Reason religionand the absence of either

I disagree. My faith is entirely based on reason. I am not trying to preach or anything, but I do offer myself as an example of a man of faith who came to his belief through reason. Supernatural experience alone is not enough. First of all, it requires reason to determine if an occurance is supernatural or totally explainable in nature. Second, it requires reason to attribute said phenomenon to a faith. Third, I used reason to determine which faith made the most sense. Reason is why I am Christian istead of Buddist. My friend Scott the kung fu teacher, Reason is why he chose Buddism over neo-paganism. Most rational people of faith I know acquired their faith through reason. It takes a combination of the two to make a religeon. The true meaning of religon is "To Bind Together", and for that reason I consider Atheism to be a religon. Religon required you to have both faith and reason in order to understand, accept, and be accepted. The pastor cannot download theology into your brain through telepathy (well, at least not that I am aware of, :laughing: ), he has to appeal to your Reason, and you need Faith to listen.

Big tangent. Please ignore me :smiley:

Totally agreed, especially since, well, you believe there is no god :wink:

As per the realm of Reason, I liked it only because it made the divine relative, instead of an absolute. But the game don't need it for that, and I don't miss it.

There is a tiny section of the Church which eschews reason in their faith, and yes, they do think God just downloads theology into you while you do breathing excercises, repeititive prayer and that sort of thing. Never a big section of the Church, though.

I know :unamused: These are the guys that think speaking in tounges means having epileptic seizures and speaking in gibberish (instead of the bbiblical definition, which means to be able to speak and comrehend different laguages, and thus excludes the giberish speach)

Ah, no, you are misunderstanding atheism, because you are trying to see it through the model of theism. To say that an atheist is religious because he does not believe in a god, or that he believes there is no god, is like saying you believe in unicorns because you don't believe in dragons.

A skeptic may choose to believe there are no yeti in the world, because there are not any demonstrable yeti and there are many practical jokers. This does not make him religious, or the fact that you, personally, do not believe in yeti would be a religious belief.

Similarly he may believe that your god is an imaginary friend whose function for you is to soothe your fear concerning oblivation during death. Much as him not believing in the yeti doesn't make him religious, him thinking your god is a mixture of fear, mentral illeness and public charlatanry is not a religion.

To say that if you believe anything you are religious makes the word "believe" and "religious" useless, because they include everyone, and as such do not signify anything.

As Marko noted, the term "religion" means to "tie back together". In this sense it refers to poor, frail, fallen humanity, reconnecting with the Christian God. It's entirely possible to be a person of faith and not be religious, in this technical sense, because there are many faiths that do not posit a separation of the mortal and divine, and therefore do not have a process of reconnection. That is, far from atheists being religious, it is entirely possible to be a theist and not be religious. I know a lot of Australian Aboriginal faiths that work this way, for example.

Ah, well, Christian mystical experience has a rather longer and slightly more honourable pedigree than modern prosperity evangelism. 8) In the Orthodox Church, for example, there's a style of breathing exercise and physical restriction of movement that's a lot like yoga.

A lot of Americans have a similar sort of faith, those who love God but distrust organized religion. It is a common theme. Still, I do not mean that it is the Organization (or Church) that binds people together, but the commonalities of their faiths and values. .

In reference to Atheists, some of them have this passionate zeal to demonstrate to everyone there is no god. These sorts have such an issue with God, they devote more time to attacking faith than a preist spends time praying! To this rabid and intolorant types of atheists, I brand them as being part of a religion. To the quiet atheists who don't feel they have to prove anything and don't need to participate in athiest support groups, then no, it is not a religion for them (and there is still hope that they can open their eyes to the truth).

There! That bit of smarm right there. That is an example of how a man of faith thinks his religion to be entirely reasonable. I think it is Truth, carefully weighted and debated in my mind, then accepted as Truth because of decisions I made based upon the bbest evidence I have available to me.

I know many atheists who would be very offended by this statement. Haven't you ever heard the argument that if atheism is a religion, not collecting stamps is a hobby?

In Mythic Europe it's very easy for magi to determine that the Divine power is real, therefore I think it is unreasonable for an educated person there to think that the Divine doesn't exist. Atheists and even agnostics in the setting are essentially undermining the power of the Divine through misinformation, trying to convince uneducated people that God might not exist or does not have the powers ascribed to Him, which makes them infernal agents whether they know it or not.

There are people devoted to study and learning in Mythic Europe that aren't aligned to any supernatural realm, of course. Alchemists and doctors and philosophers and so on. Maybe this is what you want when you talk about an Order of Reason? There could be people who would like it if humanity could act independently, without the intereference of supernatural forces at all. Unfortunately, I don't think they'd be very effective against the powers that be. Arguably no one could ever succeed at overthrowing the Divine anyway, because the Divine generally trumps all, but maybe if you could get really powerful Magic, Faerie, and Infernal beings to work together, they might be convinced to destroy each other. Hmm...

Likewise. They tend to be the ones who give the rest of us a bad name. Atheism is the belief that there is no god. There is absolutely no evidence for the non-existence of god (nor for the opposite) and as such, it is a position of faith. It is therefore a religious belief, but not a religion, in that it is a belief about religions.

People like Dawkins really piss me off with their hideous abuse of the scientific method to support their own views. And ... this is actually relevent. The Realm of Reason does not exist in Ars Magica 5th edition because it cannot. Magic is real. There are faeries in the woods. God shelters the faithful from demons and his saints and angels occasionally intervene spectacularly. Anyone attempting to apply reason to the world sees direct evidence for all four Realms, and discovers that Aristotelean physics is real.

If anything, the delusions of the so called Order of Reason are most strongly aligned with either Faerie (humans telling stories makes them a little bit true) or the Infernal (to deny God's creation is an act of phenomenal hubris).

Ah, no. The scientific method does require us to attempt to find proofs for the non-existence of entities, because its not doable and thus not reproducible.

To be sure there's no God in creation you'd need to assay all of it, to get around a problem pointred out by Robert Graves (One of his Roman emperors notes that the Jews are monotheists because their God lives in a box in their temple and refuses to come out, and so he never meets other gods. He doesn't see them, so He thinks they don't exist, so their god is an atheist.) and even then you have the problem that God might be mobile and so he can circle round you while you are looking for him in a sort of game of cosmic peek-a-boo.

Science doesn't generally require the proof of non-existence, because its so difficult to measure non-existence on an infinite scale. God could live in a box on the moon of an unnamed planet circling a distant star. To check each star to see if this is true or not is not, however, scientific. Occam's razor saves us from such absurdities.

No, as a contributor pointed out, no interest in collecting stamps is not a phillatelic position. A belief about religion is not a religious belief any more than me thinking football is pointless is an involvement in football.

And I rant now... :laughing:

I quite like Dawkins. I used to be very "do whatever you like, no-one has a right to criticise", but more and more in my daily practice of answering people's questions in the library I'm seeing people who do the dumbest things because charlatans have flogged them books that say "God will heal you of cancer if you pray hard." or "Herbs are the go for medicine - an international conspiracy has hid their usefulness".

I think my breaking point was when I had a cluster of people all come in looking for Fountain of Gold, which is a book about how you can cure all sorts of illnesses ny drinking your own urine. I put it on hold for them, but its a book I always hate shelving. "This is the book read by people who think that urine is good for you." I think, "Do they wash their hands?"

I prefer Penn and Teller because they come at it with some humor, but since I've moved to the city from the bush I see more and more people who are just piled higher and higher with faith-based medicine, faith-based-science, and faith-based economics and so I quite like that there is someone out there who says there's a point at which "I'm doing X for my religion, and therefore you can't say X is just damn stupid." no longer works as an argument.

I don't mind religious people: I had a relative who went in for all that cane toad licking new age stuff for a while (and I do mean that literally, I'm not implying that all new age people lick toads, but I'm saying you can get high on bufotoxin and I know people who used to boil them up), but the town I'm in is glitzy and sleazy and there's a lot of religion that's just product.

I could write better religions for these people, as could most Ars Magica SGs, with fewer plot holes, and so I don't mind Dawkins saying, effectively that the emporer has no clothes.

and so my rant concludes... 8)

In previous editions, there was the option that God was a big faerie: indeed in Shamans this is pretty much stated this, and then that was taken back as POV.

I know some people want an Ars universe where you can just be human and get free of God. I'd argue that House Criamon thinks they can do this. I'd also argue that they are cosmoligically wrong in the setting, because God owns the chessboard and your character is just a piece.

No I haven't. That's much better than the "bald is a hair color" analogy that I've used in the past. Thanks Erik!

Well, the "God will heal your..." is really about the "power" of selfsuggestion or whatever you want to call it. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt, but it has zero to do with wether the person prays or tells himself "-i WILL get better". Its not something to rely on though!

"Herbs are the go..." is also a bit twisted, its not like there isnt a lot of good you can get from there, in case you missed it the clear majority of medicines today are still synthetic attempts to copy the active ingredients from one "herb" or another.
However, despite all the raving about it, its NOT something for just anyone to go try out after reading 20 pages in a book, at least not beyond the most basic of stuff. Because then its mostly highly unreliable and quite often rather dangerous.
Prepare "herbal remedies" badly and what you get is literally pure poison just as likely as you might get something so lacking in strength that it wouldnt cure a cockroach.

I agree that labelling atheism as a religion is a fault. But at the same time the numerous versions of atheism is probably not much fewer than the versions of various world religions and that makes it difficult to toss them all in the same cathegory.

Being a non-religious methodic agnostic myself I do think that some versions of atheism does make use of absolutisms otherwise only seen in religion - even if this doesnt make such atheism a religion it does make the comparisions compelling.

In other words, some atheist might point out that their baldness is not a hair colour yet still continue to use conditioner on said bald head... :smiley:

Well, my point of view is simple on this.

It is impossible to prove god(s) don't exist, only that it exists: For all we know, we might all have been created yesterday, complete with false memories, evidence...

Then, to me, the only "rationnal" attitude is agnosticism. I can't say for sure god doesn't exist, and I'll never be able to. Thus, to me, religion and atheism are just matter of belief, not knowledge. I'd like to be an atheist. But I can't.

And then, we have some atheists who are so bend on their atheism that they're utterly unable to imagine a world with a god, just as some religious are unable to imagine a world without. In their stuborness and willingness to cling to what they'd like the world to be, I find no difference between them.

Of course, that's just personnal :wink:

Well... The modern man laughs at the ignorance of the ancients, with all their stupid superstitions and false beliefs. The man of the future also does.


Even with a "Belief defines reality" paradigm, I always had a hard time to see how something like Reason could exist. Of course, that's without considering the Big Tecjnocracy Conspiracy from mage, I'm talking about Ars only here.

And yes, to me, it'd make a good Infernal ploy to try and undermine the Divine.

Oh yes, I heard about this :unamused:

You're setting incongruously high standards for God that you aren't setting other matters (such as the healing power of urine for instance). If one concludes that the evidence for god is no stronger than the evidence for the physical incarnation of the tooth fairy than by your standards that person is agnostic on both issues. On what possible grounds could one be said to believe in anything apart from "I think therefore I am"?

You've erected a straw man characterization of atheism. Atheism would be better defined as "concluding that the data do not show sufficient evidence for a God to warrant belief in one". By this definition (as with almost every definition that reflects actual beliefs rather than a philosophical punching bag) it's fairly easy to be an atheist.

Perhaps you speek for yourself, but most atheists I have encountered are not so reasonable or rational. I like the way you state it, and I wish more atheists acted that way.

But they don't. They act like all people of faith have the exact same faith. They act like any sympathy towards the belief in God, let alone true faith, is ignorant and harmful superstition. The aethists I encounered are the most intolorant judgemental people I have ever encountered. I sit there saying nothing, yet they bash religion like it is the only reasonble course of action. They want to blame me specifically for every attrocity committed in the name of religion. They also act like Christianity is the only religion there is, and save all their attacks for it.

Aethism is a religion, it is a belief that "binds together" those that share that belief, and thus is the exact definition of the word "religion" based upon it's Latin etymology.

That's just my rant 8)

As far as reason, I say again, I chose to believe in my religion because it seems to be the most correct answer based upon the evidence I have available to me. Occam's Razor, it seems easier to concieve of existance and cosmology with Diety as part of the equation. Which diety is the one true diety is deatable, but the fact that there is some sort of diety seems pretty obvious to me. This was based upon Reason, upon the study of both science and philosophy. Religion is indeed compatible with Reason.

I hope they do not close it! This has been a very civil and polite discussion containing conflicting views. I am very proud to be a part of it! I have never seen this level of respect and decorum concerning such a devisive topic. And, contraversial as it may be, it is very relevant. Ars Magica was not written in the middle ages. It was written in the late 20th century, and modern philosophy concerning Reason and Religion are strangely very appropriate here (whereas for another game they would be most inappropriate).

But, if anyone would prefer, I would be happy to port this particular discussion over to the Berklist. Or to drop it alltogether if no one is interested. I myself find it entertaining and valueable.

Yet you are yourself an atheist about many gods other than the ones associated with your religion, aren't you? I mean, you don't believe in Odin or Isis or Zeus, or minor gods like the tooth fairy, do you? An atheist might argue that he simply believes in fewer gods than you do.

Agnosticism and atheism address different questions. Atheists do not believe in gods, while agnostics do not believe gods can be shown to exist. It is possible to be an agnostic theist, someone who does not believe their gods can be proven, but believes in them anyway.

If gods do not exist, why should they imagine them? What are they missing out on? You might just as well say they are too stubborn to believe that ingested urine has healing properties.

It sounds like you do not consider yourself to be a Christian. Why would you be offended when these people criticise one of the many Christian-based religions? Granted they should probably leave off, but I'm surprised it bothers you, any more than it would if were people going on about those crazy Zoroastrian or Viking religions. Are they also attacking your religion specifically?

Repeating the same point with emphasis doesn't make it so. :slight_smile: I can assure you that my atheist friends do not follow any religion. Frankly, most atheists I know tend to rebel against authority (spiritual or otherwise) as a matter of principle. If they have special zeal or passion about their message, it comes from themselves and not through any kind of organized atheist movement.

Incidentally, I think most of them see atheism as a way to help people, the same way that many believers think that sharing their message will bring comfort or insight to those who accept it. For them it is a good thing to convince others to let go of their godly superstitions and accept the world as it is.

Enh, on reflection I admit this topic is kind of uncomfortable for me as well. It would probably be better if I left off talking about faith or the lack of it and instead focused my comments on Ars Magica and Mythic Europe. I apologize for contributing to the digression.