• Pinprick
    118
    You asked what i mean by this, some say Joshua shouldn't have killed the children (assuming he did and i assume he did) of the cities he conquered (book of joshua old testament), had he not killed them the parents would have a strange conversation with their adopted children when they became teenagers. Also child sacrifice was common among amorites in canaan as well as in ancient iraq. Hammurabi was actually an amorite just in case you didn't know.christian2017

    I see. I’m not interested in the justification, or lack there of, of Joshua’s actions.

    If you would like me to go on and on about the culture of canaan i can. Territories in history have certainly been conquered over much lesser crimes.christian2017

    That’s not necessary.

    If you disagree with these things in that you don't find them to be corruption, either my concept of reality is severely flawed or yours is and there is no point in us trying to convince each otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if at this point we get into a discussion about post-modernism.christian2017

    I’m not trying to move into post-modernist territory. I agree that the things you mentioned are bad, but bad doesn’t equal corrupt, at least not in my view. I see corruption to mean something like changing the meaning of what a particular holy book/passage/ doctrine says so that it suits your needs. Pretending to be doing “God’s will,” but actually pursuing your own selfish needs. The problem is we can’t simply ask the authors what they meant, so it is left for the rest of us to interpret. Also, there is the problem of contradictory passages in religions texts. One passage says “love thy neighbor,” while others promote violence, such as the one @Bitter Crank provided above. Some followers practice the former, while some practice the latter. So which group is corrupt, and which is not? Each group will just point the finger at the other group, and, as @Wayfarer mentioned, there is no objective way to settle the dispute. Do you have a solution?

    Also, I promise my comments are sincere. If my questions seem stupid it is due to my lack of understanding. I simply ask because I want to learn.
  • Pinprick
    118
    But as others have pointed out, the corruption of religious institutions is a fact of history; I think as soon as something becomes an institution, then it implements a power-structure, and wherever there's power, there's the possibility of corruption.Wayfarer

    I essentially agree with this. However, I’m questioning how you, or anyone else, can know that these power grabs that you’re describing aren’t the intended consequences of the founder of the religion? I assume that these theocrats would provide some scripture to justify their actions. Just as I assume that that there would be scripture against their actions. The inherent contradictions in these texts is a big part of the issue.

    There is no detached, objective or scientific way to determine it.Wayfarer

    Then you accept that your claim that religions have been corrupted is only an opinion? If not, on what do you base your belief upon?

    from the viewpoint of secular culture, it's impossible to make value judgements about the overall veracity of different religions - say, scientology, Santeria, and Catholicism.Wayfarer

    Isn’t calling a religion corrupt a value judgment?
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    However, I’m questioning how you, or anyone else, can know that these power grabs that you’re describing aren’t the intended consequences of the founder of the religion?Pinprick

    I’m not that cynical. If that makes me a believer, so be it.
  • Pinprick
    118
    Fair enough, I suppose. Does this mean you accept your belief on faith?
  • TheMadFool
    5.4k
    However, often when people do that sort of justifying, they present specific passages from their holy book. So how do you know that what they present as justification for their actions is not what the actual author of the text meant, or would nonetheless condone?Pinprick

    Indeed, it may seem the rot can be traced back to the radix; fanatics are known to recite verses word for word from the holy books to justify their atrocities. All I can say is, stretching charitability to its limit, the all-good god of religion is simply incompatible with a being who issues kill orders; ergo it has to be that we misunderstand the holy books.
  • Wayfarer
    9.5k
    Does this mean you accept your belief on faith?Pinprick

    A lot of people would say that, but read this post again.

    There's an intuition in some religious philosophies (or philosophical religions) that reality is not what it seems, or to put it another way, appearances are not necessarily real, that there is a reality that is concealed or masked by appearance.

    If secular modernism had a principle, it would be that only appearances are real. It is precisely the rejection of the notion of there being a veiled reality that is its salient characteristic.

    What interested me about religious experience in the first place was because of moments of 'piercing the veil', so to speak (mainly by way of hallucinogenic agents, although that was a long time ago). This lead me to believe that there was a sense in which the spiritual teacher (sage) had pierced the vale of appearances and discovered another dimension of reality unknown to the many. That is what initially drew me in the direction of gnosticism, new religious movements and the like. So that opens up a kind of perspective on religion that is different to either secular materialism or "main-street" religiosity.

    So from the gnostic perspective (although I'm not formally gnostic), there's belief (pistis), opinion (doxa) and knowledge (gnosis) which is the insight into the reality behind appearance. (That is actually preserved in modern science, but with numerous caveats, chiefly that the reality behind appearance is dumb stuff rather than mind, which is where it irretrievably splits from gnosticism).

    I formed the view that some crucial element was suppressed at the formation of Christianity with the suppression of gnosticism.The gnostic element of the ancient world was suppressed in favour of 'ortho-doxa' which was politically much more expedient, with its emphasis on obedience and believing. (Buddhism was a very different model, one of 'passing on the torch', centripedal rather than centrifugal, and retaining a place in its epistemology for gnosis, which it designates 'jñāna'.)

    In fact the gnostic elements have always persisted in Western culture but have mainly been forced underground, but they do bubble up from time to time, and besides, they've actually influenced many major scientists and philosophers; there's books on the secret history of science which cover this.

    But the main cultural dynamic that developed was 'right belief' or orthodoxy, defended on pain of death, and then quarrelled over through centuries of religious warfare, on one side; and 'rational science' on the other side which reacted against religious authoritarianism and sought to understand the natural world purely in its own right.

    But the unfortunate fact, which the gnostics and Buddhists understand, is that 'the natural world' does not have any intrinsic or truly substantive reality. So modern man is stuck in this plight of worshipping an illusory domain.

    So, if you call that 'faith', then so be it.
  • Pinprick
    118
    Maybe, but it would depend on Gods definition of “good.” Who’s to say God doesn’t consider what we call atrocities good (except for the contradictory founders of these religions)?
  • TheMadFool
    5.4k
    Maybe, but it would depend on Gods definition of “good.” Who’s to say God doesn’t consider what we call atrocities good (except for the contradictory founders of these religions)?Pinprick

    Here's a short argument:

    1. God is all good (goodness which we're familiar with)

    2. The holy books are god's words

    3. if the holy books are god's words then the holy books don't have mistakes

    4. The holy books don't have mistakes (2, 3 modus tollens)

    5. If god commands killing then, either the holy books have mistakes or god is not all good

    6. The holy books don't have mistakes and god is all good (1, 4 conjunction)

    7. god doesn't command killing (5, 6 modus tollens)

    8. Either god commands killing or we've misunderstood the holy books (we've misread some lines as orders to kill)

    9. We've misunderstood the holy books (7, 8 disjunctive syllogism)
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    You asked what i mean by this, some say Joshua shouldn't have killed the children (assuming he did and i assume he did) of the cities he conquered (book of joshua old testament), had he not killed them the parents would have a strange conversation with their adopted children when they became teenagers. Also child sacrifice was common among amorites in canaan as well as in ancient iraq. Hammurabi was actually an amorite just in case you didn't know.
    — christian2017

    I see. I’m not interested in the justification, or lack there of, of Joshua’s actions.

    If you would like me to go on and on about the culture of canaan i can. Territories in history have certainly been conquered over much lesser crimes.
    — christian2017

    That’s not necessary.

    If you disagree with these things in that you don't find them to be corruption, either my concept of reality is severely flawed or yours is and there is no point in us trying to convince each otherwise. I wouldn't be surprised if at this point we get into a discussion about post-modernism.
    — christian2017

    I’m not trying to move into post-modernist territory. I agree that the things you mentioned are bad, but bad doesn’t equal corrupt, at least not in my view. I see corruption to mean something like changing the meaning of what a particular holy book/passage/ doctrine says so that it suits your needs. Pretending to be doing “God’s will,” but actually pursuing your own selfish needs. The problem is we can’t simply ask the authors what they meant, so it is left for the rest of us to interpret. Also, there is the problem of contradictory passages in religions texts. One passage says “love thy neighbor,” while others promote violence, such as the one Bitter Crank provided above. Some followers practice the former, while some practice the latter. So which group is corrupt, and which is not? Each group will just point the finger at the other group, and, as @Wayfarer mentioned, there is no objective way to settle the dispute. Do you have a solution?

    Also, I promise my comments are sincere. If my questions seem stupid it is due to my lack of understanding. I simply ask because I want to learn.
    10 hours ago
    Pinprick
    96
    But as others have pointed out, the corruption of religious institutions is a fact of history; I think as soon as something becomes an institution, then it implements a power-structure, and wherever there's power, there's the possibility of corruption.
    — Wayfarer

    I essentially agree with this. However, I’m questioning how you, or anyone else, can know that these power grabs that you’re describing aren’t the intended consequences of the founder of the religion? I assume that these theocrats would provide some scripture to justify their actions. Just as I assume that that there would be scripture against their actions. The inherent contradictions in these texts is a big part of the issue.

    There is no detached, objective or scientific way to determine it.
    — Wayfarer

    Then you accept that your claim that religions have been corrupted is only an opinion? If not, on what do you base your belief upon?

    from the viewpoint of secular culture, it's impossible to make value judgements about the overall veracity of different religions - say, scientology, Santeria, and Catholicism.
    — Wayfarer

    Isn’t calling a religion corrupt a value judgment?
    Pinprick

    Well i agree judging someone's character (or discerning someones character) is extremely difficult to do accurately. Self doubt and extreme self doubt very often leads to excessive suffering but in the end i would argue leads to great results. These are things i avoid as much as possible.

    Just as atheists in government judge/discern people and even have political power, so do christians who have a certain amount of power.

    The simple matter of the thing is only time will tell.

    The medieval peasant being oppressed by the medieval church, had to wait for his/her day. Perhaps that day never came.
  • Pinprick
    118
    Here's a short argument:

    1. God is all good (goodness which we're familiar with)

    2. The holy books are god's words

    3. if the holy books are god's words then the holy books don't have mistakes

    4. The holy books don't have mistakes (2, 3 modus tollens)

    5. If god commands killing then, either the holy books have mistakes or god is not all good

    6. The holy books don't have mistakes and god is all good (1, 4 conjunction)

    7. god doesn't command killing (5, 6 modus tollens)

    8. Either god commands killing or we've misunderstood the holy books (we've misread some lines as orders to kill)

    9. We've misunderstood the holy books (7, 8 disjunctive syllogism)
    TheMadFool

    1 is unknowable, because the evidence for it (the holy books) is suspect. The goodness we’re all familiar with doesn’t include endorsing murder, etc. Also, if you’re going to come to the conclusion that we’ve misinterpreted the holy books regarding the endorsement of murder, you could just as easily say that we’ve misinterpreted them regarding the goodness of God.

    9 isn’t true. The holy books have been interpreted in multiple ways, therefore someone got it right. The question is who.

    You could just as easily make the opposite argument using the same evidence.

    1 becomes “God is all bad”
    5 becomes “If God commands love thy neighbor then...
    6 becomes “The holy books don’t have mistakes and God is all bad.”
    7 becomes “God doesn’t command love thy neighbor.“
    8 becomes “Either God commands love thy neighbor...
  • TheMadFool
    5.4k
    1 is unknowable, because the evidence for it (the holy books) is suspect. The goodness we’re all familiar with doesn’t include endorsing murder, etc. Also, if you’re going to come to the conclusion that we’ve misinterpreted the holy books regarding the endorsement of murder, you could just as easily say that we’ve misinterpreted them regarding the goodness of God.

    9 isn’t true. The holy books have been interpreted in multiple ways, therefore someone got it right. The question is who.

    You could just as easily make the opposite argument using the same evidence.

    1 becomes “God is all bad”
    5 becomes “If God commands love thy neighbor then...
    6 becomes “The holy books don’t have mistakes and God is all bad.”
    7 becomes “God doesn’t command love thy neighbor.“
    8 becomes “Either God commands love thy neighbor...
    Pinprick

    Imagine if we come into contact with super-intelligent aliens who've mastered intergalactic space travel. If in a conversation with them, you notice what appears to be an "inconsistency" would you doubt them or yourself? The answer to this question will guide you to the answer to the question, "did god really command that we should not kill and at the same time order genocide?" Before you answer the last question, bear in mind that god is both all-good and of infinite intellect and, ergo, you should be leaning towards an answer that factors in the intelligence-gap between us, humans and god viz. that the fault lies in us and that we've misunderstood god's words as it appears in the holy books.
  • Pinprick
    118
    Imagine if we come into contact with super-intelligent aliens who've mastered intergalactic space travel. If in a conversation with them, you notice what appears to be an "inconsistency" would you doubt them or yourself?TheMadFool

    Wouldn’t them being “super-intelligent” depend on their ability to be consistent? Or better yet, their ability to communicate effectively without inconsistencies being perceived by the listener? Regardless, I would ask them to clarify what they meant.

    bear in mind that god is both all-good and of infinite intellect and, ergo, you should be leaning towards an answer that factors in the intelligence-gap between us, humans and god viz. that the fault lies in us and that we've misunderstood god's words as it appears in the holy books.TheMadFool

    How would I know that God is all good and all knowing? You seem to be insisting that I assume this, but the only evidence that suggests this (holy books) is precisely what is being questioned. Besides, wouldn’t the assumption of an intelligence gap make assuming about God’s character unreasonable? If he is so much further advanced than I am, how could I possibly guess at his intentions?
  • TheMadFool
    5.4k
    Wouldn’t them being “super-intelligent” depend on their ability to be consistent? Or better yet, their ability to communicate effectively without inconsistencies being perceived by the listener? Regardless, I would ask them to clarify what they meant.Pinprick

    You're begging the question by assuming that the aliens are being inconsistent and we've discovered the inconsistency. I'm only asking you to consider the other possibility - there is no inconsistency at all and what we see as one is the result of our limited minds grappling with god's genius par excellence.

    How would I know that God is all good and all knowing? You seem to be insisting that I assume this, but the only evidence that suggests this (holy books) is precisely what is being questioned. Besides, wouldn’t the assumption of an intelligence gap make assuming about God’s character unreasonable? If he is so much further advanced than I am, how could I possibly guess at his intentions?Pinprick

    Yes, I am insisting that you don't reject the following:

    1. God's onmibenevolence
    2. The veracity of the holy books

    If you choose not to accept the two assumptions above my argument is garbage. However, before you do that keep in mind it's something that everyone does; you might want to leave the pack and strike out own your own.
  • Pinprick
    118
    You're begging the question by assuming that the aliens are being inconsistent and we've discovered the inconsistency. I'm only asking you to consider the other possibility - there is no inconsistency at all and what we see as one is the result of our limited minds grappling with god's genius par excellence.TheMadFool

    Ok, sure that is a possibility, but I don’t see how there’s enough evidence to make it true or convincing. Conversely, there isn’t enough evidence to make the opposite true or convincing either. I’m questioning how people can claim that a religion is corrupt when there’s no clear or convincing evidence to suggest what an uncorrupted version of that religion is. I’m claiming agnosticism on the subject, not necessarily trying to make the case that God is or isn’t good or bad. My claim is that it is unknowable due to the inconsistencies in the evidence itself (holy books).

    Yes, I am insisting that you don't reject the following:

    1. God's onmibenevolence
    2. The veracity of the holy books
    TheMadFool

    I’m asking on what grounds? That everyone else does? Surely you’re aware that’s a fallacy. It appears that you are trying very hard to make 1 and 2 unquestionable or off limits.

    If you choose not to accept the two assumptions above my argument is garbage.TheMadFool

    And if I choose to accept them you’re conclusion logically follows.
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