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View Diary: "Witchcraft" video rocks Hawaii GOP gubernatorial campaign~! (198 comments)

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  •  This is about magical Christianity (26+ / 0-)

    where items associated with non-Christian religions cause evil by their very presence. A Quran, a Bhagdivad Gita, a Buddha statue - all bring the demons into your house.

    So probably do rock and roll albums. I would not be surprised to learn that ITN would put my Led Zepplin albums on the pyre next to the native art.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 07:30:58 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  re: magical Christianity (5+ / 0-)

      The very foundations of Christianity are based on magic! Jesus rose from the dead after three days? Really? Magic!
      How do otherwise rational people continue to blindly accept such obviously false mythology?

      Keep Christian mythology out of science class!

      by cybersaur on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 07:33:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you can't distinguish between (8+ / 0-)

        miracles and magic that's your problem.

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 07:34:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  One problem is that a lot of people (10+ / 0-)

          who think they're talking about miracles actually are thinking of magic.  

          Miracles happen every day - and they're usually not particularly spectacular.

        •  Can you define the difference for us please? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mrkvica, cybersaur, StrayCat, st minutia

          If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

          by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 09:04:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The distinguishment is 'who' does the magic. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kurt

            If God does something supernatural, it's a miracle.  If people are trying to harness and use the supernatural, it's magic.  I realize to some this difference isn't much.  Bear with me.

            Consider how "Christian" fundamentalists emotionally pray, sweating blood and tears to invoke Jesus's bloody sacrificial death, to call down Fire from Heaven upon the heathen liberal witches and all the evil instruments of Satan tainting the land with idolatrous abomination. This sort of prayer they call  'imprecatory prayer'.  It is invoking God to unleash His lethal eternal wrath upon others who so justly deserve it, in their humble view, and who must be exterminated if these Christians are to survive and flourish, and rule the land as God ordained them to do.  So, this sort of attitude and prayer looks and smells very like magic to me...and seems fueled by relentless, intolerant hatred. Their God is a God of Holy War battling against all unruly sinners and everything linked to that treasonous Lucifer.

            On the other hand, if Christians petition God for peace, justice, relief of orphans and widows, and for faith to believe justice will prevail, there's an expectation that God behaves in a loving and consistent manner, saving judgment to the very end.  However, such Christians aren't actually doing enough simply to pray and talk. They need to show honest and real faith in deeds, demonstrating the action of the Holy Spirit of Redeeming Love in their hearts, well, at least if Jesus and his purported brother, the Apostle James, is to be believed.  Being in dialog with God, working 'with' God, in humility and aware of human limitations, to spread love, justice, hope and security would be a more mainline understanding of the proper function of prayer and faithful living.  When love, justice and peace break out, we tend to call that a miracle.  Such Christians take St. Paul's teaching that walking with God's Spirit in one's heart should be evidenced by their living in the light, demonstrating love, peacefulness, kindness, humbleness, eagerness to do deeds that are right and charitable, ready to sacrifice one's self to save another, as well as being eager to roll back oppression and repression.

            When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

            by antirove on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 11:29:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since both assert supernatural forces (0+ / 0-)

              and since there is an utter lack of evidence that either prayer or magical incantations produce any results, it is a distinction without meaning.

              It is like distinguishing between Dumbledore and Gandalf.

              Or, like saying it makes a difference whether you call the team that did not win the World Series "the losers of the World Series" or, "the team that placed second in the World Series".

              It takes a great deal of hubris to presume to judge which faith-based appeals to the supernatural are the "right" ones, and which are the "wrong" ones according to your faith. Who appointed you Pope of all Christianity?

              If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

              by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:44:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not a Pope. But I have an M. Div. and Philosophy (0+ / 0-)

                B.A. One needn't hold to any strict supernaturalism to either have a spiritual orientation or simply have or gain an appreciation for the ethical dimensions and implications of different supernaturalist views. I did qualify my remarks as being differences for those able to appreciate them.  I didn't intend to inflame or 'bait' anyone.

                You will encounter some who may find arrogant the point of view or firm belief that there is nothing which ought to be deemed or named 'supernatural'.  I don't presume to require you or anyone to accept anything I'm saying, nor require you to care about the difference I outlined, or any form of supernaturalism.  I was simply trying to illustrate the differences for those wondering what differentiates between a fundamentalist viewpoint and mainline Christian traditions and how it affects what they do unto others.  

                If you wish to be able to dialog with those who have beliefs, it helps to grant them some accommodation and basic respect, and work at the logic from within their world view, holding back the more direct challenges until after you've developed a rapport .  It could be argued that outright condemnation of other  peoples' beliefs in anything supernatural to be inherently wrong and evil seems...well, almost a fundamentalist belief itself.

                When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

                by antirove on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 07:34:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is nothing "arrogant" about believing thing (0+ / 0-)

                  for which there is evidence, and refraining from believing things for which there is no evidence.

                  Arrogance is on the part of those who insist that arbitrary beliefs in things for which there is no evidence, deserves "respect" or special deference - but only when those beliefs come cloaked in the 'religion' label.

                  I doubt you grant some accommodation and basic respect to the notion that white people are genetically superior to black people, or that babies born with deformities should be euthanized, or that the way to gain immunity from AIDS is to rape a virgin infant.

                  There is no idea worthy of automatic respect. And disrespect for unfounded ideas is not disrespect for humans.

                  It could be argued that outright condemnation of other  peoples' beliefs in anything supernatural to be inherently wrong and evil seems...well, almost a fundamentalist belief itself.

                  Anything can be argued. That does not mean the argument automatically has merit - or, that it is worthy of either respect or accommodation.

                  By the way, there was no "condemnation" - that is a religious Good vs. Evil way of looking at the world. I don't condemn groundless beliefs, I simply point out that they are groundless, and that all existing evidence points to them being false beliefs.

                  And, there is absolutely nothing fundamentalist about it. I am open to, indeed, welcome honest debate about my assertions.

                  What I tend to get instead, from religious apologists and accomodationists, is this bullshit about being "fundamentalist" because I don't automatically give deference to every belief anyone ever states anywhere for any reason whatsoever.

                  Nor would I ever use the term "evil" to discuss someone's beliefs. Evil is a vague, religious term without rational meaning, in my view. There is demonstrable harm that one can measure, if something is harmful; but "Evil"? Various religious people call "Evil" anything that doesn't comply with their particular learned, dogmatic worldview, whether that is being gay, or being an atheist, or the scientific method itself. It is an empty term that, unfortunately, has been used by dogmatic thinkers to justify much demonstrable harm to others.

                  If you wish to be able to dialog with those whose beliefs do not include supernatural religious beliefs, it helps to grant us some basic respect - and to attack our assertions, not to cast aspersions on our person, as you seem eager to do.

                  If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

                  by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 11:32:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Evidence - this is where philosophy of knowledge (0+ / 0-)

                    and science gets very interesting.  This is a complex matrix of our direct experience, our understanding of personal and collective history,  our acceptance of handed on culture with traditions of interpretation which gives names to 'data' items and identifies their processes. Also if we are honest, we must acknowledge the limitations of our own ability to perceive and understand and comprehend. The number of people who truly understand Quantum Mechanics wouldn't fill a plane, but it doesn't stop us from trying to intergrate their knowledge in our culture.  We may not yet understand all that is involved in precipitating religious experience, but we can work hard to express it in ways that lead towards a science of religious experience.

                    One of the hardest thing to define is what many feel is most obvious, at first, and that is how to answer "What is data?"  What counts as data depends on the beliefs and theories you have about the world.  What is testable depends on what you believe is confirming, what sort of logic is required to demonstrate it, and what others will agree with you is confirming and logical.  A majority of what anyone believes at any one time is far more sociologically determined that what any one is normally willing to admit.  

                    There is such a thing as scientific study of Religious Experience.  There are elements to "numinous experience" which have been documented parts of human experience in the psychological, anthropological and sociological literature over the last 100 plus years.  It is possible that distinguishing what is supernaturalism and what is not is an artificial construct, subject to better understanding in the future.

                    Extinguishing the conversation about what people experience and feel and believe may help you to feel more comfortable, but it ends and cuts off the conversation for billions of people who have had some experiences they understand in a religious context.  Polarizing the discussion will cut you off from many who are liberal allies, but who may have some spiritual or religious orientation.  The politically smart thing is to find a 'neutral' middle ground which doesn't preclude discussions with your fellow human beings which may reference things which you may not, or cannot believe.  

                    I'm not asking you to surrender your firm belief in atheism, just to avoid strident and alienating expressions of it.  I'm simply asking you find a way to welcome discussions with those who may be your political allies and also have beliefs you would not tolerate for your self which may inform their views on social action, charity, and ethical economic behavior.  Having the ability to engage tolerantly with those of differing views reflects a 'maturity'.

                    When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

                    by antirove on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 05:23:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The only one talking about extinguishing (0+ / 0-)

                      cutting off conversation and silencing differing views is you. I have never expressed any opinion remotely like that. On the contrary, I consistently champion a notion that seems so uncomfortable to you, the contortions you make around it are almost painful to watch - that a rational worldview has as much a place in our culture, our society, and our discourse as one based on faith, and that refusing to believe in all gods, rather than just all the ones you don't believe in, is a legitimate position that has as much a place in our public discourse as any other view.

                      You consistently argue that I somehow have an obligation to give deference to other viewpoints, while you fail to make the same demand from those other viewpoints.

                      You consistently ask that skeptics temper our arguments so as not to "offend" the delicate sensitivities of believers whose faith is apparently so shaky and insecure, that they can't handle an honest intellectual challenge - yet, I don't hear you telling yourself, or other believers, to chill out and stop trying to tell atheists how to express our opinions.

                      The irony of your utter lack of self-consciousness, as you wrote that last paragraph of yours, is simply astonishing:

                      I'm simply asking you find a way to welcome discussions with those who may be your political allies and also have beliefs you would not tolerate for your self which may inform their views on social action, charity, and ethical economic behavior.

                      I'm simply asking you to find a way to welcome discussions with those who may be your political allies and also do not have beliefs you have, which may inform our views on social action, charity and ethical economic behavior. Apparently, what is good for your goose, is not good for my gander.

                      I suggest you stop lecturing atheists on how to be good little children so the grown up Christians can carry on with the world, and instead, look to your own self and in your own heart and ask yourself why you are so incapable of tolerating our view of the world, and why you are so unwilling to engage in honest, frank and open inquiry, welcoming challenges to your thinking so as to better hone it and ensure that you are not holding mistaken opinions or false beliefs.

                      In my worldview, it is more important not to hold false beliefs, than to have answers to everything. It is more important to tell the truth, and to seek to the truth, than it is to not say something that might offend someone.

                      Can you respect and honor and include that worldview in your conversation?

                      I suggest you have trouble with that, and that your current response - to seek to discipline freethinkers to bow down to the thought-repressing restrictions of faith-culture - is both remarkably intolerant and condescending of you, and remarkably revealing of your own insecurity about your own beliefs.

                      I suggest you worry more about people who kill, torture, maim, imprison, humiliate, repress, censor and inhibit others in the name of religion, than you do about atheists who write a few books and make a few online comments about reason and evidence.

                      Your priorities seem a bit skewed.

                      If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

                      by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Oct 22, 2010 at 11:22:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  The very foundations of Christianity (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        defluxion10, raincrow, elwior, Onomastic

        are based on the teachings of Jesus.  But what you said is a misunderstanding that is shared by fundamentalist Christians and many atheists and other non-believers as well.

        "Ashes to ashes. Steel to Steel. If the enemy don't get you then your own folks will." - James Thurber

        by pundette on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 08:08:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If one actually reads (yes, yes, I know that's (19+ / 0-)

        a radical suggestion), one might find that the foundation of Christianity runs more toward enfranchising the powerless, caring for the poor, loving one another, rejecting earthly hierarchy and irrelevant rules in the pursuit of relationship with God, and being willing to sacrifice one's material wealth and even one's life in service to God and humanity.

        It's not magic; it's a lifetime of dedication to mindfulness, compassion, kindness, and overcoming narcissism.

        •  If one reads selectively, you mean - just as (9+ / 0-)

          they do.

          Each person reads into the Bible whatever accords with the morality they are taught. Which is why it makes no sense to derive one's morality from an ancient book of fiction, written about an alleged historical figure for which there is no contemporary verification, by people living long after his alleged death.

          We should derive our common morality from our common humanity, not from competing ancient texts that have been the basis for more war, conquest and misery than any other human invention.

          If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

          by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 09:08:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You keep repeating misinformation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CKendall

            Please go back and read your history. Atheists, anti-religionists, and non-religious/a-religious conquerors have butchered at least 10 times as many people as religious zealots. Your side is 'waaaay ahead of mine when it comes to plaguing the world with war, conquest, and misery. You guys even beat out the Black Death, typhus, and the flu! YOU ROCK! ;)

            And "should" has nothing to do with how we derive our common morality. We have been busy at it for 100s of thousands of years, as ingloriously and mechanically as our Precambrian progenitors. Our rules describe the (generously sized) envelope of individual and group behaviors, hardwired and learned, selfish and altruistic, that allow our species to reproduce successfully.

            I suggest that atheists give up the obsession with "deriving" common morality -- it exists inherently so there's nothing to "derive." I know it's galling when some religionists claim morality would/could not exist without a Creator, but I suggest eschewing such silly non-arguments. For someone who believes in a Creator, NOTHING would/could exist without that Creator; and for someone who does not believe in a Creator, it's a priori a nonsense because a Creator does not exist and yet morality does.

            (And, fwiw, not everyone views those "ancient texts" as "competing," and not every religious adherent gives a flying f* about what other people believe or wants to convert unbelievers. When you look at the core values of the world's major religions, they all invoke notions of compassion, charity, divesting oneself of wealth and earthly power, cleansing oneself of narcissism, and convincing others to join in these endeavors. The trouble starts when people decide to get militant -- compassionless and uncharitable -- about "convincing others." But imposing one's beliefs/whims/fantasies/way of life/government/ideas on others is certainly not just the province of religionists.)

            •  Clearly, you have internalized those "core values (0+ / 0-)

              Your method of dialog here clearly shows how successfully your faith, whatever it is, has taught you compassion, humility, assuming good will, lack of self-obsession and, most particularly lack of hostility.

              If you don't vote, you're just playing with yourself.

              by RandomActsOfReason on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:39:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'm an atheist but a great admirer of Jesus (7+ / 0-)

          He was a radical revolutionary humanist, IMO. I can't embed, but this song to me says more about Jesus than all the yammering of the new Christian Taliban.

          http://www.youtube.com/...

          "Take it back, take it back. Oh no you can't say that, all of my friends are not dead or in jail." John Prine

          by high uintas on Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 09:34:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Bonfire of the Vanities in Florence (14+ / 0-)

      by Savonarola...many great works of art went up in flames, not to mention women's hats, cosmetics, gambling gear, chess pieces, etc. Eventually, excommunicated, Savonarola was hung/burned by the very citizens who had eagerly tossed their own belongings on the fires.

      Pity these folks never learned the history they are repeating.

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