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    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010 edited
     (8121.61)
    I've called myself a Buddhist for a while, but in fact the best stuff Buddhism told me basically comes down to: "You don't need any religion, not even Buddhism."

    So I'm not a Buddhist. The fact that I agree with some of his ideas doesn't mean I'm part of Buddha's gang.

    But another thing regarding Buddhism: it comes in many wildly differing forms, probably even more so than Christianity. The difference between Nichiren Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism, for instance, is astounding.
  1.  (8121.62)
    "while composing music in his head there is more activity between the brain's hemispheres than is observed in more amateur musicians."

    I wonder if that's a sign of genius or a result of extensive practice.
    • CommentAuthorTwist
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010
     (8121.63)
    @Verus: I referred to Buddhism as a religion once in front of a lady whose family had been practicing for quite a few generations and was very abruptly informed it was a life style not a religion. I think there's some major differences in ho we view it from Western perspective and how those raised within the cultures often view it themselves.

    @Fan: As much as I'd like to strike down some of the Atheists I know personally (bugger the ones here) with a big stick on regular occasion I'm going to have to call this one as not proof. Buddhism may be a spiritual practice but meditation is an exercise. It requires no belief in deity or particular spiritual mind set to do and benefit from.

    Reading this through, again, and a question has occurred to me. How many people here actually have sat in on religious/spiritual discussions with people who aren't completely off their dial insane?

    No one I know, Christian, Pagan, Hindu, Jew, or otherwise has ever claimed that their beliefs are verifiable. We all know they're not to anyone other than ourselves. The only people who claim that its verifiable and totally correct and omg-you-non-believer-you're-*gasp*-wrong are fundamentalist whack-jobs, playgans and predators. Not people that should be taken seriously by anyone IMO.

    Something I was thinking on last night and I'm not sure I can quite explain it in a way that makes sense so bear with me. I gave up on science after my advanced science teacher managed to poison himself for the third time and our regular science teacher had a breakdown trying to teach my class. For me, with the whole reconciling Science and Religion/Spirituality, it comes down to being able to look at one as internal and the other external.

    Science looks at things from the outside in, pulling it apart to see how it works then trying to improve/fix it or it attempts to create something new using what we already know and building on it. We all get that. It might start with a hypothesis, but its always us on the outside looking at or working towards something and observing the results.

    Spirituality is the other way, inside out, taking what's there in your head and working solely with that and using it to influence the outside. I'm Pagan so I can't talk for those who believe in the one true"God" but deity is actually pretty much a non-issue. Beliefs range from one over riding power to many littler guys to nothing, its all in our heads but it works just fine so we use it. Most of the functional, working side, of magic is about changing your mindset so that you are most able to take advantage of 'things' (see my very technical language there) that happen or you come across to reach a goal and other parts have effects like meditation is known to have, making you feel more grounded, happier etc. Deity's place in it is up to the practitioner, unless you're dealing with the official side at which point its an earth based religion which requires you to believe in something in the way of deity or universal powers (but much like the average Christian ignores the Pope, we tend to ignore the official definitions).

    An a complete side note, one of the "magic" boards I'm part of has at all times had discussions on politics, science, education such as language studies, gender & sexuality, and/or reality & fiction going. It'd be a place many people here would be almost comfortable if it weren't for the magic and religion bit. I find this somewhat amusing in the context of this discussion.
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      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010
     (8121.64)
    How many people here actually have sat in on religious/spiritual discussions with people who aren't completely off their dial insane?
    I don't really consider my mother insane, but she's still fundamentalist. Same goes for... pretty much my mom's whole side of the family. Shit, one of my best childhood friends is a pastor in the same synod (we went to confirmation classes together), and I still talk to him, and don't consider him insane. It's possible to have some batshit crazy religious ideas and still be "normal" in the rest of your life. This is the issue I have a problem with. When an otherwise intelligent and sane person throws all that out and starts believing, apparently unwaveringly, in the ideological equivalent of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then my brain disconnects a little.
    No one I know, Christian, Pagan, Hindu, Jew, or otherwise has ever claimed that their beliefs are verifiable. We all know they're not to anyone other than ourselves. The only people who claim that its verifiable and totally correct and omg-you-non-believer-you're-*gasp*-wrong are fundamentalist whack-jobs, playgans and predators. Not people that should be taken seriously by anyone IMO.
    ...which is something I said earlier upthread. The part I take issue with is that you seem to think that the only people that count are the ones you've talked to. I've talked to a lot of people about religion, and they run the gamut from totally on-the-level about their beliefs (that is, acknowledging they're just beliefs) to batshit insane to the point it takes over their lives. And yes, it's a lot easier to talk to the ones that are "sane," but I still think that most religious beliefs stem from a desire to feel special in a world that loses a little bit more of its wonder every day.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010
     (8121.65)
    @twist: You say that the people who claim their belief can be verified are wrong...but if it can't be verified, then why have a belief at all? Wouldn't that just be fooling oneself?
  2.  (8121.66)
    These are all things the brain does. Biology. Nothing magical about it.


    If I poked the right bit of your brain with an electric wire, I could make you see God.


    Well, yes. That's the point. "Spirituality" and "god" is all in your head.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNeilFord
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010
     (8121.67)
    A few years ago I found myself at a party, in conversation with a christian who delighted in describing himself as a 'creationist', he quite literally believed the genesis story, God making the universe and all life in 7 days and that the Earth was less than 10000 years old.

    I'd never met a creationist before, so asked him why he thought such a thing, as science has demonstrated to the best of our ability that the earth is ancient, probably some 5 billion years old...

    CREATIONIST DAVE: "Well, just look at the moon..."

    NEIl: "The moon?"

    CREATIONIST DAVE: "Yeah, if all the planets had fromed from a spinning disc of dust & rock, the moon would be all jaggy round the edges, not smooth."

    NEIL: "Err... you do know it's quite far away..."

    CREATIONIST DAVE: "Not a far as you think."

    NEIL: "Ahhh... I see. Oh look, mini sausage rolls... bye!"
    •  
      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 27th 2010
     (8121.68)
    "Yeah, if all the planets had formed from a spinning disc of dust & rock, the moon would be all jaggy round the edges, not smooth."
    I'm not even sure what he means by this.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNeilFord
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.69)
    @rickiep00h - I think the currently accepted theory for the formation of our Sun and the planets describes a massive, spinning molecular cloud collapsing under gravity to eventually form our solar system.
    •  
      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.70)
    @Fan - I used to meditate regularly. It has proven benefits for mental health. It's a very early form of mental health biotech, IMHO, and appending a religion to it is not necessary (although many Buddhist texts are exquisite, insightful, beautiful... among my fabourite pieces of writing). Nonetheless, the technique still works (measurably, verifiably) with absolutely no spiritual component included. Meditation is more akin to yoga than 'religion,' and tellingly (for me at least), there are just as many examples of corrupt Buddhist monks in predominantly Buddhist countries as there are corrupt priests in the Xtian churches of the west. Organised religion is the issue here - whenever wisdom becomes dogma, or a movement becomes an entrenched structure, humanity fails.
  3.  (8121.71)
    Well, yes. That's the point. "Spirituality" and "god" is all in your head.


    Exactly. That's what makes it important.

    Man, this thread is depressing. I'm a secular humanist.I'm not religious in any way but the idea of people shitting all over faiths and spirituality because they're fictions is fucking stupid. Fictions are important. Fictions help us perceive and explain our world. We're all on this board because a writer of fiction resonates with us. Science can explain the biological process and reason for falling in love, but does that really compare to Shakespeare?

    As Si Spurrier said:

    Gandhi once said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    Which is all very clever and quotable, clappityclapclap, but more importantly has about it the ring of, oh-ho-yes, #TRENDINGTOPIX. That man was totally ahead of his time.

    “I like your Science. I do not like your Scientists. Your Scientists are so fucking Neurotic And Dull.”

    #ModernGandhism. PLAY ALONG.


    Now, dogma and especially dogma enshrined in law is fucking stupid, but personal faith is not, or maybe it is but it's the particular strain of stupidity that makes us who we are. None of us are perfectly rational beings. We all have faith in something.
    • CommentAuthorFan
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.72)
    > absolutely no spiritual component included

    Perhaps; but it did seem to me that the reasons/motives for meditating, the types (objects, techniques) of medication, and the practice of actually meditating, are a part of a Buddhist "spiritual knowledge or piece of wisdom".

    And I didn't want to say that it's the most important part: just that that's a part that apparently "can be verified".

    > there are just as many examples of corrupt Buddhist monks in predominantly Buddhist countries as there are corrupt priests in the Xtian churches of the west

    Is that analogous to saying that western medical beliefs are useless, because there's illness and death in the west as well (including among medical doctors)?

    > Organised religion is the issue here - whenever wisdom becomes dogma, or a movement becomes an entrenched structure, humanity fails.

    For what it's worth, I believe that's Christian doctrine too.
  4.  (8121.73)
    Man, this thread is depressing. an secular humanist.I'm not religious in any way but the idea of people shitting all over faiths and spirituality because they're fictions is fucking stupid.


    You're missing the point. Religions don't tend to be treated by religious people as "fiction". A great number of people actually believe the Bible word by word.

    Now, dogma and especially dogma enshrined in law is fucking stupid, but personal faith is not, or maybe it is but it's the particular strain of stupidity that makes us who we are. None of us are perfectly rational beings. We all have faith in something.


    Now you seem to be saying that having faith in something could be a particular strain of stupidity. Just because I'm an atheist it doesn't mean I don't have faith, as I explained in my first post. Faith and religion are two different things. And you're also saying that this strain could make us who we are -- so I ask, we shouldn't change that? We should always strive to be imperfect beings? We can never be perfect, but trying leads to evolution.
    • CommentAuthorScrymgeour
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.74)
    i believe that "god" (or whatever you want) is a word of ancient origin that simply equates to what we call nature of science. If God is all powerful etc. then us puny mortals are completely unable to begin understanding him, and a whole catalogue of names is just an attempt to not blow our tiny minds into mandness. Therefore god, science, nature are all words for the same thing.
    However believing any sacred text as absolute fact in my opinion doesnt gel with any of our experience or evidence. Again this is because they were written by stupid humans. The only holy book that is completely factually accurate is the universe, so maybe thats the one everyone should start believing in.
  5.  (8121.75)
    I second Andre. Pointing out that religion is fiction doesn't excuse it from criticism, especially when people conduct their lives and regulate the lives of others, based on the content of that fiction.

    @mybrainhurts
    I take your point that the scientific method and faith are two different ways of looking at the world that can be (and have both been) used in the pursuit of both great good and great harm. However, I'm not really sure what you're defending or attacking. And you know what? I'm sick of people equating science and boredom and dividing science and creativity and claiming that fiction and science have nothing in common. I draw comics for a living, and I love science. I try to apply scientific rigour to my attention to detail and research, many of my favourite stories have been inspired directly by scientific research, science itself tells the story of creation, only IT GETS IT RIGHT. It PAYS ATTENTION TO REALITY, which is the WELLSPRING OF FICTION.
    If that's lost on people who think it's all boring neurotic attention to detail then they can stick their heads in the bloody sand, because storytelling isn't just a matter of whimsy and passion, you don't just sit at a keyboard and randomly shit words and ideas that fall out the magical-fantasy-land we all have in our heads... it's a science in itself, a vocation, a profession that you need to LEARN in order to do well, like you need to LEARN science. Okay, calm, calm, end rant here.

    I'm sorry @mybrainhurts if you took the brunt of that, but it's a pet peeve of mine, and you managed to tap into it, intentionally or not.

    On a totally topical tangent, I just finished reading Phillip Pullman's retelling of Jesus' life, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (actually, listening to, he narrates the audiobook, and he's got a great voice). It makes a perfect point of the disparity between the goodness in the teaching of a religious individual, and the realities of enshrining that teaching as a religious institution, and is essentially all about how religion and fiction intertwine. Well worth the read.
    • CommentAuthorTwist
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.76)
    Whitechapel just nommed my post and Im seriously in too much pain to write it out again...

    @ Verus: What I should have said is "its only verifiable to themselves". Its an experience that you can't really share around, and often can barely describe adequately let alone in a manner that someone who has not had that experience would really understand. You can try, but at the end you can't show someone what it is you're experiencing* so skeptics remain skeptics and those looking for something to cling to jump on board without a clue (and make a lot of authors a lot of money).

    I'm going to go die in a corner now. I hope that at least sort of answers your question.


    *If these experiences include dizziness, or speckles of light in your vision whilst awake, weird black outs, or temporary loss of motor function you are experiencing a divine message to go to the fucking doctor
  6.  (8121.77)
    Fictions help us perceive and explain our world.


    Our senses and tools help us perceive. Fictions do explain things, but they do it incorrectly. That's why they need shitting on when they're used as the "real" explanation for why things are rather than as an entertainment.

    And in a world where people are flying airliners into skyscrapers over this sort of thing, wanting it gone is not stupid. It's self protection.

    Science can explain the biological process and reason for falling in love, but does that really compare to Shakespeare?


    You mean the stories you got to read thanks to advances in science?
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2010
     (8121.78)
    I'm a lapsed Catholic. (Aren't ALL Catholics?) I don't go to church but I can recite the Mass by heart. (I'll spare you.) I believe it's all a nice story but the ending is very sad. Yes, there are things worthwhile in the Bible but there's also a GREAT DEAL of VERY FUCKED UP SHIT in the Bible. But whatever, I don't use it to run my life, I honestly don't care if other people do.

    SCIENCE, on the other hand ... hoo boy. Reading some of the posts by people who apparently think SCIENCE is this monolithic entity made out of Goodness, puppies and blow jobs kinda gets up my nose. SCIENCE is a business, always has been, always will be. SCIENCE has traditionally been competition, back-biting, stealing other people's ideas, slander and other very HUMAN faults. SCIENCE has mechanized death at the same time it extends lives. SCIENCE has taken us off-world and polluted space with all our nuts and bolts and bags of tools. Yes, where would we be without SCIENCE? It's beautiful but don't ever say it's all positive. At best, it's guessing. And it's become a secular faith among people who've decided they're "too smart" to be religious. (Except for SCIENCE, that is.)

    I also think that Richard Dawkins is a cunt but that's just my opinion.
  7.  (8121.79)
    @Paul

    "science itself tells the story of creation, only IT GETS IT RIGHT."

    I love this quote.

    The Book of Genesis has more to do with man's relationship to God than anything else. Everything before the Contract with Abraham is really a prelude, like the first five minutes of a sequel re-capping what happened in the first movie. It doesn't go into detail on a scientific basis because that would have been impossible anyway. Many Christians believe that what happened in Genesis DID happen, but only a fool would try to use a six-thousand year old document to renounce modern scientific evidence.

    Is Genesis a fiction? I think the word myth suits it better. I reserve the word fiction for works that are intended to entertain. You want FREAKANGELS to blow people away when they read it. If it makes them think or grow or they make a religion out of it, that's a bonus. But if all it does is entertain people, it has served its purpose. Not so with religious texts.

    If God does love us, He wants us to use and develop our minds. If He loves us, He wants us to be entertained as we enjoy our lives. No two things have hurt the cause of religion more than prosecuting the arts and shunning science.

    I am a free thinker. God is a friend of mine. Atheists are friends of mine. Someone you agree with 80% of the time is an ally, not a 20% enemy.
  8.  (8121.80)
    @mister hex
    Oh, it's not just your opinion.