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Passions in Poetry

Religiosity, Spirituality, Fraud, and Atheism

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Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
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Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


25 posted 05-31-2011 01:28 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Brad,

quote:
I just don't see most religious people exercising doubt


I don't think certainty or doubt (usually) make someone respond to certainty or doubt in a better or worse way.   It mostly depends on how you respond or express your certainty or doubt,  not so much on how much certainty or doubt you have about something.  "How" implies your manner or  your means or your way of using or dealing with your certainty or doubt, which is not determined by the certainty or doubt itself.   Some man that has no doubt about God may show little difference in general morals from most folk, another man may be more religious and follow the Bible a lot more dependantly, another man may believe he is an instrument of God and try to preach and convert everyone, another man may wage war against unbelievers.   Likewise a man that has much feelings of doubt about God may also show little difference in general/practical morals, responding or dealing with his doubt in a responsible and respectful way, another man with much doubt may resort to the bible more mechanically to compensate for his doubt and perhaps try to hide his doubt and appear as certain as possible, another man may lose sense of direction and resort to violence, etc.  

I would argue that most people whether religious or not, whether in great certainty about God or in great doubt, most people certainly still succeed in being exceptionally civilized from one day to another.   The amount of tameness and control most of us maintain, despite all our weaknesses and the pressures on us, despite still being animals underneath it all, I think is certain proof that we are capable of working miracles.  

  

Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


26 posted 06-01-2011 08:06 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
I would argue that most people whether religious or not, whether in great certainty about God or in great doubt, most people certainly still succeed in being exceptionally civilized from one day to another.


I agree.  I'm a bit confused by your argument though.  You don't see a correlation between degree of certainty and intensity of activity?

Christianity is predicated, at least partly, on intent.  This is what Hitch means when he talks about Orwellian thoughtcrime.


No doubt there are exceptions but

quote:
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.


makes sense but is immediately followed by

quote:
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.


Matthew 7:18-20 (KJV)

We can go around the prescriptive/descriptive yet again but my point will always be that this can be interpreted as prescriptive.  I don't see how skepticism, however little there may be, can't help ameliorate actions with this passage in mind.

The challenge is still the same:  If I'm wrong, if Camping is wrong, if Nigerian parents are wrong, then why can't you be wrong?

Sounds simple but somehow I think it gets mucked up the moment someone says, "I didn't say that, God says that."

Stephanos
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27 posted 06-02-2011 01:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

The reason the passage you cited shouldn't (and I do distinquish this from 'can't'), is that it disregards a much larger framework of the teaching of Christ.  Jesus did not teach that God doesn't judge, or that God doesn't punish, or that God should not be feared.  But he did not teach that it is man's place (and particularly a Christian's place) to impose punishment.  In fact there is an incident in the Gospels where his disciples wanted to "call down fire from Heaven" upon an impudent and implacable town by which they weren't treated well.  Jesus sharply rebuked them for this response and said "You do not know what spirit you are of".  


Therefore, if the prescriptive interpretation chaffs irreconcilably with the larger framework of Christ's own words, his own corpus of instruction to those who would be his followers, then there remains only one good interpretive option, namely that the scripture you quoted is referring to the Judgment and punishment of God of wicked men who incorrigibly refuse to repent.  Brad, I could marshal New Testament scripture after scripture in support of what I'm saying to counter those who ask "Shall we gather the tares up? (to be burned)".


The whole of Christ's teaching is a deference to the Judgment of God, giving mercy, and laying aside human wrath.  The fact that scriptures can be divorced from their larger context, can be thought of as a test.  Who are we that can take the words, even of the most holy, and do that which is unholy, often against conscience, and never in complete ignorance of the right.  And still, the truth remains, that for those who love Christ, there is a desire to study and to understand the whole, that I believe will lead them closer to the spirit rather than the isolated letter.  


If you don't understand this, then you can't say that one man's interpretation of anything can better or worse than another's.  And I've never felt that this was your approach, at all.  


You ask why I can't be wrong.  I'm not saying that I can't.  But if this is understood (apart from the quagmire of complete relativism), then so should the inverse be asked ... Why can't I be right?  If someone can be far away, why can't they be close?  How can the one point be pressed, without conceding the other?


So I'll not argue that I can't be wrong (in the abstract philosophical).  What I will do, for those who will listen, is to make an exegetical and experiential case, as to why I'm not.  And it's okay to question my answers (I still do).  But I think valid questioning can only come from those who've taken the encounter seriously for themselves, who already feel persuaded about a level of coherence in the teaching, take it for granted in spite of some tension, and look carefully and thoughtfully for its best interpretation and application.


It seems that an invitation to exegesis is ever met with a tangential "but anyone can interpret that anyway they want, so why would I want to try?".  And the response is "Yes, but I want to ask once you've honestly tried to examine it for yourself (for much more than a moment), do you really believe that they should?"  Your questioning thus far, denies that there could be such a thing as interpretive propriety and only asks in terms of naked possibility.  Yes of course people can interpret scripture any way they want, but should they?


Stephen                  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (06-02-2011 10:07 AM).]

Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


28 posted 06-02-2011 03:31 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
You don't see a correlation between degree of certainty and intensity of activity?


I do, But I don't think there is usually one between one's certainty about believing in God on the one hand and his behaviour being morally "better" or morally "worse" on the other.   A man that feels certain about his belief in God probably doesn't usually behave "worse" because of it than a man that has much doubt and scepticism.  I believe the believer and the doubter both achieve at least "common sense" for the most part, despite their religious certainty or doubt.     
Brad
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since 08-20-99
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Jejudo, South Korea


29 posted 06-08-2011 05:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


quote:
You ask why I can't be wrong.  I'm not saying that I can't.  But if this is understood (apart from the quagmire of complete relativism), then so should the inverse be asked ... Why can't I be right?  If someone can be far away, why can't they be close?  How can the one point be pressed, without conceding the other?


This is all I was really looking for.  This is not relativism. It is a point that we disagree on but a point that has an answer.  One of us is right and one of us is wrong.  I just wanted you to admit the possibility that you could be wrong.  I think that's enough to give us pause in our actions.

In case you didn't get this already, I could be wrong as well.  This becomes much clearer if I can find the time to deal with the cosmological argument.  Believe it or not, on that one, there is nothing that I've read that rules out a creator.

Bob K
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30 posted 06-09-2011 04:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Indeed, we've seen three excellent creators here in Brad, Essorant and Stephen as they grapple with the necessity of making meaning out of the world.  Each world is significant, rich, and valuable.  Stephen's has the advantage of offering a community of belief and believers with a resonant history to add background and tone.  This doesn't mean that it is correct, but there is a glorious tradition attached to it that I personally enjoy while disagreeing with in some parts.

     There is much to be said for sheer history, as in length of survival, or age.  It gives the option of reflection on a chunk of personal experience  large enough to offer some sense of perspective.  Some folks can't or don't take advantage, but sheer history at least offers the possibility.  Religious thought has at least in part taken advantage of that, and needs to be considered carefully for what it claims.

     Because of its history, it also has a history of failures to be examined.

     I do not mean explained away or excused.

     For now, I think that it is simply enough to name them and notice them when they appear and say to ourselves, Yes, there that thing is again.

     When Protestants and Catholics get upset with each other in Ireland, I think we should say, There that thing is again, without trying to name it.  

     When the Muslims and the Jews set to in Israel, we ought to be there with pencil and paper, making a checkmark in our notebooks, saying, Oh, yes, I believe I've seen this before.  I'm going to put a checkmark down right here.

     When Sunnis and Shi'ia start killing each other, we should be taking note.

     Hindus and Muslims.

     Buddhists and Chinese Communists.

     Clergy and kids of whatever stripe.

     I would suggest that these are as much a part of religious experience as the transformations celebrated in so many services of so many religions of the ordinary becoming part of the divine.  They are simply a part of that process that we tend to chose to ignore.  I think.

     That is, of course, my conclusion.  One I've come too by rushing past my own prescribed course of action and coming to a conclusion before spending my time simply noticing the appearance of these quasi-religious events.  This may be what happens when I rush to judgement instead of simply allowing myself to watch and notice from a place of loving attention.  The solution for me is to begin again with the noticing and to put aside my conclusions.

     It will also help me to notice those joys and consolations that religion can bring, and there are many of them.  I want to learn what my experience tells me, rather than what my logic instructs me to think here, or what somebody else's logic instructs me to think.  I've already had loads of logic on this subject from lots of different sources.  I don't mind getting more, but I want to make sure that I'm paying attention to my own experience as well, and that I keep that information for separate consideration.  It will have its own wisdom.  I hope.  
Stephanos
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since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


31 posted 06-16-2011 05:49 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad:
quote:
This is all I was really looking for.  This is not relativism. It is a point that we disagree on but a point that has an answer.  One of us is right and one of us is wrong.  I just wanted you to admit the possibility that you could be wrong.  I think that's enough to give us pause in our actions.


Brad, I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, but who am I to say.     I will point out that I was ceding the naked philosophical possibility of being wrong, in answer to an argument that was phrased as such:  "If I'm wrong, if Camping is wrong, if Nigerian parents are wrong, then why can't you be wrong?".  That whole question seems to be a philosophical distraction that has little, if anything, to do with a discussion of reasons to believe, and actually impedes it, ... and that was my point.  For example, the question of why my Christian view of eschatology is more "right" than that of the date-setters, isn't really acknowledged or discussed, in favor of repeatedly pointing out that things can always be interpreted differently.

Anyway, these have been interesting and engaging discussions for me, and have covered a lot of ground that usually doesn't get coverage in these kinds of talks.  I've enjoyed very much, and suspect it's not finished ... like ever.  


Stephen
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


32 posted 06-27-2011 06:56 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

It is indeed as you say.  It is also an important point that few people consider when talking about this stuff.  Trust me on that.  

quote:
For example, the question of why my Christian view of eschatology is more "right" than that of the date-setters, isn't really acknowledged or discussed, in favor of repeatedly pointing out that things can always be interpreted differently.


Then let's do that next.
Stephanos
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Statesboro, GA, USA


33 posted 07-05-2011 04:23 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

(bookmark) .... to return soon.



Stephen.
 
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