Dr. Dana Sawyer’s Biography of Spiritual Giant Houston Smith |335|

#21
I mean, some might say that you're a headbanger who's either convinced himself he's the new Alistair Crowley, or is pulling all our legs, so what would he know about anything?
I 100% expect people to see me that way because that would be the most logical way to see me. Just look at my track record so far:

I'm on a site that deals with things the mainstream already finds crazy
The site has a stated history of mainstream trolls
I'm relatively new here
I'm outspoken and somewhat go against the grain
I make implicit claims that go against the normal experience of the majority
I haven't proven any of these claims empirically

I should sound completely insane or like a troll to most people and I expect that perception to remain until such time that I prove anything I've been talking about either directly or indirectly.
 
#22
Generally I don't care what a person does unless it is directly or indirectly affecting me. I prefer to remain as non interventionist as possible because attempting to control others is a waste of my time. Because of that the only religisists I've ever really had to deal with are those who want to control others. I don't have much sympathy for the rest however, as the only excuse the majority of them are usually willing to give is "well we're not all like that." Well, if you're going to make the choice to wear the label of a group then you are responsible for everything done in the name of that label, good and bad. If you are not gong to take action to preserve and promote the goodness of the label by purging those who misuse it with some form official excommunicatory process that strips that person of any association with that label then it means you are compliant with their actions and their actions do represent the label. Thus even the best christian or muslim or etc are no better than the rape jihadis or abortion clinic bombers if all they do is go "well we're not all like that."

Are there some groups within those religions that attempt to do that? Yes, and I'll respect them on that basis. But there still lies the fundamental problem of group identity. An oxymoron, a group is made of individuals and thus groups have no identity of their own. Thus feeling an emotional need to define oneself as part of a group is also an oxymoron, you can only define yourself as yourself. By your own intents, actions and choices. No one else can take credit or blame for those no matter how much someone may want them to.



By this logic, many people are religious because they are bad and would be bad even if they weren't religious a well. If both those things are true, then what's the point of religion? What does it bring to the table that enhances the process? All I see is a group identity waiting to be the scapegoat of someone's dick moves or stealing indirect credit for legitimately good things done by some other random person in the group.
Maybe I would not have expressed it so strongly, but I basically agree with that sentiment.

I have noticed that whenever I have discussed Christianity's shortcomings with a believer, they have always somehow claimed that true Christians would not behave that way. Yet by calling themselves Christians they give credibility to all those who call themselves Christians!

David
 
#23
I have noticed that whenever I have discussed Christianity's shortcomings with a believer, they have always somehow claimed that true Christians would not behave that way. Yet by calling themselves Christians they give credibility to all those who call themselves Christians!
You probably already know this, David, but for those who don't that style of argument that you described christians doing is a logical fallacy known as the "no true scotsman fallacy"

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/no-true-scotsman/

It's an unbelievably common tactic that collectivists of all stripes always seem to try using and it does nothing other than demonstrate how weak they are as people and how little conviction they actually have in their own stated beliefs.

I don't know who it was who said this but the saying goes something like "the only thing worse than the perpetrator is an apologist for the perpetrator." I would tend to agree.
 
#24
I agree with most of the comments here, but I think that religion in general (and more specifically Christianity) is often treated in a simplistic manner, as if it were one homogeneous entity. There are a myriad of religious groups and subgroups, both large and small. Every person in each group has human weaknesses and faults, so the idea of just “purging the bad apples” is again somewhat simplistic. There are varying degrees of flaws in people, so judgement in our decisions is required. I believe that each person needs to make their own judgement as to what their objective or calling is in joining or remaining as a member of a group, and what good they receive in association versus any negative aspects. It can be very gratifying to work with a “bad apple” and see them turn their life around and become a more functional and contributing member of society. Religion isn’t good or bad, it’s a slice of life that has existed from the beginning of mankind, and always will exist. There will always be some who flee religion and feel that it has ruined their life, others who are drawn to it and make significant improvements in their life, and many variations in between. I believe that in seeking the highest level of understanding, one has to move past broad brushstrokes and seek to see religion in all of its complexity. We all have to make choices in life, but can still seek to have an awareness that goes beyond judgement.
 
#25
I agree with most of the comments here, but I think that religion in general (and more specifically Christianity) is often treated in a simplistic manner, as if it were one homogeneous entity. There are a myriad of religious groups and subgroups, both large and small.
I am sure this is also true of Islam.

However, I think both Mediochre and I are making the point that it is exactly that inhomogeneity that is the danger, because one extreme interpretation of Christianity or Islam can claim far too much authority by appealing to all those of the faith.

We see the same sort of thing in politics - the 'Left' has changed its message considerably in recent years, but still tries to garner votes from its traditional supporters. However, political allegiances are decidedly less durable than religious ones.

I think it is fair to blame a Religion for its worst excesses until it does something effective to fix itself. If Catholics, for example, don't want to be blamed for the anti- birth-control policies or anti-gay policies of the Pope (even the current one hasn't really sorted this out), they really must agitate to get something done, rather than just saying that they are Catholics, but don't agree with particular policies.

David
 
#26
If you want to analyze the influence of religion on society, you can consider the good as well as the bad to decide of there is a net benefit to society or not, and you can compare religions to secular organizations.

http://www.themediareport.com/fast-facts/

THE STORY THE MEDIA WON'T REPORT: THE EPIDEMIC OF ABUSE AND COVER-UPS GOING ON TODAY IN OUR OWN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FACT: The incidence of sexual abuse by teachers in public schools today has been estimated to be "more than 100 times" that by Catholic priests, and there is alarming evidence of school officials covering up abuse and failing to report suspected cases to authorities. Yet the mainstream media has largely ignored this shocking story while still rehashing decades-old allegations of abuse by Catholic priests.

Dr. Dana Sawyer: It was, in a lot of ways. He was born in China, raised in China as the son of Christian missionaries, Methodists. The vow of chastity, there is no monastic branch of Methodism and they don’t need one because [aestheticism] was part of the religion. So I think he really grew up being proud of how humbly his family lived in China.

His mother was born and raised in China and spoke fluent Mandarin and so at a very early age, she impressed on Huston and his two brothers that they would never look down on the Chinese. That they had a rich and beautiful culture and they weren’t there to judge, they were there to help. His father built a hospital and a school before he ever built the church that he preached in. Christian charity was the religion that Huston grew up in.
 
#27
I think it is fair to blame a Religion for its worst excesses until it does something effective to fix itself. If Catholics, for example, don't want to be blamed for the anti- birth-control policies or anti-gay policies of the Pope (even the current one hasn't really sorted this out), they really must agitate to get something done, rather than just saying that they are Catholics, but don't agree with particular policies.
One would hope that they could expect more from a religious institution than a secular one, but both are going to have human flaws and imperfections. Virtually every group, religious or secular, will have something that each member will be able to find to disagree with. I think that we need to use judgement on the personal choices that we make, but not pretend to understand the motivations that other people have in making their choices. Seriously, how can an individual Catholic "agitate to get something done" to change Catholic policies for the entire church? Maybe it is theoretically possible that the right person could do it, but for the average member, no chance. If an individual Catholic member feels spiritually fed by the Catholic ritual, something that we might not be able to relate to in any way, then who are we to judge what is right for that person? Maybe they are also giving valuable service to individuals in need in their parish. Who are we to judge if they determine that the best thing for them is to remain in the Catholic Church rather than leave? I think that we have to pick our battles and seek to help people who are harmed by organizational policies, without making blanket judgements about people who in reality have no power to effect change in the highest levels of an organization.
 
#28
If an individual Catholic member feels spiritually fed by the Catholic ritual, something that we might not be able to relate to in any way, then who are we to judge what is right for that person? Maybe they are also giving valuable service to individuals in need in their parish.
OK - but if asked about the excesses of the Catholic Church, it isn't a reasonable answer to claim that they are a different kind of Catholic.

I belong to a political party, and there have been policies that I disagreed with, but I had to accept that as a member, I was to some extent supporting those policies, as well as those that I wholeheartedly agreed with. If I saw others (analogous to ISIS) taking the party in a deeply unacceptable direction, I'd leave. The problem with religion is that people feel that leaving is almost equivalent to separating from God.

David
 
#29
OK - but if asked about the excesses of the Catholic Church, it isn't a reasonable answer to claim that they are a different kind of Catholic.

I belong to a political party, and there have been policies that I disagreed with, but I had to accept that as a member, I was to some extent supporting those policies, as well as those that I wholeheartedly agreed with. If I saw others (analogous to ISIS) taking the party in a deeply unacceptable direction, I'd leave. The problem with religion is that people feel that leaving is almost equivalent to separating from God.

David
we're there:

whole thing is good, but the payoff comes at 5:31 when one brave reported asks if the beheading of an 11 year old by our Syrian rebel partners is enough -- i.e. deeply unacceptable direction, I'd leave
 
#30
we're there:

whole thing is good, but the payoff comes at 5:31 when one brave reported asks if the beheading of an 11 year old by our Syrian rebel partners is enough -- i.e. deeply unacceptable direction, I'd leave
Alex,

That is a fantastic video - why not post it also in the Donald Trump thread?

This video is corroborated by much on RT news, and also facts such as the official report some time back that the US had given military equipment to the 'Syrian moderate opposition' and this had ended up in the hands of ISIS!

It was my dawning realisation of this vast scandal that made me cheer when Donald Trump won the election.

When I was a kid, people in Eastern Europe listened to Western broadcast media - such as the BBC for the real facts, and now the situation is reversed!

David
 
#32
This is not new. It has always been necessary to listen to both (or multiple) sides. It didn't just happen yesterday.
Well it didn't just happen yesterday, but I think the level of systematic distortion of the news - as shown in Alex's video clip - is new. Also the fact that Western media have colluded with the US military aims is also new - traditionally they were mostly quite wary of the US establishment. They knew what had happened in Vietnam, and far too many other countries.

David
 
#34
Alex,

That is a fantastic video - why not post it also in the Donald Trump thread?

This video is corroborated by much on RT news, and also facts such as the official report some time back that the US had given military equipment to the 'Syrian moderate opposition' and this had ended up in the hands of ISIS!

It was my dawning realisation of this vast scandal that made me cheer when Donald Trump won the election.

When I was a kid, people in Eastern Europe listened to Western broadcast media - such as the BBC for the real facts, and now the situation is reversed!

David
Are you saying this story wasn't reported in the MSM?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36835678

Do you think atrocities like this would be more frequent, less frequent, or about the same if "The West" was a dispassionate observer in the conflict?

Fueled by a belief in a hierarchical god, Muslims have been cutting each other up for centuries.
 
#36
Are you saying this story wasn't reported in the MSM?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36835678

Do you think atrocities like this would be more frequent, less frequent, or about the same if "The West" was a dispassionate observer in the conflict?

Fueled by a belief in a hierarchical god, Muslims have been cutting each other up for centuries.
The problem is that the media avoids putting two and two together.

The US labels some religious extremists in Syria as 'moderate freedom fighters' and others as ISIS terrorists. In reality the US got this war going in the same way that it has done over and over - by encouraging religious militants to fight. Originally in Afghanistan they encouraged the Mujahideen in Pakistan to go into that country to throw the Russians out. The result was that Afghanistan ended up with the Taliban, and they have brought misery to the whole country ever since.

We attacked Iraq, and again the problem was that after toppling the existing government, the country slid into partial civil war.

We were told that there were moderate fighters waiting in Libya to take over once Gaddafi was removed - where are they?

In Syria the same game has been going on.

David
 
#38
The politicians and the news media are in the business of creating an illusion that produces fear and hate. Looking at the reaction to the US elections, it seems like they are doing a pretty good job of it. And this is going on all over the world.

They should be trying to calm the waters and bring people together, but they are doing just the opposite.
 
#40
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