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XenoFish

Pointlessness of Religion

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Leonardo

So what are your thoughts on literary analysis then?

While meaning no disrespect in saying so, I would term it a 'quasi-scientific discipline'. Some of the techniques employed resemble those employed in the scientific method - in particular those associated with dating writing by style. But some aspects of the discipline are more arbitrary and rely on a common acceptance of personal opinion (notwithstanding how well-guided this opinion is by our understanding of our own, human, condition) regarding the author's intent.

With respect the latter, it would be the case of "we consider it quite/very likely and can be reasonably certain, but could we swear on the bible?" Pun intended.

Literary analysis seems to me to be more about probability rather than fact. We can probably trust the reports of informed analysis, but 'trust' isn't 'knowing'.

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Stubbly_Dooright

Glad I could be of assistance in helping you rationalise your faith, Stubs. I'll send you a bill for the consultation, but don't worry I won't charge more than $5 a word (that's "mates rates"). :P

Wait..................bill? *gulp* ;)

I understand what you mean, when something happens to you, you want that pound of flesh, you want them to pay, you want them to suffer how you suffered, Yet, most of the time people never truly realize the pain they caused, and apologies, they never really make the pain go away do they? Have you ever heard that quote "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." It's so true. Everything wonderful we hold on to, its a beautiful dream that can be gone in a blink of an eye. Life is just too short to nurse animosity, resentment and pain. Things fall apart, things break, and people do terrible things. It happens, but when you die, do you want to be that lady who "held on to her anger, and let them know it WASN'T okay!" I know I don't!

Anyway, I find it hard to believe you could be like this, you seem so sweet, i've never even seen you say anything rude on here once!

First, your sweet, thanks. :blush: Now, who knows, maybe I am going through the patterns of forgiveness, but just have a different thought process of it. I'm glad you brought up the word and subject of resentment. That's just it. I understand resentment, and feel and felt it. But I work through it to not have rule me. So, here is a question to you. Is it forgiveness when one works through their issues to get rid of the resentment and just go on living a life with others and is happy, while just not even being in the presence of the original individual who causes the pain? I agree with you on your description of pain that wells up in a person. I work through that. I just don't think I can honestly say to a person, 'I forgive you' and think I really do. Maybe it's another word or words for this, but I don't equate a lack of forgiveness and resentment for the act as the same. To me, it's respect and I can respect someone for why they did what they did, and that's how I forgive. Maybe it's the same of how others say, 'you can forgive, you don't have to forget' saying. I don't know. I just think and feel that forgiveness is understanding the reasoning and accepting it. While to not forgive is just saying to the person, you did something that is not acceptable until you work at making it better. Actually on that last line. Yeah, to make it better, even though I still feel it's up to me, to help heal myself, so I know I don't have the anger. I guess I also equate unforgiveness and accusations as the same thing.

I'm sorry woodsbooger, *shrugs and cringes* ;) I have a whole different way of looking at life, and a lot of it makes sense to me. Not that I don't take you seriously. I do, I just read what you wrote, reflect on my thoughts, and see how it all fits in. :yes: I really appreciate your thoughts. :)

I will tell you how I arrived at that understanding. It originated with something Jesus said...If you forgive those who have sinned against you...God will forgive you...and if you don't...He won't.

We own a house that we rent out. We had this woman that was living there with her girlfriend. She was always late with the rent and then just stopped paying. Her girlfriend moved out and yada yada yada. We had to evict her. It was hard to do, and expensive because she totally trashed the house...holes in the walls, all that good stuff. I was so p***ed at her. She bought a big swimming pool...above ground...that cost over $500 for a 4th of July bash with her 'friends'....but just couldn't come up with the rent check...to make a long story short...I was p***ed.

But then later I forgave her. She didn't ask me to...I forgave her because I wanted to. And it was so freeing. I tried to call her to tell her that it was okay, shed didn't owe us anything, and wish her good luck in life...but her number was disconnected.

So, I found myself in a position where, I had just forgiven someone...who didn't ask for it...didn't even know that I had forgiven her and to this day probably thinks I hate her guts. Is she any less forgiven for not asking? Any less forgiven for not knowing? No. It had absolutely nothing to do with her...it was all about me at that point. If you think about the Prayer Jesus offered to the Disciples....Forgive us of our sins...as we forgive those who have sinned against us....

It just makes since to me that Forgiveness is about the forgiver. shrugs :)

As with woodsbooger, I appreciate your thoughts Joc. :yes::) I am glad you and woodsbooger express how you guys came to your thoughts and actions, and I find it interesting, and reflecting. But to me, I'm spiritual, (and thanks to another poster who made me realize I just might not be 'religious' ;) ) and as you know, I have said I grew up secular with no church attendance or reading the bible all the way through. So, I never had that type of education on Jesus's words. As to maybe he may have spoke to me in a sense, I will never rule that out. :yes: A lot of my revelations and reflections and experiences are by my spiritual 'connections' if you will and observations of my life. I know by observations, and understanding, that no matter the reason, harming others for whatever way you have been wronged or hurting is just never an excuse! In fact, I feel I take a better path by not harming others. My spirituality helps me with that. Resentment and pain from others, again, my spirituality helps me with that. Forgiving others, well, if someone wants my respect and me part of their lives, that's up to them. Like I said, my life's experiences have giving me a different understanding of forgiveness and seeing it as the other's responsibility and not mine. There have been very close people who have caused pain in my life, but there are still so many close relationships due to both sides working it out. I'm not saying you are wrong, far from it, I just think I can't see it, whether it's right or not. I could be crazy in thinking forgiveness as an emotion and not an action, but that is how I come by it by my life. The thing is, and I hope you believe me, I have really felt at peace and grounded with it. I do not harm others back, and I don't feel resentment because of my way helping myself through it (it does work) and the rest is well. :yes:

Joc and Woodsbooger, while I have experienced the healing nature of forgiveness; I can relate to Sharon too there are just some situations in life that are beyond forgiveness, the kind of choices made that alter relationships and create no do overs. Yet, this doesn't mean you don't move on or set it aside and go your own way. You can still move forward and not forgive. My husband had a situation with his family after his mother died where two of the siblings left out my husband and his brother in an inheritance. It ended his relationship with his family for good. In truth, I not only understand his choice, but I think it is best for him to let them go. He has worked through the anger and moved on, but he will never talk to them again. We even discuss how greed can bring out the worst in people, we get that, but a choice was made we look at it as a done deal. There are exceptions even with forgiveness, it depends on the situation.

Thank you Sheri! Bingo! Exactly my thoughts, but expressed eloquently by you. :yes: Thank you. But woodsbooger's and joc's posts are still a lot for me to positively reflect on warmly. :yes::wub: Edited by Stubbly_Dooright

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Stubbly_Dooright

Does that mean that if someone quotes Richard Dawkins then their beliefs about the world have been "influenced" by someone and therefore atheism is a religion as well as a faith?

I mean, by this same reasoning, my study of Shakespeare and Artaud and Beckett was influenced by my university lecturers, and therefore I cannot be said to be free from their influence either, and therefore my beliefs about what they wrote is in some way "religious" because they are molded by outside influences.

I wonder if there is a line of what the definition means, but your post is wonderfully reflective for me. :yes::D This reminds me of something in my life and maybe we can call it influence. I bought a book, (gee, would a bookseller do that? :o:devil: I'm bad) that was really written by Al Franken, (former SNL cast, now in Politics) but was said to written by his popular SNL Stuart Smalley.
and even though I found it funny and entertaining, there was a lot of things that pretty much pertained in my life. I kind of entertained the thought that it would be my own 'bible' or 'stubb's own holy book' ;):D I believe I still have it. Somewhere. Under a lot of my books.................somewhere. Well, I hope you get my point. ;):)

Just because something is wrong doesn't mean it cant be forgiven (Actually we don't need to forgive things which are "right") I thnk people misunderstand the biblical nature of forgiveness It is forgiving another for the harm they do to you (as christ forgave those who killed him) A human can (has the capacity to) choose to forgive any harm against them and to forgive the one who harmed them. This is essential to the mental health and well being of the one hurt or harmed.( ill ive you two personal examples Two familes I know had their sons brutally murdered. One family could not forgive the killer and was in turn destroyed by grief hate ager and vengeance ec. The other did forgive the killer and was able to get on with a productive ad positive life.

Well, I will not write down here, how I don't think the two different lives came by those 'actions', and it might have just happened that way. It also could mean, that it was also coincidental too. But that is me, and I'm holding to how I see that, and not change my mind.
But forgiveness does not mean not holding the perpetrator accountable A wrong doer must make amends or be punished according to the law even if a family/individual forgives them the harm they did. Forgiveness does not override justice.

But dang it if this last paragraph does not match my thoughts! That's how I feel. And again to point out from your first paragraph and what I have said before, not have read the bible, I don't understand the religious point of view of forgiveness. Which is to me, just do it and magically get peace? (Sorry joc and woodsbooger, I do feel you are probably don't mean this) but to me emotions are things that you instinctly feel from an action, and that is how I see forgiveness. Again, that's just me and probably from the way I was raised. *shrugs* :D Edited by Stubbly_Dooright

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keithisco

So what are your thoughts on literary analysis then? Does my assessment that I sent in to be marked several years ago about Twelfth Night become less a valid approach if I listen to my lecturers rather than never go to a lecture and then just tell them what I thought about it? Or should I listen to people who spent years studying the subject in order to make an informed decision on what to accept, what to reject, and what arguments and points of view are legitimate avenues of discussion and thought? Surely if I want to know how to properly understand a text like Twelfth Night I should take the time to listen to the experts. And sure, the "experts" here are defined by a qualification from a tertiary institution and then employed at an educational institution. Another institution might hire someone else with a different approach (my two lecturers for this course admitted they were being about as "liberal" as they could be in approaching the texts, another university might require a more conservatively traditional view). But the point is that through my study I came to learn a gamut of different views and from there I made a decision on which approach was best. If I had a conservative lecturer, even though I may hold a liberal view on the text I certainly wouldn't submit it as my answer.

Why does being influenced by people who have been trained in theology make my views different? I'm not sure I understand why you place such great emphasis on what these people have said, I've heard many sides of theology, often theology that disagreed with other theology, and so when I choose one view that made sense to me, the fact that I began by approaching experts seems like a strange thing to comment on as the basis of being "religious".

So if a lot of what we do in a day is considered "ritual" why is only that ritualised behaviour done in a context of God defined as "religious"? And moreover, that specified "religiousness" is deemed by you as "pointless"? What other rituals do we do in our daily lives that have meaning, compared to others that are pointless?

Hello PA ("Paranoid Android System" - brilliant comment :tsu: )

For what it is worth, and just my 2 cents in this discussion;

Your comments about received wisdom with respect to Twelfth Night are entirely valid but probably for different reasons: Elizabethan English, and in particular the language of Shakespeare (add Marlowe and Bacon to that) is redolent to references that whilst common back in the day are virtually unknown or unused today. When first studying Henry V I had no idea that a Halcyon is what is commonly known as a Kingfisher (the bird) today. Also the use of the Iambic Pentameter, and "Pathetic Fallacy" (Hamlet) as literary devices would have eluded me. When studying The Canterbury Tales it seemed like I was reading a different language - well, I was, Middle English. That scholars had deciphered, decoded, and translated the language into Modern English was immensely helpful (still had to learn Middle English however <_< ). Allegory and Metaphor, other Literary devices were more troublesome because they have a very definite cultural bias, and that is also linked to the age in which they are used.

My point is that received wisdom (in this case learning), is important when the language used is almost unknown to us. I would contend however that the KJV of the Bible is sufficiently modern that we should be able to see the intent of each book, parable and verse for ourselves without having to be told what somebody else thinks they mean. As honest as the teacher may be, it is still within that person's realm of experience and cultural upbringing to hold forth his own experiences that may be entirely different to our own.

Another problem is the Council of Nicea: this is where Constantine and 300 "Bishops" decided , for political expediency, which books should be described as Scriptural and Canonical. The result was that several Bishops were murdered (for dissent) and that several (possibly hundreds) Scriptural books were burned and now lost to humankind. Amongst these is the "Gospel According to Eve" (yes, she supposedly lived until then, and maybe still lives) - the legacy of this Gospel is now only known through Epiphanius.

On the subject of Religious ritual: It is the autonomic recital of the same text (Hail Mary, The Lords Prayer etc) which defines ritualistic behaviour, rather than adhering to social norms of behaviour.

Habit (for socially cohesive ends) is not ritual, unless it is defined by religious mores.

Yes, humans are creatures of habit, it is only when that habit is informed by religious practises that it becomes ritualistic. IMHO

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Leonardo

On the subject of Religious ritual: It is the autonomic recital of the same text (Hail Mary, The Lords Prayer etc) which defines ritualistic behaviour, rather than adhering to social norms of behaviour.

Habit (for socially cohesive ends) is not ritual, unless it is defined by religious mores.

Yes, humans are creatures of habit, it is only when that habit is informed by religious practises that it becomes ritualistic. IMHO

With respect the debate I am engaged in with PA regarding this subject, I never used "religious ritual" to define "ritual". I had thought it reasonably clear that some religious behaviour is ritual (or ritualistic), but such ritualistic behaviour does not have to be in a religious context to be described as "ritual".

Have you never heard the phrase "morning ritual" for a person getting ready for their daily activities?

For sure, such behaviour might not be as codified as that undertaken within a religious context, but it is ritual behaviour nonetheless. Habitual behaviour can be considered ritualistic, or ritual behaviour.

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Paranoid Android

While meaning no disrespect in saying so, I would term it a 'quasi-scientific discipline'. Some of the techniques employed resemble those employed in the scientific method - in particular those associated with dating writing by style. But some aspects of the discipline are more arbitrary and rely on a common acceptance of personal opinion (notwithstanding how well-guided this opinion is by our understanding of our own, human, condition) regarding the author's intent.

With respect the latter, it would be the case of "we consider it quite/very likely and can be reasonably certain, but could we swear on the bible?" Pun intended.

Literary analysis seems to me to be more about probability rather than fact. We can probably trust the reports of informed analysis, but 'trust' isn't 'knowing'.

Hey Leo, I could be mistaken, but your answer sounds like you misunderstood my reasons in posting what I did. Perhaps that's on me, and I'll try and qualify. I wasn't referring to the dating of texts and such based on writing styles. I was referring to interpretation and understanding of text. I figured my specific reference to Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" made that clear, and my earlier reference to Artaud (Antonin Artaud) and Beckett (Samuel Beckett, best known for Waiting for Godot). I was referring these in terms of understanding what these texts mean, who the characters were, identifying well-known character "types", the structure of Shakespearean comedy (like Twelfth Night) compared to the more Tragedy roles. As I'm thinking back now, my actual essay on this subject wasn't "Twelfth Night", I could swear it was, but the more I think, the more I feel I wrote up on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex.

Either way, my course was about Theatre. I honestly didn't care about dating methods. I was talking about the themes in a play, the characters, the themes the author intended to convey. Why did Aristotle describe it as the perfect definition of a "well made play"?

I could answer all these questions myself, using my own knowledge and ideas that I have gathered, but at the end of the day shouldn't I be consulting with lecturers like those who took this course and find out what they feel, what wisdom they have, and how that can help me better understand the text?

It seems, though, that you have decided that university lecturers are useless when it comes to analysing Shakespeare or Beckett (Beckett is particularly useful for this discussion, considering the aforementioned Godot play was all about a guy who never shows up on stage - much like God, perhaps?). Unless you have suddenly changed your mind, and feel that tertiary education on literature may be important (if not actually doing such a course, but tapping the minds of those who have done it to seek their input.

I may perhaps be putting words in your mouth here, but you've already declared seeking input from religious authority figures to try and work out theology is "pointless", so I must also interpret that seeking university lecturers for input into their field of expertise to be equally "pointless". Unless there is a double standard here you willingly acknowledge.

With respect the debate I am engaged in with PA regarding this subject, I never used "religious ritual" to define "ritual". I had thought it reasonably clear that some religious behaviour is ritual (or ritualistic), but such ritualistic behaviour does not have to be in a religious context to be described as "ritual".

Have you never heard the phrase "morning ritual" for a person getting ready for their daily activities?

For sure, such behaviour might not be as codified as that undertaken within a religious context, but it is ritual behaviour nonetheless. Habitual behaviour can be considered ritualistic, or ritual behaviour.

But you do seem to make a difference between the two. "Morning ritual", "religious ritual". Perhaps I missed it (I'm suffering very minor jet lag on account of daylight savings giving me more hours to wake up to), but you have described religious ritual as "pointless", are other rituals equally pointless? The morning ritual? Coffee and a toothbrush? May be healthier to have a proper breakfast apart from coffee, but brushing teeth? Not pointless.

See where I'm going with this?

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Leonardo

Hey Leo, I could be mistaken, but your answer sounds like you misunderstood my reasons in posting what I did. Perhaps that's on me, and I'll try and qualify. I wasn't referring to the dating of texts and such based on writing styles. I was referring to interpretation and understanding of text. I figured my specific reference to Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" made that clear, and my earlier reference to Artaud (Antonin Artaud) and Beckett (Samuel Beckett, best known for Waiting for Godot). I was referring these in terms of understanding what these texts mean, who the characters were, identifying well-known character "types", the structure of Shakespearean comedy (like Twelfth Night) compared to the more Tragedy roles. As I'm thinking back now, my actual essay on this subject wasn't "Twelfth Night", I could swear it was, but the more I think, the more I feel I wrote up on Sophocles' Oedipus Rex.

Either way, my course was about Theatre. I honestly didn't care about dating methods. I was talking about the themes in a play, the characters, the themes the author intended to convey. Why did Aristotle describe it as the perfect definition of a "well made play"?

I could answer all these questions myself, using my own knowledge and ideas that I have gathered, but at the end of the day shouldn't I be consulting with lecturers like those who took this course and find out what they feel, what wisdom they have, and how that can help me better understand the text?

It seems, though, that you have decided that university lecturers are useless when it comes to analysing Shakespeare or Beckett (Beckett is particularly useful for this discussion, considering the aforementioned Godot play was all about a guy who never shows up on stage - much like God, perhaps?). Unless you have suddenly changed your mind, and feel that tertiary education on literature may be important (if not actually doing such a course, but tapping the minds of those who have done it to seek their input.

I may perhaps be putting words in your mouth here, but you've already declared seeking input from religious authority figures to try and work out theology is "pointless", so I must also interpret that seeking university lecturers for input into their field of expertise to be equally "pointless". Unless there is a double standard here you willingly acknowledge.

To answer your question I will point back to what I said regarding our own understanding of the human condition.

All the works you mention were written by human beings (obviously) about human beings being human (if metaphor is used in some of the texts that does not diminish that they are about 'us' - our peculiarities and behaviours.) We are human beings, thus we can understand to a fair degree of accuracy the author's intent/meaning when he/she writes about what humans do, think and 'are'.

Is this the equivalent of scientific investigation?

No. Although we are largely similar in our behaviours, etc, we are prone to 'irrationalities' - oddities of behaviour that, when we examine it we think "Well, I wouldn't have done that in that situation!", or "I wouldn't have written it like that!"

Knowing the human condition as well as we do, being human, we can be confident we understand what the author is 'saying' via literary analysis, but we can never be certain. What we 'know' from such analysis is not truly 'fact' and is more belief than what we discover from scientific inquiry.

But you do seem to make a difference between the two. "Morning ritual", "religious ritual". Perhaps I missed it (I'm suffering very minor jet lag on account of daylight savings giving me more hours to wake up to), but you have described religious ritual as "pointless", are other rituals equally pointless? The morning ritual? Coffee and a toothbrush? May be healthier to have a proper breakfast apart from coffee, but brushing teeth? Not pointless.

See where I'm going with this?

Did I?

I thought I had stated that religion is pointless, and I further stated that part of religious behaviour is ritual. I don't believe I stated ritual behaviour within religion is 'pointless'? If I did, it was unintentional.

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Paranoid Android

Hello PA ("Paranoid Android System" - brilliant comment :tsu: )

Thanks :D I've seen the term used several times over the years, but this is the first time I've actually replied to (or used) that comment in my own writing and therefore the first time I've had cause to make the joke, lol :tu:

For what it is worth, and just my 2 cents in this discussion;

Your comments about received wisdom with respect to Twelfth Night are entirely valid but probably for different reasons: Elizabethan English, and in particular the language of Shakespeare (add Marlowe and Bacon to that) is redolent to references that whilst common back in the day are virtually unknown or unused today. When first studying Henry V I had no idea that a Halcyon is what is commonly known as a Kingfisher (the bird) today. Also the use of the Iambic Pentameter, and "Pathetic Fallacy" (Hamlet) as literary devices would have eluded me. When studying The Canterbury Tales it seemed like I was reading a different language - well, I was, Middle English. That scholars had deciphered, decoded, and translated the language into Modern English was immensely helpful (still had to learn Middle English however <_< ). Allegory and Metaphor, other Literary devices were more troublesome because they have a very definite cultural bias, and that is also linked to the age in which they are used.

I think you make more sense to me than you realise. For example, when I had my lecture on Oedipus Rex, during our Tutorial I remember asking a question to the lecturers. It was about the role of the Oracle at Delphi. It was this that led to Oedipus being tossed into the wilderness, and without the prophecy he would never have been handed to a servant to be laid out, the servant would never have taken pity on the child and thus given him to another couple to be raised, the child would never have grown up thinking that he was the son of a farmer (I think he was a farmer, from memory), he never would have encountered his real father at the crossroads and therefore never killed him and then married his mother, and he'd never have been later forced to pluck out his eyeballs for the shame and terrible nature of what he did. I therefore asked if the Oracle at Delphi (and by proxy, the gods) should bear some burden of responsibility. I remember my lecturer's response very clearly. He said that the ancient Greeks would have described this question as "irrelevant". It may be interesting in 21st Century Australia to ask that question, but the author had no concept of that at all. To the Greeks, the gods were the gods, they were above such petty concerns, they weren't like us, didn't have that kind of thing. If that's what they chose to do that's what they chose to do.

As such, while I as someone living in 21st Century Australia may think the question pertinent, I put it aside in my analysis of Oedipus Rex. Had I chosen to ignore my lecturer and include that in my report, something tells me I would have failed (or at least been docked marks).

In one sense there is a very direct correlation here. My comments are generalised, since the context of the author is different in each text of the Bible, but the Book of Job is often seen as poetry, not history, and therefore bears a direct similarity. In this text, the obvious question in 21st Century Australia (and elsewhere around the world) is why did God allow Satan to do these terrible things, if God didn't say yes it wouldn't have happened, therefore God must bear some responsibility. This is a direct correlation to my question about the Greek gods, the answer being that the author would have seen the question as "irrelevant". It wasn't about God's reaction to Satan, but it was all about how Job remained faithful in the face of terrible trials. When I read Job, I do so with this context in mind, as tempting as it is to ask "isn't God responsible", the question here would be as relevant to the author as my question to my lecturer was relevant (aka, not).

My point is that received wisdom (in this case learning), is important when the language used is almost unknown to us. I would contend however that the KJV of the Bible is sufficiently modern that we should be able to see the intent of each book, parable and verse for ourselves without having to be told what somebody else thinks they mean. As honest as the teacher may be, it is still within that person's realm of experience and cultural upbringing to hold forth his own experiences that may be entirely different to our own.

I don't even use the KJV, I find it outdated (and apart from anything else it uses an ancient Greek and Hebrew set of texts that are now considered unreliable by modern textual analysis. But the point is really minor. As noted above, questions like the one I asked about the Oracle at Delphi are things that the authors wouldn't even care about, and therefore in my analysis of the text should I also not look at it with the eyes of those who wrote it, and then try and extrapolate to what THEY intended, and therefore if it was written at God's will, then what should I also get from it?

Another problem is the Council of Nicea: this is where Constantine and 300 "Bishops" decided , for political expediency, which books should be described as Scriptural and Canonical. The result was that several Bishops were murdered (for dissent) and that several (possibly hundreds) Scriptural books were burned and now lost to humankind. Amongst these is the "Gospel According to Eve" (yes, she supposedly lived until then, and maybe still lives) - the legacy of this Gospel is now only known through Epiphanius.

Yeah, I'm going to go out and call Dan Brown out on this one. Yes, I know Dan Brown never wrote this, I'm using this to point out that no bishops were murdered for dissent. There were 300 bishops, of those, two of them were exiled (Arianus, and Eusebius, from memory - different Eusebius to the one you may know, though) because they were the only two to vote against Jesus' divinity. But both those bishops were accepted back into the fold about ten years later, and as far as I know, neither recanted their position about Jesus' divinity.

This whole conspiracy theory about knives in the back and executions/murders/sudden disappearances is a fiction, there is no history behind any of this. Constantine wasn't a Christian, he didn't care what Christians believed, he just wanted to codify Christianity into one banner, so that it could be legally recognised as a religion in the Roman Empire.

On the subject of Religious ritual: It is the autonomic recital of the same text (Hail Mary, The Lords Prayer etc) which defines ritualistic behaviour, rather than adhering to social norms of behaviour.

Habit (for socially cohesive ends) is not ritual, unless it is defined by religious mores.

Yes, humans are creatures of habit, it is only when that habit is informed by religious practises that it becomes ritualistic. IMHO

And I never recite either Hail Mary, or the Lord's Prayer. The closest I could come is the Last Supper, and I somewhat cringe every time I do it because I feel that Jesus' comments were intended to be an informal thing done at the beginning of a meal among Christians, rather than as a ritual at some point in a church worship service.

As a point of interest, I meet up every Wednesday afternoon with a young man at our congregation, we have lunch, read the Bible together, and I recently asked him about these things, and he agrees completely, he also feels these to be forms of worship that are not biblically acceptable. I can't say this is an issue I talk about with every Christian I meet, not all discussion between Christians revolves around theology, but when it comes to the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Prayer, and Hail Mary's (the last of these being a Catholic tradition that none of my protestant churches have ever endorsed) many of us Christians feel the same way, some of us remain silent during these times, some of them mouth the words, but because the church structure often does it, we don't see it as a thing that affects salvation and therefore may object behind the curtains we don't see any harm in others doing it.

Edited by Paranoid Android
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Paranoid Android

To answer your question I will point back to what I said regarding our own understanding of the human condition.

All the works you mention were written by human beings (obviously) about human beings being human (if metaphor is used in some of the texts that does not diminish that they are about 'us' - our peculiarities and behaviours.) We are human beings, thus we can understand to a fair degree of accuracy the author's intent/meaning when he/she writes about what humans do, think and 'are'.

Is this the equivalent of scientific investigation?

No. Although we are largely similar in our behaviours, etc, we are prone to 'irrationalities' - oddities of behaviour that, when we examine it we think "Well, I wouldn't have done that in that situation!", or "I wouldn't have written it like that!"

Knowing the human condition as well as we do, being human, we can be confident we understand what the author is 'saying' via literary analysis, but we can never be certain. What we 'know' from such analysis is not truly 'fact' and is more belief than what we discover from scientific inquiry.

I'm not talking about science, I've already moved beyond the scientific dude giving a lecture on biology. I'm talking about literary analysis, first example being university lecturers conveying information about my Theatre Course. The second was that of theologians (who've also spent the same number of years at university) conveying information about theology. I never ALWAYS agreed with my lecturers, just as I've never ALWAYS agreed with any of the pastors I've met. Some of my most rabid arguments have been when I have disagreed with either a lecturer or a pastor.

But you've said that "religion is pointless", and you've declared that:

Perhaps I was a bit strict with the "attends church" criteria because I know that such attendance may be purely for social reasons, but my meaning behind saying that was to imply the person is being somewhat led in their belief by the representative priest/pastor at the church - i.e. their 'faith' is no longer strictly 'personal'.

My opinion would be that most people fall into both categories. Not meaning any disrespect, but I suspect your beliefs have been shaped to some degree by the words of others within some religious authority (they having interpreted scripture and passed that interpretation on to you) and so you can't claim to be free of the influence of 'religion'.

Have you not declared that my views on religion have (by account of being informed by religious authorities to be subject (in part, if not whole) by the "influence of religion". And if religion is pointless, then by the same reasoning, my understanding of the aforementioned playwrights, the input of these experts employed by the university is also "pointless".

Unless there is a double standard!

Did I?

I thought I had stated that religion is pointless, and I further stated that part of religious behaviour is ritual. I don't believe I stated ritual behaviour within religion is 'pointless'? If I did, it was unintentional.

Yes, that is exactly right. You said "religion is pointless". You then, after questioning why "religion" influencing my beliefs through religious authorities and commenting then on people like Richard Dawkins, you wrote:

While I might not agree with a description of atheistic belief as "religious" because there is usually no ritual involved,

So long story short, you DID compare religion specifically with ritual. In fact, by any definition you have actually provided, it appears ritual in a divine context is the only real definition of "religion" you've provided for us. So you really have (whether it was your intention or not) cited ritual as essential to religion, and if religion is pointless, then why is ritual pointless only in such a view and not others?

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Leonardo

I'm not talking about science, I've already moved beyond the scientific dude giving a lecture on biology. I'm talking about literary analysis, first example being university lecturers conveying information about my Theatre Course. The second was that of theologians (who've also spent the same number of years at university) conveying information about theology. I never ALWAYS agreed with my lecturers, just as I've never ALWAYS agreed with any of the pastors I've met. Some of my most rabid arguments have been when I have disagreed with either a lecturer or a pastor.

But you've said that "religion is pointless", and you've declared that:

Have you not declared that my views on religion have (by account of being informed by religious authorities to be subject (in part, if not whole) by the "influence of religion". And if religion is pointless, then by the same reasoning, my understanding of the aforementioned playwrights, the input of these experts employed by the university is also "pointless".

Unless there is a double standard!

As I have already said, the basis of literary analysis is our referral to our own 'human condition'. It is not pointless to want to learn more about ourselves - even if what we learn might not be strictly 'factual'.

So, apart from subjecting religious scripture to the same 'analysis of the human condition', what is it we are learning from it?

Yes, that is exactly right. You said "religion is pointless". You then, after questioning why "religion" influencing my beliefs through religious authorities and commenting then on people like Richard Dawkins, you wrote:

So long story short, you DID compare religion specifically with ritual. In fact, by any definition you have actually provided, it appears ritual in a divine context is the only real definition of "religion" you've provided for us. So you really have (whether it was your intention or not) cited ritual as essential to religion, and if religion is pointless, then why is ritual pointless only in such a view and not others?

I'm sorry, but I really don't get how you make that connection?

I did imply that religious belief (and/or behaviour) can be identified by the ritual associated with it, but that is not "comparing religion to ritual". I am not, and did not, equate religion to ritual - only implied/stated that ritual is part of religious belief/behaviour.

So, while I did state "religion is pointless", your claim I did imply "ritual is pointless" has no merit. I very clearly defined what I meant by that statement [religion is pointless] in my first post on this thread where I emphasised 'religion' as being the organised authority responsible for 'normalising' faith among many.

We later digressed into 'religious behaviour' and you seem to have taken umbrage at my assertion that some of your belief is 'religious' in nature because it is acquired rather than inherent. Now, you might suggest that means some of your belief is 'pointless' - to which I would reply "So what, does that invalidate all you believe?"

Edited by Leonardo

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XenoFish

For me religion is a pointless things. Yet I can understand that through an individuals perspective it can be a comforting things. However when a hive mentality develops and the individuals is easily/willfully swayed by the dictates of church leaders, then I have a problem. You can be of any faith you wish to follow. It's when it begins to over power your better reasoning and you use it to justify harmful actions. That when I have a problem. I have been the victim of Christian abuse (which is often psychological). If it's a coping mechanism that makes your life better and you a better person then :tu: to you. If it turns you into an absolute prick then :td: to you.

I suppose that I am an apatheist. As time has passed I find myself feeling indifferent toward religion. Having seen both the good and evil it can bring to someone's life. For me I find solace in my morality. The golden rule seems to be the first and only rule we need to live by. I'd rather die a good man, than die a hypocritical one.

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Paranoid Android

As I have already said, the basis of literary analysis is our referral to our own 'human condition'. It is not pointless to want to learn more about ourselves - even if what we learn might not be strictly 'factual'.

So, apart from subjecting religious scripture to the same 'analysis of the human condition', what is it we are learning from it?

Ok, religion is pointless but study of Shakespeare is not? I really don't get your point!

I'm sorry, but I really don't get how you make that connection?

You said *and I quote* "religion is pointless"..... followed by a clarification that ritual was the defining characteristic of what made something "religion" in a divine sense.

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Leonardo

Ok, religion is pointless but study of Shakespeare is not? I really don't get your point!

You said *and I quote* "religion is pointless"..... followed by a clarification that ritual was the defining characteristic of what made something "religion" in a divine sense.

Where did I say that?

I did say that ritual was a characteristic of religion. I don't recall saying it was "the" defining characteristic of religion?

And I stick by my assertion religion is pointless. It is entirely unnecessary to "do good deeds" in the name of religion in order to 'honour God'.

Matthew 6:5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full."

Why do something in the name of a religion, except to be seen to be doing it in the name of that religion?

According to scripture, good deeds honour God. If that is true, one does not have to be religious for it to be so.

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Paranoid Android

Where did I say that?

On several occasions I have asked you to clarify the difference between "faith" and "religion". And whle I admit a fair bit of overlap, taking in all the comments made about the topic, the only legitimate difference between seeking the advice of a university lecturer and seeking the advice of a pastor seems to be that one involves God and one does not. Yet you don't seem to conclude that the advice of a university lecturer is "pointless", and yet you have frequently said that "religion" is pointless, including a comment that I am following religion on the basis that I have consulted religious authorities in my decisions (and therefore done exactly the same as when I studied at university, and [as an added comment, though I'm literally just headed to bed and tired as all heck] as if atheists DON'T seek such authorities, regardless of whether they question them and dismiss them as irrelevant sources).

If I am reading you wrong, please tell me, in as clear a comment as you can make - what is "faith". How it different to "religion"? Why is religion "pointless"? What is the relationship between them that makes it different, and how does consulting non-religious authorities about textual matters compare to religious authorities about religious matters?

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Leonardo

On several occasions I have asked you to clarify the difference between "faith" and "religion". And whle I admit a fair bit of overlap, taking in all the comments made about the topic, the only legitimate difference between seeking the advice of a university lecturer and seeking the advice of a pastor seems to be that one involves God and one does not. Yet you don't seem to conclude that the advice of a university lecturer is "pointless", and yet you have frequently said that "religion" is pointless, including a comment that I am following religion on the basis that I have consulted religious authorities in my decisions (and therefore done exactly the same as when I studied at university, and [as an added comment, though I'm literally just headed to bed and tired as all heck] as if atheists DON'T seek such authorities, regardless of whether they question them and dismiss them as irrelevant sources).

And I qualified that when asked by pointing out that "learning" renders the literary analysis education 'not pointless'. The learning one acquires from educational pursuits such as Literature can give insight into real-world questions - such as understanding our own condition of humanity. I then asked what 'learning' is it that one gains from religion, and how is that - if there is any - at all relevant to the 'real world'?

If I am reading you wrong, please tell me, in as clear a comment as you can make - what is "faith". How it different to "religion"? Why is religion "pointless"? What is the relationship between them that makes it different, and how does consulting non-religious authorities about textual matters compare to religious authorities about religious matters?

All of which I already stated in my first post on the thread. Post #34 if you can't find it, on page 3 of this thread. I have further clarified why I believe religion to be pointless in other posts on this thread - including the one just prior to this.

Edited by Leonardo

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Paranoid Android

And I qualified that when asked by pointing out that "learning" renders the literary analysis education 'not pointless'. The learning one acquires from educational pursuits such as Literature can give insight into real-world questions - such as understanding our own condition of humanity. I then asked what 'learning' is it that one gains from religion, and how is that - if there is any - at all relevant to the 'real world'?

So "learning literary analysis" is not pointless, but "learning religion is"? Considering the sources, Shakespeare and the Bible, I'd say both provide pretty insightful claims into the human condition. And yet one of these is "pointless"....

All of which I already stated in my first post on the thread. Post #34 if you can't find it, on page 3 of this thread. I have further clarified why I believe religion to be pointless in other posts on this thread - including the one just prior to this.

And I will re-read that post tomorrow when I'm awake and not rambling about things. But at the moment all I see is a mass of contradiction surrounding your views. Until tomorrow ignore me, I'm probably not the best conversation partner right about now :P Apologies for any negativity I may send your way....

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Leonardo

So "learning literary analysis" is not pointless, but "learning religion is"? Considering the sources, Shakespeare and the Bible, I'd say both provide pretty insightful claims into the human condition. And yet one of these is "pointless"....

I didn't say "learning Shakespeare is not pointless, but learning the bible is." If you want to consider the bible a study into the human condition, that's fine - but that ain't religion.

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keithisco

@PA

You make some very interesting points, especially with reference to the Oracle of Delphi. She inhaled the gases of volcanic activity to reach a state of “connection” with the Gods, and was almost certainly psycotropically affected by them. Basically she got a “High” on these gasses so her pronouncements are probably no more accurate than an acidhead.

In reference to the exiles and murders at the first Nicea council we do only have the writings of Socrates Scolasticus to go on (there were 318 Bishops – but numbers are irrelevant, just for accuracy).

What is not debated is that several, previously considered religious texts were destroyed by order of Constantine. I fully agree that Constantine was NOT a Christian until he had a deathbed conversion.

I do however believe that there is a very large difference to being informed by literary Advisors on language , content and literary devices(whose influence is only the interpretation of text with no additional context), to Religious advisors that may actually influence your beliefs and therefore the way you live your life and the way you live it.

I am grateful to my English Literature tutors because they gave me the tools to understand what was being written, but at no time did they inform me in terms of my own beliefs

This is not an attack by any means on your own perspective PA, you are as free to believe as you will and nowhere in my philosophy would I ever dream of trying to deny you this right.

Edited by keithisco
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Careful_perspective

Wait..................bill? *gulp* ;)

First, your sweet, thanks. :blush: Now, who knows, maybe I am going through the patterns of forgiveness, but just have a different thought process of it. I'm glad you brought up the word and subject of resentment. That's just it. I understand resentment, and feel and felt it. But I work through it to not have rule me. So, here is a question to you. Is it forgiveness when one works through their issues to get rid of the resentment and just go on living a life with others and is happy, while just not even being in the presence of the original individual who causes the pain? I agree with you on your description of pain that wells up in a person. I work through that. I just don't think I can honestly say to a person, 'I forgive you' and think I really do. Maybe it's another word or words for this, but I don't equate a lack of forgiveness and resentment for the act as the same. To me, it's respect and I can respect someone for why they did what they did, and that's how I forgive. Maybe it's the same of how others say, 'you can forgive, you don't have to forget' saying. I don't know. I just think and feel that forgiveness is understanding the reasoning and accepting it. While to not forgive is just saying to the person, you did something that is not acceptable until you work at making it better. Actually on that last line. Yeah, to make it better, even though I still feel it's up to me, to help heal myself, so I know I don't have the anger. I guess I also equate unforgiveness and accusations as the same thing.

I'm sorry woodsbooger, *shrugs and cringes* ;) I have a whole different way of looking at life, and a lot of it makes sense to me. Not that I don't take you seriously. I do, I just read what you wrote, reflect on my thoughts, and see how it all fits in. :yes: I really appreciate your thoughts. :)

My way isn't the perfect way, i'll be honest, I have been out of a bad relationship for over 2 years yet and I haven't forgiven him yet..okay, maybe forgiveness isn't even the right word, I still wish it never happened. I am not at the point where I am not appreciative of everything I learned, I still want to undo it, like I never met him. So that sort of behavior is in stark contrast to my previous beliefs. And yes, I think just being able to walk away and not have the pain qualifies as forgiveness. As I said previously, forgiveness isn't about reaching the status quo and having a normal relationship with that person, its just about not allowing yourself to be eaten alive by it.

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Border Collie

My way isn't the perfect way, i'll be honest, I have been out of a bad relationship for over 2 years yet and I haven't forgiven him yet..okay, maybe forgiveness isn't even the right word, I still wish it never happened. I am not at the point where I am not appreciative of everything I learned, I still want to undo it, like I never met him. So that sort of behavior is in stark contrast to my previous beliefs. And yes, I think just being able to walk away and not have the pain qualifies as forgiveness. As I said previously, forgiveness isn't about reaching the status quo and having a normal relationship with that person, its just about not allowing yourself to be eaten alive by it.

Go for it Boogs!

Remember, forgiveness isn't about letting him off the hook. It is about letting that corrosive emotion out from inside you. You can do it and it will make you feel so much better.

Edited by Border Collie
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jamesjr191

.I suppose that I am an apatheist. As time has passed I find myself feeling indifferent toward religion. Having seen both the good and evil it can bring to someone's life. For me I find solace in my morality. The golden rule seems to be the first and only rule we need to live by. I'd rather die a good man, than die a hypocritical one.

And to that all i can say and add is Amen!

Edited by jamesjr191
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lightly

hm.. belief. unbelief. Which is more pointless than the other? Unbelief is a belief .

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Leonardo

hm.. belief. unbelief. Which is more pointless than the other? Unbelief is a belief .

That's unpossible! :P

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StarMountainKid
hm.. belief. unbelief. Which is more pointless than the other? Unbelief is a belief .

For my little part in all this, I agree with you. "I believe in god and I don't believe in god" are both beliefs. I think there is a third option, thought it's subtle and difficult to describe. I think 'belief' is the problematical concept here, because it is a concept. It's an idea that only exists in the mind.

"The grass grows by itself", and we don't have to add belief, spirituality or religion to its process. It's not a crisis of faith or a revelation when we observe grass growing. It's marvelous that grass exists and that it grows by itself, and we don't have to add any intellectual extras to grass, it's grass, and we just watch it grow.

So, grass doesn't need our conception of grass to be grass. I don't think the universe and us being a part of it needs our beliefs or our non-beliefs. All this spirituality we concern ourselves with so ardently, for me, is like gilding the lilly.

It's marvelous experience for us to be us and for grass to be grass. If we can understand this perspective properly, this is sufficient, in my view. We and the universe are profound and meaningful enough in themselves without adding something to them that is unnecessary for them to exist as they are.

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Starhunter

... in my view. We and the universe are profound and meaningful enough in themselves without adding something to them that is unnecessary for them to exist as they are.

Is this a way of excluding the Maker of it?

In case it is, I compare it to someone turning up at a wedding because they think it is a giant cake eating ceremony.

But religion, I agree has no place in nature, I have never seen an animal light up a candle and start mumbling things.

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