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Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Hebrews 10:31

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
We have a winner!

Thank you.

This definitely makes a lot of sense. Likewise, I think it would be an interesting study to have both atheists and theists from the U.S. and U.K. heavily interact and even live among different religious groups and record what happens.

Will the theists reject everything or entertain discussion? Will the atheists rediscover faith in a different form or adapt their existing stance? (Personal hypothesis is that it will wildly vary from person to person.)

Regardless, thank you again for your input.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
???

Really? I thought being in God's presence would be a good thing? I believe it happens every mass after all.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Revelations

Is that the part you are referring to? Or is it during the time the Apostles went out to spread the Word of God after Jesus left for good?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Apology

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound like I was judging anyone. :(

Sincerely, I was merely trying to ask a question.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
There's an edit button for a reason...

@Steel Accord
Have you read the bible? Being in god's presence is unhealthy. He's as likely to set you on fire (or send bears to eat children that make fun of bald men) as do anything nice.

@otohime1978
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive...

You say that western atheists act like christians, and there's maybe a bit of truth to that. Nobody can fully escape the culture they were raised in. But I think you're wrong, too.

I don't give a rat's ass what you believe. It's what you do that I've got problems with.

We fight back because we hate the celebration and spread of ignorance. I was raised as a christian. I know exactly what nonsense they believe. And whenever politicians decide to appeal to the religious, whenever I get told how morality can only be derived from religion I get just a little bit more pissed off.
I, and I think many atheists, try and prevent that spread. We promote scientific understanding, something that as of yet has produced no evidence at all to support religious views. Not because we want everybody to believe what we do, but because it works. It's the only system mankind has ever produced that constantly and consistently produces answers to the questions we have about the universe.

You can call it evangelism and leftover christianity if you like. Like I said, I don't care what you believe.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
(and one of those is site glitches)

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Belief

I'm Catholic, so I don't read the Bible. (Joke: Funny comedian said it once. XD) I will say that I find the presence of God to be a comforting one. I feel relaxed at Church and when I was in Military College, the Chapel was the place I went to, to feel safe and just relax for a moment. The Chaplain was also a great guy.

So if a Chimakum shaman started a campaign to place a totem pole in a public park, you would be as against that as a Nativity scene correct? (Serious question, not trying to mock.)

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
Who said that?

Whoever said I was against putting nativity scenes in parks? But if you're going to do that, you have to be open to, say... Baphomet statues.

As far as your feelings while in the church, I have a response for that. Wrote it up, even. But out of respect for your expressed wish to not be 'evangelized' to I'll leave it here.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
No one said.

I was just kind of rooting the question back to my original post that many atheist activists just seem to be more anti-Abrahamic than they do truly atheistic.

If someone wanted to put that statue in a place like a courthouse, meh, go right ahead. It's no worse than putting Athena or Zeus on top of a State Capitol building or some such. I actually think, that would be kind of cool, gives the courthouse some local flavor that speaks to what the populace values as a symbol of justice and fairness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I totally agree. I find a Church calming and serene because it's a familiar environment. I completely agree that science is important. Science is the key knowledge of the Universe and it's laws. Science has created medicine, provided heat, allowed us to eat things we couldn't normally.

I'm on a site about Transhumanism for crying out loud! XD I'm fully in support of research in longevity, augmentation, and all that good jazz.

I still find no reason why that means I can't believe in God/The Tao/

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Alkahest Alkahest's picture
Authorship

Steel Accord wrote:
Really? I thought being in God's presence would be a good thing? I believe it happens every mass after all.

Don't blame me, I didn't write the Bible.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
- Hebrews 10:25-31

Yeah, the New Testament is all sunshine and puppies and forgiveness. Totally.

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who actually reads the damn book. I enjoy it and prefer it to the fake version of Christianity some liberals present, for the same reason I prefer The King in Yellow to VeggieTales.

President of PETE: People for the Ethical Treatment of Exhumans.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Steel Accord wrote:Will the

Steel Accord wrote:
Will the theists reject everything or entertain discussion? Will the atheists rediscover faith in a different form or adapt their existing stance? (Personal hypothesis is that it will wildly vary from person to person.)

Athiests rediscover faith? I hope not. The way I see it, faith is the belief in something without evidence or even in spite of evidence of the contrary. It is not a good practice. Some might see faith as a virtue, however many atheists would argue that it enables the ignorance and the other problems that they oppose. Many would argue that if you had real evidence of divine being(s), you wouldn't need faith any more...

Also, if you use faith to support your belief in your chosen religion, keep in mind that other people can do the same thing... for different faiths. This includes polytheist religions as well religions made in jest (for instance, the Flying Spaghetti Monster).

MAD Crab wrote:
@Steel Accord
Have you read the bible? Being in god's presence is unhealthy. He's as likely to set you on fire (or send bears to eat children that make fun of bald men) as do anything nice.

Many atheists have claimed that reading the bible is one of the best ways to become an atheist. Let me provide a link to a video of one saying that, and what he says about it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rGev6OZ3w

MAD Crab wrote:
@otohime1978
Or as the heresies that men do leave
Are hated most of those they did deceive...

You say that western atheists act like christians, and there's maybe a bit of truth to that. Nobody can fully escape the culture they were raised in. But I think you're wrong, too.

I don't give a rat's ass what you believe. It's what you do that I've got problems with.

We fight back because we hate the celebration and spread of ignorance. I was raised as a christian. I know exactly what nonsense they believe. And whenever politicians decide to appeal to the religious, whenever I get told how morality can only be derived from religion I get just a little bit more pissed off.
I, and I think many atheists, try and prevent that spread. We promote scientific understanding, something that as of yet has produced no evidence at all to support religious views. Not because we want everybody to believe what we do, but because it works. It's the only system mankind has ever produced that constantly and consistently produces answers to the questions we have about the universe.

You can call it evangelism and leftover christianity if you like. Like I said, I don't care what you believe.

This is new atheism (more or less). These people speak up, unlike the old atheists who kept quiet. Arguably, since there were many occasions throughout history where atheists would get in big trouble if they spoke against the church, being quiet was likely the most that they could hope to do during those times.

Many might describe new atheism as being fundamentalists, but that is usually mistaken. Few atheists hold beliefs about religion that could not be changed with enough evidence. Instead, they are often passionate in their beliefs, which is a quality they share with religious fundamentalists.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Response

My scenario was merely a supposition to a theoretical setup. However I would contest that it's entirely as possible for an atheist to discover a religion that falls in line with his or her viewpoint as it is for a theist to reject the one they were raised in.

As I said in the post you quoted from, my personal supposition was that each person, theist and atheist alike would each have a different reaction to exposure to different religions and systems of spiritual thought.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On the matter of Faith, allow me to paraphrase a passage from one of my favorite stories.

"Faith.

We are all called, at one time or another, to have faith.

Faith in (the) God(s).
Or faith in humankind, as Violet was struggling to regain.
Or, as with Dianne, it is faith in heroes, and the value of the Good Fight.

Sometimes the faith you are called upon to have is faith in yourself.

Faith doesn’t require us to be willfully blind or dogmatically stupid. But it does require us to take risks. To put our trust in something we know might not be true. Even when the cost of failure could be very high.

Especially then.

For some of us, faith becomes our central reason for living, for pressing on. Faith is what allows us to believe in a happy ending, even in our moments of greatest sorrow. It is what allows us the hope of rescue even in the most suffocating darkness.

And faith, more than anything else, is what cynicism is ravenous to devour. More than kindness. More than innocence. The meme of cynicism does its best to tear away your ability to believe in anything other than itself.

When you no longer believe things can get better, when you stop trying, that’s when evil has won.

The evil of this world can kill us, but so long as we die trying… as long as we die believing… then its success against us is a pyrrhic victory at best."

I changed a few words but this passage has always reminded me why I believe in a Higher Power, why I am an idealist, and why I believe in people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On support of polytheistic religions or even somewhat (on the surface) silly religions, I get the impression you thought I would find that objectionable.

I don't.

As long as those who do believe in the Olympians or supposedly mock gods, as long as their faith is sincere, I'll stand with them as I would with a Muslim or a Mormon. (Doesn't mean I wouldn't question some of their practices, but hey, that's what inter-religious meditations are for.) I have found more in common with Jews, Muslims, and Wiccans then I do with atheists, because I extend them the courtesy that their faith is as sincere and as valid as mine. Something that many atheists have also extended with me, but not as universally.

I've actually met someone who sincerely followed the Norse pantheon and I had some fun discussing how he interpreted each god and how he separated the myth from the message.

I'm a Gnostic Catholic, I could be wrong and I fully acknowledge that. Maybe Jesus was not divine, but per the outline of faith I paraphrased above, at least He died believing in something. For all I know, we could be in the equivalent of a high school petri dish, who knows? But as long as I'm here, I'd rather live with my perspective that a man died for something good and try to live in line with what He saw in everyone He met, good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ah good ol' Penn!

I can see his point, but I would simply say that of course the Bible has been interpreted. The Garden of Eden, Legion, Revelations, of course none of that should be taken literally. We have fairly conclusive evidence of the origin of man, that doesn't make the story of temptation any less true. You could substitute the apple for anything, money, power, freedom, even religion.

Yes people interpret it with an agenda, but when the agenda is trying to divine a grand purpose to human existence and a sense of morality rooted in the ethos of a wise and benign teacher, I'd say I'm okay with people giving me the cliff notes. My responsibility, as a subscriber to a particular religion, is to question the interpreter, question the message. Is that really right? Is that what Jesus meant? etc.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You actually underline a good point that was similar to the above one. Many times, both the faithful and the faithless could not speak up against the Church or similarly powerful institutions.

It wasn't just atheists that suffered at the hands of Catholic ruling you know? Many Catholics were also excommunicated, ostracized, and/or executed for their perceived heresy. With knowledge, with gnosis, I can voice my condemnations of Church ruling when I disagree with it.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Steel Accord wrote:

Steel Accord wrote:

So if a Chimakum shaman started a campaign to place a totem pole in a public park, you would be as against that as a Nativity scene correct? (Serious question, not trying to mock.)

If the part had some particular historical significance in connection with his religion in particular, I could be ok with that, just as I would be ok with the site of an old mission being maintained by the government for it's historical value. But I would not be ok with it just going up on some unrelated park.

Quote:

If someone wanted to put that statue in a place like a courthouse, meh, go right ahead. It's no worse than putting Athena or Zeus on top of a State Capitol building or some such. I actually think, that would be kind of cool, gives the courthouse some local flavor that speaks to what the populace values as a symbol of justice and fairness.

I think you say this only because you don't have any reason to believe that such iconography would indicate that the judges and clerks inside the building are going to judge you more harshly for not believing in accordance with it.

Judge Roy Moore put the giant statue of the Ten Commandments up outside of his courthouse in Texas as a statement of his belief that all law was derived from biblical law, and that freedom from religion only applied to the people with the right religion. If you were publicly known to be of a religion other than Christianity, can you honestly say you would expect to receive a completely fair judgement from such a person?

It's not a symbol of fairness, it's a symbol of holding a religious law as higher than a law of the land.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Suggestion

You know you could just get a change of venue if you don't think you would get a fair trial.

As for me, if they did have a Baphomet statue outside the courthouse, I would still trust my peers to view my case fairly and without bias toward my own faith.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Pyrite wrote:I think you say

Pyrite wrote:
I think you say this only because you don't have any reason to believe that such iconography would indicate that the judges and clerks inside the building are going to judge you more harshly for not believing in accordance with it.

Judge Roy Moore put the giant statue of the Ten Commandments up outside of his courthouse in Texas as a statement of his belief that all law was derived from biblical law, and that freedom from religion only applied to the people with the right religion. If you were publicly known to be of a religion other than Christianity, can you honestly say you would expect to receive a completely fair judgement from such a person?

It's not a symbol of fairness, it's a symbol of holding a religious law as higher than a law of the land.

Damn straight, I wouldn't trust those judges. I know what it is like to be on the other side of those things. Justice is blind? Hah. What a joke!

Steel Accord wrote:
You know you could just get a change of venue if you don't think you would get a fair trial.

That is not how it works at all. You have to go through an appeal process. Good luck with that.

Steel Accord wrote:
As for me, if they did have a Baphomet statue outside the courthouse, I would still trust my peers to view my case fairly and without bias toward my own faith.

Good for you. I still wouldn't trust anyone in there.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Faith and Justice

Justice is blind, but unfortunately people are the only arbiters capable of making judgments. I know getting a change of venue isn't seamless but it is an option.

You say you would not trust anyone in the courthouse that had a Baphomet statue, nor one with the Ten Commandments on the wall. Well what makes you think your jury would not be at least somewhat comprised of those who still hold faith in their hearts? Jurors are randomly selected after all so as to minimize bias. It's not perfect, but I find some comfort in that.

I would trust a randomly selected jury of any court because I have faith not just in a Higher Power, but I have faith in people. When amongst themselves, a random cross section of the population will come to a decision that, based on the evidence given, seems right.

(And before anyone posts it, yes, I've seen "To Kill a Mockingbird" and I love that movie. So I don't need to be reminded of that miscarriage of justice.)

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Steel Accord wrote:You say

Steel Accord wrote:
You say you would not trust anyone in the courthouse that had a Baphomet statue, nor one with the Ten Commandments on the wall. Well what makes you think your jury would not be at least somewhat comprised of those who still hold faith in their hearts? Jurors are randomly selected after all so as to minimize bias. It's not perfect, but I find some comfort in that.

It's not truly randomly selected. It's a huge group of people randomly selected and then filtered through by the defense lawyer and prosecution. It's hardly random.

Steel Accord wrote:
I would trust a randomly selected jury of any court because I have faith not just in a Higher Power, but I have faith in people. When amongst themselves, a random cross section of the population will come to a decision that, based on the evidence given, seems right.

As a minority whom is often faced great institutionalized discrimination, I do not find any comfort in anything like this. Maybe it's my PTSD talking, but I cannot trust anyone to treat me like a human being.

I'm glad you can keep your humanist optimism, even if I find it foolish.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Damn Lawyers

Again though, that's my point. A truly random combination is a wildcard and lawyers are paranoid about anything that's not calculated, rehearsed, and understood down to the last comma. Lawful good, neutral, or evil; they need everything to be under their control. It's almost pathological in their profession.

Why do they need to construct an artificial situation though?

Because a truly random cross section of people, theist, atheist, tall, short, fat, bald, etc. would have the most unbiased and fair view possible.

For another cinema example of law in action for my point, see "Twelve Angry Men." Yeah it takes many artistic liberties, but it's a great example of diverse viewpoints discussing the same resolution to a court case.

~~~~~~~~~

That's so sad that you've been on the bad end of prejudice. In this day and age? Disgraceful! If it's any consultation, I see you as a person.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
But it is never a bunch of

But it is never a bunch of different viewpoints in the jury. It's a bunch of ignorant clauds who often buy into the bullshit spun by either attorney. They usually choose the dumbest, dullest people possible for these things. People who never take kindly to my kind.

Some call me paranoid. Others call me experienced. You're welcome to draw your own conclusions.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
otohime1978 wrote:Reread the

otohime1978 wrote:
Reread the new testament. Not just the first parts, but the whole thing. You'll quickly see that the message changes back towards the old testament memes.

EDIT: not only that, but if it was just about that, then why do they include all the "old, irrelevant stuff," too?

You can't really have one without the other. That's like judeism saying god is happy go lucky, or islam doesn't need the concept of mujahideen.

Sorry for the late reply, had a busy weekend, but I'm well aware of all that. The point I was trying to make was simply that the one section of the bible where Christianity gets its name, where it gets its symbol, the one part they should pay the most attention to, seems to get paid the least attention and portrays a message downright heretical to a disturbing amount of Christians.

otohime1978 wrote:

As a minority whom is often faced great institutionalized discrimination, I do not find any comfort in anything like this. Maybe it's my PTSD talking, but I cannot trust anyone to treat me like a human being.

I'm glad you can keep your humanist optimism, even if I find it foolish.

Just for the sake of a clearer argument, what minority would that be?

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Christ

Funny because that's the portion that is read most often in the scriptural readings of the masses I go to and the Homily that gets analyzed after by the Priest. Sure you get the occasional Old Testament excerpt, but for the most part, they seem to stick to the Man Himself and His disciples.

Again though, I speak from my experience living as a Catholic. In my defense though, I've been to mass in Philly, New York, Texas, Florida, Rio and talked with a Bishop from Africa so my personal experience encompasses at least a medium cross section of Catholic thought.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
The point is that by putting

The point is that by putting up a giant religious symbol in a state building, government officials are effectively stating that the government supports that religion over any other. These sort of statements are commonly used in arguments that the law of the land should more favor christians, should enact christian religious law, and should punish nonbelievers.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Exactly. And, in practice,

Exactly. And, in practice, these people tend to support religious law over secular law. And before you guys go off and say that secular law was based off of religious law, only parts of it were. Very few parts. Namely sexual purity laws and stupid shit like adultery, gender role enforcement, etc.

Every culture abhors murder, theft, fraud, etc., regardless of religion or location. The only thing that differs is how these crimes are handled.

I see christian law the same way I see sharia law. It's terrifying, and would only serve to have me stoned to death.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Granted

I admit, you two actually make a fair point.

However, just playing Devil's advocate for a moment. (Ironic isn't it? XD) What little support I grant the U.S. government is rooted in the individual State's dwindling independence.

It should be up to the individual state government what they do and don't allow on their public properties.

All right I'm done. In regards to your points, though I don't agree %100, you make a fair case as to good intentions resulting in negative bias. Just one more tick mark as to why I no longer support government.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Yes, state's rights.

Yes, state's rights.

Because each state should be able to oppress it's minorities as much as the majority of that state sees fit.

To what extent should this be allowed exactly? Should each state be able to sponsor a mandatory religion, or censor certain political speech? Should they have been allowed to continue the practice of slavery or Jim Crow? if you're not happy with state law being constrained by the constitution, where does that stop?

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Church and State

But the federal government has always existed to ensure that religious law does not overtake secular law. Since day one of the constitution! What do you think the whole bill of rights and most of the amendments are about? It's not so much a dwindling of state rights as it is more people within those states challenging the laws of those states and it ends up being brought up into the federal court systems!

What do you think the whole thing of separation of church and state is about? It basically means that religious law has no place in the government, and the government has no place in the church. You are welcome to believe and practice however you see fit up until it starts infringing on the rights of others.

Abrahamic religion is mostly about imposing your shit onto other people. It's annoying. This is the other reason why we non-christians/jews/muslims always go after you guys; and it is why you guys go after each other as well! It's because you threw the first punch.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Government, not Constitution

In a perfect world, I would say there should be no government monopoly on force, but I'll settle for smaller polities in the meantime. In a slightly less than perfect world, I would rather Government officials even bother to look at the Constitution anymore. The document that's supposed to limit what they can and can't do.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Erulastant Erulastant's picture
Steel Accord, I don't

Steel Accord, I don't understand why state's rights would make government more palatable to you. Is there some significant difference between the government of a US state and the government of a larger nation?

Because to me it seems that the state governments, if fully autonomous, would be no different from the federal government, besides governing a smaller group of people. Whereas on the opposite side of the spectrum, eliminating the concept of 'states' (As used in US government) entirely would go some ways towards cleaning up our mess of an electoral system.

You, too, were made by humans. The methods used were just cruder, imprecise. I guess that explains a lot.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Ouch . . .

"I" did no such thing! Can you really hold me responsible for the crimes of my Church? I wasn't around then, who knows what I would have said if I was?

I've lived my spiritual life quietly, co-existing with my atheist and fellow theist peers of all stripes and denominations. At no point have I even attempted to convert my friends to "my shit" as you term it. If anything, I've been more aggressive at my attempts of converting people into bronies than Christians.

I agree with you %100 on the matter seperation of Church and state. However, I must question, are you actually interested in hearing my take on the subject?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
seems like time for a new

seems like time for a new thread topic to me.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Apologies

Sorry, I thought some pertinent deviation was permissible.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
You can't stand in solidarity

You can't stand in solidarity with a group and simultaneously wash your hands of them. Don't assume that the catholic church's problems are locked away in anchient history, either. If you're going to stand in defense of that culture, you have a responsibility to recognize and try to work against it's flaws.

You don't get to have your cake and eat it too, taking advantage of the benefits of a shared religious identity with millions while claiming to be a solitary spiritualist when the call comes up to correct the church's errors

I'm sure we'd love to hear your take on the subject, but understand that we don't give up our right to our own opinions, or the ability to critique yours.

Edit: Posted between calls at work, didn't see the above posts. I'll be awaiting the new thread, and giving Steel the chance to frame the discussion.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Can and do.

Certainly I admit the Church has done bad. It's as you said though, I have a responsibility to work against it's flaws. I try to do that by simply living within it's teachings.

Not to evangelize the actual Church, but rather the attitude of compassion and understanding, to correct the Church's history of overt conversion through coercion.

To study, analyze, partake in, and ask about other religions; to counter the Church's actions of xenophobia.

I will not comment if my opinion is not welcomed. I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand, I just think there's a difference between hearing the other side out out of politeness versus genuinely wanting to hear the other person's take.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

sysop sysop's picture
*gets ready with the

*gets ready with the waterguns in case they're needed* Please keep it focused on the topic and not personally aimed each other. This thread did some awesome stuff earlier in handling deeply personal topics without getting personal at each other, so I'd hate to see that trend break. Though I do think a new thread is probably smart - keeps the conversation from suffering crosstalk.

I fix broken things. If you need something fixed, mention it on the suggestions board.
I also sometimes speak as website administrator and/ moderator.

consumerdestroyer consumerdestroyer's picture
My priorities as a

My priorities as a theological noncognitivist (which, for the intent/purpose of this thread may as well be my priorities as an "atheist") are easily overwhelmed by my priorities as a radical, and foremost among those priorities are radical compassion, radical vulnerability and radical accountability. So honestly, as I mentioned in my previous post here, I'm all about human beings self-organizing in ways that make the most sense for them. Hence, my "targets", such as they are, tend to be authoritarian/hierarchical tendencies in religious institutions/organizations (or in the person of individual religious figures with undue influence over an authoritarian/hierarchical religious institution). That's the same whether we're talking about some of the extremely violent anti-Muslim Buddhist figures in South Asia and South-East Asia, or whether we're talking about southern border militia Christians in the U.S.

I got more to say on the centralism/federalism thing, but I think ORCACommander is totally right that it's a different thread. If Steel Accord/otohime1978/Erulastant/Pyrite start a thread, I've got a first post in the can (the can being my brain...and what a rusty can it is!).

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Steel Accord wrote:

Steel Accord wrote:

I will not comment if my opinion is not welcomed. I'm not trying to stick my head in the sand, I just think there's a difference between hearing the other side out out of politeness versus genuinely wanting to hear the other person's take.

I honestly, genuinely do want to hear your opinion on this matter. If what you have to say is compelling, I get to work toward a better understanding of a topic that's very important to me. If your reasoning is flawed, I get to argue with you about it, and I love arguing about things. Your perspective has been proven unique enough in the past that there's a good chance of both happening. It's basically win-win for me.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Steel Accord wrote:"I" did no

Steel Accord wrote:
"I" did no such thing! Can you really hold me responsible for the crimes of my Church? I wasn't around then, who knows what I would have said if I was?

Ack, sorry. I can understand the confusion. I wasn't speaking about you specifically; I tend to speak in generalities and broad strokes, but I understand there are exceptions.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
Discussions evolve naturally

Discussions evolve naturally so some deviation from the core subject is okay (as long as it's still relevant). A discussion about church and state or a biased justice system seems like important enough to start a whole new thread about for no other reason than there might be others joining who didn't feel inspired by the original topic but might be with the new directions.

Lorsa is a Forum moderator

Red text is for moderator stuff

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Erulastant wrote:Steel Accord

Erulastant wrote:
Steel Accord, I don't understand why state's rights would make government more palatable to you. Is there some significant difference between the government of a US state and the government of a larger nation?

Because to me it seems that the state governments, if fully autonomous, would be no different from the federal government, besides governing a smaller group of people. Whereas on the opposite side of the spectrum, eliminating the concept of 'states' (As used in US government) entirely would go some ways towards cleaning up our mess of an electoral system.

A few advantages of smaller units:

- they are less powerful.
- they are "closer to the ground" and able to adapt to different circumstances better
- local issues are more likely to become political topics that could affect voter behavior. Issues that do not affect voting behavior tend to become about other things, like nepotism, lobbyism and corruption.
- change is easier. Take marihuana and homosexual marriage - if that couldn't gain traction in individual states, when would those things have happened?
- competition between states. People can realistically move between states. Moving to another country, that's in practice unfeasable for most, and at any rate the personal costs are huge.

I'd prefer a system of citystates even. That's pretty much how they do it in Schwitzerland, where the cantons are all but totally independent of the government. And that's one of the most peaceful, prosperous, successful, free and fair countries in the world.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Back on topic

I agree, but I'd rather this not spin off into politics only tangentially connected to the original point.

Namely, why atheists don't seem to have as much of a problem with religions that aren't Judeo-Chrsitian based.

Now when I say this, I don't mean how it effects politics. I mean just on a personal basis. I hear much more "Christians are morons" than I do "Shintoists are idiots." The outrage of how illogical, irrational, dogmatic, the whole bag of cliches seems to fall more heavily on the Faithful of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam then it does any other religion.

Now I'm not saying all atheists have a bone to pick with practice by itself, far from it. Several atheists on this very site are some of the nicest and most amicable people I talk to. My point is simply that, if an atheist can somewhat harshly get on a Christian's case about believing in a Higher Power, why aren't they doing the same to a Hindu or Wiccan?

(Edit: If you already answered prior, please disregard. This post was intended to refocus. Several posts have already expressed their opinions satisfactorily to the OP.)

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Googleshng Googleshng's picture
Mostly it just boils down to

Mostly it just boils down to the fact that other religions tend not to be anywhere at all near as pushy as the monotheistic set. Christians, in my personal experience anyway, have an alarmingly large subset who regularly shove their religion down other people's throats, insist laws be based on their interpretation of their religious texts, show insane levels of contempt for people who practice other religions, or no religion, or in a surprising number of cases, slightly different branches of Christianity. When someone pushes you, you're likely to push back, and when someone swears you should ignore basic provable facts about the world based on what it says in a book they really like, it's hard not to point out all the huge plot holes you've noticed in the book in question.

Meanwhile, people who believe in Shintoism, since you bring it up as a specific example, pretty well keep quiet about it. They don't go telling other people they have to believe what they do, they aren't even particularly likely to share what they believe if you don't specifically ask them, and even if you're an avid follower, they don't really dictate any morality to you. It's basically just about showing respect for everything around you, and a big list of little rituals for various situations to try and improve your luck.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Problems

To say Shintoists don't have an agenda is simply not true. If we are to involve laws, shintoists occupy a similar space to Christian lobbyists here in the U.S. even often being highly nationalistic which is often tied to Shinto being a large part of the nation's cultural identity. Shinto places a great deal of emphasis on purity and purifying. Mixing, as memes are want to do, is something the more extreme Shintoists are against. Problem is, Shinto has long mixed with both Buddhism and Confucianism since they were brought over from China. Some Shinto sects hold their brethren in contempt for not maintaining the purity of the faith.

Since Japan disbanded Shinto as the official state religion in 1945, there have been those that were against that, seeing it as capitulating to foreigners. To this day, the institution of religiously inspired laws is a very real thing in Japanese politics, even though most of the country identify as atheists.

Need I bring up the outright execution of Japanese Christians by the Tokugawa Shogunate?

So to say Christianity has a monopoly on evangelizing, discrimination, and even creationism is not true. Religions are religions. Just as people are people.

So if one thinks a single religion is wrong about the Powers that Be, consistency would hold they should hold them all to be equally wrong. So logically, an atheist should extend the same treatment to a practitioner of any religion that they do a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. Be it kindness, hostility, case by case, or anything else.

(Personally, I think everything should be a case by case basis, precedence be dammed.)

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
Colonialism and Shintou

The execution of christian misisonaries by the shougunate was for various reasons, more for political than religous per se. Namely, during the Tokugawa period, there was a strong, nationalistic bent as the shougunate was afraid of Portuguese and British imperialism destroying their way of life and taking over.

Christianity missionaries were one of the main cultural forces behind colonialism and subjugation by France, Spain, Portugal, England, etc. Missionaries typically didn't go after the masses, but rather went after people in positions of power or those with political influence to introduce laws and force cultural change when they found that they couldn't influence the masses. They were not above using newer political contacts and influences to use military force to force conversion to christianity.

Christians heavily supported the slave trade of non-christians.

The Shougunate and higher ups in japanese feudal government had been watching what the missionaries and european colonial powers were doing in China, and what they saw disturbed them. Britain and the East India Company often used the recently converted political assets to take over and set up their own puppet governments, or let europeans move in directly as the main political/governmental power.

So, they ejected almost all foreigners with a few exceptions. Christian missionaries were ejected with a specific reason: insighting conflict. But eventually, it ended up being persecution against all christians. However, a lot of christian groups at the time were known for revolutionary uprising and the like.

This continued on until around the Meiji era.

Western europe has a long history of using missionaries to further their economic and political goals and gains.

Japan did the same thing to Buddhists as imperial china had tried to do the same exact thing using Buddhism before.

Also, Shintouism is animist, and I think a pretty interesting throwback to older style religions leading up to the bronze age, yet it somehow survived. Namely because of its ability to adapt. Buddhism already tried to get rid of it as well, yet Shintouism just absorbed Buddhist concepts. For example, while modern science often flies in the face of Abrahamic religious beliefs, it is seen differently by those of Shintouist faiths. Being able to model a behavior of an event doesn't make it any less spiritual, and can even be seen as an expression or understanding of a particular kami. You can see this manifested in japanese popular culture through giving often cutesy anthropomorphic avatars to tons of every day things.

You should read up on Shintouism. It has a ton of interesting myths, and the mythology alone covers more text than the bible before you even get into its core tenets.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Religious studies

Yes, I have. I have studied many religions, their histories and their tenants. I find more commonalities than I do differences. Namely, the morals expressed, while varied, generally have the overall aim of increasing happiness through inner welfare. The culture lays on the trappings they associate with an ultimate existence.

You do bring up a good point, the expulsion and execution was done for many reasons. So were the Crusades for that matter. It wasn't just the missionaries though, the Japanese that had converted to Christianity were hunted and would be put to death if they did not renounce their faith. (See the fumi-e test.)

My point was, again, people are people. Christianity is not a monolith, especially in this post-modern era. Science does not "fly in the face" of my faith, in many ways, I've found the two reinforce each other quite well. The Pope has said evolution does not contradict our beliefs, and admitted the possibility of extra terrestrial life. As long as it's still held that Jesus redeemed their sins through his sacrifice, either on Earth or there planet, it still works.

That means somewhere out there could be Klingon Christ! :D

My suggestion back to you would be, if you find animism so compelling. Why not consider taking up such a faith? Or maybe consider agnosticism?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
oops.

Reading comprehension failure, sorry about that.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
No need

Hey, we're not judging here. Mistakes happen.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

otohime1978 otohime1978's picture
踏み絵

And the standing images were actually quite effective except in cases of poor vision in identifying possible Christians. It was a pretty clever test, even if it did have a occasional tendency to report a false positive. The torture, however, was unforgivable.

Steel Accord wrote:
It wasn't just the missionaries though, the Japanese that had converted to Christianity were hunted and would be put to death if they did not renounce their faith.

Yes, but as I said, the situation was a bit more complex than just persecuting Christians because of their faith. Many Christians in japan were responsible for religiously inspired revolutionary actions on small, local scale. And, while many non-evangelical Christians were persecuted along with the radical elements, it was a reactionary measure to a larger cultural war in a way that was seen as more of a political revolutionary uprising rather than a religious movement.

Eastern cultures in general are more introverted and insular, along with all that brings. Those who express outside views are often viewed with shock and surprise. Generally speaking, if it doesn't concern you directly, it's best to keep your mouth shut. (not you, just talking about interpersonal relations)

Steel Accord wrote:
The Pope has said evolution does not contradict our beliefs, and admitted the possibility of extra terrestrial life.

He also says things that fly in the face of actual teachings in the Bible and things popes have said in the past. Just because you must love thy neighbor does not mean you have to put up with what you see as sinful and must do your best to correct this issue. Abrahamic religion has rarely been about passivity.

Steel Accord wrote:
My suggestion back to you would be, if you find animism so compelling. Why not consider taking up such a faith? Or maybe consider agnosticism?

What makes you think I haven't? How do you know that I'm not someone who adheres to Shintou, or Tengrianism as a part of a cultural heritage revival movement? I tend to keep such things private and don't discuss such things unless directly questioned.

[=6][i]...your vision / a homunculus on borrowed time

Katya Bio: http://eclipsephase.com/comment/46253#comment-46253

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Allegiance proven

Likewise, western culture has been memetically expressive to one degree or another. Secrecy, reservation, solitude. These displays, or rather lack of displays, lead to rumors of conspiracy, treason, heresy, witchcraft, and all that bad juju.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Again, we actually seem to be in agreement that seemingly simple actions, such as one sealed with the Cross or any one of the Kami are often not only misrepresentative of the Faithful's intention but also mired in any number of political corruptions and power plays.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rarely, yes. In reality? They should.

Jesus said love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, render unto Ceasar. Overwhelmingly, His message was not to be a crusader, but to spread His teachings by simply living them. Yes the Pope has said things that go against the Bible, as a Gnostic Catholic, I don't think the Bible is %100 correct to begin with.

I trust in His Holiness' word, because the position is one Jesus created Himself when He named Peter the first leader of His church on Earth. I trust the Pope the same way a Buddhist trusts the Abbot of his temple. He has invested his life into contemplating the nature of the soul, the nature of morality, the nature of God, and the nature of the Universe. He is a man, and just as fallible as I, but he is the recognized authority, chosen from his peers, to be the leader of our faith.

So if the Pope thinks some parts of the Bible are irrelevant or need to be re-examined as to their intention, I think his wisdom needs some consideration. Either to agree or disagree as to his conclusion.

I may question, I may doubt, I may stand in objection especially to my Church's past actions. But I stand with it regardless. The Abrahamic Religions may have rarely been passive, but that's changing, and I live my life as best and open as I can. The soul can go in many directions, who am I to presume I know which one is right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Good to know. I won't pry any further into your beliefs and it was presumptuous for me to do so without your consent to begin with.

My sincerest apologies.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Erulastant Erulastant's picture
So, forewarning, this is

So, forewarning, this is probably going to come out sounding disrespectful, and I want to clarify that I do very much respect you and your faith. (The Pope and the Papacy might be a different matter)

How exactly does being elected Chief Old White Guy With A Funny Hat by the other Old White Guys With Funny Hats imbue one with any greater moral or spiritual authority? (Especially considering how the Old White Guys With Funny Hats were all put in place by previous Chief Old White Guys With Funny Hats) I'm sure the papacy has changed somewhat since the renaissance, but the popes are still chosen by the cardinals, who are chosen by the popes, which makes it seem less like a way of elevating the wisest and most pious and more like vicious cycle of nepotism and political horse-trading.

You, too, were made by humans. The methods used were just cruder, imprecise. I guess that explains a lot.

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