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Old 07-19-2005, 09:38 PM   #286
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Originally posted by melon
I think, overall, some of us take this forum too seriously, and even I am guilty of this on some occasions.

It's too bad it can't be more about an exchange of ideas and less about bickering. I can't think of too many minds that are changed when the discourse becomes bitter. That's when people get defensive, back into a corner, and refuse to listen to anything but their own POV.

Melon
Good post.
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:05 PM   #287
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


Ladera Heights said I was "brainwashed" when I made my post about the Gospel. Can there be any doubt that Ladera Heights does not believe in the Gospel?

As for judging, I didn't say Ladera Heights was an evil person. I said Ladera Heights is deceived by the devil. I am not judging Ladera Heights as a person, I am simply stating my beliefs.

I don't want Ladera Heights to be deceived by the devil.
This is true, I don't believe in the Gospel, in the same way I don't believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

I am not deceived by the devil because there is no such thing as the devil, except in Keanu Reeves movies. You are deceived by mythology.

Despite your ludicrous jibba jabba, I do have faith that humans will evolve from this self-limiting illogic. The main problem is that humans are so desperate for love (which _is_ human), that believing that the answers to everything are summed up in one book is the path of least resistance...its the easy way out of suffering. So I don't blame you for being as dimwitted as you are, but you should certainly try harder to grasp the greater world view. Peace in the world depends on people breaking out of the shackles of ignorance.
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Old 07-19-2005, 11:22 PM   #288
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Religion won't go away, but it will continue to change as it has always changed. And with every generation, there will be those who insist that the present represents the entire history of religion and that things have never changed at all.

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Old 07-20-2005, 02:02 AM   #289
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Yes - as you say, similar; nowhere near identical; and the Christian devil is endowed with traits that his 'predecessors' (so to speak) never had. I've lost count of how many times I've heard the question "don't Pagans worship the Devil?"

"The Devil" is a specifically Christian concept, and practically no one outside of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam recognizes him at all. Indeed the very notion of a supreme God of Evil is entirely peculiar to Jahvistic monotheism, and utterly alien to most Pagan theology (though it is largely derived from the dualism of Persian Zoroastrianism, wherein Ahura-Mazda, the Lord of Light, is opposed to Ahriman, the Lord of Darkness).

The popular confusion arose as a result of the 1486 publication of the Malleus Malificarum, or "Hammer of Witches" by Dominicans Kramer and Sprenger, wherein they gave the first physical description of the Devil as he is commonly depicted today, based on a demonization of the Greek horned God, Pan. As Pan and other horned Gods, such as the stag-horned Cernunos and Herne, were popular deities of the hung and the animal kingdom, and widely worshipped by European Pagans, Kramer and Sprenger's equation of that imagery with the Christian's Satan was able to be used to justify the centuries of persecution inflicted by the Church upon those who clung faithfully to their worship of the old gods.

"Satan" of the Old Testament was never deceived by such imagery, but was rather referred to as a fallen angel, a serpent, or a dragon. The word Satan is merely Hebrew for "adversary," and is related to the Egyptian Set and the Roman Saturn. The word "devil," interestingly enough, is Sanskrit in origin and means "little god." The root word devil, is also the root of our words "divine" and "divinity." During the Witchcraft persecution of the late Middle Ages, and on through the 17th century, whenever the defendant spoke of the Horned God being present at the Sabbats (which he was in the person of the High Priest, who contumed himself appropriately and assumed the role) the court recorder would substitute the word "Satan" or "Devil," to have written the word "God" as spoken by the accused would have been considered blasphemous.

The most universal deity worshipped by Pagans worldwide is not a God, but a Goddess: Mother Earth. She is called by many names in many cultures, such as Hertha, Terra, Pachamama, and the familiar Greek name, Gaia. In a greater expansion of Her identity, She is Mother Nature, the All-Mother, the Great Mother, and we, the animals and plants, and the Gods themselves, are all Her children.

Just for the record, I went to church affiliated schools myself for many years (all C of E), chose to be baptised as a child, and am godmother to both my baby nieces. I learned a lot about Paganism during my late teens and very early 20s.

I think it is impossible to be 100% objective when it comes to matters of faith: unswerving belief in miracles and salvation, although beautiful and steeped in mystery, is neither logical nor rational. I do feel to look at our Christian figureof 'Satan' and compare it to our Pagan idea of Pan as a deity, in a sensible way.
What a beautiful, well-informed, interesting post. Thanks for that, there were some details I had not heard before.
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Old 07-20-2005, 02:59 AM   #290
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To anyone interested in taking it a little further than that topic may I recommend the book "Continued Existence, Reincarnation and the Power Of Sympathy in Classical Weimar" by Lieselotte E Kurth-Voigt.

In the chapter about Judaism and Early Christianity it offers interesting insights:

"In early Christian theology, metempsychosis was not as intensively discussed as in Graeco-Roman philosophy and Jewish mysticism, even though the fathers of the church were well acquainted with the idea as it had been treated by their predecessors. Several Christian writers of this time, Justin Martyr, Origen, and the young Augustine among them, did, however, consider the possibility of reincarnation as one form of continued existence. Although they approached the subject with great care, ambivalent in their attitude and ambiguous in their formulations, they did not unconditionally reject the notion as absolutely alien to the teachings of Christianity."
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:02 AM   #291
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What a pity that nbcrusader hasn´t replied to my initial argument as to the differences between political and religious freedom of protest.. obviously he thinks I got the right point of view, but can´t admit it..
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:19 AM   #292
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Freedom of protest and protection of that freedom does not extend to acts of violence in protest or incitement of violence.

Destroying property, assaulting police, injuring and even killing people should not be protected.

Burning books, flags, religious parephanalia, effigies all fine. People should have the right to do and say what they want but the flipside is that the world will see what total fools they may be. This is at the heart of the anti-free speech legislation that we see all over from religious vilification laws in the UK and Australia to the ban on Nazi iconography around Continental Europe. If you allow people free speech and freedom to openly demonstrate what they really believe then you can see what they stand for, and in a free society they can have their ideas openly challenged in the court of public opinion.

Freedom of speech works the other way, these people burning Harry Potter books can be roundly criticised, you can call them Christian Taliban or Christofascists hell even Nazis and people can judge the value of your criticisms. The point is that there is freedom of ideas and expression.
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:39 AM   #293
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
The point is that there is freedom of ideas and expression.
Generally I agree with your post, but burning books is contrary to the freedom of ideas and expression. If the conservative Christians who burned them allowed freedom of ideas and expression, they wouldn´t have burned them in the first place.

There are very good reasons for National Socialist signs etc. being forbidden in Central Europe. It allows our police and judges to charge them for that. People who insist that concentration camps are a lie, should be charged for it, imo. They openly try to influence young people with false informations and their version of history. Those are the same youngsters that will go out and set fire on homes for foreign asylum seekers, like it happened in Germany. The same persons that will go to Jewish cemetaries and spray the gravestones with swastika. The same persons that will beat up others for their skin colour.

If I had survived a concentration camp, it would be a shame to see that Neonazis are free to voice their opinion just in the same nation where millions died in those camps. This has nothing to do with freedom of ideas and expression, but with trying to rewrite history by lying.

As for burning books, it is morally wrong because exactly that act reduces the freedom of expression. Those persons think the author does not have the right to write about a magician in a children´s book? How utterly disgraceful and ridiculous. The book burners should spend a night in jail to cool off and think about their actions, and then should be sent into a course about freedom of expression and moral values.

Like said by others before, it is also clear that book burning is historically related to the Nazis. The poor sinners who burn those books know that very well and use it to their advantage (publicity). Also this behaviour is immoral.

Seriously, as a Christian I wonder how those book-burners can call themselves Christians. But well, most of the Nazis who committed atrocious crimes were Christians...
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Old 07-20-2005, 03:48 AM   #294
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For the record these people who go around burning books on the suspicion of witchcraft and satanism are just wasting their own damn money. I find the concept of magic laughable; I consider paganism and all the associated new age atheistic belief systems to be total bunk and people getting in a huff over that bunk just as laughable.

These particular Christians can rally all they want to save the rest of our souls from Satan or whatever they believe; and I can just go along ignoring their rantings with relative ambivalence.
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Old 07-20-2005, 04:50 AM   #295
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*Returns from her trip to see this long thread*

*Reads it all*

*Blinks*

Wow. Heated, to put it mildly.

At this time I'm not going to be able to go through and quote the parts of this thread that I really agreed with, so I'll just make it short and sweet and give a and a to various things said by Irvine, Sherry, hiphop, and sallycinnamon regarding this issue (minus the bickering bits), as well as a few others along that line whose names aren't coming to mind right now (sorry).

Maybe it's partially due to the fact that I'm a writer and would be ticked to no end if I someday wrote a book and it was burned by some people who didn't agree with its message, but I've never agreed with the idea of book burning, either. I always do connect it to the whole Nazi thing as well, and that just bothers me. I understand the whole free speech aspect some are pointing out here, but it still bothers me greatly. They can still do it, I guess, but then I'm entitled to think those who burn books of any kind are idiots for doing so-after all, chances are they'd see me as an idiot for protesting something they agreed with, and they'd be entitled to think that if they wished, so it'd all even out.

I guess my big beef with this sort of thing is that I just don't understand what in the world is so hard about the concept of not reading (or watching or listening to) something that you don't like/doesn't interest you. Nobody is forcing you to read that book/listen to that song/watch that movie or TV show, nobody is forcing you to agree with the ideas expressed in it, so I don't understand the whole banning/burning kind of a reaction from people like these groups. I dunno, it seems they're the ones trying to force their views on everyone else. Can somebody please, please explain to me why that concept seems to bother some people so much?

Also, I feel a good point was raised in here...the religious groups that are burning these Harry Potter books, seriously, how would they feel if their Bible was burned? God knows (no pun intended) that book's certainly caused a lot of controversy over the years, and it's got less than happy events occurring in it. Would these religious groups doing these burnings be so open to somebody burning their Bible? And if not, why then are they open to doing it to the Harry Potter books? Another question I'd love to hear an answer to.

Regarding the topic of literal and figurative readings of texts...personally, I say everyone's entitled to get their own ideas from a book and base their own life around it if they wish to. That's the beauty of the written word, it can mean so many different things to so many different people. But when somebody wishes to force their thoughts and actions on everyone else around them...that I don't agree with at all.

Apologies if I've beaten any dead horses or this isn't making sense in parts or I've upset somebody or something...it's early morning, I had a very short nap last night after returning from a long trip, and my mind's not in 100% alert mode right now, so...yeah.

Angela
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Old 07-20-2005, 05:52 AM   #296
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars

There are very good reasons for National Socialist signs etc. being forbidden in Central Europe. It allows our police and judges to charge them for that. People who insist that concentration camps are a lie, should be charged for it, imo. They openly try to influence young people with false informations and their version of history. Those are the same youngsters that will go out and set fire on homes for foreign asylum seekers, like it happened in Germany. The same persons that will go to Jewish cemetaries and spray the gravestones with swastika. The same persons that will beat up others for their skin colour.
I really think that if they preached their hatred more openly then it would be easier to identify those inspiring the groups, Neo-Nazi's when given the free chance to speak their minds loose all the mistique and illusion and are shown to be the pathetic and violent creatures that they are. I think that the blanket bans and legal restrictions at this point in time are slightly counter-productive. Just look at the US, you have open Neo-Nazi organisations, they run webboards and chatgroups, they have hooked up with some of the other great evil movements like the white supremacists and openly sympathise with Al Qaeda ~ they get seen and heard; and when people look at these fuckers and they are repulsed, a civilised society is able to shine the light on these groups, outright bans leads to the movements going entirely underground and I think that makes them more dangerous. The argument is not limited to Nazism, which for all intensive purposes is dead. It leads on to Islamic radicalism; and what are the limits and degree of exposure given to preachers in western countries. In Australia there have been two recent raids on mosques in the suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney where various literature was found; the usual stuff about Jews being the decendents of Pigs and Apes, how it is virtuous to fight the evils of seculur western society and various handbooks for holy war. Now where does one draw the line in this very real and very relevent problem where lives do hang in the balance. I think that incitement to violence and terrorism is definitely past the limits and is criminal. The violent acts themselves are criminal, the incitement of those acts is/should be criminal but where does the line of incitement get drawn? Because the terrorists derive their ideas from the Islamic holy texts should all those texts be banned? Should mosques be constantly monitored and investigated to prevent incitement from occuring? How far should legal authority and government power go?

Quote:
As for burning books, it is morally wrong because exactly that act reduces the freedom of expression. Those persons think the author does not have the right to write about a magician in a children´s book? How utterly disgraceful and ridiculous. The book burners should spend a night in jail to cool off and think about their actions, and then should be sent into a course about freedom of expression and moral values.
This is restricting their rights! if they buy a book, an inanimate object for goodness sake and choose to burn it then they can, if they are making a religious and political statement by this then they can do it.

Arresting people for actions that do not hurt anybody, do not incite people to hurt others and are not damaging another parties property is wrong. I find it dystopian to have a world where if you make a statement like that you will be hauled off to jail and reconditioned until you have think the 'right' way.

If they were banning the book from bookshops and schools and barricading doors, breaking windows, harrasing shop owners and librarians that is an entirely different thing; banning such a work is wrong, but people have a right to protest the presence of the book even though it will not and should not change a damn thing.

Quote:
Like said by others before, it is also clear that book burning is historically related to the Nazis. The poor sinners who burn those books know that very well and use it to their advantage (publicity). Also this behaviour is immoral.
If you want to win people over to your side then burning books is a piss poor way to do it, I can think of only a few groups in modern history that have emulated the Nazi's to win friends and influence people. It may be immoral but that does not and should not make it illegal.

Quote:
Seriously, as a Christian I wonder how those book-burners can call themselves Christians. But well, most of the Nazis who committed atrocious crimes were Christians... [/B]
And this is the logical progression of their behaviour and the reaction it ilicites. The problem is that by it's very nature allusions and comparisons to Nazism do not really work well.

We are talking about bits of dead tree and a bunch of fools who believe that the ideas are evil. I, and most civilised people, think that they are mistaken. How we should react however should be determined in a measured, dispassionate and rational manner; I think that I am erring on the side of free speech in that they should be able to burn books in their own primitive way on the basis that they are making a statement, albeit in a most retrograde manner, and regardless of how offensive it is to our sensibilities it is not hurting anybody.

If I were to write a book and some fools went out of their way to burn it and give me some free publicity as the book that their type doesn't want you too read I don't think I would have a problem with it, seriously it is not exactly like a well thought out negative review.
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:20 AM   #297
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Originally posted by melon
I think, overall, some of us take this forum too seriously, and even I am guilty of this on some occasions.
You show me one person who, over several months,, has regularly posted here and hasn't taken at least one thing too seriously. We're all guilty of it to a degree. Some more than others...

Quote:
It's too bad it can't be more about an exchange of ideas and less about bickering. I can't think of too many minds that are changed when the discourse becomes bitter. That's when people get defensive, back into a corner, and refuse to listen to anything but their own POV. Melon
True, true, as many of us have shown - no arguments on that bit of wisdom!

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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
F I find the concept of magic laughable; I consider paganism and all the associated new age atheistic belief systems to be total bunk and people getting in a huff over that bunk just as laughable.


Fair enough - that's your opinion. How nice for you. I personally believe in individualism. I also believe it's fairly ignorant and disrespectful to refer to other people's beliefs as 'bunk', particularly when you give no justification whatsoever for this.

What do you mean by 'magic'? A more simple explanation is that magic is the manipulation of energy and unseen forces to create a desired result. Magic identifies symbol with object: therefore, symbol manipulation = object control = 'magical' influence. Belief in magic implies belief in extraordinary influence – an impossible influence from the skeptical view. Various religious rituals, such as prayer, fit into the same definition.

Magic and prayer are simply tools that we can use to honor the Gods and help them with the work they would like us to do. They are not ends in themselves, because nothing is. Everything you do, by 'magical' or mundane means, reflects who you are and what kind of connection you have to the Divine both within yourself and without.

Paganism, in its broadest definition includes all religions other than 'the true one revealed by God', and, in a narrower sense, all except Christianity, Judaism, and Mohammedanism.
Various forms of Paganism include Buddhism, which according to you is 'bunk' too.

The term is also used as the equivalent of Polytheism. It is derived from the Latin pagus, and pagani (literally those who live in the country), a name given to the country folk who remained heathen after the cities had become Christian.

From the 4th century onward, until the rise of Romanticism and the general acceptance of freedom of religion in Western civilization, "paganism" was almost always used disparagingly of ALL heterodox beliefs falling outside of the established political framework of the Christian Church. The word mutated and adapted throughout Christian history to what now resides in the dictionaries.

Quite often you will see heathen used as a synonym for pagan. The Gothic haiþnô from which we derive the word heathen is thought to have followed a similar path of semantic development as that of paganus. Heathen is another agrarian term whose meaning changed from "dweller on the heath" to a non-Christian.


Quote:
These particular Christians can rally all they want to save the rest of our souls from Satan or whatever they believe; and I can just go along ignoring their rantings with relative ambivalence.
You and everybody else if they so choose. So what?

Next!
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:35 AM   #298
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I think that from a philisophical level religion can make a contribution, it is a reflection of humanity.

I think that on a physical level it is mostly wrong especially the concept of the divine and supernatural. There are no Gods and Demons, no spirits or chi ~ just one very strange universe of possibly infinite variety of explainable phenomena. I think the idea of monotheism is equal to polytheism in plausibility, and Oriental religons at least focus more on the human spirt.

There is no divine; we have human beings, sentient creatures that try to understand the world as best we can, the concept of an outside actor controlling the world or factors within are the simplest ways of comprehending it. From the first seeds of human superstition arose religions, ritual burial, the concept of the afterlife. It was what seperated us from the rest of the animals, it was critical for mankind to move forward. But today we live in different times; and those vestiges of our past which are probably hard wired in our brains compels belief in greater powers; for better or worse.

We live in the world as it is, there is nothing out there to help us other than ourselves.

Quote:
What do you mean by 'magic'? A more simple explanation is that magic is the manipulation of energy and unseen forces to create a desired result. Magic identifies symbol with object: therefore, symbol manipulation = object control = 'magical' influence. Belief in magic implies belief in extraordinary influence – an impossible influence from the skeptical view. Various religious rituals, such as prayer, fit into the same definition.
Where does this energy come from? how is it transfered and do these obey the laws of thermodynamics?

From a skeptical view it is not impossible for this to exist; but we would have to actually be able to see it happen, or have a reliable record of it in short we need evidence. If there is no evidence somebody might as well have made it up. If people have religious experiences and experience a sense of euphoria then we should also consider the possibility that their minds have more to do with it than any outside force.

I much prefer the cold hard practicality of a materialistic worldview and the chance of rational thought that it offers over the spiritual. The philisophical implications of such a universe need not make life cold and pointless.
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:38 AM   #299
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I really think that if they preached their hatred more openly then it would be easier to identify those inspiring the groups, Neo-Nazi's when given the free chance to speak their minds loose all the mistique and illusion and are shown to be the pathetic and violent creatures that they are. I think that the blanket bans and legal restrictions at this point in time are slightly counter-productive. Just look at the US, you have open Neo-Nazi organisations, they run webboards and chatgroups, they have hooked up with some of the other great evil movements like the white supremacists and openly sympathise with Al Qaeda ~ they get seen and heard; and when people look at these fuckers and they are repulsed, a civilised society is able to shine the light on these groups, outright bans leads to the movements going entirely underground and I think that makes them more dangerous.
. This is fully what I believe-I've stated that many times before myself. The more you silence certain views, the more likely those people are to make their views heard in violent ways.

I don't like some views. I don't understand what something like the action of book burning is to achieve, and, as I said, it bothers me greatly. I personally feel some views and non-harmful actions are idiotic. But those who hold those views/act in those ways still should express them/do so, for the express reasons you mentioned.

Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
If I were to write a book and some fools went out of their way to burn it and give me some free publicity as the book that their type doesn't want you too read I don't think I would have a problem with it, seriously it is not exactly like a well thought out negative review.
True...free publicity would be a good thing, yes...

Angela
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:51 AM   #300
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Here comes the old quote:

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. -- Voltaire

My personal faviourite: grafitti on wall:

God is dead. -Nietzsche.
Nietzsche is dead. -God.
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