Interfaith Given

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by BigJoeNobody, May 7, 2015.

  1. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Can we all assume that what is said of one belief is prefaced with "In my opinion"?

    Can we also stop the assumption that everyone who posts is out to convert/demean/anger/contend/prove themselves superior until it is Blatantly said otherwise?

    If we can stick to these 2 principles, I'm sure discussions would go further than the "but you are just saying you are right and all others are wrong and they should think like me(unless they actually state that)".
     
  2. Senthil

    Senthil Well-Known Member

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    Yes, 'in my opinion' is a given. Not for everyone all the time, but for most of us.

    My personal take is that interfaith shouldn't be so much on a 'sharing philosophy' idea, but more on humanity. When opposing philosophical ideas are wrecking the planet with wars, we need to learn how to get along on a human level, DESPITE our philosophical differences. Ultimately, developing this ability may be beneficial for human survival on this planet.
     
  3. EdgyDolmen

    EdgyDolmen Well-Known Member

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    You certainly don't strike me as naïve but your desire for a blanket assumption is not reasonable. That is not the nature of the individual nor of the Christian. Although Matthew 28:16-20 is in actuality instruction by Jesus to his disciples to 'go out and spread his teaching' those instructions have become a basic tenet of Christianity. Convert them, save them and get them Baptized. These particular Christians do not share their opinions but rather the Church's teachings with the sole purpose of converting.

    As is true with this post - your are free to read anything I share and understand I submit it as 'my opinion'. Fact is - none if us know a confounded thing!
     
  4. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    thats kind of my point though, you think Christians (and probably other groups) are just trying to convert, so you don't give what they say any credibility (speaking of you as a generalization of vocal objectors and not you as in YOU). If we assume they are saying "In my opinion" It doesn't matter what they say in their attempt. we don't need to call them out until they say "you should join us in [fill in religion]"

    If I were to say "Islam is the greatest religion because it is the only religion that makes sense" (we all know that this is a declaratory statement that anyone would disagree with from any other religious background, and we know that whatever I say afterwords is probably aimed at convincing someone to Join my faith). An acceptable response would be anyone saying "I don't agree, as my religion makes sense to me" maybe followed up with questions about the other's views. through dialogue we can learn, not only the writers, but the readers as well. it doesn't have to be so formal, or even always nice, but If the dialogue continues and we can avoid judgement (difficult at times) we will be much better. Much better at least than offtracking with "I hate when people try to convert". especially if the person didn't intend that at all.

    Either way, anyone who reads this and attempts to apply it, Thank you.
     
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  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    That makes sense to me, on the basis that it's an opinion. I am of the same opinion about my religion.

    Is it? I'm not here to proselytise. I argue only to show my faith is reasonable, rational and logical, if one accepts its axioms. If you don't, then there's no point in discussion at all. I never thought you were out to convert me in our discussions, but only to demonstrate where Islam 'makes sense' to you and, like myself, to correct others when they hold and indeed promote misunderstanding regarding our respective doctrines.

    I engage with other traditions to understand, not convert.

    For example, I find certain aspects of Buddhism, as generally promoted, to be illogical, but then I'm pretty sure that's because what's being said doesn't actually reflect orthodox doctrine, or I've got an incomplete grasp of what's being said.

    Ah, that would be interfaith, but that's rare here. Usually what's put forward is, "I don't agree, as my religion makes sense to me," and then the other religion is disparaged. There's some classic examples of that here.

    If you've read my posts on reincarnation, that's all I've ever done, but no-one seems to get that. Senthil, at least, answered the question for me without getting into complex theological/metaphysical discussion, and I have no problem with that.

    Where I discussed reincarnation within the Christian Tradition at some length, putting forward grounds for dialogue, there was none. I was trying to show where orthodox Tibetan Buddhist and Roman Catholic ideas might coincide, but it never really got beyond individual opinions of what people thought reincarnation is all about, with precious little reference to any doctrine at all.

    I think the dispute between non-traditional syncretic beliefs and the Great Traditions highlights certain problems. It's a dialogue of subjectivity v objectivity. Any syncretic system will always founder on its flawed logic, the idea that Traditions say and indeed are the same is very popular, but I've rarely met anyone who says that and understands doctrine in any depth. It's popular because it's a nice idea, and because it can be used to validate any opinion one likes. Indeed, whereas the Theosophical Association once said 'there is no religion higher than truth', today that has been rewritten to read 'there is no truth higher than my opinion', and I think that applies in a lot of cases. 'My belief is right because I believe it', is another claim, and with that is the assumption, indeed the assertion, no other belief stands on firmer ground. Nonsense of course, but there you go.

    Syncretism will always have an uphill struggle against Tradition, because the likes of you and I have some really heavy-hitter thinkers in our corner – it's hard to contend with a Rumi or an Eckhart or a Shankara! In dialogue between Traditions, you have the likes of Aquinas for example, who had the towering intellectual lights of Al-Kindi and Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd to polish his skills on. The new denominations rely more on popular appeal than philosophical insight.

    It seems to me that when faced with an argument that cannot be answered, the easy way out is to accuse the other of attempted conversion, and there is some truth in that. When your own system has been shown to be wanting, then why should you cling to it, for other than sentimental or self-serving reasons?

    My way was to go looking for the answers, to test the foundations of doctrine. I think I surprised some when I said I'd drop Christianity without a moment's hesitation if it was shown that Christ was a myth. But then, I believe in a mystical Christ, whereas the popular image is merely a moral Christ. Big difference. There's nothing uniquely Christian in the moral message of Christianity as far as I can see, it's universal, so any mythical figurehead will do, the person is subsidiary and really of little consequence. Like the Jefferson Bible, a cut-n-paste job, until you come up with the image you had in mind in the first place ... I accuse them of cherry-picking, they reply that everyone does, which of course is not true, but they won't have it any other way, because they can't.
     
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  6. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    Thank you Thomas for this. I agree, on all the important topics you mention. And you touched on something I hope people can listen to in that, just because someone says something that makes you question your world view, doesn't make it a conversion attempt. I've never felt pressured from almost any group here, and I try to deliberately make my posts open ended so that we can move forward. I just see this as an ongoing problem, with hopes we can fix it before our membership here goes down to nothing.
     
  7. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    There was a guy on here some time back who, though he was a bit flaky, did offer one gem. He almost always started or ended his statements "From my point of view". That clarification is invaluable as I'm not sure I can agree that what everyone writes is "In their own opinion". It does not seem to me that that can be accepted as a given at all.

    As for conversion, except for a few odd characters who join with the obvious motive to convert (they usually don't hang around long), I've never felt that anyone was trying to convert me. In my opinion there is no one posting regularly on the board right now who is attempting that.

    On the topic of self superiority. There is that undertone in several of our regular posters, even if it is not intended. Those who believe that it is either my way or the highway; who are so sure their theology is the Only One True Way, and state this over and over and over again, even if it is not a form of self superiority, it is not someone interested in interfaith discussion - again in my opinion.

    The reality of the human condition is that we are far more alike than we are different, even though so many in the world try so hard to say it isn't so. It is also difficult for me to understand the idea that someone can be so sure their religion is the Only One True Way. Aside from making a personal choice, what proof is there to support that claim? None. No one has ever come back from any form of afterlife and went on Letterman and told the world what it was like. No one in modern times has had their God have a sit down for a spot of tea in their dining room. In the end no matter how strong your beliefs are, they are beliefs based on personal choices. If they are personal choices it baffles me why there cannot be at least a little bit of room to think "I just might be wrong".
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    In my opinion... my belief is the truth... in my opinion...there is only one truth... and that is after I've studied here and there for 57 years... in my opinion...

    The in my opinion is often eradicated by the words that come after or before it... in my opinion.
     
  9. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    and without stretching the envelope of explaining in detail why one would think that, you will never understand. Yes I, amongst others, are set in our belief that our path is correct, or at least MOST correct. These obviously come from somewhere, but without delving into what they think is proof, there is no room to discuss or understand, leaving a big hole of questions that will never be filled. I've had some of the best conversations with others who are SURE they are correct, and none of them believed like me. I'm not talking about debate, but conversations of why, who, when, where, and how are still legitimate to interfaith discussion. I had my question removed from the Pagan threads for asking someone where they get their information, or did they just bring it out of nowhere. Why this wasn't acceptable, I'll never know. You know what else I will never know? Why someone (specific) would believe in such a thing given the resources I know there to be lay direct claim against it? (it wasn't for a pagan exactly, but a Luciferian). I've invited criticism and questioning of Islam, because from my experience, it is highly misunderstood by outsiders and even many believers. In other words, there is much to be corrected and much more to learn. And learning is what brings people closer. Same could be said of Pagans (met a follower of Isis (ancient egyptian god) the other day as he came to spray my house, I told him why I wouldn't believe in it, and he explained he understands and why he does (turns out he looked at it in terms of oldest religious text as being the Hieroglyphs)).
     
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  10. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I see the point you are trying to make, and I disagree. There is no reason for someone not to believe their way is the truth. Unless they believe in multiple truths, which is contradictory to most beliefs. Why is it difficult to just accept most people are sure in what they believe? Why can't me, Thomas, and Shib have a discussion about the similarities and differences in the Abrahamic faiths while still resolving the absolute that we all agree that we each see ourselves as right. Or you and Thomas as revisionist vs traditionalist views. Or any combination. You believe you are right? (pretty sure you established that). So do I. If I explained to you the proofs of why I believe the way I do, it in no way effects your rightness. But this idea if placed in a thread will immediately be shutdown as me saying I'm right and being offensive to you.. I just want that to change.
    If you want to keep derailing conversations, go ahead. but you won't learn anything nor will anyone else and the IF part will be lost.
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    If you and I can get a fresh start...

    I know you and others who don't know me like Wil, Thomas and some of the others do think you know me...but I might just surprise you. For one, I don't hold a specific tradition, although Christianity is my primary source material and that which I am most familiar with. That said, I am more of a scholarly solitary...not scholar in the sense Thomas would prefer, more on a science level...I hold a deep appreciation and fascination with anthropology and history and the associated fields. Therefore I would have trouble making *any* assumptions, presumptions or suppositions.

    Again, Thomas may disagree (I know he and I have been around the block more than once about it), but I do not start my inquiries with an end in mind, I try very diligently to follow where evidence leads...as any good scientist would.

    People are people, and religious people in general are prone to jump to conclusions...based in large part on the premises you underlined here. Dawkins' "memes" didn't help that situation any, after atheists in general grabbed onto that lot while not realizing it included themselves.

    I've stated in the past, people have to govern their lives from a position of "right," whether or not it actually is so...compounded by what is actually meant or intended by "right?" There was another long time poster here, who was an anthropologist by trade, who I admired very much but with whom I had an essential disagreement...which boiled down to a cultural superiority complex. Superiority complexes are nothing new, and they are not limited to religion...or science...let alone are these the *only* two valid points of view! And therein lies the problem you are up against.
     
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  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Are you at all familiar with logical fallacies? Somewhere around here, probably buried very deep by now, is a thread with a long list of logical fallacies. It never ceases to amaze me the arguments people use over and over again to justify their positions believing themselves to be logical and rational...yet their arguments are anything but logical. I always know, when the first rebuttal is an assault on my character or me personally, that they don't have a legitimate argument in defense. (Gotta watch Thomas for this....he does it to me all the time ;) )

    I know you and I got off to a rocky start, and for that I apologize...but if you look close, I never attacked your character or you personally. That would be an ad hominem...and even a blind pig can find a truffle now and then.

    I suppose I am more of a philosopher than a practitioner of any one faith. And I have made the comment more than once in the past....were I to change coats, I would either become Jewish (Yashua was a Jew) or an animist / shaman (oldest religion, cuts out all the fluff and baggage and gets right down to the bare roots).
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    In your opinion... ;)

    Besides the wholesale deliberate ignorance foisted on the laity about the history of where the Christian faith even comes from, and overall encouragement via rhetoric from the pulpit to remain in said ignorance, and general compliance from the flocks to remain in said ignorance...Christian history remains a huge mystery to its own adherents. Jewish history is better understood, but (in my opinion) it seems Islamic history is no better than Christian history in the sense that if any one dares to question, they are accused of blasphemy. Which leads me to two things...other religons have no problem with their histories...Buddhism and Hinduism for example are quite open about their history (the little Aryan issue notwithstanding with Hinduism). And the more important thing regarding InterFaith discussions, is that if G!d exists, He can handle questions...(that is *not* blasphemy!) Those who are quick to cry "blasphemy!" are hiding something.


    While I don't disagree in general, I think this is another readily abused line of argument that attempts to brush aside other well considered "paths up the mountain." Back to superiority complexes...

    Point being...humans are humans, and power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I have heard many a human speak words from a religious text as "the Word of G!D!" in complete contradiction to what the words even mean. Of course that then leads into "interpretations" and all of that mess...even in Orthodoxy. Humans setting themselves up as the voice of G!d are not G!d. G!d can, will and does speak to anyone who will listen and comes to Him in the proper spirit and frame of mind.

    It's a nice idea because there is an element of truth to it, an element of truth that serves Orthodoxy well to overlook and disavow. Religion is the second oldest profession, and a very profitable one...serving as the surrogate and gatekeeper and receptionist between the common person and the Divine. Jesus saw through all of that and showed us it didn't have to be like that. We all have a direct connection, if we only practice how to use it.

    An unintended consequence of the "Morality in Evolution" thread was that early on, folks contributed lists of moral lessons from many different religions...and surprising was the number of same or similar lessons. So if G!d made man (and woman), and it was VERY good (Genesis), and He spread them around the World as He saw fit, teaching them and raising them as He deemed appropriate, sending each a comparatively similar set of moral instructions...I'm OK with that.

    Further, any god who would punish or condemn a person for no fault other than birth, is no god I wish to follow. If a Chinese person is sent to "hell" for following the moral traditions available to him or her by way of birthplace, or an African person, or an Island person, or an Inuit, or...for no other reason than they were born into another tradition...is no god I wish to follow. (Paul was VERY clear on this in the book of Romans, "these, without the law, do the things contained in the law because the law is written on their hearts.")

    ...there is too much power and money at stake, and Tradition needs to justify its dominance over the common people.

    Mythic and Mystic are very different, neither of which implies falsity.

    Yes, you have levelled that accusation at me, and I have *never* responded in this manner.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    This is good to know, it will make any future discussions between us easier.
     
  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Point taken, but as well many can't be bothered with the "in my opinions" and such. Personally, I prefer the more formal approach, but I suppose that is scholarship speaking...most can't be bothered.

    The Superiority complexes are going to be there...you have one. So do I, so does Thomas, so does Wil. It is a rare, very rare, person here who doesn't. It is almost requisite to speak knowledgeably. Otherwise folks think you are flaky...from my point of view.

    The world is much smaller now than it was even when I was a kid, and it continues to shrink. I think that scares a lot of people. We have access now to things we couldn't imagine just a generation ago. We are starting to realize more and more that those "others" over there aren't really all that different from "us."

    There are still pockets of refusal, and politics will always play the game of "one-up-man-ship," but by and large things are changing, fast...and it scares some people.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Fair enough.

    I find the most difficult person to preach to, is the person I face in the mirror every morning.

    Stated another way, be the change you wish to see in others.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  17. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    I'm not at all sure I can accept that first statement. I think I understand your point though so how's about this: we all have some level of superiority and there is a range from a little superiority to a lot. It depends on the person, how limited their views are, how sure they are of their own knowledge over and above others.

    I would add to that that it is not even a fixed proportion per person. Rather a sliding proportion of superiority depending on the subject being discussed. We all have our soap boxes where are personal superiority is high, and we all have our internal doubts on other things where we hold little to no superiority on that subject.

    As to me being flaky. My personal philosophy has always been you may call me anything except late for dinner. I have this attitude because I take no responsibility for how my words are interpreted by someone else. I say what I have to say the best way I can find to say it. How it is accepted, or not, is out of my hands.
     
  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ....whys guy.... ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    First...I was not calling you flaky. (I was hoping you would pick up on the sarcasm..."from my point of view"?) Please forgive me if it seemed that way, that point was that without some "ego" inserted, most folks walk away with the impression of flakiness. That is a serious challenge a lot of the "ego-less" paths have in trying to reach out to others...which becomes a fraught pursuit, because communication almost invariably requires some insertion of ego. This is "ego" in the Eastern sense, not the Freudian sense.

    As to ego being in degrees, I accept that as a given. There are those who try really hard to remove their egos from what they want to say, and others like me who don't really care...I am what I am, so my ego isn't unnecessary baggage, it is part and parcel of who I am. Which essentially is my point, applied to anybody.

    I think too you touch on intellectual honesty. There are many who speak "knowingly!" on matters they haven't a clue about, and others who remain silent though they could teach every one of us here. So yes, there is a wide sliding scale. It doesn't negate my comment. :D
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2015
  19. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Nor forgiveness needed, no foul happened as far as I am concerned. Essentially my feelings about me are as yours are about you - I am comfortable in my own skin, the good, the bad and the unruly. My philosophy on most things is that life is a sliding scale. Ego is in and of itself not bad. There isn't much of anything that is inherently bad. It's how one uses it. There are, of course, exceptions. For the most part though I believe this is true.
     
  20. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I have read through the rest, but just wanted to make a quick comment on this. Your analysis of history according to religion is faulty as is your explanation of penalty of questioning it. I mainly come at this in terms of this being a generality. Yes Christians in general argue constantly about history, as it is very foggy on what happened really, what was fluffed up, and what was changed later. Judaism, depends on the denomination as to how accurate they intend to keep their history, but there are known gaps as for years and complete history (in the Abrahamic tradition the idea is that the History started with the beginning of the earth, which is a long time to keep all the written records accurate). In Islam, A lot of events were recorded and details maintained (from an Islamic standpoint this is understandable that we could get this right, as we are what we believe as the last people of the Abrahamic faiths (yes I know Bahai claim that as well)). There are scholars looking through these books all the time and questioning every detail that is not exactly the same as the rest. I've never heard a claim of blasphemy for questioning the historical events (be it straight history or Hadiths). I've also never seen anyone chastised for questioning accuracy in anything except the Quran. You may or may not be familiar with the records kept on the Quranic history, distribution, etc. But I can assure you if it was written someone has questioned it, and those questioners, and the answers received are recorded as well. I'm not getting into this too deep hopefully as my main point is that in talking about this you bring points of contention which can easily be denied. Also, Generalizations lead usually to an answer that must be long winded to explain that while some people might be doing this, not all are. The issues of contention, you have to choose what to take from my explanation (if anything) and if necessary, ask for follow up questions. By not assuming you are not on a ANTI-Islam campaign, I can explain these issues as if they were your opinion/misunderstanding and not your argument (which would be baseless obviously as no evidence was brought with it).

    As for the rest, I do hope we can have some decent discussions, especially since I sense a lot of misunderstanding of Islam and the surrounding influences, probably attributed to bad information you have received at some point. I come from a Christian background as well and when appropriate to my experiences, will explain things there as well. I do not shy away from history, and if something is sketchy from a Christian standpoint, I will do my best to explain it. I just want you and others to know, it is IN MY OPINION, on 99.9% of posts... the rest is split between jokes and junk.
     

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