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On Humanism and Religion

On Humanism and Religion

Old Jun 7th 2014, 12:54 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by jimenato
In what sense is Hinduism not a religion?
As I said above, as an atheist or agnostic you can still be Hindu, it is thought to be more of a 'philosophy of life/way of life'. Although many of course would disagree.
The word "Hindu" is relatively recent, not mentioned in the Gita.

Apparently this has been discussed and affirmed in the Supreme Court of India, I don't have a link. Was told this last week by brother- IL (a Sanskrit scholar in his retirement and studies these matters).
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Old Jun 7th 2014, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by LauraNotts
{Lots of content}
Thank you for your long reply, I don't think it is taking the thread off topic and hope you will continue to discuss in the thread. Though I acknowledge the topic can often lead to people feeling disrespected. We are unlikely to agree on much, but I strive to understand how Christians come to their beliefs, it so often alludes me. Understanding can only benefit us all.

The Bible is open to many and varied interpretations, it seems odd that Gods revelations would be so open to discussion. It strikes me as a weakness that God is such a poor communicator. I can read stories from the Bible and put on positive interpretations, but the more I do this, with the whole, it becomes further and further away from anything that mainstream Christians put forward. But this weakness is mirrored by Gods failure at creation of humanity, as you describe it, "We spectacularly don't get it and we mess up a lot" Now if I can predict a common explanation, being that God gave us 'free will'. I do not recognize the concept of free will as it is often put forward. Our actions are a result of our brain chemistry and our life experiences, and any all knowing God would have knowledge of what is to come, based on what he creates. The idea of free will comes either from our ego, or as a rebuttal to Epicurus' famous quote.

The question I think I have is .... your reply relies on a lot of presupposing. Where do you get the belief for your presupposing? By this I mean, why do you "believe that he was God in the flesh" and that this collection of documents is Gods revelation?
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Old Jun 7th 2014, 5:04 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Thanks kimilseung. I will continue to post so long as people don't feel preached at, my aim is to explain and discuss, not to thump people into the ground with the KJV.

Before I address your previous post I'd just like to come back to Charismatic' s point about the gospel of Thomas. The non canonical gospels truly fascinating on a theological and historical level so I completely agree there. Where I disagree is that people (and I include some Christians here) often make the mistake of assuming the Church should be based on the New Testament. What they often don't appreciate is that the first Christians had no gospels and no New Testament. What they did have were the Apostles and others who had known Jesus and heard him speak. So they had a collective body of experience that was passed down from person to person. When it came time to decide what texts should be considered biblical, which was actually quite late and certainly not without some controversy, the Church decided this in the light of what had been passed down about who Jesus was and what he said. If something didn't make it in it was often because it was either of uncertain authenticity or did not fit with the tradition of the first Christians. Specifically in Thomas' case there are two chief problems, first it was written very late (around 200ad compared to the 120ad of John's gospel - the latest of the canonical gospels) and also that itwas gnostic, gnosticism is difficult to summarise quickly but the chief objection from the Christian point of view is that it denies or limits the humanity of Jesus. It's always fun to play what if and imagine different Christianities but on the whole the choices that were made had a sound basis in theology and reason.

Woah...long point...must stop doing that.

So back to interpretations, without examples of what you mean I don't want to dive on in but as a general point what is wrong with multiple interpretations? A tradition of prayerful reading of the Bible known as lectio divinia actually expects us to constantly find and extract different shades of meaning from the text. Really when we say a text is inspired that is what we mean, that it continues to speak to individuals personally even over the span of millenia. Christians would probably ascribe that to the Holy Spirit, but I am sure most people would understand something similar in the reading of famous and moving poetry or novels.

As for failure in creation, I don't mean to imply that. Obviously from a Christian perspective God knows all, is all powerful and all present. That blows my tiny mind when I try to get my head around it, quantum theory adds another level of complexity to the potential of our actions and choices. I suppose where we differ is that I do accept free will. I do not believe that we are capable of acting strictly deterministically but again that may be a point where we simply differ. There are Christians, famously Calvinists, who would be closer to your position however I struggle with their understanding as it would mean God hsd created peopke in full knowledge they would go to hell and those people would have no control over this.

So finally...I suppose that from a rational and scientific perspective I can give no satisfactory defence of why I believe what I do. This is the chief reason that atheism and secularism often fail to engage effectively with Christianity and other faiths (and vis versa) we are coming at the subject with entirely different frames of reference. Ultimately I believe on faith, that is that I think something very very weird happened 2000 years ago that makes Jesus more than just a good man. People often like to point to incarnational and resurrection stories within other faith traditions however I often like to stop them and point out that the Christian understanding of the incarnation does not match these stories and also that this arose out of Judaism, whose concept and understanding of God is so decidedly UNincarnational that this was a primary source of persecution for early Jewish converts to Christianity Why do I believe these documents are God's revelation? I suppose again faith is the instinctual answer. And the belief that God is still active in the world in the person of the Holy Spirit so guides the Church in matters of faith. Do I think it can sometimes be over legalistic? Yes. Do I doubt? Yes. Can I stop myself believing in God? No, not any more than I woukd expect you to stop disbelieving.

I am sure that again was too long, but I hope a little interesting at least.
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Old Jun 7th 2014, 9:03 pm
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Smile Re: On God and Pineapple Lumps

Originally Posted by Bo-Jangles
I have yet to see any good come of religion...
I wouldn't quite say that Bo, there is some great work being done by NGOs but, on balance, I think we could do without the reassuring fable.
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Old Jun 8th 2014, 12:26 am
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Smile Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by Sally Redux
A fascinating topic, it will be interesting to see if New Zealanders handle it differently from North Americans.
I wouldn't expect exactly the same response. In the U.S. and Canada 34% and 57% of people report religion isn't important in day to day life. In New Zealand that figure is 66%, UK 73% and progressive Sweden leads at 83%.

Also this forum isn't a very good representation of sentiment because most people here where born in the UK and likely have some higher education that allowed them to move abroad. Also you get this sort of snowball effect in threads where people opt not to post if they don’t agree with the direction the thread is heading.
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Old Jun 8th 2014, 12:01 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by kimilseung
It drips with blood. It oozes misogyny. A vain petty tribal God who wallows in the destruction he brings for the pettiest of reasons. From the shame of nudity and unwillingness to share knowledge in Genesis on to the cruelty of expecting a father to slaughter his child with Abraham and Isssac. Lots treatment of his daughters. The casual racism of how the Philistines are discussed and the Samaritans. Where to start.
Like you, I don't know where to start. You have misinterpreted the God of both testaments. He does not enjoy, or wallow in blood-letting. We're the ones who are good at that.
He warned (and continues to warn) us of the perils for disobedience to His standards.
So in the end we get our just rewards.
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Old Jun 8th 2014, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Possibly drifting here but people often accuse religion of everything it stands against.
Religion is the underlying root of evil? of war? murder?
These things simply aren't true.
Man and his greed, his jealousy, his ego, his spite, his inability to love are all the causes of evil.
I have never attended a church. I often went awol during my religious education lessons, but I have taken the time to pick up a bible and read it. (well about half of it if I'm completely honest) ... it still sits next to my bed whilst gathering dust.
However, what I've read is not evil. In fact, it's quite beautiful. The bible (from my understanding) and all other religious texts seem to promote humanity in it's best form.
I don't know if I believe in God, but I do believe in humanity, love and friendship.
I struggle with my belief in man .... because he can be a total prick!
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Old Jun 8th 2014, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by retired in euzkadi
He does not enjoy, or wallow in blood-letting........He warned (and continues to warn) us of the perils for disobedience to His standards.
So in the end we get our just rewards.
I can only shake my head at the apparent self-loathing (of humanity). If the God of the Bible were real, it would be a monster.

That all beings should share the fate of death for behaving as god created them:

"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."

God wants to remembered throughout the ages for his murder of innocent children:

And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD


He will kill people for not washing their hands:

When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:

Killing people for taking sneak peeks.

But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy[a] of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them

Moses allowing the rape of virgins of the Midanites (kill the non-virgins)

Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Its OK to sell your daughter in to the sex trade.

If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [a]go free as the male slaves [b]do. 8 If she is [c]displeasing in the eyes of her master

God condones the murder of 60 places for some Israelite lebensraum

Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, [a]with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei. 2 But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ 3 So the Lord our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote [b]them until no survivor was [c]left

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Old Jun 8th 2014, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by kimilseung
I can only shake my head at the apparent self-loathing (of humanity). If the God of the Bible were real, it would be a monster.

That all beings should share the fate of death for behaving as god created them:

"And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."

God wants to remembered throughout the ages for his murder of innocent children:

And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD


He will kill people for not washing their hands:

When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD:

Killing people for taking sneak peeks.

But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy[a] of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them

Moses allowing the rape of virgins of the Midanites (kill the non-virgins)

Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

Its OK to sell your daughter in to the sex trade.

If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to [a]go free as the male slaves [b]do. 8 If she is [c]displeasing in the eyes of her master

God condones the murder of 60 places for some Israelite lebensraum

Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and Og, king of Bashan, [a]with all his people came out to meet us in battle at Edrei. 2 But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ 3 So the Lord our God delivered Og also, king of Bashan, with all his people into our hand, and we smote [b]them until no survivor was [c]left
"God wants to remembered throughout the ages for his murder of innocent children"
I'm sorry but I have to disagree. The God of the Old Testament is the same as in the New & today.
His standards are high. In Moses's day the culture was different to ours, but the essence of God's standards hasn't changed. He wants the best for us. We tend to thwart his plans & do 'evil'. Unfortunately, sin is often too tempting, so there we go.
If, after repeated warnings from God that the relevant society didn't change its ways, then He used humans to bring disaster, such as Cyrus of Persia.
I know He only works for good; yes, there are questions to ask Him, such as why remorseless killings, but in the end it still comes back to faith.
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Old Jun 8th 2014, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by retired in euzkadi
I'm sorry but I have to disagree. The God of the Old Testament is the same as in the New & today.
His standards are high. In Moses's day the culture was different to ours, but the essence of God's standards hasn't changed. He wants the best for us. We tend to thwart his plans & do 'evil'. Unfortunately, sin is often too tempting, so there we go.
If, after repeated warnings from God that the relevant society didn't change its ways, then He used humans to bring disaster, such as Cyrus of Persia.
I know He only works for good; yes, there are questions to ask Him, such as why remorseless killings, but in the end it still comes back to faith.
You seem accepting of trivialities as being considered evil, of pettiness being described as high standards. Of others being punished for the 'sins' of those around them. For people to be used as pawns and tools with presumably punishment for their wickedness in doing God's work. I have moral problems
with all of these positions.

It also seems that you think that God will change his expectations depending on the prevailing culture of those involved, that there is no objective morality from God. Including slavery and sexual abuse.
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Old Jun 10th 2014, 5:44 pm
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Pleasant surprise to see this on US TV.

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Old Jun 10th 2014, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by Sally Redux
Pleasant surprise to see this on US TV.

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A case of, father, not like son.
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Old Jun 10th 2014, 10:34 pm
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Smile Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by Sally Redux
Pleasant surprise to see this on US TV.

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All got a bit weird at the end. It’s as if he was expecting us to say “Get me ma matches and bible Sally, I’ll grab us a couple of them pitch forks from the barn as well. Mr. Reagan ain’t afraid of burnin in hell but I bet he puts up a re(eeee)al struggle for us here on gods earth.”

Who broadcasts these things anyway? Networks are usually careful to push clear of controversy with a barge pole here.
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Old Jun 10th 2014, 10:43 pm
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Default Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by Charismatic
All got a bit weird at the end. It’s as if he was expecting us to say “Get me ma matches and bible Sally, I’ll grab us a couple of them pitch forks from the barn as well. Mr. Reagan ain’t afraid of burnin in hell but I bet he puts up a re(eeee)al struggle for us here on gods earth.”

Who broadcasts these things anyway? Networks are usually careful to push clear of controversy with a barge pole here.
Well it is America - a large proportion of the viewers would have been saying just that

(Actually it was on during Cosmos, so people having difficulty with those concepts would not have been watching anyway).

I like the way he refers to the Founding Fathers. The religious right here always tries to hijack them.
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Old Jun 11th 2014, 12:58 am
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Smile Re: On Humanism and Religion

Originally Posted by Sally Redux
I like the way he refers to the Founding Fathers. The religious right here always tries to hijack them.
Yes, the people who opted for a secular constitution, clearly the right place to start looking for religious support.

Anyway the founding fathers had many views of the future America, arguably some of them where even common ore, garden variety mentals to be honest. So in a way perhaps they do represent some of the views and spirit of founding fathers…but it’s more than likely to be those of Aaron Burr.

Anyway what group of people would bind their views to a perpetually unchanging text that could take no account of future situations or developments? …and nicely back round to Christianity .
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