Religion/Spirituality Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Halt, May 26, 2017.

  1. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Invictus is exactly right. DR, you're treating Christianity as a monolithic movement and you really couldn't be more wrong.

    Going back to the New Testament, Christianity is about the OT law being completed in Jesus Christ. Thus, the Christian is free from the law. Paul calls it a harsh taskmaster. He also writes that for the Christian, "All things are permissable, but not all things are profitable." The Christian faith is not about obedience to a law, it's about acting out of love in a relationship.

    Let me explain that further by illustration. I am married. Because I love my wife there are several things I choose not to do. One of those things is to never get into a car with another woman, alone, and drive to a destination. Would it be morally wrong to do so? No. Absolutely not. I don't do it simply because I love my wife so much that I choose to never put myself in a situation where I am tempted to cheat on her, or where someone else could question my fidelity. And that is true, and even more so, with the reason I choose to keep fidelity with her. It isn't because it is immoral not to, but because I love her too much to do so.

    Applying that to Christianity, the heart of Christianity is a relationship with God based on love. I choose not to act in ways counter to my faith because of a loving relationship with God, not because I fear consequences or because of a set of moral laws that I must follow. In fact, the NT is very clear that any break of morality is forgivable, so there is no "You Must Do" laws within the faith.

    The problem is man's proclivity to black and white; to want hard and fast rules. As such, institutions have created moral laws and rules such as you have mentioned in the Catholic church. But a simply read of the NT would show you that is not the intention of Christianity.
     
  2. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    If that's true, then why do the Ten Commandments carry any weight? It certainly explains why they're always breaking 'Thou shalt not kill.'

    Or, for another, more relevant issue, why does Christianity widely view abortion or gay sex as cardinal sins, if 'everything is permitted'?
     
  3. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Only the catholic church views sins as "Cardinal" or "Venial" sins. I recognize absolutely no difference between the two. As for the ten commandments, the issue is that breaking them hurts our relationship with God. In fact, go back to my comment on adultery in my earlier post. I choose not to commit adultery because I love my wife too much and doing so breaks the marital bond. That fact, however, is a universal with in the Christian faith as it breaks our relationship with God as well as our spouse.

    By the way, there is no commandment against killing. The commandment is "Do not murder." And yes, there is a distinct difference in the OT between the Hebrew words for kill and murder.

    As for abortion, there's two elements there. The first element is that Christians believe in the Imago Dei; that is, every human being is made in the image of God. As such, abortion is destruction of God's image and doing so, therefore, hurts a Christian's relationship with God. It is literally like taking a picture of your wife or husband and stabbing a knife through it. How can that not hurt a relationship? The second element is that Christians believe life begins at conception, and choosing to destroy that life is exactly the same as choosing to murder (not kill) any other human being. Of course, the issue with "life of the mother" now becomes an issue of kill vs. murder based on my statement on the commandment not to kill.

    (Note to others: please let's not make this thread a dumpster-fire about abortion).
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  4. Arthellion

    Arthellion Ban(ned) Arthellion

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    I'd throw in here as well, that the "average person" in the church misses the above points entirely. They revert legalism and judgement of other because they don't actually have that relationship. It's easier to teach/live a certain way than recognize our own incompetence and inability to live that way. It's easier to be "self sufficient" than be humble and recognize the desperate need we have for God and a relationship with Him.

    And it's sad. Because the relationship I have with Him is so wonderful and filled with love. All my needs are satisfied in Him and it is the most joyful thing ever to love Him.
     
  5. Marsupial

    Marsupial Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    It is and it isn't. There's nothing intrinsic to Christianity which might rely on laws or edicts from any earthly authority. But in reality I think Arthellion is closer to the right of it.

    Christianity as an organized faith (and I'll acknowledge the distinction between that and 'as a personal ethos') is all about laws and edicts. The Catholic Church has its Pope, its Councils, its Edicts and Papal Bulls. The size of the Catholic Church is reflected in the number and complexity of it's man-made laws governing the salvation of its flock.

    That tendency scales.

    The United Methodist Church has its General Conferences and its Council of Bishops who lay down rules for the Church to follow. The Southern Baptists have their Conventions and their Executive Council. The batshit crazy, unaffiliated Baptist church down the road where I grew up (which broke away from SBC when they found it too damned progressive) has their dick of a pastor and their (dicks of a) Lay Council, and woe betide you if you break their Church rules.

    I get that Christian philosophy is not a legal structure, that all you need is faith, forgiveness, repentence, etc. through Christ. And at this point, given the number of times I've poked you with a religiously-themed pointy stick, I accept and appreciate that you personally believe and follow that ethos. But that's not the experience I've typically had with Christians. That's not the way that most organized Christian communities function. Hell, it's not the way that any organized Christian community I've ever encountered has functioned. And it's almost the polar opposite of the way politically active Christianity seems to function.

    Weirdly I think you know too much about the history and philosophy of your faith to be representative of most of the people who profess to follow it.
     
  6. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I think this talk of personal relationships is more representative of your sect of Christianity than it is of Christianity itself. Each denomination is different in how it approaches the faith. My experience of it was via my father, who is Catholic. And thus my experience of Christianity is vastly more about the laws and directives that followers are told to keep to in order to live out their lives as followers of Christ.
     
  7. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    You're both basically making the same point, and it's well taken. However, my argument concerns not how Christianity was later subjugated to laws and edicts, but what the original intent was as seen both in the NT and as seen in the earliest writings of the church fathers. The Apostolic creed, for instance, is not written as "You must believe this" but rather, "we confess this."

    Nevertheless, if we take this argument back to its original context of feminism and the definition of "religion", I must confess in that context, your arguments have a very valid point. Many Christians have turned what I have written above into a set of laws and rules (and I don't think I ever denied that) that must be followed. And, in the same way, if one were to say some adhere to feminism as a religion, they to set establish a set of laws and rules to be followed to be counted as a feminist.

    On the other hand, when focused on what Christians mean when they say Christianity "is not a religion," my arguments hold true. They may not be able to express it as I have, but the concept, nebulous though it is, still remains.
     
  8. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Which is one of the things that makes it rather hard to talk about Christians as any sort of monolithic bloc.

    Though I'd also say that some of the more legalistic traits of organized Christianity are really just the sort of thing that's likely to crop up in any large and organized group of people. It's hard to find any large organization that doesn't have their sects, orthodoxy, and dogma.
     
  9. Arthellion

    Arthellion Ban(ned) Arthellion

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  10. Sorrows

    Sorrows High Inquisitor Prestige DLP Supporter

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    ... You know I was going to link some of the innumerable articles attacking the Muslim populations of Christian majority countries up to and including the current President of the US to illustrate how in a thousand ways they have been deamonised and made to feel unwelcome.

    But I think I won't insult your intelligence and assume you have actually been reading the news over the last 15 odd years.

    When it comes to the attitude of Muslims in muslim majority countries have you considered the biases inheritet in the providers of your news? Even within western sources which are not openly bias against Muslims such as Fox there is still a tendency to report mainly atrocities and negative news from muslim majority countries. You are going to see twenty suciude-bombing articles for every one talking about peoples efforts to connect with their religious neighbors because that is what people want to read about.

    Additionally you point to the most extreme of the world's Islamic countries from itsimost tumultious regions and then generalise from there. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are all Muslim majority countries that have secular governments and thought they have their problems, are developing democracies. I bet before I mentioned them you did not know they were Muslim because people rarely blow themselves up there.

    Point being you have to consider your own point of view and the influence of the type of information you have been exposed to before making sweeping generalisations.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Fourth Champion

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    All of these are former SU Republics that were incredibly repressive of religion and yes intolerant of it among other things. Actually, Kyrgyzstan (In a move that alarmed human-rights groups, dozens of prominent Uzbek religious and community leaders were arrested by security forces following the 2010 South Kyrgyzstan riots, including journalist and human-rights activist Azimzhan Askarov.[53] A law banning women under the age of 23 from traveling abroad without a parent or guardian, with the purpose of "increased morality and preservation of the gene pool" passed in the Kyrgyz parliament in June 2013.[54] American diplomats expressed concern in October 2014 when Kyrgyzstan lawmakers passed a law that imposes jail terms on gay-rights activists and others, including journalists, who create “a positive attitude toward non-traditional sexual relations.”), Kazakhstan (Human Rights Watchsays that "Kazakhstan heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech, and religion,"[18]and other human rights organisations regularly describe Kazakhstan's human rights situation as poor), Turkmenistan (according to Human Rights Watch, "Turkmenistan remains one of the world’s most repressive countries. The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal."), Uzbekistan (However, non-governmental human rights watchdogs, such as IHF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, as well as United States Department of State and Council of the European Union, define Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights"[16] and express profound concern about "wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights".[47] According to the reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly. It has also been reported that forced sterilization of rural Uzbek women has been sanctioned by the government) and Tajikistan (Like all other Central Asian neighbouring states, the country, led by President Emomali Rahmon since 1994, has been criticised by a number of non-governmental organizations for authoritarian leadership, lack of religious freedom, corruption and widespread violations of human rights.) still are highly repressive and Soviet style in their take on politics.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
  12. James018

    James018 Third Year

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    One has to remember that "religious tolerance" is actually a quite peculiar value of the modern Western world. Nearly every civilisation across most of human history has been highly intolerant of minority religious beliefs, often to the point of genocide. It shouldn't surprise us that most non-Western cultures are still like that today, and that is certainly not limited to Islamic countries.
     
  13. Solfege

    Solfege Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    My knowledge of world history is rather poor, and I err to your account of religious tolerance, being my natural bias too. But there've been rulers in history who oversaw periods of immense conquest and prosperity and reconciled the two through inclusive policies. The great emperor Ashoka was such a man, instituting Buddhism as the official religion of a multiethnic, multicultural India but tolerating all, even assembling great councils to mediate the major religious doctrines and encouraging his subjects to study and respect all religions. Someone better versed in Indian history can correct me, but I might roughly call him an Indian Alexander, and he indeed was on friendly terms with the Hellenic empire.

    The Islamic world through the Western Dark Ages made extensive use of Christian, Indian, and Chinese scholarship, and although there was likely great discrimination/preference towards Islamic scholars, those from other religions were nevertheless capable of rising in society.

    Likewise, the great Qing emperors were tolerant of barbaric influence, even as they controlled the extent of geographic penetration. Their own nomadic roots gave them a unique ability to mediate among cultures (learning from and building on top of the Mongols' mistakes also), incorporating the western barbarian frontiers and their resources into an explicitly multiethnic Chinese empire that remains the most expansive geographic definition of China in recorded history.

    I suspect there are other examples, but we don't really study them in the West, and I'm not knowledgeable enough to say whether there are patterns or exceptions; whether these such expansive personalities were able to leave lasting institutional influences in the end, our own history being a mere 250 years.
     
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  14. Agayek

    Agayek Alchemist

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    There have been many, many societies that were relatively liberal, religiously at least, all over the world. The Persian Empire was (occasionally) such a place, and even the Romans were generally tolerant of foreign religion in the places they conquered.

    However, none of them ever tolerated the rise of a new religion that threatened the status quo. As soon as a religion looked to be gaining a significant foothold, well, that's when their leaders were fed to the lions or whatever. It's just how people are.
     
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  15. Solfege

    Solfege Unspeakable DLP Supporter

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    This seems like the debate on democracy and democratic-ness all over. We can extend your definition of tolerance to the West, where we'd fail that lofty test. Many argue for roots in Christian values. We'd not tolerate the rise of Islam to upset our status quo. Assimilation, integration is the name of the game.

    The examples I mention have had their versions of Chinatown, Little Italy, etc. Communities and temples of their own. What distinguishes that from our own reality today? Perhaps we'd not feed religious leaders to lions, but we certainly are preoccupied with certain conceptions of Western vigor and seek to preserve through other legal and social measures. A measure of secularity in our electoral system allows for some tolerance of diverse representation (as Ashoka had multi-ethnic and multi-religious advisors of his own) but no one would campaign openly on America as upholding Buddhist values as, well, some politicians do on Christian values.

    The distinction there being spirituality in one's life is admirable, but explicit proselytization outside mainstream Christian strands are not. Granted, "mainstream" is a moving average, and this is a balance that Catholics and Mormons have had to trend.

    Shift that moving average too quickly or at the wrong juncture of history, and even we're not to be insulated from the possibility of anti-religious riots. Our version of throwing people to the wolves, just with grassroots sentiment and guns. Think the anti-draft riots in Lincoln's NYC, the open lynching of black men. Instead of one-man rules, the mob rule.
     
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  16. Agayek

    Agayek Alchemist

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    That was kinda my point.

    We're not some special snowflakes that are unique in our attitudes. At the end of the day, "religious tolerance" has been a relatively common idea throughout history... up until the point that the status quo is threatened. Then come the purges and the riots and the burning, etc. We, as in modern Western culture, are not particularly special in that regard; we simply have a (marginally) more robust status quo.
     
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  17. Agni

    Agni Second Year

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    It would not be correct to call Ashok an Indian Alexander. I would go as far as to say that no Indian emperor should be compared to Alexander.

    The nature of the conquests of Indian rulers was fundamentally different from that of Alexander's. No conquest of Indians (save a few regional and south Indian exceptions) crossed the boundaries of Aryavarta (i.e old name of India). This has repeatedly been mentioned in various Indian as well as Greek sources. The Greek historian Arrian states that a sense of Justice prevented an Indian king from attempting conquest beyond the boundaries of India.

    King Ashok, he did not undertake much(if any) conquests except the conquest of Kalinga. Regarding Kalinga, there is much ambiguity. Some sources mention that it was an independent province while others mention that it was a rebellious province.

    The popular narrative would have you believe so, partly because, earlier, much of the history of Ashok has been reconstructed through the Buddhist sources. But of the 33 rock and pillar edicts of Ashok which were discovered later, none proclaim so, desptie Dhamma (loosely compared to what you would call religion) being their central focus.
     
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