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arosar
08-03-2004, 08:20 AM
In the 'Passion' thread, Brucie asked the above in:


Goughfather, good post . . . When you were talking about free will, an alternative philosophical ideal I have that can incorporate God, is that determinism will hold except for the influence of God on one's life (a Universal God, yet at the same time, as you say, a personal God) which will lead one on a path better than that for which he may have been destined. So why you may ask, does God only influence rather than control? Does God have a sense of humour?

I thought this prolly deserved a thread of its own. So what do you all reckon?

Take a look at this: http://www.mcauley.acu.edu.au/~yuri/jokes.html

(I expect this thread to have some real gems for 'Best of 2004').

AR

Rincewind
08-03-2004, 08:38 AM
Unequivocally, YES!

Example?

September 11.

Rincewind
08-03-2004, 05:16 PM
http://dreadnought.bjcox.com/images/tumbleweed.gif

chesslover
08-03-2004, 05:20 PM
http://dreadnought.bjcox.com/images/tumbleweed.gif

good post

very informative

but how does this relate to God's humour? :confused:

Rincewind
08-03-2004, 05:34 PM
good post

very informative

but how does this relate to God's humour? :confused:

Do I have to join the dots on that one? Here is a hint. Have a look at the time elapsed between my first post and the second one.

chesslover
08-03-2004, 05:43 PM
Do I have to join the dots on that one? Here is a hint. Have a look at the time elapsed between my first post and the second one.

so you are saying that God's sense of humour is revealed when nothing exists in the world, as demonstrated by the catcus rolling in a desert

and that september 11 is the start of this joke

I do not get it at all, and am still confused. Can you explain?

Rincewind
08-03-2004, 10:32 PM
so you are saying that God's sense of humour is revealed when nothing exists in the world, as demonstrated by the catcus rolling in a desert

Perhaps it would help if you realise that it is a tumbleweed that is rolling through the desert, not a cactus.


and that september 11 is the start of this joke

You see, God has a complex sense of humour. He can't laugh at a simple knock-knock joke. He requires complex irony which seems awry to you and me. All we can hope is that God had his good laugh and a tragedy such as this will not happen again.


I do not get it at all, and am still confused. Can you explain?

If this doesn't help, I don't know what else I can say.

Trent Parker
08-03-2004, 11:43 PM
oooooookay then............

Rincewind
09-03-2004, 01:55 PM
Of course God has a sense of humour! Why else would He have created Matthew Sweeney?

And nipples for men!

Alan Shore
09-03-2004, 02:25 PM
Sure, everyone loves a good joke, and I guess we were made in His image. Wow, imagine a world without laughter? That puts a dampener on your day.

arosar
09-03-2004, 02:32 PM
And nipples for men!

Ha! That reminds me. Why was it harder for God to create man than to create woman?

AR

antichrist
11-03-2004, 05:54 PM
Ha! That reminds me. Why was it harder for God to create man than to create woman?

AR

As Mae West said: It is hard to find a good man....

I expected this to be edited so I have.

arosar
21-04-2004, 03:38 PM
This is rather amusing: On Jefferson, Diderot and the Political Use of God

http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp04032004.html

AR

PHAT
21-04-2004, 05:21 PM
Of course God has a sense of humour! Why else would He have created Matthew Sweeney?

God is also misanthropic, hence samspade.

Gandalf
26-04-2004, 12:00 AM
A little crude, but that doesn't seem to matter much in here. Everyone knows that man became the dominant gender due to his mathematical superiority over woman. We can count to 21!

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 01:42 PM
oh youve gotta be jokin me.....delete all 3 of my last posts? if its just the swearin i can try n take that out

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 01:45 PM
damn those 3 posts took me ages to type out whoever deleted em........couldve at least left a copy somewhere where i could edit it

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 02:03 PM
aight i aint gonna type out everythin i posted bfore........would take me too **** long so here it is in sumation

God has a sense of humour
i sometimes imagine him as a kid playin some huge game of SimCity/Hospital/The Sims
SimCity ya get to build the place up, then give it a few disasters e.g. fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake etc...always fun to do that yeh? only problem is we aint a sim, were the real thing but its all the same to Him and im sure he gets a kick outta doin iit n if ya *** up one place of the city, ya just let it be, see how long it lasts(e.g. 3rd world countries, or Iraq)
SimHospital ya build a hospital n take care of all the sick **** that walk in, but after awhile you just cbf takin care of everyone.....so ya take care of the few ya can be bothered doin n leave the rest to wallow in their own vomit cept with his version it aint just a hospital, its all the hospitals out there in this world
The Sims, control a guys life, point his life in the direction you want it to turn out like.....cept with Him it just aint one guy, its ALL of us.....sometimes He just cbf goin through the whole guy/girls life, so he lets it be n see where it ends up(all our bums n hobos) guess he gets a kick outta that one too
sometimes wonder tho.....did he **** round with the first family? if he did, then the kid turned out ****as well n so on n so forth, and this leads all the way to where almost everyone alive today is related somehow to that first **** up family, God must get a real kick outta this one, to see after thousands of yrs to see how messed up we all turned out, which is true...
want an example to show the person that symbolises all the ways that weve gone wrong? someone that shows us how messed up the human race is?



AGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
but, on the other hand, look at it from God's point of view
if I was Him, id be pissin myself with laughter at how everythin turned out
thats a funny one God....sure is

Bill Gletsos
29-04-2004, 02:12 PM
Somethings tells me that post is likley to get deleted.

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 02:33 PM
why????????? whats so bad bout that post its 'likely' to get deleted??????????????????????????????
arent ppl allowed to say what they think anymore???????

Bill Gletsos
29-04-2004, 02:39 PM
why????????? whats so bad bout that post its 'likely' to get deleted??????????????????????????????
arent ppl allowed to say what they think anymore???????
Dont act like a complete moron.
The use of some language was unnecessary.

Fortunately for you it looks like the moderator this time has just edited them out.

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 03:33 PM
ok fine gletsos, but it wasnt just the swearin
whyd the michael jackson pic get taken out??????

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 03:34 PM
just so you ppl who didnt see the pic know who i was referrin to.....it was michael jackson, that disgustin pic of him with the collapsed nose, fake beard, and the usual wack face

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 04:27 PM
please, enlighten me as to why it was nescessary to take out the post askin why my pic was taken out?
and why was the other post taken out describin what the pic was?
i dont remember there bein anythin sayin i cant post pics
you so in love with him you want noone to say anythin bad bout him?

thats just bullcrap, there was no swearin, nothin wrong with those last two posts
tell me what was so wrong bout those last two posts they had to be taken out

jenni
29-04-2004, 04:40 PM
please, enlighten me as to why it was nescessary to take out the post askin why my pic was taken out?
and why was the other post taken out describin what the pic was?
i dont remember there bein anythin sayin i cant post pics
you so in love with him you want noone to say anythin bad bout him?

thats just bullcrap, there was no swearin, nothin wrong with those last two posts
tell me what was so wrong bout those last two posts they had to be taken out

They appear to be on the defamatory side - Jeo and I are erring on the side of caution, until more experienced moderators can decide.

Personally I can't stand the person to whom you are referring!!

antichrist
29-04-2004, 05:02 PM
Of course God has a sense of humour. He sent his only son down to get hung up. Poor JC didn't know anything about it because of "why has thou forsaken me" statement.

Before that God tested Abraham to kill his son but when seeing that the silly goat was actually going to do it he called the joke off. But God did not let JC off, must have lost his sense of humour by this stage. Maybe because of JC's playing around with Mary Magellan in a Coffs Harbour motel. JC got sucked in cause he thought he was here on his old man's business.

skip to my lou
29-04-2004, 05:05 PM
please, enlighten me as to why it was nescessary to take out the post askin why my pic was taken out?
and why was the other post taken out describin what the pic was?
i dont remember there bein anythin sayin i cant post pics
you so in love with him you want noone to say anythin bad bout him?

thats just bullcrap, there was no swearin, nothin wrong with those last two posts
tell me what was so wrong bout those last two posts they had to be taken out

Kevin or Barry will decide what to do with your post after they have reviewed it.

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 05:16 PM
i wonder sometimes if all the religions floatin round are just one huge joke
God does all these things to start off heaps of different religions(i.e. visions, prophets etc.) n sits back n laughs while the crusades are happenin, while the jews are gettin absolutely rolled..etc..
wonder if even Israel is a joke.....give the Jews a 'Promised Land' while hes sure theyll already be ppl livin there by the time they all get to it, and of course, those ppl already livin there have to be of a different religion....what does that equal? violence, poverty n terror on our side - but a crack up on His side

antichrist
29-04-2004, 05:24 PM
i wonder sometimes if all the religions floatin round are just one huge joke
God does all these things to start off heaps of different religions(i.e. visions, prophets etc.) n sits back n laughs while the crusades are happenin, while the jews are gettin absolutely rolled..etc..
wonder if even Israel is a joke.....give the Jews a 'Promised Land' while hes sure theyll already be ppl livin there by the time they all get to it, and of course, those ppl already livin there have to be of a different religion....what does that equal? violence, poverty n terror on our side - but a crack up on His side

Doesn't the Oils song "Beds Are Burning" come to mind when thinking of Palistinians??

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 05:40 PM
Kevin or Barry will decide what to do with your post after they have reviewed it.

dam....why dont you just delete all posts that have spellin mistakes in em?
im sure gletsos's count would go from 3000 to two-thirds
its just stupid to censor swearing 'to protect the children' not only am i one of the children but its the children who do all the swearing :hmm: :wall:

skip to my lou
29-04-2004, 05:47 PM
dam....why dont you just delete all posts that have spellin mistakes in em?
im sure gletsos's count would go from 2000+ to barely positive
its just stupid to censor swearing 'to protect the children' not only am i one of the children but its the children who do all the swearing :hmm: :wall:

jenni had a doubt whether it was appropriate or not, so I will let Barry or Kevin decide.

If it is appropriate, then the post will be undeleted and nothing is lost.

jenni
29-04-2004, 06:17 PM
dam....why dont you just delete all posts that have spellin mistakes in em?
im sure gletsos's count would go from 3000 to two-thirds
its just stupid to censor swearing 'to protect the children' not only am i one of the children but its the children who do all the swearing :hmm: :wall:

Good grief Broadz - I would never insult you by calling you a "child" - junior maybe!

incidentally I know Juniors as young as 9 who wander onto this BB....

Bill Gletsos
29-04-2004, 06:28 PM
dam....why dont you just delete all posts that have spellin mistakes in em?
im sure gletsos's count would go from 3000 to two-thirds
its just stupid to censor swearing 'to protect the children' not only am i one of the children but its the children who do all the swearing :hmm: :wall:
Very good Broadz you goose.
However spelling isnt the issue.
If you dont want your posts edited then dont swear especially in the extreme.

Bill Gletsos
29-04-2004, 06:29 PM
Good grief Broadz - I would never insult you by calling you a "child" - junior maybe!
Yeah just call him a goose. ;)

Kevin Bonham
29-04-2004, 07:26 PM
damn those 3 posts took me ages to type out whoever deleted em........couldve at least left a copy somewhere where i could edit it

Well perhaps that'll teach you to tone down the language. I mean, do you think all of us who are mods (I deleted those by the way) have time to go through every post with a fine-toothed comb fixing up everything? Why should we do that for you when you weren't even trying to conform to the expected standard?

It's simple.

If you swear when you don't need to, especially if you do it a lot, expect that you may lose your whole post. This won't always happen, but it might.

So don't do it. :doh:

Kevin Bonham
29-04-2004, 07:32 PM
I can't see the original Jacko bit because the post got edited - can't recover previous versions, only deleted posts.

Generally slagging off celebs will be OK because they'd never sue anyway - just try not to be too disgusting about it. :D

jenni
29-04-2004, 07:42 PM
Ok Broadz - you can edit your post and put your picture back!

Sorry - still learning what is allowable and what is not. :)

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 10:04 PM
Very good Broadz you goose.
However spelling isnt the issue.
If you dont want your posts edited then dont swear especially in the extreme.


i counted 6 swear words in my last big tell - thats extreme....
daaaammmn probably a good idea we never meet then gletsos...

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 10:05 PM
Ok Broadz - you can edit your post and put your picture back!

Sorry - still learning what is allowable and what is not. :)



its all good

BroadZ
29-04-2004, 10:05 PM
Well perhaps that'll teach you to tone down the language. I mean, do you think all of us who are mods (I deleted those by the way) have time to go through every post with a fine-toothed comb fixing up everything? Why should we do that for you when you weren't even trying to conform to the expected standard?

It's simple.

If you swear when you don't need to, especially if you do it a lot, expect that you may lose your whole post. This won't always happen, but it might.

So don't do it. :doh:



we'll see bonham.....we'll see

Lucena
01-05-2004, 01:55 AM
Doesn't the Oils song "Beds Are Burning" come to mind when thinking of Palistinians??

"Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu" tends to suggest it's rather particular to the Australian context

Kevin Bonham
02-05-2004, 12:18 AM
"Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu" tends to suggest it's rather particular to the Australian context

It is, although I also believe some inspiration was drawn from the death of Peter Garrett's parents in a house fire (although that has nothing directly to do with the land rights message of the song).

Don't know if Garrett has any specific views on Israel-Palestine but I'd be betting he wouldn't be too fussed at all about the same message being applied there as well. He doesn't strike me as the sort to go propping up perceived allies of the US Forces.

Lucena
04-05-2004, 03:43 PM
I'm surprised no one's been arguing "No, God doesn't have a sense of humour because God doesn't exist"

Gandalf
04-05-2004, 10:35 PM
That's because the argument is so pathetically simplistic the arguer would be ridiculed for their lack of scope. :)

Kevin Bonham
04-05-2004, 11:03 PM
That might depend on how much support they were willing to give for their premise. I think the real reason no-one's argued it is that a lot of the atheists on this board sometimes have fun discussing the hypothetical nature of God, even while not actually believing that God exists. As such, they would just read the question as "Would God have a sense of humour?"

antichrist - if someone asked you "Do unicorns have hooves?" would you respond "No, because unicorns don't exist." :D

Garvinator
05-05-2004, 08:55 AM
That might depend on how much support they were willing to give for their premise. I think the real reason no-one's argued it is that a lot of the atheists on this board sometimes have fun discussing the hypothetical nature of God, even while not actually believing that God exists. As such, they would just read the question as "Would God have a sense of humour?"

antichrist - if someone asked you "Do unicorns have hooves?" would you respond "No, because unicorns don't exist." :D
can you prove that unicorns never existed please ;) :lol: :whistle:

Rincewind
05-05-2004, 09:55 AM
can you prove that unicorns never existed please ;) :lol: :whistle:

Let me introduce to a friend of mine: Bill. He comes from round Occam way.

Lucena
05-05-2004, 10:44 AM
Let me introduce to a friend of mine: Bill. He comes from round Occam way.

But Occam's not a proof, is it?

Lucena
05-05-2004, 10:45 AM
That might depend on how much support they were willing to give for their premise. I think the real reason no-one's argued it is that a lot of the atheists on this board sometimes have fun discussing the hypothetical nature of God, even while not actually believing that God exists. As such, they would just read the question as "Would God have a sense of humour?"

yes I suspected that was the case

Rincewind
05-05-2004, 11:49 AM
But Occam's not a proof, is it?

No. But proof in the strict sense is really only of interest to logicians. I'm talking about a reason to believe, or disbelieve.

Kevin Bonham
05-05-2004, 04:39 PM
can you prove that unicorns never existed please ;) :lol: :whistle:

Of course not. But I know a "proof" that they do exist.

Here it is:

Either there is at least one unicorn or else there are no unicorns.

If a unicorn exists then it is an existing unicorn.

(The above two, I hope, are obvious).

So we have two possibilities:

1. An existing unicorn exists. Possibly more.
2. An existing unicorn does not exist.

But 2 is absurd, how could a unicorn exist and also not exist?

Therefore 1 is true, and therefore unicorns exist.

:owned:

(Disclaimer: I flogged this one from an old Raymond Smullyan book. I like it because it is not much more stupid than the ontological argument for the existence of God, which far too many people take seriously.)

Commentator
05-05-2004, 05:27 PM
Does God Have a Sense of Humour?


No. Otherwise he would have given us a funny bone.

C

Rincewind
05-05-2004, 06:31 PM
2. An existing unicorn does not exist.

:eek:

Lucena
05-05-2004, 10:00 PM
Of course not. But I know a "proof" that they do exist.

Here it is:

Either there is at least one unicorn or else there are no unicorns.

If a unicorn exists then it is an existing unicorn.

(The above two, I hope, are obvious).

So we have two possibilities:

1. An existing unicorn exists. Possibly more.
2. An existing unicorn does not exist.

But 2 is absurd, how could a unicorn exist and also not exist?

Therefore 1 is true, and therefore unicorns exist.

:owned:

(Disclaimer: I flogged this one from an old Raymond Smullyan book. I like it because it is not much more stupid than the ontological argument for the existence of God, which far too many people take seriously.)

ok kev give us a crash course in philosophy what's ontological mean? Let's see if you reply before I look it up btw perhaps you could give me a bit more than just a definition

Lucena
05-05-2004, 10:08 PM
Of course not. But I know a "proof" that they do exist.

Here it is:

Either there is at least one unicorn or else there are no unicorns.

If a unicorn exists then it is an existing unicorn.

(The above two, I hope, are obvious).

So we have two possibilities:

1. An existing unicorn exists. Possibly more.
2. An existing unicorn does not exist.

But 2 is absurd, how could a unicorn exist and also not exist?

Therefore 1 is true, and therefore unicorns exist.

:owned:

(Disclaimer: I flogged this one from an old Raymond Smullyan book. I like it because it is not much more stupid than the ontological argument for the existence of God, which far too many people take seriously.)

hehe I admit that one is funny, he's a character that Smullyan

Rincewind
05-05-2004, 10:49 PM
ok kev give us a crash course in philosophy what's ontological mean? Let's see if you reply before I look it up btw perhaps you could give me a bit more than just a definition

Ontology can mean a couple of things but at a guess I think Kevin is talking informal or "semi-formal" ontology which is investigating the the nature of being or existence. Deals with whole objects, parts and dependance also relationships between objects. Formal is more of the same in a rigourous logical context (think Russell and/or Frege).

Kevin Bonham
05-05-2004, 11:58 PM
ok kev give us a crash course in philosophy what's ontological mean? Let's see if you reply before I look it up btw perhaps you could give me a bit more than just a definition

Telling you what ontology is (as Barry just did) won't tell you very much about what the ontological argument is. Basically the ontological argument (in many different forms) is an attempt to prove God exists simply by thinking about what properties God would posess if God did exist. One version of this is to say that since God is all-good and all-powerful, God must have every possible positive quality, and existence would be a positive quality for such a being, therefore God must exist.

Utter garbage IMO.

Cat
06-05-2004, 12:14 AM
Does God Have a Sense of Humour?


No. Otherwise he would have given us a funny bone.

C What about the humerus?

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 02:59 AM
Telling you what ontology is (as Barry just did) won't tell you very much about what the ontological argument is. Basically the ontological argument (in many different forms) is an attempt to prove God exists simply by thinking about what properties God would posess if God did exist. One version of this is to say that since God is all-good and all-powerful, God must have every possible positive quality, and existence would be a positive quality for such a being, therefore God must exist.

Have you seen the transcript of the debate between Russell and Father F. C. Copleston, SJ (1948) on The Existence of God? The debate itself fizzles out a bit but there are some very well articulated debunkings of these sorts of "proofs". Especially in the area of what is termed in the debate as the Moral Argument.

Commentator
06-05-2004, 08:51 AM
What about the humerus?

Good question D_R.
Do you find it funny?
C

Oepty
06-05-2004, 12:04 PM
Telling you what ontology is (as Barry just did) won't tell you very much about what the ontological argument is. Basically the ontological argument (in many different forms) is an attempt to prove God exists simply by thinking about what properties God would posess if God did exist. One version of this is to say that since God is all-good and all-powerful, God must have every possible positive quality, and existence would be a positive quality for such a being, therefore God must exist.

Utter garbage IMO.

I agree Kevin, it is unbelievably stupid. You can use the same arguement to "prove" anything, like Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny. Existence is a positive for anything, but it doesn't mean it exists.
Scott

Kevin Bonham
06-05-2004, 02:59 PM
Have you seen the transcript of the debate between Russell and Father F. C. Copleston, SJ (1948) on The Existence of God?

Yes, but not recently.


Especially in the area of what is termed in the debate as the Moral Argument.

Another particularly easy target. :D

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 03:12 PM
Another particularly easy target. :D

If I remember my history correctly it was Kant to debunked the older logical proofs of God's existence (like more sophisticated versions of the one you provided) but then proposed the moral argument. Therefore, post-Kant the older arguments have been considered largely passe but the moral argument was obviously still appealing to some members of the clergy in the mid-20th century (around 150 years post-Kant!). You Kant please everyone I guess. :p

PHAT
06-05-2004, 03:45 PM
Does God Have a Sense of Humour? Yes!

Check it out his latest comedy record with tracks like:

Children with HIV - you will be crying with laughter
Hiroshima and Nagasaki - this blast from the past is an oldie but a goodie
Witch Burning - wickedly hillarious roast
Female Circumsission - will have you in stitches
Rent Boys - giving a whole new meaning to toilet humour
Gall Stones - side spittingly funny
Down's Syndrome - fun for the whole family
Incest - rated G
Auschwitz - this gag is a gas
MacDonalds - you will be rolling in the aisles and everywhere else too
Unrequited Love - giggle all the way to the grave
Asbestosis - the punch line is worth waiting for
Addiction - you can't get enough of this

Put it on your stereo - you won't regret the riotous scam that is "God and the Church".

Alan Shore
06-05-2004, 04:17 PM
Does God Have a Sense of Humour? Yes!

Check it out his latest comedy record with tracks like:

Children with HIV - you will be crying with laughter
Hiroshima and Nagasaki - this blast from the past is an oldie but a goodie
Witch Burning - wickedly hillarious roast
Female Circumsission - will have you in stitches
Rent Boys - giving a whole new meaning to toilet humour
Gall Stones - side spittingly funny
Down's Syndrome - fun for the whole family
Incest - rated G
Auschwitz - this gag is a gas
MacDonalds - you will be rolling in the aisles and everywhere else too
Unrequited Love - giggle all the way to the grave
Asbestosis - the punch line is worth waiting for
Addiction - you can't get enough of this

Put it on your stereo - you won't regret the riotous scam that is "God and the Church".

That's life for you. If it were a complete Utopia, not only would we learn nothing but it would be dead boring.

Kevin Bonham
06-05-2004, 05:21 PM
That's life for you. If it were a complete Utopia, not only would we learn nothing but it would be dead boring.

I see little evidence that humanity learns much, or even anything, from many of the things listed by Matt.

Cat
06-05-2004, 05:37 PM
Does God Have a Sense of Humour? Yes!

Check it out his latest comedy record with tracks like:

Children with HIV - you will be crying with laughter
Hiroshima and Nagasaki - this blast from the past is an oldie but a goodie
Witch Burning - wickedly hillarious roast
Female Circumsission - will have you in stitches
Rent Boys - giving a whole new meaning to toilet humour
Gall Stones - side spittingly funny
Down's Syndrome - fun for the whole family
Incest - rated G
Auschwitz - this gag is a gas
MacDonalds - you will be rolling in the aisles and everywhere else too
Unrequited Love - giggle all the way to the grave
Asbestosis - the punch line is worth waiting for
Addiction - you can't get enough of this

Put it on your stereo - you won't regret the riotous scam that is "God and the Church".

Be cynical as you may but what you're really describing is the evil side of humanity and the brutality of nature. Religion has been one of man's attempts at understanding nature and like everything man has produced there is always some good and some bad. Overall I would put religion in the slightly positive ledger, whereas most of what man has delivered is ditinctly negative.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 06:05 PM
Be cynical as you may but what you're really describing is the evil side of humanity and the brutality of nature. Religion has been one of man's attempts at understanding nature and like everything man has produced there is always some good and some bad. Overall I would put religion in the slightly positive ledger, whereas most of what man has delivered is ditinctly negative.

I thought all these things were evils which God released on us as punishment for our curiosity.

Kevin Bonham
06-05-2004, 06:05 PM
Religion has been one of man's attempts at understanding nature

As a (far more easily defended) alternative I offer the Nietzschean interpretation - that religion, at least once science got going in any serious fashion, has generally been one of man's attempts to falsify "nature" and repackage it as something that is perceived as more palatable.


Overall I would put religion in the slightly positive ledger, whereas most of what man has delivered is ditinctly negative.

Feel free to attempt to convince me, on either score.

Cat
06-05-2004, 08:54 PM
I thought all these things were evils which God released on us as punishment for our curiosity.


That's right, thats exactly how early societies rationalised nature, that there was some greater power determining its direction. Fear of nature became fear of God, and early religion evolved through observation of nature and trying to understand its forces. Hence the association of religious festivals with changes of season, they were logical responses to a harsh environment. Periods of fasting co-incided with times of food shortages, festivals were held at harvest time. This understanding was then passed on to each generation, either as laws or religious beliefs. Some of these beliefs were so important to social survival they had to become protected, and so were codified in some way or other.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 08:57 PM
That's right, thats exactly how early societies rationalised nature, that there was some greater power determining its direction. Fear of nature became fear of God, and early religion evolved through observation of nature and trying to understand its forces. Hence the association of religious festivals with changes of season, they were logical responses to a harsh environment. Periods of fasting co-incided with times of food shortages, festivals were held at harvest time. This understanding was then passed on to each generation, either as laws or religious beliefs. Some of these beliefs were so important to social survival they had to become protected, and so were codified in some way or other.

So you agree that it is man who made God?

Cat
06-05-2004, 09:02 PM
As a (far more easily defended) alternative I offer the Nietzschean interpretation - that religion, at least once science got going in any serious fashion, has generally been one of man's attempts to falsify "nature" and repackage it as something that is perceived as more palatable.



Feel free to attempt to convince me, on either score.

KB its time you left your 19th century philosphers behind and became acquainted with more contemporary interpretation and understanding. As far as I'm concerned philosphers are distinctly in the negative ledger. I'm sure they arrived on the First Ark with all the internal decorators, middle men and flower arrangers. The problem with Nietzche is that he couldn't accept the Universe to be big enough for 2 Gods, so he had to shoot the other one.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 09:12 PM
KB its time you left your 19th century philosphers behind and became acquainted with more contemporary interpretation and understanding. As far as I'm concerned philosphers are distinctly in the negative ledger. I'm sure they arrived on the First Ark with all the internal decorators, middle men and flower arrangers. The problem with Nietzche is that he couldn't accept the Universe to be big enough for 2 Gods, so he had to shoot the other one.

Nietzsche didn't kill God, he just attended the scene and signed the death certificate. The body was cold and rigor mortis had set in by the time he arrived on the scene.

Cat
06-05-2004, 09:14 PM
So you agree that it is man who made God?

I believe that the Son of Man was one of our greatest creations. As for God or Gods, there have been so many. The Greeks developed a fascination with the infinite and infinity and from there so many great social and scientific developments to be thankful for. Pythagoras is said to be responsible for the concept of the eternal soul, although similar ideas also developed separately in Indian and Chinese cultures. Aristotle and Plato were essentially the authors of much of what we recognise to be Christianity. I don't think God is an essentially human creation. I'm sure communities in other worlds have their own versions.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 09:19 PM
I believe that the Son of Man was one of our greatest creations. As for God or Gods, there have been so many. The Greeks developed a fascination with the infinite and infinity and from there so many great social and scientific developments to be thankful for. Pythagoras is said to be responsible for the concept of the eternal soul, although similar ideas also developed separately in Indian and Chinese cultures. Aristotle and Plato were essentially the authors of much of what we recognise to be Christianity. I don't think God is an essentially human creation. I'm sure communities in other worlds have their own versions.

I didn't ask if you thought God was a uniquely man made. So I'll take your response as a yes.

Given that, what then is the role of religion in today's society?

Cat
06-05-2004, 09:21 PM
Nietzsche didn't kill God, he just attended the scene and signed the death certificate. The body was cold and rigor mortis had set in by the time he arrived on the scene.

Ah ha, very good, but God is not dead, he lives on in you and me Barry, because no matter how much it pains you we are both products of a Christian culture. There is no thought possible for either you or me, that in some way is unaffected by our social history. So you see BJC, if religion exists anywhere it exists everywhere.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 09:25 PM
Ah ha, very good, but God is not dead, he lives on in you and me Barry, because no matter how much it pains you we are both products of a Christian culture. There is no thought possible for either you or me, that in some way is unaffected by our social history. So you see BJC, if religion exists anywhere it exists everywhere.

By that position, anything created can never truely be destroyed. But Nietzsche didn't say religion was destroyed. Just God is dead. In the same way that Hitler is but George Bush isn't.

Cat
06-05-2004, 09:30 PM
I didn't ask if you thought God was a uniquely man made. So I'll take your response as a yes.

Given that, what then is the role of religion in today's society?

Crikey, that's a bit of a PhD question BJC. In fact, I am thinking about writing a book about it, but most of the time I never get pen to paper.

Let's say that humanity and religion are indivisible, religion is an essentially human quality, and if all religions disappeared tomorrow than a whole load more would instantly appear. Perhaps its better to think about good religion and bad religion. The trouble is they wouldn't possess the rigor of the existant religions - and that's exactly what we are getting today; Crystal healing, New Age Travellers, the cult of the individual, the cult of the celebrity.

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 09:41 PM
Crikey, that's a bit of a PhD question BJC. In fact, I am thinking about writing a book about it, but most of the time I never get pen to paper.

Let's say that humanity and religion are indivisible, religion is an essentially human quality, and if all religions disappeared tomorrow than a whole load more would instantly appear. Perhaps its better to think about good religion and bad religion. The trouble is they wouldn't possess the rigor of the existant religions - and that's exactly what we are getting today; Crystal healing, New Age Travellers, the cult of the individual, the cult of the celebrity.

I think you are stretching the definition of religion a little here to include the "cult of the celebrity". Sure people obsess about celebrities for whatever reason, but they don't usually confuse celebrity with divinity.

I agree man has been living with religion for a long time, doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Phisosophy has shown it is possible to investiagate morals, ethics, and other matters metaphysic with invoking the divine.

Still you seem to be avoiding the question. I asked, what is religion's role? You said it and we are inseparable. Are you saying that religion is merely an irremovable vestige from a more naive time?

Cat
06-05-2004, 09:56 PM
I think you are stretching the definition of religion a little here to include the "cult of the celebrity". Sure people obsess about celebrities for whatever reason, but they don't usually confuse celebrity with divinity.

I agree man has been living with religion for a long time, doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Phisosophy has shown it is possible to investiagate morals, ethics, and other matters metaphysic with invoking the divine.

Still you seem to be avoiding the question. I asked, what is religion's role? You said it and we are inseparable. Are you saying that religion is merely an irremovable vestige from a more naive time?

I'd say any act involving a degree of worship is a religious act. A divinity is not common to all religions. Not all pharoahs were considered immortal, yet they were worshipped as Gods. A tribe in West Africa hailed Prince Phillip as a God when he descended from an aeroplane.

I'm not avoiding your question Barry but simply unable to give a succinct answer to such a complex question. I like your last sentence but I would remove the word 'merely' and I would point out naivity is in greater abundance today than probably anytime in the past.

One cannot simply remove religion from society, as it is enormously functional. One would need to replace it. The question is with what? Marxism? Were the consequences any different? Christianity is incredibly rhobust by comparison. I'll send you some early drafts from my book I promise. Trust me I'm a doctor!

Rincewind
06-05-2004, 10:30 PM
One cannot simply remove religion from society, as it is enormously functional. One would need to replace it. The question is with what? Marxism? Were the consequences any different? Christianity is incredibly rhobust by comparison. I'll send you some early drafts from my book I promise. Trust me I'm a doctor!

What function does it perform besides regulating birth control? (Which I think we could do a better job of without religion, BTW)

OK, send me the drafts, as long as they are not in longhand. After all you are, as you point out, a doctor. ;)

Cat
06-05-2004, 11:23 PM
What function does it perform besides regulating birth control? (Which I think we could do a better job of without religion, BTW)

OK, send me the drafts, as long as they are not in longhand. After all you are, as you point out, a doctor. ;)

Functions, wow!

Well Christian principle is intimately linked to our political system and forms the basis of our legal system.
Its the basis of western political, social and philosophical thinking.
Its deeply emeshed within our education system.
Our holidays and festivals are based around the Christian calendar.
It provides psychological support and succour for an enormous section of our community.
It has provided the basis for moral authority and organisation within our society.
It underpins many of our institutions, including our Universities and sections of our media.
It acts as a shield for many against the harsh injustices of life.
It provide security in knowing our neighbour share our cultural values, provides a sense of community, of association and trust in the values of others.
It is the main engine of charitable work in our community.
Jesus Christ acts as the archetypal role model for us all, especially our children.
The mythology and parables of Chrisitian teaching are a convenient vehicle for imparting moral principle to the next generation.
Many individuals feel good about the idea of an after-life and higher purpose in life.
It provides many of the rituals through which we can demonstrate our sense of respect and emotions, such as weddings and funerals. It provides a sense of gravitus in many important ceremonies within our society, such as Rememberance Day.

For the full list you'll have to read the book

Rincewind
07-05-2004, 12:09 AM
Well Christian principle is intimately linked to our political system and forms the basis of our legal system.
Its the basis of western political, social and philosophical thinking.
Its deeply emeshed within our education system.
Our holidays and festivals are based around the Christian calendar.
It provides psychological support and succour for an enormous section of our community.
It has provided the basis for moral authority and organisation within our society.
It underpins many of our institutions, including our Universities and sections of our media.
It acts as a shield for many against the harsh injustices of life.
It provide security in knowing our neighbour share our cultural values, provides a sense of community, of association and trust in the values of others.
It is the main engine of charitable work in our community.
Jesus Christ acts as the archetypal role model for us all, especially our children.
The mythology and parables of Chrisitian teaching are a convenient vehicle for imparting moral principle to the next generation.
Many individuals feel good about the idea of an after-life and higher purpose in life.
It provides many of the rituals through which we can demonstrate our sense of respect and emotions, such as weddings and funerals. It provides a sense of gravitus in many important ceremonies within our society, such as Rememberance Day.

None of these look like show stoppers to me. Although that could be because you have necessarily glossed over them. How about you pick the biggest couple and develop your argument a little more. In most cases it would seem religion is really superfluous to the actual function and the link you make is vestigial. In others there is some validity but you ignore the negative impact that religion has on society in these areas.

Kevin Bonham
07-05-2004, 01:11 AM
KB its time you left your 19th century philosphers behind and became acquainted with more contemporary interpretation and understanding.

We know from past debates that you are unacquainted with the first, and incapable of the second so this should be highly entertaining. :whistle:


As far as I'm concerned philosphers are distinctly in the negative ledger.

For the most part I'd agree ... and so would the man you're disparaging. :owned: In fact he was even more vehement about it than you.


The problem with Nietzche is that he couldn't accept the Universe to be big enough for 2 Gods, so he had to shoot the other one.

Nietzsche's an easy pot shot for ad hominems. But just because he was a megalomanic and melodramatic misogynist doesn't mean that everything he said is automatically false.

Kevin Bonham
07-05-2004, 01:16 AM
Ah ha, very good, but God is not dead, he lives on in you and me Barry, because no matter how much it pains you we are both products of a Christian culture.

Many Christians who portray their faith as in the minority would disagree. And in any case being products of a culture does not mean that one has to share its standards. Some even oppose their influences.

Kevin Bonham
07-05-2004, 01:21 AM
I like your last sentence but I would remove the word 'merely' and I would point out naivity is in greater abundance today than probably anytime in the past.

Your naive predeliction for rose-coloured glasses could be taken as evidence to support your claim ... but not enough to rescue it. I'd suggest humans have maintained a roughly uniform (ie very high) level of gullibility through all the ages. Maybe it is getting a little better, but if so, terribly slowly.


I'll send you some early drafts from my book I promise. Trust me I'm a doctor!

The mind boggles. :rolleyes:

Kevin Bonham
07-05-2004, 01:37 AM
Functions, wow!

Now this will be fun. You provided no evidence, so don't expect too much in turn:


Well Christian principle is intimately linked to our political system and forms the basis of our legal system.

Previously disposed of.


Its the basis of western political, social and philosophical thinking.

Not any more.


Its deeply emeshed within our education system.

Only the private part, and that regrettably.


Our holidays and festivals are based around the Christian calendar.

Some are, some aren't.


It provides psychological support and succour for an enormous section of our community.

True, but it also destroys the lives of others.


It has provided the basis for moral authority and organisation within our society.

Increasingly dubious, and the authority is bogus anyway.


It underpins many of our institutions, including our Universities and sections of our media.

Not uniquely.


It acts as a shield for many against the harsh injustices of life.

... while perpetrating or perpetuating others. (And a shield constructed out of delusion is best thrown away, unless perhaps it is the only thing that keeps someone alive).


It provide security in knowing our neighbour share our cultural values,

Neither necessarily true nor always desirable. Even "Christian" culture is diverse.


provides a sense of community, of association and trust in the values of others.

True, although it is far from the only possible source.


It is the main engine of charitable work in our community.

Ditto.


Jesus Christ acts as the archetypal role model for us all, especially our children.

Rot and overgeneralisation.


The mythology and parables of Chrisitian teaching are a convenient vehicle for imparting moral principle to the next generation.

All too convenient, given the flaws said principles contain.


Many individuals feel good about the idea of an after-life and higher purpose in life.

More fool them. Of course, if they felt good about a higher purpose through New Age beliefs you'd be blasting them as naive. :hmm:


It provides many of the rituals through which we can demonstrate our sense of respect and emotions, such as weddings and funerals.

True. Although many religious services I've been to have seemed more geared towards propaganda.


It provides a sense of gravitus in many important ceremonies within our society, such as Rememberance Day.

I think that it is the ceremony and instance celebrated itself that provide the gravitas in many of these cases, the God stuff being merely a trapping of it.

PHAT
07-05-2004, 01:52 AM
A large quote is very rare for my posts. However, this is very close to what I think God is.

"The survival value of the god meme in the meme pool results from its great psychological appeal. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The `everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies, which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture." - Richard Dawkins

However, I also assert that the brain is not a blank slate. The anatomical structure of mammalian brain tissue allows it to learn some behaviours quicker/better than others. The social bonding our species as evolved, requires behaviours that ensure a minimum of individuality. Now, since a belief in some kind of metaphysical realm is a universal trait amoung human societies - notwithstanding a few true atheist individuals - I must agree with David, that religion is not gonna be driven out of the house without a viable replacement. In fact, a denovo meme that can fill the psychological gap that religion currently fills may well be the only way to rid us of religion.

We atheists are the odd ones out. We have either found that replacement meme, or, we have a varient brain structure that has no place for unscrutinised credulity.

It frightens me to think that we may throw the baby out with the bathwater. The religion/god meme has been an important part of our history. What might happen without it? Perhaps the whole of human society would crumble in a heap of nihilism. I don't know - but I do know that religion has down massive downsides. Not least of these is the tacit social permission to sell total bullshit as truth.

Rincewind
07-05-2004, 02:03 AM
Your naive predeliction for rose-coloured glasses could be taken as evidence to support your claim ... but not enough to rescue it. I'd suggest humans have maintained a roughly uniform (ie very high) level of gullibility through all the ages. Maybe it is getting a little better, but if so, terribly slowly.

I wasn't talking about naivity of the general population, but naivity of the intelligentsia. As a society, we hope that the naivity of our intelligentsia would be in decline, wouldn't we?

(NB I'm not a big fan of the word, you can thank the Russians for that)

Rincewind
07-05-2004, 02:18 AM
It frightens me to think that we may throw the baby out with the bathwater. The religion/god meme has been an important part of our history. What might happen without it? Perhaps the whole of human society would crumble in a heap of nihilism. I don't know - but I do know that religion has down massive downsides. Not least of these is the tacit social permission to sell total bullshit as truth.

OK, Movie trivia time. Pick this quote...

Nihilists! Jesus.

PHAT
07-05-2004, 02:52 AM
OK, Movie trivia time. Pick this quote...

Nihilists! Jesus.

The Big Lebowski

And in that movie he says "Dude, where's my car?"

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:23 AM
A large quote is very rare for my posts. However, this is very close to what I think God is.

"The survival value of the god meme in the meme pool results from its great psychological appeal. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The `everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies, which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture." - Richard Dawkins

However, I also assert that the brain is not a blank slate. The anatomical structure of mammalian brain tissue allows it to learn some behaviours quicker/better than others. The social bonding our species as evolved, requires behaviours that ensure a minimum of individuality. Now, since a belief in some kind of metaphysical realm is a universal trait amoung human societies - notwithstanding a few true atheist individuals - I must agree with David, that religion is not gonna be driven out of the house without a viable replacement. In fact, a denovo meme that can fill the psychological gap that religion currently fills may well be the only way to rid us of religion.

We atheists are the odd ones out. We have either found that replacement meme, or, we have a varient brain structure that has no place for unscrutinised credulity.

It frightens me to think that we may throw the baby out with the bathwater. The religion/god meme has been an important part of our history. What might happen without it? Perhaps the whole of human society would crumble in a heap of nihilism. I don't know - but I do know that religion has down massive downsides. Not least of these is the tacit social permission to sell total bullshit as truth.

A very reasoned and intellegent discussion Matt. I'll deal with KB's diatribe latter

Alan Shore
07-05-2004, 05:34 PM
I didn't ask if you thought God was a uniquely man made. So I'll take your response as a yes.

Given that, what then is the role of religion in today's society?

I fail to see an organised religion that can claim to be 'fully correct'. I think it is merely the basis as a support based gathering and good places for social interaction for people with similar beliefs, to feel better about oneself, or, if it helps you in that way, to get closer to God.

Rincewind
07-05-2004, 07:03 PM
I fail to see an organised religion that can claim to be 'fully correct'. I think it is merely the basis as a support based gathering and good places for social interaction for people with similar beliefs, to feel better about oneself, or, if it helps you in that way, to get closer to God.

If I want to get closer to God I listen to the 9 Inch Nails. ;)

So what about when religion tell people not to use condoms in the third world with overpopulation and spiralling AIDS infection rates. Are they making people feel better about themselves?

Kevin Bonham
07-05-2004, 07:46 PM
A very reasoned and intellegent discussion Matt. I'll deal with KB's diatribe latter

I'll give you a row of :clap: s if you can do so without repeating anything I've previously razed to the ground.

Cat
07-05-2004, 10:58 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]Now this will be fun. You provided no evidence, so don't expect too much in turn:




Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other being Plato). He surveyed the whole of human knowledge as it was known in the Mediterranean world in his day.
More than any other thinker, Aristotle determined the orientation and the content of Western intellectual history. He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that through the centuries became the support and vehicle for both medieval Christian and Islamic scholastic thought: until the end of the 17th century, Western culture was Aristotelian. Even after the intellectual revolutions of centuries to follow, Aristotelian concepts and ideas remained embedded in Western thinking.

Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 2002, 14th Ed.

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:00 PM
Quote:
Our holidays and festivals are based around the Christian calendar.


Some are, some aren't.

OK, only 90%.

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:10 PM
Quote:

It provides psychological support and succour for an enormous section of our community.


True, but it also destroys the lives of others.

Portable religions enabled urbanised societies to endure increasing social injustice. Following the establishment of the European Banking System in the 12th Century, injustice and inequality grew in European society. Harsh treatment of the sick and elderly within European societies would have been unimaginable in India or China. It was Christianity that acted as a resistance against the worst excesses, and through alleviated suffering through provision of alms (McNeill & McNeill, 2001, The Human Web)

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:12 PM
Quote:
It has provided the basis for moral authority and organisation within our society.



It acts as a shield for many against the harsh injustices of life.


It provide security in knowing our neighbour share our cultural values,
McNeill & McNeill, 2001, The Human Web.

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:38 PM
Jesus Christ acts as the archetypal role model for us all, especially our children.


Rot and overgeneralisation.

Then you are unaware of the true meaning of Jesus Christ, who was indeed created by the Greeks as the Archetypal Man. This concept permeated the thinking during antiquity, and is in fact the Christian version of the many Archetypal Men who existed within Pagan mythology.

Ii-sous Xrystos (Jesus Christ or Zeus-wight Personified / Crystallised) was the personification of the logos, a concept logical and correct thought developed from Aristotle's Logic . At the Nag Hammadi library in Egypt the oldest Gnostic Christian writings were discovered during the 1940's. Alongside 45 Gnostic Texts, 15 Hermetic Texts were also discovered. The parallels between the Hermetic and Gnostic Texts were striking. The God Hermes originates from Egypt, but in Greek Hermeticism he is the seat of wisdom. Son of Zeus (mother Myra, which is also the name of Buddha's mother), Hermes is also referred to as 'The Good Shepherd', or 'Shepherd-Man'. The Christian crucifixion and resurrection is a symbolic representation of the death of the various Pagan 'Archetypical Men' and the resurrection of the new Xrystos, the personification of the logos.

references;

1. Dr Stephen Hoeller, The Gnostic Library, California.
2. Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 2002, 14th Ed.
3. The Nag Hammadi Library.

Cat
07-05-2004, 11:47 PM
The mythology and parables of Chrisitian teaching are a convenient vehicle for imparting moral principle to the next generation.


All too convenient, given the flaws said principles contain.

It's the greatest story ever told, the most popular book world-wild, and given it was written 1600 years ago with a fair amount of political tinkering, it hasn't done too bad. Remember literacy rates were less than 5% at the time, these are some of the European attempts at codified moral teaching. Some ideas were so important within society, they needed to be protected, given higher status. They were pretty clever.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 12:08 AM
Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, one of the two greatest intellectual figures produced by the Greeks (the other being Plato).

One day he's dissing philosophers and the next day he's worshipping one. :rolleyes:


More than any other thinker, Aristotle determined the orientation and the content of Western intellectual history. He was the author of a philosophical and scientific system that through the centuries became the support and vehicle for both medieval Christian and Islamic scholastic thought: until the end of the 17th century, Western culture was Aristotelian. Even after the intellectual revolutions of centuries to follow, Aristotelian concepts and ideas remained embedded in Western thinking.

And this has precisely what to do with the topic at hand?

(Holidays and festivals)

OK, only 90%.

Unless you're counting every Sunday as a holiday (I would call it a weekend given how few people use it for religious purposes these days) then let's look at the roll call.

National holidays: New Year's Day (OK it's a semi-Christian-semi-Roman-calendar based holiday, still not exactly a religious one), Good Friday and Easter Monday (semi-Christian, semi-pagan), Anzac Day (war remembrance), Queens Birthday (political), Christmas (partly Christian, partly pagan and mostly just plain commercial), Boxing Day (well it is the day after Christmas but seems to be mostly about alcohol and sport). As for festivals, a lot of the mass festivals these days are thoroughly secular too, though I believe the Mardi Gras does buck this trend by including the odd Christian group. :uhoh:


Portable religions enabled urbanised societies to endure increasing social injustice. Following the establishment of the European Banking System in the 12th Century, injustice and inequality grew in European society. Harsh treatment of the sick and elderly within European societies would have been unimaginable in India or China. It was Christianity that acted as a resistance against the worst excesses, and through alleviated suffering through provision of alms (McNeill & McNeill, 2001, The Human Web)

Didn't address the point you posted it in reply to, which was that religion can also be destructive towards quality of life for some.


McNeill & McNeill, 2001, The Human Web.

Quoting one sociological source doesn't make it true. Academics are not immune to overgeneralisation. And if they were direct quotes you should have cited them as such the first time; if not, well ... you know the high opinion I have of your skills in paraphrasing ... :hmm:


Then you are unaware of the true meaning of Jesus Christ, who was indeed created by the Greeks as the Archetypal Man.

I am unsure of the veracity of what you say (interesting though it is), but in any case it is irrelevant. If I declare that Jose Escribano is the Archetypal Man, does that mean he suddenly becomes "the archetypal role model for us all"? No, it means he becomes the archetypal role model for anyone fool enough to agree with me.

Rincewind
08-05-2004, 12:22 AM
OK, only 90%.

In Australia we have

New Years Day - Secular
Australia Day - Secular
Good Friday - Christian
Easter Monday - Christian
ANZAC Day - Secular
Queens Bday - Secular
Labour Day - Secular
Christmas Day - Christian
Boxing Day - I'll call this Christian as it ties with xmas.

Anway that is 44% Christian, 56% Secular.

And of that 44%, it was the Christians who adopted pagan feastival dates and symbolisms to assist with proselytising the pagan Europeans.

The date of Christmas as December 25 was chosen to tie in with the pagan Midwinter feast. The tree, mistletoe and holly symbolisms are traceable to pagan traditions.

Easter is better for getting the date right, but it does tie in nicely with pagan spring and fertility feasts so there was no motivation to shift. The egg and rabbit symbologies are obviously related to pagan fertility rituals.

So on the holiday score you are batting 44% and they have so much pagan influence that they can easily be celebrated without reference to christianity at all. (At least, that's what happens at my place and I'm sure many others too.) ;)

PHAT
08-05-2004, 12:39 AM
Unless you're counting every Sunday as a holiday (I would call it a weekend given how few people use it for religious purposes these days) then let's look at the roll call.

National holidays: New Year's Day (OK it's a semi-Christian-semi-Roman-calendar based holiday, still not exactly a religious one), Good Friday and Easter Monday (semi-Christian, semi-pagan), Anzac Day (war remembrance), Queens Birthday (political), Christmas (partly Christian, partly pagan and mostly just plain commercial), Boxing Day (well it is the day after Christmas but seems to be mostly about alcohol and sport). As for festivals, a lot of the mass festivals these days are thoroughly secular too, though I believe the Mardi Gras does buck this trend by including the odd Christian group. :uhoh:

You have dismissed DR's point by showing how some formally religous days have been corrupted by current (and past) secular society. Let me say, I know that I live in a small 'C' christian society and am glad to be a member. Your general dismissiveness of the importance of christianity as one of the wobbly legs of western civilisation, shows how shallowly you understand compexity and interdependance in society. (Perhaps that is why you are CBC.)

I have no time time for the stupidity of faith, and the self deception that it requires. However, I also have no time for those who refuse to acknowledge the importance of a factor because they do not like it.

PHAT
08-05-2004, 12:48 AM
In Australia we have

New Years Day - Secular
Australia Day - Secular
Good Friday - Christian
Easter Monday - Christian
ANZAC Day - Secular
Queens Bday - Secular
Labour Day - Secular
Christmas Day - Christian
Boxing Day - I'll call this Christian as it ties with xmas.

Anway that is 44% Christian, 56% Secular.



As KB noted Sundays are also christian - 52 of them. The concept of the 7th day ofrest is important to our culture - it now is part of the weekend. Surely this rest day idea is an important christian legacy. Other religions have their version of rest days too. It is likely, then, that even without christianity, we would have found some other way to grant ourselves day of rest. Nevertheless, christianity can take credit for our Sundays.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 12:53 AM
Oh no, there's more! This doesn't actually increase your post count, Dave. I don't think I've ever seen someone reply to one post in so many bits (OK I made four posts in a row last night but they were replies to four different posts.)


Some ideas were so important within society, they needed to be protected, given higher status.

Which raises the question of why the Bible propped commonsense and important standards (like that killing people generally isn't the nicest of things to do) alongside far more divisive and questionable imperatives. I mean, look at the Ten Commandments - whichever version you've got, it's got more fillers than a bimbo-pop album (if it's the survival of society itself you're talking about.) The single and a b-side or three would have done the trick nicely. :p

eclectic
08-05-2004, 01:00 AM
As KB noted Sundays are also christian - 52 of them. The concept of the 7th day ofrest is important to our culture - it now is part of the weekend. Surely this rest day idea is an important christian legacy. Other religions have their version of rest days too. It is likely, then, that even without christianity, we would have found some other way to grant ourselves day of rest. Nevertheless, christianity can take credit for our Sundays.

and how many of the so called "christian" feasts/festivals mentioned by barry have been "appropriated" from pagan?/secular? sources ?

:hmm:

eclectic

Rincewind
08-05-2004, 01:36 AM
As KB noted Sundays are also christian - 52 of them. The concept of the 7th day ofrest is important to our culture - it now is part of the weekend. Surely this rest day idea is an important christian legacy. Other religions have their version of rest days too. It is likely, then, that even without christianity, we would have found some other way to grant ourselves day of rest. Nevertheless, christianity can take credit for our Sundays.

They're offset by 52 Saturdays, aren't they?

PHAT
08-05-2004, 01:55 AM
They're offset by 52 Saturdays, aren't they?

Yes, but only if it is a competition - which I do not see it being.

I only said that small 'C' christianity has played a large part in shaping our culture. Further, while such infulence has pros and cons, we as atheists must be mindful that religion cannot be removed without a solid ethos/meme/ism/code to replace it.

Rincewind
08-05-2004, 02:27 AM
Yes, but only if it is a competition - which I do not see it being.

I only said that small 'C' christianity has played a large part in shaping our culture. Further, while such infulence has pros and cons, we as atheists must be mindful that religion cannot be removed without a solid ethos/meme/ism/code to replace it.

If were looking as a reason to keep religion is because our calendar give people days off based on christian holidays and youre including Sunday as a holiday. Then you have to include Saturday as a secular holiday.

So Christian holidays are 52 + 4 = 56
Secular Holidays are 52 + 5 = 57

So the numbers are pretty close to 50/50

However given the pagan symbolism and times of most "christian" festivals and declining church attendences are weekly services, does religion serve a role in regulating or celebrating these holidays in todays society?

I see the holiday argument as flimsy. The abolishment of religion would not suddenly cause a collapse of weekend and holiday celebration. People would simply continue as they are currently.

Remember the question is the role of religion, no the legacy of religion.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 02:59 AM
You have dismissed DR's point by showing how some formally religous days have been corrupted by current (and past) secular society.

Oy! Other way round - DR was talking about Christian holidays, and the Christians grafted those onto existing pagan celebrations and tried (only partly successfully) to supplant the pre-existing mythos of each with their own. Do you think either Easter or Christmas would have had the slightest interest to most of any society if all we did on them was sit around thinking about Jesus?


Your general dismissiveness of the importance of christianity as one of the wobbly legs of western civilisation, [non sequitur deleted]

Oh, I'm not dismissing its impact entirely and you know it. I'm just saying it shouldn't be exaggerated, oversimplified or overgeneralised, and nor should its massive downside be whitewashed or written off as due to external forces in the same sentence as taking credit for "acheivements" it was peripheral to. Even more importantly, political Christian claims about distinctly Christian morality being necessary to the "fabric of our society" should always be treated with extreme scepticism. Such warnings have a very poor empirical track record.


(Perhaps that is why you are CBC.)

No, I'm CBC because I'm not interested in having children. :doh:


However, I also have no time for those who refuse to acknowledge the importance of a factor because they do not like it.

You saying that I underestimate it doesn't make it so.

And I can think of plenty of factors that you dismiss out of hand because you don't like them.

Online civility for instance. :rolleyes:

By the way, your first post back was a classic. :clap:

PHAT
08-05-2004, 11:52 AM
Oh, I'm not dismissing its impact entirely and you know it. I'm just saying it shouldn't be exaggerated, oversimplified or overgeneralised, and nor should its massive downside be whitewashed or written off as due to external forces


I am saying the same - don't exaggerate, oversimplify, or overgeneralise.

It may seem as if the following is arguing against myself but it isn't. The whole thread could have the words "Chistianity" and "God" with "Islam" and "Alah." The basic arguments would be the same. Perhaps we would have been better starting with the question, "The Gods Must Be Comedians."

I put to you the general thesis that, religion (in our case, christianity) plays a centrol role in society. For better and for worse, it is central to stability. I take this as self evident. An attempt to quantify the relative importance of religion (christianity) in the structure and function of society is impossible. It is a bit like attemping to rank the liver, kidneys, spinal cord and skin in importance for staying alive.

What I am saying is that before we conduct an ectomy, we had better make sure the bit is not vital, or at the least, have a donor bit on hand.

Cat
08-05-2004, 02:48 PM
[QUOTE=Kevin Bonham]One day he's dissing philosophers and the next day he's worshipping one.



And this has precisely what to do with the topic at hand?

Those are not my words KB, they were cut & pasted directly out of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Maybe you should write and tell them to stop worshipping ancient philosophers? The point was to illistrate how much Christian orthodoxy underpins our culture and society.


(Holidays and festivals)


Unless you're counting every Sunday as a holiday (I would call it a weekend given how few people use it for religious purposes these days) then let's look at the roll call.

National holidays: New Year's Day (OK it's a semi-Christian-semi-Roman-calendar based holiday, still not exactly a religious one), Good Friday and Easter Monday (semi-Christian, semi-pagan), Anzac Day (war remembrance), Queens Birthday (political), Christmas (partly Christian, partly pagan and mostly just plain commercial), Boxing Day (well it is the day after Christmas but seems to be mostly about alcohol and sport). As for festivals, a lot of the mass festivals these days are thoroughly secular too, though I believe the Mardi Gras does buck this trend by including the odd Christian group. :uhoh:

A facile argument, but yes ok I'll include the 52 Sundays of the year - there, my point is won.



Didn't address the point you posted it in reply to, which was that religion can also be destructive towards quality of life for some.

Of course, but you misunderstand completely the context in which this occurs. Quite simply the destruction comes from political and military might. Religion has been one of man's many attempts to butress this destructiveness. Christianity developed from Greek philosophical principles in an attempt to improve social behaviour and enhance stability within society. One of the remarkable things about this period was that (relatively) the Greek scholars enjoyed intellectual freedom in order to pursue discovery. From Pythagoras (600 AD) through to Plato and Aristotle they were able to pioneer proto-type universities, such as Aristotles Lyceum. One has to place this in the context of the endless bloodshed that permeated early urban societies. Plato said 'only the dead will know the end of war'..

Gnosis means knowledge and it Gnostic Christianity was an attempt to turn the accumulated knowledge of the Greek schools of science and philosophy into a new mythology of value to future communities. The concept of the esoteric (a scholastic body of work) and the exoteric (for common consumption) was widespread in ancient societies. Therefore in Judaism one has the kabbalah for the esoteric, the rabbi and the learned men and the torah for the populous. It was political domination from Rome coupled with violent persecution that eventually led to the many of the distortions one may identify in the modern bible.

Europe was plunged into a dark age for over 500 years as a result of political oppression mediated through religious doctrine (and the sword) but ultimately it was the monasteries through the establishment of libraries and then universities, that laid the foundation for recovery. Religion was the only vehicle for the spread of literacy.

That the industrial revolution occured in Europe, not eslewhere, was due to the intellectual freedom enjoyed within the uniquely European universities. The parallels between the intellectual freedom enjoyed in Europe from the 17th century and that experienced by the Greek scholars is remarkable in that in these 2 eras, so many ideas and writings have led to inspirational advancement, unlike any other time in European history.

So the real enemy of mankind is political power and military might. Just as they force and manipulation every other sphere of human existence into submission, so too religion succumbs. As Mao Zedong said 'power comes from the barrel of a gun'.


Quoting one sociological source doesn't make it true. Academics are not immune to overgeneralisation. And if they were direct quotes you should have cited them as such the first time; if not, well ... you know the high opinion I have of your skills in paraphrasing ... :hmm:

Well the bits from the Encyclopaedia Britannica were cut and pasted KB. Professor McNeill & McNeill are father & son professors at Chicago & Georgetown Universities. The Human Web is simply a synopsis of the development of human communication. It is neither eclectic nor controversial. The essence of what I have related comes from mainstream Historical opinion. Your criticism of it KB in no way invalidates it. If it sits uncomfortably with your prejudices, I suggest you read it for yourself.


I am unsure of the veracity of what you say (interesting though it is), but in any case it is irrelevant. If I declare that Jose Escribano is the Archetypal Man, does that mean he suddenly becomes "the archetypal role model for us all"? No, it means he becomes the archetypal role model for anyone fool enough to agree with me.

The ancient Greeks were even cleverer than you KB, so they would never have made that kind of error.

Cat
08-05-2004, 02:56 PM
In Australia we have

New Years Day - Secular
Australia Day - Secular
Good Friday - Christian
Easter Monday - Christian
ANZAC Day - Secular
Queens Bday - Secular
Labour Day - Secular
Christmas Day - Christian
Boxing Day - I'll call this Christian as it ties with xmas.

Anway that is 44% Christian, 56% Secular.

And of that 44%, it was the Christians who adopted pagan feastival dates and symbolisms to assist with proselytising the pagan Europeans.

The date of Christmas as December 25 was chosen to tie in with the pagan Midwinter feast. The tree, mistletoe and holly symbolisms are traceable to pagan traditions.

Easter is better for getting the date right, but it does tie in nicely with pagan spring and fertility feasts so there was no motivation to shift. The egg and rabbit symbologies are obviously related to pagan fertility rituals.

So on the holiday score you are batting 44% and they have so much pagan influence that they can easily be celebrated without reference to christianity at all. (At least, that's what happens at my place and I'm sure many others too.) ;)

Tut, tut and I thought you were good at maths. As Matt says you've forgotten the 52 Sundays - I'd put New Years day in the Christian pile too. 5/9 BJC

Cat
08-05-2004, 02:58 PM
If were looking as a reason to keep religion is because our calendar give people days off based on christian holidays and youre including Sunday as a holiday. Then you have to include Saturday as a secular holiday.

So Christian holidays are 52 + 4 = 56
Secular Holidays are 52 + 5 = 57

So the numbers are pretty close to 50/50

However given the pagan symbolism and times of most "christian" festivals and declining church attendences are weekly services, does religion serve a role in regulating or celebrating these holidays in todays society?

I see the holiday argument as flimsy. The abolishment of religion would not suddenly cause a collapse of weekend and holiday celebration. People would simply continue as they are currently.

Remember the question is the role of religion, no the legacy of religion.

Most of us work on Saturday Barry, you lazy boogar!

Cat
08-05-2004, 03:01 PM
and how many of the so called "christian" feasts/festivals mentioned by barry have been "appropriated" from pagan?/secular? sources ?

:hmm:

eclectic

A pointless distinction in that Christianity evolved from and retains the remnants of Pagan belief.

Cat
08-05-2004, 03:04 PM
I am saying the same - don't exaggerate, oversimplify, or overgeneralise.

It may seem as if the following is arguing against myself but it isn't. The whole thread could have the words "Chistianity" and "God" with "Islam" and "Alah." The basic arguments would be the same. Perhaps we would have been better starting with the question, "The Gods Must Be Comedians."

I put to you the general thesis that, religion (in our case, christianity) plays a centrol role in society. For better and for worse, it is central to stability. I take this as self evident. An attempt to quantify the relative importance of religion (christianity) in the structure and function of society is impossible. It is a bit like attemping to rank the liver, kidneys, spinal cord and skin in importance for staying alive.

What I am saying is that before we conduct an ectomy, we had better make sure the bit is not vital, or at the least, have a donor bit on hand.

If only we had more Neanderthal half-breeds, we could get things done in the world.

Rincewind
08-05-2004, 03:33 PM
Most of us work on Saturday Barry, you lazy boogar!

Not all of us are that money hungry. ;)

Besides, if most of us did work on Saturdays then weekenders would be very poorly attended.

PHAT
08-05-2004, 05:09 PM
Not all of us are that money hungry. ;)

Besides, if most of us did work on Saturdays then weekenders would be very poorly attended.

So, we will see you at the Commonman ;)

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 05:24 PM
I put to you the general thesis that, religion (in our case, christianity) plays a centrol role in society.

In the case of western society I am no longer fully convinced. Only a small proportion of the population are actively religious in a Christian fashion, the remainder being either anti-religious, differently religious or paying religion lip service. Religion is one of the possible supposed sources for a degree of forebearance that is necessary to social cohesion (eg that people do not, by and large, murder or steal for little or no reason) but there are so many other sources that I am not convinced it is a central source anymore. I suppose it depends on just how central you consider to be "central".


For better and for worse, it is central to stability. I take this as self evident. An attempt to quantify the relative importance of religion (christianity) in the structure and function of society is impossible. It is a bit like attemping to rank the liver, kidneys, spinal cord and skin in importance for staying alive.

I'm a bit sceptical because these organs generally have unique and highly differentiated functions - whereas many of the functions performed by religion in maintaining social order are available to a large degree elsewhere (albeit not all in the same alternative institution). Suppose that everybody who currently believes in religion in a Western society ceased doing so - not overnight but gradually over a period of years, in the way that some people lose their faith naturally anyway. Would social order collapse? I see no reason to believe it would.

arosar
08-05-2004, 05:46 PM
. . . .but there are so many other sources . . .

Like? Can you identify half a dozen?

AR

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 05:57 PM
Those are not my words KB, they were cut & pasted directly out of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Maybe you should write and tell them to stop worshipping ancient philosophers? The point was to illistrate how much Christian orthodoxy underpins our culture and society.

But Aristotle was not a Christian, the credit (if any) should be his and not theirs. And I was not disputing their comments about his significance - I was pointing out your inconsistency in dissing philosophers one day then using a quote about the centrality of Aristotle to support your case the next.


A facile argument, but yes ok I'll include the 52 Sundays of the year - there, my point is won.

No, for a significant proportion of the population Saturday is a holiday too, while Sunday is not a universal holiday. Even if you could claim it as wholly religious (which I'd suggest it isn't anywhere near) you still can't claim Sunday and not Saturday, so again, you're wrong. And I don't think the average Sunday fits the general definition of "holiday" anyway.


Of course, but you misunderstand completely the context in which this occurs. Quite simply the destruction comes from political and military might.

"Oh I'm sorry Mr X, your child wasn't abused because of anything to do with us and our artificial views of human sexual nature and totalitarian power structures. He was abused through a process of political and military might which we have been one of many attempts to butress". Yeah, right.

Many forms of religion are aggressively political, militarily so in cases. If religion in general was truly antipolitical and antimilitary it would get its hands off the State. Rather, the tendency of religious figures in the Western world to see themselves as an intrinsic part of the political scene appears, if anything, to be growing.


That the industrial revolution occured in Europe, not eslewhere, was due to the intellectual freedom enjoyed within the uniquely European universities.

What's your source and what's their evidence? I thought the causes of the industrial revolution and its failure to occur elsewhere were still very much open to debate.


Well the bits from the Encyclopaedia Britannica were cut and pasted KB. Professor McNeill & McNeill are father & son professors at Chicago & Georgetown Universities.

I was asking about the latter. Were the three bits you requoted then put that source below cut-and-pastes or your summaries? .


The essence of what I have related comes from mainstream Historical opinion.

I'm not remotely inclined to accept that everything you say is "mainstream Historical opinion" just because you claim that it is. You've cut too many corners in the past.


The ancient Greeks were even cleverer than you KB, so they would never have made that kind of error.

So? I wouldn't make it either.

Actually I doubt they would have been so dumb as to word things in the unqualified and empirically false manner that you cast it, but that aside, FWIW, being clever doesn't automatically make anyone immune from error. The point still has to be established. In many fields, Ancient Greek thought, vast improvement though it was on much that went before, has still been almost completely invalidated.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 06:10 PM
Like? Can you identify half a dozen?

Fear of prosecution
Fear of revenge
Fear of exposure and social opprobrium
Moral aversion not dependent on religion (eg "objective" moral philosophies)
Subjective altruism or empathy

I'm sure there's others, but that's five for starters. Time you went metric. :lol:

Rincewind
08-05-2004, 06:35 PM
Fear of prosecution
Fear of revenge
Fear of exposure and social opprobrium
Moral aversion not dependent on religion (eg "objective" moral philosophies)
Subjective altruism or empathy

I'm sure there's others, but that's five for starters. Time you went metric. :lol:

What about social conditioning - or is that a suppressed form of (1) - (3) above?

Trent Parker
08-05-2004, 07:24 PM
of course god has a sense of humour. He created laughter.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 07:25 PM
What about social conditioning - or is that a suppressed form of (1) - (3) above?

Tends to act through 3, 4 and 5 (and sometimes even through the r-word as well) but probably has some independent significance too.

PHAT
08-05-2004, 07:26 PM
Only a small proportion of the population are actively religious in a Christian fashion, the remainder being either anti-religious, differently religious or paying religion lip service.

But this does not stay anything about the proportion of the population who have one shy eye on heaven. Notwithstanding that I agree with what you say (above), the vast majority of the population do feel guilt for breaching christian rules. Inasmuch as guilt can effect behaviour, christianity effects our culture.


Suppose that everybody who currently believes in religion in a Western society ceased doing so - not overnight but gradually over a period of years, in the way that some people lose their faith naturally anyway. Would social order collapse? I see no reason to believe it would.

You astound me. You rarely see anything as a whole big picture. You want data to justify everything, else you don't "see" it. Social Order can collapse when the power grid fails, or when US Forces give the nod, or HIV kills 80% of the productive population. It astounds me that you cannot take a set of similar anchdotes and see a pattern and hypothesise. FMD, if you cannot see that a generational change in our personal social philosophies runs the risk of social collapse, you are in serious jepardy of being called dense.

Kevin Bonham
08-05-2004, 09:19 PM
But this does not stay anything about the proportion of the population who have one shy eye on heaven.

Indeed it doesn't. Got any evidence on that? And aren't you confusing religion with belief in God? A person can believe in a God of sorts without being religious.


Notwithstanding that I agree with what you say (above), the vast majority of the population do feel guilt for breaching christian rules.

Not all of them. Most people take the Lord's name in vain without a second thought, for example. And while most people would feel guilt if/when they breached some Christian rules in many circumstances, that guilt isn't necessarily religious in origin.


You astound me. You rarely see anything as a whole big picture. You want data to justify everything, else you don't "see" it.

Being part of a bigger picture doesn't make something impervious to rational examination, does it? Show me the evidence, or even a half-convincing theoretical argument - I'm not going to believe something just because of some creaky old pile of holistic assertions.


Social Order can collapse when the power grid fails, or when US Forces give the nod, or HIV kills 80% of the productive population.

The first is rather overstated. People manage surprisingly well and peacefully in such circumstances IIRC (eg from the Auckland collapse). But in any case you can list any number of disasters that we know cause social collapse. Their impacts are often documented, massive and brutal. I don't see any parallel here.


It astounds me that you cannot take a set of similar anchdotes and see a pattern and hypothesise.

I see no truly similar anecdotes and no pattern and I hypothesise that scaremongering is being used as a substitute for rational debate.

If a complex system includes a range of generalist institutions and reinforcing mechanisms with a lot of overlap in roles, why should it collapse if one of those disappears? Does this strike you as normal behaviour in any remotely robust system? To throw my own woolly analogy into the mix, it's like expecting an entire ecosystem to collapse because one common generalist species with no unique ecological roles snuffs it.


FMD, if you cannot see that a generational change in our personal social philosophies runs the risk of social collapse, you are in serious jepardy of being called dense.

I'm afraid that mindless insults won't intimidate me out of expecting that closet-conservative cliches be examined rather than accepted without debate.
In a post-chaos-theory world I can accept that anything carries a nominal risk of causing social collapse. Beyond that, you'll have to do so much better than that.

Cat
08-05-2004, 11:53 PM
Gee KB, you'll be complaining I'm not using the Havard Referencing System next. This is a bulletin board after all!! But look if you want more references, apart from the McNeill Professors, you could read our own Geoffrey Blainey, Jared Diamond, David Landes. What exactly are you having trouble accepting? I'll try and give you a more specific reference.

As for what would happen if religion disappeared, the simple answer to that is it can't because it is a quintessential human trait. As Gibbon pointed out when one supernatural belief system collapses another arises in its place. That's the lesson of history and Gibbon should know.

You can see that phenomenon in recent practice in the Soviet Union and Communist China, supernatural belief didn't disappear simply because Lenin or Mao decreed so - it flourished, couvertly and then ouvertly. There are now 100 million Christians in China (30 million by official estimates), which is the fastest growing Christian community in the world.

As Matt says, any attempts to exclude religious belief from sections of the community, as the French are attempting to do, simply undermines the social fabric of the community. What does it matter what someone chooses to believe as long as they are good, socially responsible members of that community. Religion is simply a codified set of ethical principles protected by sacred laws to be handed down from one generation to the next in order to sustain social cohesion. The portable religions that survive today are the ones that have proven to be the fittest. To have any plans to replace them you have to understand them and their function.

Another graphic illustration of the consequences of the demise of orthodox religious belief is the rise of fundamentalism. If religious leaders had demonstrated greater intellegence and backbone in the years of social revolution, it would have possibly acted as a restraint on the rise of fundamentalism.

Cat
09-05-2004, 12:03 AM
But Aristotle was not a Christian, the credit (if any) should be his and not theirs. And I was not disputing their comments about his significance - I was pointing out your inconsistency in dissing philosophers one day then using a quote about the centrality of Aristotle to support your case the next.

Plato and Aristotle were the authors of Christianity. This is from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

In theology the differences between early Christians, Gnostics (members—often Christian—of dualistic sects of the 2nd century AD), and pagan Hermetists were slight. In the large Gnostic library discovered at Naj'Hammadi, in upper Egypt, in 1945, Hermetic writings were found sideby-side with Christian Gnostic texts. The doctrine of the soul taught in Gnostic communities was almost identical to that taught in the mysteries: the soul emanated from the Father, fell into the body, and had to return to its former home. The Greeks interpreted the national religions of the Greek Orient chiefly in terms of Plato's philosophical and religious concepts. Interpretation in Platonic concepts was also the means by which the Judeo-Christian set of creeds was thoroughly assimilated to Greek ideas by the early Christian thinkers Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Thus, the religions had a common conceptual framework. The doctrinal similarity is exemplified in the case of the pagan writer and philosopher Synesius. The people of Cyrene selected him as the most able man of the city to be their bishop, and he was able to accept the election without sacrificing his intellectual honesty. In his pagan period he wrote hymns that closely follow the fire theology of the Chaldean Oracles; later he wrote hymns to Christ. The doctrine is almost identical.
The similarity of the religious vocabulary is also great. Greek life was characterized by such things as democratic institutions, seafaring, gymnasium and athletic games, theatre, and philosophy. The mystery religions adopted many expressions from these domains: they spoke of the assembly (ekklesia) of the mystai; the voyage of life; the ship, the anchor, and the port of religion; and the wreath of the initiate; life was a stage and man the actor. The Christians took over the entire terminology; but many pagan words were strangely twisted in order to fit into the Christian world: the service of the state (leitourgia) became the ritual, or liturgy, of the church; the decree of the assembly and the opinions of the philosophers (dogma) became the fixed doctrine of Christianity; the correct opinion (orthe doxa) about things became orthodoxy.

I personally (from other redings) believe Aristotle to have been of greater influence than Plato, but this is a small point.

Alan Shore
09-05-2004, 12:32 AM
The Greeks interpreted the national religions of the Greek Orient chiefly in terms of Plato's philosophical and religious concepts. Interpretation in Platonic concepts was also the means by which the Judeo-Christian set of creeds was thoroughly assimilated to Greek ideas by the early Christian thinkers Clement of Alexandria and Origen. Thus, the religions had a common conceptual framework.

I can't agree completely with this - it's my contention there was a dichotomous evolution of ideals that came together sometime after early Christians and I would deny the two necessarily had common conceptual framework, based upon the nature of ancient Greek religion.

Secondly, to even use the phrase 'Judeo-Christian' is a misnomer and to write of it as a tradition combining these terms is quite simply fallacious, if one knows history of the evolution of Judaism or of early Christianity itself.


The doctrinal similarity is exemplified in the case of the pagan writer and philosopher Synesius. The people of Cyrene selected him as the most able man of the city to be their bishop, and he was able to accept the election without sacrificing his intellectual honesty. In his pagan period he wrote hymns that closely follow the fire theology of the Chaldean Oracles; later he wrote hymns to Christ. The doctrine is almost identical.
The similarity of the religious vocabulary is also great. Greek life was characterized by such things as democratic institutions, seafaring, gymnasium and athletic games, theatre, and philosophy. The mystery religions adopted many expressions from these domains: they spoke of the assembly (ekklesia) of the mystai; the voyage of life; the ship, the anchor, and the port of religion; and the wreath of the initiate; life was a stage and man the actor. The Christians took over the entire terminology; but many pagan words were strangely twisted in order to fit into the Christian world: the service of the state (leitourgia) became the ritual, or liturgy, of the church; the decree of the assembly and the opinions of the philosophers (dogma) became the fixed doctrine of Christianity; the correct opinion (orthe doxa) about things became orthodoxy.[/I]


This however I do agree with, particularly in the shaping of Christianity and its philosophical ideals quite some time after the inception of the Church - however I wouldn't go as far as this author in attributing its roots to Greek philosophy, for the epistles of Paul are still the largest basis for Christian morals.

PHAT
09-05-2004, 10:50 AM
If a complex system includes a range of generalist institutions and reinforcing mechanisms with a lot of overlap in roles, why should it collapse if one of those disappears?

I have not said it "should", I say it might. For you to deliberately discount the possiblity betreys a desparation to negate religion as a major factor in determining the stability/longevity of a culture.


Does this strike you as normal behaviour in any remotely robust system? To throw my own woolly analogy into the mix, it's like expecting an entire ecosystem to collapse because one common generalist species with no unique ecological roles snuffs it.

Here again, you fail to "see" the general principles and apply them to human society. The robustness of a system comes almost exclusively from its modification in responce to destabilising factors - its evolution. Contempory western culture is the newest of new kids on the block. It remains untested by disaster. Although, it has staggered and stayed on its feet following the introduction of the contraceptive pill, indicting that it is not fragile. Question: Given that experimental removal of religion does not worry you, what social experiment wouldn't you allow to proceed?



Overall, I think you need to broarden your horizons. It seems that both DR and I have read the likes of Landes, Diamond, Robert Lacey, Mark Buchanan et cetera. This means that we both find discusions like this with you are like trying to explain the doctrine of the separation of powers to a three-year-old. :wall: You have plenty of logic but insufficient knowledge to apply it in a practical way.

Cat
09-05-2004, 12:05 PM
I can't agree completely with this - it's my contention there was a dichotomous evolution of ideals that came together sometime after early Christians and I would deny the two necessarily had common conceptual framework, based upon the nature of ancient Greek religion.

Secondly, to even use the phrase 'Judeo-Christian' is a misnomer and to write of it as a tradition combining these terms is quite simply fallacious, if one knows history of the evolution of Judaism or of early Christianity itself.


.

I suggest you send your views to the Encylopeadia then Bruce. But if you visit The Gnostic Library there are web lectures presented by Dr Stephen Hoeller you might find interesting

Alan Shore
09-05-2004, 06:11 PM
I suggest you send your views to the Encylopeadia then Bruce. But if you visit The Gnostic Library there are web lectures presented by Dr Stephen Hoeller you might find interesting

Just because it's presented in encyclopaedia is no indication it is necessarily fact. The author has simply presented his opinions based on his own research, having done my own research I can't completely agree - there are more often than not many varying opinions even in learned professors in academic circles, as I'm sure you would be well aware. It's still an interesting take though and always great to see new ideas about things.

PHAT
09-05-2004, 06:26 PM
Just because it's presented in encyclopaedia is no indication it is necessarily fact.

True. However, Britanica is a trusted source for general info. They take care to present the consenus paradigms current knowledge. Of course there are always going to be changes in understanding. However, the general trust of nearly all Britanica entries are on the money - after all that is how and why it is concidered, relatively, a very reputable source.

Cat
09-05-2004, 11:47 PM
I can't agree completely with this - it's my contention there was a dichotomous evolution of ideals that came together sometime after early Christians and I would deny the two necessarily had common conceptual framework, based upon the nature of ancient Greek religion.


Communication between regions and different cultures was enormous even in those times. All the objective evidence suggests that beliefs in (for example) Hindu or Buddhist religions cross-pollinated other cultural beliefs.

Looking at the evidence critically, how else does one explain the presence of Hermetic & Gnostic Christian texts lying side by side in the Nag Hammadi library, undisturbed for about 1800 years if not by the logical deduction that they evolved commonly within a common culture? Especially when the nature of the writings also display commonality. Sure you can argue for different origins, but it's hardly convincing.

Cat
09-05-2004, 11:57 PM
Just because it's presented in encyclopaedia is no indication it is necessarily fact. The author has simply presented his opinions based on his own research, having done my own research I can't completely agree - there are more often than not many varying opinions even in learned professors in academic circles, as I'm sure you would be well aware. It's still an interesting take though and always great to see new ideas about things.

You know, I often wonder why I'm so distrusted on this BB. As far as I can see, I'm about the only poster to have referenced anything, and even when I quote verbatum from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it's suggested that the information maybe dodgy. Why doesn't anybody else get this kind of scrutiny 'round here? What have I ever done to upset anyone??

Kevin Bonham
10-05-2004, 03:10 AM
Gee KB, you'll be complaining I'm not using the Havard Referencing System next. This is a bulletin board after all!! But look if you want more references, apart from the McNeill Professors, you could read our own Geoffrey Blainey, Jared Diamond, David Landes. What exactly are you having trouble accepting?

That your comments are an absolutely correct summary of what external sources have said, in the absence of any evidence that they are, on the grounds of your past (and present, see bottom of post) track record. :D


As for what would happen if religion disappeared, the simple answer to that is it can't because it is a quintessential human trait. As Gibbon pointed out when one supernatural belief system collapses another arises in its place. That's the lesson of history and Gibbon should know.

No, it's the experience of the past in a world that is constantly transforming in important ways, meaning that past data is not necessarily applicable to predicting the future. For instance if (as I hinted at earlier) a more developed scientific system increases the chance of a person chucking religion altogether rather than keeping one faith or jumping between more than one, then there is at least a possibility of religion disappearing through time. Personally, I consider this rather unlikely, or at least think that if it does disappear it will take several thousand years to do so.

In any case, I'm more interested in arguing the point about whether the demise of religion in a short space of time (if this was somehow possible) would cause social catastrophe.


You can see that phenomenon in recent practice in the Soviet Union and Communist China, supernatural belief didn't disappear simply because Lenin or Mao decreed so - it flourished, couvertly and then ouvertly.

Well, naturally - forceful repression is one way to make anything look more attractive than it otherwise would and I expect that after a few decades of stale pseudo-communist authoritarianism even Christianity starts to look pretty exciting to some. :p


As Matt says, any attempts to exclude religious belief from sections of the community, as the French are attempting to do, simply undermines the social fabric of the community.

I haven't been talking about forceful exclusion and it is utterly irrelevant to this debate.


What does it matter what someone chooses to believe as long as they are good, socially responsible members of that community.

Exactly. Given that most atheists are socially responsible and no better or worse than anyone else on whatever naive concept of "good" you might be carting around here, what would it matter if everyone "chose" to be atheist. (Your use of "chooses" is seriously dodgy BTW. Apart from my late grandmother I've never come across anyone who would say "oh, today I'm going to believe in <insert faith here>".)


Religion is simply a codified set of ethical principles protected by sacred laws to be handed down from one generation to the next in order to sustain social cohesion.

A religion is a system of supernaturalist faith and worship. Not all codified ethical principles are religious in nature, and many religions display extreme internal diversity in ethical principles, to the point that members of virtually the same religion may kill each other each believing it their moral duty.


The portable religions that survive today are the ones that have proven to be the fittest. To have any plans to replace them you have to understand them and their function.

I said nothing about planning to replace them, I simply discussed the consequences of their demise through natural causes, should such a thing occur. And your post-hoc interpretation of fitness to survive is circular and invalid.


Another graphic illustration of the consequences of the demise of orthodox religious belief is the rise of fundamentalism. If religious leaders had demonstrated greater intellegence and backbone in the years of social revolution, it would have possibly acted as a restraint on the rise of fundamentalism.

On that we can agree, though I am not sure whether your ideas of what they should have done are different from mine.


Plato and Aristotle were the authors of Christianity.

That does not follow from what you quoted at all, just as it does not follow that Christians swiping festivals from pagans makes pagans the authors of Christianity. All it shows is a number of aspects in common at a certain time. Had Plato and/or Aristotle openly professed to be Christian in ways that would place them close to the Christian mainstream today it would be different.

Kevin Bonham
10-05-2004, 03:26 AM
I have not said it "should", I say it might. For you to deliberately discount the possiblity betreys a desparation to negate religion as a major factor in determining the stability/longevity of a culture.

But I didn't discount the possibility at all - read the last bit of my previous reply to you. I simply want good reasons to believe the possibility is significant and serious, because I haven't been given any.


Here again, you fail to "see" the general principles and apply them to human society. The robustness of a system comes almost exclusively from its modification in responce to destabilising factors - its evolution. Contempory western culture is the newest of new kids on the block. It remains untested by disaster.

How "contemporary" are you talking here? Since the last disaster, perchance?


Although, it has staggered and stayed on its feet following the introduction of the contraceptive pill, indicting that it is not fragile. Question: Given that experimental removal of religion does not worry you, what social experiment wouldn't you allow to proceed?

Unmoderated Sweeney posting on this bulletin board for starters. :owned:

Assuming I had the power, I would not allow forceful outlawing of religion as a social experiment, for instance.


Overall, I think you need to broarden your horizons.

Until you even make some attempt to land a coherent point you give me no reason to do so.


It seems that both DR and I have read the likes of Landes, Diamond, Robert Lacey, Mark Buchanan et cetera.

In that case you should have no trouble blowing my arguments out of the water using actual evidence rather than hand-waving and drivel, but instead ...


This means that we both find discusions like this with you are like trying to explain the doctrine of the separation of powers to a three-year-old. :wall: You have plenty of logic but insufficient knowledge to apply it in a practical way.

... we find another pathetic and completely display of argument by intimidation and bravado (with a selective side-dash of argument by authority), accompanied with the usual unsubstantiated cheap shots. Business as usual in other words. Should have used that time off to work at lifting your game. :rolleyes:

Out of curiosity, what do you know about the doctrine of seperation of powers?

Alan Shore
10-05-2004, 10:14 AM
Communication between regions and different cultures was enormous even in those times. All the objective evidence suggests that beliefs in (for example) Hindu or Buddhist religions cross-pollinated other cultural beliefs.

Looking at the evidence critically, how else does one explain the presence of Hermetic & Gnostic Christian texts lying side by side in the Nag Hammadi library, undisturbed for about 1800 years if not by the logical deduction that they evolved commonly within a common culture? Especially when the nature of the writings also display commonality. Sure you can argue for different origins, but it's hardly convincing.

If you take this view then you can hardly be aware of the history of many historical religions - indeed its believed polytheistic religions may have evolved into monotheistic ones, been combined culturally etc. (for example, archaeology has uncovered goddess statues dated to approximately correspond with Torah biblical events. The goddess Anat and the god Ba'al may have been worshipped as well as the Hebrew god in this respect. One may hypothesise the emergence of monotheism in post-ancient Israel was to suit self-interest from their written history. One need only examine Islam to see how much cultural influence from Judaism and Christianity can be found inherent within. Yet there is quite a difference in influence and assimilation.

The Greek religion of Olympus was laregely based on myth and stories, adopted as history, with the colourful characters depicted in such epics as the Iliad seen as ancestors of sorts. Coupled with imported figures of heroes/gods from Phyrgia and Thrace (where Turkey is now) it culminated in a cultural/religious amalgamation. The gods were a part of life to them and to ask them 'do you believe in the gods?' wouldn't be a question well understood, as they had different ways of thinking about religion and a 'central philosophy' really wasn't present.

I would conclude that Christianity did not evolve from Greek philosophy per se, as it has its roots firmly entrnched in ancient Judaism as you can see from many comparisons in the Torah and the New Testament. However with the hellenisation of the region it is to be expected it would adopt parts of Greek and Roman culture yet to say they were "thoroughly assimilated to Greek ideas" is too powerful an assertion for my liking.

Alan Shore
10-05-2004, 10:19 AM
You know, I often wonder why I'm so distrusted on this BB. As far as I can see, I'm about the only poster to have referenced anything, and even when I quote verbatum from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it's suggested that the information maybe dodgy. Why doesn't anybody else get this kind of scrutiny 'round here? What have I ever done to upset anyone??

I don't distrust you at all, I merely disagreed with what the source you provided had to say - I think it's a good thing you provide academic sources David. Since this topic lies in one of my fields of expertise I can criticise it and call it into question more readily than something I know nothing about, yet I still would never trust something 100% simply for reading it.

One of the primary ways we learn information and perceive it as fact is 'by authorities' - we trust information presented to us if we believe the source to be a reliable one (reliable meaning consistent) yet the validity of claims even by those who are knowledgable should always be checked and questioned with other sources to eliminate subjective bias.

Oepty
10-05-2004, 03:36 PM
This thread is interesting and some of it above my head I will admit.
I will though say I agree modern Chritianity has taken alot of its teaching from non Biblical sources, whether Greek, Egyptian or Roman I don't really care. The modern doctrines of Christianity such as the Trinity and immortal soul are not Biblical and there adoption into Christianity was as the result of the growth of Christainity that made it a serious political force. As to the holidays that are influenced by Christianity, Christmas, Easter, there is nowhere in the Bible that teaches they must be observed and I don't do anything personally to mark these days. The only regular marking of something that is taught by the Bible for Christians today is the partaking of the bread and wine as instituted at the last supper by Jesus Christ. This is generally held on Sunday but there is nothing to stop this occuring on any day of the week and being done multiple times during the week.
Scott

arosar
10-05-2004, 03:53 PM
. . . Since this topic lies in one of my fields of expertise I can criticise it and call it into question more.

Hey Brucie . . . what's your field man?

I must say, I meant this thread to be comedic - not another high intellectual thread.

AR

Alan Shore
10-05-2004, 05:48 PM
Hey Brucie . . . what's your field man?

I must say, I meant this thread to be comedic - not another high intellectual thread.

AR

Hehe, sorry for not staying with the comedic intent of the thread mate.

I completed my B.Sc in Psychology last year and am now studying Philosophy and Religion as part of a B.A. Other than that I'm interested in many things, bit of a jack of all trades, master of none, enjoy watching and playing sports, all kinds of music, games etc and a few beers now and then ;)

Cat
10-05-2004, 06:09 PM
[
QUOTE=Kevin Bonham] One of my problems with the way David raises this stuff is that he uses arguments from authority to support his case...

Well pardon me, of all the dirty, rotten tricks!!


but it's often not clear whether what he's saying is that authority's view or what he thinks that authority is saying.

Clear to everyone but you, sunshine!!


You'll probably take it to a pedantic extreme and try making me substantiate statements that everyone here accepts uncontroversially, thus making it clear that you are trolling and getting yourself ridiculed for really being frivolous and vexatious. Even in academia such conduct is generally looked down upon and ignored, in my experience.

Hey, now you've lost me, are you talking to yourself here?

Kevin Bonham
10-05-2004, 06:09 PM
I must say, I meant this thread to be comedic - not another high intellectual thread.

Threads have lives of their own, it's like saying that you meant your child to turn out differently. Actually the thread had more or less been talked out and died before the current round of debate started up.

Kevin Bonham
10-05-2004, 06:18 PM
Clear to everyone but you, sunshine!!

I very much doubt it. If anyone other than David or Matt can explain to me exactly which of the cases I asked about were paraphrases and which were direct quotes I'd be very grateful. :D


Hey, now you've lost me, are you talking to yourself here?

It is not my bad fortune to be Matthew, and I'm sure he concurs in this assessment. Your comment highlights the tactic you and Matt will be running here, which is to attempt to trivialise requests for evidence on genuinely open questions by spuriously comparing them to the kind of comma-counting pedantry that Matt has threatened to employ. It's amusing that Matt should resort to such an obvious form of blackmail, but subtlety was never his strong suit. :rolleyes:

Cat
10-05-2004, 06:35 PM
That your comments are an absolutely correct summary of what external sources have said, in the absence of any evidence that they are, on the grounds of your past (and present, see bottom of post) track record.

Have I ever lied to you?



No, it's the experience of the past in a world that is constantly transforming in important ways, meaning that past data is not necessarily applicable to predicting the future.

Isn't that precisely why we study history, so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past. Biologically we are little different from our ancestors, so mistakes made in given circumstances are indeed likely to be repeated unless we understand our history.


For instance if (as I hinted at earlier) a more developed scientific system increases the chance of a person chucking religion altogether rather than keeping one faith or jumping between more than one, then there is at least a possibility of religion disappearing through time. Personally, I consider this rather unlikely, or at least think that if it does disappear it will take several thousand years to do so.

Now where indeed do you get this evidence from? Is there really any consistant link between scientific understanding and resistance to religious persuation. You really are standing on shaky territory.


In any case, I'm more interested in arguing the point about whether the demise of religion in a short space of time (if this was somehow possible) would cause social catastrophe.

Well, naturally - forceful repression is one way to make anything look more attractive than it otherwise would and I expect that after a few decades of stale pseudo-communist authoritarianism even Christianity starts to look pretty exciting to some. :p

Oh, now I understand, you mean constructing highly implausable scenarios that can neither be tested or refuted?


That does not follow from what you quoted at all, just as it does not follow that Christians swiping festivals from pagans makes pagans the authors of Christianity. All it shows is a number of aspects in common at a certain time. Had Plato and/or Aristotle openly professed to be Christian in ways that would place them close to the Christian mainstream today it would be different.

Plato and Aristotle preceded Christianity by 300-400 years so they would have had to have been very old indeed. Yes its always amazed me just how many coincidences can be contained in one paragragh. To be honest KB, I would have been ashamed to have written what you did in this paragraph.

Cat
10-05-2004, 06:39 PM
I don't distrust you at all, I merely disagreed with what the source you provided had to say - I think it's a good thing you provide academic sources David. Since this topic lies in one of my fields of expertise I can criticise it and call it into question more readily than something I know nothing about, yet I still would never trust something 100% simply for reading it.

One of the primary ways we learn information and perceive it as fact is 'by authorities' - we trust information presented to us if we believe the source to be a reliable one (reliable meaning consistent) yet the validity of claims even by those who are knowledgable should always be checked and questioned with other sources to eliminate subjective bias.

I'll get back to you later.

Kevin Bonham
10-05-2004, 07:00 PM
Have I ever lied to you?

Only you know that. :lol: To me, lying is saying something false while knowing that it is false. I am more concerned you may be saying something false while thinking it is true.


Isn't that precisely why we study history, so that we can learn from the mistakes of the past.

People study history for all sorts of different reasons. That may be one of its more useful applications - but it doesn't necessarily work in every situation, just as trial data from the test of a machine may not be useful when a slightly different model is employed in radically different circumstances. Try fighting a modern war using the most effective deployment strategies of 200 years ago for instance, and see where it gets you.


Biologically we are little different from our ancestors, so mistakes made in given circumstances are indeed likely to be repeated unless we understand our history.

Yes if the circumstances are the same. But are they? Human nature may not change much but the human environment - in particular the technology - does.


Now where indeed do you get this evidence from? Is there really any consistant link between scientific understanding and resistance to religious persuation. You really are standing on shaky territory.

I assume your word is "persuasion". Feel free to go look up some data on this but my understanding is that there has been a general Western increase, through the 20th century at least, in the proportion of people professing to have no religion. Of course, such a link doesn't prove causation, but I wasn't aiming to do that anyway. Rather, I was just saying that if such a plausible link existed, then that alone would be a reason for scepticism about your dogmatic assertions that religion will never disappear.


Oh, now I understand, you mean constructing highly implausable scenarios that can neither be tested or refuted?

What scenarios are you talking about here?


Plato and Aristotle preceded Christianity by 300-400 years so they would have had to have been very old indeed.

Exactly, and all the more reason not to claim them as "Christian" as you have been doing.


Yes its always amazed me just how many coincidences can be contained in one paragragh. To be honest KB, I would have been ashamed to have written what you did in this paragraph.

What on earth are you babbling about? I don't like to see you insulting yourself in this manner. :whistle:

Cat
11-05-2004, 09:47 AM
If you take this view then you can hardly be aware of the history of many historical religions - indeed its believed polytheistic religions may have evolved into monotheistic ones, been combined culturally etc. (for example, archaeology has uncovered goddess statues dated to approximately correspond with Torah biblical events. The goddess Anat and the god Ba'al may have been worshipped as well as the Hebrew god in this respect. One may hypothesise the emergence of monotheism in post-ancient Israel was to suit self-interest from their written history. One need only examine Islam to see how much cultural influence from Judaism and Christianity can be found inherent within. Yet there is quite a difference in influence and assimilation.

The Greek religion of Olympus was laregely based on myth and stories, adopted as history, with the colourful characters depicted in such epics as the Iliad seen as ancestors of sorts. Coupled with imported figures of heroes/gods from Phyrgia and Thrace (where Turkey is now) it culminated in a cultural/religious amalgamation. The gods were a part of life to them and to ask them 'do you believe in the gods?' wouldn't be a question well understood, as they had different ways of thinking about religion and a 'central philosophy' really wasn't present.

I would conclude that Christianity did not evolve from Greek philosophy per se, as it has its roots firmly entrnched in ancient Judaism as you can see from many comparisons in the Torah and the New Testament. However with the hellenisation of the region it is to be expected it would adopt parts of Greek and Roman culture yet to say they were "thoroughly assimilated to Greek ideas" is too powerful an assertion for my liking.

Mohammed was born into Christianity of course, Islam evolved (or devolved) out of Christianity. These generalised ideas permeated the ancient world. Mono-atheism moved east to west from the Zoro-Astrians, into Judaism and thence Christianity. Remember the period of Greek mythology you are referring to encompasses over 600 years. By the time of the gnosis, mono-atheism was widespread within European culture.

Within Hermeticism for example, Zeus was the father God, Hermes his son and messenger, The Shepard-Man, the seat of wisdom, the Archetypal Man, mother Myra (swap y & a and one has Mary). Compare that with Ii-sous (Jesus, Zeus-wight), The Good Shepard, embodiment of the logos, mother Mary. By this time it was typical that Zeus was seen as father-God, and often particular cults had their own intercessary (if you like), Apollo, Hera or even Bacchus.

As I understand there are 3 main versions explaining how Christianity developed. There's the orthodox Christian view, that it was born with Jesus, spread west, and that the Gnostics were an heretical sect that were eventually excluded. The second version allows for the discovery at Nag Hammadi, and acknowledges that gnostic christianity was indeed the earliest kind of christianity, and that it eventually succumbed to political pressure from Rome, but explains the lack of reference to the 'Jesus story' by saying that the history is assumed by the writer. The third view is of course, that the Jesus story is just that, a symbolic, mythological narrative, influenced undoubtedly by Paul, but without any true historical foundation. I guess each of us can choose the version that seems most plausable from the empirical evidence.

Alan Shore
11-05-2004, 03:02 PM
Mohammed was born into Christianity of course, Islam evolved (or devolved) out of Christianity. These generalised ideas permeated the ancient world. Mono-atheism moved east to west from the Zoro-Astrians, into Judaism and thence Christianity. Remember the period of Greek mythology you are referring to encompasses over 600 years. By the time of the gnosis, mono-atheism was widespread within European culture.

I assume you mean 'Mono-theism' not 'Mono-atheism'?


Within Hermeticism for example, Zeus was the father God, Hermes his son and messenger, The Shepard-Man, the seat of wisdom, the Archetypal Man, mother Myra (swap y & a and one has Mary). Compare that with Ii-sous (Jesus, Zeus-wight), The Good Shepard, embodiment of the logos, mother Mary. By this time it was typical that Zeus was seen as father-God, and often particular cults had their own intercessary (if you like), Apollo, Hera or even Bacchus.

You haven't specified the time frame from which you're drawing your information in this paragraph, could you elaborate please?

Even so what's clear is these 'cults' were not exclusive and one could be a member of many different cults over a lifetime only serving as a 'priest' (I use this term loosely) for a short time before handing over the responsibility to another.


As I understand there are 3 main versions explaining how Christianity developed. There's the orthodox Christian view, that it was born with Jesus, spread west, and that the Gnostics were an heretical sect that were eventually excluded. The second version allows for the discovery at Nag Hammadi, and acknowledges that gnostic christianity was indeed the earliest kind of christianity, and that it eventually succumbed to political pressure from Rome, but explains the lack of reference to the 'Jesus story' by saying that the history is assumed by the writer. The third view is of course, that the Jesus story is just that, a symbolic, mythological narrative, influenced undoubtedly by Paul, but without any true historical foundation. I guess each of us can choose the version that seems most plausable from the empirical evidence.

What was discovered at Nag Hammadi?

I would say a common take is Jesus existed as a radical interpreter of the Torah, was killed by Romans to prevent an uprising, was followed by certain Jews who believed him to be the Moshiach then when Paul took the reigns and wrote his epistles people took notice. Once Paul's rules had been laid down and taken note of, the Gnostic sect would have waned considerably. I would say the biggest factor in Christianity's rising popularity would be the martyrdom of some of its devoted followers. Once Constantine embraced it, the rest is history.

Cat
11-05-2004, 05:35 PM
You haven't specified the time frame from which you're drawing your information in this paragraph, could you elaborate please?

What was discovered at Nag Hammadi?

I would say a common take is Jesus existed as a radical interpreter of the Torah, was killed by Romans to prevent an uprising, was followed by certain Jews who believed him to be the Moshiach then when Paul took the reigns and wrote his epistles people took notice. Once Paul's rules had been laid down and taken note of, the Gnostic sect would have waned considerably. I would say the biggest factor in Christianity's rising popularity would be the martyrdom of some of its devoted followers. Once Constantine embraced it, the rest is history.

That would be a fairly orthodox Christian view of events, but hard to sustain since the Nag Hammadi discovery. I've cut something from Rachel Kohn's interview with Elaine Pagel's on 'The Spirit of Things', that might help to realign your perspective.

In the 1960s, Elaine Pagels was part of a team at Harvard University, studying the Nag Hammadi scrolls. By the mid-‘70s she was Head of the Religion Department at Barnard College for Women in New York City, and by 1979 she published The Gnostic Gospels, a slim book that won her numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and put the formerly suppressed writings of early Christians into the hands of ordinary people.

...Gospel of Thomas, found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Now a world-famous scholar, Elaine Pagels argues against the term Gnostic, which was a term of reproach, and reflects on the ... of ancient documents at Nag Hammadi in Egypt, would have great significance for New Testament scholars. But it would take decades, and one woman, to unleash their meaning to the ... Harvard University, studying the Nag Hammadi scrolls.

Of course, it was only the Pulitzer, not Nobel or anything.

The Coptic texts at Nag Hammadi date from around the 200AD, but the Gospel of Thomas was written around 100AD. They are some of the oldest surviving intact Gnostic Christian texts, even older than Tertullians writings (200AD). The texts contain a series of passages written as 'I-C said...', I-C being Ii-sous Christos. There are no mentions of the events in Judea, no references to biblical events, etc. The style is typically Greek, not dissimilar to the kinds of writings produced by Plato and Aristotle and almost identical to the Corpus Hermeticum, also found at Nag Hammadi. In fact, as far as I can see, Hermiticism only differed in that it has more reference to what we would regard as ecological considerations.

Pagels says the narrative assumes the reader already knows the events in Palestine, which may be true. Alternatively, of course, the Jesus story was waiting to be written.

Of course it predates the canonical texts by a couple of centuries. The oldest version of the bible is the 'Codex' in the London Library, composed around 380 AD.

Cat
11-05-2004, 08:26 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,12597,1213726,00.html

Kevin Bonham
11-05-2004, 08:36 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,12597,1213726,00.html

Interesting. Note that there was no reference to atheists being among the sources of the religious hatred in question, rather, the general thrust seemed to be an increase in people professing to be of varying religions hating each other, or hating those not of their religion in general.

Cat
11-05-2004, 10:33 PM
Interesting. Note that there was no reference to atheists being among the sources of the religious hatred in question, rather, the general thrust seemed to be an increase in people professing to be of varying religions hating each other, or hating those not of their religion in general.

Yes, fundamentalism is very dangerous.

The real problem is that the more that individuals turn their back on religious interests, the more the field is being left open to the crazies and the zealots. Religion will continue to flourish within our society and will continue to influence and affect social thinking. If we don't want Australia to discover it's own brand of fundamentalism a la American, it is important we respect the religious views of those around us and engage in debate and dialogue. The alternative is increasing alienation of discordant groups, each unprepared to accept compromise with the other.

Understanding the true meaning of Jesus, Ii-sous Xristos, I have developed an enormous respect for the ancient Greeks, their understanding of human nature and society and am sincerely in awe of their concept of the eternal man. They understood the importance of developing an inclusive society and searched for an ideal that could truely inspire those around them. They also created an amazing mythology and symbolism, understanding how vital this was for the propagation of ideas within an uneducated and illiterate society, not out of arrogance but out of genuine insight.

The Greeks lived life in the raw, each day was a trial in survival and this intimacy with the true reality of our existence was the anvil that forged the greatest story ever told. For me, the rael Greek Jesus comes alive and that was the message of the gnostics - that we find Jesus within us and to live in the spirit of the logos should be the aspiration of us all.

Alan Shore
11-05-2004, 10:53 PM
(EDIT: fix quote tag)

No, what gave you that impression was your desperation to read into my words whatever you wanted to see there, irrespective of whether there was any foundation for that reading or not. Either that or you're just spouting random nonsense again. Either way, you're too bad a debater to back down when busted.

Until I encountered you and your interpretation skills, I thought it was impossible to fail a Rorschach test.

I'm growing a little tired of you, (Kevin) and Sweeney engaging in this nonsensical banter when I'm attempting to have a 'real' BB chat with David. If you're a moderator, I suggest you take all that crap to your 'Bonham vs. Sweeney pointless flamewar rubbish' thread. Just because you're using elaborate language this is still kiddie stuff that should be saved for the playground. It was amusing at first but it's grown a little tiresome when I have to sift through the garbage.. no offense to you intended though.

Alan Shore
11-05-2004, 11:10 PM
The Coptic texts at Nag Hammadi date from around the 200AD, but the Gospel of Thomas was written around 100AD. They are some of the oldest surviving intact Gnostic Christian texts, even older than Tertullians writings (200AD). The texts contain a series of passages written as 'I-C said...', I-C being Ii-sous Christos. There are no mentions of the events in Judea, no references to biblical events, etc. The style is typically Greek, not dissimilar to the kinds of writings produced by Plato and Aristotle and almost identical to the Corpus Hermeticum, also found at Nag Hammadi. In fact, as far as I can see, Hermiticism only differed in that it has more reference to what we would regard as ecological considerations.

Pagels says the narrative assumes the reader already knows the events in Palestine, which may be true. Alternatively, of course, the Jesus story was waiting to be written.

Of course it predates the canonical texts by a couple of centuries. The oldest version of the bible is the 'Codex' in the London Library, composed around 380 AD.

Ah yes, those works. I have done extensive study on the Dead Sea Scrolls but have not yet examined much information on the Egyptian Nag Hammadi ones you speak of.

What I will comment on, is the vast number of sects around those ancient times - it's only possible to view the religions of that time as 'Christianities' or 'Judaisms'. Therefore when you speak of the Platonic influence on those writings, one cannot necessarily attribute them to current mainstram Christianity. You speak of the texts being in Greek and some of the ideas of Plato being 'not too dissimilar' - to be expected consistent with the Hellenisation of the region. However, one certainly cannot attribute Platonic ideals being found throughout the Christian Bible, it would be frivolous to do so, given the roots and ideals are essentially Judaic.

Anyway, it's an interesting observation and connection you've made but I would profess the Greek philosophical influence on the New Testament texts, while present, would in no way supercede Judaic philosophy upon comparison with the Torah.

Cat
11-05-2004, 11:32 PM
Ah yes, those works. I have done extensive study on the Dead Sea Scrolls but have not yet examined much information on the Egyptian Nag Hammadi ones you speak of.

What I will comment on, is the vast number of sects around those ancient times - it's only possible to view the religions of that time as 'Christianities' or 'Judaisms'. Therefore when you speak of the Platonic influence on those writings, one cannot necessarily attribute them to current mainstram Christianity. You speak of the texts being in Greek and some of the ideas of Plato being 'not too dissimilar' - to be expected consistent with the Hellenisation of the region. However, one certainly cannot attribute Platonic ideals being found throughout the Christian Bible, it would be frivolous to do so, given the roots and ideals are essentially Judaic.

Anyway, it's an interesting observation and connection you've made but I would profess the Greek philosophical influence on the New Testament texts, while present, would in no way supercede Judaic philosophy upon comparison with the Torah.

When he was a young man, Thomas Jefferson formed the opinion that much of what was written in the New Testament and Gospels was essentially political. He decided to eliminate all the text that he percieved to be the 'true' spoken word of Jesus. When he had finished, he was essentially left with the parables, the remainder he considered written for convenience. This became known as the Jefferson Bible.

These concepts are not new, they've been around for hundreds of years. The discovery at Nag Hammadi really simply supports what many had already suspected. The word of Jesus that Jefferson discovered is indeed the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. The Torah was simply adopted by the Roman Christians to become the Old Testament.

Alan Shore
11-05-2004, 11:49 PM
The word of Jesus that Jefferson discovered is indeed the philosophy of the ancient Greeks. The Torah was simply adopted by the Roman Christians to become the Old Testament.

You're not saying what I think you're saying are you? Are you seriously asserting the NT is primarily a Greek philosophy rather than a Hebrew one? Confirm or deny this please and also whether you consider the two to be similar or to have dichotomous ideals, I'd be interested in what you have to say.

At this stage I'm not too impressed with what I perceive your stance to be but I'll wait and see what you have to say to clarify your position.

Kevin Bonham
12-05-2004, 12:20 AM
I'm growing a little tired of you, (Kevin) and Sweeney engaging in this nonsensical banter when I'm attempting to have a 'real' BB chat with David.

Actually in the post you quoted in your complaint I was replying to David and not to Matthew ... David is just as prone to "nonsensical banter" as you call it as either Matthew or I. On this thread things were going on with normal and civil debate until David made groundless attacks on my philosophical understanding in post 72 (especially amusing given that I have qualifications in the area and he doesn't, and he already knows this.) David and I then had a fair amount of debate with the occasional bit of personal stirring until Matt jumped in (starting with a derogatory stab at my reasons for not having children) at post 104.

Matt and I then later had a lengthy debate about debate standards. While there has been a fair amount of personal nonsense chucked in, some of it has been relevant to this debate directly and quite a lot has been indirectly relevant (rules of engagement for debate type stuff). It is not like on-topic debates where it is really easy to tell where the line is crossed and the personal nonsense begins.

After a fair amount of this, David suddenly jumped in with:


Matt, I have to agree with KB that responding to anti-social behaviour by mimicking that behavoiur is an unlikely strategy for success, as these individuals are striving for approval and even a negative response is seen as a reward. From my experience working with other children, it would be more effective to simply ignore offending behaviour. When appropriate modes of behaviour are displayed, then encouragement like 'well done KB', or 'bless my cotton socks' reinforces that behaviour and sends a clear and positive signal that this behaviour was appropropriate.

- a mindless personal attack which had absolutely no bearing on the conversation and was just a blatant and transparent attempt to provoke me. The exchange resulting from that post by David led to my post which you quoted.

So while you can say what you like about Matt and I it is a fact that David is also responsible, and you could have realised that the person you are having this discussion with is one of the people to blame for the interruptions, before you waded in with a simplistic analysis solely blaming Matthew and myself.

I would also remind you that both the prevailing strands of debate here (mine about the centrality or otherwise of religion and your discussion with David) are off the original topic of this thread. I really think that if you have a problem with off-topic material, given that this is the off-topic section where there is always a lot of thread-drift anyway and that you are also off the original topic, you could give some thought to starting your own thread, quoting all the relevant sections from this one. Others have done this in similar situations before.

That said, I'll soon move all the personal stuff from the point where Matt came out with his pedantry threat. I'll also try to shift similar such debates in the future, but I make no guarantee to succeed.

Alan Shore
12-05-2004, 12:38 AM
Actually in the post you quoted in your complaint I was replying to David and not to Matthew ... David is just as prone to "nonsensical banter" as you call it as either Matthew or I.

I knew you would bite! I purposely quoted you on that post to see how pernickety you were, you passed the test :D


I would also remind you that both the prevailing strands of debate here (mine about the centrality or otherwise of religion and your discussion with David) are off the original topic of this thread. I really think that if you have a problem with off-topic material, given that this is the off-topic section where there is always a lot of thread-drift anyway and that you are also off the original topic, you could give some thought to starting your own thread, quoting all the relevant sections from this one. Others have done this in similar situations before.

But I stole this thread first :p

Actually I know, I agree that threads can sometimes go off on different directions. I simply believed that my discussion was of more substance than yours/Matthew's (it is at least semi-relational to the topic), it was just a bit annoying to sift through. I already apologised to Amiel for going off topic.


That said, I'll soon move all the personal stuff from the point where Matt came out with his pedantry threat. I'll also try to shift similar such debates in the future, but I make no guarantee to succeed.

OK, cool, thanks Kev.

Kevin Bonham
12-05-2004, 12:41 AM
I knew you would bite! I purposely quoted you on that post to see how pernickety you were, you passed the test :D

You got me then, I had no idea any trolling was involved. :clap:

Cat
12-05-2004, 03:45 PM
You're not saying what I think you're saying are you? Are you seriously asserting the NT is primarily a Greek philosophy rather than a Hebrew one? Confirm or deny this please and also whether you consider the two to be similar or to have dichotomous ideals, I'd be interested in what you have to say.

At this stage I'm not too impressed with what I perceive your stance to be but I'll wait and see what you have to say to clarify your position.

Whether you're impressed or not thats exactly what I'm saying. How else does one explain the obvious? Ii-Sous Xristos, a Greek name, Sous (Zeus) a Greek God. Xristos I'm not completely sure of the derivation -aristos means 'best' and was applied to the Greeks in reference to another of their gods / eternal men. Xristos is certainly connected to the logos, but as well as signifiying best, pure, cyrstallised may be connected to chrysalis/metamorphosis - the Greeks were the masters of symbolism.

Most of the New Testament books and Pauls letters refer not to Judea but the Greco-Roman world; Galatians, Romans, Corinthians, etc. Christainity developed not in Palestine but the Greco-Roman world. Pauls himself generally refers to Jesus as an apparition, he says little to suggest he actually knew the human Jesus. Why wasn't Jesus called Emmanuel or something traditionally Jewish? Why are the parallels between Hermes and Jesus so striking, much more than anything that can be found in the Torah. Why is there a virtual absence of historical corroboration from respected chroniclers such as Seutonius or Josephus to support the accounts of Jesus in Palestine given in the New Testament? The oldest text available to us of Jesus life were written about 400 years after his supposed death (the Codex was 480 not 380 as I had written previously)? Don't you find that a little odd?

There is no doubt that when Vespasian sacked Jerusalem in 70AD there was an outpouring of revolutionary anger which spilled over into the Mediterranean regions and influenced the rich tapestry of philosophy and mythology which already existed there, but the real birthplace of Christianity was Greece.

antichrist
21-05-2004, 06:17 PM
I find all the chat about religion irrelevant and virtually a waste of time. The crucial question is are we going to accept breaking the laws of nature? If we don't then there is nothing more to discuss, no religion no gods. If we do accept breakage the can is opened to anything and everyone - signifying nothing.

arosar
30-06-2005, 04:53 PM
bump

AR

arosar
06-09-2005, 10:38 PM
Joke on Christians.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1754775,00.html

AR

four four two
14-09-2005, 04:21 PM
Where abouts is Antioch in Greece,Cat? :hmm: Wasnt christianity practised in Syria,Turkey and even Armenia before Greece,ie the seven churches of asia? And as for Mohammed being born into christianity,he was raised as a pagan ,Mecca was never a christian city. The common link between christianity,judaism,and islam is monotheism ,Abraham who predates christianity is just as important if not more important than Jesus to muslims.

antichrist
14-09-2005, 05:08 PM
Where abouts is Antioch in Greece,Cat? :hmm: Wasnt christianity practised in Syria,Turkey and even Armenia before Greece,ie the seven churches of asia? And as for Mohammed being born into christianity,he was raised as a pagan ,Mecca was never a christian city. The common link between christianity,judaism,and islam is monotheism ,Abraham who predates christianity is just as important if not more important than Jesus to muslims.
In a nutshell: the evolution of bulldust

Alan Shore
14-09-2005, 05:43 PM
Good thread for this:

http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/619/adultvideosign8zr.jpg

four four two
14-09-2005, 05:53 PM
:lol: :lol: :lol: :clap: :clap: :clap: :pray: :pray: :pray: :evilb: vs :banana: :devious: :cheeky: ;)

Dozy
14-09-2005, 06:19 PM
I'm not sure if this is a thread for personal testimony and anecdotal evidence, but some years go I had a Road-to-Damascus experience myself.

It was wintertime and for weeks, day after day, I would get out of bed feeling perfectly healthy but by the time I got to work some 2 hours later I'd have a headache. Unpleasant.

Then one morning as I trudged toward the station, feeling terrible, the clouds separated and God stuck his head through (He looks a bit like Malcolm Fraser, before he lost his trousers) and said, "It's the cap, you fool."

And He was right! The cap was a size too small. I chucked it away and the headaches stopped.

Rhubarb
14-09-2005, 06:38 PM
I think I like this funny Dozy bastard.

Rincewind
14-09-2005, 07:28 PM
Where abouts is Antioch in Greece,Cat? :hmm: Wasnt christianity practised in Syria,Turkey and even Armenia before Greece,ie the seven churches of asia? And as for Mohammed being born into christianity,he was raised as a pagan ,Mecca was never a christian city. The common link between christianity,judaism,and islam is monotheism ,Abraham who predates christianity is just as important if not more important than Jesus to muslims.

To be fair I think you are talking cross purposes. Reword Cat's "greece" to "hellenic world" and it probably makes more sense. Applying modern political boundaries to historical arguments is a dangerous past-time. Just ask Ariel Sharon. ;)

Of course I could be wrong but I don't think Cat visits here very much anymore so the whole thing is probably moot. :hand:

four four two
14-09-2005, 10:27 PM
Antioch is in Syria,last time Syria was part of hellenic world was under Alexander,which is way before christianity. ;)

Rincewind
14-09-2005, 11:32 PM
Antioch is in Syria,last time Syria was part of hellenic world was under Alexander,which is way before christianity. ;)

Antioch was founded by Seleuces, one of Alexander's Generals and was rooted in Greek culture at its inception. It fell to the Romans in 1C BC who did not destroy its Greek heritage but augmented it with Roman temples, roads and aqueducts. However, at the time of the early church it was still very much culturally Greek as were most of the major cities of the Eastern Mediterranean.

PHAT
15-09-2005, 12:19 AM
Dear God,

I know you cannot hear this because you aren't there ....... ever. But in case there is someone with more sense than you listening, could you please save us from yet another purposeless mass debate on religo-historic trivia.

No thanks for not listening God. :thumdown:

upldiscovered
08-05-2009, 12:45 AM
Knock Knock..WHO is there..GOD...GOD WHO. INDEED ! GOT YOU!

upldiscovered
08-05-2009, 12:52 AM
I Timothy 1:11..RUMOR has it he DOES. However qualitatively the word humor has a rather 'clumsy' connotation. While God is a HAPPY God he is not easily humored. Why? thus the definition of humor: a comic, ABSURD, or incongruous quality causing amusement. a capricious or freakish inclination; whim or caprice; odd trait. one of the four elemental fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person's physical and mental constitution. to comply with the humor or mood of in order to soothe or make content or more agreeable: to humor a child.

antichrist
09-05-2009, 04:34 PM
I Timothy 1:11..RUMOR has it he DOES. However qualitatively the word humor has a rather 'clumsy' connotation. While God is a HAPPY God he is not easily humored. Why? thus the definition of humor: a comic, ABSURD, or incongruous quality causing amusement. a capricious or freakish inclination; whim or caprice; odd trait. one of the four elemental fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person's physical and mental constitution. to comply with the humor or mood of in order to soothe or make content or more agreeable: to humor a child.

I really believe that he has, isn't he the composer of that song Always Look on The Bright Side of LIfe?

Mokum
09-05-2009, 04:41 PM
Knock Knock..WHO is there..GOD...GOD WHO. INDEED ! GOT YOU!
Hilarious.

ElevatorEscapee
16-05-2009, 07:16 PM
Is there "the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch" awaiting somewhere on your person? ;)

kjenhager
16-05-2009, 08:46 PM
Is there "the Holy Hand-grenade of Antioch" awaiting somewhere on your person? ;)
..or are you just pleased to see me ? :eek:

antichrist
18-05-2009, 04:21 PM
is there any record in the Bible of JC cracking jokes? Not admitting that he existed mine you.

I wonder what language the serpent spoke in when he invited Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit?

Mokum
18-05-2009, 09:43 PM
is there any record in the Bible of JC cracking jokes?
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Mark 10.25
Peasant humor, apparently.

antichrist
19-05-2009, 07:35 PM
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." Mark 10.25
Peasant humor, apparently.

Yeah I get what you mean. The RCC certainly likes rich people leaving them money - or else they will take it from them via very sussey trials during the Inquisition. They would dig up dead rich dudes, put them up for heresy, find them guilty, burn their skelton at the stake, and then steal their properties,leaving the widow and children out in the street to become serfs of the church. What a record and joke. They actually used to put their skeletons in the defendants chair in the court and ask it questons - what a sight.

Mokum
19-05-2009, 08:12 PM
Yeah I get what you mean. The RCC certainly likes rich people leaving them money - or else they will take it from them via very sussey trials during the Inquisition. They would dig up dead rich dudes, put them up for heresy, find them guilty, burn their skelton at the stake, and then steal their properties,leaving the widow and children out in the street to become serfs of the church. What a record and joke. They actually used to put their skeletons in the defendants chair in the court and ask it questons - what a sight.
What I meant was to give an example of Jesus using graphic exaggeration in a humorous way to reassure the poor that God's domain was theirs. And I think it was actually quite funny.
I am not a fan of the RCC either, but because of how they define themselves today, and the outrageous statements of the current pope, not because of excesses from the Middle Ages. And it has nothing to do with that parable by Jesus.

Spiny Norman
20-05-2009, 05:41 AM
Apparently the Hebrew word for "camel" can also mean "rope" ... or so I'm told ... Jono might be able to shed more light on that one.

In any event, this is hyperbole, not humour. ;)

Basil
20-05-2009, 06:13 AM
In any event, this is hyperbole, not humour. ;)
Do you guys have any idea how much it costs to buy a TV ad during the hyperbole?

Mokum
20-05-2009, 07:35 AM
Apparently the Hebrew word for "camel" can also mean "rope" ... or so I'm told ... Jono might be able to shed more light on that one.

In any event, this is hyperbole, not humour. ;)
In Greek (not Hebrew) kamelon = camel, and kamilon = rope. The early Christian community sometimes substituted the words to reduce the contrast, and make it less homorous. They struggled with the idea of Jesus being funny.

antichrist
22-05-2009, 02:52 PM
In Greek (not Hebrew) kamelon = camel, and kamilon = rope. The early Christian community sometimes substituted the words to reduce the contrast, and make it less homorous. They struggled with the idea of Jesus being funny.

Well I was taught by the nuns that the stars were holes in the floor of Heaven - well that's a joke for sure.

Capablanca-Fan
23-05-2009, 02:58 AM
In Greek (not Hebrew) kamelon = camel, and kamilon = rope.
This much is true, but it's not necessary to explain this passage.


The early Christian community sometimes substituted the words to reduce the contrast, and make it less homorous. They struggled with the idea of Jesus being funny.
Any proof of this assertion?

In any case, the Babylonian Talmud has the expression “an elephant going through the eye of a needle”, for something rare or difficult:


“Says Rabba, you know they do not show to a man a golden palm tree i.e. the interpretation of a dream about one, which, as the gloss says, is a thing he is not used to see, and of which he never thought, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle.” (Beracot fol. 55. 2.)

“perhaps thou art one of Pombeditha (a school of the Jews in Babylon) who make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle.” (Bava Metzia, fol. 38. 2)

The Koran also has the expression in:


“Verily, says he, they who shall charge our signs with falsehood, and shall proudly reject them, the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them, neither shall they enter into paradise, until a camel pass through the eye of a needle.” (7:40)

All this is in line with typical semitic hyperbole (http://www.tektonics.org/gk/hyperbole.html).

ElevatorEscapee
23-05-2009, 10:27 AM
I personally got a laugh out of: A man notices the mote in the eye of his brother, whilst overlooking the beam in his own eye. (or words to that effect)

Basically, it means that it is human nature for someone to criticise the smallest faults in others, without seeing the much larger faults within themselves

Literaly, it means that a bloke with a tree stuck in his eye will criticies others for only having a speck of dust in their eye. Which, to me, is a very humorous image. :)

Spiny Norman
23-05-2009, 11:10 AM
I've always found King Solomon intensely funny:
-- this guy was supposed to be the wisest man that ever lived
-- yet he was silly enough to accumulate 300 wives and 1000 concubines
-- his final writings were those of a rather disillusioned individual: "vanity, vanity, all is vanity"
-- I'll bet that occurred to him whilst he was waiting for his turn in the bathroom one morning :lol:

Rincewind
23-05-2009, 11:16 AM
I personally got a laugh out of: A man notices the mote in the eye of his brother, whilst overlooking the beam in his own eye. (or words to that effect)

My take on that is somewhat different.

It chides those who hypocritically say they would do anything for their fellow man before thinking of themselves when in fact by getting their own affairs in order would be able to better serve their fellow man.

It is like the safety briefing in an airplane: In case of a loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Remember to fit your own mask before assisting others.

Spiny Norman
23-05-2009, 11:41 AM
Maybe a bit of both ... but you're right ... IIRC, in at least one passage referring to this incident/quote, it says something like "You goose! First you remove the plank from your own eye, and then you'll be able to see clearly enough to help your brother remove the speck from his eye!".

Reading between the lines though, I do think Jesus was primarily telling people not to be such busy bodies ... each of us has plenty enough faults of their own without needing to concern ourselves with the faults of others.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic ... speaking of humour ... if by "God" you broadly mean the theistic version of God, comprising traditional concepts such as omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence ... then:
-- yes, there's a fair chance that God has a sense of humour (i.e. the platypus, the dodo, the sloth, etc)
-- if such a God created everything, then he created humans with a sense of humour
-- being omniscient, he knows all things, including every joke (and all the punchlines)
-- being omnipresent, he has heard every joke ever told

If you refer to the specifically Christian God ... Psalm 59:8 (NIV) says: "But you, O Lord, laugh at them ...". It would be a bit hard for him to laugh if he didn't have a sense of humour of some kind or other.

Capablanca-Fan
23-05-2009, 12:58 PM
Maybe a bit of both ... but you're right ... IIRC, in at least one passage referring to this incident/quote, it says something like "You goose! First you remove the plank from your own eye, and then you'll be able to see clearly enough to help your brother remove the speck from his eye!"
And note that this doesn't condemn judgement, but only hypocritical judgement. Once that log is removed, then it's reasonable to remove that speck. Elsewhere, Jesus commanded righteous judgement (John 7:24).

Lefties of course ignore that latter passage. And they are very quick to call people "judgemental", which in itself is a judgement.

antichrist
24-05-2009, 05:51 PM
My take on that is somewhat different.

It chides those who hypocritically say they would do anything for their fellow man before thinking of themselves when in fact by getting their own affairs in order would be able to better serve their fellow man.

It is like the safety briefing in an airplane: In case of a loss of cabin pressure oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Remember to fit your own mask before assisting others.

but what don't tell you that all the prep talk they give you is for landing on water. when I queried what happens if crash landing on land it was presumed that you died.