Angels & Demons  (Robert Langdon, #1) Angels & Demons discussion


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Would you rather live in a world without science...or in a world without religion?

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Sai Thein Than Actually, this is a question on the reading group guides. I like the topic so I bring it up here.
I'm an atheist myself so I'd rather live in a world without religion. But, I'm not implying that religion is not essential. I think religion is a guideline for those who can't handle moral issues themselves- & of course everybody seems to be at lost when it comes to some points of moral implications- but that doesn't render religion as something mandatory. Religion has it's own downfall, I think. I've once been a Buddhist and I felt like Buddhism is restricting me in something what I do(I don't know what it is exactly). Maybe that's because of my ignorance in religion. But I just don't give a damn so I'm, here, an atheist.


Some of you might be atheists, some might be religious &, some, even, multi-religious.
I think the ultimate lesson in this A&D book is : never be an extremist- that's the point of origin of many conflicts. The camerlengo who made a very good speech in A&D has already showed what it takes to be an extremist. So,...

Anyways, just have faith in what you believe & be liberal with what others believe.
Any opinion is welcome here.


April I agree with you about the lesson for A&D, to not be an extremist with what you believe. I wouldn't want to live in a world without religion OR science. Because I think they work together. We never could've made the advances in medicine or our quality of life without science, but I believe that we also never would've tried to better ourselves without religion. I think that the belief in a higher power-whatever that may be- is what has lead to some of our greatest scientific discoveries. But that's just my opinion.


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy i think Southpark answers this question remarkably well.


Jean I think we definitely need both. As a religious girl, I have a strong faith in Deity and in His creations...science exists to prove His existence, for all things in this world and out point to Him. I know, I know, I sound like a zealot but I truly have a difficult time believing my intelligence, agency, individual thought and distinct personality come from a big bang.


Rain i think science is a bit limited seeing as it tends to want to give a reason for everything,not everything has a clear reason.like why of all people did i have to be the one to get bitten by that dog?religion on the other hand justifies the unjustifiable
jean,so true about the big bang!


Jean Have you ever noticed that even babies have distinct personalities? How is this explained scientifically? I ask this with no guile.


Heather I know this may seem a bit weird, but I believe that science and religion go have in hand. In my mind, science explains religion and they together form societal networks. It is when you get extremists who either don't understand the science-religion connection or are so overzealous that they cannot see the other facets involved in another's beliefs that a wrench is thrown into the societal network.


message 8: by Kristal (new)

Kristal Bye bye religion. I don't see that it actually does help society in a moral sense. Quite the opposite in fact. It provides people with a false sense of security and provides a haven for many who intend to do purely evil things and don't want scrutiny.
Religion bad, but spirituality is a different story.

Science is fascinating and keeps us from attributing natural occurances to the sun goddess and feeding her virgins...so to speak.


Jean Kristal - Are you kidding? Do you really think that all people, if left to their own devices, would just be innocent and pure? That evil would just disappear because religion wouldn't be there to define it? Or am I misunderstanding your statement? Yes, science is good but it does not define conscience.


message 10: by Meh (new)

Meh Religion definitely has been used for some really atrocious things in the past. But so has science. Think of the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the atom bomb. Religion is not inherently a bad thing, and neither is science, but they've been used for that. But what Jean says is true, science doesn't touch ethical matters. They're too nebulous, you can't use the scientific method on a code of ethics. I personally believe that religion is the best way to address that, as long as it doesn't get corrupted. Which it sadly has been in the past.


Terri I agree that we need both to satisfy ourselves. But I think the line becomes blurred when whatever religion it is, tries to say it is the only path and you must believe what it says. I think Spiritually is just as important as reason and we need to satify minds, souls and continue to grow throughout life.

The problem is when a religion or those practicing it have no respect for others beleifs.

There is always the big squabble over evolution and creationism. And the problem I think with that is it takes the focus and energy from more important matters like living a good life in the here and now. people want so much to prove one or the other but both are unprovable. whereas we CAN make a difference in people's lives today and tomorrow.


Michael I think one with out the other and the one left alone would collapse....

I have faith I do believe in god... but I am not one that goes to church every sunday... or at all... it seems only for a wedding and deaths...

But my faith is strong... I have seen what it can do...

I also believe faith is personal... I rather keep it to myself... I don;t like anyone that preaches about anything faith or atheism...

I truly believe that science should be explored to our fullest to help all of the people of this world...

I can't look at someone and see Muslim Jew or Catholic or Atheist... I like to think I see a person someone that has the same wants as I....

I know this it does not matter who you call god or if you have one... I know your children will cry when hungry as mine do... I know death waits for us all... I hope that when we pass on to the next adventure that we will take what we have learned here and make it a better place for all in the next world...


Terri Some Religion is still corrupted every day.

Ethics/Morals -- they are more than defined by Religion, they are defined by society. For instance, the Polygamists in Texas' religion says their practices of polygamy and marrying children to adult males is okay, our society says it is not. I do not think Religion and Science are a dichotomy. It is not either/or, it is both. And then there is social mores, anthropological influences etc... People are complex and go way beyond any one defining system. Which is a beautiful thing.


Terri I agree religioous labels should NOT be what we see - people are more complex than that.


message 15: by Kristal (new)

Kristal Not kidding. And I am not religious nor do I believe in god, so do I run around doing evil things because I don't subscribe to those beliefs? Nope. And there are plenty of evil things that go on inside AND outside of church and religion.
I actually think religion has no affect on people's choices in this matter much of the time. There will ALWAYS be evil. I think we'd be much worse off without science than religion. I believe the prompt was to choose between the two, yes?


message 16: by Kristal (new)

Kristal you can convince yourself that there is an answer for everything but there simply isn't. did god decide you should be bitten by a dog? i don't believe so. i think sometimes things just happen.
believe what you want, but i just answered the question honestly for me. and i don't think science has all of the answers. i'm not a big fan of absolutes.


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy If you believe religions are going to magically prevent all the evil in the world, create morals in people that wouldn't have them otherwise, then you're probably not into religion for the right reasons.

But then again if you blame religion for any of the problems of the world, then you're also deceiving yourself. Religions not what convinced all the Polygamists in Texas to marry adults to young girls, other people did. And thats going to be the same whether its religion or science or what ever is defining how people should act. As long as humanity is around, people will continue to convince other people to do stupid shit.


message 18: by Kristal (new)

Kristal I feel I should mention that I think Dan Brown is an insultingly bad writer. Just a cheerful note to add to the discussion. :>


message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy i think thats something maybe we can all agree on


message 20: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean I was raised in a religious family. I left my religion for many years but I have now rejoined. I know that had I never left, I would have never felt as strongly about my beliefs as I do now. Does my religion explain everything? No. I don't expect it to. But it brings me peace and joy that I have not felt elsewhere. Having said that, I have no idea what it is like to not believe in a higher force that compels us to choose good over evil. Again, I ask the following without guile or malice: Where do you feel the desire to make good choices comes from? Why are we more than just id in this world? Is it because of our upbringing or does nature influence our personality and conscience?


message 21: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean Using the example MICHAEL used of the FLDS, what did influence those men to make choices that are not only against the law but also (to me) morally questionable? I asked about what influences humans to feel good...what influences people to choose bad?


message 22: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean Ha, ha. I have read Angels and Demons and Davinci Code, that latter was definitely better but both were lacking and yet, compelling.


message 23: by Meh (new)

Meh Hmmm, good question Jean. I think that bad comes from within, but is influenced by outside sources. Usually bad things result from someone being callously self-centered and hurting somebody else in some way. Self-centeredness can only come from within, but can be encouraged by other people or circumstances. The good I think comes from someone giving of themselves to help someone. I personally believe that that influence comes from contact with a higher power. That influenced person in turn influences others.


message 24: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Kester If I must choose, I choose a world with no religion. If I can have it all, I choose a world where religion helps people in their daily lives with love and compassion, etc., and science seeks to understand how things work so we can know, use, and grow in understanding of our universe through science.

When religion is about control, I'll pass. When scientists behave as irresponsibly as some religious leaders, however, it may be even scarier.


message 25: by Jiraiyathesage (new)

Jiraiyathesage I would be more likely to lean towards science than religion, but both have their uses. Science for all it has done for the world can seem a bit cold and inhuman at times. Religion can be intolerant and manipulative. I don't wish for either to be segregated because the key is understanding and harmony. As a polytheist I would say most of the evil of religion comes from monotheism, not all religions have been as bad as others. The problem isn't really religion but how it is used. It is dependant on interpretation of sacred texts in some cases. Over time though people have used religion for power reasons and not the reason it is really there, as guidance for people's lives, fulfillment in some cases and ultimately compassion and love. I doubt any loving God, be it Jehovah, Allah or any other God would really be happy with people using their name to manipulate and scare others.


Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger im not a very religious person so id have to say religion but i think that a world controlled by science is horrifying !!! so maybe a happy medium could be reached between the 2! or just become a scientologist to merge the 2!!!lol no just joking not a good idea


Marts  (Thinker) Both science and religion are of value to life and living. the religious will tend to lean towards thier beliefs since these give them hope and a 'reason for existence', however, science is that which teaches us about our world, our environment, our universe, it helps us understand what takes place around us. This world was given to us to 'tend and keep' and the only way we can do such is to learn about it. The religious 'hope' is all well and good, but varying interpretations have only caused discord. Science and even more, an understanding of science, teaches us to value life even more and developes within us a greater appreciation for this world.


Heather I think that there needs to be both religion and science in this world. Religion is needed to satiate the feeling side that we all have; the side that needs to belong and believe in something. Science is used for the thinking side to explain what our religious beliefs state; example, God/dess said let there be light, and we later discover that the universe was created by a huge explosion. Together these form society. However, when one of the two gets too powerful, society is thrown off balance.
I think that in many cases we have gone a bit crazy with religion in the past, but I now think that some are going too crazy with science.
I also believe that it is part of human nature to have a sort of Mr Hyde that rears his ugly head. The trick is that you have to overcome that Mr Hyde without killing yourself.


Marts  (Thinker) Yes both are important, we should spend less time distinguishing between them and focus on the lessons to be learnt, and I agree with you Heather, some do become a bit to fanatical over one or the other!


Brooke I have no religion, and living without is no problem.


Marts  (Thinker) I haven't a particular one myself, but I am open-minded and respect them all!


message 32: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean Then you don't know what you're missing, eh? Sometimes not knowing any different can cause you to lose out on many wonderful experiences.


message 33: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will Kester Before I get serious, I have to comment to Jean, who said she didn't believe she came from a big bang. We all began with a big bang, didn't we? Not that type of bang, huh? Okay, back to serious.

When religions are about exploring our beliefs, our daily lives, how we act and react--in positive ways to our world, it is probably a good thing. When it becomes about controlling humankind without reason, it becomes a bad thing.

When science is about exploring our understanding, how we perform and adapt to our our world, it is a good thing. When it becomes about controlling the forces against reason, it becomes a bad thing. (atomic bomb, for instance)

Reason must reign, not religion or science.


message 34: by Roxolana (last edited Sep 17, 2008 10:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roxolana As long as humans have emotions (positive and negative)the GOD won't go away...and as long as they have their mind they will question and rationalize their emotions. Two opposites attract and can't exist one without the other.
And there is also the feeling of belonging...our social craving in opposition to our individual needs. And there is knowledge of our own mortality vs. unlimited existence of the universe.
The science (mind) tries to give understanding to all of that and take control of our destiny. On the other hand religion (in a wide sense not necesserily organized one) brings surrender of that control - it is comforting to believe that something out there is protecting us when we take our guards down.
And there are times when humankind uses science and religion for the control and dominance. The reason - the basic survival game with different levels of intensity.


Brooke No, I know exactly what I'm missing. Just because I don't have it now doesn't mean I never did...


Marts  (Thinker) As I always say everyone is free to have their own ideas and opinions.


Heather Exactly, Thinker. That is the beauty of being endowed with free will. Besides, what feels right to one person won't be right for everyone else, so why try to unify a population under one idea or standard?


Old-Barbarossa Would anyone that would rather have a world with religion and no science be as happy if the religion they ended up with wasn't the one they held themselves?
Or would you just allow all religion, even the heretical branches of your own church?
If so how would you fight your holy wars that would no doubt ensue? With tooth and claw? You'd have no steel.
How would you ensure the continuity of the holy words? Without paper (or similar) you would need word of mouth...very subject to error...therefore a schism everytime some preacher "misremembers" something and is taken as the only true interpretation of the word of whatever god they're talking about.
We are stuck with both, but religion or science without morals or ethics are both subject to misuse.
Also we must remember that there is a difference between science and scientists.
Science is cold hard facts, subject to change based on verifiable research and re-evaluation of data. When something is proven to be wrong it is no longer science.
Scientists, on the other hand, even when proved wrong are still likely to cling to their old ideas. They are human and falable, subject to peer pressure and manipulation.
So it is people that are the problem...
We need to live in a world with science and all it's benefits, with religion and all it's consolations (for those that want it)...but no people.
Now, I must go back to my cave. I have a hagiography to write...


message 39: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Actually there is a third part missing. In my own philoshpy in order to have a good society you need to build it like a triangle. The base is religion, the two sides are science and philosphy. If the three sides are balanced and working together you have the best chance of reaching truth. Religion is the heart of society, science the hand (builder), and philosophy the mind.

Evil is a difficult subject but, Hugo(Les Mes), Steinbeck (East of Eden), and Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo) tried to find some answers. I see evil often comes up when there has been some wrong real or imgained such as rejection or injustice. The best way to counter evil is with love - religion. Which is why it is so needed.

As to where religion goes wrong it is usally when God becomes a mirror rather than the window that God is suppose to be.


message 40: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean It's understandable that one could be turned off to all religion based on experiences with some religion but there's a lot of religion available. I do think everyone is entirely entitled to opinions, I was merely noting MY opninion that one might not know what one is missing. I HAVE been without religion in my life and now that I have it - I could not be more grateful. In previous posts I have noted that I feel we need BOTH science and religion - why do we have to chose one?


message 41: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean It's understandable that one could be turned off to all religion based on experiences with some religion but there's a lot of religion available. I do think everyone is entirely entitled to opinions, I was merely noting MY opninion that one might not know what one is missing. I HAVE been without religion in my life and now that I have it - I could not be more grateful. In previous posts I have noted that I feel we need BOTH science and religion - why do we have to chose one?


Old-Barbarossa Here's a thought...why do we have to chose just one religion?


message 43: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Actually you don't. There are a variety of religons that do have an open mind about other religons and enjoy seeing what others are doing. Unitarian Universalism is one. (Not always practiced but, the ideal is there.) I'm not a religous expert but, I do believe that Hinduism and Quakerism are suppose to be open minded. Judism certainly has learned how to coexist with Christainty.




Old-Barbarossa As the English speaking world is nominally Christian, why are the days of the week named after Germanic pagan gods? The months changed their names to the Roman ones we use now, but the days stayed...
Sorry, a bit off message there.



message 45: by Meh (new)

Meh Eh, we just got stuck in a habit, and humans don't like change. It's like the English system of weights and measures that's still used in America. Not enough people want to change what they've been using their entire lives. Why bother? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Marts  (Thinker) Hey, I like these comments:

from Heather, "That is the beauty of being endowed with free will. Besides, what feels right to one person won't be right for everyone else, so why try to unify a population under one idea or standard? "

from Barbarossa, "We are stuck with both, but religion or science without morals or ethics are both subject to misuse."

from Pandora 'Kat', "If the three sides are balanced and working together you have the best chance of reaching truth"

from Barbarossa again, "As the English speaking world is nominally Christian, why are the days of the week named after Germanic pagan gods? The months changed their names to the Roman ones we use now, but the days stayed... "








Marts  (Thinker) In life both should exist, and balance is important, so is respect for each other regardless of belief, and above all things love!


Heather Here, here, Thinker! That's where a lot of conflict is; we forget that the main things to remember are love and respect.


Marts  (Thinker) Yes Heather
thats true!


message 50: by Pandora (new)

Pandora I agree respect and love are most important. Back to the original question if I had to choose between science and religon. Agnostic though I am I think I would choose religon. Religon gets a bad rap but, it is also has been a major force for reform and it is where love is found that leads to redeemption (best I kind do reform). I think a society with just religon could possibly go onto science but, I am not so sure it would work in reverse.

A world of only science would be a cold world and probably wouldn't last long before some scientist experimented too far and ended up destorying the world.

Of course I could at the moment been too influnced by Victor Hugo. Just put Les Mes aside. Too much to go through a second time.


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