• DiegoT
    314
    This Tomseltje was right, if he or she was talking about how Hermeneutics and scientific History have to proceed. S/he probably made great contributions to Science.

    However, as far as interpreting religious books, even that approach might fall short. I think it´s better to not consider any book sacred and divine. Before writing people were very superstitious; but they also were less prone to take simple words for granted. Even Egyptian scribes, who thought that they were the literal vessels of Djehuti more or less like the Sacred Form is supposed to be the vessel of Christ and considered written texts magical, still wrote that true wisdom is not to be found in books, but in the observation of Nature. The hieroglyph for "to be high, to exalt", for example (a28), is derived from the gestures than babuins do at daybreak. These animals were considered special and their warm-up routine perfectly symbolized visually the glorification of Ra in its rising sun manifestation. Nature informed literature, and not the other way round. With literary cults such as the Torah or Mani´s Living Gospels, the hierarchy is inversed, and from then on we learnt that if Nature is at odd with the Written text, is Nature that is wrong. This is not exactly superstitious, is idolatrous: because the text becomes more than a text, it becomes a divine manifestation and the writers and characters in the stories become divine.

    This strange idea is so ingrained in our Piscis era psyche, that even atheistic people think like this. For example, a feminist reads de Beavoir or Judith Butler and says to herself: "something is wrong with Nature!" (Physical reality). Ancient peoples were incredibly superstitious, however they did not worshipped books. Very ironically, Christian, Jewish and Muslim people call people who don´t worship books and images (characters in texts) "idolatrous".
  • DiegoT
    314
    "This makes our values just as fluid as our nature, and why should it be any different?" Values are fluid like water: water moves and changes states and occupy different spaces, but it is always water. It has two atoms of Hydrogen and one Oxygen atom. It retains many properties that have no changed in billions of years. Is it possible that human values are constant, and what changes is their adjustment to particular situations to preserve their essence?
  • Janus
    6.4k


    Ha, your first post was far too full of wisdom; consequently (and unsurprisingly) no one responded to it.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    That happens quite a lot. But it wasn't my wisdom; I was just quoting. There are people here who do not like biblical quotes. I can't blame them (considering what gets quoted most often) but when the topic is the Bible, it's hard to avoid quoting it.

    May your posts always find positive response (or at least interesting negative response).
  • Janus
    6.4k
    May your posts always find positive response (or at least interesting negative response).Bitter Crank

    We can always hope, and that hope does seem to be fulfilled at least some of the time...otherwise why would we bother?
  • Tomseltje
    174
    However, as far as interpreting religious books, even that approach might fall shortDiegoT

    Not saying you are incorrect, but if you claim my approach might fall short, please do state what is missing. I merely mentioned some obvious requirements from the top of my head, since in most discussions I have about the subject, most people who disagree with me tend to not have taken those into consideration.
    Ability to read the language and characters used in the book is another obvious criterium, though I consider it to be part of being familiar with the culture the book was written in. Do you have an addition criterium that can't be seen as part of the requirements I mentioned already?
  • Tomseltje
    174
    Values are fluid like water: water moves and changes states and occupy different spaces, but it is always water. It has two atoms of Hydrogen and one Oxygen atom.DiegoT

    The water consisting of two hydrogen and one oxygen atom you describe isn't always fluid, it can also be solid or gasious and even viscosious if mixed with other stuff.
  • Tomseltje
    174
    There are people here who do not like biblical quotes.Bitter Crank

    It's not the quote that matters, it's the interpretation. People who dislike biblical quotes unfortunately are so poor of mind in that regard generally, that they can't imagine someone having a different interpretation than they are already familiar with. And since they dismissed that interpretation as useless, they can't imagine someone bringing up a biblical quote leading to something usefull.
  • Tomseltje
    174
    May your posts always find positive response (or at least interesting negative response). — Bitter Crank


    We can always hope, and that hope does seem to be fulfilled at least some of the time...otherwise why would we bother?
    Janus

    I'm still hoping for the moment of someone actually prooving me wrong. This may sound arrogant, but when one has dealt with as many strawmen of my positions as I have, it becomes quite understandable.

    Luckily I also have many sensible discussions, but for some reason, when no logical fallacies are being made, most people tend to agree with me.
  • DiegoT
    314
    I beg your pardon, I thought the line commented was an actual quotation from a scholar I don´t know. That is why I wrote "this Tomseltje", not in a pejorative fashion, but recognizing my ignorance of this supposed author. Unless you have actually published essays, then it would all fall into place!
    I said that it falls short (after writing that your guidelines was the correct scientific approach) because when you think that a text contains the real literal words and deeds of human beings and God, any approach is insufficient. There is just no way that a text, no matter how well written, could convey the minds of people or supernatural entities that lived thousands of years ago. Or in the XXI century.
  • BrianW
    640


    The truth that makes most sense considering it's context. Words by themselves are meaningless, words get their meaning by the context they are placed in.
    Hence to understand the word, one must read the sentence.
    To understand the sentence one must read the paragraph.
    To understand the paragraph one must read the chapter.
    To understand the chapter one must read the book.
    To understand the book, one must know the society/culture it was written in.
    To understand the society/culture one must know it's circumstances like:
    existence in time, geographical location and (pre)history.
    All those are minimum requirements in order to understand them in an even greater context like the devine.
    Tomseltje

    The above statement (which I believe bears repeating again) is significant because there's much wisdom in it's precise and concise form. It portrays a semblance of logic in it's hierarchy of seeking meaning from an overarching frame of reference. It's almost as if to say:

    To find the value of an individual consider the family (close associates, even close friends) they belong;
    To find the value of the family consider the society (also culture) they belong;
    To find the values of the society consider the nation they're in;
    To find the value of the nation consider the world;

    * (By consider, I do not mean make a direct connection or surmisation e.g. that the individual is identical to the family in character. It just means that the role of the individual in the family expresses much about one's individuality.)

    Even though it is not definitive, it is comprehensive and there is also some consistency, in principle, about it. Perhaps, it's that we cannot escape the influence of our collective associations, therefore, everything about us has a connection which is also a reference point to others. This means, to suppose that an individual (also an individual's words, actions, etc) can have utility independent of everything and everyone else, would smack of a lie. Therefore, to understand any aspect, its frames of reference also matter, and that applies to the bible's teachings too.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    There is just no way that a text, no matter how well written, could convey the minds of people or supernatural entities that lived thousands of years ago. Or in the XXI century.DiegoT

    True enough; I can't experience your consciousness, but I can sample it by way of your words, physical expression, emotive affect, and so on. Even people who have lived together for decades are up against the brick wall of the skull inside of which consciousness takes place. Separate the person and his words by 2 or 3 thousand years, and Tomseltje's method is the most one can do.

    As for the thoughts of divinities, well... Supposing divinities exist, they don't operate printing presses where their words flow from the mind of the gods onto paper for our edification. They are expressed through persons in particular times and places. One would think that all powerful deities could set up a printing works. After all, their highly fallible finite fickle followers manage to do that with aplomb. Fortress Publishing for Lutherans, Cokesbury Press for Methodists, etc.
  • Bitter Crank
    7k
    Hence to understand the word, one must read the sentence.
    To understand the sentence one must read the paragraph.
    To understand the paragraph one must read the chapter.
    To understand the chapter one must read the book.
    To understand the book, one must know the society/culture it was written in.
    To understand the society/culture one must know it's circumstances like:
    existence in time, geographical location and (pre)history.

    All those are minimum requirements in order to understand them in an even greater context like the devine.
    Tomseltje

    Your method is sound. So sound, it's foundational.

    But... you say "minimum requirements". What more can one do to determine the meaning that a divinity may or may not have expressed? Some divinities (Jesus, Buddha...) were present here as men, so we can apply your method to what they had to say. God almighty? I don't quite know how to get more certainty from him, her, it, them.
  • Janus
    6.4k
    Say something and I'll tell you if I disagree. What you say must be controversial though, otherwise it will simply be commonsense with which no one will dissgree. The only thing I've encountered so far was your reframing of the principle of hermeneutics, and I dont think anyone sensible would disagree with the principle of hermeneutics.
  • DiegoT
    314
    Even though it is not definitive, it is comprehensive and there is also some consistency, in principle, about it. Perhaps, it's that we cannot escape the influence of our collective associations, therefore, everything about us has a connection which is also a reference point to others." But of course, I have admitted myself twice in the thread that this method is correct, and it is the way to go with social sciences in general, feminist and anti-colonialist approaches aside as they do not use the scientific method.

    But I´m telling you it is not enough at all. For example, when we read in Genesis that there was a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the scholarly likely conclusion is that the translation was wrong, and it is better to translate "The tree of all knowledge". Because we do not have a pre-biblical tradition of trees of good and evil, but we do have a tradition of trees of knowledge: Hom tree, Soma tree, and there are also Egyptian examples. So a biblical translator can suppose that "good and evil" is used as a merism, as in "I traveled far and wide", or "I shivered from top to toe", to signify "to the entire extent". However, we also know that biblical authors, like most scribes in Ancient times when paper and ink were very expensive, liked to give double and triple meaning to words and sentences. So the possibility that the actual translation was a moral one can not be discarded for sure. In fact, Genesis was the last book to be introduced in the Jewish canon, when the Persian religion with its manichean and escathological themes was influencing strongly the Levant.

    If the interpretation has only a scholarly or literary value a footnote would be more than enough; however, it so happens that from the translation of the name of this tree theological teachings are derived. It´s not the same at all to say that God wanted to prevent humans from developing ethics, than to say that God did not wanted us to develop science. Consider how today we debate if technology and scientific knowledge is neutral or must be examined ethically; or if ethics should be subordinated to science, etc.

    The point is, that the level of certainty in the interpretation that a religious, or oracular reading of the Bible requires to avoid making the Bible say what we want to say is excessive, even impossible for us.
    Of course, a religious person will contend that you can count on the Holy Ghost´s influence upon your mind to interpret it right; but if the Holy Ghost can inspire you in such a direct and particular way, why the need for a book?
  • BrianW
    640
    For example, when we read in Genesis that there was a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the scholarly likely conclusion is that the translation was wrong, and it is better to translate "The tree of all knowledge". Because we do not have a pre-biblical tradition of trees of good and evil, but we do have a tradition of trees of knowledge: Hom tree, Soma tree, and there are also Egyptian examples.DiegoT

    If the 'hom' and 'soma' tree can represent the same idea, why can't the term 'good and evil' be used alike? It's not about identical words or terms just equivalent meaning. Why would "the scholarly likely conclusion" be that the translation was wrong?

    The tree of good and evil is not about God denying humans knowledge or anything of such significance and necessity.
    It was about God knowing that humans were not ready for the choices that come with free will, and so He (God) asked them (adam & eve representing humanity) to trust His (God's) judgement and decision on their behalf. In the bible, the tree of good and evil represent choices which we acquire through knowledge. God was ready to share knowledge with humans but asked that they trust Him to make their choices for them until they understood enough to make choices for themselves.
    Substitute 'tree of good and evil' with 'acts of good and evil' or 'words of good and evil', what we get is that whatever they became a part of (signified by consuming the fruit), would entail choices. Choices they were not ready for. Having 'eaten' of the 'tree of good and evil' they realised they were naked and hid. That means they were introduced to perspective outside of God's, which would imply a limited perspective and consequently somewhat born of ignorance, hence, shame and fear as consequences.
    It's like when children realise they can make choices beyond their parents control. The parents often have no choice but to give them the freedom to experience the consequences of their choices. Except in the case of adam & eve it meant denying themselves the choices that derive from divine wisdom instead of parental wisdom as is the case with children.

    The point is, that the level of certainty in the interpretation that a religious, or oracular reading of the Bible requires to avoid making the Bible say what we want to say is excessive, even impossible for us.DiegoT

    My point is, there is no certainty, so the best that can be done is determine which interpretation is most logical, in the sense of least chaotic or most harmonious and comprehensive, and work with it until better understanding is achieved. This is primarily aimed at those who seek faults in the bible (or any scriptures) without realising that it's their understanding which is often at fault.
  • BrianW
    640


    Just checked with my bible and it's the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • DiegoT
    314
    "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" is correct if we understand "the tree of knowledge", without references to good and evil deeds. I´m telling you this is the most likely translation, the one that makes more sense if we follow Tomseltje´s method.
    I must also point out that your interpretation of the passage is personal and not justified hermeneutically. I think you just want the passage to mean that, or you read what another person would like it to mean. For example, the nakedness more easily means change of status when they get dressed; when we invest somebody with a role or position, we dress him or her, for that is what the verb investire means literally in Latin. Adam and Eve, when are dressed in animal skins, become separated from the rest of the animals; the sacrifice of the totem animals and the act of wearing the skin is the ritual of passage. So you can read that God recognizes this change of status, derived from culture (knowledge) that expels us from Paradise, that is union with Nature. Animals don´t know death, or labour, because their consciousness is not split in their mind from the here and now. This interpretation is more reasonable, because we know from Persian myth and Gilgamesh Epic that people in the Fertile Crescent believed that the transition from animal to human was due to the new consciousness that is provoked by self-domestication induced by socialization; and was culminated by the construction of cities as separated spaces from Nature (Cain was the founder of the first city).
  • BrianW
    640


    Just checked with my bible and it's the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.BrianW

    Sorry about this. It only matters because I kept omitting the words 'the knowledge of' and I had to check to remind myself what the correct designation is. Anyway, I mentioned it to avoid any confusion that might arise.
  • BrianW
    640
    "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" is correct if we understand "the tree of knowledge", without references to good and evil deeds.DiegoT

    We can't ignore the reference of good and evil because it is made explicit in the conversation between God and adam &eve. Also the change in perspective is clearly explained by "their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked." Further conversation between God and adam & eve shows that their latter state of awareness is not considered ideal by God (hence somewhat 'evil') and so God gives them instructions or directives on how to deal with the consequences of their choices, a life considered cursed.

    I must also point out that your interpretation of the passage is personal and not justified hermeneutically.DiegoT

    What do you mean by this? There is much context in support of my interpretations.

    So you can read that God recognizes this change of status, derived from culture (knowledge) that expel us from Paradise, that is union with Nature.DiegoT

    Considering the story is about the primordial state of life (mainly human), I don't think culture is a factor. I believe it's more about naivety (perhaps curiosity) than inclinations and trends.
    I think culture (inclinations and trends) are properly dealt with in the Noah story (or in the story about Lot and his family in sodom and gomorrah).
  • DiegoT
    314
    Okay, let´s say then that there three interpretations: one seeking to aproximate what the authors of the book, the actual people who grabbed a stylus or a feather and wrote the stories, wanted the text to mean, what they wanted to transmit to readers. This is complicated enough, because we are dealing, in the Bible, with texts that were added, edited, censored, copied and miscopied for a span of no less than seven centuries by people who literally had different religions and beliefs. And they were people we know nothing about personally, only Ezra has left some personal traces for the record. This is a hermeneutical approach.

    The second one is the historic and literary approach, in which we want to compare the valuable texts in the Bible with other ancient texts and the archeological record, to understand the evolution of ideas, symbols and customs. This is my favourite!

    The third is the oracular interpretation. An oracle is a communication from the Divine to mortals, via diviners who act as mediums, or different natural signs such as the aspect of a goat´s liver. It comes from orare, to speak, so it is when you ask God for answers and he gives you a reply. When we seek answers to our personal problems, spiritual doubts, or hints about God´s will, we are doing the oracular interpretation, similar to use the tarot. I´d rather use the tarot to the Bible for this purpose, because it´s more fun and there are no so many goats everywhere; however a Christian will prefer to use the Bible because in a book cult the selected book is considered a divine manifestation.

    El Quijote works just as well; some people in Spain have El Quijote by their bed, and you can open the book randomly to read a passage. They are always meaningful and seem to be speaking to you and what is going on in your life. That´s partly why El Quijote is the most read novel ever: it is so attuned with human nature. Cervantes and Shakespeare died the same day, 23rd of April: World Book Day.
  • BrianW
    640


    Check out this article:- https://www.goldcountrycalvary.com/images/pdf/HAClass7Principles.pdf. It shows there are many more considerations in hermeneutics.
  • DiegoT
    314
    Ok then, let´s call my first definition exegesis. I use exegesis as synonym for hermeneutics, because I consider that the rational interpretation of texts is different to what I call oracular or divinatory. I´m aware of the fact that "hermeneutics" is usually applied to the theological interpretation of religious books and particularly the Bible; we must be grateful for hermeneutics, because it helped to preserve invaluable documents from the past and develop the art of translating texts. However, these translators have been historically committed religiously to the task of interpretation, without separating the three different approaches to the Bible I wanted to describe.

    It is important to mark this distinction, because the corresponding interpretations are different and even opposed; and also that the religious, divinatory (from Latin divinare, to consult the gods) or oracular interpretation is only valid in the sense that interpretations of what tarot cards mean is valid. They mean what you want them to signify.

    I also think that Protestant sects or churches, are not Christian, precisely because they rely on book idolatry even more strongly than Catholics or Anglicans. Consider this: If I download the Vedas with a good translation, or say I learn Sanskrit to read them proper: and I derive articles of faith and commandments from my own reading, am I a Hinduist? Or am I creating an entirely new religion using the text as a personal or communal oracle?
  • BrianW
    640
    Consider this: If I download the Vedas with a good translation, or say I learn Sanskrit to read them proper: and I derive articles of faith and commandments from my own reading, am I a Hinduist? Or am I creating an entirely new religion using the text as a personal or communal oracle?DiegoT

    If the personal interpretation has nothing to do with the teachings of the scriptures in terms of principle, context, related teachings and texts, etc., then it can be said to be contrary to the scriptures. But, if there's a relation, then it's not really separate from or in contradiction to the scriptures because the scriptures (all of them as far as I know) allow and ask us to consult our own understanding and to transcend limitations born of bias by applying the wisdom to as wide a variety of circumstances and factors as possible. What you're saying is that there are those who have the sole authority in determining what and how the scriptures should be understood. That is shown to be the wrong impression by Jesus when he gave an interpretation of the laws (ten commandments) different from what the 'churches' had been teaching and accepting. In fact, a common feature of the bible is the re-interpretation of the teachings given by different men of God to suit the variable circumstances. I think validity is determined by the relation which the interpretation bears to the texts of the scripture. If the relation is flimsy (logically, practically, etc), then there's a case for fallaciousness but, if it matches several factors (the right principles, comprehensive context, historical and cultural associations, psychological consideration, etc) and is logical and practical, I see no reason not to accept it, even if in a provisional capacity.
  • Andrew4Handel
    938
    In the bible it says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"

    I don't know how you can interpret a bald statement like that, or a commandment and it is clearly an incitement to kill which I cannot offer the principle of charity to.
  • BrianW
    640
    In the bible it says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"

    I don't know how you can interpret a bald statement like that, or a commandment and it is clearly an incitement to kill which I cannot offer the principle of charity to.
    Andrew4Handel

    And suppose, like Jesus said, the laws were made for man, not vice versa. Also, those commandments which direct to kill a witch also demand that adulterers be killed. Then, consider Jesus' example with the adulteress. In the end, it's about logic, practicality, context, purpose, and many other considerations.
    Humans are not machines and are expected to act with forethought and sentiments like compassion and forgiveness and such, according to moral and logical wisdom.
  • Rank Amateur
    922
    In the bible it says "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"

    I don't know how you can interpret a bald statement like that, or a commandment and it is clearly an incitement to kill which I cannot offer the principle of charity to.
    Andrew4Handel

    could resist:

    “But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did — if we really thought that there were people going around who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbors or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did.”

    - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (end of Chapter 2)[/right]
  • Athena
    274
    I think we're lost the moment we fail to realise our ability in determining our circumstances. The parents and care-givers determine to a far reaching extent what the children learn. When the children see their superiors subjecting themselves to institutions as if they (the institutions) have any real power over them, then most of them (the children) suppose they have no choice but to comply with the stat quo.
    Neither banks nor religions determine our reality. We (humans) have given them too much influence over us but, if we determined to, we could reclaim it. The only deterrent is, unlike the collective handing over of power, those who wish to reclaim are often individuals who cannot muster the resources of the collective.
    BrianW

    Excuse me, where do you get your information? It is different from the information I have. The World Bank has influenced education around the world and the citizens in all countries are unaware of why education was changed.

    Education - World Bank Group
    https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/education
    Education is fundamental to development and growth. ... to promoting learning for all, the World Bank Group plays a significant role in education globally.
    — World Bank

    And for religion, my goodness teachers took the Texas school system to court in a fight over if science book should include the Christian creation story, and the teachers won at the supreme court level.

    Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), was a United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of teaching creationism. The Court considered a Louisiana law requiring that where evolutionary science was taught in public schools, creation science must also be taught.
    Edwards v. Aguillard - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwards_v._Aguillard
    — Wikipedia

    And 2012 Texas Republican agenda was Christian school interference. This gauntees students will not learn independent thinking skills.

    Texas GOP rejects 'critical thinking' skills. Really. - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/.../texas-gop.../2012/07/.../gJQAHNpFXW_blog.htm...
    Jul 9, 2012 - In the you-can't-make-up-this-stuff department, the Republican Party of Texas wrote in its 2012 platform that itopposes the teaching of “higher ...
    — Washington Post

    Because Texas buys so many textbooks, makers of textbooks cater to Texas.

    (That is what I tell my family - It's not what you have that determines who you are but who you are determines what you have. Also, that it's more important to be than to have because, in the end, all you have is who you are.)BrianW

    What you have said is very important, and I want to know what education do you think leads the character you speak of? Greek and Roman classics lead to that kind of character and there may be other sources of education of which I am not aware.

    People complain due to many reasons, primarily desperation, and all those reasons are signs of weakness. I have it and so do many others too. The only solution is to fight against the weakness and resolve to fight even if by oneself. But if someone is only willing to fight if supported by others then they should also be willing to wait until those others are ready and willing, even if it means never.BrianW

    At this point, I have no idea what you think we should fight for and what we are fighting against. Of what do people complain? I am saying without the education the Christians stand against, everyone is prepared to be owned by the banks. We may be saying the same thing in different ways? If not we need to continue the argument until we have an agreement.


    za
  • BrianW
    640
    Excuse me, where do you get your information? It is different from the information I have. The World Bank has influenced education around the world and the citizens in all countries are unaware of why education was changed.Athena

    The world bank has acquired its power from what people collectively have given it (the implicit trust in the financial institutions which latter, modern, doubters have failed to convince people otherwise). Banks didn't just roll out of hell and begin to subjugate people. They offer services and people were, and still are, blinded by comfort so much so that they would set aside work for pleasure and enjoyments. It's that kind of mentality that presents that other 'ugly' side of reality. Institutions operate as designated by governments and governments are run according to people. The larger percentage of people are 'mindless drones', which is a bad commentary on their hard work but sadly true in terms of why and how they work. Your statement is testament to that, "and the citizens in all countries are unaware of why education was changed." There's no collective responsibility without personal responsibility. Governments and institutions don't work for people, people work for themselves through them. These (the governments and instituions) are just tools and means. I think it's sad when people turn up in the tens or hundreds of millions to vote for a leader without realising that it's more important to vote for leadership.
    Yes, there's lots of statistics about which institutions have the capacity to do what and where but, the truth of it is, against the collective power of a united people, all that ability means nought.
    My point is, people keep wasting their energies in all the wrong activities. If we wanted to regain the power and resources which institutions have and which is obviously denied to the majority, the answer is not to beg for it. People must first realise their power, and then use it to take what's theirs, what they're owed.
    Our biggest liability is our lack of unity. We speak of many human societies which exist ideally but not practically. Practically, there's no collective humanity against oppression, no collective humanity against racism, no collective humanity for environmental protection and recovery of ecosystems, no collective humanity against world hunger, no collective humanity for any of the far better ideals we find being thrown around everywhere. There's many semblances but no practical collective endeavour. There is, however, in practice, a collective humanity for accumulation of resources and not with the collective in mind, a collective humanity for pleasure and entertainment (the likes of sports, music and video industries) whose main contribution is distraction from the real important issues, and so on and on.

    I have worked in institutions, and as far as I can tell, one could go up the ladder seeking the 'devil' and all you'll find is people who claim, "what else can we do? That's the way it's done everywhere."
    So, I'm not about to shift responsibility away from those who must bear it - each one of us. At some point, we must realise the collective failure of all humanity and partake of our individual shares of it no matter how undeserving we think we are. It's our fault that there are biases, negativities and bad mentalities being propagated within our communities; it's our fault that we have such inadequacy in our governments, institutions, facilities, etc, etc.

    However, it doesn't end there. If the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. had stopped at just complaining then we wouldn't have even the little there is to be proud of. So before we think to change the bigger or biggest picture, we must make damn sure we've changed the smaller picture, our selves and the environment of closest proximity (our families, friends, neighbourhoods, etc). If we all have equality at home, then there's no way it could be denied elsewhere, not for long anyway.

    And for religion, my goodness teachers took the Texas school system to court in a fight over if science book should include the Christian creation story, and the teachers won at the supreme court level.Athena

    For me, that's a good win. We need to learn to see everything, religious teachings included, from an investigative, analytic, logical, idealistic and practical perspectives, which is something science (philosophy included) does better than other fields of knowledge. Science is, at present, one of the biggest propagators of a 'think for yourself' mentality, far superior to religion in that respect.

    At this point, I have no idea what you think we should fight for and what we are fighting against. Of what do people complain? I am saying without the education the Christians stand against, everyone is prepared to be owned by the banks. We may be saying the same thing in different ways? If not we need to continue the argument until we have an agreement.Athena

    First, we are saying the same things. Our difference is the perceived point of impact or the pivot point of all this madness. I'm saying it begins with us individually before it can build to a collective. We need to communicate better and about more significant issues. We need to focus more on what is important than the frivolous and biased. I wish we paid less attention to celebrities and controversy than to how the people of the world fared. I wish our governments and institutions had the duty of equalizing resources according to need and purpose. And, most of all, I wish we could reconsider what merit meant to a collective humanity because in a society where people have different capacities, merit runs the risk of being another connotation for bias. Therefore, I wish we could establish a limit for personal merit in favour of the collective because nobody can earn millions or billions of anything by themselves.

    What you have said is very important, and I want to know what education do you think leads the character you speak of?Athena

    I have no problem with the kind of education systems available. It's not about the system, it's about people's expectations. People think that systems do things, they forget that systems are tools for people to work with. If we realise that systems are just tools, then there would be less opposition to changing them to fit our needs and purposes. Personally, I think there should be as many education systems as possible, and we could teach our young ones how to discern according to suitability, purpose, etc.
  • DiegoT
    314
    "What you're saying is that there are those who have the sole authority in determining what and how the scriptures should be understood." Nope, that´s not really what I´m saying, man. I´m saying no book and no interpretation can be a communication from God. That we need to give up book idolatry for good. Gods do not write books; the book-related deities aren´t deities, but egregores. An egregor (or interpersonal entity, as I prefer to call them) is a thought structure, an metaphysical animal if you like, that is made of thought processes and emerges naturally out of systematic social interaction: "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." They don´t feel or think but they can direct our lives for their own survival and growth. All gods that appear in books are egregores, not physical entities.
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