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Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

#35: Jan. - Mar. 2007 (Non-Fiction)
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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garicker: When the Bible is understood as a collection of stories and myths, then it has some utility and some value. These are our efforts to explain ourselves to ourselves
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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garicker: Unfortunately, most of the scholarship never quite seems to make it to the great mass of Christian believers, many of whom have no idea of how much of what they believe to be true about the biblical narrative is totally unsupported by that scholarship.That's an absolutely valid criticism. On the whole, I would feel better about Christianity as an institution if the churches were more pro-active in providing material and instruction that disseminated this scholarship to their constituencies.The understanding of the Bible that exists in academia, especially in the more advanced schools, is a far cry from the understanding of the Bible that exists in the world of the average believer in one of the Christian sects.To be fair, that's true in any field. And religion is a field that is full of layman. Conversely, many of these laymen also profess that religion is a matter of transcendent concern, so you would think that more of them would be interested in applying themselves more directly to a deeper study of the field. For most Christians, unfortunately, that usually means a deeper immersion in the impressionistic form of "Bible study".On the whole, Judaism seems to have inspired a more devout scholarly tradition.
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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Quote:On the whole, I would feel better about Christianity as an institution if the churches were more pro-active in providing material and instruction that disseminated this scholarship to their constituencies.Hmmm, not educating the flock...I wonder why?I think that the lay Xtian and religionist would not be able to handle anything different from what has been bashed into them. I think it serves the variou traditions to keep the laity in the dark.Quote:profess that religion is a matter of transcendent concern, so you would think that more of them would be interested in applying themselves more directly to a deeper study of the field.Actually, to 'profess' such a transcendence would also seem, to me, to negate any need to study any scholarship at all. I do not see how more thorough study would follow from this.Mr. P. I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George CarlinI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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misterpessimistic: Hmmm, not educating the flock...I wonder why?Why don't you ask some church administrators? Assuming that it's a conspiracy to keep the ignorant masses from thinking too hard about their religion is just intellectual laziness.I think it serves the various traditions to keep the laity in the dark.To some degree, that may be true. There are points of difference between different Christian denominations that the clergy and laymen of those traditions don't want to consider anew. A more in-depth, scholarly, considered understanding of the development of the Bible and of Christian tradition would complicate their reasons for adhering to one denomination or another, even if it didn't complicate their belief in Christianity in general.And on the other hand, I'd say it's likely that some of these people would also claim that their denomination's tradition -- apart from the tradition of Christianity as a whole -- matters to them, and in some ways stands in stead of a fuller understanding of the Bible. Which is much the same as saying that a great many Christian denominations have two holy "texts", the Bible and their denomination's unique tradition.Actually, to 'profess' such a transcendence would also seem, to me, to negate any need to study any scholarship at all. I do not see how more thorough study would follow from this.That depends on whether you're talking about the individual's own transcendence or the transcendence of Christianity as a religion. If the person claims to be transcendent, then they probably won't see much reason to make a deeper study of the Bible. (They'll probably also get even their own tradition wrong, or start a new tradition -- they're running awful close to mysticism by claiming transcendence.) If, however, they claim that Christian religion is transcendent -- that is, it transcends human history, or culture, or society -- then it would make sense to learn more about it. And that latter claim is by far the more common within Christianity itself.
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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Quote:If, however, they claim that Christian religion is transcendent -- that is, it transcends human history, or culture, or society -- then it would make sense to learn more about it. But how can this claim even be entertained as serious? How can something born of human history, cutlure or society transcend the same? This is were I just choose to stay out of the conversation...because the terms and conditions start sounding too subjective for me. The whole subject becomes what one specific 'side' demands it becomes.Christianity has propagated itself well, it must be admitted. But that does not show, to me at least, that it has transcended anything at all. Mr. P. I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George CarlinI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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misterpessimistic: But how can this claim even be entertained as serious? How can something born of human history, cutlure or society transcend the same?I think it can be seriously entertained by analogy. How does a species that supposedly got its start sucking the marrow out of scavenged cannon-bones become a species that builds cities and writes the Iliad? Evolution is, in some sense, transcendent, and part of the story is that some generations manifested physiological differences that simply weren't in their parents. Another step is cognitive, and human history is largely written as a succession of ideas that weren't there before, and couldn't have been there without the foundation of previous ideas, but which enable us to become more than we were previously -- moral, for example, or airborn, or poetic.The idea of religious transcendence is essentially seeing that kind of transformation as applicable in another domain. Not necessarily the domain of the supernatural, because it isn't necessary for a religious tradition to conceive of the world as divided into the natural and supernatural, but in the domain of some kind of relationship to something that the believer finds meaningful.I'm not arguing that you should accept any of this, but I am hoping that the explanation will allow you to see religious believers a little more sympathetically. On the whole, I agree with you that religious transcendence is typically safest when it's a personal matter.Christianity has propagated itself well, it must be admitted. But that does not show, to me at least, that it has transcended anything at all.Historically, I'd say that the Church helped European culture transcend rather narrow limits in the wake of the fall of Rome. What we conceive of as a continuous civilization -- Europe -- is largely the result of efforts made by the Church to unify everyone into a single brotherhood. And a lot of the terminology and categories of modern thought are the result of work done within Christian thought over the last 2000 years. Is it perfect? No; and that same work has contributed to as many problems (Middle Eastern conflict) as it has solutions (the concept of human rights). Whether or not it has helped anyone achieve some sort of spiritual transcendence is susceptible to your "keep it in your pants" rule -- if it isn't their place to force your transcendence, then it's not your place to judge what it's done for them.
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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Quote:Another step is cognitive, and human history is largely written as a succession of ideas that weren't there before, and couldn't have been there without the foundation of previous ideas, And I can agree with this...it is like what Frank said, if it is a lifestyle, it would be easier for me to accept.Quote:a lot of the terminology and categories of modern thought are the result of work done within Christian thought over the last 2000 years. Maybe...but I would tend to think of it as the need for these thoughts were forming in our species, but were coated in the religion of the time, which was quite dominant after all. Now I feel that we can safely loose the religious overtones of right and wrong and...hee...transcend.Quote:if it isn't their place to force your transcendence, then it's not your place to judge what it's done for themThat is all I ask...but I will say this: I did not get all rousted up until I started noticing 'them' attempting to force 'thier' beliefs on me. I was quietly living my life. I do not see the atheists, even the 'militant' type I hear so much about, forcing anything on anyone...we are just trying to stand up to what we see as an assault.Mr. P. I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George CarlinI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/6/07 1:53 pm
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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Quote:I do not see the atheists, even the 'militant' type I hear so much about, forcing anything on anyone...we are just trying to stand up to what we see as an assaultSay what?So when Richard Dawkins says that ideally he would have children taken away from parents who tried to raise their children in a religion, he wouldn't be forcing anything on someone? When the Chinese government bans specific religoius movements, they are not attempting to force anything on anyone? When the Soviets attacked people for attempting to practice their religion, were they not attempting to force their atheist views upon others? When spanish atheists killed clerics simply for being religious, were they not trying to force something on people? Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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You use China and the Soviets as if their main outlook on things was based on atheism, was communism foudned on atheism? Really...I thought it was about more than just forcing atheism on people.Dawkins talking about his thoughts and offering a drastic scenario to combat another drastic scenario is not that same as the ignorance actually being attempted by many Christians in the USA. But you are taking a literal reading of something that I took as a overly stated for a purpose...but you are a believer, so that surprises me not.Seriously...show me one bill or propsed law that is proposing this.Mr. P. I'm not saying it's usual for people to do those things but I(with the permission of God) have raised a dog from the dead and healed many people from all sorts of ailments. - Asana Boditharta (former booktalk troll)The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.What is all this shit about Angels? Have you heard this? 3 out of 4 people believe in Angels. Are you F****** STUPID? Has everybody lost their mind? - George CarlinI came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy PiperEdited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/6/07 12:05 pm
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Re: Ch. 7 - THE 'GOOD' BOOK AND THE CHANGING MORAL ZEITGEIST

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Chinese and Soviet Communism were two very different projects, and their unique social structures were profoundly different from Marx's socio-economic vision. Marx was undoubtedly atheist, in the school of Ludwig Feuerbach for whom belief in God was wasted projection of human greatness. Religion, for Marx, was how the oppressed masses learned to tolerate their oppression; thus making acceptable an unacceptable world. It also gave voice to their longing for liberation and hopes for a better world. Marx argued that when the unjust economic system and social structure disappeared, then the need for religious opium would go as well. Thus, for Marx, if you were really serious about disabusing humanity of its religious habits, you would devote your life to the international revolution that was surely to replace the oppressive capitalist system. Otherwise, debating the existence of God (apart from actually engaging in social and economic revolution) is bourgeois mental mastrubation: a great way to keep the intellectuals distracted, providing their necessary services to the ruling classes.
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