• Athena
    293


    May we consider what education has to do with how we interpret a holy book? The masses were not educated for scientific thinking until the twentieth century. Where people are still ignorant they believe in Satan and demons and do terrible things to children and each other. Our God, was a jealous, revengeful, fearsome, punishing God and we believed demons could possess people, until our bellies were full and we gain better knowledge and security. Only in modern times has this God become a loving God. But it is more than this.

    We can interpret the holy books concretely or abstractly. It is a matter of how to learn to think. A liberal education encourages abstract thinking, so the stories in holy books are like the moral stories we read our children, not to taken literally. Education for technology did not prepare us for abstract thinking as well as liberal education did. The result in being concrete thinkers. That means understanding the story of Adam and Eve literally instead of abstractly.

    abstract thinking
    n.
    Thinking characterized by the ability to use concepts and to make and understand generalizations, such as of the properties or pattern shared by a variety of specific items or events.
    — https://www.dictionary.com/browse/abstract-thinking

    Concrete thinking is literal thinking that is focused on the physical world. It is the opposite of abstract thinking. People engaged in concrete thinking are focused on facts in the here and now, physical objects, and literal definitions.Aug 4, 2015
    Concrete Thinking - GoodTherapy
    https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/concrete-thinking
    — goodtherapy

    When we had liberal education, we used the Conceptual Method for teaching. Students learned progressively more complex concepts.

    Education for technology uses the Behaviorist Method and that is used for training dogs! :gasp: This is extremely bad for our liberty and democracy and Christianity with this education is what lead to Nazi, Germany.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    Hitchens was a very skilled troll, may he rest in peace where ever he is now. I admired his skill, being a bit of a troll myself. But he did sometimes seem to take himself a tad seriously. Thank God I never do that! :smile:Jake

    :grin: :ok:
  • DiegoT
    318
    All holy books have good advice about being better humans. They all contain the high points of human wisdom or they would not have been reserved. The bible says things like we should forgive people their debts in 7 years. This does not apply to 30 year contracts, but we might apply it to debts that were not an agreed on contract? Giving a person a clean start is one of the most humane things we can do for each other. It boosts the spirit of love and I think that is important. - Athena

    Okay, the institution of the Jubilee did not only applied to 7 years cycles, there were also major jubilees every 50 years if my memory is right; the purpose of these periodical redemptions was to help to prevent inequality; or stress that the only inequality that mattered was to either be part of the new national identity or social contract, or remain a gentile. Jews have always had this idea that they are all equals before God, that was adopted by Christian and Gnostic New Age cults. It is easy to see how this notion, that was not Egyptian, that was not Greek or Roman, helped to create the ideology behind Democracy.

    It does not mean, as Jews think, that ideas of equality before the law or democracy are Jewish contributions to Civilization. More realistic and closer to the truth, would be to understand that the Mediterranean melting pot (Judaism is a Mediterranean, "European" religion, and not a Semite or Oriental religion as Jews believe) brewed new ways of understanding society that were universal; it´s a Post-Alexander world where the polis or the ethnic nation was no longer the axis of culture and society, but a new Cosmopolitan basin communicated with fast ships and Roman vias, and the alphabet.

    Globalization made possible global religions and identities. A Thousand years later, Spanish queen Elizabeth decreed that all "Indian" peoples of any colour, culture or language discovered would be Spanish subjects, with the same rights that Spaniards enjoyed. Spain did NOT have colonies, but provinces, with representatives that had the same voice and vote in Spain affairs as people from Madrid or Barcelona. This revolutionary understanding was based on the strong Catholic (Catholic means universal) foundation of the new Spain "we are all God´s Children", and inspired philosophers in Spain that tried to defend these equalitarian ideas when Spain was the most influential cultural power in both Europe and America. Also Jews expelled from Spain helped to spread these ideas across Europe with the help of freemason logias, particularly in England and France. Roman philosophers such as Cicero and Seneca, were considered "divinely inspired" and their ideas about Civitas and Law continued inspiring Europe.
    So the point is, yes, Judaism, Christianism played a huge role in developing Democracy as we understand it, as they served as vessels of ideas of citizenship and universal human dignity that were unknown to Plato or Socrates, but became widespread during the cultural revolutions of the first centuries of the Age of Piscis in the Mediterranean and the Near East.
  • AJJ
    131


    I haven’t read the book, but having read the Sermon on the Mount the notion that the Christian religion is a poison will always to me seem patently ridiculous.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    Religious apologists, as far as I can see, can't deny his findings. All they can do at this point is to defend themselves obliquely. If Hitchens says ''the Bible is not authentic'' they will have to reply by saying something like ''the Bible isn't to be read literally'' since Hitchens is right and so can't be refuted.TheMadFool

    Hitchen's only real issue with the Bible, is those of us who believe it is revelation. And every issue he uses to attack the Bible, could also be said of homer, yet he does not attack the Iliad.

    Here is what it comes down to. It is not a fact that God is or God is not. It is reasonable to believe that God is, and it is reasonable to believe God is not. For good salesmen, both theist and atheist, there is good money to be made in pitting these reasonable beliefs against each other.

    Those who value reason and philosophy should be able to recognize and respect the counter position, argue with passion but without a acrimony. Listen and understand the other position and be willing to change our position if reason so dictates. I find this rare.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.3k
    Religion poisons everything?!TheMadFool

    I have enjoyed reading Hitchens. I once read a laudatory biography of Mother Theresa (Something Beautiful for God) and later read Hitchens' The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. The woman seems to have been a rather hard boiled bitch saint. I'm glad I didn't have to deal with her.

    Christopher (meaning 'Christ bearer' -- a most ironic name for a militant atheist) Hitchens was a chronic ax-grinder. That was his specialty. Ax grinders have a necessary and useful role in society. It's dirty work but somebody has to do it. So read his books, derive benefit from them (a clearer view because some of the dead wood has been cut away) and then move on.

    Magic and religion are human creations, obviously, as are the gods. We called the gods into existence, not the other way around. It follows, it is obviously guaranteed, it is a law of nature, it is as sure as the sunrise that religion will have all the flaws, failures, and faults of humankind. And all the virtues as well.

    Religions provide people with necessary narratives, myths, stage settings, codes, rules, and so on to give meaning and order to life. Are there other ways of doing this? Sure. There are secular equivalents, there are the arts. There is science. There are folkways.

    It isn't that religion poisons everything. What is true is that human reason and rationality are insufficient to structure a reasonably perfect world without too many flaws. The world would not be the Peaceable Kingdom if religion were to disappear.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    For good salesmen, both theist and atheist, there is good money to be made in pitting these reasonable beliefs against each other.Rank Amateur

    I was just reading about salesmen and them being a good example of people with credibility issues. However, Hitchens seems genuine and the book seems well-researched.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    Religion may have a black spot or two or too many for Hitchens, but what of its all important message that goodness is great and evil is condemnable?TheMadFool

    The conventional religions have a completely warped view of what is good and what is evil in my view.

    I agree that religions are very negative. They'd be fine if folks could somehow just keep their beliefs to themselves, but religions massively impact cultural mores, laws, etc. That's not just keeping the beliefs to oneself.
  • AJJ
    131
    I agree that religions are very negative. They'd be fine if folks could somehow just keep their beliefs to themselves, but religions massively impact cultural mores, laws, etc. That's not just keeping the beliefs to oneself.Terrapin Station

    This seems to assume Christianity has had no positive influence on Western societies, and also that there could somehow be a society that isn’t guided by its beliefs.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    I was just reading about salesmen and them being a good example of people with credibility issues. However, Hitchens seems genuine and the book seems well-researched.TheMadFool

    No worries, my view of hitchens is just an opinion. If it makes it any better feel the same way about most evangelical tv preachers.
  • ssu
    997
    All in all, he presents a grotesque image of religion and he doesn't seem to be completely off the mark and that scares me.

    If you ask me, I think nothing ever is a total failure. Religion may have a black spot or two or too many for Hitchens, but what of its all important message that goodness is great and evil is condemnable?

    So, what do you think?

    Religion poisons everything?!
    TheMadFool
    People just love simple answers. And the media loves confrontational arguments.

    To say "on one hand there are bad aspects" yet then to continue "on the other hand there are positive aspects" is to the modern social media consumer a very confusing view and/or simply lame. It's dull.

    What modern public wants from the discourse are stark views that can be rude (as if they would be more sincere when they aren't nice or tolerant) and annoy people who are against these views. You see, a lot of people who agree with Hitchens views just love how rude he could be to others. This is a general thing not just related to Hitchens. Just look what kind of material in Youtube there is about him and how these debates are named:

    - Hitchens delivers one of his best hammer blows to cocky audience member
    - Christopher Hitchens brutal honesty pissing off muslims
    - Christopher Hitchens own debate
    - Christopher Hitchens -the best of the Hitschlap
    - etc....

    This of course isn't just about Hitchens, but typically all media-philosophers or social critics (like Hitchens) are loved by media because of the confrontational narrative. And people just love this "X owns y"-type of discussions. Grotesque can be entertaining.

    And then, America is a very religious country, hence being an atheist is something "scandalous"!
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    This seems to assume Christianity has had no positive influence on Western societies, and also that there could somehow be a society that isn’t guided by its beliefs.AJJ

    The latter part I'm not thinking--I would just like (what I consider) better beliefs to be the influence.

    Re positive influences of Christianity . . . well, I like gospel music a lot, and it's inspired some great art aside from that, too. ;-)
  • S
    8.6k
    So, what do you think?

    Religion poisons everything?!
    TheMadFool

    Maybe not everything, but let's not forget that Socrates was literally made to drink poison as a result of being charged with impiety and corruption of the youth, or that the twin towers weren't attacked because the minds of the terrorists had been poisoned by backgammon, or that...
  • DiegoT
    318
    We don´t really know why Socrates was sentenced. Plato is not a good reporter; he was a fan and he also had a powerful imagination. It might be that Socrates did spread harmful and nihilistic notions to the young, like some influencers do today.
  • AJJ
    131
    The latter part I'm not thinking--I would just like (what I consider) better beliefs to be the influence.Terrapin Station

    And for Christian beliefs to be restricted in their influence, where others you do favour are not? This notion that Christians should keep their beliefs to themselves, as if they should have no part in the discussion, seems ill considered given Christianity’s role in forming Western society, and what it can still offer us. Its admonishments against greed seem especially pertinent now, in our age of rampant and harmful cupidity.
  • DiegoT
    318
    the positive influences of Christianity are endless. Also the negative ones; simply because Christianity is the channel and network that the West end of Civilization used to survive invasions and prosper. It could have been reformed mythraism, or some other ideology. Christianity was the national religion of the united country that Europe would have become if it did not have so many enemies inside and outside.

    All good and bad things about Christianity, are good and bad things of European and Western culture. The Left hates Christianity or anything that attacks Christian and Post-Christian culture, because they recognize this connection. For some reason, they don´t realize that the Left itself is a Post-Christian sect. Christian churches have their political leanings; for example, in the Catholic Church, if you believe in God but not the Church, you may join base communities (like I did in my time). If you believe in both God and the Church, you can join Opus dei for example. If you believe in the Church but not God, you may like "Theology of Liberation" groups; and if you believe in neither God nor the Church, you can join Jesuit ranks like Pope Francisco.

    These different political groups were translated to the secular society; with Protestant Europe contributing their own.
  • S
    8.6k
    We don't really know why Socrates was sentenced. Plato is not a good reporter; he was a fan and he also had a powerful imagination. It might be that Socrates did spread harmful and nihilistic notions to the young, like some influencers do today.DiegoT

    Alright then, how about the 918 people who died after drinking poison in the Jonestown Massacre, some of whom were forced? Or was that badly reported too?

    Anyway, aren't you the same guy who said that BBC News was the top provider of fake news in the U.K.? Why should anyone trust your judgement on this? :brow:
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k
    And for Christian beliefs to be restricted in their influence, where others you favour are not? This notion that Christians should keep their beliefs to themselves, as if they should have no part in the discussion, seems ill considered given Christianity’s role in forming Western society, and what it can still offer us. Its admonishments against greed seem especially pertinent now, in our age of rampant and harmful cupidity.AJJ

    I don't agree with the majority of the ethical views of the major religions. So yeah, I want to see what I prefer have influence rather than stuff I don't agree with . That shouldn't be surprising.
  • AJJ
    131
    I don't agree with the majority of the ethical views of the major religions. So yeah, I want to see what I prefer have influence rather than stuff I don't agree with . That shouldn't be surprising.Terrapin Station

    There’s an important distinction between wanting your preferred views to have more influence, and desiring that others keep their views to themselves.
  • S
    8.6k
    These different political groups were translated to the secular society; with Protestant Europe contributing their own.DiegoT

    Speaking of Protestant Europe, do you remember when it went to war with Catholic Europe? I wonder what that was about. I seem to remember reading something about a Thirty Years' War. I wonder how long that went on for. I wonder how many people died. I think that it might have had something to do with some people being thrown out of a window, though don't ask me why. I guess they just wanted a closer look at the ground below and the other fellows were kind enough to give them a helping hand.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    I want people to keep mainstream religious view to themselves and not influence society with them because I don't agree with those views--not most of them at least. I don't like the social mores they've contributed or amounted to.
  • AJJ
    131


    Are you aware that’s a bigoted view to take?
  • andrewk
    2k
    So, what do you think?TheMadFool
    Hitchens' book needs to be read in the context of when he wrote it and his experience around that time.

    It was not long after the WTC attacks in 2001. Hitchens had adopted America as his new home and had a deep affection for it. He took the attacks personally as an attack on that which he loved most of all. The book was an angry retaliation at what he saw as the root of the fanaticism that drove those attacks. Far from being a careful piece of philosophical analysis, it was an outpouring of rage and grief.

    Add to that that Hitchens was a great showman and wordsmith with a penchant for hyperbole, and we get the exaggerated book that's being discussed. Regardless of what one thinks of his vicious attack, one cannot help but admire his skill with words. The title and subtitle are about the best attention grabbers and memorable phrases one can imagine.

    Think of the book as a fascinating, entertaining insight into what was going on in Western culture in the early 21st century, not as a work of philosophy to be analysed.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    In the sense that all preferences are, sure.
  • AJJ
    131


    There is no such sense in all preferences. Preferring apples in no way entails that I am intolerant of oranges.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    Preferences against something, where you don't care for it.
  • AJJ
    131


    Preferring not to eat an orange does not entail that I am intolerant of oranges.
  • Terrapin Station
    7.8k


    Did you forget that we're talking about cultural influence? So that, for example, you can only have oranges? We're not talking about something that's just a personal choice.
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