• Tom Storm
    2k
    That's because you're those three monkeys, all in one.baker

    Prove it.
  • baker
    2.5k
    They're not "friendly" toward other religions, they just don't give a shit about them. Duh.
    — baker

    I'm not sure what is intended by your remark, but you can flesh it out if you feel like it.
    Ennui Elucidator
    The difference is in the intention. On the surface, two people can act the same way -- appear generous, tolerant, etc. -- but they differ in what motivates them to act that way. For example, one can be acting out of a genuine regard for others, another one out of pity. It can take quite a while to discern those motivations.

    Have you, for example, never seen a mild, kind person explode in an, "I've been kind to you for so long, but now I've had it, no more! You ungrateful brat!" ? It reveals that they've been acting out of a transactional model of relating with others, that their kindness has been conditional all along.

    A free lunch can usually only be found in mouse traps.

    I am personally familiar with these religions being friendly with other religions and even encouraging education about other religions to their members. There is "ecumenical" work, interfaith groups, etc. So "not giving a shit" isn't even close to right. Non-proselytizing religions exist.
    Aww, ye of great naivete.

    Should terms denoting religious identity be exempt from being meaningful?
    — baker

    Last I checked you aren't a sociologist, ethnographer, or any other thing that could provide a useful inquiry into what is properly classified as "religion." Hand waving about a lack of Jesus or Jesus analogs precluding a group from being religious is not of much interest to me.
    Oh. So anything anyone calls "religious" should be considered religious?
    Anyone who claims to be a Christian should be considered a Christian?
  • baker
    2.5k
    That's because you're those three monkeys, all in one.
    — baker

    Prove it.
    Tom Storm
    You see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. The world is a good place for you.


    Mwhahaha!
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    I agree with your sentiment about some historical religions being more or less tolerant than others, but I disagree that there is anything inherent about Abrahamic religions.Ennui Elucidator

    Well, it rather comes with the territory, doesn't it? If, e.g., Jesus is the only true God, and Christianity the only path to God, it's a bit taxing to be "friendly" towards other, pretend Gods and their ignorant worshippers.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    I got the reference. Do I take this as a compliment or an insult?
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    Well, it rather comes with the territory, doesn't it? If, e.g., Jesus is the only true God, and Christianity the only path to God, it's a bit taxing to be "friendly" towards other, pretend Gods and their ignorant worshippers.Ciceronianus

    I get it. I've just talked to Christian Ph.D. in theology kind of people who believe that Christianity survives a mythic Jesus and focuses on Jesus' message of love. They are not interested in Jesus as the only vehicle for the message of love, but that Jesus is their vehicle for that message and what they consider to be the best expression of it.

    How does Christianity survive without supernaturalism or the fact of Jesus (either as historical person or son of god)? How does it survive without a claim to exclusive access to heaven? Those are great questions for Christians and they seem to be working on them. If/when they move on and the Christian community follows them, will they in that instant stop being Christians? I doubt it.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158


    The difference between us, Baker, is that you probably don't know the religious people that I know. It is tough to have a serious conversation about modern religion with a person that is committed to fighting religious battles from prior to the 1950s. Yes, lots of people haven't moved on. Many in the intellectual community have.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    That is a key question. I have met many Christians (progressives, obviously) who believe Jesus to have been a mortal caught up in Roman deific marketing. For them, Jesus is an ethical teacher and Christianity a cultural legacy of social justice (with some shocking crimes attached). Their idea of God is an ineffable deity along the lines of Tillich's ground of being. I don't know how they make this work or why they would bother but it seems harmless next to the Southern Baptist.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    but it seems harmless next to the Southern Baptist.Tom Storm

    I expect @180 Proof to pop in at any moment and dismiss everything I've said as the prattling of one those people who wants to play at religion and serves as mere diversion from the real boogie men.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity. The Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant.Ciceronianus
    :100:
  • Michael Zwingli
    158
    Giving moral guidance...wrapped in an intriguing story of a hero living out those believesstoicHoneyBadger

    Of course, this is the old mythological "hero's journey" studied by Joseph Campbell and other mythologists. It is a theme as old, perhaps, as homo sapiens.

    what if the goal of a religion is not to be factually correct, but to give people moral guidance, thumos and social cohesion?stoicHoneyBadger

    Yes! This is very good, an excellent observation. I have noticed, in discussing matters of "ultimate concern", eschatological issues, with certain Orthodox Jewish friends and acquaintances of myself, that there does not seem to be the same feeling of a need for escatological certainty, or for precise escatological definition, that I have noticed within Christianity. This fact begs a question: what, in your opinion, was the origin of the "dogmatic certainty" which seems to pervade Christianity, and appears so needful to Christians?
  • stoicHoneyBadger
    65
    Yes! This is very good, an excellent observation. I have noticed, in discussing matters of "ultimate concern", eschatological issues, with certain Orthodox Jewish friends and acquaintances of myself, that there does not seem to be the same feeling of a need for escatological certainty, or for precise escatological definition, that I have noticed within Christianity. This fact begs a question: what, in your opinion, was the origin of the "dogmatic certainty" which seems to pervade Christianity, and appears so needful to Christians?Michael Zwingli

    I would say they were unable to focus on the outcome, so they had to focus on the process. I.e. live a good and pious life, than God with reward with an afterlife in paradise and fry those pesky Romans in hell.

    That was a beneficial mentality for an underdog, but once Christianity became dominant, unfortunately it failed to adjust its doctrine.
  • Hanover
    6.9k
    The ancient pagan religions of the Greeks and Romans were certainly friendly, even the so-called mystery religions. It wasn't unusual for someone to be an initiate of the Mithras cult and an initiate of Isis or Magna Mater. One could worship Jupiter, Asclepius as well as other gods. There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity. The Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant.Ciceronianus

    This is a tough historical thesis to maintain, as it would require not just a comparison to the ancient Greek religions, but to all prior religions. Historically, nations had gods and those gods warred with one another within the nation and gods from other nations warred against them as well, often having a contest of whose god was supreme, or so the mythology goes. Once you arrive at a monotheistic religion, you abandon the idea that your god is stronger than all other gods, but you hold that your god is the only god at all, and then the wars between gods end, but, of course, not the wars between the nations.

    Consider as well:

    "Some scholars argue that what is termed "religious wars" is a largely "Western dichotomy" and a modern invention from the past few centuries, arguing that all wars that are classed as "religious" have secular (economic or political) ramifications." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war

    This challenges the notion that religion and the secular are so nicely divided, and I would expect that very ancient cultures that engaged in war did so with some reference to their gods, as they didn't have an epistemology that divided the secular/scientific and the religious/theological.

    There is also an inherent logical problem with this statement by you:

    "There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity. The Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant."

    If Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant, it wouldn't make sense that the intolerance would lie dormant for over a thousand years until the advent of Christianity, considering the Abrahamic religion of Judaism pre-dated it by that many years. Your argument then seems to be that you find Christianity in particular intolerant, which it historically was, but, as noted above, I don't think it's a fair analysis to lay that intolerance at the feet of the religion, as I see those conflicts as tied as much to the secular (power, wealth, control) as anything else. That is to say, with or without religion, I expect that our European forefathers were going to be a brutal bunch. Religion happened to be a wonderful mode to express it, and an argument can certainly be made (especially by our enemies) that we've hardly become less violent and warlike since becoming a secular state.
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    1. Christianity [metaphysically bloated: god, moral causation (good, heaven & bad, hell), divine command theory]

    leads to

    2. Buddhism [metaphysically trimmed down: no god but moral causation/law of karma (good, heaven/nirvana & bad, hell)]

    leads to

    2. Secular ethics [metaphysically empty: no god, limited moral causation (no to good, heaven & bad, hell but yes to what goes around comes around/you reap what you sow in this life and not beyond)]

    leads to

    3. My prediction: maturation of our moral intuitions [ethics becomes a branch of economics, making explicit what was always implied: quid pro quo (you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours), favors/good deeds are organized into some kind of credit system and exchanged between individuals/groups, good for good's sake stops making sense].
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    How does Christianity survive without supernaturalism or the fact of Jesus (either as historical person or son of god)? How does it survive without a claim to exclusive access to heaven? Those are great questions for Christians and they seem to be working on them. If/when they move on and the Christian community follows them, will they in that instant stop being Christians? I doubt it.Ennui Elucidator

    People who claim to be Christians have been trying to reconcile the preposterous with the rational for a long time-from the early efforts to incorporate Platonism, through the time of Thomas Aquinas, who tried to attach Aristotle to Christianity, to the more recent efforts of folk like Karl Barth. It's an impossible task, I think. The effort to make Christianity "reasonable" requires the rejection of its claim to exclusivity and of the claim that Jesus is God. If neither claim is true, Christianity becomes something other than Christianity.
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    This is a tough historical thesis to maintain, as it would require not just a comparison to the ancient Greek religions, but to all prior religions.Hanover

    My "thesis" is simply that the Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant. That doesn't mean that no other religions are, or have been, intolerant. As to the ancient Greek and Roman religions, we have good evidence that the pagans worshipped several gods, and that worshipping one of them didn't require that no other gods be worshipped.

    If Abrahamic religions are inherently intolerant, it wouldn't make sense that the intolerance would lie dormant for over a thousand years until the advent of Christianity, considering the Abrahamic religion of Judaism pre-dated it by that many years.Hanover

    Judaism was quite intolerant and exclusive long before Christianity began. One need only read the Old Testament to understand that the Jews were violent towards non-believers--they seemed to have been particularly enchanted by the thought of the infants of non-believers being wacked against stone walls--this fond wish is expressed more than once in the Old Testament. The Jews always prohibited pagan religion and practices and wouldn't allow them in Jerusalem or elsewhere in Israel. Jews, of course, weren't allowed to worship any God but their own, jealous God. Riots between Jews and Greeks were frequent in Alexandria in the first century B.C.E. The rejection of attempts to introduce Hellenism and paganism into Israel resulted in the Jewish conflicts with Antiochus IV and later played its part in the two wars with the Romans in the first and second centuries B.C.E. The Jews differed from the early Christians in that they didn't try to impose their religion on others, and in any case lacked the power to do so.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    The effort to make Christianity "reasonable" requires the rejection of its claim to exclusivity and of the claim that Jesus is God. If neither claim is true, Christianity becomes something other than Christianity.Ciceronianus

    This is is more a historical debate and so is far too involved to really resolve. I'm going to suggest that early "Christianity" (after the word had first been used) may not be the same as Paul's Christianity. Further, the early Christian's didn't necessarily see Jesus as god. I wonder why the counsel of Nicaea, for instance, had to establish dogma on the topic if it was so universally accepted.

    I think one can accept that Christianity writ large has been a certain sort of way for a long time and still acknowledge that not all Christians were that way for all of time (at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end).


    Christology
    Trinity
  • Hanover
    6.9k
    Judaism was quite intolerant and exclusive long before Christianity began.Ciceronianus

    Then why did you say:

    There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity.Ciceronianus

    Judaism was intolerant of other religions per the First Commandment. It was monotheistic, which necessarily entailed no other gods be worshipped.

    As to the ancient Greek and Roman religions, we have good evidence that the pagans worshipped several gods, and that worshipping one of them didn't require that no other gods be worshipped.Ciceronianus

    That's because it was polytheistic, but that doesn't entail that non-believers of those gods were tolerated. It simply means that under the polytheistic structure differing gods had differing powers and some did battle with one another. Do you have evidence that the Greeks openly tolerated ridicule of Zeus by Greek citizens or that if a foreigner denounced Greek religion he'd be accepted into Greek society?

    One need only read the Old Testament to understand that the Jews were violent towards non-believers--they seemed to have been particularly enchanted by the thought of the infants of non-believers being wacked against stone walls--this fond wish is expressed more than once in the Old Testament.Ciceronianus

    The context of those passages I'm familiar with relate to the horrors that will be brought against the enemies of the Hebrews, not specifically against gentile non-believers for their failure to believe. Regardless of the quibble, it is clear that the Hebrews who violated the commandments of God could face deadly consequences assuming one were to accept a historicity of the Old Testament. I'm not sure though that there is an actual historical record of God actually striking folks down or of little girls getting tossed against the rocks.

    That is to say, there was no flood, no parting of the sea, and likely no baby tossing in ancient Israel.. To the extent the bible says otherwise, it's not true.

    If you're interested, the Talmudic rules of the death penalty are attached, which are so cumbersome, that it's not clear that anyone ever received it. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-death-penalty-in-jewish-tradition/#:~:text=The%20Talmud%20endorses%20a%20similar%20position%2C%20saying%20that,without%20clear%20testimony%20at%20times%20of%20rampant%20sinfulness.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    People who claim to be Christians have been trying to reconcile the preposterous with the rational for a long time-from the early efforts to incorporate Platonism, through the time of Thomas Aquinas, who tried to attach Aristotle to Christianity, to the more recent efforts of folk like Karl Barth. It's an impossible task, I think.Ciceronianus
    :100: :fire:
  • Pinprick
    764
    But what if the goal of a religion is not to be factually correct, but to give people moral guidance, thumos and social cohesion?stoicHoneyBadger

    Then religions should admit it instead of clinging to the irrationality of their beliefs by making a virtue of faith.

    Giving moral guidance in a form of only 10 commandments or 4 noble truth, etc. just printed on a page would not have much interest, so it need to be wrapped in an intriguing story of a hero living out those believes.stoicHoneyBadger

    Ok, but then why not make it plainly known that it’s fiction? It isn’t like knowing that X book is fictional makes it impossible for it to provide meaningful moral lessons.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    :up:

    Pro tip: Buddhism preceded (Pauline) Christianity by five/six centuries at least. The latter could not have "lead to" the former. :roll:
  • stoicHoneyBadger
    65
    Ok, but then why not make it plainly known that it’s fiction? It isn’t like knowing that X book is fictional makes it impossible for it to provide meaningful moral lessons.Pinprick

    In that case you get secular humanism. Basically Christianity without Christ. )
  • Ciceronianus
    1.9k
    Then why did you say:

    There was no problem of tolerance until Christianity began its relentless destruction of antiquity.
    — Ciceronianus
    Hanover

    Because the intolerance of the Jews was limited, and primarily local (to Israel). Rome for the most part tolerated the Jewish religion because their weird, peculiar, god usually was just that--their (the Jews) weird, peculiar god. The Jews weren't inclined to compel everyone to become Jews (unlike Christians, who wanted all to be Christian). When the Jews and their god refused to accept Roman rule, then the legions were called in and annihilated them in 70 B.C.E. and 135 B.C.E., but that was a matter of the retention of Rome's imperium. Jews objected to pagan statutes, temples and practices in Israel, but unlike Christians they didn't seek to deface and destroy them wherever they were found.

    Christian intolerance was imposed throughout the Empire after the imperial government had been assimilated by Christians. Constantine was relatively tolerant when it came to pagan religions, but under Constantius II laws and edits were issued prescribing the death penalty for those who performed or attended pagan sacrifices or worshipped pagan idols, pagan temples shut down and the Altar of Victory removed from its place of honor in the Roman Senate (around 353 B.C.E.) Subsequent Emperors like Theodosius I and II, Honorius and others continued to close pagan temples and prohibit pagan worship. It's believed that the Olympic games were closed by decree of one of the Christian Emperors. Pagan priesthoods were disbanded, the Vestal Virgins dissolved and Vesta's eternal flame extinguished. Pagans were prohibited from holding high office in government.

    Of course, Christian prelates and ordinary Christians were essential to the destruction of paganism as well. St. Augustine exhorted his congregation to smash all pagan statutes and symbols "for that all superstition of pagans and heathens should be annihilated is what God wants, God commands, God proclaims!"

    Not a cheery, easy-going, friendly folk, those early Christians. And not so early ones, as well.
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    Then religions should admit it instead of clinging to the irrationality of their beliefs by making a virtue of faith.Pinprick

    Religions do admit it. Some religions don't. If you want to argue about what Christians believe, argue about Christianity, not about "religion."
  • Ennui Elucidator
    158
    In that case you get secular humanism. Basically Christianity without Christ. )stoicHoneyBadger

    But there are religions besides Christianity that have to confront sacred myth and the recognition that it isn't "fact" in that way. So as those religions acknowledge that prior "historical" claims were actually not historical, but something else, they don't become secular Christians.

    Consider this - no one saw Moses part the seas. Yet there is a story of it that is central to various religious narratives. When did the author of the tale decide that it was a historical claim and the hearers believe him/her? It seems far more likely that what started in allegory has remained as such and it is only misunderstanding that leads to a literalist/facutalist claim.

    It would be like people in a 1,000 years thinking that Superman was a real person because people discuss him to further truth, justice, and the American way.
  • Michael Zwingli
    158
    People who claim to be Christians have been trying to reconcile the preposterous with the rational for a long time-Ciceronianus

    That phrase is going straight into my "bag of tricks", thank you very much...

    The effort to make Christianity "reasonable" requires the rejection of its claim to exclusivity and of the claim that Jesus is God.Ciceronianus

    ...and of the claim that there is a "big man in the sky" (or existing anywhere else, or existing otherwise) who created all, and who takes a part in human affairs.
  • DanLager
    25
    .and of the claim that there is a "big man in the sky" (or existing anywhere else, or otherwise) who created all, and who takes a part in human affairs.Michael Zwingli

    That's the very essence of Christianity.
  • Pinprick
    764
    That misses the point. The OP seems to be questioning whether or not religions are intended to be factual. My response is that if they were not, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, because they wouldn’t try making factual claims. Also, it’s debatable whether or not secular humanism is a religion. Are you arguing that all religions should become like secular humanism? I’m fine with that if you are, but they are quite far away from that at this time, as should be obvious.
  • Pinprick
    764
    Religions do admit it. Some religions don't. If you want to argue about what Christians believe, argue about Christianity, not about "religion."Ennui Elucidator

    I didn’t bring up Christianity specifically. Which religions admit to being fiction? Pastafarianism?
  • Michael Zwingli
    158
    That's the very essence of Christianity.DanLager

    Yes, quite...that and the Jesus bit, but you are right, the foundational premise of all monotheistic religions, especially those based upon the Israelite conception of God (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha'i, etc.), that premise which requires the initial act of self-delusion, is indeed that.
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