Religion. Again.

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  • Religion. Again.
  • Premier Icon molgrips
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    Who is it that the Pope is supposed to be talking to then?

    As I understand it, the Pope’s job is to talk to God, and interpret the Bible for you.

    On the rare occasions I find myself in a church a lot of the stuff that goes on there and is on the walls seems to be about specifics, not sentiment.

    Well yes – they are telling you how to interpret the Bible. Of course, a certain German monk had other ideas and thought we should all be able to interpret it for ourselves. When you think about it, this is a pretty huge idea. It means that the established church can no longer control what people think. And from a political point of view it means that the Pope can no longer control everyone, the Kings etc are then free to do so.

    Calling the Bible ‘just’ stories doesn’t mean there’s nothing of importance in it. For a start, it’s not just stories. Some of it is, some are parables that have a moral point (still relevant today), some of it is history and some is accounts of the teachings of an important figure.

    As I understand it, much of Christianity is dealing with the implications of what that figure said. Again, I don’t see a problem with focusing on this instead of the tribal code of some people from a few thousand years earlier.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    As a vegan, my employers are obliged to supply me with non leather safety boots as veganism is a “strongly held ethical belief” and is considered the same as a religion for discrimination purposes.
    If my employer caught me eating meat, that would prove that my ethical beliefs are not that strongly held and they can give me leather boots like everyone else.

    I think you’ve got this backwards. You’re not talking about discriminating against a belief system, you’re talking about a lack of positive discrimination towards it.

    The shoes thing is a slightly weak analogy in that the rules are there for your benefit. If, hypothetically, vegan-friendly safety shoes didn’t exist (which they probably do but lets roll with it), you’re in a position where you need to either suck it up or risk having your feet smashed to bits. An employer should be able to insist on you wearing PPE to protect its workforce (and avoid litigation), should it not?

    Putting that another way; why should a doctor get to pick and choose who they treat? If their “deeply held belief” means that they won’t provide help to people who really need it based on, let’s be honest here, their own prejudice, surely they either need to consider a career more compatible with their belief system or take a good hard look at those beliefs.

    Say we had a doctor who is also a staunch UKIP / BNP etc supporter. Should his “deeply held beliefs” permit him to refuse treatment to brown people?

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Calling the Bible ‘just’ stories doesn’t mean there’s nothing of importance in it

    Perhaps, but even if we take that as being the case, it’s a bit of a leap from there to telling us what we shalt and shalt not do because god said so, is it not?

    For a start, it’s not just stories. Some of it is, some are parables that have a moral point (still relevant today), some of it is history and some is accounts of the teachings of an important figure.

    Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Do you have the Cliff Notes to tell us which is which? It’d avoid a lot of confusion and argument.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Do you have the Cliff Notes to tell us which is which? It’d avoid a lot of confusion and argument.

    No – may I suggest you go to church and ask for some help 🙂 as I believe this is much of the point of having clergy.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    I will, soon as they all agree between themselves.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Why do they all need to agree?

    Students of literature don’t all agree on Shakespeare or Proust do they? Just because not everyone agrees, doesn’t make it worthless.

    It gets a bit confusing, to me at least, when you start talking about unintentionally discriminating against someone and intentionally positively discriminating for them.

    All our buses have wheelchair ramps to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.
    Old buses didn’t have ramps and were deemed to discriminate against disabled people.
    It wasn’t intentional, but effectively it was little different to having “No Blacks or Irish” sign.

    Aren’t Sikh police officers exempted from wearing helmets because they won’t fit over a turban?
    I guess if vegan safety boots didn’t exist, then I suppose that similarly, I’d have to be exempted from wearing safety boots.

    I believe this is much of the point of having clergy

    Why?

    Why can’t their invisible friend speak to me directly?

    Shakespeare and Proust don’t claim to be infallible and omnipotent.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Why can’t their invisible friend speak to me directly?

    I dunno. This too has been debated a lot.

    Shakespeare and Proust don’t claim to be infallible and omnipotent.

    Did the authors of the Bible?

    Did the authors of the Bible?

    Hang on a minute, this is where these sort of religious arguments become impossible.
    To answer your question, I would need to know your opinion of who the author of the bible is.
    Was it one infallible omnipotent god, or was it a collection of authors, each interpreting the voices in their head a different way?

    Premier Icon miketually
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    Did the authors of the Bible?

    They claimed that God was telling them things, and God is claimed to be infallible.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Really? Sure about that?

    Hang on a minute, this is where these sort of religious arguments become impossible.

    Exactly. You can’t argue that it has no value because it can’t have been written by God, when not everyone’s claiming that it was. It can still have value even if it was written by some humans who knew God, and some who didn’t. The editors could easily have left the latter writings in becuase they thought they had value – and you (or a later church) can deicde they don’t.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    I’m mostly with you molgrips, it makes total sense to me to think of the bible as a sort of manual of useful things to think about, some of which might make less sense today in their literal reading than they did 2000 years ago.

    I realise I’m making some assumptions here, but I assume that people that believe hard in God have in mind some sort of constant agent, a universal ultimate power who made everything and has things he likes to happen and things he doesn’t like to happen, and those things aren’t for us to question. I’d have thought that to believe something like that exists you’d have to believe that it exists entirely independent of what people do or don’t think about the bible, and that it was the same 2000 years ago as it was today, and it will still be the same in another 2000 years. It wouldn’t be much of an ultimate power or authority otherwise.

    At the same time, the foundation for that belief is the bible, or at least the current politically correct interpretation of the bible, which everybody knows is subject to change. If there is a constant God it doesn’t seem likely that any arbitrary interpretation of the bible is likely to be very accurate on the subject.

    It’s the contradiction between those two roles for the bible that I can’t square, and what I don’t get is how other people do.

    Like I said though I’m looking in from the outside in probably quite a naive way. Maybe people think about it in a different way so the contradiction doesn’t exist.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    At the same time, the foundation for that belief is the bible

    Is it? I honestly don’t know, not being Christian myself – perhaps if any are brave or foolish enough to be on the thread they could chip in?

    If there is a constant God it doesn’t seem likely that any arbitrary interpretation of the bible is likely to be very accurate on the subject.

    I would hazard a guess that God would guide your interpretation of it. So your dialogue with God is the Cliff Notes, and possibly even your conscience.

    Like I said though I’m looking in from the outside in probably quite a naive way.

    And that’s really my point. Most of the religion bashers (not saying you) are doing just that.

    MrSalmon
    Member

    At the same time, the foundation for that belief is the bible
    Is it? I honestly don’t know, not being Christian myself

    Well I think it’s fair to say they go hand in hand, in church anyway, which amounts to the same thing in my (good) book.

    hilldodger
    Member

    …Was it one infallible omnipotent god, or was it a collection of authors, each interpreting the voices in their head a different way?

    The infallible voice of God speaking through the fallible lips of man.

    Any Truth comes from careful and considered reflection upon the words and their meaning to you, as one of God’s children, not from chucking soundbites around the web – but then there’s no hero points in that is there 😕

    MrSalmon
    Member

    Any Truth comes from careful and considered reflection upon the words and their meaning to you, as one of God’s children

    But then it’s your truth, not the truth. And if it’s your truth it’s just a truth. I thought the thing with God is that he’s the truth, the only one there has ever been or ever will be.

    EDIT I’m talking myself in circles now so I’m bowing out of this one 🙂

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    So after all these years I find I’m a bad man for wearing cotton jeans with a little bit of lycra in them.

    Ah well, to Quote the Bonzo Dog Band – “A lot of it’s rubbish you know”.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Students of literature don’t all agree on Shakespeare or Proust do they? Just because not everyone agrees, doesn’t make it worthless.

    I think they’re pretty much in agreement over which bits are supposed to be fictional.

    All our buses have wheelchair ramps to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.

    They do, but then being disabled isn’t a lifestyle choice. There are no downsides to anyone, disabled or otherwise, in providing accessibility (other than a bit of extra work in building it I suppose).

    I guess if vegan safety boots didn’t exist, then I suppose that similarly, I’d have to be exempted from wearing safety boots.

    How is that similar? Either safety equipment is necessary or it isn’t. If it’s necessary and you’re refusing to use it, they you’re a menace to yourself and others. (Speaking as a vegetarian,) given the choice between having an extra cow in the world and having feet that work, I think on balance I’d go for the latter.

    Really? Sure about that?

    I found this the other day. Bear in mind, this is a pro-Christianity website.

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/hottopics/defendingyourfaith/why-believe-bible-true.html

    The Bible is the collected writings of people who knew God over many centuries. But more than that, as Christians we understand that God has spoken through these people.

    Some Bible books recite what God has done in people’s lives—like 1 and 2 Kings. Other books, like Isaiah, show God speaking directly to us through the voice of a prophet. Isaiah doesn’t just reflect on his personal experiences with God. He speaks for God, and God actually speaks through him. And the New Testament Gospel writers have Jesus speaking directly to us.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth; they claimed god was telling them things.

    Premier Icon miketually
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    Really? Sure about that?

    Christians believe that Jesus is God so any parts of the Bible which say “Jesus said” are reporting upon what God said. Even on those parts, there’s rather a lot of disagreement withing individual denominations, let along among Christians. Far clearer than almost anything in the Bible is what Jesus thought about divorce, for example, but we see rather different views on that.

    Given how widely interpreted the Bible can be, it seems rather silly to base modern laws on it. So, for example, exempting doctors from treating homosexual patients, preventing women accessing reproductive health services, or using it to define marriage, would all be a bit silly.

    How is that similar?

    I was thinking of police helmets as safety equipment. Perhaps motorcycle helmets or builder’s hard hats would have been a better example.
    In which case, the biggest difference is not the risk of injury, but the fact that no one can deny a cow needs to die to make a pair of boots, but the not cutting your hair and wearing a turban thing is all based on another made up story.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Some new theology being unloaded, earlier:

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    I was thinking of police helmets as safety equipment. Perhaps motorcycle helmets or builder’s hard hats would have been a better example.

    I did wonder. Motorcycle helmets are a better example yes, and carry the same exemption. It seems somewhat irresponsible to me, but then I suppose you don’t see many turban-wearing Hell’s Angels knocking about (with “Sikh and Destroy” written on the back of their leathers).

    with “Sikh and Destroy” written on the back of their leathers

    Bravo!

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    Straight from the horse’s mouth; they claimed god was telling them things.

    for which you might get locked up if you claimed this nowadays.

    mefty
    Member

    An illustration of relative importance. Readings from Leviticus, which I know STW loves quoting, can be used at CofE services on three occasions during the year. To put that in perspective there are six different readings from Isaiah that can be used on the first Sunday of Advent alone.

    Who made that rule up?

    mefty
    Member

    Acceptable forms of worship are laid out by the General Synod of the CofE, there are an quite a lot of them.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I thought the thing with God is that he’s the truth, the only one there has ever been or ever will be.

    Yes – to a Christian this is not in doubt, I suppose. But the question is one of communication. Was His word accurately recorded, and if so would it apply to us nowadays? If he were talking to us directly now, would he say the same things? A lot of people would say no.

    Other books, like Isaiah, show God speaking directly to us through the voice of a prophet.

    Was the author of Leviticus a prophet? I mean the actual man who put pen to paper, not necessarily the originator of the rules.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
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    for which you might get locked up if you claimed this nowadays.

    Quite. Any god who can be made to shut up with some anti-psychosis drug ain’t much of a god.

    hilldodger
    Member

    But then it’s your truth, not the truth. And if it’s your truth it’s just a truth. I thought the thing with God is that he’s the truth, the only one there has ever been or ever will be.

    Yes, but as children of God, the one truth is inherent in us and would be revealed by such contemplations 😀

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    O.K. go on. What is it then.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
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    How long do I need to spend in contemplation in order for the one truth to be revealed? I mean time is a bit tight right now.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    SHOULD be no time at all. hilldodger is going to tell us what it is.

    Aren’t you, hilly…

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    slowoldman – Member
    Ah well, to Quote the Bonzo Dog Band – “A lot of it’s rubbish you know”.

    I’d worship them, wouldn’t you?

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    What is it then.

    The truth is God, and his love for everyone 🙂

    Even gay people who need an ambulance ?

    project
    Member

    Thing is hospitals have many care providors and not all of them may refuse through religous grounds to treat gay people.

    hilldodger
    Member

    SHOULD be no time at all. hilldodger is going to tell us what it is.

    Aren’t you, hilly…

    Not really a matter of me telling anyone The Truth just expressing the thought that contemplation of any work of spiritual teachings by someone with belief in their foundation can lead to a deep personal understanding of their place in the Universe and perhaps even enlightenment.

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    Even gay people who need an ambulance ?

    There’s a gay couple up the road who own a retired ambulance. It’s got rainbow flowers painted on it and the signage has been altered to read “AMBIANCE” \o/

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