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Byzantine2008
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« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2008, 01:17:58 AM »


You are right it is gone.
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« Reply #46 on: November 14, 2008, 01:19:28 AM »

Well it is now. I just removed it from my quote of your post!
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« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2008, 01:20:44 AM »

Well it is now. I just removed it from my quote of your post!
Thank You
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« Reply #48 on: November 14, 2008, 01:30:03 AM »

Quote
Not rhetorical at all.  The camel's nose is already under the tent, and so too another wonderful Muslim institution: temporary marriage.  It's not recognized, yet, but has entered American jurisprudence (immigration law).  And its not rhetorical because, having filled out all the paper work for my EX and her parents, polygamy is one of those things you can't do and enter the US.

I'm a little confused. I might want to add that I wasn't supporting polygamy, but wandering why there aren't "Polygamist Pride Parades" or why no one wants it legalized. It's a very similar issue to homosexuality, yet neither atheists or humanists support it as they do homosexuality. It fact, one may argue it's not just marriage discrimination, but religious discrimination as well. Either way, I've managed to digress this thread from a Christmas ad, to polygamy. Sorry for getting off topic.
Oh, there are those who want polygamy legalized, and they are looking with keen interest.   Especially how gay marriage is packaged as a matter of "rights," "education," "inevitable," etc.  Btw. you can get on topic on the Proposition 8 thread in politics.
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« Reply #49 on: November 14, 2008, 09:01:10 AM »

If the rest of us are required to put up with the hate speech that is proclaimed in your Churches on a weekly basis, deal with the effects of psychological absue inflicted on children by forcing them into their parents' religion, and hear you assault liberty, the most fundamental ideal of this republic, in the name of barbaric religious laws, then you can at least put up with our opinion that such speech and the related beliefs are dangerous and distasteful. We don't all share your belief that Saudi Arabia is a utopian society.
Fortunately, at least in the US, liberty has triumphed over hate speech to the extent that neither you nor anyone else must put up with it. Unfortunately on this forum and even in my own parish I have been labeled a murderer and worse simply because I believe that liberty is not only compatible with Orthodoxy but is its very foundation. True Orthodoxy (which ought to be a redundancy but unfortunately isn't) is based on free will, not forced acceptance of arbitrary religious laws. I really and truly wish Christians acted more like Christ. If it weren't for Christians, Christianity would be much, much easier--and secular humanists wouldn't feel the need to speak out against it.
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« Reply #50 on: November 14, 2008, 09:09:49 AM »

Which faith are you talking about because all that you have mentioned is very foreign to what is preached in my Church? Huh

God bless you GIC  Wink

Your Church doesn't preach hate speech? They don't preach that fornication and homosexuality are wrong? They don't preach that abortion is evil? They don't preach that theirs is the only true faith and only sure way to salvation? They don't preach that other beliefs that disagree with your dogmas are somehow less than yours?

Perhaps this is all true, perhaps you attend a more enlightened and tolerant Church than most here...there certainly are Churches out there that would not allow any of that hate speech to be proclaimed from their pulpit. I just didn't know that any members of such Churches frequented this board.
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« Reply #51 on: November 14, 2008, 09:18:40 AM »

If the rest of us are required to put up with the hate speech that is proclaimed in your Churches on a weekly basis, deal with the effects of psychological absue inflicted on children by forcing them into their parents' religion, and hear you assault liberty, the most fundamental ideal of this republic, in the name of barbaric religious laws, then you can at least put up with our opinion that such speech and the related beliefs are dangerous and distasteful. We don't all share your belief that Saudi Arabia is a utopian society.
Fortunately, at least in the US, liberty has triumphed over hate speech to the extent that neither you nor anyone else must put up with it. Unfortunately on this forum and even in my own parish I have been labeled a murderer and worse simply because I believe that liberty is not only compatible with Orthodoxy but is its very foundation.
Christ dies to make you libertine?
Quote
True Orthodoxy (which ought to be a redundancy but unfortunately isn't) is based on free will,
guided by right (Ortho) belief (doxy).

Quote
not forced acceptance of arbitrary religious laws.

News flash: all laws are forced acceptance of public policy.
Arbitrary?  A response might have to be had in political forum.

Quote
I really and truly wish Christians acted more like Christ.


Sounds like another Quest for the Historical Jesus.

Quote
If it weren't for Christians, Christianity would be much, much easier--
Christ said something about the easy road.  Matthew 7.

Quote
and secular humanists wouldn't feel the need to speak out against it.
because it would contained in the narrow confines they dictate, something like a weekend sports game.

Their curses are blessings, and their blessings curses.
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« Reply #52 on: November 14, 2008, 10:13:56 AM »

guided by right (Ortho) belief (doxy).

Some do think of "Orthodoxy" in this way, but I believe the original Greek means "right thinking".
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« Reply #53 on: November 14, 2008, 11:22:17 AM »

^^"Correct glory," actually.

Mr. Y, could you give an example of how "arbitrary religious laws" have gotten in the way of people picking up an easy, light yoke from Christ?  I ask this as a question, not a challenge.
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« Reply #54 on: November 14, 2008, 11:53:25 AM »

guided by right (Ortho) belief (doxy).

Some do think of "Orthodoxy" in this way, but I believe the original Greek means "right thinking".
Works for me.  So does "right/proper glory."
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« Reply #55 on: November 14, 2008, 12:44:31 PM »

Fortunately, at least in the US, liberty has triumphed over hate speech to the extent that neither you nor anyone else must put up with it. Unfortunately...
...you don't seem to understand what's at stake here.  The same person you're so eager to assuage has also said this:

Quote
Your Church doesn't preach hate speech? They don't preach that fornication and homosexuality are wrong? They don't preach that abortion is evil? They don't preach that theirs is the only true faith and only sure way to salvation? They don't preach that other beliefs that disagree with your dogmas are somehow less than yours?

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change.  I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.



 
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« Reply #56 on: November 14, 2008, 12:49:13 PM »

Fortunately, at least in the US, liberty has triumphed over hate speech to the extent that neither you nor anyone else must put up with it. Unfortunately...
...you don't seem to understand what's at stake here.  The same person you're so eager to assuage has also said this:

Quote
Your Church doesn't preach hate speech? They don't preach that fornication and homosexuality are wrong? They don't preach that abortion is evil? They don't preach that theirs is the only true faith and only sure way to salvation? They don't preach that other beliefs that disagree with your dogmas are somehow less than yours?

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change. 

we hope.

The problem I have is not with the non-possessors and quietists, those who are a sign by extreme refusal to judge others which prevents their political involvement.  I have a problem with those who say we should not tell people what to do or not do, telling me not to speak out.
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« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2008, 02:53:47 PM »

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change.  I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.

The real question is why can't you be more moderate in your approach to religion? There are many Christian groups that are not judgemental and moralistic towards their neighbours, there are many Christians who are willing to admit that other denominations, religions, and spiritual expressions contain truth and may be but different paths towards the same end. Instead your speech is full of triumphalism and condemnation...a rather hypocritical approach for those who claim, in word at least, that humility is a virtue.

Then, to make matters worse, you get this martyr complex and pretend you are taking the difficult path and being persecuted for it. That's not the case, you're taking the easy way out. It's far easier to be dogmatic and absolutely sure about yourself, reactionary religious laws just make things easier for you, they save you from the difficulty of thinking for yourself and of considering the experience, situation, and perspective of others. You're not taking the straight and narrow path, you're just taking the easy way out.
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« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2008, 03:34:47 PM »

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change.  I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.

The real question is why can't you be more moderate in your approach to religion? There are many Christian groups that are not judgemental and moralistic towards their neighbours, there are many Christians who are willing to admit that other denominations, religions, and spiritual expressions contain truth and may be but different paths towards the same end. Instead your speech is full of triumphalism and condemnation...a rather hypocritical approach for those who claim, in word at least, that humility is a virtue.

Then, to make matters worse, you get this martyr complex and pretend you are taking the difficult path and being persecuted for it. That's not the case, you're taking the easy way out. It's far easier to be dogmatic and absolutely sure about yourself, reactionary religious laws just make things easier for you, they save you from the difficulty of thinking for yourself and of considering the experience, situation, and perspective of others. You're not taking the straight and narrow path, you're just taking the easy way out.


He's taking the easy way out?

He's inconsiderate of others?

Maybe you should look in the mirror, my friend.  You want everyone else to be considerate but afford no consideration for anyone else's perspective, situation, and experiences.  You just dismiss them out of hand as invalid and look down from on high, judging us all as inadequate and unenlightened for adhering to the faith you rejected.

And the easy way out?  Really?  Do I need to point out the hypocrisy in this statement?

I mean no offense by what I say, but I think your words toward Gabriel are unfair and misdirected.  It sounds like you have a lot of bitterness and anger toward the Church.  Must you take it out on Gabriel?
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« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2008, 03:58:00 PM »

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change.  I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.

The real question is why can't you be more moderate in your approach to religion? There are many Christian groups that are not judgemental and moralistic towards their neighbours, there are many Christians who are willing to admit that other denominations, religions, and spiritual expressions contain truth and may be but different paths towards the same end. Instead your speech is full of triumphalism and condemnation...a rather hypocritical approach for those who claim, in word at least, that humility is a virtue.

Then, to make matters worse, you get this martyr complex and pretend you are taking the difficult path and being persecuted for it. That's not the case, you're taking the easy way out. It's far easier to be dogmatic and absolutely sure about yourself, reactionary religious laws just make things easier for you, they save you from the difficulty of thinking for yourself and of considering the experience, situation, and perspective of others. You're not taking the straight and narrow path, you're just taking the easy way out.
Tyrannical arrogance cloaked in false humility forcing others to conform when they would choose not to. False tyrants used to say (& not mean it) "I disagree with what you say but I'll defend your right to say it." (yeah right). Truth is, you better not say it or you will be sent to an ideological reeducation center. Such logic does not allow one to think for themself & creates the concept of the thought crime.
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« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2008, 05:30:27 PM »

He's taking the easy way out?

He's inconsiderate of others?

Maybe you should look in the mirror, my friend.

Ah, yes...the easy way out is to reject the beliefs and faith that most your good friends and political connections hold dear. To make your self an idological outcast in your own social circle. Generally speaking, that's not a move you make unless you have good cause to do so. Sorry you're hurt by the fact that I can't continue advocating your religious beliefs, but I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I did.

Quote
You want everyone else to be considerate but afford no consideration for anyone else's perspective, situation, and experiences.  You just dismiss them out of hand as invalid and look down from on high, judging us all as inadequate and unenlightened for adhering to the faith you rejected.

Considering that I'm also dismissing my own perspectives and experiences in that matter, your accusation that I am unable to identify seems to be a bit unfounded.

Quote
And the easy way out?  Really?  Do I need to point out the hypocrisy in this statement?

Considering what I just said above, yes, you do.

Quote
I mean no offense by what I say, but I think your words toward Gabriel are unfair and misdirected.  It sounds like you have a lot of bitterness and anger toward the Church.  Must you take it out on Gabriel?

Not really, I can't say I have much bitterness towards the Church...heck, even today, with my current beliefs, I've been known take a stand in defence of the Oecumenical Throne against those who falsely pretend to be of the same faith as you, yet assault his All Holiness at will. I actually have considerable sympathy towards the Greek Orthodox Church...I just can't take their philosophy and theology seriously.
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« Reply #61 on: November 14, 2008, 05:59:16 PM »

Quote
Ah, yes...the easy way out is to reject the beliefs and faith that most your good friends and political connections hold dear. To make your self an idological outcast in your own social circle. Generally speaking, that's not a move you make unless you have good cause to do so. Sorry you're hurt by the fact that I can't continue advocating your religious beliefs, but I couldn't look at myself in the mirror if I did.

So why not pretend that you are religious so no one will persecute you? There is no law in atheism that will punish you for it, and it certainly doesn't hurt anyone. From what I know, the fundamental atheist moral is that everything is OK unless it hurts someone else. There is no reason to continue calling yourself an atheist if it causes you to lose popularity. In other words, you are a martyr for no cause whatsoever.

Quote
Considering that I'm also dismissing my own perspectives and experiences in that matter, your accusation that I am unable to identify seems to be a bit unfounded.

People are always going to be more condemning of their past beliefs than their present. It's no different from an Orthodox Christian that is a former Protestant going to a Protestant website and criticizing them.
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« Reply #62 on: November 14, 2008, 07:40:30 PM »

Mr. Y, could you give an example of how "arbitrary religious laws" have gotten in the way of people picking up an easy, light yoke from Christ?  I ask this as a question, not a challenge.
Yes I can. Ever since the Pharisees objected to Jesus' healing on the Sabbath, we have set up our religious laws to block our hearts from receiving Christ. We've seen this time and again, in the Judaizers, in the indulgences of the Middle Ages, in the laws of fundamentalist Protestants regarding hairstyles, makeup, piercings and skirt lengths. We've seen it every time someone says "You will go to hell if you do x."

Rather than condemn others, let us become like Christ so they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.
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« Reply #63 on: November 14, 2008, 07:42:35 PM »

Fortunately, at least in the US, liberty has triumphed over hate speech to the extent that neither you nor anyone else must put up with it. Unfortunately...
...you don't seem to understand what's at stake here.  The same person you're so eager to assuage has also said this:
I'm aware of what GIC has said. I disagree with him on many issues, but in this I believe he is right, and therefore I have said so. I see no reason to vilify anyone, even someone with whom I disagree most of the time.
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« Reply #64 on: November 14, 2008, 08:26:01 PM »

You know, I never understood the consistency within the song "Santa Claus is coming to town," because "being good for goodness' sake" is in the lyrics.  Now you have a child who's confused, "Should I be good for Santa, or for goodness' sake?"  That creates a lot of schizo children.

On a serious note, when it comes to teaching children, I think children are a different case.  No matter what, they always learn from what their parents and community teach them.  As they grow older and understand the importance of thinking for oneself, then can one argue whether you are enforcing beliefs down people's throats or not.

There are however others I don't understand.  They grow up learning something and no matter how much you try to explain another point of view, it's close to impossible to do so.  What happened there?

God bless.
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« Reply #65 on: November 14, 2008, 08:56:02 PM »

Mr. Y, could you give an example of how "arbitrary religious laws" have gotten in the way of people picking up an easy, light yoke from Christ?  I ask this as a question, not a challenge.
Yes I can. Ever since the Pharisees objected to Jesus' healing on the Sabbath, we have set up our religious laws to block our hearts from receiving Christ. We've seen this time and again, in the Judaizers, in the indulgences of the Middle Ages, in the laws of fundamentalist Protestants regarding hairstyles, makeup, piercings and skirt lengths. We've seen it every time someone says "You will go to hell if you do x."

Rather than condemn others, let us become like Christ so they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

I was at a "young adult" retreat during Lent a year ago where there this couple (interesting to see a married couple, but I digress...) that I like to term "punk Orthodox" attended.  She had some weird, punk-ish hair style and I think multiple piercings - I don't remember if more than just the ear and maybe a nose stud.  The husband might have too, but basically had tatoos all over his arms.  They were a very pleasant, quiet couple that went to a GOA parish in the LA area.  While seeing all of the "decorations" may have been a little alarming in Orthodox circles, it didn't really bother me.
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« Reply #66 on: November 15, 2008, 12:16:29 AM »

Mr. Y, could you give an example of how "arbitrary religious laws" have gotten in the way of people picking up an easy, light yoke from Christ?  I ask this as a question, not a challenge.
Yes I can. Ever since the Pharisees objected to Jesus' healing on the Sabbath, we have set up our religious laws to block our hearts from receiving Christ. We've seen this time and again, in the Judaizers, in the indulgences of the Middle Ages, in the laws of fundamentalist Protestants regarding hairstyles, makeup, piercings and skirt lengths. We've seen it every time someone says "You will go to hell if you do x."

Rather than condemn others, let us become like Christ so they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

Sorry; I wasn't clear.  Where have you seen this, if ever, in the Orthodox Church?
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« Reply #67 on: November 15, 2008, 01:30:20 AM »

Right now, we can still teach about the harms of fornication and homosexual practice, we can still teach about abortion, we can still teach about Holy Orthodoxy and the Good News.  But when more and more people begin to label Orthodoxy's teaching as 'hate speech' as he does, then we'll see your tune change.  I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.


The real question is why can't you be more moderate in your approach to religion?
I understand that I come off as...what are the words you used; triumphalism and condemnation?  In real life, I'm way more laid back and have a live-and-let-live approach...on most issues.  I mean, when I saw two homosexuals getting 'physical' with one another once, I just said 'may God forgive us all'.  No frowns, no head shaking, no 'tsk, tsk'.  Heck the offer to have a beer or two with you still stands. Wink  But as I said, some issues are worth fighting for.  As they say, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."   

There are many Christian groups that are not judgemental and moralistic towards their neighbours,
We make judgements several times a day in our lives.  "Is this or that good for me or not?"  I have to make a judgement call.  I judge certain behaviors wrong and voice my opposition to it.  What I don't do is condemn.  And yes, there is a difference.

there are many Christians who are willing to admit that other denominations, religions, and spiritual expressions contain truth
It may shock you but I agree with you 100% here.  There are truths outside of Orthodoxy.  There are truths in Islam, Hinduism, the Democratic Party, etc... But notice I said truths.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.  The difference is that I believe we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.  I bolded Catholic because as I understand it, it means 'complete'.  Orthodoxy doesn't have a truth, a little truth, part of the truth...I believe we have THE TRUTH.  Don't mean to come off as triumphant; I may be an Orthodox Christian, but that doesn't mean I'm going to Heaven nor does it mean that you're going to hell.  But I'll say it again- Orthodoxy contains THE TRUTH.  We proclaim this everytime we pray the Divine Liturgy.  In addition, although it may seem like a neat club here, this is an Orthodox forum where Orthodoxy is proclaimed.  You're entitled to your own opinions, ideas, and thoughts.  Heck, you're even free to voice them.  But do not ever expect me to remain silent while you attempt to repeatedly articulate your false beliefs and constantly bereate and belittle Christians.
 
, that humility is a virtue.
You're correct that humility is a virtue.  Yet even the humble saints get angry and stand up to evil. 

Then, to make matters worse, you get this martyr complex and pretend you are taking the difficult path and being persecuted for it. That's not the case, you're taking the easy way out. It's far easier to be dogmatic and absolutely sure about yourself, reactionary religious laws just make things easier for you, they save you from the difficulty of thinking for yourself and of considering the experience, situation, and perspective of others. You're not taking the straight and narrow path, you're just taking the easy way out.
Easy way out?  I've been an Atheist and a Muslim.  I'm divorced.  I've gone through an abortion.  I've been close to becomming addicted to drugs and alcohol.  It is precisely that I have considered and experienced the perspective of many others to know that I'm absolutely sure about Holy Orthodoxy.     
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« Reply #68 on: November 15, 2008, 03:16:27 AM »

Oy oy oy,

GiC - I often enjoy reading your posts - you are clearly knowledgeable about many things on many levels that require academic knowledge. I, however, find your posts on every day life and living to be terribly sophomoric for someone who is otherwise so knowledgeable.

When I was 18 years old and in first year university (even more ignorant and dense than I am now), I was making many, if not most of the arguments you present in this thread and elsewhere, e.g. religion in oppressive, everything is relative, that housewives are prostitutes, and women just love - okay I'm paraphrasing here and I now I will digress, but for a reason - having sex in meaningless relationships - GiC, women lie like dogs about that by the way, as we're in denial, and then realize later what idiots we were (including most of my girlfriends who are staunchly secular). Also, giving up a career to care for children as soul-destroying - do you realize that the majority of women have crappy jobs that are soul destroying, and only an elite few don't? Anyway,  I get the impression that you don't really know so much about women, and considering the time you spend on forums...maybe I'm wrong and I am digressing in order to make a broader point; you don't yet seem to have enough experience to comment wisely about the basic, everyday, boring little world within which the rest of us supposedly ignorant peons live. Therefore, you end up coming across as, well, frankly irrational on a number of subjects (and I'll admit, as a woman - yes, a generalization - I am a fretter and can become irrational at the drop of a hat), reducing your credibility considerably.

Trust me, I'm very much a live and let live sort of person overall, and would probably be considered quite liberal in many respects here, but honestly, if you really want to make a dent in people's opinions regarding religion, you really have to make far more sophisticated arguments. Like I said, many of your arguments are typical young undergrad stuff. Not that undergrads are necessarily stupid, just lacking in enough insight and experience, and likely too drunk or high, to really think things through. They are also extremely hyprocritical. We all are, but it's particularly bad amongst those of a sophomoric bent.

Having spent many years not making a stand, other than attempting to supposedly get people to think and freak them out (actually pretty hard to do where I live, as people of religious belief are kind of pariahs here), I came to the realization that it is too difficult to live that way long term. As for the raising of children within religion as being abusive, it would seem that you also have little practical experience with children and their welfare.

Also, I would agree that one could raise a child in faith in a way that is abusive, but setting an example by attending church and praying with your children, and teaching them about the beliefs of the faith in a gentle and loving manner provides a basic structure off which children thrive. They may choose differently later - so be it. But done lovingly, those children will at least have warm and secure feelings about their childhood, a community of people and even perhaps of God, even if they ultimately end up disagreeing with the theology. I should know - I didn't grow up with any solid of any kind, and I seriously wish I had.

I'm not going to pretend that I have any hope of avoiding your disparagement of me, and frankly I couldn't possibly engage in an ongoing argument, as I just don't have the time to post (and since live on 5 hours sleep per night, my brain is too fried, and I'm just not that with it anyway), but I just couldn't leave this one be, as I've done that far too often when I've read your posts. So, I've said my piece (I think). I might a more in me, but we'll see.
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« Reply #69 on: November 15, 2008, 08:31:39 AM »

Mr. Y, could you give an example of how "arbitrary religious laws" have gotten in the way of people picking up an easy, light yoke from Christ?  I ask this as a question, not a challenge.
Yes I can. Ever since the Pharisees objected to Jesus' healing on the Sabbath, we have set up our religious laws to block our hearts from receiving Christ. We've seen this time and again, in the Judaizers, in the indulgences of the Middle Ages, in the laws of fundamentalist Protestants regarding hairstyles, makeup, piercings and skirt lengths. We've seen it every time someone says "You will go to hell if you do x."

Rather than condemn others, let us become like Christ so they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.

Sorry; I wasn't clear.  Where have you seen this, if ever, in the Orthodox Church?
Ah, I see. I've seen it in the Old Calendarist movement which says all the rest of Orthodoxy is worshiping at the wrong time, in the fundamentalists who would condemn those to hell who would put up a Christmas tree and take their kids trick-or-treating, in the anti-Catholic bias of so many of our members, and in those who would take political stances and call it a sin to disagree with them for any reason. I've seen it every time an Orthodox person says "You will go to hell if you do x."

In other words, on OC.net. Grin
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« Reply #70 on: November 15, 2008, 10:05:41 PM »

When I was 18 years old and in first year university (even more ignorant and dense than I am now), I was making many, if not most of the arguments you present in this thread and elsewhere, e.g. religion in oppressive, everything is relative, that housewives are prostitutes, and women just love - okay I'm paraphrasing here and I now I will digress, but for a reason - having sex in meaningless relationships - GiC, women lie like dogs about that by the way, as we're in denial, and then realize later what idiots we were (including most of my girlfriends who are staunchly secular). Also, giving up a career to care for children as soul-destroying - do you realize that the majority of women have crappy jobs that are soul destroying, and only an elite few don't?

Eh...perspectives about sexuality tend to change with hormone fluctuation, in both men and women. I'm more than willing to bet that, absent your philosophical and psychological developments towards religion, I would be able to give you the correct cocktail of hormones to yet again change your perspective. I've seen it happen before my very eyes. In the end you're asking people to deny their very biology.

Quote
Anyway,  I get the impression that you don't really know so much about women, and considering the time you spend on forums...maybe I'm wrong and I am digressing in order to make a broader point; you don't yet seem to have enough experience to comment wisely about the basic, everyday, boring little world within which the rest of us supposedly ignorant peons live. Therefore, you end up coming across as, well, frankly irrational on a number of subjects (and I'll admit, as a woman - yes, a generalization - I am a fretter and can become irrational at the drop of a hat), reducing your credibility considerably.

You may be right that I don't have enough experience to comment on 'basic, everyday, boring' life...once life starts getting that way I quit my job or find another academic programme and move to a different part of the country. I frankly can't understand why someone would allow themselves settle into such a mundane existence.

Quote
Trust me, I'm very much a live and let live sort of person overall, and would probably be considered quite liberal in many respects here, but honestly, if you really want to make a dent in people's opinions regarding religion, you really have to make far more sophisticated arguments. Like I said, many of your arguments are typical young undergrad stuff. Not that undergrads are necessarily stupid, just lacking in enough insight and experience, and likely too drunk or high, to really think things through. They are also extremely hyprocritical. We all are, but it's particularly bad amongst those of a sophomoric bent.

Well, then, perhaps you could instruct me as to the sophisticated way to argue the obvious fact that there's no all-powerful invisible man in the sky personally concerned with your sex life. Now granted, I threw in a rhetorical quip there; however, it betrays a couple important points. First of all, the concept of a god is so absurd it is quite difficult to take the idea seriously, if you can't take an idea seriously, it's rather difficult to seriously debate it. Just consider, if you ran into some people who were radically devoted to the idea that Santa Clause is real and threatened you with eternal torture for denying the fact, could you really manage to create a serious and sophisticated argument against them? I would suggest that you would have a rather difficult time intelligently engaging such people in debate; likewise, those who understand that the very concept of a god is equally absurd can have a difficult time seriously engaging those who don't realize as much.

Secondly, with that said, it seems to me that your very premise would undermine my concerns. Your arguments strike me as implying that the essence of my argument prohibits a sophisticated response. No matter how silly and absurd you will give homage to an argument that supports your theistic position, yet no matter how well thoughtout out you will question the viability of any argument that denies it. Perhaps I'm in error, but you could demonstrate as much by giving me examples of sophisticated arguments against a god.

Quote
Having spent many years not making a stand, other than attempting to supposedly get people to think and freak them out (actually pretty hard to do where I live, as people of religious belief are kind of pariahs here), I came to the realization that it is too difficult to live that way long term. As for the raising of children within religion as being abusive, it would seem that you also have little practical experience with children and their welfare.

Also, I would agree that one could raise a child in faith in a way that is abusive, but setting an example by attending church and praying with your children, and teaching them about the beliefs of the faith in a gentle and loving manner provides a basic structure off which children thrive. They may choose differently later - so be it. But done lovingly, those children will at least have warm and secure feelings about their childhood, a community of people and even perhaps of God, even if they ultimately end up disagreeing with the theology. I should know - I didn't grow up with any solid of any kind, and I seriously wish I had.

Yes, they could choose to follow a different religion, but the overwhelming majority of people will follow the religion they were brought up in...so that's hardly a viable argument. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to not expose children to religion at all, or if one does expose them equally to several different religious expressions, so they can truly be in a position to decide for themselves without cultural, social, or psychological pressure?

Further, you say 'setting an example by attending church and praying with your children, and teaching them about the beliefs of the faith in a gentle and loving manner provides a basic structure off which children thrive'. But I must wonder, would you be comfortable if instead of Christianity some parents were to lovingly instruct their children in the ideals of Communism? Before each meal they can give thanks to Marx, Stalin, and Mao...they can praise them as our salvation from the evils of capitalism. They can diligently take them to communist party meetings, enroll them in communist youth organizations, teach them of the comming class war and liberation of the proletariat. Day in and day out they can instruct them in communist doctrine and warn them of the threat of the evil capitalists...and they can become steeped in the ideals of communism. I can't speak for you personally, but I know that many people who would be comfortable with this kind of activity by Christians or another religious organization would be appalled to see a political ideology crammed down their throat. Why not give the same reasonable deference to moderation in matters of religion as we, in general, give in matters of politics?
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« Reply #71 on: November 15, 2008, 11:12:39 PM »

Quote
Eh...perspectives about sexuality tend to change with hormone fluctuation, in both men and women. I'm more than willing to bet that, absent your philosophical and psychological developments towards religion, I would be able to give you the correct cocktail of hormones to yet again change your perspective. I've seen it happen before my very eyes. In the end you're asking people to deny their very biology.

I've seen this stated by many atheists, who love to imply that their psychology and intellect is further developed resulting in their atheism. It's an elitist look on religion and very arrogant.

Quote
Well, then, perhaps you could instruct me as to the sophisticated way to argue the obvious fact that there's no all-powerful invisible man in the sky personally concerned with your sex life.

Is there a sophisticated way to argue that we all came from rocks in a series of random chemical reactions, resulting in a system of elements so complex that they actually gain a self realization and perspective? I personally have nothing against evolution, but I'd have a lot of trouble believing in it without a driving force to make it intentional.
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« Reply #72 on: November 15, 2008, 11:21:56 PM »

Is there a sophisticated way to argue that we all came from rocks in a series of random chemical reactions, resulting in a system of elements so complex that they actually gain a self realization and perspective? I personally have nothing against evolution, but I'd have a lot of trouble believing in it without a driving force to make it intentional.

I rest my case.
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« Reply #73 on: November 15, 2008, 11:56:29 PM »

 
 Back to the OP...

'Why Believe in a God? Be Good for Goodness' Sake'

 I wonder how they define 'good'?  How did they arrive at that definition if indeed they have one?  Do they understand the opposite of their 'good' as 'bad', or just 'not as good'?  Is their definition of 'good' universal; are cultural mores relavant to their understanding of 'good' and 'bad'?  For example- if GiC didn't wear a gourd on his wee dandy doblin when he visited a Papua New Guinean humanist, would that be 'bad'?  How would either of them be sure?  To whom could they appeal to settle the 'gourd issue'?  Wink
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« Reply #74 on: November 16, 2008, 12:38:03 AM »

^ Nomination for the most ridiculous post of the month.  Roll Eyes
Well, I have mused about the idea of recommending an award for the Antipost of the Month. laugh
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« Reply #75 on: November 16, 2008, 12:45:58 AM »

I hear it's hard to sing when thrown into the lion's den.
Didn't our Lord deliver Daniel?
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« Reply #76 on: November 16, 2008, 01:03:02 AM »




 In the end you're asking people to deny their very biology.


I'm not asking anyone to do anything. I'm simply pointing out that most of the many women I've stumbled across (the vast majority of whom have no religious inclinations whatsoever) really do feel crappy/empty/foolish about their youthful, libertine sexual behaviour. I can't speak for men, but most women ultimately do need more. Yeah, they had fun, but no, they were not happy. And as for giving me the correct hormone cocktail - sure, it might change my perspective, but that's based on you changing my natural physiological make-up. How is it then my very biology?

You could argue that society has simply made these women feel this way, but since most of the society I am surrounded by is very very liberal, I think there is something more to it.



You may be right that I don't have enough experience to comment on 'basic, everyday, boring' life...once life starts getting that way I quit my job or find another academic programme and move to a different part of the country. I frankly can't understand why someone would allow themselves settle into such a mundane existence.


Very elitist, and what would the world come to if everyone was a navel-gazing academic? Academia is a fantastic thing, but if we were all doing that, very little in the way of the practical would get done.




Well, then, perhaps you could instruct me as to the sophisticated way to argue the obvious fact that there's no all-powerful invisible man in the sky personally concerned with your sex life. 

I couldn't possibly - I'm not that bright. But you seem to think (and on many levels I would agree that you certainly are) that you are that bright. Therefore I find it odd that your arguments would be pretty much the same as mine were when I was 18 years old and dumber than a fencepost. And no, I wasn't simply parroting back what I'd heard others say - I was actually coming up with this stuff myself.


Quote


Further, you say 'setting an example by attending church and praying with your children, and teaching them about the beliefs of the faith in a gentle and loving manner provides a basic structure off which children thrive'. But I must wonder, would you be comfortable if instead of Christianity some parents were to lovingly instruct their children in the ideals of Communism? Before each meal they can give thanks to Marx, Stalin, and Mao...they can praise them as our salvation from the evils of capitalism. They can diligently take them to communist party meetings, enroll them in communist youth organizations, teach them of the comming class war and liberation of the proletariat. Day in and day out they can instruct them in communist doctrine and warn them of the threat of the evil capitalists...and they can become steeped in the ideals of communism. I can't speak for you personally, but I know that many people who would be comfortable with this kind of activity by Christians or another religious organization would be appalled to see a political ideology crammed down their throat. Why not give the same reasonable deference to moderation in matters of religion as we, in general, give in matters of politics?

Actually, depending on how it was done, it wouldn't really bother me. I wouldn't agree with it, as I do believe that certain philosophies are healthier for people and societies than others, and of course I happen to think that Orthodoxy is The Way. And, as has been argued many times before with you, secular humanism is also a philosophy that can be imposed upon children.

As for exposure to other philosophies and religions - I'm not too worried about it since my kids get huge amounts of exposure. For instance, the families of the children in my eldest's preschool are made up of visibly apparent sikhs, buddhists, hindus, muslims, christians, atheists, jews, and goodness knows what else (and we're not talking token representation here). And even if you don't live in a place with this kind of variety, a good education will expose you this.
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« Reply #77 on: November 16, 2008, 01:41:56 AM »

oops - regarding academia - obviously not everyone would want to do that, so I meant to add that if everyone did whatever they found the most stimulating, rather than did what was necessary even if it was mundane, then all h.e. double hockey sticks would break loose (and yeah GiC, I know you don't believe in h.e. double hockey sticks in the theological sense, but then take it metaphorically - actually I mean it metaphorically anyway).
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« Reply #78 on: November 16, 2008, 02:53:58 AM »

by the way, I am aware that my argument is not detailed enough; it doesn't deal with all the possible holes. Too tired, can' t be bothered...
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« Reply #79 on: November 16, 2008, 03:06:06 AM »

oops - regarding academia - obviously not everyone would want to do that, so I meant to add that if everyone did whatever they found the most stimulating, rather than did what was necessary even if it was mundane, then all h.e. double hockey sticks would break loose (and yeah GiC, I know you don't believe in h.e. double hockey sticks in the theological sense, but then take it metaphorically - actually I mean it metaphorically anyway).
Hey, kmm, you can say "hell" around here. Wink  Just don't tell anyone to go there or use it as an expletive. police
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« Reply #80 on: November 16, 2008, 09:51:11 AM »

Dear folks,

I haven't been following this entire discussion closely, but, if I may, I would like to bring a few general points, simply based on my own attempts to answer this question to those who position themselves as atheists and are unhappy with me being a person who has religious beliefs (my daughter and son-in-law, and a number of others).

I think we should be very careful in discussions like this. We tend to alienate atheists right away, from the very first moment of interaction with them by saying openly, or implying tacitly, that theirs is ALSO "a religion." This is not so in many cases. I think that quite a number of atheists are really NOT "religious." They really do not worship anything. Allegations (or accusations) that they in fact "worship" themselves, or "false idols like reason," etc., in their case fall flat, and cause only their, as well as our, frustration and animosity on both sides.

Whether man is a "worshipping animal" ... - honestly, I am not sure. Some people are. Some people perhaps aren't - at least at some point of their lives. I don't know whether we can generalize, following patristic writings or Scriptural passages or whatever. This very peculiar moment when you realy wish, with every fiber of your body, to throw yourself on your knees and to raise your hands up and to say, "Glory to You, o Lord, glory to You!" (or, conversely, "my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?") - is a very, very intimate moment. It's not a property of the "natural" man, I think. Especially now, when all our culture, everything that surrounds us is just breathing of rationalism, assurance of scientific and social progress, etc. Indeed, we have antibiotics and spaceships and gene engineering and human rights and counseling and what not...

The moment of NEED for "the Other," of the "Thou" (M. Buber) is VERY personal. When does it come and why exactly - I think is a total mystery that no one of us humans will ever understand. The mission of the Church is, I believe, NOT to force anything on those who haven't experienced this moment yet, and be equally loving and caring towrds them, just like towards us "religious" folks. And the Church - that's us, each and every one of us. So, we should be double, triple, quadruple careful with our dear brothers and sisters atheists.
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« Reply #81 on: November 16, 2008, 03:33:16 PM »

Dear folks,

I haven't been following this entire discussion closely, but, if I may, I would like to bring a few general points, simply based on my own attempts to answer this question to those who position themselves as atheists and are unhappy with me being a person who has religious beliefs (my daughter and son-in-law, and a number of others).

I think we should be very careful in discussions like this. We tend to alienate atheists right away, from the very first moment of interaction with them by saying openly, or implying tacitly, that theirs is ALSO "a religion." This is not so in many cases. I think that quite a number of atheists are really NOT "religious." They really do not worship anything. Allegations (or accusations) that they in fact "worship" themselves, or "false idols like reason," etc., in their case fall flat, and cause only their, as well as our, frustration and animosity on both sides.

Whether man is a "worshipping animal" ... - honestly, I am not sure. Some people are. Some people perhaps aren't - at least at some point of their lives. I don't know whether we can generalize, following patristic writings or Scriptural passages or whatever. This very peculiar moment when you realy wish, with every fiber of your body, to throw yourself on your knees and to raise your hands up and to say, "Glory to You, o Lord, glory to You!" (or, conversely, "my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?") - is a very, very intimate moment. It's not a property of the "natural" man, I think. Especially now, when all our culture, everything that surrounds us is just breathing of rationalism, assurance of scientific and social progress, etc. Indeed, we have antibiotics and spaceships and gene engineering and human rights and counseling and what not...

The moment of NEED for "the Other," of the "Thou" (M. Buber) is VERY personal. When does it come and why exactly - I think is a total mystery that no one of us humans will ever understand. The mission of the Church is, I believe, NOT to force anything on those who haven't experienced this moment yet, and be equally loving and caring towrds them, just like towards us "religious" folks. And the Church - that's us, each and every one of us. So, we should be double, triple, quadruple careful with our dear brothers and sisters atheists.


George, that was an awesome post.  Post of the month worthy!
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« Reply #82 on: November 16, 2008, 04:47:36 PM »

Dear folks,


I think we should be very careful in discussions like this. We tend to alienate atheists right away, from the very first moment of interaction with them by saying openly, or implying tacitly, that theirs is ALSO "a religion." This is not so in many cases. I think that quite a number of atheists are really NOT "religious." They really do not worship anything. Allegations (or accusations) that they in fact "worship" themselves, or "false idols like reason," etc., in their case fall flat, and cause only their, as well as our, frustration and animosity on both sides.



Good point, although please note that I personally (I can't speak for others) don't think that atheism/secular humanism is automatically a religion/overt philosophy, but certainly when it is evangelical, for lack of a better word, in nature (such as is the case with at times with GiC), it can come across as having similar overtones.
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« Reply #83 on: November 16, 2008, 05:27:49 PM »

Two Humanists coined the phrase, "Village Atheist Syndrome" ,to describe certain secular humanists as follows:

Quote
He or she is a nonbeliever who proclaims atheism in small communities made up of devoted and unquestioning believers. In outward appearances the persons afflicted are no different from anyone else. They hold respectable positions in society, have normative family affiliations, and do most of the things other people of their age or economic condition do.
Source
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« Reply #84 on: November 17, 2008, 02:03:42 AM »

I'm not asking anyone to do anything. I'm simply pointing out that most of the many women I've stumbled across (the vast majority of whom have no religious inclinations whatsoever) really do feel crappy/empty/foolish about their youthful, libertine sexual behaviour. I can't speak for men, but most women ultimately do need more. Yeah, they had fun, but no, they were not happy. And as for giving me the correct hormone cocktail - sure, it might change my perspective, but that's based on you changing my natural physiological make-up. How is it then my very biology?

You could argue that society has simply made these women feel this way, but since most of the society I am surrounded by is very very liberal, I think there is something more to it.

I think social pressure is very much to blame, though changing biology also plays a role. To illustrate the potential negative impact of a religiously dominated culture, a study on the emotional impact of abortion comes to mind. While as many as 50-60% of American women will have emotional issues following an abortion, only 15-20% of Sweedish women will have similar problems. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that similar religiously influenced cultural pressures play a role in matters of sexuality in general. You may believe that American society is liberal and secular, but it's not even close; American society is reactionary and fundamentalist by most standards, much of Europe and especially Scandinavia is light years ahead of us. I am confident that as we continue to evolve and progress as a society, as we begin to come to terms with and, ultimately, overcome our past we will overcome these emotional issues that are ultimatey not the result of sexuality but of psychological absue inflicted by a reactionary society. Now, granted, both the US and Sweeden have a long ways to go to fully overcoming our unfortunate past, but they have come much further culturally (while it could be argued we have come along further politically and philosophically).


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Very elitist, and what would the world come to if everyone was a navel-gazing academic? Academia is a fantastic thing, but if we were all doing that, very little in the way of the practical would get done.

Well, not everyone is interested in academia...my criticism is not of those who do not pursue academia, but merely of those who are content living a boring and mundane life.

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I couldn't possibly - I'm not that bright. But you seem to think (and on many levels I would agree that you certainly are) that you are that bright. Therefore I find it odd that your arguments would be pretty much the same as mine were when I was 18 years old and dumber than a fencepost. And no, I wasn't simply parroting back what I'd heard others say - I was actually coming up with this stuff myself.

Perhaps that's becase the arguments really are that simple, the reality of the situation really is that obvious. My arguments may be simplistic and obvious, but the interesting fact is that no one here has been able to effectively dismiss these sophomoric arguments. If they are so primitive and unsophisticated, one would think that any number of people here would have little problem tearing them to shreds. Yet, instead, we see these arguments responded to with fallacies and pseudoscience...go figure.

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Actually, depending on how it was done, it wouldn't really bother me. I wouldn't agree with it, as I do believe that certain philosophies are healthier for people and societies than others, and of course I happen to think that Orthodoxy is The Way.

Of course, 'depending on how it was done'...however, if done with the same vigour and devotion (and psychological pressure) religion is generally inflicted on children, I'm sure many would be quite concerned.

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And, as has been argued many times before with you, secular humanism is also a philosophy that can be imposed upon children.

Well, the simple solution is simply not to mention god to children, either in support or denial of the concept. They can study about the evolution and cultural significance of religion in history and sociology. But in the home, just ignore the subject, it's nto that important...if asked, give your personal opinion, whatever it may be, and leave it at that...don't impose it on them.

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As for exposure to other philosophies and religions - I'm not too worried about it since my kids get huge amounts of exposure. For instance, the families of the children in my eldest's preschool are made up of visibly apparent sikhs, buddhists, hindus, muslims, christians, atheists, jews, and goodness knows what else (and we're not talking token representation here). And even if you don't live in a place with this kind of variety, a good education will expose you this.

Hardly the same, do you visit Buddhist monasteries, read the Vedas to them, go to synagogue, etc.? Considering that 85+% of people will continue to identify with their parents' religion throughout their entire life, the pretense of diversity on account of childhood friends is questionable to say the least. An academic contact with another religion is hardly a replacement for the psychological pressure inflicted from childhood to comply with their parents' faith, often under threat of eternal torture and damnation. In the end, telling a child that they will go to hell, be separated from their parents, and tortured for all eternity unless they do x, y, and z is child abuse and should be prosecuted accordingly.
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« Reply #85 on: November 17, 2008, 08:32:32 AM »

Actually, depending on how it was done, it wouldn't really bother me. I wouldn't agree with it, as I do believe that certain philosophies are healthier for people and societies than others, and of course I happen to think that Orthodoxy is The Way.

Of course, 'depending on how it was done'...however, if done with the same vigour and devotion (and psychological pressure) religion is generally inflicted on children, I'm sure many would be quite concerned.
I've seen it good and bad. I applaud the parents who bring their children up to believe what the parents hold dear. Every parent wants this for their children, regardless of belief structure, and I don't see anything wrong with it. Yet at the same time, education is teaching the students how to think, not what to think. Indoctrination is no substitute for true belief.

]
And, as has been argued many times before with you, secular humanism is also a philosophy that can be imposed upon children.

Well, the simple solution is simply not to mention god to children, either in support or denial of the concept. They can study about the evolution and cultural significance of religion in history and sociology. But in the home, just ignore the subject, it's nto that important...if asked, give your personal opinion, whatever it may be, and leave it at that...don't impose it on them.
I disagree with you here. Simply not talking about an issue, any issue, is only going to lead to ignorance. It is best to discuss religion with children, teach them when they're young what we believe, and then when they are older and are capable of deciding for themselves what they believe, allowing them to do so.

As for exposure to other philosophies and religions - I'm not too worried about it since my kids get huge amounts of exposure. For instance, the families of the children in my eldest's preschool are made up of visibly apparent sikhs, buddhists, hindus, muslims, christians, atheists, jews, and goodness knows what else (and we're not talking token representation here). And even if you don't live in a place with this kind of variety, a good education will expose you this.

Hardly the same, do you visit Buddhist monasteries, read the Vedas to them, go to synagogue, etc.? Considering that 85+% of people will continue to identify with their parents' religion throughout their entire life, the pretense of diversity on account of childhood friends is questionable to say the least. An academic contact with another religion is hardly a replacement for the psychological pressure inflicted from childhood to comply with their parents' faith, often under threat of eternal torture and damnation. In the end, telling a child that they will go to hell, be separated from their parents, and tortured for all eternity unless they do x, y, and z is child abuse and should be prosecuted accordingly.
Yes. Having friendships with people of various religions does not make one a follower of that religion. What do we say about Orthodoxy? "Come and see." A religion cannot be studied; it must be experienced. Religion streams from the whole person, from the cognitive, affective, and kinesthetic aspects. A mere cognitive study will only reveal partially the mysteries of that religion.

And I do agree that threatening a child with hell is never okay under any circumstances. I have seen the effects of this firsthand, in some of my students. It is my professional opinion that such children are victims of emotional abuse.
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« Reply #86 on: November 17, 2008, 09:01:20 AM »

To single out religious upbringing and associating it with alleged psychological abuse of children while ignoring everyday forms like imposing inferiority complexes based on a parents ego whether it manifests itself in areas of sports or academics is short sighted indeed. To assume that the association of religious upbringing is psychological abuse is meddlesome and lacking proof (as psycholigical abuse in general can be). Next, to assume that legal prosecution in such matters is permissable (whether even plausible) is the mark of a totalitarian and from such a mindset an entire religious community (like the Amish) could be subject to mass arrest. However, a hypothetical self righteous tyrant manipilating a premise could dismiss such contentions as intolerant, reactionary, pseudo (fill in blank) (truly an easy way out). The fact that even alcoholic and drug abusing parents must have rights before losing custody of their children are necessary risks that a free society contains. Such a flimsy pretext to advocate legal prosecution is alarming and anyone should see it as such. Asides about Sweden being "light years ahead" of America are debateable see http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/938  <Yes, that article is over 2 years old & here is one form this year http://www.thelocal.se/10312/20080306
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« Reply #87 on: November 17, 2008, 12:59:57 PM »


Ah, I see. I've seen it in the Old Calendarist movement which says all the rest of Orthodoxy is worshiping at the wrong time, in the fundamentalists who would condemn those to hell who would put up a Christmas tree and take their kids trick-or-treating, in the anti-Catholic bias of so many of our members, and in those who would take political stances and call it a sin to disagree with them for any reason. I've seen it every time an Orthodox person says "You will go to hell if you do x."

In other words, on OC.net. Grin
I'm sure there is a place right in the middle and that place can be called liberating. Anywhere else is basically a spiritual self annulment.
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« Reply #88 on: November 17, 2008, 03:45:09 PM »

Dear folks,

I haven't been following this entire discussion closely, but, if I may, I would like to bring a few general points, simply based on my own attempts to answer this question to those who position themselves as atheists and are unhappy with me being a person who has religious beliefs (my daughter and son-in-law, and a number of others).

I think we should be very careful in discussions like this. We tend to alienate atheists right away, from the very first moment of interaction with them by saying openly, or implying tacitly, that theirs is ALSO "a religion." This is not so in many cases. I think that quite a number of atheists are really NOT "religious." They really do not worship anything. Allegations (or accusations) that they in fact "worship" themselves, or "false idols like reason," etc., in their case fall flat, and cause only their, as well as our, frustration and animosity on both sides.

Whether man is a "worshipping animal" ... - honestly, I am not sure. Some people are. Some people perhaps aren't - at least at some point of their lives. I don't know whether we can generalize, following patristic writings or Scriptural passages or whatever. This very peculiar moment when you realy wish, with every fiber of your body, to throw yourself on your knees and to raise your hands up and to say, "Glory to You, o Lord, glory to You!" (or, conversely, "my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?") - is a very, very intimate moment. It's not a property of the "natural" man, I think. Especially now, when all our culture, everything that surrounds us is just breathing of rationalism, assurance of scientific and social progress, etc. Indeed, we have antibiotics and spaceships and gene engineering and human rights and counseling and what not...

The moment of NEED for "the Other," of the "Thou" (M. Buber) is VERY personal. When does it come and why exactly - I think is a total mystery that no one of us humans will ever understand. The mission of the Church is, I believe, NOT to force anything on those who haven't experienced this moment yet, and be equally loving and caring towrds them, just like towards us "religious" folks. And the Church - that's us, each and every one of us. So, we should be double, triple, quadruple careful with our dear brothers and sisters atheists.


George, that was an awesome post.  Post of the month worthy!

I second the nomination.
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« Reply #89 on: November 17, 2008, 08:53:16 PM »



I think social pressure is very much to blame, though changing biology also plays a role. To illustrate the potential negative impact of a religiously dominated culture, a study on the emotional impact of abortion comes to mind. While as many as 50-60% of American women will have emotional issues following an abortion, only 15-20% of Sweedish women will have similar problems. It would not be unreasonable to suggest that similar religiously influenced cultural pressures play a role in matters of sexuality in general. You may believe that American society is liberal and secular, but it's not even close; American society is reactionary and fundamentalist by most standards, much of Europe and especially Scandinavia is light years ahead of us. I am confident that as we continue to evolve and progress as a society, as we begin to come to terms with and, ultimately, overcome our past we will overcome these emotional issues that are ultimatey not the result of sexuality but of psychological absue inflicted by a reactionary society. Now, granted, both the US and Sweeden have a long ways to go to fully overcoming our unfortunate past, but they have come much further culturally (while it could be argued we have come along further politically and philosophically).

Except I'm not American, nor do I live in America. I am a Canuck, and while perhaps we are not as "liberated" (although I would debate, if I had the time and energy, what to be liberated really means) as the Swedes, making fun of American conservatism is a national sport here, especially where I live.

As for Swedes - I've met quite a few in my life, mostly through travels (backpacking - and such people are as about as  liberated as they come), and they don't actually come across as all that liberated next to people here. And the most supposedly liberal one I've hung out with, who lives where I do -  a young Swedish-bikini-team-worthy bisexual (as I discovered because she was, uh, attempting to court me for awhile years ago) woman with a liberal, wealthy, and sophisticated restauranteur husband also seemed to not be very happy or content (although I realize these are my observations, not an extensive study).

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Well, not everyone is interested in academia...my criticism is not of those who do not pursue academia, but merely of those who are content living a boring and mundane life.



As I pointed out in a later, I didn't just mean academics. But the fact is that we all have to pay the bills. We also have kids to feed and therefore you are tied down. Mind you, while I know you'd never believe it (you wouldn't have any way of knowing unless you'd tried), kids are worth having to deal with the mundane. And, most women like their kids most of the time, so frankly they are more appealing than most (all?) jobs, at least most of the time. But I wouldn't expect you to be able to relate to that.

[/quote]

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Perhaps that's becase the arguments really are that simple, the reality of the situation really is that obvious. My arguments may be simplistic and obvious, but the interesting fact is that no one here has been able to effectively dismiss these sophomoric arguments. If they are so primitive and unsophisticated, one would think that any number of people here would have little problem tearing them to shreds. Yet, instead, we see these arguments responded to with fallacies and pseudoscience...go figure.


Well, that was one of the holes I knew I should've covered and didn't for lack of time and energy. I knew you'd say that. And maybe you are right - maybe there isn't some man in the sky concerned with my sex life. Althoug, in light of my understanding of Orthodoxy, your statement is simplistic - I think the theology is far more nuanced, and if God is concerned with my sex life, it is because He knows what is best for me in this regard and doesn't want to see me harmed. And since He is omniscient, the idea that God would be concerned with such a supposedly petty aspect of one insignificant being's life when there are far bigger fish to fry just doesn't fly.

Anyway, I can't argue from a scientific point of view (actually, if I had oodles of time to do so, perhaps I could). I can only give you my experience. Maybe that's delusional, but then it's a mass delusion experienced by almost all in some form or another.

I used to have better arguments years ago regarding this, and just how silly and hypocritical my 18 year old arguments were. But since I am a mere mortal, I cannot survive on 5 hours sleep per night over a period of 3 months, not to mention I have many other concerns with which to deal, and expect my brain to actually work (including memory).

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Well, the simple solution is simply not to mention god to children, either in support or denial of the concept. They can study about the evolution and cultural significance of religion in history and sociology. But in the home, just ignore the subject, it's nto that important...if asked, give your personal opinion, whatever it may be, and leave it at that...don't impose it on them.


I have to agree completely with ytterbiumanalyst on this one. Children usually thrive on being part of their parent's spiritual lives (again, an area you don't know much about as far as I can tell). As long as you are not putting a gun to their head (such as telling kids they will go to hell, which considering again much of Orthodox theology I know is entirely unnecessary with kids - again, it comes across as a simplistic, very black and white reactionary statement on your part), they will have the opportunity as they mature, gain more knowledge of other philosophies etc., (through, for instance, critical thinking based education - it's the only way I teach, by the way) and experience where at all possible. Ultimately, if it's not done with a gun to their head, who cares if the kids decide to continue with their parents' beliefs? So what? If they are adults and choose not to exercise their free will in this regard (although really they are if they choose to continue with their family's belief), what business is it of anyone else, unless the now grown children go out and hurt others based on such a belief?

Besides, GiC, I thnk your idea of saying nothing at all would really backfire from your point of view. Ya know, the whole forbidden fruit thing. Mom and Dad go to these secret "meetings" all week where they drink wine and then at home stand in front of an altar (you'll never completely hide it from them you know) whispering and performing rituals etc. etc. The kids will wonder why on earth they aren't privy to it. Which is why they'll want to be involved even more.  They'd probably end up sneaking out of the house at night to attend vigils or something...

By the way, if you want your kids to eventually have the opportunity to visit various places of worship etc. and see these things as NORMATIVE, then it makes a big difference if they have friends who attend such places. Hence my commentary about the make-up of my child's preschool. Where I live and actually at the school I teach at too, peoples of different creeds, colours etc. actually do live (truly - my neighbours come from all over the world) and work together. And generally it is done quite harmoniously here, although I doubt it'll ever be perfect.  It makes a big difference when you are constantly surrounded by the "other". Then the notion of the "other" as being a scary alien disappears. Now the "other" augments your life and makes it richer, even if you don't ultimately agree with them on everything.  Being surrounded by those who are different than you on a regular basis, and befriending such people (and therefore breaking bread with them), really does make inroads into the kinds of experiences and discussions you can have regarding philosophies and religions. And as for books of different philosophies and religions, I have a wack of them and the kids are more than welcome to them once they are old enough to comprehend them. But I'll still tell them, "This is what I believe and this is why, and as a family we will do this, but as you mature and become old enough to make your own decisions, I'll respect that and always love you and hang out with you, regardless." There is no abuse in that. Trying to claim that it is, is to make a mockery of the real horrors many children go through on a daily basis.


Anway, GiC, thank you for gentle with me.
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