. Our streets would still be littered with horse manure. We’d be living lives of misery and squalor to an extent that is almost unimaginable in the modern world.

    What do you do when your kid gets sick? Do you pray for him, or do you rely on modern medicine?

    Compared to those things the average person is not going to worry too much about the Anthropic Principle.

    To the average person science is a belief system that mostly works, while religion is a belief system that mostly doesn’t work.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  112. AaronB says:
    @dfordoom

    Religion is more than just bad science.

    The best religion deals with different questions than science does altogether.

    I agree with you that the type of religion that deals with questions science can answer better is gone forever.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  113. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    I don’t give a hoot about what the “average person” believes, knows or even believes knowing.

    You wrote that God (I suppose you were referring to any Higher Principle) is an optional extra that is not needed to explain the workings of our World (I guess you meant our Universe).

    Why don’t you prove it?

    🙂

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @dfordoom
  114. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    You wrote that God (I suppose you were referring to any Higher Principle) is an optional extra that is not needed to explain the workings of our World (I guess you meant our Universe).

    For most people that seems to be the case. In the West, and in the advanced societies of East Asia, religious belief has to an extraordinary degree dissipated. If people felt that God was essential then they wouldn’t have abandoned religion. QED.

    And the more educated people are, the more they appear to see God as an optional extra.

    I don’t see how you can argue with the contention that Christianity has been in decline in the West since the 18th century. One commenter suggested that this was a result of increasing prosperity and the taking over of many of the functions of the churches by the state. But the decline of Christianity began before those factors came into play (the state played very little part in most people’s lives prior to the 20th century). To me the most likely explanation seems to be that most people simply no longer feel the same need for religion.

  115. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    There’s a problem of mutual incomprehension between religious and non-religious people. Atheists are mystified by the fact that some people still feel the need for religion. Genuinely religious people are mystified by the fact that atheists do not feel the need for religion.

    Genuinely religious people also seem mystified by the fact that those who do not feel the need for religion are now a clear majority – in most western nations an overwhelming majority.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  116. dfordoom says: • Website
    @AaronB

    Religion is more than just bad science.

    The best religion deals with different questions than science does altogether.

    I agree. But the problem for religion is that most people seem to find that secular belief systems deal with many of those different questions more satisfactorily than religion. For example most people today prefer secular belief systems as a basis for ethics.

    I agree with you that the type of religion that deals with questions science can answer better is gone forever.

    Agreed.

    But that has been a body-blow from which religion has not recovered. It had the effect of turning religion into a marginal part of people’s lives, rather than the centrepiece of their lives.

    A major blow to religion came in the 19th century when secular belief systems (liberalism, socialism, etc) provided an alternative basis for morality that most people found more attractive than religion-based morality. And other secular belief systems have since emerged (feminism, Social Justice, environmentalism) which people also seem to prefer as a basis for morality,

    Once religion is no longer necessary to explain the day-to-day workings of the world, and is no longer seen as necessary as a basis for morality, the end result is that religion becomes a minority belief that plays either a minor rôle in people’s lives, or no rôle at all.

  117. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    You wrote that God/Higher Principle/Unmoved Mover is no longer needed to explain the Universe we live in. That such a notion of a universal causal agent is an optional extra.

    I have asked you to demonstrate/prove that this is indeed the case, that your assumption is valid. Instead of which you are posting three comments already which are dealing with subjective “feels” of religious and atheistic people. Your comments prove absolutely nothing about the usefulness of a God (let’s call it that way for brevity and keep in mind the semantic field attached to that notion) as a hypothetical universal causal agent.

    On the other hand, your comments demonstrate an amusing tendency to project subjective takes or “feels” upon the universal Reality. You feel that you don’t need God to live the kind of life you are living and for you this is proof enough that God is not needed to explain the Universe we live in. But this Universe is much larger than your “feels”, which of course do not qualify as a valid reason to believe or disbelieve in anything, God included.

    The subjective emotional states, the subjective cognitive holds upon Reality are quite limited for all of us. They are imperfect and impermanent, this is why Science aims at reaching some form of objective observations in its different fields. The only way to reach beyond the “feels” of our subjective nature, is to measure and analyze falsifiable claims to either validate them or demonstrate that they are false.

    Do you consider God’s presence/absence in this universe a falsifiable claim that can be measured and analyzed through the scientific method?

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  118. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    Do you consider God’s presence/absence in this universe a falsifiable claim that can be measured and analyzed through the scientific method?

    The point I was trying to make is that most people couldn’t care less about such abstractions. Most people are perfectly satisfied with science as a means of explaining how the world works. Maybe one person in a hundred agonises about Unmoved Movers.

    The decline of religion is all the evidence that is needed that most people feel they don’t need religion any longer. If God is so essential how do you explain the fact that religion has lost its hold on people?

    Whether you like it or not the future of religion depends on whether ordinary people feel the need for it or not. Ordinary people’s judgments on that subject may be wrong and they may be subjective but the fact is that they have largely abandoned religion.

    My original point was that the conditions necessary for a resurgence of religion no longer exist. People do not feel they need religion to explain why their crops failed or their cow died. People no longer feel the need for religion as a basis for morality. The end result, inevitably, is that religion becomes marginalised. It still exists, but is no longer central to most people’s lives. Which means a resurgence of religion is very very unlikely. There will still be a small minority of Christians (outside the US a very very small minority) but they won’t be politically or socially or culturally relevant.

    The decline of religion has been slower in the US but even in the US religion will become more and more marginal.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    , @Ano4
  119. MBlanc46 says:
    @dfordoom

    There’s certainly a decline in belief in gods. But there is no decline in the religious impulse—the search for ultimate meaning. There’s all sorts of New Ageism and much of modern Western political life is sublimated religiosity. You might be satisfied with quantitative explanations (and I am, as well), but the majority of the world’s people are not.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  120. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    Most people are perfectly satisfied with science as a means of explaining how the world works.

    Problem is science doesn’t really explain why there’s a World in the first place. Moreover, hard science only works with established theories, clearly described hypotheses and (again I must insist on it) measurable parameters and falsifiable claims. Hard science uses Scientific Method in its endeavors, or at least should strive to adhere to it as closely as possible.

    [MORE]

    What the average person, that has no scientific background (again only hard science qualifies, not some socio/psycho/art/literature/historical subjective scientism) thinks being science is mainly technology. Technology made the World somewhat more comfortable, although it also brought its lot of problems. Technology allows the petit bourgeois middle class to forget that Death is round the corner and that Disease is lurking under the bed. The petit bourgeois then are able to dispense with complex existential questions because they are too busy enjoying “the Good Life”. But a day comes when Death asks the final existential question: what exactly were we doing here?

    And science itself doesn’t make the World easier to understand or less mysterious. Quite the opposite, one might think of scientific knowledge as a sphere that has as its surface the interface with the unknown. As the scientific knowledge grows, the questions we are able to meaningfully ask become more numerous and more profound. The World seemed way simpler to explain when people thought that sun orbits the earth. We now know that there are probably hundreds of millions of similar earths in the Universe. That makes us less central to the whole picture and should give us impulse to understand why we are here at all.

    Why is there anything at all and why we are part of it?

    God is the easiest answer for many people. The majority maybe. It’s actually not a bad answer because it simplifies the existential equation by replacing an infinite number of causal variables with one big X.

    And just to be clear: I am agnostic because atheism is just another belief system. God’s absence is as impossible to prove as his presence. One has to believe in his absence. And his absence does not simplify the equation of our lives. It only makes them even less meaningful. That is why atheism often leads to existential nihilism. The petit bourgeois croissant au beurre variety of which is the “Good Life” of the Western middle class.

    But Death is round the corner and the Disease is already under the bed, waiting. Shit happens as Forest Gump famously explained.

    You probably get my point by now.

    🙂

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  121. Jatt Arya says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Talk to this nigga on telegram, mine is jatt_ak47 I’ll add to group||

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  122. dfordoom says: • Website
    @MBlanc46

    There’s all sorts of New Ageism and much of modern Western political life is sublimated religiosity.

    Which is why people are much less interested in actual religion. The New Ageism lets people feel vaguely spiritual and gives then that warm fuzzy feeling without the need for actual religion. And political life provides, for most people, an acceptable substitute for the moral-ethical side of religion.

    It is possible that if things get really bad superstitions like New Ageism will grow in popularity, and people will turn to more extreme political beliefs, but I don’t think they’re going to return to actual religion.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  123. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    Problem is science doesn’t really explain why there’s a World in the first place.

    But religion just hand-waves that problem away. The world exists because God created it. But who created God? Why does God exist? The answer is that God must exist because, well just because.

    That is why atheism often leads to existential nihilism.

    That’s true and it’s a problem. But despite that, people are not returning to religion.

    You might think it would be better if they did return to religion. There are times when I think that. But it’s not happening. Secularism continues to crush everything in its path. I’m inclined to think that once religious faith disappears it can’t be revived because the conditions that created religious societies no longer exist.

    I’m not sure that any religious society can survive the challenge of secularism. We will get to find out. Secularism and Islam are headed for a showdown. I suspect that secularism will win, but Islam at least has the advantage of knowing that the clash is coming, and knowing that it will be a fight to the death. Islam is unlikely to survive in the West but it might survive in Islamic countries.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
    , @AaronB
    , @Ano4
  124. @dfordoom

    From Buddhist point of view your debate is strange, i mean both of you, ano4 and you. All phenomena or states of phenomena are result of previous phenomena or states. Living beings give birth to new living beings, so too do philosophies and religions, without Hegel, there would not be Marx, without Christianity there would not be secular liberalism with its dream of materialist utopia, old schools of architecture give birth to new ones, schools of art and so on and so on. As does oneday hegemonic philosophies and worldviews of our era give birth to new ones. For all and everything originates in mutual interdependence, for there is a birth and there is a death, so too Buddha taught that our religion will die, for it is conditional and compounded, and does not have some kind of self existence, for it too depends on external causes and conditions, and exists only in relation to other phenomena. All schools agree that our Dharma will perish, if it would not perish then the Buddha himself would have lied to us.

    One funny thing nowadays is the dying of classical liberalism, not long ago it was the most progressive and ascendant form of society, for many centuries it was. But now its dying, its last defenders are old boomers and conservatives, and its new mutated form does not resemble it all. Its new form is progressive liberalism, and it truly inverses and bifurcates classical liberalisms core values. Truly “All things are subject to decay”, like our teacher said.

    Against creator God we have numerous arguments, but I will not write about them on a public forum. Strange that you think that religiosity is dependent on believing in creator god? For a long time ago almost all people were religious, but most didnt believe in absolute God, that kind of God was quite foreign to people of antique. Did Iuppiter, Zeus, Perun or Odin have a total dominion over everything, were they omnipotent?

    But why then I am defending religion, if it will disappear like everything else, isnt it futile and self defeating to defend it? Its because they contain seeds of truth, for they uphold morality and promote virtuous living. In Buddhism we believe that everything good that we have, individuals or societies, is because of the good and selfless things done by the people who preceded us(or what we did in previous lives). Civilization itself is accumulation of good karma through millenia. Of course some times people have strong self centered attitude and they forgot the true causes that bring wealth and well being, then they just waste their good karma, and and slowly civilization will start to crumble.

    Of course there are many good and virtuous beings who are totally without religion, I am not arguing about that, but for many its harder to be or strive to be good without authority figures and models. Without proper framework that fulfills ones emotional and intellectual needs. The religions of old have many problems and oddities, but then if we compare them to philosophical systems or worldviews created by modernity, like communism or liberalism, I must say that in my humble opinion modern ones are less tolerant and less pragmatic on matters concerning humans faulty and limited nature, there are exceptions of course among religions. Like form of Islam that Saudi Arabia upholds.

    Mankind is too pluralistic to ever succumb to one prevailing ideology, maybe most will become secular, but never all, and one day secularism will not resemble anything that it once was.

    • Agree: Ano4
    • Replies: @Ano4
  125. Ano4 says:
    @AltanBakshi

    Strange that you think that religiosity is dependent on believing in creator god?

    I don’t think that.

    I think for someone to qualify as religious, it might well be enough to believe that this World has a Meaning and that our passage here is not in vain.

    From this point of view, the most fervent among the Communist, despite being atheistic could still be considered religious.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  126. AaronB says:
    @dfordoom

    It’s a pity you don’t see anything more to religion than trying to control the physical world or rules for social relations.

    Those are utilitarian considerations, and religion at its best deals with that whole side of life that is beyond utilitarian considerations – that side of life that can’t be measured or quantified.

    When I’m lying in my sleeping bag on top of a mountain and staring at a million stars, I am filled with a nameless longing – a feeling I can’t really describe, but seems more precious to me than any calculation about how to control events or interact with people.

    Consider the Zen tea ceremony – a small group of people gather in a simple rustic hut, and use old, weathered instruments according to an elegant – but perfectly useless – ritual. They refrain from talking about business and social life on purpose, and enjoy some light conversation about nature or beauty, share a poem or two. A little bit of eternity has crept into their lives and they have left the daily struggle behind.

    I do agree with you that religion has not limited itself to its true role and has often tried to usurp the role of science – for which it was punished. And that kind of religion is probably not coming back.

    But if mankind stays only in the daily struggle for existence, and never connects to a perspective beyond that he goes mad and destroys himself – and I do believe that is what’s happening to modern man.

    So religion is timeless and will return – but you are correct that not in its old form.

  127. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    The answer is that God must exist because, well just because.

    Why calling it/him God?

    Why imagining him as an Entity defined by our shallow human understanding?

    people are not returning to religion.

    Not to organized religion, but the majority of humans believe in something, we all have some idol or other we bow to.

    Secularism and Islam are headed for a showdown

    .

    Already happening.

    Islam is unlikely to survive in the West but it might survive in Islamic countries.

    I knew several secular people who abruptly converted to Islam. When asked why they did it, the answer was a feeling of emptiness in the modern Western consumerist existence.

    When asked why not going back to the religion of their fathers: Catholicism or Orthodox Faith instead of converting to Islam, the answer was that Islam is more straightforward and easier to understand.

    Funny enough, none of these 4 people had been proselytized by some Salafi Da’wa. They just picked up the Qur’an and started reading.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
    , @dfordoom
  128. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    I think for someone to qualify as religious, it might well be enough to believe that this World has a Meaning and that our passage here is not in vain.

    From this point of view, the most fervent among the Communist, despite being atheistic could still be considered religious.

    I don’t buy that. It means defining religion so broadly that it becomes meaningless.

    To me is seems that there are two crucial differences between actual religions like Christianity and pseudoreligions.

    Actual religions promise Heaven after you die. The focus is on the next world, not this one. Pseudoreligions (like Deism or Marxism or Social Justice) promise Heaven right here on Earth, in this life. The focus is entirely on this world, not the next. That’s an enormous difference.

    Secondly, an actual religion is a package. You don’t get to pick and choose which bits you believe in. If you don’t obey the rules you could face eternal damnation. With a pseudoreligion you can mix-and-match. You can accept, or reject, and bits you choose. That’s an enormous difference as well.

    Pseudoreligions resemble real religions superficially but they are in fact nothing like actual religions.

    • Replies: @Ano4
    , @AltanBakshi
  129. @Ano4

    Why calling it/him God?

    Why imagining him as an Entity defined by our shallow human understanding?

    That is little cheap and you lost your arguments coherency. dfordoom was clearly writing about monotheistic God, who is omnipotent and omniscient, although some monotheist religious people like to pretend that he has no attributes, he still is always perfectly good, root of all morality etc.

    • Disagree: Ano4
  130. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    Why calling it/him God?

    Why imagining him as an Entity defined by our shallow human understanding?

    You can imagine him that way, but the most convenient word for such an entity is god. Maybe he’s not the Christian God but I think it’s reasonable to describe such an entity as a god.

    people are not returning to religion.

    Not to organized religion, but the majority of humans believe in something, we all have some idol or other we bow to.

    For lots of people money is such an idol. For many it’s power. Or sex. Or science. That doesn’t make the worship of money or power or sex or science a religion. I can see what you’re saying but I still think you’re defining religion so broadly that the term loses any actual meaning. It’s like defining a car as a mode of transportation, so a bus or a bicycle or a pair of running shoes can all be defined as cars.

    Secularism and Islam are headed for a showdown.

    Already happening.

    I agree. So far we’re seeing a few preliminary skirmishes. The real war, once it starts, will be a big one.

    I knew several secular people who abruptly converted to Islam. When asked why they did it, the answer was a feeling of emptiness in the modern Western consumerist existence.

    You don’t have to convince me that modern Western consumerist existence can lead to feelings of emptiness. And alienation. Even despair. But for all its faults that modern Western consumerist existence can provide a very comfortable and pleasant life. For the majority of people it seems to be satisfying.

    In the West I suspect that for every ten secular persons who convert to Islam there are more than ten Muslims who convert to secularism. Secularism has many faults but it seems to be incredibly seductive. So far it’s secularism that is winning the battle against religion for hearts and minds. I don’t know which side will eventually win but if I were a betting man my money would be on secularism. I’m not saying I’m necessarily happy about that.

  131. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    Actual religions promise Heaven after you die.

    But there are religious beliefs in which there might be salvation in the flesh without need to die first.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jivanmukta

    [MORE]

    Also in Communism, the final Salvation of Mankind (i.e. Communism) would only come after many generations in the future after the death of the faithful Communist who would have sacrificed their life without any hope of partaking in this Utopia.

    It could be argued that Religion is something that links a man with a higher Principle, something that transcends his impermanent and limited being.

    Unknown to many, there was a movement of early Bolshevik intellectuals named God-builders (Богостроители), which had a materialistic Cosmist Monism as a spiritual belief system: humanity becoming God as an actualization of the innate potential of the Universe through evolution.

    A kind of materialistic Theosis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God-Building

    Interestingly enough, it might be seen as having some peculiar commonalities with the Omega Point theory of Theillard De Chardin and modern Transhumanism.

    Transcendence is to be found in very strange places. Maybe God indeed works in mysterious ways…

    🙂

  132. @dfordoom

    Quite arbitrary definitions you have, you truly show that you have very little knowledge about religions. I am not saying that communism is a religion, but many religions have historically focused on this world, especially ancient Judaism, or Greek paganism, both originally believed that afterlife is just being in state of unemotional and inactive shade or ghost.
    Also in traditional Christianity(Orthodoxy) all pious human existence is slow and gradual unification with God, which is impossible without good deeds in this life, although there is focus on afterlife. But rarely religions focus completely in afterlife.

    Secondly, an actual religion is a package. You don’t get to pick and choose which bits you believe in. If you don’t obey the rules you could face eternal damnation. With a pseudoreligion you can mix-and-match. You can accept, or reject, and bits you choose. That’s an enormous difference as well.

    Oh now I get it, your idea of religion is very evangelical protestant or catholic, even most radical Muslims think that God is very merciful and understands the limits and faults of human nature. As long as Muslim is faithful and humble he often pardons them. Of course it varies depending on transgression. In other words your view of religion is very American.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  133. MBlanc46 says:
    @dfordoom

    If by actual religion you mean Christianity, you are quite right. Africans and mestizos might keep it going for a while, but Europeans are done with it.

    • Agree: dfordoom
    • Replies: @Ano4
  134. Ano4 says:
    @MBlanc46

    There will be something else to hold onto. There is a Russian saying: A Holy place is never empty (Свято место пусто не бывает). Of course there is also the saying about the Abomination of Desolation. We’ll see how it will all turn out but many humans have a strong need for something bigger than themselves. Something that transcends, outlasts and gives meaning to our imperfect existence.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  135. dfordoom says: • Website
    @AltanBakshi

    In other words your view of religion is very American.

    Except that I’m not American.

    Maybe it’s a very western view, and I am western.

    The discussion did actually start as a discussion on religion’s prospects in the West.

    even most radical Muslims think that God is very merciful and understands the limits and faults of human nature. As long as Muslim is faithful and humble he often pardons them.

    Sure. God might pardon you, but there are still rules to which one is expected to adhere. And not adhering to the rules could have consequences.

    • Replies: @AltanBakshi
  136. @dfordoom

    You are somewhat right, established religions are possibly disappearing from the west, or at least becoming marginalized. Actually in many countries it has already happened.
    Also that what they call Buddhism in USA among the converts is not Buddhism, even though it shares superficial similarities with it, but a new religion and highly heretic from a Buddhist point of view. Its been tailored for the modern western liberal sensitivities, and is controlled by well connected clique of affluent and liberal Americans. Its motivations and aims differ vastly from Buddhism, their teachers are often from dubious lineages or self taught and mix new age spirituality in Dharma.

  137. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    There will be something else to hold onto. There is a Russian saying: A Holy place is never empty (Свято место пусто не бывает). Of course there is also the saying about the Abomination of Desolation. We’ll see how it will all turn out but many humans have a strong need for something bigger than themselves. Something that transcends, outlasts and gives meaning to our imperfect existence.

    People do want belief systems. The past hundred years provides ample evidence of that. But people have largely turned to non-religious belief systems.

    And it cannot be emphasised too strongly that despite superficial resemblances, religious and non-religious belief systems are radically different.

    The trend towards non-religious belief systems in the West is, in my opinion, irreversible.

    • Replies: @Ano4
  138. @Jatt Arya

    He is correct, Soyombo is Swayambhu in Mongolian. But Chinggis Khaans grandsons had Mongolian names, also Mongolian script is derived from ancient Uyghur script, not from Indian ones like Tibetan. Which is close relative of Bengali, Oriya and Khotanese/Saka scripts. But later Mongolians adopted Tibetan names, which themselves are originally translations of Sanskrit names. But that started happen mostly after 16th Century.

  139. Ano4 says:
    @dfordoom

    People do want belief systems.

    Correct, most people need something bigger than their little self.

    And it cannot be emphasised too strongly that despite superficial resemblances, religious and non-religious belief systems are radically different

    .

    They are different, but they have in common the fact that they make a human feeling that he is part to something larger and more important than his day to day self-serving material struggle to exist.

    [MORE]

    Even in the quintessential Western existentialist novel The Stranger by Camus, the principal character Meursault discovers on the morning of his execution that the World is bigger than himself and his insignificant existence.

    The trend towards non-religious belief systems in the West is, in my opinion, irreversible.

    We don’t know what will be left of the West is a couple of generations. Things change fast. Although I agree that the organized and hierarchical religion is at its near nadir in the West. The church in my village is empty most of the times, only filling up for funerals…

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  140. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Ano4

    Although I agree that the organized and hierarchical religion is at its near nadir in the West.

    I’m really not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that people have turned to non-religious belief systems. Some of the non-religious belief systems are deeply crazy (environmentalism for example), but are they crazier than some Christian sects? Are liberals who believe a bearded man in a frock magically becomes a woman crazier than Evangelicals waiting for the Rapture?

    Non-religious belief systems can be oppressive, but so can organised religion.

    Whatever belief systems people come up with, religious or non-religious, the desire to impose them on others seems equally strong.

    And even non-religious belief systems seem to be able to cripple people with guilt. Of course that’s partly because in formerly Christian societies guilt is so deeply ingrained. Maybe it’s not a problem in non-Christian societies when they abandon religion for secular belief systems. The Japanese snd the Chinese don’t seem to be crippled by guilt.

    Maybe secular societies and religious societies are equally bad and equally good, just in different ways. Maybe people are just amazingly good at making the worst of any system.

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