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What Should Replace Religions? - Comments

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 1 by rod-the-farmer

Great stuff. I would like to hear him at even greater length on this topic.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:04:14 UTC | #584449

ptdc's Avatar Comment 2 by ptdc

Roman museum of extinct catholic religion. Awesome. Mighty glad that Benedict is helping a lot in expediting the process.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:36:14 UTC | #584464

jsolebello's Avatar Comment 3 by jsolebello

We already have professional sports that would do well to replace religions. What would replace the actual church buildings? I don't know. Professional sports(baseball, basketball, hockey) provide a great source of competition to satisfy our desire to learn, grow and carry on.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:49:17 UTC | #584467

rsharvey's Avatar Comment 4 by rsharvey

I'm not on board with the atheist music... That was awful!

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:51:41 UTC | #584468

TuftedPuffin's Avatar Comment 5 by TuftedPuffin

Haven't watched the clip, but Role Playing Games are pretty good for the whole "community united by ritual" shtick that religion likes to tout.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 17:58:29 UTC | #584473

Polesch's Avatar Comment 6 by Polesch

I love classical music, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Grieg, Pachelbel, Händel, Debussy, Mahler, ... Those makes life bearable.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:11:36 UTC | #584475

locutus7's Avatar Comment 7 by locutus7

In america, the far right (otherwise known as the Republican Party) is moving to fetishize the constitution (oops, I mean The Constitution) as a sacred, divinely inspired document. And to cast The Founding Fathers as holy figures with absolute knowledge and wisdom. Because to some, christianity has foreign, and thus slightly suspect, origins. The Constitution is 100% american.

I am completely serious. There was a cover article on The New Yorker or The Atlantic about the sanctification of the constitution.

My point is that in america (I can't speak for anywhere else), it is not only a need to socialize, but a pressing need to worship something that religion fills.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:34:42 UTC | #584484

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 8 by AtheistEgbert

Religion gives us love and hope? Sorry Daniel Dennett, but I disagree. Those are human qualities and not a product of religion. The idea that religion gives us good bits is because religion is made up of humans.

But I guess the speech is toward the soft nice humanists.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:39:30 UTC | #584488

Andrew B.'s Avatar Comment 9 by Andrew B.


Wed, 26 Jan 2011 18:57:17 UTC | #584495

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 10 by huzonfurst

I've been viewing chutches as museums for at least 30 years. It makes going into them something to look forward to rather than dread. The only exception to this is that Unitarian churches still creep me out, because they're for people who can't quite fully let go of the nonsense. Try making a seriously critical comment about religion in one of those places - it's like criticising Islam in a room full of multiculturalists!

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:02:34 UTC | #584499

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 11 by Stevehill

There was a cover article on The New Yorker or The Atlantic about the sanctification of the constitution.

It was only a matter of time before Americans needed to invent a new, white God, after discovering that Jesus and the Apostles were all swarthy Middle-Eastern towel-heads and definitely not to be trusted on anything much!

What I will concede is that religion is for many people the focus of their community activity and social life, and may well make them feel useful (and they may indeed be useful, e.g. looking after scout groups or a soup kitchen or something). We need something constructive to fill those gaps.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:04:58 UTC | #584500

Tord M's Avatar Comment 12 by Tord M

Comment 7 by locutus7 :

In america, the far right (otherwise known as the Republican Party) is moving to fetishize the constitution (oops, I mean The Constitution) as a sacred, divinely inspired document. And to cast The Founding Fathers as holy figures with absolute knowledge and wisdom. Because to some, christianity has foreign, and thus slightly suspect, origins. The Constitution is 100% american.

I'm not American, but I've often noticed how Americans, both Democrats and Republicans and The Rest, talk about The Founding Fathers and the Constitution in almost religious terms, as if they were prophets and holy scriptures. I think it might be because of the need for something solid to cling on to when everything else seems to be moving and relative.

I think religions provide substitutes for real solid social relationships. When people feel they cannot trust each other and cannot find security in each other, they need some substitute to cling to. (If you haven't got a mother, you'll cling to a trunk, a Bible, or a gun). Perhaps more social security and less guns would reduce the need for religion?

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:13:57 UTC | #584502

locutus7's Avatar Comment 13 by locutus7

But how do you explain the need to worship some deity or person that many people have? Because I am missing that part of the brain, I just don't understand it.

It recalls the interview a religious person had with Hitch where the theist asked Hitch to agree, hypothetically, that there was a god. Hitch agreed. Then the theist asked if Hitch wouldn't feel the need to worship god. Hitch said NO, he would actually resist god. The inteviewer kept insisting that Hitch wasn't understanding that he was to hypothsize the existence of god. And Hitch kept insisting he well understood, but he would not WORSHIP god.

The theist could not comprehend how someone would not worship a god. And Hitch could not understand how someone could worship such an unpleasant being.

I'm not sure this need to worship is a function of indoctrination, but rather some quirk in the way people's brains are wired.


Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:17:11 UTC | #584504

stellier68's Avatar Comment 14 by stellier68

Let's not forget the side of religion that "forgives" child-rapists for their sins as long as they accept Jesus in their heart (and in their bank account).

What will replace that?

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:25:52 UTC | #584507

EveAsInAdam's Avatar Comment 15 by EveAsInAdam

I'm so proud to be from Ontario knowing that this was aired on TVO! Love public broadcasting. Thank you, Mr. Dennett. Thought-provoking as usual.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:29:29 UTC | #584510

Noble Savage's Avatar Comment 16 by Noble Savage

I'll watch the talk later, but for now I just wanted to comment on the above posts regarding hope.

I'm convinced that religion gives people hope. And if it's not one of the monotheisms, it can be another form of superstition.

In Norway, where I live, most people aren't christian. Instead they believe some silly superstitious nonsense they each make up for themselves. Something that fits their liking. If it's not Jesus, it can be "The Secret", karma, fate, a belief in some sort of afterlife or some other nonsense. I'm interested in this stuff, so I usually get into these discussions with everyone I know at some point and they all take comfort in superstition. I don't exactly have a large sample size here, but I do believe most people do find comfort in superstition.

Even something as basic as saying "things will be ok" when, in fact, they have no idea whether things will be ok or not. Or "everything happens for a reason". Or saying "things turn out well for good people" (In norwegian: "det ordner seg for kjekke gutter/jenter"). Obviously complete bullshit, based on nothing but wishful thinking, but people keep repeating it like it's some kind of mantra. I can understand saying something like the above to a friend in time of distress, but it does seem like people actually believe it.

And don't get me started on healing and psychics. I haven't met a girl in years who isn't at least intensely positive to both.

It's very hard for many people to look true uncertainty in the eye without blinking. The blink often lasts a lifetime.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 19:56:57 UTC | #584524

lackofgravitas's Avatar Comment 17 by lackofgravitas

What replaces religion? People. And how you treat the, how they treat you. And when you don't have to spend 18 hours a day hunting for food (because you learned to cook and preserve it) you have free time. All the stuff you don't HAVE to do, but want to do, that's called Culture, it's been happening for millions of years until some old nutjob who didn't get invited to the cool people's parties started saying how fun was a bad thing and 'god' had told him so.

I think that's about the strength of it.

"Disney's Magic Kingdom of Allah" !!! That's a Fatwa right there :)

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 20:56:34 UTC | #584540

lackofgravitas's Avatar Comment 18 by lackofgravitas

btw, is that Diane Venora at 9:00?

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 21:10:07 UTC | #584546

PhilippSpalting's Avatar Comment 19 by PhilippSpalting

Dan shouting "stand up and dance!" made me chuckle.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 21:26:12 UTC | #584548

root2squared's Avatar Comment 20 by root2squared


Wed, 26 Jan 2011 21:27:01 UTC | #584551

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 21 by Rawhard Dickins


Wed, 26 Jan 2011 21:57:48 UTC | #584556

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 22 by Hendrix is my gOD

Comment 7 by locutus7 :

In america, the far right (otherwise known as the Republican

Party) is moving to fetishize the constitution (oops, I mean The Constitution) as a sacred, divinely inspired document. And to cast The Founding Fathers as holy figures with absolute knowledge and wisdom. Because to some, christianity has foreign, and thus slightly suspect, origins. The Constitution is 100% american.

The Republicans use the Constitution as a token symbol for the power of government over people, which is what they espouse and have been rather successful at. But they are deniers of the liberties and protections which the Constitution demands, For it is powerful, oppressive government, which they lust and pursue, that the Founders rebelled against and established a democracy and constitution to protect the people from. They, of course, would love to assign godly worship to the government, and the obedience a god demands, which ultimately is obedience to their power and self-interests,

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 22:03:18 UTC | #584560

nykos's Avatar Comment 23 by nykos

Secular religions like environmentalism and socialism are already rapidly replacing Christianity as a result of massive ignorance of how science really works, as well as (often selective) ignorance of results from economics and psychology. Humans have a strong desire to worship an authority that can bring stability into their lives - accepting that one should be responsible for one's own failures and successes, as well as accepting that other people should also be similarly responsible if any progress is to be made, are very difficult things to come to terms with. It will always be easier to envy and blame others.

Ending Christianity will be nothing to rejoice - for other new faiths will spring in to take its place. And if the shift from polytheism to monotheism is of any indication, it might not be such a great thing after all.

But the Scientific Method will eventually also cut through the new dogmas just like a hot knife through butter. For the simple reason that its applications are actually useful.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 22:35:41 UTC | #584573

A-Leprechaunist's Avatar Comment 24 by A-Leprechaunist

I like Alan Moore's idea of everyone having their own very personal pretend deity.. with the understanding that it's all a bit of fun - not so much about 'belief' as 'suspension of disbelief':

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 22:41:44 UTC | #584575

alexi's Avatar Comment 25 by alexi

Emphatically Vote NO on secular gospel music. Everything else he said was mostly good, but that was TERRIBLE.

A) I hate gospel music anyway (the old hymns can be good, but not that new age mega-church gospel stuff which is what this sounded like)

B) It's not the 14th century. We will inevitably churn out cheesy garbage if we try to invent traditions with "apparent age."

C) Reason isn't something you worship and isn't supposed to be. It's something you use, something you do, maybe even something you embody. But you don't worship it; that's the whole point! Writing 'gospel' music basically means 'worship' music, and they even said in the song 'I bow down to reason.' Barf.

D) Good music has to have more drama and human conflict in it. Even if we recognize that war and barbarism and irrational faith are things we're better off suppressing most of the time, those things are a part of us and should come out in our art.

E) Most accessible music these days is already irreligious although not identifiable as atheistic (and isn't that the point?). Christian rock is widely disparaged even among people who believe in a personal god.

F) Music like that will surely do nothing but fuel the impression that atheists are "a cranky fringe group that meets in hotel ballrooms."

Lets not re-invent the wheel. I liked what he said a lot about TED, and there are other similar things - 'cafe scientifique' is something that has cropped up in a number of cities that I think is a great thing. And we already, today, have a smorgasbord of art and music for consideration and consumption that has nothing to do with god. Rock, jazz, metal, (maybe rap but I hate that stuff and don't consider it music); these things are the most popular music today and at various points in time and space are known as "Satan's music."

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 23:20:06 UTC | #584580

WonderNerd's Avatar Comment 26 by WonderNerd

I gotta say he hit the TED thing spot on. There are days I spend lying around watching Ted talks on my ipod.

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 23:40:44 UTC | #584593

atkinson's Avatar Comment 27 by atkinson

What should replace cancer ?

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 00:31:55 UTC | #584610

wcapehart's Avatar Comment 28 by wcapehart

Comment 28 by atkinson : What should replace cancer ?

Bravo. An answer I agree with whole heartedly. We shouldn't replace it with anything -- Except for sleeping in on Sundays.

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 05:36:28 UTC | #584646

Karen Hill Anton's Avatar Comment 29 by Karen Hill Anton

Comment 18 -- lackofgravitas: No, that is not Diane Venora ... an actress I like and have wondered why she isn't in more films.

Thu, 27 Jan 2011 07:06:43 UTC | #584662

sbooder's Avatar Comment 30 by sbooder


Thu, 27 Jan 2011 07:12:46 UTC | #584663