Author Topic: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion  (Read 4492 times)

Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2015, 08:57:23 AM »
Fish on Fridays? Giving up something for lent? Some don't drink alcohol.
None of those are requirements of faith, Rose - the restrictions referred to in BA's initial post are.  As such, Christianity does not impose dietary or other restrictions.  Churchianity, on the other hand, may.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #26 on: November 17, 2015, 09:00:12 AM »
"There are no scholars"

It's good to hear that the so-called experts whose expert knowledge some here call upon to support their positions don't actually exist.  I will feel more comfortable dismissing the scientific experts now that their supporters have denied their existence.   ;)
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Emergence-The Musical

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2015, 07:36:02 PM »
Some don't give blood.
Do all atheists give blood?
wwaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggghhhhhh.......I FEAST on Sh*te New Atheist argument.

Shaker

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2015, 07:39:35 PM »
Do all atheists give blood?
No. The ones who don't do so either because they can't (I have a fairly rare blood group and would love to give blood, but can't as I've had a blood transfusion since 1980) or don't want to, not because their bizarre interpretation of an ancient text forbids it.

I would absolutely love to be able to give blood and repay the favour that some unknown person did me; I'm prevented only by the regulations regarding the transmission of CJD, not because 'God says no'.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 08:04:38 PM by Shaker »
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BeRational

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2015, 11:17:04 PM »
Do all atheists give blood?

I would not think so, but they will not abstain because an old book says something that might be interpreted to say not to.

I do as it happens and so does my daughter.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2015, 09:54:28 AM »
It's difficult to find an optimistic side to this kind of thing. I sigh and bemoan the fact that it's going to take so very long for things to improve.
I'd agree, Susan.  Things won't improve for as long as human are humans.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2015, 09:58:28 AM »
That is your opinion, but the adherents would disagree.

Again, what is your method for determining which bits of text are true?
Well, since you mention 'text', BR - can you provide any New Testament reference that even remotely instructs a Christian to eat fish on a Friday, give something up for Lent or abstain from alcohol?  It's all very to query how one determines 'which bits of text are true', but something very different to conjure up non-existent textual references.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:00:41 AM by Hope »
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BeRational

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2015, 10:00:50 AM »
Well, since you mention 'text', BR - can you provide any New Testament reference that instructs a Christian to eat fish on a Friday, give something up for Lent or abstain from alcohol?

No but why would I?

You need a method to tell which bits are important, and which can be ignored.

It looks, like people do this in a totally arbitrary way, just picking and choosing whatever they like.
If this is not the case, and there is in fact a way to do the choosing, please describe it.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2015, 10:05:12 AM »
I would not think so, but they will not abstain because an old book says something that might be interpreted to say not to.
Interestingly enough, there is no New Testament injunction against a Christian giving blood.  I suppose it could be argued that the OT includes one - assuming that the concept of a blood transfusion even existed in the centuries during which the OT was written.  However, I think that it would take a pretty dramatic stretching of the OT references to come to that conclusion.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:06:55 AM by Hope »
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BeRational

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2015, 10:06:36 AM »
Interestingly enough, there is no New Testament injunction against a Christian giving blood.  I suppose it could be argued that the OT includes one - assuming that the concept of a blood transfusion even existed in the centuries during which the OT was written.

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Outrider

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2015, 10:31:43 AM »
I'd agree, Susan.  Things won't improve for as long as human are humans.

Why not? Things have been fairly consistently improving for about two hundred and fifty years. We aren't finished yet, obviously, why presume that suddenly things have stopped now?

O.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2015, 10:35:40 AM »
No but why would I?

You need a method to tell which bits are important, and which can be ignored.
One also has to have a method to tell what bits actually exist, and which don't.

That is why I asked you to provide us with one or more references that teach Christians that they should eat fish on a Friday, abstain from something during lent, or avoid alcohol.

Quote
It looks, like people do this in a totally arbitrary way, just picking and choosing whatever they like.
If this is not the case, and there is in fact a way to do the choosing, please describe it.
Well, for a start, one has to ensure that a topic is even referred to within the text; secondly, one has to find out how the Jews of the last couple of centuries BC and the first century AD understood their Scriptures, and how that differs (if at all) from their understandings of the rest of the first millennium BC.  As you are aware, Jews have long been known as the 'People of the Book' to distinguish them from other religious adherents.  As a result, there is a considerable library of written materials that indicate the way the Jews' thinking developed and changed over the centuries before Christ.  A good example of this is the concept of Messiah - initially, this person was to be a spiritual leader with indications that it woud be God himself.  By the 3rd/2nd centuries BC, following various invasions of the Jews' homeland, and their subsequent loss of independence, the concept of Messiah changed to the idea of a politico-military human being who would free the people from their politico-military invaders.

Then one has to look at the ways in which all these fit with the teachings of Jesus, and subsequently of the apostles and Paul, and work out how and why said teachers chose to move the understandings on in the way they did (often calculable by the overall teachings themselves).

Yes it takes time and effort, and uses methodology associated with a variety of fields of study, such as anthopology, history, lingistics, literary criticism and sociology (now, to have got those in alphabetical order unplanned ain't bad  ;))

In a way, it is not hugely different from a detailed study of, say, the way English/Scottish/Welsh and subsequently British law has developed over the centuries.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2015, 10:47:29 AM »
Why not? Things have been fairly consistently improving for about two hundred and fifty years. We aren't finished yet, obviously, why presume that suddenly things have stopped now?

O.
I would disagree that things "have been fairly consistently improving for about two hundred and fifty years", O.  Some things have improved, some have remained static, others have got worse.  I accept that if you simply look at things from a Western perspective, things appear to have improved, but if you look at the bigger 'global' situation - whilst we have been growing richer and healthier, others have been growing poorer and less healthy.

Economically, the tale of the Indian fabric industry, which was a flourishing and exporting industry in the 16th and 17th centuries, is a good example.  With the arrival of the Brits and the East India Company, that industry was destroyed by the British transporting the raw cotton to mills in the north of England where it was turned into cloth and re-exported to India as the finished article.  That is why Gandhi's use of homespun was such a powerful message, both the Brits and the Indians.

We are now seeing things turn on their heads.  The once powerful Europeans rely more and more on what used to be the 'developing' nations, some of whom are close to overtaking said Europeans economically, perhaps even technologically.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:50:22 AM by Hope »
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Outrider

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2015, 10:51:15 AM »
I would disagree that things "have been fairly consistently improving for about two hundred and fifty years", O.  Some things have improved, some have remained static, others have got worse.  I accept that if you simply look at things from a Western perspective, things appear to have improved, but if you look at the bigger 'global' situation - whilst we have been growing richer and healthier, others have been growing poorer and less healthy.

No, they haven't - they've not been improving for them as fast as they have for us, but worldwide infant mortality is down, health and life expectancy are up, quality of life has improved (if not always significantly), we have entirely eradicated entire diseases and are on our way to eradicating more.

Quote
Economically, the tale of the Indian fabric industry, which was a flourishing and exporting industry in the 16th and 17th centuries, is a good example.  With the arrival of the Brits and the East India Company, that industry was destroyed by the British transporting the raw cotton to mills in the north of England where it was turned into cloth and re-exported to India as the finished article.  That is why Gandhi's use of homespun was such a powerful message, both the Brits and the Indians.

And yet, in India, people are living longer, have more rights and more legal protections, have better access to food and medicine than they did. That one element of their economy which was strong has foundered is no different to the fact that the UK coal and steel industries are a shadow of their former selves: this is an economic reality, but isn't significant enough to undermine the widespread general advances we have made as a collective.

O.
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BeRational

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2015, 10:52:38 AM »
One also has to have a method to tell what bits actually exist, and which don't.

That is why I asked you to provide us with one or more references that teach Christians that they should eat fish on a Friday, abstain from something during lent, or avoid alcohol.
Well, for a start, one has to ensure that a topic is even referred to within the text; secondly, one has to find out how the Jews of the last couple of centuries BC and the first century AD understood their Scriptures, and how that differs (if at all) from their understandings of the rest of the first millennium BC.  As you are aware, Jews have long been known as the 'People of the Book' to distinguish them from other religious adherents.  As a result, there is a considerable library of written materials that indicate the way the Jews' thinking developed and changed over the centuries before Christ.  A good example of this is the concept of Messiah - initially, this person was to be a spiritual leader with indications that it woud be God himself.  By the 3rd/2nd centuries BC, following various invasions of the Jews' homeland, and their subsequent loss of independence, the concept of Messiah changed to the idea of a politico-military human being who would free the people from their politico-military invaders.

Then one has to look at the ways in which all these fit with the teachings of Jesus, and subsequently of the apostles and Paul, and work out how and why said teachers chose to move the understandings on in the way they did (often calculable by the overall teachings themselves).

Yes it takes time and effort, and uses methodology associated with a variety of fields of study, such as anthopology, history, lingistics, literary criticism and sociology (now, to have got those in alphabetical order unplanned ain't bad  ;))

In a way, it is not hugely different from a detailed study of, say, the way English/Scottish/Welsh and subsequently British law has developed over the centuries.

If there is a methodology, why are there different interpretations of the text.
A methodology will take you inexorably to one presumably correct outcome.

Why is this not so?
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ippy

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2015, 01:59:55 PM »
If I go to a vegetarian house, I do not expect to be served meat. If the dining programme had been about a vegetarian and some meat eaters I would have expected those who are meat either to serve all vegetarian dishes, or ones for the vegetarian alone. I would not expect the vegetarian to serve meat to the meat eaters. So I think the analogy with the French dinner does not work as being about the evils of religion.

I'll go along with you here NS, can't add to that, nor is there any need.

ippy

ippy

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2015, 02:05:17 PM »
I've studied theology. It's a very strange thing - lots of complex ideas and disciplines that are ultimately devoid of meaning.

Quite.

ippy

Samuel

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2015, 07:01:15 PM »
I've studied theology. It's a very strange thing - lots of complex ideas and disciplines that are ultimately devoid of meaning.

Can you elaborate on that Rhiannon? Presumably those ideas matter to some people? How then are they devoid if meaning?
A lot of people don't believe that the loch ness monster exists. Now, I don't know anything about zooology, biology, geology, herpetology, evolutionary theory, evolutionary biology, marine biology, cryptozoology, palaeontology or archaeology... but I think... what if a dinosaur got into the lake?

Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2015, 08:58:24 PM »
Can you elaborate on that Rhiannon? Presumably those ideas matter to some people? How then are they devoid if meaning?
Its not a case of them mattering and therefore having a meaning, Samuel.  Its more a case of them having a meaning, and that they therefore matter.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2015, 09:11:18 PM »
If there is a methodology, why are there different interpretations of the text.
A methodology will take you inexorably to one presumably correct outcome.

Why is this not so?
A couple of possible reasons, BR.

The first would be that some people don't look into the background and simply take the meaning from the English (or whatever mother tongue they happen to speak) in what is often referred to as a 'literal' interpretation.

A second would be that someone has a pre-existing agenda and therefore looks for verses/passages that support that agenda, even if that requires them to take verses and passages out of context.

A third would be that their mother-tongue verson of the Bible has gone through so many translation filters as to make it a bad translation - for instance many of the early Nepali language Bibles were translated from the AV, as opposed to the original languages, thus compounding translation errors.

A fourth would be that people have been brought up on a given interpretation and don't want/know how to question that interpretation, even when introduced to a new interpretation that is supported by historical documentation.

When one things about all this, it is very little different to a number of similar issues with something like Chaucer, or some cutting-edge science.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 09:28:12 PM by Hope »
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #45 on: November 18, 2015, 09:27:07 PM »
No, they haven't - they've not been improving for them as fast as they have for us, but worldwide infant mortality is down, health and life expectancy are up, quality of life has improved (if not always significantly), we have entirely eradicated entire diseases and are on our way to eradicating more.
And we are meeting many diseases that we've never seen before, we're faced with ever-more serious famine events, there ae possibly more people living in internal and cross-border refugee camps than has ever been the case before.

Quote
And yet, in India, people are living longer, have more rights and more legal protections, have better access to food and medicine than they did. That one element of their economy which was strong has foundered is no different to the fact that the UK coal and steel industries are a shadow of their former selves: this is an economic reality, but isn't significant enough to undermine the widespread general advances we have made as a collective.
Yes people in India are living longer, but that also means that at least as big a proportion are living in poverty than, say, 30 years ago.  Whether they have better access to food and medicine than they did depends on whether they have money to purchase them. 

An increasing number of them don't even have access to regular, let alone permanent electricity or clean water.  Similarly, our poor are growing in numbers because of the decline in high-manpower activities in favour of small companies that employ small numbers. 

As you say, there is an economic cycle which can have a devastating impact on those whose national economies hit the top of the cycle and begin their way down the other side.

I'm not suggesting that we haven't improved our conditions but that has often been patchy, in terms of a global 'collective' picture.  Where one part of the global community has experienced improving conditions, another has experienced worsening conditions.  This isn't simply between national cultures/communities; it even occurs within the boundaries of nations.
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jeremyp

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #46 on: November 18, 2015, 09:35:52 PM »
whilst we have been growing richer and healthier, others have been growing poorer and less healthy.


That is absolutely not true on a global scale. Pick a person at random today from the World population and, on average they will be better off than a random person picked from 250 years ago.
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Hope

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #47 on: November 18, 2015, 09:43:50 PM »
That is absolutely not true on a global scale. Pick a person at random today from the World population and, on average they will be better off than a random person picked from 250 years ago.
I would suggest that most rural people in many parts of the developing world are no better off now, than they would have been 250 years ago.  No electricity, no access to education, no access to healthcare or clean water, no voting rights, no citizenship, ... and that's just to name a few aspects.
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jeremyp

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #48 on: November 18, 2015, 09:50:59 PM »
I would suggest that most rural people in many parts of the developing world are no better off now, than they would have been 250 years ago.  No electricity, no access to education, no access to healthcare or clean water, no voting rights, no citizenship, ... and that's just to name a few aspects.
You'd be wrong. Fewer of them are starving to death for a start. More of them have access to clean water.

Let's be honest, here in the UK, most people didn't have access to safe drinking water 250 years ago.
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Rhiannon

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Re: A microcosm of what is wrong with religion
« Reply #49 on: November 18, 2015, 10:41:34 PM »
Can you elaborate on that Rhiannon? Presumably those ideas matter to some people? How then are they devoid if meaning?

I think you've answered your own question - they became devoid of meaning to me personally. But it does raise the issue of whether theology can be an academic discipline without belief.