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10.000 leave Lutheran church

by Sven Triloqvist Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 05:50:53 AM EST

Helsignin Sanomat: Suhtautuminen homopareihin ajaa etenkin naisia eroon kirkosta (attitudes to gay couples lead women especially to leave the church)

Last week, a current affairs TV program ('Gay Evening') on church and lay attitudes to the status of Finnish gay couples has caused 10.000 to exit the church since the program was broadcast.


In Finland, if you want to be married in church, have your kids christened or confirmed (or as a friend of mine called it 'crucifixion camp'), get anything blessed, or be buried in consecrated ground, you must belong to the church in which the event takes place.

If you belong to the church, you pay church taxes (around 1% on top of the % you pay in state taxes. The tax is collected by the state). 80% of Finns belong to the Lutheran Church (85% a decade ago).

Attitudes among the pastors (a Masters in Theology required) appear to be a third in favour of the church blessing gay marriages, a third vehemently against, and the rest on the fence. This year, the Rev Irja Askola became the first woman to be elected as a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a step described as a "milestone" by the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. She publicly favours the church blessing gay marriage. As indeed do a majority of Finnish women.

Women have been able to be ordained since 1986, though there has been considerable and continuing resistance from some male pastors particularly to joint services.

The recent exodus from the church, following the TV program, has mainly been a reaction to the bigoted comments of Päivi Räsänen, the chairwoman of the Christian Democrats. Now even the female pastors are telling her to moderate her comments. The pastor of the Helsinki Kallio church, Jaana Partti said "Räsänen should shut up. She's confusing her political view with the church view."

Finns are not generally active church goers - attendance is limited to Christmas, Easter etc events, and my impression is that it is women who drive this attendance. Women also are in favour of the 'crucifixion camps' for their kids. But this is not religious fanaticism - it is regarded by women with families more as a civilizing influence on the young. These women support libraries, museums and music schools etc for the same reason. They view the core values of christianity (with a small 'c'), summarised by some of the 10 Commandments, as being a useful foundation for society: Honor your father and your mother, Do not murder, commit adultery, don't steal, don't bear false witness, don't covet. The rest of the Decalogue (or is it 21) is irrelevant to them.

Leaving the Lutheran church is quite easy - there's a website for it. 3473 people resigned yesterday.

Display:
To what 'ism' will these 10 000 souls convert? Paganism? Judaism? Islam(ism)? ... or just plain capitalism? Then they can go to the local mall and pray at Starbucks every sunday.
by Lynch on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 08:39:13 AM EST
Your point is?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 08:46:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that the new religion being promoted by our political elites and their MSM masters is consumerism. And it's empty.
by Lynch on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 08:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which religion isn't? And how did you determine that these 10,000 leaving the Lutheran Church were converts to the Church of Consumerism?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 09:00:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which religion isn't as empty as consumerism? Just about any religion you can think of.

I don't know what they're converting to, hence my interrogation. But we all need something to believe in, and consumerism is always there to fill a void.

by Lynch on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 09:10:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just about any religion you can think of.

Religions I can think of? Well, none I can think of seem any less empty... but, for the purposes of the issue at hand, you are free to show where the Finnish version of Lutheranism is less empty than consumerism.

my interrogation

Your "interrogation" looks like a guilty-until-innocent inquisition.

we all need something to believe in

This is a common contention among a certain subgroup of religious people, which compares to smokers declaring that we all need some addiction...

consumerism is always there to fill a void

Possibly, but it's not religion. Religious people are far from being immune to consumerism (unless you subscribe to a definition of "religious" that excludes most people considering themselves as such).

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 09:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The need to believe is not a concept that's limited to religious people. Believing is what drives an individual's (or indeed a group's) sense of purpose. For example, you can believe in the need to save the planet. As a result of that belief, you'll find gratification in all actions which derive from that belief (raising money, financing solar powered generators, ...).

You can believe in a political party, in a company's values, in the ideas of a certain philosopher or author, ... you can believe in money. If you believe in nothing, then what drives you to do the things you do?

by Lynch on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With such a broad definition of belief, it is perfectly possible to subscribe to several belief systems simultaneously. Which would render your original question nonsensical: These people would not need to convert to any particular belief system or systems, since they most likely already adhere to several.

They probably believe in some form of humanism, since as they feel compelled to distance themselves from an organisation that displays a flagrant disregard for the rights and dignity of their fellow humans. But it would be nonsensical to argue that they are converting from Christianity to humanism - or at least to argue that such a conversion happened this week - since their regard for their fellow man clearly preceded (and caused) their split from Christianity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:21:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the central problem with such broad definitions of belief is the conflation of certain notions.

When people speak of belief in a religious context, it is already two different things:

  1. views about how things are (there are gods, there is ki, evil people go to hell after death, the ghosts of our ancestors are watching over us);
  2. views about how people should act (don't kill, kill infidels, accept your place in society and worship your ancestors, let go of earthy desires).

People seem to find it easier to recognise that views in the first category outside religion don't necessarily qualify as "belief": there is empiricism, and there is a general uncertainty about anything you see, allowing for views to change or even co-exist. Thus, when say consumerism is posited as ersatz religion, one essential element of religious creed is glossed over. Furthermore, there is that difference between non-belief views and religious views: a certain absolutism.

What about the second category? This is the realm of ethics, moral, political views and such. A general absolutism of views in this field could be posited if one likens such belief systems to mathematics: core beliefs are like axioms, assumed truths from which other things follow but cannot themselves be concluded from other ideas. The problem with this is that, unless you're a fundamentalist, belief systems are usually quite obviously internally inconsistent for those who hold them. People struggle with moral dilemmas and constantly re-shape their views -- be it about politics, their marital relationship, or on how to raise children. Thus doubt and uncertainty is a possible trait of non-religious moral views, too, there goes the absolute.

To go a bit further: when non-fundie religious people talk about their moral views and religion, it appears to me that their chosen (or inherited but salad-bar-interpreted) religion only gave them confirmation for views with origins within themselves, rather than views they gained from doctrine.

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 03:00:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

1. views about how things are (there are gods, there is ki, evil people go to hell after death, the ghosts of our ancestors are watching over us);

2 . views about how people should act (don't kill, kill infidels, accept your place in society and worship your ancestors, let go of earthy desires).

What is apparent to anyone who knows the first thing about religion is that the synthesis provided here... portrays rather profound ignorance of what (the supposedly Christian, Muslim, Jewish, ...) religion is. That nobody else on this thread pointed out that the synthesis provided by DoDo is misconstrued just raises questions about this group's general level of understanding of what religion is.

Here's the synthesis provided and some comments.

There are gods: good start.
There is ki: what religion believes in ki?
Evil people go to hell after death: the Bible deals with this concept on the fringe. It's by no means a central theme.
The ghosts of our ancestors are watching over us: This might be something out of Valhalla, but it's not in the Bible.
Don't kill: ok
Kill infidels: man, you've got a warped view of what (at least Judeo-Christian) religion is!
Accept your place in society and worship your ancestors: Worship ancestors??? Certainly not Judeo-Christian. You only worship God.
Let go of earthly desire: Wrong again. There are some very powerful passages in the Bible about love, passion and human (earthly) desire... and it's good to be there! Read the Cantique if you want to explore a bit.

Just a quick synthesis of what religion is. Below are 4 questions that God asks of a person who is presented before His Kingdom:

  1. Have you conducted your business honestly (read: have you been a good individual?)
  2. Have you studied the Bible (read: have you invested in learning?)
  3. Have you had children? (read: have you created and given life?)
  4. Have you prayed for redemption? (read: have you hoped to better yourself and the world around you?)
by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:04:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:

Below are 4 questions that God asks of a person who is presented before His Kingdom:

  1. Have you conducted your business honestly (read: have you been a good individual?)
  2. Have you studied the Bible (read: have you invested in learning?)
  3. Have you had children? (read: have you created and given life?)
  4. Have you prayed for redemption? (read: have you hoped to better yourself and the world around you?)

This is entirely your version.

But then, you are posing as the person who "knows the first thing about religion", and excluding "this group" from that inestimable knowledge.

Which is why it's quite impossible to discuss with you.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talmud de Babylone, Shabat 3a.
by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My own version... LOL.
What next?
by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Babylonian Talmud, Book 1: Tract Sabbath, tr. Rodkinson.: Volume I: Chapter II: Regulations Concerning The Sabbath And 'Hanukah Light
Rabha said: When a man comes before the (divine) judgment, he is asked: "Hast thou traded in good faith? Mist thou apportioned regular times for study? Hast thou produced children? Didst thou hope for salvation? Hast thou discussed subjects of wisdom? Hast thou formed (logical) conclusions from the things thou hast learned?" After all this (if he can affirm all these questions), if he possessed the fear of the Lord, it was well; if not, it was not so.

You

  1. seem to assume that the Talmud of Babylon applies to every branch in the Judeo-Christian family of religions;
  2. cut short that list,
  3. added your own interpretations in parentheses.

Your own version, quite.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 10:23:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, the passage is not a synthesis of religion, but about salvation, with the following passages putting the emphasis on the last point (fear of God).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 10:27:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh please... you're interpreting "fear of God" rather literally. Here's a quote from Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser on that matter:


The most common terms used in the Hebrew Bible for "fearing" God are words related to Yirah. This word's root also appears in related terms used in the rabbinic literature: Yirat HaShem, "Fearing God's Name"; Yirat Shamayim, "Fearing Heaven"; and Yirat Cheit, "Fearing Sin."

There is no one-to-one correspondence between any two words from two different languages. While Yirah usually is translated as "fear," its usage suggests a meaning that might also be translated with the English word "awe." Different Hebrew words are used in the Bible for the kind of anxious fear one might describe as "dread" or "loathing."

The Hebrew Bible's concept of "fearing God," therefore, can be compared to the feeling of looking at the nighttime sky and being awed by the immensity of space and simultaneously terrified by the thought of our smallness in such a vast expanse. That is to say, it is the feeling of being overwhelmed by a reality greater than oneself and greater than that encountered in ordinary life. It is the feeling that the theologian Rudolf Otto called the Mysterium Tremendum.

That is a different experience than the anxiety one has in the course of everyday life -- although, it must be admitted, they are not distantly related as human emotions. What is clear to me, though, is that "fearing God" is not a compulsion that makes you cringe or causes you to make poor choices, as you might if you always were afraid of a person or thing.

Rather, "fearing God," is living life with a trembling awareness that life has meaning -- that the choices you make have consequences of ultimate significance. To "fear" God as a Jew means to hone within yourself an awareness of the divine Presence around you all the time. One who fears God in this way would never say, "It does not matter how I behave in this circumstance because no one will ever know."

To live in this way is a profound and spiritual experience. Yet, Jewish tradition says that, in addition to experiencing the fear of God, a person also should develop an awareness of the love of God. The Jewish liturgy says that God loves us with an unending, infinite love. Just as we wish to feel the awe of God around us, we also should desire to know and to feel that we are loved -- deeply and passionately -- by God.

by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 11:16:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you're interpreting "fear of God" rather literally

Where have I interpreted the fear of God? I just pointed out what you left out. You certainly don't seem to have apportioned regular times for study if you read texts so superficially and take them out of context as liberally as pointed out by me and afew downthread.

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

by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:34:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What exactly is your point - except that the text I quoted is followed by other text? Or do you have a point?
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1.seem to assume that the Talmud of Babylon applies to every branch in the Judeo-Christian family of religions

And according to you that's not the case? Is the Jewish God not the same as the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant God?

2.cut short that list

See Rabbi Goldwasser's comment about "fearing God".

3.added your own interpretations in parentheses

Hardly personal interpretations. Rather shared by a number of scholars... Joseph Telushkin for one.

by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 11:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And according to you that's not the case?

LOL. Show me where the Catholic Bible or the King James Bible contains the Talmud of Babylon or even just these passages... or indeed show me any Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox scholar or church leader declaring the Talmud a divinely inspired holy book.

Is the Jewish God not the same as the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant God?

I'm pretty sure that the God of Unitarians is not the same as the God of Southern Baptists or the God of the Pope; and I am also pretty certain that the God of Orthodox Jews is not the same as that of liberal ones... not that this has anything to do with the mutual acceptance of interpretations of salvation in different books of religion.

See Rabbi Goldwasser's comment about "fearing God".

See Shabbah 3a, the passages directly after the ones I quoted.

Hardly personal interpretations.

They certainly aren't interpretations universally shared by all religious people, or even all religious Jews. And based on your prior record of out-of-context misinterpretations from Erdogan to Chouraqui, even your following claim needs a [citation needed] tag:

shared by a number of scholars... Joseph Telushkin for one.

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

by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me clarify the misunderstanding. The Talmud of Babylon is an analysis of the Old Testament. The text I quoted is an excellent summary of the values inherent to Christianity - and not less so because it was produced by Jewish scholars. These 4 questions asked by God reflect the values which are detailed at length in the 5 books of the Old Testament and The Prophets. THAT was my point regarding the Talmud of Babylon - as my question clearly inferred.
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
based on your prior record of out-of-context misinterpretations

Are you suggesting that my comment regarding a move towards consumerism by some Lutherans is more out of context than your raising KI as a major pillar of religion in a diary about Finnish Christians? LOL.

The objective of my post was to explain to you that the Judeo-Christian God (this diary being about Lutherans - not about Mulan and Ki) is indeed about salvation and not about killing infidels, worshiping ancestors, ghosts and the refusal of earthly desires. If these are the first 4 concepts that you bring to the table to discuss religion, then you haven't understood the first thing about it (whether you've been to Bible Study or not).

Shall I now offer you a soliloquy on your ignorant misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 13?

by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:45:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
your ignorant misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 13

You persist in bringing to your assertions about the Bible your own personal

Lynch:

...hot dose of interpretation
 
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:00:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK big boy. If you've got a pair (a big IF) why don't you come down into the arena and explain just how I misinterpreted Deuteronomy 13, instead of doing your usual (cheap) sling shooting from a distance? Oh, and don't hesitate to use citations (that is... if you find any) to back up your assertions (that is... if you have any).
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't give a damn how you interpret Deuteronomy 13 or anything else for that matter.

Your comment is violently trollish and gets a 0.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:14:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Look around you on this thread for violently trollish and you'll find it, but not on this remark.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nice church... the mysteries of the mass seem to be making you unusually charitable with your fellow man.

your tone is quite obnoxious, and reflects the belligerent, patronising and pseudo-sapient choice of your words.

as a self-appointed apologist for christian faith, you're digging in deeper, and revealing a petty-minded attitude that probably shepherds more towards faithlessness than otherwise. it's unfortunate, as some things you say are true, but they're surrounded by such bilious polemic and bitter hostility, anyone reading would question how much serenity and generosity of heart your faith affords you.

notably little, it appears! if you have something relevant to say about sven's diary, please say it civilly, without resorting to such diatribes. it doesn't help advance any point of view, it just pollutes discourse, dragging it down to the mucky level so many blogs wallow in, and which we have avoided pretty successfully up to now.

chill, man. if you have good to offer, let it speak for itself, without ugliness directed to others here, who are being remarkably patient and tolerant with you, imo. so mega troll rating for that comment, just horrible, ridiculous alpha posturing, testosterone squirts...

you can do better! faith surely doesn't mean low jabs like that.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 03:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going to be the contrarian here. Lynch started this with an innocent, cute question and got jumped on. Cut and coule' went on much further than logic, and Lynch is piled on into a corner.

Provoked, responded. Given 0's for it. Not right. I give a 4 and a 0 for balance.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 04:48:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
OK big boy. If you've got a pair (a big IF) why don't you come down into the arena

If you consider this worth a 4, I'd say that's your prerogative.

But a 0 for melo's comment above is plain abuse of the rating system.

"Innocent" and "cute" is your interpretation, and a mighty strained one. Lynch has a record here, and it's much closer to provocation than innocence and cuteness.

As for "piled on", what do you want people to do? All agree with a poster, when in fact they don't? All go away and not respond to that poster? If Lynch didn't want the debate, he would neither have started it nor continued with it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 04:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To what 'ism' will these 10 000 souls convert? Paganism? Judaism? Islam(ism)? ... or just plain capitalism? Then they can go to the local mall and pray at Starbucks every sunday.

That was a good question and a cute line. I took it as a nice way to thank Sven for writing the essay. Yet immediately it was jumped on for things it didn't say. By your implication, that was justified because Lynch has some history. Then, because he followed the thread where the stream took it, you justify the piling on. (And it was piling on, not <airquote>piling on</airquote>.)

I'm not going to waste my time by digging through that thread again, but darts were thrown from each side, and the outcome that you quoted was predictable, and the responsibility of both sides - as I was reading the thread, it came out as a poorly stated mirror of what was being tossed at Lynch.

As far as abuse of the system, get off it. melo's quips were clever, as always, but in no way polite or humanitarian...again, a more puckish backatcha, overly restated several times in several ways, of the logical conclusion of where the thread was pushed to. If the system had a "Lay off guys and quite being so full of yourselves while taunting your playmate" setting, I would have used that. But there are no negative numbers.

<reverts to never reading/participating in threads dealing with non-science based philosophy>

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 05:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Yet immediately it was jumped on"

By DoDo in the opening comments? Nonsense. He attempted to get Lynch to make his meaning clear. Though, apparently, the meaning is clear to you, you'll have to accept that others didn't find it so.

More strenuous argument developed from the point where Lynch told us ex cathedra what God was going to ask of individuals on Judgement Day (complete with his interpretation of what it meant), only later giving the Talmudic source he was quoting.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 06:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't have to keep convincing me that anything can, and often is compelled to be, justified...often in inverse proportion to the amount of responsibility taken by the justifier.

I do find it surprising that you will blithely use the word "Nonsense" about my comments, even when the critique of denigrating conversation is under the microscope.

You've already pointed out that the water was colored by virtue of Lynch's history. I've already pointed out that I don't want to parse this any further, though just looking at the first handful of comments with your new insight, and one can see the player's tells a bit more clearly, it confirms that this was piling on writ large. Perhaps it is more aptly named a Lynching.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 07:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
siegestate:
this was piling on writ large

OK, your interpretation, stick with it as I'm sure you will. No further comment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 09:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Standing ovations from me for your outstanding (excellent) observation/analysis of this internal conflict - and for having had the courage to say it out loud.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Mon Oct 25th, 2010 at 06:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was a good question and a cute line.

Am I allowed to disagree?

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

by DoDo on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 01:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you call "provocation" I call simply disagreeing with The Party Line. The Party's way of dealing with dissidents is ever so evident...
by Lynch on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 03:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch,

I share your own 'party line' by and large though I may differ on how I communicate about it.

The point is that there are people who are convinced that something that is existential to you wouldn't exist. You are one and they are many. But you have and they don't.

I don't say you are stronger because you'd be right and they wrong. Religion's underpinning is faith, and faith puts you in a spiritually strong position. You have touched existential truth.

Debates that involve existential questions are not like an argument over holidays in the mountains or at the sea being the better alternative.
It's not just facts against facts when you're rooted in a spiritual reality that others have found to be invalid, inexistent or that they've agreed to ignore.

You stand on different ground and make theirs shake. It's a pity when the Truth you've found is clouded by an intellectual cross-fire about religious facts.

Many have ceased to look for what you've found, and this makes your presence by definition annoying though it could be an invitation.
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Mon Oct 25th, 2010 at 06:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:o)
by Lynch on Mon Oct 25th, 2010 at 05:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 08:42:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:o) meant that I agree with you 100%
by Lynch on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 05:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Again you are inventing your own meanings. This practice can occasionally result in poetry, but mostly gibberish.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 05:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To illustrate my point -

You had said,

"OK big boy. If you've got a pair (a big IF) why don't you come down into the arena and explain just how I misinterpreted Deuteronomy 13, instead of doing your usual (cheap) sling shooting from a distance? Oh, and don't hesitate to use citations (that is... if you find any) to back up your assertions (that is... if you have any)."

"That just proves what a closed mind you have."

That's OT rhetoric - where the heart didn't see.

It shouldn't be necessary nowadays since we as Christians have received the Holy Spirit through faith.

(I think this thread is closed; I won't take this any further.)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 10:26:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You stand on different ground and make theirs shake.

How does his serial misinterpretation of the scripture of his own religion shake anyone else's ground?...

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

by DoDo on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 01:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I've seen, Lynch hasn't misinterpreted.

Anything else should be covered in a new diary IMO.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 02:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Comedy gold.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 03:31:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. The comedy's on you mate.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 05:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But for the record, let me rephrase my question - which was apparently misunderstood (apparently):
  • Do you know Christian Holy Scripture?
  • If you do... do you believe that it's "Evil"?
by Lynch on Tue Oct 26th, 2010 at 05:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2 simple questions Colman. Can you answer them?
by Lynch on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 01:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you siegestate.
by Lynch on Sun Oct 24th, 2010 at 03:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that the God of Unitarians is not the same as the God of Southern Baptists or the God of the Pope; and I am also pretty certain that the God of Orthodox Jews is not the same as that of liberal ones

The Christian God is the same as the Jewish God, and if you're having any doubts - go ask a Christian priest. If you get a different answer, then you're clearly in some sort of a sect, where ghosts, jihads and voodoo may or may not play an important role.

by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean like two different remakes of Batman describe the same fictional character?

It's always fun to watch Christian trying to reconcile the oozing, psychotic nastiness of the OT with the DFH ethic of the NT.

But really it's just story-telling. Why should anyone care - unless they think oozing, psychotic nastiness is somehow a good and worthy thing?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
oozing, psychotic nastiness of the OT with the DFH ethic of the NT.

a more tellingly succinct, psychologically apt synopsis of the current contradictions of contemporary christianity would be hard to find.

lol you should start a cult.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 03:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's hardly fair.  OT God and NT God are at least both figures who did god-ish stuff.

Val Kilmer Batman and George Clooney Batman just sucked.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 11:24:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Erdogan

My view of Erdogan is neither surprising, nor misinformed.  Your attitude, however, towards someone who doesn't share your point of view lacks empathy and is patently arrogant. Erdogan's speech in Germany also lacked empathy and was devoid of political tact towards the local indigenous community. But since you brought it up, perhaps you can tell me who in Germany is FORCING the Turks to assimilate and how this force is being applied?

by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:47:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My view of Erdogan is neither surprising, nor misinformed.

Surprising, no. Misinformed, yes.

Erdogan's speech in Germany also lacked empathy and was devoid of political tact towards the local indigenous community.

We've been over that before. You still haven't told me precisely what you find objectionable about that speech.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 08:02:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Lynch claimed Erdogan was preaching against integration of Muslims, and never admitted that he misinterpreted a speech actually calling for the integration of Turks. Now he claims the insistence that Turks should be allowed to talk Turkish alongside German "lacked emphathy"... LOL.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 01:34:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. You misunderstood - again.
The point wasn't whether he was preaching against the integration of the Muslims or the Turks... but that he said:

"I understand very well the sensitive point of assimilation. No one can expect you to tolerate assimilation. No one can expect that you submit to assimilation. Because assimilation is a crime against humanity. You should be aware of that."

Original Spiegel article: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,534519,00.html

You then pointed out (or was it Mr. Sierra) that Erdogan was against FORCED assimilation of the Turks into German society. Hence my 2 questions:

  1. How are the Turks in Germany being FORCED to integrate?
  2. Who is it that's forcing them?
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your Spiegel reference does not back up your quote. The verbatim quote from Erdogan on assimilation in that article is:

Cologne's Turkish Spectacle: Erdogan's One-Man Show - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

"I understand that you are sensitive about the issue of assimilation," Erdogan says. "No one can demand that from you."

Where's your source for the rest?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:30:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's in the original German version. Gimme a sec and I'll look it up.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:37:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkish. The Spiegel article says the speech was not to be translated into German.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now why would that be?
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spiegel journalist says:

Cologne's Turkish Spectacle: Erdogan's One-Man Show - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Erdogan is fully aware of the tense situation. He begins his speech -- which won't be translated into German -- with flowery words.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:17:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doesn't mean it could not be translated, obviously. But the speech was in Turkish.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.welt.de/debatte/article1660510/Das_sagte_Ministerpraesident_Erdogan_in_Koeln.html

Ich verstehe die Sensibilität, die Sie gegenüber Assimilation zeigen, sehr gut. Niemand kann von Ihnen erwarten, Assimilation zu tolerieren. Niemand kann von Ihnen erwarten, dass Sie sich einer Assimilation unterwerfen. Denn Assimilation ist ein Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit, Sie sollten sich dessen bewusst sein. Wir müssen jedoch auch Folgendes zur Kenntnis nehmen: Sie können sich im heutigen Deutschland, in Europa von heute, in der heutigen Welt, nicht mehr als ,,der Andere", als derjenige, der nur vorübergehend hier ist, betrachten, Sie dürfen sich nicht so betrachten. Die türkische Gemeinschaft hat sich volle 47 Jahre für dieses Land verausgabt. Nicht nur in Deutschland, in zahlreichen Ländern Europas nähert sich die Zahl unserer Staatsbürger fast fünf Millionen. Es ist bemerkenswert, dass trotz diesem immensen Einsatz, trotz dieser zahlenmäßigen Stärke gewisse grundlegende Probleme in diesen Ländern sich immer noch nicht auf der Tagesordnung befinden. Selbstverständlich werden unsere Kinder Türkisch lernen. Das ist Ihre Muttersprache und es ist Ihr natürlichstes Recht, Ihre Muttersprache Ihren Kindern weitergeben.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In this German translation we have more, however, than your quote. Erdogan immediately goes on to say:

Dokumentation: Das sagte Ministerpräsident Erdogan in Köln - Nachrichten Debatte - WELT ONLINE

Wir müssen jedoch auch Folgendes zur Kenntnis nehmen: Sie können sich im heutigen Deutschland, in Europa von heute, in der heutigen Welt, nicht mehr als ,,der Andere", als derjenige, der nur vorübergehend hier ist, betrachten, Sie dürfen sich nicht so betrachten.

But we must also take note of the following: in today's Germany, today's Europe, today's world, you can cease to be seen as "the other", as the one who is only here temporarily, you don't have to see yourselves in that way.

It seems to me he was attempting to find the middle ground between assimilation (the abandonment of the original culture) and isolation (reflexive defence of that culture and rejection of the surrounding culture).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
find the middle ground between assimilation (the abandonment of the original culture) and isolation (reflexive defence of that culture and rejection of the surrounding culture)

Erdogan directly references ethnic communities/lobbies in America later on in the speech. His middle ground is between assimilation as obligation and isolation; the one thing that does not come up in his speech is people abandoning the original culture on their own volition.

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

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:03:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is some more of the original:

Jedoch würden Sie, wenn Sie die Sprache des Landes erlernen, in dem Sie leben, oder sogar noch einige Sprachen dazu, in jeder Hinsicht davon profitieren. Schauen Sie, viele unserer Kinder hier lernen in frühem Alter keine Fremdsprachen. Diese Kinder werden mit Deutsch erst dann konfrontiert, wenn sie mit dem Schulbesuch beginnen. Und das führt dazu, dass diese Kinder im Vergleich zu den anderen Schülern die Schullaufbahn mit einem Nachteil von eins zu null beginnen müssen. Doch würde es für Sie und für Ihre Kinder in jeder Hinsicht vorteilhaft sein, wenn Sie die Möglichkeiten maximal ausschöpfen, die das hiesige gute Schulsystem Ihnen bietet.

Sie werden einen Beruf ausüben, Sie werden öffentliche Dienste in Anspruch nehmen. Wenn Sie die Sprache des jeweiligen Landes nicht beherrschen, nicht lernen, so fallen Sie unweigerlich in eine Situation der Benachteiligung.

For those not speaking German; he is telling Turks in Germany that learning the local language and maybe even another is good for them, because not learning it automatically leads to disadvantages in school -- and he advises Turks in Germany to capitalise Germany's good school system -- and later in jobs and in using public services.

He continues arguing that this is a pre-requisite for participation in public life, from voting to being elected as a politician, which he also propagates. But, heh, I wonder if you really want integration if political influence is the result...

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

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:57:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to me like he said everything and its contrary at that meeting. Pick what you want, for the audience you want.
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see any contradiction in what he said... you are grasping at straws to defend your preconceived notions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:46:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point wasn't whether he was preaching against the integration of the Muslims or the Turks...

LOL. You brought it up in the first place as proof of Islam's opposition to integration, so it was very much your point... And since Erdogan was speaking out for integration and against forced assimilation, your questions don't affect the falsehood of your claims.

Regarding the forcing, I refer you to my latest diary, and again repeat that Erdogan's focus was on language use, you quoted that part yourself downthread...

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

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chouraqui

Chouraqui is a linguist and a translator. Yes. But there is absolutely NO WAY you can endeavour to translate a book like the Bible without bringing a hot dose of interpretation with you.

by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How does that excuse your misinterpretation of his words and expertise to fit your false claims about the origins of specific parts of the OT?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 01:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What next? Your own version.

If you wanted to quote a Talmudic text, you should have said so, and given the reference and link as DoDo did. Then you should have quoted it verbatim - or said that you were summarising it. What you did was claim you knew what questions "God" would ask:

Lynch:

Below are 4 questions that God asks

and you then wrote your own paraphrase.

But then, perhaps you're "God".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the synthesis provided here

There was no synthesis provided there. Only examples from various religions to illustrate the concept.

what religion believes in ki?

Ki (English transliteration of Japanese) or Qi (same for Chinese) is part of a host of East Asian religions and semi-religions, above all Taoism and Confucianism.

the Bible deals with this concept on the fringe

Whether hell is fringe in any form of the Christian religion is both your personal contention and irrelevant to its validity as example for a religious  belief about how things are.

This might be something out of Valhalla

No, you again have to expand your horizon until the Far East.

but it's not in the Bible.

Where have I said Bible? Are Christian religions the only belief systems you want to consider as religion?

you've got a warped view of what (at least Judeo-Christian) religion is

Heh. I still remember the last time I gave you examples of kill-the-infidels parts in the Bible, and your final cop-out where you made me a Bible scholar being arrogant with someone less versed in the issue...

Finally, let me note that you haven't addressed the main point at all, which was about your contention regarding the applicability of the "belief" tag and the similarity of religious belief systems to non-religious worldviews.

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

by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 06:34:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Context is key. The infidels in your example were Canaanites, who were considered by God to be not only infidels - but AGAINST God's project of Israel.

Otherwise, the Bible does deal with the issue of infidels on a number of occasions and ascribes a place for them in society. God's people are expected to RESPECT infidels - not convert them at the sword.

Your two links lead to blank pages.

by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:06:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corrected links: examples of genocide calls and genocides, you making me a Bible expert.

The Canaanites described as being slaughtered as infidels in my examples included newborn children and livestock, and nowhere in the Bible is the crime of Canaanite babies and cows defined as being against Project Israel. Furthermore, as I pointed out when you tried this same defence last time, Deuteronomy 13 is not limited to Canaanites, nor can slavery for non-Canaanites be interpreted as "respect". You really try hard to justify these abominations by misinterpretation.

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

by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 10:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me making you a bible expert... on one particular point which was the dating of a particular text - which you claimed was a fake.
by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 11:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Plagiarised" doesn't equal "fake"... and the particular text subject to that prior discussion (of which the plagiarised passage was only a part) was the OT. Seen through your glasses, reality and even the past is is constantly shifting and changing...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:54:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Deuteronomy 13 speaks of God calling on his people to kill. But contrary to what you said, it doesn't speak of killing infidels, but of killing those who engage in proselytizing against the lord. You'll agree, no doubt, that it's not quite the same thing.

Just one book later, however, God calls on his people to look after the infidels:

Deuteronomy 14:
At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

The ALIENS that are to be satisfied, are of course, the infidels.

Certainly, I regard many passages in the Old Testament to be harsh and way way behind our times. From the Old Testament's teachings of "an eye for an eye" (while at the same time condemning vengeance), the New Testament has a more humane approach, teaching us to respond to an aggressor without violence by turning the other cheek.

by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 12:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, to bring you back to the topic, what do you think of gay marriage?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 05:09:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Different strokes for different folks. I don't think of it. Do you?
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:53:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:55:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a quick synthesis of what religion is.

No, that isn't a quick synthesis of what religion is.

It's either a transparent attempt at trolling, or it's an attempt to generalise your own belief system with a bit of hand-wavey posturing about 'this is how it is, and I know more about this than you do, therefore aren't I great?'

Now - from where I am looking at religion and ideology as a power play that makes it possible for some individuals to hand-wave and say 'I know this is how it is, therefore aren't I great?' is far more useful than any of the hundreds of other explanations you can find in theology and social psychology.

Ideology - which includes religion - is the process by which irrelevant nobodies can persuade themselves and others that they're very significant somebodies.

The pay-offs for being an alleged somebody include money, sex, power, social status, attention, influence, and self-esteem.

There is no 'god' in charge of this process. There is no invisible hand. It's purely a herd phenomenon.

The giveaway is that there's no such thing as a religious ethic. Religious people never agree with each other about what they believe. They're all absolutely convinced of the rightness of their position, but there's so little consensus between them that the process is inherently comedy gold. You can cherry pick from the same set of stories about your magic sky bunny to inspire people to extreme altruism or extreme greed, violence and sadism.

For religion - whatever you want, it's all cool.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 07:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Religious people never agree with each other about what they believe.

...and spiritual people from all faiths generally do.

funny that.

funny also that the 'herd instinct' (to which you so correctly refer in the case of mass delusion/bad religion) has little -or indeed nothing- in common with the authors of those faiths, to whom solitude and lack of herd instinct was almost a prerequisite.

perhaps that's because 'religion is for those afraid of hell, spirituality is for those who've been there.'

when it comes to religion, i'm afraid sartre had it almost right... 'hell is other people'!

too many people in the same place, mental mayhem assured, complete with Charley-Tans a-gogo to ensure extreme bankability.

my guess is magic sky bunny's message gets lost in the crowd...

or maybe it's the old hat he gets put in. :)

nature exhibits biodiversity as survival tool, methinks genuinely kind, aware people are found sprinkled though many faiths and professions.

...and professions of faith!

...some are professional atheists... a pax on all their houses.

not pox, mind!

two poles, religion, canonised (canned) dogma, with more blood on its hands (and maybe charity) than any other human endeavour, and spirituality (direct experience), with less.

one's really hard inner work, the other like falling into the warm bath of lemming mode, where all conscious responsibility for living deliberately is entrusted to (mostly) scoundrels to decode/decide for you.

certainly not a subject for linear thinkers, or those faint of patient will to grow into deeper understanding.

fascinating though, in its complex enormity, or is that vast complexity?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the points you claim has nothing to do with Judeo-Christian religion, can all be found in the varied Christian tradition.

Lynch:

There is ki: what religion believes in ki?

William Blake, Christian spiritualist:

Energy is the only life and is from the Body and Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy. Energy is Eternal Delight.

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1783.

Lynch:

Evil people go to hell after death: the Bible deals with this concept on the fringe. It's by no means a central theme.

Central theme in much of Christianity during much of its existence. Religion is what people do, not what the holy book says they should do (aside from the problem of who is interpretating).

Lynch:

The ghosts of our ancestors are watching over us: This might be something out of Valhalla, but it's not in the Bible.

But it is commonly found in Christian tradition, in the version that the souls of the dead are in heaven and can see us who still happen to live. See a modern non-horror movie with a ghost to see an example.

Lynch:

Kill infidels: man, you've got a warped view of what (at least Judeo-Christian) religion is!

Well, the crusades were quite big on the part of killing infidels.

Lynch:

Accept your place in society and worship your ancestors: Worship ancestors??? Certainly not Judeo-Christian. You only worship God.

I hear saints have been quite popular to pray to in large parts of Christianity, during much of its history.

Lynch:

Let go of earthly desire: Wrong again. There are some very powerful passages in the Bible about love, passion and human (earthly) desire... and it's good to be there! Read the Cantique if you want to explore a bit.

And there has been quite a few monasteries and cults dedicated to letting go of earthly desires.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(at least Judeo-Christian) religion

Given two millennia of Christian antisemitism, the concept of a" Judeo-Christian" culture already borders on the obscene. But "Judeo-Christian" religion? What on earth is that?

It's revealing that in Hebrew there is not, as far as I can tell, any such term. And given recent gender-seggregation policies (women to the back of the bus, separate pavements for men and women, threats of violence against those fighting these policies), "Judeo-Muslim" might be more appropriate...

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:22:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Judeo-Christian" is a rhetorical slight-of-hand that allows fundagelicals to

a) Adopt those fire-and-brimstone bits of the Old Testament that they like while retaining plausible deniability when somebody points out that they are supporting Bronze Age barbarism.

b) Conveniently link Christian fundagelicals to a certain military pork barrel project in the Eastern Mediterranean.

c) About double the claimed age of their religion.

But then, you probably knew that already...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. But had you ever seen it called a religion before?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the time.

But the, I have spent a lot of time pointing and laughing at Creationists in the American corner of the internet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:57:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've used "Abrahamic Religion" before to include Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Really, they're not all that different from the outside. One god, same books, some disagreement over the detailed status of the assorted mythological figures, a long history of swapping ideas among themselves.

Leaving out one of the triad is an interesting way of looking at the world though.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder why that might be.
Last time I went to Mass, there were 2 liturgies from the Old Testament... again. Never heard the Quoran though. Must be a conspiracy don't you think?
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:32:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the same reason you won't hear anything from the New Testament in a synagogue: each religion regards the successor religion as a heresy. For the same reason, the term "Judeo-Christian religion" (why not just say Judaism and Christianity?) would be deeply offensive, possibly even antisemtic, to a religious Jew. Christians may like to believe that their religion contains Judaism, but nobody ever asks the Jews about this.

Just by chance, I just happened today to come across an article by Lawrence Swaim on the subject. He agrees with my instinctive feeling that there is something antisemitic about the term.

Jews were now to be upgraded to something known as "Judeo-Christianity," a bogus expression invented by rightwing evangelicals to promote Christian nationalism and advocate in the public square for certain evangelical values without being called anti-Semitic. Jews were now to be allowed into that part of the conservative establishment that was encouraging coalition with the evangelicals of the Religious Right; and the expression "Judeo-Christian values" was unveiled to pre-empt any question of anti-Semitism.

[...]

Later the issue of proselytizing Jews would be even more subtly finessed by a little-known provision in the dispensationalist playbook -- namely, that during the End Time (the Christian evangelical term for the Second Coming of Christ), Jews would for reasons unknown suddenly convert to Christianity as the New Jerusalem arrived. The recalcitrant ones, those Jews who for some reason refused Jesus' kind offer of conversion to Christianity, would be mass-murdered by God, who would thereby neatly finish in the End of Days what Hitler had started back at the Wannsee Conference in 1942.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:10:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same as JakeS.

There is something to be said of the same-ness of the Gods of Abrahamic religions, though. Monotheism allows for the narrative -- one taken up by the ecumenical movement as well as modern salad-bar theists and spiritualists -- that the God worshipped by all of these religions is the same, only believers' interpretations ("understanding") and ways of worship differ.

One might counter with religious wars and anti-semitism, but there are replies to that. Those proclaiming the basic same-ness of religions will counter with the dismissal of the beliefs of fanatics, though that's an obvious No True Scotsman argument. However, I have talked to fundies who insist on the same-ness of their God and the God of a hated rival denomination: the others only misinterpret God.

What monotheists don't get is how things look from the outside. While they can convince themselves that the different God interpretations of other monotheists are blurred visions of the same God as they understand it, for a non-monotheist, there are only the clearly different God images monotheists describe to them, and not single thing to imagine behind all of them. The petulant Middle Eastern despot of the Pentateuch who makes up excuses for himself to slaughter people, the altruistic communist of parts of the NT, the sordid eternal judge of the end of the NT, the First Mover of Enlightenment philosophers, the living God of the spiritualists, the universal existence of Sufism, just don't seem the images of the same.

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow i love your way with words, it's majestic.

DoDo:

The petulant Middle Eastern despot of the Pentateuch who makes up excuses for himself to slaughter people, the altruistic communist of parts of the NT, the sordid eternal judge of the end of the NT, the First Mover of Enlightenment philosophers, the living God of the spiritualists, the universal existence of Sufism, just don't seem the images of the same.

and true...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 03:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, you need to mix in Islam as well to make it a coherent concept.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:36:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nono, don't you realise? Islam is a heresy against the Judeo-Christian tradition. Unlike the case of Christianity and the Jewish tradition. Oh, wait...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(not the current ones : Abraham and that crowd)

for having invented monotheism, which has been a powerful force for evil in the world.

But it's a bad rap.

In most times and places, a given community had their own private god (or gods). In their interaction with other groups, it was pretty easy to respect each other's religion (you have your god, I have mine). Cosmopolitan civilisations can work quite well on this basis.

The comic genius of the Jews was evident very early on. Their version is subtly different : Our god, Yahweh (or El or whatever-his-name-isn't) is not only our own, private god : he's the only god that exists! You other folks are literally godless. You may think you have a god, more fool you.

But this is not a problem in itself; the Jewish god makes no claim to universalism (though Jewish exceptionalism is sometimes a bit problematic).

The problem is when the godless get Yahweh. It's astonishing how powerful the monotheistic narrative turns out to be. And the problem is that we have two principal Jewish heresies that claim universalism.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 06:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For comic genius it's hard to beat naming Jersualem, of all cities, the City of Peace....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 07:06:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The comic genius of the Jews was evident very early on. Their version is subtly different : Our god, Yahweh (or El or whatever-his-name-isn't) is not only our own, private god : he's the only god that exists!

It is my understanding that the development of monotheism was far from unique, even in the region. However, all the others from the same era are gone now.

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 11:30:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a load. And this comment, which is factually incorrect and open in its outright bigotry against those who believe in God not only doesn't get any criticism from the crowd, but actually draws a "4-Excellent" rating from some. Now, how would this crowd react if somebody wrote:
"The gays have been a powerful force of evil in the world."
"The comic genius of the Muslims with their Allah as the only God that exists (snicker)...more fool you."
Or...
"Here we have the heresy of the Gypsy Roms"
Yet pissing on Christian (and Jewish) believers draws silent approval and even applause from some of the people who post on this thread.
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, how would this crowd react if somebody wrote:
"The gays have been a powerful force of evil in the world."

Well as far as I'm aware "The Gays" as you so elegantly put it aren't busy saying the rest of us should live their lives in a certain way, Or (incorrectly) claiming that they are the historical root of all morality. Personally i find most religions moral and ethical claims  infantile, however if people want to believe things that's up to them, as long as they don't interfere with anyone else.

Personally I'm a fervent non-believer, I happen to be in largely secular country, that has its Christian population hanging on to their claims that it is a christian country, when only 6% are church attenders (And a percentage of those are only going for access to schools) If I was in an Islamic country i would be railing against the religious rules that their societies laughably impose but generally I have no problem with people believing any lunacy they wish to.

Why should we accept arguments about religion on terms that religious people say we should? why should belief have some special status that places it beyond criticism?

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:08:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What did the gays do? If you asked around, you could certainly find lots of loonys who'd be happy to explain that the gays are the curse of the world. Sort of like the loonys who try to explain that monotheists are the curse of the world. All smells like intolerant, narrow minded horse crap spewed from a left leaning (unfortunately) pedestal to me. But apparently, some around here appreciate it.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 02:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
some around here appreciate it.

Don't put words in others' mouths.

And stop trolling, that's enough.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:11:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
monotheism, which has been a powerful force for evil in the world

...gets a 4-Excellent rating by Sven Triloqvist.
I'm not puting words in other's mouths.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:21:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
All smells like intolerant, narrow minded horse crap spewed from a left leaning (unfortunately) pedestal to me. But apparently, some around here appreciate it.

Ie, some (apparently one person) around here appreciate "intolerant, narrow-minded horse crap from a left-leaning (unfortunately -- (no, don't concern troll)) pedestal". That is putting (your) words in other people's mouths (or minds).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your life must be cramped with torment and bitterness. I forgive you.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's very Christian of you.
by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:14:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... if he had said "I damn you to eternal hellfire", now THAT would be very Christian of him.

I think it's very humanist of him.

And I forgive you too.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No Forgiveness is a Saxon pre-Christian concept

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 08:56:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're talking about the Anglo-Saxons, their period lasted for 600 years, from 410 to 1066... so AFTER Christ and way after the Old Testament - which also treats the concept of forgiveness.
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:45:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, Germanic Saxons, an altogether earlier beast. Christianity hadn't moved that far North through central Europe yet.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:56:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed the atrocities of the Gay Inquisition, the Gay Holy Wars, the Gay pogroms. I'm just so ill informed.

If you missed it, I'm certainly not picking on any particular religious group: I think they're all dangerously delusional. I don't see any reason to be respectful of their delusions.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Applying the same (warped) logic, you should then also be hostile to all that's:
Muslim: for the centuries of killings in the name of Allah
American: for their extermination of the Indians, their rampant imperialism over the past century and the deaths at least 1 million Iraqis just over the past 20 years, in the name of Freedom and Democracy
English: for their global imperialist adventures over the past 500 years, their South African concentration camps erected to persecute Boer women and children, their shootings of innocent civilians in India and the other numerous wars waged in Her Majesty's name
German: for their humanitarian role over the past century in the name of National Socialism
Russian: for Stalin's 20 million dead in the name of the Socialist International
French: for Napoleon's (inter alia) imperialist adventures and the God only knows how many millions of dead in the name of the Republic

But your hostility is focused against Christians and Jews. Instead of understanding that it's MAN that drives war (while seeking religious or political justification) you insist that it's RELIGION that drives war. What's your political project?

by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 02:48:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey - I said ideology.

Religion is just distilled ideology with god-coloured sprinkles.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:06:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol I for one had once argued that ideology is just religion dressed in Reason-tainted hula-skirt:)


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 10:13:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that is wrong. There are ideologies that do not meet the requirements for being considered religions under any ordinary definition of terms. But there are no religions that do not meet the criteria for being ideologies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 10:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point was, for one, that ideologies, like religions, pretend 1) to explain the world, and 2) to organize society as well as individuals' life, and for two, that, in spite of any pretension to rationality (as opposed to religious mysticism) there always seems to be a fanatical side to ideologies, where no argument is allowed anymore, true believers only are allowed to live, and dissenters (sinners) are smelled from afar, outted and thrown out of 'heaven'.
Mystical god aside, you have it all: The Big Prophet, preachers, priests, martyrs, holy books, myths, ceremonials etc.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The degree of extremity depends on the process and the degree of implied and explicit violence.

NCE is weakly religious but strongly ideological. It relies on a combination of hallucinatory rhetoric, explicit hierarchy and threats of violence for its power - exactly the same tools that religions use.

The only difference between NCE and a religion is that in a religion there are one or more explicit personified god figures who embody herd values. NCE is more sophisticated because the herd values are more abstract - 'freedom', 'liberty', 'growth', etc - and not personified.

But otherwise the differences are minimal.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 12:12:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there always seems to be a fanatical side to ideologies, where no argument is allowed anymore

All ways to view the world involve unprovable axioms. The advantage of formalising your view of the world into a coherent ideology is that it provides you with tools to obtain a clearer view of what your axioms are, and where they are sufficiently contradictory to involve trade-offs (your principles almost always offer contradictory conclusions to some set of policy questions - the question is whether you resolve the resulting trade-offs blindly or consciously, not whether you resolve it).

It also, incidentally, allows you to deconstruct an argument you disagree with and reveal why you disagree with it. And, if the person who proffers it operates within a coherent ideological framework, you can sometimes uncover why he agrees with it, and whether he should, according to his axiomatic principles, agree with it (if he shouldn't agree with it according to his own principles, then you can sometimes convince him by pointing out where he made a mistake in their application).

Mystical god aside, you have it all:

Ah, but mythical gods are what makes religion, well, religious. Religion is the subset of ideologies that involve appeals to creatures and phenomena that there is no empirical reason to believe exist. "Inequality is bad" is an ideological position, but not necessarily a religious one. "God says that inequality is bad" a religious position, and therefore an ideological position as well, since religion is a subset of ideology.

Necessary vs. sufficient conditions...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 04:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The advantage of encarnating your view of the world through a coherent religion, is that it provides you with the archimedean reference point, its god-founder, exterior to the system, and so help obtain a purer (since external) view of what your other beliefs and every day life codes are.

"whether you resolve the resulting trade-offs blindly or consciously"

What is blind. Each side in an ideology contest will call the other blind. In the end it resolves to  kindergarten-kind namecalling.

"coherent ideological framework"
Both areligious ideologies and religions usually are so, or at least pretend to be, which ultimately is the same thing.

"whether he should, according to his axiomatic principles"

That would hardly make any sense, except for a rhetorical manoeuver in a public debate.

Religion is the subset of ideologies that...  hmmm. Let us turn it around, for the sake of the exercise: ideology is the subset of religions where there is no irrational (as in, not physically measurable) phenomena involved. You'll say that by taking out the irrational the thing ceases to be a genuine religion, but religious people pretend physicists are simply incapable of measuring the more subtle side of their belief system. A scientist may well say, only exist that what I can measure. We in turn can be allowed more slack. So who knows.

Or, damen und herren, if we have set this point aside, there is no more difference left between religion and ideology. QED.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 09:50:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The advantage of encarnating your view of the world through a coherent religion, is that it provides you with the archimedean reference point, its god-founder, exterior to the system, and so help obtain a purer (since external) view of what your other beliefs and every day life codes are.

Except that there is no good reason to believe that the god-figure is in any way external to the ideological system that it props up.

"whether you resolve the resulting trade-offs blindly or consciously"

What is blind. Each side in an ideology contest will call the other blind.

I'm not talking about political horse-trading here. I'm talking about reconciling contradictory principles. Even if you were made dictator of the world for life, and had an exceptionally loyal Legion of Doom to enforce your every edict, you would still have to compromise. You would have to compromise with yourself. Because I can guarantee you that there are policy issues where two or more values that you hold near and dear to your heart will indicate flatly contradictory policies.

The discipline of mathematics has spent several hundred years on obtaining a set of axioms that is not provably inconsistent. It requires a great deal of presumption to believe that you can do better without even trying.

"whether he should, according to his axiomatic principles"

That would hardly make any sense, except for a rhetorical manoeuver in a public debate.

Au contraire, it makes a great deal of sense. Unless you believe that you always reason flawlessly from your (unstated and, since you lack an ideology, largely unexamined) core values? Again, the presumption inherent in this assumption is simply staggering.

Let us turn it around, for the sake of the exercise: ideology is the subset of religions where there is no irrational (as in, not physically measurable) phenomena involved.

But a set of beliefs that do not involve the supernatural are not a part of the set "religions." Since it is not a part of the set, no set it is part of can be a subset of the first set.

Necessary versus sufficient conditions.

Or, damen und herren, if we have set this point aside, there is no more difference left between religion and ideology.

And if you set aside around 4 % of the expressed genes, there is no more difference between humans and chimpanzees.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:06:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"there is no good reason to believe that the god-figure is in any way external to the ideological system that it props up"

this is what the system says about itself: "I am driven by the laws from a God which I don't describe otherwise than by what It does to me"; take, say, the commandments; they just FALL from ABOVE straight onto those stone tables.

Political horse trading. Sometimes reconciliation cannot be, by definition: ideologies are supposed to explain the universe; they cannot compromise, by their very nature. You are blind for not feeling the spiritual touch at the mass; they are blind for believing such obvious fruit of some ancient people's imagination.

Math axioms. Just what they are. Picking a set of colours and painting lines that go with each other is no indication of some valid epistemology. Might be - or not. Building up big-bang theories, then adjusting math variables so that it 'works together' is a genuine show for what philosophical value science actually carries.

Staggering. I'm saying that proving the other wrong by his own arguments is of no interest other than WIIIINNNING the debate. As a principle, it may only prove he's just less astute a debater than yourself. It's not an epistemologically correct way. I have never discussed myself here btw.

Set of beliefs of which we withdraw supernatural. My reply is in text :) My conditions for setting the magic aside were twofold: one, the personification is a human habit, there is no point to focus on the fact that religions use more or less human figures; set this aside for later; two, the big issue is whether there is a spiritual world or not. Or religions pretend it is unmeasurable; I could add, maybe it's a matter of scientifical progress. Before we thought thunder was sent by Zeus, so my supposition is not aberrant. These two considered, there is no difference left between ideology and religion.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"there is no good reason to believe that the god-figure is in any way external to the ideological system that it props up"

this is what the system says about itself:

What the system says about itself is internal to the system and therefore cannot, absent independent external evidence, be used to establish that a postulated agent is external to the system.

Political horse trading. Sometimes reconciliation cannot be, by definition: ideologies are supposed to explain the universe; they cannot compromise, by their very nature.

Do you have a problem with reading comprehension? I am not talking about reconciling different ideologies. I am talking about reconciling inconsistencies between your own values.

Building up big-bang theories, then adjusting math variables so that it 'works together' is a genuine show for what philosophical value science actually carries.

Yeah, yeah. Come back when you've solved a tensor equation or two and we can talk about how general relativity models cosmological observations. Maybe that will actually be interesting. Hearing you mouth off about a model when you can't even read the notation, though... not so much.

I'm saying that proving the other wrong by his own arguments is of no interest other than WIIIINNNING the debate.

That's an interesting attitude, for what it betrays about your regard for intellectual honesty.

As a principle, it may only prove he's just less astute a debater than yourself.

A formal logical argument does not depend on your sophistication. It's either true or it isn't. So if I can offer a contradiction between what you claim are your values and what you offer as your policy prescriptions, then I have proven that at least one of the following is true: a) You have not presented your actual values honestly and completely. b) You have not presented your policy honestly and completely. c) You have made a mistake or an unexamined trade-off in deducing your policy from your values. d) I have made a mistake in my demonstration of a contradiction.

I have never discussed myself here btw.

Oh, but you have. You have claimed that you do not have an ideology. Which, as far as I can tell is perfectly true.

This is not, however, praiseworthy. It means that your values, as far as they have been presented here, appear to be a jumbled mess of shallow slogans and ad hoc policy recommendations, with no overarching narrative other than fitting within the Conventional Wisdom of the Serious People. The Serious People, on the other hand, do have an ideology. And by not developing an ideology of your own, you leave yourself vulnerable to adopting theirs by default.

the big issue is whether there is a spiritual world or not. Or religions pretend it is unmeasurable; I could add, maybe it's a matter of scientifical progress. Before we thought thunder was sent by Zeus, so my supposition is not aberrant.

Supposition is not aberrant, but it is unwarranted. Absent evidence of any consistent effects of the spirit realm, it is not reasonable to suppose that it exists. And absent any plausible mechanism for how the spirit realm works, it is not reasonable to suppose that it is a plausible explanation for any unexplained phenomena (which, inasmuch as physical reality is concerned, are largely reserved for the subatomic and interstellar length and time scales anyway - a rather small magisterium for a deity to inhabit).

These two considered, there is no difference left between ideology and religion.

And four percent of the genetic code considered, there is no difference left between chimpanzees and humans.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:07:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"What the system says about itself is internal to the system"

When the system does not say a thing as to where its Maker comes from, it is obvious the said Maker is fundamentally exterior to the system.

"I am talking about reconciling inconsistencies between your own values"

When was that the topic under discussion again.
Let me remind you my point: I am arguing that religions and ideologies belong to the same category, in spite of some striking differences such as those concerning supranatural beings.
Forging yourself a way out in your usual sophistically sophisticated manner again ? :)

"So if I can offer a contradiction between what you claim are your values"

have not discussed my values here, sorry; this is getting boring.

"You have claimed that you do not have an ideology. Which, as far as I can tell is perfectly true.
This is not, however, praiseworthy. It means that your values, as far as they have been presented here, appear to be a jumbled mess
"

Have you made a fixation on my humble person? Get a hold of yourself, man.
Back to the topic pls: ideologies = religions.

"absent any plausible mechanism for how the spirit realm works, it is not reasonable to suppose that it is a plausible explanation for any unexplained phenomena"

I tried to reduce the problem of distinguishing ideologies and religions to the existence of a spiritual world. But pay attention here, I did not actually claim it exists.
My point was: IF it exists (for instance, in a way similar to that described by the string theory), then it takes all that awful magic out.
If it doesn't, and Colman is correct in calling them delusions (not impossible; humans do have a propensity to idealistic stories and personification of things), then, since all the contesting parts are only existing in human imagination, we can safely disregard them and focus on the fundamentals, ie, religions and ideologies are basically the same thing.

Now if you can produce some relevant thoughts on this (preferably without recurring to jabs about my values etc), please do so; otherwise, forever remain silent! :)

"Come back when you've solved a tensor equation or two"

Now you've actually hit the nail on its head. I used to be an expert in all that differential geometry stuff, way way back in my uni years. Okay, maybe not an Expert, but I did have a way around manifolds. Yet tensors, I never really liked, dunno why.

Oh well.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"What the system says about itself is internal to the system"

When the system does not say a thing as to where its Maker comes from, it is obvious the said Maker is fundamentally exterior to the system.

No.

Whether an entity is internal or external to the system of though depends on how much external evidence there is to support the supposition of that entity's existence. If all the reasons to believe that the entity exists at all are internal to the ideology, then the entity is internal to the ideology as well.

"I am talking about reconciling inconsistencies between your own values"

When was that the topic under discussion again.

That's the topic under discussion because that's the main value that ideology provides.

Let me remind you my point: I am arguing that religions and ideologies belong to the same category, in spite of some striking differences such as those concerning supranatural beings.

Of course they do, in the same sense that chimpanzees and primates belong to the same category. Chimpanzees form a subset of primates, which is in turn a subset of vertebrates. This does not mean that primates and chimpanzees are the same story.

"So if I can offer a contradiction between what you claim are your values"

have not discussed my values here, sorry; this is getting boring.

The rhetorical "you." That is a concept that appears in French as well, so I am quite certain that you have encountered it before.

"You have claimed that you do not have an ideology. Which, as far as I can tell is perfectly true.
This is not, however, praiseworthy. It means that your values, as far as they have been presented here, appear to be a jumbled mess"

Have you made a fixation on my humble person?

That would require your humble person to actually exist. Can we please see a little more of it in the future?

(for instance, in a way similar to that described by the string theory),

What does string theory say, in your own words?

My point was: IF it exists [...] then it takes all that awful magic out.

If it exists, it would involve a whole new branch of physics. We can say with some confidence that such a development is exceedingly unlikely in this day and age.

If it doesn't, and Colman is correct in calling them delusions [...] we can safely disregard them and focus on the fundamentals,

The fact that religion, ceteris paribus, grants wider latitude to faith-based arguments than secular ideologies is a fundamental fact about the way religions work that sets them apart from other forms of ideology.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tried to reduce the problem of distinguishing ideologies and religions to the existence of a spiritual world. But pay attention here, I did not actually claim it exists.
My point was: IF it exists (for instance, in a way similar to that described by the string theory), then it takes all that awful magic out. (ValentinD)

If it exists, it would involve a whole new branch of physics. We can say with some confidence that such a development is exceedingly unlikely in this day and age. (JakeS)

Jake -

I don't know what day and age you're living in... but

  1. find it amazing that you sincerely contest the existence of a spiritual dimension

  2. there exists a branch in the Sciences called "Contemplative Science" that acknowledges the scientific approach that is rooted in the spiritual

  3. - while I don't know/understand - quantum physics, it's an area often cited to scientifically back or explain certain spiritual phenomena. It may not happen the other way around, i.e. quantum physicists are probably less interested in showing where their findings border on the spiritual.

It is such a pity (for yourself and the debate) that you cannot even move away from your formed beliefs by one inch.

Newton:

Atheism is so senseless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors. Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowells) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two fore leggs or two wings or two arms on the sholders & two leggs on the hipps one on either side & no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel & contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom & the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, & within transparent juyces with a crystalline Lens in the middle & a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped & fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eys of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power & who is therfore to be feared.

If Newton's reflections are true, it does indeed change the understanding of science.
And it should.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 04:42:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
If Newton's reflections are true, it does indeed change the understanding of science.
And it should.
Newton was also an alchemist and as a result more than 90% of his purportedly scientific writing is hogwash.

So I don't know why it should.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 04:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since you consider 90 % of Newton's writings "hogwash", here's some Einstein for you:

every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a SPIRIT vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.

I want to know how GOD created this world. I'm not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.

(emphasis by me)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isaac Newton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles. The contact with the theosophist Henry More, revived his interest in alchemy. He replaced the ether with occult forces based on Hermetic ideas of attraction and repulsion between particles. John Maynard Keynes, who acquired many of Newton's writings on alchemy, stated that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason: He was the last of the magicians."[38] Newton's interest in alchemy cannot be isolated from his contributions to science; however, he did apparently abandon his alchemical researches.[5] (This was at a time when there was no clear distinction between alchemy and science.) Had he not relied on the occult idea of action at a distance, across a vacuum, he might not have developed his theory of gravity. (See also Isaac Newton's occult studies.)


Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Had he not relied on the occult idea of action at a distance, across a vacuum, he might not have developed his theory of gravity.

Maybe there isn't all this much wrong with alchemy after all.

From the English wikipedia entry on "alchemy"

Up to the 16th century, alchemy was considered serious science in Europe; for instance, Isaac Newton devoted considerably more of his writing to the study of alchemy (see Isaac Newton's occult studies) than he did to either optics or physics, for which he is famous. Other eminent alchemists of the Western world are Roger Bacon, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Tycho Brahe, Thomas Browne, and Parmigianino. The decline of alchemy began in the 18th century with the birth of modern chemistry, which provided a more precise and reliable framework for matter transmutations and medicine, within a new grand design of the universe based on rational materialism.

[edit] Alchemy in traditional medicine
Traditional medicines involve transmutation by alchemy, using pharmacological or a combination of pharmacological and spiritual techniques. In Chinese medicine the alchemical traditions of pao zhi will transform the nature of the temperature, taste, body part accessed or toxicity. In Ayurveda the samskaras are used to transform heavy metals and toxic herbs in a way that removes their toxicity. These processes are actively used to the present day.

These last lines further show that the spiritual realm's consistent effect is used in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

And, sure enough, IT EXISTS.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 06:10:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These last lines further show that the spiritual realm's consistent effect is used in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Only if by "the spiritual realm" you mean those folk traditions that accidentally happen to work - as opposed to the arbitrary dietary and behavioural codes that comprise most of folk tradition.

I note that chemistry offers a far more parsimonious and general explanation for these effects.

I also note that chemistry makes predictions that are different from what Ayurvedic and "Traditional" Chinese "Medicine" (which is not actually medicine and was actually, in its currently recognisable form, promulgated by Mao as part of the Great Leap Forward - making its traditional foundations somewhat questionable). I further note that in the cases where Ayurvedic and "Traditional" Chinese "Medicine" make different predictions from modern chemistry, chemistry has always been proven right, and Ayurvedic and "Traditional" Chinese "Medicine" wrong.

Every. Single. Time.

So if that's your best example of consistent effects of the spirit realm then I'll stick with what actually works, thank you.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 08:49:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I do not prefer Einstein.

Einstein was so horrified by the philosophical implications of the quantum mehcnaics he helped invent that he completely disowned it. Most of Einstein's work after 1930 was on his Unified Field Theories which, unfortunately, completely and deliberately ignored 1) quantum mechanics; 2) the wealth of experimental data on subatomic (particle) physics.

As a result, the last 25 years of Einstein's work are pretty much useless since they are deliberately disconnected from empirical findings.

In that vein, Einstein's General Relativity is associated with one of the most astonishing displays of arrogant platonism I know, namely:

Then I would have felt sorry for the dear Lord. The theory is correct.
  • As quoted in Reality and Scientific Truth : Discussions with Einstein, von Laue, and Planck (1980) by Ilse Rosenthal-Schneider, p. 74
  • When asked by a student what he would have done if Sir Arthur Eddington's famous 1919 gravitational lensing experiment, which confirmed relativity, had instead disproved it.
Why do you have such a penchant for argument by authority? Do you think name-dropping great physicists about whom you demostrably know very little does anything to bolster your arguments?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:53:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Why do you have such a penchant for argument by authority?"

LOL

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 06:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, really, why?

Einstein is no better guide to the truth of the universe (such as it is) than anyone else - and was, at best, only religious in the very weakest sense: he was probably a non-believer. Newton was largely fruitbat. You can cite their mathematics, you can cite their results, that's useful (though both have issues with their maths if I recall correctly - Newton's formulation of integrals is less than entirely rigorous). Their opinion on spirituality, baseball, soccer or beer is not privileged.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 06:22:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you can take people like Stephen Hawking who once said that in the future our societies would genetically screen people like him out of existence. He seemed to think that would be a positive development, which is surely understandable if his degenerative neurological disease has made his life miserable. But if he had been genetically screened out the world presumably would have missed his work on black holes and cosmology, unfortunately. Though fortunately, we would also have been spared his advocacy of eugenics.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 06:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Knock yourself out.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's put it this way: I have much deeper respect for people who seem to 'err' on the spiritual side (difficult to prove/disprove the 'error') than for those who claim it would NOT EXIST to begin with because the mind cannot fathom it and its existence might cause great confusion.
There's no bigger error and no greater confusion than in the claim of its non-existence.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 06:24:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So no matter the crackpot theory that people come up with, it gets special treatment because it's Spiritual? Its not like the non-existence of gods is a new thing, The arguments have been solid for 500 years more than Christianity has been in existence. Its not that the mind cannot fathom it, its that the arguments that are claimed to support it are extremely unconvincing.

To my way of thinking there's no bigger error than to claim existence through wishful thinking and excuse for immoral action as you're going to be forgiven later

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 08:54:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi ceebs!

I had announced that I would make myself more clear as to the logic and structure of what I have found in faith.

I've decided not to go there, for the moment. I don't give every "crackpot theory" special treatment just because it's "Spiritual". Migeru, Colman and JakeS seem to question the mere existence of a spiritual realm to varying degrees. That's why I cited from various sources that speak of a reality beyond scientific materialism.

It is impossible to begin a debate about something anyone may have found 'on the other side' if you're confronted with people who stand behind a seemingly locked door.

I don't fear egg on face, but comprehension is only possible if those who ask are willing to detach from rational certainties and allow for the reality of 'impossibilities'.

For as long as certain 'devil's advocates' find pleasure in laughing off the seriousness of our unseen reality, they will have to remain limited to their ignorance.

If you're sincerely interested in digging deeper, let me know. We could continue the debate on a private blog.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 09:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
comprehension is only possible if those who ask are willing to detach from rational certainties and allow for the reality of 'impossibilities'.

Now you're just special pleading. There are many impossibilities out there. Should we take them all equally seriously? If not, what criteria do you propose to discriminate between them?

My mind is very much open. It just has a dress code.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 09:48:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your scientific-material dress code is your veil.

You'd have to take it off.  

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
find it amazing that you sincerely contest the existence of a spiritual dimension

I don't.

I just want you to provide some actual evidence that I need to take it seriously. I do not confirm or deny the existence of fairies either, but that does not cause me to throw salt over my shoulder whenever I spill something to chase away fairies.

there exists a branch in the Sciences called "Contemplative Science"

No, that's a branch of the pseudo-sciences where the language of neurobiology is abused to provide justification for religious dogma, in much the same way that you abuse quantum mechanics in your immediately following paragraph.

More generally, "contemplative science" is scholasticism, not science. Sitting around on your ass and contemplating does not science make. Science requires data and predictions. You have to make non-trivial predictions, ahead of time, that are distinguishable from existing theory and which come true more often than would be expected from random chance.

while I don't know/understand - quantum physics, it's an area often cited to scientifically back or explain certain spiritual phenomena.

I do understand quantum physics, and it doesn't.

quantum physicists are probably less interested in showing where their findings border on the spiritual.

That's because quantum physicists usually don't like misrepresenting their results. (As an aside, very nearly every physicist in this day and age is a quantum physicist. You simply can't do modern physics in most areas of enquiry without a reasonable understanding of quantum mechanics.)

It is such a pity (for yourself and the debate) that you cannot even move away from your formed beliefs by one inch.

I can and I regularly do. But only when presented with a model of the world that makes superior predictions or makes the same predictions but is more parsimonious.

You provide neither here.

Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped

No, that is not by accident. Bilateral symmetry was established very early in animal evolution (it wasn't inevitable, though. There were perfectly viable species at the time that displayed trilateral symmetry, so apart from an accident of evolution, you would be wondering why all beasts and men have their back, right and left sides alike shaped.

Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes

Evolution from a common ancestor.

If Newton's reflections are true, it does indeed change the understanding of science.

Newton's reflections reflect mostly Newton's ignorance of biology and his failure to understand the weak anthropic principle. The former is forgivable for Newton (somewhat less so for you), since he lived a couple of centuries before biology existed as a coherent scientific pursuit. The latter is just sloppy.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 08:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
- while I don't know/understand - quantum physics, it's an area often cited to scientifically back or explain certain spiritual phenomena.

I know, it is often cited. Actually that was one of the reasons I choose to study physics. A couple of years I actually got to read the quantum physics. Not that anyone was blocking me, university lectures in Sweden are in general free to just walk in and take a seat in the back - but there is a couple of math and physics courses that are really needed to understand what is being said. And was I disappointed when it turned out that the citings are way off.

Quantum physics is counterintuitive in many areas, but that is mainly from our intuitive understanding being based on our scale of the world. Quantum physics describe the subatomic world in the same way as Newtonian physics describe most of our own world: in mathematical formulas, formulated to match the measured data. To reach a model fitting the subatomic world some assumptions about the world had to abandoned, and those thought processes spun off some interesting thought experiments. But the model itself is as devoid of any spirit as other physical models.

Still, having the description allows for construction of some pretty cool tech, my favorite is perhaps Quantum Teleportation, that is cool despite not being a solid foundation for building mass transit on.

In the 18th century electricity was the cool thing and was quoted as support for different religious theories. Daredevil scientists did things like listen to the sound of electricity (aouch), and writers constructed even more daring scientists that could use electricity to create life. As it has since become commonplace it is more likely to be claimed as a cause for illness then pure spirit. With luck, the citations you mention will go the same way.

Unfortunately, my whole reasoning rests on you trusting me. If you do not, then I have to recommend that you study physics and tell us what you find.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 02:19:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If all the reasons to believe that the entity exists at all are internal to the ideology, then the entity is internal to the ideology as well."

Yes, but this was also our angle of discussion.
To put it more clearly: someone who adheres to a religion, usually disposes of an absolute reference point, his god, which, to him, is exterior to anything else - physical world, the society around him, even the dogma of his religion. He has this by the very nature of the religion.
To you, of course, this is not true, but it is not you who matters, because you, JakeS, are absolutely irrelevant to a faithful person. Religion-wise, of course :)

"That's the topic under discussion because that's the main value that ideology provides"

Not at all. You also say further down that I made my ideology clear before. I might have said things here and there, but that has absolutely nothing at all to do with this discussion. I dare you prove the slightest ideological influence of my arguments. Maybe you're one of those who believes everyone is always inside some ideology because that is the human nature. I for one don't believe that to be true, so do bring forth your proof, or forever remain silent! :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To put it more clearly: someone who adheres to a religion, usually disposes of an absolute reference point, his god, which, to him, is exterior to anything else

That is a problem with his understanding (or lack thereof) of the structure and nature of his belief system, not a statement about the reality of the structure and nature of his belief system.

You also say further down that I made my ideology clear before.

No, you have made your beliefs very clear through your policy prescriptions. Those beliefs don't rise to the level of consistency and coherence I expect from an ideology.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 12:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The advantage of encarnating your view of the world through a coherent religion, is that it provides you with the archimedean reference point, its god-founder, exterior to the system, and so help obtain a purer (since external) view of what your other beliefs and every day life codes are."

this is the origin of this thread, and it is about the personal view of the faithful, not about some objective reality.

the last part of your post is a completely useless ad-personam, for which you are awarded a 2.

cheers

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 08:30:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does not provide him with an external reference point. It just allows him to pretend that his internal axioms are more valid than the internal axioms of any other ideology.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 08:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If all the reasons to believe that the entity exists at all are internal to the ideology, then the entity is internal to the ideology as well."

It depends where you're looking from - not from the viewpoint of our discussion. To put it more clearly: a religious person disposes of her own absolute reference point, her god, that is by definition exterior to physical world, society, or any dogma. That god is in fact The principle exterior to her universe and constitutes the axiomatic core of her existence. A Living Being (according to the faith, hein), the god being personified, it ressembles the religious person and since the comparison goes both ways, also lifts her to his own height. This is the very purpose of religion, philosophically speaking.
Certainly, from the point of view of JakeS, far from being external, or absolute, the god belongs to the religion. But for the religious person, JakeS and his viewpoints are absolutely irrelevant - religiously speaking, of course :)

"That's the topic under discussion because that's the main value that ideology provides.

Not at all. My personal beliefs are my own, private, and my values and the few ideological points I defended in the past are absolutely not relevant to this discussion. I am putting forth some thoughts that don't reflect any kind of influence or political or religious leaning.

"That would require your humble person to actually exist"

I shall try to answer that question by actually adding some value, beyond what anyone could find on the internet (and with the secret hope that you'll answer for me :) ).

"grants wider latitude to faith-based arguments than secular ideologies is a fundamental fact about the way religions work that sets them apart from other forms of ideology"

If you track those faith-based arguments back a bit, you'll end up to the god, and, particularly, to the question of the existence of a spiritual universe.
On the other hand , try and take another look at those maths axioms, you'll see they can be seen that way too.
And if you're still not convinced, look closer at how ideologies make their way from library rats down to the masses, you'll see how ideological principles become articles of faith.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 12:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a religious person disposes of her own absolute reference point,

No. She just believes that she does. That's not, quite the same thing.

That god is in fact The principle exterior to her universe and constitutes the axiomatic core of her existence.

Hence, internal to the system. Axioms are inherently internal to the system built upon them - if they could be proven by reference to external facts, they would cease to be axiomatic.

And if you're still not convinced, look closer at how ideologies make their way from library rats down to the masses, you'll see how ideological principles become articles of faith.

This effect is precisely due to the fact that most people have never bothered to formulate a coherent ideology for themselves (or educate themselves on the existing ones). That leaves them unable to articulate the reasoning behind a policy prescription, beyond the fact that that's what the Conventional Wisdom says.

The value of ideology is precisely that it allows you to distinguish between policy prescriptions that are axiomatic (inequality is bad) and policy prescriptions that are consequences of your axioms (progressive tax rates are good).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 12:52:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a religious person disposes of her own absolute reference point,

No. She just believes that she does. That's not, quite the same thing.

That's a point of view from behind the scientific-materialistic veil.

You also JUST BELIEVE that only what you can measure and prove would be real; you FREELY CHOOSE to give credit to the measurable only.

Your measurables are as absolute as the believer's 'reference point' - only that yours is more limited (which is just my personal opinion and not absolute).

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 01:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You also JUST BELIEVE that only what you can measure and prove would be real;

No. I just believe that if something is unmeasurable even in principle, I don't need to pay it any great attention, except as a sort of idle diversion of the mind.

"Is this useful?" is a much more interesting question than "Is this real?"

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words:

You also JUST BELIEVE that only what you can measure and prove would be real;
by Lynch on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 10:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did the drawings of the Aurignacian culture 32,000 years ago directly assist in killing aurochs, OR were they self-motivational?

Actually I think they were the beginnings of cultural algebra: where something that cannot be explained (yet) is symbolized. The main problem imho with religions is that the symbols have been venerated, instead of completing the algebraic formulation.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 11:05:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
venerated and especially personified.

it remains that more recent religions such as buddhism have reached a level of sophistication difficult to explain this way.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 08:45:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have a better way of determining what's real?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 03:26:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you ever tried to "measure" love. Is it real?
by Lynch on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 06:17:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 06:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends what you're talking about when you say "Love"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 06:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not answering the question. Do you have a suggestion for a way to judge what is real and what is not that is superior to parsimony and predictive power?

Oh, and you're making a category error. Love is a state of mind, not a statement about the external physical reality. It only has to be true for one person to be said to exist. Deities, on the other hand, are typically statements about physical reality. Which means that they have to be true for everyone.

It is similar to faith: If you have faith, then faith must exist as a state of mind. This does not imply that the object of your faith actually exists. Similarly, one could imagine, for instance, that a person frequenting an internet site could fall in love with a wholly fictional persona created by another user of the site. The love, being a state of mind, would be no less real for the fact that the object of the love did not, in fact, exist.

Now, if you are fine with reducing your deity of choice to a purely personal and subjective experience that does not necessarily have any more applicability to my life than my love has to your life, then I have no particular quarrel with your god. But if you make arguments that rely on your god as their premise, then I will feel free to point out that those arguments are inapplicable to anybody who happens to not agree with your personal, subjective faith.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 09:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"It only has to be true for one person to be said to exist. Deities, on the other hand, are typically statements about physical reality."

more precisely, statements about a spiritual universe and its impact in the physical world.
i have once read a line of a philosopher on angels, saying more or less that the access of the humans to the spiritual world is conditioned by their faith and their will to access it - the absence of the two would imply that for that person it is as if no spiritual world existed. not sure if this is in line with what the main religions dogma, but from the p of v of a believer it does have its logic re your remark.

"purely personal and subjective experience"

that happens to be shared in communities from whose position it is the unfaithful who exercises a subjective choice of not believing. this is a mirror exercise that is endless, which is why there should never be faithful-unfaithful debatesvon faith or philosophy matters. it leads nowhere.    

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 09:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that happens to be shared in communities

Many purely subjective personal experiences are shared in communities. That's one of the things being a trooping primate does for you. For precisely this reason, being shared among the in-group is not sufficient reason to suppose that it is part of the external reality rather than an internal ideological construct. For something to be an external constraint, it has to be true for everyone, whether they believe in it or not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 08:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" That leaves them unable to articulate the reasoning behind a policy prescription, beyond the fact that that's what the Conventional Wisdom says."

I'm afraid a more careful look at the said reasoning might show it as much more axiomatic than the founders and apostles of the ideology would like to admit. and I won't even mention the deceit factor in those reasonings, of which history is quite full.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Oct 31st, 2010 at 08:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it is axiomatic. All deductive reasoning is axiomatic.

The pertinent question is "how many axioms do you need?" A relevant ancillary question is "how severely do these axioms contradict each other?"

A coherent ideology needs only very few axioms, and mostly they will be sufficiently well aligned to limit conflict between them. An inchoate melange of whatever the Conventional Wisdom happened to be when you formed your opinion on the matter at hand will have a separate axiom for every policy question. And more often than not, most of these axioms will be wildly contradictory.

Ideology simply means answering policy questions from first principles rather than from gut feeling and conventional wisdom. Now, if you are a fan of thinking with your small intestine and following whatever line of propaganda happens to be socially dominant at any given point in time, then you don't need an ideology. Those of us who prefer to think for ourselves, however, find it quite useful to have one, and even more useful when our opponents have one as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 1st, 2010 at 08:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow!!

You seem to discuss about the inchoate deductive melange of multi-stringed axioms with as sole absolute reference point the objective guts of convential wisdom propaganda Bayesian ideology, ehm, epistemology quantity distribution.... phew!

What degrees can possibly entangle clear thought of presumably intelligent-born and reasonably educated human beings to such extent?!

;-)

It's an interesting experience, though, to try to follow the dispute. :))

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 at 09:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WHat is the difference between ideologic axioms and religious ones.

Religious answers to policy questions also come from first principles - the religion's. Those are of course just axiomatic as your best ideology's and no more  gutfeelingly, but at least, they come from Up Above :))

(now if by chance what you call gut feeling is phrases of the type I Just Feel Jesus Loves Me, you would not find me loudly disagreeing here; I could just as well call gutfeeling the french union guy crying at the social regression as retirement age goes from 60 to 62 while life expectancy goes up 5 to 8 times more during the last 30 years;

 if OTOH this is about the existence of the spiritual string-universe, then just remember that was my starting hypothesis: I claimed this is the only difference between religion and ideology).

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Tue Nov 2nd, 2010 at 07:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a comment to JakeS and yourself further down the thread.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:29:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The comment is further UP the thread.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Relative position depends on your display settings, which are found below all the comments.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 02:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To JakeS and ValentinD

JakeS:

I am talking about reconciling inconsistencies between your own values.

JakeS

So if I can offer a contradiction between what you claim are your values and what you offer as your policy prescriptions, then I have proven that at least one of the following is true: a) You have not presented your actual values honestly and completely. b) You have not presented your policy honestly and completely. c) You have made a mistake or an unexamined trade-off in deducing your policy from your values. d) I have made a mistake in my demonstration of a contradiction.

ValentinD

I have never discussed myself here btw.

JakeS identified ValentinD's ideology or something that consists of the absence of the same.
ValentinD clearly stated that he never discussed himself.
HOW can JakeS come up with conclusions about his set of values?

JakeS replies

Oh, but you have. You have claimed that you do not have an ideology. Which, as far as I can tell is perfectly true.
This is not, however, praiseworthy. It means that your values, as far as they have been presented here, appear to be a jumbled mess of shallow slogans and ad hoc policy recommendations, with no overarching narrative other than fitting within the Conventional Wisdom of the Serious People. The Serious People, on the other hand, do have an ideology. And by not developing an ideology of your own, you leave yourself vulnerable to adopting theirs by default.

JakeS draws back on values, a mindset, an ideology possibly adopted from other people.
How can he do that? He perceives ValentinD's SPIRITUAL dimension though there's no proof of what that would be nor was it specifically outlined by ValentinD.
JakeS "felt" Valentin's hidden layer, which is his soul in human - not cosmic - terms.

ValentinD

the big issue is whether there is a spiritual world or not. Or religions pretend it is unmeasurable; I could add, maybe it's a matter of scientifical progress. Before we thought thunder was sent by Zeus, so my supposition is not aberrant.

JakeS

Supposition is not aberrant, but it is unwarranted. Absent evidence of any consistent effects of the spirit realm, it is not reasonable to suppose that it exists. And absent any plausible mechanism for how the spirit realm works, it is not reasonable to suppose that it is a plausible explanation for any unexplained phenomena

JakeS is acknowledges that a spirit realm that doesn't provide evidence for consistent effects DOES NOT EXIST.

But he identifies ValentinD's "spirit realm (expressing in values etc) without any clear evidence.
It is of course possible to show effects both of ValentinD's values and of the spiritual realm at large. Since they are neither consistent nor measurable, it is hard/impossible to pin them down -

But THEY DO EXIST.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 05:26:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS identified ValentinD's ideology or something that consists of the absence of the same.
ValentinD clearly stated that he never discussed himself.
HOW can JakeS come up with conclusions about his set of values?

Because Val has a poor memory of previous discussions on the subject. He has, in fact, described his political philosophy in great detail before.

Now, that was some time ago, and it is possible that he has change his political philosophy since then. But it doesn't sound like it has changed in any way that is germane to this discussion.

JakeS draws back on values, a mindset, an ideology possibly adopted from other people.
How can he do that?

Because I have sufficient political schooling to work back from a set of policy recommendations to the principles that underpin them (or don't, as the case may be).

JakeS is acknowledges that a spirit realm that doesn't provide evidence for consistent effects DOES NOT EXIST.

No, I'm saying that it doesn't explain anything. Because if it did explain something, it would produce consistent effects.

But he identifies ValentinD's "spirit realm (expressing in values etc) without any clear evidence.

Not so. Val has previously made extensive policy recommendations. You may have forgotten, which is of course not a crime, but you participated in some of those threads as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 08:59:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS is acknowledges that a spirit realm that doesn't provide evidence for consistent effects DOES NOT EXIST.

No, I'm saying that it doesn't explain anything. Because if it did explain something, it would produce consistent effects.

I've just lost a long comment, oh well.

So, you're looking for consistent effects of the Spiritual. How about Planet Earth, the plants and the trees, its rotation, the mountains and the sea, the seasons, sun and moon, the animals and all those INTELLIGENT people!

Is that not some consistent effect? No? BANG!! and it was all there. Ah? That was just a "bang", a very big bang. ---

I say, that who we are is the most consistent effect of the spiritual of all. It doesn't matter that you attribute it to The Great Bang only because you cannot fathom it with your mind. The many `inconsistent' effects of the spiritual are Real but how insignificant are they only because you don't study them because you don't find them logic, because you want them provable. I assume that they're all logic and consistent. It's just that you haven't understood the underlying principles and mechanisms because there is a God who is Much Bigger than that which He created.

You're like a piece of carrot in the vegetable stew that believes it knows everything about gardening because it knows all the other veggies around. There are his friends leek and onion and sweet pea... and you protest as everyone's getting softer - and in the end you'll be eaten up. Such ignorance is the fate of the scientific materialist.

PS: Yes, I've forgotten the details of ValentinD's and your exchanges of the past though the nature of your argument looks familiar.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, you're looking for consistent effects of the Spiritual. How about Planet Earth,

Which part of Poincaré orbital mechanics and stellar evolution fails to convince you of their parsimony and applicability?

the plants and the trees,

Which part of the theory of evolution fails to convince you?

its rotation,

Which part of conservation of angular momentum do you find unconvincing?

the mountains and the sea,

Which part of tectonic plate theory did you find unconvincing?

the seasons,

Which part of Poincaré orbital mechanics did you find unconvincing?

sun and moon,

Which part of the theory of stellar evolution did you find insufficient?

the animals and all those INTELLIGENT people!

Which part of the theory of evolution do you have a problem with, again?

... and, more to the point, what testable predictions does whatever-it-is-you-believe make that are different from what science predicts, and how do you plan to test those predictions?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just so incredible!!

And where's your theory of love?

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:44:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have one. Neurobiology is rather poorly developed compared to any of the disciplines discussed above.

Love is, at the moment, simply an enjoyable empirical reality. Just as one does not require a theory of gravity to know that rocks fall when you drop them, one does not require a neurobiological understanding of love in order to experience it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can also experience nature and other people without any special theory.

We were discussing the ORIGINS of our existence. Evolution and the other theories cited may explain a lot but not WHY this huge surprise happened or WHO (if) made it happen. In this context, an explanation of love, is as needed as one that explains how what IS, materialised in the beginning.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 11:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We were discussing the ORIGINS of our existence.

No, we were discussing your evidence (or not) for the existence of a spirit realm.

Then you cited a string of exceedingly well-understood natural phenomena, for which stringing "goddidit" on the end of a perfectly adequate scientific model is unparsimonious as well as demeaning to God.

Then you cited a poorly understood natural phenomenon, for which stringing "goddidit" on the end of "we really don't know yet" is both unparsimonious and an excellent way of creating a way for future discoveries to disprove your claims about God.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 12:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CS Lewis warned about arguing that we can not explain X, thus god caused X. He called it the god-in-the-holes argument.

As I see it, it has two main flaws. The first is that at this pace of progress and expansion of scientifical knowledge it is very possible that an accepted scientifical explanation does exist for X. The second  - the one that is argued by Lewis - is that what you got is a god that will inhabit a shrinking space. Not very godlike.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 02:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And even if the space were not shrinking, it would still be demeaning to God to be placed within the confines of what we do not have a good scientific model for. Because in this day and age, that's a surprisingly narrow magisterium. We actually have quite a good handle on how the world works.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 04:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or otherwise said, the god figure is only an onthological issue, much like Freud's Surmoi. The true point of dissent between religions and ideologies is not the magical persons involved - those are human-kind representations of spirit, and we can decide later whether it is them who are fabricated by our psyche, or it is us who were created by them.
The true point of dissent is the actual existence of an ethereal, parallel dimension, call it heavens if you will; not the mystical figure of Jesus, Moses, Mohamed, Buddha, Amaterasu or whoever else. Those are ideal figures of ourselves. If there is a "spiritual" universe of which ours is just the hardback, then it may well be populated with beings who created us according to their appearance. If not, it is them who were created by our inborn need of heros, to personify and lend authority to our moral systems.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 10:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've not been reading this site very carefully.

In general terms, there is hostility on this site against anyone who does not show any respect for human rights or human decency.

And this happens to include inane people who happen to be followers of Christian  beliefs. Which was the original subject of Sven's diary, lest we forget. Perhaps the subject should have stayed on that topic.

by Nomad on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In general terms, there is hostility on this site against anyone who does not show any respect for human rights or human decency.

That's not the way it comes across to me. I see a lot of reactionary attitudes towards the faith of Christians in general, their teachings and what they regard as their holy scripture. I really don't need to provide you with citations... they're quite abundant.

by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:41:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tough.

A right of free speech and even the right to blasphemy aren't overruled at this forum by "reactionary attitudes towards the faith of Christians".

My advise to you is to learn to live with that.

by Nomad on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:39:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a lot of reactionary attitudes disagreement towards the faith of Christians in general my personal interpretation of Christianity, their my teachings and what they I regard as their holy scripture.

FIFY.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:42:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MY interpretation? LOL. Check out 2 examples of "objective interpretations":

Coleman on Christianity:

By "neighbour" they normally only mean in-group members, of course.
The others aren't even human.

Eurogreen on Christianity:

which has been a powerful force for evil in the world.

Which sets the general tone... could go on.

Now, just replace "Christianity" / "Bible" with "Islam" / "Quoran" on this site and you'd get what one would call a primitive, extreme right wing community gone on a Mooslim-bashing binge.

Whatever turns you on...

by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 12:59:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman's comment came in response to this question from DoDo:

DoDo:

Do all religions really profess that?

So it was not specific to Christianity as you pretend.

Neither was eurogreen's comment specific to Christianity, but (the word you surely inadvertently omitted) "monotheism".

eurogreen:

monotheism, which has been a powerful force for evil in the world.

Your out-of-context, truncated, and distorted references are in pure bad faith. Isn't there one of the Ten Commandmants against bearing false witness?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, why don't we let Coleman and eurogreen speak for themselves and tell us whether they were referring to Christianity (or not) in their remarks?
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They were, but also to other religions.

And, once and for all, "monotheism" includes Islam. You seem unable to decide if you're trolling this thread on the grounds that "everyone here" is a fundamentalist atheist, or that "everyone here" is an Islam-lover. Make up your mind.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:01:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whereas, from the Jewish point of view, monotheism includes Islam, but may not include Christianity, at least in the Catholic version. Its Holy Trinity, panoply of saints and so on makes it look suspiciously like polytheism. I've even heard this criticism from Jewish atheists, to whom I respond by asking why does that make it worse.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. The influence of monotheism on atheism?

Or the delights of polytheism? (I don't believe in God, but St Anthony did help me find my car keys!)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:23:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The best illustration of my point is a New York Jewish joke about a child in a secular Jewish family who comes home from school and tells her mother about what they learned about the Holy Trinity. The mother gets very upset, and tells her child: "Remember one thing: There is only one God - and we don't believe in him".
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I conversed with (non-Universalist) Unitarians as well as Muslims making the same point.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:36:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll be happy to confirm I meant all religions, including the ten million feuding Christian subcults.

And I'll cheerfully admit to being hostile to the delusions of the religious and their books of occasionally historical fiction.  

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I referred to "monotheism", not "christianity".

I explicitly bracketed Islam and Christianity together as bastard offspring of Judaism.

With respect to your list of categories of people who one might be hostile to : I would qualify it, not by birth into a specific group (the English, the Germans, the Russians etc...) which would be very far indeed from the spirit of ET, as follows

  • American neocons, i.e. those who presided over, and still justify, the abomination of the war in Iraq (and most likely, the extermination of the Amerindians too)

  • English imperialists, i.e. those who adhere to the colonialist doctrine that was in force during the building of the Empire... if any can be found

  • German neo-nazis... no comment

  • Russian neo-Stalinists

  • obscurantist Christians and Muslims who adhere to the hegemonic doctrines of the Inquisition, the Muslim conquests etc

I can't think of anyone here who would not be hostile, justifiably, to all of the above groups.

Back atcha good buddy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 05:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German neo-nazis...

Why only German ones? The non-German ones aren't any less worse.

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

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 06:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upon second thought, I could question the nationality restrictions for the others, too.

  • I almost despise European neocons more, for tirelessly working on keeping Europe in vassal status.

  • English imperialism was not worse than, say, Belgian imperialism.

  • What about Georgian neo-Stalinists. And though I didn't have the pleasure to debate a neo-Stalinist, I'm not sure that hostility rather than feeling sorry for them would be my reaction -- they cling to the craziest of nostalgias.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 09:20:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely my point. You should do the same when discussing extremists of whatever faith... QUALIFY THEM, instead of referring to them as the "Monotheists" - which covers about 4 billion people on the planet.
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:38:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's astounding how your "points" just keep on changing.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:28:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another cheap sling shot.
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:31:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To another cheap shifting of the goalposts from you: your previous "point" was that eurogreen specifically targetted Christianity, now you're saying your "point" was that he was using a much broader category.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.
Monotheism IS A BROAD CATEGORY which encompasses about 3-4 billion people.
Christianity IS ANOTHER BROAD CATEGORY which encompasses about 1-2 billion people.

My point is that BOTH ARE BROAD and that when treating RELIGION as EVIL, it's necessary TO HAVE A DEFINITION OF WHOM EXACTLY WE'RE TALKING ABOUT which is MUCH MORE QUALIFIED THAN "THE MONOTHEISTS" OR "THE CHRISTIANS".

by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:06:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not talking about a who but a what.

We're not saying that religious (or spiritual) people are evil, we're saying religion is an evil, a corrupting force. Well, I am.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure you can dissociate the two so easily.
by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:15:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently you can't, or won't.

Your comment above starts with "Monotheism IS A BROAD CATEGORY", "Christianity IS ANOTHER BROAD CATEGORY", but by the next sentence you are saying "THE MONOTHEISTS" and "THE CHRISTIANS".

This seems to be so you can go on pretending that, when eurogreen says "monotheism is a source of evil" (which is a debatable point concerning a system of religious thought), he is attacking you personally as a Christian.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 03:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by the next sentence you are saying "THE MONOTHEISTS" and "THE CHRISTIANS"

No. I said: "THE MONOTHEISTS" OR "THE CHRISTIANS".

by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL.

Dumbfounded by so much bad faith AND/OR stupidity.

Will waste no more time on you.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 04:49:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Hate the sin, love the sinner"

Ring any bells?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 01:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well now, this is hilarious: he shoots, he scores! Wrong goal though.

Muslim: it's a religion. No worse and no better than any other. And just as crazy and dangerous.

America: Yup. See the things written on this site.

English: Yup.

German: Yup.

Russian: Yup.

French: Yup.  

But your hostility is focused against Christians and Jews.

No, against Christianity and Judaism. And Islam, and Hinduism, and Communism and Gayism and German Nationalism and American Nationalism and Irish Nationalism and ... are you getting the idea here yet?

It's "MAN" that drives "RELIGION" but pretends it's something else. If religion isn't an effective justification it has no use and withers. The whole evolution of Christian theology, for instance, was shaped by the needs of rulers - and you can argue that the nice bits are there to placate the rulers' better natures.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:31:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Goal scored. But you missed the point. Sorry.

There are circa 1 billion Christians on Earth and I don't how many millions of clerics and servants of the Church. Among them you will find criminals, evil people, negative people, positive people, truly good people and real saints (it's a metaphor). You're focusing on the evil and negative and extrapolating to whole Christian population - which is clearly not the right thing to do. That would be analogous to me taking Iraq's 1M and Vietnam's 5M dead and saying: America is the greatest force of evil in the world and all that's American is evil. A bit simplistic don't you think?

by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
America is the greatest force of evil in the world.

Not at all convinced this is an exaggeration. Although I'd probably have to include the Israelis and Saudis in there too somewhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:01:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Israelis and Saudis exist because of American largess.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 03:15:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What you are trying to do here is two opposed misrepresentations: (1) you are misinterpreting the criticism of Christianity as ideology as an accusation of (all) Christians as persons, (2) you are attempting to dissociate (all) actual crimes committed by Christians from their religion as motivator and conduit.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:02:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, against Christianity and Judaism. And Islam, and Hinduism, and Communism and Gayism and German Nationalism and American Nationalism and Irish Nationalism and ... are you getting the idea here yet?

That you're ANTI? Is there an idea there?

by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:31:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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 ]
The whole evolution of Christian theology, for instance, was shaped by the needs of rulers

Hm. Does that apply to pre-Constantine theology, South American liberation theology, or a host of "heretic" and early Protestant theology? Methinks many of the nice bits (but also a number of the ugly bits) was more revolutionary ideology at its origin.

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

by DoDo on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:06:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant the mainstream - I'm thinking especially of the various councils, but also the evolution of the Protestant sects.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 05:58:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am writing from within a judaeo-christian cultural framework. I was brought up in a Christian society, and very largely share the values that Christians share among themselves (i.e. not the more extreme ones).

As for the Judaeo- bit, I frankly didn't get it from any religious tradition, but from 20th century cosmopolitan culture, which bears a very heavy Jewish influence, and which I embrace unreservedly.

Though having no religious beliefs myself, I respect those who do. Some of my best friends are Christians. Others are Moslems. Some are gay. None of that is a problem. Unless they try to shove it down your throught, eh.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's basically my problem with this whole concept. What are the values that are specifically Jewish and Christian and are not common to most civilised societies?  Most of what we think of as specifically Western ideas, such as separation of Church and State, modern science, democracy, or even, I'm afraid, NCE, were achieved against strong opposition from the established religions.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 01:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It helps to be aware of it, when you're dealing with people from, say, a Taoist or Islamic or Hindu cultural background, who don't have the same cultural reflexes as me. It's more about ways of thinking than about outcomes, if you see what I mean.

Universalism is a fine goal, but we've all got to sublimate a lot of cultural baggage (much of it pure bullshit) before we can get there.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:48:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It also helps to be aware of it when dealing with people from a Jewish (especially Sephardic) cultural background. But that's my main point: if you had used "Christian" in a vague cultural sense, I wouldn't have had any problem with it (though I might have looked carefully to make sure there wasn't anything else behind it...). But the singling out of the Jewish component as though it was an equal contributor makes me suspicious. Sure, there was Jewish influence on Christianity. But there were also inputs from pagan ritual, Greek philosophy, not to mention Islam.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 03:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
Universalism is a fine goal, but we've all got to sublimate a lot of cultural baggage (much of it pure bullshit) before we can get there.

noble, realistic sentiment, finely expressed!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 05:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oh i get it, you like to be a pincushion!

why else the provocations, ad nauseam? you can't out-argue these atheists, because they know more about religion/history that you do, so you shift into scato-mode.

seems like there's only one urinary dysfunctional contributor to this thread, lol. everyone is being meticulously polite, while they watch you tie yourself in episto-knots and  start to foam...

way to testify! Lunch. Eaten.

hilarious

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 22nd, 2010 at 03:36:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian dogma states that the alliance between God and man has passed from the Jews (old Israel) to the Church (the new Israel)... which means that Christians integrate and accept Judaism as a fundamental pillar of their own religion. The Old Testament is an integral part of the Christian Bible, and Mass is celebrated with at least one (often two) liturgies from the Old Testament (which is THE Jewish Holy Book). So yes, Judeo-Christian certainly has meaning.
Christians also have a long history of slitting each other's throats. That doesn't make their religions any different.
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:54:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is here where the debate started to degenerate. DoDo was speaking of possible beliefs in general, taking in a wide range of things people believe in.
You examined DoDo's non-denominational list looking through a Christian prism. Your findings are correct but it hadn't been DoDo's intention to discuss Christian faith in particular.

When people turn away from the traditional state religion, it does not necessarily mean that they will adhere to the God of consumerism to substitute for the loss.

First, faith does not necessarily require formal church membership. Second, people can turn away from Church tradition and make a conscious choice for a different Christian Church, other religion or philosophy, and Christians are not immune to consumerism, either.

You contend that we all need something to believe in. I share this view. It belongs to human nature.

Why does the religious person think, consumerism would be "the" substitute of religion?

Religion is a house of faith. Religious faith speaks of believing in something that we cannot see. Faith in the unseen is spirituality.
While religion is the 'house of' spirituality, the latter is not limited to the former but religion without spirituality is empty. When you take away faith from religion, you're left with dogma, laws and a cathedral. "Practicing" religion without faith can be as empty as consumerism. This also explains why "religious" people are not entirely immune to consumerism.

People who don't have faith, in the unseen, the Spiritual, God that is, will hold on to and put their faith in what is seen. They become materialists. They put their faith in what they see, in what appears to be real, trustworthy and objective - safe ground, IF and only IF there really isn't anything else and real there that escapes their five senses which are bound in space and time.

Little can be said as to where those who leave the Lutheran church will turn...

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:36:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is here where the debate started to degenerate. DoDo was speaking of possible beliefs in general, taking in a wide range of things people believe in.
You examined DoDo's non-denominational list looking through a Christian prism.

Bingo.

They put their faith in what they see, in what appears to be real, trustworthy and objective - safe ground, IF and only IF there really isn't anything else and real there that escapes their five senses which are bound in space and time.

Actually, relying on what we can determine from empirical observation would be safe even if there were supra-empirical entities or phenomena "out there." That which cannot be reliably detected is unlikely to harm or benefit you. After all, if it could reliably harm or benefit you in some way, it could be reliably detected by examining the harm or benefit it occasions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:18:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That which cannot be reliably detected is unlikely to harm or benefit you.

Tiens! What is "unlikely" in this deranged world? If there's a 0.01 % chance that an unlikely possibility may have a lasting effect on your life/death, it's still very much worth the consideration.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:02:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nordic countries have a total population of around 25.000.000. A 0.01 % annual probability event would occur on the order of two and a half thousand times per year. That is in the same order of magnitude as fatalities from automobiles. With average life expectancy being on the order of 100 years, a 0.01 % lifetime probability event would occur on the order of 25 times per year. This is in the same order of magnitude as fatalities from terrorist attacks if you include 9/11, or an order of magnitude greater than fatalities from terrorist attacks if you exclude 9/11 on the grounds that it is an outlier.

These countries have universal health care and uniformly excellent record-keeping, and have had this since the late 1960s. So it is probably safe to assume that a 0.01 % probability event that caused grievous bodily harm would have been discovered by now.

If you want to push it to the bounds of detectability, you have to go to a 0.00001 % lifetime probability. Whether Pascal's wager is worth taking on those odds is, of course, a matter of personal preference. But that's the right order of magnitude for the probability of an undetectable effect.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 03:59:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!

I meant this slightly differently as you might imagine.

You and I aren't just numbers to which probabilities will apply or not. If there's just a remote possibility out there that the experience of something that is not provable or measurable to your satisfaction but that contains a truth of life and death, then it's worth being examined IMO.

The challenge for someone like you is, though, that there's no way to examine it from a distance, applying rational reasoning only, or looking for scientific proof. Faith doesn't explore from the outside but invites you to go through the experience and discover from within.

The weight of just a small probability of finding something worth to be found, shifts as you learn of people who have been there and found. The statistically measurable probability becomes a plausible reality that can be ignored, with some effort but it cannot be denied.

The plausible reality that I'm speaking of is the existence of one loving God.
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 04:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If there's just a remote possibility

No, there isn't. If there's a remote possibility of one thing, then the remote possibility of every other equally unlikely thing has to be considered too.

Since there's an approximately infinite number of remotely unlikely things, this is neither helpful nor clever.

Of course what you're really saying is that one remotely possible thing is far less remotely possible than the others.

But you're just saying it. You're not giving any reasons why it should be.

If you could give reasons it wouldn't be remotely possible any more.

Since you can't, just saying it is as valuable as anything anyone says for any and all reasons - i.e. not at all.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, what you're asking is why one possibility should be less remotely possible than all other remote possibilities?

Well, we're not really speaking of possibilities but of truths. There can be many possible truths but maybe there is one Truth. One. Not many. One Truth that sheds light on why we're here and where we're going.

You can find comfort in believing that there is nothing there there unless someone comes along who's telling you that he has found The One Truth. That could be me. :) But there can be others, speaking of something different but insisting also on The One Truth. Does this prove that there cannot be One Truth because two persons don't speak about this One Truth in the same terms or because they contradict each other?

Maybe the two are looking at the same thing but speak of a different experience because not one person is like the other, because God is unfathomable, holy and doesn't come with a manual on 'its' mechanics.

Therefore, what may appear to you like a remote possibility (yes, I brought that into the debate), I have experienced as absolute Truth, along with millions of others. We speak about it differently, we experience it differently, we go to different churches but there's common ground, as outlined by Lynch somewhere in this diary.

I don't say you Must believe because others do but there's reason enough to consider checking it out. "It" = the mystery supporting this faith.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the point is that almost everyone here - to my limited knowledge - has 'checked it out' and found 'it' lacking. And it is not good enough to say that this mystery is unfathomable. Firstly because that would negate a central tenet of your religion that the bible  is indeed a manual 'in its mechanics' - according to many of its followers. Your 'religion' is very well 'fathomed'. The Qur'an is very well 'fathomed'. Many other 'religions' are 'well-fathomed'.

But assessing the 'fathoming' of different beliefs would seem to indicate that the sea bed of belief is constantly changing. It is not. The various charts are wrong or inadequate - the sea bed is right. Always.

Atheism does not imply selfishness, any more than Christianity does. In my experience atheists only reject the ritualistic (jingoistic) elements of different beliefs - while accepting that there useful if not imperative social behaviours, recommended by many religions.

I am perfectly content with a world view that is 100 % emergent.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"'checked it out' and found 'it' lacking."

The ONLY way to check it out is through the personal experience. It's a way of the heart.

Mostly, people won't find their own prayer lacking or God lacking - but the Church and what they experience from other Christians who are also only human in their imperfection.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:28:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ONLY way to check it out is through the personal experience.

Well, no.

I don't have to check out Scientology "through personal experience" to know that it's a viciously authoritarian Ponzi scam that I really don't want anything to do with. So clearly it is possible to check out religious claims by other means than through intimate personal experience.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's. Not. Truth.

Your opinion doesn't make it truth. Your experience doesn't make it truth. Your stating that it's truth doesn't make it truth.

With the possible exception of my shoe, there is absolutely nothing less reliable as a moral guide than opinion and personal experience. Both opinion and experience are notoriously easy to steer, fake and manipulate - and if you look at the sociology of religions and ideologies, this is exactly what they do, using known techniques of manipulation and dissociation.

I have no problem at all with someone saying 'Well, that's just my view.'

But when one personal view is somehow supposed to magically trump other people's personal views because the person lacks the critical skills to understand why it can't - that's when something has gone horribly wrong.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"when one personal view is somehow supposed to magically trump other people's personal views because the person lacks the critical skills to understand why it can't - that's when something has gone horribly wrong"

I don't claim that my personal view would "trump" anybody else's. My view proves that there's someone (myself) who has found on her way what many other's claim wouldn't be there.

It could stir curiosity - or confirm my madness. :)

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:32:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nice reply :)

it's not about trumping anyone, this isn't bridge.

or poker even... it's campfire talk about what it means to be human, on a quiet night, when you can hear yourself think, and people open and share feelings too often kept inside, dreams they had forgotten to water, plans that lay buried in the freezer.

how their hearts yearned for the Summer Lands, the atavistic memory of earth before the Great Despoliation, and the simplicity of good people living honestly together.

even if it was a myth... it doesn't stop the yearning, the inner pull that some have felt their orbits altered by, as they search for the meaning others laugh at, not always kindly.

if time is circular, or spherical, or cyclic, then maybe this yearning is for a future within our grasp as a species, would we put our minds to it.

we are an astonishingly creative people, if we shift focus from a purely intellectual paradigm to one more heart-centred, we could easily solve any problems we have. when you think of all the people who want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours, and those who don't, i think the former far outweigh the latter.

the latter however compensate for this by burrowing into power positioning, profiting from inveigling the public tirelessly to want selfish goals and consume like there's no tomorrow, simultaneously crowing about freedom, democracy and other feelgood buzzwords to make people feel false empowerment from status, fancy kit etc. (and thereby devaluing language, our most living link with the past) by polluting it with schizoid, crazymaking doublebind no-winners, making parody of shared heritage of meaning.

so what they lack in numbers, they overcompensate with shrillness, and ratlike hunger for scraps of power, out of which they make a patchwork of hate, bigotry and institutionalised extortion-of-the-fit, by the fitter, for the benefit of the fittest!

nice neck of jungle we got ourselves into...

planet of the shapes

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:35:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we are an astonishingly creative people, if we shift focus from a purely intellectual paradigm to one more heart-centred, we could easily solve any problems we have.

Our main fucking problem is that we wrap up our heart-centered* paradigm in intellectual clothes. 99% of the decisions we make and opinions we adopt are not governed by intellect. Our intellect, such as it is, is mostly used to justify choices we've already made.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:54:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:58:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And those 'choices' are simply neural networks being 'consensual'. The human brain/mind is perhaps the only example of <trumpets> true 100% democracy. The fact that the intellect still thinks it's in charge is one of the great illusions.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I'm just being silly - everything with a living cell in it is 100% democratic.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:10:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And thus the word "democracy" loses all meaning ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's that campfire where people are compensated with grades for the speeches they hold?
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great question lily, although i am not too sure i am reading you right... maybe we need to make one up.

monetise mojo! invest in that brainwave factory you always dreamed of.

out of a world population of 6 billion or so, most of whom live appallingly insecure and dangerous lives, there are maybe a an elite of say 1 million, whose daily decisions, consciously or not, perpetuate the worst of the evil we suffer from and are dragged down by.

if those people all went to sleep and had a dream in which they were visited by the ghosts of future unborn children, woke up epiphanised (sounds like something a fancy plastic kitchen gadget would do), we could start to see some globe-rocking changes within 24 hours.

heck it should only take 5 minutes to come to your senses, if the material presented itself right!

i reckon our job is to pray for that collective epiphany, when the stubborn, proud million stop resisting ways to improve the fates of the others. i don't wish nightmares on anyone, my guess is it already takes some very expensive therapies/medications to keep them functionally at bay as it is.

but i remain adolescently entranced by the scifi notion i actually dreamed of once (too much peter pan and nougat, probably) of some keening electronic sound that blew down the chimneys and wouldn't let people sleep until they had sorted themselves out spiritually, made peace with their consciences to the best of their abilities, remembered how they weren't really doing that great a job of loving their neighbours in the way their pastor spoke of on sundays, all to have the simple gift of a good sleep, (something they had so often ignored their own needs for).

there's be a lot of lights left on all night as people cut new deals with themselves, to devote more energy to those in need, to insulate their homes better and turn off the lights more often...

the blessed zonk, most precious of the many gifts of life, and the ultimate one we can most fondly count on, when our days are done!

all hail the Mighty Zonk, forgiver of consciences, soother of torments, salve of the guilty, balsam to the cosmic wound of fallible existence!

zzzz

(is that a mosquito i hear? let's turn up that white noise generator that always reminds me of malibu, shall we hon?)

shares in melatonin go through the roof...

you can tell they're still resisting by the red-eyed stagger down the front steps in the mornings, (insert evil cackle)

now back to lesbian marriage in helsinki suburbs and religious backlash, or is that blowback, must consult the eroto-Saurus. who knew such a protest could engender such a wondrously weird discussion in ET land.

;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
With the possible exception of my shoe, there is absolutely nothing less reliable as a moral guide than opinion and personal experience

surely that would deny the conscience, for on what possible other bases could one form one?

in fact consciences molded from (educated, informed) 'opinion and personal experience' in my judgment are are a lot more likely to be wholesome and beneficial, than the potted fossils of supposedly great, iconic semi-historical (mythic?) figures and the legends of spiritual derring-do created in their wake.

all too easy to iconise people millennia after they're dead, when their foibles are long forgotten, their mummified counsels become largely irrelevant, and their miracles witnessed by unknowns, and testified to by unreliable scribes.

the bible contains the words of jesus, and very fine words they are too, and difficult to embody, especially if your life plans don't include modern versions of crucifixion.

the more i hang out at ET, i wonder if i am going to wake up one morning and 'lose my faith', because i have never encountered a group of such intelligent, knowledgeable, and amusing people in one space in my life.

the fact that they are overwhelmingly atheist i do find extraordinary, but that's not what bothers me about these discussions here at ET...

it's the confusion i experience when i see that people whose conviction that their lives have been touched by faith has clouded their perception with regard to how best to explain it to others yet unblessed (and thus unbiased) by that particular set of feelings.

i keep expecting my memory to devalue its own emotional connection to its experiences, because i prefer the company of atheists to those of faith, when it comes to intellectual discussion. atheists are freer within their mental boxes (of healthy skepticism/unbelief than most religious people are in the infinite spaces of their own belief systems, amazingly enough.

a fine paradox to ponder, with the corollary precautional point that while some folks might be way more fun to discuss this wondrous existence with, they may not have what one needs in deep crises of the soul, indeed why should they, since they, (often as adamantly as any fervent believer), discount or ignore any need for its existence?

there are some experiences whose effects on one's inner life are so pleasurably profound as to be unforgettably positive. what's interesting is every culture has a different shaped god-ology, as it has differences in average height, melanin quotient, hair/eye colours, choice of sounds to make as language and so on.

from some here one may get the impression -writely or wrongly- that because religiously demented people are responsible for pretty much of man's inhumanity to man, with the possible exceptions of stalin, hitler and pol pot, who were evil enough without needing recourse to such antiquated folderol as religion masking powerfreakery, it appears.

no point to be taken there, correlation is not causation after all... monstrosity of character can occur equally monstrously with any ideology, real or faked. religion is a mostly failed attempt to proactively arm a child morally to stand up for the goodtrueandbeautiful in this vale of joyful tears.

my personal feeling is that if god wants to disappear from hir artefacts, like some great authors write the first person from the plot, then no amount of speechifying from the faithful is going to lead to mass epiphanies of the sort favoured by religions.

intellect is a great razor to separate the farcical from the simply absurd, and it's a pleasure to see it wielded so gracefully, it is always kinder to make a clean deep cut, as any good surgeon knows.

i admire lynch and lily both for mustering their best to try and cast light into this depraved tavern of heathens, but i have to hand the game to the atheists/neurogeeks so far, by a mile.

i don't think we will catch any really beautiful butterflies with only reason for a net, but why collect them at all, surely seeing them is enough?

i have met and dialogued with great reasoners, some of good faith (and no religious belief) and some who were religious but communicated no spiritual current, or even any particular maturity of character. sometimes religion is used as a numb-er/pacifier of doubt, when doubt should be welcomed! doubt is your friend, without it how can you understand being when doubt is finally silent?

removal of doubt is a two-edged thing, one a mercy, as the torture of separation from the source is ended, the second a threat, because as soon as you ascend the hill of certainty, you can forget the most important thing of all, that we are all on the same level, and sure enough, we get lynch here acting out with juvenile testicular challenges, and lily, of such sweet and reasonable demeanour, resorting to a 'i said it, so it must be so' didactic, which leaves the conversation the end of its intellectual road, dangling in the void.

a bridge to nowhere!

i guess it boils down to proselytizing, do you feel it's necessary? just because faith was such a boon to one's own life, might it not be a bane to others? who are we to know and gamble on that? one person's medicine is another's poison.

if we could exchange 25% of our intellect for moral maturity, wouldn't we be better off making that choice, if we had it?

of course i don't believe we do, these bulbous, swollen thought-glands bobbling above our shoulders are our responsibility to develop and enjoy sharing the full fruits of with each other, and good discussion about the gnarliest of abstracts is like great food or wine. we need the intellectual friction created by dialogue between faithed and not, about philosophy, history, art, compassion, it brings many interesting issues to the surface, issues vital to our self-understanding as a species. it's another of those perennially fascinating dualities, like male and female. could there be a 'faith gene'? i'm starting to think there might be...

if one is blessed with a personal connection to the great author of all, one should be able to stand strong in that, no matter what others may believe. if one is called to testify about one's beliefs, i think one should use the language and terms one knows will be understood by those listening, and neither stoop to abuse, or retreat to some lofty tower to talk down to those unfortunately not sapient enough to share one's own privileged position.

i think it's hopeless to proselytize actually, and possibly self-damaging. the contours of one's faith should be as private as the secrets between man and wife, and people should be ready to be judged by their own lights, not because they took shelter under the umbrella of some secondhand belief system not directly validated by their own being, or believed in some force that dealt them special favours simply because  they knew it existed and mumbled the right mantras.

belief is just another personality flavour at the end of the day, it's always been and always will be by peoples' actions that their lives will be counted as worthy or less. god breathes through us all, not just those who see, or whose neurotransmitters are working a certain way.

awe, wonder, joy, bliss, gratitude, contentment... they are free to all of any persuasion, they just seem to accumulate more when people are kind, patient, generous and thoughtful, (some pious, some irreverent, some both!). next to these qualities, all the holy books are merely confused exhortations, attempting to ensure these virtues' promulgation.

weird how that works. religions make simple, intuitive things complicated, historically for the worst and wrongest of reasons, namely the selfsame temporal power they soapily pretend to eschew.

they detract from true spirituality, which is why the progenitors of these religions tore down the old gods of the religions extant before their turn at tyranny.

it's not the religious impulse that's at fault, or the lack of it, really. it's the simple fact that many of us were raised with varying degrees of empathy. and some have not fully realised how to deepen and expand it to the levels needed in these times we are navigating. moral badges or credo brands are neither  significant nor useful any more, or they would have done what they set out to do by now. in fact they are as much divisive distractions, outdated polarities, as they are genuine inducements to inclusive, collaborative, progressive activism, with several notable, heroic exceptions. we have to go beyond, to a place where we stand without crutches of any kind, leaving all certainties (most of all the ones that ask others to stop thinking for themselves) behind, and unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship, irrespective of private beliefs about what we cannot prove scientifically, no matter how strongly we feel graced and guided by them. if we keep it private, we will convince people better. if we live exceptionally because of our power to bring the best into and out of our lives, then others will want to emulate that. just as i trust we wish to emulate good characteristics in people, whatever they believe! trying to communicate things that are unlanguageable leads to egg on face, and not much else.

tho entertaining colman is reward enough! %}

...and gives (way too easy) target practice to all the archers here, who've been whittling some extremely fine points for years, and deploy them pretty devastatingly, as/when seen to be needed.

maybe god wants to be like training wheels...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 09:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"because i prefer the company of atheists to those of faith, when it comes to intellectual discussion. atheists are freer within their mental boxes"

"dialogued with great reasoners, some of good faith (and no religious belief) and some who were religious but communicated no spiritual current, or even any particular maturity of character."

i did cross more than one narrowminded atheist and charismatic faithful; question of luck, I suppose

"intellect is a great razor to separate the farcical from the simply absurd, and it's a pleasure to see it wielded so gracefully"

provided the mill has seeds to grind

"sometimes religion is used as a numb-er/pacifier of doubt, when doubt should be welcomed! doubt is your friend, without it how can you understand being when doubt is finally silent?"

sometimes; sometimes is not

"they detract from true spirituality"

speaking from experience? or from the lack of it

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment responses

"they detract from true spirituality"

speaking from experience? or from the lack of it

both, like you and everyone else!

the logos came before the churches, baraka before islam. essenes before christians, yoga before hinduism. the tao before taoism.

etc.

 it seems like truth has a brief heyday between the crumbling of an old ideology and the crystallising complacency of a new one.

before populist morphs to popular, and truth slips once again into hiding.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The weird - or possibly not so weird - thing about organised religion is how it always, reliably, seems to become associated with top-down power structures.

We all know how anti-progressive the Catholic church has been in Europe. But I suspect far fewer people realise that Tibetan Buddhism has always acted to maintain an essentially feudal system in Tibet, or that Zen Buddhism was closely associated with Japanese imperialism and fascism for much of its history. Many Hindu gurus have interesting links to the Indian political establishment.

And so on.

When you watch new cults being formed - the ones where self-styled gurus work hard to destroy everyone's ego, except their own - you can see how the process works from the ground up.

Sure, if you're in it, it looks real and believable. It's not until you can look at it from the outside that you can see what a bad joke it is, and how the spiritual, financial and sometimes the sexual benefits seem oddly limited to a privileged inner circle.

Unfortunately good faith may not be enough. Some people have it, but it seems that many don't.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed - organized religion gave us the word 'hierarchy'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:49:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
many masochists looking for their own true love...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
okay, let me put it this way then : would you care elaborating on this? thanks

"weird how that works. religions make simple, intuitive things complicated, historically for the worst and wrongest of reasons, namely the selfsame temporal power they soapily pretend to eschew."

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:00:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see TBG's comment about heirarchy below.

authoritarians, who are not trammelled with such time-consuming trivialities as maintaining relationships, with real, fragile, emotionally unbalanced people, (the whole motley crew of us), have much time on their hands to create mischief.

they look for new ideas in order to piggy back agendas of their own upon, thereby corrupting the original energy, and making it into an ersatz version, more easily packaged into little dogma bites for children to chew on.

i guess the most glaring example i find hardest to digest is an image of a bejewelled pope, wearing enough bling on each finger to feed a small country, lectures a crowd of shoeless latin american peasants on the need for humility, and asks for their paltry pesetas so to keep him and his silken court in the manner to which they have become accustomed for centuries.

some get to heaven before they die, on the backs of those who have to wait, nice.

i think if the martians are watching, well, it's embarrassing! we could/oughta (must?) do better than this. a religion can work 'on paper' and be completely inappropriate 'on the ground', just as any other ideology. it's the execution of these once-bright ideas that lives up to its name, and ends up suffocation-by-bureaucracy, extinguishing what it pretends to protect and enshrine.

if you think of the golden rule as centre, religions are journeys towards the periphery, (ever arcaner) riffs on that central theme.

arcane works very well for heirophants, and other pro mystifiers. we are presently entangled in semantic thickets of specialist jargon, one pole of which is local slang/dialect, followed by legalese at the government level. all social structures tend to rise and fall in this way, it seems written into the dna, from simplicity of spontaneous emergence from unexpressed embeddedness, through the birthpangs into maturity, at which point the spiritual materialists have arrived in thick (sic!) enough droves to turn truth into truthiness, game over...

and the magma searches for another crack in the crust.

game on!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:02:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re hierarchy, agendas -- you reply yourself in the second half of your post, I guess.. unfortunately it is inherent to human organizations, and the moment the church got mass dimension it was nearly automatically prone to it. I suspect many faithful are disgusted, so normal it is to expect exemplarity from spiritual guides. But then can one go ahead and draw the conclusions you do in your previous posts... I guess one can, provided it is done equitably, without rancour or some pilloring intention (which is maybe your case).

"simplicity of spontaneous emergence from unexpressed embeddedness, through the birthpangs into maturity"
quite so; man's aging evolution is rediscovered in mankind level processes. Does this make mankind old already? Do civilizations die in a way similar to a man's flame slow extinguishing?..

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 10:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have printed out your comment, to read and understand it. Here's how I tried to sum it up (+ comments) -

You see faith as ones private business and assume that communication about faith boils down to proselytising and ends with egg in face, okay.

Further you defend what I would call religious relativism.

"all the holy books are merely confused exhortations, attempting to...".
"... religiously demented people are responsible for pretty much of man's inhumanity to man"
"religion is a mostly failed attempt to proactively arm a child morally to stand up for the goodtrueandbeautiful in this vale of joyful tears."

-> I disagree. I believe that religions are not relativistic because they are rooted in existential truth. Spiritual truth mixing with world power is dynamite. It can happen that religion doesn't reflect faith, its inner truth, as it should because of that. This doesn't change Truth itself.

You claim that faith would be subjective and a private experience that should not necessarily be shared with others.

-> It's of course everybody's business to share or not to share.

We are entitled to have doubts.

-> I agree, especially when we try to nail the invisible and absolute. :)

divisive distractions, outdated polarities

we have to go beyond, to a place where we stand without crutches of any kind, leaving all certainties (most of all the ones that ask others to stop thinking for themselves) behind, and unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship,

-> You wish we'd already be in heaven. No matter how outdated polarities may seem to you, we live in a polarised world that's marked by divisions and conflicts. Families fall apart and humanity doesn't unite in acceptance and common, mutual fellowship.
For now, your vision is only just a dream.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:04:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:

...and gives (way too easy) target practice to all the archers here, who've been whittling some extremely fine points for years, and deploy them pretty devastatingly, as/when seen to be needed.

maybe god wants to be like training wheels...

LOL. Thanks.

Actually, thanks for the whole piece, which imho, nails it. A spiritual experience must by definition be personal, thus is not transferable to others. So until (if and when) I experience it, I will not have had that experience.

Any reasonably competent god should anyway have the power to make itself known to all beings, if that is what it wishes. And if it does not wish to make itself known to me, well, that is not for us lesser beings to question, innit? If it does take control of my tv-set to declare its existence, then it can declare itself the same way to anyone else. I do not see how any capable god would need my help in that respect. A god that does not show itself sure works in mysterious ways, and a god that works in mysterious ways while keeping records of slights against it and then doles out punishments, well I think Ennis in Preacher nailed how petulant the common version of the christian god appears.

Or it just likes to be a training wheel.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 03:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
disclaimer: all these conversations end up jumping the snark...

what beats me is how some jump on and start pedalling without training wheels, maybe i was brainwashed into thinking i needed them, and would have 'got it' anyway without, if that's how it shook out.

or they just fell off too early...

s'fer sure and certain, that nothing is!

:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Oct 29th, 2010 at 04:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Lily:
Therefore, what may appear to you like a remote possibility (yes, I brought that into the debate), I have experienced as absolute Truth, along with millions of others.

Why do you experience this as "Truth"? if its true or false there must be some level of explainable logic behind the structure of these thoughts, which one would assume would be explainable.

This all brings back to mind the Stephen Roberts quote

Stephen Roberts quotes

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."



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 27th, 2010 at 06:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you experience this as "Truth"? if its true or false there must be some level of explainable logic behind the structure of these thoughts, which one would assume would be explainable.

I agree. I might explain it in a diary.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There can be many possible truths but maybe there is one Truth. One. Not many. One Truth that sheds light on why we're here and where we're going.

Maybe there is one Truth. Maybe our entire civilisation is a giant virtual reality MMORPG. Maybe each atomic mass contains an entire universe. Maybe a lot of things.

Every time you say "maybe it is this way," you impose upon the reader's credulity, as he might assume that you have some sort of evidence for your assertion. It is common practise among those who value small-t-truth to require that such impositions upon the reader's credulity be accompanied and justified by said evidence.

This is called placing the burden of proof upon the person making the positive assertion.

Does this prove that there cannot be One Truth because two persons don't speak about this One Truth in the same terms or because they contradict each other?

First, see above on the proper placement of the burden of proof.

Second, while it does not disprove the notion that there exists a Truth, it does prove that, all else being equal, the probability that your Truth is, in fact, the Truth is less than or equal to 1/N, where N is the number of strictly incompatible Truths being professed.

So even if we accept for the sake of the argument that there exists a Truth, you still have to differentiate yourself from all the other wannabe missionaries out there. Because N is a very large number.

For myself, I find the Bayesian view very elegant: There is no Truth, only a large web of conditional probabilities. Show that one condition was misidentified at some point, and you alter all the probabilities that are "downstream" from it. Perform a new experiment, and you weave a new thread into the tapestry, which in turn will act as a precondition for future experiments, and which will itself be revised based on future data.

But of course elegance is not proof either. Which is why I stopped subscribing to any particular ontology a while ago. Epistemology is much easier, since the proof is in the pudding, so to speak: An epistemology that permits you to make correct predictions with a minimum of fuss has a distinct advantage over one that does not.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
": There is no Truth, only a large web of conditional probabilities. Show that one condition was misidentified at some point, and you alter all the probabilities that are "downstream" from it."

This is only from your own point of view, not objective reality. The fact that you evaluate probabilities is your own brain experience, with no effect whatsoever on the underlying reality you're trying to assess. When you correct conditions, you change your own probability calculations, not the underlying reality. The fact that we take a well-adjusted 1000 people sample, ask them questions and conclude that 30% of the whole population would like to reinstate the death penalty in France, that is still JUST A POLL, not the results of an actual referendum on the matter. I don't know how many times election results differred from poll results, but even if it only differred one time alone, or indeed never ever, it would still not make a poll worth an election - to me, at least. I'm saying this even as we're more and more governed by poll interpreters, not politicians who, rather than putting their own ideas on the table, elegant or not, make a pot-pourri instead, of what their poll consultants tell them people Probably want. The subprime crisis is yet another  school case of how mistaken, albeit elegant, statistics-based thinking can be. I suspect Armaggeddon will come by the hands of a mad scientist too much in love with the outlandish elegance of an equation to push the off button.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that you evaluate probabilities is your own brain experience, with no effect whatsoever on the underlying reality you're trying to assess.

Of course. But it does mean that we cannot meaningfully say to know that The Truth exists or what it is, because we can only know the world in probabilistic terms. Even if The Truth is out there, there is no way to identify it as being The Truth under a Bayesian epistemology. And that's not a bug, that's a feature.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:46:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly. Which simply means one should pick a better epistemology :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 11:52:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which part of "it's a feature, not a bug" did you find it hard to understand?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am simply not into IT metaphors :) Kindly speak plain english to this heathen.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 12:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The inability to identify The Truth is not an accident in Bayesian epistemology. It is a deliberate design element.

It's an advantage, not a handicap.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay. I know that. It's neither an advantage, nor a handicap. Bayesian analysis is just that. I still find your admiration of it quite abstract and of hte narcisistic kind, (ie pointless), if you will, hence my reaction.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:54:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ValentinD:
I still find your admiration of it quite abstract and of hte narcisistic kind
Just out of curiosity, what does Bayesian mean, in your own words?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"what does Bayesian mean, in your own words"

It's JakeS' word!

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And also a very important topic in probabilities.
I'll try to answer that question in a way that will hopefully bring some added value wr to what anyone could find on the internet.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bayesian refers to a specific, precise, operational technique for consistently updating quantifiable assumptions in light of new empirical evidence. The fact that you dubbed it as "abstract" and "pointless" is prima facie evidence that you don't understand its essentially operational quality.

It sould be obvious why it would be possible to devise an entire epistemology around the concept of making explicit one's knowledge (in particular, and most controversially, the assumptions implicit in a situation where there is "no prior data") and how "new data" actualizes the knowledge/assumptions.

I agree that JakeS's use of the phrase Bayesian Epistemology in this thread may be a bit of a rhetorical flourish, but your "abstract, narcissistic and pointless" jab just demonstrates ignorance.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 11:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment is inspiring but I avoid negative ratings.
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:13:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and in what way demonstrates ignorance, pray you enlighten this poor soul

if you wanted to know what I meant, a simple question would have sufficed. that was no jab, just the observation that his appreciation of 'elegance' re Bayes' theory reminds of those mathematicians in love with their equations - or of those other writers infatuated with their own twists of phrase. more still,  my slightly abrupt tone in my other post is explained (re politicians).

finally, I believe Jake is perfectly capable to answer on his own, what do you think

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:48:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh and Migeru, you answering your own question re Bayes, what does that show, in your opinion ? :)

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that JakeS's use of the phrase Bayesian Epistemology in this thread may be a bit of a rhetorical flourish

I actually dislike that name, for much the same reason that I suspect you do. But that's what it's called, and I can't think of a better name for it on the fly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:10:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily:
It's JakeS' word!
No, unfortunately it isn't.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 10:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it Bayesian's then? Lucky him!
by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 01:15:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to toss out Kant and Hume as well, I suppose.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:25:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get back to me when your one loving god (not belief in your god, but the gal herself) actually displays any noticeable impact on the income distribution of a country, on the global availability of raw materials, on the technical competence of our engineers or in some other noticeable way improves upon or detracts from the survivability, comfort and pleasure of the human condition.

Until and unless that happens, I'll be working with the people and tools that are known to be capable of improve the human condition. There are many pursuits that are, in my considered opinion, much more urgent than speculating on the existence of an entity that does not deign to reveal itself to even the most refined tools of detection available to industrial civilisation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Get back to me when your one loving god (not belief in your god, but the gal herself) actually displays any noticeable impact on the income distribution of a country, on the global availability of raw materials, on the technical competence of our engineers or in some other noticeable way improves upon or detracts from the survivability, comfort and pleasure of the human condition.

I have been quarrelling with something recently, and a friend of mine told me, "Sometimes we forget how HOLY our God is." A God who has created this World with plenty of beauty and us in it, thinking, feeling, intelligent, how can He be any less than the sum of it and us all?

You cannot understand God when you look from this side, from creation, only. You're bright but limited. We all are limited in space and time. We sit on gravity and live until we die. Our senses are under a veil. We can only see so and so far. And we judge from what we can experience with our five senses but is this all that exists?

No. There's a deeper meaning but you must accept that God is not a blog buddy. The plan on His mind is so much bigger than (y)our understanding.

At the same time, God is not distant and faraway. That's the good news.

Until and unless that happens, I'll be working with the people and tools that are known to be capable of improve the human condition. There are many pursuits that are, in my considered opinion, much more urgent than

Very good. But one thing doesn't exclude the other. You can do what you feel is needed here and now AND experience God at the same time or become aware of how you're experiencing God already.

speculating on the existence of an entity that does not deign to reveal itself to even the most refined tools of detection available to industrial civilisation.

:) Fortunately, our God is the God of all times and not just the one of industrial civilisation. Since the power is on His side rather than on yours, you can only seek and meet Him on His terms - through faith and prayer, and not even the most refined tools of modern communication available are of any help. They're just toys.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot understand God when you look from this side, from creation, only. You're bright but limited. We all are limited in space and time. We sit on gravity and live until we die. Our senses are under a veil. We can only see so and so far. And we judge from what we can experience with our five senses but is this all that exists?

That's cute, but it will not help me remove the smog from Tunis and it will not help ensure that all Algerians have electricity.

I'm a simple man with simple desires. I just want everybody to have shelter from the elements, clean air, clean water, wholesome food and electricity. If all of humanity has those things before I die, I'll die happy. If, on my deathbed, I can in perfect honesty say that I helped make sure that more people have those things than would otherwise have had them, I'll die happy.

God won't help me accomplish those things. Engineers will, politicians can and bankers might.

:) Fortunately, our God is the God of all times and not just the one of industrial civilisation. Since the power is on His side rather than on yours, you can only seek and meet Him on His terms - through faith and prayer, and not even the most refined tools of modern communication available are of any help. They're just toys.

That's cute. But faith and prayer will not recover a single gram of iron, it will not create a single ball bearing and it will not lay a single meter of railway. Nor will neglecting faith and prayer obstruct the recovery of a single gram of iron, obstruct the creation of a single ball bearing or obstruct the laying of a single meter of railway.

So I fail to see why I should make allowances for it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"gibber, gibber".

Fairy tales.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 02:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does the religious person think, consumerism would be "the" substitute of religion?

2 reasons:

First, because the religious person (of the Christian faith) has learned that throughout history, Man has always been faced with a materialistic/temporal temptation versus a spiritual/divine calling. This is a recurring theme in Christian Holy Scripture. It's therefore plausible to conclude that if Man abandons his spiritual calling, it is to revert to materialistic temptation.

Second, because in today's world, consumerism is constantly being touted as THE new religion. Feel bad? Just go out and buy some stuff - and if it doesn't make you feel better, go out and buy some more. There was a great diary on ET about the Bond Gods driving monetary and fiscal policy which was unsupported by conventional wisdom. Well, we have the same thing on main street and it's called consumerism.

by Lynch on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 02:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, those are the reasons but we live in tricky times. Not all Christians are Amish or live as hermits in the woods. Consumerism affects everyone to various degrees, and it's too easy to conclude that those who withdraw from institutionalised religion will turn to the God of consumerism.

This deduction would be possible if church membership equalled faith and spirituality. I don't think that we can say it always does, especially in the situation described by Sven where the church is not only seen as a house of faith but also as the institution that transmits general humanistic values and ethics and fills societal functions, like running kindergartens or hospitals.

I agree that atheism is obviously linked to materialism where it's only matter that matters, and consumerism is its cousin but consumerism really affects us all, especially around Christmas time. :)
   

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 02:59:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dislike using the term "materialism" to describe a philosophical or political position, because it is often ambiguous whether it should be taken to mean ontological positivism or productivism/consumerism. I assume that you mean ontological positivism, since using it in the sense of productivism/consumerism would be tautological in this case.

That being so, I'm not quite sure what made you conclude that ontological positivism is intimately connected to consumerism. I can't see any obvious logical or psychological connection.

As an aside, while ontological positivism is related to atheism, it is not quite the same thing. It is possible to be an atheist and still believe in, say, astrology, which is inconsistent with a position of ontological positivism.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 04:11:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used the term materialism because it contains "matter" as opposed to "spirit".

Atheists can of course be spiritual as well, be that by seeking answers in astrology, or in occult practices, calling on 'dark' forces or through other possible experiences.

In that sense, 'spiritual atheists' are not materialists, or atheism does not imply materialism.

I cannot make much of "ontological positivism". Maybe you can explain the meaning to me?

Materialism as much as consumerism speaks of a strong attachment, if not clinging to this world. Faith is the force that teaches us that these things will pass and do not matter which should make the believer free from this attachment (bondage), ideally.

Without faith, we have nothing to oppose the forces of this world that boil down to everyone's selfish will which makes us susceptible to consumerism.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 05:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I totally disagree. What is wrong with 'clinging to this world' if one sees this 'world' as being an emergent phenomenon?

Why are atheists selfish? Why is fear the central driver of your religion? Why is compassion such a low priority for you? What are you afraid of?

Why do you promise to your believers that everything will be OK when you are dead? But not before?

How can you venerate deliverance without scolding circumstance? So, for instance, how is it possible to thank a god for rescuing the Chilean miners without blaming that god for this accident in the first place?

Perhaps you are confusing selfishness with a demand for human rights?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 06:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is wrong with 'clinging to this world' if one sees this 'world' as being an emergent phenomenon?

There's clinging to this world and clinging to this world. This world consists of here and there, heaven and earth. I do not believe that we're here on Earth, and there, heaven would be for later.

I believe that this world is both but we're limited (space/time) and free-willed. We can already experience heaven, glimpses of it - for as long as we live since we're spiritually blind, or in Christian terminology, in our fallen state, sinners, separated from God.

Clinging to "this world" refers to the here only, not the spiritual, eternal aspect of our life.

The core of Christian faith - is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and he sent the Holy Spirit so that we would be able to be with Him, have the spiritual experience and See, with our hearts, through faith.

Why are atheists selfish?

Everyone who is separated from God is on his own, with himself, alone - and from there, selfish, confined to the prison of the "Self". This is not a reproach. It belongs to our human condition unless we return into the Father's arms.

Why is fear the central driver of your religion?

The awareness of the reality of death is a central driver. Most people fear death. We fear because we're separated from God. This separation causes us pain.
We experience God through friendships and loving bonds with other people. Death will separate us from what/who we've known and loved. We fear more separation.

There's a song that I like with a line in it, "If we could see what the angels see... we'd understand that death is just a swinging door."

Personally, I am not comfortable with drawing people to God with heaven and hell rhetoric. "If you don't have faith, you'll go to hell." - We have faith, because we have a deep longing for God, not because we're so afraid. But then, and this is also true, when we're afraid and turn to God, the fear will go away. So.

Why is compassion such a low priority for you?

It's not a low priority for me.

What are you afraid of?

Me personally or the generic Christian-"I"? In any case, I have ordinary fears like everybody else but hope to manage them constructively(?) through faith. (This is not my strength.)

Why do you promise to your believers that everything will be OK when you are dead? But not before?

"I" am a Christian but no specific Church representative.
Everything may be "okay" - but not yet perfect - before we're dead.
You are hinting at why is there suffering? Why is there inequality, injustice? Why...? - Questions that cannot be answered at the surface.

How can you venerate deliverance without scolding circumstance? So, for instance, how is it possible to thank a god for rescuing the Chilean miners without blaming that god for this accident in the first place?

You Can complain or submit to God's holiness and trust His "plan" that is greater than our understanding. Everything is meant to work for our best. God let this accident happen. He listened to prayers, and the miners were saved. Maybe safety standards are going to improved as a consequence, and many lives will be saved in the future. Maybe weak family bonds were strengthened through the experience. People who lacked faith, found God. There can be many reasons why this occurred the way it did.

Perhaps you are confusing selfishness with a demand for human rights?

I support human rights. As I explained before, I understand selfishness rather as a form of poverty than a base attitude.

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 07:20:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is a somewhat unusual definition of selfishness, and one that may lead to confusion when used in the company of those who are only in possession of a more limited thesaurus.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 08:11:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This unusual definition of selfishness addresses the cause of selfishness, not what it produces.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 03:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This unusual definition of selfishness postulates a cause of selfishness that is wholly uncorrelated with the the effects that the common version of English attribute to selfishness.

While correlation does not prove causation, absence of correlation does disprove causation. Necessary versus sufficient conditions, again.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 08:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I cannot make much of "ontological positivism". Maybe you can explain the meaning to me?

Ontology is the branch of philosophy that concerns itself with what can be said to exist. As opposed to epistemology, which concerns itself with how we learn about the world. Positivism is the philosophical view that the predictive power (and parsimony) of statements is our only guide to the world.

So ontological positivism is the position that everything that exists is amenable to experimental detection. As opposed to epistemological (or methodological) positivism, which merely makes the much weaker statement that the best way to go about learning about the world is to poke it and see what happens. Ontological positivism posits that God does not exist, because there is no evidence of God's existence. Epistemological positivism posits that if God does exist, we'll figure it out in its own good time as long as we keep making predictions and testing them experimentally.

Materialism [...] speaks of a strong attachment, if not clinging to this world.

Eh, not really. One does not have to rage against the dying of the light in order to believe that the light really does die, and doesn't simply move on to somewhere else. Death is not, a priori, any more terrible to those who believe that it is the last chapter in their book than to those who believe that it is the last page of the first chapter.

Now, it is very human to rage against the dying of the light. It is not many who would not like just one more dance, just one more kiss, just one more birthday party. And frankly, I see nothing particularly wrong with that.

Without faith, we have nothing to oppose the forces of this world that boil down to everyone's selfish will which makes us susceptible to consumerism.

We have the impartial spectator; the man within the breast. And we have ideology, for that matter.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 27th, 2010 at 08:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that could be a sign of a religion's ancient wisdom, or a complete cultural internalisation of local mental mores that jives with basic common sense, the stuff all religions pretend to profess and agree on, love yer irritating, incompetent, toxic excuse for a neighbour fr'example.

i think people are finding new ways to find solace in a crazed reality, be it blogging, macrame, poker, ufology! in other words religion as theatrical passatempo, and church to huddle in superstitious fear and awestruck wonder, are giving way to more modern forms of sociality, less institutionally dependent, more local, grassroots, and multicultural, thus less prone to the worst excesses of tribalism and 'spiritual materialism' (as rinpoche so deftly diagnosed it).

geeks are religious about whatever they're geeky about, it's just a word, to re-bind yourself to your passion in life and live honestly.

many atheists have no beef with spiritual people, -and viceversa- because the ethics can be identical, and at the end of the day, it doesn't matter why you choose to love life and seek to better yourself and your environment, but how you choose to do so, and most importantly that you do...

tossing all things religious into the trash as some of the more thoughtless atheists do, is to ignore some of the most beautiful, poetic, wise creations of humankind. one has every right to feel rage at the havoc religion has wrought, but we will never know if without religion we may have been even worse, and that rage is better employed fuelling a (can't help it!) religious desire to do good and make your life worth something.

i mean 'religious' in its most catholic interpretation, and by 'catholic' i am referring to its ancient meaning of 'diverse', not the bejewelled horde of black crows inhabiting the vatican't!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice.

The only part I disagree with is:

church to huddle in superstitious fear and awestruck wonder,

That's really not the way it happens... and is far removed from the emotions at play during Mass Celebration.
by Lynch on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 09:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
geeks are religious about whatever they're geeky about, it's just a word

So why do you insist on using this word?

many atheists have no beef with spiritual people, -and viceversa- because the ethics can be identical, and at the end of the day, it doesn't matter why you choose to love life and seek to better yourself and your environment, but how you choose to do so, and most importantly that you do...

Amen :-) Beefs come up when various claims are made, as at the start of this thread.

we will never know if without religion we may have been even worse

Some what-if questions don't make sense. The question is not the past, the question can only be the future.

by 'catholic' i am referring to its ancient meaning of 'diverse'

I'm afraid you are mistaken about the meaning of universal here. At the very beginning, it was used for the dismissal of other sects as acceptable alternatives.

Catholic - Wikipedia

The word catholic (derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal"[1][2]) comes from the Greek phrase καθόλο (kath'holou) meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general" and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and όλος meaning "whole."[3][4]

...A letter written by Ignatius of Antioch to Christians in Smyrna[11] around 106 is the earliest surviving witness to the use of the term Catholic Church (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8). By Catholic Church Ignatius designated the universal church. Ignatius considered that certain heretics of his time, who disavowed that Jesus was a material being who actually suffered and died, saying instead that "he only seemed to suffer" (Smyrnaeans, 2), were not really Christians.[12] The term is also used in the Martyrdom of Polycarp in 155 and in the Muratorian fragment, about 177 .

Cyril of Jerusalem (circa 315-386), venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion, urged those he was instructing in the Christian faith: "If ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens "houses of the Lord"), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God" (Catechetical Lectures, XVIII, 26).[13]



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eh? seems like wikipedia confirms the original meaning, as well as the subsequent distortions.

...which i guess are ancient, so..

you win :)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 02:33:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the stuff all religions pretend to profess and agree on, love yer irritating, incompetent, toxic excuse for a neighbour fr'example.

Do all religions really profess that? (For example, what if your neighbour is a Canaanite or a slave?)

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By "neighbour" they normally only mean in-group members, of course.

The others aren't even human.

(Yes, some religions profess - in theory at least, though it seldom seems to translate into practice - that all humans are in-group.)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:49:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure. Who's "they"? Citations? Or is this just your little pinkie talking?
by Lynch on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:59:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you def have a point here, too.

i guess that's what made jesus' teaching to love your enemy so radical, and the point about the good samaritan so telling.

even then they must have pretended, otherwise he'd not have reproached the pharisees as hypocrites.

thanks for playing. it is always a pleasure to read your erudite replies, DoDo

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 02:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another nice excerpt from the Bible about earthly desire...
Thought I'd share.

Ecclesiastes 9
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

by Lynch on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no you don't. Not in the sense of the word "believe" that I believe (see what I did there? Ain't I cool?) you're using.

See the debate elsewhere about instinsic vs. extrinsic values.

Grown ups don't need Belief. They're allowed belief, in moderation.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even children need Belief.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 01:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced that's true. I'm not saying they need religious beliefs, but they may need (or at least benefit from) a simple and certain world, at least in some things. Waaay off topic though.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 01:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure it's off topic. It may be a severe expansion of the topic, but context is all.

That 'simple and certain world' is one basis of dignity. The overarching sublimated human desire, imo, is 'How do I fit in?'. Parenthood, however misguided, is about imparting an ability to fit in.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 02:38:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do tend to Rorschach your limited viewpoint and not read what was written.

The people who have officially left the church recently (and probably many of those before them) are registering their protest at the narrow-mindedness of Christian Democrat attitudes and the church leaders who fail to show the compassion and humanity that these 'believers' (mostly women, apparently) regard as central to their 'faith'.

As I pointed out, the basic social values promoted (that are not exclusive to the Lutheran religion) are why people continue to cling to the institution. These are values that I try to adhere to myself - even though I am an atheist.

In fact, in the Nordics generally, these 'compassionate' social values more coincide with religious values than are a product of them. Nordic 'tolerance' is a result of these values, and intolerance (sometimes described as racism) stems from a (mistaken) perception that people from outside the culture may not hold these basic values.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 09:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So. A '2'. That's your best shot?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
these 'believers' (mostly women, apparently)

You wrote that 80% of Finns is still a church member. If so, the 10,000 leaving now aren't necessarily from the circle of this apparently mostly female core of the upkeepers of church affairs as par of social life, we can give Lynch that much. But, as askod wrote upthread, what we know about these 10,000 is hat they changed their denomination, not that they changed any of their core beliefs.

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 01:51:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. I don't believe (though cannot prove) they changed their core beliefs at all. As I said, their view of basic social values coincides with Lutheran orthodoxy, rather than is driven by it.

For them, the current Lutheran view (and especially the Christian Democrat view) is unorthodox.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 02:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am still to find a religion with as many fundamentalists as atheism
by t-------------- on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 09:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be quite remarkable, since I'm fairly certain that there are more self-styled fundamentalists in the Calvinist branch of Protestantism alone than there are out-of-the-closet atheists in the world.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a tendency to ascribe all of the apathetic to being members of the local church thus magnifying the number of believers, and minimising the appearance of fanatics in the state 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 Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:58:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we count fundamentalists as percentage, I would bet some small cult has the highest percentage. If we count only number of fundamentalists/religion, I would bet on whatever religion that happens to be biggest (which depends on definition religion).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 12:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on personal experience (from debating creationists on the web), just in the West, I'd put Southern Baptists on top on absolute numbers. If fundie Catholics outnumber them, then they are much less aggressive about spreading their views to outsiders.

On a broader definition of fundamentalist: the 43% of Americans still subscribing to Young Earth Creationism in the latest polls is 130 million people.

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 02:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on personal experience (from debating creationists on the web), just in the West, I'd put Southern Baptists on top on absolute numbers. If fundie Catholics outnumber them, then they are much less aggressive about spreading their views to outsiders.

You're working from a biased sample here, though, for a couple of reasons.

  1. The English-speaking world is mostly Protestant, and the Catholic Church has most of its base in non-English-speaking countries.

  2. Catholic fundagelicals tend to not be Creationists, since the Papacy discourages overt displays of this particular form of burning stupid. They come out in greater force when the topic is HIV/AIDS denialism (which they support) or the prosecution of paedophiles (which they do not support).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 04:39:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the 43% of Americans still subscribing to Young Earth Creationism in the latest polls is 130 million people.

And it would not surprise me to find that this number is larger than the number who attend church more than four times a year.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 11:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is almost certainly larger than the number of people who have actually read any significant portion of the Bible. By an order of magnitude or so...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am still to find a religion with as many fundamentalists as atheism

You know, you're right. All you need to do is read this thread.

by Lynch on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:01:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a fun thing being called a fundamentalist by a religious fundamentalist like you...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Passer pour un idiot aux yeux d'un imbécile est une volupté de fin gourmet." Georges Courteline

"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 06:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by wu ming on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are leaving an organization, not a faith. They are leaving as the organization does not represent their values, thus they know what their values are and should have little reason to join any other particular organization based on "-ism". If they join another organization, it is probably based on services provided, rather then anything else.

Lynch:

Then they can go to the local mall and pray at Starbucks every sunday.

Since the average member of a Nordic Lutheran church goes to church only for the transformation rituals (baptism, confirmation, marriage, funeral) and perhaps once in a while to a Christmas mass, somewhere to go each Sunday appears not to be a needed service. Those leaving are unlikely to change their Sunday routines, whatever they are.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 10:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would we need anywhere to go on Sunday? We're too busy recovering from Saturday anyway...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 09:51:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Living in London in the late Sixties, early Seventies, standard practice was to go home via Leicester Square around 2 am and pick up all the just-out Sundays. Then one could wake up with the papers ready to hand for about 2-3 hours reading in bed. Luxury.

Blogging is not the same... ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 10:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blogging is not the same...

you're right, it's much better. no more grey fingers and dead trees

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Oct 28th, 2010 at 09:19:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3473 people resigned yesterday.

What is the "normal" level of church resignations this should be compared with?

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

by DoDo on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 03:01:37 PM EST
The current rate is about 20 x above normal.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 03:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The latest figure is 17500.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:23:31 PM EST
I realise I forgot to ask: what exactly did Päivi Räsänen say to excite this reaction?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:37:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Basically that marriage can only be between a man and a women - everything else she said stemmed from this view. Her views were expressed calmly in the program. And while she regards the resignations following the program with horror, does not accept any responsibility for them.

Official statements from church officials are at pains to point out that the Christian Democrat view is different from the church view.

The Lutheran church  was not well represented on the program and its arguments were put across poorly. Indeed, at the most recent Bishops' conference it was made quite clear that the agreed policy of the church toward homosexual relationships and church recognition of them was compassionate, did not regard them as a sin, and in fact it will be possible to have private 'prayer moments' in church to 'bless' the 'civil' relationship. However there was muddy wording about possible church weddings (probably to appease the one third of pastors who oppose such ceremonies).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:16:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same as Sweden then, but a few years after on the curve.

To the relief of most of the church, the state made it mandatory to perform all marriages if you want to keep your marriage license, at the same time as the gay civil union was merged with the straight marriage. This made it an easy decision, the church could not let go of marriages.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scuzi - I misread the Finnish. The private prayer moments do NOT offer any 'blessing'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 04:31:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With some Google translate help: it seems the wave is still rising, with another daily record of 4,545 yesterday, and 5,428 today when I looked at it.

 But this year's running total passed last year's total (39,200) only today.



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

by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:48:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting that every year, church resignations picked up towards the end of the year -- is church tax annual, or is this some Christmas effect? Also, what happened at the end of February 2008, and in early May 2010?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:53:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Answering my own questions: the regular year-end bump is explained with taxes by the website owners, the bump earlier this year is explained by new tax plans and the election of the new archbishop; while that February 2008 peak had a funny reason: media publicity for the website when the number of church resignations it fostered hit 100,000.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:28:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedens Lutheran Church lost many members when they made a successful campaign to inform members that they could vote in the church elections. Apparently reminding the members that they are members is a bad thing.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 05:02:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or it is that one cannot be responsible for what the majority decide if one is not a member. Being reminded that they could vote might have spooked them.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 11:20:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The way the graph looks now, today will be another record, and this year's cumulative number will exceed the full-year all-time record from 2008.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 11:43:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today the graph indicates that the wave peaked yesterday (when the 2008 full-year record was surpassed as expected).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They have some English news, too. It seems the internet 'helped' the phenomenon, and Sven's gender disparity observation seems reinforced:

Church Leaving Rising in Finland

The Finnish state church is increasingly under pressure due to membership loss. In 2008 [...] Estimated 43,000 persons will leave the church this year. [...] 43,000 persons is 1% of church members. 10,000 persons joined the church in 2007. The most common reason to leave the church is avoiding the church tax, which is 1.3% of income on average.

81% of the 5.3 million Finns are members of the state church. Privileges of the state church include taxing profits of all companies, monopoly on undertaking, and avoiding some taxes.

90% of the people who left the church made it through Eroakirkosta.fi, a web site created in 2003 by the Freethinkers of Tampere. In 2003 the state passed laws that allows leaving the state church by sending email. Email resignations became possible in 2004 through the web site. Resignation rates have increased each year since 2003.

...54% of apostates are under 30 years old. 8.5% are exactly 18 years old, which is the age at which a person can autonomously leave the church. 60% of apostates are male.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:03:27 PM EST
For scale, the number of new church members was missing. Here it is for earlier years (where the instant effect of the 2003 email resignations law jumps out, too):

Status of the Finnish State Church in 2007

Year Resignees Joinees Change Proportion of people in church (%)
2000 13 600 11 200 -2 400 85
2001 14 100 10 600 -3 500 84.8
2002 16 077 10 377 -5 700 84.6
2003 26 857 10 023 -16 834 84.1
2004 27 009 9 365 -17 644 83.6
2005 33 043 9 559 -23 484 83.1
2006 34 952 10 116 -24 836 82.4


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:08:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding the gender disparity: this article from September says that this year, it began to go away, with 47% of apostates in August being women.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 04:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yle: Church Resignations Now Exceed 20,000

On Saturday, some 4,500 members resigned from the church. On Sunday, a further 5,600 had quit, according to figures released by the Finnish-language online service "eroakirkosta.fi".

Under normal circumstances, resignations total about 400 members over the course of three days.

In last week's TV debate on homosexuality and the church, Räsänen (ed: chair of Christian Democrat party) presented an uncompromising, fundamentalist view on the issue.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 06:54:46 AM EST
Protestantism is supposed to be about individual freedom of conscience, and the disintermediation of the relationship between the individual and his god.

So, why is it that protestantism is the official, state religion in a number of countries? (Are there still countries which are officially, constitutionally catholic?)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 07:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Originally, protestantism became state-supported because the sovereigns of Northern Europe gave the priests an offer they couldn't refuse: We'll confiscate your land, but we'll hire you out of the public purse if you don't make too much fuss about it.

After the institution was established, seeking to revoke the special status of the church would risk being seen as not supporting the Christian faith, something that only really became socially acceptable in the 20th century. So it persisted.

Today, it's useful for the sovereign to have the priests on its payroll. Keeps them from making trouble and sticking their noses in affairs that really aren't any of their business. The priests like it too, because it means they don't have to actually convince people to come to church in order to get paid. The laity like it because it's a reassuring, stable institution.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 08:04:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Originally, protestantism became state-supported because the sovereigns of Northern Europe gave the priests an offer they couldn't refuse: We'll confiscate your land, but we'll hire you out of the public purse if you don't make too much fuss about it.

Hm. Wasn't it more a consequence of the Peace of Westphalia, specifically its adoption of the Peace of Augsburg clause cuius regio, eius religio from a century earlier? Prior to which, there were religious wars, when the 'persuasion' of the clergy of the wrong denomination took the form of killing them?

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

by DoDo on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 11:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the continent, yes, but not so much so much in the Nordic countries - Sweden (including Finland) and Denmark-Norway (including Iceland). The history of reformation here is more similar to that of England and took place at about the same time: the church denomination was decided by the king, the property was confiscated and the priests were employed by the government.

Some bishops were executed, but that in general had more to do with them being members of opposing clans then religious issues.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of the new Protestant priests were lynched by a the local peasants, who for some reason or another objected to the reform. But that was relatively rare.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 01:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yle: Bishops: Church Must "Out" on Gay Question

In religious circles there is now regret that individual opinions and the position of the church have been conflated in public discourse. Four clerics interviewed by YLE said that they didn't recognize the position of their own church during the discussion programme.

"In my opinion matters have been confused to the point where some party's member of Parliament has been interpreted to be the voice of the church. In reality, the church has a much more diverse, warmer and more tolerant voice towards sexual minorities also," explained Wille Riekkinen, Bishop of Kuopio.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:12:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
vielleicht apropos of the discussion on holy consumerism, there already is a Church for that.  Reverend Billy is a relatively new incarnation of an old theater friend of mine, a very talented boy (named Bill Talen).  The Church has most recently been very active in the campaign against mountain top removal, from onsite in West virginia to the lobbies of the wall street banks funding the MTR companies.

Church of Life After Shopping

They toured Yurp twice last year and this past winter.  Hilarious.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 12:18:08 PM EST
Here's a good intro. Rev Billy live on Wall Street w/ cast of thousands.

AMEN/! Shopalujah!!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:49:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention, Kurt Vonnegut, Network, Rev Billy Live on Fox Business, and the dancingest, soulful indictment of Wall Street since, well, mig's diary.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 03:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I went out in the garden late this afternoon when I realized there was a bit of drizzle and something may have been left out. A light breeze was picking a few dead leaves off the trees and stirring up those at my feet. A couple of birds battled against the gusts. There were dark rain clouds coming in from the sea, but the sun in the West still dappled the upper walls of the house. I lit a ciggie and took it all in - the scene, I mean.

The bit of me that I think is more awake than the other part got flooded with some biochems from the other part. It all felt good. The other part had already decided, based on complex sensory detection and analysis, that the present moment was worth studying in more detail, for future reference.

The other part as usual failed to tell the 'awake' part that this change in plumbing was about to take place. So as usual, muggins here (the awake part) was left to explain why he felt good. What I came up with, on the spot, was not that good an excuse: "Though I don't know enough about this world around me at the moment - why it looks and feels like it does and how it works - I know enough to accept that it is emergent - self-designed, if you will. No planner or manufacturer was required and thus no gods of any kind with magic talents were required".

The only magic here is in my head. And like IKEA products, was entirely self-assembled. Though I may have misplaced a screw or two, and using a small screwdriver as a hex key was not a good idea, at least the thing is standing and looks something like the diagram of history.

Which brings me to my motto on this beautiful world:

Shit happens and you just have to learn to deal with it.

 

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 02:00:28 PM EST


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Oct 18th, 2010 at 05:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - 10.000 leave Lutheran church
Do not murder, commit adultery, don't steal
The Finnish version of the 10th Commandments condones adultery?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 11:14:55 AM EST
We've become very French of late...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 11:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This surprises you?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 12:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What started out as a bit of a news LQD - that I thought might get some traction with a few of the faithful here - turned into a mini-Methuselah. A diary with legs.

The views expressed have largely been very informative, and a few made me think very hard. Thanks.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 05:05:05 PM EST
And a special thanks to Lily...
by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:42:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily commented in this thread?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lily will understand :o)
by Lynch on Thu Oct 21st, 2010 at 04:47:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes she did. And she was brilliant!!!
by Lynch on Sat Oct 30th, 2010 at 10:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. In spades.
I'm curious as to where you thought it might go, and if the actual results related. I too am surprised at the direction that it has taken, but I'm far better informed- and more respectful towards Erdogan....

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 03:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I first read the story in Finnish media, I thought it illustrated improving attitudes to homosexuality in Finland - in particular that women seemed more compassionate. I thought it was good news.

But as the story (in Finland) developed, so the comments here shifted to religious beliefs. (sparked probably by Lynch's early comment).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Oct 23rd, 2010 at 04:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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