socio-cultural evolution

juantoo3

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This thread is started to continue a conversation begun on the evolution conflict thread.

Andreas said:
Those early spiritual writers wrote their mythical account from the best of their intuition. So it may make some sense if you see it as a symbolic representation of what "really" happened. Similar representations can be found in the Hindu scriptures.

The problems arise when certain people take the views of scientific thought as being at odds with what "God tells us through His holy word". They then feel they have to chose one or the other and chose to reject the results of science.
StrangeQuark said:
Some people want to ban Holloween, for instance, because it is a "pagan" sabbat. It's completely unconstitutional if nothing else, but they still want to do it.

I have some friends who are either Catholic or Protestant who accept the evidence of evolutionary processes and little more. However, there are many that vehemently quote line after line of the Bible as "proof," not only that evolution is wrong but also that practictioners of any other belief are going to hell.

I haven't read the Qu'ran, so I'm not sure of the accuracy of their claims. Yet, even if it's true, I couldn't help thinking "What of it?" The Bible says the same thing, in Exodus: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." And that's not the only point it makes either!

I understand that there have been numerous translations of the Bible. The problem is that people like Pat Robertson apparently do not. All they see is "the True and Revealed Word of God."
juantoo3 said:
I think I understand what you are saying, and I hear it an awful lot. The problem I see, is how pagan Christianity is in practice, and how Christian paganism is in practice. Just a thought, from my perspective.
StrangeQuark said:
Hmmm? Are you refering to the myriad of pagan traditions practiced within Christian churches? Or something else altogether?
juantoo3 said:
Of course!

Since this is headed off topic, might I suggest taking this aspect to a separate thread if we desire to continue so we do not derail this one?

In the strictest sense, evolution is the morphology of life forms. In a more liberal sense it can include the morphology of society and culture, which includes history. I suspect where these comments were heading deals in the more liberal sense.
StrangeQuark said:
Thank you, juantoo3. Very sensible idea about the new thread--no problem!

My sincerest apologizes to all for leading the topic so far astray.
No problem, it is something we all seem to do around here. The catch is to be considerate about it. It takes a little getting used to, but in the end it works out.

It seems to me there were some comments about how some Christians can be closed-minded on certain topics. While I agree this occurs, it is not limited only to fundamental Christianity. The fundamentalist mindset can appear anywhere across the spectrum, within any religion, philosophy or science.

As for Christianity containing pagan practices, it is not difficult to see or understand considering the history of the Church, specifically the Catholic Church, and the political influence it wielded for the better part of a thousand years in Europe, with sway extending all the way into China and the New World as well.

As a contrast, science as a discipline stems directly from pagan alchemy and witchcraft. So while the Scopes trial is a relatively recent and evident manifestation of the religious war between the two camps, effectively this war has been ongoing for hundreds of years or more. The persecution of Galileo is a well known example, but such enmity reaches even further back.

I'll pause now, for comment.
 

StrangeQuark

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juantoo3 said:
It seems to me there were some comments about how some Christians can be closed-minded on certain topics. While I agree this occurs, it is not limited only to fundamental Christianity. The fundamentalist mindset can appear anywhere across the spectrum, within any religion, philosophy or science.

I'm not surprised. Although I must admit that I have learned a lot things in this forum I had not expected.

A little close-mindedness doesn't bother me so much, except when it's taken to extremes. I'm not likely to shed my "core" belief, for example, no matter what someone else might say.

Democratic republics are likely as flawed as any other form of government, but I still want to live in a place where certain forms expression are not suppressed. "Freedom of religion" is the law, and some people wish to nullify it. There are some practices that I cannot condone, but otherwise people should be free to worship as they please (fundamentalists included).

As for Christianity containing pagan practices, it is not difficult to see or understand considering the history of the Church, specifically the Catholic Church, and the political influence it wielded for the better part of a thousand years in Europe, with sway extending all the way into China and the New World as well.

Yes, in fact it's painfully obvious, no matter how much some of its practitioners deny it.

Some fundamentalist sects have attempted to remove all pagan influences from their worship, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. I respect this for a number of reasons. Within the bounds of their belief there is no room for pagan traditions. I also respect the belief that the Bible is infallible, although I do not believe this myself.

Just a thought: When you mentioned "pagan Christianity" I was first stumped, but then I figured you might be refering to things like Christmas trees, the use of pagan symbology, and similar influences. The reason it surprised me at first is because I consider myself an "eclectic Christian" (hehheh--I'm a bit weird, I know).

Thanks again, juantoo3. I look forward to more!
 

juantoo3

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StrangeQuark said:
I'm not surprised. Although I must admit that I have learned a lot things in this forum I had not expected.
Great! I learn a lot here on a regular basis.

A little close-mindedness doesn't bother me so much, except when it's taken to extremes. I'm not likely to shed my "core" belief, for example, no matter what someone else might say.
I suppose that is understandable, everybody has to hold to some form of core belief and value system, I would think, if for no other reason than to preserve their sanity. But the closed-mindedness I was referring to is those that "know," and everybody else is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is ok to disagree, but tolerance dictates allowing another to see the world through their own eyes.

Democratic republics are likely as flawed as any other form of government, but I still want to live in a place where certain forms expression are not suppressed. "Freedom of religion" is the law, and some people wish to nullify it. There are some practices that I cannot condone, but otherwise people should be free to worship as they please (fundamentalists included).
I think I understand what you are saying. Speaking from a political point of view, I can see where sometimes certain lines and distinctions would have to be drawn of necessity. For example, it is difficult to endorse a "war on drugs" if illegitimate drugs are legitimately used for "religious" reasons. Overall, I am inclined to agree with you.

Some fundamentalist sects have attempted to remove all pagan influences from their worship, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. I respect this for a number of reasons. Within the bounds of their belief there is no room for pagan traditions. I also respect the belief that the Bible is infallible, although I do not believe this myself.
You brought up a key point, in my view; respecting another person's beliefs, even if they do not agree with your own.

Just a thought: When you mentioned "pagan Christianity" I was first stumped, but then I figured you might be refering to things like Christmas trees, the use of pagan symbology, and similar influences. The reason it surprised me at first is because I consider myself an "eclectic Christian"
I can relate to being an unorthodox Christian, since my views gathered through study tend to be somewhat different from the mainstream. Yes, things like the Christmas tree, Easter and all of its trimmings (bunnies, eggs, etc), even the eucharist, have pagan roots. (Oh boy, I expect some flak for letting that out of the bag!) I mentioned some time ago in another thread about an article I read in National Geographic a short time back about a village in the Caucasus Mountains (somewhere in Turkey as I recall) that in their minds were devout Christians, yet they engaged in markedly pagan practices dating back over 2 thousand years. Like sacrificing goats to nature deities (incidentally renamed after local "saints"). And this was going on in the present day. An interesting thing brought to my attention awhile back, is that the eucharist is supposed to be the body of Christ. In effect, it is an endorsement of cannibalism. Yuck!

(hehheh--I'm a bit weird, I know).
That's ok, I'm a bit wired (too much coffee!) :D
 

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juantoo3 said:
I suppose that is understandable, everybody has to hold to some form of core belief and value system, I would think, if for no other reason than to preserve their sanity. But the closed-mindedness I was referring to is those that "know," and everybody else is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is ok to disagree, but tolerance dictates allowing another to see the world through their own eyes.

Yes, that's pretty much what I thought you meant. I just added a little thought about it.

Wonderful and very informative discussion! :)
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, StrangeQuark!

I know there is a lot of information in this forum dealing with the foundation and beginning of most of the major religions. There is a lot of speculation dealing with the foundation of Judaism. It is still remarkable to me, especially in the context of being surrounded by animistic and polytheistic religions.

And this was in the time period that coincided with the development of agriculture and the wheel, as well as written language.

Even before then, when humans lived in caves, killed mammoths with spears and drew pictures on the walls, there existed an elemental religion. I am fascinated by this period of time.
 

louis

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elemental religion

Even before then, when humans lived in caves, killed mammoths with spears and drew pictures on the walls, there existed an elemental religion. I am fascinated by this period of time

From Louis....

I am also interested in that "elemental" period -
especially "drawing pictures on cave walls".
There is evidence those pictures were "worshipped"
as manifestations of the "spirit world" - remains of sacrificial offerings, spirit markings, etc. - because
the primitive peoples did not understand where the
pictures came from.
Of course, they could watch an artist draw an animal,
for instance, but the "non-artists" would assume it
was that animals "spirit" using the artist as a channel
to this world - and the picture was therefore sacred.

But, as an artist myself, I know pictures come from
my own mind and nowhere else - they represent my
personal impressions of reality and nothing more .

I'm inclined to think the same way of all "religious"
expression - ideas, words, pictures... the "scriptures".
They come from peoples' own subconscious impressions
of THIS PHYSICAL REALITY and nowhere else.
People who "feel" rather than think don't seem to
understand that . THEY interpret such ideas as coming from "somewhere else" .
 

juantoo3

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Re: elemental religion

Kindest Regards, louis!

Thank you most sincerely for your response.

louis said:
I am also interested in that "elemental" period -
especially "drawing pictures on cave walls".
There is evidence those pictures were "worshipped"
as manifestations of the "spirit world" - remains of sacrificial offerings, spirit markings, etc. - because
the primitive peoples did not understand where the
pictures came from.
Yes, in looking into Lascaux and Chauvet in France, the Cueva di El Castillo cave in Spain, and the Fumane Cave in Italy for a paper in one of my classes, I noticed a lot of suggestion that the paintings were for religious purposes. Unfortunately, the article writers did not elaborate, so I am left for the moment to consider it a supposition by the researchers, not fully understood or explained by them. I did see references to animal remains that were treated with a form of reverence, and I seem to recall the remains of a human, shaman, found wrapped in the skin of an animal (wolf?).

Of course, they could watch an artist draw an animal,
for instance, but the "non-artists" would assume it
was that animals "spirit" using the artist as a channel
to this world - and the picture was therefore sacred.
I think it was Lascaux in particular, possibly the others as well, that the artist(s) were noted for using natural shapes in the rock formation to highlight and accent the forms of the animals, such as a natural bulge in the rock to form the rump of a bison, or a crack in the rock to visually serve as a stream or creek. I am not sure I see anything profound in this. A relatively rational and artistically inclined creature such as the cave dwellers appear to be, particularly (but not necessarily) under the influence of any of a host of natural hallucinogens, could have mentally envisioned and then recreated the images sparked by the natural formations.

As for "channeling", I suppose that is a possibility, but would it not be equally possible that charletans might exist even then? I can see the non-artists admiring the work of the artist, but I wonder if it is a bit of a stretch to imply that the non-artists took the artist to be super-naturally inspired? Many of the scenes seemed rather, at least to me, to be recreations of a particular hunt, or perhaps wishful thinking towards a successful hunt.

The one painting that eludes this description in my mind (there may be others), is the one found in the Italian cave depicting a man in a horned mask, the "horned god." I have yet to hear an understandable explanation of that one.

But, as an artist myself, I know pictures come from
my own mind and nowhere else - they represent my
personal impressions of reality and nothing more .

I'm inclined to think the same way of all "religious"
expression - ideas, words, pictures... the "scriptures".
They come from peoples' own subconscious impressions
of THIS PHYSICAL REALITY and nowhere else.
People who "feel" rather than think don't seem to
understand that . THEY interpret such ideas as coming from "somewhere else" .
I believe I see where you are coming from. And I can even agree that ultimately religion is a personalized experience, or would seem to be. Even so, there are predominant formats, we know them as the world's great religions, that give the vast majority of us a template from which to gauge our experiences, mundane and profound, natural and super-natural.

I believe I understand your point separating "feeling" people from (those I presume you to mean) thinking people. However, some aspects of the human experience, and even aspects of the greater natural experience, are better "felt" than intellectualized. A sunset can be described a thousand ways intellectually, none of which can hope to match the feeling evoked in the human spirit by a single sunset.

Thank you again for your input. This is a truly fascinating subject.
 

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StrangeQuark said:
A little close-mindedness doesn't bother me so much, except when it's taken to extremes. I'm not likely to shed my "core" belief, for example, no matter what someone else might say.
Doctrines or faith in doctrines require some close-mindedness. They require that some views just be shut off, regardless of whether they make sense or not. Its when that net that so many people place over themselves expands and demands to cover those who choose not to wear the net that it becomes fundamentalist and truly close-minded.
 

juantoo3

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Mus Zibii said:
Doctrines or faith in doctrines require some close-mindedness. They require that some views just be shut off, regardless of whether they make sense or not. Its when that net that so many people place over themselves expands and demands to cover those who choose not to wear the net that it becomes fundamentalist and truly close-minded.
Overall, I am inclined to agree. A lot has to do with the particular doctrine, and a lot has to do with the individual's application of that doctrine. Some doctrines do seem to promote "fundamentalism," depending on individual interpretation. I believe this would be in line with what has been called a "meme." Some individuals are prone to fundamentalism regardless of the specific doctrine. This would lead me to think that at least in some instances fundamentalism is a human inclination, a psychological "crutch," a "need to be 'right'," an internal justification that even when all the evidence points against a doctrinal stance there is solace within one's mind. A "type A" personality's excuse to control everything within its surroundings. Just a thought.
 

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Namaskar Juantoo,

juantoo3 said:
A lot has to do with the particular doctrine, and a lot has to do with the individual's application of that doctrine.

I don't fully agree here. Although not everyone is graced with the same openmindedness, I think it is the doctrine and not the individual that makes someone a fundamentalist. People with a certain inclination will find themselves attracted to fundamentalist doctrines.

Some doctrines do seem to promote "fundamentalism," depending on individual interpretation. I believe this would be in line with what has been called a "meme." Some individuals are prone to fundamentalism regardless of the specific doctrine.

IMHO, if the doctrine is not fundamentalist, then the person cannot be called fundamentalist either because he/she is not defending a fundamentalist doctrine. Even in very universal anti-dogmatic doctrines, you will find some persons who are less openminded, but if their minds are not changed by the practices and the influence of other members, they will eventually have to leave that doctrine and exchange it for another one.

This would lead me to think that at least in some instances fundamentalism is a human inclination, a psychological "crutch," a "need to be 'right'," an internal justification that even when all the evidence points against a doctrinal stance there is solace within one's mind. A "type A" personality's excuse to control everything within its surroundings. Just a thought.

That is part of the explanation why certain types of people are attracted to fundamentalist doctrines. Perhaps another reason is that certain individuals are less inclined to trust their own logic and reasoning and feel the need for some sort of rigid external ultimate authority (out of fear?). Or maybe it's also a defect in the creative intelligence of these people?
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Avinash!

Thank you for your thought-provoking response!
Avinash said:
Although not everyone is graced with the same openmindedness, I think it is the doctrine and not the individual that makes someone a fundamentalist. People with a certain inclination will find themselves attracted to fundamentalist doctrines.
Can a person be a fundamentalist (or have fundamentalist tendencies) in the absence of a doctrine? Or a doctrine of "no doctrine?" While I cannot say I am privvy to the inner workings of the mind of such a person, I would be inclined to think "yes" from some of what I have seen.

IMHO, if the doctrine is not fundamentalist, then the person cannot be called fundamentalist either because he/she is not defending a fundamentalist doctrine. Even in very universal anti-dogmatic doctrines, you will find some persons who are less openminded, but if their minds are not changed by the practices and the influence of other members, they will eventually have to leave that doctrine and exchange it for another one.
Yes, I see your point, and I think it coincides with what I was trying to say. Of course, being excluded by a group that claims not to be exclusionary is kind of contradictory, is it not? That is, such a person may never be expelled from an all-inclusive group, if such a group was absolutely true to their doctrine. Which comes back to what I was trying to say that fundamentalism has its doctrinal components, just as it has its personal/individual components.

I think I see what you are trying to say, presuming both fundamental and non-fundamental doctrines are available as choices. And there is always the choice of not choosing.

If the culturally dominant religion is one that doctrinally claims non-fundamentalism, where does the "control-freak" go? In other words, what you say is valid here in the West, where traditionally "fundamentalist" religions prevail and "non-fundamentalist" religions are a minority. What of in the East, where "non-fundamentalist" religions prevail, and "fundamentalist" religions are either non-existent, or an even lesser minority? Where does the "control-freak" express fundamentalism safely in a non-fundamentalist world? While the expressions may be different, I am inclined to believe that such a basic psychological style would still be represented in such a society. (Come to think of it, warlords, such as those addressed by Sun-Tzu, should serve well as examples).

That is part of the explanation why certain types of people are attracted to fundamentalist doctrines. Perhaps another reason is that certain individuals are less inclined to trust their own logic and reasoning and feel the need for some sort of rigid external ultimate authority (out of fear?). Or maybe it's also a defect in the creative intelligence of these people?
Oh yes, I agree. Add to this list those who have no desire to be accountable of, to and for themselves. Those that haven't the time to do their own homework, that want somebody else to do the hard stuff for them and just "tell" them how to get to "heaven." And possibly those who have no care of their spirit's journey beyond this existence. And even possibly those who have become jaded by whatever charletans have led them astray. All of these are the personal interpretations I mentioned.

Using these as guides, I can see how even a person holding to a "non-fundamental" faith can still hold a fundamental mental attitude.

FWIW. :)
 
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