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Christianity is a threat to our inner most integrity, because it is apposed to our own human decency acting on it's own.

It dictates to us that every human being is faulty and that fault is sin. It breeds contemptuous attitudes in the believer, so they see everyone and everything as faulty. 

 

A very poor perception to have for anything, but this perception is grown out of ignorance of the fact that no one is truly good or evil.

 

The world is seen as evil, so the believer is left to judge everyone and everything based on this precept. This gives rise for believers to force moral standers of goodness on everyone, and in turn push people to a high moral standard that is impossible to achieve.

 

Religion can be united by one primary function

 

Polarity of the species, this is done by turning the switch of evil thinking to good thinking.

 

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Very well said! The crazy part is that the impossibly high moral standard they try to impose on others isn’t even very high to begin with. The Inqusition is a great example of full force Christian morality in action. I feel like secular morality is far superior to Christian mortality in its treatment of LGBT+ individuals, in its treatment of women, and in it’s opposition to war and violence, to name a few points of contention.

 

This discussion also brings in the Euthyphro dilemma proposed by Plato... is morality derived from what God commands, or can God only command what is morally good? If he is only able to say and do what is moral, this is in conflict with his omnipotence. If morality is derived from God, then we are required to accept a number of moral atrocities in the Bible. I do not and will not ever condone slavery, child abuse, killing witches or anyone who disagrees religiously, or the mistreatment of women or homosexuals as outlined in the Bible, and most modern Christians would say slavery is immoral and child abuse is bad (though they’re wishy-washy about gender roles and LGBT+ people). 

 

It’s weird to say that most humans have a morality that is superior to God but I wholeheartedly believe that to be true.

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1 hour ago, superbrady said:

It’s weird to say that most humans have a morality that is superior to God but I wholeheartedly believe that to be true.

 

It's true because what you're really talking about between most humans, and god, is simply humans today verses humans several thousand years ago, who, were the mouth piece for their gods. 

 

The god seems immoral because humans were immoral in comparison to now. When they took to writing religious works - pretending as if these religious works were coming from a god - they were stuck with short sided perspectives common to the time and place, which, are no longer common now. We see this even today when we see liberal theologians and preachers trying to twist and change their religious perspectives to a time and place that no longer condones slavery, is more accepting of gays, does not tolerate abuse, etc. 

 

We change, our perspective of god changes along with us. 

 

The old guard resists the new ways. 

 

The old guard dies off generation by generation. 

 

I was recently thinking about monotheism the other day at work. And it occurred to me that monotheism was essentially another step in humanities evolution towards atheism. The idea that the other gods did not exist, was new. Ours, oh yeah, he exists, but all the rest are made up. It's often said that an atheist is like a monotheist who simply goes one step further. In an evolutionary sense that's true. There were myriad gods, then one god. Technically deism fit in there and the one god was seen as irrelevant. And then finally the realization that the whole thing has simply been made up the entire time. Science pretty much sealed that deal a long time ago. Along with archaeology and textual criticism. But this was mainly limited to intellectual and academic circles for a long time. Then the internet. Then the age of mass access to information, worldwide.

 

And now, we're simply waiting around for the majority of society to catch up and move forward with the minority of those who already have....

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4 hours ago, superbrady said:

Very well said! The crazy part is that the impossibly high moral standard they try to impose on others isn’t even very high to begin with. The Inqusition is a great example of full force Christian morality in action. I feel like secular morality is far superior to Christian mortality in its treatment of LGBT+ individuals, in its treatment of women, and in it’s opposition to war and violence, to name a few points of contention.

 

This discussion also brings in the Euthyphro dilemma proposed by Plato... is morality derived from what God commands, or can God only command what is morally good? If he is only able to say and do what is moral, this is in conflict with his omnipotence. If morality is derived from God, then we are required to accept a number of moral atrocities in the Bible. I do not and will not ever condone slavery, child abuse, killing witches or anyone who disagrees religiously, or the mistreatment of women or homosexuals as outlined in the Bible, and most modern Christians would say slavery is immoral and child abuse is bad (though they’re wishy-washy about gender roles and LGBT+ people). 

 

It’s weird to say that most humans have a morality that is superior to God but I wholeheartedly believe that to be true.

As this is true for OT thumpers, the NT issues commandments which are unrealistic for the common person.

 

Thinking further on this, I can add

 

We must leave the infantile concept of good and evil behind, they are a basic subjective classification of a idea that has no ultimate standard. If you deconstruct good and evil, they are just mental concepts of positive thinking and negative thinking. Both pose a threat to your mind as they cause mental polar shift's.

 

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1 hour ago, theanticrash said:

As this is true for OT thumpers, the NT issues commandments which are unrealistic for the common person.

 

I think this was because without impossible standards we wouldn't need to be saved.  Let no man say he is righteous and what not.  Of course, the OT has its share of so-called righteous men, and if you include the Judges, even some women, but the NT doesn't remember those. 

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On 3/9/2018 at 11:55 AM, Joshpantera said:

It's true because what you're really talking about between most humans, and god, is simply humans today verses humans several thousand years ago, who, were the mouth piece for their gods. 

 

The god seems immoral because humans were immoral in comparison to now. When they took to writing religious works - pretending as if these religious works were coming from a god - they were stuck with short sided perspectives common to the time and place, which, are no longer common now. We see this even today when we see liberal theologians and preachers trying to twist and change their religious perspectives to a time and place that no longer condones slavery, is more accepting of gays, does not tolerate abuse, etc. 

 

We change, our perspective of god changes along with us.

 

I think you're spot on. This echos a lot of what I read in Pinker's "Better Angels of Our Nature". Though dense, I think it's a really good book and that many of you here would enjoy it. It gave me a lot of hope in humanity's future.

 

On 3/9/2018 at 11:55 AM, Joshpantera said:

I was recently thinking about monotheism the other day at work. And it occurred to me that monotheism was essentially another step in humanities evolution towards atheism. The idea that the other gods did not exist, was new. Ours, oh yeah, he exists, but all the rest are made up. It's often said that an atheist is like a monotheist who simply goes one step further. In an evolutionary sense that's true. There were myriad gods, then one god. Technically deism fit in there and the one god was seen as irrelevant. And then finally the realization that the whole thing has simply been made up the entire time. Science pretty much sealed that deal a long time ago. Along with archaeology and textual criticism. But this was mainly limited to intellectual and academic circles for a long time. Then the internet. Then the age of mass access to information, worldwide.

 

And now, we're simply waiting around for the majority of society to catch up and move forward with the minority of those who already have....

 

I think you're absolutely right here too. When the majority finally catches up and religious fundamentalism moves to the fringe, the future will be bright! :P

 

On 3/9/2018 at 3:18 PM, theanticrash said:

We must leave the infantile concept of good and evil behind, they are a basic subjective classification of a idea that has no ultimate standard. If you deconstruct good and evil, they are just mental concepts of positive thinking and negative thinking. Both pose a threat to your mind as they cause mental polar shift's.

 

Well said, and an interesting perspective! This reminds me a lot of Buddhism's criticism of dualism.

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On 09/03/2018 at 3:18 PM, theanticrash said:

 

We must leave the infantile concept of good and evil behind, they are a basic subjective classification of a idea that has no ultimate standard. If you deconstruct good and evil, they are just mental concepts of positive thinking and negative thinking. Both pose a threat to your mind as they cause mental polar shift's.

 

 

And yet, the ideas of good and evil are useful.

 

Who among us wouldn't agree that, for example, the rape and torture of innocent children is an evil act? I would hazard that this is something which seems really wrong to all of us. As such, why should we hesitate to call it evil?

 

The questions of where morality comes from, and whether it is objective are separate, in my view, from the question of whether or not it exists. I think moral standards are real, and binding. They just aren't objestive, and they aren't imposed on us by God. But I think that the suggestion that we should leave the ideas of good and evil behind entirely would be to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater (which, incidentally, would also seen to me to be a wrong thing to do).

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In my opinion good and evil are subjective and derived from our social needs for survival.  The easiest way to understand them is that evil increases overall human suffering and decreases happiness while good reduces overall human suffering and increases happiness.  They also come in degrees, of course.   

 

 

 

Edited for clarity.

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On 3/9/2018 at 8:55 AM, Joshpantera said:

 

It's true because what you're really talking about between most humans, and god, is simply humans today verses humans several thousand years ago, who, were the mouth piece for their gods. 

 

The god seems immoral because humans were immoral in comparison to now. When they took to writing religious works - pretending as if these religious works were coming from a god - they were stuck with short sided perspectives common to the time and place, which, are no longer common now. We see this even today when we see liberal theologians and preachers trying to twist and change their religious perspectives to a time and place that no longer condones slavery, is more accepting of gays, does not tolerate abuse, etc. 

 

We change, our perspective of god changes along with us. 

 

The old guard resists the new ways. 

 

The old guard dies off generation by generation. 

 

I was recently thinking about monotheism the other day at work. And it occurred to me that monotheism was essentially another step in humanities evolution towards atheism. The idea that the other gods did not exist, was new. Ours, oh yeah, he exists, but all the rest are made up. It's often said that an atheist is like a monotheist who simply goes one step further. In an evolutionary sense that's true. There were myriad gods, then one god. Technically deism fit in there and the one god was seen as irrelevant. And then finally the realization that the whole thing has simply been made up the entire time. Science pretty much sealed that deal a long time ago. Along with archaeology and textual criticism. But this was mainly limited to intellectual and academic circles for a long time. Then the internet. Then the age of mass access to information, worldwide.

 

And now, we're simply waiting around for the majority of society to catch up and move forward with the minority of those who already have....

Not sure I agree Monotheism was an evolution towards Atheism.  Christianity as it was practiced in most of its history is near Polytheistic, with not just the trinity but Mary and the Saints replacing the place of reverence for lower gods.  One has to also realize that chance was a major reason why Monotheism triumphed, if Constantine lost the Battle of the Milvian Bridge or the two before it, or if Theodosius hadn't beaten back the resurgence of Paganism in the West in the Battle of Frigidus then we might not have been Christian and if Christianity never took off it would be unlikely that Islam would have ever taken shape as Muhammad stole the ideas of Christianity and just repackaged them in an Arabic and more monotheistic form.  It just so happens though that monotheism did take off, and its core doctrine means efforts to convert the entire world were quite logically consequential as the concept of universal salvation and missionary work was not common to any other Polytheistic movement.  If anything people became more inclined to religion after monotheism took place and it was only our discovery of our ignorance in the 16th Century and beyond that began motivating people to become Pantheisms and Deist which are more so evolutions in the direction of Atheism and only needed Darwin to facilitate a more coherent atheist worldview.

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16 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

Not sure I agree Monotheism was an evolution towards Atheism. 

 

Narrowing down the gods (poly) to only one (mono), and then from one (mono) to zero (a) isn't an evolution forward? 

 

16 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

One has to also realize that chance was a major reason why Monotheism triumphed, if Constantine lost the Battle of the Milvian Bridge or the two before it, or if Theodosius hadn't beaten back the resurgence of Paganism in the West in the Battle of Frigidus then we might not have been Christian and if Christianity never took off it would be unlikely that Islam would have ever taken shape as Muhammad stole the ideas of Christianity and just repackaged them in an Arabic and more monotheistic form.  It just so happens though that monotheism did take off, and its core doctrine means efforts to convert the entire world were quite logically consequential as the concept of universal salvation and missionary work was not common to any other Polytheistic movement.

 

Yes, if, this, if that, or if something other thing, than evolution itself would have been different. Just as it would be with any evolution of any type. Everything is the way it is now, because had anything been different leading into now, than the current moment would be an entirely different by extension. Not sure where you were trying to go with the above. Things happened just as they did, for what ever reasons they did, and polytheism was systematically narrowed down to monotheism, after which came a growing atheism. 

 

17 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

If anything people became more inclined to religion after monotheism took place and it was only our discovery of our ignorance in the 16th Century and beyond that began motivating people to become Pantheisms and Deist which are more so evolutions in the direction of Atheism and only needed Darwin to facilitate a more coherent atheist worldview.

 

Yes, again. Monotheism led to eventually to atheism, with some deism worked into the mix as I was saying. 

 

I assume by 

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2 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Narrowing down the gods (poly) to only one (mono), and then from one (mono) to zero (a) isn't an evolution forward? 

 

 

Yes, if, this, if that, or if something other thing, than evolution itself would have been different. Just as it would be with any evolution of any type. Everything is the way it is now, because had anything been different leading into now, than the current moment would be an entirely different by extension. Not sure where you were trying to go with the above. Things happened just as they did, for what ever reasons they did, and polytheism was systematically narrowed down to monotheism, after which came a growing atheism. 

 

 

Yes, again. Monotheism led to eventually to atheism, with some deism worked into the mix as I was saying. 

 

I assume by 

That's like assuming human level intelligence is the natural course of evolution, it just worked out that way and could have worked out differently had circumstances been different.  Narrowing gods down to one only made people more fanatical about their god, its an anachronism to say it was an evolutionary step towards atheism.  Cynics and Stoics were more of an evolutionary step towards atheism than monotheism is.  A totally sovereign god who cares about everything is no where near a step towards atheism, which is why monotheistic societies were the most dogmatic in the history of mankind for a millennia until men labeled heretics began to unravel our ignorance about the universe.

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4 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

That's like assuming human level intelligence is the natural course of evolution, it just worked out that way and could have worked out differently had circumstances been different.  Narrowing gods down to one only made people more fanatical about their god, its an anachronism to say it was an evolutionary step towards atheism. 

 

This is a simple statement. Many gods were narrowed down one god, belief in the others was dropped, and then finally the last god belief was dropped too. This is about the evolution of god belief, not meant to veer off into reproduction and genetics or anything more complex than the simple statement. 

 

Looking around, those who have gone through all the way to atheism, are waiting for the rest to catch up. The rest being those still holding on to earlier and more primitive renditions of god belief. To try and counter this is to say to any one reading along, "no, that's not true." 

 

But it's exactly true, because it's simply a summary of where we've been and how god belief has had the tendency to narrow down from many, to one, to zero - along side of increasing intelligence and technology. 

 

4 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

Cynics and Stoics were more of an evolutionary step towards atheism than monotheism is.  A totally sovereign god who cares about everything is no where near a step towards atheism, which is why monotheistic societies were the most dogmatic in the history of mankind for a millennia until men labeled heretics began to unravel our ignorance about the universe.

 

This should be very easy to understand. Monotheist's began, eventually, to "disbelieve" in the polytheistic gods. The had the novel idea that their god is only one that really exists, with respect to all other gods they were 'atheistic'. Christian's were accused of being atheist's by polytheist's of the time and place, due to their lack of belief in the polytheist's gods. So as far as some of the early critics of christianity, christians were atheists for not believing in the gods of the critics. 

 

Again, quite simply, I'm just summarizing history as it happened and looking at how atheism began to bud from the evolving situation of monotheism, as it moved through time. This eventually led to taking one more step, dropping belief in one god in exchange for disbelief in all of the gods, including disbelief in the monotheistic god. 

 

Over time, and with thought and rising intelligence, the gods were systematically narrowed down to zero, narrowed down from polytheism, to monotheism, to deism and finally atheism. 

 

I've been proceeding in terms of truths. 

 

Which of the above is not true? 

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13 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

This is a simple statement. Many gods were narrowed down one god, belief in the others was dropped, and then finally the last god belief was dropped too. This is about the evolution of god belief, not meant to veer off into reproduction and genetics or anything more complex than the simple statement. 

 

Looking around, those who have gone through all the way to atheism, are waiting for the rest to catch up. The rest being those still holding on to earlier and more primitive renditions of god belief. To try and counter this is to say to any one reading along, "no, that's not true." 

 

But it's exactly true, because it's simply a summary of where we've been and how god belief has had the tendency to narrow down from many, to one, to zero - along side of increasing intelligence and technology. 

 

 

This should be very easy to understand. Monotheist's began, eventually, to "disbelieve" in the polytheistic gods. The had the novel idea that their god is only one that really exists, with respect to all other gods they were 'atheistic'. Christian's were accused of being atheist's by polytheist's of the time and place, due to their lack of belief in the polytheist's gods. So as far as some of the early critics of christianity, christians were atheists for not believing in the gods of the critics. 

 

Again, quite simply, I'm just summarizing history as it happened and looking at how atheism began to bud from the evolving situation of monotheism, as it moved through time. This eventually led to taking one more step, dropping belief in one god in exchange for disbelief in all of the gods, including disbelief in the monotheistic god. 

 

Over time, and with thought and rising intelligence, the gods were systematically narrowed down to zero, narrowed down from polytheism, to monotheism, to deism and finally atheism. 

 

I've been proceeding in terms of truths. 

 

Which of the above is not true? 

I feel like you're reading clever atheist arguments into the past.  Christians weren't all that monotheistic to begin with, they had three gods but used Greek philosophy to turn them into one substance and then added on all kinds of Saints and Mary to be revered.  Functionally it hasn't been too much different from Polytheism, and Islam the ultimate monotheism is about the most dogmatic belief system ever devised, so I really don't think that example is an evolution in the step of atheism.  Greeks and Romans called Christians atheists, but an atheist is NO gods whatsoever.  Even one big all encompasing god is miles away from atheism, the chasm between that and deism and later atheism is quite substantial and it is only in the West where a kind of secular society formed and such beliefs were possible.  The Monotheism that replaced Polytheism in the East did not have that impact, indeed because their Monotheism did not afford a kind of separate secular politics (Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's), no such atheism developed corresponding to the West.

 

History is much messier and complex than this progressive evolutionary vision of religion entails, Islam should have beat Christianity to atheism as it was more monotheistic but the opposite is the case.

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36 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

I feel like you're reading clever atheist arguments into the past.  Christians weren't all that monotheistic to begin with, they had three gods but used Greek philosophy to turn them into one substance and then added on all kinds of Saints and Mary to be revered. 

 

It may sound like clever atheistic reasoning, but I contend that I'm not making an historical revision in the process. 

 

Again, sticking to simplicity, by the time of the common era judaism had already transformed it's early polytheism into monolatry and monotheism, mainly for political reasons as some archaeologist's contend. Christianity arose into an environment of monotheistic judaism, along side of the pagan religions. It mixed the two, but towards the aim of making the pagan religions conform to the new face of monotheism. The trinity is part of that attempt to conform the polytheist's into a monotheistic frame work. But the whole system is set up to consume the other religions into the monotheistic frame work. 

 

Yeshua means, "Yahweh Saves," "Yahweh is Salvation." 

 

It's about directing everyone towards the evolved monotheistic version of judaism's gods. 

 

36 minutes ago, TrueScotsman said:

Functionally it hasn't been too much different from Polytheism, and Islam the ultimate monotheism is about the most dogmatic belief system ever devised, so I really don't think that example is an evolution in the step of atheism.  Greeks and Romans called Christians atheists, but an atheist is NO gods whatsoever.  Even one big all encompasing god is miles away from atheism, the chasm between that and deism and later atheism is quite substantial and it is only in the West where a kind of secular society formed and such beliefs were possible.

 

Yes, but that's because functionally it was about taking in the polytheistic converts and giving them a monotheistic focus. And Islam is a complete copy of that. Some 900 years later the same thing was done in the Arab world conforming the polytheism to monotheism. That's a pretty big copy cat religion, in fact. Late to the party. Taking longer to catch up. But upon catching up, joining the ranks of monotheistic evolution. The rise in ethnic Muslims going secular and atheist is that branch of it. 

 

Going forward, deism became fashionable to the intellectual elite. Imagining that the one god likely exists out there, somewhere, but remains more or less irrelevant to the goings on here on earth. Belief became more irrelevant. They were ahead of the big atheistic push. But they were bridging the gap from monotheist to atheism.  

 

Monotheism isn't actually miles away from atheism, though. 

 

Those of us who turned from belief to non-belief often did so abruptly, with a quick transition. The reason being, we already lacked belief in everyone else's gods, or even their versions of the same god. We were atheistic about everyone else's god but our own pet god. And so taking the next logical step, questioning the one pet god belief, became quite clear - how can it be on any better footing than everyone else's gods, which we clearly never believed in and took as fairy tales? We were nearly atheistic, like the early christians. 

 

Monotheism is much closer to atheism than perhaps many people imagine it is. 

 

It doesn't have to take much to cross over the line from one to the other. And, further, atheism could make a near clean sweep of things like christianity once did. For similar reasons. Now that many people have concluded that all of the other gods are nonsense, it only makes sense to conclude that last remaining god is equally nonsense as well. 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

It may sound like clever atheistic reasoning, but I contend that I'm not making an historical revision in the process. 

 

Again, sticking to simplicity, by the time of the common era judaism had already transformed it's early polytheism into monolatry and monotheism, mainly for political reasons as some archaeologist's contend. Christianity arose into an environment of monotheistic judaism, along side of the pagan religions. It mixed the two, but towards the aim of making the pagan religions conform to the new face of monotheism. The trinity is part of that attempt to conform the polytheist's into a monotheistic frame work. But the whole system is set up to consume the other religions into the monotheistic frame work. 

 

Yeshua means, "Yahweh Saves," "Yahweh is Salvation." 

 

It's about directing everyone towards the evolved monotheistic version of judaism's gods. 

 

 

Yes, but that's because functionally it was about taking in the polytheistic converts and giving them a monotheistic focus. And Islam is a complete copy of that. Some 900 years later the same thing was done in the Arab world conforming the polytheism to monotheism. That's a pretty big copy cat religion, in fact. Late to the party. Taking longer to catch up. 

 

Going forward, deism became fashionable to the intellectual elite. Imagining that the one god likely exists out there, somewhere, but more or less irrelevant to the goings on here on earth. Belief became more irrelevant. And atheism began to look like the most logical option at the tail end of it all. 

 

Monotheism isn't actually miles away from atheism, though. 

 

Those of us who turned from belief to non-belief often did so abruptly, with a quick transition. The reason being, we already lacked belief in everyone else's gods, or even their versions of the same god. We were atheistic about everyone else's god but our own pet god. And so taking the next logical step, questioning the one pet god belief, because quite clear - how can it be any better footing than everyone else's gods, which we clearly never believed in and took as fairy tales? 

 

No, monotheism is much closer to atheism than perhaps many people imagine it is. 

 

It doesn't have to take much to cross over the line from one to the other...

 

No doubt they tried to integrate a Polytheistic framework into a Monotheistic one, but that was because the Roman higher classes had converted and eventually under Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion outlawing Paganism.  Had Julian lived longer and not been killed by Parthians, he might have had a Pagan revival, just the same as if Constantine lost the Battle of Milvian Bridge or if Theodosius lost the Battle of Frigidus which would have resulted in a Pagan revival.  History is built on these contingencies which could have gone either way.  Or what if Origen didn't write his ideas in a more sophisticated Greek so as to become a more respected set of ideas in higher society?  Christianity wasn't determined to be the next evolution in religion, it turned out that way for a whole list of factors most of which are built on pure chance.

 

Most of the human population remained some form of polytheism outside of the West, and it is only in Europe that society eventually developed to the point where people could be atheists.  Islam as I already mentioned was a more pronounced monotheism and despite the fact they were far more advanced scientifically than the West during the Middle Ages, they never developed a secular tradition because of the particular doctrines of Islam, such as Sharia Law.  It would seem easier to just give up one god than many, but it us those who preached only one God and one way who made it especially difficult to leave with those who reject the gods being burned as apostates and heretics of they ever declared or were found out.  Monotheism is more of a social evolution to organising society than an evolution towards modern atheism as it was more inclusive than Polytheism to outside groups and actively proselytized to make their religion the only religion.  The Greek Pantheon and other Polytheistic belief systems are probably closer to Deism than Monotheism as they weren't all encompassing moral worldviews which required the kind of absolutism found in monotheistic religions.  Many here also don't abruptly don't become atheists, just because a person disbelieves one god doesn't mean they won't take up another.  My sister is in the midst of disbelieving in the Mormon god, but still believes there is a god out there.  It might be that people of certain temperaments and who have certain experiences might be particularly inclined to atheism while others are not.  Which is why I dont look at history and see a march towards atheism, especially when one expands their lense outside of a western approach.

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1 hour ago, TrueScotsman said:

No doubt they tried to integrate a Polytheistic framework into a Monotheistic one, but that was because the Roman higher classes had converted and eventually under Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion outlawing Paganism.  Had Julian lived longer and not been killed by Parthians, he might have had a Pagan revival, just the same as if Constantine lost the Battle of Milvian Bridge or if Theodosius lost the Battle of Frigidus which would have resulted in a Pagan revival.  History is built on these contingencies which could have gone either way.  Or what if Origen didn't write his ideas in a more sophisticated Greek so as to become a more respected set of ideas in higher society?  Christianity wasn't determined to be the next evolution in religion, it turned out that way for a whole list of factors most of which are built on pure chance.

 

That's like reasoning that if by chance, a meteor didn't hit (or whatever the cause may have been) then the dinosaurs wouldn't have gone extinct. And would seem to be applying such logic as it's only by chance, that mammals rose to prominence - it could have gone either way. Well that's true, it could have gone in any number of directions with any number of results. But that doesn't change the fact that the evolution of life on earth resulted in us, right here, right now. 

 

There's no premeditated goal to any of this, as far as I know. It's just a matter of what did happen and how what did happen resulted in what took place up until now. It's no different than how god belief has evolved over time. There was no goal to get from polytheism to atheism. That's just how the cards happened to fall. And now here we are. Specifically, all of us ex christians and, ex monotheist's for that matter, growing in number. Out in the forefront, having left behind superstition and preoccupations with afterlife rewards and punishment. Leading the push towards advancement and the future. 

 

1 hour ago, TrueScotsman said:

Most of the human population remained some form of polytheism outside of the West, and it is only in Europe that society eventually developed to the point where people could be atheists.  Islam as I already mentioned was a more pronounced monotheism and despite the fact they were far more advanced scientifically than the West during the Middle Ages, they never developed a secular tradition because of the particular doctrines of Islam, such as Sharia Law.  It would seem easier to just give up one god than many, but it us those who preached only one God and one way who made it especially difficult to leave with those who reject the gods being burned as apostates and heretics of they ever declared or were found out. 

 

That's why the churches power subsiding coincided with the rise of science and discovery. And the age of enlightenment. The tight grip had to be released in order for freethinking to have a chance at flourishing. Sort of like when the dinosaur's dying off gave a sporting chance to burrowing land mammals. 

 

1 hour ago, TrueScotsman said:

Monotheism is more of a social evolution to organising society than an evolution towards modern atheism as it was more inclusive than Polytheism to outside groups and actively proselytized to make their religion the only religion.  The Greek Pantheon and other Polytheistic belief systems are probably closer to Deism than Monotheism as they weren't all encompassing moral worldviews which required the kind of absolutism found in monotheistic religions.  Many here also don't abruptly don't become atheists, just because a person disbelieves one god doesn't mean they won't take up another.  My sister is in the midst of disbelieving in the Mormon god, but still believes there is a god out there.  It might be that people of certain temperaments and who have certain experiences might be particularly inclined to atheism while others are not.  Which is why I dont look at history and see a march towards atheism, especially when one expands their lense outside of a western approach.

 

It is a social evolution to organizing society. I mean the whole making YHWH the universal god was such an effort. 

 

I think that in terms of the western approach, it's leading the way. It produced monotheism and basically the atheism that followed in the wake of it. And secularist's worldwide tend towards agnostic and atheist mixes. The message of one god went around the world, through jews, christians and muslims. Few people haven't heard of it. Behind all of that, now, comes a sweeping wave of non-belief which includes the spiritual but not religious. They don't believe in god in the way in which organized religions present it. I just tend to think that the western approach is encompassing the world, first by way of monotheist proselytizing, then by the waves of science and secularism that have proceeded out from western examples as well. 

 

Your sister, is merely on a path away from mormonism. It could lead straight to atheism if she questions everything. What if she simply does some recreational reading and decides that the entire god belief system is on no better footing than mormonism? She would have evolved from believing in make believe to no longer believing in make believe. And moving on to a larger range of world view in the process. 

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24 minutes ago, Joshpantera said:

 

That's like reasoning that if by chance, a meteor didn't hit (or whatever the cause may have been) then the dinosaurs wouldn't have gone extinct. And would seem to be applying such logic as it's only by chance, that mammals rose to prominence - it could have gone either way. Well that's true, it could have gone in any number of directions with any number of results. But that doesn't change the fact that the evolution of life on earth resulted in us, right here, right now.

That doesn't mean that any one of these crossroads were determined, without such a chance event intelligent life may never have formulated on earth and may be why we don't observe any distinguishable intelligence in the universe to this point, because the conditions under which it could possibly form are remote and suspect to such chance circumstances.  Unlike the meteor though whose path was determined by Physics, the battles of which I have referred to and any number of preceding historical events which led to their eventual culmination in these decisive moments which could have gone either way.  The evolution of life and the trajectory of history could have very easily ended up with you not only not existing, but also the entirety of humanity and life itself not existing.  To view history as a set of necessities to precipitate the present fails to recognize that the present is merely contingent on these events which could have had totally different outcomes.  Had Julius Caesar not ascended to power in the 1st Century BCE then Judea would not have been occupied by Rome and the conditions which were present of the rise of messianic movements like Jesus may have never happened or been remarkably different, as much of the NT narrative is set to juxtapose the authority of the Emperor (at least in a heavenly sense).  

 

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There's no premeditated goal to any of this, as far as I know. It's just a matter of what did happen and how what did happen resulted in what took place up until now. It's no different than how god belief has evolved over time. There was no goal to get from polytheism to atheism. That's just how the cards happened to fall. And now here we are. Specifically, all of us ex christians and, ex monotheist's for that matter, growing in number. Out in the forefront, having left behind superstition and preoccupations with afterlife rewards and punishment. Leading the push towards advancement and the future. 

Or it could be that for the majority of human history we lacked the means to properly evaluate the nature of the universe around us, and once we did properly get a sense for humanity's place in it via Darwin's discoveries then atheism was a logical consequence rather than an eventual trajectory of theism broadly speaking.  Had we lived in a Theistic universe and found evidence of design everywhere then we would have perhaps not been on this atheistic trajectory, but it turned out that the discoveries of science did not fit with any existing theistic interpretation of the natural world which described within their texts a specially created Earth which seemed to have distinct significance.  When the reality is we are but a speck in one of many super clusters of the known universe, of which there could be many for all we know.  If I had been a Pagan rather than a Christian. then the preponderance of evidence would have likely changed my mind far sooner, as Monotheistic faiths have elaborate worldviews which inculcate people into conspiratorial thinking that such ideas of Evolution are actually ideas planted by Satan to undermine god's kingdom.  No such trickery existed in the tool kit of Pagan beliefs, and the defensive posture of Christianity from its inception enabled that kind of approach to absolute faith and devotion unlike what was seen with most practicing Pagans in the ancient world, as these did not necessarily provide strict and robust ethical systems which had to be adhered to and which made beliefs a matter of chief ethical consequence as for most of Christianity's history nothing would be treated more harshly than heresy and apostasy.  

 

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That's why the churches power subsiding coincided with the rise of science and discovery. And the age of enlightenment. 

Yet most of the thinkers of the enlightenment clung to their theism, or deism, and the Roman Catholic's church was more so replaced not by Enlightenment ideals, but by Absolutist Monarchs except in Britain whose political makeup over the centuries enabled the aristocracy to remain prominent relative to the King.  If it weren't for the remarkable circumstances of the French Revolution, who knows how long those Monarchs would been able to remain in place but those events changed the world considerably and paved the way for more Rationalist and secularized politics, eventually inspiring purely secular ideologies of the later 19th and 20th Centuries.  Which is the other point about the institution of religion and its connection to political authority which I think contradicts the narrative about religion having some kind of evolutionary trajectory, as religion has been for most of human history been tied to the contingencies of the whims of the ruling regime over the general population who for the vast majority of history had no political sovereignty whatsoever. 

 

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It is a social evolution to organizing society. I mean the whole making YHWH the universal god was such an effort. 

 

I think that in terms of the western approach, it's leading the way. It produced monotheism and basically the atheism that followed in the wake of it. And secularist's worldwide tend towards agnostic and atheist mixes. The message of one god went around the world, through jews, christians and muslims. Few people haven't heard of it. Behind all of that, now, comes a sweeping wave of non-belief which includes the spiritual but not religious. They don't believe in god in the way in which organized religions present it. I just tend to think that the western approach is encompassing the world, first by way of monotheist proselytizing, then by the waves of science and secularism that have proceeded out from western examples as well. 

Most of that spreading resulted from Imperial practices, as in China the most populous country in the world, Christianity was only legalized after the British had defeated the Chinese in the First Opium war and the signing of the Treaty of Whampoa which ended the prohibition on Christianity that has been in place since 1724.  Any pieces of Europe which did not subjugate themselves to Christianity were also converted by the sword via Crusades, such as in Prussia and the Baltic.  Monotheism gave much of the inspiration for such imperialist endeavors of course, but it also served as means to politically and culturally dominate a subjugated people, such as in China.

 

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Your sister, is merely on a path away from mormonism. It could lead straight to atheism if she questions everything. What if she simply does some recreational reading and decides that the entire god belief system is on no better footing than mormonism? She would have evolved from believing in make believe to no longer believing in make believe. And moving on to a larger range of world view in the process. 

That could be, but in my experience deconversion from a monotheistic religion doesn't necessarily mean you will go naturally to atheism.  When I deconverted from Mormonism earlier in life, I eventually became a Christian (far more devoted than I ever was as a Mormon).  Political changes in the global balance of power could also change the religious trajectory of the world.  I personally think that seriously looking at the universe will necessitate that a person will have to contend with ideas about a universe without any kind of creator god, but human psychology and history is very complicated and we didn't evolve to have minds that clung to truth but minds that clung to socially useful beliefs for the most part.  We are learning to hijack our wiring and re-purpose it, but we have also seen that technology might enable mass control of peoples by governments, which we likely only have seen in glimpse of with more dated technologies in the 20th Century and will reach a new height with regimes like China.  To me, its a complex mess that doesn't have much actual structure beyond what we give to the past, the patterns and circumstances should most definitely be studied but not over stated.

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As much as I might wish that monotheism was a step closer to atheism, I’m afraid that’s probably only true mathematically.  Monotheism was much more useful in controlling societies than polytheism, which might be likened to herding cats.  I think that we as atheists might be much more comfortable in pagan/polytheistic Greece or Rome, where all you really had to do was pay lip-service to the preferred god(s), than we would be living in Christian or Islamic societies, where every jot and tittle of morality is ordained from above. 

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8 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

As much as I might wish that monotheism was a step closer to atheism, I’m afraid that’s probably only true mathematically.

 

That may be the case. But it's an interesting thought. 

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