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"He considers religion
October 11, 2001 10:12 PM   Subscribe

"He considers religion as the scourge of humanity, which dampens down our fantasies and our lust to think and experiment.'' Academy board member Per Wastberg, about Nobel Prize winner for Literature V. S. Naipul (NYT-register, etc.)
posted by semmi (17 comments total)

 
Does the guuy speak for V.S. Naipaul, or just himself? Would Naipaul have something against total system for living? You take out God, and with Stalist Communism, you basically have a religion. I also thought the writer had a problem with colonialism. And why isn't this posted in the V.S. Naipaul wins the Nobel Prize for Literature thread anyway?

Pancakes, anyone?
posted by raysmj at 10:30 PM on October 11, 2001


Frequency of repeated words on MeFi home page:

sex - 1
God - 4
Religion - 8
Anthrax - 13
the - 404 (+/- sleepyness)


Sorry...it just seems that there are a ton of religion issued threads right now.

Carry on
posted by plemeljr at 10:35 PM on October 11, 2001


Not that I don't enjoy all of the religion threads...just as long as they are civil.
posted by plemeljr at 10:37 PM on October 11, 2001


Amen.
posted by JParker at 10:59 PM on October 11, 2001


Talk about your short articles.

Taking the view that organized religion has done harm is like joining People Against Earthquakes. This article doesn't go anywhere really but claims that people are surprise that V.S. has a critical view of religion. Dare I assume those people are Americans whose puritanical roots make mainstream religious criticism an almost censored subject? You dont extactly see it on TV and atheism and agnosticism is left to 'media/famous intellectuals/non-conformists.'

As usual I'm curious as what is the positive suggestion of a negative remark. Where would humanity be without attempts at forming meaning and cosmoslogy and I don't just mean modern people. Is this an advocation of scientific materialism? Agnosticism? Is 'religion' a UFO cult or a primitive nature cosmology? Animism? Oprah/New Age style 'spirituality'?

Its easy to say religion, especially when it becomes a power structure, is Bad (tm), but what is the suggested alternative? This is a nice way to avoid criticism and win the hearts of the intelligentisia, just don't be too specific about your cosmology or philosphical ideas because that will open you up to criticism. Smart move.
posted by skallas at 11:31 PM on October 11, 2001


Its easy to say religion, especially when it becomes a power structure, is Bad (tm), but what is the suggested alternative?

Lucidity

Critical Thinking

Rational Inquiry

Thought

Independence

to name a few
posted by signal at 12:01 AM on October 12, 2001


ChristianityMeme.org has some very interesting things to say on the subject.
posted by Jack Masters at 12:11 AM on October 12, 2001


signal, are you suggesting that religious people don't use those faculties? Or are you saying that non-theists are somehow more independant and critical than theists? I don't see what's so indepedant about being another scientific materialist and what's so rational in accepting abiogenesis and the big bang without going into their fair share of criticisms. If we're going to generalize here, many atheists, to me at least, exhibit belief substitution and see today's theories as being the final word in cosmology.

I'm not equating religion with science, obviously one is more in touch with reality than the other, but at the same time you're on pretty thin ice if you think the virtues you listed belong only to the non-theist. You also ignore that one can have philosphical 'religious-type' views and have no problem with the views of your typical atheist.

The suggestion that the non-theist is a better person [look at signal's list] is silly. The decision to be either a theist or a non-theist is a personal one based on a great deal of factors, which in themselves are based on a very limited understanding of existance, and certainly is not so cut-and-dry as being some enlightened intellectual vs. the irrational credulous believer.
posted by skallas at 12:34 AM on October 12, 2001


skallas: I wasn't defending (or identifying) with any group of people or beliefs. You asked for alternatives to religion. I named a few. All the rest is your own personal concoction.
posted by signal at 12:44 AM on October 12, 2001


You asked for alternatives to religion. I named a few.

How are those alternatives for religion? Religion, being as broad as it is, does contain all those things. You may not like the root assumptions or theology, but they do contain thought, lucidity, etc.

Secondly, you listed personal virtues not abstractions or specific belief systems or methodologies so I had to assume you were talking about the religious people. Afterall, everyone has thought.
posted by skallas at 12:57 AM on October 12, 2001


ok, skellas, more alternatives to religion:

reading Borges
sleeping
thread 9622
baths
PS2, especially DOA & Tekken Tag
hitchhiking
just idily staring out the window, though not at butterflies cos they're gross
cats
rocks
pretty much anything
posted by signal at 1:05 AM on October 12, 2001


There is no skellas, signal. Deal with it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:12 AM on October 12, 2001


Can I add 'refusing to read into the context of a question' to your list?

Deal with it.

Whatever.
posted by skallas at 1:14 AM on October 12, 2001


Skallas makes a great point (as usual). People find different things in different schools of thought. I may be agnostic, but I'm certainly intrigued by the fact that many good, intelligent, cogent folks find intellectual and spiritual satisfaction in theistic philosophy.

I can't write all these people off as superstitious rubes. I know them. They're not stupid, by any means. Two of my four brothers are missionaries. I can't say with any degree of certainty that they're wasting their lives, motivated by an absurd, outdated philosophy (as much as I may believe this to be true). Especially since they don't just proselytize to these folks. They give them food and clothing and shelter, which is more than my lazy agnostic ass does.
posted by Optamystic at 1:42 AM on October 12, 2001


Anyone ever noticed how dogmatic anti-theists are?

I've got full respect for most atheists and agnostics. But if you feel compelled to assume that all religious people are weak-minded, silly, and unwilling to think for themselves, then you're as fundamentalist as Falwell or bin Laden.

I know at least one anti-theist who can't even reconcile the fact that the most religious people he knows are brilliant and creative people, but persists in the belief that religion makes people stupid.

Most people who are serious about religion -- not just following in their parents' footsteps out of thoughtless tradition or fear of hell -- have spent considerable time deliberating the matter and have chosen the theory that best fits the evidence of their senses.
posted by Foosnark at 9:26 AM on October 12, 2001


"As usual I'm curious as what is the positive suggestion of a negative remark"

Skallas, one doesn't have to lay eggs to recognize a rotten egg.
posted by semmi at 10:30 AM on October 12, 2001


Religion, broadly defined, is the attempt to find/create/dicover meaning in a universe otherwise devoid of it. Religion/ Art/ Science are all branches of the same tree. Under that definition, there is no alternative to religion, unless you enter a total vegetative state. The point of view that you have no point of view is itself a point of view,and all that.
posted by quercus at 12:18 PM on October 12, 2001


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