Why are the Virtues not enough?

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Pilgram, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    universal truths are not necessarily shared dogma. It is universal truth to a Christian that Jesus Christ is God. It is not a shared dogma of either Jews or Moslems who believe JC was at best only a prophet or teacher.

    Once we delete out all the unshared dogma we might find that we are left with common sense decency or virtue, if you will. (or Uncommon sense since good sense is not very common).

    Every religion you can name is replete with "particularist dogma" as you call it. That is the VERY thing that makes them a separate and distinct religion! Far from peeling it away, each religion creates its own worldview with its own version of saviors, saints, demons and devils.
     
  2. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    i think you're missing my point, pilgram. what i am saying is that religions are generally more than capable of *kidding themselves* that they are capable of stripping/have managed to strip out this dogma and got down to the bare essentials. in fact, this is the essence of how fundamentalism works.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  3. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    I believe I understand your point and it's a good one. Religions are capable of many irrational things, kidding themselves being one of the less malignant.

    But I believe that you have missed my major point. My suggestion essentially saps fundamentalism and most established religions of their most toxic substances.

    By comparing the dogma upon which they all agree (there isn't much here that can't be derived by good sense, i.e. don't steal, kill, hate, etc.) and using ONLY that dogma to form a new religion, we are left with a religion that everyone can agree on (this should be obvious since we ONLY included the agreed upon dogma from all religions).

    Next, since we've omitted all the "particularized" (to use your term) myths from this new religion, no one can say but Jesus said this, Jehovah, said that, Mohamed said the other.

    Granted, the dogma that we would be left with in this new religion would be very sparse indeed. But I see this as a good thing since what we really need to live by are just a few sound principles that would be more plainly SEEN in a religion stripped of statues, beads, myths, holy water, incence, saints, gods, saviours, devils, demons, etc.

    I see nothing wrong with any of these things per se but many people are not able to see the beauty of the woman when she is adorned with designer clothes, thousands of dollars of jewelry, designer shoes, make-up, plastic surgery and bolt on breasts.

    Bare bones principles have a beauty that can't be seen until and unless we strip away all the tinsel, ornaments and flashing lights.
     
  4. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    from my point of view, it would be a mistake to create a single "world" religion.

    people are different and have different capacities and as such each person responds in a different fashion to a particular religious paradigm.

    some folks need to have a Creator Deity in order to make spiritual progress and others do not, we cannot make a blanket statement about the spiritual needs of individuals.

    in the Buddhist tradition, it is said that there are 84,000 entry ways into the Dharma or Teachings. This is due to the varying capacities of the individuals that engage in a spiritual practice.
     
  5. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    People are also the same and have the same needs. No matter what culture one is raised in, all need food, water, etc. All thrive when they are afforded human dignity and do poorly when deprived of justice and a living wage for their hard work. I see more similarities in all people than I see differences.

    However, the differences are what is maintaining the illusion of "otherness" As long as one culture sees the next as "other" there will be no acceptance. Where there is no acceptance, there will be no love. Where there is no love, there will be nothing worthwhile.

    Paradigms are just that and nothing more. They are not sacred. They are human contructs assembled for human goals.

    No matter how innocent and benevolent a religion may have started out as, most (if not all) do more harm than good in maintaining the illusion that they (each different religion) is on the fast track to truth.

    Thus, my suggestion: Why not keep the wheat that is the same and nourishing in all religions and throw away the chaff? Why not learn one language so that all men can speak and come together as equals?

    By defending and maintaining dozens of very different and conflicting religions, we defend and maintain distrust, "otherness", prejudice, fear, hatred, ridicule, unrest and finally and obviously, war and killing in the name of god/s.

    How anyone can want to maintain this is beyond my understanding. Of course those with vested interests, I understand. Priests and other self-appointed men of god make a living selling their wares. Governments find "just cause" to drop bombs on those who worship "false gods." And hateful, little men and women find cause to continue hating.

    keep the faith and keep the war that comes with it!
     
  6. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Not mere semantics

    Very good.

    Except that semantics is not mere. It is very weighty.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  7. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Pilgram,

    thank you for the post.

    in the Buddhist tradition, we extend this to all sentient beings.. not just humans. in fact, we go so far as to say that all sentient beings are equal in that they all want to be happy and not to suffer.


    i suppose that we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. it does not follow that because one culture sees another culture as "other" that there is no acceptance. perhaps this is true of some ideologies.

    to a certain extent i agree with you. however, it cannot be doubted that people respond to things differently and what works for me may not work for you. the goal of religion is what? from our view, the goal of religion is quite practicle.. to eliminate the pain and suffering of all sentient beings, and one of the ways in which we practice to do this is through a paradigm that directly speaks to us. whether this is a spiritual or cultural paradigm, may have little bearing on it in the end.

    this is the point of faith. if one does not have faith that thier tradition can, in fact, deliver them to the other shore, what purpose is there in practicing? far better to spend ones time engaged in worthwhile societal aims, such as eliminating poverty and a world wide basic education, in my opinion.

    ah.. you mean Esparanto :)

    "
    Esperanto is an international auxiliary language devised in 1887 by Dr. Ludovic Lazar Zamenhof, a Jewish Eye Doctor, under the pseudonym of "Doktoro Esperanto" (Doctor Hopeful). He original called the language "La Internacia Lingvo " (The International Language), but it soon became known as Esperanto. "​

    language does not an equal make. herein lies the rub. the chaff is part of the plant.. and without, the plant would not grow. you cannot simply have the kernel of the wheat without the chaff. people are differing in their capacities in all things which is quite simply evidenced in some scholastic things such as mathmatics and science.


    perhaps. however, this isn't the necessary conclusion. one can be open, trustworthy, honorable and compassionate even to those that have a different belief system or skin color or ethinicity. perhaps this is more of an indictment of inviduals rather than entire belief structures.


    we (my school that is) actually view the various world religious traditions as beautiful jewels that contribute to the wonderful diversity and life that we have on our planet. personally, i think it would be a shame to see all religions wiped out to be replaced by some "world religion" ... that's very Orwellian in my opinion and not something that i'd like to be a part of.
     
  8. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    I have a dream.

    Vaj writes:

    Buddha should have -- or did actually -- founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and all present day daughter groups.

    And:

    Maybe not one religion but a common generic one where everyone can live and interact with everyone else and feel comfortable. Now the Jews or more correctly Judaists and the Muslims can't feel comfortable with each other, but I can feel comfortable with Vaj and others here who have the same common sentiment in regard to religion.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  9. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    to be precise: many jews and many muslims feel uncomfortable with each other - but by no means all. i am not minimising the unpleasantness of the current situation, but my experience of jewish-muslim dialogue, not to mention social contact has been extremely positive and has resulted in many lasting friendships. we just all need to get out of our boxes and preconceptions a lot more - what terrorists and fundamentalists want us to do is stay in them so they can run things by making us all afraid. i recommend a book by karen armstrong on ths subject - "the battle for G!D" which is available at amazon.

    susma - what on earth does "judaists" mean? i've never heard anyone use this word before you!

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  10. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Actually, I agree with you. Semantics are very important and words can and do injure and kill.

    What I meant in the context of "mere semantics" is that we can play with words for good or ill. I thought and still do that changing the words of the golden rule does not change the concept as most people understand it. Almost every culture has its particular rendition of the golden rule and the sentiment is the same.

    As I said earlier we would do well to strip things down to their basics so that we can better understand what it is we are "putting our faith in." There isn't one person in a thousand who can tell me all of the dogma of his or her religion. This is not by accident.

    Unscrupulous men have long benefited from creating many more words and laws than are necessary for people to live good lives. Only by stripping away the excess and the redundant and most important the contradictory will we ever be able to actually approach the highest state possible for human beings.

    While we sit idly by and allow our religions to get away with their hypocrisy we remain a part of it.

    Yes, semantics are important or weighty as you said. That is why I suggest we take a careful look at them, note the ones that represent the same good sense principles in all religions and vow to come up with a new religion that does not exclude the "other." Until then, we will have the "failthful", the "infidel" the "heretic" the "pagan" ... and distrust, hatred, war, killing.
     
  11. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    When you say that you are "not minimising the unpleasantness of the current situation" are you by any chance refering to people being systematically shot by Israeli soldiers trained not to kill but only to maim so that the kill ratio does not get too many countries overly concerned with Israel/Palestinian unpleasantness?

    Are you saying "unpleasantness" tongue in cheek?

    I assume from your many words that you believe that much or all of this is merely "appearance" and that these poor people being crippled for life or made dead is not more than an "unpleasantness" because in the overall sceme of your religion, people are immortal and only appear to suffer and die.

    My understanding of Buddhism has led me to believe that it is one of the least toxic religions. However, if your choice of words (unpleasantness = denial of civil and human rights, imprisonment, terrrorism, torture, intentional maiming and death) is representative of Buddhism then perhaps I have to reassess my understanding of it.

    A religion that does not actively kill may passively kill by doing nothing to stop it. That does not make it a good religion. It only makes it passively evil.

    Christians claim to obey Jesus yet I've never seen one of them actually turn the other cheek. And only few have even been reported to have done so by witnesses. With good reason. It's a stupid and toxic teaching. All sentient beings protect themselves when attacked. And most christians simply ignore Jesus' admonitionn to turn the other cheek.

    But this is a perfect example of what I am talking about when I say we need to look at the words and dogma of religions and get rid of the chaff. (Yes chaff is part of the plant, but try eating it regularly and throw away the wheat instead and tell me how you feel in a few months.)

    Your use of the world "unpleasantness" is most interesting to me. Would you care to explain it I wonder?
     
  12. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Pilgram,

    bannanabrain is Jewish, not Buddhist :)
     
  13. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Thank you for pointing out my mix up of post answering. I think everyone knows to whom the various parts of my last post were directed. If not, I'd be glad to specify.
     
  14. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Pilgram,

    perhaps, it would be of some benefit for you to do so... since you posted this:

    "My understanding of Buddhism has led me to believe that it is one of the least toxic religions. However, if your choice of words (unpleasantness = denial of civil and human rights, imprisonment, terrrorism, torture, intentional maiming and death) is representative of Buddhism then perhaps I have to reassess my understanding of it."

    which is not representative of Buddhism in the least.

    whilst it may be clear to you and i, for a new reader of the forum, it may not be.
     
  15. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    To be neutral

    Banana, you are too modest of your learning and reading grasp.

    Anyway, I use the term 'Judaist' which you will find defined in a good dictionary to refer to an adherent of the traditional religion of the Jewish people, that having Moses for a lawgiver and Jaweh for a God and circumcision for a very physical telltale mark.

    For me a Jew is not necessarily a Judaist, because many Jews don't believe in Jaweh. And also I think the term 'Judaist' is neutral, compared to the term 'Jew'.

    But tell me, what do you know about circumcision among the Jews who don't believe in Jaweh or are atheists? They do it just the same for a ethnic cultural practice?

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  16. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    No longer undergraduate

    Not even the Pope can tell all of the dogmas of the Church he is heading
    as the Vicar of Christ. He has to consult his books and his theological and historical experts.

    And if any one enthusiast or infatuated adherent of his religion would search far and wide and long into the history of dogmas in his bride of a religion, he will get all confused to discover the contradictions and inconsistencies and uncertainties in its repertory of dogmas down the ages and over the diverse factions of spokesmen.

    And I find all that very academically entertaining.

    You know, Pilgram, we can love each other. If there is only one room left in the boarding house, I can share it with you.

    You remind me of my undergraduate days in matters of religion. I want to imagine that I have outgrown my peevish phase in this realm.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  17. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    As I said:

    "Thank you for pointing out my mix up of post answering. I think everyone knows to whom the various parts of my last post were directed. If not, I'd be glad to specify."

    Specifically, My comments on "unpleasantness" were directed to bananabrain since he is the person who used the term. I do not fear many readers will not understand to whom my comment was directed.

    It did surprise me somewhat that who I thought was a Buddhist (i.e. bananabrain) would have used such a tongue in cheek expression to represent the horror taking place in the Mideast between the Jews and Moslems.

    I HEREBY STATE THAT I MADE A MISTAKE. BANANABRAIN NEVER SAID ANYTHING THAT I HAVE READ HERE THAT LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS A BUDDHIST. I STILL BELIEVE BUDDHISM TO BE ONE OF THE LEAST TOXIC OF ALL RELIGIONS.

    Whether or not he is a Jew as you say, I do not know. My comment would have been the same for a Jew, Buddhist, Christian, atheist or Hindu. To refer to the terrorism being perpetrated by both Israelis and Palestinians today in the Mideast as "unpleasantness" can only be seen by this reader as gross ignorance or intentional and vile understatement

    I hope this clarifies any confusion I might have caused. If anyone has further questions please do not hesitate to ask for further clarification. Do be specific about what it is you would like clarified.






    .
     
  18. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    I agree that one would get "all confused to discover the contradictions and inconsistencies and uncertainties in its repertory of dogmas." I couldn't agree more. That is precisely why I suggest examination and deletion of such dogma.

    It is not my intention to entertain you or anyone else. If I remind you of your undergraduate days in matters of religion I will hope you are more noble than to have been condescending toward me. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you simply wished to comment on your own peevish phase in this realm.

    Peace and Love,
    Pilgram
     
  19. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Like old wine

    Good, Brother Pilgram. I will guard myself from the appearance of condescending. Forgive me.

    Like old wine, me. Maybe someone here will say 'like old fart.' Hahaha.

    You know, Pilgram, once I addressed someone in a forum as brother, and he got raving mad at me. "Don't call me brother', he retorted fiercely. 'Brother' stands for a member in a religious community, he reminds me; and he detests religion.

    Of course he was not mindful then that the atheist French revolutionaries propounded the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

    All men are brothers. And Susma adds: Some are sisters.

    No offense intended to our sisters here. I love them all whatever.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  20. Pilgram

    Pilgram New Member

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    Good Sister Susma,

    There is no forgiveness necessary where there has been no offence. But if you had been condescending (only you could know, I only pointed out the possibility due to the semantics {little joke, ha ha}), then of course I forgive you.

    As far as your calling me brother, I not only take no offence but rather thank you for the warm greeting. I used to work in a construction union in my youth and enjoyed the brother appellation when it came from brothers who truly understood the meaning of unionism and appreciated the hard, long fight that had been fought by our earlier brothers and sisters on picket lines in America. They had to withstand the illegal and immoral tactics of paid corporate goons and sometimes paid assasins. The gains in human decency and fair wage for all Americans is little understood or appreciated by most Americans today. And so it goes.

    There is a book titled, Don't Call Me Brother that came to mind when you mentioned your mad raver. The author writes of the hypocrisy and poison of religion. But like yourself, I too see us all as brothers and sisters even if some object and cry not.

    I recently re-read one of your earlier posts. What is it you mean when you refer to science in relation to religion?
     

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