Religion

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

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Re: Religion

Postby segmentation fault » Wed Dec 05, 2007 7:37 pm UTC

Ennui wrote:I'm an atheist and I find religion to be both interesting and irritating.


i am the same way. i think religion should be used as a thought process to further oneself, to become more enlightened, and to enrich the mind. if one needs to use it as a motivational factor for living life, fine. its when they take things waaaay to seriously and judge others especially when theyve done nothing wrong that gets me. it seems that people focus more on what not to do than what they should do, and thats why religion has become a f'ed up repugnant machine.

if youre really interested in religion you should read some writings by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. everything he says about religion is genius.
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Re: Religion

Postby zingmaster » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:54 pm UTC

It's weird, cuz for my grad party, a juggling friend of mine gave me the Bible. We're really close friends, and we've had discussions about religion on several occasions, so I take this as an opportunity to learn more, not that he's trying to convert me. Then again, there's probably a bit of that in the back of his mind anyway. So anyway, should I take the time to read it or not?
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Re: Religion

Postby Robin S » Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:13 pm UTC

If you're interested, why not? I go through periods of reading parts of the Bible (well, the Old Testament) and it hasn't changed my agnosticism.
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Re: Religion

Postby Tchebu » Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:24 pm UTC

Sure, read it... I actually had the idea of reading it entirely at one point, except soon after I started all these school projects and stuff appeared so... (maybe it's a sign... maybe God doesn't want me to read it... Oh me yarm... then again maybe I just lack devotion)...

Anyway, I did read bits and pieces of it back in "Religion and Moral Ed." class in hi-school; I'm sure most people have read bits and pieces of it at some point. It's a good book, worth reading... or at least knowing what it's about in more detail than "God made us, we sinned, Jesus came, got executed, we're saved... moral: love thy neighbor". It is a big part of our culture after all. It can also be useful knowledge when you're arguing about religion too.
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Re: Religion

Postby Astraciel » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:52 am UTC

zingmaster wrote:It's weird, cuz for my grad party, a juggling friend of mine gave me the Bible. We're really close friends, and we've had discussions about religion on several occasions, so I take this as an opportunity to learn more, not that he's trying to convert me. Then again, there's probably a bit of that in the back of his mind anyway. So anyway, should I take the time to read it or not?


Well, the entire Bible might be a little difficult to digest. The Bible was written over a very long time. It is filled with different theological theories from completely different cultures (Greece, Judea, Babylon etc.). Without knowing the explicit historical context the meaning gets lost and it is, in fact, kind of boring. Furthermore, due the large variety of statements from the sometimes rather violent Old Testament to the Lores of Jesus it will be difficult to extract a specific guideline.
A more general suggestion: Every human being has not only the potential, but even the desire for a certain decree of spirituality. This is what makes us human. This spirituality can be religious or philosophical or both. The point, however, is the rediscovery and thus the recreation of oneself. If the Bible helps you - way to go. You should not be fixed on it either, though. A good introduction to a deeper approach to existence itself is Karl Jaspers "Way to wisdom".

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Re: Religion

Postby JayDee » Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:01 am UTC

Astraciel wrote:A more general suggestion: Every human being has not only the potential, but even the desire for a certain decree of spirituality. This is what makes us human. This spirituality can be religious or philosophical or both.
Um, you mean a degree of spirituality, right?

Can anyone recommend good books on the Pschology of Religion? I find the parts of books about psychoanalysis that I've read that touched on religion rather fascinating.
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Re: Religion

Postby Astraciel » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:26 pm UTC

Do you really deem the psychoanalysists view as rational? I talked to a couple of psychology students and it appears to rather be a faith than an actual theory. I mean you are of course welcome to change my mind, but I do not consider it to be reasonable to judge religion with the hypothesises of psychoanalysis, since it is kind of a religion itself. Freud was certainly a pioneer, but he also had strange ideas.


Um, you mean a degree of spirituality, right?


Smart*** :wink:

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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:54 pm UTC

Astraciel wrote:Do you really deem the psychoanalysists view as rational? I talked to a couple of psychology students and it appears to rather be a faith than an actual theory. I mean you are of course welcome to change my mind, but I do not consider it to be reasonable to judge religion with the hypothesises of psychoanalysis, since it is kind of a religion itself. Freud was certainly a pioneer, but he also had strange ideas.


Um, you mean a degree of spirituality, right?


Smart*** :wink:

Do you think your gut feeling is more accurate than an actual science?

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Re: Religion

Postby Belial » Tue Dec 11, 2007 4:01 pm UTC

Astraciel wrote:Do you really deem the psychoanalysists view as rational? I talked to a couple of psychology students and it appears to rather be a faith than an actual theory. I mean you are of course welcome to change my mind, but I do not consider it to be reasonable to judge religion with the hypothesises of psychoanalysis, since it is kind of a religion itself. Freud was certainly a pioneer, but he also had strange ideas.


Yes, and psychology surely hasn't evolved at all since Freud.

:roll:

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Re: Religion

Postby Astraciel » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:27 pm UTC

Do you think your gut feeling is more accurate than an actual science?



Psychoanalysis is not a science. A science works with proofs. Thus there is always the possibility of being disproven. However, you cannot disprove psychoanalysis. By doing so one would immediately be accused of Verdrängung etc. That's why it has repeatedly been attacked by various philosophers and other thinkers like Popper. It is in fact a "modern" religion.


But ok - there is no need to go deeper into this, if it is not wanted. :oops:

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Re: Religion

Postby Robin S » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:09 pm UTC

Actually, there's plenty of room to go into it. Just, as Belial said, please find the appropriate thread.
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Re: Religion

Postby lowbart » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:45 pm UTC

After approximately a minute and a half of looking around, I guess this might be the best place to ask.

Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the Bible translated directly to modern English from the original Hebrew and Aramaic? (Maybe Greek? I don't remember what the New Testament was first written in.) The reason I ask is, I've read that most of the translations available today branch off the first [Latin or Greek] translation, by this one particular guy that supposedly interpreted the text in a very authoritarian way. I'm increasingly distrustful of every new iterative translation - like the New American Bible or whatever that they made into a DVD for people who don't like books, which simplified and draconianized a lot of passages and phrases. You get the feeling of a long game of telephone, which is why I want to find a direct translation.

Has anyone heard of such a thing?
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Re: Religion

Postby Maurog » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:49 pm UTC

Try http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/ and check out the English ones... they can't all be written by this one guy.
Click the version names for explanation on who translated it, how, and most importantly why.
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Re: Religion

Postby Robin S » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:51 pm UTC

Mechon Mamre is fairly popular, too. It has side-by-side translations, among other things. Only the Old Testament (Jewish canon), however.
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Re: Religion

Postby JayDee » Fri Dec 14, 2007 2:49 am UTC

Astraciel wrote:Do you really deem the psychoanalysists view as rational?

Not necessarily. I never indicated that I did, either. But I do find it fascinating. I find religion in general interesting. The psychoanalytical views I've read tend to be discussions on why religion, um, 'happens', based on observations of the workings of the mind. They often provide some food for thought.
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Re: Religion

Postby Hrtbrkone » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:45 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:
Ennui wrote:I'm an atheist and I find religion to be both interesting and irritating.


i am the same way. i think religion should be used as a thought process to further oneself, to become more enlightened, and to enrich the mind. if one needs to use it as a motivational factor for living life, fine. its when they take things waaaay to seriously and judge others especially when theyve done nothing wrong that gets me. it seems that people focus more on what not to do than what they should do, and thats why religion has become a f'ed up repugnant machine.

if youre really interested in religion you should read some writings by Deitrich Bonhoeffer. everything he says about religion is genius.


I'll have to check that out.



Religion, in its purest form, are ways of life to bring love to the world around you.

Jesus was not anti-war or anti-abortion / pro-life,
yet it seems that's all people care about. Even modern "Christians."


To be a Christian, or any religious follower, means just that: follow the ways their spiritual leaders conducted their lives - of love and compassion. This is truly practicing religion.

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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:36 am UTC

Hrtbrkone wrote:Religion, in its purest form, are ways of life to bring love to the world around you.

Jesus was not anti-war or anti-abortion / pro-life,
yet it seems that's all people care about. Even modern "Christians."


To be a Christian, or any religious follower, means just that: follow the ways their spiritual leaders conducted their lives - of love and compassion. This is truly practicing religion.


On what basis do you make that claim? Are the big three monotheisms then not "true" religions?

1 Samuel 15 wrote:"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt.

'Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"


4:89 wrote:They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them,


Jesus is debatable, but Mohamed and Moses sure as hell weren't peaceful. They don't, especially not the latter two, make good role models. Big problems arise when people start regarding these far from perfect people as someone who they should base their life off of. To take one rather despicable example, you have some Muslim paedophiles trying to justify marrying children (also known as child-rape) because Mohamed married a six-year-old girl and consummated it when she was nine. I've found that even "moderate" Muslims cannot bring themselves to condemn this act, because it is the Prophet ("PBUH"), just as many "moderate" Christians cannot bring themselves to condemn the genocide (quoted above) that was supposedly ordered by god.

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Re: Religion

Postby Hrtbrkone » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:00 am UTC

In that case then certain religions are far worse than I understood them to be.

If certain religions are not ways of life to bring about love and compassion, as allegedly pointed out in the holy texts...
then they have some serious flaws that I don't even want to get into...

zar, you just opened up a whole new level of narrow-mindedness :(

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Re: Religion

Postby Tchebu » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:33 am UTC

Religion, in its purest form, are ways of life to bring love to the world around you.


Wohooo... way to redefine words...

Hey... religion is orange juice... everything that isn't orange juice is false religion... orange juice is good... therefore religion is good...

Oh what's that?... pple say religious pple do crazy shit in the name of their god (*cough* Jesus trashing merchants' property in front of the temple *cough*)... oh no... lol... that's not REAL religion... real religion is orange juice...
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Re: Religion

Postby TheStranger » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:05 am UTC

Tchebu wrote:Oh what's that?... pple say religious pple do crazy shit in the name of their god (*cough* Jesus trashing merchants' property in front of the temple *cough*)... oh no... lol... that's not REAL religion... real religion is orange juice...


Well I've always felt that Jesus' actions there were a valid protest of the merchants actions.

It's up to us to determine how we use religious ideals. Do we use them as a weapons against others or as a way to live a better life.

The purpose of religion is to hold oneself to an ideal that goes beyond the world we know, that there is a large world beyond what we know.
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Re: Religion

Postby Tchebu » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:18 am UTC

Well Jesus was an awesome person in my eyes. As unreligious and atheistic as I am, his ability to unconditionally forgive was always something that I saw as a great virtue that I would like to live up to myself as well... and then I read (or maybe just heard about that passage, I don't remember which happened first) about the incident at the temple... and it really just struck me as incoherent with the whole idea of forgiveness... It's also striking that this lack of forgiveness only appeared when it came to "offending God"...

Valid protest?... sure, I would perfectly understand those actions... from a normal religious person... not from a divine proponent of unconditional forgiveness though...

The purpose of religion is to hold oneself to an ideal that goes beyond the world we know, that there is a large world beyond what we know.


The first part is ok... holding yourself to a higher ideal is great... like I said, Jesus is a great character, regardless of whether he existed or not, or whether he was the son of anything. The ideal, the mental imaginary construct ... yeah that's great... because it gives you something to aim for, and because ultimately it would lead to greater happiness of people, especially if everyone tried to live up to that ideal.

The second part is superfluous and ... just bad... don't promise people things you can't give them. Don't promise them a "greater world" with spirits and angels and no hardships of earthly life that will magically drop on them, a "paradise" for them to go to... don't promise them eternal life. don't claim that our notions of morality and good will somehow extrapolate to the essense of the Universe... it's unnecessary... the ideals can exist without them, and can be followed just as easily... and will be just as inspiring. And it saves you the need to promise people things that you cannot provide.
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Re: Religion

Postby TheStranger » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:29 pm UTC

Tchebu wrote:Valid protest?... sure, I would perfectly understand those actions... from a normal religious person... not from a divine proponent of unconditional forgiveness though...


Divine, though still human. It is one of the few times in the Bible where we see Jesus' human side (not the Son-of-God / Prophet).

The second part is superfluous and ... just bad... don't promise people things you can't give them. Don't promise them a "greater world" with spirits and angels and no hardships of earthly life that will magically drop on them, a "paradise" for them to go to... don't promise them eternal life. don't claim that our notions of morality and good will somehow extrapolate to the essense of the Universe... it's unnecessary... the ideals can exist without them, and can be followed just as easily... and will be just as inspiring. And it saves you the need to promise people things that you cannot provide.


It comes back to the nature of Faith, which I like to interpret as "a sense of the Divine". Having Faith is much like being in love, you can't prove you're in love but you know it. Those who have never really been in love cannot understand it while those who have know it well. To have Faith in God is to be sure of His presence in the world, the rest (angles, heaven, etc. ) is just fluff.
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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:29 pm UTC

If the rest is just fluff, then there's a lot of that fluff in your bible. There's some pretty big promises that Jesus makes:
Mt. 21:21-22 wrote:Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.


As for the love analogy, you can certainly prove you're in love, or at least demonstrate good evidence for it. A quick search turned up this, which aside from all the physical demonstrations of love, is direct evidence of what someone is actually feeling.

Furthermore, when someone is in love, they are not typically in love with an imaginary friend. If they are, they are usually considered insane. You don't need to have faith that the one you love exists; you see them and touch them and talk to them (and they talk back).

One doesn't need to doubt that such a deluded person is in love to doubt the existence of what they claim to love. Your argument based on what you feel isn't arguing anything relevant to the discussion. If you feel that, fine, but don't pretend that it's an argument for the truth of what you believe in.

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Re: Religion

Postby Tchebu » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:33 pm UTC

To have Faith in God is to be sure of His presence in the world, the rest (angles, heaven, etc. ) is just fluff.


O Rly?

So basically you're saying "hey... God exists... isn't that awesome?.. Yeah, umm... he doens't punish the guilty, he doesn't answer prayers, he can't actually create miracles, you still get to die like those pesky atheists say you will without any heaven later, and yeah... you know... that was just fluff really... but you still feel great cuz he exists right?... huh huh?.. "
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:53 pm UTC

I found this to be really funny and not at all offensive:
http://www.cracked.com/article_15699_9- ... erses.html

Certainly, the bible, you know, that shared book of law that Jews and Christians and Muslims all use as the cornerstone for their slightly differing but altogether fairly similar beliefs, is chock full of wisdom and reasonable ethics to abide by. It is, however, also full of barbarism, deceit and xenophobic misogyny.

In early times, man was running amok in loincloths barely bound to cave mates by survivalisms needs. Then comes religion, a viral concept that keeps people acting more or less in line, allowing humanity to get on its feet. Thats good! It wasn't perfect, but honestly, it was a step in the right direction. Look, humanities more or less on its feet now, sure, we've got issues, but we sure as shit have gotten out of the caves. Lets find a new paradigm to hold us together (like space exploration).

I think evangelism of any religion (hassids hauling me in for a minyan, vegetarians angry at chicken burritos, mormons buying ad space on public transit, greenpeace asking me if i've got 5 minutes to save the environment [double points if the canvaser is a cute girl CLEARLY taking advantage of her smile] jewel singing who will save your soul... etc) is an invitation for an argument, and potentially a scene if you can't handle yourself respectfully. Theres nothing I hate more then someone opening up and sharing their beliefs without being willing to do the same, OR, without being willing to hear "I'm sorry, I'm busy right now".

EDIT: "Or perhaps "donkey jawbone" was mistranslated from the hebrew as "minigun""
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Re: Religion

Postby Rook » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:In early times, man was running amok in loincloths barely bound to cave mates by survivalisms needs. Then comes religion, a viral concept that keeps people acting more or less in line, allowing humanity to get on its feet. Thats good! It wasn't perfect, but honestly, it was a step in the right direction. Look, humanities more or less on its feet now, sure, we've got issues, but we sure as shit have gotten out of the caves. Lets find a new paradigm to hold us together (like space exploration).

So when you're done with something, you throw it away?

Although I'm not in favour of 'preserving' religion either; I generally dislike people speaking of such things like museum pieces that must be carefully protected and stepped around, and polished up for display now and then. Certainly, Christianity is more flexible than you seem to imagine. Judaism, I'll grant you, is chock full of rules, but I'm not Jewish; I'm a gentile.

What this means (as far as I've learned) is that so long as I develop to the point where, in any given situation, I'll 'do the right thing', then I'll probably be OK. What 'the right thing' is, you have to learn to know. But anyone can, thanks to a little thing (not to sound like a bad Disney film) called conscience that all but the most damaged individuals have access to.

A few definition revisions I'd like share: 'Love' in the new testament sense [generally/often] means giving anyone else as many second chances as you would give yourself. Note, there is always a line that can be crossed; love does not mean having to be a doormat to everyone else's whims. Neither more does loving someone in this way mean you even have to like them. You can hate their guts, but loving them means that you forgive them for anything you could forgive yourself for doing.

And although it hasn't been discussed recently (except in Izawwlgood's link, perhaps), absolute pacifism is not enforced; the line reads "You shall not commit murder" (variously translated to 'thou shalt not kill' by people who can't tell the difference). Nobody ever wondered about soldiers? Or if you're fighting someone equally prepared to die? (This last was mostly an aside, I figured I should write it somewhere, if only to remind myself)
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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:41 pm UTC

So when you're done with something, you throw it away?

When we know that something that was once believed is not true, yes, we stop acting like its true. Astrology made way for astronomy, just as alchemy was discarded for chemistry. We now know better and we move on.

I disagree with your redefining of "love" to somehow apply even when you hate someone, but you do raise an important point. Beyond "thou shalt not kill", one actually is quite clearly ordered to be a doormat and not fight back against bullies with the immoral teaching of "turning the other cheek". Children should not be taught to take a beating, and on a much larger scale, genocidal dictators should not be tolerated, "loved", or forgiven. In practice this teaching is thankfully rejected, but it is another example of hypocrisy among believers.

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Re: Religion

Postby daydalus » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:22 pm UTC

zar wrote:I disagree with your redefining of "love" to somehow apply even when you hate someone, but you do raise an important point. Beyond "thou shalt not kill", one actually is quite clearly ordered to be a doormat and not fight back against bullies with the immoral teaching of "turning the other cheek". Children should not be taught to take a beating, and on a much larger scale, genocidal dictators should not be tolerated, "loved", or forgiven. In practice this teaching is thankfully rejected, but it is another example of hypocrisy among believers.


Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. would disagree with you.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:36 pm UTC

The modern practice of religion is very different from its intended methodologies, across the board.
(I apologize that i don't have bible quotes here, if you feel i've misinterpreted or made something up, let me know and i'll go digging)
Old testament instructs you to stone anyone who has lain with another man. That wives can be murdered if they refuse to sleep with their husband. That Jews are the chosen people, the light of nations. That when a mob comes knocking on your door, Holy shit, here, take my daughters, but don't touch me or my guests! That Jobs suffrage was justified because hey, what deity ISN'T curious about the breaking point of his subjects? That eating meat on a sunday is punishable by death.

So look, either you take religion at face value and basically refuse to live in the modern world we have thankfully carved out, wrenching a small corner of civilization from a crazy world of chaos, OR, you adapt your faith. Which I think people should do. But in adapting their faith, they have to start modifying rules, or taking quotations as metaphor instead of fact. When this happens, the face of the religion changes. So, no, i disagree with you, religion, particularly the monotheistic religions, are NOT flexible. That to me is one of the reasons that many highly observant individuals stick to their own. And thats okay, people are entitled that.

I completely support an individuals right to have faith as long as that faith isn't stepping on anyone else's toes. Or, anyone else's faith.

Also, Dr. King and Ghandi should be applauded, hailed, revered, but that does NOT mean their methods of peaceful protest are appropriate for every situation. They are NOT the end all be all solution to social change.
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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:09 pm UTC

daydalus wrote:Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. would disagree with you.

I don't know what MLK had to say about fighting against the Nazis, but yes, Gandhi would definitely disagree with me. And I suspect he would also disagree with you.

Here's what he had to say about the Holocaust:
If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy [...] the calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror.


Yes, I am happy to disagree with such a statement.

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Re: Religion

Postby Rook » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:26 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The modern practice of religion is very different from its intended methodologies, across the board.
(I apologize that i don't have bible quotes here, if you feel i've misinterpreted or made something up, let me know and i'll go digging)
Old testament instructs you to stone anyone who has lain with another man. That wives can be murdered if they refuse to sleep with their husband. That Jews are the chosen people, the light of nations. That when a mob comes knocking on your door, Holy shit, here, take my daughters, but don't touch me or my guests! That Jobs suffrage was justified because hey, what deity ISN'T curious about the breaking point of his subjects? That eating meat on a sunday is punishable by death.

The lesson here is; don't bother reading the books of Moses unless you're Jewish. So far as I'm aware, none but the most basic and hopefully blindingly obvious of these rules was ever supposed to be forced on gentile Christians. viz, don't nick stuff etc.

Izawwlgood wrote:So look, either you take religion at face value and basically refuse to live in the modern world we have thankfully carved out, wrenching a small corner of civilization from a crazy world of chaos, OR, you adapt your faith. Which I think people should do.

I do this all the time. This is what Christianity is. You know those guys that go on about Christianity being nothing but old bits and bobs borrowed from other faith groups? They're right, it is. Where they are wrong is in thinking that this somehow 'invalidates' Christianity, that it makes it one big tissue of lies.

The whole point of Christianity is a promise of immortality that could be taken to everyone. The requirements for gaining said immortality are simple; become the type of person who could live in an eternal utopia presided over by one God. If you can do this in a hundred years, you're in*. For gentile (non-Jewish) Christians, that's pretty much it. Homosexuals**? No problem. After all, once you're dead, the body is gone, right? So all that differentiates male and female after that is life experiences.

What I'm trying to get at is that, aside from historical interest, and for the sake of having a more complete picture of the Christ's first coming, there isn't much of value in the old testament for gentiles. It's not worthless, but it's really quite important to remember who it was written for and when.


*Not taking into account various technicalities which may or may not be present, such as reincarnation or any of the ideas which hypothesise a variety of levels of heaven, instead of a black&white 'you're in or you're out' policy. Speculation on this, while not useless per see, can never reach any actual conclusions, so I tend to adopt a 'hope for the best, plan for the worst' stance.

**Coming back to the first point, I went through an OT quoting phase quite recently. After a few rigorous, er, talks, on the morality of homosexuality, I couldn't help but see some damn good points from what was then my opposition. If you really care what those were, there's probably another thread somewhere. I'd rather not go through that little argument again, not from either side.
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:49 pm UTC

Well, if you check that link I posted earlier about 9-badass bible quotes, a good number of them come from the Christian bible. Something about a dude smiting some king after deceiving him. And some prophet getting bears to wreck the day of some kids. And I'd disagree, a good deal of Christianity's system of morals and ethics as i understand it is BASED upon the books of Moses, similar in the way the the Talmud is BASED upon the Torah.

Heres a question of opinion: According to your faith, should gays be allowed to marry? Are gays going to hell? Are non-believers going to hell? If you stand in accordance to your faith, then I have to respect your right to believe what you will, but that doesn't strike me as being very full of love. In fact, the commonly held tenant of most monothesistic religions seems to be a twofer: A form of the golden rule, and "My way's the right way". Again, not very logically sound.

Just read your footnote, so scrap that.
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Re: Religion

Postby Tchebu » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:27 pm UTC

The whole point of Christianity is a promise of immortality that could be taken to everyone. The requirements for gaining said immortality are simple; become the type of person who could live in an eternal utopia presided over by one God.


With the alternative being hell... yup yup... fun...

Oh, and like I said... don't promise things you can't provide, or at least demonstrate the inevitability of...
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Re: Religion

Postby zar » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:30 pm UTC

Rook wrote:The whole point of Christianity is a promise of immortality that could be taken to everyone. The requirements for gaining said immortality are simple; become the type of person who could live in an eternal utopia presided over by one God. If you can do this in a hundred years, you're in*. For gentile (non-Jewish) Christians, that's pretty much it. Homosexuals**? No problem. After all, once you're dead, the body is gone, right? So all that differentiates male and female after that is life experiences.

What I'm trying to get at is that, aside from historical interest, and for the sake of having a more complete picture of the Christ's first coming, there isn't much of value in the old testament for gentiles. It's not worthless, but it's really quite important to remember who it was written for and when.
...
*Not taking into account various technicalities which may or may not be present, such as reincarnation or any of the ideas which hypothesise a variety of levels of heaven, instead of a black&white 'you're in or you're out' policy. Speculation on this, while not useless per see, can never reach any actual conclusions, so I tend to adopt a 'hope for the best, plan for the worst' stance.


Why do you think you know not only that heaven exists, but that you know the entry requirements for it? Where does this knowledge you claim come from? (It can't be the Bible. It has very different ideas...) "Planning" for anything is impossible. There is just as much reason to believe that heaven is only for murders and rapists as there is to think that it is for people who behave themselves. This is the same reason why it makes no sense to believe in some deity in hopes of playing it safe -- there's just as much chance that a god would punish believers as it would punish disbelievers. You are in no place to claim that it will do either.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:23 pm UTC

From a personal perspective, do you find that actions should be or should not be committed based on their influence of our ability to get to heaven? By this definition, doesn't religion negate the altruism it strives to preach? I've never been comfortable with living my life to secure the promise of heaven. If my actions are only for the next life, then nothing in the now matters.

Rook, I still think you should reexamine what the "old testament" means to christians, because it seems a lot of the talk you hear from conservative christians stems from quoting that particular part of the bible. On another note, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on homosexuality and non-believers, but understand that this is not the thread for it. Can you direct me to a thread you've posted on previously, or PM me?
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Re: Religion

Postby Rook » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:24 pm UTC

zar wrote:Why do you think you know not only that heaven exists, but that you know the entry requirements for it? Where does this knowledge you claim come from? (It can't be the Bible. It has very different ideas...) "Planning" for anything is impossible. There is just as much reason to believe that heaven is only for murders and rapists as there is to think that it is for people who behave themselves. This is the same reason why it makes no sense to believe in some deity in hopes of playing it safe -- there's just as much chance that a god would punish believers as it would punish disbelievers. You are in no place to claim that it will do either.

I never claimed to 'know' these things by your definition (which I can safely assume is: to know = to know that X is an unquestionable fact). This is what I believe, more because it's the conclusion I have come to over the course of my undeniably short life. I very much doubt it will be exactly the same by the time I die, but that I feel helps the point I'm about to make.

You ask me where this 'knowledge' comes from. Short answer: everywhere. Everything I see and do every day of my life in some way alters not only my current world view, but also my feelings on the nature of ascension as I see it. Due to a number of reasons, it is not uncommon for people such as yourself to assume that faith denies reasoning, that faith can only be arrived at suddenly in it's finished form, and that these beliefs must be maintained whole and as they are, or not at all. And that was the long answer: that while my current ideas on the afterlife are based on what I have been told, I have come to construct ideas that are more my own by thinking everything through using my experiences as scaffolding.


As to your statement that planning [for the afterlife] is impossible, how so? Granted, you can't plot out any specifics, but to my mind, sitting on the fence is liable to do you less good than 'picking a side' (not that I believe there are 'sides' in the way many imagine, but still). Allow me to make an attempt at analogy. If your country is being invaded, many people are liable to take sides; some will band together and resist, others will defect. But what about the people who do neither, the 'conscientious objectors'? When it's all finally settled, it doesn't matter which side wins, they're sure as heck gonna be pretty pissed with the buggers that waited to see who would win before choosing a side. Sometimes 'oh, I'm neutral' doesn't cut it as an excuse.
But there again, it might. I don't know. And because I don't know exactly, I'll base my best guess on what I do know, and go with that.

And to the statement after that; think about it (briefly, I promise) from my angle. Assume that there is indeed a heaven. Don't assume who it's run by, or how it works. Just think of it as a perfect place you go when you die. Okay?
Now populate it with human detritus. How many seconds will it take for the whole thing to fall apart? The reason I don't believe in a heaven for serial murderers and rapists isn't because I've been told there isn't one; an idiot could work out that such a place simply couldn't function long-term. On the other hand, I have plenty of evidence to suggest that when you put a lot of good people together, life can very easily be better for everyone.
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Re: Religion

Postby yoni45 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:31 pm UTC

Rook wrote:And to the statement after that; think about it (briefly, I promise) from my angle. Assume that there is indeed a heaven. Don't assume who it's run by, or how it works. Just think of it as a perfect place you go when you die. Okay?
Now populate it with human detritus. How many seconds will it take for the whole thing to fall apart? The reason I don't believe in a heaven for serial murderers and rapists isn't because I've been told there isn't one; an idiot could work out that such a place simply couldn't function long-term. On the other hand, I have plenty of evidence to suggest that when you put a lot of good people together, life can very easily be better for everyone.


That is, of course, assuming people retain these bad qualities upon their ascension to 'heaven'... ^_^
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Re: Religion

Postby Rook » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:41 pm UTC

I would so dearly love to be able to believe that such failings are purely biological, and not at all part of the soul. We'll see.
Izawwlgood wrote:From a personal perspective, do you find that actions should be or should not be committed based on their influence of our ability to get to heaven? By this definition, doesn't religion negate the altruism it strives to preach? I've never been comfortable with living my life to secure the promise of heaven. If my actions are only for the next life, then nothing in the now matters.

I used to worry about this too, but that's looking at it from the wrong end (I know it's bad practice to call someone wrong in a debate thread, but hear me out on this one, please).

It's like on remembrance day; you pay a pound for your poppy, which you wear to the service. But did you pay the pound just so you could get the poppy, or to support the veterans fund? Most people buy poppies out of habit, but if asked, I think you would pay a pound anyway, even if you weren't going to get a poppy.

Similarly on red nose day; people support charities like these because they want to do a good thing, not because they get something out of it. Although it might start out that way, if you keep on giving it eventually becomes habit. I think it's the same here; if you're new to Christianity, or just young and thinking about it, you might start out because of the promise of paradise. But it just helps to keep you on track; eventually, doing good becomes habit. Just look at any good kid who (upon reaching some non-specific age, say, 14-17) tries to deliberately go through an angsty phase. They'll often find themselves being nice to someone completely by accident, and there's very little they can do about it (my only solid evidence for this is me, but I know there are others).

To answer directly, I think actions should be committed based on what you feel to be right. This is hard, and your definitions are going to change, but that's the point. Personally, I believe life is a learning experience (not the same as a test); one of those kinds that scholarly types often detest, where there is no mark given at the end, and you only get out what you put in.
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Re: Religion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:55 pm UTC

I don't disagree with a lick of what you said. Spot on. Good deeds should be completed because you've formed the habit of committing them, where that habit came from is moot. Those actions that you dictate your days by is the VERY DEFINITION of what makes us human beings, and one could therefor argue, the meat and potatoes of our spiritual existence.

And your right! Life is a learning experience, and your standards will change over time (or over drinks, sorry, it fit so perfectly). The bible is very clear about where its lines are drawn however; for example, sexual activities with a member of the same sex is considered homosexuality, but I know plenty of people who only consider sex to be penetration (yes this is phallocentric, but they're guys, and gay guys who want to think of themselves as less promiscious then they are.. which is fine, moving on).

So again my question to you is whether or not I can get into heaven by upholding my own set of moral codes, if, righteous though they may be, they do not have any room for accepting Jesus (This applies to Muslims too with Mohammad)? Religion, any one of them, laid out, IN PRACTICE, NOT LITERALLY, a genuinely 'good' way of living your life with fellow human beings. Why look down upon someone who supports and mimics your behavior, simply because they invoke someone elses name in doing so? Or no name at all?

Rook wrote:I would so dearly love to be able to believe that such failings are purely biological, and not at all part of the soul. We'll see.


What actions separate biology from the soul? Aren't the seven deadly sins based on biological imperatives? And thus, the seven virtues also based on biological imperatives?

Tangentially, i assume your speaking about homosexuality here, so forgive me if you weren't, but what would you say to those who didn't view homosexuality as anymore a weakness as your craving for a member of the opposite sex is a weakness?
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Re: Religion

Postby Rook » Wed Dec 19, 2007 11:19 pm UTC

Not at all. I think you can't help who you fall in love with.

What separates biology from the soul? Well to give an example of what I think; an autistic person often has difficulty integrating in society to the degree anyone else would, yes? Not always, but too often. Yet they have as much capacity for good as the rest of us; their mind and soul are just like anyone else's, but their condition can prevent that from being obvious. In the afterlife however, an autistic person would be just like you or me. With their body gone, their mind and soul would be free to the same level as you or me.

Izawwlgood wrote:So again my question to you is whether or not I can get into heaven by upholding my own set of moral codes, if, righteous though they may be, they do not have any room for accepting Jesus (This applies to Muslims too with Mohammad)? Religion, any one of them, laid out, IN PRACTICE, NOT LITERALLY, a genuinely 'good' way of living your life with fellow human beings. Why look down upon someone who supports and mimics your behavior, simply because they invoke someone elses name in doing so? Or no name at all?

For once, I actually have an answer ready on that one. Now, I know a lot of people groan even louder when CS Lewis is quoted than they do at Bible bashers, but I feel the man's opinions are likely to be just about as objective as it's possible to get without being a robot.

His idea was that it didn't matter what name good deeds were done in; my God is the god of good, and as such any good deed done is done in His name. Likewise, no evil can be done truly in the name of God, because he is a god of good. Anyone who does evil and declares it done 'in the name of God' does not do it in the name of God, but in the name of the Beast. Therefore, any good works done in the name of the Beast are in reality done in the name of God, for the Beast cannot take any deed which is good, as God cannot take any deed which is evil.

These are not quite m own views, as they lean a little further towards dualism than I do (my ideas on the nature of the devil are somewhat different). However, that's the gist of it. If you want it in it's original form, I strongly suggest you read 'The Last Battle'. It is located toward the back, but reading the whole thing gives a better set up, and it's fairly short anyway.

In any case, what it means is that anyone who lives as Jesus described, becoming the good person God wants all people to be, will be able to enter heaven whether they know of it or not. The whole evangelism thing is just supposed to give everyone an even chance (unfortunately, it doesn't work so well due to the MASSIVE stigma surrounding just the word). Say you uphold your own moral codes; if these are good (it's not mine versus yours; everyone at heart knows right from wrong), then even if you say you reject Jesus, you accept him by upholding the same principles he stood for.
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