In the same way that American fast food has spoiled culinary tastes everywhere, has American protestantism, with its fast-track to salvation approach trivialised the image of religion everywhere? Both have some very appealing aspects, but could it be said that where one slows your body down, the other slows your brain down? Discuss
NO - pretty everywhere else everything goes on as normal, religion is respected and tolerated, good food is on the menu and nobody is shooting at anyone. There are many other issues that require attention but those you mention only occur in the US and where its military foot is stuck in the door.
In prelude, must confess something: I was, and to some degree, still am a foodie, a professional chef for 1/2 a lifetime. So, the food analogy hit home. It also made me laugh being compared to Protestantism, because if you have ever sen a chef on a Friday evening @ 7.30 pm at peak season, you'd understand why it fits perfectly.
Now, since Martin Luther enacted the Protestant Reformation, against the Catholic Church and Church of England, he literally set in motion the foundation by which the States of North America would be formed. As a crude idea, but accepted because of harsh social treatment, Protestant movements are the escape clause to standardized textbook theologies. They set themselves apart to be the spokespersons of theological enlightenment. And yes, through their 'bold' efforts, much education has come -good and bad. In addition, because of his efforts, we clearly note the premier of modern day science.
The founding purpose of the Pro-Ref was to liberate humans from dogma. Precisely dogma that developed way back in the 'Dark Ages' where free thinking was a 'no-no'. This no-no is evident today in nearly 80% of Western Fundamental Christianity and Catholicism. ( one of many reasons Evangelism also grew in the West --identical to the reason the left England to begin with --oppression. Only this was spiritual oppression, by ritual and recitation. ) [pauses to breathe] whew...okay continuing on...
Americana religion is now based, as Mr Gaiman would agree, on a completely different set of rules, practices, beliefs. You will note the blending of Reformation with Fundamentalism and Science and what some would call the spark of Quality 9i call it the roof on the House of Duality). In essence a rebirth of some of the oldest human practices of 'mystical-logical-magical'.
On one side, American Protestants developed an explosive voice, that demands attention. A voice that is quite powerful and often times deafening. A voice that once cried Liberty, now cries HFBS [no, not the bank silly, but Hell Fire Brimstone]. Oddly, nearly two-thirds of American Christian based churches have adopted the HFBS, even on the 'down lo', making the cause of gratification acceptable (as crazy at that sounds).
On the other side, the blending of Evangelism with Fundamental Christianity has liquified the original premise of social responsibility, freedom of reason, spiritual restoration to satisfy the New Americana Gods. In short, they have lost their footing and flavor. Still, with all due respect, like that McD's franchise, are pumping out the junk food a hundred souls per second.
As somewhat of an Evangelist, I have personal experiences with the ministries, on a small, barely alive movement to a 25,000 square foot 'Garden' that would impress Bono or Roger Waters.
True evangelism is designed to liberate the people from any form of tyrannical authority -be it the church, state, social offers, mental, physical and spiritual. They are supposed to be the true enlightened ones, the true missionaries. alas, in the West, and where they have traveled, the mission has been swallowed up in the hype and allowed massive phishers to infiltrate, assume power and take over herds of hungry sheep. ( likes of Benny Hinn, Swaggart, etc). Now, these former Reformers have become numbing agents, overloading people with such instant name-it, claim-it, the end in nigh, HFBS, they cannot find the exit door. So, they comply. They keep going to the drive thru to fill the void.
Yes, Americana Religious Fast Food is creating obese people who cannot think soundly, are unable to 'work out' their salvation but all want to be on the 'biggest loser' show (how ironic is that!), else be able to watch, while they eat up every last page of the book and every last drop of the ministers 'glory' giving the world a big smile and "thumbs up or down" (this was how the mob decided who lived or died during Roman 'games'). Why? Because now they face and are trapped in a different kind of tyranny: Epinephrine.
The upside (-because there is always an upside), the effects of the Pro-Ref have made a great number of busy bodies defect for higher ground, at least until recently. One of the reasons Western Capitalism is so strong is precisely because of this defection. Not even 300 years into the global arena, America dropped the basics of Pro-Ref concept and have built one of the most impressive empires in human history. Let's face it, Rome never had it so good. Not only can you practice whatever theology(singular or plural), you can make new ones and sell them on eBay. You can be apart of the Mob, as helpless people are tossed to the lions, while still getting your fix at "The First American Reformed Protestant Evangelical Church Of Christ Scientist". Thus, the result of has --cliche-- begun to separate the wheat from chaff, worldwide. What Evangelism set out to do, has now set the stage for their dissolution and rise to something else entirely. My pals across the planet agree that real rational faith is rooting itself and at some point will sprout up. The great concern among them is will they get trampled on by the masses who will run head long to them --like pigs ran into the river and drowned or will they immediately be put on trial and locked in the religious dungeon, for not bowing or eating the same food, faux philo of these gods...
EDIT: If any intellectual is interested, reading the critique of Calvin versus Luther is quite extraordinary. Both with the same ideal at the same time, from two different perspectives. Keep in mind Luther stood on the concept of Grace where Calvin stood on the concept of Predestination. Much of today's Reformed Churches have swung the pendulum in both directions. After reading this, read some of Nicolas Copernicus "De Revolutionibus", which will show how and why, at the dawn of the Renaissance -the end of the Dark Ages- science emerged from the dungeons of Roman Catholicism. Seems all three had very similar goals. Also take note of Luther's statement at the time the document began to surface:
People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon...This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us [Joshua 10.13b] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth..."
Am itching to reply to your lengthy and scholarly response. Need to give myself a good run at it. Bare with me until then.
I think it is a good analogy to say that America is founded on Protestantism. Protestantism would never have met such heights, however, had not Henry VIII smashed his own church and allowed his henchmen to wipe their feet on the beloved culture of a nation.The power and influence England had in Catholic Europe was enormous.
In terms of early protestant reformers trying to free people from religious dogma, I don't believe this is true. Catholicism has always been tough on dogma, but everyone knew they had a shot at getting into heaven and there was a healthy socialism in that. Apart from Royalty, anyone could rise up through the ranks; more meritocracy than now in many ways. Cardinal Wolsey, who was also Chancellor of the Exchequer before Thomas Moore, was the son of a butcher. Completely normal for the time.(Shame, obviously, he was such a bastard. He was one of the reasons the RC church was already reforming itself. Being both Cardinal and Chancellor was bound to lead to corruption of ones faith.)
I must also disagree that free-thinking in Catholicism was a no-no. The point of the Renaissance was that it was an explosion of free-thinking in artistic, religious expression. Prior to that was medieval Gothic expression which, as I've said before, has all the markings of a free-thinking people, a people making a religion their own. It is worth reading John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle on the subject. They were Victorians who were against the Industrial Revolution and sighted pre-reformation England as the near-perfect system we should aspire to. 'The nature of the Gothic' by Ruskin makes for an interesting read.
Protestant reformers were attempting to change many of the same things as Catholic reformers such as John Fisher and Thomas More. They saw corruption, just as good Catholics saw corruption and wanted to root it out in the same way. The real difference was that Luther actually disagreed with chunks of the Bible, such as the St. James epistle in which stated that faith alone would NOT get you into heaven. Luther thought the opposite. Calvin, on the other hand believed in predestination; something in direct opposition to Catholic teaching which asserts free will. The dogma that grew from protestantism of this kind was oppressive of mind and body. Art became sinful, singing and dancing were sinful, wearing colours was sinful, women were inherently sinful. Churches lost their cloisters though which people could wander at their leisure during Mass, absorbed in their own private prayer, and were replaced with wooden pews that penned people to the spot to they could focus on the preacher and only he. The prestige of the man and the book increased and increases still so that you have churches like stadiums and Bibles which have become as untouchable and indisputable as the Koran.
Truly evangelised people are, as you say, liberated from earthly tyranny, but without dogma, any who knows the Bible off by heart may present himself as an authority to people looking for guidance.
Don't get me wrong, I think evangelicals and charismatics are often very good people who have shown me enormous kindness and patience at times in my life. I also think that true Christians in America often put the rest of the world to shame, being as fervent and bravely pro-active as they are.
All you say about the New World is true. The land where everything is possible. It ties in with Protestant thinking which, like Judaic thinking, that success is a sign of godliness. But there is a saying which relates, it goes, 'the Church is like a swimming pool: the loudest noise comes from the shallow end.'
I want to go further to discuss your points, but I will loose the thread unless I send this one now.
That's not true. I'd love to hear what makes you believe that Judaism supports that in any way. (Christians and ex-Christians love to invent all sorts of things about what Jews believe.)
I am willing to learn where I am wrong here. Please explain what it means in Hebrew if someone is unclean?
What do you mean?
You said that Judaism equated success with godliness. What did you mean by that?
I actually meant earthly success is a sign of being closer to god, for certain religious types anyway. Some christian groups see desease and natural catasrophes as signs of God's disapproval. I thought that the Hebrews saw people with illnesses as being punished by God hence the 'unclean' remark. The 'unclean' weren't allowed in the synagogue and weren't included in 'God's chosen people'. Am I wrong?
If you mean the "prosperity gospel" types of evangelical Christians, then I understand what you mean. But there's no equivalent in Judaism. There is absolutely nothing in Judaism that stresses material success. The only way you make yourself more "godly" in Judaism is performing the mitzvot (good deeds), one of the most important of which is charity (tzedakah).
The reason a disproportionately high percentage of Jews are successful is that study and working hard are stressed in the religion, but clearly those qualities are not unique to Jews, and neither is material success.
I have never heard of people being shunned for having a disease. The only thing I can think of is 'tzaraat', a skin blight that supposedly afflicts you if you spread gossip. Miriam got it when she gossipped about Moses's Cushite wife. Almost all Jews understand and respect what science tells us, and understand disease to be what it is.
And the last thing about "the chosen people" - the "chosen" is of the Jewish people's choosing of the covenant, specifically the performing of the mitzvot.
BTW I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when you were a chef and talking about this stuff. What a great idea for a play!
That play would be titled: A Seven Course Parody.
Shakespeare meets Chaucer, only without the wounded cook. More like Jude Law as G Ramsey and the 'moppets'.
But yes, many a conversation like it has happened throughout my career, over [a few] cases of D. Bruce Petite Syrah and Caymus Conundrum
I've not yet seen any indoctrinated ideology that could possibly yield "appealing aspects" as anything appealing would have been brought about by the indoctrination.
Religions don't slow your brain down, they kill it. What's appealing about that?
"American protestantism, with its fast-track to salvation approach..."
The notion of a fast-track to salvation is hardly unique to American protestantism. And it is hardly unique to America, hardly unique to Protestantism, and hardly unique to Christianity. The ancient Hebrews believed if they prayed to God and followed his commandments they would get salvation; the Muslims have always believed the same thing.
Most religions, major and minor, buy into this "fast-track" approach wherein a person or community gains favor from the cosmic powers-that-be by making sacrifices, performing rituals, praying, or whatever. Animistic believers may hold that worshipping a tree in winter will give them a good harvest in spring--voila, fast-track.
And this gets to the larger point that some have made, that religion itself "slows your brain down," in your words. Religion has been slowing brains down for ages. Sure, large institutions like Catholic churches, mosques and seminaries were prominent in medieval intellectual life--precisely because religion was slowing everyone's brain down! That is, there were no secular or nonreligious centers of knowledge or ideas, thus only the religious ones were left to dominate intellectual life.
In modern times, we have secular laboratories and universities and research centers and--surprise, surprise--we don't see any meaningful scientific or intellectual advances coming out of the religious world.
Why is religion inherently antithetical to human understanding? Because religion answers questions by appealing to (a) supernatural forces and (b) subjective experience, rather than (a) natural forces and (b) objective reason. This is a terribly important distinction. By answering questions with fanciful imaginings, rather than the real world, religion puts a check on knowledge, and makes pseudo-knowledge a legitimate form of understanding.
Religion has always served as a substitute for real knowledge by explaining things that humans did not understand--disease, famine, the weather, bad luck, death, the origin of the world, etc. As secular reason has made progress understanding these things, unsurprisingly, religion has plummeted in significance and importance.
I would rate your comments as amongst the best I have seen here in the last 2 years.
I found it easy to read and very well thought out. Bravo!
WOW ! I wish I had said all that ...
Logic, Reason and Common sense all rolled into one and I wouldn't change a single word.
All I would add is that the majority of people prefer others to make their decisions for them, means they don't have to think for themselves and it gives them someone else to blame when it goes belly up. Seems to me that in some parts of America they have turned this into the science of Ignorance Is Bliss !
The one nice thing about that is at least they are all in one small space, and mainly harmless !
Thank you very much, Merlin.
Absolutely--passing the buck of responsibility is a powerful motivation. If I can't understand it or figure it out, I can just pass it off to someone else to do the thinking for me!
Then all I have to do is follow the rules.
You give a strong argument in some ways, but you have also managed to illustrate my point perfectly. You are right that the Hebrews believed that faith alone would get them to heaven, (that and being the chosen people) but that is what Christ disputed. Love was the most important, He said. 1500 years later and we were right back where we started: get faith and a Holy Book and you were part of the in-crowd that was going to heaven.
For 120 years after the reformation, the religious culture of the people in Britain was smashed, trampled, burnt, stolen and lied about. Think communist China and cultural brain-washing. With that legacy to path the way, it is fully to be expected that people will see religion as a force for bad.
The non-fast-track approach was precisely what made Christianity different from all the other religions. You would not get any credit for your Christianity whilst on earth!!!
With everything we know now (can't quite get how you could be so dismissive of universities) and all the comforts we have, born-again Christianity quite doesn't cut the mustard, even a child can see that.
You really don't know what you're talking about when it comes to Judaism. Maybe you should stick to discussing Christianity.
Lizzie, no I said the Hebrews believed if they believed AND followed God's commandments that was how they got favor from God. There was both faith and action. The Old Testament incessantly makes clear (to the point where it drives you insane with repetition) that they must follow God's commandments.
Christianity too has always focused on both faith and action, and various offshoots of Christianity have chosen to focus more on faith, or more on action.
My view of religion as a force for bad has nothing to do with English history (although that is yet another example of it). It's based on the inherent nature of religion I described above. This applies to all religion, all across the world. Certainly not just in England or America or Europe.
"The non-fast-track approach was precisely what made Christianity different"
I guess we are defining "fast-track" in different ways. I thought you were referring to some kind of utilitarianism in religion. Such as "If I do this, I will get X result from God." That is universal to all religions. I don't see how Christianity differs from any other religion in this regard at the essential level. It's just the same story with different characters.
I don't know where I was "dismissive" of universities. To the contrary, I highlighted the secular universities as examples of places where real knowledge is coming from nowadays.
Nope, unless you meant the Hebrews before Moses (that was about 10 generations or so). After Moses, belief has been immaterial in Judaism; action is the only thing that matters.
You are conflating Christian understandings of Jewish law (which have always stressed faith) with actual Jewish law (which doesn't).
Well, this is highly off-topic. The following is all from the NKJV. All emphasis is mine, of course.
So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses. (Exodus 14: 30-31)
“Therefore you shall keep My commandments, and perform them: I am the LORD. You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, 33 who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 22: 31-32) [one cannot hallow or venerate something one does not believe in]
Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” (Numbers 20: 12)
and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and to walk always in His ways, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three, (Deuteronomy 19: 9) [you cannot love someone you don't believe in]
But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22: 5)
And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.” (1 Kings 8: 59-61)
So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20: 20)
“ You are My witnesses,” says the LORD, “ And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the LORD, “that I am God. (Isaiah 43: 10-12)
Phew. Plenty more where that came from. I think the ancient Hebrews believed in the Lord Before or after Moses.
Great quotes, but why use the KJV if that's the Christian rendition? Would you use the Koran to defend Jesus's beliefs? (Not that there's any major corruption of the meaning here, but still)
Let's run through them:
- Exodus 14: Those people that believed were direct witnesses to what God supposedly performed. That's different from blind faith. I'm not required to believe in God because of it, or even that that happened.
- Leviticus 22: Sure you can venerate someone (or something) you don't believe in. You perform the mitzvot. There is no mitzvah commanding belief.
- Numbers 20: Moses was a direct witness to God; they had a conversation, and God performed a miracle (the burning bush). Again, not blind faith. (Presumably Aaron would trust his brother)
- Deut 19: The Hebrew Bible says over and over and over again that you venerate and love God by performing the mitzvot and walking his path; it does not say by believing. Same here.
- Joshua 22: Ditto.
- 1 Kings 8: King Solomon is speaking. Not a witness to God. Not a representative of all Hebrews' beliefs.
- 2 Chronicles 20: Jehosaphat is speaking. See above.
- Isaiah: Was a prophet, or someone God appeared to. He says twice that Isaiah is a witness.
Again, in Judaism you're required to walk with God, not believe in him. There's no requirement whatsoever to believe in God.
And there it is! The entire point that religion/science have completely abandoned. kudos to you.
I don't see why an explicit command "you must believe that God exists" is necessary. What you seem to miss is that the existence of God is IMPLICIT in EVERYTHING in the Old Testament.
All of the scenes and stories cited demonstrate what the ancient Hebrews believed, what they valued, where their priorities lay, the way they thought, etc. As I said, this is just a small sampling. Realistically, would such a large group of people construct such an elaborate culture and system of worship, with laws and political customs and temple procedures, if they thought there was nothing behind it? Haha, come on.
I am not referring to what you personally are required to believe, I am referring to the ancient Hebrews and their belief system. That has clearly changed over time in Judaism (Jews no longer stone homosexuals, for instance).
"Sure you can venerate someone (or something) you don't believe in."
Haha, come on! You're just splitting hairs here to be difficult and contrary.
BTW, you keep referring to "blind faith," I am not referring to blind faith because, for the ancient Hebrews, it was not blind. They would have said "we have God's miracles recorded as fact."
Why the NKJV--because it is accessible. I'm only dealing with the Jewish Bible here.
If believing that God exists was truly inconsequential or totally optional to the ancient Hebrews, then you should be able to come up with a battery of OT verses indicating that people who didn't believe that God exists were nevertheless blessed and praised.
Remember, I never said anything about modern Judaism, I was talking about ancient Hebrew religion.
No, you weren't. Let me requote you.
THAT is what I disputed. Not that ancient Hebrews (or modern Jews, for that matter) don't believe in God; most do now, if you believe polls, and probably most did back then (although we can't get into their heads and know what they believed).
There is no faith component for "getting favor" from God in Judaism, and there hasn't been since the time of Moses. What you believe, if anything, or what motivates you to perform the mitzvot, is nobody's business, and is not asked or emphasized at all among Jews. If you don't believe me, feel free to consult any non-fringe, normative Jewish rabbi.
I'm not splitting hairs, any more than pointing out the difference between "secularist" and "atheist" would be.
There is no faith component for "getting favor" from God in Judaism, and there hasn't been since the time of Moses."
The Old Testament, and the ancient Israeli culture and belief system it documents, disproves this statement. The OT makes it clear that the ancient Hebrews believed that believing in God--and not in any other god--was part of the deal. Just because it isn't codified or explicitly mandated doesn't mean it isn't part of the deal. There's no constitutional amendment explicitly outlawing murder, but that doesn't mean Americans have the constitutional right to murder. We have to look at the system in its totality to understand it. We can read between the lines.
Again, God's existence is implied throughout, and it is the foundation upon which all other beliefs and actions stem. I also reiterate my request for verses showing agnostic or atheistic ancient Israelites were just as blessed.
"...and is not asked or emphasized at all among Jews. If you don't believe me, feel free to consult any non-fringe, normative Jewish rabbi."
Again, I wasn't talking about modern Judaism or modern Jewish beliefs. I was referring to the very different (though related) ancient Jewish world.
Although all the mitzvot (deeds) are spelled out and repeated in painstaking detail in the Torah, we're supposed to "read between the lines" and understand that faith was also required?
Really, you sound like a fundamentalist Christian. This is exactly what they (want to) believe.
Talk to a rabbi. And any rabbi worth his/her salt knows the full span of Jewish history, not just modern Judaism.
And as for atheists/agnostics: where are they excluded? Here's Ex 19:5 - "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession." Where is there an exclusion for those who don't believe in him?
There is no "Old Testament" equivalent of John 3:16. You can drum on about this forever, and the only Jews who will agree with you are "Jews for Jesus."
But the ancient Hebrews were fundamentalist. Subsequently Judaism has developed more liberal, metaphorical and symbolic tendencies, but originally it was fundamentalist and rigid like all the contemporary religions.
I still don't see what is so complicated: how can you worship someone you don't believe exists?! Lol. I mean, the ancient Israelites were psychos, but they weren't mentally handicapped.
I will walk in the ways of the Lord, and love the Lord, even though I don't believe the Lord really exists. Lol!
"...we're supposed to "read between the lines" and understand that faith was also required?"
Faith in God is required by default. It's implicit in the whole thing. I mean this is so simple, it's really odd that you question it. Do you believe I exist? Do these comments just randomly appear out of nothing? No, of course you are assuming--having faith--that I exist, there is a person here typing. Your faith that I (or any of these other commenters) exist is required by default as soon as you come into the forum.
Sure, you could go through the motions of typing comments like a mental case, but come on. You obviously believe you are talking with someone. It's implicit in participating in the forum. I doubt you explicitly say to yourself each time you come online "Hey, there are people here talking with each other!"
Here's another analogy (I know there's more to Judaism than the OT, but bear with me): In the OT God makes various commandments regarding wives and husbands. Yet God does not say anything of the wedding ceremony itself.
So what are we to make of this? Are we to say (a) wives and husbands should act in certain ways, even though the very thing that creates wives and husbands (marriage ceremony) is not necessary; or (b) the fact that wives and husbands exist means that something created them, and that something is called "marriage," therefore even though God doesn't specifically say it, he supports weddings?
Another analogy: God never explicitly says "I hereby declare that I condone slavery." Yet he nevertheless goes ahead and sets down laws governing slaves and the treatment of slaves. The practice of slavery is IMPLICIT in the laws and commandments governing it.
You cannot have husbands and wives without weddings, and you cannot have laws on how to treat slaves without slavery. And you cannot have rituals worshipping God without a God to worship.
PS--let me make clear, I'm not saying faith plays the role in ancient Judaism that it does in Christianity (which you seem to try to pin on me--again). Just that it plays a role. It's not nothing.
Again, that's not what you said. You said faith and action were both required components in getting "God's favor."
You seem to think faith is the only reason someone would be compelled to perform the mitzvot. Three other fully-sanctioned reasons to perform them that have nothing to do with faith:
- peer pressure
- you think it's an admirable code of ethics and would follow it anyway
- you were raised in an isolated community and didn't know there was an alternative
ALL of these reasons (and others) are just fine in terms of "getting God's favor" if they get you to perform the mitzvot. A non-believing Jew would be perceived by a believing Jew to be a tzaddik and "worthy of God's favor" if he performed the mitzvot, no matter what the reason. And, that has always been the case. (Of course, to a non-believing Jew, "God's favor" is a meaningless concept)
Since we had a long, drawn-out discussion on this a while back and you seemed to not want to accept anything I was telling you, I'll bow out here. I'll close with a joke which I think is apt here:
Two rabbis argued late into the night about the existence of God, and, using strong arguments from the scriptures, ended up indisputably disproving his existence. The next day, one rabbi was surprised to see the other walking into shul for morning services.
"I thought we had agreed there was no God," he said.
"Yes, what does that have to do with anything?" replied the other.
What's not what I said? I still maintain that faith in the existence of God was necessary in the belief system of the ancient Israelites. Necessary for God's favor, God's blessing, or however you want to think of it. Just because there is no explicit command "whosoever believeth in him" a la the New Testament does not mean this was not the case.
If I remember correctly, our previous discussion turned on the definition of a "religion"--I was using a more common definition and you were trying to broaden it to include cultural traditions, in line with the self-referential modern Jewish standard. Of course, it was you who did not want to accept anything I was telling you, in the earlier discussion or here.
Ironically, the 3 non-faith reasons you mention apply to every religion. They could apply to an agnostic person who lives in a Christian or Muslim community, for instance. But the practices themselves do very much require faith in the existence of God. This is why as faith in God's existence has declined, so have the real-world practices, even if some continue to go through the motions for reasons of community, tradition, ignorance, etc.
But again, we're getting beside the point. I never referred to Judaism as it exists today, which is a very different religion from what it started as.
You have deftly dodged my point about implicitness. I continue to await the explanation as to how one can have laws governing husbands and wives without weddings, and how one can have laws governing slaves without slavery.
The joke is an excellent demonstration of the absurdity of religion. Just another manifestation.
Religions traditionally have the premise that if you do this or that, you will get this or that. Born again Christianity is all about being happy, and grateful that worshipping God means your life will be better. That's fast-track. Very early Christians knew that by following the 'true path' they would be miserable, poor and separated from the tribe. They saw it as a test. There have even been early English Kings who gave up their wealth and went to live as hermits. A life of submission and sacrifice. Extraordinary people.
So your beef is with being happy. How very English of you, ha!
Most major religions have their party-poopers, ascetics and sticks-in-the-mud. I think Ayatollah Khomeini famously said "There is no fun in Islam."
I don't see how just being happy constitutes a fast-track. It's an emotion, not a specific result or process. And anyway, I would guess there was still some happiness in those early Christians' lives, given their knowledge that they were going to heaven and would reap rewards for their sacrifices.
Now on the flip side, one can talk about the melodramatics and "oh, woe is me" quasi-masochism of so many "devout" people who want to pretend like they're making some big "sacrifice" when they're really just annoying and upsetting everyone around them needlessly.
you do have a point, there have been the types that go in for the public self-flagellation. They have had their reward, as Jesus put it. But you surely agree that telling people Christianity will make them happy is bound to cause disillusionment when bad things continue to happen, cos bad things will always happen.
(And you're right, the English are happiest if they've got something to complain about, especially if it's the weather.)
Not true. Salvation has no meaning in Judaism; there's nothing to be saved from. This is a Christian and Muslim concept.
I thought that religious Jews were waiting for a saviour. Please explain.
No. There is no such thing as a savior. There is nothing to be saved from in Judaism, since there is no concept of "original sin" like there is in Christianity. Christians understand something wholly different from Jews about Adam and Eve.
Jews are working towards the coming of the messiah, but that's not the same thing as a savior. No rapture, no pulling believers to heaven, etc. The messiah will be the final "brick" in the creation of a world with no war, no death, where swords will be beaten into plowshares, spears into pruning hooks, etc. Orthodox Jews believe that the messiah will be a person (an actual human being), while more liberal Jews understand it to be metaphoric.
I meant salvation in a general sense of getting good stuff from the divine. Like with the animist example.
It's not that religion isn't tolerated in europe, I would say ridiculed is a little more accurate, I know I only ever met one family who took religion seriously in 25 years of living in England. Most of the European places I have visited view religion in pretty much the same.
I feel sorry for America because just as we were emerging from Religious Dogma, all the religious people headed across the Atlantic.
do you notice a huge difference in religious attitudes moving from the UK to Texas?
Yes, I am trying to escape the atheistic persecution from the agnostics.
from the agnostics and not just the believers? I saw UK TV show Top Gear hosts nearly had their guts for garters when they played a practical joke in the bible belt - their vehicles painted with gay pride etc
That episode was rather telling wasn't it?
The aggressive abusive religious nuts were not quite as safe as to be around as they expected.
Unfortunately while religion has fell behind in many European countries, the human body seems geared towards irrational beliefs. While Christianity has fallen by the wayside, there are an ever increasing number of homeopathic practitioners, nature worshippers, and believers in ghosts, etc etc.
Case in point - My mother, a steadfast non-believer in religion, who will brush off religion as crazy, is a steadfast homeopathy follower, and she picks her remedies by dowsing with a crystal on string (Although I feel the bookshelf full of books may sway teh crystals judgement.)
I find this a sad indicator of Humanities current immaturity as a species, which is re-infoced by countless other examples around the world.
Personally I think the key trick would be to get everyone to believe in me, then I could cash in on it a little.
That is a truism thisioli.
A bit of ridicule and mirth are important in religious life.
When nobody is allowed to laugh, that's when you've got to worry.
Not taking it seriously, however, is different. Not taking it seriously means people don't listen or learn or, more dangerously, understand what they are dealing with and that is where misconceptions arise and divisions are formed.
If you look closely at the medieval Gothic churches of Europe, which were built by the people for the people, you will see all the marks of free expression that were not only allowed, they were expected.
No America has not "spoiled religion for everyone else.
How can that which was rancid to begin with, be "spoiled" to any greater extent?
Rancid is rancid.
Rancid religious belief and activity have proven, over great lengths of time, to be poisonous and extremely detrimental to ones health, life and limb!
Let those who partake, beware! You have been forewarned!
I do believe you have got more fervent in your disbelief!
I ask again Lizzie..."in what?"
you have no answer but an opinion based upon "hope and guess?"
AS I thought.
"...and the blind shall see. except for qwark. and the deaf shall hear. except for qwark. and the lame shall walk...there's your cue qwark.
Yep Druid :
In ref to this god thing, you cannot define for me, I am deaf, dumb and blind...no doubt about it.
Why don't you play the good samaritan and cure me of these maladies.
Be a good fellow, place your palm on my forhead and scream heal brother HEAL!!!
This is a theological discussion. You wouldn't understand.
Be a good christian and enlighten me.
The jesus I studied would have sat me down and explained it all.
Can't you be christ like and emulate your savior for me?
I think you have a hard heart...:
America has not spoiled religion for everyone else, time has. Think about every other aspect of human existence on Earth and how we have evolved since our creation. Whether you believe in religion or science there is no escaping the logical fact that human beings have evolved from, as religious minds put it, B.C. to A.D. During our evolution we have constantly questioned ourselves and the world around us, often resulting in either advancements in technology and or new philosophies. We change just as the world does, think about it, we figured out how to cook food instead of eating it raw, we figured out how to transport ourselves with less effort with the invention of the wheel, we figured out that the Earth is not flat it is round, we figured out that gravity exists around us and keeps us from floating away like Superhero's who don't know how to use their powers, etc. etc. Our lives are still to this day affected by the human brains ability to be self aware, it is what separates us from animals. It is why we started wearing clothes in the first place. You show me an animal that's embarrassed to walk around naked or covers up if you snatch a cover off of them. We have the most unique brains on this planet, and time only pushes us to push them to the limits, maybe even one day the brink of insanity. I could go on forever but here is my answer.
Time has allowed us the opportunity to do what we are wired to do, question our existence. If you compare humanity to a child you will see my point as clear as day. A child is born into a new world and from the day he or she opens it's eyes and sees it for the first time it is in a natural, biological and psychological constant need to learn. The famous Psychologist Erik Erikson called them, "Life Stages." Here they are.
1. hope - Basic Trust vs. Mistrust - Infant stage / 0-1 year. Does the child believe its caregivers to be reliable?
2. will - Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt - Toddler stage / 2-3 years. Child needs to learn to explore the world. Bad if the parent is too smothering or completely neglectful.
3. purpose - Initiative vs. Guilt - Kindergarten / 4-6 years - Can the child plan or do things on his own, such as dress him or herself. If "guilty" about making his or her own choices, the child will not function well. Erikson has a positive outlook on this stage, saying that most guilt is quickly compensated by a sense of accomplishment.
4.competence - Industry vs. Inferiority - Around age 7-13. Child comparing self worth to others (such as in a classroom environment). Child can recognize major disparities in personal abilities relative to other children. Erikson places some emphasis on the teacher, who should ensure that children do not feel inferior.
5. fidelity - Identity vs. Role Diffusion - Adolescent / 14 years till mid twenties. Questioning of self. Who am I, how do I fit in? Where am I going in life? Erikson believes that if the parents allow the child to explore, they will conclude their own identity. However, if the parents continually push him/her to conform to their views, the teen will face identity confusion.
6.love (in intimate relationships, work and family) - Intimacy vs. Isolation - Young adult / mid twenties till early forties. Who do I want to be with or date, what am I going to do with my life? Will I settle down? This stage has begun to last longer as young adults choose to stay in school and not settle.
7. caring - Generativity vs. Stagnation - early forties till mid sixties / starts as the Mid-life crisis. Measure accomplishments/failures. Am I satisfied or not? The need to assist the younger generation. Stagnation is the feeling of not having done anything to help the next generation.
8. wisdom - Ego Integrity vs. Despair - old age / from mid sixties. Some handle death well. Some can be bitter, unhappy, and/or dissatisfied with what they have accomplished or failed to accomplish within their lifetime. They reflect on the past, and either conclude at satisfaction or despair.
Maybe some of use reach some of these stages before Erikson's estimations but the proof is in the pudding. We are wired to question things. Given enough time everything will be questioned, even the things that we believe to have answers for. Time lizzieBoo, time is the culprit here.
Most people don't fall for the excess. Most other cultures value hard work.
So, a product becomes available that people, of their own free will, buy into; and this is somehow America's fault? There are quite a few of us that live on this side of the Atlantic that rarely eat fast food and don't buy into religion.
Maybe, it is better to ask why the individual would choose to clog their arteries with Big Macs and refuse to exercise brain cells while practicing fundamentalism.
Simply put. Are you incapable of making intelligent choices? Or do you choose to blame others for your own actions?
I don't have a problem with religion. I think religion is a good thing when it resonates with culture and lively debate. I think the problem is when religion is stripped of all its organic, high-minded and free-thinking aspects and reduced to worshiping a book. People don't take it seriously and, if this forum is anything to go by, many people begin to hate the thing which smothers their natural curiosity about meaning and existence.
Fast food is great. I love it, but it demands, in the way that it is packaged, that I don't think about its source as having grown out of the ground or come from a living animal. Fast food by its nature doesn't celebrate the world and its culture. It is an anti-intellectual approach to food in a similar way that charismatic Christianity is an anti-intellectual approach to religion.
And yet, you didn't answer the question. These are free choices people are making in the world wide economy. How is this America's fault? Is China held accountable for questionable businesses practises of its exporters? Do I blame your country if I buy a product made in the UK that is unsafe or faulty?
We have a saying that is, unfortunately, pertinent in a free market. Let the buyer beware. If you don't research and make intelligent choices you have to determine what portion of the blame rests on your shoulders.
Evangelism exists for a reason.I believe it is spreading worldwide for the same reasons it is rising in America. It should lose energy as we grow more comfortable with the advancements we have made. So much has changed, so quickly, people can't adjust. It's no different from going in search of comfort food when you are out of your element. It will pass.
You are absolutely right, I can't blame America as a country and I wouldn't. I think America is great nation. It's American style religion, which has its basis in the false, Calvinist doctrine of predestination that I object to. The food thing is another issue. I 'm only using it as a metaphor really.
I will say though, that choice isn't always an argument you can use because choice is a privilage for some.
People may grow up with a man pounding a podium and shouting that everything they need to know is in The Book. They think, this is 'religion.' Then as these people grow up and get educated they start to realise that education and 'religion' are incompatible and they become disenchanted with all religion.
This is what I mean by American protestantism spoiling religion.
Religion IS compatible with education.
Religion gave birth to mass education. Bad religion leaves people unenlightened.
I'm afraid I would still be in disagreement. The evangelical movmement was born in the 1730's in Great Britain. So, I suppose we would need to look at English history as to how and why this false Calvinist doctrine started. I suppose if Great Britain hadn't had an official church, the idea might have spread there too.
And, unfortunately, education and religion of any type are, to varying degrees, incompatible. Not simply evangelical brands. Traditional religion stands in the way of population control, environmental action and many other things that would be an advantage to the world. Simply by taking a stand as interpreted from an archaic text. Religion is, most times, directly opposed to progress.
Sorry, simply because you aren't an evangelical doesn't mean you are not also blinded by religion.
I'm sorry for the delay in my response. I'm working on a different time-scale.
Anyway, to answer your question, you are absolutely right again; Great Britain is to blame for the initial rise in Protestantism since it took it to America in the first place where it could expand and gather momentum unchecked by any other authority.
Britain has a great deal to answer for. It is not coincidence that after the Reformation came Britain's race for expansion and Empire. But I must disagree with you on the rest.
Your view on religion right now is exactly what I'm talking about when I ask, has it been spoiled. You regard religion as a stumbling block, intellectually regressive and standing in the way of progress. Catholic Europe was responsible for some of the worlds first, and still best universities. The study of medicine, astronomy, science, geometry all took place in a mostly Catholic Europe. I scarcely need to mention the feats of art and music and architecture that have sprung from traditional religion.
Britain, as you say, was responsible for bringing the Puritanical Calvinist protestantism to America, (the kind we see in The Crucible) where it has since mutated into a mass broadcast of anti-intellectual nonsense which calls itself Christianity. It isn't religion which stands in the way of progress. Perhaps when humans get too comfortable they grow uninquisitive.
I'll admit the style religion being marketed to the world is less an attempt to embody the meaning of the New Testament than it is to make money. But, to me, that's religion. Power corrupts and the church is corrupt. Across the board.
And I do not mean to imply that Christianity hasn't done some good things over the centuries; but, I do believe that the church stands in the way of real solutions to the problems of the world today. Not all branches. I don't know enough about it to make that claim, but the policies of the Catholic Church have been devastating in attempts at lowering birth rates and the fight against Aids. Ask many Christians and they scoff at the idea of global warming. Many swear the Muslims were prophesied in Revelations and war with them is inevitable. The list goes on, and on and on.
The longer people look for external solutions to problems, the longer it will take to solve them. Whether a God exists as you imagine it or not, anyone that can't see we are on our own as far as our global problems, and we have to start working together, is ignoring simple facts.
It seems to be an Amway style in US. When it moved from England as very traditional to America where it became full of hype & promises.
I didn't realise so many in the US subscribed to this (in a rather extreme way) until I interacted on HP.
I hope I don't come off as extreme. I don't mean to be. I have no problem with an intelligent approach to Christianity; which doesn't include Bible literalists or the fire and brimstone sects.
your intelligence comes through on the posts I've read. No you don't come through as extreme - the extreme ones go and tell me I'm satan because I debate with them
I'm not surprised you got called Satan, they seem confused sometimes. I was trying to ask a Christian a question a couple of days ago and the guy went bizzaro. Said not only was God was talking to him, but they went car shopping together. And then he started quoting scripture. I couldn't think of a response. Strange world.
Edit. I thought you said unsubscribe in your previous post. I don't think as many people here in the US are evangelical as one would think. Most everyone I know rolls their eyes at it. I'm not a Christian.
I used to be a christian. I find many of the christians here very annoying. Apparently the religious zeal is confined to certain areas most of the time (but I heard the end-time rubbish overflowed to other US states - nothing mentioned of it in Australia).
This is what I mean. I have met so many people who have got in to charismatic Christianity, (many in this country, yes it has spread there) and then ditched it because they were disillusioned. It began as a comfort for whatever issue they were struggling with, because charismatics give a warm welcome, then soon it starts to become a bit of a magic show and eventually fails to keep the feeling of rapture going so that you feel bereft. People I know that have been there are almost more disenchanted than they started.
I think the news media loves a story more than America loves a prophet. I'd be curious to see the hard figures as to how many really bought into that. I never saw a billboard or a sign, just heard about it on the internet.
Everybody that wants it badly enough can get their moment in the spotlight here.
Oh my...I have to finish my triple red-eye coffee, Liz, before I rant on this. But I promise to. James.
Ever see a nice red shiny apple? Does it contain appealing aspects (color, size, aroma, hunger)? Yes.
Were you indoctrinated into the Johnny Appleseed Cult 45, to view it or have be appealing? No.
Something else brings out those appealing aspects.
It is then reinforced or cycled into the individual for the sake of continuous self indulgence -something science and religion --even economics-- knows quite well. I believe they call it marketing.
I'm going to answer you title question-
Has America spoiled religion for everyone else? No. The religious in America are the majority. As for speaking outside America in other countries....apparently not, considering there are still greater numbers who still hold religious beliefs or mystic ideologies.
Not that I wouldn't mind religion going away forever, because then at least there would be less conflict in the world as a whole.
Doubt that less religion would mean fewer conflicts, just shorter bloodier conflicts, with less restraint.
As humans we tend to settle disputes aggressively when we think nobody is looking and the only retribution is if you lose the fight.
American religionists have spread their brand of religion worldwide, likewise the Brits did the same with their Empire, but faith, trust, charity and love still prevail where people believe in something enough to have compassion, and before you say it, I agree, those virtues are not reserved for the religious, but they are more prominent in those of a spiritual persuasion that have escaped religion and found their peace with their maker, even if they consider that to be themselves.
We all (hopefully) reach a point where we realise that when someone wishes to make an issue out of some small point, we should know they are less developed and walk away from them.
The telling point arises when they refuse to let you walk away in peace.
Actually, I've seen it. So, you would not be right.
An all inclusive statement. No wonder you're short-sighted.
A small point? Everything that has ever happened, can be tied to one small point. Again, you are showing your short-sightedness.
That just means that they cannot recognize their own ego or cannot see beyond themselves. That's all that proves.
That's a bit like saying, if only people didn't have different opinions, then there'd be less conflict in the world.
In terms of your answer though, you show by your own reaction to religion how it has been spoiled. Ranting and raving about Christianity drives people away from all belief it would seem.
Different opinions don't create conflict specifically, it is usually the ego of those who don't think rationally or sanely that cause conflict.
Actually, my reaction to religion hasn't spoiled anything about my life or anything with regards to me. It has shown how pathetic some people do think though.
The problem stems from "religion" teaching people that what other people have to say doesn't matter. It automatically disrespects, but expects respect in return. Pathetic.
nearer to your neck of the woods, would you say the catholic-protestant terrorism wars by IRA put people off religion?
Well I think that put an awful lot of people off, particularly the Irish. Although when I went to Belfast, people repeatedly told me that it wasn't about religion, it was about poverty - gang war fare comes about when people feel disenfranchised. I you own nothing but the title of your group, that is the thing you fight for.
However, the same protestantism that took itself to America, also imposed itself on Catholic Ireland. For where Catholicism was brought peacefully to Britain along with St. Cuthbert, St. Aiden, St. Bede, St. Patrick etc, Protestantism was imposed.
I hope your tongue was firmly in your cheek when you wrote that Catholicism was brought peacfully to Britain.
You forget about the Romans and their conversion methods of convert or else !
The early Christian's who came to Britain took some pretty extreme methods to subvert the Pagan population which turned to persecution and the death penalty.
Oh Yeah ! Let's not forget the Inquisition... and the fact that Catholicism had already subverted, sorry wiped out large chunks of the New World before the Protestants got there to take over the peacful conversion of the natives !
the catholics were also the ones that burnt people at the stake for such 'crimes' as using essential oils & herbs for health?
The got the rap for burning the gnostics alive as well.
I put it down to the hats of the period myself.
At the time of the Spanish Armada, 300 women were burnt by English protestants for so-called witchcraft. During the Reformation, Catholic monasteries and convents were ransacked and pillaged, with nuns and monks having to practice their religion in secret, if they did actually manage to escape death. The words, Hocus Pocus comes from a twisting of the words Corpus Christi that are said in Mass. The whole notion of witches in this period was played upon by protestants who wanted to pervert the idea of the Catholic Mass as being some black magic ritual. People being burned and ducked in water for witchcraft and wizardry happened after the reformation and the beginning of 'thought crime'.
So, you aren't so anti American religion as you are anti Protestant. Interesting stretch of logic to shift the blame for religious persecution off of the shoulders of all religions and directly onto the non Catholics.
Do you have any thoughts on the millions killed by Catholicism in South America? You do realize 90% of the population of the entire continent was decimated? What about the thousands of children abused by pedophile priests? If there is one organization worldwide that needs a serious review of why the followers refuse to stand up and think for themselves it is definitely Catholicism. The entire population of Catholics worldwide are controlled by the rambling thoughts of one madman.
I don't think my logic has shifted has it?
This is about how one wrong doctrine can skew the notion of doctrine altogether.
Don't be foolish. Read through this thread. I have. You have consistently distorted facts, told half truths and outright lies to push an agenda.
Christianity, across the board, has done more harm than good historically. Catholicism being the worst aggressor, simply because it has been here the longest.
The false doctrine argument is bs. It's all 'false doctrine' because the premise you are laboring under is false to begin with. Whether you understand this, or not, your argument consistently falls flat. None of us are unacquainted with Christianity. The difference is we are unwilling to turn a blind eye to history, or the realities of this world.
I have been reading the thread throughout. You will notice by the replies I have put.
I don't have an agenda, I have a point of view based on revisionist history and a personal understanding of religion. I am aware that it is controversial. Your opinion is absolutely standard. It fits in nicely with centuries of anti-Catholic press which does in fact turn a blind eye to history.
America is separated somewhat from its cultural routes and still doesn't completely understand the origins of its number one religion. And yet it is the loudest voice of Christianity in the world.
You think I am fabricating stories? Read the Irish accounts of what Protestant England did to them: The 3000 slaughtered under Oliver Cromwell. Read about Henry VIII's slaughtering of 30,000 Northerners who refused to go against the Church in Rome. Read about the Inquisition from the point of view of the Spanish, rather than from Protestant England. There is no concrete evidence of more than 3 people dying at the hands of the inquisition according to them. What about the fact that our monarch can marry anyone so long as they're not Catholic, BY LAW. The slave trade began after the reformation as did the race for the colonies.
You have brought up other things: the Spanish in South America - terrible? yes, absolutely. Was it Catholic doctrine - no.
The abuse cases brought against the Church: 2 or more thousand priests accused covering a period of 60 years - appalling? yes! disgraceful!!! Badly handled? yes! Was it Catholic doctrine? no. Its all on Wiki.
I can't cover all of history. I wouldn't condone any wickedness done by any person, religious or not. We all have blood on our historical hands but Catholicism the worst aggressor? I cannot agree.
I am not anti Catholic. As you said, you have a point of view determined by revisionist history. It appears to be of your own making, and I doubt it will be included in any books inclined to state the facts.
Thank you, for enlighening me as to my uninformed views. I suppose, since I am separated from my roots, as you put it; I should be thankful that you are taking the time to set me straight. It could do you a bit of good to understand the American culture. We are not all your cousins and yours are not the roots of all of us.
I'm sorry for your laws concerning the marriage of your monarch. We don't recognize kings and queens over here, so I'm not that interested in their problems. I assumed Great Britain was a democracy, so I'm sure if the majority would like to change the laws it could happen.
As to the rest? Please revise on at your leisure.
yet is was the catholics that refused to believe Earth went around the Sun & drove a stake through a man's tongue & burnt him alive because he said it did?
You need to reread your history. Christianity was not brought about by the sword to Britain, but by peaceful monks. Archived letters from Pope Gregory to his missionaries will show you evidence of how he insisted they did not trample on pagan practices. The Spanish inquisition did not occur 'til a good 1000 years later and was vastly exaggerated by the propagandaists in protestant England who was at war with Spain at the time.
I will agree that the Spanish in South America were hoodlums but who knows what it does to a man to see people ritually flayed alive? Religion doesn't work when it's brought about by force, as the Spanish discovered.
Don't want to rain on your parade but I am a historian and I was researching the transition from Roman Britain to the Normans, via the Saxons.
And just for information it was the Romans who first brought Christianity to Britain, and the Romans never did anything gently. It was they who coined the term Pagan...
When they left in 400 AD Britain and the control factor was removed the country abandoned Christianity and returned to the old ways.
Yes I am fully aware of Pope Gregory and rather than trample upon Pagan practices at first he took just them over, which is why you go to church on SUN day... the day reserved for worship of the SUN God... 25th December Birthday of the SUN God, Easter, Pagan festival of fertility....
Can’t say that other Popes were as patient or ...what the word... Oh Yes ... Christian about the subject.
Who persecuted women as Devil worshipers and Witches because they used natural remedies to heal the sick...?
Who dreamed up the practice of determining innocence of witchcraft...? Dunk them in water if they drown they must be innocent... if they survive they must be witches so burn them at the stake !
Oh Yes it was those Christians again ! Practising Peace and Love to all Men !
How about Catholicism versus Science...! Anything that contradicted the Catholic church’s Biblical interpretation was ruthlessly suppressed and there was nothing peaceful about that.
Does it really matter as to how long it took to get round to the Inquisition ? To me it just means they just got tired of waiting for conversion to happen naturally, and they really didn’t like being told that their version might be wrong .
I could go on, people could write books on just that subject... Oh Yes... They have !
As I say, Christianity was brought by peaceful monks. If it failed under the Romans that only goes to prove my point that it doesn't work to impose religion.
I've just told you who who persecuted witches. As a historian I think you should know he difference between Catholic and Protestant. It would be nothing new to write a book that failed to recognise the good done by Christianity.
I know how they felt to some degree. I drove a new Cadillac down south from Las Vegas. One of the people I visited warned me to stay away from certain areas as religious nuts take shots at cars they can't afford to own.
I rather reckon that its religion that has spoiled religion for everyone.
America Didn't spoil religion at all.That happened a LOng time ago in a land far far away.Ya see,religion came pre spoiled.That is,the day a person stepped between mankind and the infinity that Must be to explain it to everyone else,the corruption[religion]began.Now we're beggining to discover the original meanings of the scrolls,books,letters etc that have been found across the world buy archaeologists...and baby,they have nothing to do with an old bearded dude sitting on a cloud that dose stuff for ya if you pray hard enough.Jesus said"The kingdom of heaven is within you",thats the starting point.
I like your view. At least it's democratic. You're like the sergeant in Full Metal Jacket, " I don't care who you are...you are all equally worthless".
OK I get the point. I'm kind of on my own here aren't I.
That's pointlessly reductive to think so. Are religions that promote the killing of homosexuals or nonbelievers (or killing at all) the same as those which prohibit it? If you think so, I have to wonder what sort of value system you're operating under. (Note I'm using the impersonal you here.)
I was hoping for that reply, thank goodness somebody is thinking straight. You can see by this thread by responses of most people that religion, full stop, is the problem. I would like to pose that the noisiest religions blind people to the beauties of other more enlightened ones.
I think they react that way because they think people are trying to get them to believe in a nicer, more tolerant form of religion, because they typically bash the more ridiculous, intolerant strains, but they're still not interested.
Which is fine. If you don't want to follow a religion, don't; you shouldn't feel any artificial compulsion to. But it's demeaning to say everyone who does is some scary Bible thumper; those that do usually do that because that's the tradition they're familiar with. "You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth." (Einstein)
It does seem odd that the New World has created more evangelical Christian and other religious movements than perhaps anywhere in the world. From Jehovah's Winesses to Mormons, Scientologists, The Church of Christ etc. Perhaps it is due to the fact that from the earliest times Americans decided on the freedom of religious expression, whereas Europe at the same time was stuck to its established churches. Anyone wanting to follow a different religious path were often persecuted and fled to the Americas to set up their own communities.
However, whilst religion has declined in most of Europe, with atheism holding sway, mixed with the rise of Islam, Christian beliefs seem still to be dominant on the other side of the pond. Cults proclaiming the end of the world, whenever reported in the news, seem always to come from the States. Americans seem also to talk about God in a way that would cause embarrassment in Europe. Never would the Prime Minister openly discuss God or say "God bless Britain." He would be thought slightly mad if he were to do so. Yet Americans seem used to hearing such talk.
I think that what seems like the American obsession with religion and its often fundamentalist nature has turned many in other parts of the world against it. Although it is no longer just America. Africa now seems to be being overtaken with evangelical Christian movements, all of which seem as fundamentalist and hardline as some American movements. Mostly though Europeans seem to be more liberal now than Americans when it comes to religion, even though the majority of Europeans no longer have a religious faith. The established Church of England, although a minority religion, thankfully is not fundamentalist. In fact, it seems to believe in very little at all, but at least it abolished hell for sinners a few years ago, replacing it with non-existence, so much of the sting has been taken out of it. And at least at any of its churches you are guaranteed a nice cup of tea and somewhere for the pensioners to go.
you are exactly right. Funnily enough though, it is the 'nice' and 'tolerant' atmosphere in the Anglican Church that seems to be sending people away in their droves. It comes back to the anti-intellectual approach again I think. We're a clever little species, and it just doesn't wash to say 'the Book will give you all your answers'. It never has.
Nicely summed up. I know that in Australia we are still surprised by the zeal with which American religious zealots go about their evangelizing.
Weren't you one of those obnoxious evangelizing Christians in the past? Did you ever live in the US?
I have lived and worked in the US, but by then I was no longer an evangelical pain in the posterior.
I gained further education and moved on. I have little sympathy for the "who" I was then, an arrogant kid who knew it all because someone had told me a pile of washing and indoctrinated me.
you only got told a pile of washing? I got told a pile of sh!t
I can completely understand how, given your past, you're interested in putting as much distance as possible between yourself and religion. I just wonder how much of that distance is artificial.
Reminds me of Brits (and Australians, and Germans) who have expressed shock at how high the obesity rate is in the US.
I think it is unfair, in this current age,to say that USA spoiled religion. However, I think US made religion fair for everyone unlike in other nations or the dark ages when men were forced to belief state doctrines. Nobody stops you and your family from choosing any religion you belief is right. That is liberty and only a selfish person will oppose such because it means they person what people to follow his/her religion, definitely,as claimed, because its the right path.Men are learning to think better now
I think it is great America is so free like that. It is a great strength and a great witness to humanity that such a large country can be so free and relatively peaceful at the same time. I only think that peace and freedom come at a price. Peace and freedom coincide with prosperity, and prosperity means comfort. Comfort makes man lazy, particularly of mind. When people get obese it is nearly always a spiritual problem, in that the mind has lost its discipline over the body, or indeed never exercised any in the first place, and no amount of dieting and ego-boosting is going to make a difference until the heart of the problem has been tackled. It has become too easy to take the comfortable option.
Similarly with a faith that doesn't require you to make any sacrifices, nor demand that you think too deeply, it is the mind that suffers and looses the capacity to use its God-given rational.
Your point is well understand. You mean that such liberty has made men spiritually weak and maybe unfit. Yet, remember that even when religion and spirituality controlled the earth not all men were spiritual and not all men choose the same spiritual path. You and others that choose can remain spiritually sound. The main problem is that men no longer witness spiritual mysteries like the days of old in that even those that claim to be spiritual now have nothing to show for it which would make men turn back.
You are confusing religion with spirituality - religion is a view of an element of spirituality organised around a specific imagined idea. You cannot claim the results of religion (which has its own disgraceful track record) as results of spirituality which is something else or more than.
I would say that there is nothing like a bit of hardship to concentrate the mind. The distant past doesn't hold the monopoly on spiritual possibilities. It's just the same when we look back at great literature, art, architecture and we say, 'we don't do it like that anymore'. Great things come from a particular mind-set, and that mind-set seems frequently to grow from hard-ship of one kind or another. You'll notice that the past is punctuated with waves of creativity and that those waves coincide with wars, famines, high mortality etc. It is at those times when we are most challenged that we wake up, spiritually, artistically, fully.
I did not confuse religion with spirituality yet spiritual matter are linked to religion. Spirituality is what is above the physical. The second comment suggested that men are so comfortable now that they are relaxed both physically and spiritually. The fact is if you are right & if men had worked more in the past then they did it to make the future(today) better & it is because it better that men are more relaxed.Yet, it does not mean that everyone is comfortable & some comfortable men still are spiritual
Like I said before nothing stops anyone that chooses to be spiritual from being spiritual. It is even easy now for those that seek spirituality to attain higher as they have freedom to pratice their spirituality with restrictions. Therefore, its an individual thing we do not need war etc to be spiritual even when people had war and other hardship they seek its solution which made the world better today. Our task is how to make the world even better and comfortable for next generation. It is our current task
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