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Rant on Religion

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Zum
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#26 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/31/09 - 11:37 PM:

I'd like to get a really simple practice of some sort that I could do wherever I was. It would be patterned to my core assumptions-- the things I have always thought were so. Theological tenets aside from these assumptions would not be in it. I would give myself permission to modify the practice.

Zum
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#27 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/02/09 - 11:57 AM:

There's the phrase, "You get the Nietzsche you deserve."
The phrase is appropriate to Nietzsche because, in his philosophical works, he dealt with a wide variety of topics and wrote from varying moods and from diverse corners of his psyche, so to speak. Any consistency in the corpus of his work derives from whatever was consistent in him as a man.
"You get the Nietzsche you deserve" implies that "Nietzsche" is a broad spectrum of interrelated ideas and speculations, and that Nietzsche the man declined to settle into a single narrow system. It implies that, if a person derives from "Nietzsche" anything simplistic and constrained, that person is making a choice based on his own predilections.

Do we get the religion we deserve?
Monk2400
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#28 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/02/09 - 3:06 PM:

'Deserve' is perhaps not the best word for it.

'Desert' implies a kind of justice operating in the world that matches means and ends, processes with outcomes, and, indeed, corollary outcomes. Often, when we speak of someone 'getting what's coming to them (that they deserve)', it is outside of the means-end sequence that that person has already completed, and we are hinting that the entire sequence itself will have further consequences that will bring upon that person some outcome that, as we see it, is fittingly matched to the quality of their actions.

But, unless there is some kind of magical gravity operating between events, outside of the normal gravity and electromagnetic forces that bind physical interactions, then this 'justice' implies an Adjudicator who ensures that each receives their proper 'reward'. In a communist system, no person 'deserves' more than another, and so the system strives to equalize all conditions. Religion, fundamentally, ought be a spiritual communism, with no individual acquiring more desert than any other, based on their fundamental acceptance criterion as being human beings (rational, moral agents).

If we get the Nietzsche we deserve, it is not a matter of justice, of getting our 'just deserts', but, as you say Zum, of our specifically making certain choices to view the text in a certain way. We choose the angle of interpretation, and thus colour the text the way it best resonates with us.

We get the chocolate ice cream cone because we ignored the vanilla and strawberry flavours. But this choice of selecting the one out of a list of possibles, is nothing to do with desert as justice. We do not deserve the chocolate cone, insofaras it is us that chooses it in the first place.

So, what would be the religion that any given person 'deserves'?

Most people are, in fact, evil. So most people should, actually, deserve a cruel and restrictive religion that ultimately destroys them with no hope for redemption.

Or, if we take a more humanistic approach, then everyone deserves a religion that uplifts the spirit of humanity and cultivates growth and development, community and brotherhood.

But, if we are noting the fact that many, many people are born 'into' a religious culture, then unless you add some kind of reincarnation karma force working here, there is no question of 'desert' for these folks. They have no choice from the outset.

Others, who have more liberty, can and do choose a single religion (or a mix of religious elements) from the many choices offered by human culture. And in doing so they invariably select that which has the greatest resonance and pull for them. Converts often speak of a revelatory experience, where they realize immediately the truth of the religious doctrine and the rightness and goodness of them personally fulfilling or following it. And this too, if often quite at odds with what such folks may or may not 'deserve' in life, depending on how they've lived beforehand. Many evil persons do in fact find redemption in religion, though to the eyes of the masses, they may not deserve such respite.

8)
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#29 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/02/09 - 6:02 PM:

Cool. I didn't question the appropriateness of "deserve" when I heard the quote. I understood it to mean, roughly, Each person, from among the divergent topics, attitudes and flights of fancy to be found in Nietzsche's works, selects particular themes consistent with his or her predilection. The predilections are, in their turn, governed by the--well, let's say--spiritual and, I guess, intellectual condition of the person reading the books. So the passage makes sense if you postulate a selection process determined, not by the universe, but by a more limited principle--the tastes, the needs the character of a given reader.

The quote was in the context of the view, prevalent just after WWII, that Nietzsche was a proto-Nazi.
Zum
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#30 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/18/09 - 12:17 PM:

Maybe religion construed as an agreement to believe a set of contra- logical propositions as an act of surrender doesn't cut it anymore. Just possibly it never really was the point.

I could get behind a religion like that of Dr. Paul Farmer. I recommend the book about him by Tracy Kidder, Mountains Behind Mountains.
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#31 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/24/09 - 9:50 AM:

Genesis 1:27

''So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him''

Try: ''So man created God in his own image, in the image of man created he Him''

Works a lot better.
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#32 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/24/09 - 10:03 AM:

Monk2400 wrote:
I have faith in greater, transcendent forces at work shaping reality. And faith that I can participate in this creation.8)


Ah yes, 'Faith', indeed, some articles of 'faith' are well grounded. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning in the east. This 'faith' is based on experience NOT from an unquestioning belief system and that faith, whether or not the sun actually does rise tomorrow barring some catastrophic cosmic event, is therefore well-grounded and logical.

Faith without proof is illogical (apologies to Leonard Nimoy)

Where is this evidence for a 'creator?' It is illusory.
Zum
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#33 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/24/09 - 10:04 AM:

Yep. About right.
Zum
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#34 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/24/09 - 2:08 PM:

I hope you stay around, skydog. The upending of the Old Testament quote was better than witty.

As I walked back from Starbuck's, I looked over the implications.

Of course we create God in our own image. What else do we have? We have limited perceptual/interpretive systems grounded in our specific life experiences, sharply limited by the parameters of our imaginations. By definition, the Divine is the other, is that which cannot be comprehended or imagined. All this should be remembered by those who believe and by those who do not. So underlying all faith, there needs to be agnosticism. In fact, agnosticism is the presupposition of faith, insofar as faith is a belief in the existence of something imperceptible. (I heard someone use the term "faith" in a different sense: a sense of optimism based on the rationale that, as there a marvelous congruence in math and physics, so there may be a like congruence in the universe as a totality.) He is someone comfortable with uncertainty.

How do religious folk handle these paradoxes? Do they maintain the Wallenda act? Can they walk the tightrope?

It goes on. We also, to a degree, create other people in our own image, or in the image of our expectations, needs, and fantasy trips.
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#35 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/25/09 - 1:47 AM:

Zum:'How do religious folk handle these paradoxes? Do they maintain the Wallenda act? Can they walk the tightrope?'

They can ... but they need a safety net! I became Atheist way before Dawkins arrived on the scene but his book 'The God Delusion' gives an example of 'faith' overcoming reason and evidence. Seems some high-flying Geological Phd type had all the evidence needed to date the age of the earth accurately but steadfastly maintained that our planet was only 10,000 years old. Why? Because the bible says so. Dogma overcomes reason every time with these loonies. And the bible, and all the other 'holy' books, are little more than a collection of 'Chinese Whispers' and varying con tricks visited upon gullible dupes who have a need to feel inferior for some reason. The parallels between the founding of Islam and Mormonism are unmistakable. Islam was the product of a deranged psychopath whereas Mormonism was the product of a snake-oil merchant. Both had their tenets passed down by an 'Angel' to it's 'chosen prophet' ... Joseph Smith merely purloined the idea lock stock and smoking barrel from Islam. And of course the punters swallowed it with gusto. The old adage that 'there's one born every minute' could have been created for religion. Remember the scene in Monty Python's 'Life Of Brian' where the mob is pursuing their 'Messiah?' John Cleese states 'Of course he's the Messiah, and I should know, I've followed a few in my time!'

Sticking around Zum. BTW Where are all the fundamentalist loons (of any religious persuasion) on this site? All telling me I'm going to fry in the sulfrous pit for eternity with the rest of the heretics? wink
Zum
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#36 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/26/09 - 6:46 AM:

I haven't encountered religious loons here, either. Forum presents a cool diversity.

As for me, I'm an agnostic, not an atheist. I'm looking at the rationale of the various reformers to be noted in the history of all religions. Their idea seems to have been: strip away the findings of committees, the mythologies and the strategies for staying in business over the centuries, like scaring people, and you might arrive at the essence of it all. This would be a simple essence. Simple, not easy.
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#37 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/27/09 - 12:17 PM:

skydog wrote:
Genesis 1:27

''So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him''

Try: ''So man created God in his own image, in the image of man created he Him''

Works a lot better.


Not really. It still begs the question of where 'man' came from.

Hippies create God in their own image, whereas the God of old is what it is regardless of what humans want it to be. As soon as humans start trying to make God into what they want it to be, they diverge from the strict teachings of old and commit all manner of heresies.

Moreover, if God is real, then God is a fact of nature, the Ultimate fact, and not something that is amendable to whim or wish. God's nature is Absolute and incorruptable, unchanging and perfect (whole). None of these things pertain to 'man' whatsoever. The highest vision of the Most High absolutely transcends the human condition and negates all and any uniquely human attributes.


skydog wrote:

Ah yes, 'Faith', indeed, some articles of 'faith' are well grounded. I have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning in the east. This 'faith' is based on experience NOT from an unquestioning belief system and that faith, whether or not the sun actually does rise tomorrow barring some catastrophic cosmic event, is therefore well-grounded and logical.


Hume to the contrary, of course.


skydog wrote:

Faith without proof is illogical (apologies to Leonard Nimoy)


Axioms do not require proof. In fact, the idea of 'proof' of an axiom is non-sensical. The axiom is the starting point that must be accepted, not debated.

If you have proof of something you have knowledge, not faith.

God is an axiom for a religious system. 'Proof' does not apply.

If God was merely another entity within the universe, then we could ask 'where is the proof of its existence' like the Loch Ness Monster. But God is NOT one entity among many, but the source of all possible entities. The 'proof' of God, such as there is, is purely rational, that is, transcendental and categorical. The ultimate starting point, or finishing point, whichever direction you want to go. God is the First and Final cause that completes every closed system.


skydog wrote:

Where is this evidence for a 'creator?' It is illusory.


Its mostly circumstantial, but available for them that have ears to hear.


skydog wrote:

And the bible, and all the other 'holy' books, are little more than a collection of 'Chinese Whispers' and varying con tricks visited upon gullible dupes who have a need to feel inferior for some reason.


I'd say that's a pretty poor analysis of the significance and import of religious books in general. Religious texts run the whole gamut from myth to history, so any statement of the sort that 'the [bible, Qur'an, Veda...etc] is THIS' is bound to be horribly inadequate, misleading, and generalizing.

If you want con-tricks visited upon gullible dupes, I'd recommend a conventional book of 20th century history. Actually, any history book will do. =D


skydog wrote:

The parallels between the founding of Islam and Mormonism are unmistakable. Islam was the product of a deranged psychopath whereas Mormonism was the product of a snake-oil merchant. Both had their tenets passed down by an 'Angel' to it's 'chosen prophet' ...


Yeah, that's a funny one. Ol' Gabriel sure gets around.


skydog wrote:

BTW Where are all the fundamentalist loons (of any religious persuasion) on this site? All telling me I'm going to fry in the sulfrous pit for eternity with the rest of the heretics? wink


Woe be it to him that denies the life to come! He is in for a grievious punishment. But Allah is most forgiving, merciful.

8)
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#38 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/28/09 - 1:27 AM:

''Woe be it to him that denies the life to come! He is in for a grievious punishment. But Allah is most forgiving, merciful.''

And you'll burn in hell presumably when Allah 'forgives' laughing

No time to reply Monk ... duty calls. BCNU later. smiling face
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#39 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/28/09 - 1:48 AM:

skydog wrote:

And you'll burn in hell presumably when Allah 'forgives' laughing


Surely not! Forgiving is the erasure of error. Allah, afterall, often conceals sins. In fact, it is said that even hell need not be eternal, since it is only at Allah's pleasure that any being perserveres there, ie, such beings could be released at some time. But who can say, no one knows the mind of Allah but Allah.

wink
Zum
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#40 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/28/09 - 1:29 PM:

Problems with religious discussions. They often turn into acrimonious shouting matches. Right away. And, debate is aside from the function of religion as religion--to my way of thinking. smiling face

The quote "Man creates God in his own image" need not be construed as a statement of atheism, though the statement might have been skydog's intent... Don't know. It can also be taken as a reminder of the limitations of the human cognitive system. And as such, I think that the statement could be made intelligently from the heart of a religious practice.

In a sense, especially if we are careless, we create everything in our own image. Our view of thing is riddled with gaps produced by our ignorance, antipathy and blindness.

In our creation of others, we sometimes project upon them our own image as such. He is just like me, the lucky fellow. --Or of the converse of that image. He lacks these things that I possess.

We sometimes project on others fistfuls of images that we have in our pockets. We see age, beauty, ugliness, racial features, indications of financial status or the lack thereof, sexual availability, cool clothes, tasteless clothes. Then we create a collage over the person and have to do with that.

If that is our habit with visible people who are willing to tell us what they like, what can be expected of us in relation to God, who is invisible?

At last I may understand this poem:

Richard Cory

Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich--yes, richer than a king--
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

I always secretly scratched my head over it; and it seemed such a simple piece. The problem with it is that it can so easily be taken to mean that riches don't merely fail to create happiness; they actually produce misery. -A cliche with its roots, perhaps, in envy. I think that what the poem in fact conveys is that we never saw Richard Corey. We took his appearance to be his essence. His dominant mood was despair. We created a Richard Cory we could envy and admire, so that, while cursing the bread, we could tell ourselves that happiness existed somewhere, if not here.

There is no doubt that such projection can be done with God.
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#41 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/28/09 - 2:10 PM:

Zum wrote:

The quote "Man creates God in his own image" need not be construed as a statement of atheism, though the statement might have been skydog's intent... Don't know. It can also be taken as a reminder of the limitations of the human cognitive system. And as such, I think that the statement could be made intelligently from the heart of a religious practice.

In a sense, especially if we are careless, we create everything in our own image. Our view of thing is riddled with gaps produced by our ignorance, antipathy and blindness.


Here we might observe a crucial distinction between Islam and Christianity.

In Islam any type of 'imaging' of God is forbidden. This is done to prevent any anthropomorphising of the Divine. It is further considered a major sin to speak about God if you don't know what you're talking about--ie, attributing intentions to God, trying to suss out what God is thinking or how God is motivated, and using that as a basis of teaching.

Christianity, by contrast, is replete with imagery and idolatry. It conceives of God in the form of a man, and thus conceives of man in the form of God. Which is why Islam denounces Christianity as idolatry. It's rather amusing that Christians denounce other forms of idol worship and fail to recognize their own, which is at the very core of their religious practice. They'll deny it, of course.

8)
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#42 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/28/09 - 8:24 PM:

Yes. Perhaps not Christian mystics, and the mystics of all faiths, so much.
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#43 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/29/09 - 1:41 AM:

Zum wrote:
Yes. Perhaps not Christian mystics, and the mystics of all faiths, so much.


Those guys are known as 'heretics', like the Sufis of Islam, who basically pervert the way into something not originally intended.

I would agree on the issue of mystics, but that's not how conventional religion really sees things. Mystics are nothing more than personal interpretations of some doctrine, hence, are subjective, and, relative to convention, unreliable.

8)
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#44 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/29/09 - 12:07 PM:

I find the phrases "...nothing more than personal interpretation...hence, subjective, and, relative to convention, unreliable" interesting.

Many conventions of the past now seem to us absurd or atrocious or both. Indeed, it is possible similarly to object to some conventions presently in force.

Isn't a convention a group habit entered into by consensus because, at the time it was instituted, it served or seemed to serve a social purpose? Long-lasting conventions seem to persist because most people want to do the done thing. Deviation from the done thing--the dress code, the behavior code, etc., can result in unwanted attention. Thus everyone conforms at least in part because not to do so is inconvenient.. Over time the convention becomes reified; nobody looks closely at it for centuries. I do not see how the mere fact that something is conventional gives it ultimate authority. It must be recalled that the conventions were installed in the first place by humans. Can we say with assurance that humans who walked the planet's surface in the past were more enlightened, careful, free of areas of blindness, less egocentric--in short, less fallible than humans we see about us now?

However, conventions need to be given a cautious respect, since even if we do not see what purpose they serve, that purpose might become immediately obvious upon their abolition...

You have, "personal interpretations . . . "relative to convention, unreliable." From the sentence I can derive either, Mystics are subjective and, relative to convention, unreliable, or Personal interpretations are subjective and, relative to convention, unreliable.

It's probably the second. But I would ask, Who is it who engages in the personal interpretation? After what preparation does he undertake it? How insightful is this individual? To determine that, one would have to read the text or speak with him. To equate personal interpretation with a pejorative like "hippies" in a universalist way is, I think, to make too general a statement.

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#45 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/29/09 - 2:28 PM:

Zum wrote:

Many conventions of the past now seem to us absurd or atrocious or both. Indeed, it is possible similarly to object to some conventions presently in force.


Certainly.


Zum wrote:

Isn't a convention a group habit entered into by consensus because, at the time it was instituted, it served or seemed to serve a social purpose?


True, the word 'convention' here does seem to imply an artificial construct used for a practical purpose.

Conventional, traditional. The point is that a major system of belief has not only the weight of one person's subjective interpretation behind it, but generations of individual believers' experiences. Communal wisdom, in this sense, is always more stable than individual insight, even if the latter is more accute.


Zum wrote:

Can we say with assurance that humans who walked the planet's surface in the past were more enlightened, careful, free of areas of blindness, less egocentric--in short, less fallible than humans we see about us now?


No. This is a trap that we see many 'past-looking' people fall into. They feel that somehow 'all truths will be revealed' by studying some ancient text, as if truth is dependent upon it and not ever-present.



Zum wrote:

You have, "personal interpretations . . . "relative to convention, unreliable." From the sentence I can derive either, Mystics are subjective and, relative to convention, unreliable, or Personal interpretations are subjective and, relative to convention, unreliable.


The point I was trying to make here is that with one individual the possibility of error and wild error is magnified because of subjectivity and a lack of cross-referencing and validation. With a community--the 'conventional' way--the chance of such errors are diminished as we approach the mean belief.

There's a sub-set of modern Hebrews that make a crucial distinction between what they perceive as the root of their religion and that of others, and it hinges on this opposition of community and subjectivity. They say that theirs is the only religion that has had 'national revelation', meaning that at some point in time God spoke not just to one person (subjective), but to the whole nation (communal). At Mt Sinai God addressed a whole community at once, rather like modern presidental speeches. In that case we have a community of people with a shared experience of the divine, and less chance that, as a body, they will misinterpret what was said, since there are others who will agree and correct errors.

Other religions--like Islam for example--are based on private revelation of one person's 'hearing' of 'something' that is translated into a new moral code. In such a case there is no objective, communal validation of the experience--and those the prophet communicates to have no choice but to accept the word of the prophet at face value as authoritative. And that is the weak link in the chain.


Zum wrote:

But I would ask, Who is it who engages in the personal interpretation? After what preparation does he undertake it? How insightful is this individual? To determine that, one would have to read the text or speak with him.


Sure, but in the end its a matter of whether you believe that the experience/knowledge they relate to you is factually accurate. It comes down to a matter of faith in an individual and their subjective interpretation of reality.

Zum wrote:

To equate personal interpretation with a pejorative like "hippies" in a universalist way is, I think, to make too general a statement.


The point is valid though. It IS hippies that want to re-make God in their own image and deny the judgment of the community or turn it on its ear. They say 'sure that text tells us what God said, but what God really meant was THIS' and they add their own interpretation based on some personal insight theyve experienced, which simply doesn't have objective weight.

In order for it to gain such weight, it has to be accessible and capable of producing independent agreement among diverse knowledge seekers. If it comes down to a matter of belief in some individual's 'revelation' I'd suggest that that is a faulty basis for belief, and serves only to create and fuel a cult of personality, which we see so often these days.

8)
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Posted 10/29/09 - 3:12 PM:

www.thedailymash.co.uk/news...ike-a-church-200910282176/

CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY GUILTY OF ACTING LIKE A CHURCH 28-10-09

A FRENCH court's decision to fine the Church of Scientology for making outrageous promises based on absolutely nothing last night sent shockwaves of fear through the world's major religions.

As the Scientologists were fined £500,000 for claiming eternal happiness was based on handing over a lot of money and that the human mind is engaged in a constant battle with insane aliens, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Buddhists all began the search for a truly outstanding lawyer.

A Vatican spokesman said: "If every Catholic that we've lied to about virgin birth, miracles, limbo and heaven - and we're talking billions here - decides to sue us, we're going to have to sell all the artwork and quite a lot of the gold.

"We'll also have to lay-off thousands of priests. It's not good. Our guys aren't really cut out for any other line of work, unless there's a job where you do a two hour week telling people what bastards they all are and drinking a shitload of Scotch."

A spokesman for the Council of Imams said: "As things stand, the bit about the 72 virgins is looking a tad shaky.

"We're scouring the small print to see if there's some sort of get-out clause, but unfortunately there wasn't much in the way of tort law in the early Seventh Century."

And a spokesman for the Dalai Lama added: "Reincarnation was not designed to be legally robust so we may have to adapt it very slightly. For instance, rather than being reincarnated as a lizard or a pig, you may end up just being you again, but with a slightly larger nose or terribly dry elbows."

Meanwhile chief Scientologist Tom Cruise offered his support to his French colleagues, insisting: "When the insect people of Helatrobus enslave the Earth once more, who will be laughing then?

"Me, that's who, and I'll do it in a weird, unblinking way that will make you fear me."

laughing
Zum
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#47 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/29/09 - 3:14 PM:

In the description of the Hebrews and their method, you describe a dynamic community, something quite different from my notion of a fear-based, conformist tradition. Combinations of community and individual expression seem pretty rare in human history. Such a system would be positioned to preserve and continually re-examine the best insights that had accumulated over the centuries.

I'll give your interesting post some thought.

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Posted 10/30/09 - 1:44 AM:

In further response to Monk, "mean belief" suggests an attempt to satisfy a majority or vote on the facts of the case. Indeed, you oppose "belief" to "error." I wonder if it is appropriate to give religion a skeleton of tenets treated as factual information and to place stress on getting it right. We can observe that the factual orientation of organized religion has brought about and possibly deserves the post before last, skydog's lampoon. Virgin birth, yeah, right. To me it sounds as though, in a quest for mean belief, the first thing to go would be insight, because it is personal, obscure and recondite, particularly when there is truth in it. Work is required to understand it and to forgive its strangeness. New lobes in the brain have to be created. Important insight, it seems to me, would arise from an individual's total orientation, his or her personality and life; someone who knew and loved the individual would perceive it, but not a stranger.

Example. A heartbroken Greek named Plato, perhaps using an admixture of eidetic memory, guesswork and imagination, wrote down dialogues in which the principal speaker was Socrates, his teacher, executed by the Athenian government. A dialogue in which Socrates seems clearly to be represented as he was in life is The Apology. I won't argue the latter point here... I think that if you read the Apology with a sort of slow patience, you can begin (so to speak) to hear Socrates. "Hear" is metaphorical, of course; you begin to understand what kind of inner reality would direct his intense, unique career, on the one hand, and make possible his guileless, serene defense at his trial, on the other. This earned insight can be communicated only to someone eager for it. It seems that it would be effaced at once in any quest for a mean belief.

But possibly nuances could be preserved in a context of respectful discourse. I think decorum together with freedom--that balancing act--would have to prevail in such a setting.

Monk2400
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Posted 10/30/09 - 12:25 PM:

Zum wrote:

In further response to Monk, "mean belief" suggests an attempt to satisfy a majority or vote on the facts of the case.


This is, has been, and always will be the case and the way that human beings justify their epistemological conclusions.

This isn't the domain of religion alone. All knowledge paradigms are established by mean belief.


Zum wrote:

Indeed, you oppose "belief" to "error." I wonder if it is appropriate to give religion a skeleton of tenets treated as factual information and to place stress on getting it right.


I think it is more than appropriate, but crucial for the development of a rational theology (for lack of a better term). If religion, which makes claims about the nature of reality, isn't beholden to some kind of facts, then it become poetry and metaphor. Which is, in itself, fine, but believers will not be satisfied with this. There is no religion of Shakespeare, for example, even though his text, cleverly and wittily composed, makes many statements that one could apply to the 'real world'. But we know that his plays aren't meant to reveal facts about the world, in the way, for example, Genesis is supposed to.


Zum wrote:

We can observe that the factual orientation of organized religion has brought about and possibly deserves the post before last, skydog's lampoon. Virgin birth, yeah, right.


Man on the moon, yeah right.

Hey, if sharks can do it (virgin birth), then the concept is not so ridiculous. There is precedent in nature. Beyond that, we all know that the virgin birth was an implantation, invitro fertilization. In fact, we are doing this all the time these days. We just assume no one was around back then to do the same or similar.

Or you could be a revisionist and say the word 'virgin' doesn't mean what we take it to mean in our everyday speech, ie, that it only referred, in the Greek, to a young woman, not a pre-sexual woman.


Zum wrote:

To me it sounds as though, in a quest for mean belief, the first thing to go would be insight, because it is personal, obscure and recondite, particularly when there is truth in it.


Well, each and every individual making up the body that creates the mean needs to have an understanding of the belief they accept. It must be accessible. Insight is nothing more than the realization of a connexion of ideas, the fitting together of the puzzle pieces.

The mean belief is not static either. If, for instance, it's based on some mistake and replicated in the populous (without insight for every believer) then some individual might be able to point out this error and allow the mean to be readjusted.

But if the populous consistently and coherently rejects such insights as unfounded, the chances that the insights are 'correct' and not just idosyncratic, is much, much less.

If everyone sees a pink elephant and Joe says that it's green, well, we need to start thinking that maybe Joe's perception is somehow different than ours.


Zum wrote:

This earned insight can be communicated only to someone eager for it. It seems that it would be effaced at once in any quest for a mean belief.


Socrates bit the big one precisely because he deviated from the mean beliefs of the time and thus was a destabilizing force for Athenian society.

I think the rule of thumb here is that the fewer the number of people that believe something based on personal insight, the less likely it is to be factually accurate and lead to truth. This doesn't apply when, for example, the central mean belief is self-contradictory or grounded in some demonstrable error. What is means is that the fewer people that 'see' some 'fact' the less likely it is that they are seeing something that is objectively real and not just a product of the 'individual's total orientation'.

8)
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Posted 10/30/09 - 1:20 PM:

I think that insight, properly understood, is more than a fitting together of puzzle pieces.

I concede that religion operates as you say.

To say that all knowledge paradigms are established by mean belief is a tautology, but I invited it. However, there can be discourse, ongoing conversation, regarding belief in non-religious matters, in some contexts.

There is a problem with the part about facts and their necessity in religion, and with the use of the term "facts": above, in my earlier post, I refrained from calling them "facts" because I did not want to sound pejorative or satirical. There is no hard evidence for many of the claims of the various religions, though they are compelling stories. Many articles of religious belief are--except to believers--incredible, absurd when placed within the realm of expectation based on empirical observation. Hume stated that the number of liars in the world far exceeds the number of observed miracles.

I am setting that alongside the statement--sorry, can't give credits here, I'll look his name up presently--"I believe because it is absurd." "It" refers to a religion. The thought: everything is absurd, being is arbitrary and absurd, what are we all doing here? Death is beyond absurd. To explain such absurdity; expect something which, to our absurd minds, seems absurd.
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