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Christmas is obviously more about changing lives (and society) than toys, trees, and tinsel.

 
SkepticX
 
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SkepticX
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01 January 2018 08:48
 
EN - 01 January 2018 06:52 AM
Jefe - 28 December 2017 07:43 AM
Skipshot - 27 December 2017 06:47 PM
EN - 27 December 2017 04:06 PM
Skipshot - 27 December 2017 08:21 AM

Here we go again, with Christianity taking credit for all the good and none of the bad.

If we take the blame for the bad (there has been evil done in the name of Jesus) will you give us credit for the good?

Yep.

With some reservation.
We will not accept historical appropriation or revisionism.

If an individual’s religion inspires that person to do something good, it is good.  If an individual’s religion inspires him to do bad, it is bad. It’s not that hard, and involves no appropriation or revision.

Just selectively being a simpleton is all, as you pretty much cover below.

 

EN - 01 January 2018 06:52 AM

But the focus needs to be on the individual, not “Christianity” as a corporate concept.  If an individual is inspired by Jesus’ example to go help a poor person or pay for a kid’s education or pay for someone’s medical bills, that’s a good thing, and that person’s religion is good.  Can’t get good fruit from a bad tree, etc.  On the other hand, if a person is inspired by his/her religion to be a racist or a sexist or to kill someone, that is bad, and that person’s religion is bad.  We are all inspired by something, whether it be a religious or a non-religious source. Whether it is good or bad inspiration depends on the action.  Pretty simple concept.

If a Muslim or a Hindu is inspired by Muhammad or Krishna to do good, I would say the same thing.  That individual’s personal religion is good.

I agree with the sentiment, I think, but the problem with this model is that it reifies religion—makes it Religion, as if it’s some sort of entity that exists independently of the mind. Religion is just part of our nature, nothing more—entirely human even if we grant the gods and the other supernatural beasties for the sake of argument (or heavenly beasties if you prefer). The religions that humans create and practice and believe in would be in no way binding upon or necessarily at all reflective of such beasties (you have to presume any given version is reflective, though of course there’s almost always a great deal of rhetorical contortionism and acrobatics and verbiage to accompany such presumptions). So what religion inspires and enables is all, entirely, about us. Criticism of religion says absolutely nothing about those gods and other supernatural beasties—again, it’s all about humanity/humans. That should be clear given the fact that some critics of religion don’t include those critters in the set of real things that exist outside of the mind.

I think that may be harder for many believers to get their heads around simply because, just as with a reasonable understanding of evolution, the gods and beasties are in fact simply, placidly out of the picture entirely. This is very hard for many believers to square with their world views. Without God there must be trauma and despair and all manor of suffering. Anything else just doesn’t compute. This mindset may be there with most or perhaps even all believers, but the strength of the effect may be like gravity—very strong when you’re close to a powerful source (i.e. fundamentalism), but very weak when you’re far away.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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01 January 2018 09:03
 
SkepticX - 01 January 2018 08:48 AM

I agree with the sentiment, I think, but the problem with this model is that it reifies religion—makes it Religion, as if it’s some sort of entity that exists independently of the mind. Religion is just part of our nature, nothing more—entirely human even if we grant the gods and the other supernatural beasties for the sake of argument (or heavenly beasties if you prefer). The religions that humans create and practice and believe in would be in no way binding upon or necessarily at all reflective of such beasties (you have to presume any given version is reflective, though of course there’s almost always a great deal of rhetorical contortionism and acrobatics and verbiage to accompany such presumptions). So what religion inspires and enables is all, entirely, about us. Criticism of religion says absolutely nothing about those gods and other supernatural beasties—again, it’s all about humanity/humans. That should be clear given the fact that some critics of religion don’t include those critters in the set of real things that exist outside of the mind.

I think that may be harder for many believers to get their heads around simply because, just as with a reasonable understanding of evolution, the gods and beasties are in fact simply, placidly out of the picture entirely. This is very hard for many believers to square with their world views. Without God there must be trauma and despair and all manor of suffering. Anything else just doesn’t compute. This mindset may be there with most or perhaps even all believers, but the strength of the effect may be like gravity—very strong when you’re close to a powerful source (i.e. fundamentalism), but very weak when you’re far away.

Religion may be part of what it is to be human, but that does not dispense with the fact that it does inspire some people, for good or for evil. I’m focusing on the individual’s inspiration for his/her actions. Someone may be inspired by looking at the stars, or by meditating, or by looking through a microscope, or by painting, or by a religious text.  What does it matter to me what John Q. Dude has in his head? His actions - whether he does something good or something evil - that is what effects me.  What goes on in his head is, frankly, none of my business, except to the extent that he makes it my business by discussing it with me. I don’t need to go by a meeting place for this religion or that philosophy and say “that’s stupid” or “that’s deluded” - all I need be concerned about it what they do.

 
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01 January 2018 09:16
 
EN - 01 January 2018 09:03 AM
SkepticX - 01 January 2018 08:48 AM

I agree with the sentiment, I think, but the problem with this model is that it reifies religion—makes it Religion, as if it’s some sort of entity that exists independently of the mind. Religion is just part of our nature, nothing more—entirely human even if we grant the gods and the other supernatural beasties for the sake of argument (or heavenly beasties if you prefer). The religions that humans create and practice and believe in would be in no way binding upon or necessarily at all reflective of such beasties (you have to presume any given version is reflective, though of course there’s almost always a great deal of rhetorical contortionism and acrobatics and verbiage to accompany such presumptions). So what religion inspires and enables is all, entirely, about us. Criticism of religion says absolutely nothing about those gods and other supernatural beasties—again, it’s all about humanity/humans. That should be clear given the fact that some critics of religion don’t include those critters in the set of real things that exist outside of the mind.

I think that may be harder for many believers to get their heads around simply because, just as with a reasonable understanding of evolution, the gods and beasties are in fact simply, placidly out of the picture entirely. This is very hard for many believers to square with their world views. Without God there must be trauma and despair and all manor of suffering. Anything else just doesn’t compute. This mindset may be there with most or perhaps even all believers, but the strength of the effect may be like gravity—very strong when you’re close to a powerful source (i.e. fundamentalism), but very weak when you’re far away.

Religion may be part of what it is to be human, but that does not dispense with the fact that it does inspire some people, for good or for evil. I’m focusing on the individual’s inspiration for his/her actions. Someone may be inspired by looking at the stars, or by meditating, or by looking through a microscope, or by painting, or by a religious text.  What does it matter to me what John Q. Dude has in his head? His actions - whether he does something good or something evil - that is what effects me.  What goes on in his head is, frankly, none of my business, except to the extent that he makes it my business by discussing it with me. I don’t need to go by a meeting place for this religion or that philosophy and say “that’s stupid” or “that’s deluded” - all I need be concerned about it what they do.


Okay, but how our nature influences our behavior reflects upon us, not the focus of the religious paradigm in application. It doesn’t validate religion beyond humanity. It doesn’t suggest the focus of a given religion is valid or even a positive influence. It indicates what we humans find inspiring and manifests how we create inspiration for other humans. It suggests that what we find meaningful is just part of our nature and that we’re meaningful and important to each other. That’s it. There are no other actual implications—only presumed.

 
 
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01 January 2018 10:18
 
EN - 01 January 2018 06:52 AM

If an individual is inspired by Jesus’ example to go help a poor person or pay for a kid’s education or pay for someone’s medical bills, that’s a good thing, and that person’s religion is good.

The problem is that that person may also be inspired to believe that gays are evil based on the same magical thinking, same inspiration, is there religion still good, are they still good? 

 

 

 
 
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01 January 2018 11:32
 
SkepticX - 01 January 2018 09:16 AM

... how our nature influences our behavior reflects upon us, not the focus of the religious paradigm in application. It doesn’t validate religion beyond humanity.

From the article linked in the OP: “R.R. Palmer, a major historian from Yale, wrote, “It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the coming of Christianity. It brought with it, for one thing, an altogether new sense of human life. For the Greeks had shown man his mind; but the Christians showed him his soul. They taught that in the sight of God, all souls were equal, that every human life was sacrosanct and inviolate. Where the Greeks had identified the beautiful and the good, had thought ugliness to be bad, had shrunk from disease and imperfection and from everything misshapen, horrible, and repulsive, the Christian sought out the diseased, the crippled, the mutilated, to give them help. Love, for the ancient Greek, was never quite distinguished from Venus. For the Christians held that God was love, it took on deep overtones of sacrifice and compassion.”

SkepticX - 01 January 2018 09:16 AM

... how our nature influences our behavior ...

... does not reflect upon us, it is us.  And what we know about “how our nature influences our behavior” is a drop in the ocean of what we don’t know about “how our nature influences our behavior”.  By “our nature” I refer to, as always, the confluence of genetics and experiience of the individual.

I give you Carly Fleischmann as an example of the foolishness of making glib assessments of individuals while at the same time, and by means of, submerging them into a general description of “spectrum” or “group” behavior.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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01 January 2018 16:32
 
SkepticX - 01 January 2018 09:16 AM

Okay, but how our nature influences our behavior reflects upon us, not the focus of the religious paradigm in application. It doesn’t validate religion beyond humanity. It doesn’t suggest the focus of a given religion is valid or even a positive influence. It indicates what we humans find inspiring and manifests how we create inspiration for other humans. It suggests that what we find meaningful is just part of our nature and that we’re meaningful and important to each other. That’s it. There are no other actual implications—only presumed.

I’m not arguing that the influence that religion exerts validates it in some ultimate sense.  But the idea of a higher power of some sort has inspired basically ever form of human endeavor, from art and architecture to government and even science (not saying that all people have been so inspired, but a significant number have).  This particular form of human experience has in a class by itself for most of human history.

[ Edited: 01 January 2018 16:59 by EN]
 
Chaz
 
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13 April 2018 16:36
 

THE TITLE DON’T BELONG TO CHRISTMAS!! That’s Halloween for fuck sake.

 
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