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Old 02-03-2006, 01:25 PM   #166
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yolland, it could not have been said any better.
thanks nb...I always feel a long pained moment of "God, why can't I just SHUT UP?" when I do these huge podium-pounder posts...so the appreciation is very much appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:50 PM   #167
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yolland, it could not have been said any better.

every now and then this administration

says it right
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While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility.

"Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable," Hironimus said. "We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices."
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:55 PM   #168
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every now and then this administration

says it right
Is this what you were thinking when "Piss Christ" is posted?
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:59 PM   #169
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Is this what you were thinking when "Piss Christ" is posted?
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:21 PM   #170
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The Serrano photo is not being circulated of the front pages of many countries’ newspapers.

The cartoon Wanderer described would never be defended by me as free speech.

The "Corpus Christie" production, if what I have read is correct

'the opening scene is an actor portraying Christ having sex with an apostle'

will not be defended as freedom of expression

I accept limits,

and yes
I know it is a slippery slope
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:48 PM   #171
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[q]My point was more that any given religion is so inextricably intertwined with these other factors, and so pervaded by them in its character and tone (as well as the vice versa, of course), that you might just as (un)reasonably aim to eliminate all five at once. […] There are too many intersecting vagaries of time and place bound up in each particular tradition's understanding.[/q]


I fully agree. I had thought you were setting up religion as another free standing category alongside history, culture, etc. my point, though, still remains if we were to separate these categories – which we can probably argue is impossible, from a historical point of view – that religion is distinct and unique and thus must be understood on its own terms and has it’s own unique way of manifesting itself in our society and that it’s influence, as intertwined as it might be with so many other factors, always contains these unique elements – one of which, as I mentioned, is access to the divine and the spiritual and the infinite.

[q]"Acts of terrible irrationality"--how do you sharply narrow a list of what external factors might provoke that without getting into circular definitions? Is it helpful from a preventive standpoint to say that Pol Pot was "less irrational" than Osama bin Laden because at least he had nice solid empirical Maoist principles underpinning his strategies to turn children against parents and massacre intellectuals and exterminate people wearing glasses, rather than apocalyptic fantasies about 71 virgins and fiery victory over the infidels? …[/q]

I would argue that the Pol Pot example, and others, are wonderful examples of when secularist thoughts take on the characteristics of religious doctrine and dogma and become, in effect, a religion itself. I think we’d all agree that faith is, by definition, irrational. A belief in god, or jesus, or zeus, or Vishnu, cannot be rationally proven or objectively known. I would argue that Pol Pot’s belief in Maoist principles were taken to an irrational extreme; the same with Hitler, the genocide in Rwanda, etc.



[q]Even without a "fetishistic belief in an afterlife"--though you're right, that does introduce its own set of dangers (which I'm really no more qualified than you to speak from experience on, mine being very much a religion of this world).[/q]

I’ve posted this before, as I adore it, but it bears repeating again:

From the first moment I looked into that horror on Sept. 11, into that fireball, into that explosion of horror, I knew it. I knew it before anything was said about those who did it or why. I recognized an old companion. I recognized religion. Look, I am a priest for over 30 years. Religion is my life, it's my vocation, it's my existence. I'd give my life for it; I hope to have the courage. Therefore, I know it. And I know, and recognized that day, that the same force, energy, sense, instinct, whatever, passion -- because religion can be a passion -- the same passion that motivates religious people to do great things is the same one that that day brought all that destruction. When they said that the people who did it did it in the name of God, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. It only confirmed what I knew. I recognized it.
I recognized this thirst, this demand for the absolute. Because if you don't hang on to the unchanging, to the absolute, to that which cannot disappear, you might disappear. I recognized that this thirst for the never-ending, the permanent, the wonders of all things, this intolerance or fear of diversity, that which is different -- these are characteristics of religion. And I knew that that force could take you to do great things. But I knew that there was no greater and more destructive force on the surface of this earth than the religious passion. – Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete



[q]I am in practice nowhere near as optimistic about religion--mine included--as this probably all sounds. And I think you already know that I share your belief in the wisdom of separating church and state 100%. Nonethless, anti-religious reductionism in political analysis is one of the most pervasive and dangerous mistakes of our time--I am certain of it. So for better or for worse, I expect to keep playing the same broken record on this issue.[/q]

I would really hesitate to call what I’ve elucidated above “anti-religious reductionism.” I am deeply skeptical about religion, but I am that way about patriotism, nationalism, or really any set of beliefs or totalizing narratives (can’t get away from that po-mo) that can inspire a sacrificing of rationality and logic. No, religion doesn’t always do this, and religious beliefs can inspire a lifetime of questioning and questing. However, and I think you’ve agreed with me above, it dose seem as if religion, more than any secularist ideology, not only inspires but often requires said irrationality and illogicality.

I think its great that so many on this board have had positive experiences with religion, and that it plays a positive role in their lives and inspires them to be better people. I really am. But please understand that it’s difficult to fully feel this good when, firstly, it hasn’t expressed itself in such a way in everyone’s life, often it expresses itself in a profoundly negative way in many, many lives, and often the manner in which it expresses itself in the lives of some drives them not to necessarily kill and oppress those different (though that does happen), but to see themselves as holders of some kind of privileged knowledge – often called The Truth – and that their mission is to bring it to the masses, and ultimately make everyone like them. Religion has a tough time tolerating ambiguity and complexity. And in this country, in an increasingly interconnected world, two things I’m willing to put some faith in is ambiguity and complexity, for they inspire inquiry, skepticism, and critical thinking.
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Old 02-03-2006, 03:43 PM   #172
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The US State department says cartoons are offensive to Muslims.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20060203/D8FHQ6GG3.html

in the article some of the protestors were calling for Osama to blow up Denmark and others calling for a religous War.
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Old 02-03-2006, 03:51 PM   #173
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I thought Islam was a religon of peace?? All this over a cartoon. This is the 21st century not the 13th.







will the real muslims please stand up?
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:08 PM   #174
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Thanks for posting those pictures. They just about say it all really. The idea that Islam is a religeon of peace is fucking laughable. But it's got to the point now where pictures like this don't shock me anymore.

"Kill those who insult Islam"

"Europe you will pay. Your 9/11 is on it's way"

It's a sad world we live in where cold blooded murder is threatened on us because of a few cartoons. And to make light of a tradegy like 9/11 is pathetic. Some parts of this world and some faiths need a reality check.

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Old 02-03-2006, 04:09 PM   #175
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
religion is distinct and unique and thus must be understood on its own terms and has it’s own unique way of manifesting itself in our society and that it’s influence, as intertwined as it might be with so many other factors, always contains these unique elements – one of which, as I mentioned, is access to the divine and the spiritual and the infinite.
I'm willing to grant that it's conceptually distinct from the other four, sure. I don't know about this "access" metaphor, though. I don't perceive my own religious practices and beliefs as giving me privileged "access" to God in any way. If I actually thought that God was somehow inaccessible to nonbelievers, or just non-Jews period, then that would make the whole enterprise so bizarrely solipsistic I don't know why anyone would believe in it at all. I mean, monotheism implies universalism, right? Unless by "access" you really specifically meant particular religions' ideas about the afterlife--but for me at least, that's a whole different set of ideas.
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I would argue that the Pol Pot example, and others, are wonderful examples of when secularist thoughts take on the characteristics of religious doctrine and dogma and become, in effect, a religion itself. I think we’d all agree that faith is, by definition, irrational. A belief in god, or jesus, or zeus, or Vishnu, cannot be rationally proven or objectively known. I would argue that Pol Pot’s belief in Maoist principles were taken to an irrational extreme; the same with Hitler, the genocide in Rwanda, etc.
I dunno, it seems to me you're conflating the overzealous aftermath with the belief itself here. It sounds like you're suggesting that Nazi eugenicists' project (for example) was rational up until some murky point at which it "became religion" for them, but then as far as religion proper goes, you seem to be suggesting that it's screwed from the beginning. So that faith in science or Maoism or whatever is safe and trustworthy and deserving of all respect so long as people with the wrong tendencies don't get their hands on them, but where religion specifically is concerned, you seem to want to locate those tendencies in belief itself, not the (sometimes seriously fucked up) people who hold those beliefs. I don't believe it's religion per se that's messing their minds up, though I do acknowledge it can be used as a tool (as can science or Maoism) to achieve that feat.

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... the same passion that motivates religious people to do great things is the same one that that day brought all that destruction. When they said that the people who did it did it in the name of God, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised. It only confirmed what I knew. I recognized it.
I recognized this thirst, this demand for the absolute. Because if you don't hang on to the unchanging, to the absolute, to that which cannot disappear, you might disappear. I recognized that this thirst for the never-ending, the permanent, the wonders of all things, this intolerance or fear of diversity, that which is different -- these are characteristics of religion. And I knew that that force could take you to do great things. But I knew that there was no greater and more destructive force on the surface of this earth than the religious passion.
Well it's gorgeously said, all right, but I can't finally agree with his analysis. Why do some religious people feel motivated to do great things and others to do awful ones? There's got to be a more probing and reflective answer out there than, Well religion is just a sword of Damocles basically. If I actually accepted that view, then I would be implicitly forgiving myself in advance for anything hurtful I might ever do to someone else in the name of God, "because the passion made me do it". Maybe there is somewhat of a sword of Damocles aspect to human nature itself and religion happens to be one good enabler of both sides of it.

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I would really hesitate to call what I’ve elucidated above “anti-religious reductionism.”
Oh, no! I didn't mean YOU! I was thinking in terms of the current state of international relations discourse regarding Islam, where there is an alarming tendency to advocate cynical withdrawal from engaging Muslim political actors on their own terms.
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I think its great that so many on this board have had positive experiences with religion, and that it plays a positive role in their lives and inspires them to be better people. I really am. But please understand that it’s difficult to fully feel this good when, firstly, it hasn’t expressed itself in such a way in everyone’s life, often it expresses itself in a profoundly negative way in many, many lives, and often the manner in which it expresses itself in the lives of some drives them not to necessarily kill and oppress those different (though that does happen), but to see themselves as holders of some kind of privileged knowledge – often called The Truth – and that their mission is to bring it to the masses, and ultimately make everyone like them. Religion has a tough time tolerating ambiguity and complexity. And in this country, in an increasingly interconnected world, two things I’m willing to put some faith in is ambiguity and complexity, for they inspire inquiry, skepticism, and critical thinking.
Beautifully said. I really can't find much to disagree with here. And I am fully and painfully aware how much suffering and alienation and humiliation some religious people have brought into the lives of others in the name of faith, and I do believe it's morally incumbent on all of us who are religious to take responsibility for working to transform that. Through inquiry, through skepticism, through critical thinking, but also through cultivating a sense of wonder and awe at how precious other human lives are and the gifts each one has to offer, and a sense of joy and privilege in being able to work together to heal the wounds. I don't know that you have to be religious properly speaking to feel all these things, but for me at least, they are so integral to my faith and give me inspiration to keep going despite the sometimes apathy-inducing downside to all that (very necessary) skepticism and critical inquiry.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:21 PM   #176
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these pictures are vile, no question, but i would guess that they are far from representative of mainstream muslim thought both in europe and in the muslim world, and, really, are they much different (and as poorly representative of the whole) from the following:



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Old 02-03-2006, 04:49 PM   #177
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[q] willing to grant that it's conceptually distinct from the other four, sure. I don't know about this "access" metaphor, though. I don't perceive my own religious practices and beliefs as giving me privileged "access" to God in any way.[/q]

perhaps this is a good example of how Judaism is distinct from, say, Christianity and Islam. “there is no God but God,” for one example, and I have been told, on this board, that it is simply fact that jesus was the son of god, he was crucified, died, rose on the third day, and I can choose to accept this fact or not, and that’s really it. There’s this element of “mine is the one true way” that I find really disturbing – and have written about this in other threads, and to my mind, as a “fundamentalist agnostic,” if God really is God, he’d find ways to make himself known to people in their own cultural terms – but the way it is often framed, and most often by Christians and Muslims, at least to my knowledge, is that, essentially, it’s my way or the highway.

And, to me, that does make logical sense. It really does. And it’s the logic of that component that makes me increasingly skeptical of the whole because it essentially means that the vast majority of the world's population aren’t going to be reunited with God in the afterlife (and this causes some believers angst … witness one, my BF’s parents, and two, one of my friends who is Hindu was given several concerned drunken lectures by her Baptist roommate about just how much their friendship meant and how upset she was that my friend is off to Hell).

There is also a thread in the Goal/Soul forum that talks about how difficult it can be to tell someone The Truth, and how to do it with love, for it is love that should inspire us to, essentially, convert those we care about. I am deeply troubled by this, though, again, it makes total logical sense. It reminds me when I was in 8th grade CCD and, being quite outspoken at the time especially with the very conservative young couple who were teaching the class, announcing that I refused to evangelize or, specifically, try to convert my Jewish friends. They told me that I really needed to examine my faith.

[q]I dunno, it seems to me you're conflating the overzealous aftermath with the belief itself here. It sounds like you're suggesting that Nazi eugenicists' project (for example) was rational up until some murky point at which it "became religion" for them, but then as far as religion proper goes, you seem to be suggesting that it's screwed from the beginning. [/q]

it’s not that it’s screwed, necessarily, but that the nature of religion itself is irrationality. It is. You can’t get around that. That’s what faith is. And this can inspire wonderful things, and terrible things. This doesn’t meant that religion will always be abusive, but that it’s inherent potential for abuse is simply much greater than any secularist dogma.

The Nazi example is interesting, but the eugenics project extended out of simple patriotism and, well, racism. This is also, I think, an example of where religion can, in fact, be a check on hyperrationalism (see later paragraphs). It’s been said, and I do agree with it, that the Holocaust was the ultimate deadly expression of modernism – the total suppression of the recognition of common humanity and the creation of a brilliantly effective killing machine. This came from, among many other things, a romanticist belief in notions of a pure Volk and the deification of the abilities of a particular nation, particularly in science and progress -- one only has to look at, say, Triumph of the Will to see just how much the precise, machine-like marchings of the Nazi army, combined with Hitler’s arrival from the sky via shiny aircraft in the film’s prologue to see the clear deification of science and religion, and the elevation of science to religion.

I don’t know if that answered your question, but this is a very interesting topic.




[q]Well it's gorgeously said, all right, but I can't finally agree with his analysis. Why do some religious people feel motivated to do great things and others to do awful ones? [/q]
I encourage you to read the whole thing: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../albacete.html
He speaks gorgeously.

[q]Through inquiry, through skepticism, through critical thinking, but also through cultivating a sense of wonder and awe at how precious other human lives are and the gifts each one has to offer, and a sense of joy and privilege in being able to work together to heal the wounds.[/q]

to me, the manifestation of precisely this ethos – that we are all children of god, that we are all from the same source, so therefore I is I and Everything is Everything – that could convert me into a believer. I do believe that this is religion’s potential, to reminds us that, because we are all compose of the same flesh and blood and bone, we are all possessed of the same soul and spirit. There’s a line in “Contact” (a cheesy movie that I hate to love) where Jodie Foster’s character says:

[q]I... had an experience. I can't prove it, I can't even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real. I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever. A vision of the universe, that tells us undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how... rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone. [/q]


it’s a beautiful thought – and I do hope it’s true. But I’m not hopeful.

Not right now, anyway.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:54 PM   #178
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these pictures are vile, no question, but i would guess that they are far from representative of mainstream muslim thought both in europe and in the muslim world, and, really, are they much different (and as poorly representative of the whole) from the following:



Those are some ugly, ugly pictures.

But there is a significant difference.

The pictures you posted speak to what God will supposedly do.

The pictures Justin24 posted talk about what some Muslims are threatening to do.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:56 PM   #179
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I thought Islam was a religon of peace?? All this over a cartoon. This is the 21st century not the 13th.



will the real muslims please stand up?
These nutjobs carrying signs don't represent the average Muslim. I doubt if any Muslim particularly cares for the cartoons, but they're no doubt just going about their business.
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Old 02-03-2006, 04:58 PM   #180
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These people are sickening. God will send them to hell and suffer in punishment by making them Homosexuals.
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