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    • CommentAuthorcoffeemug
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010

    Excellent point. However, characterising the story of the crucifixion as "more than a story" might be a bit of an undervaluation of just how insanely powerful stories in general ('just' stories) can be. Which reminds me of another interesting point, which has been touched on, in part, earlies in the thread, which is just what stories actually are. One of my favorite parts in Sandman is the bit where Morpheus has comissioned Shakespeare a play for (and about) Titania's and Auberon's faery court, where the puck mentions that "it's true! It never happened, yet it is still true! What magic art is this?" Fiction in general tends to be disregarded because it does not offer accurate representations of (historic) events, and therefore having no truth- or reality-value. Yet the manner in which stories in general influence people suggests that, as you say, there is more at play.
  1.  (8121.242)
    @longtimelurker: of course the gospel has influential power, people have been hammered over the head with it for thousands of years, and put on fire if they had a different interpretation. That's the only reason people think it's special.

    It's just a story at its heart. It's not bad, but it's not as good as Promethea either.
  2.  (8121.243)
    @ coffeemug

    Yeah I love that quote too. And he's describing one of the most whimsical of all of Shakepeare's plays, which makes it funnier.

    Discussions of what stories are and their place in the world could make a thread twice as long as this one! There is pure art: art for art's sake. You combine art and history and you have a social commentary. Combine art and politics and you have propaganda. Combine art and religion you have another form of propaganda.


    You classify it differently than I do, that's all. We may have different views of people who are devout. But we probably share a distrust of people who manipulate others.

    EDIT TO ADD: Only slightly related, but I had to get it out: I wish more Christians would remember that Jesus wasn't afraid to walk right into the church to denounce wrongdoing that went on there.
  3.  (8121.244)
    I don't know, who are some of these devout people? What is devout?

    See in all examples where I have heard people using the word "devout" the meaning escapes me. Who is devout, and how does one know if they are? Ratzinger? The Dalai Lama? Martin Luther? Mohammed Atta? Vivekananda? All I see is people who may or may not be nice, who may or may not have noble intentions, and who believe in extreme possiblities that cannot be proven.

    The word devout seems like the medieval equivalent of "HAWT" or something similar, just an empty buzzword.
  4.  (8121.245)
    "Who is devout?"

    Anyone who represents their faith, and yes, that includes Atta.

    "how does one know if they are?"

    By their actions.

    "just an empty buzzword"

    ...if you say so, Pilate.
  5.  (8121.246)
    ...if you say so, Pilate.

    emmmm what??
  6.  (8121.247)
    It's what the holy man tells the head of state in the story, right before the vote... never mind.

    I guess if you can so easily dismiss the minds and hearts of billions of people worldwide you can dismiss anything.
  7.  (8121.248)
    What bullshit kind of argument is that?
  8.  (8121.249)
    And now namecalling. I'm done.

    EDIT TO ADD: I'm really sorry, man, you seem like a nice guy, but I'm not going to explain everything three times. Have a nice one.

    EDITED AGAIN TO ADD: Did anyone else out there get the impression that I came here to pick a fight? Here I thought I was being reasonable with a sense of humor. Religion is something people feel strongly about so I should probably know better. But tolerance goes both ways. Suggesting that the religious people worldwide are fake, or phony... if you believe that, fine, but how accurate is that? The majority of people are fake phonies? Doesn't that say more about the person making that statement?
  9.  (8121.250)
    Well you're the guy telling me I'm "dismissing the minds and hearts of billions of people worldwide." What else am I supposed to make of that?
  10.  (8121.251)
    No, I made an effort to find common ground with you and you basically said devout people are full of it. I jumped to conclusions perhaps; I got hot and tried to make a joke to defuse the situation. Pilate, you know? Pontius Pilate? Did you really not get that reference? Couldn't you look it up on Google to jog memory? Then you say my next argument is bullshit. I tell you I'm leaving and you tell me I started it. And you wonder why I want to go somewhere else?

    EDIT TO ADD: ...really leaving this time.
    • CommentAuthorSteadyUP
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010
    I think what Verus was saying is that "devout" can mean different things. All it technically means, really, is "devoted", esp. in a religious context - one person might think that applies to all Christians, another might think that applies to 1% of them. So to say "devout" people are one thing or another is only going to provoke conflict amongst those with different definitions - they could agree on a broader point yet never realize it because they're talking about two different things.
  11.  (8121.253)
    Sorry, when someone says my use of devout is equivalent to someone else saying HAWT I have a hard time believing that's just semantics, again when I thought I was being reasonable and with a sense of humor.

    ...really leaving this time... maybe...
    • CommentAuthorcoffeemug
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010
    Since 'devout' probably involves some kind of (internal) sincerity on the devotee's part, it's one of those words that can easily fall into the same problems you get with concepts like 'authenticity'. And we probably all know what freakishly horrible discussions can pop up around that.

    Let's not turn this excellent thread into one of those, eh?
  12.  (8121.255)
    Look, I'm interested in truth. I don't see how you can have a conversation about truth when you start playing these games with words. "'Truth' can mean anything, man." Well, I guess, if you're the President and you just don't want to admit you had blowjobs in the Oval Office you can start saying it depends on your definition of "is." Or if you want to tell the truth and say the American people don't care about that shit they love me because I fixed the economy you can be honest about the fact that focusing on the definition of "is" is designed to distract attention from the fact that you lied under oath when you shouldn't have bothered to.

    Words can mean whatever we want them to. That's why we use sentences to communicate. If you don't agree with my use of the word, fine, but unless I'm doing a horrible job of communicating you OUGHT to understand what I mean by the context. Or you can ask me. I'll define it for you. But maybe I'm saying something you don't agree with, or you can't stand the fact that I'm expressing an opinion that conflicts with your worldview. So instead of taking on the challenge directly, you take one word and say "oh that word doesn't mean anything to me I don't know what that word means does it mean that really?" and by the time you're done the original point was forgotten.

    I'm interested in truth. The majority of people on the planet are religious, I think. "What does 'religious' mean, man?" It means whatever you want it to mean. Don't argue about the word, answer my question: am I right?

    EDIT: ...really leaving... probably sometime tomorrow...
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2010 edited
    The HAWT thing was my ill-advised attempt at humor too, longtimelurker. Pleeeeease don't leave us.

    I don't think I said anywhere that devout people are full of it. But I do have a problem with the concept. The problem with devout for me is that it seems empty in a way. I guess I know the defintion of the word, "sincere believer" or "earnest practitioner," something along those lines. But like you said yourself, even people like Mohammed Atta fall into that category, therefore devoutness doesn't say anything about wether that person is a good person. A devout person can also be a recluse who locks him or herself away from all others and prays and meditates all day. I don't have any problem with that personally, but that person would not be contributing a lot to society.

    Like "holiness" it can become one of those terms that the Church uses as their own justification. Bestow sainthood upon some people for some good deeds they allegedly performed, and then use the sheer number of saints within their ranks as proof of their own sanctity.

    The majority of people on the planet are religious, I think.

    So what?

    Not trying to rile you, but I'm wondering how you interpret that fact. Do you assume that because a lot of people are religious, being religious is the right thing to be?
  13.  (8121.257)
    Not going anywhere that was more "humor." Notice how I kept threatening... ?

    ...guess none of us will be getting jobs at the Improv, eh?

    That's the problem with the Internet; your emotions end up finishing your sentences.

    Back on topic: I get it. At least I think I do. But pointing out the fallacies of the faithful... it's tired. We've got stacks of books that have done that, written by guys a lot smarter and crazier than us. And that's where "I" find emptiness now. The church is bad, we've established that. What's next for atheism?

    I'm a free thinker. I talk to God, but not in a religious way. I stopped worrying about the afterlife or the end of the world a long time ago. I know the earth will still be here after I'm gone, and probably after humanity is gone. And I don't get hung up on sin or guilt.

    So, sir, where would I fit into your definition of whether someone is devout? Don't you see that you're missing the point once you analyze it too much? If being religious is crazy, then being human is crazy.

    God is a friend of mine. Atheists are friends of mine. The faithful are friends of mine. I'll defend any of my friends, but I won't be controlled by them.

    "Do you assume that because a lot of people are religious, being religious is the right thing to be?"

    Not a lot. MOST. I'm sorry if that rattles cages. Every poll ever conducted confirms this. Small towns have more churches than restaurants. I'm just interested in truth. If most people are religious, you have to acknowledge it first before you crtiticize it. Even the environmentalists worship Gaia.

    EDIT TO ADD: That may be why Alan Moore started worshipping his snake. He knows devotion is inherent to the human condition. Instead of suppressing the feelings, CHANNEL them.
  14.  (8121.258)
    Not a lot. MOST. I'm sorry if that rattles cages. Every poll ever conducted confirms this. Small towns have more churches than restaurants. I'm just interested in truth. If most people are religious, you have to acknowledge it first before you crtiticize it. Even the environmentalists worship Gaia.

    I still don't see where you are going with this. Yeah most people are religious, it is true. But then I still come back to: So what. What does the fact that most other people are religious mean for your personal convictions?

    Yeah I tend to analyze things, but I don't think that's equal to missing the point. I think that, in general, trying to analyze things and trying to see why some things are the way they are, makes one more likely to get the point.
  15.  (8121.259)
    I agree, you just don't want bias to get in the way of truth. I'll leave you with that.

    Leaving 'til tomorrow at least. Final episode tomorrow!
  16.  (8121.260)
    Argumentum ad populum. Everyone could believe the world flat, it does not make it so, and chill guys don't need to turn this into some kind of Haggard Vs Dawkins thing.