The concept of sin, but removing all superstition: useful? - Politics | PoFo

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Let's just say I need more data to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, or that i'm going to be tortured in hell for eternity for doing X or Y.

However, there's something to be said about a philosophy warning about the personal and societal dangers of giving in to quick and easy temptations, separating virtues and vices, the 7 deadly sins etc.

Rejecting these values, the West has turned itself into the Garden of Earthly Delights: rampant recreational drug use, stuffing our fat faces with food plus many other addictions, wealth and greed for self-interest alone, rampant sex/divorces/affairs & children out of wedlock. You can imagine how an immigrant from i.e. Asia would immigrate to the West and think we've lost our minds.

As Yoda said in Star Wars, the quick and easy things are seductive but often a path to the dark side. These things can bring short-term pleasure but not happiness.

I see friends who are good people addicted to hard drugs, lying to women to get sex, acquiring shiny things to feed their envy and ego in order to make others envious. There's a lot of nonsense superstition in religious texts like the Bible, but maybe some wise truths in some of those old stories as well.
FiveofSwords wrote:Christians are often quite degenerate themselves. Superstition is not the reason people do not engage in degenerate behavior.

Indeed, and to a degenerate everything is a means to degeneracy. They pervert even religion and turn it into a means for them to commit more degeneracy, like priests molesting children, or ministers having affairs with their female parishioners. They use religion as camouflage, they hide behind it. Reading a few words in a book isn’t going to change their minds about anything.
I believe the imperative to 'do good works' can be dangerous to the mind. An individual who has an expectation of themselves to act in a certain manner is more prone to taking a tiny moment of weakness/deviance, and turning it into a bubble-walled room of guilt bouncing around and coming back to whack them over and over again, until the sheer frustration at ones weakness results in a fuck-it attitude which momentarily permits them to enact all the sins they possibly can in a short little time until they wake up the next morning and repent repent repent, just to do it all over again next week. If you can, instead, have 'impure' thoughts, and devise 'impure' plots and be lenient on the self, acknowledging these 'impurities' but treating them in a neutral manner and not energetically feeding them, you would be better off than if you become accustomed to a cycle of self-condemnation. So essentially, no, superstition has nothing to do with it. Guilt is a mechanism of control, which is why religions find it so handy, and why religious practitioners are often so corrupted. If you called condemnation another name just because it doesn't use superstitious parables, it would still have the same effect on the followers of your condemnation. There are better ways to live your life, such as learning from your mistakes and not letting your mistakes eat away at you.

An example of what i mean is as follows; a normal person is walking down the street, and a 'disturbing' thought appears in their head; a vision of their mother nude, spreading her legs in a welcoming gesture... the person shakes it off, and tells themselves its fine, its okay, just a random harmless thought, and then they keep walking and get on with their day.
Another person who has been told to be pure and without sin on the other hand, would be walking down the street, and have the thought of their naked mother and think 'oh no! theres something wrong with me! im sick! ew! go away thought! get out of here! im such a sick disgusting person!' but the more they try to force the thought away, the more enticing their mother acts in the vision, and then the person is there with the mother doing 'horrible' things which exacerbates the self-disgust... later that night the person ends up masturbating to the thought, having futilely tried to fight it off, and afterwords is so disgusted with themself that they can barely cope with existence, they consider themselves a failure, what would their saviours think of them?... eventually this becomes a habit, and the thoughts get worse and worse involving the father, the sister, the son, the daughter, whatever... it graduates into deeper degeneracy because the person didn't realize they could have just let the thought go initially and just kept walking and continued their day without turning it into a criticism + condemnation of the self. It is situations like these which are more likely to occur in someone controlled by guilt, which lead to the worst kinds of degenerate perpetrators.
Last edited by froggo on 17 Jul 2024 12:20, edited 6 times in total.
Potemkin wrote:Indeed, and to a degenerate everything is a means to degeneracy. They pervert even religion and turn it into a means for them to commit more degeneracy, like priests molesting children, or ministers having affairs with their female parishioners. They use religion as camouflage, they hide behind it. Reading a few words in a book isn’t going to change their minds about anything.

You are too naive, @Potemkin. The greater the moral violation, the greater the thrill. Adulterers and pedophiles don't become priests in order to provide cover for their transgressions. That's only a side benefit. They become these things so that when they do transgress, the pain and sense of betrayal inflicted on their victims will be all the sweeter.
In some circumstances it may have nothing to do with having power over the victim; rather they feel a sense of thrill and power in their transgression because it gives them a temporary release from their guilt-induced prison of self-hate. The more atrocious they can be in their abandon, the freer they feel for a brief moment. Eventually, when they realize there are no repercussions thus far for their actions , ie. 'maybe there is no god' they could turn from being self-hating and guilt-ridden, to just plain outright relentlessly evil.
I agree with @Unthinking Majority unthinking majority. In the posts following his we see the very common practice of holding people who hold themselves to a higher standard, to a higher standard. This, delicious as it is, does not make sense

Our world does not suffer from a surfeit of moral compass. Indeed it is the opposite. The very examples that Froggo uses can be questioned on the face of them. Why is it wrong to have sexual thoughts about anything? The very notion that they are harmful is driven by religious beliefs from time immemorial. Thoughts are not actions. Only in the context of some imposed moral compass would that become real. Nor do random thoughts compel action. If they did we would all be under surveillance.

UM's correct in recognizing the usefulness of religious thought in identifying laudable behavior and condemning harmful behavior. One does not have to be a theist to believe this. I concede that is is much easier for those of us who are theists.

I would not remove religion from the discussion of moral compass. It serves our purpose with a great many people. IF "Thou shall not steal" works in place of "that would not be nice" or "that would be illegal" and, as a result my car is not stolen, I am just fine with that. Call it, defense in depth.
It is not so much that I am holding them to a higher standard, rather its the environment and influences they have in their life which makes them hold themselves to a higher standard.
Nor do i believe it is wrong to have sexual thoughts, but a person who may be repeatedly told that having such thoughts are inappropriate could succumb to a situation where a benign thought can evolve into an obsession; my example juxtaposes a Buddhistic non-attachment of thought with a Christian guilt-complexy way of thinking... and that's where i believe a thought certainly can lead to action; when it becomes obsessive, when it takes power over the weakened mind, and leads to compulsive behaviours. A person who hunts down Jodie Foster, or goes into a school to shoot their peers, or habitually kidnaps innocent children compulsively does so by having obsessed over the fantasy of doing so. and the obsessive nature of a thought is often formed within the confines of a strict rigidity of dogma.
now, do i think it's wrong to tell your child to be nice to their sister, don't steal her m&ms, ask her nicely if you can have some? Certainly not. But i think teaching a child to intuit a general expectation of good conduct is a bit less severe than how i perceive what the teaching of 'sin', and what happens when one sins, how sinning is to make one feel, where one stands as a sinner in the world, what the punishment for sin is, etc. would be.
There is a case to be made that the discouraging of such thoughts in a religious context reduces not increases the instances of them. You argue repression I suppose. To assume that learning that one ought not shoot one's neighbor in a religious upbringing is less effective or more repressive than learning that one ought not to do so in a secular upbringing is imagining facts not in evidence.

You assert that teaching outside of a religious context is "less severe" but that would assume two things... First that you choose the most fervent religious context to support your assertions and then that milder admonitions are as effective in eliminating "bad" behavior. As I said, neither is supported by any evidence of which I am aware.
the assertions i am speaking of do exist in the most severe of religious context. the types of abhorrent degenerates i'm speaking of, thankfully, are not as common as they could be. A mildly religious person who does not use the religion to outright-control the progeny is unlikely to have their child grow into a degenerate via the examples i've provided; unfortunately where a dogmatic schematic is concerned, there will be those who interpret it mildly and those who interpret it severely.
There are several reasons why evidence will not be able to support my arguments, which i take it will lead you to dismiss me, so be it, and they are as follows; 1. i am primarily speaking anecdotally and experientially. and secondly, people have a multitude of ways they interpret guilt. studies in psychopathology themselves have had conflicting results, some of which state that guilt is good and leads to good behaviour, and some of which state that guilt is bad and leads to bad behaviour. There is no consensus, because this subject matter deals with individuals and situational analyses, there can never be a one-size-fits-all approach. When i say i am speaking anecdotally i am basing my conclusions on how i have observed certain characters i have come across in life. i mentioned in the longest thread ever that i spent over a year living amongst pedophiles and rapists while incarcerated and, having not much else to do, i was rather fond of interrogating them to try to get to the root of who they were and why they did some of the things they did. Another situation occurred where i was in a recovery house, supporting my boyfriend's recovery, and this was a christian-based organization with unorthodox methods of group-therapy, and the way i observed how attempts of using guilt to 'remedy' the lost was rather appalling, and lead certain characters in the group to act out in worse ways than if a softer approach had been applied. Now; i will not attempt to convince you that my experiences and observations trump your intuitive nature of how rules of conduct have been applied and helpful in your own life. I simply share my perspective so that you can see why some people might find the application of sin in their lives as being more of a destructive force than anything conducive to good works.
What is the fundamental (intellectual) problem here?

The problem is that the moral society that most modern westerners assume as a foundation was utterly impossible until quite recently and is still missing in significant ways for a large part of humanity. The moral system that presupposes independence, freedom and a certain level of economic comfort just didn't exist for men and was much worse for women and children. We have an idea the children's childhood should be protected. Everyone get's very upset by child sexaul abuse, but childhood as we moderns understand it didn't exist. The idea that children's rights could be protected outside of our modern context is utterly absurd. There's a reason that child sexual abuse only really started to become an issue in the 1980s. It only made sense to try and protect children's rights, once the idea that women should be treated as full adults could be established.

Our moral system only works within the context of our modern liberal societies. In Britain we had the phenomenon of Jimmy Saville. Seemingly a prolific sexual abuser over decades. He was front page news for day after day after day. It makes sense in our society to demonise him. But single attacks by an Israeli war plane in Gaza have caused more harm, more suffering than Jimmy Saville caused in his entire life. No one in Gaza cares about the Jimmey Savilles. When you try and apply normal moral standards to these situations you end up in farce. The Liberal cretins keep trying to solve these situation as if its a case of criminality. A case of individual criminals breaking the codes that the overwhelming majority accept. It isn't. I remember the Liberal morons on this forum during the Syrian conflict saying all this terrible war and conflict and suffering was the fault of one man Bashar Assad. No its not morons. This was a problem of religious, ethnic, political , class conflict, it was not a problem of individual criminals or individual sinners.
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