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Author Topic: Religion and Philosophy (was in Reform Celtic Recon To-Do List)  (Read 11464 times)
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« Reply #15: April 04, 2007, 02:41:55 pm »

My position is that in order to inject these philosophies into a structured religion, designed for adherents instead of just a personal spirituality, is in many ways to assume that you speak for god.

I'm still not seeing the connection.  The statements you quote involve describing the general beliefs of a set of people who want to form a religious community.  That doesn't necessarily mean they're dictating that everyone must hold those beliefs; it just means they're trying to describe who they are.  Other people who also fit the description may wish to join them.  *shrug*  They're not trying to force anyone to believe the way they do, they're just saying they need to work out how to describe what they do believe.  I don't understand how that's presuming to speak for any god.  At worst, it's presuming to speak for the community, but since this is a community discussion about the subject...  Even that seems not to be what's happening.

Something else I'm not quite getting is that it seems like you think these are things structured religion just shouldn't be discussing.  And yet--off the top of my head and without going through anything to check--it seems to me that many (most?  all?) structured religions have some kind of concept of good/evil and the meaning of life.  (Wildly differing concepts, perhaps, but they have something to say about it.)  Is it your position, then, that all structured religion is bad?  Or am I misinterpreting what you're saying?
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« Reply #16: April 04, 2007, 02:44:08 pm »

When building a religion, personally I would stick to elements related to worship, rather than those concerned with regulating the behavior of others.

If "others" indicated people outside the religion being built, I'd be more inclined to agree with you.  However, I'm failing to see what is so unusual or undesirable about a religion giving its own followers some idea of how they, themselves, are expected to act.
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« Reply #17: April 04, 2007, 02:47:49 pm »

Because in the original thread, the list of things being established as I read it, was what you would put into a religion.  Which I took to mean as a social institution. 

When building a religion, personally I would stick to elements related to worship, rather than those concerned with regulating the behavior of others.

modifying to add, perhaps I took the original posters usage of the word *we* and *this path*to imply a community, rather than using 'an individual' and *their path*

Gotta run pick up the kid.  bbiab.

I don't understand how you can build a religion and NOT interact with the question of "why is there evil".  It's an integral part of any cosmology.  Evil is: Because God says so.  Because Satan's a pissant.  Because the world grew out of chaos and always risks falling back into it.  Because humanity is imperfect.  Because humanity is disobedient.  Etc.

As you interact with that question, you also come up with other questions and answers.  How to be good.  What good /is/.  What it means to be good/bad as relates to the community.  Etc.

Just because the questions are proscribing some things doesn't make them bad.  Don't like the answers?  Don't join the religion!
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« Reply #18: April 04, 2007, 02:57:28 pm »

I don't understand how you can build a religion and NOT interact with the question of "why is there evil".  It's an integral part of any cosmology.  Evil is: Because God says so.  Because Satan's a pissant.  Because the world grew out of chaos and always risks falling back into it.  Because humanity is imperfect.  Because humanity is disobedient.  Etc.

I'd add:  I don't see that interaction as necessarily dictating what people can and cannot do, either.  Sure, there's a connection between one and the other, but simply coming to the conclusion that evil exists because humanity is imperfect (etc.) does not automatically involve telling all your members that...  oh, for example, it's important for them (and/or everyone else) to be good hosts to their guests when they have visitors.  Or that they (and/or everyone else) shouldn't smoke.  Or fill in the blank.  Coming up with a cause for evil, or a meaning for life, still leaves a lot of room for interpretation before you get to a code of behaviour. 

I may have missed it (as it's not my religion under development there, I wasn't following all that closely) but I don't recall the original thread calling for a code of conduct; rather, it was just suggested that the questions of good/evil and the meaning of life should be examined.  Two different animals, IMHO.
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« Reply #19: April 04, 2007, 03:07:46 pm »

I'd add:  I don't see that interaction as necessarily dictating what people can and cannot do, either.  Sure, there's a connection between one and the other, but simply coming to the conclusion that evil exists because humanity is imperfect (etc.) does not automatically involve telling all your members that...  oh, for example, it's important for them (and/or everyone else) to be good hosts to their guests when they have visitors.  Or that they (and/or everyone else) shouldn't smoke.  Or fill in the blank.  Coming up with a cause for evil, or a meaning for life, still leaves a lot of room for interpretation before you get to a code of behaviour. 

I may have missed it (as it's not my religion under development there, I wasn't following all that closely) but I don't recall the original thread calling for a code of conduct; rather, it was just suggested that the questions of good/evil and the meaning of life should be examined.  Two different animals, IMHO.

I agree completely.  Heck, I think that you can come up with the idea of evil and get (at least) two COMPLETELY different reactions to that idea.

To me, it seems like saying religion CAN'T address the question of evil is also dictating to the gods.  It's saying that these things are outside their purview .. and I don't wanna tell them that!
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« Reply #20: April 04, 2007, 03:48:30 pm »


Once you are in a position where you feel comfortable making judgment against the faith of another person, either based upon their morality, how they worship a deity, or their perception of a deity as being consistent with yours then you aren't listening to a god.  You're pretending to be one.

Presumably you can't judge if someone's behaviour is illegal then.  You're pretending to be a judge, or a law-maker.  What's wrong with judging people by standards?  Sure, you can be wrong.  People run that risk every day.  Heck, I could be wrong in what I judge to be the basis of a moral life.  Again, it's a risk I run.

What's wrong with standards, really?  People can disagree on those standards.  How far do you take 'thou shalt not kill?'  Disagreement is a part of life.  It doesn't mean that the essence of standards can't be real.  If the cosmology of a religion implies such and such standards, there may be room for followers to debate what the proper manner of following those standards are.  Yes, there's conflict.  There's disagreement.  How is disagreement on morals proceeding from philosophy better than disagreeing on morals proceeding from religion?
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« Reply #21: April 04, 2007, 05:13:33 pm »

I guess because my personal path has no concept of evil, or deity decreed morality I see those that attempt to create god backed definitions of them as being difficult to understand.  In my path they are all human creations. 

Evil.  A charged name for things that harm me.  Why are there things in the world that harm me?  Because I'm not the center of the universe, and every sentient being has a degree of free will.  Because the world wasn't created exclusively for me.  Because I cannot control the actions of others.  Defining evil in a cosmology requires at least a bit of belief in determinism. 

Evil is meant as an antithesis to good as the story is typically written.  If it exists because deity created it, then it must serve a purpose.  If there is a purpose, then the story already has a resolution to that evil planned, whether it may be through punishment in an afterlife, or the next life.  Since I don't believe in a conscious afterlife I find the concept of someone believing that others will "get theirs" in the end to be difficult to wrap my brain around.

I understand cause and effect.  When I drop a ball, and it lands on my foot; it was gravity, not gods will for me to have a bruised foot.

Good.  What I call things that benefit me.  How can I be "good" or beneficial?  To whom would this be?  Good to myself? good to the school?  Good according to the law?  Which of these entities does god back?  It places moral relativity solely in the hands of god.  When there is no greater good, who's side does deity take?

With a wider perspective, stepping outside of the community; it just looks like a bunch of people forming an exclusive club based upon a set of agreed upon moral principles that may have very little to do with the god they are venerating or any god at all for that matter.

To me it just looks like people making rules based upon their own personal experiences.  I'm moving into redundancy-ville.  I don't have another go round of it in me.

In a concrete way, other than personal experience; there is very little we can verify as to the nature of god.  That being the case I would hesitate to make rules regarding anything other than the ways in which one would be willing to experience god.
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« Reply #22: April 04, 2007, 05:25:11 pm »

Presumably you can't judge if someone's behaviour is illegal then.  You're pretending to be a judge, or a law-maker. 

What's wrong with judging people by standards?  Sure, you can be wrong.  People run that risk every day.  Heck, I could be wrong in what I judge to be the basis of a moral life.  Again, it's a risk I run.

That's quite true.  If you went up to someone and said "don't worry about the bill on that ma'am for today it's alright to dine and dash" and the person were to follow your judgment, they would be experiencing the consequences that your judgment created. 

If you are at a stop sign, and you wave someone through, and they are hit by oncoming traffic; you are responsible.

So long as you're not using your judgment as a standard for the conduct of others judge away.  Knowing of course that your opinions are only applicable from your perspective, and are quite possibly wrong. 

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How is disagreement on morals proceeding from philosophy better than disagreeing on morals proceeding from religion?

Because they aren't invoking the name of a higher power to back up their claims.
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« Reply #23: April 04, 2007, 06:25:06 pm »

I guess because my personal path has no concept of evil, or deity decreed morality I see those that attempt to create god backed definitions of them as being difficult to understand.  In my path they are all human creations. 

...  What I call things that benefit me.  How can I be "good" or beneficial?  To whom would this be?  Good to myself? good to the school?  Good according to the law?  Which of these entities does god back?  It places moral relativity solely in the hands of god.  When there is no greater good, who's side does deity take?  With a wider perspective, stepping outside of the community; it just looks like a bunch of people forming an exclusive club based upon a set of agreed upon moral principles that may have very little to do with the god they are venerating or any god at all for that matter.  To me it just looks like people making rules based upon their own personal experiences.  I'm moving into redundancy-ville.  I don't have another go round of it in me.

In a concrete way, other than personal experience; there is very little we can verify as to the nature of god.  That being the case I would hesitate to make rules regarding anything other than the ways in which one would be willing to experience god.


Since this conversation started in the context of a discussion of reformed Celtic recon religion, I'll answer in that vein.  In Irish Celtic culture, religion and law were deeply entwined.  As Caesar notes, the Druids, who were the intermediaries between the people and the gods, were also reknown for their role as judges in disputes, particularly criminal cases and inheritance/land disputes.  There were also the final arbitors in religious disputes.  This last alone suggests that there was a commonality of belief and social conduct (ie/ right and wrong religious practice) based in part on religious precepts.   

The basis of these laws, which eventually came to be known as the Brehon Laws, persisted into the 17th century as the foundation for Ireland's legal system (administered at that time by Brehon, or lawgivers, after the Roman's destruction of the Druids). 

Although you may argue that these laws were man-made, the Celts nevertheless had a very distinct sense of what was appropriate and inappropriate behavior in Celtic religion and culture.  Throughout Celtic mythology, there are many examples of disputes that erupted when one party failed to live up to agreements arrived at in negotiation.  And although right and wrong was not seen as a dicotomy (as it is in Christian religions), and the ethics could be situational, does not mean that there were not beliefs concerning social behavior held in common. 



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« Reply #24: April 04, 2007, 11:47:13 pm »

If you went up to someone and said "don't worry about the bill on that ma'am for today it's alright to dine and dash" and the person were to follow your judgment, they would be experiencing the consequences that your judgment created.

If some random restaurant patron said that to me, wouldn't it be up to me to determine if I should listen to them or not?  I doubt "but that guy said it was OK!" would get me off the hook in that situation.

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If you are at a stop sign, and you wave someone through, and they are hit by oncoming traffic; you are responsible.

I don't have a license, so I might be wrong, but shouldn't that person have been watching for oncoming traffic himself?  I thought the wave meant "You go ahead of me" not "I have determined for you that it is safe to pass."  Because if I crossed the street blindly anytime a motorist in the outermost lane waved me by, I would have long since been smashed flat by someone running the light in the center lane.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2007, 11:49:57 pm by Beachglass, Reason: Changed an \'of\' to a \'for.\' » Logged

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« Reply #25: April 05, 2007, 02:12:58 am »

Because they aren't invoking the name of a higher power to back up their claims.

Keep in mind that there is absolutely, positively nothing about a religious morality that requires "invoking the name of a higher power to back up their claims" in the first place.
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