Why so many rules

julia

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Just poking: No offence meant!

Why do religions need more than one or two simple rules? Shouldn't it be sufficient to remind ourselves that there is possibly more to life than we perceive and call for respectful and loving treatment of our fellow creatures?

Or are the various religious traditions only metaphors for a presence that we cannot grasp? Do we need the certainty of nicely set rules? Why can't we leave an open space in our heads and acknowlede our lack of knowledge but instead need to fill it with sometimes incohrent but vivid pictures?

What are your views about that?

Julia
 

Paladin

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Julia,

I feel that religion in general is only a vehicle, the finger that points to the moon. The Buddha once said that after crossing the river it isn't necessary to carry the boat around with you. A friend of mine is fond of saying "ditch the raft!" in response to legalistic words and behaviors.
Perhaps because of different levels of moral development rules are societetically necessary, but I believe that as we grow into the realization of our Divine heritage, the old rules of behavior will be superceded by a love so deep no harm could be conceived or acted upon.
 

brucegdc

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julia said:
Just poking: No offence meant!

Why do religions need more than one or two simple rules? Shouldn't it be sufficient to remind ourselves that there is possibly more to life than we perceive and call for respectful and loving treatment of our fellow creatures?

It's certainly soemthing that's been discussed over the years... there is a story about a great Jewish sage, Hillel, who was challenged to teach the entirety of Torah while standing on one leg... a challenge given to other sages by the same smartass, and roundly rejected. Hillel stood up, lifted one leg, and said "Do not do to other people what is offensive to you. That is Torah. The rest is commentary".

The problem with simplicity is that humans are complex. Set down one or two simple rules, and then someone comes along with a "but what if", which adds a third, then a fourth, then a fifth, and so forth. Since we seem to want (in general) someone to tell us what to do at all times, the rules get added to and added to and added to - especially in a heirarchical organization Of course, after a cup of coffee, I'd probably be less cynical and say that, as Hillel said, all these additional rules are just commentary or specific applications of the basic ones.

... Bruce
 

Abogado del Diablo

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Rules result when spirituality gets mixed up with politics. Religion is the science of using human spirituality to control behavior.
 

BluejayWay

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I'm in agreement with about everything posted here, and Paladin's point is an especially good one. Rules are a good starting-point, and the rigors of spiritual discipline are not unlike the training schedule for an athlete--necessary to acheive the result.

And, let's face it, some people are more comfortable with a framework to exist within, and will hold to the rules because of that. Others can't, for whatever reason, successfully maintain their beliefs without commandments and guidelines, and more power to them.

I'm not a terribly disciplined person myself, so I won't presume to offer any advice;) , but rules can have their place--
 

project2501

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This is interesting enough to take me out of lurk mode.

There is a nice reason for the number of rules from logic. Its called incompleteness, and i have had occasion to use this against lawyers (only for fun, never at the dock :p).

Basically any system (including legal systems, which are ostensibly logical (in the sence that the infer guilt from a set of predicates)) built on logic can have one of three properties:
1) its too small to be of any use
2) it can prove nonesensical statements (this is called inconsistency of the system)
3) it cannot prove or disprove all the cases you could make with the system (this is called incompleteness of the system)

The important part of this is that as you keep adding to a system, like a set of religious rules, inconsistencies must appear, and more rules and up being added to accomodate the inconsistencies.
 

Quahom1

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When my son broke the rules, I popped his butt. He got the picture. Now He is a Medic, who pops other butts, and they get it. (he heals people)

Those who do not understand will never get it.

v/r

Q
 

Bandit

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Quahom1 said:
When my son broke the rules, I popped his butt. He got the picture. Now He is a Medic, who pops other butts, and they get it. (he heals people)

Those who do not understand will never get it.

v/r

Q
LOL
Luckily I did not have to do that with my son, since his mom took custody & got stuck with the butt popping.
But I sure did get some popping growing up & I think I got the picture.
 

earl

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BluejayWay said:
I'm in agreement with about everything posted here, and Paladin's point is an especially good one. Rules are a good starting-point, and the rigors of spiritual discipline are not unlike the training schedule for an athlete--necessary to acheive the result.

And, let's face it, some people are more comfortable with a framework to exist within, and will hold to the rules because of that. Others can't, for whatever reason, successfully maintain their beliefs without commandments and guidelines, and more power to them.

I'm not a terribly disciplined person myself, so I won't presume to offer any advice;) , but rules can have their place--
Buddhism speaks of the three "trainings:" sila-or ethics, concentration/meditation, and wisdom-basically what you end up with from the other two! Buddhism is clear however, that its system of ethics is largely for training the mind-one cannot open to clearer reality when the mind is clouded with self-serving crap. they also point out that these ethical standards are the natural behavior of already enlightened people. So, essentially the "rules" for them exist to train the mind to act in enlightened fashion until it finds its natural, ultimate basis and does so naturally. whenever I get to chatting with my fellow christians, though, re Christianity, which has the rap for being really "rule-bound," i do like to point out that Jesus taught only 1 rule: love thy neighbor & love God. frankly i think all religious rules and spiritual practices come down to ways to help us accomplish that simple sounding dictum and rules and dogma that interfere with that, IMO, are counterproductive. Have a good one, Earl
 

julia

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Quahom1 said:
When my son broke the rules, I popped his butt. He got the picture. Now He is a Medic, who pops other butts, and they get it. (he heals people)

Those who do not understand will never get it.

v/r

Q
Were those rules about anything else than not hurting others or himself?

Julia
 
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Quahom1

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julia said:
Were those rules about anything else than not hurting others or himself?

Julia
Not to harm self or others is pretty much the base for our family rules. They of course included defiance and rebellion (in the extreme), which can bring harm all the way around.

v/r

Q
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Julia! Welcome to CR!

Excellent question!

Why do religions need more than one or two simple rules? Shouldn't it be sufficient to remind ourselves that there is possibly more to life than we perceive and call for respectful and loving treatment of our fellow creatures?
I suppose it depends how well each of us individually can actually keep those "one or two simple rules. How many of us actually always DO those things written on our hearts? To some of us the matter may seem quite clear. Some of us need clarification, or at least assurance. Some of us need Someone to lead us by the hand.

And long ago some among us learned to use hand leading to bring us into a cohesive unit. The extended family called a tribe. Over time and sheer size, it became the political institutions we know today, directing the societies it influences.

As for butt-popping; I know my Heavenly Father has popped my butt on occasion. Believe me, I learned those lessons! :D
 
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bananabrain

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Basically any system (including legal systems, which are ostensibly logical (in the sence that the infer guilt from a set of predicates)) built on logic can have one of three properties:
1) its too small to be of any use
2) it can prove nonsensical statements (this is called inconsistency of the system)
3) it cannot prove or disprove all the cases you could make with the system (this is called incompleteness of the system)

The important part of this is that as you keep adding to a system, like a set of religious rules, inconsistencies must appear, and more rules and up being added to accomodate the inconsistencies.

yeah! now *that's* what i'm talking about. this is the usefulness of paradox - it's what enables you to reconcile inconsistencies. either logic or paradox on their own is of limited use for the reasons pointed out above. i might even rewrite them for paradox:

a system built on paradox can have one of three properties:

1) it is too large to be of any use
2) it does not distinguish between nonsensical and reasonable statements
3) it can prove or disprove anything (simply by extending the boundaries of the system)

a little crude i dare say, although i might go so far as to equate logic with "stern judgment" and paradox with "mercy", without either of which the universe cannot exist. davar aher: ("and another thing..."): "without bread there is no Torah, without Torah there is no bread" (pirkei avot) this is why i have to say that judaism is not just a legal system, but also has to be a mystical system in order to reconcile inconsistencies!

as far as i can work it out, if G!D had stopped after "let there be light", the first question asked would have been "well, what colour?" - apologies to terry pratchett....

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
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