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André Malraux said: The 21st Century will be spiritual or it will not be!

Far from being only rational, intellectual, "Spinozean" beings, man is also - and perhaps above all - a spiritual being. Is love rational? Is passion intellectual? Is charity logical? What purpose does your life have beyond the material and the temporal? None?

Spirituality is a fundamental element of human nature. Indeed, how cold and unfulfilling life must be to those who suppress their spiritual emotions? What could possibly remain in a world devoid of spirituality if not naked egoism, ambition and greed?

Religion is one very effective way to nurture and orient the spiritual. Most people of faith seek precisely that from their religion. Spending an hour listening to your inner self every once in a while is appeasing and, as they say, "good for the soul". It's a break from consumerism, a break from materialist ambition, a break from the daily violence of our polarised societies. Pure introspection, with a focus on being a better human being, a better father, mother, husband and neighbour, with a focus on giving love, giving time and giving attention instead of taking... is how I experience religion.

ANYBODY that has ever attended Mass knows that THESE are the messages that are communicated in Church. Yet how many times have people on ET insinuated that all the Church (religion?) does is spew hate?

I accept that the Church has many many flaws: from child molesting, to intolerance of homosexuals, to excommunication of the remarried, to a power hungry, money oriented sickly ambitious Vatican, to political and military leaders who use or used religion as a mobilising tool, to scripture which can be way, way behind our times, ... But I categorically reject the wholesale condemnation of religion as being evil, bigoted, hateful, bent on killing and persecuting, hell threatening, ghost and ancestor worshiping, and what not... When and if this exists, it's clearly on the fringe and totally contrary to Christ's message.

So, I believe that those who entertain themselves and others by engaging in blatant Manichean debasement of all that is Christian (religious?):

  1. Are just as intolerant, narrow minded and bigoted as the fundamentalist they love to hate, and
  2. Are communicating their total lack of knowledge of scripture, meditation (whatever its form) and in general, the essence of religion
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:42:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Far from being only rational, intellectual, "Spinozean" beings, man is also - and perhaps above all - a spiritual being.

Oh, I'd argue man - and "humans" would be a better phrase to use here - aren't even rational: rationality is a very thin layer of technology that's easily . I still don't know what "spiritual" is meant to mean, other than "deluded". Stop treating your assumptions as objectively true.

I've been to mass. I've seen the dress-up, the driving one minute from home to show off your new car, the playing happy families for the neighbours. The message of mass seems sort of muted.

Did I ever discuss the possibility that the ostensibly positive messages of most religions are mostly useful to salve the consciences of it's members, allowing them to go out and sin with impunity? I'm sure it's not an original thought.

Pure introspection, with a focus on being a better human being, a better father, mother, husband and neighbour, with a focus on giving love, giving time and giving attention instead of taking... is how I experience religion.

Perhaps you'd be better off spending that hour doing those things rather than paying obeisance to the imaginary sky captain? Just a thought.

So, I believe that those who entertain themselves and others by engaging in blatant Manichean debasement of all that is Christian (religious?):

Are just as intolerant, narrow minded and bigoted as the fundamentalist they love to hate, and

Are communicating their total lack of knowledge of scripture, meditation (whatever its form) and in general, the essence of religion

That's nice for you. It certainly helps protect your beliefs from challenge.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's easily

Should be "that's easily swept aside".

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I accept that the Church has many many flaws: from child molesting, to intolerance of homosexuals, to excommunication of the remarried, to a power hungry, money oriented sickly ambitious Vatican, to political and military leaders who use or used religion as a mobilising tool, to scripture which can be way, way behind our times, ...

[...]

When and if this exists, it's clearly on the fringe and totally contrary to Christ's message.

Odd that it happens so much then, isn't it?

You'd think an all-powerful god would be able to put his own church in order.

But sadly not.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does it really happen statistically more than in society at large? Dunno.
1-2 billion faithful... how many cases?
And how many cases are there of child abuse within the family? At school?
Could the media be hyping it up?
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well they could be hyping it up, but selecting it as a percentage of the faithful is disingenuous you should rather be looking at a percentage of the leaders, those who are in a position of responsibility who take advantage of their followers. If you're in a position where you're supposedly holding a superior moral position, and telling other people its something they have to live up to then you have to live up to it to. the idea that you're no worse than the rest of people is something that just doesn't wash.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 05:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but selecting it as a percentage of the faithful is disingenuous

It certainly would be. That's why we'll look at the figures as a ratio of the number of clergy.

http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2010/10/20/01016-20101020ARTFIG00708-pedophilie-une-centaine -de-pretres-mis-en-cause.php

Based on this article in today's Le Figaro, in France there are 110 cases of pedophile priests which have been processed by the penal justice system, out of a total population of 19 000 priests.

by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately a useless figure without both a reference for the rest of the population and an estimate of how much higher (or lower) the dark numbers are for clergy due to the active criminal coverup (resp. higher profile of clerical kiddie rape).

Another relevant figure for comparison is the frequency of kiddie rape by caretakers normalised to the number of employees in the relevant professions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 08:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno. It was ThatBritGuy who made the assertation that it was SO MUCH... not me.
by Lynch on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 01:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the crime so much as the coverup that's damning.

Of course a Catholic priest is going to occasionally rape a child. Just as a scoutmaster is occasionally going to rape a child. It's horrible when it happens, but it's really hard to imagine a foolproof way to prevent it from happening.

The problem with the Catholic Church is that it treated it as a PR problem rather than a criminal offence, and that it did not fully disclose its suspicions to the legitimate, secular authority. In most jurisdictions, withholding knowledge of kiddie rape is a criminal offence in and of itself, which at least the current pope and a number of current cardinals are guilty of beyond a shadow of doubt.

Likewise, the problem is not that there is an occasional insane fundagelical who practises hate speech against homosexuals. It is, after all, not easy to tell whether he was always an insane homophobe who just sought out the Church in order to get a platform for his derangement, or the Church influenced him to become deranged. The problem is that the Papacy supports it with the full force of a transnational corporation with a multi-billion € yearly turnover.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 09:17:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the Catholic Church is that it treated it as a PR problem rather than a criminal offence

I certainly agree. But it looks like that's changing (at least in France).

by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't change the fact that the pope and several cardinals should be in front of a judge right now. One difference between a cleanup and a coverup is that in a cleanup, you're prepared to go wherever the evidence leads, whereas in a coverup, you leave some unimportant underling holding the bag.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 08:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But I categorically reject the wholesale condemnation of religion as being evil, bigoted, hateful, bent on killing and persecuting, hell threatening, ghost and ancestor worshiping, and what not...

Still beating that strawman? And why do you put ancestor worship (the Far Eastern version of Honor thy father and thy mother) along with those potential evils of religion?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why do you put ancestor worship (the Far Eastern version of Honor thy father and thy mother) along with those potential evils of religion?

Honouring is not the same as worshiping, the latter being an act of religious devotion usually directed to one or more deities.

by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:39:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By "usually" you mean the practice of your own religion, however, ancestor worship usually doesn't mean that ancestors are seen as deities. Either way, you didn't reply to my question as to why you consider ancestor worship a potential evil of religion...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:56:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, if you want to pray to your ancestors for whatever it is that makes you feel good - just do it.
by Lynch on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 01:31:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still no reply -- I'm not surprised at all...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 09:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spending an hour listening to your inner self every once in a while is appeasing and, as they say, "good for the soul". It's a break from consumerism, a break from materialist ambition, a break from the daily violence of our polarised societies. [Emphasis mine]

The last bit is not a feature, it's a bug.

Most of the daily violence of our polarised societies are delivered on your behalf against people who are worse off than you are. The second-most is delivered against you by people who are better off than you are.

"Taking a break from" contemplating that violence is the sort of escapism that allows evil to triumph because good men do nothing.

Yet how many times have people on ET insinuated that all the Church (religion?) does is spew hate?

Rarely. And they usually get called out when they do.

There is a difference between saying that religion in general, and a specific sect in particular, spews hate, and saying that all it does is spew hate. Stalin's regime industrialised the Soviet Union at a pace that was and remains unmatched by any other third-wold country in history. He was still a paranoid prick. Roosevelt and Truman approved a carpet bombing doctrine that caused horrid civilian casualties during the War. They also ended the Great Depression and slapped Imperial Japan down. Einstein helped invent the atomic bomb. But that is not all we remember him for (although in fairness to Einstein, it is unlikely that he could have prevented it from being invented even if he had tried - it is unlikely that it could have been prevented at all, without severely retarding the development of modern physics...).

Those who react with vitriol when it is pointed out that the Catholic Church is a net negative political influence in Europe, due to their espousing homophobia, theocracy and misogyny and covering for well-connected criminals, are obstructing the necessary process of purging the criminals, reactionaries and grifters within that religious organisation. Moreover, those who react with vitriol when it is pointed out that part of the dogma itself is misogynist, anti-democratic, homophobic, etc. are obstructing the equally necessary process of revising the dogma so that it does not provide a platform for authoritarian, sexist homophobes to preach from. And those who react with vitriol to the notion that religion should be deconstructed and examined with the same tools and under the same light as any other social or political movement are obstructing the necessary investigation into which doctrines and officials are incompatible with civilised society and which are not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:34:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are communicating their total lack of knowledge of scripture, meditation (whatever its form) and in general, the essence of religion

Why must you believe and follow if you have knowledge of scripture or the essence of religion? that seems to me to be an enormous assumption on your part. If you've read the books and historical arguments and find them faulty might you not come to an entirely different understanding of religion?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:15:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You certainly don't have to believe. But you'll know enough about the essence of religion so as not to treat it as an "evil".
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No you won't.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That just proves what a closed mind you have.
by Lynch on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 01:29:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You presume that you know more about the subject than Colman simply because he disagrees with your conclusions?

Or do you perhaps have an argument that extends beyond your say-so? Preferably one that doesn't involve lying about what some prominent figure said or did not say. Checking all your quotes gets somewhat tiresome after a while.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 05:24:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman affirms that reading (thus knowing) Christian Holy Scripture wouldn't in any way change his mind that this scripture is inherently EVIL. This Holy Scripture inspired 15-20, perhaps 25 billion people (all generations since the 8th century to today) to produce some of the most stunning architecture, music, visual arts, literature and philosophy in the Western world. But for Colman, it's all about EVIL. 1 smart guy out of 20 billion idiots. No doubts. 100% certain. Arrogant? Spot on.

I have no comment regarding your other baseless accusations.

by Lynch on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 01:51:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That wasn't what Colman said.

You claimed that calling a religion evil implied ignorance of its scriptures. Or, making the same statement in a slightly different order, reading a religion's scriptures automatically makes you believe that it is not evil. Otherwise, you asserted, one is "close-minded."

Now, there's a couple of different reasons why simply reading a religion's scriptures might not suffice to convince an open-minded person that said religion is not evil. First and simplest, the scriptures might be evil. This is the case for the pseudo-economic doctrines of the so-called "Austrian School," for instance. The more thoroughly an open-minded person reads their scriptures, the more liable he is to become disgusted with them and renounce their creed as evil.

Second, a religion's scriptures are a minor and on the whole uninteresting part of it. They certainly cannot in and of themselves redeem a religion that should be condemned on its actions and practises. Even if Dianetics were the most beautiful literature ever written, it would not change the fact that Scientology is a Ponzi scam with a bad attitude.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 02:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course.
Except that this diary is neither about Scientology nor Dianetics.
It's about Christianity.
by Lynch on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 11:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No it's not about "Christianity", try again.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 11:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could go back over the last five to ten comments in this particular exchange and highlight all the places where you made general claims about religion. But I feel entirely comfortable with allowing the reader to peruse this thread at his leisure and form his own opinion on the contents.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 11:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Scholasticism was such a win compared to that mindless gibbering the Greeks produced.

The Middle Ages were also known for the breathtaking sophistication of their sculpture, drama, music, visual arts, technology and mathematics.

In reality idiot theocracy held back development by a millennium or so. It wasn't until the Greeks were rediscovered that Western culture started moving again.

True, some of the cathedrals aren't bad, although the architecture is obviously a descendant of imperial Roman building traditions.

It's a shame the people who built them were confused.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 02:29:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be making entirely unwarranted assumptions

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
André Malraux said: The 21st Century will be spiritual or it will not be!

This sentence is apocryphal:

Le Guichet du Savoir -> Malraux: Spirituel Ou Religieux?

Malraux y apporta une nouvelle correction : « on m'a fait dire : Le XXI° siècle sera religieux ou ne sera pas. La prophétie est ridicule ; en revanche je pense que si l'humanité du siècle prochain ne trouve nulle part un type exemplaire de l'homme, ça ira mal...
Bold mine

« Quant au siècle prochain, ce que j'avais dit, c'est qu'il était extrêmement possible que, dans ce domaine que l'on appelle psi, se mêlaient encore pour l'instant des choses sérieuses et d'autres pas. [...] Si le prochain siècle devait connaître une révolution spirituelle, ce que je considère comme parfaitement possible (probable ou pas n'a pas d'intérêt, ce sont des prédictions de sorcières, mais possible), je crois que cette spiritualité relèverait du domaine de ce que nous pressentons aujourd'hui sans le connaître, comme le XVIII° siècle a pressenti l'électricité grâce au paratonnerre. Alors qu'est-ce que pourrait donner un nouveau fait spirituel (disons si vous voulez : religieux, mais j'aime mieux le mot spirituel), vraiment considérable ? Il se passerait évidemment ce qui s'est passé avec la science. » (extrait de « A propos de la réincarnation » in André Malraux, Cahiers de l'Herne, p 396-399).


"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, misrepresentations of just about every participant of the debate (including himself), the Koran, the Bible, the Talmud of Babylon, Erdogan, Chouraqui, and Malraux so far... who's next?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of bad faith you are. LOL.
by Lynch on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 01:28:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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