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Maybe this would change things?

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With all the fighting and bikering over personal beliefs and religion, what if there was a simple answer to it all?


WEll, there isn't a simple answer, But I think I found one that is pretty close to the problem:




What you believe is not the problem,

What you believe I should believe is the problem. "


Saw it on face book just a little while ago.

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Ummm...religion is not a brand new concept to me.


I do not get my beliefs from facebook either.


But what I read on facebook pretty much summed up a big issue with just a few words:


I am okay with anybody believing what they want. I respect it and defend their right to that. They just shouldn't think I have to believe it too.


Kinda like Constitutional rights: Your rights end when they infringe on mine. Likewise, mine end when they infringe on yours.


If everybody just followed their own beliefs....




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Okay, I noticed that my comments may have come out sounding a bit vicious. Wasn't my intent.



"I am okay with anybody believing what they want. I respect it and defend their right to that. They just shouldn't think I have to believe it too."



As far as they thinking they have the right to dictate what I believe...do they feel recipricable about that? Do they feel that I too have that right to tell them what to think?


Just like rights: Your beielfs end with you and mine start with me. Mine end with me and yours start with you.


Belief is the key word. Forcing your beliefs on somebody doesn't make them believe them, it just means they are oppressed under them.


So, it comes down to this:


If everybody respected everyone else to follow their own beliefs ( which means not forcing yours or expecting others to follow them) then things would really be hunky dory!


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I admire the intent behind what you're saying.


The reason I argue is not to be unkind and unpleasant - but because I think the truth of this matter is very unpleasant indeed. We don't live in a nice world.


Not all religions have your admirable Golden Rule and Live and Let Live ethos unambiguously mandated in their supposedly sacred texts.


Some have mandates that apply to non-believers and that makes it problematic for everyone to respect everyone else's right to follow their own beliefs.



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You're both right. Scoutfish's quote explains the problem (or at least a large part of the problem), and Callooh explains why it is so difficult to solve the problem.


And that is why there have been so many religious wars, massacres, persecutions, Inquisitions, crusades, forced conversions, and other unpleasantness, throughout history. And while the situation in the world today (and in our own country) is not quite as dramatic as all that, the problem is obviously still with us.

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Scoutfish, you are such an idealist...I'm sorry for you. Remember, "the purpose of religion isn't to bring people together." TheScout was correct in his assessment. Use the words of that sentence without the contraction - The purpose of religion is NOT to bring people together. Or try this - The purpose of religion is: NOT to bring people together.

Make more sense now?


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Pack, I'm an idealrealist.


Ideally, I know what would be great, but I know in reality it won't happen.


Telling somebody to change their beliefs in religion is like expecting them to suddenly believe water isn't wet.


Not gonna happen.

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Yah, packsaddle, I know yeh like that quote and all, but I reckon it's long since gotten a bit old, eh? It was a quote from a fellow who had a remarkably unnuanced and shallow understandin' of his own faith, and it really doesn't capture or speak to anything that is valid or helpful. It would be a bit like me choosin' a favorite quote from one of da more naive eugenics advocates to claim that's what your field of biology stands for, eh?


And that is why there have been so many religious wars, massacres, persecutions, Inquisitions, crusades, forced conversions, and other unpleasantness, throughout history


Yah, and this too is just one of those meme thingies, eh? There in fact have been very few "religious wars" throughout history. Mostly there have been racial/ethnic/tribal/political/economic wars, which sometimes have a religious component only because da religion happens to split on racial/ethnic/tribal/political/economic lines. This is classic confusion of correlation with causation, abetted by anti-religious prejudice.


In fact da vast majority of the nastiness man inflicts on his fellow men is done for those racial/ethnic/tribal/political/economic reasons over the objection of religion.


But to get back to Scoutfish's original bit, I'm with Callooh. All religions at some level believe in a form of universal truth, and at some level believe it is a gift worth sharing to enlighten and improve others. If yeh knew about the causes of disease but were in a culture that dumped sewage in the street and was afflicted by seasonal plagues, would yeh not feel some obligation to work for changin' the beliefs of da culture? To educate, cajole, push your beliefs on others? If yeh had control of da political establishment, would yeh not enforce sanitary regulations using the coercive power of the state even though it infringed on the beliefs of your fellow citizens?


That's da position of at least da Western religions, eh? That at some level da racial/ethnic/tribal/political/economic belief structure leads to poverty, oppression, wars... or at least sewage in da streets. And that religion is an effort to overcome and transcend all that dross for everyone's benefit. An underdog effort to be sure. An effort that is constantly outspent and outgunned by da beneficiaries of the racial/ethnic/tribal/political/economic systems, eh? An effort that is occasionally co-opted by those same folks to bad ends. But nonetheless the only effort that has successfully eroded those noxious beliefs bit by bit over time, to the great benefit of humanity and the greater glory of God.


Religion, lads, is the only thing that has ever brought people together in groups beyond race/ethnicity/tribe/political caste/economics, and the only thing that has ever tempered the darker and more destructive nature of those other beliefs. Da notion that puttin' religion in a box is goin' to help society is just foolish.




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Beavah, I'm with you on that 'religious war' thing. People probably just 'use' religion as a rationalization for actions they want to do and are going to do anyway. We are monkeys, after all.

Also, feel free to quote from any eugenics advocates you like. No problem, I'll be glad to respond. Heck, (notice that I didn't mention that four-letter word, nor did I use the M-word) I might even agree with them - have to read the quote first to decide.


As for TheScout, why do you dismiss him as having a "remarkably unnuanced and shallow understandin' of his own faith." How do you know this? What IS his faith? How is your understanding of HIS faith so superior that you can dismiss HIS understanding of it as "remarkably unnuanced and shallow"? Please favor us with a remarkably nuanced and deep explanation of your understanding of his faith as an alternative.


As for that quote, I get that it causes some discomfort out there. You think Martin Luther worried about discomfort? Jeremiah? (heh, heh, just a little Biblical levity there...)

But what is interesting is that over the years, there is not a single discussion to the contrary by anyone...not a single one. Interesting. It's like an embarrassing truth that no-one wants to talk about or something.

Anyway, I like that quote - so you might as well just 'Be Prepared' to continue to roll your eyes and think to yourself (in your best 'valley girl' impersonation) "What-EV-er!"

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Nah, the quote doesn't cause any discomfort at all. It does, however, elicit da rolled eyes and valley girl response. ;)


TheScout claimed to be Christian, eh? Once yeh stake your claim to a particular religious tradition or belief, I reckon being taken to task by one of your fellow adherents is fair game. Just as Luther or Jeremiah did, eh? :)


Just as I expect you would recognize an unnuanced and shallow representation of science. In fact, I seem to recall yeh takin' an old furry fellow to task a time or two for just such a thing, eh? :)




(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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