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What defines religion (split from correlation w/poverty)


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Ah, that shows you don't know what being religious means.

 

Of course it follows that you happen to have special knowledge of what religion means? Revealed truth? Or horse feathers asserted as reality?

 

 

 

Sorry I am not in for such ego trip.

 

your arguments stink of ego immortal...

 

 

1. Asserting people who believe in God are broken

 

You are a prime example of that assertion....

 

2. Making false analogies and equating God with tooth fairies.

 

Show that this is a false analogy please... Both have exactly the same amount of supporting evidence..

 

3. Believing our ancients invented gods rather than discovering them.

 

They discovered gods? That's quite an assertion, care to show some evidence of that? Oh no wait you don't have any... I suggested they discovered that humans tend to have the same hallucinations due to similarities in brain chemistry... seems a bit more likely than gods who cannot be shown to have any influence on reality what so ever...

 

4. Religion equals poverty.

 

Although it was discussed I'm not sure it was ever actually asserted to be true. I would say religion is rooted in ignorance and ignorance spawns poverty.. Religion is a parasite on our culture that takes root due to ignorance... better?

 

 

Just to name a few, go and preach that to someone else not to me.

 

Pot kettle black immortal...

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But you acknowledge that it's still religion. Why is that? It seems inconsistent with your position.     You just broke my irony meter.

Quoting someone who agrees with you is not proof of anything other than that person agrees with you. All you've done here is assert your opinion as fact and then proclaim that nobody else's opinion m

Immortal - Do you understand, and acknowledge, the following fact: There exist religious people whose interpretation of their religion (or of yours, for that matter) conflicts with your own... ??

They are not legitimate because they were forged letters in the name of Paul and the true opinion of the true Paul on women is something very different and very liberal.

If you claim 1 Timothy is a forgery, doesn't that bring the entire New Testament into question since the Council of Nicea decreed these chapters to all be written under divine influence? I thought it was damned arrogant of the Council to set themselves up to reject certain gospels and other books they didn't want to be part of the new Bible, and now here you go and trump them by passing similar shady judgement 1600 years later.
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How is it that you feel this not the No True Scotsman fallacy?

 

As I said earlier just because you don't know what constitutes or what defines Christianity and Islam and desperately want to put everyone on the same boat doesn't mean I have committed a fallacy.

 

From your own link -

 

Broadly speaking, the fallacy does not apply if there is a clear and well-understood definition of what membership in a group requires and it is that definition which is broken (e.g., "no honest man would lie like that!", "no Christian would worship Satan!" and so on).

I gave a precise definition of what is required to be a Christian and a Muslim and there is no ambiguity in it.

 

If you claim 1 Timothy is a forgery, doesn't that bring the entire New Testament into question since the Council of Nicea decreed these chapters to all be written under divine influence? I thought it was damned arrogant of the Council to set themselves up to reject certain gospels and other books they didn't want to be part of the new Bible, and now here you go and trump them by passing similar shady judgement 1600 years later.

 

You are saying as though I have rejected it based on my personal whim, I am not saying that, its scholarly evidence which says they were forged letters, if you don't know the truth about Christianity then its not my problem.

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I gave a precise definition of what is required to be a Christian and a Muslim and there is no ambiguity in it.

 

 

I presume that you mean that when you said this "One becomes a Christian by practically leading a life based on the principles of Christ and becomes a Muslim by following and implementing the principles of Muhammad in his life." you defined what it means (to you) to be a Christian or Muslim.

 

but the problem is that we don't really know what either of those prophets taught.

The books they left are riddled with contradictions and it is simply absurd to describe them as having "no ambiguity".

So, in effect, what you are saying is that a "True Christian" is someone who acts in the way that you interpret the Bible as saying that a "True Christian" should behave.

That does make it a "true Scotsman" argument and, therefore, invalid.

 

Also it's slightly absurd, and very much an ego trip, to say that you "scholarly evidence" is better than that available to the Council of Nicea rather closer to the original events. Even if you are right, it still leads to the question of the authenticity of the rest of the Bible. How can you know that further "scholarly evidence" will not turn up and contradict what you believe?

If it does will people who were previously "True Christians" suddenly stop being so?

You are picking and choosing from among the evidence to get a definition of "True Christian" that meets your own personal expectation.

(Not a rare trait among the religious, and not realising that they do it is one example of the "brokenness" referred to earlier.)

Edited by John Cuthber
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3. Believing our ancients invented gods rather than discovering them.

 

 

 

I'd like to discuss this little bit of wisdom... I think it's quite a profound assertion. Are you saying that the gods were hidden and we discovered them like discovering a new planet? Please elaborate on this idea of the ancients discovering gods. While I admit to not being knowledgeable about all religious doctrine I have never encountered the idea that humans discovered gods, how were they discovered? Did they go deep inside the Earth to find these gods? Cave paintings are thought by some to have religious significance, certainly the environment inside caves can be a powerful sensory experience. Mind altering drugs? Explain how gods were discovered please...

Edited by Moontanman
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You are saying as though I have rejected it based on my personal whim, I am not saying that, its scholarly evidence which says they were forged letters, if you don't know the truth about Christianity then its not my problem.

I honestly don't know where to begin to respond to this.

 

I think it's great that you base your acceptance on the merit of the evidence that 1 Timothy was based on forged letters. If you feel forgery is the best available explanation, it would be prudent to trust that explanation over what others accept on lesser (or non-existent) evidence.

 

Most Christians I've dealt with claim that the Council of Nicea, using bishops of the early Christian church, was able to decide which of the gospels and other writings being considered for inclusion in the New Testament were of truly divine origin. The Council, like you, seemed to know what the Truth was better than anyone else, so they rejected books like the Gospel of Thomas and didn't allow them to be part of the Bible.

 

So my point is, if the Council got it wrong with 1 Timothy, it's entirely possible they also included other documents that weren't divinely inspired, and also possible that some of the work they rejected didn't deserve it. The whole concept of a divinely inspired religious writing, one that proponents claim is therefore the True Word of God, gets thrown out the window if even one mistake is made by including forgeries as gospel. It casts suspicions on that whole line of argument, which is what many people base their beliefs on.

 

But I also find it hilarious (in a very sad and head-shaking way) that you claim to know the "truth" about Christianity and see nothing wrong with making assumptions and conclusions about that which can't be nailed down, not by you and not by the followers of any of the over 9000 recognized sects of Christianity. It's the height of conceit imo, and explains why you also can't see why your argument is EXACTLY like the No True Scotsman fallacy. You've completely lost your objectivity.

 

I'd like to discuss this little bit of wisdom... I think it's quite a profound assertion. Are you saying that the gods were hidden and we discovered them like discovering a new planet? Please elaborate on this idea of the ancients discovering gods. While I admit to not being knowledgeable about all religious doctrine I have never encountered the idea that humans discovered gods, how were they discovered? Did they go deep inside the Earth to find these gods? Cave paintings are thought by some to have religious significance, certainly the environment inside caves can be a powerful sensory experience. Mind altering drugs? Explain how gods were discovered please...

You start by praying to everything, and the moment your prayer is answered, you know you've discovered a god. If he doesn't answer your next prayer, you know you've discovered the wrong god and need to keep searching.
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Simply because their acts are not influenced by a divine origin or of a supernatural origin from God but more influenced by social and political forces for their own religion and God doesn't allow such acts, so if we assume Quran is of a divine origin then any acts which goes against the laws of the divine cannot be called as Holy and hence fundamentalists cannot be qualified as being religious, remember we are trying to find the root causes of these things and its very important to figure out the truth as to which causes have a divine origin and which aren't, only causes which is of a divine origin can be qualified as religious.

But they believe they are, therefore they are religious. It has nothing to do with whether the religious actions are based on the truth, it only matters if they are using religious texts and believe their actions are divinely sanctioned. If they do something that contradicts their own religious text it is alright as long as the contradiction is in the text as well, and most of the time the contradictions are in the text.

They are not legitimate because they were forged letters in the name of Paul and the true opinion of the true Paul on women is something very different and very liberal.

 

Paul and the Eschatological women by Robin Scroggs

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1461319?uid=3738256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101541228911

 

Paul and Women: Elaine Pagels

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1461971?uid=3738256&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101541228911

 

Sadly my JStor account makes me have to buy those papers to read them, but from your later responses it seems they argue that they were written and added to the bible after the rest of the New Testament. Is that correct? If not could you give a summary of what they say.

 

If that is what they are saying that argument could be made about the entirety of the NT, none of it was written down until decades after the events were supposed to happen. In fact the oldest manuscript is from the late second century

 

No, Jesus was the first one to change the double standard laws which where biased against women, he often broke various Jewish laws and went out of his way to help women and even talked to them and preached to them, Mary was the first female student who received his teachings.

 

Jesus's interaction with women

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus'_interactions_with_women

 

That link shows how misinformed you are and by the way only those which is from a divine origin can be termed as holy or religious and a human man made agenda can never be qualified as religious because it was never the word of God.

 

Here's the thing, you say I am misinformed while you completely disregard what I said. I didn't say he anything about how he treated them, I said he said very little about them, and didn't make any specific rules about them. I was mistaken that he technically allowed women to divorce (and he stated men could also commit adultery) but his treatment of women does not let you stretch and say that it nullified previous issues stated by Moses and others. You could make the argument of Galatians 3:28, but that was Paul's (IIRC), is the best argument of gender equality in the NT, but then you have to decide which part of the NT is to be followed. You choose Galatians while others choose 1 Timothy, both are still religious books and the people who follow them are still religious.

 

There is nothing special about me, that's what the Jewish prophet and Moses himself say and many of the Muslims say and that's the first impression one gets when you read the Torah.

 

"'How can you say, "We are wise because we have the word of the LORD," when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies? - Jeremiah 8:8

http://bible.cc/jeremiah/8-8.htm

 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

 

If you accept Moses' scriptures as the divine word, do you accept that his works (in which women were not equal) are divinely inspired?

 

 

It is God who treats men and women as equal and it is humans devoid of divinity who corrupt the word of God. Therefore religion is not the root cause of discrimination of women instead the root causes are mainly social and political influences.

Is that why God says:

thy desire is to be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16)

"If [the city] accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor. If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you."

(Deut. 20:11-14)

"Speak to the people of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days."(Lev. 12:2-5)

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[a] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money."(Exodus 21:7-11)

a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity, then the young womans father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. Her father will say to the elders, I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, I did not find your daughter to be a virgin. But here is the proof of my daughters virginity. Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels[a] of silver and give them to the young womans father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

 

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young womans virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her fathers house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her fathers house. You must purge the evil from among you.(Deut 22:13-21)

 

I could go on, but you get the idea.

 

One doesn't become a Christian by believing in Christ, one doesn't become a Muslim by accepting Muhammad as his prophet. One becomes a Christian by practically leading a life based on the principles of Christ and becomes a Muslim by following and implementing the principles of Muhammad in his life. If your entire characteristics and the your way of life is entirely against the teachings of Christ and Muhammad then you don't deserve to be called as a Christian or a Muslim, you are calling yourself Islamic only for namesake and doing everything against the laws of Islam and the teachings of Muhammad.

From Google

Christian:

Adjective

Of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings.

Noun

A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

 

So the definition doesn't agree with you.

Just because you don't know what characteristics are required to qualify someone as being religious doesn't mean I have committed a fallacy.

No you made your own definition of what is required to qualify as someone being religious, that's why it's a fallacy.

 

Valentinians believed that God is androgynous and frequently depicted him as a male-female dyad. This is related to the notion that God provides the universe with both form and substance. The feminine aspect of the deity is called Silence, Grace and Thought. Silence is God's primordial state of tranquillity and self-awareness She is also the active creative Thought that makes all subsequent states of being (or "Aeons") substantial. The masculine aspect of God is Depth, also called Ineffable and First Father. Depth is the profoundly incomprehensible, all-encompassing aspect of the deity. He is essentially passive, yet when moved to action by his feminine Thought, he gives the universe form.

 

-The Gnostic society Library

 

 

God is androgynous, he has both male and female aspect in him.

 

 

 

 

Some definitions of God (which not all sects agree on) are androgynous, but that does not mean that if people do not believe God is androgynous they are not religious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think i disagree with most people then. I know Buddhism, and i think Jainism, have no creator deities - and even though they both have plenty of other deities in them, neither are defined by them. Both religions would be unchanged by taking all mention of these deities out. Taoist belief of the Tao is so loosely defined it's difficult to know whether this thing is a higher power. It's defined to be unknowable, so giving it any properties such as higher power would contradict this.

 

 

Therefore i would suggest that either religion is not defined by belief in a higher power (though it's present in most of them), or these particular religions aren't really religions.

Higher power does not have to be a deity, it could be nearly anything supernatural that relates to humanity (spiritual purpose, reincarnation, etc.). I would agree that higher power is poor wording because its connotation assumes a deity, but it isn't necessarily the case.

 

By the same token could Hitler's justification of the supreme race be based on 'science'? Regardless of whether those beliefs were truly scientific is irrelevant so long as his understanding is that it is based on science (social Darwinism in this case).

I don't expect anyone here to say a true scientist could not also be a mass murderer, I just wish to illustrate that humans do these things, religious or not. It wouldn't be enough simply to get rid of religion to stop genocidal, misogynistic, homophobic teachings. Might be a start though.

I disagree. Hitler's justification blatantly disregards population genetics (higher diversity means higher population fitness), the biological definition of species, etc. He does not use science, or scientific texts, to support his ideas. Social Darwinism is not biologically scientific, it is an attempt to extend misunderstandings of evolution into the political arena. Not only that, science is not a guideline on how anything SHOULD act, only observations of how things DO act. Religion, on the other hand, specifically states what people SHOULD do, not what people DO do. In fact, evolutionary theory directly contradicts the idea of races being a strict distinction.

 

In fact in Decent of Man Darwin states:

"Our naturalist would likewise be much disturbed as soon as he perceived that the distinctive characters of all the races were highly variable. This fact strikes every one on first beholding the negro slaves in Brazil, who have been imported from all parts of Africa. The same remark holds good with the Polynesians, and with many other races. It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant."

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/darwin_nazism.htm

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The misuse of religion

 

Who determines the proper use?

 

2. Making false analogies and equating God with tooth fairies.

That's a false analogy how, exactly?

 

3. Believing our ancients invented gods rather than discovering them.

Well, Bayes's Theorem says this is actually far more likely.

4. Religion equals poverty.

Statistically, it does. It also statistically means a higher chance of being a criminal, a higher chance of a lower IQ, and (on a societal scale) a higher chance of social illness such as murder, infant mortality, and STDs.

 

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But they believe they are, therefore they are religious. It has nothing to do with whether the religious actions are based on the truth, it only matters if they are using religious texts and believe their actions are divinely sanctioned. If they do something that contradicts their own religious text it is alright as long as the contradiction is in the text as well, and most of the time the contradictions are in the text.

 

I call bs on you guys for defending acts of fundamentalists as being all right and justifiable, we are no longer in the age of ignorance where what constitutes as religion is blurred and the truth is hidden from the public, most of the beliefs of fundamentalists are often beliefs which have been taken out of context completely which when investigated gives a completely different meaning and they are either being misinformed or manipulated or have deliberately misused those texts due to their influence from other social and political factors, I will never let such ignorance to creep up in and around me.

 

Will you let a fraud in the scientific community to publish bad articles and who claims that it is justified by science just to influence a hidden agenda and say its all right and justifiable? Further investigation and introspection reveals what science actually says and what was wrongly projected in the name of science. In the same way fundamentalists are frauds who project wrong belief systems and claim it is justified by religious texts but further introspection reveals the truth.

 

Many in Afghanistan have cried and have realized that it is wrong to kill people and have thrown out their ammunitions, just because people are falsely brainwashed into believing that after their death and killing innocent infidels they will be welcomed by 72 virgins in heaven doesn't mean you can say such notions are supported by Islam, they are often misinterpretations and a misuse of religious texts just as Heinrich Himmler misused Bhagvad Gita to justify his holocaust on innocent Jews when the actual truth was that killing is only justifiable in the battle field which is the duty of a soldier to protect oneself and his country and it is not his duty to unleash poisonous gas on innocent women and children just because they were from a different race which cannot be justifiable and was completely taken out of context.

 

 

Sadly my JStor account makes me have to buy those papers to read them, but from your later responses it seems they argue that they were written and added to the bible after the rest of the New Testament. Is that correct? If not could you give a summary of what they say.

 

If that is what they are saying that argument could be made about the entirety of the NT, none of it was written down until decades after the events were supposed to happen. In fact the oldest manuscript is from the late second century

 

 

 

Yet radical as they were, the intense conviction they carried earned them wide prestige--so much so that those who disagreed with Paul and wanted to reaffirm traditional Jewish values of family and procreation did this by writing letters they attributed to Paul that taught opposite values-and put them into the New Testament under Paul's name! Here is what I mean: like many other New Testament scholars, I share the view that Paul only wrote seven of the 13 so-called "letters of Paul" that are in the New Testament (only these share his distinctive and eloquent style). The six "deutero- Pauline" (this means "secondarily Pauline," but perhaps could be called more bluntly "pseudo-Pauline") letters take Paul's inclinations to subordinate women and slaves to a new level. The letters to Timothy are good examples. They insist that bishops should be married men, whose capacity to control their wives and slaves demonstrated their capacity to "rule over the church"; in these letters, the fiery and charismatic Paul becomes the very model of an ecclesiastical bureaucrat.

Yet because some of the pseudo-Pauline letters--I Timothy, for example-pictures Paul as a champion of orthodoxy (even though that orthodoxy had not been invented in Paul's day), certain church fathers were able to reclaim the disputed territory of Paul's letters for the churches they called "orthodox."

- Elaine Pagels

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/04/Scholarly-Smackdowndid-Paul-Distort-Christianity.aspx?p=1

It is a well established fact based on scholarly evidence that I Timothy is a forged letter in the name of Paul, that doesn't mean all of Pauline letters are forged, some letters go well with his style and his core beliefs. Which proves beyond any doubt that women have been often victimized by strong social and political factors rather than religion, who ever done that doesn't deserve to be called as religious because for God doesn't discriminate women.

 

 

Here's the thing, you say I am misinformed while you completely disregard what I said. I didn't say he anything about how he treated them, I said he said very little about them, and didn't make any specific rules about them. I was mistaken that he technically allowed women to divorce (and he stated men could also commit adultery) but his treatment of women does not let you stretch and say that it nullified previous issues stated by Moses and others. You could make the argument of Galatians 3:28, but that was Paul's (IIRC), is the best argument of gender equality in the NT, but then you have to decide which part of the NT is to be followed. You choose Galatians while others choose 1 Timothy, both are still religious books and the people who follow them are still religious.

 

1 Timothy is forged which was introduced by people who were highly motivated to achieve a hidden social and political agenda rather than basing their reason based on some divine principles and there is enough evidence to suggest that and if you want to lead a life based on it thinking that it is the true word of God then all the best to you for religion doesn't allow such ignorance in its practice.

 

Jesus explicitly broke various Jewish laws and went out of his way to remove the double standard laws against women, there are many examples, his actions with women speak a thousand words about his views on women compared to your claim that he is silent when it comes to specific laws for women.

 

 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

Again you quote from Timothy.

 

If you accept Moses' scriptures as the divine word, do you accept that his works (in which women were not equal) are divinely inspired?

 

Well, firing such tough questions at me makes me emotionally very difficult to answer it, but I was never a big fan of holding a literal interpretation of the Bible, wisdom literatures are wisdom literatures and one must see them in such a light, the wisdom in them are more important than the stories that teach the wisdom, for example, Kabbalahists don't see YHWH as a God sitting on a golden chair and having a golden crown, they say one who views God as such is a fool, they more see God as a transcended God with Ein-Sof as the ineffable unity and God as a manifested personal form of Ein-Sof which is a more matured view.

 

Archeology of the Hebrew Bible

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html

 

The Rise of Judaism

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/rise-judaism.html

 

Writers of Bible

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/writers-bible.html

 

 

 

THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES

 

The first five books of the Bible, which Jews know as the Torah, are also called The Five Books of Moses. Where did the idea that Moses wrote these books come from?

 

In the Hebrew Bible, Moses is the single most important human character, and more space is devoted to the account of Moses' life and speeches by Moses than to anyone else in the Bible. Moses is also considered closer to God than anyone else in the Bible. And certainly by the 5th century B.C., the idea developed that Moses had written down words that God himself had spoken on Mt. Sinai. Eventually—and this didn't happen until several centuries later—it came to be understood that Moses wrote all of the first five books of the Bible.

 

What were some clues that led biblical scholars to question this belief?

 

The view that Moses had personally written down the first five books of the Bible was virtually unchallenged until the 17th century. There were a few questions raised before that. For example, the very end of the last book of the Torah, the Book of Deuteronomy, describes the death and burial of Moses. So some rabbis said Moses couldn't have written those words himself because he was dead—perhaps Joshua, his divinely designated successor, wrote those words. But other rabbis said, no, Moses was a prophet, and God revealed to him exactly what would happen at the end of his life.

 

"Underlying the Bible are several different ancient documents or sources, which biblical writers and editors combined at various stages into the Torah."

 

It wasn't until the 17th century, with the rise of critical thinking in many disciplines—in science, in philosophy, and others—that people began to look at the Bible not just as a sacred text but as they would look at any other book. And they began to notice in the pages of the first five books of the Bible a lot of issues that didn't seem consistent with the idea that Moses was their author. For example, Moses never speaks in the first person; Moses doesn't say, "I went up on Mt. Sinai." There are also a lot of repetitions—the same stories told from different perspectives. And there are also many, many inconsistencies; as the same stories are retold, many of the details change.

 

So scholars began to think not just that Moses was not the author, but that ordinary men and women (mostly men) had written these pages.

 

I hope you have got my answer.

 

Is that why God says:

thy desire is to be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Genesis 3:16)

"If [the city] accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor. If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you."

(Deut. 20:11-14)

 

"Speak to the people of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days."(Lev. 12:2-5)

If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[a] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money."(Exodus 21:7-11)

a man takes a wife and, after sleeping with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity, then the young womans father and mother shall bring to the town elders at the gate proof that she was a virgin. Her father will say to the elders, I gave my daughter in marriage to this man, but he dislikes her. Now he has slandered her and said, I did not find your daughter to be a virgin. But here is the proof of my daughters virginity. Then her parents shall display the cloth before the elders of the town, and the elders shall take the man and punish him. They shall fine him a hundred shekels[a] of silver and give them to the young womans father, because this man has given an Israelite virgin a bad name. She shall continue to be his wife; he must not divorce her as long as he lives.

 

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young womans virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her fathers house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her fathers house. You must purge the evil from among you.(Deut 22:13-21)

 

I could go on, but you get the idea.

 

 

 

I hope you also get the idea where I'm coming from. My definition of Judaism is the correct definition of what constitutes the traditional core values and beliefs of Judaism. Just by believing in Abraham, Moses or YHWH doesn't mean you have become Jewish, you need to become YHWH to be Jewish --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah. Ask these Jews about their position on women I'm sure it will be radically different and very much liberal.

 

From Google

Christian:

Adjective

Of, relating to, or professing Christianity or its teachings.

Noun

A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

 

So the definition doesn't agree with you.

 

Those who receive the name of the father, the son, and holy spirit...[are] no longer a Christian, but [are] Christ. - Gospel of Philip

 

You need to become Christ through knowledge in order to qualify yourself into the religion of Christianity, your Google doesn't know what Christianity is.

 

Even in Hinduism there is an identical ritual known as Upanayana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana) just as Baptism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism). Just by wearing a sacred thread you won't become a Brahmin, you need to know Brahman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman) to become a Brahmin.

 

"But not baptism alone sets us free, but knowledge (gnosis): who we were, what we have become, where we were, whither we have sunk, whither we hasten, whence we are redeemed, what is birth and what rebirth."

- Excerpta ex Theodoto, 78, 2

 

No you made your own definition of what is required to qualify as someone being religious, that's why it's a fallacy.

 

I know what being religious is, just because you guys as it often happens seem to have ended up reading the wrong side of religion doesn't mean my definition of religion is broken, its rock solid, universal and objective.

 

Some definitions of God (which not all sects agree on) are androgynous, but that does not mean that if people do not believe God is androgynous they are not religious.

 

People within a religion often quarrel with each other due to their ignorance but the wise know the truth and they don't see any differences in various sects and they know the disagreement are mainly due to ignorance rather than contradictions in the scriptures.

 

That people saw different disciples of Christ as representing different teachings was addressed by Paul himself, in the 1st letter to the Corinthians: (1 Cor 1:10–18)

 

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas(Peter)"; still another, "I follow Christ."

 

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

- Saint Paul, The Apostle

These different sects keep hearing the secrets of the Kingdom of God but they don't see or understand it and hence they quarrel but for one who has become one with Christ knows how to reconcile all these different views in an unified harmony based an a theological move.

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I call bs on you guys for defending acts of fundamentalists as being all right and justifiable

 

I call bs on a strawman that characterizes anyone's arguments here as defending the acts of fundamentalists. I didn't see the point of reading further than this. Bearing false witness is sin, or so I'm told.

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I hope you also get the idea where I'm coming from. My definition of Judaism is the correct definition of what constitutes the traditional core values and beliefs of Judaism.

 

Come on Immortal, your definition of Judaism? Can you not see how twisted this is becoming?

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The truth about religion is one of the most encompassing things people should know

about, if it's texts are not divinely inspired rules and guidance, then they would be the greatest fraud

perpetrated on mankind ever. Then how accurate to the truth are these texts compared to the

to the intelligence of a creator, there's only one truth and every religion has it's own different belief's,

they can't all be right. From a stand point of belief systems or religion the closest to the truth is the

only thing that is acceptable, faulty beliefs lead to faulty actions.

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The truth about religion is one of the most encompassing things people should know

about, if it's texts are not divinely inspired rules and guidance, then they would be the greatest fraud

perpetrated on mankind ever.

 

I agree, although I doubt it is intentional in most cases, most religious people I know really believe, even if it is false.

 

Then how accurate to the truth are these texts compared to the

to the intelligence of a creator, there's only one truth and every religion has it's own different belief's,

they can't all be right. From a stand point of belief systems or religion the closest to the truth is the

only thing that is acceptable, faulty beliefs lead to faulty actions.

 

 

I agree they can't all be right in fact I would expect that if a book was indeed written by a god it would be the most profound book ever written, contain no inaccuracies what so ever, no human authored book could possibly compete with it, and be a source of profound morality.

 

What we see instead is a multitude of writings, none of which contain anything like what you would expect and most of them not only directly contradict each other they are also internally contradictory, they never accurately portray reality in any realistic way.

 

The only conclusion I can see is that they are all wrong and "truth" is something that cannot ever be grasped only pursued.

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1 The truth about religion is one of the most encompassing things people should know about, if it's texts are not divinely inspired rules and guidance, then they would be the greatest fraud perpetrated on mankind ever.

2 Then how accurate to the truth are these texts compared to the to the intelligence of a creator,

3 there's only one truth and every religion has it's own different belief's, they can't all be right.

4 From a stand point of belief systems or religion the closest to the truth is the only thing that is acceptable, faulty beliefs lead to faulty actions.

1 It is fraud, well spotted.

2 Why assume there's a creator?

3 They can't all be right, but they might all be wrong- for example, there may be no God.

4 Well, I try my best to talk people out of these false beliefs. The trouble is people are very stubborn and don't listen to reason about these sorts of things.

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Higher power does not have to be a deity, it could be nearly anything supernatural that relates to humanity (spiritual purpose, reincarnation, etc.). I would agree that higher power is poor wording because its connotation assumes a deity, but it isn't necessarily the case.

 

 

So you would say that something which contains the supernatural could possibly be religious, but something which does not contain the supernatural cannot be religious?

 

I can see that holding in most cases, but I still don't think it contains all world religions. There are Buddhists who would argue that rebirth (and other such beliefs) is not a necessary belief to qualify as Buddhist. This is a little controversial to orthodox Buddhists, though. This new sect of 'Western Buddhism', would occupy a strange place then, with all of the trappings of a religion, but not necessarily any supernatural beliefs.

 

 

 

 

I disagree. Hitler's justification blatantly disregards population genetics (higher diversity means higher population fitness), the biological definition of species, etc. He does not use science, or scientific texts, to support his ideas. Social Darwinism is not biologically scientific, it is an attempt to extend misunderstandings of evolution into the political arena. Not only that, science is not a guideline on how anything SHOULD act, only observations of how things DO act. Religion, on the other hand, specifically states what people SHOULD do, not what people DO do. In fact, evolutionary theory directly contradicts the idea of races being a strict distinction.

 

In fact in Decent of Man Darwin states:

"Our naturalist would likewise be much disturbed as soon as he perceived that the distinctive characters of all the races were highly variable. This fact strikes every one on first beholding the negro slaves in Brazil, who have been imported from all parts of Africa. The same remark holds good with the Polynesians, and with many other races. It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant."

http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/darwin_nazism.htm

 

Regarding race, you're preaching to the choir.

 

Regarding Nazi's trying to use science to support their position:

 

In the same way you argue that it is an attempt to extend misunderstandings of evolution into the political arena (with which I agree it is), a religious person may claim a fundamentalist is attempting to extend misunderstandings of religion into the political arena. Of course, it's easy to find plenty of examples in the monotheistic texts which fundamentalists can use as templates for their behaviour, and it should be hard for a person of that faith to argue away such violence. But it is not necessarily so of all religions. For example I think a Jain would be quite justified if someone committed mass murder in the name of Jainism to say that person is not a true Jain - such is the emphasis of non-violence in their religion (i.e. non-violence is a defining feature of Jainism). I only came across the one true scotsman fallacy on this thread, but i think it would also be a fallacy to believe it extends to all religions, without first looking at each religion.

 

However, I do take your point on science being descriptive (preferably predictive) rather than prescriptive. But this distinction only holds if we enforce it: people with political agendas will always be looking to exploit us, and science is as fair game as any other aspect of our lives. There is also a rising tide of good willed people who believe science can provide us with a moral framework, at which point science would make 'should' claims.

 

It's far too rare to have an intelligent and enjoyable conversation with someone you disagree with on religious forums.

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Any moralism (positive or negative) one may attempt to marshal in defining religion is a mistake. What makes something a religion is not whether or not you (or me, or anyone) agrees with the principle or actions involved, but certain general criteria, typically something along the lines of:

  1. Assertion of an authoritative moral code (a religion clearly has something to say about notions of right and wrong);
  2. Some form of arbiter(s) of the faith (a group of people institutionalized as authorities upon interpreting that religion's principles);
  3. A ritualized orthodoxy covering belief and action, typically (but not always) canonized in some kind of scripture or other record;
  4. (*Common, but not absolutely necessary) A belief in some form of supernatural or singular causality.


By the above criteria, most conventionally recognized religions qualify. Note, however, that certain forms of highly doctrinaire adherence to political or economic ideologies may also (in limited instances) fit the bill as well.

The entire sideshow over whether or not X case of claimant to religious identity is *really* or *truly* religious is a non-starter. We should also keep in mind that while many different practices and beliefs may share a broad name, it is the substance of one's beliefs and conduct which renders something religious or not. There are religious Buddhists and philosophical Buddhists, just to cite one example.

Fundamentalism is an extra layer on top of all this. Fundamentalism is at its heart the sincere conviction in two claims:

First, that there is such a thing as the One Right Way to live/act/do things;
Second (usually implied) is that the fundamentalist is in possession of that One Right Way.

While fundamentalism is more common among the religious, it is by no means confined to them.

Edited by Chad Makaio Zichterman
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I call bs on a strawman that characterizes anyone's arguments here as defending the acts of fundamentalists. I didn't see the point of reading further than this. Bearing false witness is sin, or so I'm told.

 

Many of them[members] defended them[fudamentalists] by saying that their religious scriptures demands them to make such acts which is very much in tone with what they exactly want, i.e confusion, I'm not in for such a disguise and I'll always expose their concealed false beliefs and they shouldn't be tolerated in this modern world.

 

I honestly don't know where to begin to respond to this.

 

I think it's great that you base your acceptance on the merit of the evidence that 1 Timothy was based on forged letters. If you feel forgery is the best available explanation, it would be prudent to trust that explanation over what others accept on lesser (or non-existent) evidence.

 

I have argued in the past that some of the Pauline Epistles were forged in order to make it in tone with Jewish Christianity but Gentiles can easily identify that.

 

The Ogdoad origin myth is a valid creation myth expressed in majority of the religions of the world. I still don't understand why the Pauline epistles are considered as part of the orthodox Bible, its very clear that the Christ of the gentiles is in no way comparable to the Christ of the orthodox Christians.

 

 

Most Christians I've dealt with claim that the Council of Nicea, using bishops of the early Christian church, was able to decide which of the gospels and other writings being considered for inclusion in the New Testament were of truly divine origin. The Council, like you, seemed to know what the Truth was better than anyone else, so they rejected books like the Gospel of Thomas and didn't allow them to be part of the Bible.

 

The Council of Nicea were not after the truth, Constantine wanted a single unified religion after his distaste for pagan religions and they gave it to him in the form of orthodox Christianity. Athanasius did ordered to destroy all the secret books and burn them. In Gospel of Thomas Jesus is not portrayed as a messiah rather he speaks as a sage, scholars think that one should read the Gospel of Thomas after reading the synoptic Gospels because the teachings in the Gospel of Thomas is considered to be for the more matured Christians who are ready to receive the higher teachings.

 

So my point is, if the Council got it wrong with 1 Timothy, it's entirely possible they also included other documents that weren't divinely inspired, and also possible that some of the work they rejected didn't deserve it. The whole concept of a divinely inspired religious writing, one that proponents claim is therefore the True Word of God, gets thrown out the window if even one mistake is made by including forgeries as gospel. It casts suspicions on that whole line of argument, which is what many people base their beliefs on.

 

I don't think there is a single holy canon which can be considered as the true word of God, some can be classified as holding the view that the son is of the same essence of the Father and some saying he is not of the same essence of the Father, these things appear to us as minor differences but in those days anyone who claimed that the son was of a different essence of the Father was persecuted, others can be classified as Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, there is no such thing as strict orthodoxy so that anyone who disagree with them should be persecuted thinking that they hold the divine word of God, I hope not.

 

 

But I also find it hilarious (in a very sad and head-shaking way) that you claim to know the "truth" about Christianity and see nothing wrong with making assumptions and conclusions about that which can't be nailed down, not by you and not by the followers of any of the over 9000 recognized sects of Christianity. It's the height of conceit imo, and explains why you also can't see why your argument is EXACTLY like the No True Scotsman fallacy. You've completely lost your objectivity.

 

As said earlier there is considerable evidence to suggest that Timothy was not from the original Paul and that raises doubts about its divine origin, remember Paul was inspired by the divine on his road to Damascus so if he didn't wrote Timothy then that seriously raises doubts about its divine origin.

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Many of them[members] defended them[fudamentalists] by saying that their religious scriptures demands them to make such acts which is very much in tone with what they exactly want, i.e confusion, I'm not in for such a disguise and I'll always expose their concealed false beliefs and they shouldn't be tolerated in this modern world.

 

 

 

Where? Which posts? How is saying that they are religious a defense of their acts as being "all right" and "justifiable"?

 

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The Council of Nicea were not after the truth, Constantine wanted a single unified religion after his distaste for pagan religions and they gave it to him in the form of orthodox Christianity. Athanasius did ordered to destroy all the secret books and burn them. In Gospel of Thomas Jesus is not portrayed as a messiah rather he speaks as a sage, scholars think that one should read the Gospel of Thomas after reading the synoptic Gospels because the teachings in the Gospel of Thomas is considered to be for the more matured Christians who are ready to receive the higher teachings.

So Thomas is legitimate while Timothy isn't, why, exactly?

 

remember Paul was inspired by the divine on his road to Damascus so if he didn't wrote Timothy then that seriously raises doubts about its divine origin.

I saw Jesus in my toast this morning. Does that mean I'm "inspired by the divine"?

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I call bs on you guys for defending acts of fundamentalists as being all right and justifiable, we are no longer in the age of ignorance where what constitutes as religion is blurred and the truth is hidden from the public, most of the beliefs of fundamentalists are often beliefs which have been taken out of context completely which when investigated gives a completely different meaning and they are either being misinformed or manipulated or have deliberately misused those texts due to their influence from other social and political factors, I will never let such ignorance to creep up in and around me.

Who ever defended them? All anyone said was that they were following religious ideals.

 

Will you let a fraud in the scientific community to publish bad articles and who claims that it is justified by science just to influence a hidden agenda and say its all right and justifiable? Further investigation and introspection reveals what science actually says and what was wrongly projected in the name of science. In the same way fundamentalists are frauds who project wrong belief systems and claim it is justified by religious texts but further introspection reveals the truth.

You are asking two different questions. Would I let someone fraudulently publish data? Absolutely not. Would I allow 'bad', assuming bad means incorrect, data to be published if the researchers followed proper procedures? Absolutely, because we wouldn't know if it was bad unless it couldn't be reproduced.

 

Introspection as a means to religious truth doesn't really help your argument. If someone truly believes women are lesser beings their introspection would show women are beneath men as being a religious truth.

Many in Afghanistan have cried and have realized that it is wrong to kill people and have thrown out their ammunitions, just because people are falsely brainwashed into believing that after their death and killing innocent infidels they will be welcomed by 72 virgins in heaven doesn't mean you can say such notions are supported by Islam, they are often misinterpretations and a misuse of religious texts just as Heinrich Himmler misused Bhagvad Gita to justify his holocaust on innocent Jews when the actual truth was that killing is only justifiable in the battle field which is the duty of a soldier to protect oneself and his country and it is not his duty to unleash poisonous gas on innocent women and children just because they were from a different race which cannot be justifiable and was completely taken out of context.

 

 

 

I agree for the most part that a great many religious text have passages in them that could be considered pro-equality and pacifistic, and could be used to promote those ideas. That aside, there are also many passages that are blatantly violent and anti-equality. I don't have my Bhagvad Gita, but I do remember some parts saying something about killing and not being held accountable and other accounts of non-war violence. Again I loaned mine to my brother, but I may be able to get it this weekend for specific quotes. Anyway, the point is that there are contradictory passages that can be used either way. To ignore some and claim them to be not part of the religion is done by both the violent, pacifists, and everyone in between. I still don't see how one can claim only one of them is religious.

 

 

 

Yet radical as they were, the intense conviction they carried earned them wide prestige--so much so that those who disagreed with Paul and wanted to reaffirm traditional Jewish values of family and procreation did this by writing letters they attributed to Paul that taught opposite values-and put them into the New Testament under Paul's name! Here is what I mean: like many other New Testament scholars, I share the view that Paul only wrote seven of the 13 so-called "letters of Paul" that are in the New Testament (only these share his distinctive and eloquent style). The six "deutero- Pauline" (this means "secondarily Pauline," but perhaps could be called more bluntly "pseudo-Pauline") letters take Paul's inclinations to subordinate women and slaves to a new level. The letters to Timothy are good examples. They insist that bishops should be married men, whose capacity to control their wives and slaves demonstrated their capacity to "rule over the church"; in these letters, the fiery and charismatic Paul becomes the very model of an ecclesiastical bureaucrat.

 

Yet because some of the pseudo-Pauline letters--I Timothy, for example-pictures Paul as a champion of orthodoxy (even though that orthodoxy had not been invented in Paul's day), certain church fathers were able to reclaim the disputed territory of Paul's letters for the churches they called "orthodox."

 

- Elaine Pagels

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/04/Scholarly-Smackdowndid-Paul-Distort-Christianity.aspx?p=1

 

It is a well established fact based on scholarly evidence that I Timothy is a forged letter in the name of Paul, that doesn't mean all of Pauline letters are forged, some letters go well with his style and his core beliefs. Which proves beyond any doubt that women have been often victimized by strong social and political factors rather than religion, who ever done that doesn't deserve to be called as religious because for God doesn't discriminate women.

 

 

Just so we can be on the same page, can you list the books that you believe are the word of God. Also, can you tell me the conditions you have that make you believe those are to be followed while the others shouldn't be?

 

1 Timothy is forged which was introduced by people who were highly motivated to achieve a hidden social and political agenda rather than basing their reason based on some divine principles and there is enough evidence to suggest that and if you want to lead a life based on it thinking that it is the true word of God then all the best to you for religion doesn't allow such ignorance in its practice.

What about the argument of Timothy and Titus taking place after Acts? Since Acts ends before Paul's trial it would explain the the internal problem of being chronologically inconsistent. Since he would be been older it would be likely he deferred writing to a scribe, which would take care of the difference in writing style.

 

Jesus explicitly broke various Jewish laws and went out of his way to remove the double standard laws against women, there are many examples, his actions with women speak a thousand words about his views on women compared to your claim that he is silent when it comes to specific laws for women.

Yes, he broke many laws, which would be one reason he was legally crucified. I have heard this argument as a basis for people breaking various laws, such as killing, because they follow the laws of God not the laws of man. So, do the laws of God apply, such as killing those who do not worship the correct god, or do man's laws apply?

 

Anyway, we are getting pretty far off topic with this. The core problem is, why do you consider those who do not treat women with religious even with they use religion as an excuse for non-equality?

 

Again you quote from Timothy.

Again, still in the Bible. Even if they are not written by Paul, people still use them for religious teachings.

 

Well, firing such tough questions at me makes me emotionally very difficult to answer it, but I was never a big fan of holding a literal interpretation of the Bible, wisdom literatures are wisdom literatures and one must see them in such a light, the wisdom in them are more important than the stories that teach the wisdom, for example, Kabbalahists don't see YHWH as a God sitting on a golden chair and having a golden crown, they say one who views God as such is a fool, they more see God as a transcended God with Ein-Sof as the ineffable unity and God as a manifested personal form of Ein-Sof which is a more matured view.

 

. . .

 

I hope you have got my answer.

Not really. I see that you do not hold a literal interpretation of the Bible and accept that Moses didn't write many of the books attributed to him, but that does not answer if you believe those teaching were divinely inspired or not. Nor does it let me know which, if any, of the rules from the OT should be followed. If some should, such as the 10 commandments, how do you know which are to be followed and which shouldn't? Again, if some should, doesn't the argument of socio-political events inspiring your personal idea of what Christianity teaches hold?

 

 

I hope you also get the idea where I'm coming from. My definition of Judaism is the correct definition of what constitutes the traditional core values and beliefs of Judaism. Just by believing in Abraham, Moses or YHWH doesn't mean you have become Jewish, you need to become YHWH to be Jewish --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah. Ask these Jews about their position on women I'm sure it will be radically different and very much liberal.

I understand why you believe your definition is correct, but I don't understand why you believe those who don't fit your definition aren't religious. Even if they are misinterpreting the books themselves and are incorrect that doesn't make them less religious. If being religious is defined by correctness, one cannot assume to be religious until one is dead.

 

Those who receive the name of the father, the son, and holy spirit...[are] no longer a Christian, but [are] Christ. - Gospel of Philip

 

You need to become Christ through knowledge in order to qualify yourself into the religion of Christianity, your Google doesn't know what Christianity is.

 

Even in Hinduism there is an identical ritual known as Upanayana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana) just as Baptism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism). Just by wearing a sacred thread you won't become a Brahmin, you need to know Brahman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman) to become a Brahmin.

 

 

"But not baptism alone sets us free, but knowledge (gnosis): who we were, what we have become, where we were, whither we have sunk, whither we hasten, whence we are redeemed, what is birth and what rebirth."

 

- Excerpta ex Theodoto, 78, 2

 

 

If one must be Christian to become Christ, therefore they are your idea one must become Christ to qualify as Christian is false.

 

I know what being religious is, just because you guys as it often happens seem to have ended up reading the wrong side of religion doesn't mean my definition of religion is broken, its rock solid, universal and objective.

Obviously it is not universal because no one so far has agreed with your definition, nor is it objective because you have a personal stake for it to be correct.

 

People within a religion often quarrel with each other due to their ignorance but the wise know the truth and they don't see any differences in various sects and they know the disagreement are mainly due to ignorance rather than contradictions in the scriptures.

 

That people saw different disciples of Christ as representing different teachings was addressed by Paul himself, in the 1st letter to the Corinthians: (1 Cor 1:10–18)

 

 

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas(Peter)"; still another, "I follow Christ."

 

 

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

 

- Saint Paul, The Apostle

 

These different sects keep hearing the secrets of the Kingdom of God but they don't see or understand it and hence they quarrel but for one who has become one with Christ knows how to reconcile all these different views in an unified harmony based an a theological move.

 

 

So which sect is the one that should be joined, and by not accepting all the biblical scriptures are you not furthering the separation of Christianity further? Furthermore, and back to the original point, aren't all these sects still religious in nature?

 

 

So you would say that something which contains the supernatural could possibly be religious, but something which does not contain the supernatural cannot be religious?

 

I can see that holding in most cases, but I still don't think it contains all world religions. There are Buddhists who would argue that rebirth (and other such beliefs) is not a necessary belief to qualify as Buddhist. This is a little controversial to orthodox Buddhists, though. This new sect of 'Western Buddhism', would occupy a strange place then, with all of the trappings of a religion, but not necessarily any supernatural beliefs.

There are many religions that do not have specific stated beliefs of the supernatural, a less strict definition has to do with beliefs of the cause and purpose of nature, but the problem is without the supernatural using words like 'cause' or 'purpose' have no meaning in the context. When those things are removed, it just turns in to philosophy. I would like to know what specific sects do not have supernatural beliefs so I could make a better argument.

 

 

 

Regarding race, you're preaching to the choir.

 

Regarding Nazi's trying to use science to support their position:

 

In the same way you argue that it is an attempt to extend misunderstandings of evolution into the political arena (with which I agree it is), a religious person may claim a fundamentalist is attempting to extend misunderstandings of religion into the political arena. Of course, it's easy to find plenty of examples in the monotheistic texts which fundamentalists can use as templates for their behaviour, and it should be hard for a person of that faith to argue away such violence. But it is not necessarily so of all religions. For example I think a Jain would be quite justified if someone committed mass murder in the name of Jainism to say that person is not a true Jain - such is the emphasis of non-violence in their religion (i.e. non-violence is a defining feature of Jainism). I only came across the one true scotsman fallacy on this thread, but i think it would also be a fallacy to believe it extends to all religions, without first looking at each religion.

I agree it would be fallacious to assume all religions, or more specifically their sects, support violence (association fallacy I believe). But that's not the argument, the argument is that those who commit violent acts in the name of religion are still religious.

However, I do take your point on science being descriptive (preferably predictive) rather than prescriptive. But this distinction only holds if we enforce it: people with political agendas will always be looking to exploit us, and science is as fair game as any other aspect of our lives. There is also a rising tide of good willed people who believe science can provide us with a moral framework, at which point science would make 'should' claims.

But using a description of nature as a guideline for life is the naturalistic fallacy. Just because things do happen doesn't mean hey should happen, or we should do them. I don't believe science should, or even can, attempt to create a moral framework for a few reasons, but that's a different discussion all together. Suffice to say when a scientist is attempting to create a more framework they take off their scientist hat and put on their philosopher hat.

 

It's far too rare to have an intelligent and enjoyable conversation with someone you disagree with on religious forums.

Yeah, it tends to be fairly difficult for a lot of people to remain calm and objective when conversing about something as personal as religion.

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Where? Which posts? How is saying that they are religious a defense of their acts as being "all right" and "justifiable"?

 

Immortal... do you actually read these "religious" texts or do you just assume they can't say the things you don't believe in. God, in all of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic mythos religious texts, often the demands the death of various people is not a misinterpretation, such acts are demanded by god quite often...

 

It's not a matter of letting fundamentalists decide what religion is for us, it's a matter of letting them (and everyone) decide what it is for them.

 

But they believe they are, therefore they are religious. It has nothing to do with whether the religious actions are based on the truth, it only matters if they are using religious texts and believe their actions are divinely sanctioned. If they do something that contradicts their own religious text it is alright as long as the contradiction is in the text as well, and most of the time the contradictions are in the text.

 

I advice you to read the thread once before blindly accusing me of making a strawman. You guys defended fundamentalists by saying its all right and justifiable for them to do those acts because their religious scriptures often demands such acts, that's what you guys said. All it shows is that is your ignorance about religion, you guys have studied the wrong side of religion, further investigation reveals the truth as to what Jesus, Muhammad and Moses taught and their teachings are in sharp contrast with the belief systems of the fundamentalists, all these men taught the very opposite of what fundamentalists do and you expect me to call them as being religious? What part of in the definition of religion allows them claim themselves as religious? They just doesn't deserve it and even you guys are blindly dancing with their tone which is very much disappointing to see.

 

Religion is not just about faith, just by believing in something you won't become religious, religion is about knowledge and its a way of life to many of them and its the way they live is what determines whether they are religious or not and not what they blindly believe in.

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You guys defended fundamentalists by saying its all right and justifiable for them to do those acts because their religious scriptures often demands such acts, that's what you guys said.

That's not the argument that has been made, though. You said fundamentalists aren't religious. The response was that these fundamentalists are often informed directly by their religious texts. The position presented is that your conclusion is deeply flawed and broken. Can you see how that's not the same as "defending fundamentalists" or condoning their actions? Please say yes.

All it shows is that is your ignorance about religion, you guys have studied the wrong side of religion

Of course. First, you completely fail to accurately comprehend the position of others. Second, you claim to hold the sole accurate interpretation of religious texts and assert that all others are wrong. You're a rather interesting fellow.

further investigation reveals the truth as to what Jesus, Muhammad and Moses taught and their teachings are in sharp contrast with the belief systems of the fundamentalists, all these men taught the very opposite of what fundamentalists do and you expect me to call them as being religious?

Those fundamentalists investigate the same texts as you, yet they arrive at a different conclusion. Just because they don't share the exact same interpretation as you does not mean they are not religious.

What part of in the definition of religion allows them claim themselves as religious?

All of it.

Religion is not just about faith, just by believing in something you won't become religious, religion is about knowledge and its a way of life to many of them and its the way they live is what determines whether they are religious or not and not what they blindly believe in.

Oh, hello again, No True Scotsman. Didn't see you standing over there. Fancy a cup of tea?

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So Thomas is legitimate while Timothy isn't, why, exactly?

 

There is nothing special about Thomas, there are many other Gospels, Gospel of Philip, Mary, Judas, John, Gospel of Truth, Secret Book of John and the synoptic Gospels they all are legitimate.

 

There are two main reasons why Timothy might not be divinely inspired.

 

1. It was not written by Paul and it was forged. I know there are many other Gospels which were not written by the authors as indicated in the name of the Gospels but there is no evidence of a deliberate forgery to deliberately suppress the views of the apostles and portray just the opposite view of the one held by the apostles in those texts where as in Timothy that's exactly what happened. If there is evidence for such deliberate forgery then the divinity of such texts too can be questioned.

 

2. It was a social and political move rather than a theological one to include this in the canon of New Testament. Elaine Pagels explains it quite briefly.

 

 

Some gnostics adopted this idea, teaching that Genesis 1:26-27 narrates an androgynous creation. Marcus (whose prayer to the Mother is given above) not only concludes from this account that God is dyadic ("Let us make humanity") but also that "humanity, which was formed according to the image and likeness of God (Father and Mother) was masculo-feminine."43 His contemporary, the gnostic Theodotus (c. 160), explains that the saying "according to the image of God he made them, male and female he made them," means that "the male and female elements together constitute the finest production of the Mother, Wisdom."44 Gnostic sources which describe God as a dyad whose nature includes both masculine and feminine elements often give a similar description of human nature.

 

Yet all the sources cited so far—secret gospels, revelations, mystical teachings—are among those not included in the select list that constitutes the New Testament collection. Every one of the secret texts which gnostic groups revered was omitted from the canonical collection, and branded as heretical by those who called themselves orthodox Christians. By the time the process of sorting the various writings ended—probably as late as the year 200—virtually all the feminine imagery for God had disappeared from orthodox Christian tradition.

 

What is the reason for this total rejection? The gnostics themselves asked this question of their orthodox opponents and pondered it among themselves. Some concluded that the God of Israel himself initiated the polemics which his followers carried out in his name. For, they argued, this creator was a derivative, merely instrumental power whom the Mother had created to administer the universe, but his own self-conception was far more grandiose. They say that he believed that he had made everything by himself, but that, in reality, he had created the world because Wisdom, his Mother, "infused him with energy" and implanted into him her own ideas. But he was foolish, and acted unconsciously, unaware that the ideas he used came from her; "he was even ignorant of his own Mother."45 Followers of Valentinus suggested that the Mother Herself had encouraged the God of Israel to think that he was acting autonomously, but, as they explain, "It was because he was foolish and ignorant of his Mother that he said, 'I am God; there is none beside me.' "46 According to another account, the creator caused his Mother to grieve by creating inferior beings, so she left him alone and withdrew into the upper regions of the heavens. "Since she had departed, he imagined that he was the only being in existence; and therefore he declared, 'I am a jealous God, and besides me there is no one.' "47 Others agree in attributing to him this more sinister motive—jealousy. According to the Secret Book of John:

 

. . . he said . . . , "I am a jealous God, and there is no other God beside me." But by announcing this he indicated

to the angels . . . that another God does exist; for if there were no other one, of whom would he be jealous? . . .

Then the mother began to be distressed.48

 

Others declared that his Mother refused to tolerate such presumption:

 

[The creator], becoming arrogant in spirit, boasted himself over all those things that were below him, and

exclaimed, "I am father, and God, and above me there is no one." But his mother, hearing him speak thus, cried

out against him, "Do not lie, Ialdabaoth . . ."49

 

Often, in these gnostic texts, the creator is castigated for his arrogance—nearly always by a superior feminine power. According to the Hypostasis of the Archons, discovered at Nag Hammadi, both the mother and her daughter objected when

 

he became arrogant, saying, "It is I who am God, and there is no other apart from me." . . .

And a voice came

forth from above the realm of absolute power, saying, "You are wrong, Samael" [which means, "god of the blind"]. And he said, "If any other thing exists before me, let it appear to me!" And immediately, Sophia

("Wisdom") stretched forth her finger, and introduced light into matter, and she followed it down into the region

of Chaos. . .And he again said to his offspring, "It is I who am the God of All." And Life, the daughter of

Wisdom, cried out; she said to him, "You are wrong, Saklas!"50

 

 

The gnostic teacher Justinus describes the Lord's shock, terror, and anxiety "when he discovered that he was not the God of the universe." Gradually his shock gave way to wonder, and finally he came to welcome what Wisdom had taught him. The teacher concludes: "This is the meaning of the saying, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.' "51

 

Yet all of these are mythical explanations. Can we find any actual, historical reasons why these gnostic writings were suppressed? This raises a much larger question: By what means, and for what reasons, did certain ideas come to be classified as heretical, and others as orthodox, by the beginning of the third century? We may find one clue to the answer if we ask whether gnostic Christians derive any practical, social consequences from their conception of God—and of humanity—in terms that included the feminine element. Here, clearly, the answer is yes.

 

Bishop Irenaeus notes with dismay that women especially are attracted to heretical groups. "Even in our own district of the Rhone valley," he admits, the gnostic teacher Marcus had attracted "many foolish women" from his own congregation, including the wife of one of Irenaeus' own deacons.52 Professing himself to be at a loss to account for the attraction that Marcus' group held, he offers only one explanation: that Marcus himself was a diabolically clever seducer, a magician who compounded special aphrodisiacs to "deceive, victimize, and defile" his prey. Whether his accusations have any factual basis no one knows. But when he describes Marcus' techniques of seduction, Irenaeus indicates that he is speaking metaphorically. For, he says, Marcus "addresses them in such seductive words" as his prayers to Grace, "She who is before all things,"53 and to Wisdom and Silence, the feminine element of the divine being. Second, he says, Marcus seduced women "by telling them to prophesy"54— which they were strictly forbidden to do in the orthodox church. When he initiated a woman, Marcus concluded the initiation prayer with the words "Behold, Grace has come upon you; open your mouth, and prophesy."55 Then, as the bishop indignantly describes it, Marcus' "deluded victim . . . impudently utters some nonsense," and "henceforth considers herself to be a prophet!" Worst of all, from Irenaeus' viewpoint, Marcus invited women to act as priests in celebrating the eucharist with him: he "hands the cups to women"58 to offer up the eucharistic prayer, and to pronounce the words of consecration.

 

Tertullian expresses similar outrage at such acts of gnostic Christians:

 

These heretical women—how audacious they are! They have no modesty; they are bold enough to teach, to

engage in argument, to enact exorcisms, to undertake cures, and, it may be, even to baptize!57

 

Tertullian directed another attack against "that viper"58—a woman teacher who led a congregation in North Africa. He himself agreed with what he called the "precepts of ecclesiastical discipline concerning women," which specified:

 

It is not permitted for a woman to speak in the church, nor is it permitted for her to teach, nor to baptize, nor

to offer [the eucharist], nor to claim for herself a share in any masculine function—not to mention any priestly

office.59

 

One of Tertullian's prime targets, the heretic Marcion, had, in fact, scandalized his orthodox contemporaries by appointing women on an equal basis with men as priests and bishops. The gnostic teacher Marcellina traveled to Rome to represent the Carpocratian group,60 which claimed to have received secret teaching from Mary, Salome, and Martha. The Montanists, a radical prophetic circle, honored two women, Prisca and Maximilla, as founders of the movement.

 

Our evidence, then, clearly indicates a correlation between religious theory and social practice.61 Among such gnostic groups as the Valentinians, women were considered equal to men; some were revered as prophets; others acted as teachers, traveling evangelists, healers, priests, perhaps even bishops. This general observation is not, however, universally applicable. At least three heretical circles that retained a masculine image of God included women who took positions of leadership—the Marcionites, the Montanists, and the Carpocratians. But from the year 200, we have no evidence for women taking prophetic, priestly, and episcopal roles among orthodox churches.

 

This is an extraordinary development, considering that in its earliest years the Christian movement showed a remarkable openness toward women. Jesus himself violated Jewish convention by talking openly with women, and he included them among his companions. Even the gospel of Luke in the New Testament tells his reply when Martha, his hostess, complains to him that she is doing housework alone while her sister Mary sits listening to him: "Do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her, then, to help me." But instead of supporting her, Jesus chides Martha for taking upon herself so many anxieties, declaring that "one thing is needful: Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her."62 Some ten to twenty years after Jesus' death, certain women held positions of leadership in local Christian groups; women acted as prophets, teachers, and evangelists. Professor Wayne Meeks suggests that, at Christian initiation, the person presiding ritually announced that "in Christ... there is neither male nor female."63 Paul quotes this saying, and endorses the work of women he recognizes as deacons and fellow workers; he even greets one, apparently, as an outstanding apostle, senior to himself in the movement.64

 

Yet Paul also expresses ambivalence concerning the practical implications of human equality. Discussing the public activity of women in the churches, he argues from his own—traditionally Jewish—conception of a monistic, masculine God for a divinely ordained hierarchy of social subordination: as God has authority over Christ, he declares, citing Genesis 2-3, so man has authority over woman:

 

. . . a man . . . is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (For man was not made from

woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)65

 

While Paul acknowledged women as his equals "in Christ," and allowed for them a wider range of activity than did traditional Jewish congregations, he could not bring himself to advocate their equality in social and political terms. Such ambivalence opened the way for the statements found in I Corinthians 14, 34 f., whether written by Paul or inserted by someone else: ". . . the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but they should be subordinate . . . it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."

 

Such contradictory attitudes toward women reflect a time of social transition, as well as the diversity of cultural influences on churches scattered throughout the known world.66 In Greece and Asia Minor, women participated with men in religious cults, especially the cults of the Great Mother and of the Egyptian goddess Isis.67 While the leading roles were reserved for men, women took part in the services and professions. Some women took up education, the arts, and professions such as medicine. In Egypt, women had attained, by the first century A.D., a relatively advanced state of emancipation, socially, politically, and legally. In Rome, forms of education had changed, around 200 B.C, to offer to some children from the aristocracy the same curriculum for girls as for boys. Two hundred years later, at the beginning of the Christian era, the archaic, patriarchal forms of Roman marriage were increasingly giving way to a new legal form in which the man and woman bound themselves to each other with voluntary and mutual vows. The French scholar Jerome Carcopino, in a discussion entitled "Feminism and Demoralization," explains that by the second century A.D., upper-class women often insisted upon "living their own life."68 Male satirists complained of their aggressiveness in discussions of literature, mathematics, and philosophy, and ridiculed their enthusiasm for writing poems, plays, and music.69 Under the Empire,

 

women were everywhere involved in business, social life, such as theaters, sports events, concerts, parties,

travelling— with or without their husbands. They took part in a whole range of athletics, even bore arms and

went to battle . . .70

 

and made major inroads into professional life. Women of the Jewish communities, on the other hand, were excluded from actively participating in public worship, in education, and in social and political life outside the family.71

 

Yet despite all of this, and despite the previous public activity of Christian women, the majority of Christian churches in the second century went with the majority of the middle class in opposing the move toward equality, which found its support primarily in rich or what we would call bohemian circles. By the year 200, the majority of Christian communities endorsed as canonical the pseudo-Pauline letter of Timothy, which stresses (and exaggerates) the antifeminist element in Paul's views: "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent."72 Orthodox Christians also accepted as Pauline the letters to the Colossians and to the Ephesians, which order that women "be subject in everything to their husbands."73

 

Clement, Bishop of Rome, writes in his letter to the unruly church in Corinth that women are to "remain in the rule of subjection"74 to their husbands. While in earlier times Christian men and women sat together for worship, in the middle of the second century—precisely at the time of struggle with gnostic Christians—orthodox communities began to adopt the synagogue custom, segregating women from men.75 By the end of the second century, women's participation in worship was explicitly condemned: groups in which women continued on to leadership were branded as heretical.

 

What was the reason for these changes? The scholar Johannes Leipoldt suggests that the influx of many Hellenized Jews into the movement may have influenced the church in the direction of Jewish traditions, but, as he admits, "this is only an attempt to explain the situation: the reality itself is the only certain thing." 76 Professor Morton Smith suggests that the change may have resulted from Christianity's move up in social scale from lower to middle class. He observes that in the lower class, where all labor was needed, women had been allowed to perform any services they could (so today, in the Near East, only middle-class women are veiled).

 

- Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels.

 

The anti-feminism elements was purely a social and a political move not something which was inspired by the divine.

 

I saw Jesus in my toast this morning. Does that mean I'm "inspired by the divine"?

 

I didn't heard that you were persecuting the Christians and suddenly changed your mind and started preaching your Gospel about Jesus being the first born of all creatures.

 

"These experiences often have very significant effects on people's lives, frequently inducing in them acts of extreme self-sacrifice well beyond what could be expected from evolutionary arguments."

 

- Argument from religious experiences.

 

A strong case can be made that Paul was divinely inspired seeing the impact that it had upon his life after that experience. The behaviours of these people who have had religious experiences defy evolutionary psychological mechanisms, it cannot account for such behaviours and in such a case it is reasonable to believe that he or she was divinely inspired from a supernatural causation.

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