Census of the Uk shows 12 point drop among Christians and 10 point boost to No religion

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Tyelcapilu:
Most proper buddhists are atheists- or, at least, agnostic, which most atheists are any how.

While you're probably talking about Western Buddhists, where that statement appears to be more or less correct, Buddhism in a lot of places does include the worship of gods or spirits or the like.
To my understanding, Buddhism often merged with local religious and spiritual beliefs and produced a Theistic, localized mish-mash depending on the cultural surroundings. So while Buddhism can certainly be Atheistic, a lot of the time it simply isn't in practice. Considering this, I find the wording of "proper Buddhists" to be rather off.

Skeleon:

Tyelcapilu:
Most proper buddhists are atheists- or, at least, agnostic, which most atheists are any how.

While you're probably talking about Western Buddhists, where that statement appears to be more or less correct, Buddhism in a lot of places does include the worship of gods or spirits or the like.
To my understanding, Buddhism often merged with local religious and spiritual beliefs and produced a Theistic, localized mish-mash depending on the cultural surroundings. So while Buddhism can certainly be Atheistic, a lot of the time it simply isn't in practice. Considering this, I find the wording of "proper Buddhists" to be rather off.

That's correct. Siddhartha himself was not necessarily atheistic. Buddhism, as you mentioned, is highly syncretistic. One's beliefs towards gods is irrelevant to the buddha-dharma.

The notion that there are 'Proper Buddhists' as if it were a separate religion in the same sense of the Abrahamic traditions is nonsense.

catalyst8:

itsthesheppy:
[...] In addition, the largest two monotheisms in the world, Islam and Christianity, spend a great deal of time focused primarily on the concept of rewards (or punishments) following death, and the journey of the mortal soul to salvation.

While I consider the claim that a fear of death is the basis for religion highly debatable & completely open to interpretation, I will take issue with your above comment. Islam & Christianity are respectively an Abrahamic sect & cult. As explained in my above post (#55) they worship the same god, the Mesopotamian storm god which Abraham (assuming for argument's sake he actually ever existed) is said in the Tanakh & Qur'an to have taken with him from Ur. The disparity between Islam & the other two Abrahamic dogmas only occurs after Isaac and Ishmael, so Abraham & his Mesopotamian god are the foundation for all three.

That these three dogmas, or two in your example, focus on the same things can hardly be seen as a surprise because even if one argues that they are separate religions in their own right, they most certainly share the same mythology & pantheon of gods, demi-gods, spirits, etc.

To address the wider issue, as I previously pointed out (again in #55) while ancestor veneration/worship appears to be universal it doesn't necessarily demonstrate a fear of death. Take the Anglo-Saxon celebration of what we now call Hallowe'en, it was originally a celebration of old ancestors where sweet things & alcoholic drinks were left out for the spirits of the dead as a mark of respect. There's nothing there about a fear of mortality, & the same goes for Aboriginal Australian ceremonies for their ancestral spirits; it's not fear, it's reverence.

I am fully aware that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all worship the Abrahamic god. I'm not exactly sure how that contradicts anything that I've said, so I find your disagreement perplexing. You have raised an objection to a point I never made.

In addition, your reference to celtic ceremonies honoring the spirits of the dead only bolsters my point. Here we are talking about a system of belief that considers the afterlife to be a real thing; when you die, you become a spirit. Your "life" doesn't end; you merely change your state of being. Death is not death. The reason that these beliefs exist in the first place is because we fear death. We don't want to die, so our imaginations conjure a possible fate whereby we cheat death, presumably indefinitely. Again: I'm not aware of many faiths wherein death is the end of the road eternally. Most religions, and certainly all the major ones, make it very clear that death of the physical body is not the end of one's existence, and that belief is not unique to religions that feature gods.

Rather than countering my point, it would seem that you have served to bolster it, though I'm not sure if that was your angle.

itsthesheppy:

I have consistently made clear my point that the afterlife is the most important part of religion, and the afterlife exists because we're scared of dying; that fact is as self evident as saying that people like to eat candy because sugar tastes good.

No, no you haven't been consistent. You merely said that people believe in religion because they're scared of death. You can read back and check for yourself, as can anyone else.

Then you started bringing in the afterlife after some prodding... but what you say is not self-evident at all, is it? Your logic is nothing but saying "X tends to have Y, therefore Y is the point of X." It's a wholly inadequate argument, as illustrated - contrary to your belief - perfectly well by the car analogy.

Consider: pretty much every religion has supernatural creatures (gods, angels, demons, valkyries, apsaras, djinni, nymphs, kami, animist spirits). Therefore supernatural creatures are the most important part of religion, which must be because humans feel an existential loneliness as the only intelligent species. Q.E.D. ... I don't think. And yet it's the same logical construction you are using.

So do you now see why it is so flawed?

At no point during this conversation, by the way, have I become irritated.

Yes, so you would say. Noting that defensive response and counter-accusation, I think I hit a nerve.

Agema:

itsthesheppy:

I have consistently made clear my point that the afterlife is the most important part of religion, and the afterlife exists because we're scared of dying; that fact is as self evident as saying that people like to eat candy because sugar tastes good.

No, no you haven't been consistent. You merely said that people believe in religion because they're scared of death. You can read back and check for yourself, as can anyone else.

Then you started bringing in the afterlife after some prodding... but what you say is not self-evident at all, is it? Your logic is nothing but saying "X tends to have Y, therefore Y is the point of X." It's a wholly inadequate argument, as illustrated - contrary to your belief - perfectly well by the car analogy.

Consider: pretty much every religion has supernatural creatures (gods, angels, demons, valkyries, apsaras, djinni, nymphs, kami, animist spirits). Therefore supernatural creatures are the most important part of religion, which must be because humans feel an existential loneliness as the only intelligent species. Q.E.D. ... I don't think. And yet it's the same logical construction you are using.

So do you now see why it is so flawed?

At no point during this conversation, by the way, have I become irritated.

Yes, so you would say. Noting that defensive response and counter-accusation, I think I hit a nerve.

You're giving yourself a bit too much credit. I sense no small level of projecting, however. "I got irritated, so I'm going to accuse him of being irritated".

The toughest thing for just about any godly person to accept is almost always that the end of their life is the end of their consciousness. This is a timeless and omnipresent worry, and almost always one of the primary objections I receive when I argue the existence of the supernatural. Also, these supernatural elements that trend in every faith simply reinforce my point: they all represent something that exists outside of and more permanent than the natural realm. Spirits, angels, messiahs and so forth all belong to a reality that is more "real" than this one, in the minds of the faithful. Angels cannot die or become sick. They represent an existence that is permanent and in every case one that the faithful believes they can someday join, after the death of the mortal body.

Your rather desperate attempts to conjure from nothing some kind of contradiction or deviation from my point on my part, which never occurred, as though from some sort of rhetorical alchemy is both misguided and tiresome. Everything I have said so far has been in service of my central point: that religion is borne from the fear of death, and we can see that evidenced in how almost every central element of various systems of belief focus on there being an afterlife of some kind; though it takes many forms, it invariably represents an existence that continues for the consciousness post-mortem. All the rituals, all the rules and tenets, all the spirits and saviors and miracles and ghosts serve to reinforce this idea that the supernatural is not only real, but that the human soul is part of it, and that death is merely a change in state of being, rather than terminus.

It should honestly be the easiest thing in the world to understand, that our highly imaginative brains would find a way to cheat itself out of its own destruction. The drive to survive as long as possible, to forestall and avoid death, is an omnipresent and terribly compelling survival trait. That every single religion with very few exception, despite immeasurable differences and innumerable forms taken all possess this one central undercurrent - that death is not death, and eternal life is indeed possible in some form or another - cannot be ignored. Your analogy remains a poor one, to the point where I have grown bored arguing against it. Cling to it if you like.

itsthesheppy:
I am fully aware that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all worship the Abrahamic god. I'm not exactly sure how that contradicts anything that I've said, so I find your disagreement perplexing. You have raised an objection to a point I never made.

I raised the point because you used them in an attempt to support your assertion in a context which implied they were completely separate. I simply pointed out that not only are they not separate, they're so closely related they're essentially facets of the same religion & share huge swathes of the same mythology & dogma. Hardly a surprise then that they make such similar claims about anything, certainly not surprising (even though that's what you imply) their magic afterlives are essentially the same.

itsthesheppy:
In addition, your reference to celtic ceremonies honoring the spirits of the dead only bolsters my point.

No, because it doesn't demonstrate a fear of mortality, it demonstrates a belief in some unspecified semblence of continued existence. The very nature if the sacrificial sweets & alcohol hasn't even been addressed i.e. what the belief is regarding whether the sacrifice is symbolic or literally consumed.

itsthesheppy:
Here we are talking about a system of belief that considers the afterlife to be a real thing; when you die, you become a spirit. Your "life" doesn't end; you merely change your state of being. Death is not death. The reason that these beliefs exist in the first place is because we fear death.

You keep making the same assertion with no substantiation. It's sheer, unsupported conjecture on your part, & until you can substantiate it with actual empirical evidence rather than assumption it will remain just that.

itsthesheppy:
[...] Rather than countering my point, it would seem that you have served to bolster it, though I'm not sure if that was your angle.

If you genuinely believe that by explaining why your complete lack of any evidence strengthens your argument then perhaps now you can understand why you're arguing from such an untenable position.

Agema:
[...] you haven't been consistent. You merely said that people believe in religion because they're scared of death. You can read back and check for yourself, as can anyone else.

Then you started bringing in the afterlife after some prodding... but what you say is not self-evident at all, is it? Your logic is nothing but saying "X tends to have Y, therefore Y is the point of X." It's a wholly inadequate argument [...]

Yes it is. In addition to Agema's analogy I'll point out that, by your logic, because all religions originally feature the sun in their mythologies then sun worship is the reason for religion. Of course it's a spurious unsubstantiated assertion, but that's what you keep doing over & over again.

You aren't deducing your conclusions from evidence, you're inducing them from guesses.

catalyst8:
-snip-

1. True that the three major monotheisms are all kind of the same, though you must admit, different enough that blood continues to be spilled over the differences to this day. Also, I cite them mostly because doing so accounts for, in one motion, just about half of the entire population of the planet. That's not insignificant.

2. Viz the celtic thing, you're just phrasing differently a point I made and calling it a rebuttal. It demonstrates a belief in a continued existence. Why would that be, if not borne from the wish that death was not death?

You keep demanding evidence but I don't think you do so with honest intentions. I doubt there is evidence beyond the observations I've provided that could be shown to you to sway you. Perhaps a caveman scrawling that says "Though about ym death today, got scared, invented religion"? This stuff is a priori. It can be inferred by any honest, thinking individual. A central underlying element of all faiths and religions focused on the continuation of existence or consciousness post-mortem. It is, in fact, the one thing they all tend to have in common. Not a coincidence.

We're afraid of dying, so we invent imaginary elements that excuse us from dying. It helps succor the grieving, it helps ease the mind. It's not real but it makes people feel better. I'm firmly convinced that the afterlife is the primary reason people do any of it, based on my knowledge of existing faiths, and hearing testimonials from godly people to whom I have spoken. If I were somehow able to convince people, perhaps through magic, that death really was the eternal obliteration of consciousness, but only that and nothing else, I imagine most religions would melt away in a few generations, with a few exceptions.

itsthesheppy:
1. True that the three major monotheisms are all kind of the same, though you must admit, different enough that blood continues to be spilled over the differences to this day. Also, I cite them mostly because doing so accounts for, in one motion, just about half of the entire population of the planet. That's not insignificant.

The differences between Sunni & Shiah Muslims are enough that blood continues to be spilt, as are the differences between Catholic & Protestants - centuries of blood being spilt there too. As I said originally they still share the same god & the same mythology, so my point stands.

itsthesheppy:
2. Viz the celtic thing, you're just phrasing differently a point I made and calling it a rebuttal. It demonstrates a belief in a continued existence. Why would that be, if not borne from the wish that death was not death?

Your assertion that a belief in a continued existence is based on fear is unsupported, & is therefore mere conjecture. However it's worthwhile noting that you've changed your claim in the above quote from your original insistence that it's based on a fear of death to 'the wish that death was not death'.

itsthesheppy:
You keep demanding evidence but I don't think you do so with honest intentions. I doubt there is evidence beyond the observations I've provided that could be shown to you to sway you. Perhaps a caveman scrawling that says "Though about ym death today, got scared, invented religion"?

Of course I ask you to support your claim with evidence, for the reasons I've stated numerous times. A claim without evidence isn't a proof of anything it's just an empty, unjustified assertion. If I claim that someone's a murderer I'd better have evidence to support that assertion, that's how it works; the burden of proof is always on the claim.

itsthesheppy:
This stuff is a priori. It can be inferred by any honest, thinking individual. A central underlying element of all faiths and religions focused on the continuation of existence or consciousness post-mortem. It is, in fact, the one thing they all tend to have in common. Not a coincidence.

Exactly, a priori not a posteriori! You think that a priori conclusions based on inductive reasoning are in any way intellectually honest? Surely not! Even you admit that you're inferring conclusions based on no evidence ('I doubt there is evidence beyond the observations I've provided', which are only observational conjectures not empirical observation). All religions originally also feature sun worship. In the Abrahamic instance it's demonstrated in the Mesopotamian origin of the religion, but was later dropped because the nomadic Judaic tribes lacked the mathematical skills to maintain a solar calendar & so resorted to a lunar one. As I said previously it's just as valid, according to your line of reasoning anyway, to claim incontrovertibly that all religions are necessitated by sun worship.

itsthesheppy:
We're afraid of dying, so we invent imaginary elements that excuse us from dying. It helps succor the grieving, it helps ease the mind. It's not real but it makes people feel better. I'm firmly convinced that the afterlife is the primary reason people do any of it, based on my knowledge of existing faiths, and hearing testimonials from godly people to whom I have spoken. If I were somehow able to convince people, perhaps through magic, that death really was the eternal obliteration of consciousness, but only that and nothing else, I imagine most religions would melt away in a few generations, with a few exceptions.

That may or may not be the case, but you have to understand that without supporting evidence it remains just a suspicion, not an unarguable fact.

catalyst8:

itsthesheppy:
1. True that the three major monotheisms are all kind of the same, though you must admit, different enough that blood continues to be spilled over the differences to this day. Also, I cite them mostly because doing so accounts for, in one motion, just about half of the entire population of the planet. That's not insignificant.

The differences between Sunni & Shiah Muslims are enough that blood continues to be spilt, as are the differences between Catholic & Protestants - centuries of blood being spilt there too. As I said originally they still share the same god & the same mythology, so my point stands.

I would argue that if the differences are enough to kill over, then it's not the "same". Yahweh is a different god than Allah. I don't care that they're both Abrahamic. Propose some legislature to change the United States motto to "In Allah we trust" and lemme know how that goes for you.

itsthesheppy:
2. Viz the celtic thing, you're just phrasing differently a point I made and calling it a rebuttal. It demonstrates a belief in a continued existence. Why would that be, if not borne from the wish that death was not death?

Your assertion that a belief in a continued existence is based on fear is unsupported, & is therefore mere conjecture. However it's worthwhile noting that you've changed your claim in the above quote from your original insistence that it's based on a fear of death to 'the wish that death was not death'.

Semantics. Boring. You're reaching.

itsthesheppy:
You keep demanding evidence but I don't think you do so with honest intentions. I doubt there is evidence beyond the observations I've provided that could be shown to you to sway you. Perhaps a caveman scrawling that says "Though about ym death today, got scared, invented religion"?

Of course I ask you to support your claim with evidence, for the reasons I've stated numerous times. A claim without evidence isn't a proof of anything it's just an empty, unjustified assertion. If I claim that someone's a murderer I'd better have evidence to support that assertion, that's how it works; the burden of proof is always on the claim.

I did provide evidence. You hand-waved it. That's your prerogative. Just say "I'm not compelled by your evidence". That's fine, I can live with that. But don't look at what I submit and say I'm not submitting anything. It's a cop-out and it's dishonest.

My evidence is the 4-6 billion people in the world who believe in various faiths that all share on central theme: life after death is real and attainable. That the afterlife is a driving motivator for billions of people. If that's not good enough for you than I cannot help you, and there really is no further profit in keeping the conversation going.

itsthesheppy:
This stuff is a priori. It can be inferred by any honest, thinking individual. A central underlying element of all faiths and religions focused on the continuation of existence or consciousness post-mortem. It is, in fact, the one thing they all tend to have in common. Not a coincidence.

Exactly, a priori not a posteriori! You think that a priori conclusions based on inductive reasoning are in any way intellectually honest? Surely not! Even you admit that you're inferring conclusions based on no evidence ('I doubt there is evidence beyond the observations I've provided', which are only observational conjectures not empirical observation). All religions originally also feature sun worship. In the Abrahamic instance it's demonstrated in the Mesopotamian origin of the religion, but was later dropped because the nomadic Judaic tribes lacked the mathematical skills to maintain a solar calendar & so resorted to a lunar one. As I said previously it's just as valid, according to your line of reasoning anyway, to claim incontrovertibly that all religions are necessitated by sun worship.

Interesting that we shucked the sun worship but not the afterlife. The animal sacrifice, but not the afterlife. 4-6 billion people don't worship the sun, or sacrifice animals, or [fill in blank of ancient religious practice]. Never discarded is the afterlife. And it never will be. Because that's that puts asses in the seats, folks.

Let me pose you a question: if citing 4-6 billion examples is not good enough for you, what evidence would you find compelling?

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