382

"It is a scientifically proven fact that highly intelligent people are prone to (clinical) depression, neuroticism, and anxiety disorders." 

I mean, I'm not against science here, but since a more intelligent person would make better choices on the average by definition, and better choices lead to a better life, then I would expect to believe that more intelligent persons would suffer less from depression and anxiety rather than more as a better life would be less stressful. 

No, intelligence does not make depression. They are related. They do not change each other directly. Personally, I felt more depressed over matters I had with no solution. Solving the problem relieves the anxiety. We can be smarter after the experience than during the experience. No solution is the motivation to get smarter. Ultimately the journey's end is greater than any means because then you know the solution works.

Depression is not an indication of superior intelligence. People who make such claims are typically only rationalizing their compulsion to go on clinging to their own attachments and self-destructive behavior. Although pain is one of life's greatest teachers. The man of intelligence is neither averse to pain nor does he go on clinging to painful psychological memories which may perpetuate/cause him unnecessary suffering. 

What I've found extremely annoying is so many superficial people donning a *depressed look* to appear more intelligent. They make the world think depression is not real and all depressed people are attention-seeking posers.

The concepts of happiness and unhappiness only perturb the mind whenever we carry a specific idea about *how* to live. The desire for happiness creates the *how to live*. Desire needs the future to exist. What does that mean? It means that you cannot desire from the now. A bridge is needed from here to there; from the present to the future. Desire is that bridge. The bridge is only a projection of the mind. The bridge does not exist in reality. In order to desire anything, you have to project yourself into the future. And the future doesn't exist.

The future has never existed. By the time the future arrives, it is already the present. Hence, the feelings of disappointment and despair (unhappiness) that you ultimately feel whenever things don't go the way that you had planned. So depression is *not* a matter of intelligence. It is simply a failure to recognize that time is an illusion. And if you are too caught by your desires you will go on finding excuses to protect your illness.

You might not depressed. Well at least not a chemical-clinically-problem since the thoughts you spin around in your mind are part of the problem. We are brought up to live in a dream, a fairy tale, and the way out of it is to observe and reveal the lies in our own minds.

Intelligent people may be more sensitive, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are more susceptible to depression; it just means they feel more deeply than someone of lesser intelligence. In any case, we all suffer under the same weight.

"How is depression simply a failure to recognize that time is an illusion? Even after realizing that oh so mystical metaphysics, many, many people will STILL struggle at least on occasion with depression?"

Of course. It is at most a conscious effort. Some days I lie around in the bed and stare at the wall I'm so depressed. I could resist this uncomfortable feeling and perpetuate my suffering for several days, but because I consciously choose not to resist the suffering and remind myself that the feeling will pass, the feelings of depression are usually gone by the next day.

There are of course those life circumstances that cause us to suffer for more than 'twenty-four' hours. For example, I lost my mom back in 2015. It took me a good six or five months to pass through the grieving process. I am still grieving for months after of course, but I am referring to those initial ups and downs that consume the better part of your day. But even then I reminded myself that this too shall pass. I just wasn't foolish enough to expect the suffering to go away after just a few days. No, I believe we have to go totally into the grieving process in order to grieve properly. And of course, everyone grieves differently.

There are no hard rules about it. It takes as long as it takes. But you know I'm not gonna feel guilty if I find something to smile about two days after my mom has died. No, I believe that grief and praise are inextricably linked. And our loved ones who are gone would want us to cut up and laugh just as we always did.

So yeah I'm not advocating for any permanent state of bliss in this matter. I do believe it is possible to be in a permanent state of bliss, but I'm definitely not there yet. Being in a constant state of bliss would bore me. Pain is what motivates me sometimes. Lack of continuity is why people don't like the idea of constant bliss. But there is also a kind of relief when knowing life does go wrong.

We all have our own coping mechanisms. One way of coping with depression is learning to be more present. One way to do that is to accept that this too shall pass. Just like happiness, unhappiness is fleeting. Expecting something which is fleeting to go on lasting without end causes suffering. Deluding yourself into believing that you know anything about the future causes suffering. No one can tell anything about the future. We make plans and God laughs. Accepting that control is an illusion allows you to refrain from engaging in the infinite complexities of self-definition and misidentification.

Don't forget there's emotional intelligence too. Thinking helps me see a bigger picture, so to not dwell on one spot. But I suspect when I manage to rise above intellectually, my EQ will take a hit to make room for all the rational thinking, which may further contribute to feelings of despair and alienation in the long run. It is the infinite nature of a thought that causes problems, the ability to discern the problem of one that has a solution and one that does not, that drives the intelligent people to anxiety, it is overwhelming but one can grow out of it. 

Intellectuals are more inclined towards mental disorders, but because they are so intelligent they tend not to be too badly affected by them and just get on with their lives. The average human on the other hand...

381

Everyone has their interpretation of being an apatheist. Their assumption of God, of doubts, questions, and their construction of why they reject some part of God. But when you can 100% understand everything about God, then it is definitely not a God. Do you see the problem here?

God, by its definition, is above objective proof. If I'm an atheist, even if somebody shows me objectively that He can raise the dead, fly like Superman, or turn water into wine, I still wouldn't believe.

If He's benevolent and helps save billions of people, would that be proof enough? If He has the unlimited ability and can do anything, would that prove His omnipotence? If He knows everything and can answer any question we put to him.

Sure, He can be benevolent and save the whole universe from any further suffering, He can answer all the questions and exhibit all the godlike abilities, I agree with all of that, I just think that we people could never confirm that He's a God nonetheless. We aren't able to visit every corner of the universe to confirm that there indeed isn't any suffering anymore—not to mention we have to formulate a universal agreement about suffering, that what is the final definition of suffering first. We can ask God only the questions for which we already know the answer. We can ask God to grant us all the ability to fly, but, as I said, maybe God can do this because He's very powerful and He can trick us into thinking that he's a God, but maybe that's only a small fraction of what a real God could do.

One would have to be omni-aware to experience the true evidence of omnipotence godship. I just can't imagine anything that would be an ultimate proof of God's existence. If we are to prove beyond any doubt that He's a God, He would have to demonstrate this by doing everything there is to be done and answering all the questions there are to be answered. But this would take an eternity, there would always be another thing to be done, and another question to be answered. God is purposely not detected or discoverable by the efforts of flawed fallen human intellect. That would mean He would be confined to intellectuals alone. Not a good godlike to rally to.

There is no evidence that is so compelling and obvious that anyone would be convinced. Atheists do not have that and neither do theists. Anyone who thinks they do have ventured into almost magical thinking. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the true proof of God's existence is beyond the capacities of humankind. We are too limited to confirm that He/She/It really is a God. I think the only way for a God to prove that He's a God, is to turn somebody else into God. This way the person (who is now a God) would get the ability (and equality) to confirm the successful demo of the original God. I would probably have to become a God myself. 

The things is, you can't eradicate anything with even the most obvious truths. If that was the case then there would be no flat earthers. Humans can raise their skepticism to irrational levels and suppress the truth and that is why no amount or quality of evidence would eliminate unbelief. Atheism wouldn't suddenly disappear with the arrival of the elusive evidence. Instead, there'd be holdouts saying, "Surely, this is something else." You, we, I, have only our personal spiritual experiences which are of no value to others.

When I was a fundamentalist atheist, I realized I was wrong. When I was a fundamentalist Muslim, I realized I was wrong. When I was a liberal Muslim, I realized I was wrong. When I realized I don't know much of anything, that may be the first time I was actually right.

380

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what is after death. About where I'm gonna go. And I would prefer if it's utter and total nothingness, like a moment you are here and the next moment you are just a concept inside the minds of people who knew you. 

I was (and am from time to time) is often in a very similar place like this. I came to a point where I resented my own existence and found myself analyzing everything to such a fault that I didn't see any point in doing some of the smallest tasks in life. Then I came to realize that life was about feeling, not thinking. I sought to live authentically and quiet my mind. Since I couldn't see any point in anything, I decided to walk blindly and remind myself that life is meant to be lived despite any rationalization or sense of futility I may feel. It's a hard way still, but I've managed to surprise myself and feel lighter somewhat so I know I'm on the right path, as wavy and dark as it may seem at times. This was kind of vomited out and not well articulated. I know this may seem like low-level common sense or even absurdity, I know, but I felt like sharing, hope it helps.

Remember that humans are very young in an evolutionary sense and our conscious minds are a thin wrapper around mostly reptilian brains. We are still evolving as a species, and regression is common. If you think about what a miracle consciousness, empathy, and compassion are and how much awareness has developed just in the recent past, and that we will continue to develop in leaps and starts in the future, that might help you cope with human shortcomings now. We’re all works in progress.

I hate life not because of what happens to me, I want to die precisely because of the things that are outside; everything that happens in the world, or what happens to the people closest to me, let alone loved ones like family. Like many people out there, I don't necessarily wanna die, it's just that I don't wanna live. At least not in this world, within the society and its constructs. I think about everything from basic principles, I try to make sense of the world around me. And the more I think like that, the more it inflicts pain upon me.

Breathe. Just breathe into the soothing darkness and allow it to pass. If there is something for me here, it will become visible in the silence. If it does not, I am then free to make something for myself. There is a unique and often terrifying madness in too much "why." And a priori knowledge of the world can be burdensome if you get stuck in that why. Breathe.

Sometimes I do sports as an escape. It takes my mind off existential stuff which could really make me think how absurd our lives here on earth are. Even the promise of eternal life that religion offers do not make sense anymore. Eternal life is the most absurd of all absurdity.

It will get better with time, life always does so just hang in there. And it gets easier faster if you make a choice to grow. Learn. Take notes. It got to the point that I spent most of my time rationalizing things to keep my sanity.

Nature wraps all that is good, pleasurable, and beautiful with pain and ugliness. The painful birth process of a loving mother just to give life to a beautiful baby who becomes the source of joy and fulfillment for the parents. A seed must fall down and be buried in the ground before it becomes a new seedling. The grapes are to be crushed before it becomes wine. And seeds to be ground before it becomes a bread that will nourish us. Pain and pleasure, beauty and ugliness, are polarities we experience the one.

Life touched on many points, each requiring long explanations. The short answer that might help me feel better is: statistics vs generalizations. Not all men do those things, not all religious people think those things, etc. Also, evil is a very unclear term, depends on perspectives, even for some people wearing a mini skirt is evil. There's plenty of goodness and wonderful things in people. Don't take your current views as final & written in stone. Life is full of everything, try to accept it, then try to improve something. Just by being a relatively good person, you contribute to humanity.

We are now entering a post-religious era and there is nothing here to satisfy our inherent need for meaning, purpose, and connection. Unfortunately, science is not up to the task. Not yet at least. We're a generation lost in space. Abandoning the illogical and stifling traditions of our forefathers with nothing to fill that void.

If the afterlife does not exist ... death, an eternal sleep without dreams or nightmares, sounds ok compared to the slave life we live in.

379

Morality always has been different for every culture. People are almost always prone to take offense to the moral customs of foreign cultures. The illusion of progress brings people to believe that we have reached an absolute peak in human thought that has never been excelled before. Every civilization in all history is guilty of this. But progress is not linear, if it even exists. What is progress anyway?

In ancient civilizations there were several practices considered morally good that we now would consider barbaric, but that is the same type of nationalism that people in those other cultures would feel if they knew of our own moral codes. In Ancient Greece, infanticide was considered the norm, and people commonly left unwanted babies outside of the temple to die. In the early Roman Republic, all men were allowed to kill their wife and children at any time regardless of reason. In Ancient Egypt, incest was encouraged as a sign of status. In Babylon, it was a requirement upon hitting puberty that all girls consent to have sex with any man who solicits her. Pedophilia and rape were condemned in some places and celebrated in others. These laws and many others might shock and disgust us, but they were considered moral at the time. But can we truly call these civilizations immoral, primitive, or ignorant? How do we know if our morals are any better? What is morality and what does it seek to achieve? We need to get a little deeper than the human nature argument if we are going to discuss morality. If it's just a feeling, then we cannot condemn anyone for breaching our own personal codes of morals. If this were the case we might as well ditch morality and just do what we want.

Outside of appeal to emotion, one common argument is that morality exists for the society more than the individual, to keep society thriving a long time. If this were true, then all of the ancient civilizations I named must have good codes of morals because they lasted hundreds if not thousands of years (in the case of Egypt) with these same laws. There is also the utilitarian argument of maximizing happiness, but we have to consider that Roman and Babylonian citizens were in all likelihood much happier than we are.

We must remember that the morals we have right now are descended from two sources, neither of which most of us currently hold in high esteem; our ancestor's culture and religion teaching. We must approach the subject as if we know nothing, and start again from scratch. Maybe we don't need morality. We might be taking this whole civilization thing a bit too seriously. Or morality could be serving a different purpose that we don't need to value as much. If morality exists, how can we justify ourselves to Rome, Egypt, Babylon, or Greece? How can we argue in support of our own morals without claiming cultural superiority? Why do we as a culture find murder, mutilation, misogyny, slavery, rape, incest, and pedophilia so repulsive while other cultures would laugh at us for thinking that? How can we justify our morals to anyone?

378

"That willingness to dive completely into the unknown is an act of a true seeker of truth."

The question would beWhat if the unknown remains unknown, can we still call it the truth?

There is a famous thought experiment written by philosopher Frank Jackson called "Mary The Super-Scientist." It is meant to be a knowledge argument in regards to physicalism. If knowledge is physical, then wouldn't it have to interact with any phenomena before we could know that phenomena, as opposed to be mental and can be derived through non-physical means such as direct observation? The thought experiment goes like this:

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like "red," "blue," and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence "The sky is blue." What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?

Ultimately, this question was answered by explaining that there are two truths. Unfortunately for the western philosophers, no one bothered to give the Buddhist philosopher, Nagarjuna, the second Buddha after Siddhartha Gautama, credit for this discovery. Making them look kind of stupid. But nonetheless, the doctrine of two truths is instrumental in explaining both experiment, and answering the question.

There are two truths. The first is the truth of experience. This is everything that you observe objectively or subjectively by which you can affirm that in terms of reality, it has no fault. If you drop a stone, and it hits the ground, you can say to a reasonable certainty that stones hitting the ground when you drop them, barring any unusual circumstances, is a truth of reality.

Then there is the truth that lies beyond what is known or knowable. That is the truth that is unknown and unknowable.

Mary has the first truth about color. But she doesn't have the second truth about color, because color is out of the scope of her experience. So will she be in possession of new knowledge when she finally sees color? Well, yes and no. She will have new knowledge in the form of experience, but that won't necessarily tell Mary anything more about how color works than what she already knows. In fact, it may even tell her less. Because just experiencing color doesn't tell you, in a reductively logical way, what is color. Just that it is a thing.

So using this information, what could we say about a person who lived in darkness all their lives, and never saw light. Like a blind man. Does this mean he cannot define darkness? Does this mean that he cannot conceive of light? Like, have you ever been dead? So not experiencing death means you can't understand life for what it is? Saying someone else experience death, or even light, and told you about it, doesn't really deliver knowledge, does it? Other than knowledge of the other person (objective) rather than their perception (subjective).

Blind people have actually defined their darkness before. The difference being that they did not define it in relation to light. They defined it in relation to their own experience. As their existence. As not-light, whatever light is suppose to be.

If you think about it, all humans do this, as well. No human has ever experienced absolute nothingness or non-existence. We don't even have a way to define it besides saying it's not existence. But we can still imagine it in a way. But this is only because we make use of other dualities we can model after. So while we may not be able to see light, we can still conceive of a thing called light. And understand darkness for what it is. A thing that is to us a singularity. It is not alone in being singularities. Though most of them are abstract.

What is God? How are we able to define and understand it if we cannot experience it? We certainly don't define it objectively. Just conceptually.

The funny thing about blind people and color blind people is that there exists some technologies that now allow people who have been blind from birth to see. Or color blind people to see color. In many of the videos, mostly children, their reaction to seeing for the first time is often surprising reserved. Their reaction is usually one of curiosity rather than shock.

And oddly enough, many color blind people can tell the difference between different colors, and even name them, never having actually experienced them before that moment. Because what we have become accustom to as color, they have become accustom to as shades of gray. More shades of gray than we ever notice. So for them, the experience of color can really be a little more underwhelming than we would expect.

In a more modern context of truth relativism in logic theory, we'd call the practical truths, relative truths and the greater truths absolute truths. Relative truth are the truths of the world as we can know them in terms of objective and subjective knowledge. Absolute truth is the truth of ontological abstraction. Like the truth of the form of a circle. Typically expressed only logically (mathematically), not materialistically.

Truth (satya) can be divided into two categories: What Nagarjuna usually teach as truth (samvrti), which is a practical kind of truth, and greater truth (paramartha), which is the truth that has greater affect on our existence. According to the two-truths doctrine, all truth ultimately doesn't matter because the one truth of reality .. that it has as its foundation a state of absolute emptiness that cannot be logically determined (shunyata); renders all truths we have to say about reality meaningless.

An often misunderstood term regarding Nagarjuna's understanding is the term "emptiness." This term does not imply a denial of the world / substratum nihilum. Rather it is an absence of svabhava or the essence of the self.

The Muslims had all similar to this in Sufism.

377

Just saying, there are facets and lines from many religious texts generally say to do harm or to inflict punishment on those who are different, because to be different is to be bad, historically speaking.

A lot of non-religious ideologies do the same thing. Those things used to be written into the laws of a lot of countries. But people chose not to obey them any more. Just like a lot of religious people choose not to follow the outdated and barbaric rules of the religious scriptures. Whether mainstream religious people want to sidestep that fact is irrelevant, it's still part of that religion, or you can argue "Depends on the many of interpretations."

It comes down to what kind of person you are, not what religion (or no religion) you are following. If you want to be a evil piece of shit, you will be whether you are religious or not. And you don't need a verse to justify it. But a verse is just as good as any other excuse.

It's easy to blame religion for this. If we say it is the fault of religion, then we can segregate the problem to "all religious people" or "that religion specifically." But if we say it is the fault of human society, then no one is exempt.

A lot of religious people would agree with non-religious people on these points; however, non-religious people make it very hard to religious people to side with them. Especially when every point about the illogical nature of a particular doctrine comes with a condemnation of the entire religion itself. Religious people are forced into a position of defending their faith and siding with the fanatics who are the actual problem.

And since the minority of non-religious are never going to get anywhere without the help of the religious, they may want to rethink their strategy. Of course, remaining the downtrodden and oppressed minority has its philosophical appeal too, I guess.

The Quran specifically states that they must destroy the infidels. Whether mainstream Islam wants to sidestep that fact is irrelevant, it's still part of that religion and there are many interpretations. And yet, not all Muslims are going around killing infidels. Not even a minority of Muslims, but a fringe.

Talk about irrational. And I'm not talking about the religions.

There is a tendency for religious people to make the assumption that human civilization somehow revolves around the dictates of organized religion. There is also a tendency for non-religious people to lump all religion up into one big theological mishmash, neglecting to realize that if all religions were the same thing, then we wouldn't have so many claiming the real one in contrast with the others.

I'm religious. And yet I manage to put rationality and logic above all other things, including religion.

Religion never did a single thing wrong in all of human history. Humans did those things. Using religion as a reason or excuse. Using anything convenient as a reason or excuse. And if something good happens to a dogmatically religious person will thank God for it because they feel they are not worthy enough to take pride in their own accomplishments. Later, they will secretly get angry at God for taking all the credit for their talent, of course.

Fanaticism doesn't start with "I believe in God." It starts with, "You believe in MY God, or else." Fanaticism can also start with "Believe in my government or else," "believe in this ideology or else," "Do what everyone else is doing or else," or even "Don't ever do that again or else." Religion isn't the cause, it's a condition.

Religion is a justification of metaphysical ideology incipit. Metaphysical ideology comes in many shades, and people are just broken inside. Actually, since a lot of the leaders of these ideologies and religions don't really believe it themselves. Especially if it is just being used as a tool for manipulation and domination. Of course, it was still quite an effective tool in getting the people all riled up.

Is the weapon dangerous without the person who uses it? What drove the creation of the weapon in the first place? Someone gave it a purpose before it was even forged. The very first weapon, a stick or a rock, was just a stick or a rock until a primitive human thought to bash someone's head in with it. Aggression and wickedness comes from four sources: fear, ignorance, attachment, and ego. These can be applied to anything, not just religion. If religion had never been invented, we would still be oppressing killing each other for the sake of being right over one thing or another.

Is the weapon dangerous without the person who uses it? Maybe. The creator has the intent of making a weapon. It is made. The intent is what makes an action moral, not always the use. Do we make missiles like we make lollipops? Can I use a lollipop as a weapon? That's semantics. The creator of a weapon is still a user even if he doesn't pull the trigger himself. You can put an eye out with a lollipop if you had the will too, but there are more effective tools handy.

In order for something to be dangerous and fanatical, someone has to make it so, and their motivation can be whatever they choose. Case in point: Christianity. It could had been a philosophy of universal brotherly love. Or it could have been a tool for subjugating the weak and inspiring conquest. The church founders made their decision independent of what Christianity actually was.

The most poisonous parasite that exists within man is fear. Fear is the source of all weakness in human beings, including doubt. Religious fanatics have the most doubt of all. And that translates into the most fear. That is why they have to fight so hard and be so dogmatic. Otherwise the doubt might creep back in and destroy their ideology which they hold on to with all their heart. Their ideology is all they have. They have no personal identity without it. Everything is wrapped up in the cause. Without that, they have nothing.

376

If the universe apparently popped into existence out of pure nothingness with absolutely no cause and for absolutely no reason. How do you think this can be used to prove something? What thing? 

Although an argument can be given for something existing without a cause, there are no viable theories to explain how something can exist without a cause "inside" our universe. Creationists (and theologians) propose that God exists outside of our universe and is therefore exempt from the law of causality; however, we have no way of actually knowing if anything outside of our universe is truly exempt from causation. It's little more than a notion at this point.

Actually, one cannot logically argue God at all. God defies any logical principles since nothing concrete can be applied to a "spiritual" being. Hell if logic is Its creation, it would be illogical if God is submissively to Its creation's law. We can logically argue any realistic principle which can be applied to a theoretical Supreme Being (which in fact originates from man, not the divine), however, outside of the realm of multiple universe theory, arguing that something can exist or be possible according to the principles of logic does not in any way establish their actual existence.

I don't know of a better word to use in English to describe God than spiritual. I can use "fictional" but some of y'all will not like it. I don't know the best translation for the word "ghaib." Without actual evidence, God is indeed a fictional being, in that everything we know about him comes from the literary constructs of writers. There is no proof of God outside of that literature. At all. Which is why Its very existence is based on faith. Not fact. Logically, it is not a requirement to prove something for which you have no evidence in the first place. You can prove something for which you have evidence, or disprove the evidence itself, but you cannot prove or disprove something that has no evidence to support it's existence.

"Evidence" of faith does not in any way equal evidence of God. That's nonsense. In order to have evidence of God we need recordable proof. We don't have that. And if we had God showed up in person is a proof, well Christianity would be the only one religion that unquestionable. Do they? The historical of Jesus still a debate until now.

It is irrelevant to question and ponder the nature of God, any more it was irrelevant for man to ponder the nature of the stars or the existence of the soul. One proved to be real, the other a fantasy.

I believe that if God existed (of the personal variety, anyway), that such a being would ultimately act in accordance with logic and reason. After all, an illogical being would not craft a completely logical universe would it? And if God be the logical being I believe, why would such a logical being who has so much interaction with the daily lives of such a primitive species as man fail to identity It purpose or convey Its instructions in a meaningful and verifiable fashion, instead acting through the dream-inspired ramblings of bronze-age poets? If I am wrong, I rely on God Itself to point that out in person—not other flawed human beings such as myself.

I too am religious and a believer. But my God is of the impersonal variety and influences this world in a way which is inseparable from natural law. So, investigation into Its "true" nature is as simple as picking up a science book, which I'm sure It encourage me to do.

Scientists are such that they approach the world under the auspices of reason and rationale. In fact, they usually consider it a requirement that cannot be dismissed. Not so of the theologian or priest. In fact, for their purposes, the less rational the doctrine, the better. Rational thought, after all, can be questioned. And you don't want questioning in certain religions. It can blow the whole doctrine out of the water.

I would also challenge the "theory" that religious people are somehow more moral than the scientific investigator. In my humble opinion based on a lifetime of experience, they are not. Oh, they claim to be, indeed. But they are not. Unless intolerance, prejudice, and cruelty are the standard for said morality.

What many religions make attractive to many people is the license to suspend disbelief, discard personal responsibility, and embrace ignorance and blind faith as paths to a "truth" which can be claimed but never materializes. It's the transformation of the thinking person into an emotionally-driven sheep. Some religions do embrace science and education as paths to more realistic truths, but for the most part, this is not the case.

Morality does have nothing to do with a person's profession, vocation, calling, or religious / historical title. I do not judge the theologians, priests, and prophets on the basis that they did not practice science. I judge them on the basis that they followed a moral code that was not particularly "moral" in most circumstances at that time they lived. My opinion (and the general opinion of today's moralists) is that a truly ethical moral code must benefit (or at the very least do no harm to) your fellow human being, either physically or emotionally, or impair their advancement. This is not the nature of most religious moral codes put forth by the prophets. Religious people may often lower this standard in accordance with their own beliefs, but I do not. It is not in any way illogical to deny a "prophet" or devotee an elevated status of moral authority. It is illogical NOT to question that status.

I endeavor not to insult actual persons or their beliefs so long as they don't attempt to impose those beliefs on me; however, the prophets and other historical figures are fair game. Nothing exempts them from examination and scrutiny. Don't take my rejection of "religion over science" in any way as an attempt by me to impose my views on you. I have no qualms with anyone religious affiliation or views. Labeling things we don't understand is how primitive human dealt with the uncertainty of the universe. And the rest of us should certainly move beyond this ancient mode of thinking. Label the unknown as an unknown and move on.

375

Religion is not the art of living. "Living" applied generally suggests an unhindered degree of behavioral freedom. Religion is the art of obedience and faith. And that which one is obedient to in any particular religion defines the faith and the actions of its devotees. If your obedience is to a non-corporeal being who makes up arbitrary rules about how one is to behave, regardless of the affects that behavior will have on those who do not declare obedience, and without any mechanism for eliminating harmful elements in that religion (for example: hatred of transgenders and mistreatment of women), then it is a prescription for disaster and social unrest. See the last 1600 years of world history for proof of this fact.

The difference between society's rules and a religion's rules is that a society's rules can be applied to all those who live within that society as a whole. And being diverse, a society's rules can be applied to a number of different people, or adapt to fit their needs. Religious rules can only be applied to persons of that particular religion, unless forced onto others who do not practice said religion; as if often the case. And there is no adaptation within the framework of religious rule. Society's rules can apply to the Christian, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Buddhist, and the atheist alike. Christian rule cannot. Muslim rule cannot. Hindu rule cannot.

There is nothing wrong with obeying rules that can be applied universally. Although religion might contain some rules that are universal, rules pertaining only to a specific religion are not universal. So unless that religion is willing to drop those rules that do not apply to a larger, diverse population, attempting to enforce those rules on others amounts to oppression.