Religion Thread 1

Alok_N
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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 00:37

Johann posted on the issue while I was typing ... I believe I can easily refute the claim that faith provides "better solace" than any other candidate ... faith provides more confusion than answers even for the faithful ... all you need to do is scratch the urface and you find faithful folks complaining about "why god allows all this crap to happen?" ...

added later: in case there is possible confusion, let me add that I stated that faith is the only vehicle that can completely satisfy someone's curiousity by spinning out a yarn ... it does not follow that embedded in that will be 100% solace also ...
Last edited by Alok_N on 15 Mar 2007 01:10, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby bala » 15 Mar 2007 00:39

to Christians, following the Old Testament


I went to a protestant convent school in India that drilled the christian faith defacto on every one daily. I sang hymns, read the bible, had scripture lessons. I even managed to top the scripture class exams one year, though I am not born of christian faith. I have immense respect for the Christian faith. The ethics taught by the school forms the foundation of my belief system which has stood me in good stead throughout my life.

The Old Testament is part of the Bible and many of the chapters are quoted as foundation of the faith. Salvation is one of them. But the Trinity is equally important to the faith. Sadler is right. The old testament is the property of the Jews and their years of scholarly recordings/faith was usurped by the Christian Faith. No problem, but you have to acknowledge the source.

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Postby SaiK » 15 Mar 2007 00:50

bala, many such issues like temple and mosque, and mousie behavior of encroaching could have been dealt by a strong govt that upholds these religions to stay apart. define regions and space, that they can't encroach. its failure of Indian constitution and its courts.

TSJ, regarding Salvation:- decades back, my christian friend and I would sit together at the same school, were religious. we both were "respectfully poor". we both encountered crisis situations, and as boys, we both were saved from those crisis. I never believed christ.

We met again after we grew.. we agreed, its all in our minds.
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Postby Abhijit » 15 Mar 2007 00:53

I went to a protestant convent school in India that drilled the christian faith defacto on every one daily. I sang hymns, read the bible, had scripture lessons.

Since I asked for concrete examples of where the Hindu Dharma is in decline, I am happy to be the first one to site a glaring example.
What bala has written above is IMO a glaring example of the decline of Hindu Dharma - in terms of political power. What is not acceptable to me (and millions of other Hindus) is a forced proselytizing of Hindu children at the hands of Christian teachers in a vulnerable period of their life simply because they have good schools - which are good at least in part because they have been (probably) funded by external entities. It is not acceptable to pay the price for a good education in terms of exposing the souls and impressionable minds of young Hindu kids to an ideology that has the seeds to subvert them from the belief system of their ancestors for thousands of years. I am sure that millions of parents have to spend a lot of time making sure that this insidious propaganda at the school is washed away by a counter-indoctrination. If the Christian schools want to educate non-Christian kids then the Christianity classes MUST be kept electives and not part of the core curriculum.

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Postby SRoy » 15 Mar 2007 00:56

Abhijit,

Calendar: I understand our seasonal festivals have a scientific basis and hence the panchangs are consulted. You might be okay with any date and not bothered about the basic reasons for such festivals, while some people might want to stick to the tradition. Do you see an issue? You may not need a Hindu calendar but I do need an accurate one (as mandated by my religion). You have an issue with that?

Folk culture: Bauls are not allowed to enter Muslim villages in many areas. So in a sense the traditional culture has retreated from many areas. I do not agree with your view about govt. role. If you think it is okay that govt. continue with Haj subsidy and turn a blind eye if some Baul minstrels are beaten then I'm afraid there is an unbridgeable gap among various section of us modern Indian. N variations of this thread will not bridge this gap.

An old Pioneer report Bauls persecution in Murshidabad.

My question is who defines what needs to be protected? What are the criteria?
Last edited by SRoy on 15 Mar 2007 01:08, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 00:58

bala wrote: I have immense respect for the Christian faith. The ethics taught by the school forms the foundation of my belief system which has stood me in good stead throughout my life.


since I just typed a long post in which I made ethics out to be a non-religious concept, it would be good to clarify ... what you call "ethics", is that different from "morality" or the same?

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Postby Abhijit » 15 Mar 2007 01:14

SRoy:
You may not need a Hindu calendar but I do need an accurate one (as mandated by my religion). You have an issue with that?

On the contrary, this comes close (IMHO) to articulating the problem. I need a little more history on this one though. Is the Bengali panchang based on a calendar that is not as per the Hindu calendar? Is it that the imposition of this panchang was done at the behest of non-Hindu entities? I do not have much info on this so my apologies. But the point I was trying make is whether there is a state or outside complicity in the adoption of the current Bengali panchang? If so then IMO it does qualify as a case of the decline.
Bauls are not allowed to enter Muslim villages in many areas ..If you think it is okay that govt. continue with Haj subsidy and turn a blind eye if some Baul minstrels are beaten ..

Again, this is a better articulation of why it is a decline. Pl. note that I clearly mentioned in the previous post that if there is interference in the work of 'Bauls' from state or non-state entities then it DOES amount to a decline. What I wanted to differentiate is that a decline of arts due to the lack of private patronage is not a case of Hindu decline.
My question is who defines what needs to be protected? What are the criteria?

This is precisely the 'raisin dieter' behind this thread (IMO). We need to list the things, actions (state or non-state), statements and any other things that result into a feeling of Hindus being unprotected and then debate the important ones to even begin a co-ordinated response.

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Postby bala » 15 Mar 2007 01:17

Hey, hold on a sec here, I am proud of my school and would recommend any "hindu" student to study there. No propaganda nor brainwashing. Simply good honest folks who believed in their faith. I have no problems with that. No, I did not convert to the christian faith. I believe in simultaneously belief in all the good parts of each faith and I am quick to point out the deficiencies in my birth faith.

Alok_N yes ethics, morality same. I learnt humanity, dignity of self, discipline, faith, tolerance and above all that you can do your utmost for the task at hand. I will always cherish the good folks in my school who educated me.

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 01:20

bala wrote:Alok_N yes ethics, morality same. I learnt humanity, dignity of self, discipline, faith, tolerance and above all that you can do your utmost for the task at hand.

where do you place "sins"? ... are they immoral or unethical? ... things like murder and thievery belong in both, but what about homosexual acts? ...

also, what is ethical about discipline and faith? ...

[this is the same debate that arose over the issue of placing the 10 commandments in a US courthouse ... ]

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Postby shyamd » 15 Mar 2007 01:26

bala wrote:Protection: Yes. An example would help. Hindu are wont to having processions of their myriad Gods in public, with priests chanting, devotees following and everyone having "Darshan" along the way. The festival of the Elephant God Ganesha was threatened when the procession happened to stray into a neighborhood predominantly with people of the Muslim faith. The constitution does not prevent entry nor does it state that the opposing faith has any right to prevent such processions. But this happened and the ensuing law & order problems caused the state govt to clamp down arbitrarily a ban on processions of Hindu gods in the neighborhood.

Another example: In the hindu holy city of Udipi, where Lord Krishna is venerated, temple that existed for several hundreds of years has a new neighbor - a brand new Mosque right next to the temple. There have been several clashes amongst the believers of both faiths. Hindus carefully avoid the streets next to the Mosque.


So, what do you plan on doing with the muslims? Kicking them out of the country? (Not trying to be rude) Do you plan on inducting more police to allow the procession to go through the muslim area? What should we do?

Won't people say: Isn't all this divisive? Won't this create more problems, or give an excuse for muslims for e.g to turn more fundamentalist (look at those hindu opressors, they are allowing procession of our area, astafur allah!)?

Hindu's should be allowed to practice their religion freely and of course same with the others.

Why didn't the local Panchayat office use their brains to stop the construction of the mosque? Maybe because bribes were paid, I dunno. But, the fact is the local panchayat should have used their brains and not allowed the construction. This is where we need strong law and order. We need a better system or the Panchayat needs a better set of instructions when approving land, especially in religiously sensitive areas.

What about globalisation (a bigger greater challlenge IMO)? India's culture which has been around for milleniums is being challenged here.

Let me post a quote of the late R.N. Kao:

At this rate, in a few decades, the world would be a very boring place, with the same unisex clothes, the same fast food, the same pop music and, perhaps, the same new speak all over.'

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Postby Arun_S » 15 Mar 2007 01:29

Sadler wrote:
Acharya wrote:
Thank you for the encouraging words.
Not only this concept has to be built in but the minorities in India has to be made to understand this concept for greater good of the country.


I agree. However the fear being expressed is that this somehow infringes upon the religious rights of other faiths. The expressions of such fears constitute sanctimonious hypocrisy on the part of the naysayers because evangelization itself, in its most fundamental sense, infringes the rights of the targetted religion. That is of course then dubiously swept up under the freedom of religion carpet.

Taking the examples of Jews in India. Jews have had a very long presence in India. Some say from the time of Solomon himself.

Pause to allow myself to be truly amazed.

Jews maintained their own ethnic/religious practices (perhaps incorporating some local ones as well). They remained observant jews. Did not force their religion upon others. In turn, they had complete freedom to practise their religion without fear or persecution. Isn't that amazing. The only land in the world where they could do that for two millenia. And they remained productive citizens of a largely hindu country. At peace with its native religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh.

So, the fact that they were minorities and had religious customs (monotheistic) so vastly different from that practiced natively did not imply that they had to abrogate their identity as Jews. And no one is asking christians to do this either. Rather it is christians, from outside and within, who are not satisfied with this generous state of affairs. What they want is to convert all of India (and yes, it includes the remnants of the Jews still in India) to christianism. And therein lies the fundamental source of conflict.

Lets be clear on one thing: Were it not for the EJs, we would not even be having this discussion right now. This discussion is reactionary, in reaction to the vile assault by by the rapacious wolves (quoting PPII here) EJs upon the the hindu "sheep" as it were.


Sadler: For the text that I marked blue I say in Hindi & Sanskrit "Sadhu, Sadhu!" Roughly translated as Righteous / Gentlemanly. Thank you.

I dare say that to be the position of vast majority of Indians that also happen to profess Hindu religion.

The one in RED is the rightly the reason that is drawing STRONG REACTION.
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Postby Abhijit » 15 Mar 2007 01:32

bala wrote:Hey, hold on a sec here, I am proud of my school and would recommend any "hindu" student to study there. No propaganda nor brainwashing. Simply good honest folks who believed in their faith. I have no problems with that. No, I did not convert to the christian faith. I believe in simultaneously belief in all the good parts of each faith and I am quick to point out the deficiencies in my birth faith.

Alok_N yes ethics, morality same. I learnt humanity, dignity of self, discipline, faith, tolerance and above all that you can do your utmost for the task at hand. I will always cherish the good folks in my school who educated me.

So singing Christian hymns and learning scriptures is not a propaganda? Is it not possible to teach the so-called 'secular' subjects such as sciences, math, languages etc. without making the kids sing the hymns and learning the scriptures? It is a credit to you and millions of Hindu kids who go through this kind of indoctrination daily and still remain Hindus. But notice how the terms of reference change drastically. Show me a Christian school where they allow the Hindu teachers (if there are any) to give equal time to the Hindu scriptures? Yet you do not find anything wrong in that. This is what Acharya calls 'social engineering'. You are quick to point out the deficiencies in your faith - good for you and your faith. How many of your teachers did that with their faith ? or do we take it that there are no deficiencies?
I am sorry to sound as if I am picking on you, which is not my intention. But it needs to be highlighted that with the so-called convent education we have now millions of Hindu Indians who are well educated and find it absolutely OK to let their kids be taught bible, to be (probably) unfamiliar with the tenets/scriptures of Hindu Dharma, to find faults with their own religion but believe in a 'secular' ideal where there are no faults with any faith other than theirs or if there are, then we don;t discuss them because we are secular.

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Postby bala » 15 Mar 2007 01:44

shyamd wrote:So, what do you plan on doing with the muslims? Kicking them out of the country? (Not trying to be rude) Do you plan on inducting more police to allow the procession to go through the muslim area? What should we do?


Go ahead this is your way of thinking. Not my job to come up with solutions. I just gave an example where Hindus are, in their own country, not protected. The Hindu ethos has allowed other religions to exist. Just imagine if the tables were turned in another country.

Won't people say: Isn't all this divisive? Won't this create more problems, or give an excuse for muslims for e.g to turn more fundamentalist (look at those hindu opressors, they are allowing procession of our area, astafur allah!)?


Hindu and Oppressor? you must be kidding the concepts are as alien to one another. No this is the standard bs from psec crowd or the commie crowd.

Hindu's should be allowed to practice their religion freely and of course same with the others.


This I agree.

Why didn't the local Panchayat office use their brains to stop the construction of the mosque? Maybe because bribes were paid, I dunno. But, the fact is the local panchayat should have used their brains and not allowed the construction. This is where we need strong law and order. We need a better system or the Panchayat needs a better set of instructions when approving land, especially in religiously sensitive areas.


Agreed. But who is to bell the cat. The current dispensation is lame and has commie thugs.

Raju

Postby Raju » 15 Mar 2007 01:49

>>Show me a Christian school where they allow the Hindu teachers (if there are any)

Most mainstream Christian schools are staffed by Hindu teachers, with exception of girls convents/colleges run by Jesuits which are staffed by mostly Nuns.

Vandematarams, Yoga classes, discourse by Hindu religious scholars are also common phenomenon. There might not be dedicated teaching of Hindu scriptures though.

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Postby bala » 15 Mar 2007 01:53

Abhijit wrote:I am sorry to sound as if I am picking on you, which is not my intention.


Boss Abhijit, you raise very pertinent points that in a ideal world makes sense. But I would not want to swing from one extreme to another.

I view India as a place where any religious idea can thrive. The Hindu concept is really a cauldron that allows this work in progress of religious thought/culture to thrive and the definite work on religious thought is yet to be unveiled.


Alok_N,

You raise valid issues. Is ethics to be intertwined with religion and if that is the case what about the opposites. Good topic but OT or a different thread.

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Postby shyamd » 15 Mar 2007 01:57

Bala, wasn't trying to offend. just playing devils advocate. Those questions I asked, will be asked by a pro secular politial party.

Does India need to start social engineering?

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Religion thread

Postby RamaY » 15 Mar 2007 02:03

What is Religion?

* Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
* A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

Spritual?

Of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.

----------------

As per above dictionary meanings, it looks like

Sanatana Dharma - approaches the humans in spiritual relm.
** Westernized "Hinduism" institutionalizes that thought process.

As a management student, Religion appears more close to ORGANIZATIONAL THEORY than to spiritualizm. It closely resembles the CULTURAL organization defined under this theory.

That is why all the religions in this world have:
1. A scripture > or a code book
2. Symbols > You know what I mean...
3. Rituals > to bring the followers together
4. Power Structures > Gods-Angels-Followers-nonFollowers-Deamons
5. Organizational Structures >
6. Stories and Myths.

And that is why you can destroy a religion by systematically destroying these cultural aspects of the religion (remember Greek, Roman, Islamic, Budhic, and Hindu onslaughts?)

What we need in current times is to :

1. Revive the spiritual realm prescribed by Sanatana Dharma
2. Protect our culture by protecting our religion. Since India is birthplace of Hindu religion, it has to be protected here...

Example: destroying babri masjid is not equal to destroying mecca masjid. Similarly building a new temple in New Jersey cannot undo the destruction of Varanasi temple

----

Aham Brahmasmi

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 03:00

There is too much simplistic argumentation about religion by self professed atheists in this thread. It is like hearing Mullah Jamaluddin at the local Madarssa speaking his mind on the virtues of idolatorous hinduism.

You can't judge something properly unless you have lived it, according to its own methods. It is easy to pass judgements on something alien by one's own set of rules of judgement. Even amongst the religious, definitive comments are made by people of one religion about another without actually having spent enough effort in understanding the other religion from its own viewpoint. Such "polarised" views are utterly uselss if the goal is to evolve an integral understanding. Unless of course, the Ayatollahs of a certain polarised nook, "believe" that there is nothing to adhere to but their own pet version.

As Sri Aurobindo said, there are two kinds of denials, the denial of the materialist that denies anything spiritual, and the denial of ascetic that denies anything material, and both hardly ever meet. He also said that there is a middle ground between these two denials.

If this continues, then this thread will stay at one extreme of atheism/rationalism/science judging religion from outside and not from inside. Incidentally the dynamics of religion is about how the insiders of the religion view themselves and their religion. The view of the outsiders is only peripheral to this dynamics.

Also lets not be lose with terms like "faith", "religion" etc. Faith is the core of only the faith based religions. Hinduism is not primarily faith based. It is primarily "jnana" (gnosis) based. To give an example, a statement by Jesus Christ in the Bible "I and my father are one", arose from a personal experience and has several counterparts in Hindu Upanishads too. But in Christianity that claim is made exclusive to the point that Jesus Christ becomes the ONLY son of god capable of having that experience, and faith is needed to accept that. In contrast an identical experience by some Hindu sages, is immediately generalized to say that any one can have that experience, (and have the jnana (gnosis), no need for faith), therefore a general statement is made that "Self is God". Same experience by a sage or avatar can lead to different religious doctrines depending upon whether the religion emphasizes faith or gnosis.

I have also seen a few comments about "scientific proof". Lets be clear that science doesn't prove, it only disproves (Carl Popper's falsifiability criterion.) Similarly science can't claim that God doesn't exist because then science would have to actually "prove" that God doesn't exist. I am all ears to hear the wise men here who can tell me whether such a proof exists.

The simplistic nature of this attitude can be easily seen in the example of electromagnetic waves. Before Maxwell science had no clue one way or other that such a beast existed. If some typical high-brow scientist then actually made a claim that electromagnetic waves don't exist because science hasn't seen them then that would be absurd In fact there are many example of such absurd claims made by scientists. One example that comes to mind is of Lord Kelvin, who had "proved" that an object heavier than air can't fly through air.

So lets get this clear :

(i)Science is in the business of "disporoving". It takes its statements only as provisional truths and tries desperately to disprove those provisional truths through continuous experimentation. It cannot prove, it can only disprove.

(ii) Science can't claim that it is the sole depository of all truths. It can only claim that it is a depository of some falsifiable claims.

(iii) Religions may have some handle on those truths which are currently outside the scope of science. In hinduism the handle is provided by the practice of Yoga. You follow the way, you will see, is the claim.

The real thing we should be concentrated on is the "truth", not whether something is scientific or not . It is great if both can be matched all the time, but lets remember that they are two different beasts and can have their own pasteurs. For example if tomorrow a "truth" is dicovered which pokes a gaping hole in the principle of causality, then the science as we know will collapse, but truth won't.

On the topic of "proofs" it is well known that "scientific proofs" for religious claims are not available. But the "worth" of a claim are not exhausted by showing it to be outside science (irrespective of how some narcissistic scientists may claim ;) ). Honesty demands that one tries a method according to its rules before dismissing it as worthless. In this vein I am going to mention the examples of two rather well known Hindu gurus. May be that will help in goading people to do their own bit of experimentation rather than sitting on their muladharas and passing judgements.

If people want to study "experiential" side of hinduism through an intellectal perspective, I would ask them to devote some time to study a fellow Jingo, Sri Aurobindo :) He had demanded total independence, suggested passive resistance as a means to fight the British long before Gandhi came on the scene, and was wrongfully jailed in a bombing case, although he was involved with the revolutionaries. But he was also a yogi (besides a scholar of sanskrit, latin, greek, french, english...), and during his solitary confinement he had a Krishna-experience" lasting several days, which turned him completely towards yoga, and rest of his life he spent on that. His writing is the most "intellectually compelling" I have seen on the topic and all based on his first hand experiences.

If you want to see a real live example, then spend some time around Mata Amritanandamayi. I used to be hard-boiled atheist too. Then I slowly turned into a vedantist of a theoretical bend and read and theorized one and everything from original sanskrit to latest physics. It all went "observational cum experimental" when I spent some time around Mata Amritanandamayi. In her I have seen all the things that Hindu scriptures have talked about regarding a global reach of consciousness, wisdom and will. Every time I am around her, it seems like I am near a huge source of a field of concentrated wisdom (physicist types, please try to imagine a field of negentropy, where highly improbable events can easily happen). Coincidences abound, flouting all rules of random chance. I couldn't be convinced, given that I am a doubting physicist myself, unless I had actually seen it for myself, and more. She typically spends more than 15 hours a day, in full public view sitting on a single chair, never getting up or taking a moment's break, receiving people who come for her darshan, blessing them, listening to them, advising them. I haven't seen any figure who spends as public a life as her. I have seen her get up after such an 18 hour long ordeal, and looking as fresh as ever! And this is her daily routine. In India during some busy sessions, she has gone full 24 hours. Even her official business regarding her charities gets conducted right there, while someone is getting a darshan, you can see somone going over details of hospital equipments on the side, Amazing capacity for endurance and multitasking, for a human body!! And all done in an atmosphere of childlike happiness.

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Postby Sanjay M » 15 Mar 2007 03:11

negi wrote:And what makes you think that our understanding has grown or we have stumbled upon some Divya Gyaan.Imho man's curiosity and quest for the unexplained has only made him realise that there is still much more to learn .Infact there have been instances when new discoveries have only proved that the earlier theories or postulates were incorrect.


Oh, stop with the "Krishna invented the Atom Bomb" nonsense, and the Vedic mathematics.

Modern science and technology do indeed provide the best explanations for our universe, as proven by their incomparable and incontrovertible success.


I did not get you ,are you trying to say religion and technical understanding are interchageable ? Religion is just a guideline for the humans to live a righteous life.The problem arises when person refuses to follow the guidelines and it is one among these rebels who comes up with new set of rules and a new religion is born.That is why one would find all religion seek god however their paths/methods are different.

Technology has only changed materialistic perception, but when it comes to mental piece every one seeeks divine intervention .

"Dukh mein sumiran sab karein sukh mein karen na koy ,jo sukh mein sumiran karein use dukh kahe ka hoy"


You mean divine self-deception. Yes, rational science shows that the world isn't necessarily a nice place, because it's not build around our hopes and needs, the way the fiction of religion is. So in the face of a not altogether pleasant reality, we do indeed seek comfort and solace through self-deception, to hide the less palatable parts of reality from us. Meanwhile, science seeks to understand that reality further, while engineering toils to change that reality in our favour.



Jaylal wrote:Sanjay,

Now we can endlessly debate whether it is more important to have faith in God or in science, but either way, it is a matter of faith. You have the utmost faith in what you call science, though it continually proves itself wrong and rebuilds itself in the wake of that rubble. While I on the other hand, have faith in the scientific process... one that has led me to, by way of my personal education, to an understanding that Vedic Philosophy is less art than it is based in sound scientific principles. Principles that have developed over 1000's of years, in what would constitute some of the largest sample sizes known to man. That is the reason why Ayurveda is largely effective, and at times... very effective. Its based in scientific principles man. Of all people, Indians should at least recognize that (not that you have to accept them). I'm not afraid to think outside the box and I'm of the belief that all we see and all we measure is not the end of the scientific process, but only one dimension to it. Using all our senses, all our powers of observation, and all our collective understandings of the universe and its amorphous self, is more of a science than to stick a thermometer in a guy's butt and read his temperature. Thats the only way for humans to make big discoveries, as history has shown time and time again.


This again just ethnic narcissism. We all want to live vicariously through the perceived achievements of ancestors, which helps to compensate for our less-than-glorious present. I say that we should focus on bringing glory/accomplishment/etc to our present, rather than wallowing in imagining how our ancestors were hopefully the first to climb Everest.

Just my rationalist point of view.

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 03:23

Kumar,

if you have a point to refute then do it ... what you have posted are mostly general objections about how everyone else is "simplistic" ... where do they apply? ... are you debating with yourself?

There is too much simplistic argumentation about religion by self professed atheists in this thread


atheism fortunately does not need a stamp of approval from anyone ... so besides self professed, what other form of atheists are there?

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 03:57

Alok,
IMO, the purpose of religious faith is to satisfy humanity's curiousity and/or insecurity about its own existence ... it is the only vehicle (unlike science) that can provide 100% satisfaction in this department ...
...
atheism fortunately does not need a stamp of approval from anyone ... so besides self professed, what other form of atheists are there?

Atheism is faith too...and apparently it also provides 100% satisfaction... :)
If you are unconvinced provide me the "proof" that god doesn't exist. In absence of that proof, atheists are as much into blind faith as any. Agnostics have an escaping chance here but not atheists.
even though science has no ultimate answer, it can very easily verify or debunk the claims of anyone ... for example, anyone propagating the concept of "hell" should be dealt with as severely as any case of blackmail in a criminal court ... similarly, promises of heaven should be examined as a possible marketing fraud ...

why can't India be the first civilized country to pass such laws?

How can you scientifically "disprove" a claim that a person's soul will go to heaven or hell when he she dies? Honestly speaking this is outside the realm of science. Realm of science is where it can actually prove or rather disprove something.

And demanding to enact laws based on a claimed scientific merit for something which can't be scientifically proven or disproven is a bit alarming.

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Postby SaiK » 15 Mar 2007 04:01

kumar wrote:> So lets get this clear :
>
> (i)Science is in the business of "disporoving". It takes its statements only as provisional truths and tries desperately to disprove those provisional truths through continuous experimentation. It cannot prove, it can only disprove.
>

I hope you are talking w.r.t "God". Else, if its an general statement that "Science can't prove things", you drop your premise.

> (ii) Science can't claim that it is the sole depository of all truths. It can only claim that it is a depository of some falsifiable claims.
>

When did Science claimed that? Are you seeing tomorrow?
> (iii) Religions may have some handle on those truths which are currently outside the scope of science. In hinduism the handle is provided by the practice of Yoga. You follow the way, you will see, is the claim.

Religion or Science, the truth has to be "logical true" in both spheres. If it does not, then it is out of scope of both Religion and Science. [unfortunately you stepped into science for seeking the values]
Last edited by SaiK on 15 Mar 2007 04:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 04:05

SaiK,

Please read up a little bit on Carl Popper's Falsifiability criterion for scientific validity. This criterion is central in seprating pseudo science from science and is one of the major priciples of the scientific method. Others being Occam's Razor etc.

And, it does say that scientific method can only disprove (or precisely speaking falsify). It can not prove a scientific claim to be true, it can only prove it to be false..

So all scientific statements are provisonally assumed to be true and are ever on the chopping block to be falsified, and when they are "proven" false, a thing which scientific method can actually do, they are thrown out or modified.
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Postby SaiK » 15 Mar 2007 04:07

How can you scientifically "disprove" a claim that a person's soul will go to heaven or hell when he she dies?

you are trying to prove a "false". your premise hell and heaven holds truth only to believes. a believe could be true that negates a logical value, and assumes true.

instead of asking Science to prove or disprove hell and heaven, why don't you ask Religion to prove or disprove hell and heaven. Does Religion give into proving/disproving steps, in the first place?

If I believe my father is in heaven, he is in heaven. no religion can disprove that or prove that, nor I.

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Postby Sunoor Singh » 15 Mar 2007 04:10

Kumar,
Good post even if I don't agree with all that you say.

One of the Popes is reported to have remarked to a scientist that Science cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.


How can you scientifically "disprove" a claim that a person's soul will go to heaven or hell when he she dies?

Similar questions were asked in times long gone. What is lightening? What is thunder? The answers ranged from complex stories to gods peeing. But with time we found better explanations.

With time and better tools we may find what happens to the consciousness embodied in a body when it dies. Or perhaps, we may find a way to not let the body cease its functioning. Or we may discover a way to start the cells again. I don't know how far along is science in this respect, so my response is peppered with "may." But the idea of a Supreme Being watching each and every action of ours and punishing us for thinking dirty about a woman but not punishing the killers of thousands seems too weird .

And the idea of supreme being who can create a universe with a mere command but requires us to say his/her name repeatedly to attain nirvana doesn't jive with an all-powerful entity. (Please note: I'm not trying to mock you or your beliefs. Far from it. I'm deliberately specifying my objections in this manner so you may answer them and perhaps enlighten me.)

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Postby Sunoor Singh » 15 Mar 2007 04:21

More questions.
God has been around for billions of years. He(a generic pronoun instead of using he/she) created all of us. Then why did he let the situation slide to this level? Why is 70% of world poor and doesn't have enough food? Why did he create humans with a capacity for evil thought?

Why do we say that he controls everything? If so why doesn't he just fix the world in the blink of an eye? Or is this world actually his idea of hell where all evil souls from elsewhere in the universe come to take birth? That would explain a lot.

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 04:29

Sunoor,

Thanks! And don't worry, I am not a "believer". :) I am sometimes bothered by scientific narcissism as it starts to border on blind faith. I am myself a scientist FWIW.

The objections you have raised are not new also, and they have been raised even thousands of years ago and there have been many attempts to answer them.

The situation I see is this: There is a somewhat "experimental" body of evidence available from yogis etc. Then there are theoreticians that try to fill in the gaps and try to organize everything in one theory. And just as any theory in physics, these theories have messy regions, even more so, since they are not based on as clean a method as the scientific method.

But just because some of the theories sound bizarre when taken in all their ramifications, doesn't necessarily negate the supposedly experiential truths experienced repeatedly by the yogis.

Thats why I suggested the name of Sri Aurobindo. He has gone through many of such objections (and hundreds more) with unprecedented intellectual clarity. It is not science though...and it becomes pseudo-science only when someone claims it to be a science. I am making no such claims.

For a good synopsis of Sri Aurobindo:
Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness
To dive right in:
Life Divine[/quote]

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 04:32

Kumar wrote:Atheism is faith too...and apparently it also provides 100% satisfaction... :)


firstly, I am not an atheist, so I suppose I wouldn't know ... but, why do you claim 100% satisfaction ... lack of an answer is not an answer ...
If you are unconvinced provide me the "proof" that god doesn't exist.


it can be logically proven once you provide attributes to god ... not sure what sort "proof" you want ...

How can you scientifically "disprove" a claim that a person's soul will go to heaven or hell when he she dies?


strange that you would accuse folks of being simplistic ... the sort of argument you are providing about prove/disprove is not even simplistic, it is plain wrong ... science does not operate on non-existent quantities ... the first order of business would be to define what a soul is, detect a soul and then proceed to study its properties post death ...

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Postby Sanjay M » 15 Mar 2007 04:34

Kumar, atheism is not faith, it is a rational economy of belief. Occam's Razor, if you will.

If God is not necessary to be in the picture for the universe to function, then he is likely not there at all.

Science doesn't depend upon invoking God to explain the world, and depends upon rationality rather than faith.

Faith and reason are competitors. The more you use reason, the less you need to use faith. As our knowledge grows, so does the power of our reason, and the less we need faith. Inevitably, faith will be crowded out by reason -- and as well it should be.

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 04:43

Kumar,

it is not very good practice to inject third hand subjective realities, e.g., "such and such told me he had a religious experience ... if you haven't tried it, what would you know?"

it is of very little practical consequence in terms of enlarging a body of knowledge that science attempts ...

how would one distinguish between a serious brain malfuction and a "Krishna experience that lasted several days"?

having said that, even within Hindu thought, one finds the concept of sat chit anant, which is the crux of the matter and is yet not a concept of a god as a physical entity (unless you consider all of existence to be god) ...

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 04:47

strange that you would accuse folks of being simplistic ... the sort of argument you are providing about prove/disprove is not even simplistic, it is plain wrong ... science does not operate on non-existent quantities ... the first order of business would be to define what a soul is, detect a soul and then proceed to study its properties post death ...

Alok,

But science is not all encompassing, as yet. Inshallah that day may come, but it is not here today. So when you say "non-existent" quantities such as "soul", you are putting a whole load of scientific presumption in an area where science as of now doesn't tread. What if someone scientifically finds something like a "soul" few years from now, can you discount that possibility altogether?

Thats why I said that it is good to concentrate on truth than science for its own sake. So lets say if cell-phone toting teenager who is otherwise completely innocent of physics, somehow time traveled to 17th century in a country ruled by Raja Alok Niranjan, then would he be hanged for not being able to define EM waves but claiming that they do wondrous things.... :)

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Postby svinayak » 15 Mar 2007 04:50

We need a separate thread for atheism vs religion

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 04:56

Kumar,

you are insisting on arguing on the basis of "what we both don't know" ...

if those were the rules of debate, nobody would ever get anywhere ... no matter what anyone says, one can always object and say:

but have you considered what effect pink elephants on uranus may have on your statement ... well, since you can't rule out those effects, I don't have to take you seriously ...


furthermore, I am not denying the possibility of all forms of higher states of consciousness that can be achieved via disciplined efforts such as Yoga and TM ...

what I am questioning is whether they have anything to do with god and whether they take an individual closer to understanding physical reality ...

considering that countless such accounts have not added to our body of knowledge, I am inclined to be critical of such claims ...

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 04:58

Acharya wrote:We need a separate thread for atheism vs religion


this is a thread on religion and has so far been nebulously defined on purpose by Shiv ... countering religion, in whatever fashion, very much belongs in this thread ...

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Postby A_Gupta » 15 Mar 2007 04:59

The decline of "Hinduism" lies in the fact that people regard it as a religion.

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Postby TSJones » 15 Mar 2007 05:01

Who was the dude that was posting about string theory = Hinduism? I wuz wondering if he had talked to Ed Witten in New Joisey about that. Maybe he can get Ed to chip in on a new temple with all of that prize money he has been raking in and appearance fees on the Discovery and the Science channel. :)

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 05:05

TSJones wrote:Who was the dude that was posting about string theory = Hinduism? I wuz wondering if he had talked to Ed Witten in New Joisey about that. Maybe he can get Ed to chip in on a new temple with all of that prize money he has been raking in. :)


I suspect that Ed regards Hindu thought with more respect than TSJ ... if you have an itch to muddy the waters, there are plenty of "creation scientists" who rake in 100x more moolah than poor old Ed ... why not go bang your head against those jokers instead of making tangential remarks in a thread that is attempting to stay away from your brand of tomfoolery?

A_Gupta wrote:The decline of "Hinduism" lies in the fact that people regard it as a religion.


I am inclined to agree with this ... I suspect that the problem of "regarding it as a religion" crept in because other religions came on to the scene ...

this pigeonholing of thoughts/ideas into religious contexts probably led to folks in India to draw a circle around their own body of knowledge and compactify it into religious terminology ... such circle drawing is inherently opposed to advancement of ideas and growth of new knowledge ...

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Postby Kumar » 15 Mar 2007 05:10

Sanjay M wrote:Kumar, atheism is not faith, it is a rational economy of belief. Occam's Razor, if you will.

Sanjay,
In absence of any proof that god doesn't exist, atheism is faith. If you prefer Occam's razor, it is better to stick with agnosticism.

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Postby TSJones » 15 Mar 2007 05:14

Certainly Alok, no more jokes from me, but I don't think you have been up front with everybody because I distinctly remember you stating you were an atheist on one of your messages a long time ago. If you say you are not atheist, then I guess we have to accept that at face value but it certainly goes against my memory of what you have written.

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Postby Alok_N » 15 Mar 2007 05:18

Kumar wrote: The real thing we should be concentrated on is the "truth", not whether something is scientific or not . It is great if both can be matched all the time, but lets remember that they are two different beasts and can have their own pasteurs. For example if tomorrow a "truth" is dicovered which pokes a gaping hole in the principle of causality, then the science as we know will collapse, but truth won't.


this is completely wrong ... science is quickest to self-correct ... violation of causality will not collapse science, it will only enrich it ... in fact, I spend considerable amount of my time designing gendanken experiments on this very topic ...

perhaps, you are limiting science to a "body of knowledge", when in reality it is a "method for seeking truth" ...

and then there is this:

narcissistic scientists


I hope you have had your pleasure by repeating this phrase a few times ... I will not be baited, so unless you haven't had your fill yet, let's not try this again ...


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