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Huh. Via utforsker. Equally offensive to mainstream Monotheists and Pagans. Yet possessed of a very discomfiting bit of truth. Thoughts, anyone?

Also, today is the 7-year anniversary of my first day working at this organization. Why does this make me queasy?

Some people get motion-sick; I get inertia-sick.

Comments

( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
tripoli
Feb. 22nd, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
(Hi, friended you via katie_m

You know...I'm the most anti-religion/spirituality/supernatural person I know. I really do think that humans absolutely need to evolve beyond religion and they need to do it yesterday. But...the one thing religious studies will not suffer is oversimplification. I need to think some more before I respond to utforsker, but once you get over the quickshot appeal of religion-as-male-control-system, some of his analogies and logical processes (not to mention his, ah, inspired version of ancient history) just...don't work all that well. I mean, we certainly agree more than we disagree, but I would never frame the argument that way myself.
tripoli
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
D'oh, I mean city_of_dis. Wow, senior moment.
fenriss
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
Welcome! I've seen you around, and admire your writing very much.

Would love to hear your thoughts about this, if you can encapsulate them. I can see how the historical basis he postulates might be a little specious, huh?
(no subject) - tripoli - Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
chadu
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'm not fond of equating "faith" and "religion." Not the same thing, to my eyes.

I don't think God is imaginary. Hell, these days I'm more likely to think we're imaginary (the dreams of God, part of the holographic universe, atman blinding itself with maya, that sort of thing).

CU
tripoli
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
Faith (and belief) and religion aren't synonymous--and in the period city_of_dis was talking about, they weren't even in the same neighorhood. Modern Western religion tends to conflate them, because faith is central to the practice of that religion, to the point where adequate alternate terms don't really exist in the language. Lately it's becoming vogue to identify with "faith" or "spirituality" as a rejection of dogmatic religion, but that's a reaction rather than a genuine separation. Not saying that's your situation, Chadu, just brain-scratching.
chadu
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
My particular situation is that I'm more-or-less agnostic: I believe in a god, but I don't think anyone or anything can state "this is how God is" without it being an opinion.

In reading city_of_dis' post, I did feel that my simple belief in some sort of God was being equated to my support of a system of "slavery."

CU
(no subject) - tripoli - Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 22nd, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tripoli - Feb. 22nd, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 22nd, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 12:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tripoli - Feb. 23rd, 2005 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 03:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - splifford - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 24th, 2005 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
_blackjack_
Feb. 22nd, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
Faith (and belief) and religion aren't synonymous--and in the period city_of_dis was talking about, they weren't even in the same neighorhood.

Indeed. Emphasis on "right belief" as opposed to "right practice" is a fairly recent development. It didn't matter so much what you believed about the gods, so long as you burned the right bits of the cow and did the right chant. Even early creeds tended to be more like "O Dionysus, you make the vines abundant!" or "Yahweh, you brought us out of the two Egypts!" not "There is no God but God!" or "...And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages."
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:34 am (UTC) - Expand
fenriss
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I absolutely think god is imaginary. That goes for my gods, too. They are mythological. But still arguably "real" in a sense. A myth is a kind of a truth, after all.

But some kind of SuperBeing, personal and separate from us, who sees and knows all? No way, man. I see not a shred of evidence for it.

And I also entirely fail to comprehend "faith". I'm not sure if I have something like faith or not. For example, I am inclined to believe things for which there is both evidence for and against (e.g, that suffering is undesirable, and we should try to help others avoid it), but I think that is more properly named "wishful thinking". I don't know if it's at all rational.

You know, I'd love to talk to someone who grew up in a family like mine (meaning: "No, the god thing is a myth. Some people believe it, but we don't") but who actually does believe in a personal god. Because I always assume that the reason I am 100% percent incapable of buying it is because it was perceived as a myth by my very progenitors from the first day of my curiosity about such things. After that, no number of zealots from a dozen different faiths insisting that I meet their imaginary friend or perish in flames can make me think it's true.

I mean, how does a person from my kind of upbringing ever come to believe something like that?
tripoli
Feb. 22nd, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
I know a couple of religious people who grew up in irreligious families--I think for them, it was a major event or relationship later in their lives. Born-Agains are scary, but some of them just converted because it felt like the thing to do. I don't get it, but then, I'm a godless infidel.
chadu
Feb. 22nd, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
But some kind of SuperBeing, personal and separate from us, who sees and knows all? No way, man. I see not a shred of evidence for it.

My vision of God contains a personal diety that is both indwelling and separate. Quick analogy: people are the fingers, God is the hand. They're all part of the same piece of the body, and are both separate and together.

And I also entirely fail to comprehend "faith".

I'd say that faith is hope that can be blind to reason, which one feels strongly.

After that, no number of zealots from a dozen different faiths insisting that I meet their imaginary friend or perish in flames can make me think it's true.

You don't have to meet God, IMAO. God's already there, in you; you're part of God. God's cool with where you are if you're cool with where you are. . . provided you aren't a self-deluded, solipistic, raving psychopath. Which you ain't.

Again, IMAO.

CU
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 12:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
_blackjack_
Feb. 23rd, 2005 12:43 am (UTC)
You know, I'd love to talk to someone who grew up in a family like mine (meaning: "No, the god thing is a myth. Some people believe it, but we don't") but who actually does believe in a personal god.

Such people exist. Simone Weil is a well-known example. She was raised in the tradition of European agnostic socialist Jewry, but embraced Roman Catholicism (of all things) after serving with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Generally speaking, such conversions are the result of some sort of "religious experience", usually framed in a I-can't-explain-it-you-just-had-to-be-there context.

Personally, I suspect that there is a biological aspect to the whole thing. There is evidence that a specific area of the brain is stimulated by religious activities, and I think that the intrinsically (as opposed to habitually) non-religious simply don't have that particular bit of wiring.
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:49 am (UTC) - Expand
smoakes777
Feb. 22nd, 2005 08:48 pm (UTC)
I ramble for too long
I, like Tempe, think that his ideas, while grounded, over-simplify things. Religion is too big a part of human history, for men as much as for women, to explain it as "a man got an idea."

I am convinced, through evidence and thought, that God is imaginary and that faith is harmful. (Belief without evidence hurts us because it prevents us from discovering and learning. If, seventy years ago, everyone decided to beleive on faith that Cracker Jack cured polio, no one would have sought or discovered the actual cure)

But belief in God and religion-based culture arose for many different reasons: to quell fear in the unknown, to explain things unexplained, to give order to chaos, and, certianly, to control sub-ordinates, both male and female.
We've evolved to seek patterns (people who noticed that "anyone bitten by a snake" died lived longer than the people who didn't notice and so taunted snakes) and because of that we often notice patterns that are actually just caused by randomization (one in a million chances happen eight times a day in NYC. Running into a different old friend every day for a week isn't THAT weird, numerically) and seek to explain them... often turned to god or mysticism to do so.
Probably, there was a time when cultures that believed in gods, and had rules and structures based on that belief, survived better and had more grandchildren than the godless ones. So, we have evolved, culturally to believe.
Saying it all started because some men in the desert want to keep women under control is taking the easiest way out. I think there's some truth to it, but that's not all of it.

Breaking away from that beleif is important, I think, to better ourselves and our culture. Jared Diamond gave a scary example at a recent lecture: The owners of the largest coal company in West Virginia don't worry about preserving resources because they believe the rapture is coming in the next decade.

There are a lot of other reasons I think giving up all religion, faith, and spirituality lead to happiness, but I've gone on long enough :)

chadu
Feb. 23rd, 2005 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: I ramble for too long
Belief without evidence hurts us because it prevents us from discovering and learning.

Explain how my belief in your inalienable human rights (without any evidence that such rights exist) hurts us.

CU
Re: I ramble for too long - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - smoakes777 - Feb. 23rd, 2005 06:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 06:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - _blackjack_ - Feb. 23rd, 2005 08:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 23rd, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - _blackjack_ - Feb. 24th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 24th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - _blackjack_ - Feb. 24th, 2005 03:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 24th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 24th, 2005 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - _blackjack_ - Feb. 24th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: I ramble for too long - chadu - Feb. 24th, 2005 07:16 am (UTC) - Expand
_blackjack_
Feb. 22nd, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC)
Well, to start with, camels weren't domesticated until around 1400 BCE, long after the dawn of religion, so that blows the whole theory right there.
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( 57 comments — Leave a comment )

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