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iamthemob's avatar

What do people think about this crowdsourcing approach to religion?

Asked by iamthemob (17159points) September 14th, 2010

So there are many people – atheists in particular (BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY :-)) who seem to think religion doesn’t work, or react against it. This religion takes an open source approach to religion – a creation mythology that approaches the creation of mythology from an open source perspective.

I think this may be one way religion can be helpful. We can all agree that religious texts are written by men (if you don’t, you’re really answering how YOUR religion can be helpful…not how religion generally can be helpful for the purposes of this question)...so is this a way we can write something helpful for all?

What do people think…

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44 Answers

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Looks like a gimmick to me.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

How so…and does that mean it’s unhelpful?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Well, to me all religion is a gimmick. I guess in some instances religion can be helpful. I just have a problem with televangelists that beg for money on tv and radio. That is where the gimmick is. God always needs money. What the gimmick is with this new approach is yet to be seen.

iamthemob's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet

Okay…but you’re letting that assumption then block the answer that I’m trying to get at. If all religion is a gimmick, there’s no point. How could something like this be helpful, or how might it fail?

syz's avatar

Helpful for what? Helpful in what way? Are you assuming that I (as an atheist) am searching for something?

iamthemob's avatar

@syz That’s what I’m asking – how could it be helpful. And of course…as always, I of course am assuming that you personally and all atheists are searching for something that your godlessness cannot possibly provide. I am that kind of judgmental. ;-)

In all seriousness, though, I believe that we’re all searching for some type of meaning, purpose or direction.

Linda_Owl's avatar

“A creation mythology that approaches the creation of mythology from an open-source perspective” ? Not to sound rude, but this sentence makes no sense. Religions have been created by mankind in order to fill our sense of being alone. Centuries of writing & rewriting has created the various ‘holy books’ – all with the intent of bringing the many into the control by the few. Standards were set so high, that all would feel threatened & intimidated – individuals who feel threatened & intimidated are much easier to bend to the will of the various churches powerful priesthoods. Power & money was the driving force behind the various powerful churches – it did not matter if the people were embracing an empty concept – it kept the money coming in, & the power. Now it sounds as though this “new” concept is going to be more of the same, with the exception that ‘creating the mythology’ is going to be approached by everyone – so what you are going to have is a ‘wekipedia’ religion! I guess, all things considered, this probably makes as much sense as any other approach to ‘religion’. If we look within ourselves & take seriously the guardianship of our planet, we do not need to be told what to do by a religion.

iamthemob's avatar

@Linda_Owl

But that DOES sound rude! :-) It’s a mythology about creation, and such mythology is created from an open-source perspective. You seemed to have grasped the concept in your answer, regardless.

I also think that there are more reasons for religion than to make us feel less alone – the very nature of a creation mythology is that it tells us how we came to be (and does not necessarily require a god who cares whether or not we’re a result of it.)

syz's avatar

No, I don’t find it helpful. The article itself is incredibly obscure, but from what I can tell, the main tenet is just silliness. And why do I need to have some sort of philosophy that I can label as “religion”?

iamthemob's avatar

@syz

That’s totally conclusory. And asking how it may be helpful doesn’t necessitate that you, yourself, find it helpful. Can’t it work for someone else?

syz's avatar

You did specify “atheists in particular”, for which I qualify. I certainly cannot speak for all atheists, I can only speak for myself. And for myself, I feel no need to make up a “religion”.

Or are you suggesting that if the world at large accepts and practices a less, um, restrictive religion, then atheists would be more accepting? I guess I’m not sure what you’re looking for here.

iamthemob's avatar

@syz – sure. The question is meant for something beyond yes, or no, of course. I am trying to get at more of a “why” that requires a broader perspective.

jaytkay's avatar

I’d be more interested in the wisdom of the past few thousand years rather than some random assemblage of people who happen to be alive in the USA at this moment.

Meaning I’m not religious, but for me there is some worth in religious teachings if you set aside the supernatural, superstitious, tribal and ritualistic portions.

iamthemob's avatar

@jaytkay

But the whole open-source concept includes those teachings (or it can).

Did you check out the article (and the link to the “story so far”)?

poisonedantidote's avatar

unless it follows the scientific method, creation stories and speculation will not be factual or helpful.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

Why is the scientific method necessary? And it’s mythology – factuality is, in many ways, out of the picture.

jaytkay's avatar

@iamthemob I admit I only skimmed it.

If you’re not a fanatic who absolutely believes your story is THE TRUTH! and every one else is wrong, what’s the point of religion? Making up some story or collecting various “spiritual” works which “work for me” is just navel gazing.

Beyond The Golden Rule, I can’t see the rest as anything but fiction.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Without the scientific method all you will have is a collection of stories that are false. if facutality is out of the picture, why not just write a novel instead. or take an already existing story and call it a religion. i don’t see the point of a religion that is not only false, but that admits it is false.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

Not true – crowdsourcing is a completely non-scientific method at arriving at the best answers in many situations. Although the analysis of the results requires some math (very little) there is no hypothesis-experiment-result structure in the classic sense.

And considering we’re talking about creation, all we CAN have is a collection of stories and ideas. Did you look at the site at all? It includes, for instance, scientifically accepted hypothesis in the mix along with philosophies.

We have to accept, really, that all religion cannot be true (considering that we cannot prove anything about creation), so we’re looking for the best way to open the bigger questions so that everyone can participate in the conversation, aren’t we?

jaytkay's avatar

@iamthemob We have to accept, really, that all religion cannot be true

Good luck with that one!

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob this is sounding more and more like madness to me. as for saying we cant prove anything about creation, that is just not so. the origin of RNA, the origin of DNA, evolution, the big bang theory, m theory, all deal with creation and are all grounded in science.

also, there is a term for mixing parts of science with philosphies, pseudoscience.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

You do realize that those are all theories, right? And that there are gaping holes in them? Science and philosophy are equally suited to answer “why are we here” type questions, as in order to do so we have to take into account our humanity – something science and philosophy have had equally (un)successful ways of explaining.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob “theory” is the highest level a scientific explanation can have. there are two meanings to the word theory. the popular common usage, meaning hunch or guess as in “i have a theory why my balls itch” then you have a scientific theory, meaning an explanation of the facts, as in “the theory of gravity explains why hammers fall to the ground”

a scientific theory never becomes a law, and as for the laws of physics, they are also theories, the only difference being that scientists today do not have the arrogance to call their findings laws.

evolution for example, while it is in the world of science called a theory, it is also a fact. as for gaping holes, there are none, and if there are, they are only found in things such as m theory that is based in maths.

the computer you are using at this very moment, attests to the fact that science works. even scientific failures can be considered a success, as it always advances what we know.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

Ah, so science is the only way. You know that means that you’re saying, in essence, that science is god…right? I would be careful – South Park showed us the problem with that sort of fundamentalism in this episode, which can be viewed here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@iamthemob so… since we don’t have a written document from God Itself (or Themselves or Everywhere or Whatever) that we can all agree is The Definitive Story of God/s, and all we can do is use our own pitiful reason and intellect to develop, expand on, then shoot down, correct and refine our humble “theories”, you think there is some good to be found in inventing a religion with NO theory other than “it makes people feel good”? What the hell (metaphorically) is the goddamn (as an intensifying and meaningless ejaculation only) point?

I’m all for signing onto—and discussing, refining, arguing against or developing counter-theories—with @poisonedantidote, thanks. At least we might learn something, even if all we learn is a bunch of new mistakes and erroneous views of the world. I’m down with that, at least there’s a point, and an actual by-god (or not) advancement of human understanding.

Like Thomas Edison is reported to have said after someone remarked on his “failures” after 10,000 tries, to find how to make an incandescent light bulb: “Not so!” he said, “I’ve learned 10,000 ways that won’t work.” You’d have us sitting around a dim cave imagining what a light might be like. Pass.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob that is a straw man fallacy, no one said the scientific method created the universe. you cant call things that are not a god a god. money is not a god, science is not a god. and as for southpark, it is a cartoon, and only expresses the ideas of two individuals. are you really suggesting that otters will want to smash my skull open on their stomachs.

jaytkay's avatar

@iamthemob …since we don’t have a written document from God Itself…

Opinions differ on that.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

Yes of course that’s what I’m suggesting! But what I can say is that if you stick to a statement that “science is the only way” that’s as dogmatic as saying “Jesus Christ is the only way.”

And there are a lot of open questions left for evolution. I believe that it’s the best theory that we have…but it still doesn’t explain anything as to why it happened, why it happened here, why we were the result because (1) we don’t have all the information from the past, and (2) we don’t have any of the information from the future.

If you’re going to say that “religion is bunk, it can never be helpful, and discussion about it is silly if it’s not based on the scientific method” then this question probably wasn’t directed at you, unfortunately.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Hey, you know what’s unhelpful: that damn website – I’ve spent 5 minutes (way more time than I ever do skimming anything, I’m a speed reader) following all sorts of links and nowhere can I find wtf the thing means and therefore I declare it pretending to be shrouded in mystery but not really relevant to my life, whatsoever – like all religion.

iamthemob's avatar

@CyanoticWasp

If you can’t see the point, please exit the auditorium. :-)

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob that particular southpark episode only has one moral to it, they are basically saying that in a world without religion there would still be war. thats all.

as for evolution explaining why there is evolution, it does that already, perfectly so, natural selection. the circumstances of our reality caused it. if you mean evolution does not explain why we are here or the origin of life, then no it does not, and never will. it does not even attempt to, evolution only explains the diversity of life, not its origins, that would be abiogenesis.

iamthemob's avatar

This link might be more helpful.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

It’s as much about the idea behind the war as the war itself:

Their subsequent conversations with Jillette about atheism and related topics (e.g., the difference between “atheism” and “agnosticism”) gave rise to the idea of satirizing the “militant” or “evangelical” atheism as represented in the episode by Dawkins and Garrison.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob in other words, it said nothing on the validity of the scientific method.

and i agree with them btw, atheists who protest x-mas trees and god on money and things like that are quite sad individuals.

here is my issue with all this, religions declare them selves as facts. this moderate theist stuff is all a new modern thing, and only exists because science has dealt blows to the so called factual claims of religions. forcing those who are more reasonable to claim some things as metaphors or alegory, but it was not always like that at all. without science stories like genesis and the garden of eden would still be regarded as factual.

so, if a new religion does not use the scientific method then it is not trying to be factual. does this render it totally useless? no, you could still learn some things, say regarding morality and ethics, but you can already do that with philosophy alone. if you want to be factual you need the scientific methor, or a even more refined and improved version of it. if you are not trying to be factual, then you dont need the term religion at all, you could just call it philosophy.

this whole thing just looks like a new scientology to me, a way of trying to capitalize on the ever decreasing viability of traditional religions. get followers, then power, then money.

iamthemob's avatar

@poisonedantidote

I never said that the scientific method wasn’t valid. That was never part of the conversation.

I’m saying that for certain, larger than life questions, there are equally valuable philosophical and other analytical methods that can be helpful, and that don’t exclude scientific information from the conversation.

And saying that it seems like scientology is really bringing your own baggage to religion. Let’s try to approach from a standpoint where we don’t ASSUME anything about this…how can it be helpful, and how could it not be?

And so what if we call it a religion? It seems that the only objections to it are because people just don’t like religion. Hell, I don’t really like it either, which is why these alternatives intrigue me. But that’s not really a scientific, rational response to the question, is it? ;-)

BoBo1946's avatar

I’m not sure if this answer the question, but it about perspective and personal choices. I’m more spiritual than religious. I believe in the Bible from word one to the last word, however, there is much that I don’t understand. Today, organized religion is seen by many, unfortunately, as a money making thing. Some evangelist, destroy the real meaning of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m a positive spiritual person. I try my best to love everyone if they will allow me to do so. I’m not judgmental or condemning. This is a hard life….and everyone is looking for contentment and peace of mind. I’ve found this with my personal relationship with the person who came to this Earth and died on a Cross for me and every human being on Earth. I’ve comfort and peace with my decision.

I don’t believe a person has to attend church (an organized religion) everyday is find this relationship. After all, it’s about, in my humble mind, how a person treats his fellowman. However, having said that, I believe a person has to accept Him as his personal Savior and repent of their sins, to enter into the King of Heaven. That can be done anywhere…in a church, in front of your TV, etc. But, it has to be a total commitment to following His word and living it on a daily bases. So many big church goers do it for business purposes etc. That does not get it. After a person make that commitment, their pleaser changes…the person then lives his/her life to please Him everyday, not just on Sunday.

Also, I’m not familiar with crowd sourcing….not sure what this means!

poisonedantidote's avatar

@iamthemob yes, a poor choice of words on my part. when i said “in other words, it said nothing on the validity of the scientific method.” i was actually talking about this statement -“South Park showed us the problem with that sort of fundamentalism in this episode” what i should have said is “in other words it did not warn us about any problems with science” or something to that affect.

there is no need to call this thing a religion, the word philosophy would do well enough alone. so what if they call it a religion? well, see my statement on scientology. why would they need to call it a religion, unless they wanted followers and ultimately power and money, or perhaps political influence. calling a philosophy a religion is just pointless. and mixing science with philosophy and calling it a religion can only really serve one purpose, to be deceive those who don’t know any better, and possibly defraud or manipulate them in some way.

iamthemob's avatar

why would they need to call it a religion, unless they wanted followers and ultimately power and money, or perhaps political influence. calling a philosophy a religion is just pointless.

But it’s therefore equally pointless to call a religion a philosophy! You’re assuming motivations here without fully exploring the reasons behind the experiment (and it is, ironically, an experiment). IF they start to do all those things, I’m on board with you. I’m generally also against religious institutions being granted tax breaks that other philanthropic organizations don’t get.

But until that happens, we can’t assume without proof can we? That again is just bringing our baggage into the discussion.

(PS – I think the “Science help us!” cries of the characters in the episode directly speak to an issue with people who look to science from a fundamentalist perspective. But that’s mostly splitting hairs in regards to the actual topic of discussion).

iamthemob's avatar

@BoBo1946 Crowdsourcing or something based on an “open source” methodology is a way to put a problem to a large and diverse group of people, based on a theory that collaboration leads to innovation, and on the apparent contribution that a crowd can make to answering a problem the right way (see the crowdsourcing link above).

In essence, FLUTHER is crowdsourcing.

Fairylover78's avatar

@iamthemob said:Crowdsourcing or something based on an “open source” methodology is a way to put a problem to a large and diverse group of people, based on a theory that collaboration leads to innovation, and on the apparent contribution that a crowd can make to answering a problem the right way (see the crowdsourcing link above)

Answering a problem the right way? But what is the right way? Then just like the bible (and every religion) is ultimately the opinions of Man ( yes, like it is here on fluther) your still talking about opinions….who’s right and who’s wrong? And who is it that decides who’s right and who’s wrong…. I skimmed the article and just like everyother “religion” I have studied, it is just as gimmicky… I mean hey, as far as I’m concerned if it comforts you individually, no matter the religion or belief, then Hoorah for you, go with it, that’s right for you as an individual and good for you! The only problem i have is when people start trying to ” Help me understand” what they believe and looking at me different because I choose as an individual not too. I say to each there own, believe whatever the hell makes you happy and feels right to you, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because it’s right for you that others are “missing out” on something profound… they may have already found that for themselves. ( NOTE: When I say you, I dont mean anyone in particular here, just the broad use of the word just like the They Say they’s out there;)

iamthemob's avatar

@Fairylover78

That was more about crowdsourcing specifically. I get whet you’re saying, but “the right way” was about the general assistance crowdsourcing can give.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Let’s do science this way: Everyone who believes in evolution please raise your right hand.

All opposed?

Gosh, looks like the nays have it. Evolution is hereby rescinded.

Next up, anthropogenic global warming. (Oh, wait… that’s how that “science” is being conducted. Never mind.)

iamthemob's avatar

@CyanoticWasp

That was a very scientific way of analyzing the problem! Wait…

JustmeAman's avatar

Very interesting points of view. My view of religion is that obviously it is very wanted and needed. Look at the history of the World and you see at all times man has sought answers to questions we really can’t answer. Religion and many other things including science are responses to the questions. There is something in man that seeks more than just everyday living. If we didn’t have something inside us to progress and search then we wouldn’t progress and we would be satified to just be as we are. Our history shows us we search for answers with a drive that cannot be stopped. There have been times and there are times when survival is the most important thing but if that is being met then we branch out and look for answers about everything. I’m sure there are individuals that don’t want any answers but that would not be the norm. IMHO

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