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Religion without stupidity?

proglib
Posts: 391
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7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Though the title is intentionally provocative, I mean this as a real question. And it is purposely general to avoid picking on any particular religion.

I was raised Catholic, and still admire the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as they were taught to me. I also admire much of what I've heard about the morals of Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, and even some of Islam, though I haven't heard enough to have a good knowledge of the last and some of what comes across is obviously abhorrent to a progressive libertarian like myself.

However, without better evidence than I've ever experienced myself or read or heard, I'm not going to believe, just for example, in people walking on water, angels, miraculous conception or resurrection.

Given this inability to take the metaphysical teachings without some seasoning, I tend to view some of the moral teachings relativistically, as well. For example, the primacy of procreation made a lot of sense when the population was small and infant and child mortality rates were extremely high. However, homophobia and puritanical sexual mores seem less relevant in a 21st century, 7 billion and rising environment.

My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
Bannanawamajama
Posts: 125
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7/25/2013 9:00:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Sure it is. I think thats actually a common trend now, you've heard of those people who say they "Follow Jesus, but not Christianity"? I think thats like following the morals of the religion without buying into the more phenomenal stuff thats harder to swallow.

I personally follow my religions teachings in the philosophical implications, because most of it is pretty interesting and insightful, but of course I don't actually believe there's a powerful bird god who watches out for all bird kind and wages war on snakes.
ExsurgeDomine
Posts: 176
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7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

You're not following their morals either, so what exactly about your religion would identify it as Christian? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.
bulproof
Posts: 25,168
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7/26/2013 6:52:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

It seems that you've got that right. Well done.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
ExsurgeDomine
Posts: 176
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7/26/2013 9:25:50 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 6:52:41 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

It seems that you've got that right. Well done.

Truly, your wit has never been equaled. Surpassed, often, but never equaled.
bulproof
Posts: 25,168
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7/26/2013 10:14:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 9:25:50 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:52:41 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

It seems that you've got that right. Well done.

Truly, your wit has never been equaled. Surpassed, often, but never equaled.

Well I obviously failed there. That was a very serious and more importantly TRUTHFUL retort. Those who don't understand reality would, I suspect, consider it wit. I would propose that those would be well entrenched in the belief of gods and other things, not noticeable to the intelligent people.
Thank you for your somewhat misplaced attempt at humour, never the less.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
rockwater
Posts: 273
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7/26/2013 10:20:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
Though the title is intentionally provocative, I mean this as a real question. And it is purposely general to avoid picking on any particular religion.

I was raised Catholic, and still admire the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as they were taught to me. I also admire much of what I've heard about the morals of Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, and even some of Islam, though I haven't heard enough to have a good knowledge of the last and some of what comes across is obviously abhorrent to a progressive libertarian like myself.

However, without better evidence than I've ever experienced myself or read or heard, I'm not going to believe, just for example, in people walking on water, angels, miraculous conception or resurrection.

Given this inability to take the metaphysical teachings without some seasoning, I tend to view some of the moral teachings relativistically, as well. For example, the primacy of procreation made a lot of sense when the population was small and infant and child mortality rates were extremely high. However, homophobia and puritanical sexual mores seem less relevant in a 21st century, 7 billion and rising environment.

My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

I'm inclined to say yes, but I'm not sure what you mean by stupidity, myth, and "following your religion." I consider myself a Christian, but I do not take everything written in the Bible literally. As Exsurge Domine said, not all of the Bible was written with the intent of being taken literally.

A myth like the creation narrative with Adam and Eve can be "true" in a moral and allegorical sense whether or not it is literally or historically true. It is true that most Christian denominations do believe that Christ literally was born of a virgin, literally performed miracles, literally died on a Cross, literally rose from the dead, and literally ascended into Heaven. I believe these things, too, but I do not see my beliefs as conflicting with anything that science may or may not discover one day. You might think that I am stupid for believing these things without any proof (or any scientific understanding of how such things are even possible.

As for following my religion, I go to church regularly, give money to the Church, and am active in parish ministries, but as I have said before my beliefs and actions are very different than what is taught by the leaders of my Church.
ExsurgeDomine
Posts: 176
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7/26/2013 10:29:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 10:14:25 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 7/26/2013 9:25:50 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:52:41 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

It seems that you've got that right. Well done.

Truly, your wit has never been equaled. Surpassed, often, but never equaled.

Well I obviously failed there. That was a very serious and more importantly TRUTHFUL retort. Those who don't understand reality would, I suspect, consider it wit. I would propose that those would be well entrenched in the belief of gods and other things, not noticeable to the intelligent people.
Thank you for your somewhat misplaced attempt at humour, never the less.

Wit: 'Mental sharpness and inventiveness; keen intelligence.'

You're a bloody genius, aren't you?
proglib
Posts: 391
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7/26/2013 6:09:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

You're not following their morals either, so what exactly about your religion would identify it as Christian? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.

ExsurgeDomine

Thanks for your response.

Though my knowledge of the bible isn't what it used to be, it seems to me unlikely that you are following all of the morals of the Old Testament. I believe the morals communicated by Jesus of Nazareth are pretty exemplary, and I try to follow many of them as best I can:

* Love thy neighbor as thy self
* Help strangers
* Don't cast stones (not being sin free)

And so on.

While you jump to the conclusion that labeling part of the bible myth entails labeling it all myth, my own opinion is that the bible is clearly a combination of myth and history. That to treat it as literal shows a lack of both knowledge and intelligence. (Sorry to be blunt.)

The stories of the Old Testament were passed down verbally for centuries; again, by people who thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it, who had next to no understanding of the physical world and were contemporary with other folks who similarly believed in supernatural occurrences, but just attributed them to different supernatural entities.

Cheers
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.* And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Barry Goldwater
*Except in a democracy it might lose you an election.

http://unitedwegovern.org...
ExsurgeDomine
Posts: 176
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7/27/2013 5:06:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 6:09:24 PM, proglib wrote:
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

You're not following their morals either, so what exactly about your religion would identify it as Christian? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.

ExsurgeDomine

Thanks for your response.

Though my knowledge of the bible isn't what it used to be, it seems to me unlikely that you are following all of the morals of the Old Testament.

The thing is though, most of the 'morals' of the Old Testament weren't really 'morals' at all; they were part of the Law. St. Paul explains pretty thoroughly in Galatians 3:19-29, and certainly if they were moral obligations no one could have been released from them.

The ten commandments is the exception, as they were written into our hearts and are moral commands (see Romans 2:15).

I believe the morals communicated by Jesus of Nazareth are pretty exemplary, and I try to follow many of them as best I can:

* Love thy neighbor as thy self
* Help strangers
* Don't cast stones (not being sin free)

And so on.

While you jump to the conclusion that labeling part of the bible myth entails labeling it all myth, my own opinion is that the bible is clearly a combination of myth and history. That to treat it as literal shows a lack of both knowledge and intelligence. (Sorry to be blunt.)

The stories of the Old Testament were passed down verbally for centuries; again, by people who thought the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it, who had next to no understanding of the physical world and were contemporary with other folks who similarly believed in supernatural occurrences, but just attributed them to different supernatural entities.

Cheers

Well, you seem to have completely lost the context of my response and started arguing on about why you think the Old Testament is a myth or something, which isn't really germane to the topic I was addressing. You stated your question as:

At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Perhaps my answer was unclear as I didn't explicitly commit myself to one (although it should have been pretty obvious which answer I favor), and if that is the case I clarify b y answering no, it is not possible.

My point was that if you (generic, not specifically you proglib) label part of the Sacred Scriptures which are clearly meant to be giving an accurate historical account as myth, then you have concluded them to be in error, and then there's not much to stop you from doing as others do and tossing out the entire thing as myth. As an aside, I'm curious as to what in it you (specific you proglib) actually regard as historical if you don't seem to credit the miracles.

Pretty much in the end though, if you (generic) don't follow the morals and you don't believe the myths, there's no reason to claim that you're following Christianity, which is why I conclude that it is not possible to be Christian while calling the Sacred Scriptures a compendium of myths and denying some of morals found within. What's the definition of a Christian, then? It becomes pretty much meaningless. Almost everyone could probably agree with at least one moral somewhere taught by the Lord, so then is everyone a Christian? Am I following Christianity because I believe I should not steal or murder, even if I've decided Jesus never existed, and the Sacred Scriptures are a fairy tale written by foolish primitives who mistook natural phenomena for God?

If you answer yes, then you've got a pretty bizarre definition of Christianity that's pretty much useless, and if you answer no you must understand why I answer as I have.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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7/27/2013 7:43:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 7/26/2013 6:40:30 AM, ExsurgeDomine wrote:
At 7/25/2013 6:49:33 PM, proglib wrote:
My question, especially to my former colleagues in the Christian religion, is it possible to follow your religion and not take the bible literally, not believe myths or follow morals passed down from and by people who thought the sun revolved around the earth, for example?

Some things are not meant to be taken literally simply by virtue of the writing style. However, if you don't want to believe myths, then where do you stop? You could claim everything in the Sacred Scriptures is a myth. Abraham? Myth. Moses? Myth. Elijah? Myth. David, Solomon, Isaiah? Myths.

And why stop there? Jesus? Myth. Peter? Myth. Paul? Myth.

You're not following their morals either, so what exactly about your religion would identify it as Christian? As far as I can tell, absolutely nothing.

That's true. One cannot accept Christ without accepting the entire package. In fact, one of Christianity's greatest enemies within Christianity is the modernist. Either Jesus walked on water - or He didn't. Either He raised the dead - or He didn't. One cannot pick and choose. Not logically, anyway.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Dragonfang
Posts: 1,122
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7/27/2013 7:55:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If the bible is from God, then it would be logical that everything in it would be true.

The problem is when the first premise, which is the bible is from God, is believed to be true due to illogical basis.