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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Talk About Your Religious Beliefs  (Read 10096 times)
joshua neff
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2005, 08:30:24 AM »

Quote from: Green
That is the most rockin' understanding of Christianity I've come across in a long time.  Though I don't consider myself Christian, your beliefs about the Jesus Thing are pretty similar to mine.  Are you Quaker, by any chance?


As a regular reader of Clinton's blog, I just have to say: what an incredibly perceptive question!
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
lumpley
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2005, 08:34:21 AM »

Somehow it survived in me that what matters most is family and friends, and what matters next most is guests and hosts. Food binds all. Preparing food, eating food, cleaning up after food. Now that Meg's sister owns land and sheep and chickens and sugar maples and herb and vegetable gardens, add cultivating food too. I take my cookery as a priesthood. Keep your theologies and afterlives, for I know that Cajun shrimp recipe.

My word for God is "the monkey mind." When we get together, we have the monkey mind. We eat and laugh and play and gossip. "Eat" is the heart and "play" is the soul, and play includes games, music, art, stories, touching, discoursing, wandering, looking. Play is how we make sense of everything else.

Religion is a kind of play that I don't enjoy, I think because it involves murmuring and all facing one direction. You can take the monkey out of the trees...

-Vincent
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2005, 08:37:23 AM »

Quote from: joshua neff
Quote from: Green
That is the most rockin' understanding of Christianity I've come across in a long time.  Though I don't consider myself Christian, your beliefs about the Jesus Thing are pretty similar to mine.  Are you Quaker, by any chance?


As a regular reader of Clinton's blog, I just have to say: what an incredibly perceptive question!


I found the Quakers, yes. Am I one? I'm not sure yet. I do attend Quaker meetings some, though. I've been going to a lot of different churches lately. The only local one I'm still curious about is the Unitarians. I really want to go, but there's an awkward social situation there. I think I may brave the waters this Sunday.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2005, 08:41:03 AM »

How do you know the Unitarians are mad at you?

They're burning a question mark on your front lawn!!

Best,
Ron
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joshua neff
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2005, 08:42:47 AM »

Vincent, that's absolutely beautiful. And I think I see things pretty similarly. One of the main reasons why I'm so enamored of RPGs is because I see play as crucial to our lives. Play doesn't mean games, although games are included in play. I could really go on about this for a long, long time, but I think everything I think about it was summed up in your post well, and I don't want to bore everyone with my long-winded ramblings about play and life and the universe.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
joshua neff
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« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2005, 08:44:17 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
How do you know the Unitarians are mad at you?

They're burning a question mark on your front lawn!!

Best,
Ron


Hahhah hahahahahah!

That's Mort Sahl, innit?

As someone who grew up Unitarian-Universalist (and gave up on that particular church for a variety of reasons), I've always loved that joke.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
lumpley
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« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2005, 08:59:40 AM »

People hear Meg's story, they turn to me, they say, "so are you UU too?" I say, "well..."

True story.

-Vincent
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2005, 09:02:24 AM »

I freely confess that I consider Vincent's pancakes a profound spiritual experience.

yrs--
--Ben
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2005, 09:32:31 AM »

Quote from: Ben Lehman
I freely confess that I consider Vincent's pancakes a profound spiritual experience.

And why not? When you are eating, you are feeding life, causing it to grow and survive, nuturing your own body. That's a pretty damn spiritual experience!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Harlequin
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« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2005, 09:33:09 AM »

Neat stuff.  It's amazing how much convergence one sees in this kind of thing, among people who are both intelligent and good.

I've been struggling to define my faith again, recently.  Hard to pin it down to words.  Easiest put, what I believe in - in the manner of something divine and transcendent - is human nature, human virtue, and human potential.  I feel no real need to attach a mind or personification to this; it can be infinitely praiseworthy without itself being 'people' in any sense.

From my readings, it might perhaps be defined as a kind of secular humanist extropian Sufism.  When I see the exercise of man's creativity, ingenuity, compassion, and virtue... that's not simply a sign of the presence of God.  That is God, right there, in the flesh, naked and shining.  It's hard to stop and appreciate it like that, simply because the world is full of distractions, but the attempt to do so is itself a religious exercise analogous to prayer.

I wish on stars... as a way of talking to the God in me.  I say thank you before important meals - to the goodness in ourselves, everyone around the table, for being the true force making the meal itself an occasion worth treasuring.  (Recently my daughter has insisted on being the one to say this grace.  This puts a whole new layer of treasure on it, because I'm also thanking this ineffable virtue for how wonderful she is, how well she's turning out.)

For me this is awesome for three reasons.  One, I'm a scientist.  Occam's Razor is important to me, and the principles above and beyond Occam which insist that the most elegant explanation is almost invariably the correct one.  With that as a basis, the existence of something classically supernatural is close to untenable, certainly uncomfortable and disturbing - which (in the light of what I now believe) makes it nigh unto heretical in its own right.  I cannot in good faith - and I use the word advisedly - believe in God.  Two, it has this fabulous translation property.  I acknowledge that, in my own terms, the "good bits" of all faiths are overt and explicit recognitions of the same thing I worship, plus some (often very pretty) mythology and ritual attached.  So I can sit in on a sermon or ceremony and enjoy it immensely... everytime I hear "God" I subsitute the wordless phrase "the virtues of the human heart," and similar translations.  And the ceremony makes sense; its beauty translates.  And third, it means that I am surrounded by the naked presence of God.  All the fucking time.  Not every day, quite; everyday life is a grinder that way, especially when I'm working these 14-hour days and not getting to see my kids.  But anytime I really care to put the effort into looking for "him," it doesn't take much.  And I know I'm seeing "his" "face" directly, right then.  That's comforting, y'know?

- Eric
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2005, 09:35:17 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
How do you know the Unitarians are mad at you?
They're burning a question mark on your front lawn!!

If I were mad at Ron, I'd just burn him on his front lawn. I mean, seriously, fuck the symbolism, I'm mad at Ron. What'd the question mark ever do to me?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2005, 09:49:15 AM »

I've been a lot of things in my time.

I grew up on Hindu folktales and condensed versions of the epics Gita and Mahabharata and Ramayana, which, for a long time, biased me really negatively against the whole swath of Abrahamic (I think that's the term Jonathan uses...) faiths. "Look at their paltry prophets!" said I, "they're slaves and carpenters and pedestrians! The things they did in the name of God are minuscule."

At some point I became offended at the idea of worship (I was a teenager; I thought I was the best thing since DNA.) and rejected religion utterly on that basis.

Eventually I percieved the profound disrespect of that position, and figured that answers were for other people (unrelated events!). I still had (still have) questions. So, now, the only thing I hold important with regard to faith is respect for one's beliefs, and a serious desire to understand them and engage in right action. Respect for belief is a pretty complicated thing for me, which involves being willing and able to interrogate and modify those beliefs, as well as understand that belief is diverse among people; the only respectful way to treat someone else's beliefs is to try and ensure that he is respectful towards them too. There's more in there too, which I can't really verbalise, so I suspect it's more important.

One last thing that has stuck with me since the early days is that, to me, it's profoundly incorrect to try and define divinity. Divinity is too transcendent for that. That's what transcendent means. I don't necessarily know whether divinity exists, but I know that to try and define it is to misrepresent it.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2005, 10:13:52 AM »

I'm looking at Clinton, Ben, Christian, Eric, Green, and Shreyas and just nodding. I don't have much to add to what they've said because I'm basically right there with them on the various points. You could pluck out various statements of theirs and I'd be in total agreement/understanding thereof.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
xenopulse
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Heretic Forgite


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« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2005, 10:35:42 AM »

Quote from: Lxndr
Why family as a moral value?


Because my basic belief is Kantian in nature in that morality is based on duties, not rights. I have a duty to my family first and foremost because I:
a) made a contract and vow;
b) am responsible for the child I put into this world; and
c) owe my own life and who I am mostly to my family.

I secondarily owe a lot to my society.

Finally, my duty to humankind is pure Kantian. As a rational being who puts value in the ends I choose for myself, I have to value the capacity for making that choice over the actual choices (a logical primacy there). All human beings have that capacity, therefore, I would devalue myself if I disrespected them.
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J B Bell
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Posts: 267


« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2005, 10:37:47 AM »

Hi, I'm JB, and I'm the token white convert Buddhist.

("Hi, JB!")

Interesting, great stuff here.  FWIW, I have been a perfectly serious Gnostic in the past, and an occultist of various stripes.  I do think a lot of Eero's critiques, though not unique to state religions, fall into that general syndrome.

Anywho, Buddhism effin' RAWKS, man.  It has a "high" (I like that, Eero, "entertainment value," quite astute really), but the high transfers to all situations.  We usually call it Mindfulness or Pure Awareness, or similar notions privileged by Capitalizing them.  It takes difficult training and goes against the grain of typical human habits, yet it's also the most natural thing in the world.  When I'm high in this way, I'm right there--even if I'm pretty miserable.  I laugh a lot more when I keep the five precepts carefully and meditate well (these two support each other, and laughter supports everything).  I take genuine pleasure in studying the scriptures of various Buddhist traditions.

I love debating doctrine, but really, the best part for me is just not suffering so much, and being better able to care about other people who are suffering because I'm not so freaked out by it.  This makes for way more joy.
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"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes
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