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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 6:49amSanction this postReply
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freedom of and from religion... Note: sorry I forgot to complete the title, I didn't notice until it was too late.

Catholic mother berates atheist son.

As much as I am a considerate atheist to many who are religious, many who are my friends online and offline, I still find the fanatics, the soothsayers, and the hypocrites to be often too much to keep silent about. This clip is one such example of these times where I won't remain silent. When I came out atheist to my mom, it was probably one of the easier things even though my mother just converted to Catholicism, because she knew how it was to be persecuted and hated. My dad, not so much, but he knew he had no place to tell me what I will do with my own person since I was an adult and was living outside of his home by now. Still, it's kids like this one that my heart goes out to, because I've heard of such persecutions, even leading to physical abuse, directly as beatings or indirectly as starvation, and deprivation of personal liberties. Sometimes even death in the rarest of cases. Granted, this is not the norm of most religious parents who find out their children are swinging toward or are atheists, but it should be noted that in America, and among other heavily religious nations, this still happens, possibly more so in theocratic nations like Iran and Budon (Buddhist Theocracy).

Ayn Rand once noted that religion was the first attempt by humans to form proto-philosophies to explain the world around them and their place in it, but that such religions were insufficient with more true philosophies that have come to replace them; Objectivism, Naturalism, and Aristotleanism included. Perhaps this is the signal for the great movement away from fear of the dark to the love of the 'Sun' and our personal power(s). Or perhaps this will continue on as a perpetual dance between those that seek faith and those that seek Nature. Who knows.

-- Brede
(Edited by Bridget Armozel
on 4/11, 6:51am)




Post 1

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 1:59pmSanction this postReply
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LOL  "you are getting nothing for Christmas because that is what Christmas is about is Jesus Christ!"  ---- If Christmas was really about Jesus Christ, I don't think there would be any presents.  I like how she drops the F bomb too.  Thanks Bridget!.



Post 2

Friday, April 13, 2007 - 7:37pmSanction this postReply
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Do you like it when the F bombs land on you or just when they land around you?




Post 3

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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Very Funny!



Post 4

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 6:40pmSanction this postReply
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Assuming that this clip is not simply a put-on, the mother obviously has some serious issues, and the son's supposed atheism is in itself no proof of any virtue on his part. Had the mother taken the son to speak with a priest I would be interested to see if his tack would be to threaten to withhold Christmas presents. When confronted with my atheism, my parents were of course concerned, and wondered from where I would derive my ethical principles. I was also plied to attend Mass, which I have not done except for weddings and funerals on the ground that pretending to believe is not likely to be a ploy that will win me any points with an omniscient deity.

And of course, we all know that it's Santa Claus who brings the Christmas presents, and he's a pagan sky god. Easter is when Jesus brings the eggs and chocolates. The image of Santa/Freyr is from www.hurstwic.org I wonder who's been sitting on his lap?

Ted



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Monday, April 16, 2007 - 7:06pmSanction this postReply
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In a lot of ways, I was reminded by this of my own "coming out" as an atheist about 8 years ago. Only I got both parents doing the screaming, crying, and attempts at guilt-tripping for the better part of three years. I just loaned my mother Atlas Shrugged to see if she might better grasp where I'm coming from...we'll see how that goes. *grins*

It all started when I asked too many difficult questions in the youth group at the church they made me go to, and I got kicked out...because those questions could not be answered. I was 11 at the time.
Then, I got sent to a different church with the family of their friends, who had a daughter my age. They were hoping that I would bond with her and she could pressure me into "being good". I got the boot from that church, too, for similar reasons as the first, but I did end up friends with the girl, even after that incident. We reconnected last year- she's also an atheist now. I've been introducing her to Objectivism, because it seemed to be what she was looking for.

I feel for that kid, because I completely understand. He handled himself pretty well, considering. I'm amazed at the mother- certainly not an example of the behavior I'm sure she's hoping to impart on her child.

Thanks for posting the link- it was certainly interesting attempting to read the comments people left, too!




Post 6

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 9:37pmSanction this postReply
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I did benefit from two things. First, my parents are Reagan/Goldwater republican types, and we've had many long discussions on morality. Nothing in my family was ever predicated on "because I said so" but always on reason.

Second, taught by Jesuits, my father understands the basis in reason for natural law, and sees only such things as revelation (the Trinity, & so forth) as matters of faith.

After all, it's not like I announced I was becoming a Satan worshipper, which is how a lot of less "thoughtful" people see atheism. And I am not against God, I just can't pretend to believe in him, and I expect any decent omnipotent being would be able to respect my position. It's not like God is Kim Jung-Il.

I do sympathize with some of the others on this list whose horror stories have made my relationship with my family seem a model of decorum.

Ted



Post 7

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 9:08amSanction this postReply
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Great thoughts Ted. I am new to this site, but I really am starting to like it.

As for my atheism: I have to say that I am, unlike many, not only an atheist but against God.



Post 8

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 10:15amSanction this postReply
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Steve, against God? Do you mean against a portion of the morality and teachings of the Christian Bible?



Post 9

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 12:09pmSanction this postReply
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No, I mean against God. If, and this is an extreme if, God exist I wish God did not. Of course a wish is an irrational concept, however I will grant myself this one.

I am against the belief in God because it is totally irrational. All the knowledge and all the information that we can gather points toward nothing having to do with God. Science, as you know Dean, leads rational people to conclusions other than God. And, it seems to me, that philosophy leads to conclusions other than God.

Trying to fit God in (filling the holes if you will) seems superfluous to me.



Post 10

Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 4:09pmSanction this postReply
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Pardon me, but you are seriously confused.
A theocracy is a government which is inextricably tied to a Theistic religion, practically always a Monotheistic one.
No Buddhist even believes in a Deity, much less anything like Theism. If you are going to make such an assertion, maybe you should provide some examples on how this works.

NB: (transliterated from the Sanskrit)
BUDH, "awaken, communicate" (BUDDHA; BODHISATVA, "a saint, apostle"; BID < O.E. BUDON, "communicate")

Now, consider "freedom from, etc etc" in the context of this:

A Boddhisattva defers her own Nirvana (see: Moksha. Final Liberation from the wheel of Samsara, birth/rebirth, the whole [i]round and round she goes[/i] rhythm) until all sentient creatures are able to get there from here, too.

IRONICALLY, I found this, trying to locate this Budon Nation deal (from The Anglo Saxon Dictionary):
-budon; pp. -boden To do wrong to, to offend, abuse, ill-use...



Post 11

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 12:04amSanction this postReply
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No Buddhist even believes in a Deity, much less anything like Theism. If you are going to make such an assertion, maybe you should provide some examples on how this works.
Right.  I suppose Buddhism would fall into a Mystic category.  I'm not sure how it would differ much from a theocracy.  

A Boddhisattva defers her own Nirvana (see: Moksha. Final Liberation from the wheel of Samsara, birth/rebirth, the whole [i]round and round she goes[/i] rhythm) until all sentient creatures are able to get there from here, too.

IRONICALLY, I found this, trying to locate this Budon Nation deal (from The Anglo Saxon Dictionary):
-budon; pp. -boden To do wrong to, to offend, abuse, ill-use...
Huh?




Post 12

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 7:58amSanction this postReply
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Huh?

The original post contained a reference to "Budon (Buddhist Theocracy)". I assume this is some non-standard spelling of "Bhutan", a country which is arguably a kind of theocracy although it's moving towards a democracy now. I believe Tibet used to be a Buddhist theocracy (under the Dalai Lama), until the Chinese came along.



Post 13

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 8:11amSanction this postReply
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Welcome to RoR, Jan.  As a numismatist and an Objectivist, I enjoyed the opportunity to write about the tangka coins of Tibet.  At the roof of the world, with few natural resources, Lhasa became an entrepot around the Buddhist establishment.  Their claims to otherworldliness to the contrary, they needed silver coins.  The contractors for them were the Nepal mint and when Nepal debased the coins below 50%, Lhasa hired a Chinese mercenary army to set things right.  That said, Buddhism is no more or less good or bad than any other religion.  There were and are Buddhist theocracies.
A theocracy is a government which is inextricably tied to a Theistic religion, practically always a Monotheistic one. -- Jan Civil.

This is not true.  You do not have to do much online to discover citations such as these:

" ... defense of Buddhism was synonymous with the defense of the Japanese state. ..."
Buddhism and Christianity in Japan: From Conflict to Dialogue, 1854-1899. by Notto R. Thelle
Author(s) of Review: F. G. Notehelfer
Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Winter, 1987), pp. 499-501
See also: Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth-Century Japan by Neil McMullin, Author(s) of Review: Martin Collcutt, Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 403-412


Many Chinese emperors were Buddhists and they made Buddhism the state religion, though this came and went over the centuries.

In Laos, Buddhism is the traditional religion of a nominally secular (Marxist) state, just as the American government in Washington DC adheres to Christianity  In Bhutan, Buddhism is the state religion of a monarchy, as it has been, also, for centuries in Thailand.

While Thailand is currently a constitutional monarchy, it inherited a strong Southeast Asian tradition of Buddhist kingship that tied the legitimacy of the state to its protection and support for Buddhist institutions. This connection has been maintained into the modern era, with Buddhist institutions and clergy being granted special benefits by the government, as well as being subjected to a certain amount of government oversight.
Buddhism in Thailand -- from Wikipedia





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Post 14

Sunday, May 13, 2007 - 11:29amSanction this postReply
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Not only are Michael's observations that whether or not a mystic system like communism explicitly endorses a god relevant, certain sects of Buddhism do deify the Buddha, even though he himself preached an atheist system.

Ted



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Post 15

Monday, May 14, 2007 - 5:50amSanction this postReply
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Ted Keer hath writ: ... whether or not a mystic system like communism explicitly endorses a god ... even though [Buddha] himself preached an atheist system ...
Fifty years ago, Richard Crossman edited a book called The God that Failed which included essays by Arthur Koestler, Andre Gide, and other dissillusioned Marxists.  I am aware of the thesis, but I had not gotten that far in my posts here.  Thanks, Ted!  How do we differentiate "religion" from "philosophy"?  When writing a class paper about the interplay between Buddhism and Confucianism in China, I went directly to the college librarian and asked him how and why each is catalogued.  Buddhism is primarily a religion, but also a philosophy, whereas, Confucianism is primarily a philosophy, but also a religion.  At least, that's the official answer from the people who assign codes to what we do.

Buddha literally did teach an a-theistic philosophy that took people away from the worship of external gods -- Hinduism sharing roots with the polytheistic religions of the Greeks, Romans and Vikings -- and the discovery of the spirit within.

Going back to the original post, I agree that this seemed contrived.  (I will just set the camcorder here... and then stand here... and when Mom comes here, I'll break the news... Ooops, turn the volume up? Oh! Set the mike here...)  Nonetheless, it was thoroughly believable, specifically because Mom's replies were completely shallow and emotional and Dad just sat there sipping his coffee.  It looked to me like Junior knew which buttons to push and Mom went off as predicted.
ADL:  "...  you are getting nothing for Christmas because that is what Christmas is about, Jesus Christ!"  ---- If Christmas was really about Jesus Christ, I don't think there would be any presents. 
Audrey, the way I learned it, we give presents to celebrate the gifts brought to the manger. Of course, that was a recent invention.  About ten years ago, I was working on a federal project and we got the holiday schedule for downtimes.  One of of the guys on my team was a deacon in his church and I knew that, and to yank his chain a bit, I asked, "Doesn't this violate the separation of church and state?" and his immediate reply was "Do you think Christmas is really a religious holiday?" 




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Post 16

Monday, May 14, 2007 - 11:30pmSanction this postReply
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Epicureanism and Stoicism are viewed as secular religions, ways of living that governed private behavior, upheld a moral code, and which were expressed in certain rites, traditions, celebrations, holidays and forms. To be a Stoic or an Epicurean was to be a member of a brotherhood, a cult, (in the sense that the Boy Scouts are a cult,) a community.  The Epicureans tended to be atheists, but the early Christians saw them as religious opponents.  Stoicism tended towards deism.  Both the Stoics and the Epicureans would have admitted that they were religious in the sense I am using.

These secular religions had philosophies which did not depend upon the adoration of personal Gods, but they did have saints and mythologies.  This same cult of personality continued in atheistic Marxist-Leninism. For some, it occurs in Objectivism, witness the vehemence with which Ayn Rand's personal life is discussed among her admirers.  For all such religions, the glorified martyr, being dead, could serve as a focus for all ones fantasies without being a living threat to one's own power or day-to-day actions.

Philosophy is ideology in theory, religion is ideology in practice. Faith itself is not essential to religion.  Rather, a strength of  conviction sufficient to rule a man's life is. This ruling principle can be rational and life affirming.  Or it can be faith-based and afterworldly.

People talk about philosophies and live religions.

Ted
(Edited by Ted Keer on 5/15, 8:45am)




Post 17

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 4:45amSanction this postReply
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TK: People talk about philosophies and live religions.
That would make Objectivism a religion.  In The Fountainhead, Ellsworth Toohey tells Homer Stoddard that he could get to Howard Roark by telling him that he (Roark) is obviously religious -- even though he would claim be an atheist -- and that that shows in his buildings.  When told that, Roark was pleasantly surprised to be perceived at that level, perhaps even to have learned something about himself, and it seals the deal.

Citing that story from The Fountainhead is an example of using a religion's mythology to make a point understood to a believer. 

The way that some Objectivists react in to the claim that this philosophy is a religion always sounded like denial to me, but I was never able to understand it.  Neither was I ever able to explain it.  Thanks, again, Ted.

The root -lig- in religion means to tie or to bind (as in ligament) and shares a deeper root with -leg- for "law."

If the metaphor of communism as "the god that failed" is only a metaphor,  then we can go back to having two modes of knowing and acting (religion versus philosophy) because Marx's assertions were not revealed, but were "reasoned."  If many people can have the same revelation, then it is not that, but a perception.  

The historical opposition between "religion" and "philosophy" is shared across cultures.  One reason that Buddhism could flourish in China is that the people historically had only vague ideas about life after death, spirits in our world, divinities as actors, etc.  The conflicts between Confucianism and Buddhism centered on the material and political consequences of one group of strong adherents or another seizing or denying perogatives of the state.  The third thread in that braid is Daoism, another "atheistic religion."  You can sort yarrow roots -- I prefer tossing coins -- as often as you want on the same question.  The point is not to "find the answer in a book" but to see an answer for yourself by asking questions.

Knowledge of a spirit within seems to be shared by all peoples now.  However, Julian Jaynes contended that it happened only after the last Ice Age.  I believe that knowledge of this "animus" is older than that and is reflected in "language" being something different from "calling."  I could be wrong.  If Jaynes was right, then the existence of writing (and religion) in the New World, can only be explained by recent migration across the Atlantic. 




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Post 18

Friday, May 18, 2007 - 11:38amSanction this postReply
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Ted:

Philosophy is ideology in theory, religion is ideology in practice. Faith itself is not essential to religion.  Rather, a strength of  conviction sufficient to rule a man's life is. This ruling principle can be rational and life affirming.  Or it can be faith-based and afterworldly.

People talk about philosophies and live religions.

I'd agree with that.   It fits the meta definition I've been carrying around.

Religion: "Why am I here, and what am I supposed to be doing now as a result of that?"

Our lives are ruled by the answers we accept for those questions, even if the questions are never explicitely asked or examined or turned over.  We answer those questions by living our lives.  

Philosophy talks about the why's and what's, but eventually our religious answers drive our doing, ie, the living of our lives.

And, that explains the political abuse of religion: when "I' lurches to 'we' in those questions, it's all about the running of singular skins not our own.

Read the nonsense below from my favorite soft scientist, Durkheim, and try not to see foaming at the mouth religion about:

Society is not at all the illogical or a-logical, incoherent and fantastic being which has too often been considered. Quite on the contrary, the collective consciousness is the highest form of psychic life, since it is the consciousness of consciousness. Being placed outside of and above individual and local contingencies, it sees things only in their permanent and essential aspects, which it crystallizes into communicable ideas. At the same time that it sees from above, it sees farther; at every moment of time it embraces all known reality; that is why it alone can furnish the minds with the moulds which are applicable to the totality of things and which make it possible to think of them.
We are a century past the ability to have any broad political discourse in the world without leg-liftingly referring to the God-Totem "Society."    Communism isn't the God that failed, it was only a front, a particularly murderous denomination of this still virulent religious movement, and as such, a distraction.  During its rise and long before its demise, we were totally overrun by this unseen yet all seeing Magic Spirit in the Sky 'Society' religious nonsense.    It has not only bolted past our 1st Amendment and totally entrenched itself in the plumbing of state, but thoroughly slammed the door shut behind it.

Society -> Social -> Society.    World without end.   Socioligists 'believe' printed up as 'science texts.'  Entire departments of gov't devoted to 'what socioligists believe.' 

Durkheom was explicit.   Mankind had it all wrong; all these centuries, 'God' was the mistaken/misplaced totem for the Tribe/Society, which he rolls his eyes into the back of his head and describes perfectly accurately above.   When the religious zealouts leg-liftingly refer to 'Society' in their political arguments, they aren't referring to a group of people who meet once a month to discuss bird migration.   They are referring to nothing less than their God Almighty.

regards,
Fred




Post 19

Friday, May 18, 2007 - 2:19pmSanction this postReply
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Fred, not only was that a nice contribution, you also managed not to mention masturbation!

:)

T




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