13th February 2010

“God is not dead, but organised religion may well be dying from self-inflicted wounds.”

Unknown author

15 Responses to “13th February 2010”

  1. Holysmokes Says:

    I’m not so sure. I think “religions” will find a way to reinvent themselves, just like political groups that fall out of favor. Religions must appeal to the masses or fail. The Catholic church is slowly getting that message and will likely conform, ever so slowly to ensure it’s survival.

  2. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Agree with Holysmokes: Religions will re-invent themselves, come and go, rise and fall and rise again – probably as long as there are human beings in the universe. Even some atheist groups and individuals seem to be (unconsciously?) taking on the more negative trappings and attitudes of “religion.”

    Of course, human beings might evolve into something else . . . then all bets are off!

  3. John Says:

    Holysmokes and Oxymoronic Christhinker:

    Are you meaning in the way it appears that christianity sort of rewrote it’s self from Egyptian history and the Book of the Dead?

  4. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:


    Uh, no. An intelligent and skeptical critique of the movie “Zeitgeist” (one place where the idea that Christianity is a rip-off of Egyptian history and mythology is very prominent) can be found at Skeptic Magazine:
    Click on “The Greatest Story Ever Garbled” by Tim Callahan (I’ve tried to post this before a couple of times, but for some reason it was never “moderated”). Callahan is Christian, however, so you may be tempted to dismiss his critique as biased, but he is a careful writer and award-winning journalist. Fundamentalists, literalists, and Bible prophecy types don’t like Callahan’s work at all, if that makes you feel any better. The responses to his piece are also very good, pro and con, well worth reading, with links to further info. I’ve always found Michael Shermer’s Skeptic Magazine well worth the price of admission.

  5. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Awesome interactive graphic: The Scale of the Universe from the Quantum Foam, Strings, and the Planck Length to the Extent of the Known Universe. Well worth a look:

  6. Holysmokes Says:

    Hi John,

    No, I wasn’t going back that far. I was just babbling about the human ability, (in this case the Catholic church) to adapt before becoming extinct in the coming century.

  7. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Well, guess its my day for links!

    Not that I needed a study to tell me this, but it seems atheists are “just as ethical as churchgoers.”:

    Congratulations, atheists! You may now join the human race in progress (that’s sarcasm, folks)!

  8. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    But Oxy, I hope you will at least concede that Zeitgeist was entertaining, if not factually accurate.

  9. Oxymoronic Christhinker Says:

    Cap’n, I watched Zeitgeist in its entirety with my “agnostic Christian” friend, a couple of pastors, and a few assorted heretics (all friends too). We laughed and guffawed throughout. It was indeed “entertaining!”

    Perhaps you might concede the same of those “dusty books?” 🙂

  10. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    But of course, god wrote morality on our hearts, right? But seriously, not that I’m unhappy with the avenue of inquiry, it does seem a bit like discovering that water is wet. So if ethics aren’t tethered to religious impulses, then where do they come from? Our societies, of course. While there are local differences in moral behavior, there are some nearly universal cultural norms. Killing, stealing, raping and lying. All bad, where ever you go. And for purely practical reasons. There aren’t presently many societies that tolerate these behaviors because those that do generally don’t survive long. We’re a smart but physically inferior species for whom cooperation was adaptive.

    So we cooperate, and fundamental to this is a concept of treat others as we wish to be treated. It’s a very old idea. Plato put it this way “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” – Plato’s Socrates. This even has a whiff of “turn the other cheek” to it.

    The Egyptians articulated this concept as early as 2000 years BCE and it has shown up in various forms in all major religions and philosophys. Why? Simply because it articulates a fact of our social evolution. The concept didn’t make us behave, survival needs did – the concept evolves to help us pass along that bit of hard won knowledge.

    Cheers all and have a great weekend. 3 days off here in the States!

  11. CaptainZero1969 Says:

    P.S. – LOVED the scale of the universe link. Kind of puts things in perspective. For instance, I knew that the sun was a minor star but it really didn’t sink in HOW minor until you hold it up to one thats as big as the entire solar system. Amazing that all that was brought into being for little ‘ol us. God is Great (at poker, but he cheats).

  12. Greg Says:

    Well stated, Captain. The Zeitgeist movie WAS entertaining, but the critique in Skeptic was revealing – it proves that both beleivers and non-believers can be easily mislead, just as long as the misleading happens to be in the direction they’re already going.

    Thanks for the links Oxy – will look at them after I attack the dishes piled up on the counter….and grab a cup of coffee….

  13. Atheist MC Says:

    3 days off here in the States!

    Really! Maybe you’re all celebrating Darwin Day 🙂

  14. Atheist MC Says:

    There may not be a direct link between Egyption deities and Christianity but there is a very good case to be made for Christianity being a gestalt of Greco Roman philosophy and Judeo Roman mythology. Early Judaism seems to have links to Egyption gods (which is hardly surprising if you think about it). Yahweh seems to be a synthesis of Baal, Set and El (a Caananite deity). The intersting thing is that religion tends to become more moral as the society it grows up in does. Christianity is an improvement in Judaism (or rather the Christian God is a more moral God than Yahweh, because the Greek and Roman influence on the middle east lead to a more moral society.
    Try Robert Wright’s The Evolution of God for a better explanation than I can ofer here.

  15. Atheist MC Says:

    Bollocks! you’d think at my age I could spell Egyptian. Oh well!