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  1. Help me understand: religiosity

    So now women working are at fault for ruining the economy. Great. (If that were the case, why are countries with a very high percentage of women working, economically much more viable and succesful than countries in which very few women join the workforce?) This discussion is almost ridicolous. I wish we could go back to the subject at hand, religiosity. But in terms of men's work vs. women's work: solarz is onto something. The question is: WHY are typical men's jobs valued more? Why does the average pay in a field really plummet when it becomes a women dominated field (like teaching)? Being a midwife is no less hard than being a doctor. Being a nurse is no less hard than for example your average industry job (this notion that nursing is easy, is quite fascinating. It is quite tough also physically, lot of heavy lifting, standing and/or walking all day, lots of working nights which messes with your circadian rhytm, and so forth). Historically, men's work was seen as more worth. Women working did not get the same pay because their income was just "supplemental". Women had to struggle long and hard to even be allowed to take jobs and educations that had normally been reserved for men. When they got into these fields, they were still scowled upon, not seen as equal to their peers - and paid less. This has followed them also into our modern age. And jobs such as teaching, used to be prestigious when it was a man's job. Now more women than men are teachers, and it's not longer seen as prestigious. It is as though women taking on a job automatically gives that job lesser value. THIS is the real problem here. In terms of equal pay: the point is 1) which fields are paid more and which less, and is this fair? And 2) yes, there is actually pay inequality solely based on gender. For example, the highest paid actress in Hollywood still earns a lot less than the highest paid man. This has been consistent. There are even cases of actors with tiny roles getting more than the female lead. The same has been true for a lot of TV shows. The women in one of my favourite shows, Criminal Minds, threatened to quit a few years ago because they were ALL paid less than their male counterparts. This pay inequality was adressed, luckily, their threats worked. Plus, there are studies in which the same job application is sent to employers, the only different thing is the person's name (either a female name or male name). Consistently, the employers thought the female applicants seemed better social fits and more outgoing, etc., while the male applicant seemed better qualified and professional. The pay suggested for the female applicant was significantly lower than for the male. As mentioned, the only difference was the name, the qualifications etc. were the same. This shows that humans DO interpret things in terms of for example gender (in Norway the same expierment has been conducted with people with Norwegian names vs. foreign names, showing you are 25% less likely to get a job with a foreign name, regarldess of qualifications). Believing this does not affect how one is seen in the work market or by employers, is naive.
  2. Help me understand: religiosity

    What I think has caused them? Capitalism, and the way it has developed/devolved in the Western world. Plain and simple. But I don't think we should have THAT debate running parallell to all the other ones, then we should probably start a different thread. (And, well, actually, there are studies about who answers self-reported studies, showing it's not every segment of the population. So the answer to both you and @CUBAREY is that it is not very likely that those women 1) were asked and 2) replied if they WERE asked. There is a bias to those studies based on who answers them. This also affects the outcome, of course. Plus, the economic changes the past decades, aswell as other societal changes. I don't think you would find many women saying women's lib was bad for them and made their life miserable. Although, sure, go on thinking that's the cause, I won't change your mind anyways. I just find it almost rude of a man to say something like that. It would be like a white, British person telling modern Indians they were better off/happier in the colonial days.) As for the "Handmaid's tale" show - it is on HBO, and just started its second season this week. But, back to the subject. Religiosity. I don't really see what you're not getting about an atheist's meaning of life. Is life's only meaning, to you, that there is an afterlife? In that case, it is sort of sad. I think we all, regardless of what we thinks happen after we're dead, should strive for meaning in THIS life. Do I wish there had been an afterlife? Yes, in many ways. Of course, the thought of dying is not a pleasant one, for most people, but it wouldn't be mainly for myself either. But because there are so many people who deserved something better than the life they got. Children dying in war or from hunger, teenagers shot on the street, murder victims, you name it. Because many people died miserable, who are revered today - like van Gogh or Nikola Tesla. I wish they, in some way, would get to know how we look at them today. I wish the pioneers of the LHBT or suffraggette movement, the early abolitionists, the resistance working towards the Nazis during WW2 - I wish there was a way for all of those people to see that their struggle succeeded, if after their deaths. I wish they had known that many others will not have to face the attitudes and actions they did, being jailed or beaten, tortured or even killed. But they won't. And, no amount of wishful thinking will make it so. Of course, the opposite is also true - if things go straight to hell after I'm dead, I will never know. If I die at peace, I will never know if awful things happen after, to my family, to strangers, to the world in general. I recommend reading "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, or at the very least, if you're not much of a reader, watch the series - either the old one, or the remake with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I think "Cosmos" shows so beautifully the wonders of the universe, the amazement of human scientific enterprise, it instills so much awe in me. Sagan, I think, explains perfectly what a mind living without god can achieve, and how to think about our place in the world. Some people find it sad to think about the fact that we are just a somewhat intelligent species, evolving on a small planet in a solar system on the outskirs of the Milky Way, an outpost, really. That we live in a universe so large we can't comprehend it, which might just be one of many. That there - with high probability - is other intelligent species out there, the probability of it just being us, in all of time and space, is almost zero. That we might never meet those species, because our solar system only has about 4-5 billion years left in it, and other species might be so far away that light will not be able to travel between us before all traces of human existence is gone. Of course, thinking about the human race ceasing to exist, is somewhat sad. But at the same time, I find all of this so amazing, so incredibly inspiring and awe-inducing, that I am excited like a little child on their first day of school. It doesn't make me feel small, it makes me feel incredibly lucky, to be born here, in this time, at this place, in an age where we can look up at the sky and UNDERSTAND what we're seeing - after millennias of our ancestors wondering about the stars, what they were, seeing distant lights on the sky that were different (planets) and not able to know what it was - we know, we understand more and more, and all of that makes me so incredibly happy to be alive, it makes me excited and amazed. That, in itself, makes life worth living, in my opinion, just getting to KNOW all of these amazing things, being able to imagine our universe, the distant stars and nebulae, and knowing that one day, or descendants might go there. They will not only see those things in telesecopes or know they're there because of mathemathical calculations, they will SEE it. Be there. These things are the closest we come to immortality, I think, the knowledge that we are all a part of this universe, that the matter within us consists of the same materials as the distant stars, that we are all essentially stardust. And that when we die, the atoms we consist of don't die, our energy doesn't die, it transforms into something else. It becomes a part of something new. That stardust goes on, just not in our form, not with our conscience. It might go on inside a flower, inside a child, in the soil, in our atmosphere. We are dead and gone, but the world, the universe, goes on.
  3. Help me understand: religiosity

    I came back to this thread because I was still so aghast with Nolder's statement, of women being better off before. It is also an extremely ignorant claim, because then you base everything off those self-reported studies. Who answers those studies? Usually not the people you SHOULD be asking. Single mothers, abused women who were blamed for their own predicament (still happens, but even more common before), women in service, etc., none of those people would answer those surveys. I am assuming they might be somewhat representative for the upper / upper middle class, beause those are the respondents. The variety in who answers them might have changed a bit with time, which can explain some of the results. But, for example, the situation for a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock was awful. Either having to raise the baby by themselves, no way to make a legitimate living because they were scowled upon, the father refusing any responsbility, or having to get rid of it in the most painful, dangerous and illegal ways. And many died, or were neever ablet o have children again. Would you say women in those situations were better off before the 60s? Or what about victims of sexual assaults? The list goes on. The mere idea of things being better off for women before, is ridicolous. Maybe for one specific segment of the population, but not for most. History has taught us that. Although it hasn't been black and white, women's rights have been strengthened and weakened (which is why I will never take them for granted) through various eras and civiliziations. @CUBAREY: yes, but then you have the questions: 1) why do women choose the way they do? Because they're "taught" to choose those kind of jobs, socialized into it, or is it all free will or biology? and 2) why is women's work generally "worth less"? As in, the work that women has historically done? Because it has always been valued less, regardless of how important it was to society. I see a lot of conservatives say this is all due to the decline of the family, but often they're blind to other causes. Such as: growing economic inequality, lower class mobility, etc. (those are also causes behind increases in crime in general). They should be worried about distribution of wealth, instead they worry about divorces or "unfit" women becoming pregnant.
  4. Help me understand: religiosity

    If you don't see the relevance of what I wrote about god, then I'm a bit confused, Nolder. I adressed some of my issues with the Christian god and Christianity. About your "statistics": they don't mean women are less happy because they are more free now. There are a lot of articles on this out there, few from all of them agree women's lib was a problem. But, yes, if your only purpose in life - and what you're indoctrinated with from a young age - is marrying and having children, then fulfilling that role might make you happy. Today, women - and the people around them - expect more of their lives, at the same time also expecting the "perfect family", and all of these expectations can lead to stress. I am sure children who live in a sheltered way are also happier than when they become adults, but does that mean it's better t be a child forever? Women were essentially seen as children, and on par with them in terms of the law (under a man's prtection, lesser rights to inherit or divorce because they "didnt know their own good" or "shouldnt have to deal with that financial stuff",banned from several educational paths, not allowed to vote for a long time, no control f their reproductive rights, etc- all of this is what I meant about not having rights). Not to mention, there is a problem with the method of self-reporting. Women were not "allowed" to say they were unhappy in their roles in the 50s. http://freakonomics.com/2007/10/01/why-are-women-so-unhappy/ Not to mention, economics is a factor, as this article addresses. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/10/modern-women-happier-to-be-female-than-seventy-years-ago-accordi/ Women used to be "provided for" and didn't have to worry so much about the finances before. Now, women make their own money, many are bread-winners, but statistically they make a lot less money than men. My point is that you just assume your reasoning for these statistics is correct. I just really not accepting a men telling me what makes me happy, or "what's really true" about women. I'm a bit surprised you haven't heard about "The Handmaid's Tale", it's a bit like not having heard of "Game of Thrones". Recommend the series, though. Based on a Margaret Atwood book, the series portray a fascist, fundamentalist Christian regime in which fertile women are kept as breeding stock for the elite, as "handmaids" for the elite class' couples. The fertility rate has dropped to an extreme low, and thus women able to have chilren are rare. It is a dystopic series about an alternate America, but people who read the book in the 80s say they then mainly saw it as a curiousity, a world very different from our own, now they see it as much more scary, based on signs of our time. I become more anti-religious from watching, but a lot of Christian people love the show, and watch it. Just discussed ith with a FB friend the other day. She has been active in the Christian democrat party here before, and now works in the Christian daily newspaper. She sees the show not as being about religion, but fundamentalism, and she thinks religious people can unerstand the danger of that better than many. I recommend the show :) it is very good. I do wonder what you base "near societal collapse" on, btw. I tend to agree, in terms of growing economic inequality which always leads to chaos in the end, but I don't think the decline of "family unit" has anything to do with it. Possibly in countries where you don't have for example a welfare system to outweigh the negative impacts of not having a good family relation. And, well, you didn't offend me, you just seemed quite patronizing. (And a cliché of a conservative white male, and few things annoy me more xD) PS: Oh, and there are between 30.000 and 40.000 baptists in Norway, so it's one of the largest Christian minorities. The "regular" Christians here don't really go around trying to convert people like mormons or baptists or the Jehovah's witnesses do. So when you meet someone in the street (or, like in this situation, approaching me as I was reading on a bench) that wants to talk to you about Jesus, it's normally one of those groups. And the mormons are mainly Americans living here, so... :P
  5. Help me understand: religiosity

    Okay, @Nolder, did you actually just try to claim women were happier before women's liberation? When they were second-class citizens, without rights? That's like saying blacks were happier when they were slaves, then they knew their place in life. Or gays were happier when they were forced to live in the closet. Sure, freedom can lead to more pain and suffering, for some, if being safe or taken care of is what makes them happy. But for most, freedom makes you happy. Happier to make your own choices, to carve out your own path in life. Word of advice, don't ever try telling a modern women that women's lib was a bad thing and they'd be happier without, because I swear, I will go on an everlasting feminist rant that will exhaust the both of us. And then I'll hit you over the head with my copy of "The Second Sex" by Simone de Beauvoir. And that book is pretty heavy. As for the historical periods: Oh, thank you very much, I know that. History was one of my best subjects as school. The renessaince gradually developed into the enlightenment age. But that doesn't mean that age WASN'T a reaction to the religious suppression of the dark ages, and the religious conservativism of the renessaince. (Speaking of history: you disparaged my comment about ancient China, which I think you should read up on a bit more. Or any ancient civilization, really. Unless you actually believe the earth is 6000 years old, in which case there's not much hope for anything.) As to the meaning of life: we have GIVEN YOU answers. You just refuse to aknowledge them. I said: Being a good person, trying to impact people's lives for the better, doing my part for the world. How is that more vague than "being a good christian"? I got into a very interesting discussion the other day. Some baptist guy tried to convert me. I normally just either ignore those people or tell them straight out I am not interested, and they better leave me alone. But after this discussion, and a book I'm reading about some of the similiar subjects, I decided to talk to him. Challenge him. I asked: you say your god is fair. Is it fair to condemn good people to hell, because they lack a faith? Or because they have another faith? If a person spends their life helping others, giving to charity, but they're not christian - is your god fair for denying that person an entrance to heaven? No, he agreed that wasn't fair, but all anyone needed to do, was accept Jesus. It went on like that for a while. Kudos to him for actually being willing to discuss it, though, it was an interesting conversation, although he just really defaulted to "god is great" after a while. I felt sorry for him when he said god had cured him from being gay, though. First of all, what kind of god condemns love? I told him about a friend of mine, who grew up a baptist, too. He has now left the church, and the faith. Realizing he was gay, and his baptist peers' and family members' reaction to it, is the main reason. He is living together with a great guy. I envy their relationship, it is healthy, stable. I have never had a relationship that has lasted as long as theirs has. I just cannot accept a god, I told him, who calls that relationship, that love, a sin and an abomination. Secondly, you can't be "healed" from being gay. It's a biological thing. You can fool yourself into thining you're "cured", or maybe you were really bisexual and can then choose to only look at those from the opposite sex. Why would you want to worship a god that forces you to deny a part of who you are? And why would ANYONE call that god good? It is not understandable to me. I just finished watching the two latest episodes of "The Handmaid's Tale", so I am even more anti-religious than normal. :P Honestly, it seems to me like you are just a guy who wants simple answers. Anything complex is vague, unsettling. Religion gives you a simple answer, a set of rules to follow. You don't have to think for yourself. I'm not saying you don't think, I am just saying religion does not require it. (Neither does atheism, really, depends on what you're used to.) The meaning of life, to me, is living. I am alive for only a nanosecond of all of space and time, living as a mayfly, fluttering for a day and thinking it is forever (to paraphrase Carl Sagan in "Cosmos"). Because to me, this life IS forever, it is all we have, and I cherish it. I think I live more fully than someone awaiting a second life after all of this.
  6. Help me understand: religiosity

    I think his and Nolder's concern is that society will fall apart without an "external moral" like religion provides. Personally, I think that sort of moral panic argument has been made before, be it about women's rights, religious freedom, gay rights or the abolition of slavery. Society did not collapse, indeed, it improved with all of those things. So I am not really worried. I see no reason to think what we have at the moment, is necessarily the best we could possibly have. That change is necessarily bad.
  7. Help me understand: religiosity

    This thread proves to me once again that a lot of people are religious because they don't dare ponder the alternative. The alternative means that their life has no cosmic meaning, there is no grand plan behind it. It was all simply your parents getting groovy. I just don't understand why anyone would need anything MORE than that. I am not that self-important that I believe my existence was planned by some all-encompassing deity. And why does it matter? I exist, here and now. Better make the most of it. Statistically, I might have 60 years left. Am I scared by the thought of death, of oblivion? Yes. Of course, I'll be dead, so I won't know I am dead / not existing anymore. But existence is the only thing we know of in life, the thought of not existing, of human life continuing on, of being completely forgotten, of all the places, technology etc. you'll never see... yes, it can be scary. But, I choose to live an enlightened life, not pretending to fool myself to think there's a way out. It's all just human cowardice, really. This might sound depressing, but not really. I love life. I love being alive. The main thing I fear about death, is the realization at the end of it all being over, of no more possibilities, of the things I'll never see and experience. Oh, and please, stop giving christianity credit for the Age of reason and rationality. Christianity was the dark ages, burning books and people, inqusition and heresy trials. The rationality movement was a counter-reaction to all of that. Maybe it would not have happened if christianity had not tried to suppress it so, but that does not mean christianity deserves credit for it. Your point about morals is getting tiresome. Several of us have given examples of 1) strict laws does not make people less criminal (you have not even commented on this) to any significant extent, 2) ancient and primitive cultures also cared for each other and took care of their weak. You seem to think that just because you are apparently only a commandment away from becoming a full-out gangster, the same goes for the rest of us. I have read 20+ posts from you now, and still haven't managed to understand why you assume people would be horrible without laws or religion. Don't get me wrong, I don't think anarchy is a good way to live. And I don't think removing religion from a society would make everyone all chummy with each other. I am just not seeing any evidence from your claim that religions is what keep us all from going on an axe murder spree. Some people have even cited science indicating that some criminals find solace or justification in religion.
  8. Help me understand: religiosity

    Sigh. You just skipped about 98% of my previous post, probably because you either found it irrelevant or had no answer to it. Oh well. You are even more cynical than I had already figured, if you truly believe humans only have morals because they fear punishment. That there is no true altruism, no true love of others. If I murdered someone, I would, here in my home country, probably get - at maximum - ten years in prison. That would make me 37 when I was out. Plenty of time to live my life, have kids (women have had kids until they're far into their 40s in my family), travel, build a career... except for the social stigma, of course. But that would either pass, or I would manage to convince at least quite a few people that what I did was just. Still, even WITHOUT a religion and WITHOUT a death penalty or even a life sentence, I have no desire to kill anyone. Why would I rob people of their one chance at this wonderful life? I am acutely aware everyone is their own "self", like me, and human consciousness is one of the great wonders of this world. it amazes me. How could I take that away, even from just one person? In addition to the hurt it would cause them, and their loved ones, it would almost be a crime agains the universe in itself. If your logic was sound, countries with less religion and less severe criminal punishments, would have MORE crime and murders. Instead, the Scandinavian countries have much less crime than, let's say, the US. Oh, you are going to make the tired conservative argument of "those countries are not comparable?" How convenient. Especially as you base your entire argument on your own understanding of ethics and religion being universal. Well, it applies to other countries aswell. Take your pick. Extremely religious countries like Saudi Arabia are not more moral than less religious countries. Large parts of South America are conservatively Catholic, yet they have a rampant corruption, violence and - in parts of the continent - murder problem. Nuns in Ireland were religious when they beat innocent children and worked single mothers to death to punish them for their crimes. Spanish conquistadores in the Native American lands had with them monks and priests who would "preach" for the savages before they were killed. Or, to use my own people's history as an example - the viking raiders were very religious. That did not prevent them from killing, raping or stealing. In short, there is nothing to indicate that more religion makes a society more moral. In stead, it seems the more peaceful and advanced a society gets, the less religious it gets. Your argument about fascist regimes of the 1900s is getting quite ridicolous. First, Stalin was actually educated as a priest. Yes, I know he banned church in Russia, but that was mainly a strategic move, he saw their power as a threat. He was nowhere near as ideological as the other Soviet leading figures (one of the reasons Lenin specifically did not want Stalin to take over, he knew Stalin only cared about his own personal power. But I digress). Hitler's religious views are disputed. He was seen by the Catholic church as a member of high standing, even at the end of his life. A lot of the basis for his antisemitic views was the Christian view that "the Jews killed Jesus". You can't cherrypick like you are doing - choosing to overlook the horrors of religion, yet claiming your opponents are basically fascist, murderous maniacs. Or, at least, in league with them. I know you are too blinded by your own religious irrationality to see this discussion in a non-biased light, but you are really not making much sense. First, very few historians, if any, would claim that atheism was what caused the atrocities of the regimes you mention. Secondly, very few historians would agree that religious nations are generally more peaceful and moral than non-religious ones. Some might be internally, but in that case their morals only extend to their own people / people with the same faith. Thirdly, very few historians would make the claim that there were no morals before the existence of organized religion. Evidence of how humans lived in ancient times, when we were still nomads, also show people cared for others, most buried their dead respectfully. They have even found evience of Neanderthal societies taking care of paraplegic and injured members, as they have found evidence of mending of wounds etc., and tools indicating they didn't leave those people behind, but instead found ways to keep them in the group. Even though they would be "useless" in a purely materialistic sense. And, those who for example killed other members of their tribe for no good reason, would be exiled or killed. I feel like you are not changing your argument regardless of our arguments, and it's plain you will never change your view. You are certain society would collapse into chaos and evil without religion. I think society can collapse with or without religion. Most warrior cultures throughout history have been very religious, it seems the more primitive and violent a culture, the more religious. Which makes sense, because if you are constantly facing the possibility of death in battle, you need to convince yourself and others that there is a glory to it, that there is honor, that you will get a reward. Thus, this is also one of the explanations for why more peaceful countries gradually become less religious. Oh, and @Nolder, it was quite obvious Lenlo was referring to ancient China, Japan etc., not necessarily modern day. China have had a very advanced society for thousands of years, and they had laws to regulate it long before anyone there had even heard of Christianity. His point is valid, you just chose to pretend it was about todays' laws because that made it easier for you to defend your point of view. You both make the argument that the necessity for laws "prove" there is no morals. I would argue the opposite: our laws are morals, put into a systemic frame. It is illegal to kill because human morals have "always" told us killing people for no apparent reason, is wrong. This holds true for all known societies throughout time. Of course, as I said, for some the morals only included their own people, or family - some saw themselves as divine and above petty concepts like human morals (another proof religion is not necessarily a good thing, and instead can be used to justify why one has the right to kill, enslave etc. others - and it has been used that way, throughout all of human history. It has not been used for JUST that, but it has undoubtedly been used for that). The point is that, in addition to being functional for a society, laws also make sense to us because of our morals. Then, you ask, why do we need laws? Because humans are complex. We have the moral core, developed through the eons, that tells us unneccessary murder is wrong. But we also have greed, jealousy, anger, fear, you name it. We also do things we know are wrong, just in spite or because we gain something from it. Laws don't prevent us from doing those things, they are simply a framework. Human societies need them to function, yes, but humans also need them to feel that morality is upheld. It's why a lot of laws are symbolic. I feel like I am getting way too long with my argument here, but what I was trying to say is that morals are not defined by laws, rather, it's much the other way around. All humans are capable of good and evil, and laws are not what define whether we do or not. If that were the case, countries that practiced for example the death penalty would have no crime whatsoever.
  9. Help me understand: religiosity

    "Without God, without an afterlife, the question becomes why is life sacred? Why do good and not evil? More importantly, without God and religion there is no good or evil only choices without moral standing. If there is not God, why is murder wrong, why is stealing wrong, why is not "the ends justifies the means" as legitimate as any other choice? Without religion the only possible limitation on your actions is rear of punitive repurcussions, if you are willing to face such possible repurcussions then any action is as valid as any other and morals are at best simple Utilitrian choices." This does not make any sense, no matter how much you repeat it. Do you think I don't have a sense of morals, of right and wrong? That I don't have a personal moral and ethic world view? The answer to your question is simple: Murder, stealing, etc. is wrongs because IT HURTS OTHERS. (In addition to hurting society as Lenlo points out, that might be the evolutionary basis for this ethical reflex within humans.) I believe this is the only life we have. That goes for me, you, everyone else. I also believe that that means that the best we can do in this world is to reduce pain, suffering and evil as much as we can, in this life, on this planet. Because I believe that everyone should be able to get something out of that one shot at life, besides suffering. You seem to take empathy completely out of the equation. I won't speak for you - it is possible you are among the roughly 1 percent of the population that doesn't feel empathy - but this emotion transcends religion, space and time. Of course, we are all "selectively empathic" as we care more about the people around us (friends, family) than strangers, etc., but everyone, save that 1 percent I mentioned, can feel empathy. That ability has nothing to do with god, it's evolved in our brains. It likely has, and still is, keeping the species stay alive, and also works to our own favour as people are more likely to be kind to us if we are kind to them. Regardless of reason, humans can feel empathy, and most of us do. I am a very emotional person - I can lose sleep thinking about children suffering, I sometimes cry after watching the news (and I am a journalist myself), I can worry incessantly about someone I just read or heard about, or some junkie I saw on the streets. Because I care about others. Sometimes it's a good trait, sometimes it can be a bad trait / illogical trait, in terms of personal well-being (things would be much easier for me if I didn't care so much, didn't let the suffering of others impact me). What I know is, it is a part of who I am, it comes from within, and it has nothing to do with any god. From what I have seen, religion creates more, not less suffering in this world - although there are also wonderful religious people, who stand up for the weakest in society. I think this is the concept I struggle the most with wrapping my mind around: that philosophical and ethical ponderings are somehow exclusively linked to religion. I see nothing indicating that.
  10. Tipping is horrible

    Well, I know you like to think that businesses are all nice and stuff, but in this case, they WERE FORCED. The workers' movement here eventually grew so strong it couldn't be suppressed anymore. And the employers saw that they had a choice: constant conflict, or agreeing to sit down once every year and negotiate, with the benefit of eventual conflict being restricted to that one period of the year. That being said, it's not all that relevant to the issue at hand, which is tipping. Except that I believe that workers' unionizing is one of the solutions.
  11. Help me understand: religiosity

    Some interesting links: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/norwegians-believe-in-god-majority-do-not-for-first-time-ever-a6943706.html?amp http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/norway-church-to-become-separate-from-state-beginning-jan-1.html "Norway has an extremely low church attendance rate: only five percent of Norwegians attend church" In other words: a lot of people stay as members of the church mainly because it is tradition, but if you ask them, they arent really particularly religious. A lot of people don't bother actively unsubscribing from church (although, tens of thousands did in a couple of days when they made it possible to leave the church as a member online). So that figure of 84% has also decreased in the last few years. My sister is not religious, but married in church because she thought that gave the nicest "frame" around it, and because some of her husband's relatives are religious. Same with my brother. None of them baptized their kids, because they are not religious. My brother and his wife instead had a humanist "name ceremony" for the child, organized by the humanist society of Norway. My father wants a non-religious burial, a humanist one. A lot of people keep on with church marriages, burials etc even if they don't believe, mainly because it is tradition or there doesn't seem to be any really worthy alternatives that are fully developed yet.
  12. Help me understand: religiosity

    You are looking at the wrong statistics. Yes, we had a state church, but less than half the members in it say they consider themselves religious! And our church is very liberal. Gay marriage, even gay priests, you name it.
  13. Help me understand: religiosity

    I think one of the things I have the largest problems understanding (in addition to the whole supernatural element of gods), is the argument that religion is what keeps us good. I disagree. I live in a largely secular country, with less and less people calling themselves religious, but it is still a very ethical society. People know what is right and wrong. You don't suddenly feel like you can just go and murder someone because you don't believe in a god. If anything, I would say it becomes even more incomprehensible - if this life is the only one you and everyone around you has got, murder is an even greater tragedy. It means someone's life is snuffed out too early, and their one chance at existence. Seeing children dying in for example Syria is even more horrible when you know that there is, with almost certainty, nothing on the other side, no new chance, no better place. It's too late. That makes human tragedy and suffering even more poignant. (I have a theory that religious people might actually find death, even gruesome death, less tragic for this reason, but I have no proof to back it up.) It makes it even more important to do what we can to prevent tragedy and unneccessary death. It is the opposite of nihilism, I would say. If you believe homosexuality or casual sex is wrong or immoral, then a non-religious society might seem like an immoral one. But if you realize that sex is not what defines the moral of society - kindness, safety, whether it helps it weakest, the social and civil systems of a society is what makes it good or bad. Not who people choose to go to bed with. It seems to me some religious people are too obsessed with these matters, they forget what is really important. If you are only good because you are afraid of being punished by a god, you are not technically good, I would say. I don't believe there is any deity punishing me for eternity if I do something horrible - but I will be judged by myself and by other humans here on this earth, I will have to live out my days knowing what I have done and that it can never be undone. I want to be remembered by those who know me as a kind, caring person, I want to believe I will make an impact, at least on a tiny part of the world, in people's lives. I want to know that I did what I could, in the time I had, to help others and try to make this world a bit better. I want to be able to be proud, not ashamed, of my life and actions. Then, I believe, it will also be easier to accept death, the end.
  14. Tipping is horrible

    You can "force" the market to change. For example, here in Norway, we don't technically have a minimum wage. Instead we have tariff agrrements that, when signed by the (main) Labour union organization and the (main) employer organization, applies to ALL businesses in that trade - regardless of whether the employer, or employees, are organized in said organizations. In that way, you do sort of set a minimum wage, but it can be renegotiated annually.
  15. Tipping is horrible

    I also think the whole tipping thing is horrible. If you can't afford to pay your workers a living wage, you shouldn't be in business at all. End of story. Getting me to pay more so you don't have to up the wages is downright rude. I have never been to the US before, but I've heard so much about the tipping, from everyone who's been there. I think a lot of foreigners find the system not only counter-intuitive (for example: here in Norway I would never tip if I had just had drinks, I would probably tip for food, but then normally either just "round" it up or around 10 percent - some people don't tip at all, and it's not like the waiters get angry like I hear they can be in the US), but also find it very... well, annoying and rude, that they are basically treated like dirt if they don't tip. And the same thing about paying the bill right away - my parents felt like they were being "thrown" out of restaurants in New York when the bill arrived basically as they took their last bite. Going out is something you do to have a nice, relaxing, romantic evening, not to rush things. It is probably a cultural thing, although the western European and American culture is very similiar in many aspects. I like to think I would ask to see the manager and then ask them to pay their folks properly and not expect the customers to make up for their lousy pay, but I'm not sure I'd have the guts.