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Old 2008-07-31, 13:00   Link #1181
Vexx
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Haha fun with English.

I used to be a pretty avid supporter of Scouting - but since the East Texas fringe kooks took over the national level in the 1980s, many Scout Troops just pay lip service to the rules and kind of ignore the twits at the national level. The people at the national office have pretty much subverted the meaning of Scouting to their ends. They've crapped all over the original concepts that Baden Powell had in mind.
Unfortunately, with all the bad press the national lunatics collect with their antics, the non-church-supported troops (usually supported by veteran organizations (American Legion) or civic duty clubs (Rotary, Lions, Elks, etc) are fading in many areas.

The rules for Scouting only state one must believe in some sort of higher power (which makes the Buddhists iffy even though there's an official badge for them, there's also religious badges for Hindu, Judaism, Islam and others) but in recent years American Scouting has taken public ridicule at the national level for being clearly antagonistic to any but the "correct" religion. The Wiccans and other religions have repeatedly been in tangles with the leadership over this.

Fortunately, Scouting in other countries seems to be thriving with less baggage -- I still consider the concept of Scouting a good experience minus the exclusionary idiocy. I loved my experience as a teen (I was beginning the road of "examining my beliefs" .... the Scoutmaster made the "Buddhist/Athiest/Agnostic/Christian?" kid (me) the chaplain at one point in hopes of providing me guidance. However, instead he got some of what he said were the "most interesting thought provoking prayers and sermons" he'd ever heard.
My older son was a Scout in a troop supported by a local American Legion veteran group --- we were pretty much free of the "one way or the highway" nonsense and had an interesting collection of religious stances.

The downside was that Scouting seems to have become the "you fix my kid cuz I'm too lazy to get my ass off the couch to do it myself and ooooh, look American Idol is on, no camping for me" destination. When we were feeling charitable, we called them "curbside parents", other days it wasn't printable what we called them. But as we found at the inter-troop meetings we'd have with other troops (church supported, mostly Catholic, Methodist, or Mormon) in our area - they relayed that the "curbside parent" problem was universal.

Last edited by Vexx; 2008-07-31 at 13:22.
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Old 2008-07-31, 13:16   Link #1182
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Old 2008-07-31, 17:02   Link #1183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
A writer using a metaphor assumes the audience is familiar with the contexts in which the metaphor is expressed. An excellent example that comes to mind about what happens when this isn't the case is an old Star Trek: Next Generation episode called "Darmok". In the story, the crew is baffled by a language in which they understand the words but everything is misunderstood because the symbolic concepts of the language are all expressed in the intense cultural metaphors of the race.

Genesis was written to reach the audience of its day using cultural metaphors familiar to its audience. Many concepts can be easily misinterpreted by present day audiences filtered through several language translations. Those translations were also conducted by people who had their own preconceived notions and agendas (e.g. the "virgin birth" which the oldest texts simply do not mention but which had become a critical part of Church mythos, or the failure to realize that the use of individual name actually was a allegory for an entire tribe).

(note: readers less familiar with Christianity might find this link useful for Christian terms and this link useful for an introduction to metaphorical languages)
Excellent points. And herein we see the root of most religious infighting, splits, and injustice in the world. It's outright depressing. Most people are unwilling to see the world as it is, and prefer to see the world as they interpret it.

Many people who apply logic and reasoning to their faith, and/or obtain greater perspective through better historical, cultural, or linguistic knowledge tend to stay quiet about what they learn, for they discover that if they try to teach their fellow religious man better, their fellow religious man will not take it so well. The decision between proper correction and preserving peace is one I hate making. I spend enough time correcting people who get a little perspective and run off with newer but just as half-baked ideas that I'm not left with much time to even worry about reshaping the primary demographic.

The virgin birth issue, though, is actually a really good example of your first point rather than your second. Most any modern Jew will quickly explain that the text of the messianic prophesy in Isaiah does not actually say the messiah would be born of a "virgin", but that the word is closer to meaning "young woman". They would be right.

However, what many don't know (or won't explain) is that the word used is really closer to the word "maiden", and did, in fact, strongly imply virginity even if it didn't state it explicitly. There is debate here, but we do have historical texts to show that it was not an uncommon Jewish position that it specified a virgin--at least, not until the Jews started strongly dissociating themselves from Christians. Even then, there is acknowledgement of debate in some places. Its explanation as such in the gospels is also evidence of this interpretation being Jewish--depending, of course, on what one believes the source of those texts to be. The argument based on the literal reading of the text runs strong, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
I used to be a pretty avid supporter of Scouting - but since the East Texas fringe kooks took over the national level in the 1980s, many Scout Troops just pay lip service to the rules and kind of ignore the twits at the national level. The people at the national office have pretty much subverted the meaning of Scouting to their ends. They've crapped all over the original concepts that Baden Powell had in mind.
Unfortunately, with all the bad press the national lunatics collect with their antics, the non-church-supported troops (usually supported by veteran organizations (American Legion) or civic duty clubs (Rotary, Lions, Elks, etc) are fading in many areas.

The rules for Scouting only state one must believe in some sort of higher power (which makes the Buddhists iffy even though there's an official badge for them, there's also religious badges for Hindu, Judaism, Islam and others) but in recent years American Scouting has taken public ridicule at the national level for being clearly antagonistic to any but the "correct" religion. The Wiccans and other religions have repeatedly been in tangles with the leadership over this.

Fortunately, Scouting in other countries seems to be thriving with less baggage -- I still consider the concept of Scouting a good experience minus the exclusionary idiocy. I loved my experience as a teen (I was beginning the road of "examining my beliefs" .... the Scoutmaster made the "Buddhist/Athiest/Agnostic/Christian?" kid (me) the chaplain at one point in hopes of providing me guidance. However, instead he got some of what he said were the "most interesting thought provoking prayers and sermons" he'd ever heard.
My older son was a Scout in a troop supported by a local American Legion veteran group --- we were pretty much free of the "one way or the highway" nonsense and had an interesting collection of religious stances.

The downside was that Scouting seems to have become the "you fix my kid cuz I'm too lazy to get my ass off the couch to do it myself and ooooh, look American Idol is on, no camping for me" destination. When we were feeling charitable, we called them "curbside parents", other days it wasn't printable what we called them. But as we found at the inter-troop meetings we'd have with other troops (church supported, mostly Catholic, Methodist, or Mormon) in our area - they relayed that the "curbside parent" problem was universal.
As a former Boy Scout, I understand exactly what you mean on all counts. Scouting is one of the few institutions I have any real respect for. I abandoned my trek to earn Eagle rank as I went to college early... Not putting in that extra effort to make it SOMEhow is one of few things I truly regret in life.

As much as I feel that the BSA can't be divorced from religious faith without removing its core (although there's no harm in secular alternatives!), I also feel that the BSA administration has made some serious mistakes and caused some good kids to be abandoned and ostracized. If Scouting is going to be resource for "curbside parenting", then dad gum it, it needs to be the best it can be for every one it can.

For what it's worth, my scout troop was sponsored by a church and had an atheist assistant scoutmaster and one prominent atheist Scout in leadership. While every one went to chapel and the oaths didn't change, no one had to ascribe to any particular religious belief--or any at all. The only demand placed on faith was that one must be respectful of the decisions and faith of others. Those were good days.

Edited to add:
Baden Powell's comments on religion and scouting were an interesting read. As a Christian, he had a good bit to say on religion, and that is definitely reflected in the Boy Scouts, but I hadn't seen just what he had to say on the relevance of religion in the institution:
http://devbox.mebeam.net/devzone/faq...ection-11.html
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Old 2008-07-31, 22:18   Link #1184
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im a atheists wich means a persons who either affirms the nonexistence of god or in other words does not belive in a existece of god atheist are those without a belife in deities

well im an atheist
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Old 2008-08-01, 13:22   Link #1185
kingsky123
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Old 2008-08-01, 13:32   Link #1186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuusai View Post
Many people who apply logic and reasoning to their faith, and/or obtain greater perspective through better historical, cultural, or linguistic knowledge tend to stay quiet about what they learn, for they discover that if they try to teach their fellow religious man better, their fellow religious man will not take it so well. The decision between proper correction and preserving peace is one I hate making. I spend enough time correcting people who get a little perspective and run off with newer but just as half-baked ideas that I'm not left with much time to even worry about reshaping the primary demographic.
Really great post. This stands out as the primary reason why religous debates get so out of hand. The poeple who know the most just don't want to get involved.

On topic, I'm a Catholic
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Old 2008-08-01, 14:26   Link #1187
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It reminds me of what Pascal did with his bet which explain that to believe in god is statistically more advantagous than not believing in him because you have nothing to lose ; theory disallowed by jonas who said if god don't exist and you believed in God, then you have lose a compelling period at wasting your time for nothing ( he speaks of people who believe and practice the religion).
The question, therefore, is more why do you need a religion than what's yours ?
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Old 2008-08-01, 14:49   Link #1188
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuKkaTsUyA View Post
It reminds me of what Pascal did with his bet which explain that to believe in god is statistically more advantagous than not believing in him because you have nothing to lose ; theory disallowed by jonas who said if god don't exist and you believed in God, then you have lose a compelling period at wasting your time for nothing ( he speaks of people who believe and practice the religion).
The question, therefore, is more why do you need a religion than what's yours ?
Welcome to the forums (interesting nickname choice ).

Pascal's Wager is one of the more interesting reasonings for religion (though mostly because its not exactly spiritual so much as machiavellian ).
Counterarguments include
The End of Pascal's Wager and On Rescher On Pascal's Wager.

The only problem with the reformulation into "why do you need religion" is that it seems to drop the axiomatic assumption that there is a God (or gods) that needs a response.

One of the interesting aspects of Shinto (or Hinduism or other animist/pantheonic mytho-systems) for that matter to me is that you don't really have to assume these are sentient beings being acknowledged. They are anthropomorphized representations for forces and ideas in the universe that you wish to formally acknowledge or remember.
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Old 2008-08-01, 15:11   Link #1189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuKkaTsUyA View Post
The question, therefore, is more why do you need a religion than what's yours ?
This question is often addressed in philosophical discussions as to whether or not morality/ethics could exsist without God/gods (i.e. without a divine pressence that has bestowed the "Word" upon mankind, how else would we be creatures with morality - religion would, consequently, be the source by which morality is spread.) Since I believe that society started as a basic Zero Sum system ("an eye for an eye") mixed with basic empathy, I see no reason for a specific religion, to be the foundation for moral codes of conduct, though I freely admit that religion is a great way to spread socially accepted ideas of morality to the masses.

But, since I acknowledge that mankind's interpretation of God(s) could be flawed, I am still open to the possibility of a God or gods actually exsisting.

Last edited by james0246; 2008-08-01 at 15:26.
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Old 2008-08-01, 15:26   Link #1190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james3wk View Post
This question is often addressed in philosophical discussions as to whether or not morality/ethics could exsist without God/gods (i.e. without a divine pressence that has bestowed the "Word" upon mankind, how else would we be creatures with morality - religion would, consequently, be the source by which morality is spread.) Since I believe that society started as a Zero Sum Game ("an eye for an eye") mixed with basic empathy, I see no reason for a specific religion, to be the foundations for moral codes of conduct, though I freely admit that religion is a great way to spread socially accepted ideas of morality to the masses.

But, since I acknowledge that mankind's interpretation of God(s) could be flawed, I am still open to the possibility of a God or gods actually exsisting.
Looking at human morality from an evolutionary (biology) perspective is actually quite enlightening. How humans work together and understand one another, as well as even human altruism, can all be explained by some proposed theories about hominid evolution. How these basal instincts have affected society's development is a different story, but at our core we have an evolved moral code (which we can disobey, but...)
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Old 2008-08-01, 15:40   Link #1191
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Sorry for this late reply, midterms came up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
A writer using a metaphor assumes the audience is familiar with the contexts in which the metaphor is expressed.
Yes, but the context here is one of the scriptures of a religion that claims the existence of one omnipotent God. Because of that, we should not just assume that anything that doesn't fit nicely with our reasoning to be a metaphor of some kind. Do note that I'm not saying the Bible doesn't use metaphors. But usually, those are either explicitly stated or ones that would be obvious to most people.
Quote:
An excellent example that comes to mind about what happens when this isn't the case is an old Star Trek: Next Generation episode called "Darmok". In the story, the crew is baffled by a language in which they understand the words but everything is misunderstood because the symbolic concepts of the language are all expressed in the intense cultural metaphors of the race.
Well, not exactly. The stories of the Darmok may have been unfamiliar to other races. But as Picard have shown, the metaphors themselves can be understood once the stories pertaining to the metaphors are known. Basically, every time the Darmok speaks, he is saying do like this character did or the event in ithis story is happening, things like that. Of course, it's a bit more complicated than that, but that's the general idea. Yet with the Garden of Eden, for example, the Bible just state it as it is without any hint of it being a metaphor to anything.

Now the Darmok's use of metaphors may not have explicitly stated a comparison being made either, but at least the crew of the Enterprise knew implicitly that the names and events meant something else because they could not apply them directly the way the Darmok used them. This is not the case with the Garden of Eden. Whoever is the reader, assuming he or she understands the premise made in the book, could take the Garden of Eden at face value as a place that was no longer accessible to men since long before his or her time.
Quote:
Genesis was written to reach the audience of its day using cultural metaphors familiar to its audience. Many concepts can be easily misinterpreted by present day audiences filtered through several language translations.
Metaphors describe things as something else due to their similarities. The example of the Darmok shows how people may not know what the metaphors are, but they can still understand how the metaphors were made due to these similarities. But to describe a place like the Garden of Eden with such detail and ascribing to it properties that does not exist anywhere else on Earth would not be a good metaphor for anybody today or the people at that time. As such, it would not be of any use to think of it as a metaphor, especially given the premise and the context stated above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Those translations were also conducted by people who had their own preconceived notions and agendas (e.g. the "virgin birth" which the oldest texts simply do not mention but which had become a critical part of Church mythos, or the failure to realize that the use of individual name actually was a allegory for an entire tribe).

(note: readers less familiar with Christianity might find this link useful for Christian terms and this link useful for an introduction to metaphorical languages)
Well, the dispute concerning the virgin birth is a matter of translation. But seeing as how it was meant to be a sign from God, and the mother was supposed to be young/maiden, it's not a stretch to translate it as virgin.

With the use of individual names, the Bible sometimes do interchange individuals and tribes. But that's because the tribes are the descendants of those individuals. And those moments are clear to the readers. Other times, it's also clear that the individual is being referenced. For example, the story of Joseph in Egypt.

Last edited by monster; 2008-08-01 at 15:55.
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Old 2008-08-01, 15:48   Link #1192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Looking at human morality from an evolutionary (biology) perspective is actually quite enlightening. How humans work together and understand one another, as well as even human altruism, can all be explained by some proposed theories about hominid evolution. How these basal instincts have affected society's development is a different story, but at our core we have an evolved moral code (which we can disobey, but...)
I am not disagreeing with your points, in fact I agree with you almost a 100%, rather I specificed the philosophical discussion of morality in regards to religion as stated in FuKkaTsUyA's question of why religion is needed. Evolutionary science may be the answer (in fact it probably is the answer), but that does not dismiss the fact that philosophers and theologians have been debating for hundreds if not thousands of years morality and ethics in humanity stems directly from a God or gods. Case and point, the Israelite society was created and enforced via the use of the Noahide Laws and the Decalogue which created the foundations for their moral codes of conduct. Even the Code of Hammurabi was based around teachings derived from the religions of Marduk and Shamash (I forget which one is represented on the Codex). While I disagree that a God or gods literally gave these moral values to mankind, I do believe that religion (especially the assertion from the various religions that a higher power created these laws to benefit mankind) helped to spread and enforce there acceptance.
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Old 2008-08-01, 15:56   Link #1193
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You can't break down religion with logic. Hell I'm a reasonable person and an advocate for science and reason, but the thing is religion or faith. It's hard to discribe for me it's something you feel, you know. When I look at the Sun when I look at my hand I just feel there is a God. Can you figure out love with science(hell it should only last a few years if you look at your hormones)? Hell if just look at how humans are made monogamy is bullshit to begin with, but still we strife for it. Why? I don't know we just feel that it's the right. To begin with I never really had much despair to begin with, but I pray in the good times and in the bad times. You might argue I do it for the small chance he might exists, but hell I don't gamble on small chance. Especially if you look at how much time mine takes.

And hell a non-believer can hardly grasp what a believers feels.
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Old 2008-08-01, 19:28   Link #1194
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Quote:
Yes, but the context here is one of the scriptures of a religion that claims the existence of one omnipotent God. Because of that, we should not just assume that anything that doesn't fit nicely with our reasoning to be a metaphor of some kind. Do note that I'm not saying the Bible doesn't use metaphors. But usually, those are either explicitly stated or ones that would be obvious to most people.
Replace "most people" with "people from the time the books in the Bible were written" and perhaps you'll understand Vexx's (and mine, if I might add) better.

If you can't grasp that, then you certainly lack any kind of understanding of how a society works.
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Old 2008-08-01, 21:47   Link #1195
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Replace "most people" with "people from the time the books in the Bible were written" and perhaps you'll understand Vexx's (and mine, if I might add) better.
I understand your position in this matter. But there is no reason for me to replaced "most people" with what you want. Most people, for example, would understand that when people in the Bible had visions, those visions may contain metaphors. You don't need to be people from the time the books in the Bible were written to understand that.
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Old 2008-08-01, 21:52   Link #1196
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You're using the wrong metalanguage layer of "metaphor". I suggest you reread Vexx's excellent post about metaphors and the Bible in order to understand better what exactly is we're talking about here.
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Old 2008-08-01, 22:06   Link #1197
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Originally Posted by 2H-Dragon View Post
And hell a non-believer can hardly grasp what a believers feels.
Quite wrong, since a large portion of, if not majority of current non-believers were fervant believers for a good portion of there life before they deconverted and they used to think and feel and at some point likely tried to make the same points as you do.
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Old 2008-08-01, 22:07   Link #1198
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Religion? Religion?

My religion is George Carlinism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=casUr9UsabY

Indeed, George Carlin was the closest guy you could come to "God".
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Old 2008-08-01, 22:07   Link #1199
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Quite wrong, since a large portion of, if not majority of current non-believers were fervant believers for a good portion of there life before they deconverted and they used to think and feel and at some point likely tried to make the same points as you do.
Uhh... excuse me? What exactly do you have that can help you prove that? Statistics?

Though I agree that it's not impossible for non-believers to understand what believers feel, even if they haven't ever been part of them.
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Old 2008-08-01, 22:08   Link #1200
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Vexx pointed out that metaphors can only be understood when you understand the context of that metaphor. And the Star Trek example is good to show this.

My point is that the context of Genesis is a religion. And that while the context may not be understood, people can still identify those metaphors (just like the Enterprise crew knowing there must be other meanings to what the Darmok is saying), hence why I said it would be obvious to most people.
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