What You Believe and Why You Believe It

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Alright, my fellow Escapists. This is a survey of sorts, and it's for a research paper, so I'd greatly appreciate your participation!

So in simple terms, what I'm asking for is exactly what it says on the tin. I'd like to hear a brief summary of your worldview (religion, politics, the basics of life, etc.), and if you have a reason for those beliefs, slap that on the end too. But hey! Where are you going? Don't wander off just yet! I've been working on the Internet long enough to recognize vitriol in the making, so if you're planning on helping me out, do everyone a favor and scroll down and post before you read any other responses. I'd like these to be your thoughts on you, not your claims on or about anyone else-and if you read others' responses, be sure to take them with a hefty doso of IMHO.

I MEAN IT. IF YOU'RE POSTING, DO IT NOW.

Are they gone? Good.

Personally, I'm a white-bread Christian, with no particular denomination, though I've been leaning more and more towards the ceremony and regality of the Anglican churches. I didn't believe when I was a kid, but when I grew up, I realized I wasn't really a fan of the whole human race thing. It may be a wholly cynical reason, but one of my biggest reasons for belief is that every facet of human "religions," from the Hollywood movie industry spouting out blockbusters teaching us to accept our mistakes and be proud of who we are no matter what to the Ancient Greek and Roman churches worshiping gods that are simply more powerful and less restrained humans, seems to be, for lack of a better word, self-centered. We, as a race, from our basic biological programming to our modern societal functions are all, to some degree, focused on ourselves. And I just can't accept that Christianity, a religion whose very first teaching is that we are flawed and broken creatures, would survive (at the very least) six millennia and have this many followers, could be the work of or under the protection of human hands.

Thanks a bunch for the help, Escapists. You're cool people.

Research paper? I sincerely hope you're polling more than just this subforum then. About 70% of us are Atheists of some sorts, 15% are Christians and 15% are other groups. We're not exactly representative of the general public of the USA (your profile).

I'm an (Agnostic) Atheist, I'm interested in biology (primarily microbiology, also my field of work), I consider myself a Social Democrat and I highly value equality of opportunities, meaning that I favour free/tax-funded access to (higher) education, student housing, basic healthcare and welfare/unemployment insurance. This actually stems from my family's history; I got lucky, as my parents made enough money to provide well for our family and allow us relative ease of access, but my father in particular had to work very hard to make the move from workers' family to academics.
Anyway, I have a fascination with nature, especially forests and mountains, which is why I enjoy hiking and skiing (the latter of which I did far too little of in recent years, but I've been hiking a lot lately): It's a sort of awe that - lacking belief in anything supernatural - I imagine is what people refer to as "spiritual", albeit without the baggage. Sagan's approach to the world in particular is extremely agreeable to mine. We are tiny, insignificant specks in a massive, largely empty and entirely uncaring universe, but, oh boy, is it a ride and a joy to be alive to experience it as we learn more and more about it. These are interesting times and maybe I can have a small personal slice of that.

And I just can't accept that Christianity, a religion whose very first teaching is that we are flawed and broken creatures, would survive (at the very least) six millennia and have this many followers, could be the work of or under the protection of human hands.

It didn't. It survived two millenia. You're thinking of Judaism, but Christianity is its offshoot. Anyway, I never quite understood that argument. All it says is that Christianity has powerful PR, both in the good and the bad (you know what I mean). Not to mention there are other old religions like Hinduism that are very different. I'm sorry to say that in my experience the vast majority of people adopt the religion of their parents, peers or cultural surroundings. It has little to do with that particular religion's advantages or evidence; if you were born and/or living somewhere else, you'd be an adherent of that place's religion most likely.

I'm an Agnostic Rule Utilitarian Social Democrat(ish). I gained my views due to child-hood upbringing, studies and ethical schooling.

..Does that really help?

I'm a pretty strong Atheist. I wouldn't go quite as far to assert I know there's no god(s), but I'm pretty sure there isn't. As a kid I was raised buy a moderate christian church going family, but at a pretty young age 7/8 years old I kind of gathered God(s) was in the same category as Santa and the Easter bunny.

In secondary school I questioned it a lot more and with discussions with my family we all became atheists. I just don't see any reason to believe something without a shred of evidence, or why any book(s) that we have no idea of their authenticity should over rule modern technology and science.

At the end of the day my money is on a natural rational cause for the universe or multiverse which ever it turns out to be.

I believe in things verified by repeatable experiments.

Give my regards to your research paper, OP!

Religion: I'm an atheist, and have been for as long as I remember. I have vague memories of entertaining some idea of god, but I can't say at all how old I was or how serious I was. Non-belief has always been the default, as it is for my family. Simply enough, I see no reason to believe, and I genuinely find it difficult to understand the widespread appeal of religion on the modern world. I believe in what there is compelling evidence for, & I respect the scientific method. My beliefs are extremely unlikely to change.

Politics: I think of myself as a socialist (no, not in the US sense-- its not really a dirty word here in the UK/ Europe). It's all about equality for me; inequality irks me above all else. I believe hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy is indefensible. Socially, I'm liberal. Being not-entirely-straight, my own experience has pushed me in this regard. It's unfair, and that irks me too.

Ethics: I try to be pragmatic and rationalist, as far as I can. I don't buy meat or have it bought for me, but I'm not really a vegetarian; I don't mind eating it if it will otherwise go to waste, or if the same stuff will be bought whether or not I partake in it. It's purely rational: I don't find the actual eating of meat to be repulsive, but I don't want to contribute to supply and demand on ethical grounds. I don't talk about that much in person, because I've had A LOT of people calling me a hypocrite or otherwise arguing with me about it.

Outlook: People tend to think of socialists as optimistic, but I'm absolutely not, with regards to humanity or the future. I think people are stupid, and lies are (depressingly) often more powerful than the truth. People have an inexhaustible ability to ignore, to swallow lies, etc.

Agnostic. I am undecided concerning the nature of the "ultimate reality" as some choose to call it, but I am convinced that the mainstream religious groups are far too corrupted to remotely resemble the truth, or at least any truth worth choosing as a guide to life. As to why, I do not care to get into specific details here, but there was a falling out over christian doctrine that left me decidedly anti-theist for a while. Since then I've learned to appreciate religions at least in a general sense, regardless of the inherent flaws, they all have something worthwhile to offer.

In regards to both politics and ethics, I try to be as practical as possible, with a particular bias towards the long term benefit of humanity as a whole. This certainly leads to a lot of headaches on my part in dealing with the former category, and certain groups of people in the latter. For example, I've pissed a number of individuals off on this board by supporting a carefully regulated version of eugenics. In spite of the fact that it would benefit future generations immensely if done with the right objectives in mind, some just can't let go of the idea that it somehow is their right to f*** up their children's lives along with their own.

Also:

Captain Billy:
And I just can't accept that Christianity, a religion whose very first teaching is that we are flawed and broken creatures, would survive (at the very least) six millennia and have this many followers, could be the work of or under the protection of human hands.

Fact check,

-Two millennia, a bit less than four if you count from when Judaism became a coherent following.

-Hinduism has it beat by quite a bit. It has been around as a coherent group for nearly seven millenia, and has roots stretching all the way back to prehistory. It has held onto a very large portion of the world's population throughout this time. The fact that many of the stories in the old testament appear to have been cribbed from portions of the Hindu vedas doesn't help your case either.

-Christianity came incredibly close to disappearing off the map forever, its followers were very few in number, and quite literally being hunted down. The only reason it is still around is due to the fact that one particular Roman leader saw its potential as a creed to reunite the crumbling will of his empire. Constantine does not even appear to have been a believer, in spite of his current status as a saint, he refused baptism right up until his deathbed, and some sources claim he was simply too weak to protest at that time.

Atheist, due to the lack of evidence or compelling argument for the being of any deity. When it comes to political views, I tend to be socially liberal and fiscally conservative, although I do believe in some nationally controlled assets.

Captain Billy:
Alright, my fellow Escapists. This is a survey of sorts, and it's for a research paper, so I'd greatly appreciate your participation!

So in simple terms, what I'm asking for is exactly what it says on the tin. I'd like to hear a brief summary of your worldview (religion, politics, the basics of life, etc.), and if you have a reason for those beliefs, slap that on the end too. But hey! Where are you going? Don't wander off just yet! I've been working on the Internet long enough to recognize vitriol in the making, so if you're planning on helping me out, do everyone a favor and scroll down and post before you read any other responses. I'd like these to be your thoughts on you, not your claims on or about anyone else-and if you read others' responses, be sure to take them with a hefty doso of IMHO.

I MEAN IT. IF YOU'RE POSTING, DO IT NOW.

Are they gone? Good.

Personally, I'm a white-bread Christian, with no particular denomination, though I've been leaning more and more towards the ceremony and regality of the Anglican churches. I didn't believe when I was a kid, but when I grew up, I realized I wasn't really a fan of the whole human race thing. It may be a wholly cynical reason, but one of my biggest reasons for belief is that every facet of human "religions," from the Hollywood movie industry spouting out blockbusters teaching us to accept our mistakes and be proud of who we are no matter what to the Ancient Greek and Roman churches worshiping gods that are simply more powerful and less restrained humans, seems to be, for lack of a better word, self-centered. We, as a race, from our basic biological programming to our modern societal functions are all, to some degree, focused on ourselves. And I just can't accept that Christianity, a religion whose very first teaching is that we are flawed and broken creatures, would survive (at the very least) six millennia and have this many followers, could be the work of or under the protection of human hands.

Thanks a bunch for the help, Escapists. You're cool people.

Demeaning the follower is the first action a cult performs, to break them down so they submit to the will of those in control.

This happens in many many many many cults of all kinds, yours is not the first, nor the last.

I believe there is a force in the universe that is attempting to convert the matter created at the Big Bang back into energy. It does this by warping space to the point where it is infinitely small and time slows to the point it stops.

I believe man mimics that force through his technology, particularly his technology of transportation and communication. As the speed and efficiency of transportation and communication increases, distances --- space --- decrease and time slows. As space decreases and time slows knowledge is shared more efficiently, which increases our collective wisdom and spurs creativity, which in turn increases our chances of survival and enhances our evolutionary progress.

I believe this cosmic force is reflected in morality, a higher morality, one that sees good and evil in terms of transcendence of space and time. Such that "good" is found in words like "life", "growth", "prosperity", "health", "freedom", "flourish", "longevity", "exploration", "wisdom", etc. "Bad" is the opposite notions, found in words like "death", "stagnation", "drought", "sickness", "confinement", "wither", stymied", "parochial", "foolishness", etc.

I believe this because it is the conclusions I've drawn from a lifetime of study: history, philosophy, political science, economics, and physics. Its all there. You only need to look.

I don't believe in any god, but then I wouldn't really care if there was one minding its own business, and I don't care if other people believe in one until they start affecting society based on those beliefs (which seems inevitable, though).

I believe that society is unfair because people generally don't want to admit that other people have problems they don't, especially if they are benefitting from them, whether or not it's particularly their fault. No one likes to be told they've got it (comparatively) easy).

I believe that a strong government is necessary for a healthy society, but that government shouldn't arbitrarily impose rules on people, and it should be very aware that people are different. What might work well for some elements of society won't automatically benefit everyone.

I am a materialist and a determinist[1].
To know right from wrong I simply ask myself "Which is better for humanity and its future?" Of course my judgement can be wrong at times since I cannot see into the future, but I think it's a pretty simple, good and megalomaniac way.[2]
Naturally I am in favour of green policies, and when it comes to economy, society and all the other boring stuff I prefer a left-wing approach.

[1] Determinism obviously makes gods and godesses seem a bit redundant, and that is why I don't belong to any religious group. I believe this is all just some kind of simulation from a plane one step closer to "real" reality.
[2] Should we find "intelligent life" somewhere else, or should it find us. I probably would "upgrade" my source of ethics to "Which is better for intelligent life?"

Materialist, atheist, anti-theist, agnostic, hard determinist (though willing to accept hard indeterminisim), existential and moral nihilist (to an extent), misantrhope, evolutionist, and I'm politically undecided, though I'd lean towards more freedom where possible.

As for why I think all these things are true (I don't like the word believe):
Materialist - There is only good evidence for material things.
Atheist - There is no evidence for any god/gods.
Anti-theist - Based upon what I've seen, I've seen religion cause more harm than good.
Agnostic - The only reasonable position for a scientist is agnostic, because there is still a possibility a god/god(s) exist.
Hard Determinist - I think that determinism and indeterminism both render the idea of free will null, but I lean more towards determinism because I fail to see how something could happen uncaused.
Existential Nilhist - Well, life is without inherent meaning or value or purpose. I could say that the purpose is to pass on genes, but some people reject even that.
Moral Nilhist - There is no objective right and wrong, because those are human contstructs. Unless we all accept the same standard of right and wrong, and we don't.
Misantrhope - I just don't really like most other people.
Evolutionist - Substantial amounts of evidence, what more do you need?
Politically undecided - I've noticed a large conflict between freedom and happiness, so I remain undecided upon which is more important.

Silvanus:
I believe hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy is indefensible.

So, how are you planning on running society without any kind of hierarchy?

Hardcore_gamer:

Silvanus:
I believe hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy is indefensible.

So, how are you planning on running society without any kind of hierarchy?

Not to necessarily put words in his mouth, but I don't think he meant that he's against organization itself, just people imposing layers of command where they are not particularly needed.

As a specific example I am all too familiar with, the kind of rigid chain of command common to American businesses stifles their potential, especially when it comes to R&D oriented work. If you take a look around, many of the most flexible and productive of these companies tend to avoid pointless bureaucracy, leaders are certainly present, but they do their job as part of the team, not from an imposing office with a dozen layers of mostly useless lackeys in between them and the actual workers.

Religion: I think that the best way to look at humanity and the universe is to use both science and faith as the lenses. Science's role is quite obvious in that it answers the "how" questions we may have. Faith for me is the "why" questions in life. I've found that looking at the world without one of the two is missing a lot and the universe and life loses a lot of it's meaning. I believe in the Christian god but my outlook on the religion is different then what is typical and I don't think this is really the thread to get into details so I'll just say "Nondenominational".

Politics: At my core I believe in Enlightenment ideals and the principles the United States were founded on. That being said I think that we can always advance in how we fulfill the principles of "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness". I tend to trend toward the middle on most issues such as Economics, Foreign Affairs, and most social issues. However I am quite Liberal on one subject and conservative on another. Gay Marriage and Gun Control respectively. I think that the Defense of Marriage Act is utterly unconstitutional and should have never passed congress. As far as I am concerned I don't care if a man wants to marry another man, their life their choices. On Gun Control I have little issue with background checks but I really think that trying to ban standard capacity magazines and scary looking rifles is utterly ludicrous.

As for reasoning I suppose its just because these are what seem like the best to me. I was raised in a fairly conservative household but I have been on the internet a long time so I've heard most every idea under the sun. On Religion its what feels right and makes sense to me, not much else to be said. On politics I go with what fulfills my underlying ideals and what seems to work best.

Hardcore_gamer:

Silvanus:
I believe hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy is indefensible.

So, how are you planning on running society without any kind of hierarchy?

Heronblade:
Not to necessarily put words in his mouth, but I don't think he meant that he's against organization itself, just people imposing layers of command where they are not particularly needed.

Pretty much this. It was the "for the sake of hierarchy" that defined what I meant: Of course I don't want a society without organisation or roles or leadership of any kind. I dislike economic hierarchy, for example, people born into class or caste, and kept geographically and financially separate from those better off.

Even if it cannot be done away with, it can be lessened. The level of economic inequality we see is far from necessary for functioning society.

Captain Billy:
And I just can't accept that Christianity, a religion whose very first teaching is that we are flawed and broken creatures, would survive (at the very least) six millennia and have this many followers, could be the work of or under the protection of human hands

That's because it didn't survive for "at least six millennia", just two. It's an offshoot of a much older, originally polytheistic religion.

So... what's your research paper, exactly? How will our information be used?

Religion: I'm a de-facto strong atheist.

Politics: Mildly socially conservative.

Third-eye:
I believe there is a force in the universe that is attempting to convert the matter created at the Big Bang back into energy. It does this by warping space to the point where it is infinitely small and time slows to the point it stops.

I'm not sure if I'd agree with the full extent of what you're saying, but I do think that entropy has more far-reaching consequences than we give it credit for. I think that entropy has been the guiding force behind evolution and therefore we humans are entropic "agents".

Religion: Weak atheist for most some gods, Strong atheist for logically impossible gods. For MOST gods im an agnostic atheist. It changes depending on what god youre asking to me to believe in. Evidence is what i want. Without evidence ghosts, the tooth fairy and god are all the same to me. None deserve extra respect.

Politics: I dunno, by british standards, fairly neutral with a liberal leaning? By US standards European. So socialist communist marxist stalinist isisist or whatever.

Labels are stupid. They mean so many things to so many people that id rather just say what i think and let YOU label it with whatever defines it best in your understanding. Otherwise you just carry around your own pigeon hole. Which is silly.

Logically i believe social mobility is the greatest way for a society to be based. Monarchy and economic "monarchy" are ridiculous. The best people belong in the best roles and deciding that by liniage is utterly stupid. Id rather have the best doctor treating me, so if some super genius future doctor is born to a poor family i expect that he will have the opportunity to fill the role he would be best for. It makes MY life better. It makes HIS life better. Win win.

BiscuitTrouser:
Strong atheist for logically impossible gods.

That's a meaningless statement, surely? Everyone is going to claim they don't believe in things that are logically impossible, they'd just have differing ideas on what that included.

thaluikhain:

That's a meaningless statement, surely? Everyone is going to claim they don't believe in things that are logically impossible, they'd just have differing ideas on what that included.

When i state im a weak atheist as a broad term people sometimes get on me giving examples like "What about a God that requires a yellow thursday to appear in LA every day to exist?" to which i respond yes i AM a strong atheist toward that god. My opinion is fluid depending on what you describe to me to be fair. Some people have different definitions of what a "God" is. if its just a "Force" then id be totally agnostic.

thaluikhain:

BiscuitTrouser:
Strong atheist for logically impossible gods.

That's a meaningless statement, surely? Everyone is going to claim they don't believe in things that are logically impossible, they'd just have differing ideas on what that included.

Not quite, have you never heard apologists argue that logic as we know it doesn't have to apply to their god because he transcends the universe or because logic is a human concept or similar things?

BiscuitTrouser:

thaluikhain:

That's a meaningless statement, surely? Everyone is going to claim they don't believe in things that are logically impossible, they'd just have differing ideas on what that included.

When i state im a weak atheist as a broad term people sometimes get on me giving examples like "What about a God that requires a yellow thursday to appear in LA every day to exist?" to which i respond yes i AM a strong atheist toward that god. My opinion is fluid depending on what you describe to me to be fair. Some people have different definitions of what a "God" is. if its just a "Force" then id be totally agnostic.

Ah, I see what you mean.

Skeleon:

thaluikhain:

BiscuitTrouser:
Strong atheist for logically impossible gods.

That's a meaningless statement, surely? Everyone is going to claim they don't believe in things that are logically impossible, they'd just have differing ideas on what that included.

Not quite, have you never heard apologists argue that logic as we know it doesn't have to apply to their god because he transcends the universe or because logic is a human concept or similar things?

I haven't, but that would mean their god still wasn't logically impossible due to magic or whatever.

Not religious, a bit spiritual though. Have a belief in souls and that there is some sort of afterlife when we die, though I don't believe in god. I'm aware of how little sense believing in any of it makes, but frankly, I don't give a damn. The idea of suddenly not existing scares the hell out of me against all reason, so I'll believe in -something-.

Politics, well if I did vote I'd vote labour so left I guess. But then I'd only vote labour because I have an irrational hatred of posh people. With posh people in all parties, that pretty much stops me voting since I'm not voting to put one of them in office. Curiously I'm also a monarchist, so try and work that out. Not that I believe the Queen should be ruling the country or anything, I just dislike the idea of removing them.

Life in general, be nice. I suppose I'm an idealist, the more vile acts of human behaviour disgust me, make me ill. I think that's because I was quite violent as a kid/teenager so have a "seen it all, done it all" attitude and look back on it as a complete waste, could've been doing more productive things. So because I've changed I like to think others have, even though I know they haven't. I remember my friend calling me the most moral person he'd ever met, if that counts for anything.

thaluikhain:
I haven't, but that would mean their god still wasn't logically impossible due to magic or whatever.

I guess that would be a semantic question then whether something that's logically impossible but exists because of magic would still be logically impossible or not. I mean, if magic - or whatever power that would be is - fundamentally illogical and follows no logically consistent rules, how could we call the existing entity logically consistent itself then? But the moment you go for those arguments it ceases being anything but nonsensical anyway, it's why I don't consider them good apologetics in the slightest. If your only way out is to say "yeah, it's logically impossible, but it doesn't have to make any sense because of magic", you've already lost pretty much.

I'm an agnostic, who leans closer to deism than atheism; deism is the belief that there's a deity/god, but believes said creature does not interfere with the universe, simply created it. I'm partly unsure, but more so I just really don't give a damn if it exists or not.

As far as politics go, I am a libertarian. I believe the government is necessary, but that rights are of the upmost importance. I do believe said rights have certain limitations (does your speech invoke violence or social degredation? Do you really need a fully automatic weapon?), but more importantly we need a small government. We need to appeal to authority, but authority needs to appeal to us. Speaking of authority, I believe we all are enticed by authority; that when we rebel, we're really just testing the reaches of authority. Basically, how far can I go before enough is enough?

I'm a moral nihilist; I do not believe in a such thing as "good" or "bad" actually existing. Rather we create the concepts of good and evil through society. In our current time, cannibalism is a very evil thing, but for groups long ago? Not so much. All because we create good and evil; good and evil does not create us.

I'm an egalatarian, or an "equalist". I believe regardless of your race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religious affiliation, etc. that you deserve to be treated equally. There are only small areas where I believe there should be some inequality. Case in point would be maternity leave vs. paternity leave. It's completely acceptable to allow women more time off since they're the ones carrying the babies. However I'd see it as unfair to use this as the basis for allowing women to be paid less.
I believe we need to be treated equally, and punished equally.

And finally, I don't think George W. Bush was really an idiot; I think that was all just an act to make his actions more justifiable. Well that, or Dick Cheney was our real president behind the veil.

BiscuitTrouser:
.

Third-eye:
I believe there is a force in the universe that is attempting to convert the matter created at the Big Bang back into energy. It does this by warping space to the point where it is infinitely small and time slows to the point it stops.

I'm not sure if I'd agree with the full extent of what you're saying, but I do think that entropy has more far-reaching consequences than we give it credit for. I think that entropy has been the guiding force behind evolution and therefore we humans are entropic "agents".

Well of course the force I'm referring to is what we are now calling Dark Matter. The so-called Dark Matter is the cause; entropy is merely the effect. So man is an agent of Dark Matter, but understand, the outline above was very simplistic.

There is another force which is almost as important to man, what we are calling Dark Energy. Dark Energy is thought to have positive energy and Dark Matter negative energy, and its the interplay of the two energies that brought order from chaos and, broadly speaking, created life, which of course includes man.

Life is an engine; it creates its own energy. Man, as an intelligent engine, can use his energy to create or destroy, to bring order from chaos or create chaos from order. Entropy, broadly speaking, is the latter. It is when man acts as the anti-agent of entropy, when he uses his energy to create order from chaos, that he causes, generally speaking, the greater good. This is the process of art, literature, culture, technology.

Silvanus:
Pretty much this. It was the "for the sake of hierarchy" that defined what I meant: Of course I don't want a society without organisation or roles or leadership of any kind.

Then perhaps you can define what "hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy" really is? Simply making some broad claims about how "unfair systems are unfair" doesn't really tell us anything since it could mean anything. I want to know just what exactly "unfair" means to you.

Silvanus:
I dislike economic hierarchy, for example, people born into class or caste, and kept geographically and financially separate from those better off.

How are people kept geographically and financially separate from those better off?

Silvanus:
Even if it cannot be done away with, it can be lessened. The level of economic inequality we see is far from necessary for functioning society.

And what do you consider to be "functioning"?

Hardcore_gamer:

Then perhaps you can define what "hierarchy for the sake of hierarchy" really is? Simply making some broad claims about how "unfair systems are unfair" doesn't really tell us anything since it could mean anything. I want to know just what exactly "unfair" means to you.

I didn't go into details because I didn't really think the thread demanded it. Nobody here has been particularly exhaustive, dude.

Anyway. The enormity of pay discrepancies between different areas of work, the immense cost of higher education (and the knock-on effect of debt to somebody's social mobility and opportunities for work), the impact of money in the justice system, meaning a wealthy person has a lot less to fear, simply by benefit of wealth. Inheritance. These are all factors I believe keep the class system too rigid, and the differences between classes too stark.

And no, I'm not saying "do away with inheritance". There are other approaches. This isn't the thread to discuss them.

Hardcore_gamer:
And what do you consider to be "functioning"?

A relatively financially and politically stable society in which amenities and products are widely available, public services and transport run efficiently, and the economy is not precarious.

Anybody else could have used the term "functioning society" without being challenged, because generally, it's pretty obvious what was meant. You questioned its use in my post because you disagree with me. The OP did not want the thread to take this turn.

Hey y'all, thanks for the posts here. I quite appreciate it.

That said, I'd like to provide a friendly reminder here: I'd very much prefer this thread to stay strictly about what you yourself believe. Try and keep the comments about other people's posts out of this, if possible. Thanks!

I'm an old school kind of man. My loyalty is primarily to my family, my friends and my people. While I'm not malevolent towards people outside these categories, I can't say I care that much about them. That's my foundation when it comes to politics. I haven't really made up my mind on all different questions, but I'm more of a pragmatist than an idealist.

I'm very convinced there is some kind of transcendental reality, which to ground morals, meaning and such in.

Well, since it's for science (or at least a school paper) I guess I can oblige.

I'm an atheist so I don't subscribe to any religion, though since you're asking what I believe in rather than what I don't then I'd more accurately label myself a sceptic. I know that's not inherently a religious/political position, but it's the underlying principle that informs my religious/political beliefs. Regarding my political beliefs I'm a leftist/progressive.

As for why, regarding religion a good deal of it is probably due to not being indoctrinated as a child. I was baptised and went to Christian vacation/day care as a young child (both parents are non-practising Christians) but my parents made the amicable decision to not raise the kids under any particular dogma, instead opting to let us discover God on our own terms. We all turned out atheist though so I guess their plan didn't work. That aside, I'm naturally very analytical. So when I examined Christianity in my late teens it became very obvious that there was nothing to it. Ever since then I've been debating/discussing with people from Creationists to pseudo-intellectual apologists, both because I find the subject matter fascinating and because I want to keep challenging my beliefs.

Regarding politics, while I recognise the clear strengths and capabilities of conservatism the whole model relies on deceit. In order to remain cohesive and get all the benefits of cooperation it requires propaganda to maintain us-vs-them mentality and cover up failings that could lead to internal conflict. So while that kind of cohesion can produce great fruits that a more liberal/progressive framework wouldn't be able to match, it's just something I can't get behind because I disagree with the ethics of it. I'd much rather promote fairness and equality for everyone, even if it slows down societal growth and weakens the social unit.

I believe that all religions are just wishful thinking combined with a very limited knowledge, compared to present times.
If 5000-6000 years ago we knew what we know now then there would be no Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc.

I don't subscribe to any of the liberal, conservative, libertarian bullshit since I think that the whole society needs serious and drastic changes.
I don't think that a society in which the main goal is to acquire as much wealth as possible is a good society. We have created a system that actively rewards people for being selfish and screwing other people over. In my country (Poland) for example, giving something to a homeless shelter requires you to pay taxes while throwing it away is free so many people choose to throw away left over food from stores etc. rather than give it to starving people because it's better from an economic standpoint. what I'm saying is that money matters more than anything else and I don't like it.
In the past, this kind of system was perhaps necessary but now, we have the resources and the technology to give everyone on the planet a decent life yet we don't do that because of an outdated societal structure and rules.

I've got a lot of ideas that seem radical to most people (I think that they will be considered less radical, maybe even ordinary, in the future).
For example, I think that parents shouldn't have the monopoly on raising their children. A lot of people are morons and if they'll have kids, they're just going to raise them to be morons as well. I think it would be better if the entire society would be responsible for each kid's upbringing, that children should be raised and taught by everyone, not have parents present a false view of the world to them because of some personal bias and/or lack of knowledge.

I also don't think very highly of humanity. We're more primitive than we think we are. Just because we're the least primitive animals on this planet doesn't mean much.
I honestly hope that we're just an evolutionary step towards something better than us.

Ignostic, about most things; religion, politics, ethics, etc. Once someone gives me a reason to believe in something I'll consider it. Most of the time they can't. And in the rare times they do, it's meaningless beyond the context it's derived from.

Not to be confused with Apathy, Nihilism and/or Fatalism. Far too melodramatic for my tastes.

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