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Author Topic: "Rise" of Atheism and Paganism  (Read 11806 times)
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« Reply #15: May 08, 2007, 03:27:26 pm »

There is one thing to consider with that. To the best of my knoweldge neither Christianty, think the crusades, nor the Muslim religion, think jihad, espouse killing in their respective 'bibles'. There may be a passage here and there that could be translated as such, but the over all message is not to kill all non-believers. 

That's funny, I distinctly remember passages in the Bible AND Koran that talk about murdering people who offend God/Allah. Maybe I should whip out my copies and go highlight passages. Everyone is always talking about how "peaceful" these religions are, and I wonder if those people talking have ever looked at a lot of the actions of the followers that were inspired by the words in their "holy books". Not to say they aren't responsible for their own actions, but there are advocations of violence against people who offend God in both books.

Here's just one example:

" If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; ... Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.
                    -- Deuteronomy, Chapter 17:2-3,5"

God commands you, server of other gods, to be stoned to death. I'm guessing you've never read either.

GO KILL THE CANAANITES! God said the land belonged to the Jews, and they should kill every man, woman and child. And animal.

"When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you may nations...then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy." Deuteronomy 7:1-2, NIV. 1

 "...do not leave alive anything that breaths. Completely destroy them...as the Lord your God has commanded you..." Deuteronomy 20:16, NIV. 1

In the Koran, God tells Muhammad to kill all "Jews and Polytheists". Yeah. Peaceful. Need I go on? I'm sure I could fill up pages with this stuff.
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« Reply #16: May 08, 2007, 03:45:08 pm »



My I-think-just-one-great grandfather, so say our family stories, was completely color-blind, and was very impatient with any and all references to this phenomenon he was incapable of perceiving - apparently, he suspected "color" was something people had made up.  (I've heard other similar stories; it appears that's pretty common among those with no color perception at all.)  A parallel condition seems to exist among some (by no means all) atheists - they really don't have any perception at all what the dickens we spiritual/religious types are talking about or why it's interesting to us.  Some of them accept it as just individual differences (much like the way that I can't wrap my head around sports-as-religion, f'ex), but others are deeply offended by it, and are as loudly grumpy as my great-grandfather.

Sunflower

I know you didn't mean it to sound this way, but that's incredibly condescending. The Atheists I've met can see how you feel and understand it, they just don't agree with it. That's a big difference from being unable to understand. They just logically don't see the point in believing in literal Gods. I agree, I don't believe either, I'm agnostic. I see the value in Gods as psychological, or as metaphore and myth, but not as external realities. That's just how I see it. Not to say I'm right and you're wrong, and I can understand your viewpoint because I was at one time a hardcore polytheist, it's just I reserved the right to change my mind and understand them as more internal than external. The common misperception, and argument with people who disagree, is that the other person isn't "smart enough" or is "too blind" to understand your viewpoint, because if they were "smart enough" or "could see", they would think the same way you do. Well, that's not always  the case. It's usually that people can understand the value of it, without actually wanting to think the same way you do. I am not blind or dumb, and I find that insinuation insulting.
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« Reply #17: May 08, 2007, 03:45:44 pm »

That's funny, I distinctly remember passages in the Bible AND Koran that talk about murdering people who offend God/Allah.
As I understand it, the violent passages in the Koran aren't interpreted by moderates so much as a "convert 'em or kill 'em" directive, but rather, to paraphrase Joss Wheedon:  "if somebody tries to kill you, you try  and kill them right back."  (People were actively trying to wipe out the prophet and his follwers at the time, so the survival of Islam pretty much defended on them being able to defend themselves.  Pacifism wasn't an option.)

I can't really speak to all the slaughtering going on the Old Testament, it always bothered me, too.  But the New is rather peaceful.
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« Reply #18: May 08, 2007, 03:49:11 pm »

I know you didn't mean it to sound this way, but that's incredibly condescending. The Atheists I've met can see how you feel and understand it, they just don't agree with it. That's a big difference from being unable to understand.

Which is a good point, but if you read Sunflower's post carefully, she specifically says "some (by no means all)" just don't get it.  So she's not making statements about all atheists, just one particular subset of them, and her statement recognizes that there are many to whom her description will not apply.
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« Reply #19: May 08, 2007, 09:26:31 pm »

As I understand it, the violent passages in the Koran aren't interpreted by moderates so much as a "convert 'em or kill 'em" directive, but rather, to paraphrase Joss Wheedon:  "if somebody tries to kill you, you try  and kill them right back."  (People were actively trying to wipe out the prophet and his follwers at the time, so the survival of Islam pretty much defended on them being able to defend themselves.  Pacifism wasn't an option.)

I can't really speak to all the slaughtering going on the Old Testament, it always bothered me, too.  But the New is rather peaceful.

The only part of the new that I ever really thought held any stock was the actual gospel, where for the most part they're just explaining the teachings of Jesus.  I don't think that the teachings of Paul were at all peaceful towards women.  I think they are degrading and condescending.  He had no respect for women whatsoever.  I have a facination with the forbidden texts because they don't all share the same views as he did. 

As for the Islamic texts, well, the parts that a friend of mine and I were discussing the other night (she's a Christian) were pretty disturbing when Muhammed tells his followers to "kill the infidels" in short.  There are quite a few passages that are pretty blunt about it.  Neither of the two religions Christianity and Islam look very kindly on people that flat out refuse their religions.  Sad part is, the actual teachings of Jesus aren't bad.  It's just what happened to them after they'd been twisted after his death and then deification by council.

I remember growing up and going to Sunday School, and my teachers actually told me that it was a miracle because they found the Dead Sea Scrolls and they were IDENTICAL to the books of the bible that we read today.  Not one word had been changed.  Isn't that ironic since most of the books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls weren't even included in the cannonized text?

I wonder sometimes how much of the actual problem is in the text and how much is simply in the teaching and enforcement of the religion.  I think this goes for all religions.  When someone tries to tell someone else that their belief system is fundamentally wrong, people are going to get pissed off.  The level of pissed-off-edness (yes, I made that up) depends on how many people tell how many other people that they're right and the others are wrong.

It's been stated that not all of us can be right about our own beliefs and that there's no possible way that all roads lead to the same end, but why not?  Not one of us is all knowing so who are we to say that someone else can't be right too?  Can't it be that there actually is one ray of light being some form of god or whatever and that light gets filtered through a cosmic colander of sorts and each person simply choses their own beam of light?

I don't really care what other people believe as long as they don't screw up my planet, they don't try to force their beliefs on me, and they don't go and kill or degrade those who disagree with them.  To me, that is the problem with religion.  No one wants to admit that there really is no wrong answer.  Even if their answer is to simply dismiss the possibility of anything.
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« Reply #20: May 08, 2007, 10:38:14 pm »

I know you didn't mean it to sound this way, but that's incredibly condescending. The Atheists I've met can see how you feel and understand it, they just don't agree with it. That's a big difference from being unable to understand. They just logically don't see the point in believing in literal Gods. I agree, I don't believe either, I'm agnostic. I see the value in Gods as psychological, or as metaphore and myth, but not as external realities. That's just how I see it. Not to say I'm right and you're wrong, and I can understand your viewpoint because I was at one time a hardcore polytheist, it's just I reserved the right to change my mind and understand them as more internal than external. The common misperception, and argument with people who disagree, is that the other person isn't "smart enough" or is "too blind" to understand your viewpoint, because if they were "smart enough" or "could see", they would think the same way you do. Well, that's not always  the case. It's usually that people can understand the value of it, without actually wanting to think the same way you do. I am not blind or dumb, and I find that insinuation insulting.
I had the impression Matthew was speaking specifically about atheists like this one, so that was the particular sort I was referring to.  I know very well that not all atheists are like that; as far as I can tell, they're a small (but increasingly noisy) minority among atheists.

Speaking of condescension, I find it condescending that you say you can understand my viewpoint, when in fact you don't even really know what my viewpoint is.  You know what you think it is, from reading one post of mine, and not very carefully at that (what Star said).

If you want to take me to task for something I've said, I'd appreciate if you made sure that actually was what I said.  Taking me to task for what you think I must have said, because it's what you've heard before someplace else, is every bit as insulting as you think I've been to you.

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« Reply #21: May 08, 2007, 10:48:27 pm »

I don't think that the teachings of Paul were at all peaceful towards women.  I think they are degrading and condescending.

Most of what Paul wrote are letters that were written in reply to letters/reports he had on how various local churches were doing.We only have one side of the discussion and many people forgot that Paul was writing to specific churches about specific issues in those churches in response to letters/reports we haven't seen. Some of the "worst" of the letters supposedly written by Paul may not have even been written by Paul..
 
Quote
As for the Islamic texts, well, the parts that a friend of mine and I were discussing the other night (she's a Christian) were pretty disturbing when Muhammed tells his followers to "kill the infidels" in short.
 

In most cases I recall (although I haven't read the Qur'an in years) where Muhammad said things like that it was directed toward people who were not just non-believers but who were actively trying to wipe out the followers of his religion.

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I remember growing up and going to Sunday School, and my teachers actually told me that it was a miracle because they found the Dead Sea Scrolls and they were IDENTICAL to the books of the bible that we read today.


The average Sunday School teacher is not a scholar and can only repeat what they have read or been told.

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It's been stated that not all of us can be right about our own beliefs and that there's no possible way that all roads lead to the same end, but why not?


There's really no reason they can't. However, those beliefs that claim to be rthe only true way cannot be extremely correct if all paths (or even two paths) lead to the same place.
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« Reply #22: May 08, 2007, 11:03:06 pm »

(snip)

I remember growing up and going to Sunday School, and my teachers actually told me that it was a miracle because they found the Dead Sea Scrolls and they were IDENTICAL to the books of the bible that we read today.  Not one word had been changed.  Isn't that ironic since most of the books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls weren't even included in the cannonized text?
(snip)

It's not so much a miracle, but diligence that creates identical copies of scripture. I was talking with a local museum director about kosher and non-kosher Torahs and some of the rules surrounding it this past weekend. Any mistake, wrong letter, badly formed letter, wrong number of letters in a column or page means that the entire scroll to that point has to be buried as unusable.

Your teacher was probably refering to the books that are in the canon are exact letter for letter.   
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« Reply #23: May 08, 2007, 11:57:11 pm »

In most cases I recall (although I haven't read the Qur'an in years) where Muhammad said things like that it was directed toward people who were not just non-believers but who were actively trying to wipe out the followers of his religion.

It's my understanding that that's the case; I can ask my Islamic Studies BA friend next I see her.

There's also the surah "The Unbelievers", that basically says, "Yup, your god isn't mine, my god isn't yours.  I have my religion, you have yours, we stay out of each other's way, it's all good."

One tidbit: jihad (in the sense of conflict with others) is, in Islamic theology, the lesser jihad.  The greater -- and more important -- jihad is the struggle between good and evil in one's own heart.  And one is supposed to handle that before bugging others.
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« Reply #24: May 09, 2007, 01:01:26 am »



Speaking of condescension, I find it condescending that you say you can understand my viewpoint, when in fact you don't even really know what my viewpoint is.  You know what you think it is, from reading one post of mine, and not very carefully at that (what Star said).


Sunflower

Hate to burst your "I'm so special and unique nobody could possibly understand me and everyone is blind to my wonderfully different approach to life!" bubble, but I've heard just about everything in the past thirteen years in the Pagan community and studying comparative religion. No matter how special you think you are, I'm sure I've heard what you believe, and could understand it.
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« Reply #25: May 09, 2007, 03:17:42 am »

Hate to burst your "I'm so special and unique nobody could possibly understand me and everyone is blind to my wonderfully different approach to life!" bubble, but I've heard just about everything in the past thirteen years in the Pagan community and studying comparative religion. No matter how special you think you are, I'm sure I've heard what you believe, and could understand it.


Katrina - be careful. you are dangerously close to making a personal attack.

please remember attack IDEAS not the person holding them.

Steve
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« Reply #26: May 09, 2007, 07:34:18 am »

I don't really care what other people believe as long as they don't screw up my planet, they don't try to force their beliefs on me, and they don't go and kill or degrade those who disagree with them.  To me, that is the problem with religion.  No one wants to admit that there really is no wrong answer.  Even if their answer is to simply dismiss the possibility of anything.

Er .. I think some answers ARE wrong.  Can you really take people like the Branch Davidians and the Hale Bopp crowd and say it's just as good as anything else?

I'm more than willing to say I don't have a lock on truth.  But that doesn't mean I disengage my critical faculties when looking at other religions, either.  Some of them are just rot, and some of them are outrightly dangerous.
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« Reply #27: May 09, 2007, 08:00:18 am »


It's been stated that not all of us can be right about our own beliefs and that there's no possible way that all roads lead to the same end, but why not?  Not one of us is all knowing so who are we to say that someone else can't be right too?  Can't it be that there actually is one ray of light being some form of god or whatever and that light gets filtered through a cosmic colander of sorts and each person simply choses their own beam of light?

This too, however, is a way of saying that there's one truth.  'Whatever you think, we *really* follow the same deity/source/etc.'  You're trying to put it more broadly, but it still excludes others, or tries to say we're all aiming for the same thing.  Not all people are necessarily aiming for the same thing with spirituality etc.

For example, my path explicity denies that there is *any* ultimate truth.  How can I be said to be filtering the light of an archetypal being?
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« Reply #28: May 09, 2007, 09:12:01 am »

It's been stated that not all of us can be right about our own beliefs and that there's no possible way that all roads lead to the same end, but why not?  Not one of us is all knowing so who are we to say that someone else can't be right too?  Can't it be that there actually is one ray of light being some form of god or whatever and that light gets filtered through a cosmic colander of sorts and each person simply choses their own beam of light?

Could it be?  Possibly.  But if we're talking about what people believe (as opposed to what they should believe)...  That's not necessarily what people believe.  Some people hold beliefs that explicitly deny the "one deity is behind all this and we just percieve him/her/it in different ways" angle.  I, for example, am a hard polytheist.  That means I believe that the various deities are individual, separate entities--not aspects of one larger Divine.  My belief doesn't fit into your system as it stands.

Does that mean you shouldn't believe the filter idea?  No.  What I believe does not necessarily have any bearing on what you believe.  All I'm saying is that if you're wanting other people to subscribe to this idea, you're going to run into a lot of problems because not all existing belief systems are compatible with it.

Quote
I don't really care what other people believe as long as they don't screw up my planet, they don't try to force their beliefs on me, and they don't go and kill or degrade those who disagree with them.  To me, that is the problem with religion.  No one wants to admit that there really is no wrong answer.  Even if their answer is to simply dismiss the possibility of anything.

I'm...  more or less with Shadow on this one, I think.  I do think that there is a factual right and wrong about the way the universe and divinity and things like that work.  I think there is a high probability that there is a way that things are, and that means some people are right and some people are wrong.  I am, however, willing to admit that I've got no way of knowing whether my way is right or not.  I go with what I believe to be correct, but in the end I can't prove it.  *shrug*

I don't think there's anything wrong with a religion believing it has the right answers.  That's sort of religion's job, isn't it?  Or a part of it at least.  Blaming a religion for believing it's right seems to me somewhat analagous to blaming a dog for having sharp teeth.  It's just part of what it is.  Where I think some religions--though not all--go wrong is that they make it so much an all-or-nothing thing.  We have ALL the right answers and everything else is lies.  The dog's teeth are OK if it doesn't bite humans or kill livestock.  Wink

Am I making sense here?
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« Reply #29: May 09, 2007, 10:59:01 am »

Blaming a religion for believing it's right seems to me somewhat analagous to blaming a dog for having sharp teeth.  It's just part of what it is.  Where I think some religions--though not all--go wrong is that they make it so much an all-or-nothing thing.  We have ALL the right answers and everything else is lies.  The dog's teeth are OK if it doesn't bite humans or kill livestock.  Wink

Am I making sense here?

That's basically what I was trying to say Smiley
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