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Offline Crazy117

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new religion topic
« on: 06/12/2005 06:44:09 »
The other topic for disscussing this degraded into berating astrologers.

        There is no denying that religion isn't crap.
My evidence is that religions evovle out of every major culture. I am not a man of faith but I think that it is (or at least was) for society to include a religion. An omnipotent figure (or a philosophy) sets a strict code of moral values for a civilization. Religion , not philosophy, seems archaic now because humanity is not so foolish to belive in something as whimsical as the easter bunny, but there is no denying that a religion that is fully supported and belived in that has a flawless set of rules would create the closest thing to a utopia that will ever work.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2005 03:33:52 by neilep »


 

Offline Crazy117

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #1 on: 06/12/2005 06:45:56 »
don't mind spelling:D
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #2 on: 06/12/2005 10:21:53 »
quote:
There is no denying that religion isn't crap


Really?

 
quote:
but there is no denying that a religion that is fully supported and belived in that has a flawless set of rules would create the closest thing to a utopia that will ever work


I can deny it - at least, I can deny it the way you've worded it; and I think the more extreme forms of Islam & Christianity, for instance, lend weight to my denial. History is littered with examples of people enduring almost anything if they believe that by so-doing they are guaranteed a place in Heaven.
"Fully-supported & believed in" - let's take the example of female circumcision. Among its adherents, it is fully supported & believed in. It is also 1 of the most barbaric practices imaginable. I certainly would not class it as part of a Utopian lifestyle.
Puritan Christians persecuted even their own followers to an horrific extent.
You must also take into account the fact it would be next to impossible to get universal support & belief. People are different from each other and so have different needs & wants. A single religion could never cater for everyone; hence the numerous schisms in Christianity, the Sunni-Shi'ite split in Islam etc.
"One size fits all" has been tried in various fields - religion, education, politics - and has almost invariably been found wanting. That is due solely to people having different wants & needs.

 
quote:
My evidence is that religions evolve out of every major culture


What evidence? It many cases it is debatable whether culture begets religion or vice versa. In some cases it is blatantly the other way around. Islam is a case in point. It arose in an area almost totally devoid of culture - the deserts of what is now Saudi Arabia. The centres of culture at that time were far to the north, west & east. It has been the Moslem religion that has shaped the culture of the world of Islam.

There is also the question of what exactly is religion? Is it belief in a God or Gods, or the ritual & dogma attached to that belief? I would argue that it's the latter - the former being spirituality. You don't need to be religious to believe in a supernatural being, nor do you need to believe in a supernatural being to be religious.
As such, religion is defined by humans; whether or not they claim that what they are preaching is the word of God (if God is unknowable & ineffable then we can never know his will).

Then there is the question of what is meant by Utopian? My idea of Utopia may be lounging in the sun sipping cold beer while being waited on hand & foot by nubile wenches. Your idea may be of everyone tilling the soil, tending their cattle & producing their own food in a co-operative venture. How could both of those ideals be encapsulated within a society that both you & I would considere Utopian?

 
quote:
Religion , not philosophy, seems archaic now because humanity is not so foolish to belive in something as whimsical as the easter bunny


85% of Americans claim to be Christians but I doubt that many believe in the Easter bunny (then again, they did vote in George Dubya!). Christianity is the world's largest religion with over 200 million followers in the UK & USA alone.

 
 
quote:
An omnipotent figure (or a philosophy) sets a strict code of moral values for a civilization


The stricter they are, the less likely people are to adhere to them. Strict codes contain within them the seeds of their own destruction. Societies where people are allowed degrees of freedom are inherently more stable than those which try to impose rigorous laws & standards.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2005 10:28:30 by DoctorBeaver »
 

another_someone

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #3 on: 06/12/2005 13:56:33 »
quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117

The other topic for disscussing this degraded into berating astrologers.

        There is no denying that religion isn't crap.
My evidence is that religions evovle out of every major culture. I am not a man of faith but I think that it is (or at least was) for society to include a religion. An omnipotent figure (or a philosophy) sets a strict code of moral values for a civilization. Religion , not philosophy, seems archaic now because humanity is not so foolish to belive in something as whimsical as the easter bunny, but there is no denying that a religion that is fully supported and belived in that has a flawless set of rules would create the closest thing to a utopia that will ever work.



What do you mean that “religion isn't crap”?

Religion has in the past performed a role in society, and thus it may be argued that from a social perspective, it is not “crap” - but that is different from saying that from a scientific perspective it is not “crap”.

Ofcourse, it is also possible to argue that some facets of science are beginning to approach religious doctrine.  Not that I am saying that the principles of science are religious in nature, but that some scientists (or those proclaiming to be scientists) become sufficiently dogmatic about their own scientific beliefs as to be confused with religious gurus.

My take on religion is that it performs a number of disparate roles.

The first role is a proto-science role.  In this respect it has been totally superseded by modern science, but it should not be derided within the context in which it developed, since it served a more primitive community, and it served them adequately for their needs.  Even in modern terms, one should be careful not to overrate the applicability of the latest scientific theories to everyday life – modern science tells us that relativity gives us a more accurate description of the motion of bodies than the antiquated Newtonian descriptions of motion, and yet there are very few people who consider relativity relevant to their lives, and even most engineers and scientists are quite happy using old fashioned Newtonian rules of mechanics.

The second role is that of creating communal cohesion.  The church (or its equivalent place of worship) is a very important community centre, and those who absented themselves from it were depriving themselves of social advantages that it brought.

The third role was authoritarian.  If I wish to persuade you that doing X is right, and doing Y is wrong; I might try and debate the virtues of one or another course of action, but in many cases scientific arguments cannot provide a clear basis for a choice between one and another course of action.  In many cases, one may even say, it does not matter which course of action is taken, all that matters is that there be consensus upon the course of action to take, upon what the community should regard as right and wrong.  In that respect, invoking the notion of God puts and end to all argument, and simply chooses one doctrine of right and wrong over another.  This then blends in nicely with the notion of a man who is chosen as Gods representative on Earth (be he a King, the Pope, or the local pastor) who is delegated the task of pronouncing what moral choices should be made in the name of the community.

The second and third roles of religion are why it is impossible for one religion to effectively coexists with another.  It is also why I would also regard the combination of Marxism (as practised in Eastern Europe and China) with science to be sufficient to be regarded as a religion in its own right – since it cannot tolerate the existence of other religions, and thus demonstrates that it seeks to take upon itself all the roles above that were previously taken by religion.

In some respects, even in non-Marxist regions of the world, nationalism takes on some of the social attributes of religion.
« Last Edit: 06/12/2005 13:56:56 by another_someone »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #4 on: 06/12/2005 14:22:37 »
Another_someone - very eloquently put & I totally agree.

However, 1 point that neither of us has so-far mentioned is fear. It is the driving force behind most religious dogma - fear of not attaining paradise, of burning in hell for all eternity etc.


"There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person."
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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #5 on: 06/12/2005 14:37:11 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

However, 1 point that neither of us has so-far mentioned is fear. It is the driving force behind most religious dogma - fear of not attaining paradise, of burning in hell for all eternity etc.




The reason why I did not mention fear and damnation is because I think this is part of the post-facto rationalisation of religion, and not the basis for its existence (i.e. it is a tool that is created by those already involved in religion, rather than a basis for the creation of religion itself).

It must also be said that not all religions make equal use of this tool.  If one looks at the bible, the Jewish (Old Testament) interpretation of the bible has very much less emphasis on the after life (heaven or hell) than does Christianity or Islam.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #6 on: 06/12/2005 14:45:08 »
That comes back to my point about the difference between spirituality & religion. Fear is not a part of spirituality, it is merely inherent in the dogma of some religions. It has proven to be, though, a very effective tool for ensuring compliance.
I must, however, take exception to your point about it being a tool created by those already involved in religion. It is a cornerstone of Christianity & Islam, not a later addition to an original concept. In the New Testament & The Qu'ran it is stated that if you don't do this or that, you'll be in trouble when you die. Those scripts are the very basis of the religions concerned.
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #7 on: 06/12/2005 15:40:00 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

That comes back to my point about the difference between spirituality & religion. Fear is not a part of spirituality, it is merely inherent in the dogma of some religions. It has proven to be, though, a very effective tool for ensuring compliance.
I must, however, take exception to your point about it being a tool created by those already involved in religion. It is a cornerstone of Christianity & Islam, not a later addition to an original concept. In the New Testament & The Qu'ran it is stated that if you don't do this or that, you'll be in trouble when you die. Those scripts are the very basis of the religions concerned.



Firstly,  Christianity & Islam are not religions created from the ground up, they are fissions from earlier religions.  It is difficult to know what one might regard as a primary religion, because even Judaism is clearly derived from earlier religions, even though we have scant detailed knowledge of the precise religions it derived from (although we can make a good guess at some of the religions that it encountered and would have borrowed from, but not what might be regarded as its primary precursor).

I would guess that the distinction between  spirituality and religion that you refer to relates to a difference of emphasis between the proto-science attempt to understand the world, and the political imperative of organised religion.  Yes, politics does implicitly use fear as a means of control, whether it be the immediate fear of punishment in this world, or the more abstract fear of punishment in the next world.

But, I think it would be wrong to regard Judaism as a more spiritual religion that Christianity.  If anything, I think Judaism is the less spiritual of the two; but it simply relied on more worldly punishment than Christianity.  One advantage that Judaism had is that it is a more closed religion, in that it does not evangelise, and it was designed to operate within tightly knit communities that could better enforce discipline within themselves.  By comparison, Christianity has often operated in hostile environments, where a few Christians were trying to maintain their religion in a sea of non-believers, and even to convert some of those non-believers to their own point of view.  In this context, the social pressures the Jewish community could bring to bear upon its members would not have applied to these isolated Christians, and so the Christians had to use a mechanism of punishment that could be threatened beyond the reach of the close community.  The punishment of a far reaching God, a God that could punish those beyond the reach of their community, served this purpose well.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #8 on: 06/12/2005 16:08:36 »
quote:
But, I think it would be wrong to regard Judaism as a more spiritual religion that Christianity


I didn't imply that. At least I hope I didn't.

I see the difference between spirituality & religion as the former being a private affair whereas the latter is the organisation of a belief system with dogma.

I agree with you that religions seem to have their roots in earlier religions. A classic example is that of the resurrection of Christ seemingly having been borrowed, or stolen, from the story of Ra. The Christ figure also turns up in many seemingly incongruent religions such as Norse where he relates to Baldr.
But if you look at the socio-political & religious situation in the middle east when Christianity was born, it was most certainly a revolutionary way of thinking & bore very little resemblance to anything that existed there at the time. Yes, it drew on the Jewish tradition, but went against it at the same time - especially if you consider the more esoteric aspects of Judaism.

 
quote:
In this context, the social pressures the Jewish community could bring to bear upon its members would not have applied to these isolated Christians, and so the Christians had to use a mechanism of punishment that could be threatened beyond the reach of the close community. The punishment of a far reaching God, a God that could punish those beyond the reach of their community, served this purpose well.


That is true to an extent, but only after the fact. That fear of punishment beyond the grave began with Christ. That means it has been an intrinsic part of the religion right from its outset, not added later as a means of control (although it has served that purpose admirably)
 

another_someone

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #9 on: 06/12/2005 18:09:49 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

quote:
But, I think it would be wrong to regard Judaism as a more spiritual religion that Christianity


I didn't imply that. At least I hope I didn't.



But, since I pointed out that Judaism does not place such an emphasis upon the afterlife (as far as I can tell, there seems to be some debate about which point it is actually introduced into the bible, but the Old Testament view of heaven and hell is certainly immature by comparison to its Christian cousin), thus if you believe the distinction is one of highly spiritual religions having less need for heaven and hell, then it followed that you were inferring Judaism was more spiritual.

quote:

I see the difference between spirituality & religion as the former being a private affair whereas the latter is the organisation of a belief system with dogma.



The theoretical distinction is clear, but the boundary is not.

Unless you regard one person's spirituality to be totally different and separate from another's, then both spirituality (at least to some degree) and religion must be social phenomena, not merely personal one's.  I accept that individuals are capable of putting their own personal spin on religion, but I am not sure that they can have spirituality in a social vacuum.

quote:

But if you look at the socio-political & religious situation in the middle east when Christianity was born, it was most certainly a revolutionary way of thinking & bore very little resemblance to anything that existed there at the time. Yes, it drew on the Jewish tradition, but went against it at the same time - especially if you consider the more esoteric aspects of Judaism.



I would contend that Christianity was not born in the Middle East.

Christianity was born within the Roman Empire.  Christ was a Jew, he was not a Christian.  Paul was a Christian, and probably the first Christian.  Paul, who never personally knew Jesus in life, was born in Asia Minor (OK, that might be regarded as the Middle East, but not Palestine), but he was a citizen of Rome (unlike Peter).

quote:

 
quote:
In this context, the social pressures the Jewish community could bring to bear upon its members would not have applied to these isolated Christians, and so the Christians had to use a mechanism of punishment that could be threatened beyond the reach of the close community. The punishment of a far reaching God, a God that could punish those beyond the reach of their community, served this purpose well.


That is true to an extent, but only after the fact. That fear of punishment beyond the grave began with Christ. That means it has been an intrinsic part of the religion right from its outset, not added later as a means of control (although it has served that purpose admirably)



It is difficult to know exactly what existed 'in the beginning', since we only have reports of Christ's life after the fact, and heavily edited.

What we can say is that even in his own time, although Jesus was a Jew, he was also a maverick, an outsider (to some, even a terrorist), and as such, one can imagine that he too could find value in applying the notion of damnation in the hereafter to those upon whom he had little control within the here and now.  By contrast, Herod could damn those who displeased him within this life, so he had no need to threaten them in the life hereafter.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #10 on: 06/12/2005 19:55:37 »
quote:
if you believe the distinction is one of highly spiritual religions having less need for heaven and hell


Where did I say that? I consider spirituality & religion to be different. They are not mutually exclusive, but one can exist without the other.
I see a definite borderline between the 2. Spirituality is one's personal, inner relationship with whatever it is you believe in. Religion is a formalised system of belief. I would say that there is an inherent element of worship in religion, but not so in spirituality.

 
quote:
I would contend that Christianity was not born in the Middle East.

Christianity was born within the Roman Empire. Christ was a Jew, he was not a Christian. Paul was a Christian, and probably the first Christian. Paul, who never personally knew Jesus in life, was born in Asia Minor (OK, that might be regarded as the Middle East, but not Palestine), but he was a citizen of Rome (unlike Peter).


I would contend that it was. Christianity is based on the teachings of Christ. Christ lived in the middle east. His original disciples lived in the middle east. Christ preached to those disciples in the middle east. The teachings of Christ were then taken abroad where others learned of them & the adherents multiplied in number. You can't say that because Paul wasn't born in the middle east, Christianity can't have started there.

 
quote:

What we can say is that even in his own time, although Jesus was a Jew, he was also a maverick, an outsider (to some, even a terrorist), and as such, one can imagine that he too could find value in applying the notion of damnation in the hereafter to those upon whom he had little control within the here and now. By contrast, Herod could damn those who displeased him within this life, so he had no need to threaten them in the life hereafter.


Indeed. And that backs up my statement that fear of eternal damnation was a part of Christianity right from the start. It was merely a reiteration of the spite and vindictiveness that was attributed to God in the Old Testament.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #11 on: 06/12/2005 19:57:02 »
I'm enjoying this. I don't meet many people who can debate such a subject cohenrently, eloquently & knowledgably. Thank you.
 

Offline Crazy117

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #12 on: 06/12/2005 20:51:39 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver


 
quote:
but there is no denying that a religion that is fully supported and belived in that has a flawless set of rules would create the closest thing to a utopia that will ever work


I can deny it - at least, I can deny it the way you've worded it; and I think the more extreme forms of Islam & Christianity, for instance, lend weight to my denial. History is littered with examples of people enduring almost anything if they believe that by so-doing they are guaranteed a place in Heaven.
"Fully-supported & believed in" - let's take the example of female circumcision. Among its adherents, it is fully supported & believed in. It is also 1 of the most barbaric practices imaginable. I certainly would not class it as part of a Utopian lifestyle.
Puritan Christians persecuted even their own followers to an horrific extent.
You must also take into account the fact it would be next to impossible to get universal support & belief. People are different from each other and so have different needs & wants. A single religion could never cater for everyone; hence the numerous schisms in Christianity, the Sunni-Shi'ite split in Islam etc.
"One size fits all" has been tried in various fields - religion, education, politics - and has almost invariably been found wanting. That is due solely to people having different wants & needs.





notice I said flawless. My point is that following a religion of virtue, whether you belive in the faith or not, would ultimmatley lead somebody to do no purposful wrong.

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This guy can explain why we sneeze when we look at the sun... But can he explain why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #13 on: 06/12/2005 21:09:33 »
quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117
notice I said flawless. My point is that following a religion of virtue, whether you belive in the faith or not, would ultimmatley lead somebody to do no purposful wrong.



This presumes commonly agreed and provable notions of virtue and wrong.

Not that doing no purposeful wrong is always sufficient – the old adage about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

quote:

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/aug97/865380242.Me.r.html
This guy can explain why we sneeze when we look at the sun... But can he explain why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?



Do all kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

Not sure if an explanation of a childish preference for cinnamon toast crunch is available or not, but even if such an explanation is available, I'm sure there will always be many other things that remain unexplained.  The fact that some things today remain unexplained, why does that prove the truth of religion?  Religion provides effective barriers to knowledge, so one can invoke religion as a means of declaring something to be inherently inexplicable, but does the fact that we do not yet have an explanation for something inherently make it inexplicable?  The history of science is littered with things that could not be explained in bygone eras, but are totally explicable today.
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #14 on: 06/12/2005 22:17:08 »
quote:
notice I said flawless. My point is that following a religion of virtue, whether you belive in the faith or not, would ultimmatley lead somebody to do no purposful wrong.


There is no such thing as flawless. As I tried to point out, what suits me may not suit you & vice versa. Also, in your initial posting you used the words "...fully believed & supported...", now you say "...whether you believe in the faith or not..."

As for the actual part...

 
quote:
My point is that following a religion of virtue, whether you belive in the faith or not, would ultimmatley lead somebody to do no purposful wrong


Well, yeah... isn't that a bit obvious?
It amounts to saying "Not breaking virtuous rules, whether you agree with them or not, will ultimately lead you to not intentionally breaking the virtuous rules".
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #15 on: 06/12/2005 22:24:24 »
Was your reference to cinnamon toast crunch intended to infer that only an adherent to a virtuous religious system could answer such a question? I could probably give you a very good reason why the child concerned likes it: but as it seems to me to be a totally random & entirely irrelevant question, I'm not going to bother.
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #16 on: 08/12/2005 09:48:43 »
quote:
Do all kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?


Is this the question to the answer of the meaning of life the universe and everything!

Perhaps its the beginings of a new religion!!!

I could not join any group that would have me as a member!
 

Offline Crazy117

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #17 on: 08/12/2005 21:34:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by another_someone

quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117
notice I said flawless. My point is that following a religion of virtue, whether you belive in the faith or not, would ultimmatley lead somebody to do no purposful wrong.



Not sure if an explanation of a childish preference for cinnamon toast crunch is available or not, but even if such an explanation is available, I'm sure there will always be many other things that remain unexplained.  The fact that some things today remain unexplained, why does that prove the truth of religion?  Religion provides effective barriers to knowledge, so one can invoke religion as a means of declaring something to be inherently inexplicable, but does the fact that we do not yet have an explanation for something inherently make it inexplicable?  The history of science is littered with things that could not be explained in bygone eras, but are totally explicable today.


I am not saying that the church orginization (as it is the church that stated these things, not the religion itself) has always had the most scientifically apt perspective of the world. I am merely saying that a person that follwed a perfect religion's teachings completely, he would do nothing wrong intentionally. (assuming everybody else in the world followed that religion).
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." does not mean that they person going to hell abided to the rules of the faith of christianity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I don't know if you knew this already,but Christianity teaches that if you follow the religion you will be spared from hell (at least all Christian faiths that I have heard of).
Finally, I am not I no way did I state that a man would never stray from a religion.,but hypothetically if he didn't then what I have said would apply.
Postscript: I mentioned Cinnamon toast crunch because I know from personal experience that some kids like it because I am twelve years old. I didn't say that all kids liked it, but at least more than one I am assuming.

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This guy can explain why we sneeze when we look at the sun... But can he explain why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
 

Offline Crazy117

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #18 on: 08/12/2005 21:39:03 »
quote:
Originally posted by another_someone

quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117


This presumes commonly agreed and provable notions of virtue and wrong.


There has yet to be as religion that pleases everybody so that is why there are many different religions and sects within those religions.

newbielink:http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/aug97/865380242.Me.r.html [nonactive]
This guy can explain why we sneeze when we look at the sun... But can he explain why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch?
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #19 on: 08/12/2005 23:12:54 »
quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117

I am not saying that the church orginization (as it is the church that stated these things, not the religion itself) has always had the most scientifically apt perspective of the world. I am merely saying that a person that follwed a perfect religion's teachings completely, he would do nothing wrong intentionally. (assuming everybody else in the world followed that religion).



To me, once you talk of “religion's teachings”, then you are talking about some kind of church.

One may have personal beliefs, and personal morality, and these may be independent of any church; but the moment you allow someone else to tell you what to believe, then you are beginning to put into place the formal structures that are a church.

There is ofcourse the old adage that “no man is an island”, and one's own beliefs must be informed by the teachings of others, but that is different from allowing the teachings of others to dictate your own beliefs.

quote:

 "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." does not mean that they person going to hell abided to the rules of the faith of christianity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I don't know if you knew this already,but Christianity teaches that if you follow the religion you will be spared from hell (at least all Christian faiths that I have heard of).



The maxim "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is not meant to mean that the person with good intentions might go to hell, but rather that a person who has lots of good intentions, but does not take adequate care that his actions match his intentions, might yet make life hell for those around him (or her).

quote:

Postscript: I mentioned Cinnamon toast crunch because I know from personal experience that some kids like it because I am twelve years old. I didn't say that all kids liked it, but at least more than one I am assuming.



OK, that excuses a lot :)

I don't think I have to this day even tasted cinnamon toast crunch, so I cannot comment upon its desirability for 12 year old kids.
« Last Edit: 08/12/2005 23:14:55 by another_someone »
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #20 on: 08/12/2005 23:26:56 »
quote:
Originally posted by Crazy117

There has yet to be as religion that pleases everybody so that is why there are many different religions and sects within those religions.



But the moment you say that there may be many different religions, and each is as good as the other, you inherently admit that none is perfect, which undermines your initial precept of a 'flawless religion' (OK, the term you used was a religion that has “a flawless set of rules “, and you will have to tell me if you see any distinction between that and the notion of a “flawless religion”).
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #21 on: 09/12/2005 00:22:19 »
quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

I would contend that it was. Christianity is based on the teachings of Christ. Christ lived in the middle east. His original disciples lived in the middle east. Christ preached to those disciples in the middle east. The teachings of Christ were then taken abroad where others learned of them & the adherents multiplied in number. You can't say that because Paul wasn't born in the middle east, Christianity can't have started there.



I will cop out on this one, and let someone else argue my case for me (I have not read the document to the end, so I cannot say if I agree with everything in it, but it does cover roughly the territory that I believe my answer would cover).

http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/paul/paul.htm
quote:

Jesus was not the founder of Christianity as we know it today. Most of the New Testament doesn't even concern the historical Jesus while the main influence is the Apostle Paul and through the church he founded at Ephesus a Greek convert named John. Paul never met Jesus in the flesh, he only claimed some strange vision and proceeded to paganize the teachings of Jesus (who preached an enlightened form of Judaism), until he created Pauline Christianity. Because there are no known writings from Jesus, the actual Apostles, or anyone that actually knew Him in the flesh (other then perhaps James), most of what He taught is lost forever.
While Jesus is regarded by Christians as the founder of their religion because events of his life lay the foundation story of Christianity. While a man named Jesus may be the foundation of Christianity, Paul is regarded as the great interpreter of Jesus' mission, who explained, in a way that Jesus himself never did, how Jesus' life and death fitted into a cosmic scheme of salvation, stretching from the creation of Adam to the end of time. The doctrines of Christianity come mostly from the teaching or influence of Paul, a Pharisee(?) who rejected his Pharisaic Judaism and converted to what he called Christ. Paul would later be placed over his Jewish-Christian rivals by a Gnostic heretic named Marcion.



The other apostles, those who had known Jesus personally, would mostly not have been addressing a non Jewish audience, and would not even have had a good grasp of Latin or Greek.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus
quote:

Some argue that he was instrumental in establishing Christianity as a distinct religion, rather than a sect of Judaism, as Christianity was first known.

Due to his body of work and his undoubted influence on the development of Christianity, many modern scholars have considered Paul to be the founder of Christianity, who modified Jesus' teachings and added important new doctrines. However, this view remains controversial. Many Christian scholars say that no teachings were modified, and assert that Paul taught in complete harmony with Jesus. Some Christians, however, particularly those who embrace dispensationalism, believe that Jesus' teachings are for the Jews – especially those teachings found in Matthew – and that Christians necessarily have a different belief system since Christianity, according to this perspective, only arose as a result of the rejection by the Jews of their Messiah.



quote:

About AD 49, after fourteen years of preaching, Paul travelled to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to meet with the leaders of the Jerusalem church



So will note that his early teachings could have had only indirect influence from any those who knew Jesus personally, although I will accept there is the following reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_of_Tarsus
quote:

Following this visit to Jerusalem, Paul's own writings and Acts slightly differ on his next activities.



But this is after 14 years of setting up early Christianity.

It should also be noted that Paul, of all the apostles, was the only one who was a Roman citizen, and thus would  be able to address other Romans as equals; and he was the most widely travelled (and thus the most widely heard, within the wider empire) of the apostles.  This would have inevitably given his version of Christ's life a greater audience than any of his contemporaries.

quote:
Originally posted by DoctorBeaver

 
quote:

What we can say is that even in his own time, although Jesus was a Jew, he was also a maverick, an outsider (to some, even a terrorist), and as such, one can imagine that he too could find value in applying the notion of damnation in the hereafter to those upon whom he had little control within the here and now. By contrast, Herod could damn those who displeased him within this life, so he had no need to threaten them in the life hereafter.



Indeed. And that backs up my statement that fear of eternal damnation was a part of Christianity right from the start. It was merely a reiteration of the spite and vindictiveness that was attributed to God in the Old Testament.



It allows for the possibility that it was a part of Christ's early teaching, but since we don't really know what his teachings were (we have no direct evidence), we cannot say whether it is true.

On the other hand, the point I was making was at which point it entered Christianity, only that it was something that distinguished Christianity from mainstream Judaism.

It is true that this last point is also fraught with difficulty, because we don't really have too clear an idea of what Judaism was before the diaspora, and it is clear that there was much variety in interpretation (the interpretation of Jesus being one of many less orthodox interpretations).  And ofcourse, just as with Christianity (probably even more so), Judaism has mutated over time.

Thus it is probably very difficult to argue with either Christianity or with Judaism that historically there is any definitive interpretation, but if one looks at the modern teachings of each, it does seem that Christianity does place the greater emphasis upon the life hereafter, and Judaism more so the community in this world (and in particular, the ancestral community and continuity with the past).
« Last Edit: 09/12/2005 16:14:04 by another_someone »
 

Offline Ian33

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #22 on: 09/12/2005 15:56:07 »
The Model religious Community for the world was Ancient Egypt. Thought of as a Heaven on Earth by it's peoples, Egypt complex and diverse religions stemmed from careful obseservation of all natural phenomena Thus Egyptians in general, were protective of their enviroment and conservative with nature. The decline in Religion occured with the coming of the Nazerine and his following fundemetalists , such as Paul. When the Church formed and dictated it's dogma. The world was in for it....

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another_someone

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #23 on: 09/12/2005 17:11:53 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ian33

The Model religious Community for the world was Ancient Egypt. Thought of as a Heaven on Earth by it's peoples, Egypt complex and diverse religions stemmed from careful obseservation of all natural phenomena Thus Egyptians in general, were protective of their enviroment and conservative with nature. The decline in Religion occured with the coming of the Nazerine and his following fundemetalists , such as Paul. When the Church formed and dictated it's dogma. The world was in for it....

Cafe Del Mar. Vol Siente



From what I can ascertain, the Egyptian religion was both all pervading, and highly (as you suggest) conservative.

While it probably provided a very strong sense of certainty, and identity, for the Egyptian people, is such extreme conservatism necessarily a desirable thing?  I certainly would not have liked to be an outsider living amongst such people.

Such conservatism must inevitably be contrary to the precepts of science, which by its very nature is questioning and uncertain and looking to change the world.
« Last Edit: 09/12/2005 17:12:59 by another_someone »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #24 on: 09/12/2005 17:25:34 »
quote:
And ofcourse, just as with Christianity (probably even more so), Judaism has mutated over time.


Mutated or evolved? (sorry, I couldn't resist that! [:o)] )
 

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Re: new religion topic
« Reply #24 on: 09/12/2005 17:25:34 »

 

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