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The meaning of tolerance
Posted: 11 June 2007 07:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]One of the ways to distinguish “faith” (in the sense I’ve been using it) from “dogmatic belief” is that people who have real faith can joke about themselves and their beliefs.


I think there’s some merit to that position, but it doesn’t really defend faith at all ... just makes what I think is a valid distinction between genuine faith and what faith really is in most cases (a free pass with a microscopic veneer of honor and virtue that like-minded believers give each other to believe that for which there’s no valid basis to believe). Believers who have genuine faith (if there really is such a thing) have to accept that others who cite faith may very well be correct in doing so (at least theoretically) even when faith is cited to validate a belief system that contradicts their own.

Genuine faith is a bit on the intellectually problematic side (putting it kindly), but still there’s what I think is a valid issue of degree between the facade of faith (“standard issue” faith—I presume those who agree with me are right ... we call it faith) and “genuine” faith (I believe faith is a valid form of epistemology). I’d argue that under the context of honest naivety “genuine” faith isn’t an indication of a character weakness (a lack of intellectual integrity), whereas I’d argue it is in most cases (which still may be a pretty insignificant flaw even though it may have very significant effects).

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 15 June 2007 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Believers tell you what they believe (and what you should believe, too.)

Faithies spend all their time describing for you the niceties of the difference between belief and faith.

Both are boring.

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INVEST in cynicism!

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Posted: 15 June 2007 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]Believers tell you what they believe (and what you should believe, too.)

Faithies spend all their time describing for you the niceties of the difference between belief and faith.

And salties take it all with a grain. 

Try a wedge of lime and a shot of Jose Cuvaro to go with it.  If that don’t restore your faith, nothing will.

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Posted: 16 June 2007 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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A religiously based morality/code of behaviour is strongly characterized by strong asymmetry:

God is asymmetrical in his relation to humans (infinitely more worth than them)
Co-believers are going to heaven, all others perish in some way or the other (usually unpleasantly, but sometimes just into oblivion)

Priests are asymmetrical in regard to laity.

The morality, or moral ideal, developing out of this is almost always morality-by-exemplar or decree, for example by designedly impossible moral heroism (turn thy other cheek)


From an egalitarian, symmetry/reciprocity-based morality, adherents of such ANY such system seem morally incompetent, and with reference to reciprocity, it may be warrantable to do unto them what they preach, i.e, put them in a morally asymmetric position to ourselves.

Of course, any follower of an egalitarian morality will have an instinctual aversion for doing that, but moral paralysis is not necessarily the best way to effect a cure. Forcing some medicine down the throat of the morally incompetent one might be the necessary measure, letting our aversion for doing just that limit our action to the minimal, yet still effective measure.

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Posted: 16 June 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“arildno”]A religiously based morality/code of behaviour is strongly characterized by strong asymmetry:

God is asymmetrical in his relation to humans (infinitely more worth than them)
Co-believers are going to heaven, all others perish in some way or the other (usually unpleasantly, but sometimes just into oblivion)

Priests are asymmetrical in regard to laity.

The morality, or moral ideal, developing out of this is almost always morality-by-exemplar or decree, for example by designedly impossible moral heroism (turn thy other cheek)


From an egalitarian, symmetry/reciprocity-based morality, adherents of such ANY such system seem morally incompetent, and with reference to reciprocity, it may be warrantable to do unto them what they preach, i.e, put them in a morally asymmetric position to ourselves.

Of course, any follower of an egalitarian morality will have an instinctual aversion for doing that, but moral paralysis is not necessarily the best way to effect a cure. Forcing some medicine down the throat of the morally incompetent one might be the necessary measure, letting our aversion for doing just that limit our action to the minimal, yet still effective measure.

What about Buddhist morality?  Would an egalitarian morality eschew the use of moral exemplars? 

There is usually a strong relation between the form that a religion takes, and the general cultural context within which it exists.  For example, the pact between Jehovah and the Hebrew people is very much in the form of a pact between a bronze age conqueror and his new subjects: you serve me, I will protect you.  In the ancient world, Christianity was often regarded as a slave religion because the virtues it promoted (meekness, humility, submission, turning the other cheek) were slave virtues—the Greek and Roman virtues were rather different, the virtues of a warrior class.  One of the reasons that the Protestant areas of Europe were more open to Copernicanism than the Catholic areas was social: the Copernican theory overthrew the hierarchical order of the cosmos that was used as a model for the hierarchical order in the Catholic church and in feudal society.  As society has become more egalitarian, we see the emergence of more egalitarian branches of Christianity.

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Posted: 16 June 2007 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Buddhism is not a religion, it’s a philosophy. Even the Gods (recognized as existing there) are prey to the cycle of pain and rebirth, and they are not regarded as THE source of morality as you have in the monotheism.

As it happens, the Gods cannot really be portrayed as sources of morality within a polytheistic religion unless they agree to the content to that morality, which they generally don’t.

The moral problem with polytheism is rather different than that in monotheism:
In polytheism, the Gods are either amoral (in the believers’ perspective), and putting demands upon the believers of tasks they’d rather not make (because the believers find the acts immoral).

Alternatively, the God(s) may have the power to “suspend” morality during worship to them; for example, the Thuggees thought that because Kali blessed their murderous adventures, then they themselves were in a different league from “common thieves and robber bands” whom the Thuggees despised utterly.


In both these cases, believers will engage in immoral acts for religious reasons, but the rationale behind those acts will typically be different from the rationale in a mono-theistic religion where the God is portrayed as the SOLE source and legislator of morality.

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Posted: 16 June 2007 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Please show me a single example of a monotheistic religion in which God stands on an equal footing with humans when it comes to moral issues.

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Posted: 16 June 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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As for your observation that religious morality takes its cue from surrounding society that is true, but irrelevant.

It is not to the Christians’ credit that secularists around them prevent them from developing their religious mania and moral delusions along its natural paths.

It is significant that religious moral monsters like Fred Phelps and Jerry Falwell appeared in the LEAST secular Western society, we don’t have guys like them in Europe anymore, but we had plenty of their type when Europe was less secular.

And most Muslim countries today are in effect RULED (whether as actual politicians or “mere” opinion-holders) by moral maniacs like Reverend Phelps.
Fortunately, USA has not degraded so far from its eminently secular beginnings as an independent country.

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Posted: 18 June 2007 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“arildno”]As for your observation that religious morality takes its cue from surrounding society that is true, but irrelevant.

Unfortunately not.  As you note, Europe does not have its Jerry Falwell’s today, having endured them enough in the past to have developed an immunity.  So, turning my observation around, some idea of the surrounding society can be gained from the religions practiced.  It’s a version of Wittgenstein: “Tell me how your are searching and I will tell you what you are searching for.”  In this case, show me your forms of religious worship and I will tell you what your society truely values.

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Posted: 18 June 2007 08:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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So what if present-day religions are incoherent mish-mashes of unevidenced fantasies, decrees based on those along with a dash of human, secular morality as well?

It does not alter the typology involved in religious moralities.

A parasite must be clever enough to get past the prospective host’s internal alarm bells, in order to settle down and thrive.

A religiously prescribed morality IS fundamentally distinct from an egalitarian one, since God as a moral agent is in a fundamentally other position from man as a moral agent.

The apparent similarity between “we are all slaves before God” and “we are all of equal worth” is just..apparent.

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