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#26 demagogue

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 09:17 PM

It's not my personal idea, but I can try to argue how the book would want to respond.

The difference is in cosmology. But I'd have to get into the text to see how it played out in each of these cases. The thesis is about the cosmology of how souls are put in the universe, how they obtain status, etc, is what matters. The focus on open will (free conscience) & equality of soul-type instead of set-soul-type is the most straightforward way to see it.

Saying a slave is actually born with the soul of a freeman is confirming ancient cosmology that persons are born with "types" of souls, so he has the idea but still in the ancient cosmology.

Calvinism is already 1500s, so the social transformation had already happened in Europe, but anyway, the cosmology would work in an interesting way with that. While persons are preselected for salvation, it's not by any identifiable class or type of soul but presumably because God has foreknowledge about the content of their character. That would be the key part to that book. Some may be rich, some poor, some this race, some another race. From outer appearance one can't know. (The person themself might not know, cf Weber & "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capistalism".) But it's an interesting datapoint. The book only went up to the 14th Century. I think it would observe any implication that souls were not of the same type--eg, only Swiss could receive salvation, but not Spaniards or the dreaded Anglo-Saxons, well, more likely Arabs and Persians--if that's what predestination means, thet Arabs can't be saved because the souls of that race aren't fit for salvation, that would be a disconfirmation datapoint to the thesis and make it a foreign idea in its own surroundings. I'm curious now as to what they would say on that point.

The book made the case that there was a radical break in the cosmology pre and post, but it's a valid argument to ask how fixed that cosmology change was and how relevant it was to every social development.

I think the better way to read that book is, if you're going to study the history of every western liberal concept or institution, democracy, rule of law, human rights, equal rights, social welfare in their modern forms, you're going to be studying church history. The ancient versions would be very foreign to us.

In the ancient world, you're born within an ancestor cult. Eg, you can have democracy within an ancient city because you belong to ancestor clan cult of that city. But move to another city and you're an outcast that doesn't have the standing to speak on its behalf because your cult, literally your hearth that connects you to the spirits of your ancestors, is broken, unless your a woman who has her cult shifted by being carried across the threshhold to connect to another hearth's ancestors through the pater familias. Seneca was writing in that kind of social cosmology, and that's the framework it would have been received. That's why it's not saying literally the same thing. It matters to how the idea can be put into social practice, always within the boundaries of the cosmology within which it gets its meaning.

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Edit. We're also arguing different things so not sure we're really "debating" a set thing. I'd argue the conception of a radically equal soul type (a "free conscience") is what's important to western thought. It got a viable metaphysical foothold in a Christian cosmology, but there were protoversions of it in the ancient world and lapses of it in the medieval and modern worlds. I care about the evolution of that concept and the cosmology within which it evolved. The accouptrements of this or that ritual or cultural practice aren't all that important.

Eg, you don't have to call people who have that cosmology "Christian", and not all of them were, most noticably the other Hellanized Jewish sects around the time of Jesus had this kind of rhetoric but obviously weren't Christian. From an intellectual history perspective they share a religious outlook, but they wouldn't self identify as the same religion (trick question as early Christians and Jews took a while to mutually understand each other as different.) And of course after the medieval period, basically all connection to religion was severed and liberalism could kick off the religious cosmological scaffolding that build it and let it stand on its own secular version, applying to all persons equally no matter their own religion or absence thereof.

I care about the actual cosmology, not the labels. Greeks had a lot of what from our prospective we'd call protoChristian ideas too (although not on this cosmology point I don't think), so also shared certain religious outlooks.

For that matter, you can roll back intellectual history to India and sanskrit texts on religious outlook with statistically diminishing contact points like looking at DNA across species. That's fine with me, so I don't know if you're trying to argue something with me I'm supposed to disagree with.

But the cosmology of equal or open soul types is what I'd say is important, and the historical connection that had with the development of what became nominalism. Whatever people want to call that I don't care so much as that was the concept that was important in history, and it'd sound foreign to the ancient Greeks.

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Edit2.
The reason I'd want to emphasize cosmology is because it can help explain the trouble we observer some cultures are having in accepting western liberal ideas like equality, human rights, democracy, rule of law, etc. It's an observation we have. And if you push it to its roots, often you find a cosmological hangup. Definitely in cultures with cosmological castes. Or with cultures that think a piece of land, or really the right to have your opinion recognized about what can be done there, was granted their group by cosmological right and not another group. Those are the kinds of hangups that make liberalism just not work. Or to put it another way, liberalism itself is a kind of cosmological outlook, or relies on one, even if you don't want to call that a "religion"; it's still working like one.

Other cultures are able to integrate that outlook more readily, eg, Judaism had its liberalization in the haskalah period. Islam is seeing attempts at liberalization in fits and starts, over the last century and still today, but certain cosmological issue are more steadfastly defiant, the way Inshallah works, or the Buddhist cosmology of samsara and karma. I think because some concepts integrate into some groups' working cosmology better than with other groups'. That's related to religion, but it's more than religion and gets into all kinds of things happening in people's socially embedded cognition, which is what cosmology is ultimately about.
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#27 Moonbo

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

You're fixating on this issue through a much too narrow lens: the problem of differing interpretations of an idea isn't a religious problem, it's a human problem.

 

Let's take Shakespeare (or you, if someone decides to comb through your forum posts in the future) - was he trying to say something with his works? Yes. Are there mountains of people with differing opinions about what he was trying to say? Yes. Is there one best way to determine what he was trying to say? Maybe? Does this mean that relativism is true and that he wasn't trying to say something? No. 

 

The point I was making is that while people can reach agreements through argument and presenting facts, or seeing the benefits of an idea in action (people do indeed form a general or "mainstream" consensus on things, at least for a while), they probably won't all agree, especially the farther away you get away from the level of atoms and math. I was saying that as a practical way of living, given that reality, it is a much better way to live your life to apply your consequences of your ideas in your daily life and see if the the results justified your convictions, instead of spending all your time arguing with people that your interpretation is the best. 


Edited by Moonbo, 10 April 2017 - 09:23 PM.

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#28 demagogue

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:16 PM

Oh one other little point, speaking of political history, the ideologies that matter are the ones that structure society, not just what someone once said. That puts the emphasis into small corners that aren't always immediately obvious.

The Sophists or even the Romans didn't shape the social political organization of what we today call Europe or the West like the Carolignians and their successors did. So that's why Seneca's opinion didn't matter as much as Charlemange, et al, divying up the map of Europe into parishes and establishing churches for each, which spent the next several generations contending with the overlapping and preexisting Roman and pagan systems there, transforming them into what's recognizable to us today. That's the kind of on-the-ground history one want to follow up on, how ideas actually got put into widespread social practice.

Edit. Sorry with the edits. I'm conscious we're talking about different things, or have different interests. I'm interested in the historical development of western liberalism from scratch, the origins, and aside from that why it didn't develop in other cultures and seems to come to them as a foreign western idea and nothing they find preexisting in their own culture, even if they still try to adopt it.

I think the cosmology of Christianity played a role in that, not in the abstract, not the ideas alone, but as institutionalized in our historical social practice. There were inputs from nonChristian sources as well on many norms too, Greek, Roman, and Germanic, although even these got retranslated through a Christian lens in practice.

But anyway, that's a different issue from the question that opened this thread, which is whether slavery could have only been or was only first abolished by Christianity, or the idea to abolish it. On that front I'd agree with you that that idea by itself undoubtably comes up in different cultures, and you gave some examples. If that's all the debate is, then it's easy to find versions of probably most ethical norms in many different religions.

What I was thinking about was that those other examples are still illiberal ideologies in our modern way of thinking. Or they don't give us a road to liberalism's origins in that culture. That's the main thing I care about. I want to know where it historically came from, Christian or nonChristian inputs, whichever, but a credible explanation tied to historical practice. Whether it scores more points for this or that team I don't really care about, just the actual historical trajectory that could have birthed this very unique worldview. I don't think it was inevitable at all and required the very unique social and ideological conditions in which it came about in medieval Europe, most importantly the idea of a free individual not tied to ancestors, or city, or clan, or caste, etc.
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#29 Sotha

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 12:51 AM

My question was "How do you establish the actual message of a religious text"?

If there isn't a good method, then the text becomes meaningless, doesn't it? It's just poetry--it can mean whatever the reader wants it to mean.

Exactly! I've monitored the discussion here with interest, but I do not understand the purpose.

How does reading ancient fiction help with any of our modern problems?

One could just as well read Lord Of The Rings, but be better entertained, because it is better suited for modern audiences. You can pick up a lot of meaning and how-to-live-your-life tips from there if you wish, and they are written in a more precise and obvious way than those in religious texts.

The more vague the text is, the more there are ways to interpret it. Many interpretations results in lots of discussion opportunities, but the discussion is kinda pointless because it cannot lead anywhere. But it is good stuff for those who like to discuss just for the discussion.

If the purpose of text is to convey information, then ambiguous texts are texts that failed to serve their purpose. You can never talk about the text itself: you can only talk about the individual interpretation the other reader made from the text.

I have always failed to see the benefit of religious texts. They are ambiguous, they are a dubious record of history, they are often in conflict with itself, you cannot make conclusions from them, you absolutely cannot base any politics on them... what is their worth anyways, other than being a curiosity from the past times?

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I don't think the purpose of internet discussion is to make people change their mind. You are right, they won't. It is more like planting a seed in people. I've got many seeds from the discussions I've had my life. In time these seeds grow and change into insight. It is probably not a complete change of mind, but more of an acknowledgement and acceptance that there are other opinions as well, and most importantly understanding and awareness of the justifications of those opinions.
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#30 Judith

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 03:47 AM

Free will doesn't matter that much in Christianity, not in its ultimate goal. Christianity became so popular, because with New Testament it was a religion of love and your personal relationship with god, who seemed actively interested in saving you. That was vastly different from Greek perspective, where gods were vengeful, often fought each other, and were often very cruel to humans.

 

But the ultimate goal of Christianity is afterlife, and in this aspect Christianity is not that great. You have a god above who will judge you and decide your fate in the end. Sure, you have a set of guidelines, but even if you follow them carefully every day of your life, there's no guarantee that you'll end up in heaven. That's up to him to decide. Maybe you've misinterpreted the book, or didn't get the meaning of your role on Earth at all – if that's the case, sorry, gate's closed. Hell/purgatory's this way. That somewhat tragic aspect of Christianity seems to be "less advertised" or ignored (indulgences, church fairs), that might also explain popularity of this religion.

 

The main focus is on a consolation in our miserable lives, and love, on a very personal (god – me) level. That helped slaves survive the time of adversity and made them feel more like persons, not objects used to perform hard work, like the whole world around wanted them to believe.


Edited by Judith, 11 April 2017 - 04:24 AM.

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#31 nbohr1more

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:42 AM

Some interesting points but I would say that Christianity "became popular" because it subverted the oppressive Roman

authority culture and espoused a "more noble ideal" than the corrupt system of tying the religious pantheon to Roman politicians.

 

Captured groups\nations under the heel of the Romans would read passages about Jesus defying both the Roman and Jewish authorities

(who colluded with the Romans) and see parallels to their own communities where old loyalists clashed with Roman collaborators

who "sold out" their community for favors, wealth, and status.


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#32 Anderson

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 11:46 AM

Still though heaven and hell and its popularization was culturally perpetuated and proclaimed through theologians such as Thomas Aquinas, through art and veneration of icons that are related to the topic, through Dante Aligheri's Divina Commedia. Not necessarily just due to the explanations given in the Gospels which are of a mystical character when it comes to afterlife about the same way as Persian or Greek ways of describing it.

The general idea of Judaism was quite similar in that good deeds = heaven, bad deeds = hell but it just didn't go far into specifying the rewards and more on focusing what to do in the present life on Earth. So in this regard, The New Testament wasn't anything exceptional except broadening the gates of entry for Gentiles and so called "momsers".


Edited by Anderson, 11 April 2017 - 11:47 AM.

 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#33 RPGista

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 01:04 PM

Sorry guys, dont want to be insistent, and it makes me happy that we are all here talking in such a cool, friendly manner. But theres something that was addressed by springheel right at the beginning and it puzzles me how believing people can reconcile with this fact.

Unlike what many of us seem to think, religious texts are not vague at all, at least not the bible. It has strict rules to follow, precise "moral" stories to serve as proof of concept. You cannot mistake their meaning. While nowadays we obviously see religious tradition as another cultural and personal resource to enrich our lives (not mine, but you get me), to do so, to adopt your own view of divinity and religious dogma has always been prohibited. Its all written there. No mistakes are allowed. The penalty for not believing in the one true god, is death. It tells you how many silver pieces you owe the father of a girl you rape, in case you are caught and forced to marry her. It tells slaves to serve their masters. It tells clear stories of what happens to those who dont share the religion, how god punishes them, what god wants his followers to do when they get a hold of the infidels (kill everyone including the animals, capture the virgin girls, plunder the riches, in case anyone is wondering). At no point do they make a concession that it is allowed to doubt or interpret the text. In fact, to try to do so meant death, up untill recent times, but only in western culture, this still applies today to many areas of the world plagued by religion fanatism.

The main defense against religious extremism today, coming from other religious communities is that, if anything, the fanatics follow the text by the letter, and that you cant do that, if you want to live in any kind of decent world.

Interpreting god and having your own personal relation with the dogma is a recent innovation that, though I havent studied the subject in detail, I suspect cost a lot of people their lives untill it became an accepted possibility. I dont know how people of faith simply ignore this fact. The bible is sacred and right, it tells you exactly what you can or cannot do, if you disagree with any of it, it instructs other believers to kill you. I dont see any ambiguity in this at all.

Ps: The fact that we do not follow these rules in our daily life, that our human understanding currently goes well beyond anything preached by religious texts, is obviously not a result of its teachings, as a significant part of our shared values today directly contradict most of what the texts contain.

Edited by RPGista, 11 April 2017 - 01:23 PM.


#34 Anderson

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 02:02 PM

Sorry guys, dont want to be insistent, and it makes me happy that we are all here talking in such a cool, friendly manner. But theres something that was addressed by springheel right at the beginning and it puzzles me how believing people can reconcile with this fact.

Unlike what many of us seem to think, religious texts are not vague at all, at least not the bible. It has strict rules to follow, precise "moral" stories to serve as proof of concept. You cannot mistake their meaning. While nowadays we obviously see religious tradition as another cultural and personal resource to enrich our lives (not mine, but you get me), to do so, to adopt your own view of divinity and religious dogma has always been prohibited. Its all written there. No mistakes are allowed. The penalty for not believing in the one true god, is death. It tells you how many silver pieces you owe the father of a girl you rape, in case you are caught and forced to marry her. It tells slaves to serve their masters. It tells clear stories of what happens to those who dont share the religion, how god punishes them, what god wants his followers to do when they get a hold of the infidels (kill everyone including the animals, capture the virgin girls, plunder the riches, in case anyone is wondering). At no point do they make a concession that it is allowed to doubt or interpret the text. In fact, to try to do so meant death, up untill recent times, but only in western culture, this still applies today to many areas of the world plagued by religion fanatism.

The main defense against religious extremism today, coming from other religious communities is that, if anything, the fanatics follow the text by the letter, and that you cant do that, if you want to live in any kind of decent world.

Interpreting god and having your own personal relation with the dogma is a recent innovation that, though I havent studied the subject in detail, I suspect cost a lot of people their lives untill it became an accepted possibility. I dont know how people of faith simply ignore this fact. The bible is sacred and right, it tells you exactly what you can or cannot do, if you disagree with any of it, it instructs other believers to kill you. I dont see any ambiguity in this at all.

Ps: The fact that we do not follow these rules in our daily life, that our human understanding currently goes well beyond anything preached by religious texts, is obviously not a result of its teachings, as a significant part of our shared values today directly contradict most of what the texts contain.

 

The Quran is more detailed in that and supplemented by dogma made law as is Sharia Law.

 

But dogmas invented by Christian Churches are not written anywhere. They are parables, traditions, events presumed to be God's divine will and so on and so forth.


 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#35 Springheel

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 03:22 PM

It's not my personal idea, but I can try to argue how the book would want to respond.

 
Quite the thorough response, and an enjoyable read.  It probably doesn't make much sense to continue to argue this by proxy...I should probably read the book before making any more arguments against it.  It's possible the claim isn't as drastic as I originally thought.  Obviously Christianity had had a big impact on the Western world.  I'm skeptical of claims that ONLY Christianity, and no other religion, could result in the philosophies we see in Western society today, but beliefs certainly do matter.  Christianity deserves praise for encouraging attitudes about free will and equality just as it deserves condemnation for discouraging the equal treatment of women.
 

The book only went up to the 14th Century.

 
I find this an interesting place to stop, since it was just at this time that the rediscovery of Greek thought had such a massive influence on Europe.  Not to mention that the fact that slavery had still not been abolished in most Christian countries by this period.  But anyway, I should read the book. :)
 

Let's take Shakespeare (or you, if someone decides to comb through your forum posts in the future) - was he trying to say something with his works? Yes. Are there mountains of people with differing opinions about what he was trying to say? Yes. Is there one best way to determine what he was trying to say? Maybe? Does this mean that relativism is true and that he wasn't trying to say something? No.

 
I don't know that fictional literature is the comparison you want to make, is it?  Shakespeare may have had themes he wanted his stories to convey, but they were primarily pieces of entertainment.  They aren't instruction manuals on how to behave.  People don't read Shakespeare in an attempt to decide what is moral, or how to live a good life, or what happens after we die.  They do, however, read religious texts for those purposes.

 

You're fixating on this issue through a much too narrow lens: the problem of differing interpretations of an idea isn't a religious problem, it's a human problem.


You make it sound as if it's inevitable that people will disagree about interpretations of an idea. Unless you're going to include extreme outliers (like people who think the world is flat), I don't think that's the case. If you ask ten different people to read a poem, they will probably give you at least five different interpretations of what the message is. However, if you get those same ten people to read a news article about a car accident, they are liable to give you precisely the same interpretation of the message. What's more, if they contradict each other, we can look at the article ourselves and determine who is wrong. You can't do that with a poem.

 

That, in a nutshell, is my problem with religion.  It is supposed to be sending important messages--the MOST important messages there are to send!  How does God want you to live your life?  What do you need to do to avoid eternal punishment, and acheive eternal happiness?  What more important message could there be?  Yet religious texts are written like poetry, not news reports.  You can't just appeal to the text to show that someone is wrong.  You have to just "decide" that you're interpreting it correctly, and those that disagree with you must be wrong.

 

This wouldn't be a problem if we were just talking about Shakespeare.  It wouldn't be a problem if we were talking about poetry.  But when we're talking about books that purport to be messages from the creator of the universe, books that are supposed to tell us what is worth killing and dying for, it becomes a BIG problem.



#36 Moonbo

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 04:37 PM

Well, we've veered pretty far off course from the initial discussion, so I'd be happy to continue this one via PM if you're up for it otherwise I think we're finished talking about the undeniable contribution of Christian thought to the anti-slavery cause, but I'd just say that yes: the most important things in life are exactly the things that people will disagree the most about. And honestly I'm not sure a more legalistic, detailed list of does and dont's (like the Old Testament) is really the best way to go about it anyways.

 

But you know, in general these things don't need to be either-or. Human understanding has definitely gone beyond the point where anyone except the most devout believers thinks that the totality of understanding can be gleaned from a single source (and I would include various atheists in that - I met a Marxist once who treated Das Kapital with as much reverence as a fundamentalist Christian does the Bible), but that doesn't mean that those sources can't be an important source in people's lives, enriching them, giving them more understanding, and guide them to a better place.


Edited by Moonbo, 11 April 2017 - 04:39 PM.

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#37 Anderson

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 06:36 PM

Amen and Dixi. We are what we make of ourselves.


 "I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

 

 

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


#38 Springheel

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 07:17 PM

Well, we've veered pretty far off course from the initial discussion, so I'd be happy to continue this one via PM if you're up for it otherwise I think we're finished talking about the undeniable contribution of Christian thought to the anti-slavery cause,

 

 

Fair enough; it was an interesting discussion, thanks for indulging me.  I'm not sure we're ending on a note of total agreement--while there are certainly elements of Christianity that could be bent to the anti-slavery cause, it's still hard to agree that the anti-slavery message is self-evident in Christianity when Christians themselves seemed unaware of that message for at least a thousand years.

 

Human understanding has definitely gone beyond the point where anyone except the most devout believers thinks that the totality of understanding can be gleaned from a single source

 

 

I think you're undercutting just how important many religious people think their holy texts are.  Polling data suggests that 51% of Americans believe that the Bible is the "actual or inspired word of God, without errors".  61% believe the story of Noah's Ark is a literal story that actually happened. 

 

I find it interesting, and this goes to RPG's point above, that the more educated and intelligent a person is, the more likely they are to treat their religious texts as poetry and metaphor, and not take them literally.  Is that because the texts were not meant to be taken literally?  Or is it because, like those who say we shouldn't take Donald Trump literally, that when the literal meaning of a message is nonsensical or clearly wrong, falling back on metaphor is the only way to pretend the words should be valued at all?
 

 

but that doesn't mean that those sources can't be an important source in people's lives, enriching them, giving them more understanding, and guide them to a better place.

 

 

Absolutely.  We should take good ideas from wherever they find them, and abandon bad ideas no matter where they came from. 



#39 demagogue

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 05:03 AM

I guess this thread has taken some energy out of people, so I'll let it gracefully ride off into the sunset, but I'll put my last thoughts in a spoiler just to tie off some hanging things.

 

Spoiler


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#40 Springheel

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 08:46 AM

If I could sum up my basic criticism, I think he made a good case that the cosmology in Christianity was a precondition for a lot of social developments in the medieval period--in that if they didn't have its assumptions or worldview, many of the developments wouldn't have been plausible or happened the way they did

 

 

I can agree with everything but the bolded part.  Obviously, the cosmology of Christianity had a huge effect on the Christian world, and the Christian world became one of the leading civilizations on earth, which grew into the societies most of us come from, therefore our current civilization has been strongly influenced by Christianity, both in positive and negative ways.

 

Compare it to an individual person.  Obviously, you are strongly influenced by the beliefs of your parents and they way they raised you.  There is no question that the person you are today was shaped by things they did, and if you had been raised by totally different parents, you would not be the same.  However, if you're going to pick a particular trait--your love of music, your political leanings, etc, and argue that your parents are the only ones who could have raised someone with that particular trait...that's a much larger claim that I'm more skeptical of.

 

It would seem, in order to make a strong case for that, you'd have to:

1.  Identify all the factors that could lead a society to develop a particular attitude,

2.  Rule out all the other factors besides Christianity.

 

I'm not sure it's even possible to achieve #1, let alone #2.



#41 demagogue

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 09:31 AM

Yeah the weaker claim I should have put it is a cosmology where someone's opinion of the world is separable from the actual world, or the step just before that where a person is expected to willfully accept the world rather than have it handed to them by fiat. Without that, it's implausible to expect people to even think to look for a world that could be different from the reigning dogma. That's what I had in my mind and still feel it has force. It'd be much too strong to say Christianity is the only worldview that could have come to that view though.

But as homework, one could walk through the world's religions and worldviews circa 1100 and consider how likely they could have arrived at that with some tweaks. Or maybe Epicurianism and the 'atoms' of Democritus in an alt timeline? I'll grant counterfactual history at that scale is a fool's errand one can't really prove anything though.
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