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Old 05-14-2013, 10:30 PM   #201
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Your co-worker was an asshole. I'm not defending people who make things personal. I'm just asking why we can't treat debates on religion the way we treat every other debate without people getting their knickers in a twist.
And no need to ask for forgiveness. I'm un-offendable




You think it would be nuts and very wrong, well guess what? (I don't need to finish that thought, I'm sure ). What if instead of creationism (I refuse to call it intelligent design) interfering in biology class, we had astrology interfering in astronomy class? What if it was required that each student read his or her horoscope before class each day? Or when in court, you swore an oath on your zodiac? I'm sure you'd think this was all an irrational impediment to learning and a vestige of a more ignorant time. And you'd be right! But that's what's happening today with religion.

And you're doing it again, Pearl (Bad Pearl!). I'm not implying that you're guilty by association or discriminatory. I'm not equating the ideology to the people. Sure, at some level, there are dick wads pulling the strings. And at some point, it certainly does become about the person; A homophobe hiding behind his or her religion is still a homophobe none the less.
But we might be speaking around my point a little. It wasn't about discrimination. It was about the need for rational discourse about religion without treating it with undue respect
I get what you mean. You're looking for a debate and discussion, and it is important because in my country - and elsewhere - there are religious fanatics ruining lives for people. I got a little upset there and I wondered if this was personal, but you're not doing that.

I don't think it is possible to treat religion with respect because there are so many. I also think if people take things too personal, there's some sort of self-centered thinking going on, like you have a fragile ego or something. Yeah, I know I'm getting psychological, but that explains people's behaviors than their ideologies. As for Muslims, they often come from theocratic societies where it is illegal to make the slightest criticism about Islam, so that is why they get upset so easily. OK, I'm rambling again. Frickin' weather has given me a nasty cold and my head is stuffy, so that may be why I'm going on and on.

Anyway, its all cool, Jive.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:33 PM   #202
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Anyway, its all cool, Jive.
Cool.
I always appreciate your input
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:38 AM   #203
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You're getting a bit too caught up in the specific example when it was really just meant to illustrate a point, but that's fine. Why is it okay to criticize a fringe group but not a larger one? I hesitate to use the word, because it shouldn't apply to grown adults, but this seems a bit like societal bullying. What is it about being a small microcosm that leaves your beliefs open to accusations of being a wacko? By this rationale, we're free to call the Amish wackos as long as we lay off Christians as a whole.
No, my point was more about how we can't criticize the Republican party based on Tea Party groups, just like we can't criticize Christianity based on Westboro Baptist type groups.

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But again, you're making the mistake of attaching people to the criticism on an ideology. You wouldn't have to venture far from this thread to find rather harsh words for the Republican party in your country. Why can we criticize "the Republican Party" but not "Christianity"? Surely there's a similar amount of variation in beliefs among those two populations.
First of all, no one is saying you can't criticize the Republican Party, Christianity, or furryism. Criticize anything you want, just know what you're criticizing and do it right. If you want to criticize the ideology, then KNOW the ideology and criticize it, not by using it's followers or the ideology of its fringe groups. If you want to criticize the people then do so, but not by criticizing the ideology or lumping them in with other followers by association. I think too often when criticizing a group or an ideology we start lumping too much together, we start making too many assumptions, or end up confusing the person with the ideology or vice versa.

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The survey illustrated quite clearly that these aren't fringe groups we're talking about. I'm not sure what that last bit means. Do you mean converted out of Islam? That's breaking the rules
This is the problem with surveys like this, they never show the specific questions that were asked, so the summary could be just one person interpretation of the data. I found the summary to be sloppy. In it's very clear as mud way the survey showed that these are fringe groups in some Muslim countries and not in others. The survey spoke to death penalty for conversion, not any other rules, in fact it showed the majority supported other religious freedom, which in fact some would argue goes against "the rules".
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:08 AM   #204
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You keep speaking about 'fringe groups' when I'm talking about actual text in actual books.

And I couldn't agree more about lumping too much together. Like when we lump everything under the heading of 'religion' and refuse to look at its individual parts. Pretty much my point throughout this conversation.

85% of Muslims in Egypt certainly don't constitute a 'fringe group'. And the questions are pretty straight forward. "Do you support x?". You're the one muddying the water.

What would be the 'right' way to criticize religion? As someone who seems reluctant to do so, I'm not sure you've got the right answer. You won't even admit that anything might be wrong with it.

And please stop brushing off death for converting out of your religion - death for converting out of your religion. Just think about that for a second - as no big deal
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:18 AM   #205
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If you want to criticize the ideology, then KNOW the ideology and criticize it, not by using it's followers or the ideology of its fringe groups. If you want to criticize the people then do so, but not by criticizing the ideology or lumping them in with other followers by association.
These two sentences completely contradict one another. I'm not even sure what you're trying to say
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:43 AM   #206
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As I gather, part of the reason for the attitude the early Christians held toward politics was informed in part by a fervent belief that the Saviour would be returning rather soon. They weren't really thinking about long term governance, they were anticipating the Return and the end of a corrupt world.

But it's true, there are fundamental differences there.

The eventual 'Christian Empire' came about relatively organically, I suspect, reaching a critical mass of followers during the economically bleak third century. Constantine's conversion was probably rather skin-deep and certainly pretty content-free (his mother was a Christian but he did not make any particular move to include Christian iconography on his coins until well into his reign). A temporary attempt to revive a mummified paganism later in the fourth century even got up briefly.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:20 AM   #207
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As I gather, part of the reason for the attitude the early Christians held toward politics was informed in part by a fervent belief that the Saviour would be returning rather soon.
Any day now!
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:45 AM   #208
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You should rejoice, it kept them out of politics.

In time, and by various circuitous routes, the empire itself came to be seen as the partner of Christendom. As late as 1000 AD a 'Holy Roman Emperor' was attempting to keep the dream alive; at least in parts of Germany and Italy. Not sure what the Byzantines had to say about it all.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:58 AM   #209
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I think Christianity coalesces with government as early as 325: that's when Constantine began surrounding himself with Christian advisors. By 400 the process is complete both in Rome and what would become Byzantium.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:12 AM   #210
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I think Christianity coalesces with government as early as 325: that's when Constantine began surrounding himself with Christian advisors. By 400 the process is complete both in Rome and what would become Byzantium.
I would say this was when Christianity went through the first stages of ruining itself. Constantine really hurt the religion by doing what he did. And as I understand, Christianity was not followed by the majority of the Roman Empire by then; it was still followed by a small percentage.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:13 AM   #211
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You keep speaking about 'fringe groups' when I'm talking about actual text in actual books.
I guess my problem with that is that you're only pretending to know the texts.
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And the questions are pretty straight forward. "Do you support x?". You're the one muddying the water.
Well I actually read over the survey break down on the original site, it's a little more nuanced than the summary you posted, but still alarming how region makes the difference in the particular question of those who abandon the faith.
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What would be the 'right' way to criticize religion? As someone who seems reluctant to do so, I'm not sure you've got the right answer. You won't even admit that anything might be wrong with it.
Know something about the religion. Don't argue that the face value is the purest form and then take the literalist's word for it. I had a hard time seeing you accuse others of intellectual dishonesty when that argument was just dripping with it.
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And please stop brushing off death for converting out of your religion - death for converting out of your religion. Just think about that for a second - as no big deal
Oh by no means am I brushing off anything, I'm just trying to straighten out what people are saying. I think it's abhorrent to have such a belief, I'm just a little skeptical of the numbers. I think pew research has gotten it completely wrong at times in the past, and when I see that they interviewed 1,798 Muslims from Egypt and Egypt has a population of 82 million; I get skeptical of how representative a survey like this really is.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:16 AM   #212
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no? As far as the Eastern Roman Empire was concerned, they were just the Roman Empire. Or did they see themselves as a distinct territory?
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:17 AM   #213
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Oh by no means am I brushing off anything, I'm just trying to straighten out what people are saying. I think it's abhorrent to have such a belief, I'm just a little skeptical of the numbers. I think pew research has gotten it completely wrong at times in the past, and when I see that they interviewed 1,798 Muslims from Egypt and Egypt has a population of 82 million; I get skeptical of how representative a survey like this really is.
I agree that surveys of any kind aren't the most reliable because you can't say 1,000 people represent the opinions of millions. But then again, it is not unusual to hear about many Muslims supporting Sharia law or death to apostates. That has been reported numerous times since 9/11. When there's smoke, there's fire.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:19 AM   #214
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no?
Right - they called themselves "Romans" all the way until 1453, and other people called them some variation of "Roman" as well.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:27 AM   #215
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These two sentences completely contradict one another. I'm not even sure what you're trying to say
No they don't. If you want to criticize the ideology then know it, and criticize it. You can't criticize a small government platform by showing samples of the party that aren't actually practicing small government.

And if you want to criticize Catholics in the U.S., then criticize them for their actions. Don't criticize the Bible for they may not be adhering to it at all, and don't criticize Opus Dei because the two will have very little in common.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:43 AM   #216
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Anything resembling totalitarianism or dictatorship = communism, you mean. That's what was drilled into their heads, which is entirely inaccurate. Still a pretty bad excuse for remaining ignorant.
Yeah, can't argue with this.

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Isn't that what the Red Scare, McCarthyism and everyone else said about communism? Granted, the USSR declared itself to be communist and look at how the people lived. I think the confusion makes sense there.
They didn't declare themselves communist, but I think they declared themselves socialist sometime in the 70s, doesn't mean shit though, a large amount of countries declare themselves as democratic even though they're obviously not. North Korea certainly isn't the democratic state it proclaims to be in its title. What the government says about itself is pretty irrelevant.
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:48 AM   #217
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And as I understand, Christianity was not followed by the majority of the Roman Empire by then; it was still followed by a small percentage.
Right - roughly 2% of the population in 250 CE and 8% in 300 (that growth despite as many as 250,000 killed in persecutions). So it was growing, but certainly not a majority. The number spikes to 40 or 45% after Constantine declares toleration, but that probably has a lot to do with emulating the emperor.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:00 AM   #218
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I agree that surveys of any kind aren't the most reliable because you can't say 1,000 people represent the opinions of millions. But then again, it is not unusual to hear about many Muslims supporting Sharia law or death to apostates. That has been reported numerous times since 9/11. When there's smoke, there's fire.
Once again, I'm not doubting that many do, I just question the number. I would be curious as to the amount of those put to death, state sanctioned vs by those taking it in their own hands.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #219
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Byzantine is a modern designation, no? As far as the Eastern Roman Empire was concerned, they were just the Roman Empire. Or did they see themselves as a distinct territory?
Yes, it is absolutely a modern designation. To the day the Ottoman Turks overran Constantinople they regarded themselves (and I guess, were regarded by a dwindling collection of neighbours) as the Roman Empire. As late as the mid 6th century they arguably were exactly that.

I tell you what, if anyone has a beef with Islam, it's the Byzantine Empire. Damn near wiped them out. Of course it did take the Persians out of the picture, but still.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:51 PM   #220
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This is my initial response, and I'm sure I'll have a more in-depth answer later.

If someone believes in God or gods or what have you, does that automatically mean they deserve to be labeled as wackos, mentally ill, weak, stupid, etc? If they are the Fred Phelps, yes I can see why anyone would think so - because even I do. That's because what he and his family does is dangerous and based on hate and fear. They also lack empathy for everyone - gays, military families, victims of shooting sprees, etc.

But what if someone has their beliefs, yet doesn't bother anyone, lives a good life, and doesn't attack anyone for not agreeing with them - do they deserve to be labeled as stupid and mentally ill?

I know a few people who firmly believe in astrology. They read their horoscopes everyday and identify with being Aries, Capricorn, etc. They might even nudge you and say, "I think so-so is a Scorpio. Look at how she does xyz!" But that's it. I don't believe in astrology because my horoscopes never came true and my personality doesn't add up to my sign. But I don't worry about those who do. I may roll my eyes a bit, but I'm not going to rant and rave about how stupid those people are. I also wouldn't think the world is in trouble.

However - I have dealt with others who take astrology to the extreme. I once had an interview with this woman who needed a blogger for her women oriented website. She asked me what was my sign. I was baffled because that was such an odd question. When I said Gemini, you should've seen the look on her face. Not that is dangerous. She basically discriminated against me and labeled me over something that is so narrow. That is someone I'd complain about because she is actively hurting others.

Or how about vegetarians and animal rights advocates? If they were the type who weren't militant about me eating meat, I wouldn't mind their beliefs even if I disagree and wouldn't mind playfully challenging them. But if they were to start screaming at me, calling me a murderer and all, I'll just laugh and make a big show of eating chicken or ham.

My point is, there are some beliefs out there that baffle and don't add up to me. But I don't see the point in getting upset that someone sees the world differently than me - unless they actually hurt me in some way, or others too. I think it is possible to think differently than others and not lose rationale.

My reason for being upset over D'Souza and his crowd is because they are dangerous in the sense that they are spreading fear to those who are already fearful. And from what I've seen with my radically conservative family and the blogs they refer to, I think it is highly possible that a lot of terrible things can go wrong. The political polarization in this country scares me more than anything, because I don't see it getting better and knowing how blind some people are with their fears, I'm surprised blood hasn't been spilled yet (honestly).

Now yes, a lot of the political problems here are related to religion, particularly abortion, SSM, evolution, etc. I do believe in separation from church and state, because we're a diverse nation and democracy is about letting everyone think for themselves. The radical conservatives are preventing democracy by trying to enforce their beliefs on others.

My lunch break is coming up, so I'll end this quickly: if you want to criticize someone for believing in God and also aims to enforce their beliefs on others, I say go ahead. There is a mental illness there - and not because they believe there is something out there. I'd say the mental illness there is more narcissistic like - as in, everyone must believe and live like they do. Yes, it sucks that some of these people wear crosses around their necks because they give everyone else a bad name. It especially sucks that they claim to be God-fearing people yet fail to realize the Bible makes a huge emphasis on humility.

OK, I'm totally rambling here and I probably make no sense. In fact, nothing in this post makes sense and sounds fractured. All I can say is, why bow your head in shame that some people believe in God but are good people who mind their business? I don't bow my head in shame that some believe in astrology or that eating meat is wrong. But if they were militant, then I will.

As I said before, I'll get back to you later. I also probably missed your point altogether. I can't wait to see the smilies in response to this post.
I don't believe in astrology. However there was this guy who i met recently who happened to be an aquarius, and when I looked up his birth chart
online, he was the first guy I've liked ever since I've stopped believing in astrology, that I was actually astrologically compatible with. My mum is an aquarius, so if he's anything like my mum he'll be complex, unpredictable, eccentric and funny. I've known my mum for 31 years and most times I still can't figure her out. I felt a bit bummed that I don't believe in it anymore .

Anyway, to clarify, I don't believe in astrology, creationism, intelligent design, etc, but I don't feel the need to bleat on about those who do, as long as they aren't harming anyone else.

And to answer a question about religion from another thread, I think I may be irreligious and an agnostic, with a slight leaning in Christianity.
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