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Author Topic: General thread drift SHOWDOOOWN June 1st 2:09 MST
Tresopax
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quote:
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?
The same thing that's wrong with a person who believes in viruses but then goes around acting as if viruses don't exist: his actions will likely lead him to get sick.

In the case of religion, if people believe in various religions but support a government that acts as if all religions are false, the many concerns that those religions raise will be invisible to the government. As a result, if those concerns are as real as the people believe they are, the government will likely end up making wrong decisions about how to go about handling them.

Or in other words, Mucus is right. If the majority believe meteors could strike if we don't correctly follow God's will, they'd be crazy to support a government that acts as if atheism is true - unless of course they believe God's will is that we should support a government that acts as if atheism is true. Otherwise, we're in grave danger of a meteoric death.

In America, people of all different sorts of religions support separation of church and state, but the reason for that is because history has shown that governments which take sides on religion risk becoming corrupt, and/or oppressive. History has shown that it hurts all of us in the long run to try and enforce our immediate religious priorities on everyone. Yet we have to balance that against the risk of failing to address religious issues that most citizens believe to be important. To strike that balance, we must recognize the potential validity of religious concerns and address them when we can, while simultaneously working to keep the government in a neutral position to all religious viewpoints. That means the government should neither say "You need to be religious" nor "Your concern is irrelevant to us because it is founded in a religion and only secular concerns are relevant."

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The White Whale
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Alright, maybe not horrendous. But very close-minded. It makes things seem very black and white. You either are inside or outside. "There is no more place in the halachic process for the opinions of those lacking such a grounding, be they Jew or gentile, than there is for polling synagogue members to determine halachic practice."

It's a virtual end of discussions, of synthesis, or progress, of integration into the whole of the human species. I'm atheist, and this is what I find most frustrating about many of these discussions.

"Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter." - Orson Scott Card

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


Anyway, all you have to do is observe Lisa's conversations with Ron to validate the "pointless" part. [Wink]

Do you really think that everyone is ike that? There is a great deal of common ground in many religions and I have seen many instances of interfaith groups doing very good work on poverty, violence, education and so forth.

ETA: Or more snarkily, it would be such a bad thing for us to understand each other better? Perhaps with a bit more interfaith dialogue, Mr. Rosenblum would know that "Unlike rabbis, the Pope has the power to enunciate new doctrine" is not exactly the case.

And that would help us, how exactly? Interfaith groups aren't for us to understand one another. They're for us to blur our self-definitions to the point where the major conflicts no longer exist.

I went to a talk back in college in the lounge of my dorm given by some kids from IVCF. One of my secular Jewish friends insisted that I go to argue. I wasn't even religious myself at the time, but she know I knew more about Judaism than she did, and she was freaking about the title of the talk: "Proof of the Resurrection". Gag me. I told her that she was being hysterical and to relax, but she couldn't, and she kept badgering me, so I went.

(Turns out the "proof" was reading a passage from the Christian Bible that said it happened. QED, I guess.)

Anyway, one of the guys there explained, with no malice whatsoever, that because we hadn't accepted JC as our personal savior, we were going to burn in hell. He wasn't all, "Yay, the Jews are going to roast!" or anything like that. Just very matter of fact. Like he was saying that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than regular water.

Ellen (my friend) was appalled, as were a bunch of the other Intervarsity kids. I couldn't understand the upset. He was simply being honest about his faith. It isn't like I didn't already know that they believed that. I had a lot more respect for him than I did for the ones who believe it and fudge that fact in order to "dialogue".

Christianity says "the only way to the Father is through me". Muslims say that Jews are apes and pigs (link). Judaism says that non-Jews don't have fathers, and we aren't allowed to drink wine if a non-Jew has touched the bottle while it was open (unless the wine is pasteurized).

It's all very charming, and I can already hear the cries of "Why can't we focus on what we have in common, rather than what we don't", but even what we seem to have in common isn't, really.

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BlackBlade
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kmbboots: Granted, but the fact Christianity is so fractured beyond recognition makes it impossible to come together and do many things of value.

Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO. The fact a large amount of the population says that atheists are inherently untrustworthy and therefor unfit for political office to me is ridiculous. I'd rather have honest atheists in office than ones who have to lie to get elected.

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The White Whale
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, maybe she should find something more productive to do with her time. Judaism has nothing to learn from any religion. Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's monologue; not dialogue.

Is it just me, or is this response horrendous? How about arrogant? Defeatist? Counterproductive? Religious jingoism?
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO.

Agreed. But one I would view as just unfavorable, and the other both unfavorable and illegal.
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The White Whale
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Interfaith groups aren't for us to understand one another. They're for us to blur our self-definitions to the point where the major conflicts no longer exist.

Right. My friend is out there with the goal of blurring self-definitions.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
Alright, maybe not horrendous. But very close-minded. It makes things seem very black and white. You either are inside or outside. "There is no more place in the halachic process for the opinions of those lacking such a grounding, be they Jew or gentile, than there is for polling synagogue members to determine halachic practice."

It's a virtual end of discussions, of synthesis, or progress, of integration into the whole of the human species. I'm atheist, and this is what I find most frustrating about many of these discussions.

Well, you're an atheist, so it probably seems as reasonable to you as arguing about how many noodly appendenges the FSM has.

Understand... Judaism will never assimilate into the generality of humanity. We will always be separate. It's who we are. It's the task appointed to us by God. So when you use "integration into the whole of the human species" as some sort of ideal, I can only laugh. You just don't understand.

quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
"Reasonable argument is impossible when authority becomes the arbiter." - Orson Scott Card

Heh. Savor the irony.
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Javert
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quote:
Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's arrogance; not dialogue.
There, fixed that.
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kmbboots
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The White Whale, I tend to find in religion far more questions than answers and more issues to explore than authority.

That is one of the reasons that the certainty of atheism in government is as worrisome as the certainty of religion. I prefer that government knows that it can't know everything. Certainty in government leads to some bad stuff.

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The White Whale
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, you're an atheist, so it probably seems as reasonable to you as arguing about how many noodly appendenges the FSM has.

Nope. Because the number of appendages of the FSM doesn't dictate how a person interacts with others. Religious upbringing and beliefs do.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Well, maybe she should find something more productive to do with her time. Judaism has nothing to learn from any religion. Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's monologue; not dialogue.

Is it just me, or is this response horrendous? How about arrogant? Defeatist? Counterproductive? Religious jingoism?
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.

Religious jingoism? Dictionary.com says that means "the spirit, policy, or practice of jingoes; bellicose chauvinism." It defines "jingoes" as "a person who professes his or her patriotism loudly and excessively, favoring vigilant preparedness for war and an aggressive foreign policy; bellicose chauvinist."

You seem to be implying that expressing the view you don't like in any manner whatsoever is religious jingoism, which is clearly untrue.

"Bellicose"? Dictionary.com says "inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious." How is not wanting to engage the same as eager to fight, or agressively hostile?

Do you use words according to their meanings, or do you use them in some vague impressionist way? It seems like the latter, but I'm honestly curious to know what your intent is.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Granted, they have much to learn from us, but that's arrogance; not dialogue.
There, fixed that.
If you like. Not all arrogance is bad. Justifiable arrogance is... well, justified. I mean, if I say, "I know more about Judaism than you do", is that arrogant? I think it is, don't you? It's also true. So why is "Judaism knows more about God than any other source" any different?
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Lisa
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Believe it or not, I usually bite my tongue a bit when posting anything here about Judaism. I'm just not in the mood to do so today.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Javert: Either way is unfavorable IMO.

Agreed. But one I would view as just unfavorable, and the other both unfavorable and illegal.
Well yes, I wasn't really trying to say everything those things would be.
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Scott R
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Really quick:

Not all Mormons believe the way that Occasional believes. It is not nearly as black and white as he makes it out to be.

We do believe that cultures and individuals that reject God open themselves to tragedy, but certainly we don't know what form that tragedy will take. And normally, we don't know what particular sin brought the tragedy on, or whether there was a sin at all that initiated it.

The key word here is "reject." In order for a person or culture to sin they have to make a choice to not follow God's laws.

It's not really our place to say, "HA! If you'd been righteous, this wouldn't/won't happen to you!" That's God's call. It is our responsibility to prevent tragedy where we can, help those affected by tragedy, and to teach the gospel.

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kmbboots
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One problem that interfaith dialogue can address is the assumption that the loudest and most extreme voices are representative of any particular faith. We find out things like the fact that not all Christians believe that Jews burn in hell.

Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Thank God I know a lot of other Jews.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
So why is "Judaism knows more about God than any other source" any different?

It can't be proven.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
One problem that interfaith dialogue can address is the assumption that the loudest and most extreme voices are representative of any particular faith. We find out things like the fact that not all Christians believe that Jews burn in hell.

Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Thank God I know a lot of other Jews.

I'm grateful I know Lisa in addition to other Jews.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
Believe it or not, I usually bite my tongue a bit when posting anything here about Judaism.

Yes, that can happen when you gnash your teeth.
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kmbboots
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BlackBlade, I also thank God that most people have more patience than I do and that you are a micer person than I am. [Smile]
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Rakeesh
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Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

Also, Scott is entirely correct. Though I very much hope no one needed that pointed out to them, how very narrow Occassional's scope is.

Edit:
quote:
Then fewer religious people should act like they are on crazy pills and, instead, do things that are of value.
You can replace 'religious people' with just about any noun describing large groups of people, and this sentence remains exactly as accurate.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
BlackBlade, I also thank God that most people have more patience than I do and that you are a micer person than I am. [Smile]

Come now Kate, if the mean of humanity's patience was set at your level, we'd be much better off, you're nuts if you think otherwise.
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kmbboots
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Rakeesh, yes of course. We were discussing religious people at the time.

BlackBlade, thank you. I am afraid that I don't have much for people who want to make their personal belief that we can't live cooperatively with each other self-fulfilling.

I should have more sympathy for why they believe that rather than losing my temper.

Lisa, I am sorry that you had to deal with idiots in college.

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dkw
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There are a variety of types of interfaith groups. With some of them I agree with Lisa, they have a tendency to water everything down to the least common denominator. Most attempts at interfaith worship services or ďnonsectarianĒ prayers fall into that group.

But there are other organizations that, while respecting different beliefs, manage to work together on common goals. One that Iím thinking of was an advisory committee to the chaplainís office at a hospital. They made sure that every patient had access to clergy/religious leaders of their own faith, ran interference for patients whose faith required accommodations different from normal hospital practice, and held training sessions for doctors/staff on what special accommodations might be required. And, as a side effect or as part of building community among the group, learned about each otherís faith traditions Ė without anybody trying to convert anybody else.

Aside: the idea of an IVCF event being presented as an example of "interfaith dialouge" is one I find very odd.

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ken_in_sc
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God sends his rain on both the just and the unjust. Also his meteors. Godís judgement is not in this time but in the time to come. If a meteor wipes you out, it is not Godís judgment, but merely what is needed to be done to reorganize things. Your soul survives. you may see darkly now, but you will see clearly later.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
Tresopax: What would be wrong with the government acting as if atheism was correct, as long as free exercise of religion is protected?
The same thing that's wrong with a person who believes in viruses but then goes around acting as if viruses don't exist: his actions will likely lead him to get sick.

In the case of religion, if people believe in various religions but support a government that acts as if all religions are false, the many concerns that those religions raise will be invisible to the government. As a result, if those concerns are as real as the people believe they are, the government will likely end up making wrong decisions about how to go about handling them.

Or in other words, Mucus is right. If the majority believe meteors could strike if we don't correctly follow God's will, they'd be crazy to support a government that acts as if atheism is true - unless of course they believe God's will is that we should support a government that acts as if atheism is true. Otherwise, we're in grave danger of a meteoric death.

In America, people of all different sorts of religions support separation of church and state, but the reason for that is because history has shown that governments which take sides on religion risk becoming corrupt, and/or oppressive. History has shown that it hurts all of us in the long run to try and enforce our immediate religious priorities on everyone. Yet we have to balance that against the risk of failing to address religious issues that most citizens believe to be important. To strike that balance, we must recognize the potential validity of religious concerns and address them when we can, while simultaneously working to keep the government in a neutral position to all religious viewpoints. That means the government should neither say "You need to be religious" nor "Your concern is irrelevant to us because it is founded in a religion and only secular concerns are relevant."

Thanks for responding, I appreciate that. I now have a pretty good handle on the nature of the concern that a government that appears to be acting as if atheism is correct might be insensitive to religiously founded concerns.

In all the examples I can think of, I think that would be a good result, but I fully recognize that others will strongly disagree with me. I was wondering if there might be an example where I could agree it was a bad result. The ones I have in mind, with sound-bite rationale:

  • SSM and other protections based on sexual orientation - I think they'd be a net benefit to the nation.
  • Abortion - I think the right to have one should be limited by viability of handing off the fetus to another caretaker; this is not a religiously founded point of view.
  • Drugs - I think we should legalize most of them, and anti-drug sentiment seems a bit stronger among the religious.
  • War, taxes, almost everything else: Absolutely must have secular justification

Since I already know people won't agree with the first three, I wonder if religious people think I'm right about war and taxes, and what other examples they can think of where religiously founded concerns should be recognized by the government, rather than being ignored. I'm really interested in whether I can come around to the point of view that acting as if atheism is correct (while preserving religious freedom) would be an unfortunate thing for our government to do.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

I do, actually. I think I'm right, of course. But I recognize the possibility that I could be wrong, and very often look to others to see if I can learn from them.

And if you showed me good evidence, I'd change my views and thank you for it.

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The White Whale
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I was using "fanatical patriotism" as my definition of jingoism, in that you seen to me so sure that your religious viewpoint is correct that you reject others without any form of rational discussion.

quote:
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.
How about the goal being to live peacefully with the humans around you, embracing the diversity for what it is, because there is no way to be absolutely certain that your was is the best or only way? Disagree and fight with topics and practices that you don't agree with, but at least be open to their points of views first.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Javert, do you believe differently from Lisa with respect to your own beliefs on that 'fixed' quote? Somehow I doubt it.

I do, actually. I think I'm right, of course. But I recognize the possibility that I could be wrong, and very often look to others to see if I can learn from them.

And if you showed me good evidence, I'd change my views and thank you for it.

A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)

Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
Since when does acknowledging you could be wrong preclude arrogance?
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
Since when does acknowledging you could be wrong preclude arrogance?
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Lisa, do you really think that I don't have a father? What definition of father are you using? Or would explaining that be too much dialogue and you would prefer that I just think you odd?

Not at all. I mean, you can go ahead and think me odd; that's fine. But the father thing is purely a technicality. It sounds much worse than it is.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
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The Pixiest
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Of all people, I appreciate the idea of wanting to live apart from the majority of humanity. I don't want to be borgified into "Humanity as One" either.

Associating with those outside your ideals, however does lead to less persecution, though. It doesn't stop it completely. People who are your friends can still go stabby-stabby when their dogma conflicts with your rights, but it DOES reduce the risk by making them see you as people and not "Them."

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Rakeesh
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quote:
It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.
Well, naturally:)
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
But there are other organizations that, while respecting different beliefs, manage to work together on common goals.

See, and I think that's a very good thing. I don't look at that as interfaith dialogue. More as interfaith cooperation.

quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Aside: the idea of an IVCF event being presented as an example of "interfaith dialouge" is one I find very odd.

The IVCF event itself wasn't. I was talking about the part where the discussion turned to interfaith issues.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
I was using "fanatical patriotism" as my definition of jingoism, in that you seen to me so sure that your religious viewpoint is correct that you reject others without any form of rational discussion.

<shrug> I've been through the whole investigational stage. I found answers that satisfy my mind. Among those answers are things that utterly invalidate other religions by definition.

quote:
Originally posted by The White Whale:
quote:
Horrendous, no. Arrogant, sure. Defeatist, Counterproductive, depends on what the goal is. If the goal is "integration into the whole of the human species", then yes. But if that's seen as a nightmare, rather than a goal, then no.
How about the goal being to live peacefully with the humans around you, embracing the diversity for what it is, because there is no way to be absolutely certain that your was is the best or only way? Disagree and fight with topics and practices that you don't agree with, but at least be open to their points of views first.
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
A shorter way to post this would have been: "Yeah, but my arrogance is justified," you know:)

Since when does arrogance involve acknowledging you could be wrong?
How does it not? If I say that someone whose Jewish scholarship can change my mind about religious issues, it doesn't make my assertion that you couldn't any less arrogant. Compared to real Jewish scholars, I'm an ignoramus when it comes to Judaism. Compared to me, you are.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
Sorry BB. Double posting is a sure sign of idiocy. And I've never denied that I'm a first class idiot.
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The White Whale
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If it were anyone but you Lisa, I would find that shocking. It's people like you that give my friend nervous breakdowns.
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kmbboots
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Lisa, if your idea of interfaith dialogue is about people trying to convert one another I would agree that it would be a bad thing. That has not been my experience of interfaith dialogue. My exrience is that it has been about appreciating differences, finding common ground, recoginizing each other as human beings and trying to do some good.

How do people achieve cooperation without dialogue?

I would also add that I have participated in some rich, deep, celebratory, and not at all watered-down interfaith worship events. Along with some that have not been so good.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
I could be wrong, but I believe a large part of arrogance is assuming there's no way you could be wrong.
Well, that's certainly arrogance. It's just not the definition:offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Some subjective terms in there to be sure, but certainty of correctness definitely isn't.

Alright then.

It doesn't seem like I fit either definition.

Jokes on you, double posting is a sure sign of arrogance. Even if you delete the second post it's too late!
Sorry BB. Double posting is a sure sign of idiocy. And I've never denied that I'm a first class idiot.
Well it looks like we are a party of two then. How many do we need before we can make up a God to be in charge of us?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
I can live and let live. But no, I'm not even a little open to Christian or Muslim or or Hindu or Shinto ideas.

So you couldn't, for example, find some common ground with the Shinto idea that we should be grateful for what we receive or concepts of ritual purity or even that killing should be done only when necessary?
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Darth_Mauve
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Interfaith dialogue works. How else would all the different people of faith be able to get together and attack their common foes:

People who question faith.

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kmbboots
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Sigh. Yes. Doubters are the enemy. That is exactly what I have been trying to say.
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katharina
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What? How is that a foe? Strawman alert!
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