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Religion vs Reason

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Essorant
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75 posted 08-04-2006 05:12 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Jim,

Thanks for your comment.  That is sort of what I meant.  But I also I believe a difference never means a seperation of something from something else.  Every difference is just a variation of the same thing: a same existance, a same universe, a same matter, a wholeness.  But the distinction we make is a distinction of a different shape or manner of that very same thing.  The same universe simulatenously becomes a circle in one place while it becomes a triangle in another, therefore we name it thus a "circle" here and thus "triangle", it there, but it is still the same universe.  Likewise the same universe becomes religion and reason by and among us and therefore we thus call it a "religion" here and "reason" there.  This goes all the way.  Not only are religion and reason different shapes of the same thing, but you and I are too    


The Shadow in Blue
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76 posted 08-04-2006 07:59 PM       View Profile for The Shadow in Blue   Email The Shadow in Blue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit The Shadow in Blue's Home Page   View IP for The Shadow in Blue

Ummm...wow...It is possible to be more confused about religion now, then before. You all raise interesting points and from what I skimmed they have validity (is that a word...) to some extent. So now I am going to go back and read through all of the comments and then make a more useful and intellectually sound post. I'm kind of glad I actually posted this topic because I'm learning a little bit more about spirituality and faith.
The Shadow in Blue
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77 posted 08-06-2006 07:21 PM       View Profile for The Shadow in Blue   Email The Shadow in Blue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit The Shadow in Blue's Home Page   View IP for The Shadow in Blue

From what I have read on this thread I find that religion and reason "sometimes" can coexist. But in certain circumstances people are too obsessed with either end of the spectrum. (I guess I would fall under that category sometimes...) Sometimes you can't put complete faith in something when you don't have all the knowledge that you need. And in certain times, when a few people overuse an avenue of thought (ie:faith/reason) it puts them off a little.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that religion is a necessity for the past/present/future, but you have to consider logic. Without  something to belief in you may not get far in life, but at times it is better to use your head. I can't really believe completely that we as a human race wouldn't be passionate and as compelled to love and live without God. I just can't.

I guess that when the few manipulative people use religion as a scapegoat, it spoils it for some. That is partially what happened to me. I can't truely put all my faith back religion yet, but the thing that is good about spirituality as a whole is the fact that  the church always accepts you back when you need it. I guess you can't completely turn your back on the church/God.

Basically,religion will always be around as long as their is life on this Earth. And their will always be the negative and positive aspects explored through natural human curiosity. But really it is through that curiosity that we learn more about ourselves and  the world as a whole. Nothing is perfect and I guess religion is no different.

~Jill S.

I'm taking my own chances to find truth between the lies.
Its kinda like just what it is.
http://www.myspace.com/theshedevil05
LeeJ
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78 posted 08-07-2006 07:16 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Dear Jill
just wanted to drop by and thank you for this interesting thread.  It was great hearing the views of others, and yes, your right, religion will always exist...and as in everything, there is bad as well as good which comes from it...enjoyed reading the perspectives from everyone...hugs and many thanks.
Kitherion
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79 posted 08-25-2006 05:48 AM       View Profile for Kitherion   Email Kitherion   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kitherion

Boring Excessive ramblings of Christians trying to promote their own faith... Sigh, why can't we all just get along and be happy? Why does religion always have to be christian? There are so many other religions in the world, why not focus on something else?

Within the path of the Goddess I walk, she guides my every step.. into the oblivion called life.

jbouder
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Kith:

One reason might be that the Christian worldview is reasonable (even if some Christians fail to notice that it is or practice their faith as if it isn't).  Claims that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead are historical claims that can be tested using legal-historical research methods.  So it makes sense that when reason is presented in contrast to religion, that those ascribing to a faith with a reasonable foundation will speak up.

I'd be happy to discuss the reasonableness of Wicca, Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, or any other religion for that matter.  The bottom line for me, and this might stem from a misunderstanding of such religions, is that most other religions rely far more heavily on personal experiences to define belief and practice.  That's not good enough for me.  I'm a doubting Thomas.  I'm not so interested in figuring out whether the burning in my bossom is the Holy Spirit or acid reflux as I am in knowing with a reasonable amount of certainty that my faith is founded on fact.  If I can't put my hands in the hands and side of Christ himself, I want to be able to test incredible claims like that of the resurrection with well established means of historical inquiry.

Jim
Essorant
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81 posted 08-25-2006 08:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Claims that Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead are historical claims that can be tested using legal-historical research methods"

In other words, it is written.   Well things are written in other religions too.  And those are just as much facts that help uphold those religions.

Stephanos
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82 posted 08-25-2006 09:40 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Not exactly Essorant ...  Most other religions do not even claim to be the kind of Historical writings Jim is speaking of.  That's one of the tests of Historiography: The internal test.


http://www.apologetics.org/books/historicity.html

Of course, I might add this to what Jim is saying:  Historical veracity is only part of what constitutes Biblical Faith, but a very important part.


Stephen
Essorant
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83 posted 08-25-2006 10:38 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That is because Jim is talking about Christian historical claims in respect to Christian historical writings, not about other religions' writings.  Speak about other religions' writings, and then you will find claims of other religions being of those--their own-- kind of historical writings.  

Stephanos
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84 posted 08-25-2006 11:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

There are only a handful of religious Texts that claim to be historical in the sense that Christianity does.  (actually, the only ones I can think of are Islam and Mormonism).  If anyone was interested I'd be glad to discuss how the historical claims of these are not substantial.


Would you prefer to speak of specifics rather than generalities?  It's too easy for you to claim historical egalitarianism simply because you hold a philosophy which believes everything should be equal.  (even truth and lies)  When speaking of historical reliability, you have to begin to speak of specific claims somewhere.  Firstly, you have to believe such distinctions are even possible.  Until then, discussing historical veracity is moot.


If you can convince me that you're not proposing this prima facie equality of all texts, then we'll talk about historical particulars.  If not, then I honestly feel like I would be wasting words.


Stephen.
Essorant
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85 posted 08-25-2006 11:35 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"There are only a handful of religious Texts that claim to be historical in the sense that Christianity does."


Once again if a belief or religion is not Christian, why would or should it claim to be historical in the sense Christianity?  Why would or should it claim to be historical in any other the sense that they most believe in and in the sense than what it involves believinng in most, and what is inherited thro the evolution of the religion?  How is it right to expect other religions to live up to the ideal of "historical in the sense of Chrisitianity", when they are not Christianity?


"Would you prefer to speak of specifics rather than generalities? "

I don't know.  Why not just let the discussion flow to generality or specificness as it will?  I don't think we need to force it especially in one direction or another.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-26-2006 12:10 AM).]

Stephanos
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86 posted 08-26-2006 12:03 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

I'm not saying that they should claim to be historical in the same sense.  But the fact that they don't tells me something about them.  To me, neither do their philosophies make any good sense out of the history as presented in the Bible, in particular the New Testament.  A comprehensive system of belief, or truth, should be able to make sense of those facts.  


It is the very uniqueness of Christianity, that it is not founded upon mere ideas, philosophy, or ethics.  It has a very definite historical foundation, in claiming that God acted in Space-Time, through the person of Jesus Christ.  As Francis Schaeffer put it, it is true in the sesne that "if you were there that day, you could have rubbed your finger on the cross and got a splinter on it".


And therefore philosophies or religious world-views can be evaluated based on what God has revealed both doctrinally and historically.  


I'm not saying that all aspects of other religions are wrong. But I am saying that philosophical teachings which contradict the Biblical revelation I have found to be philosophically gratuitous.  And "historical" claims which contradict the Gospels, I have found to be historically unsupportable by methods of historiography.  (And no, you don't have to be a historian to understand them).


Again, that brings us to the point of discussing particulars or not.  But if you can't recognize the difference between a divinity based in history, and one based in mere thought, then maybe we're still unable to proceed to discussing particulars.


As I said, it does no good to discuss "history" if you can't yet concede a difference between events and ideas.  Not that ideas aren't important.  


Stephen.  
Essorant
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87 posted 08-26-2006 11:33 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That just strikes me as obstinatly biblio-centric, Stephanos.  Other religions shall say the exact same thing about the bible that you will say about their works: that it doesn't make good sense of the histories and lore that they have and believe in.  What you seem to be trying to say is "this is best".  But that is what almost every other religion is saying about its works too.


Stephanos
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88 posted 08-27-2006 12:49 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Other religions shall say the exact same thing about the bible that you will say about their works: that it doesn't make good sense of the histories and lore that they have and believe in.


The only religion of antiquity that has any historical criticism of Christianity is Islam.  But there's very little reason to believe what Mohammed, in the 6th Century A.D., said about Christ, over and above what companions and eyewitnesses said about him in the 1st Century.  


Hinduism is not a historically concerned religion, and can easily brush history under the rug, making Jesus just one more mystical deity to add to the pantheon.  But it fails in that it doesn't square with history as history.


Buddhism is also not all that concerned with history, since it is mainly a non-theistic philosophical system.  That way any "history" that doesn't agree with it's philosophy it can circumvent.


So you are wrong in saying that "other religions shall say the exact same thing about the Bible that you will say about their works".  I'll support this with two propositions:


1) Non-Historical religions don't criticize the history of Christianity, they ignore it, or reconstruct it.  

2) The Historical religions (which claim a unique and meaningful history of actual events in Space Time) don't possess the same historical authenticity as Christianity.  



My criticism of your method of argument, Essorant, is that you are not willing to discuss whether my propositions (1 and 2) are true, using particular reasons.  You are obfuscating the whole discussion by saying that other religions "say the same thing".  But you haven't shown me that you even know what they are specificially saying.  Until you are willing to discuss that, your argument stands in limbo, and in effect only reiterates that other people disagree.  I already knew that.  That is no defense or argument.


You are standing (as you do on countless other issues) on an automatic egalitarianism.  And that can never open up into any kind of real discussion.  According to you Lies are already as valid as the truth, lore is already on equal footing with history, and all histories are equally authentic before any evidence is considered.  Your way of arguing comes from a philsophical dogma of monism, whether you recognize that or not.  


If you'll back up, and concede that Christianity is criticized on quite different grounds than it's own criticism of other religions ... and ask what those grounds might be, and whether they are equally valid, then we can continue.  Unitl then we're stuck.


Stephen.    
  
Essorant
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89 posted 08-27-2006 09:54 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"But there's very little reason to believe what Mohammed, in the 6th Century A.D., said about Christ..."


I)  So if Christ said something about Mohammed and Mohammed came many years before Christ, wouldn't you believe what Christ said too?

II)  If you were born in Islam would you still believe there is very little reason to believe what Mohammed said?


It seems easy to trivialize something that is not in your own religion.  But for those that believe in it and have it in thier religion, they take it just as seriously as you take something Christ said.

Try being born in Islam and see if you still believe the same.

"Hinduism is not a historically concerned religion..."

"Buddhism is also not all that concerned with history"


I don't agree.  Just because they don't focus on the same things as Christianity does doesn't mean they aren't "historical" They have their own focus, traditions, teachings, literatures, evolved thro history and based especially on history they experienced, just as Christianity.  Again, it is easy to trivialize the historical traditions of a religion that you don't believe in.  But for those that are born among it, experience the culture and tradition,and lore, I have no doubt they know its important historical worth.

"The Historical religions (which claim a unique and meaningful history of actual events in Space Time) don't possess the same historical authenticity as Christianity. "


You just need to say "Religions" to me Stephanos. "Historical" is a given to me.

Maybe they don't possess as many stamp of "authenticity" by Christians. But they do by those that believe in them.


"According to you Lies are already as valid as the truth"

No; I think you mistook my words.  I said to you earlier in discussions that I don't believe beliefs are lies or in lies.  Beliefs to me are beliefs and in truths, not lies.  Lies to me are lies, not beliefs.  That is not the same as saying "lies" are truths.  
  
JesusChristPose
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90 posted 08-27-2006 10:08 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"No; I think you mistook my words.  I said to you earlier in discussions that I don't believe beliefs are lies or in lies.  Beliefs to me are beliefs and in truths, not lies.  Lies to me are lies, not beliefs.  That is not the same as saying "lies" are truths."

~ Have you ever read Gulliver's Travels? Seriously, put down those Lewis' books and pick that one up, it may do you good.  

"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."

Essorant
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91 posted 08-28-2006 12:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Not yet.  But thanks for saying it.
Stephanos
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92 posted 08-28-2006 12:16 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JCP:
quote:
Have you ever read Gulliver's Travels? Seriously, put down those Lewis' books and pick that one up, it may do you good.

So far I'm not even sure you've read "Gulliver's Travels".  You never comment on it, or explain why it should apply to the discussion at hand.  Be verbose, like I am about C.S. Lewis.  That's how you spark interest, and demonstrate relevance.  Try me, I'm an avid reader and am certainly not opposed to reading it, though I'm already somewhat familiar with the story line.  Ever read "The Brothers Karamozov" by Dostoevsky?


Essorant,

I'll reply later.  No time at the moment.


Stephen
Essorant
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93 posted 08-28-2006 02:21 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Good point, Stephanos.
Although I am not sure JCP meant it to be an especially literary point.

This is sort of how it came across to me:

"wake up and smell the coffee" or "snap out of it"      


Stephanos
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94 posted 08-28-2006 05:24 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Neither was I being especially "literary" when I asked him about Dostoevsky.   Smerdyakov and Ivan Karamazov were especially memorable characters.
  


Stephen.  
JesusChristPose
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95 posted 08-28-2006 05:49 PM       View Profile for JesusChristPose   Email JesusChristPose   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JesusChristPose

"So far I'm not even sure you've read "Gulliver's Travels".  You never comment on it, or explain why it should apply to the discussion at hand."

~ I had to read it for a college class that I took quite some time ago.

~ I haven't explained why you should read it because to explain why would spoil why you should read it.

"Be verbose, like I am about C.S. Lewis."

~ Yes, you are.

"That's how you spark interest, and demonstrate relevance."

~ That is how who sparks interest?

"Ever read "The Brothers Karamozov" by Dostoevsky?"

~ No, I haven't. Is it something I should read?


"Melvin, the best thing you got going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself."
Stephanos
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96 posted 08-29-2006 12:27 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
So if Christ said something about Mohammed and Mohammed came many years before Christ, wouldn't you believe what Christ said too?


If he said something patently false about Mohammed, I would have to conclude he probably wasn't the Christ.  But that's the kind of problem you run into with conjectural history.  


In actual history, the 7th-century Koran makes patently false statements about a 1st-century Christ, in contradiction with 1st century writers.  I know that his sources were people he met on the Caravan routes, practicers of eclectic religions blending a little history, a little Roman Catholicism, a little gnosticism, and a lot of fiction.  So it may have not been an intentional distortion, but nevertheless it is lacking in historical soundness.


BTW, Don't think I am unware that the best of histories are piecemeal and have thier share of fuzziness.  That doesn't mean that we don't have some very real, sharply focused pictures, true to form.


quote:
If you were born in Islam would you still believe there is very little reason to believe what Mohammed said?



Are you asking if deception is possible?  Of course it is.  I can only hope, that by the Grace of God, and with the right information, I might search out the claims of Islam.  I don't deny that cultural upbringing is a major influence on an individual.  But that doesn't negate the fact that claims may be either true or false.  


Regardless of these kinds of questions you are asking, particular evidences must be discussed at some point.  Even coming into religion with no pre-commitments, I was sure that all the contradictory claims could not be right.  That's what you are missing.  It's not that there isn't a measure of truth and beauty in all these systems, but that their fundamental historical and philosophical claims are at odds.  


As Ravi Zacharias said, "it makes more sense to say that all religions are false, than to say that they are all true."


quote:
It seems easy to trivialize something that is not in your own religion.



Bringing up specific problems is not necessarily trivializing.  Might you not be trivializing ALL religions by not taking their fundamental claims seriously?  Aren't you just patronizing by praising their "virtues" and not caring for their claims, even enough to diagree?  With my view, I can't help but to offend the Muslim.  With your view you offend both Christian and Muslim, by dismantling their distinctness.


Again, in analyzing religious claims, we must examine specifics, not make platitudinous claims of intrinsic equality.  I'm sounding like a broken record I know.  But we're still stuck!


quote:
But for those that believe in it and have it in thier religion, they take it just as seriously as you take something Christ said.



I already knew that.  Therefore let's examine what was said, specifically.  The "taking seriously" is part and parcel with all religious followers.  The question of "why" is not as common among the "faithful".


quote:
Try being born in Islam and see if you still believe the same.



You know Ess, I tried a full 5 minutes to no avail.  I couldn't travel back in time, nor could I convince my Mom to move to Iran.     I think I already addressed the question of culture above, and how it is important, but not wholly determinate of truth.


You have converts from one religious culture to another too.  How do we differentiate what is true then?  I think that here we must discuss claims, rather than restate obvious things like influence of culture and universal devotion.  


quote:
I don't agree.  Just because they don't focus on the same things as Christianity does doesn't mean they aren't "historical" They have their own focus, traditions, teachings, literatures, evolved thro history and based especially on history they experienced, just as Christianity.



I never said that they didn't have a cultural "history".  What I meant was that they are not historically centered religions.  Christianity preaches events that happened in Space-Time (the incarnation, the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection).  And without these events, there would be no Christianity.  History validates that these things happened.  And philosophically-based religions (such as Hinduism and Buddhism) do not view history as all that important.  When you believe that there is no universal truth, and that human life is something to be escaped from, this is not surprising.  But with Christianity, we have events that are shocking, and that speak in stark contrast to that view.  Life is good, and despite the grievous fall we're in, there is hope for restoration, not dissolution.  


So I'm right in saying that Hindu-Buddhist-style religions minimalize history.  I believe even they would say so, in light of their philosophies.  


quote:
You just need to say "Religions" to me Stephanos. "Historical" is a given to me.



That's not what I meant.  I was referring to the nature of each religion and how "history" is viewed within it.  Even the "Heaven's Gate" Cult had a "history".  But that doesn't mean history has much meaning within their escapist framework.  Nor does it mean that their beliefs sprung from any objective historical events beyond ideas and deceptions in the form of conspiratorial paranoia.  


quote:
Beliefs to me are beliefs and in truths, not lies.  Lies to me are lies, not beliefs.



You've never offered any compelling reason to think that lies can't be believed, just as truths are.  I heard a story the other day that a Charge-nurse at a hospital allowed some "maintenance men" in to do some work.  Turns out they were theives who stole several purses from the break-room, and not workers at all.  That Charge nurse believed a lie.


(shaking head)  Feel free to disregard that last part Essorant.  I don't really want to do this again.  


JCP:
quote:
I haven't explained why you should read it because to explain why would spoil why you should read it.



I already know the story line, as well as some of the contemporary interpretations.  How could you spoil it, by simply saying what's on your mind?


quote:
That is how who sparks interest?



My mistake.  So you're saying that showing relevance and sparking interest doesn't apply to you?     Seriously though, I'm aware that controversy sometimes inadvertently creates interest.  True to form.


quote:
No, I haven't. Is it something I should read?



Most definitely.  It's a long one though.  No quick hills or bumps, catered to deep philosophical thought and long views, like the Russian landscape itself.  Each character, like Smerdyakov for example, is a type of different kinds of people.  The Pious, Rationalist, embittered, or impassioned ... each fate is traced out with existential precision that made me shudder.  Though it's a slow breath, it really is a breathtaking read.


Stephen.
        
iliana
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Stephen, to quote you:  "Again, in analyzing religious claims, we must examine specifics, not make platitudinous claims of intrinsic equality."

Call me curious, because I have read the Koran and just can't remember any lies about Jesus, as you purport.  Please do elaborate with specifics....comparisons with one holy book to the other, please.  

Also, though I understand where you are coming from with the "historical" thing, I believe that the Koran was "put to press" much quicker than the Bible was.  

One could argue that the Bahai faith is the only truely historical religion being Bahá’u’lláh walked the earth during modern times (19th century) and left a written record during the time he was here.  But then again, I believe The Mormans have a similar situation there.  
Essorant
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98 posted 08-29-2006 04:04 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

"In actual history, the 7th-century Koran makes patently false statements about a 1st-century Christ, in contradiction with 1st century writers."


And then you turn around and accept the way the heathen gods are portrayed in the bible as devils or demons---the worst thing one could ever call a being someone truly believes is a god/divinity.  I guess it only goes one way in the Christian approach.  It expects other religious texts to portray Christ accuratly, but doesn't give a whit about the extreme misportrayal in the bible of pagan gods,  making them out to be the worst possible thing you can think of: devils and devilworshipping.
  

"So it may have not been an intentional distortion, but nevertheless it is lacking in historical soundness."

I agree; so is the bible's distortion of pagan gods.  

But is it a muslims', or else pagan text we should go to for accuracy about Christianity?  It is a Christian text we should go to for accuracy about Heathenism, or Islam?  I don't believe so.

An English teacher and his writings may have some distorted notions and statements about Mathematics, if he only mostly knows and teaches English and is quite distant from mathematics.  But it is not up to English teacher and his writings to be Mathematics "professionals" That is up to the Mathematics teacher and the mathematics book.  Likewise it is not up to Muslims and their writings to be the Christianity "professionals"  That is up to Christians and their writings.  

The best accuracy about Christianity is in Christianity. The best accuracy about Heathenism is in Heathenism.  And the best accuracy about Islam is in Islam.  



"As Ravi Zacharias said, "it makes more sense to say that all religions are false, than to say that they are all true.""


I believe every religion is innocent until proven guilty.
   

"Again, in analyzing religious claims, we must examine specifics, not make platitudinous claims of intrinsic equality.  I'm sounding like a broken record I know. "

Bring them forth any time Stephanos.  Just because I use "fire, water, earth and air"  doesn't mean you can't use the periodic table.

"And philosophically-based religions (such as Hinduism and Buddhism) do not view history as all that important. "

I don't agree.  That would be like saying Philosophy isn't an important part of history or that Philosophy doesn't view history as all that important.  I believe it does.  And I believe that both strongly feed off of each other.   Thoughts are just as much historical deeds as actions are.  They exist as much as the earth under our feet.  And they are ever important to all civilizations.  Without thoughts we couldn't really be doing any such discussion as we are right now, and without the evolution and background that cultivates thoughts, we couldn't do it anywhere as strongly and evolvedly.  Philosophy is history too Stephanos.  Therefore more philosophical religions are just as historical as less philosophical religions, just in a more philosophical way.  Although I know that there are certainly more physically descriptive writings involved in those religions too, especially in Hinduism.



"So I'm right in saying that Hindu-Buddhist-style religions minimalize history.  I believe even they would say so, in light of their philosophies.  "

No, I think it is your approach or Philosophy that is minimalizing Philosophy and its important part of being History.  What part of those religions minimilizes Philosophy in such a way?  I am more inclined to say they do the opposite of minimilize it, and maximize it as History.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-29-2006 12:13 PM).]

Stephanos
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quote:
Me: "In actual history, the 7th-century Koran makes patently false statements about a 1st-century Christ, in contradiction with 1st century writers."

Essorant: And then you turn around and accept the way the heathen gods are portrayed in the bible as devils or demons---the worst thing one could ever call a being someone truly believes is a god/divinity.  I guess it only goes one way in the Christian approach.  It expects other religious texts to portray Christ accuratly, but doesn't give a whit about the extreme misportrayal in the bible of pagan gods,  making them out to be the worst possible thing you can think of: devils and devilworshipping.

Calling the Bible's descriptions of Paganism an "extreme misportrayal" is itself an extreme misportrayal.  Let me explain.


When read as a whole, the Bible's descriptions of Pagan religious practices are more complicated than you describe.  And saying that the Bible calls paganism "demonic" and "the worst thing" really isn't accurate.


Let me lay it out as I see it:  Firstly, Pagan religious practices are always describe negatively where the Nation of Israel is concerned.  When Israel is involved in such practices it is referred to metaphorically as "harlotry".  Since God's covenant relationship with Israel is described as a "Marriage", the propriety of such language is easily understood.  As not following the "One True God", Israel was often unfaithful to her husband.  That accounts for much of the negative language that is used by the prophets to chide the infidelity of Israel.  


But when the Heathen nations are the practicers, the description is more one of "darkness" than marital unfaithfulness.  These nations worshipped such idols, because they had not yet recieved the Divine Revelation that Israel had.  Nevertheless they are still portrayed as practicing worship in the context of darkness and ignorance, and harm is not necessarily minimized because of ignorance.  This kind of language is not flattering of course.  But neither is it as contentious as you make it out to be.  

Those are the "metaphysical / relational" reasons why pagan religion is describe in negative terms both for the nation Israel, and for the other nations.  


Now for the historical aspect ...  The Bible's historical descriptions of pagan religion were as wide as the actual practices were.  G.K. Chesterton, in his book "The Everlasting Man"  described a Pagan Mythology that was child-like and innocent, and also a much darker side.  The Bible too reflects this distinction in it's descriptions.  Let me give you a couple of examples.  In Genesis Chapter 31, Rachel the wife of Jacob is said to have " ... stolen her father's household gods", while he (Laban) was outside shearing sheep.  The fascinating part about this whole episode is that scripture doesn't once pause to offer censure or praise, apart from the obvious dishonesty of stealing.  The writer just moves along in the narrative seemingly morally disinterested in these pint-sized objects of worship.  This was probably because it was simply a fact of life in those times.  "Household gods" must have been as common in their times, as house cats are in ours.  


On the other end of the scale, in Jeremiah 32:35 there is a great and terrible moral denunciation of the worship of "Molech" and the sacrifice of living children.  Human sacrifice was not unheard of in pagan religions.  Also common was temple prostitution, as fertilitiy rites in Baal worship, making the charge of "harlotry" not merely a metaphor for infidelity with God, as I described earlier, but a historical description, albeit morally denuncitory.


So, whether or not you agree with the interwoven moral censure, I don't thing that your statement about "historical inaccuracies" in the Bible concerning Paganism, is sustainable.  Don't confuse moral censure with historical misportrayal.              


quote:
The best accuracy about Christianity is in Christianity. The best accuracy about Heathenism is in Heathenism.  And the best accuracy about Islam is in Islam.



That sounds great.  But it is a naive statement.  Consider these complicating factors:  1)  The Patriarchal characters of the Bible lived in a world of paganism, and were themselves well versed in paganism, making their descrptions valid.  2) The Heathen texts we do have, seldom if ever, contradict what the bible says about them, historically speaking (again, don't confuse moral censure with historical descriptions).  and 3)  Islam's own religion is based in a large degree upon is historical inaccuracies about Christ.  It deems Jesus as merely a prophet, not someone who claimed to be the "Son of God" and not someone who died on the cross.  Therefore the best commentary about the Islamic doctrine of Jesus Christ, would naturally be the earliest, most authentic writings about Jesus (1st-2nd century) rather than the Koran of the 7th century.


quote:
I believe every religion is innocent until proven guilty.


My statement was concerned with "true / false".  You said "innocent / guilty".  There is a difference.


quote:
That would be like saying Philosophy isn't an important part of history or that Philosophy doesn't view history as all that important.  I believe it does.


Of course history and philsophy are related.  But I wasn't making a statement about that relationship ... but about how history is interpreted and placed within a given philosophical system.  Neither was I talking about philosophy and history in general terms, but about Hindu-Buddhist philosophy in particular.  Maybe you'll get it if I put it to you this way:  Let's say that Philosophy X denies that history even exists.  That Philosophy may have a history.  But within it's own assumptions, it has devalued history.  See my point?  You're still caught up in general statements, while I have moved on to particular claims.


Can you even summarize Eastern Monistic Philosophy, in the Hindu or Buddhist tradition?  I'm not yet convinced you know it well enough to tell whether or not it minimalizes the importance of history.


quote:
 Philosophy is history too Stephanos.  Therefore more philosophical religions are just as historical as less philosophical religions, just in a more philosophical way. 


You're still missing my point.  I am saying that Christianity is a religion where historical events are indispensable to it's central claims.  If those events did not exist, then there would be no Christianity.  Remove historical events from Hindu-Buddhist framework, and the religion stays intact, because history is not ultimately of any importance according to their own metaphysical beliefs.  That makes these of a very different nature.

quote:
No, I think it is your approach or Philosophy that is minimalizing Philosophy and its important part of being History.  What part of those religions minimilizes Philosophy in such a way?  I am more inclined to say they do the opposite of minimilize it, and maximize it as History.


I'm not at all minimizing ideas.  Rather I'm insisting on a wholeness.  The Eastern Philosophies tend to sacrifice history at the altar of philosophy, whle Christianity is comfortable with both.  It's more true to life, in that regard.


Iliana:
quote:
Please do elaborate with specifics....comparisons with one holy book to the other, please.  


Give me some time Iliana.  And I will try to do so.  Though I enjoy these discussions, this kind of excercise is labor intensive.  


later,

Stephen.
 
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