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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:11 PM

Religion is not the Problem: But is it the Answer...?

I had a talk with a friend: she is spiritual but not religious, like me. I have been contrasting the differences between spirituality and religion and seeking "the synthesis." What is the lowest common denominator?

Our conversation juxtaposed two opposing views: "Spirituality as a subjective path leading to a subjective enlightenment" vs "religion is about controlling people." There are many religions some of which are the exact antithesis of control. In Sufism it can be described in this way: even unto the gates of heaven do you seek another to enter above yourself. In Taoism it is: "To live without motive is to experience the world." There is no end to selflessness.


Government is about controlling people as well: by it's very design. In fact religion and sect describe the functional role of political party perfectly: A group of people that have a comparative notion of idyllic government/religious role, and the best road to arrive at this goal. The extension is: individual results may vary. "Many paths to god." Juxtapose this idea against an individualist notion of government role and spiritual function. ie Imagine if everyone was expected to offer their own subjective rule on (x issue), and specifically issue their own governmental voice, outside of any wisdom and counsel provided by others. It is an impossible and ridiculous notion. Some people would master this act, while most others would not have the first clue. Hence, the difference between the spiritual and the religious on an individual basis. The spiritual and political masters are going to attract a following which will many times lead to sect, religion, party and government.

Government and religion can and are used for the will of the few against the mindlessness of the mass. This is an entirely different cultural phenomenon then the subjective experience and needs of small groups and individuals. It is just a fact that there are those that have no qualms with harnessing any vehicle for their own design. And it will remain a cultural phenomenon that a group is the cultural manifestation of a need and has it's roots in the individual.

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Reply Religion is not the Problem: But is it the Answer...? (Original post)
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 OP
ladjf Jan 2013 #1
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #2
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #6
Iggo Jan 2013 #3
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #4
Iggo Jan 2013 #22
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #25
Iggo Jan 2013 #26
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #5
Deep13 Jan 2013 #7
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #8
skepticscott Jan 2013 #9
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #10
skepticscott Jan 2013 #11
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #12
skepticscott Jan 2013 #13
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #14
mr blur Jan 2013 #15
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #17
deucemagnet Jan 2013 #35
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #36
deucemagnet Jan 2013 #37
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #38
deucemagnet Jan 2013 #40
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #43
deucemagnet Jan 2013 #48
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #50
deucemagnet Jan 2013 #52
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #53
tama Jan 2013 #83
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #54
skepticscott Jan 2013 #59
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #72
mr blur Jan 2013 #16
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #19
dballance Jan 2013 #18
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #20
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #55
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #56
cbayer Jan 2013 #60
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #61
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #71
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #73
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #75
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #77
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #80
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #81
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #85
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #86
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #87
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #88
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #89
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #90
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #91
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #92
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #93
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #94
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #95
okasha Jan 2013 #82
skepticscott Jan 2013 #62
rug Jan 2013 #21
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #24
skepticscott Jan 2013 #28
rug Jan 2013 #29
skepticscott Jan 2013 #42
rug Jan 2013 #44
skepticscott Jan 2013 #63
rug Jan 2013 #66
Tigress DEM Jan 2013 #74
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #34
skepticscott Jan 2013 #41
rug Jan 2013 #45
skepticscott Jan 2013 #49
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #51
rug Jan 2013 #57
skepticscott Jan 2013 #64
rug Jan 2013 #65
skepticscott Jan 2013 #67
rug Jan 2013 #68
skepticscott Jan 2013 #69
rug Jan 2013 #70
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #46
JoeyT Jan 2013 #23
libdem4life Jan 2013 #27
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #33
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #31
tama Jan 2013 #84
immoderate Jan 2013 #30
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #32
madrchsod Jan 2013 #39
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #47
Jim__ Jan 2013 #58
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #78
DonCoquixote Jan 2013 #76
Flabbergasted Jan 2013 #79

Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:15 PM

1. IMO, the greatest danger of practicing religion is that it trains one to evaluate life issues

subjectively rather than objectively. nt

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Response to ladjf (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:18 PM

2. There really is no true objectivity. Even science cannot withstand the role of the self. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #2)


Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:35 PM

3. Yeah it is.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:36 PM

4. Religion and Government are societal mirrors. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:15 PM

22. Even so.

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Response to Iggo (Reply #22)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:51 PM

25. Religions are numerous and they are pliable. There is the religion of Tibetan Buddhism which

abhors, control violence amidst others. Religion is a broad term. It changes from culture to culture; maintains different forms, and different creeds. It boasts some of the most beautiful people, yet hosts the terrible in measure.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #25)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:52 PM

26. That's wonderful news.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)


Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:46 PM

7. Disagree with your premise.

Although I would say it is a problem, not the problem.

There are no gods or any supernatural. Any belief system based on an unreality will naturally be problematic.

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Response to Deep13 (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:49 PM

8. Religion is a symbolism of what the mind cannot possibly grasp. There are no gods no, but there is

a state beyond self. That is the symbolic representation of God.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:59 PM

9. So if you can't grasp it

What justifies your unqualified certainty that "a state beyond self" even exists? Fuzzy Wuzzy Feeling?

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:03 PM

10. 1000's of years anecdotal history of spiritual experience by my ancestors, and my own personal

experience along with the experience of many people I know and share the planet with.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:08 PM

11. And what about the thousands of years

of religious experience by ancestors of the Christian believers that you call ignorant, as well as their own personal experience and the experience of many other believers that they know and share the planet with? Why does your own mean something, while theirs gives them no understanding of their own faith that brings them above the level of "ignorant"?

Ah, yes....of course..you are "enlightened"

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:16 PM

12. I'm a fool, scott. But I have spent decades thinking about religion.

Christianity does not contradict anything I've said. The core of Christianity is the same as any other religion. They agree on their goal. I have to approach religion based on it's shared vision not on it's subjective differences. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #12)


Response to skepticscott (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:04 PM

14. Do you understand symbolism at all? nt

Thanks for Sharing your thoughts. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:22 PM

15. "anecdotal history"?

Ah well, that settles it.

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Response to mr blur (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:29 PM

17. I don't see why thousands of years of history should be dismissed? You can even place this history

in contemporary cultural context and still arrive at the same answers including the use of scientific theory.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #17)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:26 PM

35. As I mentioned in your other thread,

I would find any premise highly suspect when only anecdotal evidence can be offered to support it after "thousands of years". What that tells me is that there is no evidence now and there probably won't be any evidence in the future.

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #35)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:34 PM

36. The central premise of religion was never meant to withstand the "evidence" you are talking about.

A belief that evidence is important also shows a misunderstanding of what the object of religion is: a state of selflessness leading to transcendence. Dualism implies oneness. We live in dualism. The religious/spiritual path is oneness.

On the other hand if 1000's of people offered anecdotal testimony before any court you would unlikely find a jury that would not convict.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:38 PM

37. Hey! Where'd those goalposts go? n/t

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #37)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:46 PM

38. Whoosh. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #38)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:02 PM

40. So would you agree, then, that belief in religion is irrational?

You yourself have said that "The central premise of religion was never meant to withstand the "evidence" you are talking about", and your jury example is moot. You can also find thousands of people to give anecdotal testimony of encounters with bigfoot, chupacabra, or the ghetto leprechaun, but whether the jury convicts or not says nothing about the existence of such an entity.

So, all we have left is irrational belief, would you agree?

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #40)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:23 PM

43. My Whoosh comment was meant to return a glib reply.

Religion is about giving up the ego, the self, and a return to oneness. Everything else has been a misunderstanding and an anthropomorphization of this central concept. Mainly via Abraham "god bless him."

This concept was not meant to withstand evidence because it needs no evidence. It is as much a given as our need for food. A state of selflessness leading to oneness: needs no evidence.

You will not find any people that are certifiably sane that believe in Leprechauns and such unless they are an outright fraud.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #43)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:42 PM

48. But my glib reply was a response to a dishonest argument.

In your previous thread you responded to me:

Strawman. And there is more than adequate "evidence."


Having pointed out that anecdotal evidence is not evidence, and having only anecdotal evidence over thousands of years makes it even more suspect, you respond:

This concept was not meant to withstand evidence because it needs no evidence.


That is both contradictory to you previous statement and a dishonest type of argument known as "moving the goalposts".

So I pose the question again, is belief in religion not irrational?

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #48)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:49 PM

50. You're not seeing what religion is actually about. Religion is very simple, it needs no evidence,

it is self evident and it is self proving: selflessness is enlightenment. Enlightenment is oneness. This is the core idea in all religion.


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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #50)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:58 PM

52. OK, if you're not going to answer my question,

I think we're done. Have a nice weekend.

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #52)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:01 PM

53. You think that the statements are exclusive, i get it. They are not.

Have a good weekend. nt

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Response to deucemagnet (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:03 PM

83. Rational and irrational

 

Where does rational inquiry lead? To world view (or lack of) that world including us is interdependent web of relations. All rational truths are relativistic truths.

So after arriving to that rational conclusion and the limits of rational, what about irrational? Can there be truth or experience that is non-relativistic, in that sense "irrational"?





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Response to skepticscott (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:25 PM

54. Can you actually SEE a Black Hole or do you understand it by other means?

Can you fit the largest quasar ever found in your backyard or do you have to settle for a picture?

TWO hands can only hold so much. Grasp.

A mind can comprehend factual data and lots of theory, but it can't completely contain what God is because there isn't a measurement that proves or disproves God's existence conclusively.

I choose to believe, but I don't begrudge others who don't. I have faith that at some point we'll be able to truly understand what it is that over several thousands of years people have called God and/or the Gods. There will be a way to measure the existence of a supernatural being who exists differently than we do and determine if it is the same divine spark people call God or something else.

Christians have some theories based on empirical evidence and shared data. But electron microscopes aren't powerful enough to examine if there is actually a spirit present in our body, so it's still all theory. I don't care what you think of my theories. There have been plenty of hair brained scientific theories over the years that have been replaced by better science. Things we think we "know" today may be disproved by better methodology or a discovery of something no one has known before.

As long as Church and State are separate and people are as free FROM religion as they are free TO believe, then the two sides simply need to agree to disagree.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #54)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:47 AM

59. No one has ever claimed that

a black hole or a quasar can't be grasped at all by the mind, so I have no idea why you think this is a relevant analogy.

What exactly are these "theories" that Christians have based on "empirical evidence and shared data"? And why does "faith" need evidence? The SOP of Christians and other believers is to trumpet anything that looks like real world evidence in support of their beliefs, but when the evidence contradicts their beliefs, they simply say "Well, I don't care about evidence, I have faith that this is true"

And yes, science has improved its understanding of the physical world over time...what of it? Read up on the relativity of wrong before you imply that today's science is just as likely to be as far from the truth as science of 100, 500 or 1000 years ago. Bottom line is that, throughout history, scientific explanations have replaced supernatural religious explanations as better and more in line with observed facts, but in no case has a religious explanation replaced a scientific one, to be accepted as better and more likely.

Science would be happy to "agree to disagree" on whatever fantasmagorical beliefs religious folk held in private or amongst themselves, but religious folk aren't. Hence the conflict.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #59)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:36 PM

72. Because no one has ever gone through a black hole and come back with factual data.

We have theories and "see" them by other measurements and have theories as to what happens within but we can't completely grasp everything about them because most likely we'd have to die to get the answer. If the particle collider in France produces a microscopic black hole, theoretically it could be the end of all our conversations. So don't tell me that religion has cornered the market on stupid ideas.

Christians have shared experiences that point to an involvement in their lives of a higher power. In the scientific world that would simply be empirical data, observations. Religion puts forth dogma, people have individual epiphanies that lead to deeper faith and it's counterpart in science is theory and individual epiphanies that lead to more scientific investigation.

Science goes a step further and proves theories and pins down facts and measures. Christians don't do that. The purpose of our faith isn't to prove every facet, it's to live better lives and hopefully in harmony with our fellow humans.

I'm not one of those Christians that thinks Creationism is a true scientific option. But I don't think that Christians looking at their faith and applying the scientific method is a bad thing. Should they teach it in schools? Not as science, maybe as a Theology elective. I think it's simply a spiritual exercise and a way to think about faith differently.

Science is ALL about the facts and so sure scientists are always more likely to accept their own definitions as "better" explanations for everything.

Science isn't what kept prisoners of war alive during the Holocaust or Vietnam. People had to dig down and find something more to sustain them.

Science didn't end Apartheid in South Africa. People of faith brought new ideas to the table and people practiced forgiveness there and led the way to leaving the cycle of retribution behind at least for one generation.

Science is wonderful, but it isn't the only thing that matters in this world.

I don't ask you to keep your scientific ideas to yourself even though they might be eons ahead of your time and unprovable with present technologies. I don't scream at scientists to shut up and keep it to yourself.

I don't deny evolution completely. Still not certain about the missing link and think there is a possible alternative explanation for humans other than evolving from monkeys. I'm not 100% convinced either way, but I see evolution as a good thing and I see it in humans, just not convinced that path is conclusive. Probable, yes. Where the most obvious explanation is probably the correct one, ok. But 100% scientifically proven. No.

Many spiritual traditions talk about us coming from another place, so maybe the difference between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man is alien DNA. I don't know. I'm just saying that where science isn't 100% able to answer some questions, then there is room to dream and think outside the box and believe differently.

So when people come on the "RELIGION THREAD" and people come HERE and tell us to shut up or say that everything we believe is wrong and IS the problem in the world, they need to own their part in the conflict. No one drags anyone into these posts. You're happy to "agree to disagree" as long as we go hide in our cloisters and whisper quietly enough so you can't hear us if you pass by an open window in the summer hence ruining your day. PULLL - EASE!

I'll fight for your right to be free FROM Religion, but that doesn't mean I can't talk about it or live it in your near vicinity.

Deal.




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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:24 PM

16. Who says it's not? And, No. nt

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Response to mr blur (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:36 PM

19. Did you read what I wrote? nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:34 PM

18. No, Religion IS a Problem

It trains people to believe in mythical things and have faith in many falsehoods. That's a problem. We no longer believe the world is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth. All falsehoods told by religious masters at one time as fact. We have science now but the US is still about the stupidest country. A recent poll found that we don't really believe in evolution. How that is the case in 2012 defies all logic. We are the laughing stock of the world. Denying climate change and evolution make us idiots.

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Response to dballance (Reply #18)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:41 PM

20. That is all a misunderstanding of religion on either side. That is precisely the issue I wrote

about in the op. It addresses this very idea.

There is nothing mythical about the "heart of religion," although mythos places a role. What you are referring to is the ignorance preached from the exterior not the core or religion.

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Response to dballance (Reply #18)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:40 PM

55. So much of what religion teaches is fact based, you are cherry picking fundamentalist teachings....

and applying a huge brush stroke across all religions as being the same as certain whacked out strains.

Myths teach us about higher thought, striving for ideals, facing insurmountable odds. Do you disdain Greek Mythology as having no value as well? Are you against Science Fiction? Do you hate fairy tales? Fine. That's you. But pure fact based living can be quite boring to some, so the majority of humans have other things they do with their time besides analyze stuff and watch documentaries.

Jewish people had traditions that kept them from eating pork etc... because people were dying from meat borne illnesses. Did they discover a fact and use "God" to keep people from eating things that could make them sick and die? Who knows? They said a higher power, God told them. The important point is that it worked. We know why now, but without our science they did the best they could to survive and it worked. You don't have to like it, but it's historical fact. Deal.

Jesus was a person who lived. He taught many things that people even now still believe are good lessons to heed in living. It's none of your business to tell anyone what they can and can't believe, it's what science types and atheists and agnostics ask from Christians. Have a modicum of respect for others. Supposedly a person doesn't need religion to be moral or polite I'm told. Could not PROVE THAT most days here when religion is discussed on DU.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:59 AM

56. I love your reply...Thanks

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:22 AM

60. Welome to the religion group, Tigress DEM.

Hope to see more of you.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:35 AM

61. "Jesus was a person who lived." How can you possibly know that?

How could you possibly prove that? To me, I find belief in the supernatural, no matter how casual, to be as you put it, "whacked out." What makes YOUR belief any less "whacked out" than the Phelps clan?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #61)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:34 PM

71. He is documented historically. That Jesus lived is a fact. It's been investigated ad naseum.

That a person named Jesus was born to Mary from the lineage of David and Joseph a carpenter in the town of Nazareth at the time of the census is a documented fact. I mean there is the census and the Jewish records of their ancestors that prove he existed.

Don't come to a war of wits without ammunition.

Many of the mystical or miraculous things attributed to him by religion are in dispute. I'm not a Mormon. I don't have any magic underwear. My faith isn't shattered if someone challenges a particular facet of the life of Jesus or has a different idea about what faith means to them. I'm open minded and curious about what other people think.

What makes MY particular faith less "whacked out" than the Phelps clan is that my faith is "inclusive" not exclusive.

My faith is based on Jesus saying to "Love one another as I have loved you." This includes people who are "my enemies" and it's a hard thing to do some days. His death was meant as an atonement for the sinfulness of others. You don't have to believe that, but it is a HUGE example in teaching people to accept forgiveness and leave their old ways behind and live a healthier life based on kindness and self sacrifice.

My faith is based on Jesus saying to "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you." THESE beliefs are incompatible with whack jobs like Phelps because they are doing onto others as they feel obligated to do by two lines written by some minor prophet in Old Testament (Leviticus) and a sense that "gay men" were what went wrong in Sodom and Gomorrah.

I KNOW different because I've studied the history and I've met enough gay people to know they have good hearts and some bozos in their midst, just like any other group.

My faith isn't whacked out because I'm in a church that works for "Peace and Justice" issues and has been since they were part of the movement against slavery. My church helps me live a solid and meaningful life by challenging me to think about things differently. It doesn't tell me "what to think" but it encourages me to rise above limiting behavior and do my best to live up to Christian ideals rather than take the easy way out and live only to please myself.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #71)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 10:48 PM

73. No. It. Is. Not. A. Fact.

Kindly provide your evidence. Non-sourced BS from christian websites do not count.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #73)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:28 AM

75. Per Wiki: Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

<snip>
Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.

^ a b c In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman (now a secular agnostic who was formerly Evangelical) wrote: "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees" B. Ehrman, 2011 Forged : writing in the name of God ISBN 978-0-06-207863-6. page 285

^ Robert M. Price (a Christian atheist who denies the existence of Jesus) agrees that this perspective runs against the views of the majority of scholars: Robert M. Price "Jesus at the Vanishing Point" in The Historical Jesus: Five Views edited by James K. Beilby & Paul Rhodes Eddy, 2009 InterVarsity, ISBN 028106329X page 61

^ a b Michael Grant (a classicist) states that "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary." in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels by Micjhael Grant 2004 ISBN 1898799881 page 200

^ a b Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church’s imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more." in Jesus Now and Then by Richard A. Burridge and Graham Gould (Apr 1, 2004) ISBN 0802809774 page 34

^ a b c d Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: "biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted"

^ a b James D. G. Dunn "Paul's understanding of the death of Jesus" in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are "a thoroughly dead thesis"

^ a b c The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : "Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed".


ROMAN HISTORY

http://dmc.members.sonic.net/sentinel/naij3.html

<snip>
Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus recorded information pertaining to Jesus, thus removing the only supporting source for His existence as being in the New Testament. In 115 A.D., Tactius wrote about the great fire in Rome, "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberious at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus,


A layman's opinion of the conflicting scholarly reports:

http://www.historian.net/NTHX.html

<clip>
YeSHUa bar YoSEF (Jesus) was born on Yom Kippur, October 3, 7 BCE in the village of Bethlehem during a registration instituted by Augustus on an occasion when he was enraged at Herod's behavior. This registration was overseen by Publius Sulpicius Quirinius and was a preliminary to a direct Roman taxation. The taxation from this registration in 7/6 BCE was delayed as a result of Herod's age and health. The even more outrageous behavior of Herod's successor, Archelaus, who was deposed, and infighting among the other Herodian scions, convinced Augustus to institute a praefecture and the first official Roman census and taxation in 6 CE and to liquidate the estate of the deposed Archelaus.(4) It is this official first census in Syria that confuses scholars regarding the birth of Jesus since Quirinius again was sent by Caesar as legate under the new prefecture. Coponius accompanied Quirinius and was the first prefect.


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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #75)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 10:44 AM

77. *sigh*

None of it sourced. All of it opinion. Your last two blogs are nonsense. (The first guy also writes that FEMA is a secret government, the second uses the bible as a source )

It is all conjecture or just plain false. At best it is argument from authority. Where is the evidence?


Here, I will refute your blogs with some blogs of my own...

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/scott_oser/hojfaq.html


There are no contemporaneous sources outside of the early Christian community or the bible.

Do you know of any? That is the kind of evidence that I find convincing.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #77)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 10:26 PM

80. There is actually according to "The Jesus Dynasty" tremendous amounts of historical records of

Jesus's brothers existing. It is almost certain that he existed. It is only a question of who he was.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #80)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:57 AM

81. If there are "tremendous amounts" of historical records, where are they?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #81)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:23 PM

85. Josephus the Jewish historian. Some prime evidence is the existence of the oral history that led

Last edited Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:18 AM - Edit history (1)

to the bible as well as the vast number of gospels that did not make it into the bible. It must be assumed that these writings, stories, and mythology were inspired by something. Why would large numbers of people form an oral and written history about someone that didn't exist. This didn't benefit anyone. Neither Roman or Jewish establishment had any incentive to invent this story. In addition the Jesus myth was not at all an easy sell to Greek pagans or Jewish orthodoxy. What could have possibly motivated Paul to entertain this dangerous and impossible challenge?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #85)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 09:47 AM

86. So no "tremndous amount" of anything. Got it.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #86)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:44 AM

87. Jesus almost certainly existed just based on this, like it or not. Nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #87)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:47 AM

88. Oh yes, almost certainly...

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #88)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 10:53 AM

89. You really think Josephus's writings are completely fraudulent.

He recorded Jesus and his brothers lives according to "the Jesus dynasty." Great book by a secular anthropologist giving a possible different narrative of his life.

I should have used the word evidence instead of record

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #89)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:25 AM

90. No, I think it is anything but certain.

The fact remains that there really are no extra-biblical contemporaneous writings to support the assertion. At best it is plausible but not probable that a person we know a Jesus existed.

And that us just about his being a real, live human like the rest of us.

What about all the supernatural stuff associated with this character? Does any of that have any basis in reality?

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #90)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 11:43 AM

91. I separate the "supernatural stuff" from the person. There doesn't

Need to be an exact record of his life. The likely oral history and written records, despite the fact that they are not exact or maybe not even approximations, supports the existence of a historical figure who motivated the Jews of the time in some way.

I think that Jesus was likely a revolutionary and spiritual teacher.

This is all pretty arbitrary, I agree.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #91)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:08 PM

92. Perhaps my point is just this...

Without all the supernatural stuff, Jesus, if he existed as a real person, may have been ahead of his time in his thinking, but not worthy of the praise and worship as a deity. To believe any of that is, IMO, absurd and ridiculous.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #92)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:26 PM

93. I tend to agree. I wonder on the other hand what inspired

all the adoration. To inspire such a following including all the oral and then written history indicates he was quite a powerful figure, but a lot of the nt is an embellishment, or mere falsification.

Thanks for the talk.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #93)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:56 PM

94. Control and power. Nothing more, nothing less.

I think blame can be laid at the feet if Constantine, who made Christianity into the force it is, all I'm the name of power and control. Successive generations recognized this, which brought us the great things like the Dark Ages, the inquisition, etc., all in the name of power and control over others.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #94)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:35 PM

95. From a historical standpoint sure...

But Constantine was much later; The initial teachings and followers of Jesus were not supported by any known power base. They antagonized roman and Jewish authorities and were not popular amongst pagans until later. With this in mind you would only see Jesus as a revolutionary and a rogue both politically and spiritually. Many of his followers including Paul, his brothers, Peter and others were executed. They certainly knew the danger in preaching Jesus. I don't think there was a lure of power for them except for perhaps Paul. Paul did his own thing despite being contrary to his brethren in Israel. Paul was more instrumental to creating Christianity than anyone.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #75)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:20 AM

82. Actual scholarship doesn't work with

the jesusneverexisted crowd, any more than it does with creationists.

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Response to Tigress DEM (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:39 AM

62. You might try thinking a little more deeply about this

since there's a lot more to it than you present:

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/986koshe.html

And who here disdains myth and fiction as completely and totally valueless, as opposed to saying that they should be understood for what they are, and placed into their proper perspective?

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:47 PM

21. The best answer to the question of why should I go to church came from a priest many years ago.

The topic was being spiritual, a good person, and praying alone when I felt a pull to rather than subscribe to a religion, its tenets and pratices.

He told me, "We all need each other."

The path is rarely solitary.

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Response to rug (Reply #21)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:45 PM

24. That is really the essence of the spiritual path vs the religious. They each fulfill their time

space.

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Response to rug (Reply #21)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:03 PM

28. Translation

"We need your money"

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #28)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:07 PM

29. Translation

"I have nothing to say so I'll post bullshit"

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Response to rug (Reply #29)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:20 PM

42. Yes, of course

No church, especially not the catholic church, would EVER use its members to get money, and certainly not for the aggrandizement of the church hierarchy.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #42)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:24 PM

44. Which is of course not the topic; it's your monomania.

Go start a thread on it.

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Response to rug (Reply #44)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:44 AM

63. Hmmmm...the topic you raised

was about the reasons a priest would tell people that they should go to church. Completely in that vein, I pointed out that a priest might just, by some odd and never before seen happenstance, have ulterior motives for that, which were different than the one offered.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #63)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:50 PM

66. Wrong again.

It was a response to his OP.

Having nothing of substance to add, you must, reflexively, post bullshit that is not pertinent to the subject but pertinent to your obsession with religion. Like most obsessions, it is woefully inadequate. A suitable subject for you I gather.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #42)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 11:40 PM

74. Yes, the Catholic Church became a powerful component in the world. Still is.

The Catholic Church and many others have done awful things when at times they were led by people who were either corrupted by power (the Medici's, Henry the IV - Church of England, Jim Baker, Jerry Follwell) or blinded by fanaticism ("Pat Robertson" All those who led the Crusades, the 9/11 terrorists, people who kill women because men found them easy to rape...) ok not just a religious thing, KB put a woman in a shipping container and she happened not to die after being raped and left for dead.

I'm not denying that the Church as an Institution can do damage, but it can also do good. Church and State need to be separate, but Church is like government in one way, it can be led by thoughtful and insightful leaders or corrupt, backward thinking ones.

Churches are being given an increasing burden of meeting the needs of the poor, not only for their own reasons, but because the wealthy refuse to be taxed to pay for services that would keep people from becoming homeless and/or starving. How many food shelves and other services for the poor are provided by Churches? Of course they need money to help the community.

You have NO IDEA how many people good and decent people are out there in churches. People of faith whose deep down belief that it is good and right to care about others, often placing their needs ahead of your own wants, sometimes even your own needs.

I know there are people who don't hold religious beliefs and also think that we must do the "right thing" or the "left thing" when it is needed and they give their lives to righteous because of their own moral compass. I can give credit where credit is due without dragging all the people who aren't/weren't religious that did/do heinous things in the name of science or power.

The crew performing Nazi experiments on people certainly weren't practicing Christians. But I DON'T do the THEM vs US thing and say stupid stuff like, "Hey, they were NON-Christians, called themselves scientists and they murdered people by the scores and took notes. Can't pin them on me, must be the way ALL scientists think." I wouldn't say that because it's not fair to blame anyone here for things others have done in the name of science.

Can you understand how unfair it is to group all Christians into one lump and blame them for every crazy thing done in "God's" name?

Most of us here on DU whether Christian, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan or any type of Non-believer are basically reasonable folk for the most part. We have our pet peeves, our passion for certain causes but we believe in Democracy and doing something to make the world a better place.

I'd rather see us start there and actually get things done, than argue about what's wrong with churches or science when they go to extremes. Nuclear bombs and every other weapon wouldn't be available without scientists and their ilk willing to dance with the devil and take them from blackboard to manufacturing floor. Governments couldn't justify using all these weapons without the whole US vs THEM and they are evil mentality. So it's ALL connected and we ALL have some accountability. There is enough blame to go around, but the blame game is just a waste of time.




There is a little bit of good in the least of us...
And a little bit of bad in the best of us.

So it hardly behooves any of us...
To talk about the rest of us.





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Response to skepticscott (Reply #28)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:26 PM

34. You'd be hard-pressed to find a Church of Taoism to offer a bribe to. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #34)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:18 PM

41. When ruggie joins one

I'm sure he'll let you know. But first he'll have to get over his "myopic worldview", as you called it, about there being a god.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #41)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:27 PM

45. Well scottie, it seems it's you, scottie, not him accusing me of having a "myopic worldview".

What's the matter, are you afraid to own those words, or do you just prefer to insert them in someone else's mouth while you hide behind their shoulders?

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Response to rug (Reply #45)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:43 PM

49. No, I won't "own those words"

Here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=63100

Now, you tell me, who the fuck used them?

Tell me who the fuck said that people who don't subscribe to the view that all of religion is about a return to Oneness are ignorant of their own beliefs:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=63094

Who the fuck said there are no gods:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/121863082#post8

If you don't subscribe to any of that, then you and a lot of other people have been called ignorant, and accused of having a "myopic worldview". And not by me.




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Response to skepticscott (Reply #49)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:56 PM

51. You guys know the rules. No fighting in hippie threads. nt

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #49)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 03:07 AM

57. You, scottie, not him, used those words in connection with my name.

If you are going to weasel out of it now, do so more gracefully.

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Response to rug (Reply #57)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:54 AM

64. He used those words in connection

with a whole lot of people, including you. Sorry if it stings to have his bigotry brought to your attention, but there it is in black and white. If you don't like religious believers being called ignorant, take it up with him, and don't blame the person who put in under your eyes.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #64)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:46 PM

65. And you, in your typical fashion, singled out one person, me.

Well here I am. Let's discuss bigotry. And it's not his, it's yours, consistent, regular and ugly. Don't bat your eyes and say "it's his bigotry not mine!" That is more repellent than usual.

Let's go skeppie, I'm all ears.

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Response to rug (Reply #65)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:21 PM

67. I know how especially sensitive

you are to expressions of bigotry and denigration of your beliefs, so you were naturally one of the first I thought of to have your attention called to this. I felt sure that you'd want to give our friend your usual accusation of bigotry to someone calling religious believers ignorant. If you're now choosing to apply a double standard, and only responding when you think an atheist has expressed such an opinion, and shrugging it off as irrelevant otherwise, that's your business. Hypocrisy from you would not be a shock.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #67)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:30 PM

68. I am more sensitive to assholes.

Paticularly assholes who are bigots masqueradiing as victims and aschampions of progress. And who do it n the most weasely manner.

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Response to rug (Reply #68)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:31 PM

69. Yawn

Take it up with Flabbergasted, if you dare.

Flick.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #69)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:10 PM

70. I'm taking it up with you, since you brought me into your weird little subthread.

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Response to skepticscott (Reply #41)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:28 PM

46. Sorry, I have no clue what your talking about. Could you rephrase? I am a fool after-all:

self-admitted.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:28 PM

23. No it isn't and no it's not, respectively.

I don't think there's a specific single thing that can be nailed down as THE problem.

In my experience good people are going to be decent (for the most part) and bad people are going to be jerks (in general) whether they're religious or not, barring some massive life changing shift at the start of it. (Joining a hate cult or using religion to lean on while working on a substance abuse issue.) At best religion tends to reinforce the things they already value, or have decided they value independently of their religion. For example, Conservatives generally don't appreciate being reminded of about 90% of what Jesus said, while remaining convinced they're the only true Christians.

As far as it building communities goes, often that only works if the community is heterogeneous. If it isn't, frequently at best they'll compete and at worst they'll be actively antagonistic toward one another. With exceptions, of course.

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Response to JoeyT (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:59 PM

27. So true...to actually present a religious conservative with The Beatitudes is almost comical, if not

so sad. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is one of the most liberal, socially conscious messages of love, forgiveness and the examined life that exists.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #27)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:20 PM

33. Yes it is. nt

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Response to JoeyT (Reply #23)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:18 PM

31. I think we really don't "need" religion but the fact is that by account of a spiritual path there

are those who able to abide a path on their own and a majority who cannot. In Sufism the idea is: without a guide a three day journey takes 300 years. So naturally those who need spiritual mentoring will flock to those who can provide it.

People tend to stay the same and will dig a whole to their own hell at abandon. And like you said religion does not make a moral person. I'm really trying to highlight an idea, that the essence of religion is misunderstood and through centuries of chicanery has been made to service an anthropomorphized God (A god based on an individuals biases and limitations). People love authority because it helps them avoid the ambiguity in their life and maintain a sense of cultural identity.

I'm not necessarily highlighting the need for community, although this is certainly a byproduct of religion, and many people go to church, mosque, temple etc to fulfill this need. I wrote this more in line with a localized and individual understanding of the path to, and understanding of, selflessness (oneness).

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Response to Flabbergasted (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:20 PM

84. There's also saying

 

IIRC by Socrates: "Only self-learned have learned, others have been taught".

Of course self-learning does not happen in vacuum, but rather holding all the world as teacher rather than just this or that tradition. And by trusting most the experiences that happen by themselves.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:15 PM

30. Your citations of spirituality, can be stated as Road House Rule #1...

As paraphrased from Patrick Swayze in the movie:

Always be nice!

Most religions teach this in some form. It's pretty much golden, but not always simple to apply. Religions add a layer to your judgement. Maybe it works, maybe not. None work all the time.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:19 PM

32. Yep. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:46 PM

39. "....the answer my friend is blowing in the wind...."

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #39)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:29 PM

47. Indeed. A koan if there ever was one. nt

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:22 AM

58. I doubt there is any answer.

IMO the problem is that there are limited resources and a large number of groups of people competing for those resources. Religion helps in this competition because it helps to strongly bind a group together. If religion gives up this property of helping to bind groups, it will be replaced by something else that gives a group a competitive advantage. Resources will always be limited and, given that the competition is for survival, we have no real option other than to compete.

If there's an answer, it probably lies in evolution; and so, is beyond our control.

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Response to Jim__ (Reply #58)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 09:12 PM

78. Religion is the byproduct of a master's teaching disintegrated by the ego's that follow.

Resource is infinite.

We've known the answers for millennia. If you really contemplate consciousness it is obvious that the answer has always been apparent.

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Response to Flabbergasted (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:39 AM

76. You cannot fight lies with lies

That is why I yell at the "oh, let's go back to Gaia and let civilization crumble" types as much as I do the Xtians, Jihadists, or even the ones who quote Mao's little red book as scripture. Irrationality cannot bring up anything but itself...

There is not father in the sky we can relate to as a person
There is no Mother in the Earth we can relate to as a person
If any intelligence controls the Sky and the earth, it cares not about our virtue, our sin, or any other human inventions.

Of course we still have a lot of work to do, but that is it, we...

Or to quote another religion that got corrupted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale

Second stanza
There are no supreme saviours
Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune.
Producers, let us save ourselves,
Decree the common salvation.
So that the thief expires,
So that the spirit be pulled from its prison,
Let us fan the forge ourselves
Strike the iron while it is hot.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #76)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 09:14 PM

79. You cannot combat a misunderstanding with a misunderstanding is more apt. nt

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