I wish I could have jumped in a bit sooner to clear this up. Kaelri raised the issue that he didn't know how to convince people that God is right and not Satan. And my point is that we can look at the church landscape of today
and see that this really isn't an issue. While my sample size may be low, I haven't been to any churches that promoted human sacrifices or stoning women. And further I was pointing out that we could walk into almost any church on most Sundays and get a benign service that would not offend most people's sensibilities.
Kaelri wrote:So if you regard those biases as "problems" in the context of science and civics, then why not in religion?
I don't regard it as a problem. I think our natural bias to believe what the group believes is an important part of how we work, and likely a part of why humans function better as a group than the sum of all the constituents. It's seemingly part of our nature. However, it can cause problems like in science for example. Another particularly nasty area is when you have two groups that form on either side of a sharp divide. The narratives take on a very oppositional slant where the other side is treated as bad in some way. This fosters all sorts of nasty stuff. We see this all the time in politics. And sadly religion has a bad history of weighing in here as well. But it doesn't have to, and we have all sorts of examples of where it doesn't.
More generally, I don't have a problem with a public person taking position of ideology, making a statement of faith, or promoting their pet conspiracy theory, even when all of these may not be well defended by evidence. However, I would hope that our space for public discourse allows other voices to raise any issues they have with those stances, and ultimately it's up to the individual to decide what to believe. But having said that, when leaders are irresponsible with prescribing policy (e.g. without properly considering costs and benefits), then they should be held accountable since they are not upholding their duties. This applies to priests, politicians, corporate executives, etc.
Kaelri wrote:But religion must have some standing to prescribe moral norms, not just reinforce the ones that people already have. Otherwise, you're reducing the church to the role of a mere community organizer.
First of all, the role of community organizer is hugely important. But second, there's a middle ground between "critical for people to know if wanton destruction is OK or not" and "irrelevant to how people decide morality". There are general cultural trends in right and wrong, but groups like a church can sharpen or weaken particular point, they can push people in directions that they want to go but lack the drive, they give people a framework for thinking about morality that makes things more clear. So it's not as simple as "God says don't kill" therefore we have less killing, but I do think churches do useful things in this realm.
infernovia wrote:Yes, you are correct. I find that religion is not useful for many things and it does stifle progress (greatness, power, etc.), but this does not mean I believe my viewpoint is for everyone. In fact, I fully appreciate the fact that some people need it to survive because religion fulfills so much for them. Yet I do think it is unnecessary and even hurtful for the people who want to go further. In the same way that the luddites needed to destroy the factories for their livelyhood but their needs held back what we see now as the industrial revolution. I understand exactly why the luddites did what they needed to do, and if I was in their position I probably would have done the same thing, but the position of the luddite is still hurtful for the advancement and expansion of human power.
Well, I don't know that I agree with your take here. But if someone does agree with you that away from religion is a step further, and that's the direction they want to head, I want them to be given such freedom.
infernovia wrote:And just how many of these guiding principles, treatment of people, self-improvement can be attributed to the natural science (psychology, neuroscience, medical, chemical), philosophy, and economics? I would say quite a lot.
I guess I don't know. But I also don't know why it's relevant. You have your sources of guiding principles, etc. and I have mine.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.