But thanks for the compliment tucked nicely into the pocket of, well, less complimentary memories of me. Faith Matters We live in an age of growing faithlessness. Why do I need God, traditions and other ideologies that typically prevent people from being truly free and making educating decisions? If needed one can always stick with spirituality and more accepting ideologies like Budhism. I agree with you about blind faith. But there is a brand of faith that is not blind at all. It is a thoughtful faith, one that is come upon by virtue of questions being asked and answers being sought and spiritual confirmations being received.
It is an eyes-wide-open faith that has at its core a spiritual ratification of, at least, the central tenets of the faith. I believe God gave us the brains to think. He expects us to use them. Most of the crazy faith-based behavior we read about in the news comes from what I believe to be deeply troubled people.
As for religious wars, there have been many. But I think the general brutality of the historical context is important to keep in mind. Medieval Kings would have butchered people with or without the sanction of organized religion. Any specific or particular war may or may not be attributable to religion. But the larger point is that there have been brutal times and brutal cultures. To attribute all ugliness of former times to religion is a mistake that ignores larger contexts at play.
What I find interesting is that the most destructive ideas to humanity in modern times has been at the hands of secular ideologies, namely communism and nazism. And tools are neutral. A hammer can be used to build a homeless shelter and to bludgeon a homeless person to death. Any bad idea can just as easily use the same things you praised to inflict horror on the world. It can only make it easier for good ideas to reach others to bless and serve.
Religion is not some dogma inflicted on the benighted masses. Just as any secular parent would pass on their beliefs to their children, teaching them to love and be compassionate and serve and learn and develop those traits they hold to be vital to living a decent life, so religious parents do the same. Yet for some reason, only the religious parents are said to be indoctrinating their young. If one group of people center their claims to truth in spirituality and congregate online to discuss what they believe and how to help themselves and others reach some improved level of decency or happiness or enlightenment or success, then other religious groups that organizes their beliefs around certain scriptural understandings of God are largely doing the same thing.
One difference, perhaps, is the codification of those beliefs. They are believed and accepted by others. It was the use of our minds that led them to the church door, so to speak, that put them in the building, that led them to the faith they now cherish. As for opposing science, even scientists oppose each other, writing critiques of other scientific dogma. But none of these physicists are being called anti-science. Again, interesting. I want to know it, to understand it and to share that understanding with others.
Truth truly does set us free. It provides us with the knowledge of things as they truly are. Faith is not so utilitarian that people can simply choose to believe in spirituality of Buddhism instead by virtue of their purported increased tolerance. Conscience and integrity dictates faith once truth has been discovered or revealed.
If God exists, He created us with the capacity to think and rationalize and discover and ask and test and create the very science you say religion denigrates. As for traditions, families have them and individuals have them, friends have them, schools have them, clubs have them, even countries have them. Rather, they aid us in the decisions we make. Tradition can be a powerful tool to convey basic principles of the faith, purpose and meaning to others and to remind ourselves of the significance of certain beliefs and behaviors.
Well, Zdenek, you likely got way more here than anticipated. But I deeply thank you for expressing your thoughts. Challenges are certainly welcome here, because truth is the aim. If faith is not based on scientific observations, facts and proofs then how it is not blind? What I see is that scientific and social progress enlightenment is continuously improves our understanding and removes old beliefs. Faith, because of its tenants, creates a rigid framework of thinking that one cannot change because one would have to re-written bible? Some people are psychopaths so there is not much that can be done for them at the moment.
Similarly to the fact that we have astronomers but not non-astronomers or non-actors or non-democracies. We have various beliefs systems but some use religious framework like Christianity while others are based on pseudo-theories like Communism and Fascism.
These were ideologies based on crazy ideas not supported by science or good moral framework and they used their ideology to justify brutality and dictactorship. Their leaders were psychopaths and do not represent in any way people that have ideals I would encourage to follow. Then you add mix of democracy and regulated capitalism to get best of systems human history experienced. Not necessary a perfect one in all aspects but the best we seem to have at the moment.
In order to be able to have tools such as the Internet, the society had to progress in both social and technological aspects. This in turns allows greater freedom of information necessary for society to evolve its democratic system and it makes education accessible and more effective. Just by being able to exchange ideas here we both learn somewhat. The Internet creates huge opportunities for businesses and more importantly for people to enable better social systems. They are forced to attend church and bible studies. They are also presented religious beliefs as facts.
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Meanwhile kids in non-religious families are typically raised with open mind as they are encourage to critique anything, observe and query everything. Scientific knowledge is given to them as not an ultimate truth but rather ever evolving current understanding of the Universe. Science is presented as the best we are able to assert to certain degree and things are expected to evolve. This is in a contrast to kids from religious families where questioning or doubting the word of God is usually not accepted well. We can see this esp.
We also see people voting politicians based on their religious beliefs to ensure those are upheld for all cost over understanding how real world issues will be negatively affected by these politicians e. Bush and his war in Iraq. Science is based on peer reviews and no theory or fact is final or presented as ultimate truth. Rather science represents ongoing refinment of our knowledge based on better instruments and knowledge of the Universe.
Old theories are expected to be replaced by new better theories that give us more accurate understanding of physical laws. The problem with critique from religious people is that they do not follow established scientific processes. Rather they base their claims and critiques on personal feeling, common sense and wishful thinking. A good example is Intelligent Design which is an idea not a scientific theory because it cannot be proven, tested, observed and measured.
I agree that truth and knowledge sets us free. However I many traditions go against human rights and equality and are obstacle in social progress. For example, in India women are usually not allowed to choose their husbands as their fathers family make that choice. In China girls are traditionally considered less worth than boys. Traditions dictate women life stay at home, obey husband etc in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan etc.
In many Asian countries traditions make younger kids or adults to show respect to older one just because of age rather than merit, character and doing good. And so on. That is the sad part of traditions.
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I really appreaciate and welcome your reply. I agree we do need ideas to freely compete and we need to have an open mind. You: I am confused. Me: The phrase blind faith has a specific meaning. It means to follow something without question or thought. But my explanation was in my response. There is a faith that is an answer to questions.
Not test tubes and laboratories, but answered nonetheless. It simply means that science is limited to what it does. There is a human element that is beyond the scientific approach. Sure, facets and elements of that human experience and even love and compassion and the like can be identified biochemically , but science is blind to the essence and human depth to such things. So with spiritual matters. Science may not be able to test the validity of God. But we can experientially. Those who have a more mature faith in God and religion have arrived there through bits if inspiration, ratifying experiences of the soul.
There is a communication by spiritual means from spirit to spirit. Are some people closed and limited by and in their faith? Of course. But religious people have no monopoly on that human trait. I have known many atheists as closed to the concept of God as theists can be closed to the concept of an idea that lies outside the doctrine of their faith.
Rigid frameworks of thinking have their home in many different philosophies, not just religious. A blind dedication to the scientific method is itself a closed framework of sorts. Just ask homeopathic practitioners what they think of the framework of thinking of the scientific field of medicine. You: I agree with you that many people have mental problems and I also strongly believe that lack of good education is to blame.
I have to point out a common misconception I also see in your reply. Me: But in essence, you are calling religious doctrine a pseudo-theory itself. So I disagree with the premise of your argument on that count. Besides, there certainly are non-democracies. We in the United States fought a Cold War against the leading secular system of thought called Communism. Liberal ideology or progressivism as it stands today, defined by at least some significant subset of its advocates, is a secular system.
You: Again because Communism and Fascism did not embrace or even forbid religions that does not make them secular.
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So any ideology built on non-religious ideas is, by definition, ipso facto, secular. The craziness of the idea in no way determines the secularity of that idea just as the craziness of any particular religious idea or set of ideas in no way discounts it as being non-secular. You: If you want to compare religion to another framework then I think you have to look at UN Human Rights and Freedoms which is a framework of universal morality. Me: As for the UN, you completely lost me on that one as a source of moral authority.
When the UN voted Syria as a member of its human rights counsel, whatever moral authority it once had was lost. The UN today is to me a source of moral indecency on many counts. So we simply see this through very different lenses. Where you point to it as a system worthy of emulation, I would point to it as evidence that secular morality is a shaky foundation.
If there is no divine source of morality, then all moral propositions are nothing more than shared opinion. Your wrong is my right, my morality is your immorality. You: I think there is more involved then you realize. Me: Most of what can be found online is drivel and garbage, intellectually lazy and morally questionable. While the internet has shrunk the world, introducing a broader range of ideas to a larger market, it has also made making terrorism easier, sharing nuclear weaponry easier with rogue nations, found larger communities, and formed larger communities of racists and bigots and other haters.
We gravitate toward those blogs and sites that have something important to say, whether we agree with every particular or not. But others of lesser character are attracted to different things, pursuing a very different way of thinking and living. Child porn is a cancer that is not abating, that has spread by virtue of the internet. I think my ideas matter and matter a lot. I want as large an audience as I can attract to hear them talk about them, debate them, implement them. But the tool is still a neutral thing, to be used for good or ill.
Education and miseducation exist side by side online. Inspiration and hate. Words that lift and words that condemn. Pictures that inspire and ones that are violent and nasty and ugly and horrible. You can find whatever it is that you want on the internet, the most beautiful or the most deprived, the most uplifting or the most vicious. While the internet facilitates democratic movements, it also facilitates the most hideous forms of oppression. The exchange of ideas is a beautiful and moving and critical thing. But not all ideas are beautiful. How we use the internet and what we search for makes it a tool of beauty or of destruction.
My point is only to suggest that putting too much faith in a tool ignores those who are not like us in temperament or moral compunction. You: I disagree. It is, after all, your choice whether or not to follow our lead. We are merely expressing our preference. Who are we to impose our rigid belief system about formal education on you, our children? They simply educate and force their set of values on them rewards and punishments using slightly different means, or at least lacking one: a church. As for kids in religious families vs. They are encouraged to ask the questions, otherwise, the questions quite reasonably go unanswered.
I was raised in a secular home. Both parents were proclaimed atheists. I think most families frankly have very few discussions about observing and questioning everything. Most families talk about their day, their work, whether rooms are clean and homework done, soccer practices and dance lessons and piano recitals.
And if scientific knowledge is given to kids in secular families as the tool to discover truth, not as the truth itself as I understand your statement as meaning , then religious families are also giving their kids spiritual tools to discover religious or spiritual and moral truths. They may be more open in some areas, but more closed in others. Just look at the university campus today. When you have people come speak to the campus about ideas they disagree with liberalism, conservatism, any particular policy, etc. As a group, the religious students or the secular students? If you follow such things, the answer will be obvious.
One listens and argues and engages in debate, albeit sometimes heated.
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The other is much more likely to shout the speaker down, disallowing the free exchange of ideas, throw pies or other objects at the person speaking and the like. Hardly less dogmatic and open minded than the religious. You: Unfortunately many times beliefs are imposed on others even by moderates.
Me: A religiously-based belief is just as valid a reason to vote for a person as a secular-based belief. I do have a problem with people saying their religion should be left at home when you go vote. That is itself an example of religious bigotry, not from but toward religious people. To suggest that one should not let their values direct their vote is a dangerous notion. Where my values might come from one source and yours from another, we are equally free to vote according to the dictates of our values. The religious have just as much right to vote the way they think their values will be sustained as the nonreligious.
And to suggest that secular humanists are not just as interested in seeing their values translated politically is looking at things through narrow lenses indeed. You: Science and scientific community actually encourages and needs criticism. Rather science represents ongoing refinement of our knowledge based on better instruments and knowledge of the Universe. Me: What you say about science is true. It does rely on critique and is an ever evolving base of knowledge.
But while I respect science deeply, I understand that it is only as good as the human minds that produce it. Where once science believed things laughable today, the science of the future will likely laugh at much of what we hold to be true today. Science is not the only path to truth. We need no laboratory discovery, no double-blind study, no genetic decoding to know a life of compassion is better than a life of hate, that a life of meaning and purpose is better than one of meaninglessness and purposelessness.
There are things outside the purview of the scientific community. Morality and spirituality are two of those things.
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An appeal to morality can. Religion helps inform that debate. You: It is possible that there is a God. Prayer is such a tool used by religious people. It can lead to insight and revelation that unfolds layers of truth as we make our own lives a petri dish of experiment, applying the truths our religious faith teaches to our lives to see what grows out of it. You: I agree that many traditions, like dance, music, arts and holidays being joy and happiness. Traditions are the result of men in power using their power over less powerful women.
Me: I agree with you totally on this point. Some traditions are wonderful and some worthy of our contempt and even political sanction. Some religious ideas are exalting and some are, to use another religious term, evil. But so with secular traditions as well. Those that arise out of men oppressing women are shameful. Such shameful traditions that are motivated by a religious inclination give religion a bad name and should be equally sanctioned. Me: As you know science continues to reveal new facts about the Universe and about our bodies. We continue to map our brain, genes and biological processes with increasing accuracy, knowing which regions of brain affect mood, speech, intellect and so on.
We just need to wait and see? You: There is a communication by spiritual means from spirit to spirit. Me: Do you believe Psychics? Do you believe in Greek Gods? What about paranormal activities? Non-Christians in India performing miracles? If you start believing spirits and non-observable things that cannot be observed then where do you stop? Or people that intentionally make up claims for various reason.
If you think we should acknowledge the existing of spirit to spirit communication then anything else I listed should also be acknowledged as true? Eventually we might start burning witches again? You: A blind dedication to the scientific method is itself a closed framework of sorts.
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It is blind to follow scientific framework AND adjust our knowledge based on new theories and discoveries? Or is it blind to actually keep following religious doctrine that does not lend itself to revision? Btw homeopathy is pseudo science i. Click to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking. Though I run this site, it is not mine.
It's ours. It's not about me. It's about us. Your stories and your wisdom are just as meaningful as mine. Click here to read more. Think Web Strategy. This past summer I had the opportunity to do just that. The tropical weather was everything you would expect it to be: sunny, warm, and gorgeous. But surprisingly, the time off gave me so much more. The lessons I learned are: Ambition can make you miserable. You may be more stressed than you realize. A good chunk of the stress knot was present because of my own doing. And that was plenty.
In fact, it was more than enough. Like connecting more with family, friends, and the transcendent. It certainly did mine. So what can you do to incorporate reflection in your life? These breaks can come in all shapes and sizes such as: Meditation Turning off the TV Setting aside your smartphone Journaling Going on a hike Taking a run Getting away for a weekend Use these small breaks to progressively gain perspective on what truly matters.
Plan your small breaks or a big one now. And move toward a life that is simpler, less stressful, and more fulfilling. About Joe Scherrer Joe Scherrer helps leaders solve their toughest problems, move their organizations forward, and make their mark. Can we get a woo woo!?! Also, on top of everyone that was treated, our amazing volunteers educated the local children at the school and provided them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss.
To end the day on Thursday, we spent the last few hours at Salto de Jima. It was peaceful, relaxing, and absolutely beautiful! Gold Facility. Barrick is one of our key sustainability partners in the Dominican and they consistently donate their time and resources to the communities we serve. Okay, that was actually two facts :. Here, we toured around. Take a look for yourself…. And to end the trip, the group traveled to Santo Domingo where we spent the day in the Zona Colonial. We were true tourists this day and definitely did some major shopping. It was the perfect ending to a very successful expedition.