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Everything posted by lemur

  1. The irony is that religious faith is often about transcending fear to speak freely DESPITE any threats. I think one of the things that so impresses people about the story of Christ's persecution is that he endured it all without complaint or pleads for mercy (as far as I've heard). When the goal of violence and torture is to bring people to submission, where does secularism value resistance to that? Also, I'm glad someone brought up the flag-burning because that raises the issue of the sacred within the secular, which shows that violent defense and retaliation for desecration of sacred symbols is not so much a religious phenomenon as it is a general phenomenon that people engage in whether they're theist or atheist. Personally, I don't think people should hold things sacred for religious or secular reasons, but even if they didn't they would still find ways to provoke each other symbolically I think. The question is what you should do when people engage in provocation? Ignore it?
  2. Again, you're looking at this as blame-attribution. I'm just pointing out when the deck is stacked to reproduce certain assumptions or patterns of knowledge, regardless of which side people argue for or against. It's like if I post the question, "did God create the universe during the big bang or before?" Whichever side you argue for, you're assenting to the assumption that God created the universe. I was just pointing out the same effect when people debate about how much violence is caused by Islam, another religion, or religion in general. Whether you argue the amount of violence is more or less for one or the other, or for religion or secularism; the assumption is that the group is responsible for the violence instead of individual perpetrators, no?
  3. Wouldn't #1, 2, & 3 fall under multiplication and differentiation of forms? Especially once you start dealing with the role of perception in differentiation between things like whether the form is artificial, natural, or an artificial interpolation of something natural, like a constellation of stars, for example. Stars come into being and attain certain positions relative to each other naturally, but it takes subjective interpolation to conceive of them as a pattern of interrelated points. The same is true of differentiating a waterfall from the rest of the river, etc. Why wouldn't the same be true for differentiating time from space, matter, and energy? The question is what use it is to have a theory of everything? Certainly you could analyze everything in terms of multiplication and differentiation, but what purpose would it have to do so?
  4. Wow, you explicated my intent clearly. I am impressed.
  5. what about persistent multiplication and differentiation of forms ad infinitum?
  6. I think the idea is that adults can exercise enough self-control to abstain for whatever reason they can formulate with their mature reasonable minds (it's hard to type that with a straight face because how many adults really do this?). The idea is to protect people from themselves up to a certain age and, after that, let them throw themselves to the wolves if they choose. Sex is not just risky in terms of pregnancy and disease. There are also emotional vulnerabilities involved as well as all the problems that come with people gossiping about how 'easy' you are and everyone only looking at you as a sexual object and nothing more after that.
  7. While it is true that creativity, conscious decision-making, and willful action are part of human nature; calling the results of concerted human action, "artificial" makes since since you can assume that the same thing wouldn't happen if the components were left to themselves. If Chihuahuas or Poodles wouldn't emerge naturally from dogs selecting each other for mating, then it makes sense to call these artificial breeds, no?
  8. Or if girls "just say no" until they reach age of consent and boys (sorry, I mean "men") only go after women that have already reached that age. Or am I missing the nuances of your "inevitable sex" presumption? If sex was inevitable, why wouldn't people be doing it constantly in public and other illegal ways that get them jailed? Apparently people can control themselves when the incentive to do so is great enough.
  9. I often think that the whole problem with secularism is that it promotes social harmony and order above any moral values. Rationality that lacks morality is capable of sacrificing a few people in the interest of good of the many. I don't know of any religion that would prescribe sacrificing an innocent few for the good of the many. Likewise, I don't know of any religion that would prescribe sacrificing moral right in favor of keeping the peace with people who profit through lies or other immoral methods. It seems like it's always secular pragmatism that looks away when something ugly has to happen to grease the wheels of the machine. Christianity may "turn the other cheek" and forgive, but it doesn't deny the right or wrong of what it is forgiving and resisting retaliating against.
  10. I did read the posts you mentioned. One was arguing that Islam was associated with the vast majority of religion-related violence while the other was claiming that religion in general was the culprit. I was the one repeating the position of both GWB and Obama that terrorism is the culprit and that religion gets "hijacked" for the purpose of pursuing violence for political reasons. I don't know why you keep accusing me of attacking anyone. Every time someone expressed that they felt attacked, I assured them personal attack was not my intent and I was just pointing out how this logic of measuring violence as a function of religious identity can have the effect of suggesting that muslims or religious people as a group are responsible for violence or other things that other groups are not responsible for. My main intent was to note that only individuals can be responsible for violence individually and that even if a terrorist or criminial is religious, this need not be the causal factor behind the act of violence they engaged/participated in.
  11. It's not my job to police these people's posts for discrimination or stereotyping; and it certainly wasn't my intent to personally attack anyone on these issues. All I was doing was trying to raise awareness that the logic of the discussion was veering in the direction of generalizing group characteristics, which has the POTENTIAL to promote stereotyping and discrimination. Whether that constitutes that as itself discrimination and stereotyping I don't know. If it did, I would expect it to be illegal but since it's not illegal I would assume there's a certain grey area where you could still argue that there are other reasons to correlate group/religious identity with various rates, such as rates of violence, etc. I really don't want to get into the game of accusations and defense; but I also don't think I should have to keep quiet about the potential stereotyping and discrimination that can result when people start associating muslims or anyone else with violence more than other religions/groups. Is it bad social science to point that out?
  12. The point, in more general terms, is that when you compare group-identities in terms of characteristics or behavior, it promotes the assumption that individuals do not act individually but rather that groups are responsible for actions attributed to them. This means that if a certain number of muslims commit violent acts, that others will be blamed for those acts for no other reason than that they are also muslim. It does not matter how much violence is committed in the name of islam. If you want to find connections between Islam and violence, you have to base it on case-studies of individual perpetrators and you have to recognize that the same process that leads one individual to commit violence with reference to scripture would not occur for another individual. It really depends on a particular individual's interpretation of a religious text or something someone else tells them how they will act on religion. Some people can get motivated to act violently while others just want to live well and set a good example for others to follow. Still others will choose to spread the word and enlighten others about their beliefs. This is the case in any religion. So when you start trying to generalize about a religion based on what some people who practice that religion are doing, you are ignoring the fact that all religions are practiced in diverse ways by different individuals.
  13. What do you call it, then, when you are trying to compare religions in terms of the number of violent acts committed by people who identify with that faith? How are you not associating the violence committed by individuals with the group-identity, "Muslim?"
  14. Forgiveness is indeed a concept that is not specific to Christianity. I was just explaining how Christianity as a religion utilizes the idea of divine forgiveness to inspire believers to redeem themselves without submission to worldly/human authority. It was just one example of how religion may be beneficial or detrimental socially, depending on how you view the ethics of submission to human/worldly authority with regard to moral/ethical transgressions. I just mentioned Christianity as an example. I think other religious practices could be discussed as to how they could be specifically beneficial or detrimental socially. We could also discuss Islamic practices of modesty in dress as being either repressive or empowering. I just think it makes more sense to discuss specific practices instead of generally assuming that religion or secularism could be socially beneficial or detrimental as a whole without regard for specific cultural practices or beliefs.
  15. I think it is wise to self-reflect on your interests and biases when doing theory and research-design. Many people think their methodologies are air-tight in generating neutral answers to questions, whether the questions are biased in the first place or not; but I tend to think such methodologies reproduce the biases built into their research questions. Ideally, researchers should approach research-question formulation from different biased points-of-view. That way, you could examine the difference between research outcomes depending on the biases that the researcher had while performing the research. The first problem, however, is identifying what constitutes bias in the first place, since many scientists will be biased toward seeing their pet theories or methodologies as inherently objective and unbiased, just because it is in their professional self-interest to do so.
  16. It's a simple logic of association that follows from group-generalizations. If a certain group is defined as violent, sexually promiscuous, lazy, intelligent, physically strong, etc. etc., then that attribute will be associated with individuals identified with the group-identity. So if you were, for example, comparing average IQ scores of different religions, you would be suggesting that individuals would be more likely to be intelligent or stupid based on which religion they practice. In this case, you're doing it with violence and terrorism, but this is just generally true of group-associative logic. You can't seriously be totally unaware of how this kind of groupist logic works to prejudice individuals against each other at the individual level based on identity-labels?
  17. You're illustrating my point that secular people don't understand the logic of forgiveness in Christianity. Basically, you have to recognize that shame/guilt is a form of punishment that indebts people to those they "sin" against. So if someone stole something from you and felt sorry for it, but you didn't forgive them, they would be indebted to you until you were satisfied with their atonement to you and forgave them. What Christianity does is substitute God for the victim (in this example, you), so for example you would say that when a person steals from you they are actually sinning against God and therefore they would repent to God who would forgive them in exchange for their redeeming themselves by serving "His will." So, without getting into the theology too much, the person who stole from you is supposed to seek a way to redeem themselves without submitting to your authority on the matter, instead submitting to "God's authority" however that is "revealed." Look, I don't need to get into a discussion where Christianity gets put on trial and I have to defend it because I understand the logic. It comes down to the morality of whether human submission to human authority is good or not. If you believe that it is good, then you would consider "short-circuiting" guilt and remorse in order to seek divine redemption as pathological. If you looked at it this way, it would push you in the direction of submission to human (or "worldly") authority. If, on the other hand, you (wish to) believe that there is authority that transcends human fallibility and egoism, then Christianity offers you a way to cultivate that. Yes, you can spend your life submitting to the ego of person(s) you have sinned against, or you can look for ways to redeem your self by transcending the authority of the victim. On a totally non-theological ethical level, I happen to question the idea that giving authority to victims over perpetrators is good for those victims. If someone harms you and you get to enslave or torture them until you're satisfied that they have paid their debt to you, doesn't this have the potential to make you drunk with power? Yes, there is the possibility that you will be reasonable and extract exactly the correct penance for the crime, but if you were honest with yourself you would admit that you were not completely objective since you were victimized by the person. Then you get into the logic of judge and jury selection, and creating laws and punishments that suit the crime. Ultimately, if you realize that all humans and human institutions are fallible, you might consider the notion that there are higher ideals people strive for. If you called these ideals, "divine," then you could call the will to achieve higher ideals than are possible by fallible humans "the will of God." In that case, you could start to understand why people study and write theological philosophies to cultivate ideals of fairness and justice that go beyond human interests and passions.
  18. To the OP's question about the possibility of pleasure without addiction: I think any form of pleasure is potentially habit-forming. The interesting question is what makes it easier for people to choose to resist the urge sometimes and not others? I have read that sex addicts are often that way as a result of emotionally traumatic experiences that happened to them in youth, when they discovered that sex could be used as an anti-depressant. This, in turn, is reminiscent of the pattern in alcoholism where alcoholics seem to seek reasons to justify drinking, often building up dramatic or romantic life-reflections to make their drinking out to be a response to life-circumstances. The question is whether there is a way to disrupt these feedback loops of emotional pain and reward-gratification, or if addicts are caught in a permanent trap of augmented suffering in response to augmented desire for sex, alcohol, or some other pleasure-reward.
  19. I personally find it somewhat disturbing when, as an adult, you come to the realization that there is no human protection, forgiveness, or mercy for you. When I was young, I thought that all people basically accepted each other's short-comings and gave each other second-chances, even as adults. It surprised me to find out that you could piss people off as adults and they wouldn't even think twice about discriminating against you in ways that could ruin your career, etc. I think it is worth preventing children from being exposed to relentless adult exploitation and discrimination for as long as possible. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to engage in adult-type activities, necessarily. It just means they should enjoy a certain amount of protection and forgiveness for making mistakes for a while at least, so they have a chance to learn from their mistakes.
  20. I see this as a positive aspect of religion. I find it ironic that Christ supposedly said, "forgive them they know not what they do" when he was being persecuted/crucified, yet the people who identified with the Roman soldiers (the Nazis) still blamed the people they identified with the Pharises and their followers (the Jews) for killing Jesus and therefore wanted to retaliate against them for it. I guess it is a little complex to understand if you're not pretty familiar with the story and logic of Christianity, but according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death and to accept forgiveness for it and forgive others. They're not supposed to live in shame and blame others. Imo, when people live in shame and blame others for wrong-doing, or when they live with the self-image that they are superior to criminals or other wrong-doers because they are somehow "free of sin," this results in a very negative social attitude; one which permeates secular life, imo. I'm not going to preach that secular people need to be "saved" as Christians in order to stop doing this. I just have noticed that many do and they are incapable of forgiving themselves or others for doing so most of the time, because they see forgiveness as promoting wrong-doing, unlike Christianity which sees it as a redemptive measure.
  21. Ok, I apologize if this sounds like I am personally attacking you. I would however like to know if you recognize that using a certain threshhold as a "goalpost" to support the general conclusions that muslims or Islam should be associated with violence collectively promotes prejudice against any individual that identifies with the religion, regardless of their personal attitude toward violence and/or terrorism. In other words, don't you think it is unfair to suggest that a particular individual has a certain relationship with violence or terrorism just because they practice Islam?
  22. I think Frank Zappa advocated lowering the voting age to 13 or something like that. He probably also advocated lowering the age to drink and certainly the age of consent. I don't think it's a bad idea to keep these ages as high as possible. Yes, it promotes greater responsibility and accountability to let people suffer the consequences of their choices as adults, but who wants to advocate shortening people's childhood? I say keep them children as long as possible by default and only if they are extremely insistent, allow them to file for emancipation at a younger age.
  23. Why do people assume that imperialism is always necessarily bad nowadays? Isn't the spread of goodness exactly what makes the Earth a better place to be? I think secularism has become so obsessed with cultural differences that people have ceased to consider that there might still be universal forms of goodness and truth that transcend any and all cultural differences. Religion is a human universal that is positive insofar as people feel a sense of security and stability with having meaning in their lives. Still, it doesn't really work to generalize about religion's effect on people because the effects of religion can differ per religion, per interpretation, and per individual. Eliminating a certain religion or interpretation from the life of one individual could have positive effects while doing the same for another will have negative effects. Substituting one interpretation for another may have positive effects for one person, while another person my benefit more from changing from their parents' religion to a new one. The only religion that has truly negative effects, imo, is secularism when it substitutes non-religious forms of dogma for religion. I only say that because I think that rejecting religion while practicing religious-type beliefs in other ways leads to less responsible stewardship of one's spirituality and behavior. This is not to say that all religious people are actively responsible stewards in this way, but at least they are aware of their faith/beliefs, whereas people who see themselves as secular and therefore non-religious often think that they are simply neutral when they're not in practice.
  24. It depends on what age you're talking about. Children aren't (just) lacking in (adult) intelligence. They may also be naive or just irresponsible. They tend to take things for granted that adults do for them. They are also small and relatively weak compared to full-grown adults. If you are responsible for any for any amount of time, I would recommend doing everything possible to keep them safe. You could get into trouble with the law and/or upset their parents or other loved ones if they get into problems under your supervision.
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